Bubble Wrap

Pro 18:10 The name of Jehovah is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. 

Thursday evening I was sitting in the church’s balcony enjoying a concert by The City Harmonic when my cellphone vibrated. It was my eldest son calling to tell me that he had just been in a car accident. (This kid can’t catch a break!) He was driving home from work, came around a blind corner and ran over a boulder that was lying in the middle of the road. (FYI – a boulder is defined as a rock over 10 inches in diameter.) Well, this particular hunk of rock was big enough to take out the transmission, fluid lines and oil pan. And he had only bought the car a month ago!

He told me that he was not injured, just badly shaken up and angry. I spent the remainder of the concert close to tears – both because his life just seems to be one crisis after another and because I was rejoicing that God had protected my son from harm.

I don’t know about you, but as a mother of two boys, there have been sooooo many times where I wished that I could have wrapped my boys up in thick layers of bubble wrap before I sent them out of the house! And that feeling hasn’t changed even though they are both men now!

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My youngest son, whom I nicknamed “Dennis the Menace” was constantly finding new ways to turn my hair prematurely grey. One time when we were ice fishing, he and his brother were exploring a small island in the middle of the lake when he slipped on the rounded, icy edge of a cliff ( I could hear the “swish-zing” of the snowsuit along the ice). I watched, as if in slow motion, while his little body dropped down towards the jumble of boulders at the bottom. Blessedly, he hit the branch of a young pine which basically stopped his rapid descent. He escaped serious injury and only ended up with a bloody nose, a great goose egg on his head, and a slight concussion.

When “Dennis” was a teenager, he tripped and fell through a glass door impaling his upper arms. That little dance with danger led to over 80 stitches! Had he not gotten his arms up to protect himself as he fell, he would have impaled his chest and neck!

My oldest son is a carpenter. He has had “close encounters” with an air nailer on at least 3 occasions – once through his foot, another through his knee and yet another through his lip (don’t ask me how he managed that one!!)

These are only a few examples of the hair raising (and greying) “adventures” that my sons have put me through.

So you will understand when I tell you that I absolutely believe in praying for God’s protection upon my loved ones.

God has wrapped me and my loved ones in His own special brand of bubble wrap on more occasions than I can remember.

I always prayer for protection before we go on any road trip. One day my sister was driving us in the city. I bowed my head to pray and she asked “are we taking someone else with us?” and I replied, “Yes, I never leave home without Him.”

There have been so many times when loved ones have said to me “you won’t believe what almost happened to me” or “wow – someone up there must be watching over me because …”. There has even been a few times when I have heard them say that there was NO POSSIBLE WAY that they could have escaped. I always tell them that I have asked God to watch over them, protect them and keep them safe. Yes, sometimes there have been injuries, but they have been minor in comparison to what could have happened.

I know, that I know, that I know that God enfolds us in His hands of protection and sends His ministering angels to stand guard over us.

Luk 4:10 For it is written, “He shall give His angels charge over You, to keep You;

I give God eternal thanks, praise and glory for wrapping me and my loved ones in His very special brand of bubble wrap.

2Ti 1:12 … For I have knowledge of him in whom I have faith, and I am certain that he is able to keep that which I have given into his care till that day. (BBE)

Blessings

(Photo credit : Mary Victrix)

 

Stayin’ Alive at 55!

Johnny 5 is alive!” (Short Circuit)

I am having a “celebrate me” day today. That may sound arrogant and self-serving, but I think that even my Heavenly Father, my Lord Jesus, and the angels are celebrating along with me. You see, they know what I have been through and the fact that I have been able to reach this small hallmark of a day is an accomplishment and a cause for celebration.

My life could have ended in the womb before it had even really begun. My Mom was a young, unwed, pregnant teen at a time when that was NOT acceptable. So thanks Mom for deciding to choose me over society’s viewpoint and foregoing a visit to a back room abortionist.

As a young girl, I escaped an attempted abduction/assault by a strange young man and by the grace of God, avoided becoming another rape or missing person statistic.

I have overcome at least three times in my life when anxiety, depression and despair brought me to the brink of suicide.

I have survived bladder cancer.

Although life was really rough at times (and still has its challenges), I am glad that I am still here.

