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.

Postcard From Heaven

The small metal door with 142 stamped on it, creaked in my hands as my key and its sister keys, dangled from it.

It had been weeks since I’d gone for the mail, so prying the rolled-up local flyers with important envelopes… the bills… everyday life inside, was almost impossible. Placing the bundle on the small table beside the post boxes, there for just that reason, I started dismantling the rolled-up mass of mail, my mind wandered far off as my fingers flipped through each piece.

What would it be like if this role of mail would contain a treasure…

a piece of gold…

a postcard from Heaven..

My mom had left this earth only 5 months earlier, yet it had seemed like a lifetime.

What might it say??

The longing to see her and hear her seemed to get stronger and stronger.

“Dear Arlene,

Oh how beautiful it is here! The weather is just perfect! Just like I always loved it when I lived on earth… except a million times better! Not a cloud in the sky and sunshine day and night!

I know it must be harvest time for the gardens there and I always loved that time of year:) All the canning and the soup making from the fresh garden produce. It was my heart… but you should see the garden I’m walking in now… No weeds! The plants are always producing year-round.

Oh how beautiful walking through these endless gardens and I love that I don’t need to rest like I did there on Earth… I’m never tired anymore.

The beautiful park benches in these gardens are filled with so many people I know! Oh how I love sitting and chatting with my mom and dad… OH how I’d missed them! And they look so young…we are all forever young.

We’ve caught up on so many years we’ve missed, but grandma said there was nothing missed, because once you’re in Heaven, all is so different and perfect and you just continue on when you get here.

Just over on the other bench I see uncle and auntie and my grandma and grandpa that went before me so long ago. I just can’t get enough of this Garden of joy and peace and fellowship with those I had missed so much.

And then there’s the children. The children who had to leave Earth far too soon. They are happier than they’d ever been before, running through the gardens, laughing and singing💞

And your child Arlene,

so beautiful, so happy, sitting on Jesus’s lap and being so loved in between giggling and singing songs of joy in the garden. Me and Grandma take turns loving on your little one… it’s just so perfect.

And Arlene… you wouldn’t believe it… but it’s happened! My heart’s desire of living in a log cabin has come true! God knew my heart:)… He knows all our hearts and desires and He loves us so much more than we can even ever imagine. He is such a personal God ♥️ I love talking to Him face to face now.

Our Clearlake years magnified to Infinity; and the sun sets, they never go away! And you know how I loved sunsets! It’s more perfect than I could have ever imagined. The family gatherings we have here are absolutely wonderful and the best part is…it never ends and will never.

I know your time is different for you now and things are not the same, but someday, when you get here, that will all be a memory that will be long overshadowed into eternity, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

You are just a breath away… and I’m always close. It’s absolutely perfect here. I’m so looking forward to the day you and all of my family will join me here in Paradise.

Till then, know that I love you more then you can ever imagine…

love from Heaven…mom.”

My mind jolted back to the sounds of other metal post boxes being emptied beside me. A salty tear wound its way down my cheek and caught the edge of my lip.

The day would carry on for me as usual, but a part of my step would have an extra spring in it as my mind still imagined the day when I could experience all and so much more, together with my mom and all those I loved so dearly… forever.

But for now, I cherish the view from my heart and my mind.

A wonderful…

Postcard from Heaven♥️

Wash Day…Circa Eternity

The large oversized crisp white sheets danced gently to the early morning sounds of the small happy birds on the sturdy homemade washline fastened securely to one end of the newly built 1966 farm house. The other end secured to a solid grey post living securely in the fresh smelling summertime dirt.

There was nothing like it to awaken the senses; a feel good that reached for the senses into the depths of the soul it seemed. The sun smiled brightly on each one individually it seemed, hugging each sheet from corner to corner.

The day had begun bright and early as did most days at Grandma’s house on the farm. Each pile of laundry sorted to perfection so as to get the best results, each plunged into hot or cold soapy water depending what was needed to wash away the stains. The wringer completed the next step, squeezing out most of every last drop of water.

The whites got whiter as the bleach and grandmas hands worked hard to create the magic of as close to pure clean as it could get. Grandpa’s barn clothes were good as new again after each Monday morning wash day. But nothing soothed the soul like the sight of the fresh white sheets billowing in the summertime breeze, teamed with intoxicating freshness that escaped from each long slow flap of each sheet.

Every Monday they were all new again it seemed after all of Grandma’s hard work, ready to embrace those who would rest in them nightly.

How refreshing to the body and the soul. It was just the thing to face each new day with a sense of having had a good night’s rest.

How grateful am I that “Wash day” only had to happen once and only once for my soul and spirit. Not every Monday.. not even every day. Our God washed away our sins once and for all …and made us whiter than snow.. and grandmas sun bleached sheets.

Whiter and brighter than any weekly, Monday morning, wringer washer, sun kissed, bleached sheets could ever be.

The Rest He gives us far surpasses those seemingly heavenly fresh smelling, body hugging, sun kissed, bleached sheets.

The choice is ours whether we accept His once and for all “wash Day” or continue our weekly self effort, weekly Monday “wash day”…only to have to do it all over again.

How exausting.

Our weekly “wash day” affords us no rest. It rests on us to scrub our own soul and spirit which is truly impossible.

The works in every Monday wash day will leave us exausted and always needing another wash.

Today, put to rest the weekly Monday wash day…and choose His ultimate wash day…

Wash Day… Circa Eternity ♥️