Tuesday, 24 September 2013

He is Able

When Mike was diagnosed with ALS two and a half years ago we prayed diligently for a long time that God would heal him. God didn’t heal him, but He still could and the decline of Mike's health doesn't make it more difficult for God to heal him now. God's power is limitless and it would be just as easy for God to heal Mike now as it would have been for God to heal him before the illness really took off.

I must admit though, my hope for healing faded a while ago and my prayers for healing waned. And then recently, God said to me "I am able!" And I said, "I know." And He said "Then why don't you pray for your husband's healing anymore?" And then I asked for forgiveness and I asked for more faith. And then I resumed my plea!

It's funny because hundreds of prayers have been answered since we first prayed for Mike's healing. But, why not this prayer? Why not the healing prayer? I'm not really a "why?" person. I usually accept the "no's" with the "yes's" and trust God's decisions. And so it is with this as well. I have decided that I will pray for Mike's healing until it happens or until we part and I'll continue to accept the "no's" with the "yes's" and praise God that He is able. And of course, I have to trust His decision.

Last night after I gave Mike his last smoothie of the day and crushed up his meds and put them in his feeding tube, I brushed his teeth, suctioned his mouth, washed his face and stood him up, I held the urinal and he went pee. I gripped him real tight around the backs of his arms and helped him inch his feet toward his wheel chair and I wheeled him to the bed room. I parked him right beside his bed, suctioned his mouth again, stood him up, held him super tight and helped him inch his feet to turn around and rest his butt on the edge of the bed. Then I flipped him onto the bed (I call the move the flip). I quickly made sure his arms were beside him comfortably and his head straight on the pillow. I took off his shoes and socks. I rolled him on his side and put a pillow behind him to keep him propped. I put a pillow between his legs, a pillow between his feet, a pillow under his top arm and two small pillows stacked under his bottom arm and I wrapped the fingers from both hands around the pillows. I pulled his shoulder out from under him slightly, tilted his head just a little, put an ankle brace on his left ankle, and suctioned his mouth again.

When Mike gave me his signature “good job” smile and in barely a whisper told me “perfect”, I pushed my bed up against his bed, I ran to the washroom, ran back and I jumped in (Mike has been in a hospital bed for a couple of months now, so we sleep in separate beds...kinda like Lucy and Ricky Ricardo from the "I Love Lucy" show). Anyway, I jumped in and we said our prayers. I of course prayed for Mike's healing among many other things and praised God that He is able.

The following are lyrics of a song I love. It’s called God is Able, by Hillsong:

God is able and He will never fail.
He is almighty God.
Greater than all we seek, greater than all we ask,
He has done great things.

Lifted up, He defeated the grave.
Raised to life, our God is able.
In His name, we overcome, for the Lord our God is able!

God is with us, God is on our side.
He will make a way.
Far above all we know, far above all we hope, He has done great things!
Lifted up, He defeated the grave.
Raised to life, our God is able.
In His name, we overcome, for the Lord our God is able!
God is with us and He will go before,
He will never leave us, He will never leave us.
God is for us and He has open arms and He will never fail us!                                                                   He will never fail us!                                                                          
Lifted up, He defeated the grave.
Raised to life, our God is able.
In His name, we overcome, for the Lord our God is able!
PS - When Mike got his hospital bed, I slept on a mattress on the floor intending to get a bed and just never got around to it. A few angels took care of it and got me a bed. I call it "the cloud" because it's so comfortable and because it came from three angels.
Me and Mike at the dike last week - one of our favourite places to walk and pray

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Heaven Scent

Mike has always liked pudding, cooked pudding, not that instant stuff. He liked it as a child and he likes it just as much as an adult. He used to make if for our children all the time, it was a perfect after school snack. He would time it just right so the pudding was warm when the kids walked through the door. That’s the way he likes eating it…warm. He also likes the pudding skin, so he would pour the pudding on plates instead of in bowls in order to get lots of skin.

Mike no longer eats the pudding skin. He chokes on the skin now. So when I feed it to him, I carefully peel the firm top layer of the warm pudding away and take the softer, creamy goodness underneath it. Mike eats pudding pretty much every day. It is the perfect consistency. Anything thinner, like soup, is too thin; it slips down his throat without warning or goes down the wrong tube. Anything thicker is too difficult to swallow.
A few bites of mashed potatoes and gravy once in a while, a little apples sauce here and there, a couple spoonfuls of ice cream or soft cheese when he craves something savoury and pudding. This is what he eats, and poor guy struggles with these. The rest of his calories get mixed in a blender and go in his feeding tube, straight to his stomach. Mike is determined to eat, and even though he probably shouldn’t, he isn’t ready to abandon his taste buds quite yet and I don’t blame him.

Eating is one of the great pleasures in life, and good food is a wonderful gift and a tremendous blessing. So, of course losing the ability to eat is terrible. Mike is taking it quite well though. I ask him what he would like to eat and he gives me a “let me think about it” look, and then we both laugh.  His favourite foods like pizza, steak, fettuccini alfredo and BBQ ribs are a thing of the past and when we smell these foods, or see them or talk about them, the look on Mike’s face would say he lost a good friend.
A few months ago, when Mike’s food selection was becoming more and more limited and we were both becoming more and more disappointed, I would visualize a banquet table laid out for him in heaven. The table covered with the most mouth-watering dishes imaginable. If we saw a big, fat, juicy hamburger advertised on TV, I’d tell him that it was going to be at his “big feast” as well.

