Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Spelling It Out

Mike hasn’t been sleeping that well since we returned home from Newfoundland. The trip was amazing and we had a great time visiting Mike’s family in Toronto, seeing the sights of St. John’s with my sister and watching Madison play ball hockey and win a gold medal, but the trip was exhausting for us. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I also know it would be worth it.

Mike slept well for the first time on Sunday night, but woke me early Monday morning. It was about 5:30 and he definitely had something to tell me. Half asleep, I went through the list; “Is your head itchy?” as I scratched his head vigorously, my eyes still closed. “Your eyebrow?” and I scratched both eye brows with one hand like I usually do just to make sure I get the right one. “Your ear?” and I moved the scratching to his ear.  I asked him if he needed to go pee, if he wanted to turn over, if he was comfortable. With one eye half open, I re-arranged his arm on the pillow and I fixed his fingers…then I listened. Mike started spelling it out: H? Yes, E? No, A? Yes, T? No, P? Yes, P again? Yes, Y? Yes. It took a while to get the next five letters, A, N, N, I, V, but finally I clued in; HAPPY ANNIVERSARY was what he wanted to say.

June 24th was our 25th wedding anniversary. It was a lovely day. We received so many wonderful messages and cards from family and friends and Mike’s sister Pat was here along with my family which made it extra special.

When I was 19 and newly married, I had no idea what I got myself into. Mike and I thought it was a great idea to run off together and elope, but when the honey moon was over, I wondered if perhaps we should have taken more time to think about it. After all, “till death do us part” is a pretty big commitment.

At that age, I had no idea what I wanted in a husband. I honestly never thought about it much; and there I was saying “I do”. I knew I loved Mike and I was na├»ve, so that was good enough. I learned over the years what I wanted in a husband and thankfully, Mike had what I wanted. He was far from perfect and sometimes he drove me crazy, but ultimately he has shown me the qualities that make a great husband.

We don’t have a perfect marriage, but we have a good one. At times it was great. At other times it was just okay, sometimes it wasn’t okay, but today it’s this beautiful thing that can’t be rated or graded, it’s precious. Because we don’t know about tomorrow, because we don’t expect to celebrate another anniversary together, we cherish this one so much. We cherish every day…every minute.

On Monday night, our anniversary night, after tucking Mike into bed, I laid beside him with my arm around him. I didn’t say a word, I just held tight. I was overcome with emotion and held the moment as tight as I held Mike. If I could have spoken, this is what I would have said: “Thank you for your utmost respect all the time. Thank you for making me feel smarter than I am and more beautiful than I ever could be. Thank you for the endless laughter. Thank you for making me feel taken care of, cherished and loved beyond measure. And thank you for listening; you are an excellent listener! You are my best friend, a really great lover, a super terrific father, a brilliant person and an incredible man!

If Mike could have spoken, he probably would have said, “Happy 25th anniversary. It’s been the best 24 years of my life!” (Mike’s ongoing joke as the first year was pretty rough) And then we would have laughed out loud together.


                                                            Just Married - June 1988

                                                         25th Anniversary - June 24th 2013
 I steal as many kisses and hugs as I can. Mike can’t wrap his arms around me, but he hugs me back.


Thursday, 6 June 2013

Fear Less

This blog post is dedicated to my children – Erin, Nathan and Madison. I encourage you to put your faith before your fears and never let anything stop you from being all you are meant to be, from doing all you are supposed to do and from experiencing God’s very amazing and wonderful plans for your lives.

And to my parents: for their endless prayers and for helping me to face my fears.
I woke up early this morning, about 5 a.m. Newfoundland time. After helping Mike turn over, he went back to sIeep but I couldn’t. I laid in bed and prayed for a while and then got my cell phone and listened to some music. I just love this new rendition of an old hymn I have been listening to: His Eye is on the Sparrow, written by Civilla D. Martin (1905). Yancy, the current artist sings it beautifully on her new album, “Roots for the Journey”.

Mike and I are in St Johns Newfoundland with my sister, Elanna and Madison. Madison is playing for Team Canada in the world ball hockey tournament. Mike and I first went to Toronto for five days to visit his family. Elanna met us in Toronto at the airport and we flew together to St Johns. Madison came a few days earlier to practice with her team.
Before we left, I called upon some friends to pray for us; for Mike, yes, but mostly for me. It sounds selfish, but I am afraid of flying and rely on the prayers of family and friends to help me. I haven’t always been afraid of flying, but I can’t really remember when the fear first came knocking. I have been flying since I was young; trips to visit grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins in Steinbach Manitoba, a trip to Disney Land and my first trip to Brazil when I was 18. Since then, I have flown many times. In Canada, trips to Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and short flights throughout BC…Then there is Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria and Malawi, Africa, The Dominican and Bulgaria and the US and all the connecting flights, throughout the US, Africa and Europe. It’s a lot of flying for someone who is afraid.

I hate saying I’m afraid because the Bible says that “Perfect love casts out all fear.” Perfect love comes from my Heavenly Father whose perfect love I have known all my life. So why am I afraid? I have asked myself that question numerous times. I tell people, I’m not afraid of dying, I’m just afraid of flying. I’m not afraid of the dark, I’m not afraid of heights (maybe a little sometimes), I’m not afraid of speaking in public. I wonder if the Lord allows this fear in my life to test my faith.
Elanna says that it is commendable that I don‘t let the fear stop me from flying. Family vacations, trips to visit friends and family and orphans in Africa, hockey tournaments, Missions trips, Mike’s medical treatments, new places, new faces and all the amazing adventures have forced me to put my faith before my fear and it’s one of the hardest exercises I have had to perform.

Joel Osteen says, “When fear comes knocking, let faith open the door.” When I am all buckled up, and the engines start to roar and the air plane jets down the run way, and the front end lifts off the ground, my heart pounds and sweat beads; I am a nervous wreck. The fear knocks and my faith reluctantly opens the door and I rise above visualizing God’s big hand holding me up. I love His big hand!
And so it is with ALS. We rely on God’s big hand to hold us up. In order to enjoy the time we have left, we must let faith answer when fear knocks. Mike’s strong faith and lack of fear convicts and encourages me every day!

I can’t imagine my life had I let my fears ground me. Even still after every flight, I think perhaps it’s the last one. But NO, I tell myself.  My faith is much greater than my fear and I look forward to my next adventure. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind.        2 Timothy 1:7
                                                          St Johns Newfoundland

"Let not your heart be troubled," His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but just one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. Civilla D. Martin                                                                                        
So, to my dear children, and everyone: The Lord cares for the birds of the air, and how much more does He care for you. “So don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”   

                                            Last week in Toronto, Ontario with Mike and his family:



This week in St Johns, Newfoundland: