Tuesday, 5 February 2019

What I Chose to Leave Behind

Books can represent signposts on my spiritual journey. I recently went over our bookshelves because they overflowed with books. They got to that point on account of the generosity of others who wanted to pass on books that we might like to read. I didn’t want the bookshelves to look so messy so I began a purge. I first asked God to show me which books I no longer needed so that I could bless other people.

There were books that had been significant at a particular stage in my spiritual journey. They had assisted me in attaining emotional and spiritual healing after a devastating event that changed the course of my life on many levels. I knew that certain wounds were no longer open and festering, but had healed over and were now scars. I had recently heard a teaching or read something that said we should be thankful for our scars because they mean we have been healed. I could definitely see that on a physical level because of the scar from my hysterectomy surgery when I had Ovarian Cancer. I thought again how Jesus retained the scars from His crucifixion after His resurrection. Scars were nothing to be ashamed of but rather to be celebrated as having made it!

The outward way that I purposely left behind the books I no longer needed was by donating them to the local thrift store. One of the books was a German textbook that I had from when I took a night course on conversational German before I was married over 35 years ago. I think that book and the releasing of it represented another aspect of me knowing who I am as an individual. I often held on to things, books included, because one day I might need it. God has, through the years, shown me how He provides the things I need and I can trust Him to show me what I can leave behind.

(This was written in response to a prompt for my writers'group to write "about what got left behind on purpose")

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Weighing the Worth of Expenses

I like to have the satisfaction of money well-spent. I like to have something worthwhile to show for the expense so I was not looking forward to spending money to remove a tree. I wasn’t gaining anything except peace of mind. The fir tree stood over 60 feet tall, right between two outbuildings – a shed and a studio. The last windstorm left the tree with a decidedly-curved trunk that was leaning toward the studio. It wouldn’t take much for the top portion of the tree to fall on the studio’s roof should we get another such windstorm.

We have had a similar tree removed in the past year because it was between the studio and our house. We feared it might fall on our roof or our neighbour’s roof so we made the decision to remove it along with the fir tree in our front yard that was dying. That was a big expense because we not only removed two trees, but we also had the roots removed from the front yard so that we could plant a new tree in its place.  We decided to plant a deciduous tree, Freeman Autumn Blaze Maple

It was quite a shock when the front fir tree was removed because our front porch was now visible from the street. We had been used to the privacy that the fir tree provided because of the breadth of its branches. When we first moved in we were able to string Christmas lights on it, but then it grew too tall for us to reach with our ladder. The one side of the tree that had a northern exposure suffered the most and it eventually looked pitiful because there was no new growth and the existing branches were dying.

In a way spending money can be similar to obeying God because we are spending our time. Sometimes we know that we should do something we don’t want to do because it will cost us our time or finances. We like to get something in return for what we have spent or expended. We are to be wise stewards of the resources we have whether financial or spiritual. This world and everything in it is passing away and there will be a new earth along with a new heaven. Although I may still have to spend money begrudgingly on something that does not satisfy, I look forward to when I will inherit that which is without cost, water from the spring of water of life that Jesus will give me.

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.” Isaiah 55:1-3 NIV

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He 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. “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. “He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.” Revelation 21:1-7 NIV

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Photos of Short Hair

To go along with my post "Short Hair - Part Two"

Short curly hair after chemo
Short wavy hair

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Short Hair - Part Two

Hair or the lack thereof is an expression of our individuality. When I was undergoing chemotherapy and my hair began to fall out I found it very traumatic. When I had finished my chemo treatments and the hair began to grow again I longed for it to grow quickly so I would look like me again. My hair grew back curly and then the curls softened into waves when my hair grew longer. I recently discovered pictures of my hair from that time and I had wondered why I had not kept it that length since I liked how it looked.

I knew that I needed a haircut and I had to do something with my hair. I felt as if the long sides were like dog’s ears just hanging there. I would often play with my hair, twisting it while I watched TV. My husband had recently suggested that I get a modern hairstyle when I told him I was considering cutting my hair. I dared to have my hair cut short because it once was this short after I had chemo.

My daughter Joy is a hairstylist and I asked her what she would do with my hair if I was a client that came in to the hair salon. I said that she has the advantage of knowing me and my desire for a low-maintenance hairstyle. Knowing that my hair has a natural wave, Joy decided to razor cut it for a softer look.  At first she left the sides a bit longer so it was more like a wedge haircut and not as drastic a change, but I didn’t like how it looked so she cut them off and blended the sides in with the back. I still had a longer bang that I parted to the side. I decided to wash my hair so that the hair would just fall naturally and to see if I wanted to keep that longer bang or to go for a shorter fringe of bangs. After looking at myself in the mirror from different angles, I decided that I would have the shorter bangs.

I had a sense of sadness when I thought why I knew I could risk cutting my hair so short. As I thought about it I remembered how important it was for me to regain a normal life after having cancer, including having the same hairstyle as before. That was the reason I didn’t keep my hair short. Now I was making a choice to have short hair rather than just coping with hair regrowth.

