March 2008

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness. I will be going to another funeral in Weyburn this week. Remember the dancing couple that I helped move into their new condo a few weeks ago? She’s gone. She slipped away this morning.

Vi was one of those busy ladies that was always doing good. She was a tiny woman, but full of energy. In the old days, she was a farmer’s wife. The kind that gardened and canned and baked, as she raised her four girls. When she and her husband moved to town, she still gardened and canned and baked, as she did “good works” in her community. She was an amazing lady. She truly loved her Saviour and spent her time serving Him.

As a little girl, I remember seeing her at church. She was just one of the older women that made up my little world. When I moved back to Weyburn as a young mom, she became a friend and an example. I remember many things about her: taking the kids to her house at Hallowe’en for a homemade chocolate, getting apples from her in the fall, visiting with her at church, receiving many plants from her to put in my flower bed (including a prize-winning fern– she was always winning ribbons at the fair), sharing a meal at her table, sitting beside her at potluck… One time, she came to me to ask me to stop bringing plastic bugs to church for my kids to play with. She was so apologetic as she talked to me. Apparently a lady was threatening to quit coming to church if I continued to let my kids play with snakes and bugs and lizards during the sermon. Even though it made her uncomfortable, Vi waded in there to do the right thing by talking to me about it.

Until she got sick, Vi was a blur of activity. It was hard to see her so frail lately. My heart is breaking for Bill. They were one of those couples that you cannot imagine separated. How will he dance alone?

I am up early this morning. The house is quiet. I can hear the birds singing outside. I have hamburger cooking on the stove, and fresh coffee brewing on the kitchen counter. The family is still asleep. Ahhhh.

I used to be a morning person. I used to love getting up early, having a cup of coffee, maybe going out for breakfast somewhere. That all changed when I had kids. I am no longer a morning person, at least I haven’t been one for many years. This morning I feel like a morning person again.

Yesterday, Lyndon went to Regina in our old chev truck, and drove home in our “new” Dodge Cummins Turbo Diesel 4X4. He is so excited about it. Personally, I don’t get that excited about vehicles. But it is fun to watch him. Words like torque (sp?) and flywheel have been a major part of our conversation since yesterday afternoon. I know it is killing him that he has to leave The Dodge here and take the wimpy car back to Weyburn this week. (Whenever you see the words “The Dodge” you should hear them pronounced in your mind in an echoing, deep, biblical kind of a voice.)

We were invited out for supper last night, so I had my first driving lesson. I do know how to drive, mind you. But this was my Dodge driving lesson. We took the back road so I could practice on gravel. I practiced shifting up and shifting down. Lyndon said that when I get really good (like him) I will be able to shift without using the clutch. I tried to keep the revs above 1200, and shift when they got to 2000. “Wow,” I said to Lyndon. “This thing really has a lot of torque.”

Lyndon just got up and came in to say good morning. “Did you know we have a Dodge Cummins Turbo Diesel in our driveway?” he asked, before he went downstairs for a shower. I’m really happy for him.

This afternoon we are expecting Lyndon’s cousin Kent and a friend for lunch. (The reason for the hamburger cooking on the stove.) I think Kent is going to help Lyndon finish repairing the front deck. It will be nice to step out the front door without fear of crashing through the rotten decking.

Well, I need to go and start getting myselft ready for church. Lyndon just came back upstairs. “Janelle, did you know there’s still a Dodge Cummins Turbo Diesel in our driveway?” Smile, and nod… smile, and nod.

This past weekend was Easter. Our family spent Easter Friday in the car, driving to Sherwood Park, and Easter Sunday in the car again, driving home from Sherwood Park. The reason was a good one– we went to see my niece be baptized.  She is the first of my parents’ grandchildren to make a personal faith decision in this way. I was struck by the appropriateness of being baptized at Easter… the double symbolism of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It was a lovely experience.

When we arrived home, Colton was faced with his own little tragedy– his Siamese Fighting fish was dead. We have had many pets over the year, which means we have had a lot of pet deaths, and it is always hard on the boys, especially on Colton. This time, he chose to take care of the remains himself. He scooped out the little guy and burried him in the ivy plant pot in the living room. He made a little R.I.P. sign to put on the side of the pot. He cried. He asked why God didn’t protect his fish better? We discussed again the question of whether animals go to heaven when they die. (Colton believes they do. His younger brother says they just turn to dirt. His older brother says, but God tells us He even knows when a sparrow falls. I tell him I don’t know, but that I do know that God loves him so much that He will take care of his pets when they pass on.)

Yesterday was moving day for the remaining fish. Colton had been waiting until we could make a trip to the city so that he could buy a filter system for his aquarium. Yesterday, everything was set up and ready to go, and the remaining fish were moved from their squishy little tank into the larger aquarium. Colton has spent hours watching them in their new home. He says they look happier.

Yesterday, while we were driving to Moose Jaw,  we heard a segment on CBC radio on this topic. A woman has written a book about it, and has a website about it (google we are the new radicals if you are interested). Lyndon and I were interested in listening to the interview after we heard the into, suggesting it would be about midlifers who are interested in taking their lives in a totally different direction. The interview itself was somewhat disappointing, but the concept intrigues me.

As I understand it, there is a trend of “new” radicalism, primarily among baby-boomers. Tired of just making money, some in this category are looking to inject more meaning into their lives, and are reinventing themselves in socially-conscious ways. (ie. the doctor who leaves his or her practice to work for Doctors Without Borders). This new radicalism is different from the “old” radicalism of the sixties in that new radicals are following the “I can make a difference” philosophy as opposed to “Let’s change the world”.

