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Showing posts from March, 2011

The Bad English Patient

By Belinda

I had gathered up my briefcase and turquoise lunch bag and was heading out the door, when I saw Paul heading gingerly but purposefully into the bathroom. I sensed a mission in process.

I'd been trying to anticipate his needs and keep him safe so I wondered what I could do to help.

"Paul, what are you doing?" I demanded, in my best ``she who must be obeyed`` voice.

"I was going to wash my hair," he said. And it turned out he had plans to kneel down and put his head under the tap in the shower.

``Oh, no,`` I said, ``You are not supposed to bend your back. I`ll turn on the shower and if you take off your t shirt I`ll shampoo your hair.``

So I turned on the shower to warm up the water, took off my coat, and with his head and my arms in the shower stall, I did the honours with the shampoo, as we both got a generous spraying of stray water.

"Ahh," he sighed, his eyes closed in ecstasy, "That feels so good."

I smiled, and thought, ``Yes,…

To Explain...

Quick note from Belinda
To explain my absence--just in case anyone out there wonders what happened to me. :) 
Paul had back surgery on Monday, and although it was day surgery (which is amazing,) he did need some tender loving care. I have been busier than usual making soup, making sure he isn`t fainting while walking to the washroom and generally ensuring that he is safe and supported. He is making the most of it while it lasts. :) 
The wonderful news is that this operation, to remove pressure on his sciatic nerve, will give him back his walking legs. He hasn`t ever stopped walking, but did so in great pain and with the knowledge that his right leg could give way at any time. This problem should be resolved once the bruised nerve heals. Then he just has to go for physiotherapy to strengthen his back muscles. 
How grateful we are for excellent health care and the privilege of good treatment by skilled hands. We thank God for all of these blessings.

Tori's 12th

By Belinda

She turned 12 on Friday, this girl that I love, and we celebrated with supper at Crabby Joe's in Bradford.

Both her mom and I were driven to list her qualities in our birthday greetings.

Her mom wrote this on Facebook:

Brenda Burston is wishing her beautiful, smart, funny, loves all animals especially horses and dogs, can't get enough of her cousins and Omie and Grandad, park loving, ipod playing, elite hug giver, sun worshiper, cottage dreamer, kind hearted, fiercly loyal, "don't mess with me" daughter Victoria a very happy 12th birthday. I love you girlie! xoxox


I wrote in her card:

A lover of all creatures fluffy
A writer of very good stories
A devourer of books
A girl who has wit and knows how to use words well
And who has her own taste in clothes

Our gift to Tori was a soft fluffy grey and blue grey "reading blanket," and a gift card for Chapters. 

As we were winding up supper I asked her if she'd like me to take her to Chapters to use her gi…

Surrendering the Sunglasses

By Belinda
I buy certain things in sets of two. There are things that I buy in irrational quantities, but that's another blog story; this is about items for which I have a reason for duplicates: gloves and sunglasses--things I tend to lose and for which I keep a back up pair. 
I've been doing so well with gloves ever since I bought two sets that clip together as pairs. I have caught them just in time, dropping to the ground from my lap as I stepped from the car several times, and I recently found one of my pairs lying neatly outside the post office exactly where I had parked the car the previous day--but I still have both pairs. 
Recently though, I lost the one pair of sunglasses I had left, and which I been so careful to not lose all winter. My eyes are light sensitive and I need sunglasses when driving so after checking the lost and found box at church and finding only a pink and grey paisley silk scarf that I didn't even know I'd lost, I resigned myself to buying anoth…

A Happy Friday Smile

I know, you are wondering what's happened to Fridays with Susan; well, Susan will be back, but she has been busy and last night she said, "My brain had turned to jello. It literally physically felt like it had spontaneously turned in to head cheese and was oozing out my eyes and ears." On that very picturesque note, I will share a little video that made my day yesterday when I first saw it. I will add the little blurb by Jesse's owner at the bottom. It will make you feel happy. :)


Presenting, Useful Dog Tricks!! Whoever said tricks can't be useful? Jesse loves helping around the house, and I just love his happy attitude and smile on his face =o)

*Our relationship is based on mutual respect, understanding, and trust. We have a wonderful relationship and bond, and that is the foundation of our training. We train all behaviors through the use of positive reinforcement*

Jesse chooses to do the behaviors in this video, and has so much fun bringing smiles to people&#…

Celebrating the Spatula

By Belinda

A small pile of three packages of cream cheese, a flat of eggs, some sugar, vanilla essence and a can of raspberry pie filling--oh, and of course, graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and brown sugar for the crumb crust--dessert is in the making for cell group tomorrow night. We'll be celebrating Tori's 12th birthday and Debbie's grown up birthday and their favourite cake is cheesecake.

