Thursday, 31 January 2013

Golden Boy

I think it’s pretty cool that with my blogger account, I can check to see how many people are reading and where they are from. For instance, I know there are seventeen people reading my blog right now. I can also see where they are from and what blog posts are being read. I can check what the numbers are for the day, week, month and all time. I’m amazed at how people from all over the world are reading. Canada, USA, Sweden, Russia, UK, Germany, France, Ukraine, Australia and Brazil are the top ten, to name just a few. People are reading from counties I haven’t even heard of…that’s the magic of the internet! ALS With Courage is approaching 50,000 hits, most of the hits from people I don’t know. But here is what I do know; we are all in the same boat.

We are all in the same boat! There are no exceptions, we all experience trials of many kinds. That’s life! But you know what’s been said about life? “It’s 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.” We have a choice how we live and how we react to the trials and the struggles and the difficulties of life…it’s a lot to do with attitude.
Mike continues to possess the most amazing attitude, along with his strong faith and incredible courage, he has something very special. To date: not one “woe is me”. He still tells jokes even though he has to spell them out (literally) because we don’t understand. The laughs are delayed, but never the less, we laugh. He takes everything in stride and never complains. He is the same guy on the inside, perhaps an even better version of himself. He has allowed the fires to refine him into a beautiful masterpiece and I just don’t know how to express how incredible it is to watch. I feel so small and insignificant next to my ‘golden boy’. It’s humbling and I’m in awe.

1 Peter 1:7 says, “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honour…”
Mike never focuses on what he can’t do or what he has lost. He stays focused on what he can do and what he still has. On Sundays at 11am we sometimes watch Pastor Joel Osteen on T.V., who said a couple of weeks ago, “As long as you have breath, you have purpose.” Mike’s purpose may have changed, and perhaps is more significant now. He has become a great teacher and I, a student, still have a lot to learn.

Mike with our occupational therapist trying out his new lifts him from chair to bed and back. I don't use the lifts yet, but the home care people do...its safer for them and for Mike.
Nathan and Leah trying out the lift in the living room.
Mike on the computer using his eye gaze - a camera on the computer picks up the reflection from the dot on his nose, which he uses a the mouse to use the on screen keyboard.
Mike's still standing - here doing his exercises

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Jersey Day

Well, the boys are back on the ice…it’s like an answer to prayer. Yesterday, Mike watched his team, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadians and then he watched his other team, the Vancouver Canucks get beat by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Our boy, Cory Schneider didn’t get off to the greatest start in net, but we’re glad he’s our number one goalie this season and we’ll be cheering for him again next game.

It’s been a long winter without the ‘Good ol’ Hockey Game’, but our motto is “better late than never” and like Mike keeps telling us, he is bored. So in the morning, he put on his new Leafs t-shirt and sat in front of the set and waited for the puck to drop. Mike wasn’t the only one waiting for the game to get going, it’s like the people have been resuscitated. Everyone is smiling again and sporting their favorite hockey jersey.

Friday was jersey day at Erin Langton Elementary School, where our daughter Erin teaches grade seven French Immersion. It’s also the school she and her brother and sister attended. It was jersey day at Laity View School where my niece and nephew go. I thought it was a coincidence, but Erin told me it was jersey day at all the schools in the district.

I brought Erin her favorite jersey and gave her a lift to school in the morning. She was so excited that I was able to locate her old Colorado Avalanche jersey that she wore when she was a kid...probably a thousand times. Erin is very small, so the jersey she got in grade four still fits her, with the exception of the sleeves, but she can wear it…and she wore it on jersey day with great pride; just like she wore it in grades four through seven and beyond.

