The snow crunched happily under our feet as the almost 0° temperatures and the warmer mid-February south winds, made this winter walk more inviting.
Only acquaintances at best through work, our connections went deep with intermittent moments of greetings and smiling eyes no mask could prevent.
Today, as we enjoyed a lovely winter walk, along with some students, to our favourite local coffee shop, our conversation easily moved to something deeper as we both cradled are steaming coffee shop treats.
The conversation; stories, were filled with times of experienced uncertainty as the shared stories included the diagnosis of a stage 4 brain cancer for a 1 year old beautiful baby sister, and my story of a season of paralysis… GBS, my husband endured about 10 years ago now… Both amazingly in the same seasons.
Our sharing of our stories continued as we talked about the dark valley walked for all involved during those difficult moments.
As our walk was nearing its end, both our stories came to a brilliant conclusion as we both shared unexplained miracles that had been declared by doctors in both our stories, and how God had gotten the glory for all that had happened and all that could not be explained.
We had only walked a short time that day, but our hearts were blessed and uplifted in the sharing of the hope we had found in each of our lives in the midst of some very dark moments we had both experienced many years ago.
We may not all have stories that go to these depths, but I would venture to say we all have everyday moments in our lives in which we can share, to give hope to others on their Journey. Hope to take just one more step, one more day… And then another.
We all need Hope.
Today, take some time to reflect on moments in your life where hope of any kind was experience from the heart of God… And dare to share with someone… Anyone… along your journey.
My homemade jeans, sewn lovingly by my mom as she did for many years, sat snuggly on my waist as every piece of clothing usually did in those days.
My everlasting struggle with extra pounds since I had entered into this world, made even my mom’s perfect measurements and skilled sewing sit awkwardly.
It was the dead of winter… and the dreaded “arenaday” had arrived way too soon again for my liking.
Grade 6 would be the beginnings of the cruel years as most were coming into their own identities, moving from the ever accepting early elementary years.
A cloud of cold air hung on my every breath, hitting my lungs hard, perhaps harder that day as it coupled with the anxiety of the unknown… The unknown of who would subtly skate by and hook my skate to plant me face-first on the cold forgiving ice, along with any cutting words to accompany the gesture.
I pointed my toe pic onto the ice, gripping the paint faded chunky door mercilessly, opened to the sprawling mass of ice, betraying my skating skills from the onset.
A rush of wind enveloped my whole being as my worst fears whizzed by my unsteady self.
“Your mom still sews you boys clothes!”
Were the stinging words my ears heard as the hard cold ice came closer and closer to my face as my skate wobbled as it danced the Tango with another as “the bully” rushed by.
And there it was… what my heart had been dreading for days before…“arena day“.
The kindness of my grade 6 teacher wasn’t enough for my young heart in that moment as she led me to the bench for a short break. My bruised shins didn’t hurt nearly as much as my bruised heart.
“Why”… was all I wanted to know. “What had I done”?
Oh, I know my young generous growing body did not fit into the cute little clothes the grade 6 girls of the late 70s enjoyed. But was “that” it?? Really?? And my homemade clothes??
I believe wholeheartedly I was a good person, always wore a smile even though the heartache of these encounters would pave the way far too much for the next four decades.
The diet and exercise that would accompany the next 40 years were cruel task masters in the quest to stop the bullying that would come in many different forms.
But the real bully was always with me… It was me. Yes me… Or so I believed.
Just hear me out.
For decades I tried to control me with weight loss, even when even the biggest boundaries were crossed. So much energy focussed on all my imperfections, much like a bully would do to someone else.
I was my own worst enemy… I was the real bully… or so I thought. My own personal bully when all the other bullies had gone for the day. This bully stayed with me constantly. This bully affected every area of my life for too many years, even the silence of my own thoughts.
I seemed to never escape this relentless bully.
Then one day, not too very long ago, I had had enough of this bully. Other bullies in my life still came and they still crossed my path in different forms, but they became smaller as I dealt with my inner bully.
I was tired… very tired. I had no more strength left in me to face the bullies in my life any longer. I could not change them.
But I could confront my inner bully as I started letting go of all that was not working in my life anymore… or should I say, never really had. It was not pretty. But neither was keeping the real bully around.
