My Grace Is Sufficient For Thee.

The persistent rain outside my Grandma’s kitchen window was teamed with a grey cloudy day.

A perfect day for laundry.

She had a weekly laundry schedule, but somehow these kind of days were absolutely perfect for spending the day in Grandma’s laundry room, at least for me, because I wasn’t on a schedule.

The single, incandescent bulb sat there against the wooden unfinished ceiling amidst the white wires threading their way through the 2 x 6 boards.

The room was small and quaint, just as I preferred it. Grandma’s washing machine and dryer we’re tucked neatly into one corner alongside a large wash basin sitting on a painted robin egg blue floor… so homemade multi coloured “bucha” it was for my little feet. (German for “knitted slippers.”)

Some of Grandpa’s things lived in this room also, along with some of grandma’s summer bowls and buckets reserved for the garden which had made their way in during the harvest. Grandpa’s potato buckets had its rightful spot alongside grandma’s ground cherry bowls, pale green in colour.

Grandpa’s grey and white farmhouse gloves, lived on neatly built shelves… a necessity for so many projects in his life, inside and out. Grandma’s neatly piled laundry dotted the floor. It was sorted to perfection.

It was a place my young heart loved as a child. But my most favourite spot was a small 60s chrome table with 1940’s plastic pattern covered chairs, tucked in on three sides.

I loved sitting here with my pencil and scribblers. It was all I needed as grandma went about her “wash day”.

My favourite of all, were the pictures this favourite laundry room of mine had. A smaller 5 x 7 picture of a Clear Lake sunset, taken by my grandma, was framed in the 70s gold frame. She loved taking pictures. So did I. Still do. I got lost in this picture every time. It was my happy place.

A little to the left was a large off white wooden frame with a relaxing winter scene with a frozen pond in the middle, with the moon dancing on every part of it, the snow bank glistening majestically.

It now hangs in my laundry room many years later… a treasured memory.

The ever infamous framed picture of two young children, a boy and a girl holding onto each other, walking over a bridge at night with boards missing and an angel, a large Angel with big wings and a very compassionate face, floating right behind them in their protection. It always brought much comfort to me staring into that picture.

But the thing I remember the most was a small plastic like ceramic, yellow gold plaque with the words:

My grace is sufficient for thee

hanging on a single sturdy nail my grandpa had aligned perfectly between the raw 2 x 4 walls.

I’m very sure I didn’t understand what that really meant at my tender age.

My grandma and grandpa came to a relationship with God as young adults in one summer afternoon. One experienced it in the farmhouse and one in the field, a short mile away.

I came to know many years later that many letters, written on onion thin airplane paper of the 1970s, held some heartache as they travelled to East Germany behind the Wall for many years.

The family stories of uncles suffering incessantly in Russian concentration camps, and their wives suffering… being left behind, taking care of the homesteads and sometimes almost starving to death not knowing when the days of suffering would be over.

For many years, I would have never known the hardships and horrors these things would have left in their hearts. Perhaps the nightly kneeling in opposite sides of Grandma and Grandpa’s double bed, heads bowed in their folded hands, German prayers quietly coming from their mouth, were where their strong source came from.

Atendance at weekly Sunday services in our local small town church and Sunday morning home visits Grandma and Grandpa would make on Sunday as representatives of the church, gave hope to so many in the less than formal spiritual care.

Many years later, I would have opportunity to experience There’s sufficient grace. etched in that small ceramic plaque.

Raising four beautiful daughters and the life of parenting and what that all encompasses, A marriage that has encroached on 35 years, would need much sufficient Grace and all of life in between, grace in my daily falters with just my walk was my God as I knew him. Grace in my relationships and Grace to love others and most of all… myself.

Grace to Love me.

Little did I know, gazing at the small plastic plaque, what those words would come to mean to me many years later.

Those special moments of that small, but happy laundry room, still bring much warmth to my heart, but the memory of that plaque would forever remain something etched in my mind and heart.

Those short but powerful words have taken on a whole new meaning to me for me now many many years later.

It now hangs proudly in my laundry room.

My God has promised and has followed through on this of many promises in His Word…. And he continues to tell me…

My grace is sufficient for thee.

There Is Beauty In Change

Stepping inside the front door of my small Hanover Street home in the early 70s, my shiny, black rubber boots glinted as a few chilly drops of October rain sat comfortably on the edge of my foot.

My fall, homemade blue corduroy jacket opened as the brown wooden toggles hung loosely to one side. The warmth of the house greeted me and reminded me in short order, summer was but a distant memory…but I was not sad.

It was fall.

