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Sunday, September 27, 2015 8:54 PM CDT

What a beautiful weekend! The golden trees along the street are rapidly losing their leaves. The temperature at 7 p.m. is 54 degrees (12 degrees C.) – a bit chilly, but still pleasant.

Dennis wasn’t home this weekend because I was at the Fall Conference for InScribe Christian Writers Fellowship. Rachel helped him to recycle a bunch of his cans and bottles instead. We’re now down to six garbage bags of cans and bottles in the garage for the next recycling run.

I was at Fall Conference from Thursday evening until late Saturday afternoon. Each time there’s something outstanding about the conference. Often it’s the speakers who are outstanding. This time it was less about the speakers, and more about the people attending. I’ve gotten to know writing friends who encouraged me on Facebook over the past year. They are now much more than just names and faces, and I shared a room with someone I have known for years, but did not know that well. It was great getting to know Eunice.

During the conference, the book “7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers” was lauched. The authors in the book are all members of InScribe, and I am one of them. I also received third place on my devotional, called “Trust Your Pilot,” which was about flying over the mountains through the clouds in a twin-engine plane when we worked in Papua New Guinea in 1981. Yes, it was a good conference.

When I arrived home, Dan and Levy from Taber were staying in the purple room to work on a wedding that Levy was the wedding planner for. (Wedding planner was her work in the Philippines.) Now that they went back to Taber this afternoon, a Wycliffe friend of mine from our time in Dallas will be coming at 10:36 and Rachel and I will pick her up at the airport. She will be staying overnight, and then will be going to a five-day prayer conference Wycliffe Canada is sponsoring at the Entheos Center. She will be back again to stay the night on the 2nd. I last saw Dorothea in the Philippines in 2008 when I was there for a Wycliffe/SIL prayer conference.

Rachel and I have now purchased tickets to Winnipeg on October 16th for my brother Jerry’s memorial service on th 17th. We’ll rent a car from Winnipeg and drive down to Baudette, Minnesota, where the memorial service will be held.

I hope you all have a good, peaceful week. Mine will be busy.

Monday, September 21, 2015 11:06 PM CDT

Happy autumn! We’ve had some lovely days, but tonight the temperature was supposed to get down to freezing, so I brought a lot of my potted plants closer to the house where they are less likely to freeze. Trees are golden and leaves are dropping.

I saw my eye surgeon today. He was “very happy” to see how much my eye has improved since he last saw me in July. That was the time I couldn’t see ANYTHING at all on the eye chart—not even distorted looking letters and Dr. C thought the problem was in the retina (it wasn’t). I’ll be seeing him again in January. He thinks my eye should continue to improve, and the scar from the ulcer has shrunk.

I’ll be going to the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fall Conference on Thursday to Saturday. I’m looking forward to it.

Rachel and I now have flights booked to Winnipeg so we can go to Jerry’s memorial service.

I could write more, but tonight I’m not really thinking. Just tired, I guess.

Thursday, September 17, 2015 11:16 PM CDT

It’s been a busy 17 days, but now our visitors have gone home. Al left on Saturday, driving out west and Mom Seever flew to Minneapolis yesterday. Dennis spent the whole time with us, and we experienced lots of family togetherness, sharing the evening meals. Mom cooked her famous pork roast/mashed potatoes/carrots/ banana cream pie dinner and made potato salad another day. Otherwise, I did most of the cooking for from six to eight people in the evenings.

Rachel: “We did all the things in two weeks that would normally take five years to do.” So true. We kept busy. We went to the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum and the Calgary Tower. Rachel also took Mom, Renylor and Andrew to the mountains one Saturday.

More trees along the streets have turned gold and fall is truly here. I’m enjoying the beautiful days.

Yesterday afternoon Rachel took Dennis for his consultation on over-dentures (which fit over the existing teeth) and I was able to go along. The end of August he had precise measurements taken and the dentist now had a model of his mouth with all of Dennis’ complicated problems. He explained three step-by-step procedures of what could be done, some requiring teeth to be pulled and others implants for anchoring. Or we could do nothing. The three sets of dentures and procedures cost A) $100,000 B) $70,000 C) $40,000. D) Nothing. So guess which one we are going to choose. . . I’m wondering why Dr. C. sent us to this dentist in the first place. Could she guess how expensive it would be? She does simple procedures for $2,500 but Dennis’ mouth was beyond her ability.

The memorial service for my brother Jerry will be held on October 17. Rachel and I are working out how to get there—fly to Winnipeg and then rent a car and drive 3 ½ hours.

Monday, September 14, 2015 10:17 PM CDT

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for my brother Jerry, who was battling an aggressive brain tumor for the past six weeks. His battle is now over, and he is at peace with Jesus. He passed away early this morning. A memorial service will be held in Baudette, Minnesota, later on, and burial will take place soon in North Dakota in the cemetery where his wife Sherry is buried. A retired teacher, Jerry enjoyed hunting, fishing and wildlife photography.

The following is from my nephew, Michael Ausmus: (This was on Facebook along with a spectacular photo of an eagle in flight.)

"This morning my father Gerald Ausmus passed away around 2:00am from the brain tumor in his thalamus. He died just 6 weeks after his diagnosis. It has been a very painful last few weeks watching him decline so rapidly and suffer. I am glad he is finally at peace. He had said he was going to fly away when he died so this picture he took of this bald eagle soaring through the sky seems appropriate to share with everyone. My dad loved capturing the emotions and beauty of wildlife with his camera. Soar as high as the eagles dad! I love you and will miss you so much!'

--Michael Ausmus

Sunday, September 6, 2015 10:10 PM CDT

Happy Labor Day weekend to those living in Canada or the U.S. Today was cold and rainy (45 degrees F., 7 degrees C.), feeling very much like fall. On Wednesday we had the blower motor of our furnace replaced because it had seized and sent a smell of burning rubber up through the furnace vents. It was none too soon because we have needed to use the furnace every day since then. In fact, there has been snow in Alberta up north in the past couple days.

Mom Seever and Dennis’ brother Allan have been here since Monday night. I’ve had vacation days, and have had Dennis at home so he can interact with his family. We’ve done things as a family on occasion; those who were available participated in the family outings. Tim and Renylor had to work this week so we’ve only been all together in the evenings. Some of the adventures were a trip to the zoo, a trip to two farmers’ markets for some fresh produce. Other things didn’t work out because they were outdoor events that were cancelled because of the weather. After church on today, we went out to eat at Perkins. That was fun.

This afternoon, we played a number of card games while Dennis watched football games. Rachel was with us this afternoon and any afternoon that she isn't working.

Tomorrow is Labor Day, a holiday up here, so we’re planning to go to the Royal Tyrell Dinosaur Museum an hour and a half from here. We went to see it a number of years before Dennis had his stroke. Karen, Rachel’s close friend who died last summer, was along with us. Good memories.

Thanks for your prayers for my brother Jerry. I’ve heard that he laughs and smiles, answers questions with two word answers and is eating and taking fluids.

Sunday, August 30, 2015 11:22 PM CDT

This was a quiet weekend. The weather was warm this afternoon, but is cooling down tonight. The current temperature is 57 degrees.

Dennis has been home for the weekend, and will be staying the coming two weeks. His brother and mother traveled as far a Moose Jaw, Sask., today and will be traveling the remaining 7 hours tomorrow. We’re looking forward to their visit.

Dennis enjoyed using his scooter to gather cans and bottles, and later watched football on TV.

Rachel continued helping me downsize this week. We found a dress in the closet in a JC Penney’s bag. I thought at first it was one of Rachel’s dress-up dresses from years ago when she had a collection of vintage bride’s maid dresses and prom dresses. It turned out it was an ivory satin wedding dress—much yellowed with time. It had long sleeves, and a lace skirt and train. Where it came from is a mystery. Could it have been there in the dark corner of the closet when we moved in 21 years ago? I wonder. Did anyone miss it?

Thanks to those of you who have been praying for my brother Jerry who has a brain tumor. This week his condition took a dramatic downturn. I talked with him over the phone on three occasions, and each time I could tell that he was worse than the last time I talked with him. He now sleeps much of the time, answers questions with one or two words, is paralyzed on his right side, and needs a mechanical lift to get out of bed. A week ago he was hoping to go to his 50th high school class reunion on Sept. 12 and at that time it looked like it might be possible. Please pray that his passing will be peaceful and that he won’t suffer. He doesn’t seem to be in pain.

Have a good week.

Monday, August 24, 2015 4:05 PM CDT

SNOW ! A local news source described it like this: “Calgary and some of the surrounding area felt some summer heat relief with an August snowfall. The surprising winter weather was met with a resounding only-in-Alberta sentiment — and a bit of excitement from winter sports enthusiasts.” We didn’t see the snow here in the northeast part of Calgary, because it fell in western Calgary and up in the mountains. Two days later, Sunday afternoon, the temperature got up to 73 degrees (23 degrees C.). The weather was really pleasant as Dennis enjoyed traveling around the neighborhood on his mobility scooter, collecting cans and bottles.

He is also enjoying football games on TV. I can always tell when he is displeased with a play because he yells at the TV. Don’t all men do that? Only I can’t tell what he is yelling because all the words are the same.

Rachel has been busy. . . she enjoys downsizing, recycling, gathering up things for the local thrift store, rearranging furniture, sorting, cleaning, and taking worn out items to the dump. It’s best to just step back and let her do it because she moves like a whirlwind. Sometimes I need to say, “No, I still want that—it has memories for me.” But I’m always pleased with the results and thankful for her help. Sometimes it takes me a while to find where everything is, but it’s definitely well organized. All of my greeting cards are now organized and labeled in boxes. Maybe I’ll send out more greeting cards now that I can locate what I am looking for.

On Saturday morning Rachel and I each took a car load of Dennis’ black plastic bags of cans and bottles to the recycling depot. They were filling up our garage! Dennis earned $165 from the recycling we did for him, which made him very happy. (You need to remember that we pay a deposit on all of the recyclable cans and bottles, something that is not true in the U.S, where people get very little in return for their collecting.)

Thanks for your prayers for my brother Jerry, who has a brain tumor. He appreciates them. I can’t just drop in for a visit, so I call often. He is with his son and family in Fargo, North Dakota, and at the end of this week, he will going into an assisted living facility about four blocks from where Greg lives. He is feeling sad about that since he will know no one there. He will be able to go to the annual family reunion at the farm on Labor Day weekend, and to his 50th class reunion the next weekend—if his health holds out.

I hope you have a good week. May the Lord richly bless you.

Monday, August 17, 2015 12:13 AM CDT

We’ve had some hot days this past week with 91 degrees one day (I still don’t think in Celsius), but Saturday was a chilly, rainy 52 degrees, and really did feel like fall. This summer has been hotter than some I remember when we only would have a week of hot weather the whole summer.

This past week, Dennis was measured for over-dentures; the measuring took four hours, and I was so thankful that Rachel could be with him. I hope all goes well on the next appointment. And I really hope that new teeth will allow him to eat a greater variety of things. Right now I need to cut his food in small bite-sized pieces and not give him crunchy food that he can’t chew.

We’ve now got 12 black garbage bags and four boxes of cans and bottles for recycling in our garage. Dennis has been busy! I thought about taking a load to the bottle depot Saturday morning, but it was raining and I didn’t want to get soaking wet. Now that I can drive, it’s my responsibility. Rachel’s helping days are over, I’m afraid. I’m glad I can do things myself, but will miss her help. Dennis was home this past weekend and added two of those bags to the collection.

I’m thankful for my new glasses. I was told that adjustment would take a while and it is. My two eyes don’t like what is being done to them, so seem to take turns at being in focus at any one time. I know that the prescription is correct because both were in focus when I first got the glasses. At that time my stomach was upset from how they were pulling my eyes.

I’ve had short phone visits with my brother Jerry on a number of occasions. His short-term goal right now is to go to his 50th class reunion the second week of September and say good bye to all of his high school classmates one last time. He still needs a full body scan to see if there is more cancer and a biopsy to discover just what kind of cancer it is. He appreciates prayer. Brain tumors are scary things, especially in the location where his is. His family was all together in Fargo, North Dakota, this weekend—two sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

I was reminded of these words from Henri Nouwen: “Just as bread needs to be broken in order to be given, so, too, do our lives.”

I love the wisdom in this quote from C. S. Lewis that captures this truth: “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer.”

Nostalgia: This past week I was remembering folk songs from the 1960s—The Brothers Four; Peter Paul and Mary; Simon and Garfunkel. Are they part of your memories too?

If you wonder why I post Half-Past August each year, I post it for myself. The writer says things I would like to say, but haven’t put the words together.

It wasn't the dusty look of the leaves or the flash of early goldenrod or the fattening pods on the milkweed. It wasn't those brilliant, cool days and chilly nights, right out of late September.

It wasn't the different sound in the cawing of the crows, nor the chirping of the crickets not the katydids rasping in the darkness. It wasn't any one thing that made mid-August feel and look and sound like the very first stages of autumn. It was all those things coming at once, and at a time when we really didn't want to think about any season but summer.

That's the way it usually happens. There you are, right in the midst of summer, enjoying the sun, climbing a mountain or sailing a boat, eating the best sweet corn ever grown and the ripest juiciest tomatoes a garden ever produced. And thinking fine, idle summer thoughts. Then an insect or a wildflower or a breath of Canadian air intrudes, and you glance at the calendar and see only a few days away is the first of September.

Then you hear the frenzy in the rasping calls of cricket and katydid. You see the first red leaf on a sumac. You look for a daisy, and you see that the first asters are already in bloom. And you realize that you can lie abed till 6 o'clock and still get up with the sun. Then you know. Then you can read the clock of the year almost as well as the cricket and the katydid. It's already half-past August, less than fifteen minutes till autumn!

(Author unknown)

Monday, August 10, 2015 6:26 PM CDT

This past weekend was just an ordinary weekend . . . but not ordinary at all, because I’m now driving again, something I never thought would be possible after I last saw Dr. C. It was great to go to the bank on my own and get a haircut; go shopping at Walmart; drive to church.

Dennis was home as usual, and he enjoyed a beautiful couple days out on his scooter.

If you missed the August 5th post, you can go back and check it out. I’m still dealing with the sad news about my brother’s brain tumor. He’s seeing a neurologist today.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015 7:53 PM CDT


Wow! It’s amazing to be able to see again! It’s the first time since Nov. 1st. I just picked up my new glasses this afternoon. How different it is from Dr. C’s dire prediction on July 8 when he told me the light receptors were probably damaged when the retina was swollen and that he didn’t know if the retina would heal. Thank you, Lord, for sight!

Adjustment may take a little while. Right now my stomach is quite upset from the new glasses.

I talked with my brother Jerry last night and have his permission to share this. He wants all the prayer he can get. Jerry, 67, has been having heart and breathing problems lately. Then a new problem developed—loss of part of his vision and some memory loss. He had an MRI, which revealed a brain tumor. Since he lives in a small town in northern Minnesota with minimal medical facilities, his son, Greg, (a medical doctor) is moving him to Fargo, North Dakota, where Greg and his family live. Jerry will see a doctor on Monday. Please pray 1) that they can pinpoint exactly where the tumor is located. 2) that they can determine if it is cancerous or benign. 3) that some kind of treatment can be found. Lots of unknowns, and so far it appears that the tumor is located in a difficult to reach spot. But we do know that God answers prayer. Thanks for praying.

Monday, August 3, 2015 6:59 PM CDT

Happy Heritage Day—also known as a civic holiday or Picnic Day up here. No matter what they call it, Canadians love getting a day to enjoy the summer, since it is over so quickly. The temperature is now 84 degrees. I’m not doing much right now, just roasting in the heat in the house, reading and answering e-mails and catching up on news through Internet. And enjoying a day off because of the three-day weekend. Dennis has been home with me today, enjoying a long weekend too.

I’ve been looking at the poplar trees that line our street; although the temperature is still hot, many of them have small clusters of golden leaves. Unfortunately, fall is just around the corner. As you can tell, fall is not my favorite season, simply because it signals winter is on the way.

August 1st marked 40 years since we joined Wycliffe after our training in Norman, Oklahoma, which we began two weeks after our wedding.

Dennis told me he was out of sunscreen spray. (Actually one of the workers at the house called me to tell me that.) Dennis just acted it out. So I sent him to Co-op to find it. I told him where to look for it in the store, wrote it down on paper in case he needed to ask someone, and he came back with exactly the right spray bottle.

This weekend and part of the coming week, Rachel is out camping with two former roommates. I hope they are having a good, safe time.

I made fluffy baking powder biscuits this noon for chicken a la king--only they weren't fluffy; they were more like hockey pucks. This afternoon I looked at the orange plastic jar and discovered it wasn't baking powder, it was cornstarch.

I posted my eye update last Tuesday. You can check it out if you haven't yet read it.

I think I’d like another vacation day tomorrow, but that’s not going to happen. Have a great week.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 10:00 PM CDT

Dear praying friends, thanks so much for your prayers for my eye. God is moving in the situation. My eye surgeon sent me to Rockyview Hospital to check out my retina, which he thought might be damaged. I had the test yesterday, and the test came out normal. The technician who administered the test thought I might be able to get glasses at this point with prisms in them to correct the double vision.

So I was able to get an appointment with an optometrist today who has given me a prescription for glasses previously. I’ll be getting a normal pair of glasses—no prism, which actually would have made everything much worse. The correction for my right eye is 20/50. Double vision no longer appears to be a problem. Praise the Lord! I’m so happy after the dire predictions in the past. One eye is near-sighted, and the other on far-sighted, so Dr. S. said I might have trouble adjusting to my glasses, but one step at a time. Thanks so much for praying!

Sunday, July 26, 2015 10:21 PM CDT

Our family got back Friday evening after a one-week vacation that took us to Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. It's fortunate that we saw Glacier Park when we did because two days later some of the roads through the park were closed because of a forest fire. We saw a lot of trains in various locations, which made Dennis really happy.

We enjoyed seeing Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park, something we saw the last time we were there when Tim and Rachel were little. By the time we got back home, we were all exhausted, even those of us who didn’t do any driving.

Tomorrow I will have a special eye test at Rockyview Hospital to see what is causing me to see double/triple with my right eye. Thanks for your prayers. It’s been a long journey so far, and I still have a long way to go. Thanks for praying.

Saturday, July 18, 2015 9:24 AM CDT

I hope all of you have had a good week. We're heading for our vacation this morning. Prayers are appreciated.

Sunday, July 12, 2015 7:05 PM CDT

We woke up to some wild weather this morning—the most severe thunderstorm since our time in Darwin, Australia, which used to get the most lightning strikes of anywhere in Australia ( because of a lot of iron in the rocks there.) Anyway, the crashes sounded so close, but we are all fine. Although there was localized flooding and some hail, it didn’t affect us except for some shredded petunia petals.

Four hundred wildfires are still raging in British Columbia, northern Alberta, and northern Saskatchewan and 1,000 tourists and outdoor enthusiasts had to be evacuated. The good news is that the rain helped control the fire that was raging in Jasper National Park, which was estimated to be 5,000 hectares but now that the smoke has somewhat cleared, its actual size is 1,000 hectares. (Note: one hectare is equivalent of 2.471 acres in the British Imperial System and the United States Customary measure.) Enough with the weather report, but some people actually do enjoy hearing what Calgary weather is like. Maybe you’re one of them. But then again, maybe not.

Dennis was home again this weekend, and enjoyed gathering cans and bottles for recycling. Yesterday someone gave him $20 while he was on his recycling route. I just can’t imagine all of the generous people in our area who are moved with compassion when they see Dennis.

This week I’m gathering things together, getting ready for our trip to Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park between July 18 and 24. We’ll be driving down there in two cars, and we’re figuring out ways to fix less expensive meals along the way. I can remember back when we used to heat cans of stew and hot dogs on the car manifold as we drove.

Continuing saga of my eye. . . I posted a report on Wednesday, so if you haven’t seen it, please go back and read it. The one thing I forgot to mention is that Dr. C. is going to send me to the Rockyview Hospital so I can have a test on a specialized machine that measures the information being sent to the retina. I don’t have the date for that yet.

Have a great week.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 10:22 PM CDT

Continuing saga of my eye. . . I saw my eye surgeon today. The cornea is completely healed—there’s just a small scar, and no infection or inflammation. But my sight is now 20/400—I couldn’t see ANYTHING at all on the eye chart—not even distorted looking letters. Dr. C: “The problem is not the cornea. The problem is in the retina. The light receptors were probably damaged when the retina was swollen.” Me: “Will it heal?” Dr. C.: “There’s no way of knowing.” Me: “You mean my eyesight might be like this the rest of my life?” Dr. C.: “That’s quite possible.” Dr. C. usually smiles. Today he was not smiling. No type of lens will correct the vision loss. The technician tried that, to no avail.

On March 21, I could read four lines on the eye chart and was given a steroid shot to take down the rest of the swelling in the retina. So what happened in 3 ½ months?

Today I need George Matheson’s prayer (shared in the past): “Dear Lord, You have made waiting beautiful and patience divine. You have taught us that your will should be accepted, simply because it is your will. You have revealed to us that a person may see nothing but sorrow in his cup yet still be willing to drink it because of a conviction that Your eyes see farther than his own. . . “

No, I don’t understand, but God is still God and He’s still good.

I can read things about a foot and a half from my eyes, so that's a small consolation.

Thanks for your prayers. I still need them.

Saturday, July 4, 2015 1:00 PM CDT

Happy 4th of July to all of you. May you all have happy, safe celebrations.

The Ausmus side of the family (sisters Sharon and Elaine, cousin Donna and niece Alyssa, plus others) work on puzzles when they are together on the farm in Pine City. What fun they all have! Then they take photos of the finished puzzles and post them on Facebook. Tim has been watching those posts. So he bought a box of 10 scenery and animal puzzles of different sizes, ranging from 300 to 1,000 pieces. This morning he, Renylor and Andrew are putting together a 300-piece horse puzzle on the coffee table upstairs. I told them they need to post a picture of the finished puzzle to show my sisters what they have inspired.

On Wednesday, July 1st, we celebrated Canada Day as well as Tim's birthday, which is actually July 2nd. We had a family barbecue in the back yard. Tim and Renylor’s friend Wendy came and brought her son Spencer along. Renylor’s sister Aya also “attended” the party from the Philippines through Skype. Later Tim’s friend Clay came over. The adults talked until midnight in the backyard (minus Rachel, Dennis and me) while Andrew and Spencer, who have been good friends for years, played in the basement. They were probably very sleepy boys the next day because they were still playing at midnight.

Rachel picked Dennis up at Waverley House on Wedneday morning and brought him home for the holiday/birthday party. The two of them also recycled two loads of cans—there was quite a backlog. Dennis was proud of the $100 he made. It gives him a great feeling of satisfaction to earn his own spending money. I could give him money out of his account, but it’s just not the same. There’s still more cans to recycle, which Rachel plans to do today.

On Thursday night I went to a play with my writer friend Laureen and a friend of hers at Rosebud, a theatre community an hour and a half drive from here. The town of Rosebud is a self-contained community in the middle of nowhere, where students study acting and related arts to earn a four-year degree (I think). “The Last Train to Nibrock” was an excellent play about a young World War II soldier who meets a young woman who wants to be a missionary. The chemistry between the two of them was amazing. All of the 80 minutes of action in this three-act play took place on a bench. Laureen often goes to plays at Rosebud because she writes articles about the plays for a local newspaper, and her niece goes to school out there.

So this is the “bits and pieces of our lives” for today. We still have the rest of weekend ahead of us.

On Wednesday I’ll be going to see Dr. Chow who will be able to tell me—hopefully—how my eye is healing, if I will ever get rid of the triple vision, and if I can get glasses soon. And if, somehow, I will see well enough again so I will be able to drive.

As I was writing this, I just got a notification that my friend Penny is now with Jesus. Penny had been battling cancer for quite a while and I prayed for her on this long journey. The journey is now over. A few years younger than I am, Penny was my walking partner when we were both in Weight Watchers in Darwin, Australia. She and her husband were with Wycliffe.

Have a good, peaceful, safe, productive week.

Monday, June 29, 2015 8:57 PM CDT

I attempted to post this on Sunday, but didn’t save it on to the site.
My bright pink rose is in bloom, the pink peony has just opened and petunias in pots along the steps are doing well. The temperature was 86 degrees (30) today and the rest of the week promises to be equally hot. Summer is truly here!

After church our family went out to eat at Smashburger (one step up from McDonald’s). The food was great. Afterward we all played five-pin bowling; Andrew caught on quickly, and Dennis won the last game we played. The balls are much smaller and lighter than regular balls, and with only five pins, it’s harder to hit the pins. Although the ball is much smaller, it’s difficult to throw for someone who has had a stroke. There’s a ramp that handicapped people can roll the ball down if they can’t throw it. Dennis used that (and so did I), but it made him sad because he used to be really good at bowling, and using a ramp to roll the ball down just isn’t the same as using measured steps and a powerful swing to release the ball.

Dennis watched a Canadian Football League football pre-season game on TV on Saturday.

It was good to be able to say to Dennis, "We're out of milk. Please get some at Co-op." Yes, he was able to do it.

I’m learning to take the bus from work. The woman I’ve been riding with since November was on vacation and is now recovering from surgery that she had last Friday. I’ve gotten rides from other people, but it’s not always convenient for them, so I bought bus tickets. By car, my trip home would be 20 minutes, by bus with one transfer, it’s 50-60 minutes. On Tuesday I was walking four blocks to the bus stop to ride home, when I kicked into something with the toe of my shoe. I landed on my hands and knees and bumped my lip on the pavement (no teeth broken which is a good thing.) I felt achy afterward. Tomorrow morning, I’ll take it to work for the first time.

On Wednesday, our office had a spiritual retreat at a beautiful camp out in the country, outside the city limits. The retreat topic was, ”Personal Worship –Reflection and Prayer. I found it beneficial to get away from the city for a day of peace and quiet and to focus on reading and prayer. Isaiah 26:3 says, “[God,] you will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” I am resolved to keep steadfast because I want that peace. Don’t we all?

Andrew is done with school and will be going to soccer and swimming during the summer. He did soccer and swimming two years ago, and really enjoyed it.

How is your eye? Good question. A few nights ago I could clearly read the label on a hand soap bottle and see the texture of a bath towel, both at two feet away. That’s exciting! Yes, it is getting better, but what I see varies from day to day. I still see triple when reading letters at a distance.

Have a good week and a good 4th of July, or Canada Day, whichever you are celebrating. We’ll use our Canada Day to celebrate Tim’s birthday, which is actually July 2nd.

Sunday, June 21, 2015 10:14 PM CDT

Happy Father’s Day and happy first day of summer. Part of our family had a taco lunch to celebrate Father’s Day and then Rachel joined us later on in the afternoon. It was a good, peaceful day, except we had heavy about noon, and someone took a photo of a small funnel cloud I on this side of the city. I had no idea anyone was in any danger.

Dennis was out collecting cans and bottles again this weekend, and someone gave him $5. It never ceases to amaze me that people are so generous.

There’s nothing else to write about at the moment, so have a good, peaceful week.

Sunday, June 14, 2015 11:28 PM CDT

Bits and pieces of our lives

After a week in the 80s, the weather turned much cooler. Friday night there was hail, which was so fine that it looked more like snow. The flowers on my petunias were shredded, but nothing else was harmed. On Saturday morning, the furnace came on. Earlier in the week, we couldn’t cool the house off at night. This is typical of Calgary in June.

Chocolate! Dennis and I received a large, flat box of Lindor chocolate squares this week, hand-carried by friends who had visited in Switzerland. The senders were Swiss friends, Otto and Vreni, whom we have known since Wycliffe training in 1975. We were next door neighbors in Waxhaw, N.C., from August to December that year.

Today would have been my mother’s 90th birthday, and I’m missing her today. She passed away in 1992.

On Wednesday Rachel fell down three steps, ended up with a sprained foot, five cuts on the top of her foot, a tetanus shot and crutches. She will still be off work on Monday, because it hurts her foot to drive a car. She is walking around very carefully today without crutches. She still has her rental car, but her car should be repaired soon.

Dennis was home this weekend, and enjoyed collecting cans and bottles as usual.

Last Monday I visited the retina specialist. The good news: the swelling in my retina is completely gone. However, I have another appointment in three months—in case the swelling comes back. The bad news: I think the largest letters on the top of the eye chart were Z and E, but I didn’t even bother guessing because they were so blurry/distorted/out of focus—like a child’s crayon scribbling. The E had five arms. I didn’t ask the retina specialist about my sight, because that’s not his department; he’s only concerned about retinas. The problem is with the cornea, and I don’t see the eye surgeon/ophthalmologist until July 8. I think the scar tissue from the healed ulcer is pulling on the cornea. I've been told in the past that healing will take months and months, It certainly is taking months and months. I’d appreciate prayers for this too. (And that I would continue to be patient.)

Monday, June 8, 2015 3:42 PM CDT

For those of you who are wondering, the current Calgary temperature at 3:30 is 88 degrees F./31 degrees C.

On Saturday when Dennis arrived at home, he indicated to me that the Handi-bus circled around the neighborhood three times before the driver found the right place to drop Dennis off. That’s scary for a man who can’t talk. He would have been screaming at the driver to indicate something was WRONG. Most of the streets in this area, which is one square mile, start with Rundle—Rundleview Road (our street) Rundleview Crescent, Rundle Close, Rundlehorn Drive, etc. Very, very confusing for someone who doesn’t know the area. I have lived here for 21 years and know the names of few of the streets—49th Street, 52nd Street—but the various Rundles confuse me.

On June 2nd, as Rachel was on her way to work, a driver to her left tried to change lanes. Rachel swerved to get out of his way, but he hit both front and back doors so they wouldn’t open. Fortunately the frame wasn’t bent, so the doors are being replaced. It’s good Rachel wasn’t hurt badly, but she does have a stiff neck and back—and needs physio. Prayers are appreciated.

I saw the retina specialist this morning. The good news: the swelling in my retina is completely gone. However, I have another appointment in three months—in case the swelling comes back. The bad news: I think the largest letters on the top of the eye chart were Z and E, but I didn’t even bother guessing because they were so blurry/distorted/out of focus. The E had five arms. IF I ever see again, it will be nothing short of a miracle. I didn’t ask the retina specialist about my sight, because that’s not his department; he’s only concerned about retinas. The problem is the cornea, and I don’t see the eye surgeon/ophthalmologist until July 8. I’d appreciate prayers for this too.

Rachel had time off from work today, so she picked me up after my appointment. We went out for breakfast with two of her roommates, who are nurses. One of them is moving to B.C. this week. (Melynda was working today, so wasn’t there.) This was totally unexpected, but nice and the breakfast was inexpensive ($3.00). I’m trying to do some work from home this afternoon now that the dilating drops are wearing off . . . finally.

