June 27, 2009

Shy cactus

Night before last I got up to let the dog out at 11:30pm and this is what I saw in our backyard:

Next morning:

I've never seen it so full of blooms. It stopped me in my slipper tracks! If you get up very early, you can still see most of the blooms open, but who wants to do that????

June 25, 2009


Celebrities are dropping like flies today. People's first reaction to Michael Jackson's death was interesting. I saw a lot of them on facebook. From calling it a publicity stunt (I had that first reaction too) to cynical remarks about how strange he was....and he was. And Farrah Fawcett's very unglamorous end....another 'interesting' celebrity. I know they were real people, they both had families and friends who are grieving, but it's not really personal for most people (unless you're a fan). So we are free to gawk at the evening specials on their lives (I did too) and give our opinions. (I am too apparently) To us they were almost caricatures of humanity, an image, a modern day freak show. Whether celebrities are exploiting themselves or are unfairly exploited is up for debate, but it's all kind of a parade of the most immoral and egotistical eccentrics in our society. Yet this day their eternity was made for them. It's all so empty and strange feeling when you ponder it.

Personally we've had to deal with a friend's death this week too. He was a deacon and a good friend at our last church. Randall absolutely loved life, loved his wife, his children and God. He rode a Harley Davidson and yet would snuggle with and talk sweet to his little yorkie with abandon. It made you laugh, but it was real humanity, not plastic or contrived. He was down to earth and lived his life for God and family, not for the public. When his time came he said, "I'm home...I'm home. Praise God, praise God." Then he breathed his last. Hearing it reminded me of when I'd come home from school, as I would come through the door, calling out to my mom, "I'm home! I'm home!" Cool image....hmm.

My own father's death was similar except he couldn't talk at the end. We could tell that he was keenly tuned in to us, tried to respond when he heard my brother or his sister on the phone. He was more himself than he had been for months Having dementia takes you away before your body is ready, but I think his spirit overcame his mind for a while at the end. He knew what was happening up until the last hour or so of his life.

It was August 21st and there was a storm gathering. We sat with my dad, singing hymns, talking to each other remembering old family stories and jokes. We were holding dad's hand, giving him water on a sponge because he was breathing hard and his mouth was dry. Then the summer storm blew in and raged for a while. I opened the window because my dad LOVED a good summer storm. He would go outside and watch them blow in and through whenever he could, even climbing up on the roof sometimes to watch the lightening (yeah, I know). So for a while we listened to his labored breathing while thunder crashed and rain came down in sheets. When it was over we kept vigil for another hour or so, then he opened his eyes, after having them closed for days, too weak to focus on anything I imagine, and his eyes were bright and focussed up in a corner of the room and there was an energy in his eyes, it wasn't just a look, it was a gaze. It made me actually turn and look as if I would see what he saw. But I couldn't (one day I hope to). I don't know what he was seeing, but I have a very real sense that it was another realm of reality. His breathing which was rough, labored and loud started calming and becoming very shallow and then very intermittent. The storm between death and life was blowing through and we knew it would soon finished. He had been focusing mentally on Heaven a few days before he died and now it was as if he saw it. And his spirit never focussed on us again. He was already stepping over and it was a privilege to be there with him while it happened. He took a few deep breaths and then he didn't breath again. And then, in our hearts it began to rain. But it was a very cleansing, sweet rain.

Death is something we don't often see and have to be there for in our society. But it is a very real part of life. I've been wanting to write of my father's death since the evening it happened, 3 years ago, but it never seemed like the right time. I think in the age where you see celebrity icons dying and we are so far removed from it, but still feel it so deeply, it's good to hear of more personal experiences, something unexploited that gives hope and not just sorrow. Something normal and natural and spiritual. After going through that with my father, I am not afraid to die. I never thought I was afraid, but it was a precarious thought, something far off and surreal. Now I know it is just a transition. I've seen it and envy it a little. Can you imagine stepping over with God and reaching your Home that is more familiar and real somehow than the ones we've lived in here on earth? I'm closer to being able to imagine it now.

"Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:3-4

June 11, 2009

Bringing Evangeline home

Have you ever noticed the button on the upper right of my blog? *points* It has a picture of a baby in pink on it and says "Bring Evangeline home" on it. If you click on it you will find the story behind it.

A fellow pastor's wife friend of mine is adopting a special needs baby from Ukraine. They are raising the money for the travel and adoption costs through the site you see if you click on the picture of Evangeline. There is also a brief story of their life and adoption. Amazingly, through many obstacles and lots of waiting and paperwork, Gillian and Sergei are in Ukraine right now picking up Evie and bringing her home with them.

International adoptions are a long, difficult process, but if they do not adopt Evie, she would grow up in institutional care. Please pray for them as they travel. And pray for Evie as she gets settled into having a family and bonding with them.

You can follow up on the story on Gillian's blog, Pocket Lint.


An art exhibit in Toronto has my attention. How fun! They have been posting images of it on Daily Dose of Imagery for a couple of days now.

June 8, 2009

Swim party yesterday!

Swim party yesterday for our kids' choir rap up for the year.

Thank you for singing in the choir! Hope to see you next time!

Parents if you want the pictures, click on 'view all images' and copy them onto your computer. =)

June 5, 2009

Mission trip to Africa!

I want to share with you a new blog! It is a temporary blog, written by a youth team from our church as they are in Mozambique Africa on a mission trip! Six young people, 2 high school students and 4 college students, who have been training and preparing for this for a year. We have a missionary couple (family) from our church who is there housing, feeding and guiding them. I wish they had a blog. I will have to put that in their ear.

The youth (or joven in Portugese) are there to teach about God's plan for purity. They are teaching the True Love Waits curriculum and also sharing personal testimonies of what God has done and is teaching them in their own lives. And they are also doing some sports evangelism with soccer games with the Mozambique kids and showing the Jesus video in several small villages there. A lot of commitments to purity as well as salvations have happened in their short time there.

Please be in prayer for the time they have left there and see what a great time they are having here: Jovens in Mozambique.

Up please

Our 25th wedding anniversary was this past Monday. We decided to go to a movie and dinner and shipped off the kids to various places. After a little haggling over what to see, we decided on Up. All I can say is GO. It is such a cute movie, so different than what I expected. The first third or fourth of the movie is a very poignant look at a couple as they go through life together. Bring tissues, the story is played out quickly but so well done that you feel as if it could have been partly your story. It felt like that to me anyway. The first part lays a foundation for the story. Children may not 'get it' and be bored, but just tell them to wait and watch.

**spoiler**The rest of the movie is the adventure one spouse goes on, continuing his journey after his wife is gone. He goes on a very unexpected adventure, full of surprises that will have you laughing your heads off or rolling your eyes. But none of it is very predictable. I always appreciate a movie that is not full of predictable moments.

The end is uplifting (not meant to be a pun, but that is funny) and positive too. It's not goofy or predictable either.

It's just a really good, original story (a well organized and put together story), full of originality and character building moments.