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A Sig Blessing

Today I am counting my blessings because I am:

The daughter of a wonderful, generous mother who taught me more than she will ever know.

The wife of a patient, understanding man who has encouraged and loved me unconditionally for 33+ years.

The daughter-in-law of a supportive and loving mother-in-law who saw beyond my faults.

The mother of four amazing children of whom I am incredibly proud. I am astounded that God gave them to us to raise.

The mother-in-law of a son-in-law who gives us much joy by the way he loves our daughter.

The informally adopted mother of others who have, in some way, attached themselves to my heart.

While visiting my 90 year old mother-in-law today I spotted the following in one of her books:

No other success in life – not being President, or being wealthy, or going to college or writing a book, or anything else — come up to the success of the man or woman who can feel that they have done their duty and that their children and grandchildren rise up and call them blessed.   Theodore Roosevelt, 1917

Happy Mothers Day to all those who I call Mom and those who call me Mom.

Mother and Daughter

My Mom-in-love.

 

 

 

 

– A Sig Blessing

I just found these treasures on my desk. They are in my handwriting but I do not recall how they came to me:

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads”  H.D. Thoreau

“Having someone to love is family.  Having somewhere to go is home. Having both is a blessing.”  Unknown

And also today:

I met a friend of my sister’s for lunch. We had only met once before and I wasn’t sure I would recognize her.  When I walked into the restaurant she came to me immediately and said “You look so much like Agnes”.

Bless you Shelley.  That was the first time in my 55 years that  someone has said that to me.   My sister is one of the most beautiful women in my world.  I’m still smiling.

A Sig Blessing

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard to today’s flight to Edmonton”.

I was so busy getting things stowed and getting comfortable for my flight to Maui that I didn’t notice “Edmonton” until there was a little nervous laughter in the cabin.  I’ve been in Edmonton in November and I would not have been nearly as excited had that been my destination.

The flight attendant had indeed been joking and we were relieved, and maybe even a little more excited.

The trip had been months in dreaming and planning.  My husband and I were going to the Magic Isle for our third visit.  This time we were taking our eldest daughter with us and, if everything worked out, we would be meeting our second eldest daughter at the airport in Maui.  We hadn’t seen in her over 18 months and she was due to come in from the other side of the Pacific just an hour after we landed.  Miraculously, after a journey of 42 hours she and her luggage arrived at the Kahului airport on time.

Later, while we were at dinner I mentioned that I felt weird.  In the excitement of the day I realized I had been holding my breath.  Now I could breathe again.

Truth is – I had been holding my breath a lot in 2011.

For most of the year everyone in my family had been holding our breath as we waited for Mom’s much needed hip replacement surgery.  She was considered high risk and all of us breathed a big sigh of relief when the surgery was booked and even a bigger sigh we heard that she had come through it well.  A huge thank you from all of us went up to God.

There were other breathless moments in 2011. A lot of joy at the two weddings we attended.  I may have even been a little breathless after dancing at one of those occasions.

In June I caught up with some friends from elementary school, one of whom I hadn’t seen in decades.  There was non-stop laughter  as we pooled our memories of growing up together.  We’ve met a few times since and each time I come home looking for my asthma meds.

There was a quick trip to Alberta where we managed to visit people in four different cities in 10 days. Yeah, that left me breathless.

My work has been growing and for about six weeks I ran the department without an assistant. That left me gasping for air.

These are just a few of the examples of why I am naming my 2011 journey “Breathless.”

I am grateful for every day I was given in 2011, for answered prayer, calm in storm, the big and little joys of everyday living and especially for the beaches in Maui where I was able to fully catch my breath.

What name would you give your 2011?

Makena Beach - our favourite of the 10 Maui beaches we visited.

– A Karen Blessing

So.  It’s true.  Housework really is hazardous to your health.  A few years ago I tripped over the vacuum cleaner and broke something in my foot.  And I have just now sprained my ankle while running downstairs to interrupt the washing machine.  We must stop doing these things! I’ve gotten the message!
It does, however, give me time to sit down at the computer.  If any of you have been following the (stalled) blog, I haven’t actually dropped off the face of the earth, I’ve been occupied being the best thing on this planet — a grandma! I highly recommend it, though it requires cooperation from other folks to become one of these.