Monday, June 8, 2015 3:42 PM CDT

On Saturday when Dennis arrived at home, he indicated to me that the Handi-bus circled around the neighborhood three times before the driver found the right place to drop Dennis off. That’s scary for a man who can’t talk. He would have been screaming at the driver to indicate something was WRONG. Most of the streets in this area, which is one square mile, start with Rundle—Rundleview Road (our street) Rundleview Crescent, Rundle Close, Rundlehorn Drive, etc. Very, very confusing for someone who doesn’t know the area. I have lived here for 21 years and know the names of few of the streets—49th Street, 52nd Street—but the various Rundles confuse me.

On June 2nd, as Rachel was on her way to work, a driver to her left tried to change lanes. Rachel swerved to get out of his way, but he hit both front and back doors so they wouldn’t open. Fortunately the frame wasn’t bent, so the doors are being replaced. It’s good Rachel wasn’t hurt badly, but she does have a stiff neck and back—and needs physio. Prayers are appreciated.

I saw the retina specialist this morning. The good news: the swelling in my retina is completely gone. However, I have another appointment in three months—in case the swelling comes back. The bad news: I think the largest letters on the top of the eye chart were Z and E, but I didn’t even bother guessing because they were so blurry/distorted/out of focus. The E had five arms. IF I ever see again, it will be nothing short of a miracle. I didn’t ask the retina specialist about my sight, because that’s not his department; he’s only concerned about retinas. The problem is the cornea, and I don’t see the eye surgeon/ophthalmologist until July 8. I’d appreciate prayers for this too.

Rachel had time off from work today, so she picked me up after my appointment. We went out for breakfast with two of her roommates, who are nurses. One of them is moving to B.C. this week. (Melynda was working today, so wasn’t there.) This was totally unexpected, but nice and the breakfast was inexpensive ($3.00). I’m trying to do some work from home this afternoon now that the dilating drops are wearing off . . . finally.

Sunday, May 31, 2015 10:54 PM CDT

Today Dennis and I celebrated our 40th anniversary by eating at the Olive Garden with our family. It was a very low-key day, but that's the way we wanted it. In fact, the planning of where to go took place on Saturday. I wanted to go to a Chinese buffet, but Dennis indicated he didn’t like Chinese food. I think the problem is that stir-fry is always crunchy, and he can’t chew anything crunchy.

It was a beautiful day today, and at 8 p.m., the temperature was still 77 degrees. The lilacs are fading, but are still giving off their fragrance. As of today, most of the annuals are either in pots or planted directly in the garden. We’ve had good weather up here, but feel sad for the people who have experienced flooding in the southern U.S. and have lost so much. We saw a video of the Trinity River in Dallas and the flooding going on there. We own a house in Duncanville, a suburb of Dallas. They had a lot of rain, but no flooding in Duncanville—we’re thankful.

Dennis’ teeth—Dennis saw the dentist this week about getting overdentures The dentist who thought she could do it concluded that in Dennis’ case it’s too complicated for her. He's been chewing without teeth for so long in some places in his mouth that the shape of his jaw has altered. We need to see a specialist to even see if it is possible.

Is your eye getting better? No, I can't see improvement. That doesn't mean it isn't improving, just that I can't see it. I will see a word on a road sign, close up and see the dark lettering with one or two "ghost" words around it. So I am seeing double or triple, all with one eye, quite a trick. I next see the retina specialist on June 8th.

Monday, May 25, 2015 11:24 AM CDT

Happy Memorial Day to all of my U.S. friends and family. May your weekend be a safe one.

The air is filled with the fragrance of lilacs—my pink and my lilac-colored lilac bushes are in full bloom. (It’s interesting that lilac is the name of a color as well as the name of the bush.) Ah. . . spring. They’re blossoming earlier than they did last year. It’s too bad that they don’t blossom longer.

This was a quiet weekend, because Tim and family were visiting friends in Taber. So I didn’t have a little boy by my bed at 7 a.m. asking if I would make breakfast for him on Saturday. He usually doesn’t come upstairs that early.

After church on Sunday, Rachel, Dennis and I ate at a truck-stop diner called Blackfoot Diner, named after Blackfoot Trail, the highway that runs past it (Blackfoot is also the name of a First Nations people group.) The diner has a ‘50s decor painted in pink, and the waitresses wear Pepto-bismal pink uniforms—easy to spot anywhere in the dining area. There are several working juke boxes, and although it’s not easy to spot from the road, the diner was filled with people when we arrived. A shelf around the upper part of the room holds an O-gauge train that didn’t happen to be running. The food was simple and good. Rachel had been there previously and thought Dennis would like it.

Afterward, Rachel drove to a train yard where we could see several moving trains, changing tracks. That made Dennis happy. We also spotted a few prop cars—Minnesota sheriff’s cars from the 1960s--being used in a re-make of the movie “Fargo.” It’s interesting that they are making a U.S. movie in Canada.

Afterward, Dennis wanted to go somewhere and tried drawing an air map for us. We couldn’t figure it out, so Rachel drew part of a map and Dennis added more to it. We still couldn’t figure it out, so Rachel drove and made each turn as he indicated it. We ended up at the Wycliffe office. He just wanted to see where he used to work and how everything looked. We didn’t go in, but he was satisfied with looking from the outside.

A few days ago, I planted some of my annuals in the freshly prepared flower bed, courtesy of Rachel’s hard work. I also planted a few pots and have left the remaining pots for Renylor.

Have a great week.
I found the following by Max Lucado on an email I received this past week and was blessed by it. May you be blessed as well.

Our Middle C
When author Lloyd Douglas attended college, he lived in a boardinghouse with a retired music professor who lived on the first floor. Douglas would stick his head in the door and ask, “Well, what’s the good news?” The old man would pick up his tuning fork, tap it on the side of his chair and say, “That’s middle C. It was middle C yesterday; it will be middle C tomorrow; it will be middle C a thousand years from now. The tenor upstairs sings flat. The piano across the hall is out of tune, but, my friend, that is middle C!”

You and I need a middle C. A still point in a turning world. An unchanging Shepherd. A God who can still the storm. A Lord who can declare the meaning of life. And according to David in Psalm 23—you have one. The Lord is your shepherd! He is your middle C!
Courtesy www.MaxLucado.com

Monday, May 18, 2015 3:08 PM CDT

This weekend in Canada is known as the “May long weekend” and today is Victoria Day—a holiday. It’s the weekend that Calgarians traditionally drag out their camping gear and risk getting snowed on. The TV meteorologist, David Spence, said that in checking through 40 years of May long weekends, 70 per cent of the weekends in the past have either had rain or snow. Snow was falling here on Saturday night, but didn’t last long because the temperature was 36 degrees F. (2 degrees C.) Yesterday and today have been bright and sunny, but chilly. Rachel took me plant shopping on Friday afternoon, but it was too cold this weekend to plant them in the garden or in pots.

Today Rachel took their two dogs out for a walk, and Dennis rode his scooter alongside them. It worked well until Lucy decided to run away in our backyard, and the gate was open. Yes, she caught up with the dog. Sometimes Rachel takes Andrew with her to walk dogs in a dog park.

As you can see, it was an uneventful weekend, but maybe that’s OK too. It was nice to have an extra day off work.

I hope your week has started out well.

Sunday, May 10, 2015 11:29 PM CDT

The current Calgary temperature is 52 degrees F. (11 C.) at 10 p.m. Crab apple blossoms on the tree next door are filling the air with their lovely fragrance as they are beginning to open. Usually they begin opening on May 15, so this year they are early. Last year they blossomed toward the end of May because it was so cold.

Dennis was out collecting cans and bottles again, but got very few. I think the week was a bit chilly so fewer people were littering the community with their trash (which is Dennis’ treasure.)

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you. We had a very interesting Mother’s Day. I made tacos for my family after church and invited Josephine, an immigrant originally from the Congo, to eat with us. She had spent 14 years in Kenya and had her own shop there. I've gotten to know her a bit from church, and since she was going to be alone today, I thought inviting her for lunch was something the Lord wanted me to do. I thought she was in her 30s, but she is actually 45, the mother of five children ranging from 21 years to 28 years! She is a permanent resident and came Canada with refugee status. She and Renylor were able to talk about an organization that helps immigrants with training and assists them in finding work. Since September, she has had a job for two months, but had to resign because only one bus went to the place for the day, and she needed to get up at 3 a.m. to get on it. That’s not work I would want to do either.

Rachel’s gift to me was a pedicure, which she did herself. I now have beautiful pink toenails with fake pearl decorations. No one will see them because I don’t have sandals to wear, and it’s too chilly anyway.

This afternoon, I had a lovely phone visit with my mother-in-law in Minnesota, and Rachel joined in as well since she was still here.

I’ve had a fantastic week of celebrating my birthday. On Monday, my friend Marie brought a lovely cake she had made, and our writers’ group—just four of us—celebrated my birthday. On Wednesday I went with a group of 25 seniors from our church to a delicious buffet and the play “The Miracle Worker,” which was about Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan. What an interesting play!

Am I ready for a “normal” week after having so much fun? I’m not sure about that. I hope you have a great week. God bless you all.

Sunday, May 3, 2015 11:02 PM CDT

The verse of the day was this: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12.) That was the favorite verse of my grandmother, Anna Zastera. I met Jesus through her life—and death— in 1960. My goal was to live my life faithfully for the Lord as she did. She faithfully read her Bible, so I read mine as well. I was 13 at the time.

It’s my birthday today and I’ve been celebrating. And celebrating. We all went out to lunch at Perkins this noon after church. While we were there, Dennis gave me a heart-shaped necklace. Although it says “Mom”, that was the one he pointed out to Rachel on a flyer he brought with him, and that was exactly what he wanted, no other. Yes, I am the Mom of his two children, so that works. Rachel says his purchase cost about 1,000 recycled cans. I’m in awe that he wanted to spend that much. I’m also grateful and will treasure it.

This afternoon Rachel took me to Cirque du Soleil (Around the Sun—a nationally known acrobatic performance.) It was great, and I’m grateful.

I’ve been reading and replying to Facebook birthday messages—nearly 140 of them. I feel very much loved.

Tim’s contribution to my birthday was cleaning my carpet. What a gift that was! It really needed cleaning and he did a great job.

I’ll be going to Rosebud Theatre on Wednesday with a group of seniors from my church. If they bought 20 tickets to “The Miracle Worker,” (Story of Helen Keller), they got one ticket free. So they decided to give it to me. Wow! I’m continuing my celebration of my birthday. Rosebud is a training school about an hour from Calgary that trains actors and others in the arts. It's a self-contained little town out in the middle of nowhere with coyotes and prairie dogs as its nearest neighbors.

Earlier this past week:
Note to me: Losing your keys is normal. Forgetting what they’re for is not. (This was an Internet post on aging.) I did lose my keys this week, but someone found them in the parking lot of an ethnic restaurant where a group of us went one noon this past week.

A special Filipina friend, Ligaya, passed away two days ago. She and I kept in touch since 1985. She always remembered my birthday with a card until her stroke in 2007. Ligaya sold sticky rice at our SIL Bagabag center for break times when we lived there in 1985, and I was supposed to learn to speak Ilocano from her. Language learning? Not much. Friendship? Yes. When I went to the Philippines in 2008 for a conference, I stopped in Bagabag and visited Ligaya. She always told her family that I would come back again someday to visit her—and I did. She kept all the letters I sent her, until they were ruined in a flood, and the picture of our family that I gave her in 1985 was still up on the wall in 2008.

Time moves onward . . . This week we said “Good bye” to a couple who have faithfully served with Wycliffe for nearly 46 years and are moving to Winnipeg to retire. I’m sad to see them go. Then on Friday a group of us went out to eat with Lois to say good bye to her as a department.
It feels strange to me to be one of the older Wycliffe members working in the Wycliffe office; there aren’t many of us left. Also, a retired friend from church—who was part of our Bible study in past years—is moving to Winnipeg to be closer to her family. As I said, time moves onward.

On Friday Rachel accompanied Dennis to the dentist, something I used to do before I could no longer drive. He had his teeth cleaned and the sharp edges all around one ground down. His teeth are wearing down so rapidly that the dentist said that the next stage was for him to eat pureed food, not a delightful prospect. The dentist then suggested over dentures that go right over the top of the existing stumps of teeth left in the mouth. That eliminates the expense of pulling all the remaining teeth. They are also less expensive than regular dentures and are fastened directly to the bone. We’re going to look into it.

Rachel discovered she likes gardening, but because she lives in a condo, she doesn’t have much space to garden. So she was helping me the past couple days. I’d be more inclined to work in my garden if I have someone out there with me. Renylor helped me last year, but she is so busy with work this year.

How is my eye? About the same. . . .

Sunday, April 26, 2015 8:06 PM CDT

My flower seeds are coming up in a couple pots on my window sill. Yes. Spring. I love the green I am seeing in the trees.

Dennis enjoyed going out collecting cans yesterday and today. There would be nothing for him to do at home if he didn’t have his scooter with him. The Handi-bus (taxi) came to pick him up at Waverley House Saturday afternoon, and didn’t have his scooter listed, so he refused to come home. They sent another larger Handi-bus to pick him up later that had room for his scooter. We’ve had mix-ups a couple weekends now. When I set up his trip home, I repeat about three times that he has a scooter, and yet they mix things up. I’ll give them a call tomorrow to see if we can straighten things out.

Yesterday I went to a Writers’ WorDshop (Yes, that’s what it’s called) and had a marvelous time. My friend Laureen gave me a ride back home, so we had a nice chat along the way.

I’m coming down with a cold, so it will be an early night for me. I’m miserable right now, but should feel better tomorrow. . . I hope.

Sunday, April 19, 2015 11:15 PM CDT

It’s the beginning of another week, and the trees are beginning to get their new green leaves, about a week earlier than in past years. Last year on May 3rd and 4th, we had a snowstorm that brought four inches of snow with it, so the trees were late in getting their leaves. We’ve had some really warm weather in past weeks, but this weekend was chilly, so Dennis decided not to bring his scooter. It was too cold for him to ride it around the community.

On Saturday, our whole family plus Erin went to the Supertrain show and enjoyed looking at all of the train layouts, from N gauge on up to O gauge. One of the two most interesting was a Mexican-American border layout with interesting details and scenery, including illegal aliens hiding in the bushes with guns drawn and a train, complete with amazing graffiti painted on the siThe most interesting layout was a scene from the Great Depression with a large O gauge trolley car that circled around. The buildings were realistic—just the fronts of them—and the people on the layout were all realistic, made by the creator of the display, who was an artist, I’m sure. One woman figure on the display held her head in her hands and wept, while sitting on the running board of a broken down truck that held all of her family’s earthly possessions in the back. Such were the realistic details.

Dennis enjoyed it, and was content this year when Rachel pushed him in a wheelchair. We walked and looked for two hours and then afterward enjoyed our dinner at MacDonald’s. I was worn out from walking, and Dennis was worn out from looking and sitting.

So how is your eye? That’s a common question. The visit to the retina specialist last Monday brought good news. The injection in my eye was working after all, because the swelling was 95 per cent gone. But I still could only see the big E on the eye chart, which is deeply disappointing, because I could read four lines previously. The retina specialist wants to see me in two months and my eye surgeon wants to see me in three months. No more injections or antibiotics. So what’s happening? Well, when I first saw a doctor in the hospital eye department on Nov. 1st, the ophthalmologist at that time said I would be on antibiotics for weeks and weeks, and healing would take months and months. So the answer is “it’s healing.” I just need to be patient. The good news is that I’m now able to read the computer screen with my right eye if I’m up close, and I can see all of the words. There are no holes in my vision. (That’s the way it happened last year when my eye was healing from the split cornea.) I appreciate your prayers as I wait (and wait, and wait) for healing.

I mentioned that my meditation will be in the May-June issue of The Upper Room. I now have a date—it will appear on May 8 and will have a link to a blog I’ve written. I found out that The Upper Room is distributed to 2 million people in 100 different countries! I’m amazed!!

We officially have dates Al and Mom Seever will be visiting us—Sept. 4 to the 16th. Al will spend a few days with us, and then drive off on his adventure of visiting various scenic places in Alberta, and riding his bike on some bike trails. Mom will be with us the entire time and will be flying back to Minnesota, with the help of attendants who will push her in a wheelchair and see that she gets on the proper flight.

I hope all of you have a wonderful week.

Sunday, April 12, 2015 7:02 PM CDT

I hope all of you are enjoying a beautiful spring. My tulips are up and the trees in our neighborhood have leaf buds. This afternoon, it’s 43 degrees (6 degrees C.) after being in the low 60s last week. The snow is completely gone, but here in Alberta, we don’t put away our snow shovels until June.

Rachel took Dennis’ cans into the recycling depot this week for him, getting $56 for the cans he had collected over the past few weeks. He spent a lot of time this weekend collecting more cans and bottles. Being out on his scooter in this beautiful spring weather makes him really happy. He comes in and holds up the fingers on his left hand to indicate the cans he has collected on that trip around the neighborhood. I count them—5, 10, 15, 17—and he nods if I am correct.

Supertrain is coming up on April 18-19 with its many working model railroad layouts. Our family is looking forward to it. It’s always fun! Last year Dennis walked on his own, but this year we definitely need the wheelchair.

I was planning to go to a ladies’ progressive supper through our church on Saturday night, but Tim, Renylor, Andrew and Erin were out for the day to visit Erin’s grandma who is 98. I had no one to watch Dennis since everyone was away, so I had to cancel my plans. No, I didn’t want to say he couldn’t come home for the weekend because it interfered with my plans. He really looks forward to his trip home, and I wouldn’t want to take that away from him.

Our family will be renting an RV for one week at the end of July so we can camp in Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Rachel, an amazing organizer, is doing the planning this time. (I always plan our trips to Minnesota, so this is a first for her. ) Ever since his stroke in 2004, Dennis has wanted to “buy a camper and a truck at an auction sale.” He would show us pictures in the newspaper, while we continually tried to convince him it wasn’t possible because he doesn’t have a driver’s license. Going camping again has been a dream of his for a long, long time.

Another dream of Dennis’ is to be on “The Price is Right|´ That’s been a dream of his for a long time. . . Dream on, Dennis, but I don’t see it happening.
Dennis’ question to me: Where is my passport? I nearly need to be a mind reader to figure out what he is asking me. Yes, we got it renewed this spring, and it is safely locked away. He wants it with him, but I don’t want to get it now because the Handi-bus will be picking him up at any time. His memory is good. If he takes it to Waverley House with him, he will know right where it is.

Papa Enderes, who died at the age of 56, had his funeral last Tuesday. enylor was unable to attend his funeral, but has had many conversations with her family on Skype. Tim got to know Papa well while living with the family in the Philippines for most of a year and a half in 2007- 2008 while waiting for Renylor’s paperwork for Canada to be processed. Please pray for Renylor, Tim, Andrew and Renylor’s family as they grieve for Papa.

Good news and bad news---After five months of antibiotic treatment, the ulcer in my eye has finally healed. I got a steroid injection in my eye on March 20th to take down the swelling in my retina, but the swelling has gotten worse instead of better. I’ll find out on April 13th what the next step is when I see the retina specialist and find out why it didn’t work. On March 20th, I was seeing four lines down on the eye chart, but now I can hardly see the big E. I continue to read and do my Wycliffe work with one eye. (Doing income tax—both Canadian and U.S—with one eye is NOT FUN! Especially when, at times, I need a magnifying glass.) I’ve continually reminded myself that it’s an annoying problem, but not a life-threatening one. I’m extremely grateful for your prayers.

I wrote a story that has been selected for an anthology for writers, which InScribe Christian Writer’s Fellowship—of which I am a member—is putting together. It’s a story about my writing journey and is called, “Learning Lasts a Lifetime.” Yes, I’m still learning. I also wrote a devotional that will appear in the May-June issue of The Upper Room.

Note to myself: remember to log off properly at night. At 7 a.m. this morning, when I came out to the living room, I saw Andrew on my computer. He had just sent a Facebook message to Rachel in Kelowna (she was there for Tae Kwon Do competition) and was corresponding with Pastor H. in India, who runs an orphanage. That was OK because Pastor H. already knows about my grandson. Fortunately, he starts out, Hi, this is Andrew, so no one mistakes him for me. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015 10:35 PM CDT

Happy Easter! He is risen. He is risen indeed. We awoke to a bit of snow on the ground this morning, but by this afternoon, it was completely gone. We had a lovely Easter service this morning.

Our whole family was over for Easter dinner, plus Rachel’s friend Kelley, and Tim’s friend Erin (male) from B.C. I think Dennis was happy to be with his family. I scheduled him to bring his scooter by Handi-bus, but the taxi they sent to pick him up didn’t have space for a scooter. It’s just as well, because the weekend was too cold for him to spend time outside.

This afternoon we all played a game, “What’s Yours Like?” For example, the whole group minus the guesser sees the same word on a card that is passed around the circle, and then answers what theirs is like. We had the word “gloves” and some of the responses were: black and fuzzy, bright pink and now claimed by my cat, old, sometimes missing. The guesser then had to figure out what the word was. It was a new game to us, and was fun. Andrew played with us a few rounds, but we discovered his answers were so specific that he ended up giving the word away.

Erin will be staying for three weeks in the purple room. Both he and Tim will be working during the day, and then visiting or playing computer games at night.

I’ve got most of the U.S. taxes and Canadian taxes done. It’s just a matter of photo copying some stuff. I’ll be relieved when it’s all in the mail. My left eye gets so tired from doing it with just one eye.

The visit to my eye surgeon will be this coming Wednesday, and then the visit to the retina specialist will be on the 17th. We’ll see what happens next.

Renylor’s father’s funeral will be on Tuesday. She has had a lot of visiting with her family on Skype, which really helps since she can’t be there. We appreciate your prayers for Renylor, Tim and Andrew, and Renylor’s family. Papa will be missed. (see the Caring Bridge entry I made a few days ago for more details.)

May the Lord richly bless you and give you a good week.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 8:33 PM CDT

Prayers, please.

Last night Renylor’s father passed away from his fourth heart attack. He had been joking and laughing when he suddenly had difficulty breathing. He was taken to the hospital, but declared dead on arrival.

Please pray for Renylor, her mother, and five siblings, as well as Tim and Andrew as they grieve their loss. It’s so hard for Renylor since she is so far away from family. Thanks for your prayers. Pappa Enderes (Nestor) was the one who had the angel visit in August. I’m repeating the story below because it was such an amazing story. Yes, God had more work for him to do and allowed him to live for about eight more months.

August 11, 2014 --- Here is an update on Renylor’s father: On Friday Nestor Enderes (in the Philippines) was unable to have the bypass surgery because his heart function was at 26 per cent, he was having difficulty breathing and his fingernails and hands were blue. He was depressed and hardly able to talk. Doctors put him on medication to improve his heart function because his heart function needed to be at least at 30 per cent or the surgery would be far too risky. There was evidence that he previously had three heart attacks, although it was unclear just when all the heart attacks had taken place.

On Monday morning, Renylor excitedly told me what had happened over the weekend and said I could share it.

Nestor knew people around the world were praying for him and he was praying too—really hard. One night over the weekend, as he was lying in his hospital bed, someone in white walked into his room, put his hand over Nestor’s heart and then left as mysteriously as he came. He didn’t see the person’s face, but felt the cool pressure of a hand touching his chest. Something took place at that point that can be described as nothing short of a miracle. His family wondered if it was a hallucination on his part, but when he talks, everything else he says makes sense. And the change in him has been miraculous.

Tests are now coming back normal (not as extensive as the test prior to the planned surgery, of course), Nestor is very happy, his ability to breathe is back to normal, his coloring is back to normal. He has been laughing and joking with his family, and he tells everyone who comes into his room that they “need to trust Jesus.” He says, “God is showing me that He still has something for me to do.” The doctors now say that doing the bypass surgery at this time would have been a mistake. Nestor will be discharged from the hospital in a couple days. The doctors will just keep him on medication and monitor his heart function every two weeks. He is still weak and in a wheel chair.

Sunday, March 29, 2015 10:58 PM CDT

It was a beautiful spring weekend, with the weather getting warmer week by week and the days getting longer. My brain is tired tonight, so this will just be bits and pieces of our lives.

Andrew had spring break this week—so I took him to the office with me four days. I find an unoccupied office, and he will sit quietly, reading books or playing on an I-Pad. He enjoyed a few foosball games over the noon hours with Rod from the IT department. Thanks, Rod. You made the days special for Andrew. He also likes to chat with people in the office when it's break time and he comes out for a snack or a cup of cocoa.

On Thursday and Friday, I took vacation days to work on taxes—and watch Andrew. This Sunday afternoon I was still working on taxes, and will be doing it this coming week. It’s complicated, plus very slow going since I only have one eye to use, plus occasionally need a magnifying glass. When I finish the Canadian taxes for Dennis and me, I’ll need to apply the information I’ve gathered to the U.S. taxes due in two weeks. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to use both eyes. I don’t think I can go through this again. No, I don’t do it on line. I tried once and ended up with a mess converting back and forth between American dollars and Canadian dollars.

I’m almost done sending out 420 newsletters by mail. I’ve already sent the ones by email. Sigh. . . That’s the reason I didn’t get a faster start on taxes.

Dennis was home this weekend and was enjoying being out on his scooter. The only problem was that he wanted to go out again at 10 p.m. I wasn’t able to persuade him not to go, so I enlisted help from Tim and had Rachel on the phone. He was angry and insistent, but we finally persuaded him to stay home. There have been shootings six blocks from us, so wandering around at night is unwise, even if his scooter does have lights. (The shootings were drug related.)

On Saturday, I went with three friends to a retirement party for Linda and Barry, the Wycliffe couple who run the retreat center, Dovercourt Sanctuary. I’ve spent time there on three occasions over the past years. It’s a 2 ½ hour drive from here. Linda and Barry will still be having guests at the retreat center, but Barry won't be coming down to the Wycliffe office once a week or once every two weeks, where he served as a chaplain/counselor. They are special people to a lot of us in Wycliffe.

So how is my eye? I haven’t noticed any improvement over the past week and wonder if I will need another shot on April 17th. It will be nice not to need the antibiotic drops soon, however.

I hope you have a good week as we prepare for Easter Sunday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 10:12 PM CDT

I usually update Caring Bridge on a Sunday night, but this past week I missed doing that because I was at a choir concert with a choir and organ on Sunday night. It was great! I haven't heard an organ for quite a while.

This past SPRING weekend was really chilly, not spring-like at all. Dennis was booked to come home with his scooter, but decided to leave that behind at Waverley House. Some of the past few days have been really foggy.

I’m making progress! I read four lines on the eye chart Friday, instead of just the big E. The ulcer is virtually healed and I just need to finish my last bottle of antibiotic drops over the next couple of weeks, using them four times a day instead of every two hours. Swelling in the retina was not down enough, so I was given a steroid shot inside my lower eyelid. The numbing shot hurt, but I felt nothing with the steroid shot. I’m thankful to the Lord that healing is coming at last. My world is already less blurry and I’m deeply grateful for all of the prayers and words of encouragement. Thank you all so much. One of the technicians who tested my vision is a cousin of Renylor’s. Andrew was with me yesterday because it was the first day of spring break, so he got to see a relative of his.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 10:47 PM CDT

After a week of warm temperatures, softly falling snow is covering everything tonight, and we’ll wake up to a world of white tomorrow. Since spring is less than a week away, the snow probably won’t last very long.

Maria, who works at Waverley House, said that Dennis was really happy when he went out on his mobility scooter to collect cans and bottles, which he was able to do a couple days this past week. He also went out collecting on Saturday after he came home by Handi-bus. When he got home, he proudly pulled out his billfold and showed me that someone had given him a five dollar bill (again) while he was collecting. He keeps being mistaken for a homeless person, I guess, but a homeless person probably wouldn’t have a scooter. People really seem to be generous.

This week my writer friend Laureen and I enjoyed a meal together and a discussion of writing, among other things. I’ve missed getting together with her, because the last time we did anything was last summer. That’s too long.

Tim and Renylor bought a kit for Andrew to create a battery by plugging wires into two apples (or other fruit). Yes, it really worked, and ran a tiny digital clock. Andrew was so proud of himself when he got it working (with Tim’s help).

This afternoon, Renylor and I attended a baby shower at Rachel and Melynda’s condo. It was really fun. The mother of the baby was someone we had known at church since she was about 10.

This will be a medical week for me—visit to my eye surgeon, family doctor and retina specialist, plus some lab work. I don’t think the retina swelling is going down very quickly, and my guess is that I’ll need a shot in my eye. We’ll see. . .
I hope you have a good week.
This weekend, I’ve been listening to “Nothing is Wasted” by Jason Gray. The thoughts behind the song are based on Romans 8:28—All things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose. Yes, it’s true in my own life, even if I might not always see it at the time.

Nothing is Wasted

The hurt that broke your heart
And left you trembling in the dark
Feeling lost and alone
Will tell you hope's a lie
But what if every tear you cry
Will seed the ground where joy will grow

And nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

It's from the deepest wounds
That beauty finds a place to bloom
And you will see before the end
That every broken piece is
Gathered in the heart of Jesus
And what's lost will be found again

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

From the ruins
From the ashes
Beauty will rise
From the wreckage
From the darkness
Glory will shine
Glory will shine

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

From the ruins
From the ashes
Beauty will rise
From the wreckage
From the darkness
Glory will shine
Glory will shine

Sunday, March 8, 2015 8:36 PM CDT

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
—2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (This was my verse-of-the-day from Gateway Bible.)
Happy first Sunday of Daylight Savings Time. I never did set my bedroom clock back an hour last fall, so once again it’s correct. At 7 p.m., the temperature is 58 degrees (14 degrees C.) It certainly doesn’t sound like winter, does it? Needless to say, our snow is completely gone except for some patches on the north sides of buildings and fences where the sun never shines. Of course this doesn’t mean we won’t get more snow because March and April are usually snowy months.

Dennis was home this weekend with his scooter and went out riding three times, collecting cans each time. He was the proud collector of 30 cans and bottles. Is he safe doing that? you might ask. It’s probably just as safe as some of the other things he does. . .

Some observations: 1) I feel four years older than I did four months ago. 2) I now understand from first-hand experience the frustration elderly people go through in not being allowed to drive. I need to rely on others for so many things. 3) I can better understand Dennis’ frustration with not being able to drive, even though I was willing to drive him places. He can’t even tell me where he wants to go. 4) I still have one eye to use, and the problems I am suffering from aren’t terminal like people struggling with cancer, for instance. 5) I’ve gotten to know Wycliffe friends much better when they’ve driven me places. 6) Rachel has been a real trooper through all of this. She’s very skilled at caring for the needs of people with disabilities. 7) God is still in control of the situations, and yes, all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). Thanks so much for all of your prayers. I hope one day to be able to see more than the big E, which I can barely see right now.

Monday, March 2, 2015 11:16 PM CST

Just a quick note today. Dennis was home this weekend. He seems to be stronger and more like his old self. He is delighted that he won’t need to move from Waverley House. We all are delighted along with him.

I saw my ophthalmologist this afternoon. The corneal ulcer is nearly gone and there is scar tissue in its place. I now need to put the eye drops in every two hours instead of every hour during the day (I never was able to do it that often, but usually managed to do it eight times a day.) My sight wasn’t any better today because the swelling is still in the retina. Thanks for your prayers! (Check out the post for Friday, Feb. 27 for more information.)