I get to be a great wife to a wonderful man.

I am able to be a blessing to my Mom.

I am around to be the ear to bend and the shoulder to cry on when my oldest son needs a somewhat “sane” sounding board when he is going through yet another crisis.

I get to cuddle my beautiful granddaughters and hopefully pass on to them an inheritance of faith in Jesus Christ.

I can pray for my loved ones; especially those who are not yet saved.

I can offer a hug of comfort to a hurting friend.

I am able to share the love of God with others.

And I can share what I have learned about the truth of the Word of God.

Doing good holds the power to transform us on the inside, and then ripple out in ever-expanding circles that positively impact the world at large.” Shari Arison

So today, I not only celebrate my having reached another milestone in life, I also give thanks and praise to God for being with me through all of my life’s ups and downs; for carrying me when I couldn’t go on; for encouraging me, comforting me, supporting me, strengthening me, guiding me, and loving me.

 

Pomp and Circumstance

Dictionary.com defines the idiom “pomp and circumstance” as “a splendid celebration with ceremony and fuss”.

This past Easter Sunday I attended an Easter Service full of pomp and circumstance at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Burlington, Ontario with my wonderful sister-in-law and her equally wonderful hubby. They are regular parishioners of that church and have been very involved with its function. Since I don’t attend church very often in my own town, I do like to go with them on special occasions.

St. Luke’s is the oldest church in Burlington having been established in 1834 and built on land given to them by Chief Joseph Brant. It is the quintessential white clapboard church with a steeple situated on a plot of land among large, ancient trees. It truly is picture postcard pretty.

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Inside, the church is lined from floor to ceiling with thin wood planks that have turned to a deep, mellow, satiny,  rust brown over the past 183 years. Matching wooden beams gracefully arch overhead and draw your eye upwards. The dark wood walls are graced with beautiful stained glass windows depicting scenes from the Bible and some church Saints. The church is also blessed with a wonderful pipe organ whose pipes are painted red, white and blue.

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The ledges along the walls were decorated with lovely cyclamen plants in soft pastels and in one front corner there was a profusion of beautiful blooms in Spring colours. After the service, the pretty plants were going to be delivered to shut-ins in hopes of brightening up their day and letting them know that God loves them.

I am not used to attending a church where there is a lot of traditional ceremony involved in the service. There was a long processional with many people wearing different gowns with various colours and symbols. I think they are called vestments and clerical gowns. There was someone carrying a banner, another person carried a large brass (?) cross, some were carrying long candlesticks while others were carrying staffs of some sort and a young girl held aloft what looked like a fancy binder with Bible readings. It was all carried out very solemnly.

I was prepared to hear a somewhat staunch sermon but the Rector shared an amusing and down to earth message about the similarity between a roller coaster ride and the ups and downs of the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion. The youth pastor also gave a good lesson to the little ones using chocolate eggs and helium balloons with “He Is Risen” cards attached to their strings. (Unfortunately, the helium was a little tired by then and the balloons had difficulty “rising” to the occasion – lol!)

Worship was composed of older hymns, many of which I was unfamiliar with. However, as a special part of the Easter celebration, we were treated to wonderful accompaniment by a brass band. My two favourite hymns of that day were sung to the glorious ringing of a wide assortment of hand-bells brought in by the parishioners. The church rafters truly “rang” with praise for our risen Saviour!

The service was truly a “splendid celebration with ceremony and fuss” all for the glory of the Lord.

As we were leaving the church, the sun shone through the beautiful, yellow, circular stained glass window at the peak of the roof bathing us all in a shaft of golden light. It felt like God was smiling down on us from Heaven.

I find it interesting to see how other Christians choose to worship God. While its not my personal worship style, I know that many believers find comfort in a more traditional, formal style of liturgy and litany. I don’t think that “form” matters as much to God as does how we truly relate to Him and to one another.

I believe that unity in both faith and relationship is what the apostle Paul was talking about when he wrote to the church at Ephesus:

Eph 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the calling with which you are called,
Eph 4:2 with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love,
Eph 4:3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Blessings

(Photos courtesy of Burlington Cultural Mapping)

Fait Accompli

Cross, Religious, Christ, Sky, France

 

“Fait accompli” is a French expression meaning, an accomplished fact; a thing already done.
The Christian Easter is a celebration of a “fait accompli”  – God’s plan for salvation and redemption through faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of God’s son, Jesus Christ.

