Monday, November 30, 2009

My Mother Didn’t Like Christmas Letters

When I was young, my mom used to rant, well not really rant, but huff about Christmas letters. She did not like them. The reason: one particular great uncle and aunt from Hamilton who wrote an unbearable Christmas letter. In it they talked about their superior children who were all going on to university to be engineers and such. I never saw the letters, but that is what I gathered from my mom.

I think the yearly letter would have been more well-received if the other thing about my great uncle hadn’t been. Every great once in a while my Great Uncle Arie and his second wife would show up for a visit. It wasn’t really a visit. My great uncle always brought a book and sat in our living room and read. That is all I remember about his visits. I don’t remember his wife at all.

So, when I began writing Christmas letters, I felt the shadow of my great uncle (who as mentioned also lived in Hamilton from where his lengthy condescending letters were mailed, until the day he died whenever that was).

I never dared send my mother my Christmas letters for just that reason. She had to resort to reading them at my brothers’ houses or asking me for them when she came to visit.

(Tomorrow - The Art of Writing a Christmas Letter)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Views on the Bread at the Lord's Supper

My friend who is in his fourth year in seminary is writing a paper which involves the way various denominations view the element of bread at the Lord’s Supper. He gave me a brief synopsis.

Some see the bread becoming the actual body of Jesus Christ. Some say Christ is in and through and under the bread. Some say the bread is symbolic of Christ. Some say the bread is part of a memorial to Christ.

This is what T.L. Osborn in his book, Healing the Sick, has to say about the bread:

The bread represents the body of Christ, on which was laid the stripes by which we were healed….Many are sick or infirm because, although they partake of the Lord’s body, they do not understand it.

When Jesus said of the bread, This is my body, which is broken for you, He expected us to understand that it was on His body that the stripes by which we were healed were laid. (1 Cor.11:24.)

Some take the Lord’s Supper unworthily and are, therefore, unable to discern or appropriate with faith the Lord’s body for healing. If those in need of healing will first examine themselves and be sure that they know why Jesus Christ suffered and died, then eat the bread and drink the cup worthily as Paul instructed, they will then discern the Lord’s body with faith for their own healing.

The benefits of healing in the lacerated body of our Lamb are just as clearly taught in the scriptures as the benefits of salvation in the blood of our Lamb.

Discern the body as having been beaten and lacerated with stripes—stripes by which your sicknesses were borne and you were healed—and health will be yours. It is as certain as when you discern His blood as having been shed for you the sacrifice by which your sins were borne—and salvation is yours.

Sickness will lose its power over your body just as sin loses its power over your spirit. You will be as free from sickness as you are from sin. Christ, your substitute, bore them for you, so you do not have to bear them. By believing this portion of the word and acting accordingly, you are as free from sickness as you are from sin.

Once we take our focus off the physical element of bread and simply realize the body of Jesus (by His stripes we are healed), the Lord’s Supper becomes a very powerful meal.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stuck on a Psalm

Psalm 15 (Amplified)
LORD, who shall dwell [temporarily] in Your tabernacle? Who shall dwell [permanently] on Your holy hill? He who walks and lives uprightly and blamelessly, who works rightness and justice and speaks and thinks the truth in his heart, he who does not slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his friend, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he who honors those who fear the Lord (who revere and worship Him); who swears to his own hurt and does not change; [he who] does not put out his money for interest [to one of his own people] and who will not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

I so want to dwell permanently on His holy hill.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

If Humans Aren’t Animals…

I don’t have an excuse to treat or think of any human being as an animal. What if the human doesn’t have a conscience? What if the human acts like an animal? What if the human lies and steals and cheats? What if the human makes absolutely no sense and is pretty well full of nonsense? He is still human. He still has a soul and spirit. He could benefit from prayer, even if I would rather ship him to the funny farm.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Why I Woke Up at Four in the Morning Worried about Frieda

In our last Truth Project class, we dealt with the topic, “Who is Man?” Our worldview stems from our answer. If we take the Biblical view, we believe humans are created in the image of God with both flesh and spirit.

A humanist believes man is simply flesh, an animal in fact. The humanist puts me and the rest of mankind on the same plane as Frieda.

In the Biblical worldview, we humans were created with a soul and spirit. God created us with the ability to think, to reason, to experience emotions and to commune with Him. I don’t for a moment believe the humanistic lie that humans are animals who have merely developed a step beyond the ability to function by instinct.