I hope you have a great week. Spring is only 19 days away.

Friday, February 27, 2015 9:37 PM CST

Thanks to all of you, my praying friends. I saw a retina specialist today. The good news is that the bump on my retina is "just swelling" caused by the trauma to my eye (surgery and infection). The bad news is that my macular degeneration is now "significant." I'll be using drops for swelling (like Advil for the eye) once daily until my next appointment with the retina specialist in three weeks. If the swelling doesn't improve, he will give me a shot in my eye to reduce the swelling. For those wondering about macular degeneration, it destroys central vision in the macula to the point where a person can no longer read or recognize faces. There is no cure, and the only way to slow it down is to take special eye vitamins, which I’ve been doing for five years.

GOOD NEWS about Dennis: His walking has improved enough so that he no longer needs to be moved to another care facility. He will be happy when I tell him tomorrow.
Here is a prayer I read daily after Dennis had his stroke in 2004. It was a great encouragement to me and I hope it encourages you as well.The author of the prayer has written some well-known hymns, including "O Love that Will Not Let Me Go." (I needed this prayer today after getting the news of my macular degeneration.)

“Dear Lord, You have made waiting beautiful and patience divine. You have taught us that your will should be accepted, simply because it is your will. You have revealed to us that a person may see nothing but sorrow in his cup yet still be willing to drink it because of a conviction that Your eyes see farther than his own.

“Father, give me Your divine power—the power of Gethsemane. Give me the strength to wait for hope—to look through the window when there are no stars. Even when my joy is gone, give me the strength to stand victoriously in the darkest night and say, “To my heavenly Father, the sun still shines.”

“I have reached the point of greatest strength once I have learned to wait for hope.” –George Matheson, 1842-1906.

Sunday, February 22, 2015 9:38 PM CST

We had a quiet, peaceful weekend. After some warm weather this past week, we had snow Friday night. Then by this afternoon, most of it had melted. This noon after church, our family (minus Rachel) went out to eat at McDonald’s. It’s fun to do things as a family, and Dennis appreciates going out to eat.

I talked with the two ladies who care for Dennis at Waverley House. Although Dennis’ walking still is a bit unsteady, it’s better than it was a couple weeks ago when he was really weak. He is also remembering to wear his leg brace in the house, which helps his walking. I’ve heard no more about when someone is coming to Waverley House to evaluate his needs. He was asking me today if I knew when he had to move to somewhere else. “You don’t want to leave Waverley House, do you?” I asked him and he shook his head no. We’re hoping there’s some way he can be safe with his walking and not need to move.

Two other residents in the home use walkers, but a walker in the past was never a solution for Dennis because walkers require two hands and he can't grip anything with his right hand. I have seen a platform walker on a Google search with one side built up higher and a Velcro fastener for one arm. Is that a possibility?

On Wednesday, Rachel tried to drop Dennis’ passport renewal information off at the passport office downtown. It turned out to be an hour of frustration for her. She needed a paper signed by Dennis saying she is allowed to bring the application in on his behalf. She also needed to show them that she is an alternate guardian when I’m not available. She’s now organizing both Dennis’ and my medical information in two binders so she can she can step in and assist us when we are no longer able to do it on our own. I’m relieved that Rachel is willing to do this, because Dennis certainly can’t do this if anything should happen to me. Rachel has accompanied Dennis to several medical appointments lately because right now I’m not seeing well enough to drive. I am deeply grateful for her assistance in many different ways.

I will be seeing a retinologist this Friday to find out what’s going on with my eye, since there’s now a bump on my retina in addition to the infection in the cornea in the same eye. It’s a 2-4 four appointment.

I have a smile on my face again. Andrew, 7: “I know where heaven is. Me: “Where?” Andrew: “It’s in the sun.” Me: “How did you figure that out?” Andrew: “I saw it in a Bible verse.” He couldn’t remember quite where he had seen it, but a couple days later he brought it to me. John 3:19: “The light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” (He’s thinking all the time.) I later showed Andrew the verse where Jesus said he was the light of the world. (John 8:12). Andrew: "It can't be both, so I\m sticking with heaven is in the sun."

A friend sent me a prayer from the book, Divine Hours--prayers and Scripture reading through the church year taken from the Anglican Book of Worship. She hoped it would be a blessing to me, and it certainly was. (It’s the second time I’ve encountered this same prayer in two weeks. I think the Lord is trying to tell me something through it.)

"Most loving Father, whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things, to fear nothing but the loss of you, and to cast all our care on you who cares for us. Preserve me from faithless fears and anxieties, so that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from me the light of that love which is immortal, and which you have manifested to us in your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen."

Monday, February 16, 2015 9:45 PM CST

This was a long weekend, with Monday as our Family Day holiday up here in Canada. After having warm spring-like weather on Friday, when everything was melting, Saturday , Sunday and Monday were cooler.

Dennis watched a “Border Security” Valentine’s Day marathon on Saturday and Sunday. People crossing the Canadian border were found to be carrying drugs and meat products in the real-life videos. We saw the same videos at least three times, possibly four. Dennis watches it with his hearing aids off, so doesn’t catch on that he’s already seen it.

Today we were going to the zoo, but the weather turned out to be too chilly, so instead as a family, we watched a TV movie, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” (When I read a movie review later, I think I napped through parts of it, because I missed some things mentioned in the review.) Later we watched America’s Funniest Home Videos. Dennis laughed through both of them.

Check out the medical posts for Dennis and me earlier last week. Rachel got Dennis a quad cane, and that helps some, but his walking is gradually getting worse. I think we might not have noticed it happening.

Someone from our days in Papua New Guinea heard about my eye problem and contacted me through Instant Messaging. Then she got my phone number and called me so she could pray for me over the phone. That was really encouraging to me.

This weekend I completed an article for a book InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship is putting together (I’ll find out later if it is accepted.) I also sent in copies of two of my published stories for an InScribe contest for articles published in the past year. It’s a good feeling to be finished with both of those things.

This weekend I complimented my grandson, Andrew, 7. on being polite at home. Andrew: “I’ve got good manners. I’m the politest kid here, especially since I’m the only kid here.” That put a smile on my face.

For those who have been praying for my brother David who was battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma this past year, here is an update. He had a PET scan on Friday and the results today. David wrote in an email, “The results were the best news that could be expected--nothing new or unusual. “ Praise the Lord for that!

Friday, February 13, 2015 6:17 PM CST

I saw my ophthalmologist/eye surgeon today. Not. Good. News. When I first went in, the technician took pictures of the inside of my eyes, something they haven’t done for a number of months. Then another technician tested my vision. Two weeks ago it was 20/70. Today I was 20/200. The corneal ulcer is actually healing a bit more, but I now have a NEW problem. Dr. C. looked at the photos that had been taken today and pointed out a bump on the retina. Yes, I could see it in the photo. It was very obvious. I now need to see a retina specialist in the next week or two, whenever they can schedule it, but as soon as possible. The two problems are totally unrelated. I’ll see Dr. C. again in two weeks. I appreciate prayer! Thanks! The retina problem is not something that can be corrected with a stronger lens. They tried that today, and my vision remained equally bad, with or without it. Dr. C.: “You’ve had some really bad luck with that eye.”

Monday, February 9, 2015 10:17 PM CST

Update on Dennis

Rachel took Dennis to the Foothills Hospital Emergency Room today to get him checked out because we were all concerned with his problem walking. This was the hospital that first treated his stroke in 2004 and has the best brain injury/stroke unit of any of the hospitals in the city. Rachel was told that we should have brought him in last week, (before we knew how problematic walking was for him.) The situation seems to have happened within a couple days.

However, it turns out that he did NOT have a brain bleed, so there was no stroke. A CAT scan just showed the old injury from the 2004 stroke. So the doctors have called it “failure to thrive” due to aging.

Rachel met with a transition nurse at the hospital, and was told a caseworker will do an assessment of the situation, observing him in Waverley House. A request will be put in and marked as “urgent.” They say he needs to be in a place where there is a nurse on duty and he needs more care than people at Waverley House can give him. He has been at Waverley House since March 2009, and the people living there have become friends of his. Pray for all of us as we check out new places to live.

Sunday, February 8, 2015 10:41 PM CST

Winter weather is back, but that’s fine because it’s not spring yet. One day we had hoar frost on all of the trees. Beautiful!

Today after church, all six of us ate at Smashburger. It was a new experience for Rachel, Dennis and me. It’s called Smashburger because that’s what they do, smash the ground beef on the grill—no frozen beef patties are used. In spite of the name of the place, the food was delicious. Yes, I would gladly go back again and so would Rachel.

On Friday afternoon, Rachel picked Andrew up after school, and then she picked me up and took me shopping. I got some new shoes to replace worn out shoes. Andrew was such a good boy when he was with us. I deeply appreciate Rachel’s help since I’m still seeing too poorly to drive. My next appointment is on Friday.

On Saturday, Rachel took Dennis to watch trains in a train yard in downtown Calgary, and then they went to the Farmer’s Market. Dennis saw what he wanted to get—a Ukrainian blueberry pie, supposedly for me, but it’s something he likes too. Yes, we did enjoy the Blueberry pie and shared some with Rachel and Renylor as well.

I found out this week that Blue Cross won’t cover any of the antibiotic eye drops that cost $600 monthly. This is because they are not on the list of medications that are covered—they’re too specialized. This came at the time that one of our major churches stopped their monthly funding because I now can collect Social Security. (What I get in Social Security is less than the cost of the eye drops.) But God has always provided for our needs and continues to provide in various ways.

We now have a major concern with Dennis. He had a walking problem a week ago and hasn’t improved. He is weak and unsteady on his feet, and people at Waverley House are afraid that he’s going to fall. We waited to see if it was just tiredness, but it has continued. Rachel is going to take him back to the doctor this coming week if she can get an appointment. Was it a mini-stroke? We don’t know at point. It started two days after she took him to see the doctor not quite two weeks ago. What happens in the future if they can’t care for him at Waverley House? Would an electric wheelchair work? A walker wouldn't work because he can't grip it with his right hand.

I got a call from a telemarketer yesterday. He had a heavy accent and was talking rapidly so I had to ask him to repeat a couple times what he was telling me. At that point he said, “Don’t you understand English?” My thought was, “Oh, you were trying to speak English?” I was too kind to say it, but I started laughing and eventually had him laughing at the other end of the line. I finally said, “I’m really not interested.” At that point he gave up.

Sunday, February 1, 2015 11:14 PM CST

Bits and Pieces of our lives

Super Bowl weekend. Rachel, Dennis and I watched, and we all enjoyed pizza (including Tim, Renylor and Andrew who weren’t watching the game but came upstairs to enjoy the pizza with us.) Dennis was a bit unhappy that the Sea Hawks didn’t win.

After two weeks of spring-like weather, winter is back. But we did enjoy the warm weather while it was here, and we have two weeks less of winter that we need to endure.

Concerns: Dennis was having difficulty walking this weekend. His left leg seemed weak. We’re not sure what is going on, and the ladies at Waverley House will be observing him.

Concern #2—Rachel took Dennis to see his doctor last week because he wanted to pick and choose what medications he took, and unknown to us, had been skipping his Sunday morning medications. His doctor carefully explained why each medication was necessary.

I had a doctor appointment on Friday (day 91). Dr. Chow said the inflammation is less. He was deciding whether to change what I was doing (Eye drops hourly—or as often as I remember) during the day. He said I should keep on doing what I am doing as long as it is working. I saw 20/70. Next appointment, Feb. 13.

Sunday, January 25, 2015 8:19 PM CST

It was a lovely Sunday, more like a Sunday in April than in January, with a temperature of 67 degrees (17 C.) A lot of the snow is gone.

After church today, we had a family lunch. Rachel came back from Mexico last night at 8 p.m. She had a great time, which she told us all about. She has decided she wants to study Spanish, in preparation for going again, perhaps.

Dennis’ concern this afternoon was making sure we get the channel that will be showing the Super Bowl next Sunday.

Below is part of an article from the Calgary Herald. The shooting that took place Saturday night is next door to a convenience store where I stop on occasion to send money to an orphanage in India by Western Union. I guess in our neighborhood, we need to stay inside after dark. That area a mile from us seems to have a lot of gang and drug activity.
A man was shot near a northeast liquor store in Calgary Saturday evening.

Police and EMS say they received reports of gunfire around 8:15 p.m. in the 5300 block of Rundlehorn Drive N.E., near the Rundle liquor store.

Emergency crews transported a 30-year-old man with potentially life-threatening injuries to Foothills hospital. Police said Sunday the man’s condition remains serious, but he is expected to survive.

The location of the shooting is just 400 metres from where another shooting took place earlier this month. On Jan. 14, someone fired a rifle at two people sitting in a vehicle at the Co-op Gas Bar up the street on 52nd Avenue.

Monday, January 19, 2015 9:46 PM CST

It’s Monday already for those of you looking for a Sunday update. Now, at 8:30, it’s 38 degrees (3 degrees C.) and the snowbanks are rapidly shrinking. We’ll have a lot more snow and cold weather before spring comes, but this was a nice break from the cold.

Dennis was home this weekend, watching football and game shows. The two of us watched “Storage Wars” together. Not much excitement there. The excitement came earlier last week when my friend Marie was staying here a few days.

While my friend Marie was here, I asked her one evening if she could drive me a couple places to do a couple errands since I am still not driving. I needed to pick up a couple things at Co-op (grocery store.) I was in there about 20 minutes. When I got up to the counter to check out, the checkout clerks were talking about something that just taken place. Me: “Was there a robbery?” Them: “No, it was worse than that. Someone was shooting in the parking lot and shot a hole in the front door five minutes ago.”

Marie was sitting in her car waiting for me, heard the shots, and saw a car racing through the parking lot. Scary! Some guy in a car in the parking lot shot three times at a guy in another car. The person who was hit drove himself to the hospital emergency room a mile away. He is in good condition. Five police cars barricaded the parking lot, talking with drivers as they tried to exit.

How is my eye?? I saw Dr. C. Friday afternoon. I went from seeing 20/100 to seeing 20/60 with difficulty. Progress! Dr. C. said it is very slow. (I think he meant eye infections in general, but maybe he meant mine in particular.) There was less swelling this time and he doesn't need to see me for two weeks unless something major happens between now and January 30. Thanks for your prayers.

Sunday, January 11, 2015 8:24 PM CST

I hope you had a great weekend. Ours was peaceful. The temperature this evening is 13 degrees F. (-11 degrees C.) for those who like to keep up with Calgary temperature. We had some snow during the week, but today was beautiful and sunny.

Today we celebrated Rachel’s birthday by going out as a family to Perkins to eat. Fun! Rachel will be leaving on Jan. 14, the day before her birthday, to travel to Mexico with her housemate, Melynda. She and I finished watching all of the “Anne of Green Gables” DVDs on Friday. We’re both sad that there are no more. It’s my favorite series of all time and it ranks high on Rachel’s list too.

Dennis enjoyed more football this weekend. It’s fast coming to the end of the season.

It’s sad to hear that Gospel singer Andrae Crouch passed away a couple days ago at the age of 72. When I was part of a Gospel team in the summer of 1974, we sang two of his songs: “To God Be the Glory” (“My Tribute”) and “I’m Going to Keep on Singing.” Great songs.

Marie, my friend from Taber, will be here for a few days while she has doctor visits. It’s nice to have company.

The latest update on my eye was posted a couple days ago.
Have a great week.
Bible Verse for Today

When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 118:5-6 (NIV)

In church today, we sang an old hymn that’s a favorite of mine.

The Love of God

1.The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

2.Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Frederick Lehman, 1917

Thursday, January 8, 2015 10:16 PM CST

In case you are wondering. . .

Day 69 of my continuing eye saga. I had a new antibiotic eye drop prescribed a couple weeks ago (in addition to two others I was already using), but had an allergic reaction to it. Because of extreme redness and puffiness of my eye, Dr. C. took me off of it on Tuesday. At my checkup today, my eye was doing better. Last time I could not read the big E, and this time I could read the first two lines of the eye chart. There was also less infection. So the question is, did my eye get better because of the new eye drop or in spite of the eye drop? If it was helping, could I tolerate it at lower dose? These are questions without answers at this point. Thanks to those of you who have been praying. I still can’t drive, and I do all of my work at the office with my left eye. The journey ahead will be a long one.

Sunday, January 4, 2015 9:02 PM CST

Happy New Year to all of my friends. May the year ahead be a good one for you, and may you experience God's blessings in your lives. We’re starting out with a chilly first week of January, -3 degree F. (-19 degrees C.).
Here’s a favorite quote of mine for the New Year:"I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'
"And the man replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be better than light and safer than a known way.' " —Minnie Louise Haskins

These words for the New Year were used in 1939 by King George VI of England as he began his Christmas broadcast. It was a time filled with anxiety as war was about to engulf Europe. We live in uncertain times too. May you feel the hand of God on your life and know His peace in 2015.

Dennis was home from Dec.31 until today, and did well. He enjoyed football on TV, game shows, and New Year’s Day lunch with his family (minus Rachel who was working).

I read a short book (novella) written by a friend of mine using just my left eye. Fortunately the book was short and the print was fairly large. Otherwise I wouldn’t have attempted it. I’ll find out on January 8th if there has been any improvement in my eye. I don’t notice any on day 65.

I didn’t accomplish all I had hoped to accomplish over my Christmas break, but I had a relaxing time at home. Maybe that’s important too.

“Anne of Green Gables”—Rachel and I watched one segment during the snowstorm on Friday afternoon. Once again we laughed and cried. We hope to have time for another segment one evening this week. When Rachel was about 12, we had a seven-hour marathon of watching “Anne of Green Gables” over Christmas break. What fun!

May the Lord richly bless you and give you a good, safe week. And a good start to the New Year.

Sunday, December 28, 2014 10:48 PM CST

Now, on Dec. 28, we have a new layer of snow on the ground. We’re going to have a white New Year, since we didn’t have much of a white Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, it was great having my whole family with me at the candlelight service. Then on Christmas Day, we had a meal together as a family. Very special. This year Tim and Renylor brought a special Filipino ham—with pineapple sauce and caramel sauce. Delicious! We normally have turkey, so this was a change. Rachel's friend Kelly brought a sour cream lemon pie that she made herself. That was delicious too.

Friday and Saturday have been a time of downsizing, reducing the number of boxes stored in my library/computer room, sorting through “treasures” from the past. Dennis helped by taking stamps off envelopes and saving them for a friend who is a stamp collector.

Dennis has been at home since Tuesday night, and it has worked out well. He was with his family, and that’s important. He did well. He managed to find some football games still on TV, which he enjoyed—plus some game shows like Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and Let’s Make a Deal. He loves those shows. All in all, having him home over Christmas worked out very well. He will be home this coming week for New Year’s Day and then will stay the for the weekend.

Rachel usually doesn’t work on Sundays, but had a day of work today, which was very frustrating. The Handi-bus taking her clients to church was an hour late, and then the Handi-bus picking them up came a half-hour early before the service was over, so the two clients had half an hour of church.

She came over here at 5 p.m., and after Dennis left for Waverley House, we watched “Anne of Green Gables” for the next 3 ½ hours. We laughed and we cried—a good way to reduce stress. I think it is my all-time favourite movie series. (It was a gift to me from Rachel’s housemate Melynda.)

I hope you have a great week. Happy New Year! I have a few more vacation days that I’ll be spending with Andrew while Tim and Renylor are at work.
The local Christian radio station has switched from Christmas songs to their regular songs now that Christmas is over. One of them today was “Blessings” by Laura Story. The chorus reads “What if trials of this life/Are your mercies in disguise?” That got me thinking about my eye infection. . . Yes, it’s still there, and it certainly is a trial. My eye has been especially puffy the last few days and very red as well. What if it’s God’s mercy in disguise?

Blessings, by Laura Story

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the achings of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

All along You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things
'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near?

What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

(You can find more of the song by Googling it. )

Laura Story has a very powerful testimony of how the Lord has brought her and her husband through difficult times. Seven years ago, her husband needed brain surgery after a tumor was discovered. Doctors warned the two of them that he might lose his memory as a result of the surgery and not even know her. When he awoke after surgery, Laura was in his room. After seeing her, he exclaimed, “Laura Story. What are you doing here?” He remembered her from the past, but not the fact they were married. But he was fine with that when she told him. After seven years, he is finally able to work at a part time job. Her song “Blessings” is such an encouragement to me.
Memories from 10 years ago—Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2004—six weeks after Dennis’ stroke. Tim, Rachel and I spent six hours with him in Foothills Hospital. The following is from Caring Bridge, written that day.

“I was thinking—the greatest gifts we could give Dennis are not material things but intangible things like hope and encouragement. We let him know continually that we believe in him and love him, and we keep on encouraging him daily to keep on trying and to get well. He is working hard at it, very hard. Some patients don’t get that encouragement.

“So what did we do for six hours? We opened gifts. Rachel read the Christmas story, and played Christmas carols, and then we watched for an hour and a half of Red Skelton shows (Freddie the Freeloader). By that time Dennis was exhausted and needed a nap. Tonight families visiting at the hospital could buy turkey dinners so they could eat Christmas dinner with their hospitalized relatives. We stayed and ate with Dennis.

“There were two exciting developments today. Dennis had macaroni and cheese and a chicken patty, both of which were NOT pureed, so his swallowing is a bit better. Also, when we asked Dennis if he could raise his right leg, he raised it a couple inches. Then I asked him if he could move his right hand, and Rachel and I saw him curl his right fingers. Wow! Thank you, Lord. It was a much more definite movement than his slight finger movement yesterday.”

Sometimes it’s good to look back and see just how far Dennis has come in 10 years.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 8:05 PM CST

In case you are wondering. . . It’s day 53 with my corneal ulcer/abscess. I saw my surgeon/ophthalmologist today, and after examining my eye, he said, “It’s coming.” He agreed it was very slow, but then said that eye infections as bad as mine take a long time to heal. Last week I was elated to read three lines down on the eye chart. Today I had to guess at the big E on the top—back to 20/200 once again. I’m feeling sad tonight.

Dr. C. is now adding another antibiotic eye drop that works well against gram negative organisms. The other two antibiotics I am already on work against gram positive organisms, and against MRSA Staph (metacillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus). I studied this in microbiology in 1967, not knowing that it would apply directly to me one day. No, they don’t know what the organism is that I have in my eye; it didn’t show up when cultured. And no, in 1967 when I was studying microbiology, there was no such thing as MRSA.

From Google: “Danish scientist Hans Christian Gram devised a method to differentiate two types of bacteria based on the structural differences in their cell walls. In his test, bacteria that retain the crystal violet dye do so because of a thick layer of peptidoglycan and are called Gram-positive bacteria. In contrast, Gram-negative bacteria do not retain the violet dye and are colored red or pink. Compared with Gram-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria are more resistant against antibodies because of their impenetrable cell wall." Now you know.

One great encouragement is that Rachel is my personal buyer. I give her a list and she brings the grocery items to me. She likes to do it that way, because if she takes me along, I take more time and find things that aren’t on my list.

No snow yet, but it will be coming eventually.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2014 8:52 PM CST

Merry Christmas! Also, Happy Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. The happy news is that days will now start getting longer. It’s hard to believe that it’s just “four sleeps” until Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, we will be having a candle light service and Andrew will be part of the children’s choir, singing Christmas carols. He’s quite excited about that.

Dennis was home this weekend, spent time watching football on TV, and now is back at Waverley House. He will be home a number of days at Christmas.

On Tuesday I’ll be going to another appointment to get my eye checked. I’ll see then if I’m making more progress. My eye is healing very slowly, and sometimes it gets frustrating not to be able to drive.

I have some vacation days yet, so will be spending time at home with Andrew while Tim and Renylor are both working.

Chuck, an older man who had been in a wheelchair all his life, used to position his wheelchair by the front door at church and greet everyone who came in. I’d ask him how he was, and he would always check his pulse “to see if I’m still alive,” he would say. Andrew would always get a high five from him. Chuck passed away this week. I’ll miss his cheery greetings.

I hope you have a good week. Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2014 11:36 AM CST

UPDATE: When I saw my eye surgeon today, he said there has been a slight improvement. There is less swelling in my eye and the ulcer is smaller. I could read the third line on the eye chart, going from 20/200 a little over a week ago to 20/100, (I started out at 20/30 just after my cataract surgery and before the infection). All in all, I felt encouraged. Thanks for your prayers. It’s still going to be a long, long journey.

“I’m dreaming of a brown Christmas.” As I wrote those words just now, the song “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas” came on the radio. What a weird coincidence! Everything tonight, Friday night, is brown because we’ve had weather in the 40s this week. I’m not complaining, you understand. We sometimes do have brown Christmases.

The Charlie Brown Christmas tree that wasn’t. . . . Eighteen years ago Dennis saved seven two-inch-high spruce seedlings from my flower bed in front of the house and planted them in a planter. When they were about six inches tall, we planted them in a row in the back yard. Three survived, and grew. And grew. Now, years later, the one on the end is about 15 feet tall and the tree on the other end is about eight feet. The one in the middle was getting squashed and preventing the other two from spreading out fully-- so I cut it down. We were going to have this real live tree this year as our Christmas tree, although the branches were a bit sparse, the trunk was skinny, and it looked like a Charlie Brown tree. My family laughed at me, but Dennis thought it was a good idea, and besides it smelled like a real tree. Rachel bought a tree stand, which came without instructions. We first tried it with just screwing the long screws into the trunk, then we put the nuts on the screws on the outside of the water pot, and then the nuts on the screws from the inside. There were no more ways to assemble it; we had tried all of them. The tree tipped over flat on the floor all three times, spilling out the water. Finally on the third try, I agreed with Rachel and put it outside, It’s tied to the outside step railing in three places and is standing upright. It has lights, when I remember to plug them in. Our tree of choice is now the artificial one we’ve used for the past seven or so years.

How is your eye? Good question. I don’t see much difference this week, and I will find out more at my next appointment this Monday afternoon. I’m learning to keep things in perspective. I have a Wycliffe colleague in B.C. just recently diagnosed with ALS and another Wycliffe colleague with recurring cancer that will soon be terminal. My eye infection, while taking a long time to heal, is a temporary inconvenience and isn’t life threatening. Sometimes when I’m reading my computer screen with one eye and a magnifying glass (at home) or when I need to do a quick trip to the store and can’t, it can be hard to remember “this is only a temporary inconvenience.”

Rachel took her two “handicapped” people (Dennis and me) Christmas shopping in the mall last Monday night. The gifts I bought were all things Rachel suggested; far different from what I usually buy, but far more creative. But she thinks younger, and the people I was buying for were mostly younger. Dennis was there on his scooter and rode the Handi-bus to the mall and then back to Waverley House again.

Dennis was home for the weekend. On Sunday afternoon, Dennis still managed to find football games on TV. On Saturday night, the two of us went to a Christmas party at a work colleague’s house. There were nine of us there and Dennis felt at home because he knew the people from when he was in the Wycliffe office. In fact, he had worked with Margaret in the Wycliffe finance office ten years ago, before his stroke. While the rest of us were playing lively word games, Dennis didn’t have much to do. Then Margaret brought out their pet cockatiel, which sat contentedly on Dennis’ finger for a long time—and Dennis sang softly to the bird for quite a while. I’m not sure what he was singing, but it was fun to observe. Margaret observed, “Dennis is singing the bird lullabies.” Indeed he was.

So far I’ve talked about Christmas trees, Christmas shopping, and Christmas parties—but that’s not what Christmas is about. Jesus is the Reason for the season, although a relative says the real reason for the season is that the earth is tilted at 23 ½ degrees. That’s true too, but that’s not what I’m celebrating. Lately I’ve been listening to “Christmas Stories: Repeat the Sounding Joy,” a CD by Jason Gray. It contains some of the familiar Christmas carols—“O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Joy to the World,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and “O Holy Night.” However, the majority of the songs are ones he has written about the characters in the Christmas story—Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the innkeeper, and what each might have been feeling and thinking about as the Christmas event unfolded. I have the CD, but all the songs can also be found on Youtube with the words and how the songs came to be written—if you want to Google it.

Have a great week in the midst of the Christmas rush. May you keep your eyes on Jesus, the Reason for the Season. God bless you all. And thanks for your prayers for my eye. I’ll give you an update later.

Sunday, December 7, 2014 9:46 PM CST

What a beautiful weekend this was, in contrast to the swirling, blowing snow of last weekend. Today the temperature got up to 6 degrees (43 degrees F.), a real treat for this time of year. Everything was beginning to melt. Dennis was able to come home this weekend, and spent his time watching football on TV.

On Friday afternoon, Rachel needed to take something to Waverley House for Dennis, so she took Andrew along with her and got some interesting photos of Dennis and Andrew playing a game on the Waverley House kitchen table. Both were really concentrating.

On Saturday morning, Rachel took me to get my hair trimmed. She also took my car in to a repair shop to find out why my battery needs to be recharged every time the car is used. The battery is only about three years old, if I remember correctly. They can look at it on Monday. Or do I need a new alternator? I'm not using the car right now, but Rachel sometimes uses it because a hatch back holds larger items than she can carry in her trunk.

How is my eye? That’s a common question now days. On Friday, Dr. Chow said that my eye had improved slightly, meaning the swelling inside is less, therefore less infection. I'm still seeing 20/200 out of that eye. In the beginning, I was told it would take weeks and weeks for it to improve. Yes, it’s taking weeks and weeks. The hardest part is not being able to drive. I’ve thankful for Rachel who is my “personal shopper.”

On Monday night, Rachel will be taking me to the mall to do some Christmas shopping, and we’re meeting Dennis, who will be coming by Handibus, so he can do Christmas shopping as well. I’m excited about a real “outing” after not being able to get out to do any Christmas shopping.

Friday night I went with Sharon, a Wycliffe friend, to a hilarious play, “The Young Sherlock Holmes and the Case of Dick Whittington’s Cat.”(It was an old English “pantomime”—where the audience boos, hisses and cheers). The leading male character is played by a woman, and the leading female character is actually a man. It may sound strange, but that’s the way they did plays 200 years ago in England.

The other day, I offered Andrew some a guava juice box. A: “When does it expire?” Me: “I don’t know.” So Andrew looked at it and gave it back to me. “I can’t drink this,” he said. (It must be something they are learning in school.)

Have a great week as the time before Christmas gets much shorter.

Sunday, November 30, 2014 10:59 PM CST

Bits and pieces of our lives

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Now all I am hearing is Christmas songs on the local Christian radio station, reminding us that Christmas will be here sooner than we realize. “Winter” is truly here with cold temperatures (-20 degrees C., -4 degrees F.), although I know that the calendar date for winter is actually three weeks away.

The swirling snow was so bad on Friday night that I cancelled Dennis’ Handi-bus trip home for Saturday. Saturday was actually sunny and not too bad except it was cold. It was lonely here without Dennis because very few weekends go by that he doesn’t come home. Rachel visited him twice this past week, so it’s not exactly like he was without family contact.

This morning Andrew sang in the children’s choir at church, a first for him. I enjoyed watching all the children. They did a good job.