Our little Lincoln was born June 3rd and weighed 5 lb. 8 oz., just a little guy, but wonderful beyond any words.  He now laughs and shrieks and is totally fantastic.  The word “blessing” has taken on a whole new meaning, as those of you in the Grandma Club already know.  And his mom and dad are doing a great job with him, and loving it.  And him.

So now that I’ve officially returned to Blog-ville, I shall take my ice pack and lie down with a book.  Maybe a Stuart MacLean book, the Vinyl Cafe guy.  ‘Cause laughing is okay with a sprain.

Itty Bitty Lincoln

 

– A Sig Blessing

Last week Karen showed me her new favourite book, “The Inklings of Oxford” by Harry Lee Poe. She beamed at the find – this was a book that she bought NEW, and it was worth it.  One of our best memories of visiting Oxford last year was taking the J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S Lewis walking tour.  I wish I hadn’t been as jet lagged and could have retained more as we zig-zagged to the various sites in Oxford that the Inklings were known to have frequented.  Later in the week we made several visits to their pub, The Eagle and Child.

When Karen handed me the book she said told me to read the first paragraph.

Everyone needs a special place all their own, even if they do not own it. Everyone needs friends who are always  there, even of they are  not there with is. What makes a place special for a person does not  depend upon the place, but upon the person. What makes a person  special is not much the person, but the people who think they are  special: their friends.

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of our trip to Oxford.  Karen has promised to come out of hiding (she’s been quite preoccupied with admiring her new grandbaby) and share some of her memories.  Oxford was a special place for the Inklings and a host of others.

It was a trip of a lifetime for Karen and me. I am blessed by the memory of it.

The Eagle and Child - the Inklings' pub (until the beer ran out during the war)

A Sig Blessing


Karen and I have just had a quick two day visit, our first “face to face” since Sig and Karen’s Big Oxford Adventure of August 2009.  Our two days were spent traveling through various parts of Central Vancouver Island with our husbands and one of her sons concluding this evening in Vancouver. While the guys did things like gliding, Karen and I ate in a restaurant where goats looked down from above. (Karen has a special kinship with goats), spied out touristy-shops (we concluded that there is nothing new under the sun) found the same ginger beer that we’d enjoyed at The Eagle and Child (the pub frequented CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien et al in Oxford) and, best of all, discovered two used book stores.

Our families have good reason to be concerned when Karen and I discover a used book store. We may not always buy, but we have to look.  What we don’t spend in money we do spend in time, crouching in the aisle, spying out interesting titles or specific out of print editions.  We try to look at our watches occasionally, especially since the time several years ago when I missed a flight home because Karen and I had one more bookstore to explore on the way to the airport.

Why are we drawn into used bookstores?

  1. Used bookstores have owners who love books and are usually knowledgeable about the author, title or genre we’re after.  In the very least, they know the lay of the land and will guide us down and around shelving to exactly the right spot without having to refer to a computer.
  2. There’s a certain casual approach to housekeeping that appeals to us.  Perhaps books could be dusted and organized but why would one bother when there’s a perfectly good book that needs to be read behind the counter in the company of a sleepy cat?
  3. Used books have two stories – the one written on the pages and the one on how it came to be in that bookstore.  We have have twice the opportunity to use our imaginations!
  4. Used books tend to be a fraction of the cost and so we can buy more if we find the right titles.

On this particular trip I found three books to add to my bookshelf.  “Early Will I Seek You” is a 40 day journey in the company of Augustine by David Hazard.  I don’t know much about Augustine, but I probably will know more in about 45 days.   Stay tuned.