But, just because I don’t believe I am an animal doesn’t give me the right to be cruel to animals, which is probably why I woke up at four in the morning worried about Frieda.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Frieda at the Farm

Frieda thinking about not coming out of the box.

Frieda on the woodpile.

Close-up of Frieda on the woodpile.

Frieda hasn't made any friends on the farm yet. She keeps to herself, eats after the other cats have eaten and runs if a human approaches. Amy's dad is determined to tame her.

She has had at least one run-in with the cat-eating dog. She lost a bit of fur, kind of like she used to lose fur in the kitchen when I accidently stepped on her (at least once a week).

Socks sat on my lap most of last evening as the family watched The Return of the King. Socks is a very people-oriented cat. He has only one fault--he likes what we eat. He is used to eating scraps of people food and is very much attracted to it. When he jumps up on the kitchen counter looking for food we thow him off repeatedly, sometimes 15 times in a row. Now he jumps down as soon as he sees someone approach.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Frieda's Life on the Farm

Amy reports that Frieda is acting like a three year old in a snit. She has two places to be: on top of the dog house and at the food dishes. She is not interested in any other places. The other cats are afraid of her. She is actually in a competition with the top cat who happens to be the mother of about 80 per cent of the cats on the farm. This top cat is about half the size of Frieda and she has claws. Nobody eats out of her dish. Frieda had chosen to challenge her—size and teeth versus claws. At latest report they were in a stand-off: two cats at the same dish, neither of them eating.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Worries

(continued from previous post)
So why did I wake up at 4 in the morning worried about Frieda? What if the other cats don’t like her? What if the dog tries to eat her? What if she can’t kill rodents? What if her hair gets matted and she doesn’t take the time to clean it? What if she tries to return to the city and gets run over by a car on the way. Why am I worrying about this soulless creature?

(tomorrow - Frieda's new life)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Eye for an Eye, Cat for a Cat

(continued from previous post)

Well, Frieda left for the farm in the cardboard box shortly after five in the afternoon and it turns out she stayed in the opened box until well into the night long after Amy’s family went to bed. The cat-killer dog was tied up for the occasion.

Frieda is destined to be fed once per day and live in the barn with the other much smaller cats where she will work as a rodent exterminator. They call her The Beast. Until now, The Beast, alias Frieda, hasn’t worked a day or night in her life unless you count sneaking cookies and tarts out of the tupperware container on the kitchen counter.

The morning after Frieda left, Socks, alias Boots, showed up. He came in the same box Frieda had left in. Socks is a third the size of Frieda.

He follows me around the house.
Frieda never follows anyone except people who are scared of her.

Socks will sit on a lap forever or until the lap leaves.
Frieda might let a person she knows hold her for ten seconds.

Socks uses the litter box properly.
Frieda sometimes misses. On the farm she won't need this skill.

They both eat like animals.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Frieda the Cat Becomes Frieda the Savior

I woke up at 4 o’clock this morning worried about my cat. What had we done? Yesterday we sent Frieda away in a cardboard box sealed with duct tape. She was off to her new home on the farm.

Yes, we traded Frieda for Socks alias Boots. (This wasn’t my evil plan as Amanda suggested when we phoned her after the deed was done.) But, I'll admit when my husband’s assistant Amy broached the idea, I adopted it immediately.

Amy’s family lives on a farm with farm cats, feral animals kept to exterminate the rodent population. Recently Boots showed up at the farm. He’s small, short-haired, loves people and is scared of the farm dog. This dog has a reputation as a cat killer, especially those who are scared of him.

Frieda is large, long-haired, seems to hate people except the ones that are scared of her, and would stand up to the dog (we think). So we traded. Staying on the farm meant a sure death for Boots. Frieda became his savior so to speak.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The First Christmas Card of the Season

Last week I received my first Christmas card of the season. I opened it to discover I was one of the most faithful and generous friends of this particular charitable organization. This came as a surprise to me. I know I drop a few coins in their pot once a year and I may have paid for an unsolicited product or two, but most faithful and generous friend? I hope not...because if what I have given them is the most faithful and generous, they are in trouble.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

57 is Too Young to Die

Last week I attended the funeral of Dave’s second cousin. Norman Arthur Knibbe lived to the ripe age of 57, my age. He was born in March, my month of birth. He had six children, so do we. Norm was a happy, mostly healthy, loving prankster. His funeral was a celebration of his life.