I started “cleaning house”.
I brought up “boxes and boxes” of hidden beliefs and lies from the “basement” of my heart. It was a mess, but as I took each “box” out the front door of my heart and loaded it on to the shoulders of my God, never to be brought back again… I started to breathe.
I started replacing those closed boxes with new open boxes that filled my heart with a sweet Aroma of self-acceptance no matter my size, my weight… no matter how many times I had failed in my eyes or others.
Self acceptance… I started to heal… Finally starting to Believe what my God had always said about me since the day I was born.
I was “fearfully and wonderfully made” despite all my shortcomings. No condemnation from the God of the universe. His promise to” never leave me or forsake me”… No matter if the whole world did, left me overwhelmed.
I was a” daughter of the most high King”…. Loved so so much! He says ” he thinks of me every second of every day… day and night, and knows me byname”.
I’m always on his mind! Who could ask for anything more!
He had never seen me as the real bully, even though I had thought it for so many years. He knew the enemy of my soul fed me those lies for so many decades.
He was the real bully.
So many years have passed since those dreaded “arena days”.
I know now who the real bully is.
Not the person behind the knocked skate…. Not the person with the cutting words…. Not even me… It was the enemy of our souls.
Today being the first day of a brand new year, I choose to believe what my God says about me in the midst of the ever-present bullies of this world influence by the real bully.
Not them… Not me…
But the true enemy of our souls… The real bully who is already defeated by the One who loves us the most.
Our God willingly gives us Hope to let go of the lies that have held us bound for too many years by the enemy of our hearts…
She gently placed the needle of the arm of the 1960s record player on to the 33 vinyl record of Dennis day and Jack Benny crooning the likes of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem”.
The steady subtle cracking accompanied each each song… a simple familiar normal of the 70s era. It was a beautiful normal.
My grandma settled into grandpa’s gold patterned, corner rocker after she finished the nightly Christmas week routine of plugging in the multicolored lights that lit up the vintage teardrop ornaments, along with the traditional silver tinsel and gold garland of the era.
The multicolored lights hung perfectly by my grandma’s silhouette in the dark of the evening, just outside the living room, shining beautifully as they danced in all their colours on the freshly fallen snow.
It was a magical time in my child’s heart… compared to nothing else.
My sleepover bed was made with so much love always by my grandma on the living room mattress, covered end-to-end with her always fresh smelling floral bedding from her special hall closet where all Grandma’s treasures came from.
She lovingly and securely tucked my young self in to the ever so soft, grandma’s house aroma bedding.
The farmhouse living room was shrouded in the darkness of the evening except for the sparkle of the christmas tree lights and those dancing there colours on the freshly fallen snow just outside the living room window.
My grandma’s grand Christmas cactus was filled with beautiful pink blooms to the point of hanging low… A testament to her loving care.
My grandma mischievously hinted in the direction of the tree, alluding that the perfectly and immaculately wrapped silver and gold presents could be mine. 2…3…5! 5 presents!! My young heart could hardly contain my excitement.
Some big, some small, but one stood stoically tucked in the back of the tree, safely under the boughs of the beautifully decorated tree.
Could it be??
Could it possibly be the coveted long-haired Crissy doll I had wanted for so long from the iconic Eaton’s department store in the big city just an hour down the road?
I could only dream.
Soon after, the subtle hints of Christmas gifts gave way to my grandma rocking gently back and forth, looking off into the distance as she went back in time, telling of Christmas Eve in her youth, and of the magic that happened in their own home with everyone playing instruments, from the fiddles to the banjos, echoing through the home with their favourite traditional Christmas songs.
She stared off in the moment as if she was reliving it all over again.
Her stories took on their own magic as my little sleepy eyes got heavier and heavier, drifting off with magical memories of Christmas past… The sixties record player still crooning Jack Benny and Doris Day… “Oh Holy Night”.
Morning would usher in my most favourite day of the year, then as a child and still many decades later.
Christmas Eve had finally arrived.
The day was filled with much excitement as the traditions of “Peppernuts”, traditional shortbread cookies and my mom’s famous fruitcake, along with many other baked goodies graced a large beautiful cookie platter, arranged with much love and care always.
The sounds of the “Ray Connick singers” and “Harry Belafonte” crooned happily from Mom and Dad’s record player in the large country living room.