It was my favourite season as cooler weather refreshed my ever flushed young cheeks.

Halloween was just around the corner and the large, velvet, tassel adorned sombrero, would be my annual costume. No scary stuff allowed… mom’s orders … It was straight from my mom and dad’s Acapulco vacation my dad’s tire shop afforded for sales hitting the mark. A large brown scratchy blanket completed the costume as per mom’s wishes as it worked double duty to keep me warm as the chilly October nights howled through my scratchy fortel 70s pants.

A black and orange UNICEF box was grasped firmly under the blanket along with a brown Penner Foods paper bag doubling as the candy tote, jingling change donated by some cheerful treat givers made my young heart happy.

School had commenced for just about a month by now and papers printed on baby blue, tucked in my homemade blue jean, drawstring school bag, told my mom of the upcoming events, concerts and field trips.

As the new school year was about to change the last number again in two months time, the summer shows had ended on our brand new floor model 70s colour TV, and fall-time viewing had started, perhaps some after-school Flintstone episodes… A nostalgic favourite of mine for many, many years to come.

Halloween commercials we’re giving way to Christmas jingles that left me and my younger sister eagerly waiting for the seasonal Sears Christmas catalogue my dad would soon bring home after his long days at the tire shop.

Towering, mature, Hanover Street trees, seemed to bow gently at the tops to each other as they lined my childhood streets what seemed for miles in my childlike mind, their leaves changing to majestic golden, yellow, orange and Browns.

It was a beautiful sight for my young eyes as I took in the majestic view weekly as I skipped my way to my elementary school just a few blocks away.

Change was in the air all around me.

Some insistent crispy brown leaves drifted with the rains of October as they fell gently to the cool, sometimes frost-covered earth. Nothing it seemed, could keep them holding on once their time had ended. The large, stoic, fall soaked trees stood quietly as the leaves let go with every October gust.

There was nothing the tree could do… but let go.

I had looked forward to all these changes that October was bringing, yet I missed pieces of summer tremendously. Summer at the Kinsmen park in the heat of my hometown summer holidays, playing until dark with the neighbourhood friends, and bike rides on my cherry red bike with its neverending white banana seat.

And then there were holidays on the farm at my grandma and grandpa’s place, enjoying the green metal swing beside the barn and swimming in the small blow up pool, filled by grandma with love as she alternated the ice cold farmhouse hose water with steaming hot water from her kettle inside the house. My heart didn’t want this season to ever end.

My blue corduroy jacket had been replaced by sidewalk sales tank tops and t-shirts. The Morden Corn and Apple festival with my aunt and uncle, and wonderful family vacations at Clear Lake made way for glorious sunsets, walks, lawn bowling, and evening ice cream treats at the MacTavish by the moonlight.

They were summers that were music to my child’s heart. No matter how much I would wish my summers wouldn’t end, those beautiful green leaves of summer turned to brown and yellow. And no matter how much the trees would try, they would stand still … knowing the inevitable.

Life can get that way as much as we may want to hold on to a certain season in our lives. The leaves are bound to fall.

Let go.

No matter how much we want seasons to stay … they won’t.

Children grow up.

Relationships change…

and friends and family leave us sometimes far too soon for another eternal world.

Embracing all the beauty of the fall even though the summer season was over, kept me enjoying life and moving forward.

I could reflect on all the great memories of the summer, but I still needed to live in the moment in the fall.

Today… remember the summer and all of its memories… but live wholeheartedly in the new season of your fall…

and embrace the beauty of change♥️

Just One mighty Seed

Springtime had come again and my girl, who seemed to live far, far away in the land of the forest ( in reality only 45 minutes away), fenced off her garden and placed an interesting 1 foot metal owl that baubled in the wind in the centre of the garden, high on a tall wooden post. A few sticks and an old shirt fluttered in the wind nearby… It all seemed to do the trick.. no garden critters.

The invite had been sent out to her mother and her sisters to commence the annual planting of the ever-growing, double sized garden this year.

Red, yellow and green peppers for roastings and salads… yellow and green beans for much-loved ham and bean soup… carrots for dipping… watermelon for dessert, and squash for savory soups and side dishes. Then there were the very red, mini tomatoes and summer green cucumber plants, too many to count it seemed. Our mouths watered just imagining the summertime produce to be enjoyed by the family.

Each row was prepared sometimes inches and sometimes a foot apart for each lonely seed, sometimes so small we’d lose it in the wind, but none the less it contained the power to produce something many times its size. Sometimes a hundred fold. You can thank the mini tomatoes for that visual.

Our life is a seed.