So how is my eye? Not much change. I need a lot of prayer for it and a lot of patience. I next see the eye surgeon on Friday, December 5th. I haven’t driven since Oct. 31st, which is a bit of a problem right before Christmas. Rachel buys groceries for me if I send her a list. It’s good to have a personal shopper.

Please pray for Rachel’s back. She had some muscle spasms yesterday that left her in a lot of pain.

Have a good week, and keep warm, wherever you are—unless you’re living somewhere in a tropical climate. (That might be our meteorologist friend, Rob, in Darwin, Australia, who wants to keep cool in the Wet season that's now starting with 85 per cent humidity. Rob, are you reading this?)

Friday, November 28, 2014 6:45 PM CST

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Winter conditions are terrible outside, but the house is warm and cozy. I’m thankful for the comfort of a warm house.

This afternoon I decided it was a good time to make chocolate chip cookies. I haven’t done that for quite a while. I guess the weather and the cozy comfort of the house inspired me.

Update after the doctor's visit this Thursday afternoon: my vision is still about as poor as it was on Monday--I can hardly see the big E on the eye chart and there has been no regrowth of sloughed off tissue. However, the doctor said my infection is clearing up and the swelling in the eye is going down. That part is good news. Thanks for your prayers!

Sunday, November 23, 2014 7:16 PM CST

Monday update is located at the bottom.

A warm chinook came through on Friday, so now we have less snow and bare ground showing through in a lot of places. I feel so sorry for people in Buffalo, New York, and can’t even imagine 76 inches of snow. Can you?

On Friday, Andrew didn’t have school, so I did some work from home. Then Rachel (who finishes work early on Fridays) picked me up at 10:15 and took me to work at the Wycliffe office, and then took Andrew to the mall with her. Waverley House was having a mall excursion that day, so Rachel tracked down her dad on his scooter. She sent me photos of Andrew—grinning happily—riding with Grandpa on his scooter. Later she sent me pictures of her and Andrew at the dog park, walking Napoleon. Andrew loves his Aunty Rachel because they do such fun things together. I think they also went to a playground.

Dennis came home at 1p.m. on Saturday for his weekend visit and spent part of his afternoon watching football. Later he discovered a packet with 16 envelopes from an Australian friend, Peter, that I had set aside for him in a plastic bag. (We knew Peter from our time in Lae, Papua New Guinea in 1980-1981) He had been sending puzzle pieces to Dennis over the past couple months. The puzzle was a central circle with large pieces forming Australia from the various states and territories, and was surrounded on the outside by a second circle made up of smaller pieces of Australian flora and fauna. Dennis completely assembled the inner map on his own. I’m sure he recognized the names of the states and territories, because he put the pieces in place with absolutely no hesitation. (I later asked him about it and he said he was able to read them.) So now I wonder . . . what else would he recognize? Would he be able to put together a Canadian map puzzle? A U.S. map puzzle? A simplified world puzzle?

On Sunday for lunch—for no other reason than the whole family happened to be together—we went out to eat at Perkins. Maybe it was for the American Thanksgiving we’ll be missing up here. I had the turkey and dressing meal, but everyone else had a breakfast meal.

Rachel bought me a lovely gift this past week—a dozen yellow roses. Why? Because she was feeling sorry for me since I’m confined to the house—except when I get rides to work. And when I go to doctor’s appointments.

On Monday the 24th is our communications office Christmas party out at Chianti’s Restaurant. What fun! And then I remembered. . . . I have an appointment with my eye surgeon that afternoon. So guess which appointment I’ll keep? Yep, the one with the eye surgeon, since I value my sight. I really need to find out what my eye has been doing this past week. It’s still hard to keep it open because it is so light sensitive, although I did better today. I can’t see any better than last week, and the drops really sting so lately I’ve been occasionally taking Tylenol to deal with the pain. It’s been three weeks now, three LONG weeks.

Have a good, peaceful week, and if you live in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving.
**********************************I saw Dr. Chow today. My sight is once again 20/200, which means I am not seeing the big E. My vision is like being in a snowstorm. The part of the fragile upper layer of the cornea that was healing sloughed off and now needs to regrow. He has changed one of my medications for another one. He says it's a balancing act with medications. (The one he removed prevents swelling but it doesn't promote healing. I'll get it back at a later stage.He wants to see me again on Thursday. I'm feeling disappointed tonight.

Sunday, November 16, 2014 9:24 PM CST

Today was a beautiful sunny weekend, and the temperature during the coming week will be getting above freezing. Bright , sunny days are hard on me since I can’t open my right eye, even while using sunglasses. I’m very light sensitive at this point.

Dennis was home for the weekend, and enjoyed watching football on TV. Renylor had a birthday party for Andrew on Saturday, and I don’t think the children and the noise were Dennis’ favorite part of the weekend. However Andrew and his friends had a good time playing Minecraft and other games downstairs. That was the theme of the party—Minecraft. Rachel put up Minecraft spiders and we still have those in the living room. They were made out of black balloons and black crepe paper.

I continue to struggle with my eye. I’ve had nine doctor visits in two weeks. I’ve seen four different doctors during that time. They all say it’s getting better, but healing takes a long, long time. I was thankful to get a ride on Friday with Grace and her husband, friends from the Wycliffe office. They took me to see the doctor, took me out to lunch and then took to get a flu shot. I had no idea how I was going to get a flu shot this year since I’m not driving, but they thought I needed one. Depending on others for rides is the hardest part of not being able to see. I’ve lost my independence . . . for now at least.

Tomorrow I’ll be going in to work with a friend and then going to see my surgeon again in the afternoon. Each time I see a doctor, I get my vision checked. It now varies between 20/60 and 20/80, depending on the day. It’s improved greatly from the time I couldn’t see the big E, or at night when I only saw shadows and light. I’m thankful that it’s improving.

Tonight I’m having difficulty seeing the computer screen with my left eye and read nothing on the computer with my right eye, so I’ll need to stop writing at this point. Thanks for your prayers.

Monday, November 10, 2014 2:03 PM CST

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. . . Snow fell all weekend. We had snow on the ground from Sept. 8-10, but now, two months later, it seems more normal. My Minnesota relatives are experiencing lots of snow right now as well. ‘Tis the season.

Dennis was home over the weekend, and we had a little birthday party for him on Sunday for his 68th birthday, which was on Saturday. I saw a picture of a birthday cake for him at Waverley House as well. He’s probably had enough cake for one year.

Update on my eye: It’s the 10th day and my seventh doctor visit. My sight is slowly returning. A few days ago I couldn’t see the big E, and today I was able to read the 20/80 line. Thanks to those who have been praying for me.

Thursday, November 6, 2014 8:15 PM CST

I couldn’t read the big E today at my appointment . . . but that’s OK. My eye is healing slowly and normally according to the doctor. It’s now healed to the point where he can cautiously add a steroid to the two other eye drops I’m using. This will reduce the swelling in the cornea and help me to see. I’m relieved because I didn’t understand that not being able to read the letters was normal at this point. It’s disconcerting at 3 a.m. to wake up and see only light and shadows with that eye. Thanks for your prayers. Please pray that my eye will heal without any scarring.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 3:18 PM CST

I had my second cataract surgery on Sept. 30, with two stitches put in at that time. Recently an infection traveled along the two stitches and through the cornea. It’s a difficult infection to treat, will take a long time and may result in the complete loss of vision in my right eye, requiring a cornea transplant. Right now I need to make daily trips to the Rocky View Hospital Eye Clinic and need antibiotic drops in that eye every 30 minutes, day and night. My daughter Rachel has been here helping me put the drops in, and sets her cell phone alarm at night for every 30 minutes. My vision was 20/30 a week and a half after the surgery and is now 20/100. I would appreciate your prayers.

Update on my eye problem. (See Saturday’s post.) Rachel spent the night with me and put drops in my eye every half hour. We didn’t use the antibiotic goop last night that can be left in the eye because it is less effective. I actually got some sleep, but don’t know how much she got. Although my eyesight had worsened, now 20/100 after being 20/30 shortly after my cataract surgery, the doctor at the clinic this morning said I had made a little progress—a baby step. I no longer have the extreme pain I had yesterday, and the pressure in my eye is back to normal. Thanks for your prayers.

November 5
Latest update on my eye problem for those who are praying:
1) Now I've got a diagnosis--I have a very large and very deep ulcer on my cornea as a result of the infection.
2) This morning I was unable to see the big E clearly and it hurts to open my eye. A numbing drop that the doctor used made opening my eye easier.
3) I'll need to use the antibiotic drops every half hour--for weeks. I get a reprieve for the nights by doubling up on them and taking the two antibiotics five minutes apart once every hour. I'll need daily monitoring--probably for weeks too at the Rockyview Hospital. And right now I can't see to drive.
4) Healing will take months. If I faithfully follow instructions, the doctor hopes there won't be scaring,.
Pray I will be able to do my work at the office in some limited way, maybe some of it from home. I think I may be able to get a ride with a friend. However, Andrew has no way to get home from school yet. That needs to be worked out..Thanks for your prayers. May the Lord be honored through all of this.This too shall pass. . . .

Tuesday, November 6
Thanks so much, friends praying about my serious eye situation. I saw a different doctor today, and he measured the size of the very large ulcer on my cornea. “There has been significant improvement since yesterday,” Dr. Hanson said. “Yesterday it was 3 x 5 and today it is 2 x 2.” I had him repeat the numbers so I could write them down and asked if the measurements were in millimeters. They were. I did the math and saw why it was so significant. The 3 x 5 measurement yesterday covered an area of 15 square mm, and the 2 x 2 measurement today now covers an area of 4 square mm! All I can say is, “Thank you, Lord!” And thank you, my praying friends. I would guess that a 2 x 2 ulcer is no longer a very large ulcer.

Sunday, November 2, 2014 9:57 PM CST

Update on my eye problem. (See Saturday’s post.)

Rachel spent the night with me and put drops in my eye every half hour. We didn’t use the antibiotic goop last night that can be left in the eye because it is less effective. I actually got some sleep, but don’t know how much she got. Although my eyesight had worsened, now 20/100 after being 20/30 shortly after my cataract surgery, the doctor at the clinic this morning said I had made a little progress—a baby step. I no longer have the extreme pain I had yesterday, and the pressure in my eye is back to normal. Thanks for your prayers.

Saturday, November 1, 2014 7:14 PM CDT

Snow this afternoon after we had been told it would be a warm weekend.

Rachel’s Post on Facebook:

@ Rockyview Hospital with mom, being admitted to the eye clinic and Mom asks, "how long is the wait?" And the lady behind the desk says, "oh, it'll be a while, we've got a lot of people in today."

Mom, "Like two years?" The lady starts laughing- "not that bad!"
ME: "Mom did you mean to say THAT?!" Hahaha

Mom, "No!! Hahaha"

I guess you know how my mom views her waits at the hospital..... A little lengthy??? (She had meant two hours.)

Cataract surgery one month later:

My eye was in pain this morning and was blurry. It’s been getting progressively worse over the past week. Rachel took me to Rockyview Hospital. I saw the following post on the wall in the eye clinic: “This urgent eye clinic is the only one in Southern Alberta.” What a blessing that we came to the right place!

The diagnosis: The two stitches were loose causing inflammation. Infection had gone down the stitches, causing an infection in the cornea. The two stitches were removed. I now have two very powerful antibiotic drops to take, alternately, day and night every half hour. I have Erythromycin goop to put in my eye when I am too exhausted at night to keep putting in drops every half hour. One antibiotic is Vancomycin, for Methicillin-resistant bacteria. If the two antibiotics aren’t effective, I might lose my sight and need a cornea transplant. Prayers are appreciated! Rachel will be with me for the night to make sure I get all of the antibiotic drops. I’ll have many clinic visits in the days to come to monitor the infection. The whole visit took six hours, but during that time I was seen by four doctors/residents plus numerous technicians.

Monday, October 27, 2014 10:24 PM CDT

As we arrived in Calgary last night, the flight attendant said, “Welcome to Ottawa, Canada.” Someone evidently pointed out her mistake because a minute later, she said, “Welcome to Calgary, Canada.” People reacted with laughter and cheering. I guess it had been a long night for her. Earlier in the evening it had been snowing, but everything had melted by the time we arrived.

We came home happy but exhausted. What a great family time we had!

While with our relatives in Minnesota this past week: We saw a video of niece Sarah’s wedding with Brady, from Sept. 14; walked through the Mall of America and saw Sea World and the Lego exhibit. Went to the Arboretum with displays of squash, pumpkins and scarecrows; went to Unique Thrift Store (a traditional adventure when we are in Minneapolis); ate at Old Country Buffet; played a traditional card game with the Seever relatives; walked through Como Zoo. I think we’ve had enough adventures for one vacation.

Dennis enjoyed watching train videos on his iPad. On Saturday, his brother Allan took Dennis, Tim and Andrew on a train ride. What fun it was for all of them.

Andrew has enjoyed playing with second cousins, but when he’s on his own, he finds some kind of electronic game to play. He enjoyed his trip to Minnesota.

Andrew agreed to say grace at a family gathering. (We like to hear his prayers) Before starting, he said, “Hold hands so nobody grabs the food.” We all got a good laugh. Yes, we used to tell him that years back when he was about three and he would grab a handful of corn when we weren’t watching. We held hands for a very practical reason at that time . . . and he remembered.

We went back to the family farm the first Saturday we were there—back to my roots. My great-great grandfather was one of the pioneers in the area, homesteading the land in the 1880s. The family farm is still located there.
The house where I grew up—built in 1951 on that farm--is located on the very spot where a Presbyterian mission operated between 1841 and 1847. Rev. Fredrick Ayers and his wife Elizabeth shared the gospel with the Ojibway (also known as Chippewa) people living in the area. According to tradition, the first white child in Minnesota was born there. Rev. Ayers even attempted to do some Bible translation into Ojibway. The Ayers were following the Lord’s command to “go into all the world. “ Growing up, I was in awe of the history and felt I was living on sacred ground.
In answer to the question, how is your eye doing? Over the counter reading glasses don’t work, and I’m struggling with reading and using a computer. I basically use one eye again like last time. Healing should come sooner than last time because the cornea didn’t split this time.

Have a great week.

Sunday, October 19, 2014 4:51 PM CDT

Vacation in Minnesota, but what a busy time we’ve had so far! Dennis, Rachel, Tim, Renylor, Andrew and I arrived in Minnesota on Wednesday evening, October 15. The weather has been fantastic so far. We’ve been enjoying the vibrant colors of the season—red, orange, brown, yellow and gold. As the week progressed, more and more leaves fell, but the variety of colors have been a nice change from the gold we always see in Calgary.

After church this morning with Sharon (my sister) and Phil and their family, we had a large lunch of grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, and now the men are watching football. I’m at my computer, and Sharon is reading the Sunday paper. Eight from the younger generation have gone to the local Sever Corn Maze, which should be a fun afternoon for all of them. We have gone several times to a corn maze south of Calgary, and have always enjoyed it.

Now bits and pieces of the past days:

+It’s been great for Tim to get reacquainted with all the relatives he hasn’t seen for nine years, and for Renylor to meet them for the first time. Andrew had fun with two of his second cousins, Eli, 10, and Brielle, 5. Renylor won Brielle over by polishing and decorating her fingernails and putting a special braid in her hair. She said doing Brielle’s hair reminded her of doing that for her youngest sister back when she was still living in the Philippines.

+We had a nice afternoon with the Seever side of the family on Thursday. Dennis’ mom is 87 and continues to do well; Brother Ken and his wife Sharon were up from Atlanta, Georgia, so we were glad to be able to see them. We later played a favorite card game we’ve played every time we’ve gotten together for the past 39 years—ever since Dennis and I first were married. We’ll see the Seever side of the family again a couple more times before we leave in a week. We’re alternating staying with my two sisters, Sharon and Elaine, who live south and north of Minneapolis. I’m thankful for the use of my brother’s van as well.

+On Friday night, 18 family members attended “The Producer,” a musical that my nephew directed and produced. The actors were well cast and did an excellent job. We were all proud of Michael and the hard work he put into it to bring it all together. A classmate I last saw 52 years ago played a trumpet in the band, so it was good to see Roger again. Roger was aware that Michael was my nephew, and my sister—who remembered riding the school bus with him—h ad talked with him at a previous play.

+On Saturday, many members of my family gathered on the family farm. The land is now farmed by my cousin. We had a really nice day, and Dennis enjoyed a ride on a side-by-side 4x4, which carries four passengers. Renylor also enjoyed a couple rides on it, around the farm and through the woods.

+We’ve noticed that Dennis hasn’t been walking as well as in the past. It could be that he is generally slowing down, or that he is just getting worn out by all of the activity. Either way, we need to watch to see that he doesn’t stumble. Otherwise, he seems to be enjoying himself with the activities and seeing relatives.

We’ll have many more adventures in the week ahead. I hope you have a good week.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 8:11 AM CDT

Yesterday was a beautiful Thanksgiving Day, when we gathered as a family to celebrate. Thanks God, for Your many blessings to us.

Fall colors are fading fast. Across the street, Anne has only about 50 per cent of her golden finery left. The rest is lying scattered about on the ground.

Dennis was out collecting cans again with his scooter. He came into the house with a big grin on his face and his hand held behind his back. Me: "Did someone give you money again?" He then showed me $20. That tells me two things: he really does convince people he is homeless or at least short of money, and there are generous strangers around our neighborhood.

My eye appointment on Thursday was an encouragement. Dr. Chow was delighted that my eye was healing much faster than he expected, and I no longer need glasses for driving. The two stitches will come out on Nov. 14. My left eye took six months for healing, so I am deeply grateful that this surgery was not a complicated one. I still need glasses for reading of course.

We celebrated Renylor’s birthday Saturday night with cake and ice cream.

Tomorrow we will be flying to Minnesota as a family. I’m excited, but will be more excited when we are actually all on the plane.

Andrew, who was forbidden from playing any computer games for the day yesterday(and not very happy about it), was talking to his best friend on the phone: “I don’t want to hear any game sounds while I am talking to you. It is very disturbing. . . . When you call, don’t worry. All of us humans here are friendly."

Have a good. peaceful week. We would appreciate your prayers as we travel. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 12:17 AM CDT

It’s now Tuesday—a very nice day I might add—with golden leaves all around and pleasant weather. I am back at work for the first time since my eye surgery.

Dennis now has his scooter back. He was collecting cans and bottles again, and someone gave him a handful of change--$1.15. He keeps being mistaken for a homeless person. He was delighted to show the change to me. He is so eager to go to Minnesota that he handed me his passport when he came home on the Handi-bus on Saturday. So I put it away in the suitcase.

Many people are asking me, “How is your eye?” Two strategically placed stitches prevented TWO splits in the cornea this time. I am healing and I am beginning to see well. I’m pleased that I am NOT seeing double like I did last time for six months because of the split cornea. Sometimes when my eye is tired, it’s not as clear as other times, but it’s so much better than the surgery a year ago. After the surgery, I had a long list of restrictions, so have been working on my computer from home. For instance, I wasn’t allowed to drive for a week, or lift anything over five pounds, vacuum, bend over, etc.

Rachel had less work last week because one of her afternoon clients was on vacation. So she was able to pick up Andrew and do things with him—like dog walking, visiting the library, and watching DVDs. I usually pick him up after school, but had the one-week driving restriction.

I was supposed to have someone with me overnight after my surgery as a precautionary measure. A dear friend of mine, Lynn, (formerly with Wycliffe), is now working in Bonaire with Transworld Radio. She came back to Alberta to meet her baby grandson for the first time In Sept. and Oct. She contacted me to let me know she had a borrowed vehicle and wanted to visit me. Great!! I invited Lynn to stay overnight and be my nurse because in real life she IS a nurse. We had a fun time and the pain was totally controlled by extra strength Tylenol. (I’m allergic to the codeine in Tylenol 3 so I can never have that.) I had a great visit!

Last Friday night was the first play of the season. My friends and I really laughed—mistaken identities, people hiding from each other, slamming doors, impersonators, and in general hilarious.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 2:36 PM CDT

Thanks for praying for my cataract surgery on Tuesday. Things went well. Dr. Chow put two stitches in as a precautionary measure and they held everything in place while he removed the cataract. Without the stitches, he said I would likely have had TWO splits in my cornea this time! (A word of warning to anyone who had RK surgery in the 1990s for the correction of nearsightedness: caution is required for cataract surgery.) To test to see that there were no leaks after he finished, Dr. Chow added more fluid to the eye to build up pressure. NO leaks, so he removed the fluid until the pressure was down to normal. (I’m feeling like I am a tire.)

I am not seeing double this time, like I did for six months last time. I am so very thankful.

I saw a license plate this morning that left me chuckling:

Sunday, September 28, 2014 11:13 PM CDT

The air is definitely chilly and feels like fall. Usually the poplar trees along our street are a beautiful gold by now, but they are slow in turning color this year. I’ve enjoyed the golden ash trees, which have already lost all of their leaves.

I had a lovely time at InScribe Writers’ Fall Conference from Thursday evening to late Saturday afternoon. What a busy, educational, fun-filled weekend with Phil Callaway as our main speaker. The author of 26 books, he could easily be a stand-up comedienne. I haven’t laughed so much in a long time.

Because I was away for part of the weekend, Dennis didn’t come home on Saturday as he usually does. Instead I went to get him this afternoon, and he enjoyed being home with his family and watching football on TV. I took him back to Waverley House at 8:30.

You may remember this story. In August, my daughter-in-law’s father, Nestor Enderes, was scheduled for triple by-pass surgery, but doctors in the Philippines were unable to do it because his heart was only functioning at 26 per cent due to heart attacks. People all over were praying for him. After an angel encounter one night, he began doing much better. Doctors checked him recently. NO SURGERY is needed right now because he is doing so well. They will check him again in two months. Thanks to those who prayed.
I'm having cataract surgery on Sept. 30. I would appreciate prayer that I will have NO complications like I had last time, which required four stitches in my cornea. Thanks for praying. I’ll be struggling to see for a while because my left eye still has problems. Sometimes eye drops help me focus, sometimes not.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 10:29 PM CDT

Just a quick mid-week entry. I'll be going to a writers' conference this weekend. I took part in a five-day challenge to come up with three things I was grateful for each day. I've just completed it, and am posting it in case you are interested.

I have been challenged by Helen Yoon to the Thanksgiving Challenge “5 Days of Contagious Gratitude.” And five days of gratitude, challenged by my daughter Rachel Seever on August 6. Yes, I am finally going to do it. I guess it’s about time. . .
1. I’m grateful to the Lord for my family—Dennis, Tim and his family, and Rachel. I love seeing how the Lord is working in each of your lives.
2. I’m grateful for the beauty around me—ash trees are now golden and some of the poplars are beginning to change color. Spring is my favorite season, but fall is lovely too.
3. I’m grateful that I’m able to go to church on a Sunday morning and worship the Lord in freedom.

Day 2 of 5 Days of Gratitude—
1. I’m grateful that God loves me and that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.
2. I’m grateful that humans the ability to sing. Just think of a world without music—at least without vocal music.
3. I’m grateful for the ability to hear that music, to hear people speaking and to communicate in a meaningful way. (It saddens me that some people can’t hear and can’t speak—like my husband Dennis.)

Day 3 of 5 Days of Gratitude
1. I’m grateful that each year more language groups without God’s Word in their own language are getting translated Scripture that speaks to their heart. I’m glad to be part of a team that is translating that Scripture.
2. I’m grateful for Andrew, my grandson, who is so full of life and ideas. I love the hug I get when I pick him up at school each afternoon.
3. I’m grateful that Waverley House provides a safe place for my husband to live during the week, and that he is able to come home for a visit on weekends. November 13th will mark the 10th year since his stroke. (That very day is also Andrew’s seventh birthday.)

Day 4 of 5 Days of Gratitude
1. I’m grateful for 50 orphan girls at Joy’s Orphan Home in Andhra Pradesh, India, who pray for me and my family and call me “grandma.” I pray for them too. Yesterday funds I sent bought 100 kg. of rice, 5 liters of oil and vegetables. So basic. So needed.
2. I’m grateful that people from various places across the world have responded to the inspirational stories I’ve written in years past, which circulate on Internet. Over the years, through my writing, I have gained friends who live in the United Arab Emirates, Uganda, India, Nigeria, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia. Some have been friends as long as 12 years. Internet is amazing!
3. I’m grateful for my family who helps me with Dennis, especially our daughter Rachel who is a professional caregiver for the Calgary Society for Disabled Persons. Rachel has some great ideas for dealing with disabled people, and I value her advice and assistance. I’m amazed by her skills. In case you are wondering, my husband does not read, write or speak, lost the use
of his dominant right hand, and walks with a cane. Dennis lives in a personal care home because it was dangerous for all of us when he tried to do many things he is no longer capable of doing—like drive a car, do electrical wiring or climb a stepladder.

Day 5 of the 5 day challenge
1. I’m grateful for the 39 years I’ve been able to serve with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Since Dennis and I began in 1975, the number of New Testaments and Bibles completed in unwritten languages with Wycliffe participation went from 100 to more than 800.
2. I’m thankful for a team of prayer partners and financial partners who have encouraged us, prayed for us and supported us for all of those years. You are a great team, and I thank God for every one of you.
3. I’m thankful for reconnecting with some of my high school classmates at our 50th class reunion in Pine City, Minnesota, in August. I’ve heard several dramatic testimonies and numerous expressions of faith. I’m thankful for what the Lord is doing in their lives.

Monday, September 22, 2014 11:06 PM CDT

Bits and pieces of our lives

Happy first day of fall. In two weeks we have had snow (Sept. 8-10), summer temperatures last week and this week, and falling golden leaves from the ash trees. The poplar trees haven’t yet put on their autumn finery, but that will come soon.

On Friday night, I took Dennis and Renylor to a dinner for Wycliffe alumni and Wycliffe volunteers at the Wycliffe office. The lasagne was delicious, the fellowship was great and we had interesting speakers who had been working in Mali until unrest forced them to leave their village area. Renylor could identify with them because Mindanao (southern island of the Phiippines) has had much unrest and is a dangerous place to live as well.

Dennis was home without his scooter this weekend, but football was on, so he did well.

My friend Marie from Taber stayed with us for a few days while she had doctor appointments and ran errands. We also had our writers’ meeting here on Thursday night, which is more of a prayer group this point. Marie writes poetry, and Mary read the eulogy she had just written for her father’s funeral last week.

Looking ahead: Thursday night through Saturday will be a writer’s conference in Edmonton. I so enjoy it and look forward to it each fall. Then on September 30, I will be having my second cataract surgery. (I will not enjoy it and will not look forward to it.) I’d appreciate prayers because I’m a bit apprehensive, remembering what happened last time. If I wouldn’t have had complications, I would have said it wasn’t bad at all.

Thanks for your prayers.

Sunday, September 14, 2014 9:50 PM CDT

We had three days of “winter” this past week, with about three inches of snow falling on Monday and Wednesday (Sept. 8 and 10) with hazardous driving conditions those days. Since the trees still have their leaves, heavy, wet snow clinging to the leaves and branches caused many branches to break. Some areas of the city were without power. There’s still a mess to clean up around the neighborhood. This was the earliest I’ve seen so much snow in Calgary. Today, Sunday, was just a typical late summer/early fall day, since all of the snow has now melted. I really wasn’t ready for “winter” this early. I finally brought all of my houseplants in on Saturday. Since I had covered them, they all survived the snowstorm.

Dennis came home this weekend, as usual, but no scooter because it was still in the shop. The repairs that need to be done can be done later on, so he will get it back sooner rather than later—as soon as Rachel is able to pick it up.

It was a football weekend. There’s not much else Dennis can do if he doesn’t have his scooter. The whole weekend was nice enough to be outside, but he didn't seem to mind since he likes football.

On Saturday, a new friend named Colleen took me out for coffee. Nice! I wrote a story about her and her husband for CSC News, which will come out in the fall. She was deeply grateful to have someone tell her story for her. I am now working on another story—transcribing it took a long time, and next I’ll be writing it.

On Monday, I was picking Andrew up at school and met his teacher for the first time. She said to me, "I see you're with Wycliffe." After I got over the shock, she pointed out that I still had my Wycliffe name tag on. She had heard about Wycliffe through our local Christian radio station. In talking with her more, I found out she prays for the students in her class. She’s just the kind of teacher I want for my grandson! She said that Andrew was especially kind to some of his classmates who were having trouble with math. When they figured it out, Andrew told them "Good job." "He's a kind boy," she said. That makes me happy too.

Sunday, September 7, 2014 11:17 PM CDT

We’re in a season of transition. The house was so warm this weekend that we had our fans running. However, on Sept. 3rd, the foothills of the Rocky Mountains south of here had quite a bit of snow. Also, we have been promised SNOW FLURRIES in Calgary this week, and this is still technically summer!

This was a quiet weekend. Dennis’ scooter is in a shop being repaired, so he was content to watch football on TV for the weekend.

Tim’s friend Erin, the best man from his wedding in 2007, is here from B.C. until Sept. 27. (He's staying in the purple bedroom, which seems to be getting a lot of use lately.) Andrew was so excited that he talked nonstop when Erin arrived. Today we had a taco lunch, so Rachel was able to join all of us. It’s good to have Erin here once again. Both he and Tim will be working during the day, and they just have the evenings to do things together.

This afternoon, Rachel booked our plane tickets for the trip to Minnesota from Oct. 15 to Oct. 26. However, we still have things that need to be completed. Tim discovered his passport expired in May, so he will need to apply for a new one immediately. Renylor has a Filipino passport so she will need a U.S. visa stamped in it. Dennis and I will need to find travel insurance because the insurance that can be purchased with the plane tickets no longer covers people who are over 64. That change was since I traveled in August, because there wasn’t the age restriction at that time.

I hope you have a peaceful, calm, productive week and enjoy some beautiful fall weather, minus the snowflakes where you are.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 8:54 PM CDT

The last rose of summer is blossoming on our bush and the weather is looking more and more like fall. We had our long weekend with Labor Day on Monday, just like our friends and relatives in the U.S.

I took Dennis and Andrew to McDonald's for supper on Friday night, and then on Saturday Dennis and I went to the movie, “The Game Stands Tall.” It was about the De La Salle football team in California, which had won 151 straight games, and then lost two. A tragedy led to the realization that winning isn’t the most important thing in life. It’s a true story, which Dennis seemed to like.

Dennis' scooter was losing power this weekend, so he is wondering if there is a problem with the batteries. Rachel will be checking it out on Wednesday.

Andrew had his first day of second grade today. He seemed enthusiastic when I picked him up.
Have a good week.

Sunday, August 24, 2014 11:18 PM CDT

There’s a hint of fall in the air with the cooler weather we had this weekend, after some rain on Friday. Today we had an outdoor church service with lots of camp songs, and afterward had hot dogs and S’mores around campfires in the parking lot. (The campfires were within metal mesh covered “fire pits”—totally safe.)

