Be Filled with JOY

I think many people are quite curious about me in this season of grief and remembering wrapped up with Christmas.

Curious as to my state of mind.

Wondering how I am doing.

I think I may ‘appear’ to be too happy for some people in my life.

But I am here to tell you I am not happy about many things…and my life has nothing to do with happiness right now.

For me, joy comes with or without happiness.

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It hits me no matter my daily circumstance or season.

Joy is not from me, but a gift from God.

Gratitude, love, joy!

Flooding me, pouring out, flowing in.

It is nothing I am ‘doing’.

I am just ‘being’.

Being present with the people God has surrounded me with.

Allowing my sadness to hit me.

It is one year, less one day, since my mom’s death.

One more ‘first’ to live without mom.

In my sadness, I know JOY will be coming.

The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)

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Leaning into Him through my struggles.

Thanking Him for ALL I am grateful for.

Watching JOY fill this season.

Merry ‘joy-filled’ Christmas to you and yours.

Be the Power of a Penny

This blog post was started in the summertime as I was playing a “healthy living” game with my friend Penny and an old neighbour and her friend T.  I had to add to the post after our ski vacation a few days ago… and finally introduce you to one wonderful human being and friend.  Formally know on my blog as Princess P and now just Penny.

Here is a photo of the people playing our summertime game: My teammate Penny and I on the right and our wonderful opponents on the left. 20140704-135917-50357437.jpg

Here are my boys sharing some after dinner books at Auntie Penny’s house. My boys cherish the wonderful books she had for her own children.  We love going over to their house for dinner!

20140704-135916-50356828.jpgPenny made a special point to celebrate our middle guy’s fifth birthday before she went on an European summer holiday. He was thrilled with the very special transformer and book she bought him.

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And now while they were working hard to renovate their bathrooms and get ready for their own three wonderful children’s arrival, Penny and Bob came to spend a few wonderful hours with our family on the ski hill.

Penny knew my mom always made PJ’s for my boys at Christmastime and look what she got the boys:

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One of the other gifts that my mom has always given me over the years is a knitted scarf and look what I pulled out of the Christmas bag from Penny:

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A very lovely, hand-loving-made scarf!

The depth of gratitude I feel is incredible.

When you lose someone important in your life, there is a HUGE hole.

Forever.

The greater the love, the deeper the hole.

But others will lean in and close the gap.

The hole won’t pull you in and down.

People are holding me up right now in prayer and physical presence and “knowing”.

Penny has brought us such joy through these beautiful, thoughtful, handmade gifts.

These were very important to our family.

Healing through fabric.

My mom is gone, but never forgotten.

She lives on through all of us who “knew” her.

Generous.

Thoughtful.

Caring.

Kind.

Mom.

And now the power of a Penny!

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Be Snowball, Bumps & Jumps and Magic Carpet Rider

Merry Christmas from our boys:

Three Year Old Magic Carpet Rider

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Seven Year Old Bumps & Jumps

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Five Year Old Snowball

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Laughter in the midst of tears.

Winter amidst the desert.

Rowing my boat of grief.

Riding my skis down the slopes.

Taking it ALL in.

Living it now!

Deal with it now rather than later.

I ain’t no sweeping it under the carpet kind of girl.

But I do love riding the magic carpet too!

God is gracious to give me these three amazing boys.

I love you Magic Carpet Rider, Bumps & Jumps and Snowball.

Be Going on a Ski Vacation

We had the great privilege to spend three days and two nights up at a ski resort.  Ski in/ski out, eat in/eat out, ride up/swoosh down, sunshine/snow.  It truly was a vacation for all of us, including Papa.

A break from routine.

A diversion from the upcoming one year anniversary of mom leaving us for heaven.

A snow-filled, sun-filled, winter-activity weekend.

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Our great friends, Baron Bob and Princess P came and visited us for the evening.  The boys went tubing with them for the first time and even go to try the mini-snowmobiles (one day later, once the worker could get them started!)

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Nordic skiing down the Bridal Path where we saw snowmobiles, horse-drawn carriages and a few other skiers. IMG_7661[1]

Playing some hockey on the pond with Papa.  Everyone got into the action this year!

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Tubing… three year old OC looked a little small for the tube, but he was allowed.

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The boys were very, very excited to go on the mini-snowmobiles.  JC ran into a snow fence, CC managed to zip around him and come back around the loop.

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It was a wonderful pre-Christmas vacation!

May the Lord hold you close this Christmas where ever you are physically and within yourself.

What a wonderful season it is to celebrate Jesus’s birthday.  

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Be Remembering One Year Ago

It wasn’t lost on any of us that we drove through Vtown at the exact hour one year to the day when mom moved from the hospital to hospice house. This was another one of those coincidences, or was it?

CC remembered that Nana was riding with me in a green ambulance.

Sexy Neck reminded us that when arrived at hospice house and Mom wheeled out the back of the ambulance, she waved at Papa and the boys waiting at the front entrance.

I remembered that as Mama was wheeled out of the ambulance, snow was falling onto her beautiful face.  It was a magical moment for mom and I as we looked at each other.

I remember the anticipation of my cousin’s arrival from Spain and PG as well as my sister and family arriving from a holiday in Australia.

I remember being so happy because mom really wanted to go to hospice.

On this day as the snow fell down on my face and the clouds held me close and brought me comfort.  IMG_7565[1]

I felt great gratitude for what unfolded one year ago.  It was not an easy journey in the hospital, but hospice house helped us send mom into eternity without pain and with all of us being able to surround her.

Be a “Messy” Christian

Messy.

Yup, that describes me.

I ain’t no one hour sitcom that figures it all out.

I don’t live in a magazine showhome.

Nope, not me.

Today, I bawled my eyes out twice talking to my friend in Germany and my cousin in PG.

Yup, crocodile tears rolling down my face.

Yup, that’s me.

I am the kind of girl that sometimes doesn’t even comb her hair.

And sometimes I even wear the same clothes TWO DAYS IN A ROW!

Had to admit it.

I don’t set aside specific “quiet” time to pray.

Not a lot of quiet time to be had.

This is what my morning quiet time looks like:

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(Insert three wee boys at the end of the table running around, yelling eating breakfast.)

I do talk with our God throughout my day.

Please Lord, help me keep these boys alive!

I don’t attend church every weekend.

But I do worship and show gratitude to our Lord every day.

No, I am definitely not a nice and tidy Christian attending church every weekend, tithing my ten percent with my perfect “everything is just fine and dandy” smile on my face.

I am one “messy” believer in the Maker of the Universe, glory that God came for the imperfect, the ones that don’t have it all together, messy people like me!

Beautiful to know that God came as a baby, Jesus, and that we get to celebrate his birth next week!

And he was born in a stable.

Now if that ain’t messy, I don’t know what is!

Glory for imperfection.

Tears.

Love.

Life.

Friendship.

Fellowship.

Togetherness.

Celebrating.

My messy life.

With a beautiful birth.

Jesus.

Be Looking for Light

As we embark on the longest day of the year in this hemisphere, I seek light.

Lighting our nightly advent candles.

Turning on lights as soon as the sun sits on the horizon.

Looking into people’s eyes for light as I walk by them.

Watching children’s light-filled ways.

Tonight, we went on an evening adventure seeking Christmas lights.

Pajama clad boys.

Ice cream in hand.

Seeking light.

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And look what this little light made at school today:

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And this afternoon, I had a teary talk with my “light-filled” cousin who walked with us last Christmas.

Seeking light.

Looking hard.

Learning in.

Reaching out.

Walking.

One.

Breathe.

At.

A.

Time.

Just being.

Not really enough.