Where and how we plant it will decide how, where and how much it will produce. Some days it may be intentional and more often than not it will be unintentional, but nonetheless a seed.

Plant a carrot… get a carrot.

Plant corn… get corn.

Plant encouragement… get encouragement.

Plant love… get love.

And so on.

A friend shared with me the other day of the plans that were under way to start a ministry here on the prairies of Manitoba. A seed was planted in his heart in the past eight years with just us sharing our daily lives and revelations as we met periodically.

The potential of a certain Ministry had been planted as a seed years before, and now it was time for him to water and grow that seed.

I had no idea, that just our casual talks could be a seed.

The produce in my daughter’s garden, especially the tomatoes, are proof of what one mighty power packed seed can produce.

And so it is in our lives and in the lives of others. Don’t underestimate the power of the seeds you plant whether you are aware of it or not.

You may not know this side of Heaven the harvest you may have in other people’s lives, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any.

Protect the seed from the “garden critters”… unbelief, discouragement etc.

My daughter’s garden needed watering and fertilizing regularly for those seeds to grow and become a harvest… and it took time.

You may plant the seed with your life but others will water and grow it along with God’s ultimate plan.

Many years ago, I started writing in my childhood.

Today, those childhood books have grown into my first published book many years later. My grandma encouraged me unbeknownst to her, to start journalling as I watched her daily, jot her life down in those small 5 year diaries that allowed only 2 lines per day…but they were seeds.

Her gifts of basic scribblers as they were called back in the day, and a simple number 4 pencil, sharpened with a crude knife… where my seeds.

My grandma has been gone 26 years now and will not know of the book that has grown from those seeds many years ago.

Today, know that your life is a seed.

For yourself and for others.

Don’t underestimate it.

It only takes…

just one mighty seed.

Ultimate Flying Lessons

It was to be an exciting day.

The wing of the four-seater Cessna was big and yellow in my share of the window as we taxied down the runway. I adjusted my headset firmly so as not to miss any possible instructions or information from the experienced pilot.

The metal box I had consented to fly in rose swiftly as it finished its trek down the runway. My stomach did a loop as the wheels left the pavement.

It was a new way of moving around and seeing things I had only seen from the ground before. Once in the air; the houses, the roads and the people seemed to look smaller and smaller quite quickly and a new world was appearing out my window. Anything I had seen below was becoming more of a distant memory as the view around us transported us upwards.

FREEDOM… that’s what my heart felt.

Freedom to just see what was out my window and nothing more.

High above the clouds we soared it seemed. Time didn’t matter, and perhaps even seemed to stand still. This was all me and the pilot knew in this moment in time.

The pilot would have taken many hours of lessons to be able to bring me to new heights in this flight.

It made me think…

How often don’t we get consumed with the houses, the people, and the roads around us because of our perspective from the ground? It seems as if there is no other way to see things.

Seeing things from a different perspective or view might help us see the answers/truth about the houses, the people… the roads in our lives more clearly.

Our God waits to give us lessons. He wants to help us adjust our “wings” so we will soar high above our circumstances that want to weigh too heavily on us.

He is the experienced pilot of our lives.

Our “headsets”need to be firmly adjusted so we can hear His instructions to us as He guides and teaches us to “fly” high above the clouds in this life, the place where freedom to see out the window leaves everything below so small or even out of view as you soar with Him.

Choose the top end of the clouds.

Your mind, your heart…you life depends on it.

Fly with Him.

Let the Master teach you.. and sign up…

for HIS…Ultimate flying lessons.

Laugh Again

Trying hard to squelch my whole being from shaking under the covers, tucked warmly in my oversized bed, I switched my UTube site just to compose myself not wanting to wake a sleeping husband next to me.

Good comedy has always triggered a gut response to laugh with my whole body and soul at times. I couldn’t help myself…back I switched to one of my favourite comedians. I glanced at the corner of my screen only to find a couple of hours had passed well past my bedtime and the early morning alarm would not be my friend. I didn’t seem to care.

In that moment the feeling my whole being got along with my mental state of mind was worth the price of a few less hours of sleep. The rest of what may have been on my head and heart that day seemed to all but disappear as every part of me was filled and shaking with laughter in this moment. I felt as if I could take on the world… and nothing else mattered, not even lack of sleep.

My 4 grown daughters teach me to laugh when we get together and share our lives and just be ourselves. The tears sometimes roll non-stop amidst the laughter.

What a gift.

I believe our God smiles wide at watching his children laugh. I also believe God wants us to get back to the simplicity of laughter. It changes everything about us physically and mentally He designed us to respond with laughter. When we see life differently… we do life differently.