Dennis was home this weekend. Unfortunately the Handi-bus that came to pick him up at Waverley House was just a taxi, so he refused to ride in it if he couldn’t bring his scooter. The home care aide arranged with the driver to book a larger Handi-bus which came a little later and could carry a scooter. He came wearing his winter jacket. He really thought it was cold. Someone gave Dennis $5 while he was doing his can collecting. People have been really generous with him and keep thinking he’s a homeless man, I guess. That’s about the third time someone has given him money.

What a wonderful time I had at a Michael W. Smith concert Friday night, which was more like a worship service with lots of audience participation. Awesome! I first listened to him in the 1980s. Where does he get all of his energy? He only sits still when he is at the keyboard, and the rest of the time he is constantly moving around while he sings.

I’m working on sending out our newsletter, and am working in transcribing an interview I did on Saturday for another article for CSC News. I’ll be keeping busy for a while.
Have a good week.

Have a good week.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 9:08 AM CDT

Rachel lost her good friend Karen last night to cancer.

Memories stretch back many years. Back in high school days, Karen's parents put their house on the market, and planned to start building a house an hour's drive north of here. The house sold immediately, and the family had nowhere to go. They ended up parking their small camper trailer in our backyard, and Karen slept in our bedroom downstairs, which was unoccupied at the time. Rachel moved down there for three months, and the two of them became roommates. Melynda, who lived two houses down from us, often joined them down there. I seem to remember a time when all three of them decided to jump on the bed, and it went crashing to the floor.

Later that summer, Karen's parents began building their house in Didsbury, and Rachel and Melynda stayed together with Karen in the small camper trailer on the lot and helped with the building by carrying lumber and blocks. Many memories for both Rachel and Melynda of their special friend. They were also both bridesmaids in Karen's wedding about a dozen years ago. Karen was also Rachel and Melynda's hair stylist for many years.

Please pray for Karen's husband Mark, her parents Jean and Wayne, and Karen's friends--especially Rachel and Melynda, who are all mourning Karen's loss. Thanks for your prayers.

Sunday, August 17, 2014 7:32 PM CDT

The poplar trees along our street are wearing yellow leaf clusters as crowns, and although our beautiful summer weather is still with us, the days are numbered. I’ll be sad to see August go.

It was nice to have Dennis, Renylor and Andrew in church with me this morning. Since there’s no children’s Sunday school in the summer, children are given activity packets to occupy their time during the service. Andrew sat there writing: Dear God, that you are in heven, we will belive in you and you will live in our Hearts. Andrew 2024. Yes, I’m certain God was reading over his shoulder and understood that prayer completely. It puts a smile on this Grandma’s face and is a keeper. Andrew gave me the paper afterward, so I’ll tape it in my journal.

Yesterday Dennis held up three fingers. “Do you have three bags of cans at Waverley House? No. “Is it three days?” No. “Do you have three bus tickets left and need more?” Yes. Three fingers could have meant anything. ANYTHIING. So I was happy that I got it on the third try. Communication is always by trial and error.

Last night Dennis watched the Stampeders beat the Hamilton Ti-Cats at football on TV. These were the same two teams we watched in person in Calgary one month ago. This afternoon he watched baseball. He likes baseball ever since he went to a Twins game last summer when we were in Minnesota.

We were back this weekend working on the grandma/Andrew weekend tradition—one large pancake and one fried egg. I’m not a skilled egg fryer in spite of the experience I’ve had doing it since our tradition of breakfast started last October, but Andrew graciously devours the mangled egg anyway without complaint. He only complains if I absent mindedly sprinkle it with black salt (pepper) by mistake—then I put the egg under the faucet and wash it off. No, you probably wouldn’t want to come to my house for breakfast, but Andrew thinks it’s great.

Rachel is still up in Red Deer, sitting by the bedside of her dying friend Karen, whose life has been much too short. Karen opens her eyes briefly at times, but is mostly unresponsive and is sedated because of the pain. Please pray for Karen’s husband Mark, her parents and other relatives and her friends who love her. All are experiencing the pain of losing Karen.

Renylor’s father remains the same, and will be having follow-up exams every two weeks and awaiting the doctor’s decision on doing by-pass surgery. Please continue to pray for him.

When I was in Minnesota, I stayed with my sister Sharon part of the time. Across the hall from the room I stayed in, my 19-year-old niece, Alyssa, had music posters mounted on her door. One of the posters was an autographed poster of Jason Gray, a singer from near Mankato, Minnesota. He had written “Alyssa is beloved. Isa. 49:16.” (The verse is a favorite of mine and starts out, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”) The “beloved” is from a song of his. Alyssa had gotten the poster at camp a couple years ago when Jason sang there, but I didn’t notice it last year.

I noticed it this year because I had the opportunity to meet Jason in person in April, tell him how much one of his songs meant to me, and shake his hand. Growing up in an abusive home, this amazingly talented 42-year-old singer, songwriter, speaker (with a stutter) and artist writes songs that speak of God’s comfort in the pain, shame, confusion and difficult times in life. (I’ve certainly had some difficult times, so they speak to me—although his main following is 18-24 year olds.) He says his stutter is actually a blessing because it allows him to talk to his audience about weakness, and how God uses weak people. Wow! I first heard his songs on our local Christian radio station, and have been listening to them ever since. If you have never heard of him, you can Google Jason Gray, youtube and find a wide variety of his music. “Nothing Is Wasted” and “Remind Me Who I Am” are two of my favorites. “Nothing Is Wasted” was written as a result of putting on a private concert for a couple who lost their only son—at the tender age of eight—to cancer.


I shared this last year and want to share it again. The author, who is unknown, did a brilliant job of painting a vivid word picture:

It wasn't the dusty look of the leaves or the flash of early goldenrod or the fattening pods on the milkweed. It wasn't those brilliant, cool days and chilly nights, right out of late September. It wasn't the different sound in the cawing of the crows, nor the chirping of the crickets or the katydids rasping in the darkness. It wasn't any one thing that made mid-August feel and look and sound like the very first stages of autumn. It was all those things coming at once, and at a time when we really didn't want to think about any season but summer.

That's the way it usually happens. There you are, right in the midst of summer, enjoying the sun, climbing a mountain or sailing a boat, eating the best sweet corn ever grown and the ripest juiciest tomatoes a garden ever produced. And thinking fine, idle summer thoughts. Then an insect or a wildflower or a breath of Canadian air intrudes, and you glance at the calendar and see that just days away are the first day of September.

Then you hear the frenzy in the rasping calls of cricket and katydid. You see the first red leaf on a sumac. You look for a daisy, and you see that the first blue asters are already in bloom. And you realize that you can lie abed till 6 o'clock and still get up with the sun. Then you know. Then you can read the clock of the year almost as well as the cricket and the katydid. It's already half-past August, less than fifteen minutes till autumn!

Author unknown

I might add the following: I know autumn is on the way when Anne outside my window exchanges her green "dress" for a gold one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 10:37 PM CDT

Please pray for the family of Rachel's friend Karen. I asked you to pray for Karen in April 2013 when she was first battling pancreatic cancer. Karen has had a difficult time over the past year and a half, is now experiencing organ shut down and will soon slip into the waiting arms of Jesus where her battle will be over. Rachel took time off from work and drove up to Red Deer this afternoon to wait with the family. Karen is only 33 and has been one of Rachel's best friends over the years. This is the third young friend Rachel has lost in the past few years.

Check the update I posted Monday on Renylor's father and the miraculous angel visit, in case you missed it.

I visited Dennis last night and took him to McDonald's for a smoothie. He is doing well. I asked him if he missed me while I was gone, and from what he "told" me, he was fine because he was able to come home and visit with the rest of the family.

May you have a peaceful week.

Monday, August 11, 2014 10:46 PM CDT

I’m now back in Canada; the weather is still warm (30 degrees C.; 86 degrees F.), but I see more yellow leaves on the trees. Summer is slipping away rapidly. I arrived at midnight last night—or was it early this morning?

Andrew was delighted to see me when I picked him up at daycare today, and he persuaded me to take him to McDonald’s on the way home. I said it was OK because it was a “special” day—my first day back and we would celebrate.

My cat also missed me. Tim said he was in hiding most of the time I was gone.

On Sunday, Rachel arranged for the Handi-bus to take Dennis and his scooter to church, and then to bring him to our house where she made lunch for the whole family. I'm proud of them for meeting Dennis's needs and caring for him while I was away.

Here is an update on Renylor\s father: On Friday Nestor Enderes (in the Philippines) was unable to have the bypass surgery because his heart function was at 26 per cent, he was having difficulty breathing and his fingernails and hands were blue. He was depressed and hardly able to talk. Doctors put him on medication to improve his heart function because his heart function needed to be at least at 30 per cent or the surgery would be far too risky. There was evidence that he previously had three heart attacks, although it was unclear just when all the heart attacks had taken place.

On Monday morning, Renylor excitedly told me what had happened over the weekend and said I could share it.

Nestor knew people around the world were praying for him and he was praying too—really hard. One night over the weekend, as he was lying in his hospital bed, someone in white walked into his room, put his hand over Nestor’s heart and then left as mysteriously as he came. He didn’t see the person’s face, but felt the cool pressure of a hand touching his chest. Something took place at that point that can be described as nothing short of a miracle. His family wondered if it was a hallucination on his part, but when he talks, everything else he says makes sense. And the change in him has been miraculous.

Tests are now coming back normal (not as extensive as the test prior to the planned surgery, of course), Nestor is very happy, his ability to breathe is back to normal, his coloring is back to normal. He has been laughing and joking with his family, and he tells everyone who comes into his room that they “need to trust Jesus.” He says, “God is showing me that He still has something for me to do.” The doctors now say that doing the bypass surgery at this time would have been a mistake. Nestor will be discharged from the hospital in a couple days. The doctors will just keep him on medication and monitor his heart function every two weeks. He is still weak and in a wheel chair. Surgery will probably be in the future when he is stronger. Thanks for your prayers!

Saturday, August 9, 2014 9:45 AM CDT

Bits and pieces of our lives

I talked with Renylor on the phone last night and got an update on her father. He did not have the bypass surgery yet because his heart was too weak. Doctors put him on medication that will strengthen his heart, and he is doing better. The doctors told her family, "Just pray, that's more powerful than us." So keep praying that the medication will strengthen Nestor's heart so they can reschedule the surgery. Ask God to watch over him and his family in the Philippines and for His comfort for Renylor who is so far away from the rest of them. Thanks for your prayers.

When I was talking with Renylor last night, I also talked with Rachel who was over at our house for a visit. She booked the Handi-bus for Dennis on Sunday, so he can come to church with his scooter. Then she will bring our car and trailer to church so she can pick him up after church and they can do something as a family before he goes back to Waverley House. She also took him to Prairie Winds Park during the week, so he is getting family time, even though I am not at home. I’m glad others can step in and take over when I am not there.

This week I visited with the missions secretary of our main supporting church and then attended 7 a.m. prayer time at another church on Friday. A group of about a dozen people meet every Friday to pray for an hour for their missionaries. Awesome! Then the people from the group who aren’t rushing off to work go out for breakfast. I enjoyed seeing the people who pray for us regularly, and the breakfast was great too. Plus, I was able to see two couples who are on our prayer and financial team.

I’ve had some fun times with my sister Sharon—going to an arboretum, a Japanese garden, and another garden. Plus, we stop at garage sales when we see them. So far I have bought only a couple things because I don’t have suitcase space to spare. Last night we watched “The Life of Pi,” which I had not seen previously. We’ve never had this much time to do things together previously. It’s great! On Sunday we’ll be going to a bridal shower for Sarah, Sharon’s daughter who will be getting married in September.

Monday, August 4, 2014 10:01 PM CDT

Bits and pieces over the past six days

• I’m now in Minneapolis. I had an interesting plane ride last Wednesday on my way here. The young man sitting next to me was named Tim, and was one year older than our son Tim. He and his wife are new missionaries with Avant; they and their two sons will eventually be doing church planting in Thailand.

• I have had good visits with many members of my family who live around the Twin City area.

• I thoroughly enjoyed the 50th high school class reunion on Friday and Saturday nights. Of a class of 96, 11 have already passed away. Thirty-five were present at the reunion. Two of us came from Canada, one from Wichita, Kansas, and two from Florida. The rest were mostly from various places in Minnesota. The highlight for me was talking to two classmates who had been alcoholics and had their lives totally transformed by the Lord. What a change! Yes, it was worthwhile coming all the way from Canada to attend.

• I spent Monday with Mom Seever. I went with her when she ran errands in various places this morning. Her cooking is still delicious!

• My sister Elaine and I walked through the Pine County Fair ground while the fair was in full swing over the weekend. It certainly isn’t anything like it used to be 50 years ago, when 4-H members had a huge number of items on display. Things just aren’t the same as they used to be.

• Doreen, one of Dennis’ three housemates at Waverley House, posted photos of flash flooding of the street and hail in their area this afternoon. I wonder what kind of hail damage was done around our house??

Please pray for Renylor’s father who will be having triple by-pass surgery on Friday at the hospital in Cagayon de Oro.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:47 PM CDT

Bits and pieces of our lives
The temperature this afternoon was 90 degrees (32 degrees C.)

• What a wild day of juggling I had yesterday. At 10:30, the city crew came to open up our blocked sewer line—yes, once again. The last time was 18 months ago. (Because of three dips in the pipes caused by settling over the years, it blocks up on occasion. I can either have a city crew come out for free, or pay $20,000 to get the backyard dug up and have the pipes replaced and re-leveled. Two of the dips are at the edge of our property line and the other is on the city property. ) Then in the afternoon I took Dennis to have his monthly blood test and on the way back I picked up Andrew from daycare. I also managed to do a bit of proofreading in between times. Sometimes life just happens. . .

• Praise the Lord with us: (1) Tim started his new job yesterday. (2) Renylor started her second week of training at the bank, this time actually helping customers and doing transactions with supervision. The learning curve is steep! (3) Andrew likes his new daycare and enjoys playing with the other children.

• Rachel rode her bike 35 minutes to visit her dad at Waverley House yesterday afternoon. This was her first time of riding there, with her “new” bike from her housemate. She found out that since Dennis won’t be coming home on the weekend, he wants the Handi-bus to take him—and his scooter—to church next Sunday. Yes, it will work. Rachel will meet him there. This is a step for him in being more independent and making a decision on his own about what he wants to do with his time. And yes, she managed to figure out what he was trying to tell her without any words. All of our communication with Dennis is done without ANY words from him.

• I’m flying to Minnesota tomorrow!! Do I need to tell you that I’m excited? I’ll be visiting a couple prayer and financial partners, but will mainly be with family. I’ll be attending my 50th high school class reunion on the weekend in Pine City. This was one of the items on my very short “bucket list”, which had only two items. Now I’ll need to start another bucket list.

“. . . Yet it is through these very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were never any clouds in our lives, we would have no faith. ‘The clouds are the dust of His feet’ (Nahum 1:3). They are a sign that God is there. What a revelation it is to know that sorrow, bereavement, and suffering are actually the clouds that come along with God! God cannot come near us without clouds— He does not come in clear-shining brightness.”–Oswald Chambers

Sunday, July 27, 2014 6:56 PM CDT

This weekend, I saw more yellow leaves on poplar trees in our neighborhood. We had our last major snow storm on May 3rd, only a little less than three months ago. Only half of the trees were leafing out by May 19th. Summer has been much too short! But then, it always is.

On Saturday, Dennis, Rachel, Renylor, Andrew and I had a fun day at the Chestermere Water Festival.(Chestermere is a small town on the edge of Calgary.) We watched people wake boarding (like waterskiing, only on a board) while being towed by a boat; heard a LOUD musical concert; and looked at booths with crafts for sale. Plus there were a lot of fun activities for children, and—unlike the Stampede—everything was free. I think Dennis enjoyed watching the water activities, and he enjoyed eating a sausage in a bun for lunch.

I bought a Peruvian butterfly necklace with pink, white and green “gemstones” at a craft booth. I like butterflies, but need to figure out where I can wear this one... I may just end up wearing it at home like I am doing this afternoon.

The topic for the sermon today was on joy, and as a way to add a little joy to everyone’s life, we were all served ice cream cones after the service. I think it was a surprise to everyone. Joy, of course, is different from happiness which is dependent on outward circumstances. Joy is dependent on what God has done for us.

On Wednesday, I’ll be flying to Minnesota for 10 days to attend my 50th high school graduation reunion. I’ll be traveling alone this time and will miss having Rachel as a traveling companion.

Dennis won't be coming home for the next two weekends, but I'm certain Rachel will figure out something they can all do together as a family. She's good at finding activities like the Stampeders game last weekend and the Water Festival this weekend.

Sunday, July 20, 2014 9:29 PM CDT

Our weekend with Dennis started on Friday. After a hamburger supper as a family, we all went to a Stampeders/Hamilton (Ont.) Ti-Cats football game. (Canada football league –CFL—starts earlier than the NFL and CFL in the U.S.) Ti-Cats stands for Tiger Cats, if you are wondering. It was a fun evening, but cold and windy, unlike our 84 degrees evening temperature a couple days earlier. At times I wished we had a blanket with us.

Going to a Stampeders game was a first for me, although Dennis was at a game last year with Rachel. The Stampeders won, 10-7. Andrew especially liked the bubble ball game, where players are in huge bubble costumes and bounce against each other for halftime entertainment.

On Saturday, I went to a funeral for a member of our church, who was 73 and died of a massive stroke. He had not been sick, so it was a huge shock to everyone. Dennis’ stroke was classified as a “very large” one, and massive is the next stage up the scale, where the victim doesn’t survive. I feel sad for Shirley, because she and her husband were actively enjoying their retirement years.

Today’s speaker at church was the head of Samaritan’s Purse in Calgary, who told of some amazing stories coming from war torn countries. Dennis, Renylor and Andrew were with me. Andrew even sang along with us on some of the songs, and then picked up a song from Shine FM radio in the car that he was humming when he came into the house.

Dennis was out on his scooter in the midst of a huge rainstorm this afternoon. He came into the house damp but not drenched, so he evidently found somewhere to keep dry. Was he at Co-op (the grocery store)? I tried to ask him, but couldn’t get a clear answer. He let me know he only found four cans, so it wasn't a very profitable afternoon of collecting.

Other activity for the week: on Thursday night our little writer’s group met at our house, and then Marie and Charles (from Taber) stayed overnight at our house for the next two nights. They had won tickets to the “Passion Play” Sunday afternoon, a great outdoor event in Drumheller, Alberta, a couple hours north of here. Marie is good at winning tickets—to a poetry reading event, to an “evening with C.S. Lewis” (a monologue by an actor who had perfected C.S. Lewis’ mannerisms and speech) and an evening of humor with Phil Callaway. In each of these instances, Charles was not with her, so she invited me to go along. Marie and I have had some fun evenings on the tickets she has won!

I just went downstairs to talk with Renylor, and she and Andrew were playing chess. I’ve never played a game of chess in my life! Andrew learns things quickly.

Thanks for praying. Renylor has found a daycare for Andrew starting on July 28th. Her father, Papa Enderes, is now out of the hospital. He is weak, resting,and has a weak heart at this point. She is not sure what the doctor will recommend next for him.

Have a good week, and enjoy your summer. It’s passing too quickly for me. Much too quickly. In a little over a week, I'll be on my way to Minnesota for my 50th class reunion. I'm looking forward to that.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 10:47 PM CDT

At 9 p.m., the temperature is still 84 degrees (29 degrees C.) so it was really a hot day. I enjoy hot weather, but we don’t have a good way to cool the house down. None of the living room windows open, just the kitchen and bedroom windows, so there’s not a lot of airflow. We keep small fans running, just recirculating the hot air trapped inside the house.

Update on Renylor’s father: He is still in the hospital, his EKG is back to normal, but his heart is weak. After a few more days, they plan to transfer him to a different hospital. The doctors say he had a cardiac arrest. Please continue to pray for him and for doctors deciding what needs to be done.

The continuing saga—My glasses were still causing double vision, especially at night, and to drive, I would slide them down on my nose and look over the top of them because the left lens made things that blurry. I saw better looking over the top. The eye drops didn’t help. Seeing was a daily battle. I finally gave up wearing them on Friday and put on old glasses that were five years old. No double vision! I saw the optometrist on Tuesday for the fourth time, praying that I would get him to believe me that the astigmatism correction was just too strong.

Dr. S. checked my eyes again and said the astigmatism correction was exactly correct. I finally convinced him to cut back on the correction to the prescription five years ago, just one click back on his optic machine. Dr. S. : "You can’t keep coming back here to get slight changes in your prescription." Me: "But I need glasses that actually work and the current ones don’t." (Is seeing double or not seeing double a "slight change"?)

My vision seems to have deteriorated over the past two months, and it appears that my macular degeneration is progressing in the left eye. Not good news! I will need to see Dr. Chow, the surgeon/ophthalmologist about it. I have two appointments tomorrow, one with my family doctor with a form to fill out that I am healthy enough to undergo eye surgery, and the other with a technician to measure for the lens when the cataract is removed on Sept. 30. I’ll see if I can set one up with Dr. Chow sometime in the future.

William Blake wrote:
Auguries of Innocence

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

Saturday, July 12, 2014 6:02 PM CDT

Please pray for Renylor’s father who was hospitalized with a heart problem a couple days ago and is still under observation. They can treat him there in Illigan City with drugs, but he would need to be flown elsewhere if the doctor decides he needs surgery.
Today is warm Saturday, definitely feeling like summer— a very pleasant 84 degrees (29 C.). Dennis, with his scooter, was just delivered to our front door. It’s a delightful day to scour the neighborhood for cans and bottles, which is what he decided to do after finding there’s no football game to watch on TV.

Yesterday afternoon, Rachel, Renylor, Andrew and I went to the Calgary Stampede for six hours (think “Minnesota State Fair”, only on a much smaller scale, although Calgary is a city of over a million people). A big part of the Stampede each year is the rodeo, which we didn’t see. I hadn’t been there for several years, and was surprised to see so many new things on display. One thing was a giant sculpture of 15 horses, scattered around a rest area by the animal barns— great for photo ops. In the evening we went to a free acrobat show from Peking. They were absolutely amazing; one acrobat carefully piled about eight chairs on top of one another and then did various balancing acts; the four legs of the bottom chair were resting on four large newly opened bottled.

The steam train still isn’t running this summer, so instead, we’ll be going to the Calgary Stampeders football game on July 18th, which is much less expensive and is in Calgary, not 2 ½ hours out of town like the steam train would be. Dennis is excited about going to a REAL football game with his whole family.

Ominous message on my answering machine on Monday night: “This is ___ from the Canada Trust Bank, Dennis Seever is standing in front of me. The account says he needs permission from his wife before he can take any money out of the bank. Please call me.” It was 9 p.m. by the time I got the message, and the bank was closed.

I quickly called Waverley House and talked to the woman on duty, who checked with Dennis. Yes, Dennis had a lot of money in his possession and had taken a lot of money out of a bank account from what she could see in his bank book. I drove over there immediately. What I discovered is that 1) he had the money he had made from selling his trains and can and bottle collecting. 2) He had made seven transactions that day by putting it in his own account and taking it out. 3) He had changed the $20 bills for $100 U.S. and $100 Canadian bills. 4) There was exactly the same amount of money in the account at the end of all of the transactions as when he started. I told him to lock up the money and be careful with it. All is well. Sigh. . . He just wanted money for when we travel to Minnesota. (If that actually happens in October. We hope it will.)

I found out on Monday that a devotional I wrote some time back was chosen for publication in “The Upper Room” in the May-June 2015 Issue. I’m encouraged. I also sent in an article this past week that will appear in ”CSC News” for Centre Street Church. It’s nice to write an assigned article because I never need to wonder if it will be published or not.

I found this interesting bit of information on Internet: “Your brain reaches its maximum size in your early 20s, and then it starts to shrink slowly. Blood flow also decreases over time. But some types of memory can improve throughout life, like your ability to recall concepts and facts. It’s just that “why” and “how” may be easier to recall than “what,” “when,” and “where.” Do your memory lapses interfere with daily living? Losing your keys is normal. Forgetting what they’re for is not.” A couple weeks ago, I said to Rachel: “I have this key on my keychain marked with a piece of tape, and now I don’t know what it’s for. Rachel: “Mom, that’s your garage key.” Me: “Oh, I think you’re right.” (I don’t lock the garage that often.)

I told the key story to a friend (who shall remain nameless) at the office, and was met with uproarious laughter. We both were laughing hard when he was finally able to speak. He explained how he had recently told his family not to lock the garage door because they didn’t have a key to it, and then he changed locks. He discovered afterward that he actually did have a key on his key chain that opened the old lock. So . . . I’m not the only one, and my friend is probably 20 years younger than I am.
Please pray. . . for Renylor’s father, for childcare for Andrew until school starts so Renylor can work, starting on July 21, and for my brother David who is now having radiation. Thanks for your prayers.

Encouraging thoughts:
Isaiah 41:13-14

"For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.
Do not be afraid...
...do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Sunday, July 6, 2014 11:52 PM CDT

I hope you had a good 4th of July celebration this past week, for those of you who are in the U.S. For those in Canada, I hope you had a good Canada Day celebration on July 1st.. When I was growing up, the 4th of July signaled that we were beginning the countdown to school and fall—summer vacation was almost half over.

We’ve had a week of celebrations, starting last Tuesday. I picked up Dennis for his monthly blood test in the afternoon, and then the entire family went to Perkins Restaurant to celebrate Tim’s 35th birthday. Afterward we came back home and, as a family, played Andrew’s new Angry Bird Uno game. Andrew does really well at it, and Rachel helped Dennis follow along. It was a fun—and competitive—game that the whole family could enjoy.

On Thursday Tim got his contract for a new job. The manager of the department who interviewed him was a classmate from DeVry Institute of Technology, and they were Facebook friends. Tim had asked if there were any openings earlier in June, and was told “no”. A couple weeks later he got an email from Andrew that someone had just given a two week notice and there was now an opening. Tim got that job! Thanks for praying for him.

The very next day Renylor received news that she will get a contract for a 25 hour-a-week job at a bank downtown. She is very excited about that because she has been applying for various jobs for the past year. I hope Andrew can be involved in soccer like last year because that will keep Andrew occupied during the summer while Renylor is at work.

On Friday I got together with my writer friend Laureen, and we talked about writing for nearly four hours. We both have articles we are working on for Center Street Church, so have made suggestions on each other’s articles. I’ve also got another one that I’m finishing and plan to submit to a book of stories by Canadian writer friends. It would be an honor to have it accepted.

This weekend Dennis was home for parts of both Saturday and Sunday like he usually was in the past. We recycled cans and bottles Saturday morning ($79 this time), and then he watched both baseball and football on TV plus went out on his scooter to collect more cans and bottles, This morning he went to church with me as he sometimes does. It was good to have things back to “normal” again. At church this morning, the children just stayed in church with their families because there is no Sunday school during the summer. (Children get activity packs with a few crayons and an activity booklet.) It was good to hear Andrew say afterward, “I like church.”

Dennis is observant. Rachel finished up painting a few things in the living room this past week and put up blinds in one of the windows. Dennis pointed out to us that we hadn’t painted behind the piano. (Yes, we knew that. We just hadn’t pushed it away from the wall yet.)

I hope you have a good week.

Sunday, June 29, 2014 8:45 PM CDT

Can you believe that the days are already starting to get shorter? We’ve already passed the first day of summer on the calendar, and are half way through 2014. I’m not sure where the year has gone. I keep looking back on Caring Bridge to see what we were doing in past weeks. This afternoon the temperature is 56 degrees F. (13 degrees C.), not summery at all.

Dennis was home between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday. During that time, he rode his scooter, collected cans and bottles and found $10 on the ground. He also watched baseball and football on TV. Football sounds like fall is just around the corner. . . and we’re hardly having summer yet.

July 1st is Canada Day, a holiday up here. I haven’t decided how I’ll celebrate yet, but I won’t have Dennis home for it. On Wednesday, July 2nd, I’ll be picking Dennis up for a blood test at 4 p.m., and then the whole family will be going to Perkins Restaurant to celebrate Tim’s birthday. He has a free certificate for a meal for his birthday.

I spent a good part of the weekend working on an article for CSC News (the church newspaper). It’s a good feeling to have it done, except for some minor corrections and updates.
Busy boy department

Today I had my grandson Andrew, 6, with me when I got gas at the local service station. I got out to pay at the pump. As I was putting my debit card pin number into the machine, Andrew popped out of the back seat. Me: “Andrew, what are you doing out here?” Andrew: “I’m not supposed to be in a car when there are no adults present.” Such logic. He is thinking all of the time.

A new favorite word is obviously. It’s funny to hear Andrew recite from memory the rules for his new Angry Bird Uno game. Are they all correct? I don’t know, but they sound logical. I’ll play by them.

Sunday, June 22, 2014 11:30 PM CDT

Rain, rain and more rain. On the 21st, it was exactly one year since the “Flood of the Century” inundated Calgary and all of southern Alberta with raging flood waters. Now southern Alberta is suffering again from flooding, with 1,000 homes expected to be affected and a lot of farm land waterlogged. This morning, the furnace came on, a reminder that although it is now summer, the temperatures can drop at night.

Dennis’ time at home on Saturday was busy. First, in the morning we recycled cans and bottles, earning him $52.

Next, in the afternoon, we went to the 50th wedding anniversary celebration of Keith and Yvonne. Keith and Dennis worked together in the finance office from 1997 until Dennis’ stroke in 2004. Keith and Yvonne have been retired for a number of years now, and Keith—confined to a wheelchair--lives in a nursing home. While at the celebration, we saw 18 current Wycliffe members and retired former members. Dennis remembered that all, with each person coming over to talk with him or greet him in some way. He was really happy to be there.

Then in the late afternoon, Dennis watched some baseball on TV and later rode around the neighborhood, collecting cans and bottles. By 7 p,m., he was ready to go back to Waverley House. It seems odd not to have him home on Sundays, but so far the restricted time at home seems to be working out for us. When he does come home for an overnight on weekends in July, I don’t think I will be in any danger from getting hit with his cane again.

People occasionally ask, “How is your eye?” I went to the optometrist on Tuesday to find out why I wasn’t seeing well. When he checked my left eye, the results came back that I was seeing 20/30 with my glasses. The correction was correct. However, I was reading the eye chart One. Letter. At. A. Time. I couldn’t see the whole line at once, only the letter I was focused on. Unfortunately, I don’t read street signs one letter at a time. Dr. Sandhu found that both eyes were dry, and the left one was extremely so. (I had no idea they were so dry.) I now have two types of eye drops to use to help me see more clearly than focusing on one letter at a time. Do they work? Somewhat. I guess that’s a problem with aging. I’m sad to know this is as good as it gets, but I guess I should be thankful that I can still see.

Busy Boy Department (I shared this on Facebook, but some of you aren’t on Facebook)

My grandson, Andrew, 6, continues to put a smile on my face. When I pick him up from school, I have the car radio on a local Christian station, and he generally asks, “Why are you listening to Shine FM?” He then suggests other stations that his dad listens to. Yesterday was different. I picked him up after school and had the radio turned down so I could talk to him. “Grandma, turn up the radio,” he says. “Why, Andrew?” I ask, surprised. “I thought you didn’t like that station.” Andrew: “I’ve changed my mind. Everybody needs the Bible.”