“A Girl in Winter” by Philip Larkin will be part of my beach reading later this summer.  My third book was something Karen found and convinced me it was necessary.  “Away Went Wolfgang” is a 1954 children’s book about a dog with the same name as the one our children grew up with and still miss. Karen thought this little book might be something I put in a Grandma’s Hope Chest should I ever join her in the ranks of grandparenthood.  Apparently every good grandmother needs good books.

I know Karen purchased a couple of books on this trip but I can’t recall what they were. I do know that she is hot pursuit of CS Lewis’ “The Problem of Pain” and FB Meyer’s “The Present Tenses of the Blessed Life”; neither of which were found on this excursion.  I’m sure I could find them both in an on-line used book bin, but then we’d have to think of new challenges for our used bookstore safaris.  And what would be the fun in that?

A Sig Blessing

Most of us prefer to curse technology when it doesn’t work, but rarely do we bless it or even acknowledge when it does work.  I am guilty of muttering unkind words at my PCwhen it doesn’t respond fast enough, does something unpredictable or can’t read my mind. (I know…my son-in-law reminds me often that I should have gotten a MAC)

Today however, I feel compelled to recognize that my PC is a blessing.  Honest.

Besides being a faithful holder of thoughts and memories, editor of words, organizer of numbers, rehearsal partner for choir, fact checker and researcher, worthy opponent in word games, supplier of youtube entertainment – this week my computer has helped me:

  • See photos of Karen’s brand new grandson just hours after he arrived!  He is tiny, amazing and a miracle! (Karen will be writing about him shortly).
  • Find a friend that I thought I had lost
  • Keep track of my daughter’s adventures through her new blog
  • Be amazed at my other daughters’ tireless blogging and amazing viewership
  • Sync my ipod touch
  • Debrief last Sunday’s concert
  • Contemplate buying a new CD (have decided to wait)
  • Check the weather in Vancouver, Borneo, Edmonton, Calgary, Oxford, Sudbury and Maui. (decided I’d rather be in Maui)
  • Learn about healthy food choices
  • Make better grocery shopping choices
  • Connect with many friends
  • Work from home when I wasn’t feeling well
  • Crop and post a better profile picture (I experienced a remarkably good hair day – see below)
  • Track my blessings

This is just  a partial list.  I will now give my PC the rest of the weekend off – and just in time.  According to my PC’s clock it’s 11:50.

Well done PC, I appreciate you.

– A Sig Blessing

It’s been a few weeks since Mother’s Day and I’ve been savoring the sweetness of the day (and the gifts received) ever since.  I was blessed this year to have three out of four children home.  This was big since one of them usually resides off the continent.  The fourth phoned and sent a lovely card along with a thoughtful gift.  I have also gained a son-in-law within the last two years and so I really had four out of five.  Although the  son-in-law is not mine by birth, he is already deeply attached to my heart because of the way he loves my daughter.  He also fixes my computer when called upon.  He doesn’t charge his usual fee – I just pay him with cheesecake or chocolate chip pancakes.

I was also blessed because my mom-in-law of 31 years joined us for the day.  At 87, it’s pretty wonderful to see her guiding her granddaughter through a knitting project.  Apparently children who have recently graduated with a Masters in Science want to add knitting to their resume. Who knew?

I was a little sad that my Mom and Dad weren’t able to make it. My Mom’s health has been kind of rocky lately and she wasn’t feeling well enough to join us.  I ended up driving out to her place the following week and going to the Mall with her where we enjoyed sushi and shopping.

Back to Mother’s Day at my house.  When the kids were younger and the budget tighter, my gifts would usually include something I could plant in my flower bed.  Gradually things have changed.  Last year on Mother’s Day my husband announced that he thought I should visit the daughter in England that we hadn’t seen in 18 months.  That was an all-star gift and hard to top.

This year that daughter was home.  She presented me with a chunk of yummy soap from Lush in a little pouch that she crafted for me with her new knitting skills.  The older daughter and her husband had walked the length and breadth of Metrotown to find me a rectangular cake plate.  I had lost one a few years ago and the one they gave me was much nicer than the original.  Our youngest son gave me a recent book by Brennan Manning that is patiently waiting for me on my nightstand.