We were all big fans of the Colorado Avalanche when Joe Sakic was team captain. Erin started it; she was a huge fan and then she became Sakic’s number one fan when he called her one day after she had hip surgery. Not only did he call her to wish her well, he sent her a signed jersey for Christmas. Erin’s teacher, Mme. Dudley had some connections through a family member and arranged everything. Needless to say, we all became fans the day he called and we will never forget it. (We are also fans of Mme. Dudley who taught all three of our kids)

Anyway, the signed Sakic jersey has never been worn and is in a safe place and the little one Erin took to school the other day is well worn and has a story of its own. With enthusiasm, Erin reminded me about the day she got her treasured Colorado jersey. Erin, the gifted public speaker that she is, had competed that morning in the school’s public speaking contest. She and her brother, Nathan were big competitors; Erin winning every contest, every grade at the school level and some at the district level. This particular speech was on the National Hockey League and Erin delivered it flawlessly. Mike and I of course were there to cheer her on and without my knowledge, Mike later went and purchased the Colorado jersey for Erin and took it to her in the afternoon when he picked the kids up from school. She continued to tell me how it was such a great surprise and how she thought she would never have a Colorado jersey because jerseys were so expensive. She said it was one of the best gifts she has ever received and it was from her best guy – her dad!

Erin has two valuable Colorado Avalanche jerseys, one is priceless and so are the memories!

    Erin with Mme. Dudley who was once Erin's teacher and is now her colleague and friend

Sunday, 13 January 2013

A Good Hair Day

Well, it’s a new year. Happy New Year! I like the New Year; it’s like a fresh start. It’s a time to reflect on the past, and anticipate the future; perhaps set a few goals. For some it’s a time to make major changes and for others it’s a time to make a few minor adjustments. Not everyone makes New Year’s resolutions, but many do. As a fitness instructor, I can vouch for the many that do…classes are over-crowded at the gym and the parking lot is packed.

I have made a few resolutions this year along with the one resolution I make every year; which is to eat less/pray more. I guess making the same resolution every year is an indication that I haven’t had the greatest success, so I keep trying, just like the January gym goers who believe this year they will accomplish their fitness goals and exercise the other eleven months as well. I say, “Good for you…you can do it!”
As I pondered my list of resolutions this week, I decided to tweak my resolution of ‘eat less, pray more’ to ‘eat less’ (that stays) and ‘PRAISE more’. I have been contemplating the past year and there is absolutely no way we could have made it through without the help of the Lord. We experienced more changes and more challenges last year than all other years combined and I know I would have snapped without Him. So many times, I called out to Him and He was there. So many times I couldn’t call out, I had no voice, I had nothing and He was there. I was convinced a long time ago that my Heavenly Father is always there, but it just seemed to be the theme of 2012. He wanted me to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is always there and that He cares for me more than I could ever imagine or comprehend. While remembering all the wonders He has done, I decided He deserves more praise.

One of my favorite Bible verses illustrates so well how God cares and how He knows His children and how much He values them: Matthew 10:29-31 says; “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Speaking of hair, I will share a story of how one day, through some good friends and a trip to the salon, God showed me how well taken care of I am. I received a gift certificate from five dear friends to go get my hair done. It was very generous; it was enough for color and a cut at the salon where I normally go for just a cut.

I was sure to book my appointment in advance and when the day came I was very excited to spend some time at the salon. Knowing that the cost was covered, I relaxed and enjoyed my make-over even more than usual. Three hours later, when I was all done and feeling like a million bucks, I went to present my gift certificate to the receptionist. The receptionist told me that while I was having my hair done a friend of mine called and told her that she saw me through the window in the salon chair while driving by when she was running some errands at the same strip mall. The receptionist said that my friend, I’ll call her SB, gave her a credit card number and told her she wanted to pay for my salon service that day. The receptionist told her I had a gift certificate, so SB said to charge her with any costs not covered by the gift certificate. I didn’t understand at first what the receptionist was telling me. After she explained it again, I couldn’t believe it! I actually had to laugh…I cried a little too. The gift certificate covered the bill plus tax, so the receptionist charged SB with the tip.
I don’t believe this was a coincidence, I believe it was a set up. The Lord set me up again to deliver a profound message. He doesn’t really care about my hair color, but He does know every strand on my head, and He cares for me beyond measure. It wasn’t about the money, because I had the money. It was another example of many this past year that proved how He is always with us and how He will always take care of us.

Mike hasn’t experienced any changes in his condition since the stem cell treatment he had on December 5th, but we aren’t discouraged about it, we are content and still hopeful. Whatever happens, God is with us and He is worthy of all our praise!
Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary to my parents (January 12th), Sheila and George, who have taught us the importance of prayer and praise. Pictured here with their grandchildren.