Something I found interesting in the radio interview was that there was no mention of anything spiritual. I am a mid-lifer and I am feeling the urge to make some radical changes.  Yet for me, these stirrings are deeply spiritual. I am tired of church. (Did I say that out loud?) I am. I’m tired of doing church, maintaining church, defending church, and watching people leave church. I want to live in the Kingdom. I want my children to catch the passion of service, of doing Kingdom work. Do I know what that looks like? No, not really. But I know it is different than what/how I am living now.

When I was younger, I viewed life as an adventure. I wanted to “drink deeply”. When I started homeschooling, my desire was for that to be an adventure in learning with my children. In post modern terms, I wanted us to “experience” living and learning together. Lyndon and I desired a simple life, free of as much materialism and unnecessary “stuff” as possible.

Truthfully, where we find ourselves now is not where we desire to be. We are going to change that somehow. Missional, relational, meaningful… these are the kinds of things we are looking for. I think God desires more for us and from us.

So, we are on a journey. We don’t know where it will take us. Hey, it’s an adventure!

Last week I was so blessed to spend time at the Mineral Springs in Watrous. But it wasn’t the mineral water that left me renewed, it was the experience of being part of a Come before Winter workshop.

I can hardly find the words to express what this past week has meant to me. I am changed. From the time I arrived on Monday afternoon until I left on Friday, I felt the peace of being in a blessed place.

The women from Texas who came to host the renewal were amazing, as were the women who attended. Truly, it was a sisterhood that I have not experienced before. The study of the book of Philipians yielded unique insights for each woman, as we all spent time digging into the Word. God is so good!

As always, my question after any kind of workshop is: What difference will this make in my life? I am not the same person who left last Monday morning. I am so convicted of my need to dwell in the perfect peace of knowing God, to trust Him with my life, my children, my future. As Lyndon and I struggle to make sense of what God has planned for our lives, I rest in the knowledge that He is in charge and I do not need to worry! I pray that as God opens doors, we will walk through them with confidence.

Please pray for us as we seek those open doors. We are committed to going where God leads us. My only criteria are that we find a ministry that we feel is blessed by God, and that we find a place (people) where our children will be cared about and nurtured to grow in the passion of serving the Lord. That sounds preachy, but I don’t know how to say it any other way.

As I look to the future, I realize I am not yet allowing myself to accept what will be lost by moving on. I can’t go there yet. I know I will grieve these losses that I can’t even bring myself to name yet! I am such a coward!

Please pray for us.

Today, as we were driving into town, Tyson commented on the bleakness of the prairie landscape. Everything looks lifeless. Colton, in his insightful way, reminded us that, “If you look deeper, it is beautiful. There is still life out there, even if it looks dead.” Atta boy!

Once again, I am experiencing that “my goodness, it is good to be home” feeling. So much has happened. Where do I begin?

While I was away, two messages were delivered to us at the renewal. The first was that Roger Peterson had passed away. This man– the father of my friend, the father-in-law of my friend, the friend of my dad– has left us. The other message was that our dear friend Carol Straker has been diagnosed with stage four cancer. My God. My prayers are with both of these families.

So, when I arrived home from the renewal, the house was empty. Mom and Dad had already left for Weyburn, for Roger’s funeral (which had been scheduled for Saturday afternoon). I spent a quiet evening by myself in the spotlessly clean house that my mother had left for me. Thanks so much, Mom. Saturday morning I rode to Weyburn with some friends, and was so glad to see Lyndon and the boys. We went for lunch together at McDonalds, and Lyndon and I had a chance to visit and catch up a little.

Roger’s funeral was a beautiful experience. From the time the family walked in to the background music of Roger and Helen singing together, to the eulogy by Dad, to the slide show of family pictures, it was a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man. We saw so many people that we didn’t have enough time to visit with. Isn’t that always the way it goes? Although we didn’t go out to the graveside, I love knowing that Lowell set off fireworks at the end of the service! I also will treasure the memory of Lowell sharing how Colton had offered him his condolences. My kids love Lowell so much.

I stayed in Weyburn Saturday night to be able to spend a bit more time with Lyndon. We heard an amazing lesson on Sunday morning by Daryl Buchanon, who is a Bible teacher at Western Christian College. He spoke on the woman who annointed Jesus with expensive perfume. Wonderful. SO where I am at in my life and thinking right now. Lyndon and I took the boys back to McDonalds for lunch so that we could have a little more time to visit. Then we caught up to Mom and Dad, said goodbye to Lyndon, and headed for home.

Today has been one of those “getting back into routine” days. Mom and Dad left this morning, I put in a load of laundry, and the boys got out the school books. They also spent a lot of time playing outside. I had a nap this afternoon. I am feeling weary, but in a good way. The boys are in the kitchen eating the chocolate pudding cake that Tyson made, and listening to The Vinyl Cafe on cd.

I will have to write about the renewal next time. It was wonderful, amazing, challenging, beautiful, changing…

Well, I am off to Watrous this morning for the Ladies’ Renewal. It is very strange to be going away by myself for five days. Mom and Dad arrived last night. I am up early this morning, partly because I still have to pack and do a few things, and partly because I can’t sleep. I hope Carter doesn’t give my parents too hard of a time, that the boys don’t fight, that they get their school work done without nagging, that they don’t get too muddy outside… I don’t leave them very often, can you tell! I’m looking forward to the renewal, but the preparation for leaving is always the most difficult. Once I get in the vehicle I’ll be okay.

Mom and Dad have some fun things planned. They are going to take the boys on an overnight trip to Regina and stay at the Travelodge where the boys can waterslide and swim. They will have a great time. I think they plan on going by Weyburn on their way home, to visit friends and relativesw, and to check out my aunt’s new puppies.

So, I am off in a few hours. Probably won’t be posting again until the weekend. Have a great week.

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