I was sorting through some paperwork and discovered a prayer I had posted on the wall at home and in my Wycliffe office shortly after Dennis’ stroke, and would read it on a daily basis. I’ve shared it previously, but wanted to share it again.

“Dear Lord, You have made waiting beautiful and patience divine. You have taught us that your will should be accepted, simply because it is your will. You have revealed to us that a person may see nothing but sorrow in his cup yet still be willing to drink it because of a conviction that Your eyes see farther than his own.

“Father, give me Your divine power—the power of Gethsemane. Give me the strength to wait for hope—to look through the window when there are no stars. Even when my joy is gone, give me the strength to stand victoriously in the darkest night and say, “To my heavenly Father, the sun still shines.”

“I have reached the point of greatest strength once I have learned to wait for hope.” –George Matheson, 1842-1906.

Sunday, June 15, 2014 11:13 PM CDT

This Sunday was overcast, threatening to rain and 60 degrees, not an inviting day for any outside activity. However, the two lilac bushes outside are filling the air with their sweet fragrance. I want to hold on to that memory for as long as I can. We hardly have a spring up here, and then summers are far too short. We are soon approaching the longest day of the year, and then it’s downhill from there.

Happy Father’s Day for all of you fathers out there. Dennis came home today at 1 p.m. and we all had a Father’s Day lunch with grilled chicken, grilled hot dogs, au gratin potatoes, vegetables and salad, and fresh strawberries. Dennis was glad to be home, seemed affectionate, and also seemed remorseful—or at least sad--for what happened the end of May. Rachel got him to sing some old familiar songs with her from a songbook; the words didn’t come out quite right, but he certainly remembered the tunes. That was encouraging to us.

I miss not having him home overnight and don’t think I’d be in danger, but Rachel pointed out to me that we need to follow through with what we said we would do. The incident in which he whacked me with his cane in a fit of frustration and anger happened in McDonald’s while we were trying to order and he was screaming , “Bah, bah, bah!” at me. I just didn’t understand what he wanted me to do when his frustration totally boiled over.

Last Tuesday night, the whole family—including Dennis—went to Rachel’s Taekwon Do testing. It was a grueling session, but she passed it, and is now a third degree (third dan) Black Belt. Anybody thinking of attacking her on a dark street is in for a surprise. I do hope that doesn’t happen, of course, but it is reassuring to know she could effectively defend herself if she ever needed to do so. During the test, she had her “attackers” on the ground in about 30 seconds.

Rachel had some really good news this week. Her hourly wage has been raised, she finished paying off her car, and finished paying off her school loan. Although she is no longer working the two afternoons a week with the 10-year-old autistic client, things are looking up because of the pay raise. Plus she has been able to pick up some extra hours of work with disabled people. On Saturday she worked on helping organize a 40th birthday party for one of her clients, and then led karaoke later on in the afternoon for the party.

Rachel gave me a wonderful Mother’s Day/birthday present—going to see Mary Poppins performed by professional actors last night. What an amazing evening! So well done. The stage had a circular inset, which revolved, letting the characters walk from one room to the other room while the stage turned. Watching the set changes was as awesome as watching the actual play!

Today in church we sang two of my favorites—“Blessed Be the Name” and “In Christ Alone.” I won’t share the words as I’ve done in the past, but they both blessed me greatly. I was also blessed this past week on Wednesday when the whole office went on a spiritual retreat at a retreat center outside of Calgary. During that time I read a chapter of the book, “The Wounded Healer” by Henri Nouwen. I had a wonderful quote, but can’t locate it right now. He’s the one who wrote, “In God’s economy, nothing is ever wasted,” a saying that my friends and I appreciated back in the 1960s.

Tim had one interview this week, thinks he might get some extra contract work, and doesn’t know when his work officially finishes. Please keep praying for him. Also keep praying for my brother, who finished his chemo and will be seeing his oncologist tomorrow to find out just how effective the chemo has been and details about when he starts radiation.

I hope you have a great week. May the Lord bless you richly.

Sunday, June 8, 2014 10:39 PM CDT

We’re enjoying spring immensely. I planted most of the rest of my annuals in pots, which add a lot of color along the front steps, down to the sidewalk. The 10 pots mostly contain petunias, marigolds, dianthus, dusty miller, lobelia, and a couple geraniums. I still have some pansies to plant.

After the cane incident last Sunday, Dennis was not home this weekend. I’m so thankful for Rachel’s skills in working with disabled people! She and I picked him up at Waverley House this afternoon and took him to Quiznos, a sub sandwich place. Rachel hadn’t eaten yet, so she had her lunch there, and Dennis and I had a drink and a cookie. Rachel and I then explained to him why hitting me with his cane when he is angry is unacceptable. She did most of the talking. He understood what he had done and was in tears at one point. For the next three weekends, he won’t be coming home overnight because right now he can’t be trusted. He will just be home for six hours each Saturday. He has done so well for the past six years, but this is the kind of dangerous behavior that led to his going to a personal care home in the first place. Please pray with us that this behavior is just an anomaly and we can put all of this behind us again.

Last Monday, I picked Dennis up and took him to the lab to get blood drawn. I found out at that point he had left the offending cane on the Handi-bus on Sunday night. My guess is it was on purpose—so I bought him a new cane that looks completely different from the old cane. We do NOT want the old cane back, so I didn’t attempt to call the Handi-bus lost and found.

Rachel will be having her test for her third level Black Belt in Taekwon Do on Tuesday night. All the family will be going out to the sports arena where it is held—including Dennis. (We want Dennis to feel like he is still part of the family, because he certainly is.)

I am now working on a new story for CSC News, and interviewed a young couple on Saturday for their information. They are from our area, and attended Lester B. Pearson High School, the same school Tim and Rachel attended, but before Rachel and after Tim.

Have a good week!

Sunday, June 1, 2014 10:20 PM CDT

The crab apple tree in our neighbor’s yard has burst into bloom, filling the air with fragrance, and my lilacs have started to open. Spring, which is bit late in arriving this year, is very welcome. “Anne” across the street is decked out in her green finery. However, I’m missing the sparrows this year because they are no longer nesting under the garage roof overhang that no longer exists. But I am very glad we have the new roof. Very glad.

Dennis was home this weekend as usual and we celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary yesterday. We had a couple over last night, Morena and Edgardo, who made authentic Mexican enchiladas for us. They were so thrilled with the story I wrote about them for the Centre Street newspaper, that they wanted to do some Mexican cooking for us. It was a lovely evening.

I’m concerned about whether Dennis’ medication is working properly. He seemed a bit depressed today and hit me with his cane when I didn’t understand what he wanted. The last time he behaved aggressively like that was six or seven years ago. Please pray for wisdom in knowing what to do for him.

Some of you have asked about my eyes. I had a pair of glasses made a month ago, and the left eye correction was supposed to be 20/30. It wasn't at all, so I called the office on three occasions, and they told me to give it time. I was finally able to go back and have my eyes rechecked; the correction was only 20/50. They hadn't put in the astigmatism correction! So I had the left lens remade with the astigmatism correction. Now, almost a week later, my sight is still slightly blurry on that eye because I haven't fully adjusted to that astigmatism correction. I’ve never had that problem previously, but then I’ve never had four stitches in my eye previously either. The NEXT cataract surgery is September 30, more than a year after the first one, and they were originally scheduled to be two weeks apart.

On Friday night some friends and I went to the dress rehearsal of a play called, “Chickens”. Four actors were “chickens” in the play and could sing and talk in this musical comedy. Funny and well done.

Please continue praying for my brother David, who has his last chemo tomorrow. Pray also for Tim, whose last day of work is June 17. Praise the Lord with us for the safe arrival of Alison Sherry Ausmus, my brother Jerry’s grandchild.

Busy Boy Department

“Grandma, do you want some chips?” Me: “Are those yours? “ (I was suspicious, because they looked like an open bag I had in the cupboard. ) Andrew: “I think not.” Me: “Did you get them from my cupboard?” Andrew: “Yes.” I’m now trying to figure out where he got that unusual sentence structure—“I think not.”

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 10:22 PM CDT

If some of you were looking for a Sunday night post, I missed posting this week. It’s been one of those weeks where nothing much is going on. Everything is green. It’s hard to remember that a little over a week ago the trees were just starting to leaf out. Buds on the flowering crab next door are just starting to open.

Dennis was home this past weekend and enjoyed riding his scooter and watching baseball on TV. I’ll book him to come home again this coming weekend, which will be our 39th anniversary.

I hope you’re having a good week and that you had a good Memorial Day celebration.

Monday, May 19, 2014 10:51 PM CDT

It’s Victoria Day weekend, so we had Monday off as well. The grass needed to be mowed this week, but only about half of the trees are getting their leaves. In normal years, trees start getting their leaves the end of April, but this has been a bitterly cold, long winter.

Dennis came home for all three days. It was a bit rainy at times, but he managed to get out a number of times to collect cans. He also enjoyed watching some baseball games on TV. On Sunday, everyone was over at our house for a taco supper, and then Rachel, Renylor, and I went to see “Mom’s Night Out.” I haven’t laughed that hard for a long time.
(Tim, Dennis and Andrew stayed home and watched each other.)

Last Monday and Tuesday, I went to “The Gathering,” with 175 other Wycliffe members, volunteers and alumni at River’s Edge Camp. We heard field reports, had group discussions, had devotional times with a pastor originally from Ethiopia, and had good visits with people we hadn't seen in years or had only previously “met” through email. We also had an awards banquet with certificates for people working 10, 20,30, 40 and 50 years. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

On Thursday and Friday, my writer friend stayed at our house. (She comes to Calgary once every month or two for doctor’s appointments. We had a writer’s meeting with two other friends on Thursday night, and then the two of us went to “Heaven is for Real.” It was a good, thought-provoking movie. I read the book twice before seeing the movie.
Sunday night, May 12

I was scheduled to ride to “The Gathering” with Verna, a Wycliffe literacy worker, living in Medicine Hat, three hours from here. She had arranged to stay overnight with a cousin in a 400-unit mobile home park five miles from me so we could get an early 6:30 a.m. start to camp the next day. Unfortunately, she left the phone number for her cousin at home Medicine Hat and didn’t have the mobile home number because he said it was too confusing to find—just wait at the corner at the 7-11. .So she waited . . . for three hours, (it turned out the number she had given him to call her cell phone, was one digit off so he couldn’t contact her either.) Verna came to my house Sunday afternoon, wondering what she should do. She tried a number for a nephew, also living in Calgary, but actually had the wrong number for him.

I suggested she go back to the mobile home park and ask the Lord where she should go in the court, since she didn’t have the house number. So she did. She drove to a street and parked her car, then got out and asked a lady walking her dog if she knew where the family lived. The lady answered, “How should I know? This is a big mobile home park.”

At that point Verna heard someone call her name. She had parked across the street from her cousin’s house! (The cousin also had a wrong number for her so couldn’t call her cell phone either and let her know why he couldn’t meet her at the pre-arranged time.)

Sunday, May 11, 2014 10:55 PM CDT

My Mother’s Day started with a call at 7:30 from one of my Filipino friends, Esteling, who lives in the Philippines. She realized that it’s Mother’s Day here and wanted to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. What a surprise! She’s called me a couple other times and it’s been in the middle of the night, like at 4 a.m.

Rachel was up in Edmonton for Taekwon Do competition this weekend, so I got some Mother’s Day posts on Facebook from her. She won a medal in the competition. Tonight she is spending the night with her friend Karen in the hospital in Red Deer, as Karen needs someone to stay with her overnight every night. Karen is the friend who is battling cancer and has a lot of pain.

“Happy Mother’s Day, Grandma,” comes a little voice from the stairway. “Can you make me breakfast?” (Yes, I did make half a breakfast for Andrew—I’m out of pancake mix.) Breakfast with Grandma on weekends is a nice family tradition for Andrew.

Dennis got up early and went out collecting cans at 6:45, so he could be back before church. He went to church with me, and saw his friend Doug’s new motorcycle. Doug was Dennis’ instructor when Dennis was studying for his motorcycle license in 2003. Dennis rode his motorcycle until the day before his stroke in 2004.

We had a family taco lunch today and then Dennis went out collecting cans two more times. The weather was beautiful today, about 60 degrees, an improvement over the weather we’ve had, so turned out to be a good day for riding his scooter after all. Last night was a rainy night so I’m surprised he decided to bring it.

I’ve been listening to two CD by Jason Gray, the singer who was at the “Nothing Is Wasted” conference two weeks ago. I bought them with my birthday present and Valentine’s Day present from Dennis.

Tim’s job is winding down and he will be out of a job in five weeks. People aren’t requesting market research anymore, and the company has lost some big clients. His boss, Anne, said she would coach him in preparing for an interview to find another job. Anne hired Tim right out of his university classes in 2002. Please pray for Tim and his family.

Thanks for your prayers for my brother David. He had his chemo treatment last Monday and have another one next week. He has only a couple more and then they switch to radiation.
Busy boy department:

I was picking Andrew up after school last week. Mrs. Kirk: “Good night, Andrew. Andrew: “Why are you saying good night to me? It’s only 3:00.” So Mrs. Kirk laughed and told him, “Good afternoon,” and he was satisfied.

I got some M &M cookies for Dennis on Friday. Later I saw Andrew eating one. Me: “Andrew, why did you open the package of cookies?” Andrew: “I had to test one to see if they are good to eat.” (I think I’ve heard that response before when my kids were little.)

Sunday afternoon. Andrew: “Why are the cookies gone?” Me: “I sent them to Waverley House with Grandpa. You had too many cookies.”

Andrew: “It’s appropriate to say to me, ‘You had enough of that.’ (I’ve also heard him using however and apparently in the same sentence. He puts a smile on my face.)

Sunday, May 4, 2014 10:33 PM CDT

Bits and pieces of our lives. . .

On Saturday morning, we woke up to a Winter Wonderland—four inches of snow and snow covered tree branches, which looks absolutely gorgeous in December, but a bit depressing in May. The snow melted Sunday afternoon, but by evening it was falling again.

Saturday was my 68th birthday. Dennis and I took his cans to the bottle depot in the morning. The $75 he earned put a smile on his face and money in his pocket. He gave me $10 of it for my birthday. Then in the evening we ate at McDonald’s and took Andrew with us. Afterward, Dennis and I watched a Christian DVD, “Facing the Giants.” My family birthday celebration came after church on Sunday with a family lunch at Swiss Chalet. It was fun!

I’ve been working on an article for CSC News (Centre Street Church), which I have been doing a couple times a year since 2008. This afternoon I was transcribing a two-hour interview, but discovered the recording stopped after 56 minutes. I have handwritten notes from the interview, but if I want quotes, it always helps to have it recorded. We’ll see what I can do with what I have. The couple I interviewed graciously told me they were willing to talk with me again.

I’m looking forward to a one-day writers’ conference next Saturday here in Calgary.

Have a great week. Enjoy your springtime. We hope ours comes back.

Sunday, April 27, 2014 10:12 PM CDT

When the sun rose this morning, the ground was lightly covered with snow. It quickly melted, and now at 8:30, the temperature is 53 degrees (12 C.).

On Friday and Saturday, I went to the “Nothing is Wasted” conference on disabilities at Centre Street Church, attended by 250 people who are caregivers or people who deal with family members who have disabilities. Some of those attending had disabilities themselves. Some of speakers spoke on topics relevant to what Dennis (and I) deal with. One of the most amazing talks was given by Sheldon, a man with cerebral palsy, who cannot speak. He wrote his entire talk out, point by point, and presented it on PowerPoint. He was amazingly articulate in what he shared. Dennis would have appreciated the fact that he could give a presentation without talking. (Unfortunately, Dennis can’t even spell words—he relies on charades and “air maps” to communicate with us.)

For me, the high point of the conference was hearing two of my favorite Christian singers, Brian Doerksen and Jason Gray. Both have songs that were particularly meaningful to me at various points on our difficult journey in the past 9 ½ years since Dennis’ stroke. “Faithful One” by Brian Doerksen is a song that I continually listened to in the early months of Dennis’ stroke. (The words are given below.) I could rely on the Lord who was unchanging and my solid rock when everything else around me was shifting and unstable. (Other familiar songs of his are “Now Is the Time to Worship” and “Refiner’s Fire.”) He has two sons with fragile X chromosome, which has a profound effect on their development. His youngest son, now 16, can say three words.

I attended Jason Gray’s concert on Friday night and enjoyed worship times he led twice on Saturday during the conference. A song he has written, “Remind Me Who I Am” (one verse given below), was especially meaningful to me a couple years ago. I was dealing with some things with Dennis and at work that made me feel very inadequate at the time. The words to that song were a great encouragement to me as I listened to the song over and over again on Youtube. After one of the worship sessions, I was able to tell Jason just what that song meant to me and why.

Jason, who has a speech impediment (stuttering), sings beautifully—just like Dennis can sing most of the words to “Happy Birthday” but cannot speak. Speech and singing are located in different parts of the brain. Jason told of how God uses pain to get us to where we want to be, and sometimes we are rejected when there is nothing we can do about it. “I’m grateful that in the Kingdom of God, there isn’t anything wasted,” he says. “The worst that we go through is not meaningless—it will be re-purposed and redeemed. There isn’t anything He can’t take and make beautiful.” God makes the most beautiful things in our lives through the pain we go through.

"Nothing Is Wasted"

The hurt that broke your heart
And left you trembling in the dark
Feeling lost and alone
Will tell you hope's a lie
But what if every tear you cry
Will seed the ground where joy will grow

And nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted (first verse and chorus)

Because I wasn’t able to have Dennis home on Saturday, the Handi-bus brought him at 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. We went out as a family to try out the new McDonald’s six blocks from our house in the Village Square Mall. After that Dennis, Rachel and I watched “Sister Act,” the movie with Whoopie Goldberg made a few decades ago. Dennis could follow what was going on, and it was good to see him emotionally engaged, with laughter and tears.

I took four vacation days off this past week. Besides going to the conference, three of those days were used for painting the living room and the hallway. Two of Rachel’s clients were on vacation, so she was able to come over in the afternoons and help with painting. Or maybe it was the other way around and I helped her. She re-calked the windows and put up mini-blinds for me so it looks a lot different. The hallway is finished and part of the living room is nearly finished, so she will come over after work on Monday. I think we’ll end up doing it is stages, because we can’t do it all at once. We still plan to do the kitchen later on. I painted all of this by myself 16 years ago, but I was younger then.

I’m also working on a new story for the Centre Street Church newspaper, which will keep me busy when I’m not painting.

SONGS from the conference:

"Remind Me Who I Am"

When I lose my way,
And I forget my name,
Remind me who I am.
In the mirror all I see,
Is who I don't wanna be,
Remind me who I am.
In the loneliest places,
When I can't remember what grace is.

Tell me once again who I am to You,
Who I am to You.
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You,
That I belong to You.
To You. (first verse and the chorus)

Faithful One

Faithful one, so unchanging
Ageless one, you’re my rock of peace
Lord of all I depend on you
I call out to you, again and again
I call out to you, again and again

You are my rock in times of trouble
you lift me up when I fall down
All through the storm
Your love is, the anchor
My hope is in You alone

Monday, April 21, 2014 7:19 AM CDT

He is risen! He is risen indeed! I hope you all had a happy Easter. We certainly did. After church in the morning, we had a family Easter dinner with turkey. All in all, it was a relaxing day, and fun being together.

Dennis came home with his scooter on Saturday, and was zipping around the neighborhood on it, picking up cans for recycling. On Saturday, the snow was just melting , but by Sunday afternoon, the weather was really nice. He couldn’t find many cans and bottles on Saturday because it was too cold for people to be out, but by Sunday afternoon, he found 24 and someone thought he was among the city’s poor, so gave him $5.

Rachel will be helping with painting this week. Already everything is piled in the middle of the living room or in the purple bedroom.

Have a good week. I hope you are enjoying some nice spring weather.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 8:24 PM CDT

As we near Easter, may your weekend be meaningful as we celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection. Our church has a Good Friday service tomorrow night, which I’m planning to attend. Then on Easter Sunday, we’ll have a simple turkey dinner with just our own family.

Dennis is booked to come home for Saturday and Sunday. This time he will be bringing his scooter with him for the first time this season. He hasn’t been able to go out while at Waverley House because the alley has been so muddy. Although we had snow yesterday (and numerous traffic accidents in the morning), all of the snow has now melted. The current temperature is 55 degrees. The prediction for this weekend is 57 degrees (14 degrees C.).

I passed my physical (including the eye test) for my driver’s license renewal and now have my new driver’s license. I am greatly relieved!! Since my eye is now stable, I was able to get the correct prescription for new glasses. What a relief after struggling with my vision and seeing double for six months because of the four stitches in my eye. My next cataract surgery will be August or September.

Tragedy in Calgary – On Tuesday night, up to 25 University of Calgary students were gathered at a house party, celebrating the end of classes (traditionally known as Bermuda Shorts day) when a mentally unstable guest at the party stabbed and killed five people with a knife he found at the house. His father, who is veteran police officer, was alarmed by a note his son had left earlier and was out that evening, searching for his son, whom he thought might be suicidal. Please pray for all of the families touched by this tragic event. Four men and one woman, all in their early 20s, died. What a sad, sad incident; it was the largest mass murder in Calgary history.

Looking ahead—Rachel will have some half days of free time this coming week because a couple of her disabled clients are away. Starting on Monday, she plans to paint my living room and kitchen. I’m taking some vacation days to work with her.

On Friday and Saturday next week, I will be attending “Umbrella 2014” Conference at Center Street Church, which deals with working with disabled people. One of the speakers is worship leader Brian Doerksen, who has two sons with fragile X chromosome. Jason Gray, who has a speech impairment, will be putting on a concert Friday night. My writer friend Laureen will also be attending. I'm looking forward to it.

Last night Rachel was playing chess with Andrew. She had five pieces left, but Andrew had his king. . . I've never played chess in my life.

Sunday, April 13, 2014 9:24 PM CDT

This was a family weekend. On Saturday afternoon, we went to "Supertrain" as a family, where 57 exhibits were on display. Some were paintings of trains or train books for sale, but many of them were H, O, or N gauge layouts. The detailed scenery on the layouts was amazing. Dennis walked for an hour and a half, and did really well. He had a wheelchair available but chose not to ride in it until the last half hour we were there. I think he liked it much better than two years ago when we pushed him in a wheelchair and he had difficulty seeing the displays from that level. Andrew enjoyed the trains, but especially liked the Leggo area set up for children.

Tim saw two of his friends from junior high school—both are now engineers. Rachel saw a teacher she had in junior high in outdoor education. The teacher immediately recognized her as someone she had taught in school and told Rachel she hadn’t changed that much. Rachel recalled a camping trip her class had been on in the spring when it snowed in the foothills of the mountains where they were camping.

We found out from two men there that the Calgary Model Railroad Club meets the first Wednesday of the month, and Dennis will be welcome to go to it and watch the men run trains. It will fit into Rachel’s schedule to take him that Wednesday. Years ago Dennis used to attend the model railroad club.

Afterward we all went out to eat at Perkins, one of our favorite places. It’s good to be together as family.

Today, Rachel, Renylor and I went to the Home and Garden Show—a girls’ day out for us. Tim watched Andrew at home, and they ate at the newly opened McDonald’s six blocks from us. Rachel, Renylor and I enjoyed the beautiful exhibits of potted flowers and got tired out from walking. (At least I did.) It was fun!

Thursday, April 10, 2014 10:20 PM CDT

A Quick Update

We’ve had a temperature of 65 one day and a light dusting of snow that night, typical of spring in Calgary. Now, at 8:20 p.m., it’s 52 degrees and it’s still dusk. It’s really nice that spring is finally coming. Everyone is SO tired of winter, except the skiers, of course.

Dennis’ doctor appointment on Tuesday: all of the blood tests and other tests were fine, including an electrocardiogram. However, Dennis indicated he gets short of breath when he walks, so Dr. G. wants him to see a cardiologist and have a modified version of a stress test. It may take a while to set up the booking.

Good results from my visit to the eye surgeon. Everything has healed well and my vision is now 20/30 in my left eye without glasses, but can’t be corrected to any better than that. (It was 20/40 at the last visit.) I now can get my new prescription for glasses (!!) since the current left lens is wrong. Dr. Chow has done cataract surgery on other people with prior RK surgery like mine, but my cornea is the first one that ever split. He thinks he now knows of a way to do the surgery next time to avoid another split. I certainly hope his plan works, because I don’t look forward to seeing double for six months again. My next surgery will be booked for a few months from now and I will need some tests repeated prior to it since they were done longer than six months ago. Sigh. . .

I manage Dennis’ money and now need to convince him that it’s necessary for me to pay his bills using his pension money. He thinks it all belongs to him and that I shouldn’t touch it for any reason. Logic escapes him. Please pray for wisdom for me. I need to account to the government concerning where all of his money goes. It’s bought his hearing aids, a plane ticket to Minnesota, a mobility scooter, his prescription drugs, and pays for his stay at Waverley House.

Andrew has been sick, so Renylor took him to the clinic today. He is now on antibiotics for what probably is strep throat.

I’m looking forward to the weekend when we’ll be doing some fun things.

Sunday, April 6, 2014 10:15 PM CDT

What a beautiful day! The temperature was up to 48 degrees, so much of the snow is gone. It’s very different from the middle of last week when people were shoveling snow.

Dennis came home on Saturday afternoon. When he indicated that he wanted cookies, I showed him chocolate chip cookie dough I had in the refrigerator. No, that wasn’t what he wanted at all—he wanted M&M cookies from Superstore. We went shopping, but they didn’t have any, so we went to McDonald’s-- his second choice-- for a chocolate milkshake. However, they were out of chocolate, so he settled for a “Shamrock” milkshake, which was green with a mint flavor.

Dennis came to church with me this morning. He doesn’t get much out of the service, so he ends up sleeping, but that’s OK too. This coming week I’ll see him on Tuesday when I accompany him to see his doctor. The doctor wants to discuss the results of Dennis’ blood tests with us. Usually the tests show nothing significant, so we don’t need a special trip down there. However, the doctor is concerned about something this time.

Changes in Rachel’s situation—she and Melynda downsized and got their condo fixed up so they could sell it. However, it wasn’t an economically sound decision, so they decided to keep it instead. Rachel is getting a five-day-a week roommate instead. Kimberley is married and lives in Lethbridge two hours from here, but just got a job in the health field in Calgary during the week. She will be going back to Lethbridge each weekend, while Melynda comes back from her week in Red Deer each weekend. Musical houses. . .like the old game of musical chairs.

LOOKING AHEAD—Next weekend will be Supertrain (Many train layouts on display), with the whole family attending. Then on Sunday, Rachel, Renylor and I will be going to the Home and Garden Show. It should be a fun weekend.

Please pray for Tim who has been unwell the past couple weeks. He says he is short of breath, but it might be stress related in some way. He went to the doctor and had a chest X-ray.

This week I was blessed by a devotional reading and a second blessing came in the form of a song we sang this morning in church.

Love greeted you when you opened your eyes.
Declare Your lovingkindness in the morning. Psalm 92:2

Your day belongs to the Lord.
My times are in Your hand. Psalm 31:15

Your theme song for the day is "Rejoice".
This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Today is a fresh start in His mercies.
The reason I can find hope is that I keep this one thing in mind: the Lord's mercy...His compassion is never limited. It is new every morning. His faithfulness is great. Lamentations 3:21-23

You're the best dressed person in town.
He has dressed me in the clothes of salvation. He has wrapped me in the robe of righteousness. Isaiah 61:10

This is the day to live free from the cares of tomorrow.
So don't ever worry about tomorrow. Matthew 6:34

Carry hope in your heart all through the day.
Be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day; For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:17-18

P.S. At the end of the day, His faithfulness will be there to tuck you in at night.
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High...And Your faithfulness every night. Psalm 92:1-2

-Devotional message by Roy Lessin, from his blog Meet Me In The Meadow
In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
(Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music)

This is available on Youtube with a number of different singers singing it. Very meaningful! This song has several other verses as well and is especially meaningful now that Easter is approaching.

Sunday, March 30, 2014 10:44 PM CDT

Just a very quick update

It’s been snowing off and on all weekend—but that’s not anything new at this stage. The current temperature is -11 degrees C. (13 F.)

Dennis was home this weekend. The activity for Saturday night was sitting together on the sofa and watching “Flipping Vegas”. (A home renovator in Las Vegas buys houses and then discovers many more problems to deal with than he first thought.) Dennis watches the program without his hearing aids. He can see what he needs to see.

I’ve finished our U.S. taxes and will send them in tomorrow. I just need to double check the figures on the Canadian taxes. I’m feeling relieved.

I’m so thankful for a working clothes washer. And a working dish washer. And anything else that works. Oh yes, a working car too.

Tonight was a missions night at church. We prayed for all of the church-supported missionaries around the world.

My friends Marie and Charles from Taber will be staying Monday and Tuesday night while they go to some doctor appointments. We’ll have our writers’ meeting tomorrow night.

Dennis has an appointment for some blood tests Tuesday afternoon. I will meet him at the lab when he arrives by Handi-bus and then drive him back to Waverley House afterward.

As you can see, life has been boring, but boring is GOOD sometimes.

Have a great week.

Sunday, March 23, 2014 9:00 PM CDT

Welcome, spring. I opened the door on Thursday morning to blowing, swirling snow. Now on Sunday, the snow and cold weather both remain. I’m not complaining too much because the Northeast of the U.S. and Canada is really getting hit by storms. However, I do miss the 50 degree temperatures we had the previous week. We were fooled into thinking spring weather was coming.

One thing I’ll miss this spring is the sparrows. When the garage roof was fixed, the sparrows no longer had a place under an overhang for their nest so won’t be back. However, I guess a dry garage outweighs the loss of my feathered friends. As you may remember, they returned faithfully year after year and I enjoyed watching them and commenting on them in my blog posts.

On Tuesday I accompanied Dennis to his Dr.'s office by Handi-bus. Then, later on when I was saying good-bye to him at Waverley House, he stood at the back door and beckoned me to come back. He had something for me. When I went back, he opened his hand and gave me what was in it.--one M & M! Funny! Who knows. . . maybe it was the last one in the package. He now has a number of lab tests scheduled to make certain all of his medications are at the right level, and weren’t the cause of his stumbling and weakness. The lab is closed for renovations next week, so he is booked in the afternoon of April 2nd. Dennis has had no problem with stumbling and falling since a week and a half ago.

Now, on the weekend, he has been home. There’s not much to do in weather like this, so he watched a lot of TV, while I was working on Canadian taxes. U.S. taxes come next, but I need information from the Canadian taxes before I can do the U.S. ones.

On Sunday afternoon, Rachel came over for a visit with her dad. After the Handi-bus took Dennis to Waverley House, Rachel and I watched “Frozen” with Renylor, Tim and Andrew downstairs. It’s not even 8 p.m., but I am so very tired. I guess doing all of that thinking on taxes yesterday and a little this afternoon was tiring.


