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 ♥️

Joy…and Burnt Toast While You Wait

The time on the spiky clock on the farmhouse wall said 10:30 p.m. A coveted time for me in my childhood.

It was “nightlunch” time (Russian tradition) at Grandma and Grandpa’s house on the farm. Grandpa found his usual spot at the end of the table within arm’s reach of a little side table where the green transistor radio lived, telling of the farm market news by day and “Classics Till Dawn” serenading the kitchen on CFAM by night. It was a portal to the outside world on their farm, located deep in the heart of the country.

The toaster was a best friend, perched beside the transistor for the night lunch where grandpa adjusted the toaster knob just right…burnt. The resulting blackened toast was then slathered with thick patches of real butter. It filled the kitchen with an aroma that seemed to say this coveted nightly ritual had begun.

It was my favourite time of the day or should I say night. Along with their night lunch, the local Carillon news paper visited the farmhouse table on a weekly basis, every Thursday, picked up by my grandpa at Guenthers store in the small town of Grunthal a few miles down the road from the farm.

As the paper opened wide with all its grandeur, my eyes chased past the sports, jobs, etc… eagerly trying to steady my heart as I searched for the weekly Carillon feature; inserts of three to four chapters of a children’s book.

This particular evening I was excited to practice my reading skills of the classic Where the Red Fern grows after my last bite of Grandpa’s perfected burnt toast. My grandma help me with the bigger words as she and Grandpa listened intently as we all got lost in the world of young Billy with his hounds, little Ann and old Dan.

It was magical.

Letting my eyes scan as I was reading, I felt a bit sad knowing a few paragraphs to go and I would need to wait another whole week to start the next couple of chapters to find what would happen next.

Sometimes in life the answers we are looking for and have prayed fervently for, take us on a journey; sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly, and sometimes yearly…too long for our hearts it may seem. We eagerly anticipate the next chapter and all that encompasses.

Life rarely lets us finish a book in one day.

Let each chapter give you courage as you anticipate the answers to your book in that season of life no matter what the final chapter may reveal.

Enjoy the chapters along the way as you may have to wait. Our God Love’s when we rest in Him as we wait for the answers for the next chapters. How we wait is important to our faith, our mind, our hearts.

Surround yourself with those that make the journey easier. Friends, family… Those that will share the good and the not so good chapters of your life. Those that will sincerely listen to your “readings” of the chapters of your life and encourage and rejoice and will help you with the “big words” when you just can’t.

The memories of those days of the night lunches and the weekly chapter readings of Where the Red Fern grows were highlights in my life and have a special place tucked deep in my heart.

I may have had to wait from week to week for the answers to the next chapter, but I still enjoyed the moments in my childhood, a few chapters at a time and everything that surrounded that time around the farmhouse table, especially the night lunch and the company of my grandma and grandpa.

Live.

Really live…

in the short or long moments in between the chapters of your book ( life’s series of events). Enjoy each day as you wait. Don’t hold your breath.

Breathe.

Enjoy the pieces of life that make the journey enjoyable.

Enjoy your “butter slathered coveted burnt toast”…

and have JOY while you wait.