I feel exposed with my hair so short almost as if I had been hiding behind my same safe hairstyle. My earlobes, cheekbones and neck are now more noticeable.  I don’t feel different inside, but when I walk past a mirror I am surprised at how different I look. It is a drastic change but one that I shall embrace as Part Two in having short hair.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Outdoor Sounds From An Open Window

Hum of a lawnmower
Tweeting of birds
Low sound of tires spinning on pavement;
as time goes on the volume increases.
Dog barking
Road construction
Metal clinking, scraping
Sounds like a giant stapler
Loud humming like a drone
Sirens – Police? Fire?
GO train’s horn blows announcing it is coming to town
Children walking home from school – talking
A man walking a dog stops to talk with someone
 and is warned about another dog on a different street
Rain sounding like persistent dripping as it hits the eaves trough and downspout
Horn beeps as a car is locked
Beeping as a truck backs up

Thursday, 12 March 2015


The topic for this month's writers' group was "Something mysterious". I had the idea of doing an acrostic which would include something I think is a mystery for every letter of the word mysterious.

Movie genre - could be murder mystery
Y & X chromosomes – what determines the combinations?     
Spiritual rebirth – how it happens
Taste preferences – why some people like rock music while others prefer country music
Evolutionary “gaps” – if evolution is true – what about the missing links?
Recollection of memories – why we remember random memories and not others
Interpol – warning on DVD’s about prosecution by Interpol, yet who are they?
Outer space – we haven’t found the end of it, there is still much to discover
U.F.O.s – none on display at museums that I know
Sizing variations – why a size medium is not the same fit in every garment

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Life Lessons

A phrase from a song was going over in my mind “my will to live is for You”. It is from the song You Surround Me by Brian Doerksen on the album You Shine. I was thinking how God does surround me. He gives me the will to live; and not to just live, but live for Him. The words for the song include the Gaelic words and their translation. The English phrase is “my whole will to live is for You, You’ve awakened me to know” the translation of the Gaelic is “You gave meaning and sense to my life; You’ve awakened my heart”. I can’t live “my life” without God. My life can be my physical life or all that transpires in my life.

A few years ago I celebrated my 50th birthday. I did not have any regret or anxiety to have reached such an age. I was thankful to be alive. I have been cancer-free since April 2008. I am a cancer survivor. It does not define me entirely, but it is like a frame in which the rest of what makes me “me” is displayed. I say that it is a frame because I cannot erase the past, nor undo the consequences. Yet cancer does not direct my life.

I cannot explain why God healed me and others have not been healed. I am thankful for God’s mercy, grace and compassion toward me. I was listening to a song about God showing up and I thought, “He did! He healed me!” I started to cry because I realized that I had been afraid that I would die when I was first diagnosed with cancer. It seemed like a death sentence. I even had to battle fear of dying when I went for the operation. I had such a sense of gratefulness to God for preserving my life and healing me from ovarian cancer.

I was seeking the Lord as to what my response was to be concerning a woman from our church who was on life support. I was to look to the Lord; keep my eyes on Jesus. Just like the Israelites had to look at the bronze snake on the pole. I was not to look at anyone else as a sign of God’s plan or faithfulness to me personally. I was to continue trusting God to restore me and strengthen me. She was in God’s hands. I was in God’s hands. My life does not need to impact hundreds. I only need to be faithful to God and obedient to Him. The word God gave to me is “Follow Me.” The story about Peter asking Jesus about John had come to mind. I sensed God saying to me about that woman dying – “What is that to you? “You must follow Me.”

I was again feeling burdened to do something big for God or to have “great impact on others”. A former co-host on 100 Huntley Street , was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. I was feeling guilty or condemned that God had healed me and what did I have to show for it? As I read an update I heard God say to me in my spirit, “Do you trust Me? I am in control”. My eyes were opened to see that I am faithful to use the gifts, talents and abilities God has given me. God does not require of me to do more or to be something that I am not. It is by God’s grace and mercy that I have been spared. I need to continue to follow Jesus, no matter what happens to anyone else who is, or seems to be, more gifted than me. God is sovereign and He has a plan for each of us individually including the fact that these women were not healed in this life. I can still thank God that He healed me, while thanking Him that these women are now with Him. It is not pride or arrogance. I have never felt that I deserved to live or that I was more worthy or special. I am blown away by the intervention of God. I believed that He would heal me and He did.

Recently I shared about my health tests and how I struggled with already having my quota of miracles. It isn’t that I consciously thought that, but God exposed that lie.  One morning words from a song came to mind and I was singing them – “choose to be a blessing for life”. It is from the song “The Blessing” by Troy Denning. I think that this is part of my life’s passion – that I would be a blessing for life. My heart belongs to Jesus. I will speak the words of life. I want to leave behind a legacy of blessing for life. I see now through this episode of unsure health issues that I want to choose to be a blessing for life. I choose life. I don’t want to die. I want to live. It is not selfish or self-seeking to want to live and not die. I desire to continue to be a blessing to others. I am grateful to God for the way He intervenes in my life.

[I wrote the above post in response to the Writers' Nest monthly topic. God had impressed upon me these "Life Lessons", which I have gleaned from my journals kept over the past seven years.]
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