May 2011


Going on a bear hunt.

Yes, this is what my three oldest men are doing this weekend. Bear hunting in northern Saskatchewan. I hope they remembered to pack the mosquito spray.

The sons were already in the vehicle when I opened the front door to wave goodbye. Lyndon was just about to get in when he saw me. I know he told the boys to go and hug their mother, because they jumped out and ran up to say goodbye to me. Hugs, kisses on stubbly cheeks, admonishments of have fun and be careful.

Hmmm, I hadn’t thought about being careful, said one as they walked back to the vehicle. Ya I know, like we wouldn’t be, said the other. Funny boys; they knew I could still hear them.

Oh well, it is what moms do. I fear I will be doing it more and more over the next few years. Saying goodbye, I mean, and cautioning safety.

The years have shaped me. Enough tragedy and heartache along the way has taught me the certainty of uncertainty. Life really is as fragile as I had always heard but didn’t really believe when I was younger. Stuff happens.

So, have fun this weekend boys. Embrace the adventure. Experience it all. Drain every last drop of fun out of your time with your dad. And … be careful.

………. screech! (This is the brakes being applied to a well-planned, long-looked-forward-to weekend.)

About an hour after they left and shortly after I’d written the above — a phone call. The transmission in our little SUV was done. They were in Moose Jaw. Could I come get them? Hunting trip over. Oh, the sadness that dripped through the phone.

There you have it, folks. Life in a nutshell.

The certainty of uncertainty. It’ll kick you in the butt every time!

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I can’t believe he is sixteen.

work boots from his first job at the mustard plant

the carpenter ... waiting for a ride to work

but he can still be a kid at times!

love this boy!

He loves playing guitar, working with his hands, adventure, friends. He gives bone-crushing hugs. He is taller than his dad now, but I can still feel the armful of tiny babe that made me a momĀ  sixteen years ago.

Happy birthday, Tyson!

This is my word for today. I am enjoying an unhurried Monday. I want to enjoy an unhurried life. Not uncaring or uninvolved or unmotivated. Not lazy or purposeless. But unhurried in the most beautiful and peaceful sense of the word.

Not multitasking. Not frantic or frenzied, not over-achieving, not discouraged at the lack or the unfinished. But careful, satisfied, joyful. Unhurried.

Blessings on your week. May it be as unhurried as possible.

The Lord bless thee and keep thee; The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, And be gracious unto thee, And be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up His countanance upon thee, And give thee peace, and give thee peace.

(the Benediction from my grandmother’s copy of Great Songs of The Church, 1935)

I walked into the living room last weekend and saw my husband’s Bible on the coffee table with his wedding ring zipped inside the front pocket, and I had to stop for a second and take a breath. Lyndon’s promise safely stored in His promise.

Because Lyndon and I, truthfully, had a pretty rocky start. Those first five years … I would never want to do them over again. It was just, well, tough. There were many times I wondered if we would stay together, and I know there were times he wondered the same thing.

I’ve tried to think over the years of what saved us. There were many things, many steps, that contributed. But the main thing, the best and most important thing, is represented by the picture of his ring tucked into his Bible.

What saved our marriage, most of all, was my husband’s determination to do the right thing. He had made a promise before God, and he was going to stand by it. The journey was not always easy, but oh, so worthwhile. I see the man my husband is today, and I know it is the struggle that has shaped him. He is godly in the way you get to be when you have fought and overcome. His faith is real, based on experience. He doesn’t ever fake it.

Back then, though, life was scary. Financial pressure, babies, work challenges. I see where we are now and I think, wow. Only Jesus. We are far from perfect people and our marriage is not perfect either. But it is saved. Saved by Grace.

I see around me many beautiful young marriages. You are doing a better job of it than we did. But I’m pretty sure there are some who are struggling as Lyndon and I struggled. If you are one of those, know that I am praying for you!

I am at the stage in my life where my friend’s kids are starting to get married. And before long, mine will too. I hurt for marriages today. I hurt for the challenges that these babes must face. When I remember the challenges that were so much a part of my early marriage, I am fearful. When I read the statistics and see the things happening around me, I am afraid.

But my Big God can handle that. He is greater than my fear, and his promises are forever. So I pray. That I will continue to grow in my marriage. That others who struggle will reach out and seek help. That my sons will become great husbands of wonderful women, and that the struggles I know they will face will be bathed in God’s grace.

And to a son I would say, above all, keep your promise safe. Safe in the One who saves.

Its spring and I live in a rural farming community. All around me the talk is of seeding and the weather forecast and meals-to-the-field. Such a busy time for farm women. I listen and commiserate and comment, but I know that I don’t really understand. Its not my world.

I always feel a little lost this time of year in this place. For me, the routine continues. Husband away at work and home on weekends, children, learning times, cleaning times, friend times …

And what do I know of grain and fertilizer and yields?

I feel the pull of it, though. Spring does that to my soul. The sun warms, the grass greens, the world wakes up. I wake up too, after the long winter. I feel myself uncurling, stretching, seeking the sun.

In the spring it is all new.

This afternoon I raked last year’s leaves into piles. My middle son and I raked and bagged and cleaned away the debris of the past. The garbage that had been hidden under snow all winter was picked up and thrown away. The broken branches of winter’s harsh winds are ready for the bonfire. The yard is waiting. Ready for a new year of picnics and hotdog roasts and tree swings. For friends.

Waiting. Ready.

I get it, I think. The farmer thing. The spring thing. The new thing.

It is the possibility of it all.

Things I love about my mom:

1. I love how my mom’s answer to everything is Tylenol. Whether I say I have a headache, or I cut off my little finger slicing apples, or I lost my car keys … her question back at me is did you take a Tylenol?

2. I love how my mom loves her friends. She has more friends, of all ages, than anyone I know. And she keeps up with them. She phones them and remembers things about them and, generally, does all the things friends are supposed to do. People just naturally love her because she is so good at loving them.

3. I love how my mom enjoys life. Whether she is visiting or shopping or cooking for a mission crew in Mexico, she has fun doing it. She has a great laugh and I love hearing it.

4. I love how my mom has continued to grow as a person over the years. She keeps working and loving and caring for others. She takes on new challenges. I think that is why she is one of the youngest, most energetic and life-loving people I know.

5. I love how my mom embraces the things (and people) she loves. She throws herself into her passions. She doesn’t just plant flowers in her backyard … she creates show-stopping beauty. She doesn’t just send a note to an older uncle … she express mails lefse to him. She doesn’t just meet friends for coffee … she bakes their favourite brownies and takes them along!

This is just a sample of the awesomeness that is Shirley! Thanks, Mom, for the example you are to me and to so many others.

I didn’t think of it this way until a friend named it such. The little toy dog that sits on a shelf in my bathroom, I mean. But it is. A touchstone.

It belonged to my six-year-old foster daughter. It was part of one of those sets of tiny toys that come in their own carrying case that doubles as a little house. You know what I mean. This was a dog set, and we gave it to her for her sixth birthday. There was a mama dog and lots of babies and the case opened up into a little dog house with beds and dog toys and such. Anyway, I found this little toy baby dog under her bed after she left.

I found it in the evening of the day she left. Still raw and sad and tired from crying, I was cleaning her room a bit and found the puppy, along with a stash of toys and things she had “borrowed” from the boys’ rooms. Anyway, the puppy was there under her bed … battered a bit, missing one eye and a fair bit of its brown fur.

I set wee puppy on a shelf in my bathroom. A physical reminder of her and the others with whom we spent a little time. When I see it I think of her and of them, wonder about them, love them in my heart, and whisper a prayer for them.

Ah, baby girl and others. God keep you safe.

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