I can’t imagine that His son Jesus didn’t do some laughing when he walked this earth. In the Word it tells us He wept when his friend died, He was angry at the money changers in the temple, and He was at peace in the quiet of his boat on the Sea of Galilee.

So many emotions he created. We are made in His image and we laugh… so He must laugh too.There can be much to laugh about.

Grandchildren and all their antics and innocent questions…

A good chat over a tasty cup of mocha with a good friend and sharing each other’s stories that bring us there…

family gatherings revisiting the times of happy moments of yesteryear that bring out the laughter in us…

enjoying a good movie that brings out the side splitting laughter.

What do children laugh about?

A puppy rolling in the grass or running for a ball and catching in mid-air…

The non-stop soft lick of a pet bunny all over their face…

A childhood game of tag as they catch each other…

A butterfly caressing a child’s finger as they tried to catch it…

The hop of a frog out of a little ones hand after squeezing it too tight…

A milk moustache lingering on a lip after a large gulp went awry…

A splash in a mud puddle without the rubber boots when mommy had just said no.

As we grow older, we tend to laugh differently at the world, not as children do. Our laughter needs more of a nudge as our minds can be so full of life.

We can learn from a child… their laughter is much more spontaneous because their little minds can live in the moment and have way more room for laughter. They laugh at the simple things.

It’s where it all starts.

A good comedy show is all good but the real laughter abounds out of the simple joys of life.

The kids got it.

Laugh at the squirming frog.

Laugh at the rolling dog.

Laugh at the milk moustache.

Laugh at the butterfly clinging to your nose.

Laugh at the mud on your face after a good puddle stomp…

and laugh in the rain … with or without your umbrella.

Laugh at the happy and not so happy in your life because perspective is everything.

Get back to the garden.

The garden of laughter where children live.

He would want you to.

Your life depends on it…

And laugh again.

The Purge

The new, widely-watched Netflix sensation, calmly told me…

“Whatever you keep must give you Joy.”

So on a mission I went, on my quest for Joy. Hanger after plastic hanger was stripped bare of old, new, big small, all that had lived in my closet through the lean years, the diet years, and all the other years in between.

The pile on the king-size bed seemed two dwarf it as the quest continued. The drawers in the red Ikea dresser living in the corner stood open as my focus gravitated away from the closet. I could finally see the striped bottom of the piece of furniture that had stoically stood in the corner through years of harbouring my collection; collection of things I didn’t even know I had till I started the purge.

The hours ticked away as I moved through each room of my house determined to say goodbye to all that wasn’t necessary or useful… what that meant I didn’t always know.

The white kitchen cupboards were thrown open wide as I entered in with determination. The bathroom floor was covered in half empty bottles of what or who knows what and from which decade. It was a mystery at times.

The basement storage space was always a sore spot in my purge mentality, for therein lay treasures of my heart. Crocheted blankets from my dear Grandma, handmade paper tole pictures, dishes and cotton blankets that still smelled of her even now over 26 years later. Rubber maids of all different colours with labels of things I had not visited in years. My four daughter’s elementary school work, pictures for “mommy” too many to count and tiny baby outfits for each that brought back sweet memories of a time I cherish so much.

All of this did bring me joy.

Night was falling and darkness filled the rooms I was purging as I had been so busy I’d forgotten to turn on the lights. By the end of a very long day, I had been somewhat successful; measured by what I’m not sure.

Many bags and boxes later standing stoicly by the door, my day of purging had come to an end. It felt so very good. I would hold off now with the next phase of the purge as it all felt so incredibly good. It would clear my brain for a time, then weeks or even months down the road, my mind would need to address the next phase again because things didn’t seem fresh anymore. Still too many things living in my house that took up my heart and my mind.. it was a process.

When we hold onto things in our lives that don’t serve a purpose any longer, the heart and mind become heavy and pay a price. It takes up too much space mentally and leaves less room to go freely about our day, week and even life.

Hurts that leave a hole buried deep in the heart: purge.

Regrets carried for far too long looking backwards, keeping you hostage emotionally: purge.

Judgement of others and their hearts: purge.

Beliefs about ourselves… not good enough… too big, to small…purge.

Past mistakes that need to stay in the past: purge.

Needing to earn love: purge.

Relationships that don’t work anymore: purge.

And the list goes on.

Make a decision: strip those hangers of all that is heavy in your heart and mind. Toss the half empty bottles from yesteryear that don’t do the job anymore. Throw open wide those cupboards and dive deep.

Sit with your God awhile.

He is the master of purge.

Keep it only if it makes your heart sing and gives you Joy…

and carry out..

The purge.