Red and white stockings, Handmade by mom, hung from the real brick fireplace for us to enjoy as we drifted off to sleep in our blankets we had dragged from our beds.
Our whole small family… nestled by the warm crackling fire my dad had stoked just before we fell into our dreams of Christmas.
We drifted off to the sparkles of the tree my mom always decorated with homemade decorations. Turquoise satin blue round baubles with sparkling jewels. Each of our first letters of each of our names spelled out.
My decoration with my letter now lives in my Christmas tree many decades later.
The time had arrived for the Christmas Candlelight concert in our small farming town small Church.
Christmas carols the likes of “We light a Thousand Candles bright” and of course the ever wonderful “The star”, rang through the walls of the small country Church.
I sat mesmerised, sitting securely beside my mom and dad and grandma and grandpa in the hard church bench, dressed in my cherry red Christmas dress my mom had lovingly sewn as she did every year.
“For unto us a child is born”… the Christmas story from the book of Luke took center stage as the choir sang their last song of the night.
And just before our moms and dads took us little children home for Christmas Eve, the “tutjes” (little brown paper bags) filled with oranges peanuts, a candy cane, a few hard red, white and green striped candies and of course a chocolate or two arrived from the church.
The hustle and bustle of the little children clamoring for their “tutjes” was quite a sight to see and a highlight for my young self. I clutched my little brown bag close to my heart as I stomped alongside my mom and dad through the deep snow that had fallen, with my favourite boots that year, filling with cold fresh snow with every step.
But I did not care.
I was off to grandma’s and Grandpa’s…. and it was Christmas Eve.
My dad’s 66 “Merc”, Malibu blue in colour, pointed down the snow packed gravel road heading to the most magical night of my young life.
As my dad’s “Merc” rounded the curve of the farm’s long driveway, visions of years past of “pluma mouse” (cold fruit soup), nice cold Mandarin oranges from grandpa’s cold cellar, peanuts, hard striped candy, chocolate, ripple chips with French onion dip, and Mountain Dew in green vintage glasses accompanied my Christmas favourite… “halva”… a Christmas staple on Grandpa and Grandma’s Christmas table.
All was set around candle light in the small farmhouse kitchen…. I’m “there” as I write this.
Finally, grandma’s perfectly wrapped gifts made their way into my arms.
The carollers dressed in their winter parkas and snow boots, singing their traditional standards just out the front living room window in the glow of grandpa’s multicolored lights, were a beautiful sight and sound to my little eyes and ears. But the corners of grandmas beautifully wrapped presents were calling my name louder and louder as my fingers anxiously pulled on it.
A beautiful pink ceramic jewellery box, made lovingly by my grandma, contained the most beautiful delicate gold necklace with a floating heart as was popular that year.
As I opened my gifts eagerly one by one I finally came to the coveted large beautifully wrapped present standing quietly in the back of the magical Christmas tree, stoically waiting for my little fingers to open it.
I could only hope.
My little pudgy fingers worked quickly as I peeled back the layers of beautiful wrapping.
And there it was.
The long-haired Crissy doll my heart had yearned for all year! My young heart could hardly be contained.
Another Christmas Eve had come and had fulfilled all my little heart’s desires…. It was perfect.
Now, many decades later, my growing family of 17, children and grandchildren, experience pieces of these wonderful childhood memories.
The colourful lights, some vintage decorations that graced my mom and my Grandma and Grandpa’s tree so many decades ago, the peanuts, oranges, candy and my mom’s favourite fruit cake. Shortbread, cherry topped, halva… and much more.
And of course the best of all…. just being together with all those that I loved so dearly. That really was the greatest gift of all… then and now.
Grandma cookie making and decorating with the littles and of course the sounds of the season with the likes of Ray Conniff, Doris Day and Jack Benny, croon late into the night after all are fast asleep as the musical tastes have changed through the decades for my family from a different era.
The small farmhouse table in the farmhouse kitchen has been replaced with a 15 foot handmade Harvest wooden table, filled end-to-end with my precious family in the year 2020.
Many beautiful people of those childhood memories have celebrated many Christmases in heaven by now.
I miss them dearly.