It was very appropriate that a sermon preached this summer by our pastor and friend, Brad Warner was on this very subject. The sermon topic was on ‘hospitality’, but Brad spoke about the banquet table in heaven and he carefully described the scene in his usual compelling way. I loved hearing him describe the dinner, or party as he put it. It helped with my vision of Mike’s feast…a meal fit for a king! And of course, much better and far more important than the meal itself, is the presence of a King; Jesus Christ!
These are some of the notes I scribbled down on a scrap piece of paper from Brad’s encouraging sermon: >‘Feast’ or ‘banquet’ is mentioned in the Bible over one thousand times, along with ‘food’ and ‘friends’. >Revelation 19 talks about the feast at the end. >Luke 14 talks about the banquet in heaven >The invitation goes out to everyone…all are welcome! >Have you trusted in Jesus? Are you going to the party? >Give your sin to Him and He will give you His salvation.

A couple of days later, my dear friend Carol, who lives in Vernon, B.C. ended an email with Song of Solomon 2:4: “He brought me to His banqueting table; His banner over me is love.” Wow, great friends think alike!
Anyway, back to earth, here it is the season of fall already. Summer is over now, but won’t soon be forgotten. It was a beautiful summer! We experienced record heat and it was the driest summer in years. Our daily walks mostly took place in the evening when it was a bit cooler. Most nights the aroma of BBQ filled the air. Mike and I both agree; it’s surely the scent of heaven!

Mike getting his moneys worth with the condiments - winter Olympics in Vancouver 2010
A few summer pics:
Mike and Leah heading out for a walk
Madison and Mike at the dike. Madison has been back at university in Calgary for a few weeks now...she says she misses our walks together the most.
Out and about in Granddad's new van...a beautiful wheelchair van received as a gift from Mike's parents!
Leah and auntie Erin at the mall
Dad and daughter time! Mike hangs out with Madison and Erin while they get pedicures a week before they go back to school...Madison a student and Erin a teacher.
Pay back time! Erin gives Mike a pedicure.
Nathan and Leah on 224th out side the candy store while the six of us take a walk through town.
Soccer season begins (two weeks ago). Leah with Nathan - her dad and coach.


Thursday, 5 September 2013


After a couple of very busy weeks, I couldn’t wait to sit down at my computer and write a blog post. I have a number of ideas floating around in my head and the stories I tell myself while I am busy and unable to take down some notes sound great, but when I sat down for the first time in a long time in front of a new Word document, I went blank…writer’s block, I guess. While I have writer’s block, my mom doesn’t. This week a lovely letter to the Editor was posted on our local Times website as well as a couple of pictures and mention of my mom and her letter in the Times Newspaper.
The following is my mom’s letter:

Grateful to be part of a family that cares Dear Editor, I am very thankful when my husband George Klassen is by my side when I wake up, but when he isn’t, he is in Brazil or Africa, feeding widows and orphans and drilling wells for fresh water. One of his favourite times at home is when we can go for coffee with our children and enjoy good conversation and a good laugh. We have two wonderful daughters. Elanna and her husband Peter have been a blessing to us and to our daughter Nadine and her husband Mike. Mike was diagnosed with ALS around three years ago, and they had to sell their house because of awkwardness getting around. With no questions asked, Elanna and Peter offered them some living space in their home, and it is wheelchair accessible. They made some adjustments so it would simplify the needs for Mike and Nadine. It is such a blessing for George and me to see the interaction of those two families. They all help one another. Nadine is a wonderful, caring wife who shows constant love to Mike, and he to her. I’m sure there must be some frustration at times for both, but even though Mike can’t speak verbally, he speaks with a nod of the head or a big smile on his face. We have many good times together. We are proud of our family, which includes five grandchildren and one great grandchild. They are all very active and keep us happy and proud. We can be proud, but only because of God’s blessings. He is so good! Thanks to my husband for helping others and for being a good husband and dad. Thanks to Peter and Elanna for their love and help to their little sister Nadine and her husband Mike, and thanks to Mike and Nadine – they have been a real encouragement to us all. Also, a big thanks to Mike’s family who live in Toronto and come out to visit and help as well. They are a great family, too. I also want to thank all the friends who have been so wonderful in giving and also in prayer. Thanks to Ron and Dan for their visits with Mike. Love and thanks to all.           Sheila Klassen, Maple Ridge                                                                                                                                                                  

My mom loves her family and is extremely proud. She is very friendly and likes to socialize and talk about her greatest blessing…her family. We often tease her because she always has pictures of her kids, grandkids and great granddaughter on hand and delights in showing them off…even to complete strangers.  She would drop anything to lend a hand (and so would my dad) to a family member, a friend or anyone. She and my dad don’t have many possessions and as missionaries, live a modest life, but they would consider themselves the richest people in the world. I have always felt treasured!
My mom and dad with Mike at the ALS walk in June. Check out their website at projectwellness.ca
Mike with his mum and sisters, Pat and Aileen yesterday at the dike.



Mike with his mum and sisters, Pat and Aileen yesterday at the dike.