God had this plan for salvation through faith in Jesus, from the very beginning.

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.

2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brothers beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth,

1Jn 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of Life,

1Jn 2:14 I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning.

When Jesus, in obedience to God, died on the cross for us, the war against the devil, sin and death was won.

Joh 19:28 After this, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, I thirst.
Joh 19:29 Then a vessel full of vinegar was set. And they filled a sponge with sour wine and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth.
Joh 19:30 Then when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up the spirit.

Jesus, knowing that He had accomplished God’s will and plan for salvation, said, “It is finished!” – fait accompli!

The enemy will not acknowledge that he has lost the war so he continues to fight a losing battle. The devil fights a battle whose outcome has already been decided – it is a “fait accompli”.

I find it very interesting to note that the example given in Dictionary.com for the term “fait accompli” is as follows:

“The enemy’s defeat was a fait accompli long before the formal surrender.”

Even the dictionary acknowledges the truth that our enemy will not!

I pray that you also will acknowledge God’s masterful “fait accompli”.

Wishing you all a blessed Easter.

Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Joh 17:4 I have glorified You upon the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
Joh 17:5 And now Father, glorify Me with Yourself with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Sweet Fellowship

Act 2:42 And they were continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, and in fellowship and in the breaking of the loaves, and in prayers.

I really enjoy hosting a gathering of friends over a cup of tea and a plate of yummy baked goodies. Although I have wanted to host regular gatherings this past year, it always seemed like something would happen that interfered with my plans. Finally, this past week I have been able to host a tea on two separate occasions.

At the first one, I invited the gals from a home Bible study that I attend which is hosted by a dear friend and sister-in-Christ. She is a wonderful baker and always has some tasty treat for us to enjoy during study. (My waist says no-no but my mouth says yes-yes!)

I didn’t want to serve store bought goodies but I am not the best of bakers ( I blame it on my very temperamental oven) so I wasn’t sure what I should make. Since I don’t bake very often (called the “if I don’t have it I won’t eat it diet strategy”) I don’t have a wide variety of ingredients. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money so I wanted to find recipes using ingredients I had on hand. I decided to try some “no-bake” recipes that I had saved from Pinterest (gotta love Pinterest!).

I was able to “whip up” three different recipes in a couple of hours and re-use most of the same dishes and utensils without having to wash dishes in-between recipes. (Gotta love that!) I started with Chocolate Coconut Cups and while they were setting up in the freezer I made 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Oat Squares. Then I got my hands dirty rolling  Pumpkin Spice Latte Bites . Plus, I already had a batch of gluten free Blender Banana Oatmeal Muffins in the freezer.

My second tea was more of a breakfast so I made a large pan of Baked Oatmeal with mixed berries. I served it warm topped with Astro Original Coconut Yogurt. We use this thick, creamy yogurt in place of whipped cream and it is absolutely delish! The Baked Oatmeal was a hit, even with two of the gals who dislike oatmeal!

Both teas were filled with sweet treats, sweet sisters-in-Christ and sweet fellowship. Fellowship with like-minded ladies is a real blessing to me.

For several reasons, I don’t attend church. Yes, as shocking as it may seem to some Christians, I am a Christian who doesn’t go to church. In the “good ol’ days” (??) I may have been labelled as “back – slidden” because I didn’t attend church. It would seem that regular church attendance is required in order to be considered a Christian. However, I have yet to find the scripture wherein God commands that we attend church.

Instead, I believe that Christians have been called to have fellowship – with God, with Jesus, and with one another.

1Co 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called to the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1Jn 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we declare unto you, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

“Fellowship” in these verses comes from the Greek word koinonia and means “partnership, participation, communication, distribution and fellowship”.

When I get together for tea with my “sistas”, we are partners in our faith in Jesus Christ and in praying for one another. We participate by bringing along goodies to share with one another. We enjoy a real good ol’ “chin wag” with one another as we discuss (communicate) a wide variety of subjects as they pertain to our daily walk of faith. We distribute love for one another, share wisdom, and offer encouragement.

All these things combine to give us sweet fellowship with one another.

Fellowship doesn’t need a specific day, time or place. It can take place anytime and anywhere our daily lives bring us together – street corners, Post Office, grocery store, playground, living room or around the kitchen table. I think that we can even enjoy a type of fellowship through the use of tools like social media. I use email, Messenger, Facebook and my blog to reach out to others with love, support, encouragement and hope. And I receive the same back from others.

God did not command , “Thou shalt attend church on Sundays”. Rather, He invited us to have a daily, personal fellowship with Himself, His son Jesus, and with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

And you may even get to enjoy some sweet treats along with the sweet fellowship!

Blessings

Heb 10:24, 25 and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

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Laundry Day

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While I enjoy having a clean and tidy home, I don’t particularly enjoy doing housework – what a conundrum! However, there is one chore that I DO enjoy and that is hanging up my laundry outside on nice days. Call me crazy, but I find it both relaxing and refreshing at the same time.

I love being outside feeling the warm sun on my face, breathing in the fresh air, and listening to the birds. Of course, knowing that I am also keeping my precious dollars out of the hands of our poorly managed hydro company also makes me smile.

And is there anything better than crawling into a freshly made bed using clean sheets smelling of the real outdoors? (None of that artificial bottled stuff for me)

So, I was very excited this morning  when I was able to hang out the first load of laundry for this year! (I lead a quiet life – lol) The sun is shining, the temperature is mild and there is a warm, stiff breeze from the south.

Ahh – the Spring ritual of “The First Laundry Hanging”. One of life’s simple pleasures.

This time of year also reminds me of another “hanging” – when Jesus was hung on a cross. There was no relaxation or refreshment, no enjoying gentle, warm sun, no breath of fresh air or listening to the birds for Jesus on that dreadful day. Instead, he endured false accusations, injustice, torture, incredible pain and shame.

Jesus, a man who had never done anything wrong; a man who had only shown love and compassion. This same Jesus paid the terrible price for ALL the sins of the world. He took the punishment for ALL the sinners of this world – past, present, future. He did it out of love –  for you and for me.

Act 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and He went about doing good, and healing all those who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with Him.
Act 10:39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did, both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed Him and hanged Him on a tree;

Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone having been hanged on a tree”);

Jesus willingly hung on the cross in order that our souls could be washed clean so that we can stand before our God with our body, mind and spirit as white, clean and fresh as laundry that has been hung out in the blazing sun.

Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice and we will give glory to Him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself.
Rev 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white. For the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.

Blessings

Lovely Weather for Ducks??

It is wet here today. I mean sopping, soaking, dripping, soggy, saturated wet! When I drove my hubby to work this morning, the sky was so heavily pregnant with rain that the clouds literally touched the ground in places. If it was possible to go higher than 100% humidity, then today would have been the day.

Oh those April showers!

Did you know that when God first created the earth, there was no rain?

Gen 2:5 And every shrub of the field was not yet on the earth, and every plant of the field had not yet sprung up, for Jehovah God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground.

Instead, mist rose up from the ground to provide water to the earth.

Gen 2:6 But there went up from the earth a mist and watered all the face of the ground.

It is my understanding that, in fact, it didn’t rain until God sent rain in Noah’s time during the Great Flood.

Gen 7:4 For in seven more days I [God] will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

And boy did it rain!

Gen 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, in the seventeenth day of the month, in this day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of the heavens were opened up.
Gen 7:12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

It formed one monster of a puddle!

Gen 7:19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth. And all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered.

Talk about a high water table!

I guess I shouldn’t complain about the splash pad in my back yard.

BTW – did you know that lots of rain really isn’t good for ducks? Apparently, too much rain can wash away the protective oil covering on their feathers which is what helps them float.

Good thing Noah collected seven pairs of ducks to go on the ark!

Gen 7:3 Also take of the fowls of the air by sevens, the male and the female, to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.

Blessings

All the ducks are swimming in the water
Fal de ral de ral do
Fal de ral de ral do

(Lyrics from Nice Weather For Ducks by Lemon Jelly)