Yet I look forward to the day I can celebrate the Christmas of all Christmases together with them in that forever home prepared for us by our loving God and his Son.
“For unto us a child is born…” the hope of all eternity….
I sat my Christmas mug of peppermint mocha on the ledge of my cozy reading chair facing my large sunbathed window.
The overfilled bird feeders just outside the window were the centre of a flurry of many different kinds and colours of birds… feathered friends coming and going at will, side-by-side enjoying their bird feeder treats.
Sometimes 2… sometimes 4… sometimes too many to count, seemingly coming from far and wide as the vast malibu blue sky accommodated.
A pair of beautiful majestic Golden Eagles completed the picture as they swooped freely across the open yard…. their large wings gliding effortlessly, soaring higher and higher anywhere they pleased in the vast open sky.
My heart envied the sense of freedom these familiar feathered guests enjoyed.
My time at my window brought me back to a cherished memory in my childhood when my grandmother would lovingly surround my childhood atmosphere with music and song.
A line from a childhood favourite tucked lovingly in my memories that she used to sing to me in her gentle sweet voice was…
” God sees the little Sparrow fall it meets His tender view… if God so loved the little birds… I know He loves me too.”
These birds were doing everything but falling this day, but it reminded me that He had a tender view of even the tiny birds, and if that were true, how much more does He have us in His tender view, especially in this time of a world full of uncertainty.
Our world in this seemingly long season, may have us move about less freely, but the wings of our heart’s can never be stilled if we remember Who’s got us and Who we’ve got.
Our hearts are not bound and can soar as freely as the birds when we stretch wide our heart’s “feathers of freedom” like the eagles as they soar.
Stretch them into the lives of others no matter how far our arms are from the ones we hold so dear. Freedom is always present when we choose to stretch our heart wide in limitless prayers of Hope that transcends every boundary as far as the East is from the West.
Prayers for the healing of this world and so much more as we turn our faces upward… and let the Everlasting Light of Him who loves us most, bathe our hearts…
as we stretch our heart feathers of ultimate freedom.
My sleep filled eyes stung as I struggled to open them as the thin white vapor hung in the upstairs hallway of our newly built country home.
The 80s digital clock in my mom and dad’s room flashed 8:17am in bold red numbers…. Just three hours after our whole family had arrived back home in one of the worst snow storms the local radio station had predicted that year….
Home from an attempt at plowing through the large snow drifts amidst the merciless blinding snow. My dad was determined to get our little family to the airport on time for our coveted trip to the Magic Kingdom in the US of A.
My dad had always been invincible to my young heart when it came to his skills at driving through the worst storms our Manitoba winters could hurl at us.
Today was no different as my dad successfully navigated our 70s green LTD equipped with radial studded tires, packed with his young family and all that would be needed for the trip to Disney on the south coast.
The departure lane flashed a highly disappointing “closed” sign as the realization of the closed airport sunk into our Magic Kingdom excited hearts.
Turning back was our only option now.
Once back home through the blinding snow, our disappointed selves climbed wearily back into our beds we had left behind only hours before.
My dad stoked the wood furnace in the basement to take the edge off the chill now hanging in the halls of our home on that bitterly cold January morning.
But the morning was about to take a very different turn.
As the smoke curled it’s way through our home, my little brother came racing from his room, gasping for air as his chronic asthma responded immediately to the building angry haze threatening to take even more of his air supply.
Our sleepy little family dragged ourselves from our beds as we woke fully from our deep sleeps.
Stumbling through the house, the ever thickening smoke threatened to steal our coveted air.
My eyes widened as my mind started to grasp what I was experiencing. A bright orange glow danced furiously behind every light switch as we all stumbled to the front door as the fire raged inside the walls of our new country home.
Huddling in our pajamas we had just crawled back into just hours before, on our snow packed front lawn, we watched in stunned silence as the heavily clothed firemen chopped holes vicariously into our brand new roof, trying to get to the imposter threatening our home.
In the end, our home was saved from total destruction, but not before much smoke damage had permeated the whole house.
The insurance assured our anxious family we could leave for Disney as planned the next day, as the damage would be taken care of.
As we boarded the 747 the next day, my excitement looking foreword to visiting the Magic Kingdom took my mind off of our smoke damaged home we had left behind.