As I reached for the perfect tool to scrape the creamy filling into the springform pan, already lined with a golden crumb crust, my mind zoomed back--how many years? I was 12--the same age as Tori will be on Friday--and in my domestic science class ( translation--"home economics")  in England. Miss Jones, the domestic science teacher was Welsh, as many people with the surname "Jones" are, and her voice was clipped and melodic all at once. She had short, sandy red hair, pale freckled skin and blue eyes and always wore a button down smock over her clothes--no dou…

Neighbours

Matthew 19:19 (Amplified Bible)19Honor your father and your mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself
By Belinda

Paul and I are deep into a documentary set: BBC- History of World War 11 which is really a compilation of many documentaries put together over the years and related only by the overarching topic of the war.

The most compelling parts on many levels are the interviews with people, who relate their personal experiences, reliving the traumatic events as though they happened just yesterday. I am captured and deeply moved by these eye witness accounts; grateful that someone did the amazing  work of  recording this living history before it was lost. The interviews with veteran soldiers of all ranks and of all armies: Japanese; German and British are fascinating when you strip away the uniform and see only men who fought, often proud soldiers and skilled in battle, no matter which side they fought on, and having a mutual respect for fellow soldiers who engaged …

Promises

By Belinda

Robins hop in the street and we feel ridiculously excited; mud puddles shrink smaller every day; the sterile, black-brown of winter tree bark gives way to the faintest flush of green and pink life--as if a resuscitation is under way! Another long Canadian winter-kingdom of icy cold yields to the irrepressible, insistent usurper: Spring!

Spring: the emblem of of Hope When All Seems Lost; when a vision is sealed in a stone cold tomb and dead. Spring is a reminder to trust in certainties based on trust not evidence; to trust in a promise.

The endless cycle of the seasons replicates the cycles of life and carries a message of hope and faith.

Each fall I can't help it, I mourn for summer too quickly gone like an insatiable lover for her beloved. August comes and the first tinges of scarlet and gold in trees that still shimmer greenly lush in summer heat. "Too soon!" cries my heart.

I grieve the passing year as the cars come down the highway from cottage country, we…
Running; friend what are you running from?Running; friend where are you running to?
Will you ever know real peace?  Friend why don't you turn and stop your  running? Psalm 139:7-12 (Amplified Bible)
7Where could I go from Your Spirit? Or where could I flee from Your presence?
8If I ascend up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (the place of the dead), behold, You are there.(A)9If I take the wings of the morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10Even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.
11If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me and the night shall be [the only] light about me,
12Even the darkness hides nothing from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.(B)

Our Friends in Israel

By Belinda

We cherish so many happy memories of our time in Israel, where we met some wonderful people, especially Danny, our guide. He served as a sergeant major in an elite parachute regiment with the Israeli army; is a veteran of three wars, and as he strode out ahead of us, leading the way over hills and ruins, I often felt as though I was in boot camp. Lots of great exercise. :)

His knowledge of history was incredible and trying to absorb and I struggled to remember everything he told us, but failed! I am sure I caught only a tiny fraction, but I was so grateful for all that he poured into us during the time we spent with him. From the moment he met us at the airport with Mottie (Mordecai) our driver, he devoted almost all of his waking hours for 8 days to making our trip amazing.

Olga works in the office at Yaffa Tours and made all of the arrangements for our tour. She came along with us on the final days we spent in Jerusalem, just being present, making sure everything was as i…

Maybe I'm a Chicken but I'm Happy

By Belinda

After defrosting the windows of my car, I left the house at 6.30 a.m.; an earlier start this morning. I relished the sense of being among the first out and about in the early morning quiet before the day really got humming.

I was doing a bit of running about, "helping" (and I really use that term very loosely) set up a computer lab for some training.
A stockily built man hurried towards the Go Station, a bag strapped across his chest, head down, eyes still groggy. A woman coming down the road behind him yawned as she headed in the same direction.

 A man at a bus stop clutched a paper cup with coffee and a bagel wrapped in waxed paper--the morning survival kit.

A pink flush spread across the pale blue morning sky as the dusky dawn gave way to daylight and I noticed palm trees silhouetted against the sky--the plastic palm trees of the Palm Springs Car Wash. I have seen real palm trees recently--and the Bradford car wash palm trees were a spidery imitation of those lus…

New Sight

By Belinda

The Teacher clears earth grime from the lenses of my eyes and helps me to see more clearly.

He reshapes; re-forms, my heart. If he didn't do this simultaneously with the revelation I would despair.