Listening to all the stories about Norm, told so lovingly by those near and dear to him, I know he will be missed. Those near and dear to him are bound to be hurting for some time. Norm was so full of life. Things changed when he entered the room. Life happened better wherever he was.

The age of 57 is much too young to move on out of this world, although Jesus Christ left his earthly life at the age of 33. And, because He did, and died the way He did, my husband’s second cousin Norm is celebrating his eternal life. That is awesome to know. We actually have something much better than this life to look forward to, and whether we believe Jesus died for us makes life and death difference.

Listening to all the stories about Norm, makes me think he’s enjoying more than a few heavenly crowns.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Black, Black, Black, All the Outfits are Black

Trees wear colour, why don't we?

I waiting for the year when the costume of the season is not black. Most women who attend the pre-Christmas events I attend dress in black. This has been going on for at least three years. Is this because the events I attend are fundraisers and the women are mourning the money they will be parting with?
At these events, I've resorted to looking at men's ties for happy colours. There is something joyful about colour. Joy and Christmas and colour, they all go together.

Black makes me look very pale and washed out. That's my main complaint. It’s not that I have to wear what everyone else is wearing, but more choice in the stores would be welcome.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bowling With Oma

Family Bowling Night






No one on this team belongs to the 900 club.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Marriage is Not a Perfect Little Golden Circle

After wiggling it past my rather large knuckle and off my finger, I showed my 13-year-old daughter Christina my bent wedding ring. Her observation, "Well marriage is not a perfect little gold thing."

Where did she get this idea? Is it because I threw the tarnished silver coffeespoons out the front door when my husband mentioned they needed polishing? This happened before Christina was born and I doubt she knows about it. Well, maybe now she does.

Could it be because my husband discovered me in the exhibitor lounge enjoying a beer with some new-found friends while he was stuck manning my company's booth at the Home Show? That was before any of our six kids were born. We certainly haven't talked about that little incident.

It must have something to do with the time I threatened to jump out of the van as we were driving along a very bumpy back road to an obscure campground late in the afternoon because... (I truthfully can't remember why). I think that was also before she was born.

Or is she alluding to the several times I was PMS-ing all over the house?

I took the above picture of my wedding ring beside my husband's. It appears his marriage ring is more perfect than mine. Is this pure coincidence?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Speaking of Trails and Roads

At 4 a.m. I woke myself right up,
laid awake thinking about God.
I love God.
I wonder a lot about my relationship with Him.
I know He knows everything.
I know He loves me.
But, I don’t know if He really asked me to do some of the things I thought were His initiative.
Did I twist His intent to my meager understanding?
I know His ways are higher than my ways,
so I don’t understand why He asks me to do some of the things He asks me to do, but I don't want to get ten miles off track like the time we went on a hike and ended up who knows where because we got on the wrong trail – it wasn’t the original loop.
The problem is I am very often very sure the wrong way is the right way – speaking of trails and roads, of course.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Accepting Senior-hood

At the mum show I got in as a senior—over 55. It felt good to save $1 at the entrance. I’m usually looking to save a buck…it’s a dutch thing.

Yet, the idea of being a senior takes some getting used to. My mother-in-law and I are in the same age category even though she is 30 years older. Mom readily admits even she has to adjust to the idea.

I don’t feel like a senior. I do have two grandchildren. I do laugh at the Pickles comic more than Adam, or Hi and Lois or Drabble. I want to think this is because the creator of Pickles is just a better cartoonist and a lot funnier than all the other cartoonists. He must be the best cartoonist of all time.

I almost always laugh at Pickles—the way I used to laugh at For Better or Worse. What does that say?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Two Moms out to See the Mums

Last week Dave’s mom and I went to the mum show at Gage Park.

Mom and mums.
Farmer and Farmall.

Mum Cow.

Mum rooster perched on back of mum cow.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Secret to Great Chicken Soup

At four a.m.
I jump out of bed,

could smell it
left soup stock heating on back of stove since 7 p.m.
not just simmering,
at medium heat.

When you are in your twenties you wonder if this is inexperience.
When you are in your fifties you wonder if this is aging.

The whole house smelled of unmade soup,
the pan still warm at breakfast time.

It made excellent soup.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Digitally Translated

Pictures of movement on my digital camera are recognizable as movement, but that’s about it….what just moved?

It makes me think of transfiguration or being translated to another place. It makes it seem like this is something that could easily happen here and now. We could be in one place, all our molecules in order and then move to another place far away instantly as our molecules separate and reassemble at that far away thought-of destination.