“leave it behind you… Go enjoy your family vacation…. And when you get back… All will be good as new.”
And so it was.
Many years later now, I reflect on how that situation is indicative of our lives.
Sometimes our life will be filled with eye stinging smoke along with the angry glow of a raging fire behind the walls of our lives.
These conditions in our lives will keep us from living our best life… Whole and free.
Eye stinging smoke will leave us with vision skewed at best, not being able to see the clear picture of our life most days, and the raging fire behind the walls threaten to make us ill physically and mentally if we don’t take care of it.
Sometimes our God needs to “chop a whole in our roof” to let out the smoke and flames.
The chopping could look like opportunities, changes, and ultimately getting to the root of things that serve only to hurt us.
Sometimes we will need to “head to the door”…. Focus on something better God has put in front of us, and let go of trying to put out the fire and clear the smoke after all our efforts have been exhausted.
There is a time in our lives when things in our lives should be left with Him to deal with as we take our hands off the situation.
And when we “come back”… He will have done what only He can do when we let go…refocus…. leaving Him to deal with the smoke and flames….
My dad’s bass voice boomed through the kitchen from the CB unit perched on the small telephone table in the corner.
My mom left her vigil at her large stock pot on the stove, leaving it to marry its flavours between slow and steady stirs with a large Tupperware ladle she’d earned from one of her many Tupperware parties through the early years.
Perching herself on this soft red, cushioned telephone table bench beside the CB unit, she pressed the side of the hand held speaker nestled perfectly in her petite hand and replied matter-of-factly:
“Unit 9, this is base 3.”
The conversations were usually short and to the point, mostly for information.
“I need a driver to take the Louisville from one pit to the other south of Grunthal.” Came my dad’s voice clearly through the speakers.
Mom glanced at her simmering pot of soup, and replied:
“I’ll just turn down the soup… I’ll be there in about 10 minutes.”
This was a regular part of everyday life in my teenage years when my dad owned his gravel business. Cell phones were not even a thought in the tech world at this time. but the CB world of the day was a high-tech magic of its own compared to the home phones in the 70s.
Communication was very important to the success of the business. I never doubted it was my dad’s voice every time I would hear it echoing through the kitchen from its CB perch. I had heard his familiar voice for many years by now…. I knew it. My mom would leave whatever she was doing to answer my dad’s voice.
It was important for the success of the business to go as smoothly as possible.
The remembrance of this regular scene in my life reminded me of the importance of knowing our Heavenly father’s voice.
The closer we grow to Him the more often we will grow to recognize His voice in our lives.
My mom would stop what she was doing in order to give her full attention to my dad’s message, and left behind other tasks to respond to various requests.
Leaving behind what we may be doing at the moment in our lives to take heed to our Heavenly father’s voice, and possible different direction, goes against what we may want to keep pursuing in our life’s path.
Recognizing His voice in our lives daily and responding to His direction will always lead us in the direction He has for us…. His perfect plan for our lives, whether it makes sense to leave a “simmering pot on the stove” or not.
Sometimes He may ask us to leave something behind for a time, or perhaps for good. But know that His request to redirect is never to hurt us, but because He loves us so incredibly much and sees things we cannot see.
His communication to us and our response to Him is also very vital to any hope of success in our lives.
Today as I reflect, I will find Hope in His direction for my life as I recognize His voice more clearly each day,
The aroma of the Thursday’s Farmer’s s Market, garden fresh dill saturated the air as each cut with my kitchen knife released this gift to my senses.
It instantly brought me back to a simpler time many years ago in my childhood, sitting at our small 60s chrome kitchen table, watching intently as my young mother created the same beautiful aroma with every cut of the freshly picked mound of homegrown dill.
The fresh red potatoes and sharp tasty onions along with the rest of the recipes ingredients created the most magical dance on my taste buds.
It was an experience every time I gathered together the Mennonite soup ingredients.
It had always been a favourite of mine and now many years later my 6 year old granddaughter had developed a love for this same favourite.
“Mama!” She said between spoonfuls of soup disappearing into her tiny mouth. Her eyes sparkled as her request was made….” Can I have”… slurp slurp…. “more”… slurp slurp…. “Sommer Borscht!??”