Puffed up pride on one hand and disdain on the other--twin sister smirches on character. No one could have told me it was so. I would have denied it; would not have seen it. But, ah, that gentle Teacher, Holy Spirit; Revealer and Counsellor--he showed me and I can never be ignorant again of that propensity in me.

Now, humility borne of truth; insight. Awareness of my smallness and true significance--not less than, but not greater than. Repentance and regret that I was blind to such a (now) glaring heart shadow; that it took so long to see.

Mostly I am grateful to God, who loved me as I was, loves me as I am, and as I will be and who is in intimate relationship with me, caring to reveal, caring to change, and always in love.

Psalm 119:103-104 (Amplified Bible)
103How sweet are Y…

A Piece of My Heart

By Belinda

Tonight I checked an email account I don't use much and there was an email from my cousin Deb who lives in Spain. It was sent February 17 and included a link to the beautiful song by Ofra Haza, Yerushalaim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem, City of Gold.)

The evocative song tugged at my heart, which is missing a piece, left behind in Jerusalem; this beautiful city of soft gold and copper.

This is razor wire, meant as an unforgiving barrier to keep one people from another. I saw the shape of hearts in the wire and could not resist the irony.

This was one of our first views of Jerusalem--the Eastern Gate. Two faiths await the arrival of Yeshuah (Messiah) at this gate; the Prince of Peace. Ezekiel prophesied about the gate being shut in 600 B.C.


1 Then the man brought me back to the outside gate complex of the Sanctuary that faces east. But it was shut.
2-3 God spoke to me: "This gate is shut and it's to stay shut. No one is to go through it because God, the God of Israel, has …

Selah

These are the southern steps to the the temple, with the Mount of Olives facing the Eastern Gate, in the distance.

The steps are staggered in width, with two short and then one long. A young Israeli woman showed us a 3 D presentation on the temple as it was before its destruction by the Romans in A.D.70, and explained that the reason for the staggered steps was to cause those ascending them to pause on the longer steps and reflect, and to approach the temple with due reverence:
The risers on the steps are low, between seven and ten inches, and the treads vary between twelve and thirty-five inches; this irregularity forces a person to adopt an slow and deliberate gate when using the staircase, as if in a procession. ( The Jerusalem Temple and the New Testament )It makes me think of the word "selah" which appears in the book of Psalms and Habakkuk 3. Some believe the word is a musical direction to the singers or instrumentalists to pause or take a breath. The Amplified Bible a…

One Time Blind

Note from Belinda

My work buddy Frank and I were talking this morning and he mentioned One Time Blind. I had never heard of One Time Blind, so he showed me this skit, which was relevant to our discussion at the time. I just had to share it here. Loved it--and there are more if you Google One Time Blind!

The Power of One

Fridays with Susan...

I was tired beyond words.  It was Friday and I should have been anticipating the 5 o'clock horn and a restful weekend at home.  But that was not to be.  I had been there since 7:30 that morning, dealing with a relentless onslaught of challenges and problems.  It was somewhere around noon that I found out I wouldn't be going home for supper with my family, but I would be staying until at least 10:00 o'clock that night, and probably later.  Even with me doing a double shift - split between administrative duties for the first half of the day and then spending the late afternoon and evening hours working directly with the energetic young people our team supports, we would still be understaffed.  Even in the best of circumstances that meant working really hard, but this week we were faced with a very unusual set of circumstances which had taxed every member of the team to the limit.  I knew I would be having to lean unfairly into my hard-working and deeply …

Forever Changed

By Belinda

Susan was right when I left for Israel and she began to call me her, "Friend who would never be the same."

One significant impact of going to Israel was that reading scripture will never be the same. Reading about places I have seen, or have a context for is like seeing a movie in vivid colour and 3 D or Imax, when all you have experienced before is black and white silent movies. I can "see" the events I am reading about now and they seem so real and alive.

I realize what a great privilege it was to go to Israel and I have felt compelled to share the blessing of my experience with others here (encouraged, friends, by those of you who wanted to hear all about it.) My prayer too, is that none of what I experienced would be wasted. To be drenched in so much history and such a rich culture, not to mention the spiritual significance, was not to be forgotten but to be unwrapped one gift at a time and deeply treasured. I am sure I will be unwrapping for some ti…

The Food!

By Belinda

Tonight I thought I'd write about the food in Israel, which I loved! Paul did not love it and to all who know Paul this is not a surprise. He lost 5 pounds while there.:)

Being accustomed in Canada to bi-lingual packaging (French and English,) it was mystifying to find the little packages of beverages in our hotel room and know only that it was Classic "????" I shook the packages and could guess which ones held instant coffee and which held a tea bag, but what kind of tea bag? I boiled water and adventurously opened the packages one by one, not knowing what treat the message on the package was advertising.