Wednesday ----I had an interesting afternoon. I was one of the chaperones for Andrew's first grade class when they went to see the ballet "Giselle", Act II. I've never been to a live ballet previously. (The first graders were an interesting bunch and required as much watching as the ballet.) The auditorium, which holds 2,000 people, was filled with students from all over Calgary. I thought Andrew wasn't paying attention, but when question and answer time came, he wildly waved his hand and was chosen to speak on one of the five roving microphones—in the auditorium with 2,000 people. He bravely asked, "What was the cast of characters?" Later he told Renylor it was hard to follow what was going on because there was no talking in the ballet, just dancing, and he almost fell asleep. He’s right—I had a hard time following what was going on as well.

You know the expression, “That gives me the willies”? I found out where it comes from. Willies in the ballet were a two dozen dancing spirits dressed in white dresses, who accompanied the dead Giselle’s spirit. (Giselle died of a broken heart in Act I when she found out her boyfriend was actually engaged to another woman.)

Two of Andrew’s favorite words are actually and apparently. He sprinkles them throughout his speech, especially actually.

Sunday, March 16, 2014 6:38 PM CDT

The weather has been beautiful this past week, and much of the snow is gone, except for some snow that has been piled various places. We will have two more months with snow, but at least it’s melting in between snowfalls. Yes, I think we’ll have spring after all this year. The current Calgary temperature is 50 degrees (10 degrees C.), but the temperature will be lower throughout the coming week.

It’s been a medical week (check out the post from Wednesday.)

FRIDAY---Some nursing /care homes neglect their clients’ health needs, but I never need to worry . The women who work at Waverley House are beyond diligent in checking things out. I got a call this afternoon from M, who was concerned about Dennis. He sneezed and there was blood on the tissue afterward and she had noticed a bump in his nose. “Much blood?” I asked. “Yes.” “Could the bump be from when he fell on Tuesday and hit his forehead on the brick wall?” She wasn’t sure but thought he needed to be seen by a doctor, even though his nose wasn’t bleeding much anymore.

When I arrived, his nose was not bleeding, and he was not happy with the prospect of a trip to the walk-in clinic. M. showed me some tissues with a very small amount of blood. I looked at Dennis’ nose, and was puzzled. “See,” she said, “the two sides aren’t alike. That’s where the bump is.” Me: “It’s been like that forever. He has a deviated septum. His nose is crooked. “ Yes, one year we really were concerned about nose bleeds; they were happening far too often and were difficult to stop because he is on blood thinner. His nose was too dry so he needed ointment. Now he’s not having the unstoppable nosebleeds he had at that time, but his nose is probably dry.

SATURDAY—1) I was told that I needed to take Dennis to the doctor because of another “bleeding problem” (but he refused to go), 2 )Marshall's Drugs told Waverley House staff that Dennis needed another blood test if he had a bleeding problem, and 3) M said the home administrator wanted to talk to me. When I talked to the home administrator and explained how minimal the problem was, she agreed to check with Marshall's Drugs and get a repeat of an over-the-counter medication (nose gel for dry nose) he was allowed to have a couple years ago. No doctor visit or blood test was needed, but I feel exhausted from all of the drama. What about the other three clients at Waverley House who have no family to take them to the doctor/hospital/dentist/clinic?

On Saturday, Dennis and I recycled cans. There was a long line-up in front of the building of people with their bags of cans. We waited and Dennis got his $56. I was puzzled that he didn’t get more, and then realized he had a lot of gallon milk jugs, which get a 25 cent refund, but take up lots of space in the garbage bags. A bag full of milk jugs is worth less than a bag full of pop cans.

Happiness is . . .
No more washing machine saga. I now have a new Whirlpool machine that works, and I don’t need to wait until April 25 for a part. Snow has been melting on the garage roof, and there are no leaks. I can read without seeing double. My next visit to my eye surgeon will be April 10th.

This coming week, I’ll be accompanying Dennis to see our family doctor on Tuesday afternoon for an evaluation of tests, and a follow up for the time spent in the ER. On Wednesday, I’ll be taking a vacation day to be a chaperone for Andrew and his classmates at a ballet. Fun!

Have a peaceful week. I hope you are having a taste of spring where you live.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 7:40 PM CDT


It’s been a medical week

After Dennis got out of the Handi-bus yesterday to go to the dentist, he had a problem walking. He kept lurching forward until I grabbed his arm and tried to steady him. In the process, he fell forward against a brick wall and slid to the ground. He’s not had a problem like this for years. The receptionist at the dental office suggested I take him to a walk-in clinic across the hall, so I did. Fortunately, he was the only one there. The doctor could find nothing wrong, but said if the problem continued, he should go to the hospital.

Dennis’ visit to the dentist yesterday yielded nothing. The dentist did four X-rays, and discovered his problem was a badly worn down molar that had sharp edges and couldn’t be filled because the filling would fall out. Since it wasn’t painful, she left it. Dennis has lots of badly worn teeth that will need attention in the near future.

This morning at 12:15 a.m. I received a phone call from the home care aide at Waverley House. Dennis had almost fallen again in the middle of the night and had a fever. What should she do? I agreed that he should be checked out by paramedics, so she called the ambulance. They decided it was serious enough to be checked out further,so he was taken to the emergency room of the hospital a mile from our house.

I waited with him while he had tests done between 1 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. People who are brought in by ambulance are seen immediately. They checked over everything—including doing a CT scan, and could find no infection or cause for the fever or weakness while walking. A virus? Perhaps. I stayed with him between 1 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., then went home and had a couple hours of sleep. By 9:30 a.m., he was alert, walking much better, and his fever was gone. So they released him and let me take him back to Waverley House. Then I went to work. It was a tiring day. . .

The continuing washing machine saga. . .

I was able to contact the company that manufactures the washing machine part, which has been on back order since Feb. 7th. The customer service representative was very gracious, but the news she had for me was not good. The part would be on back order until April 26th! No, I don’t want to wait nearly three months for a working washing machine. So I called the repair service and asked them to cancel the order. This morning, in between her two jobs, my personal buyer (a.k.a. Rachel) found a new Whirlpool machine at a great price, and phoned me. Yes, I want it! It will be delivered on Friday. End of story (we hope). I also purchased a four-year warranty with it. They just don’t make appliances like they used to.

On Monday night, Renylor and I went over to Rachel’s condo so Renylor could wash clothes while the three of us had a “girl’s night out” with a Sandra Bullock/Hugh Grant movie. It was a fun night. That was the only bright side of not having a washing machine.

It’s only Wednesday night. I wonder what other adventures are in store for us the rest of the week. I wonder. . .

Sunday, March 9, 2014 7:00 PM CDT

Bits and Pieces --

Happy Spring Ahead Day, a.k.a. first day of Daylight Savings Time. I hope all of you woke up on time. The current temperature is 52 degrees (11 degrees C.) Everything is melting today after a long cold wintery week, and the water quickly evaporates, so we don’t have much of a problem with standing puddles or water running in the street. I am SO eager for spring weather to stay.

I had Dennis come early by Handi-bus on Saturday so we could recycle cans, since we have eight bags in the garage. Because it was a really nice day (11 degrees C.; 55 degrees F), everyone else had the same idea. The gathered crowd overflowed out of the building and onto the sidewalk with their bags of cans. There weren’t even shopping carts left to put the bags in. Dennis was disappointed, but in the end, he agreed that the wait would be too long. We’ll try again next Saturday.

Rachel sold the rest of Dennis’ model railroad trains for him this past week. It’s the end of an era. I’m relieved that they are no longer taking up space in Rachel’s basement, but sad because model railroading was part of his life for so many years.

Dennis has a problem with his tooth, so I’ll be taking him to the dentist on Tuesday to have the problem checked out. I couldn’t really see what the problem was, but I think he has a crumbling tooth again. The last tooth problem was last summer.

Continuing saga of the washing machine part ordered Feb. 7. I called the appliance repair department to see if it had arrived on Friday like it was supposed to. No, it wasn’t there. It’s now supposed to come on the 14th. So I asked the woman on the phone if it was truly coming. Her response: “All we receive is a print out that it is on back order and an estimated arrival date. We never talk to anyone on the phone. It’s impossible to get through. I’ll give you the 800 number and the part number. You can check it out for yourself.” (In other words, IT’S NOT OUR PROBLEM.) That gives me a HUGE amount of confidence that I’ll ever have a working washing machine. This is General Electric, Canada isn’t a Third World country and I bought the machine on August 31st, 2012, not 1992 or 1982. Today I went over to Rachel’s condo and washed some clothes.

On Friday afternoon, I took part in the Canada Longitudinal Study on Aging being done by McMaster University. The study runs for 20 years (I would be 87 if I’m still alive and still living here ) and is conducted every three years for each person involved. Technicians took my height, weight, checked my eyesight and hearing, took photos of the back of my eyes, checked my carotid arteries with ultrasound, checked bone density, percentage of body fat, lung capacity and did an ekg plus they took 10 vials of blood and a urine specimen. They also had me do a short timed walk, get up out of a chair five times with my arms crossed, and balance on each foot for a minute (I failed that part of it.) They then did a verbal test. I had a minute to say every word I could think of beginning with a, then s, and several others. Then I had to look at a card with the words green, blue, yellow and red written on it. The word and color did not match, and I had to say the actual color of the word. For example, the word green was actually red. Confusing. . .

Memory and concentration test-- One of the interesting things was doing two things at once. The technician said, "When the bell rings, I want you to take this brown envelope, remove $10 and $5 from it, give the $5 to me and keep the $10 yourself." (There were other bills and change in it.) In the meantime I was answering questions for her about family, connectedness with friends and whether people were available if I needed help. When the bell rang 10 or 15 minutes later, I remembered the instructions.
Later she set a wind up alarm clock at 8 and said, "When it is exactly 8:15, I want you to stop me, ask me for the envelope, and then pick out the card with number 17 and give it to me." I was answering questions about something else and watching the clock at the same time. Yes, I remembered to stop her at 8:15.. My pay for the afternoon was $14 (lunch money) plus the parkade fee. It all was interesting.

I spent Thursday evening with my writer friend Laureen, celebrating her birthday (which was mid-January), and Valentine’s Day. She said it could also be a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. We’ve been re-booking this evening for the past two months because of a really nasty flu that she had, and for other reasons that came up. She teaches about ¾ time and then writes newspaper articles in her spare time. Our visits are always encouraging to both of us. Laureen’s quote: “Only in Heaven may we see what God has used our stories to accomplish.” It’s encouraging to me to think of that.

My fun for the week: I’ll take a vacation day on Wednesday and be one of eight chaperones for first graders at Andrew’s school who are going to a children’s ballet, “Giselle” on the 19th of March.

Rachel went up to Red Deer Saturday evening to stay in the hospital overnight with her friend Karen, who has cancer. It will give Karen’s husband Mark a break from sitting with her in the hospital. She has been in the hospital for weeks because the pain is so bad and she can’t regulate it at home because of all of the drugs she is on. The medicine makes her delusional. Please pray for Karen and her family. The pain is in her back at this point.

Please pray for my brother as well as he battles Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He experiences much fatigue, and his immune system is down from the chemo.

Sunday, March 2, 2014 9:38 PM CST

Sunrise on Thursday was shades of yellow, gold and apricot with splashes of gray. Spectacular! We’ve had some great sunrises lately. This weekend, the weather has turned very cold: -13 degrees F.( -25 degrees C.) this morning. Did March come in like a like a lion or a lamb? Someone on Facebook suggested a polar bear. There is no indication whatsoever that spring is coming in three weeks. Maybe it’s been cancelled this year.

All activities were inside activities this weekend. Dennis had his blood test on Saturday morning, and after that stayed home and watched TV. This afternoon we saw, “Free Willie,” “The Spy Next Door,” and “The Wizard of Oz,” while Rachel was over here visiting.

On Friday, the eye surgeon was very pleased with how my eye has healed and how much my vision has improved since the stitches were removed. I now see 20/40 out of my left eye, and my astigmatism is 1/3 less than it was previously. My problem is that no existing glasses that I have are a good match for my current needs. I next see Dr. Chow on April 10. No, I can't get a proper prescription at this point, because my eye will continue to change and in a matter of weeks the prescription will no longer be correct. Sigh. . .

My washer part will be here on March 7th (!) one month after it was ordered. I told the woman in the repair department my theory that the part was being manufactured in China, or coming by dogsled. She laughed. This is a General Electric machine that was purchased in August, 2012, so why aren’t parts readily available?

Your prayers for my brother David and his bi-weekly chemo are greatly appreciated.

Have a good, quiet, peaceful week. Keep safe on the roads and don’t freeze.

Sunday, February 23, 2014 9:29 PM CST

Bits and pieces of our lives . . .

It was a beautiful sunny day today, but still very cold. Dennis came to church with me, and we enjoyed a pot luck lunch afterward.

My washer parts were ordered on Feb. 7th. Two are in, but the transmission is not. It “might” be here by the 27th, and would not be installed in the washer until sometime in the week after that. Either it’s being manufactured in China . . . or it’s being carried by dogsled. Now which one is it??

Andrew: “It’s been hours since my mom and dad are missing.” (They arrived within a minute after he said that. They had been doing laundry at the local Laundromat.)

The last few days I’ve been reading without seeing double. It’s a WONDERFUL feeling after seeing double for most of the time since Sept. 3rd. The prescription in my glasses isn’t the correct one, of course, but at least it’s in the ballpark range so my left eye doesn’t just take off when I’m attempting to focus.

Rachel got a gold medal at Taekwon Do competition on Saturday. She was so happy!

Have a good week.

Sunday, February 16, 2014 8:21 PM CST

Happy Valentine's Day to all of my friends—a couple days late. I hope your day was special. I took my sweetheart out to eat at Perkins; he gave me a Valentine card with a 20 dollar bill inside—money from his can collecting, no doubt. The beautiful card had two white doves, and the caption, “My Love—we share a life, and live in love—we walk in faith with God above.” Inside: “I love our life together. Because even through all the ups and downs, we can thank God that we’re not just stronger, we’ve closer than ever. And I know that as long as we have our faith and each other—we have everything that we’ll ever need.” I’m absolutely AMAZED. Now how does someone who can’t read, write or speak choose a card like that? Maybe he reads more than we think. He indicated he bought it himself when the group from the home was out on an excursion in a shopping mall.

A SPECIAL VALENTINE’S DAY PARTY, 1974 – Dennis and I actually got to know each other at a Valentine's Day party for a Christian singles group in 1974. Everyone else was playing Pit or some other noisy game, and we sat to the side and talked. He was interested in missions and so was I. It took Dennis three tries before he tracked down my phone number from friends. Six weeks later, my roommate Joyce and I moved into an apartment in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis). Although we asked friends to help us move, only two people were kind enough to help us--Dennis and Maurice. Fourteen months later, Joyce and I moved out with our moving men. Joyce married Maury on May 17, and I married Dennis two weeks later on May 31, 1975.

We remained friends with Joyce and Maury over the years. Joyce went to be with the Lord in July 2012 after a valiant battle with lymphoma. Dennis, Rachel and I were in Minnesota that summer and were privileged to spend time with Joyce and Maury just one week before her death. Joyce had no fear of death, only a desire to “finish well.” Finish well, she certainly did.

THANKS FOR PRAYING FOR MY BROTHER DAVID. From a PET scan David had a week ago, the main tumor has shrunk considerably, there are no new areas that are a concern, and the tumour is 80% less active. After two more months of chemo (four sessions two weeks apart), radiation will begin. The estimate is 20 sessions, every day for half an hour. He appreciates your prayers—and so do I. Treatments leave him exhausted.

I’d like prayer for Lisa, the daughter of close friends of mine. Lisa is in her late 30s, married and has three dear children. She has struggled with depression (a chemical imbalance) over the years. For the past year and a half, doctors have been unable to find a medication that works for her severe depression. Doctors are giving her three weeks of Electric Convulsive Treatment. Please pray that something will work.

Rachel is spending time this weekend with her friend Karen in Red Deer, a couple hours north of here. At her young age, Rachel has already had two of her close friends die and now Karen is so very sick. Please pray for Karen and her husband Mark. Pray for Rachel as well.

Dr. Chow took the last two stitches out of my eye on Friday. Now it’s a matter of waiting patiently until the eye stabilizes and I can read without seeing double, having eyestrain or experiencing nausea. It’s a minor thing compared with what others are going through, but is annoying anyway, even if it’s something temporary. Then there is that cataract in my other eye that will need attention. . .

Sunday, February 9, 2014 7:43 PM CST

The days are getting longer, but it’s still very much winter here in Calgary. The temperature is 0 degrees F. (-18 C.), but feels even colder. I’m enjoying the beautiful blossom on my red Amarylis plant and longing for spring. Some day. . . Winter can’t last forever.

I picked Dennis up on Friday afternoon to take him to see the doctor who treated his infection/small boil with an antibiotic 10 days ago. The boil was gone, but will need to be watched. Our outing for the weekend was a trip to Co-op for grocery shopping on Saturday. Dennis came along to show me what he wanted since he was unable to explain it to me. The walking did him good. He also went to church with me this morning. It’s so good for him to get out of the house and I appreciate his company.

So how did he enjoy the Winter Olympics? He didn’t. It’s just not his thing, so we didn’t see much of it, although I did have it on this afternoon for snowboarding.
My friends Marie and Charles from Taber were here four nights over last weekend and into the week. They are out for doctor’s appointments or meeting with friends during the day, so I didn’t see much of them. We had a writers meeting on Monday night with one other friend, Mary. It’s always good to get together.

THEY DON’T MAKE THINGS LIKE THEY USED TO—The toilet installed in 2012 had a broken seal on the flushing mechanism. Our plumber who installed it in the first place came and changed it for a minimum charge. He told me that particular make and model of toilet has been recalled and is no longer being sold in hardware stores. Another lemon? And the new G E washer, purchased on August 31, 2012, quit spinning. A repairman discovered a broken seal, corroded bearings because of water leaking into the bearings, and a broken part underneath (It would often bang and dance around the floor.) At first it sounded like it would be too expensive to fix, but General Electric decided the transmission (seal and bearings) was still under warranty. So it will take five to seven days to get the parts to Calgary.

Tim and Renylor are getting a new refrigerator because their old one—probably over 20 years old—is worn out. Dennis helped Tim in deciding how to take railings down, remove a door and temporarily remove a post so the delivery men can get it downstairs on Monday. Dennis probably felt really valued since we needed his opinion on it. Yes, he still remembers how to do such things.

On Feb. 5, a dear friend of mine in Darwin, Australia, passed away from cancer. I’ll miss Helen greatly because she was a great encourager through the wonderful letters she wrote. She is now pain free and with the Lord she loved so much. Her husband is the retired meteorologist who was always interested in Calgary weather.

Last year some of you prayed for Rachel’s 33-year-old friend Karen, who was diagnosed in March 2013 with liver and pancreatic cancer. She has lived longer than they expected at first, and was at one time declared “cancer free.” Now, however, she has been in great pain. She had a CT scan recently to see why she was in so much pain and had uncontrollable vomiting. The doctors have discovered new tumours in her liver and on her spine, which have spread into her lymph nodes. They believe that the nausea and pain are being caused by these. Please pray for endurance for Karen and her husband Mark, and wisdom for the doctors to know how to treat her next.

Please pray for my brother David who will be having his fourth chemo treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma on Monday, with four more to follow. After chemo, he will be given radiation. Originally he understood that the chemo would take a whole year, but that has changed. Pray for the effectiveness for the treatment, and strength to endure what he is going through. He is still working full time.

Thanks for your prayers. Have a good week.

Monday, February 3, 2014 0:01 AM CST

Dennis was home part of Saturday and Sunday as usual. The Superbowl game was so one-sided this afternoon that it wasn’t much fun for him. Quite truthfully, I don’t even know which team he was cheering for. My writer friend Marie and her husband Charles were here for the weekend, but they’re not sports fans; Charles was on his computer, and Marie was knitting. And me? I spent my time doing calculations for the “Trustee Accounting Report,” a report to the government of Canada on how Dennis’ Canadian Pension Plan and Old Age Security Funds were spent. U.S. Social Security wants to know that too, but only in general terms, not specific terms. The questions today were specific ones, almost like doing income tax.

Family Medical updates—two medical trips for Dennis this week, first to the local walk-in clinic to get an antibiotic for an infected bump the size of a pencil eraser and the second trip to get a routine blood test. Then when he’s done with the antibiotic, I need to take him back to the clinic to have his bump checked at the request of Susan, the nurse.

Rachel had an endoscopy on Friday. The endoscopy showed nothing, so whatever was causing her digestive system problem has healed on its own—no evidence of an ulcer. We’re thankful!

My eye appointment with the eye surgeon was on Friday. Dr. Chow removed two stitches and will remove two more on Feb 14. My vision was 20/35 a week after the surgery was done in September, and now is 20/100 (near-sighted). No wonder I’ve been struggling with that eye. Once the stitches are out, Dr. Chow said the cornea will relax and the shape will change until my vision in that eye stabilizes at about 20/40. At least that’s his estimate. I’m having less double vision while reading and working at the computer just a day after the two stitches were removed, so that’s a positive development. It will take six weeks after the last stitches are removed for everything to stabilize so I can get a new prescription for glasses . . . finally. And then there’s the cataract in my right eye, which may have the same problem. Dr. Chow says he will put in one stitch to begin with to prevent another split. (This is one reason why RK surgery is no longer being done.)

Monday, January 27, 2014 8:23 AM CST

Friday the temperature was 48 degrees F., the same temperature as Atlanta, Georgia, where relatives of ours live. I think the people of Calgary were more thrilled with the weather here than the people in Georgia were with theirs, and it’s getting COLDER this week in both places. This morning our temperature is 9 degrees F. (-13 C.) so is by no means as cold as Minnesota is right now.

This was a normal (boring) weekend. Rachel was over Saturday evening and I was showing her something in the bedroom. I had the CD player on, but Rachel said, “I think I hear Dad singing.” So both of us walked to the living room, and Dennis was singing “Happy Birthday” to get our attention, something he’s not done previously. Maybe he needs to learn to sing more songs that he remembers from the past. I'll need to think about that this week.

A little boy with a bad cold just came upstairs and told me, “I’m sick, so now you’ll have tons of time to do your work.” (I won’t need to pick him up at 3 p.m. after school).

The purple room will be well used this coming week—Dan, Levy and children and their Filipino grandpa will come tonight (Grandpa will need to sleep on the couch). And my writer friend Marie and her husband will be coming on Friday and staying for a couple days. I'll have some nice visits with friends.

It’s a medical week. On Friday afternoon, Rachel will have an endoscopy (tube with a camera down her throat) to check out the digestive problem she’s had since September when they suspected an ulcer. She is doing much better now, but they’re finally checking on the source of the problem.

On Friday morning, I’ll be going to see my eye surgeon. I called the office to find out about stitch removal, since I still have four in my eye. When the secretary called back, she relayed a message from Dr. Chow. It all depends on how the healing has gone, and he might remove one stitch or two, or perhaps all of them.

Have a good week, and bundle up so you don’t freeze, wherever you are.

Sunday, January 19, 2014 7:04 PM CST

Monday (13th) — We had a blizzard with white out conditions, the snow was blowing sideways. Streets were terrible, with foot-deep ruts in the snow. I heard of a car blown off the highway north of here, and when the driver got out of his car to figure out what he was going to do, another car was blown off the road, hitting him and killing him. (There are places where there are signs posted to watch out for wnd gusts.) Tuesday, January 14th, the temperature was up to 48 degrees (8 degrees C.); I drove through deep, slushy ruts while picking up Andrew from school. The rest of the week was equally warm, and everywhere high, dirty snow piles are shrinking. I can see large patches of brown grass in places. Most of the roads are now much more clear after all of the melting. Don’t worry, the snow will be back many more times this winter.

Dennis was home this weekend as usual. We went shopping in two stores on Saturday night. (He wanted a special kind of yogurt and couldn’t explain it to me, so was able to find it himself.) Sunday afternoon was filled with football, so it kept him occupied. Rachel came over to see him, and ended up helping me take the remaining decorations off of the Christmas tree and put everything away. Now, at 5:20, Dennis is on his way back to Waverley House by Handi-bus. I wish I could think of something exciting to do on weekends, but I haven’t come up with anything.


On Saturday, I heard footsteps at 6 a.m. as he came up to play on his grandpa’s IPad. So I sent him back downstairs because it wasn’t time to get up yet. Another night he couldn’t sleep so came up at 5 a.m. I have a lot of night lights so the upstairs is fairly well lit at night.
“Grandma, what can I have for breakfast?” It’s Saturday and I usually fix him a pancake and an egg for breakfast on weekends. He’s starting to ask ‘Why?’ about everything. I thought kids started asking why questions at three or four, but not Andrew. I guess before this he figured things out for himself until he encountered things that were more perplexing.

Yesterday he told me that last year a mean boy hypnotized him at school and made him do bad things. I never heard that explanation for bad behavior before, and am not even sure what bad behavior he was talking about. (The boy is at another school now.)

It was 9 a.m. on Saturday, so I asked him, “Grandpa comes home at 4. How many hours will that be? “ He thought a few seconds, and replied, “At 11 it will be five hours.” That was exactly right, but I was stumped how he was doing math in his head and why he would calculate from 11 instead of 9.

On Friday, I made chocolate chip cookies from frozen cookie dough (a quick way) and stored them in a quart container after I had shared a few with my family downstairs. Later Andrew’s voice came from the living room, “I’ll save some cookies for Grandpa.” I didn’t know quite what he meant, but I was busy at the computer, so I just answered “uh-huh” without checking anything out. Yesterday when I came home from shopping, there were exactly four cookies left in the container! Alarmed at all he had eaten, I carried the nearly empty container downstairs. No, he hadn’t eaten them all; he had been sharing them with his family ”to make them happy.” Renylor said they were all very happy. . . especially Tim. My life would be SO dull and boring if I didn’t have Andrew here to liven things up.

Each night Renylor reads Andrew two stories from his Bible story book. That also puts a smile on my face. I have lots of reasons to smile

Sunday, January 12, 2014 10:33 PM CST

Dennis was home this weekend as he usually is. It was a football weekend. This afternoon, our family celebrated Rachel’s birthday at Perkin’s Restaurant—good family fun. All of us enjoyed it.

For my weekend—I spent time talking with a young woman named Melody for an hour on Saturday and am working on an article about her for CSC News. I also started taking decorations off the Christmas tree and completed notes on a pile of letters for financial and prayer partners.I still have more to go.

I talked with my brother David a couple times this week to see how he is doing with the chemo. He has laryngitis and could only speak in a whisper all week. Prayers for his on-going treatment are appreciated.

My brain is tired, and I’m planning to head for bed right now. Yawn. . .

Have a good week.

Sunday, January 5, 2014 10:37 PM CST

We didn’t have the bone chilling low temperatures others experienced and now, Sunday night, the temperature is 3 degrees F. (-16 degrees C.). Dennis watched football this afternoon. I couldn’t imagine the players able to play in such cold weather as they were experiencing. Brrr! The prediction here for tomorrow is slightly above freezing, and the warmer weather will continue for the rest of the week. I’ve heard that schools in Minnesota will all be closed tomorrow because of the bitterly cold weather there. Keep warm and safe.

Dennis and I had a productive morning on Saturday. By noon, we had passport photos taken, and had recycled cans ($82.75). The nine garbage bags of cans completely filled up our car with no space for any more. Dennis held one on his lap. So where is he finding them in weather like this? People in a couple of the other care homes are saving cans for him.

As I was sorting through my desk drawer at work on Friday, I came across an old day timer. As I looked through it, a poem from the distant past popped into my mind. My thought was, ‘All these days are past; I can’t relive any one of them.’ (But then, would I want to?) Here is the poem I remembered from high school or university days:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, /Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit/ Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,/ Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.-- Omar Khayyam

The good news is that God gives each of us a NEW year --2014— a blank page on which nothing has yet been written. We don’t need to worry about the past, just live in the present.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014 10:23 PM CST

Happy New Year to all of my friends. May the year ahead be a good one for you, and may you experience God's blessings in your lives.

"I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'

"And the man replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be better than light and safer than a known way.' " —Minnie Louise Haskins

These favorite thoughts of mine for the New Year were used in 1939 by King George VI of England as he began his Christmas broadcast. It was a time filled with anxiety as war was about to engulf Europe. We live in uncertain times too. May you feel the hand of God on your life and know His peace in 2014.
I brought Dennis home from Waverley House yesterday afternoon after I took him for his monthly blood test. Last night for New Year’s Eve, we watched “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, and then afterward we saw “Evan Almighty”—about a modern day Noah who was told to build an ark and had animals following everywhere.

Rachel worked from 8-4 on New Year's Day, so our family had an evening meal together to celebrate New Year’s Day. Then afterward Dennis, Rachel and I watched a DVD, “Ernest—Scared Stupid” , one of Dennis’ Christmas gifts. Dennis is now back at Waverley House.

Tomorrow morning I go back to work after having a few vacation days off at Christmas. I’m not sure I’m ready. . . . It’s been great to sleep later in the mornings and hopefully catch up on my sleep.

Sunday, December 29, 2013 10:15 PM CST

Only in Calgary. . . .on a day earlier in the week, the temperature plunged from 48 degrees (+ 9 C.) to 0 degrees (-18 degrees C.) in about eight hours. The whistling wind swept through at 63 km/hr that night, rattling the metal roof on a little shed next to our house, and whipping the tree branches. This Sunday afternoon, the temperature is once again up into the thawing range. We’ve had some wild weather lately.

Because Dennis was home for parts of three days at Christmas, he wasn’t home this weekend. That gave me an opportunity to get together with the senior Wycliffe single women’s group on Saturday night for an end-of-the-year pot luck. It was great fun and the food was delicious! The past mission experience of these women now based in Canada involved time in Bolivia, Spain, Romania, New Zealand, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Cameroon and Mexico. The stories the nine of us shared of our overseas adventures involved mice, rats, possums, cockroaches and snakes—hardly normal topics of conversation, but often hilarious! Afterward I played Mexican train (dominoes). Dennis and I never socialize with couples we know, only with family. Having a handicapped spouse can be very isolating because people no longer see you as a “couple.” I’m so thankful these women include me as part of their group.
Andrew-isms, while looking at my computer: “If you click on the plus, it means you can have more apps open than just one.” (No, I didn’t know that.) Instant messaging—“When it flashes, it means that person is trying to talk to you.” (I never had noticed the flashing name before.)

My brother David Ausmus, age 47, was diagnosed recently with stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma and will be starting Chemo early tomorrow morning to shrink a large tumor that stretches under his ribs and is pressing down on top of his lungs. It’s treatable but can’t be removed surgically. The four-hour chemo treatment will take place every two weeks and will continue for a year. He would appreciate your prayers for the effectiveness of the treatment. Pray also for his wife Paula and their one-year-old son. Thanks!

Before Christmas, I bought a CD of Downhere, a Canadian singing group from Saskatchewan. One of my favorite songs on the CD is “How Many Kings.” Below is a chorus and the first verse.