Her long, light brown hair dipped vicariously into her bowl as she leaned over her steaming bowl with every taste…. her bowl still half full as the request began.
She wasn’t about to miss out on any leftover soup.
My mama heart smiled wide as I willingly ladled some of this coveted soup into her still half-full bowl.
My little granddaughter wasn’t about to miss out when there was more to be had. My whole being so enjoyed watching her eagerly spoon mouthfuls of this liquid gold.
I believe our God longs for us to ask for things our heart’s desire. He tells us so in his Word. He knows all and wouldn’t need us to ask, but He so yearns for that close relationship with us.
Watching my granddaughter enjoy her bowl of sommer borscht so immensely and ask for more so unashamedly even before she was done, reminded me of what we are invited to do.
Come boldly before Him into His presence.
He longs to see the sparkle in our eyes along with our boldness to ask before our hands are empty. He loves to watch us “lean” into our answers, gifts and blessings and enjoy them to the fullest.
He wants us to ultimately trust Him for all of it.
As I ladled the last of the large stock pot of soup into a few beautifully etched old fashioned mason jars, a small smile tugged at the corner of my mouth knowing there would be more of this coveted soup the next time my little girl would ask.
I imagined Our God being overjoyed with the overflow of answers, gifts, and blessings He has for His children,
And how I experienced a small piece of this that day… with a little girl…
The intoxicating smell of the brand new pack of 6 Crayola crayons made my five-year-old heart happy.
I eagerly pulled my favourite forest green crayon out of the package, holding it gently to my nose and inhaling deeply.
It made my heart happy.
I loved school.
Next, I pulled a pair of small scissors that would assist in all my creations I would eagerly bring home to my mom to decorate her fridge with.
It also made my little heart happy.
I reached down again into the Stylerite paper bag from the store all our shopping was done in those years in the 70s. It was our Walmart of the decade.
I pulled out a brand new wooden ruler with a thin metal edge for all the measuring and counting I would need to do in mathematics class… Not my favourite subject but a new ruler could always pull me through.
Next were my brand new navy blue and white canvas indoor lace-up runners that would live on my feet for my school day.
I always loved the feel of a new Runner as they only happened once a year at this time.
A brand new Art smock was next for protection of my new clothes my mom had sewn for the new school year. Just a simple plastic smock but none the less new and only mine.
My own floral box of Kleenex lay at the bottom of the bag ready for a year of runny noses and sneezes and maybe a tear or two from a scraped knee..
I eagerly pack everything into my homemade blue gean drawstring backpack made by my mom with her crafty handwork adorning the bag in strategic places. Well-placed red needlepoint flower here and the yellow one there, but most importantly to me, my name stitched in bright block letters.
I was ready from my first day of grade 3 just a two-block walk from my childhood Hanover Street home.
I stuffed my blue homemade hooded corduroy jacket quickly into the opening as a last minute thought as I ran out the door to my elementary school.
As I skipped happily along, my eyes spotted a few multicolored stones lining the sidewalk haphazardly. One was surely not enough.
They all caught my attention. Eagerly I scooped handfuls of rocks and pebbles all different sizes, shapes, and colors. Some sparkled some didn’t but all caught my eye.
My imagination soared as I wondered what i could all create from these beauties or perhaps just display them on my bedroom dresser when I got home.
I quickly ran the rest of the way as I heard the chimes of the morning bell in the distance. The handfuls of beautiful treasures didn’t seem at all heavy as they were only handfuls at a time and my excitement overshadowed any thing else.
I loved those first days of fall, skipping happily to my elementary school with all I needed in my homemade jean backpack.
But day after day as I set out, I couldn’t help but notice I became more tired as I made my way to school every morning.
Then Saturday came around. It was wash day deemed by my mom, and my homemade backpack was on the list.
As my mom turned it inside out to protect the handstitched flowers, heavy handfuls of a beautiful array of treasures danced noisely onto the cement laundry room floor.
I had forgotten about the treasures I’d found the first day of school.
My walk to school the next school day seemed to go surprisingly faster as my back pack had only what I needed for my day.
My tiredness was gone.
My young self didn’t necessarily make the connection..I was just to happy not to be tired.
Fast forward 45 years. The lesson learned that day has been a journey.
The days I felt tired, I needed to take a closer look as to what I was carrying. Why… And if it was mine to carry.