In the hotel restaurants, there was an array of various coffees, tea, and cold drinks. in the morning, but in the evening no coffee or tea! This was an adjustment to those of us addicted to a hot drink with a meal.

At sundown on the eve of Sabbath, or Shabbat, everything stops and as much as possible, even in hotels, it is "do it yourself," or not a…

The theme for Write! Canada 2011

The theme for Write! Canada 2011

Check out the inspiring theme for Write Canada this year. I love the video clip chosen as the inspiration!

A Perfect Sabbath

By Belinda

A golden smile in the form of a crescent moon; hung in a deep night blue sky,  as I drove north to visit a friend in the hospital.

I had left behind the debris of a perfect day in my kitchen. One load of dishes were swooshing in the dishwasher while the next load piled the counter.

I left behind a house that looked well used. There were crumbs on the floor and a pair of sponge giant feet abandoned in the den; enough disarray to signal life.

As the tires covered kilometres my mind recounted moments of a day passed well.

Morning communion with a beloved church family.

Return to a home filled with tantalizing aromas of a meal almost ready.

A family gathered around two tables--twelve of us.

Tales of our recent travels shared with ready ears eager to hear every detail.

Then a ritual request from two youngest grandchildren: "Omie, can we have some bubbles?"

And two bowls of dish soap bubbles, keep two children happy for more than an hour. They laugh as they stir and spo…

Communion in Jerusalem

By Belinda

Tomorrow we will be celebrating communion at our little country church, and I will be thinking back to a week ago on Friday, when, led by our pastors, we celebrated communion in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem.

The garden is one of the possible sites of the empty tomb and the evidence for this being the site is compelling. Don Weglo, a retired veteran broadcaster with Kiss FM Vernon BC, Canada, was our guide.

He is in Jersualem, volunteering with his wife, for 3 months at the Garden Tomb. I thought how wonderful that would be! You can find out more about the Garden Tomb at the website :www.gardentomb.org

Don pointed out what looks like a skull in the rock face Golgotha—Skull Hill . Although the crucifixion is usually depicted on top of a hill, the Bible just says that it was at a place called Skull Hill. Don told us that it would most likely have been at the base of the hill, which was at a crossroads, where executions were done to make an example of the criminals to …

Stoned

Fridays with Susan...


I didn't do a post last week because it just didn't feel like I would have anything that would "fit".  I didn't want to take away anything from Belinda's trip and what she was sharing with us.  I would have felt like I was jerking everyone away from what was the ordained theme - from what was truly important.  So I didn't write at all.

But this week I have my own connection to the Holy Land.  In fact, I have an actual piece of it.

While Belinda was walking the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee - the sea that is bounded by the hills that Jesus walked early in the mornings while praying and communing with his father, the sea that ripples with the waves he walked on, the sea whose torrents were calmed at his command - she stooped and picked up a stone.

On Wednesday, when I picked her up to travel a stormy, wintry backroad to a meeting in Barrie, she pulled it out of her purse and handed it to me.  My eyes instantly welled up with tears.

Cultivating Thankfulness

Colossians 3:15 (New International Version, ©2011) 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. By Belinda

On our trip to Israel I took Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. As you will know from our itinerary, time for reading was scarce, but the plane journey each way was 11 hours! I  began the discipline of writing down my list of one thousand gifts as soon as I got home.

Last night Tippy and Tori had supper with us as Brenda was late coming home. I couldn't wait to tell them about my little journal. Their eyes sparkled with interest as I shared what it was and told them how Ann came to start her own list of One Thousand Gifts. I read them my list, that began:

1)  Coming "home."
2) A "welcome home" email.
3) Children who return for "one more hug," again and again."...

And I asked them, "Would you like to your own gratitude journals?"

Two heads nodded! I went t…

Yad Vashem

Isaiah 56:5 (New International Version, ©2011)
5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls
   a memorial and a name
   better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
   that will endure forever.
By Belinda

On a Jerusalem winter Friday morning that was bathed in warmth and sunshine, our group of pilgrims visited Yad Vashem the Holocaust museum.

Yad Vashem means "a place and a name" or "a monument and a memorial": Preserving the Past to Ensure the Future.

I, who grew up in the shadow of a war fought and ended five years before my birth and who has lived haunted by what I know of my parents' experiences during it, wanted to see the museum, but I was unprepared for the deep emotional impact it would have.

First we went through the Children's Memorial.At the entrance is sculpted a smiling child's face.

We left the bright sunshine of the present behind and entered a dark cavernous space with memorial candles reflected infinitely thr…