The son who couldn’t make it home wants me to spend a significant amount of money on sushi.  He knows me well.  I will save it for when he comes home and he can guide me through one of those all-you-can-eat menus.

After last year’s gift and how hectic life had been, I thought my husband was going to present me with geraniums, which would have been fine.  I had spotted some bedding plants in the backyard and thought he would bring them in when the gift giving began.  Instead, he sensed my disappointment that my Mom couldn’t make it and gave me my gift before lunch.

I was dumbfounded…in his hands he held an iPod touch.  I couldn’t speak, it was way too much.  Honestly, I was expecting geraniums. One of the daughters said “I think he likes you Mom”.  The mother-in-law said “Well, hug the boy”. Which I did, and added a kiss.

He knew I had mentioned something about organizing my schedules with one gadget and decided he would help by getting me this sweet little toy. Thankfully, the wonderful son-in-law was there and offered to help me set it up and patiently showed me how to use it.  We downloaded all the music from my computer and before I knew it I had another addiction to deal with.

I’ve only downloaded a couple of apps, I bought a snazzy cover and now I can whip out my iPod touch whenever people suggest a meeting.  Most of all, I love walking to the music.  Somehow the “genius” option can organize my 80+ CD’s and put together playlists I wouldn’t have thought of.  This evening I walked through Memorial Park in the rain and listened to Chanticleer‘s version of  “Loch Lommond” and Libera’sAbide with Me” .  My heart was full.  I may have even conducted a few bars.

Just as I approached our house the fanfare that precedes  John Rutter’s All Creatures of our God and King” came on and that’s when I knew I had to record these blessings.

Clearly conspicuously blessed.



– A Sig Blessing

(well, really something to ponder..)

Perhaps it was the lack of sleep but for some reason my soul felt a bit “disquieted” when I got to work this morning and so I picked up the Women’s Devotional Bible that I keep in my office. It (the Bible, not the office) was a gift from my husband’s Aunt Eleanor years ago.  I’ve been reading II Timothy and so I thought I’d pick up where I’d left off.  In between chapters I found this lovely prayer that flies in the face of most contemporary worship bands and services.

Prayer for Reverence

Enable me, O God, to collect and compose my thoughts before an immediate approach to thee in prayer.  May I be careful to have my mind in order when I take upon myself the honor to speak to the sovereign Lord of the universe, remembering that upon the temper of my soul depends, in very great measure, my success.

Thou art infinitely too great to be trifled with, too wise to be imposed on by a mock devotion and dost abhor a sacrifice without a heart.  Help me to entertain an habitual sense of thy perfection, as an admirable help against cold and formal performances.  Save me from engaging in rash and precipitate prayers and from abrupt breaking away to follow business or pleasure, as though I had never prayed. 

Amen.

Susanna Wesley

I can hear you saying Amen from here.

Susanna Wesley has intrigued me for years.  To me she defined successful parenting.  In the middle of heartache and trouble in the household, she found time time to “discourse” with each of her children on a different night of the week,  two of whom changed English church history.  It would appear that prayer was her secret to parenting.

When my kids were young I was often to exhausted to string coherent words together that would form a prayer.  I do remember my most consistent prayer “Dear God, please undo anything that I may have messed up today”.

I believe God heard that prayer too.

A Sig Blessing

This particular Monday morning has not gone smoothly.  I’ve decided not to re-tell the bumpy bits because they’ve already taken too much of my energy.  By the time I got to work the irritation was waning and I could begin to appreciate a beautiful spring morning.  The dogwood tree in the courtyard outside my office is working hard at getting it’s colours out, next to it the cherry tree is showing it how. A bed of tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinths surround them. This will be my view as I make decisions, write and edit today.

On the filing cabinet in my office I have a small, perpetual  “Promises of the Day”  calendar that was given to me by my sister a few years ago.  Today’s promise will be my guide as I make decisions, write and edit today:

Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds and learn to find Him there”. A. W. Tozer

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