Life can get tricky like that if we are carrying things that attract as shiny sparkling stones that don’t belong in our backpacks.
It may be guilt over lies we may be believing, resentment, hurts that are buried deep in your backpack. Unforgiveness, self judgement, unresolved trauma…
All disguised as shiny stones… treasures we feel we need to keep for all the reasons we come up with, until one day we find ourselves exhausted from the weight of our “backpack”.
The mountains are high and the valleys are low in everyone’s lives…We can’t afford to be tired.
There is Hope.
Our God wants to turn our backpack inside out.
Let Him shake all those shiny pebbles that seem like disguised treasures, out of your life.
Keep only that which will help you live your abundant life here on the planet.
He will help you keep only the crayons that give your heart a lovely fragrance anytime you hold it close.
Keep only the shoes that take you places your God gives passion and purpose.
Keep only the Kleenex box for those who help wipe your tears in life to keep you moving on.
And then He will help you remember the only coat you need to keep with you is His coat of Righteousness He lovingly puts on you as His ultimate gift from where all of life can be lived victoriuosly.
Sit with Him.
And sit some more.
Sitting with our God of the universe, the only one who has been there every second of your life and has seen it all, will speak deep into your soul.
Listen and begin the process of dumping all that you are not meant to carry…trade the tired.
from that which you carry… and leave only that which is truly meant to stay…
Sitting in my favourite chair, wrapped in my favourite Hockey blanket, watching the yellow crisp leaves intermittently floating around me from the malibu sky confirmed it.
My view from my perch.
Many sun kissed chairs… 17 to be exact, the number that represented our wonderful growing family, along with a few tables ready for gathering, and a cozy couch or two nestled under the canopy surrounding a rustic well-used fire pit, beckoned all those who came to gather.
It was a picture my heart looked foreword to regularly.
The soft Square multi coloured pillows accompany each Muskoka chair, beckoning all to stay a while.
The crudely cut Cedar wood piled high in the homemade wood shed next to it said so.
As the perfectly charred smokies piled high in the extra large platter with all the fixings grew bigger and bigger, the laughter got louder and louder and all those who gathered imagined it to be a feast fit for a King… because it was the company that made it so.
This familiar eclectic playlist crooning in the background created the likes of a big warm hug that said, “Glad you came”.
Not far beyond the cherry colored glass hummingbird feeder lived the world my littles created.
Eight to be exact. Giving me the coveted title of Grandma… Mama for short❤️
Their shrill laughter would pierce the fall air with each pump of their little legs on the yellow seated swing Papa had built for them…. The littlest of the littles clicked in tight in the middle wanting to enjoy along with the bigger cousins.
The playhouse, a little brown wooden garage sale find, just steps away, created a world for much imagination as the little squeaky door surrounded by fake purple flowers on each side continually swung back and forth with the flow of the littles.
Their imagination was the limit as the dried dirt and tiny pebbles, along with a splash of water from the sand pails became today’s “soup of the day”… for Mama to taste of course.
By now, some of the older littles had outgrown this world, but their passion lay elsewhere as The melody of an acoustic guitar lingered in the air as their fingers ran lazily through each chord.
It was not only music to my ears… but music to my mama heart.
It was a piece of Heaven…. my piece of Heaven.
The crudely planted geraniums along with their colourful partners sat happily in the earth filled pots, seemingly smiling at the company of all who gathered.
The towering fifty-year-old Maples leaned over this little piece of Heaven as if to protect these precious moments.
And oh how precious they were.
What is the view from your perch?
Your little piece of Heaven…?
Everyone has it.
It may look very different than this one, but we all have it.
It is a gift. A gift given to each one of us from above with much, much love. And no matter what is happening in our lives, it beckons us to focus on our little piece of Heaven, a place where we can find rest for our hearts amidst the cares of this world.
What we focus on we experience deeply.
Just for today… and then… just for tomorrow, focus on the little piece of Heaven that is yours and yours alone, and thank the ultimate Giver for this precious gift…. a blessing among many others if we just take the time to look.
It’s a hope that keeps us going in the midst of all that wants to keep our hearts heavy.
All the rest that we need to take our eyes off of will grow out of focus if you find your little piece of Heaven….