How Many Kings :
Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe, after all we've projected,
A child in a manger?
Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother's shawl -
Just a child -
Is this who we've waited for? 'cause...

How many kings step down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart

Thursday, December 26, 2013 9:26 PM CST

Happy Boxing Day! It’s a holiday up here in Canada and elsewhere in the Commonwealth. For those who are unfamiliar with the holiday, it originated in the olden days when after Christmas, people used to gather up (box) the things they no longer needed and donate their excess goods to the poor.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas wherever you are. We certainly did. Now the gifts are put away, the wrapping paper has been gathered up, and the local radio station has ended their Christmas song marathon. Our next count-down will be for the arrival of spring. Do I dare think of such a thing so soon after the Christmas holidays? (The temperature now is 32 degrees, 0 degrees C.; I'm thinking spring.)

I brought Dennis home at noon on the 24th, and he accompanied me to the Christmas Eve service at church, where Rachel played the keyboard in the worship band. On Christmas Day, our family gathered in the morning to open up gifts and then enjoy the Christmas dinner I prepared.

Rachel seemed to be getting fewer gifts than everyone else, but then Melynda came over with her surprise gift—an almost new, gently used keyboard. Rachel had sold her ¾ sized old piano previously, and had hoped to save up for a keyboard, but it was not working out. She now has a keyboard so she can practice for worship band and just enjoy playing. What a surprise! Melynda organized the gift with the financial participation of a number of Rachel’s friends, including Renylor and me.

So what did Dennis do while he was home for part of three days? He watched game shows on television, watched a gold mining show and “Canada’s Worst Driver”, watched a DVD of “National Lampoon Vacation”, and took naps. I took a cute photo of Dennis napping, and Andrew curled up on the top of him with a pillow, also taking a little nap. By this morning he’d had enough, and wanted to go back to Waverley House at 10 a.m., although he could have stayed until 8 p.m. tonight. So I took him and his boxes of gifts, knowing that although I am still his wife and he still has a family here, he has another “family” who mean a lot to him at Waverley House.

I’m spending my day reading a book that Rachel gave me for Christmas, “Call Me Mrs. Miracle" by Debbie Macomber. It’s a great book! I’m looking forward to the day when I can get the proper prescription in my glasses so I no longer get eye-strain when I read books, but that’s a couple months away. After the stitches come out and my eye stabilizes. Sigh. . . .

I need to tell you a story that Renylor shared over Christmas dinner with our family. On Christmas Eve, Tim, Renylor and Andrew went over to the home of friends who are not church attenders. Wendy had cooked a meal and Renylor made Filipino pancit (noodles). They had just begun eating, when Andrew said loudly, "We need to pray." So Andrew led the prayer, "Dear God, thank you for the food. Amen." That puts a smile on this grandma’s face.

I hope you have a good weekend ahead.

Sunday, December 22, 2013 10:51 PM CST

Happy first day of winter yesterday. Have you noticed the days are getting longer? Not yet? Me neither. Tuesday the temperature got up to 46 degrees, but lately the temperature has been much colder. Tonight was -1 degree F. (-18 C.)

I asked if Dennis wanted to come home for the weekend, as well as for three days at Christmas. No, he chose only the three days at Christmas, so I’ll be picking him up the 24th. It seemed really odd not to have him home this weekend, and didn’t really feel like Sunday today. Normally Sunday afternoon revolves around gathering his things together and getting him ready to ride the Handi-bus.

On Thursday at work, we had our Christmas pot luck for the whole office. Renylor, who volunteers at the Wycliffe office one day a week, was there with me that day.

Busy Boy Department

Wednesday night Tim, Renylor, Andrew and I went to the “Festival of Festivals” at Andrew’s school, and I expected to listen to kids singing winter songs. Not at all. We were directed to the gym where various booths were set up—Hanukka, Ukrainian Easter, Eid, Canadian Carnival with games, Day of the Dead, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Family Day and Pow Wow. Children in Andrew’s school come from a huge variety of different cultures. At the Christmas booth, children could write a letter to Santa. It was fun seeing Andrew’s picture on a bulletin board as a member of student council, representing first grade (called Grade One in Canada).

Andrew has been singing “Frosty the Snowman” and says it’s his favorite Christmas song. He visited Santa at the mall with Renylor on Saturday and told Santa that he wanted the “magic hat” to put on Frosty’s head in our backyard so Frosty comes to life and begins to dance around (like he does in the song).


Sunday, December 15, 2013 10:05 PM CST

It’s a heat wave in December. . . .The weather got up to 9 degrees on Saturday (48 degrees F.) and Tim and Andrew spent time in the back yard making a snowman. By late afternoon, the snowman’s head fell off because snow was melting. On Sunday, the temperature got up to 52 degrees. It was -32 last weekend! However, it's now 10 p.m. and SNOW is coming down. It looks like blizzard conditions out there.

Dennis came home Saturday afternoon and wanted to go somewhere in the evening. Where? Co-op? (Yes). What did he want? He drew a picture that I didn’t understand, so I took him to Co-op with me. It turned out that he wanted Eggnog. (That’s hard to act out, so he had to show me in the store.) it was hard once again for me to drive when he is in the car. When I hesitate to pull out because the oncoming car is too close, he gets angry. He would have taken the chance, he would have made the turn in front of the car. But I’m not a risk-taker like he used to be and still is. That’s why I am happy to have the Handi-bus take him to appointments.

Saturday night for Dennis was Wheel of Fortune and Sunday afternoon was football. Both kept him occupied.

Sunday night, Renylor, Andrew and I went to a potluck with ethnic food at the Wycliffe office. It was mostly younger people, and was fun.

Question I get quite often: How is your eye? As it heals, the shape of the cornea is changing, and I am seeing less clearly now than I could previously. My old glasses are no longer as helpful as they were a month ago, and my eyes once again have a hard time functioning together for reading, I will be seeing my surgeon on January 31th. My eyes are very tired at the end of the day. This has been going on since Sept. 3rd.

Busy Boy Department

“I had a really good day today, Grandma,” said Andrew, six, bubbling with excitement, as I picked him up from school yesterday. “I followed all the commands in the prayer!”

What commands, you wonder? I prayed with Andrew before he went to school, asking God to keep him safe, and help him be kind to friends and obey his teacher, and that his teacher would have a good day. It’s apparent that he was listening and taking it all in. As grandparents, we probably have more influence on our grandchildren than we realize.

Monday, December 9, 2013 12:01 AM CST

Cold, ice, snow, slippery roads, and eight-foot-high drifts—that’s the story of our lives this past week. Friday night was -32 degrees C, (-25 degrees F. ) but right now at 2 p.m. on Sunday, it’s -13 degrees C. (9 degrees F.) It’s warming up. The eight-foot drifts were along the road near the airport. I didn’t encounter them, I only saw pictures of them.

It’s now Sunday afternoon, and Dennis is watching football. Nothing unusual about that. But the playing field for the Philadelphia-Detroit game is covered with eight inches of snow!! That part is highly unusual.

I learned something interesting in church this morning. More and more Japanese are “celebrating” Christmas like the rest of the world, by exchanging gifts and having a special meal. Their meal of choice? Kentucky Fried Chicken.! They make reservations a month in advance, and people are willing to line up for two hours outside of KFC just to get in. KFC has some really great marketing experts. The Japanese like eating something that has “Kentucky” in the name.

This past week was an eventful week for me. On Thursday, our communications department went to an Italian restaurant for lunch. It was great! Also, my friend Marie from Taber stayed with me for the week for doctors’ appointments, visits with friends, running errands, etc. She had won tickets to “Christmas Unplugged” with Phil Callaway, and on Thursday night, she took me to see it. Phil Callaway, a Christian humorist from Alberta who has written 26 books, has spoken several times at our Christian writers’ conferences. His three points to his talk: 1) Laughter sure beats Prozac 2) Even ants have time to attend a picnic 3) Live your life so well that the pastor won’t have to lie at your funeral. I had a good time laughing—laughter is good medicine, all right.

As a Christmas gift, I bought tickets for our whole family to “It’s a Wonderful Life,” put on by local community players on Friday night. It was very well done, and everyone in our family seemed to enjoy it. I think even Dennis enjoyed the action. Andrew, as the curtain went up: “Those are real people!” He was restless at first, but later settled down, watching it while sitting on Tim’s lap. Afterward Andrew went around, introducing himself to people there, (while at arm’s length of family.) “Hello, I’m Andrew,” he said to an elderly couple sitting next to me. “I want to get to know you.”

Tomorrow I’m sending out three sympathy cards to spouses of Wycliffe people. All three were elderly and sick at this point (cancer, ALS and Parkinson’s), but had made great contributions to Wycliffe during their lifetimes. Good examples of three lives well lived.

Busy boy department

Andrew saw a video of his Filipino relatives doing Karaoke on Facebook. I wrote: Andrew really likes this. It put a smile on his face. Andrew said, “Grandma, you need to edit this. It needs exclamation points.” So I’m wondering, how does a six-year-old know about exclamation points and editing??

Sunday, December 1, 2013 8:46 PM CST

UPDATE --MONDAY night. Blizzard conditions were so bad today that the Wycliffe office closed at noon and everyone went home. The weather has been really nasty.

This was a very quiet weekend with a temperature this afternoon of 6 degrees (42 degrees F.) However, our nice weather won’t last long. Here is our latest weather forecast from Environment Canada:

Blizzard conditions developing overnight and tomorrow.

An intense winter storm will move through Alberta tonight and into Monday. Heavy snow began in Northwestern Alberta this morning and will spread to Southeastern Alberta by Monday afternoon. General amounts of 10 to 20 centimetres are expected along the track of the storm while some areas could see more than 30 centimetres by Tuesday morning. In addition in advance of the storm some areas in Southern Alberta may see some patchy freezing rain.

As the storm moves eastward, strong northerly winds will develop and usher in cold Arctic air on Monday. Winds gusting as high as 80 km/h will produce widespread blizzard conditions in areas east of the foothills.
Dennis was home since Friday afternoon after his blood test. Fortunately there were many football games on, so he camped out in front of the television for most of his time here.

Have a good week. Are you also experiencing a winter storm? Drive safely.

Friday, November 29, 2013 0:23 AM CST

Bits and pieces of our lives

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you had a good celebration where you live.

A month ago when I went to the optometrist, he told me he could do nothing for me at that point, but I should come back in a month. I went back on Tuesday, but no new glasses this time either. I had my eyes dilated, pictures taken, and a field of vision screening done. Because I still have four stitches in my cornea, I’ll get no new glasses until they come out, since removing stitches also changes a person’s vision. My next appointment with the ophthalmologist (surgeon) is January 31th and I will find out then when the stitches come out. (Which won’t be a simple procedure, I’m sure.) In the meantime, I’m using glasses four years old that I had before the cataract progressed so much.

Today was Wycliffe’s annual general meeting. It was only for the afternoon, but we heard some great stories of what the Lord has been doing. Two stories, too complicated to share here, were about how many little “coincidences” along the way —which took place on two different continent s 30 years apart—put people in a position where they had government favor in Africa and could proceed with their translation work. All I can say is, “Wow! That’s absolutely amazing!” It reminds me of a verse from Deuteronomy that encourages us to remember how the Lord has lead us. “ And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee. . . ” (Deuteronomy 8:2 KJV).

It also reminds me of the Beth Moore Bible study I am in on Wednesday nights on the book of Esther. Queen Esther was put in position as queen in a foreign land so she could rescue her Jewish people from extermination. Esther became queen “for such a time as this.” Although God is never mentioned in the book, his fingerprints are all over the events that took place. I am also reminded that when things look negative, God is still there, working behind the scenes. (Think of current news.)

Renylor, who volunteers at the Wycliffe office on Thursdays, went with me to the AGM. She met two people who had done translations in the Philippines, including one who completed a New Testament in the Cotabato Manobo language. Renylor said her father’s family were Manobo speakers, but she wasn’t sure of the dialect. (There are other related Manobo languages.)

Tonight Tim, Renylor, Andrew and I had an impromptu Thanksgiving meal with a roasted chicken from Co-op, instant mashed potatoes, corn, salad, and pie that had been in the freezer. It was the quickest Thanksgiving meal I ever put together. Tim said, “We should eat together more often.”

Laureen (writer friend) and I were going to get together tonight, but we were both too busy this week, so we had a long telephone conversation instead. That was productive and good.

Tomorrow Dennis will be having his monthly blood test, and then I’ll be taking him to our house. I hope there are a lot of football games this weekend, because otherwise there is little for him to do.

Sunday, November 24, 2013 11:48 PM CST

After a bitterly cold week, the temperature got up to 10 degrees C. (50 degrees) on Saturday! It was cooler today, but still above freezing. A lot of the snow has melted, giving the impression that “fall” is coming back, if only for a little while. I remember our first winter up here in 1993. We had hardly any snow and a lot of Chinooks. What a difference! We’ve had some snowy years recently.

Dennis was home for part of the weekend as usual. Since he can’t ride his scooter, he spent his time watching football on TV. Last night I sat down with him and watched “Storage Wars,” one of the programs that really entertains him. Tonight Rachel came over, and the whole family watched a movie on DVD. “Wolverine” has enough action so Dennis was following along, even if he wasn’t wearing his hearing aids. (They still don’t help him for TV, even though they are the highest quality he can get for his hearing loss.)

Continuing saga of wheel alignment. I was at Canadian Tire at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, and even stood out in 3 degree F. weather (-16 C.) for 10 minutes so I could be first in line, only to find out that they had a bunch of vehicles to work on from yesterday. But I didn’t waste my time—I sat there and wrote notes on a bunch of Christmas letters and then I called Rachel. She finished her morning job at 11 and didn’t start her afternoon job for two hours, so we had lunch together at Wendy’s. Then, at 2:20, I was given the bad news. They couldn’t even do the alignment until they got some parts (ball joints and something else) for the car. The new cost was $817 and I got it back at 6:30. The car is 10 years old, and parts wear out, so it’s to be expected, I guess. I’m sure everyone reading this will be able to identify with a small project turning into a much larger one.

Last Wednesday night, Wycliffe members from Papua New Guinea, Jerry and Cindy Walker, were at our Bible study. What they shared brought back a lot of memories from our time in PNG in 1977 to 1981. The Walkers are working with literacy and vernacular recordings in the Arop area, where a tsunami killed one-third of the villagers about 10 years ago. I wrote an article on the tragedy for “Word Alive” back when it happened, so I was familiar with the story. At the time there was one translation project going on; now there are 10 translation projects being done as a cluster project with only a couple of teams of translators working as consultants with the village people doing the actual translation under their supervision.

Have a happy Thanksgiving on Thursday. I’ll be getting together with my writer friend Laureen that evening, so will probably order turkey when we go out to eat at Swiss Chalet.

Sunday, November 17, 2013 8:14 PM CST

Swirling, blowing snow filled the air on Saturday, making driving dangerous. There were so many accidents on the main highway between Calgary and Edmonton that the Highway Department closed it down in the afternoon. The sun broke through this morning, but the temperature was still the coldest we’ve had so far this season. It was -12 degrees C (10 degrees F.) this afternoon, too cold for Tim, Dennis and Andrew to attend the Stampeders’ game, so the end-of-the-year discount tickets went unused. (I may frame them.) Dennis watched half of the game on TV. I’m not sure how some of the players could stand the temperatures with just short sleeved shirts; it made me cold just watching them. By half-time, the game was going so badly, that Dennis switched to watching the Vikings. They were doing badly as well, so Dennis just turned the TV off and sat there. Tim had an idea for a “guy’s night out”—he took Dennis and Andrew out to McDonald’s and then took Dennis home to Waverley House early.

Andrew had his birthday party yesterday in spite of the snow. There were a total of seven children including Andrew, who all enjoyed jumping in the bouncy house. (The Taber friends couldn’t come because of the stormy weather.) Rachel’s roommate Melynda brought her two nephews, and a couple other single friends of Rachel’s showed up to help her put up decorations in the party room and help Andrew celebrate. It was fun for all. Dennis even was willing to come when he knew there would be cake!

Tim and Renylor gave Andrew an “Air Hockey” game, which he played with his grandpa last night. They seemed to be having a good time and were evenly matched. Andrew just told me that he played it with his mom and dad today. He likes it!!

One of my articles, “Finding God’s Shalom”, was published in CSC News, and I have a new assignment coming up. I quit writing for it for a while when I was using just one eye. Now both eyes are working together.

I hope you all have a good week and don't have any unusual weather. God bless you all.

Friday, November 15, 2013 8:17 AM CST

Bits and Pieces on a Friday morning. . .

We’ve had warm temperatures this week, so much of the snow on the ground has melted. However, another storm will be blowing in late Friday evening and Saturday—which has been the weather pattern lately of snowy weekends. The prediction for Sunday is that the snow will stop and weather will warm up to 0 degrees C. (32 degrees F.) during the day, which is better than another forecast I saw for -12 degrees C. (10 degrees F) and snow. The warmer temperature is great news because Dennis, Tim and Andrew each have a ticket to see the last Stampeders football game of the season. It’s a first for Tim and Andrew; Dennis went with Rachel to a game last year and greatly enjoyed it.

On Tuesday, I accompanied Dennis on the Handi-bus for his annual physical at the doctor’s office in the far south of Calgary. It took six hours from the time I left our house in the morning until the time I got back home, so I did some proofreading from home before and after the trip. We both had good reports from the doctor.

Andrew turned six on the 13th. His relatives in the Philippines threw a birthday party for him with a family-sized pizza at a restaurant and a birthday cake with blue roses. Then they took 100 photos and posted them on Facebook. Andrew was jealous that they were eating pizza and he didn’t have any that evening. Celebrating a birthday this way is a common practice if a loved one is overseas. I guess. They’ve celebrated Andrew’s birthday without him on previous occasions. Andrew will be having his real birthday party on Saturday with nine children invited for a couple hours at the Village Square Leisure Center, six blocks from us. Parties at the Leisure Center are held in small rented rooms and then the children get to play in a main area with a bouncy castle and on other fun climbing things. Adults accompany the children and then sit and visit while their children play.visit. (Rachel is coming too.) But what happens if the storm blows in during that time? Dan and Levy from Taber were planning to come with their two children, and that’s a long drive.

On Wednesday, we had our annual Wycliffe World Day of Prayer at the office and prayed our way around the world for translation projects taking place. All Wycliffe organizations around the world have a day of prayer, many of them on the 11th, which was our Remembrance Day up here and Veteran’s Day in the U.S.

My news of the Philippines’ devastation from Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) is probably the same news as you are getting. I saw on a news clip that if a cyclone the size and strength of Yolanda would hit Florida, much of the coastal areas for the whole state would have been flooded and much of infrastructure would have been destroyed. It was a monster storm.

May all of you have a calm, peaceful, safe weekend.

Saturday, November 9, 2013 11:43 AM CST

This Saturday morning, snow is still on the ground, but some of it is melting. What I found out later last Sunday, is that we had a lot more snow in front of our house than in other places in our neighborhood because wind was blowing the snow off of our roof, and over the house. We had seven inches on a table in front of the house, but elsewhere had probably about four. We’ve had no snowfall since then.

Yesterday was Dennis’ 67th birthday, so I took him out to eat at his choice of three restaurants— Denny’s. He even got a free meal because it was the exact day of his birthday. Afterward I took him home with me to start the long weekend. Monday is a holiday up here—Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day in the U.S.) No, he’s not riding his scooter anymore, because it is now too cold and icy. Football will need to entertain him while he is here.

Keep praying for the Philippines. Renylor’s relatives are safe, but many others are affected.

"With sustained winds of 315 kph (195 mph) and gusts as strong as 380 kph (235 mph), Haiyan may be the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land anywhere in recorded history. It will take further analysis after the storm passes to establish whether it is a record." (CNN article)

“An estimated 1,200 people have been killed in the typhoon that hammered the Philippines, a Philippine Red Cross official said today. Super Typhoon Haiyan is one of the strongest storms to make landfall in recorded history. The typhoon is headed toward Vietnam and is forecast to make landfall again Sunday morning.” (CNN article)

The highest speed for a race car on a racetrack is 246 mph, which gives you an idea of how strong the wind for the superstorm was.
This week as I was picking up Andrew from school, he turned to me and said, “Grandma, my teacher is one of my best friends.” Renylor says that’s true because he talks about Mrs. Kirk all the time at home, and he didn’t talk about his teacher last year. He is now an “Earth Ranger” and his project is to raise $25 to save the Western bee “so people will have more fruit.”

Lately Andrew’s greatest feat has been to pet our cat two days in a row. Pinky has been terrified of him ever since Andrew was a toddler, and would make a mad dash whenever he saw Andrew coming.

On Saturday mornings, Andrew comes upstairs and I make breakfast for him. Today he had a pancake and an egg (which didn’t turn out like his mother makes it.)

On Thursday morning, I was putting the final corrections on a 5,000 word document (Prayer Alive) when all of a sudden it started erasing faster and faster, starting at the bottom and racing to the top, word after word, line after line. As I fumbled finding a way to stop it, I kept yelling, "Stop! Stop! Stop!" My concerned co-worker next door responded, “What’s wrong?” In less than a minute, all 5,000 words were gone! I'm grateful to one of our IT guys who retrieved it for me. It could have been something as simple as an apple seed stuck in the keyboard, holding down the backspace key. Rod unplugged things and shook out the keyboard to make sure any offending crumbs or apple seeds were gone. Everything was fine after that. In case you are wondering, all work at the office is backed up nightly by the IT department, downloaded and stored in a safe. That way no one can lose more than the current day’s worth of work.

Sunday, November 3, 2013 9:08 PM CST

What a spectacular pink sunrise on Saturday morning! Temperatures during the week were warmer, so by the end of the week, we were looking at brown grass instead of snow. By Saturday afternoon, however, the landscape had been changed into a Winter Wonderland with 3 ½ inches of fresh snow. Then by Sunday morning, seven inches of snow had accumulated on a table outside. Snow was blowing, drifting and swirling.

On Saturday night the whole family got together at our house to celebrate Dennis’ birthday, which is actually on the 8th. (This was the one night Rachel was available.) After eating, we watched "42”, the story of Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player in the major leagues. It was funny, sad, emotional and true—it resonated with Dennis and he was able to follow the story. We need more movies like this one that he can understand—true, sports-related.

I took a vacation day on Friday and took my car to Canadian Tire, mostly for a wheel alignment. I also had them check on the brakes, which I was told in June would need replacing the next time I had work done on the car. Yes, I REALLY needed new brakes! They also changed foggy glass on the headlight compartment, tightened some connections to take care of oil leaks. flushed out a couple systems and did an oil change. Nine hours later, I had everything done—except the wheel alignment. I sat there the whole time reading my book, something I don’t get to do very often, so it wasn’t wasted time. Some places have shuttle service, but Canadian Tire does not. (The brakes were far more important than the wheel alignment.) So, I will need to book the alignment for another day.

Renylor passed her English proficiency test this week on her way to becoming a Canadian citizen. Last Thursday when Renylor was volunteering at the Wycliffe office, she and I enjoyed going out with eight Wycliffe friends to an authentic Chinese lunch to celebrate a Chinese Wycliffe friend’s birthday. It was delicious! Chinese friends in the group did the ordering ahead of time and we ate family style.

Have a great week.

Sunday, October 27, 2013 9:14 PM CDT

Snow, snow, snow. This part of Alberta even had a severe weather warning for today, because the snow was blowing this afternoon. Things have calmed down this evening. I wonder how many accidents there have been today, because people don’t know how to handle snow after not driving on it since May. I had my snow tires put on yesterday, just in time. The car also needs other work, which I’ll need to get done next Friday.

On Friday, I accompanied Dennis for his monthly blood test and then took him back to Waverley House—after stopping at McDonald’s so he could get a chocolate milk shake. In the winter, I just bring him home after his blood test, but in warm weather, he needs to go back to Waverley House so he can bring his scooter home by Handi-bus on Saturday. I was surprised he decided not to bring his scooter home on Saturday, which was a really nice day. I guess he was aware that a snowstorm was coming on Sunday.

I’ve not heard yet from Susan, the nurse, about Dennis’ grand adventure of riding buses on Thursday. In weather like this, it’s not such a worry, because he’s not about to walk six blocks to catch the neighborhood bus in blowing snow.

On Friday night, I took Andrew and Renylor to the Fall Harvest Festival at church, so he could play some games and win candy and other prizes. He had a check-off card to fill after he completed each of the games. The first 10 people completing all of the games won a McDonald’s gift card. He completed all the games and was really disappointed 10 other people had gotten it done before he did. (We picked up Chicken McNuggets at McDonald’s afterward anyway.)

Rachel’s Adventures: ‘Take heed, if you want to fly make sure you have wings or a good set of landing gear... I have neither BUT Boy was that flying side kick fun while it lasted!’ -–Rachel’s statement after tearing the anterior ligament on the same knee as she tore her ACL in April 2012. It hurts less than last time, and she can still walk. Her flying side kick was about five feet off the ground against a dummy. She still needs to see her doctor next week about the X-ray. (Her doctor said it wasn't an ulcer.)

I'm so fortunate. . . on Friday when I came home from dropping Dennis off at Waverley House, Tim was washing my outside windows. I feel blessed. Just in time, too, with the storm that blew in today.

Eye saga—I found a pair of my old glasses that I had used four years ago, before I had the issue with the cataract in my left eye. I find I can now read out of my left eye, and both eyes are working together. The glasses are not perfect, of course, but much closer to the bifocal prescription I need. The optometrist was off in his starting point, not realizing how much of the strong bifocal correction I had immediately prior to the surgery was due to the cataract.

I hope all of you have a good week. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

Thursday, October 24, 2013 8:21 PM CDT

A new challenge . . . .This afternoon I received a concerned call from the from the home administrator at Waverley House. It was 5 p.m. and Dennis had been missing since 12:30. He normally goes riding in the neighbourhood on his personal mobility scooter, but the home care worker discovered his scooter was still in the garage and he had been gone a long time. She alerted the home administrator, who called me. They found him half an hour later walking by a school six blocks from the home, clutching a bus transfer.

He's gone for bus/C-train rides a couple times previously, but it was when he was at home. I'd appreciate prayer that we could come up with a balance of safety and freedom so he doesn't need to leave the personal care home. Rachel suggested we could hire a personal attendant once a week to take him out into the community—riding buses, etc. Or we could get a personal GPS for him. I’m sure I’ll get a call from Susan, the nurse, tomorrow to arrange for a meeting with her. Please pray for wisdom for all of us. Thanks!

Sunday, October 20, 2013 9:32 PM CDT

Fall is truly here. Anne’s leaves are now 90 per cent gone, which is appropriate for this season of the year. Today was pleasantly warm and enjoyable, especially when I hear of snow elsewhere. We’ve had no snow here yet.

Dennis took advantage of the nice weather and rode his scooter all around. He also took another bus ride around the city today. If he just stays on the same bus, it comes right back to the bus stop a couple houses down from us. He also enjoyed football for a while.

I’m feeling disappointed. . . I had an eye test Friday afternoon to get new glasses so I can read with both eyes. My vision is now 20/25 (with great difficulty) in my left eye, but it’s not sharp. Everything has fuzzy edges—not exactly like seeing double, but a bit like seeing shadowed letters or a photo out of focus; it apparently can’t be corrected beyond that, at least not at this point. Also, the best correction I could get for reading with my left eye is to be able to read large print. Dr. Wong said to wait a month and he will examine my eyes again, next time with dilation. Something is going on, and he’s not sure what. I haven’t gotten a proper correction for glasses in that left eye for five years, but was hoping the problem was just the cataract—apparently not.

On Friday night, I went with a group from our church to hear Paul Baloche, a worship leader who has written numerous modern day worship songs used in church including, “Open the Eyes of My heart.” It was a great time of worship, with audience participation throughout. He wasn’t performing for us, he was worshipping with us.

Rachel went to a Taekwon Do tournament in Edmonton this weekend, and brought a silver medal home in patterns. I’m proud of her. The activity keeps her physically fit. She is still experiencing some kind of stomach/digestive system problems, and had an X-ray on Friday. Please pray that her problem isn’t anything serious.

Thursday, October 17, 2013 0:18 AM CDT

Today was our annual meeting with Susan, the nurse, at Waverley House. Usually she brings up some concerns, but this time, Dennis has adjusted so well to being there that all of us just chatted. She was glad that Dennis gets so much support and encouragement from his family because a lot of clients in the seven Waverley Houses don’t have the family support. I was glad that Tim and Rachel were able to fit the meeting into their schedule as well.
This morning at our Wycliffe Wednesday chapel time, Papua New Guineans John and Betty Kekeqa shared with the Wycliffe staff about the transformation his father's translation brought his people: "The gospel broke the back of the devil's work." John, the print shop manager at the SIL Centre in Ukarumpa and Betty were in Canada to attend their son Michael’s wedding. (Michael had gotten a university degree here and married a Canadian.)

John told of one former criminal who said, "I used to hold people up with an M-16, but God held me up with John 3:16. John then told the story of a pastor who was holding a church service, while some criminals were hiding in the "bush" near the church. They had been running away from the police. After the service, the pastor saw these criminals walking into the church and he wondered what he should do--run? They told him, "We heard the service from where we were hiding," and they came to the Lord. What an encouragement John’s stories were to all of us! He said that a person who really made a difference in his own life was Ben Friesen who was his Sunday school teacher. Ben is a retired Wycliffe Canada member who is well known to all of us in the Wycliffe Canada office who have been there a number of years.

Over the past couple of years, I have been helping support an orphanage for children from the Banjara tribal group in eastern India by sending a small amount of money monthly for food for the orphans and money for blankets last Christmas. I've also helped another pastor by providing
money toward a bicycle to reach distant villages and malaria medication for his young son. Now Cyclone Phalin has struck, flooding their area. Their crops are ruined, the bicycle has been washed away, and they are cleaning out their houses from the water and debris. Please pray for
Pastor Rajuniak and Pastor Hariyaniak, their families and the orphans, as well as many other poor people in the area who have so little to begin with and lost it in the flooding.

In the Philippines flooding after the earthquake washed the home of Renylor’s father’s cousin into the ocean. Otherwise it seems her relatives were safe.
Meanwhile, back here in Calgary. . .As my friend Charleen and I were driving back from Bible study tonight, one house along the way had Christmas lights turned on already.

Sunday, October 13, 2013 8:57 PM CDT

“Anne’s” bright gold leaves are now beginning to fall. I watch her out of my window as I sit at my computer at home, noting that as she loses her leaves, snowflakes aren’t too far away.

Although the official Canadian Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow, we celebrated it today with turkey and all the trimmings, and ended the meal with blueberry and apple pies. It’s good to give thanks to the Lord for how He has blessed each one of us in so many ways. Our thankfulness shouldn’t be confined to just one day a year. Dennis came home on Friday and will be leaving tomorrow. He seems to be enjoying his time at home.

Dennis again cleaned up the neighborhood here and around Waverley House, collecting so many cans and bottles ($73) that we needed to make two trips to the recycling depot on Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon when he went out, I assumed he was riding his scooter around the neighborhood again. However, when he came back, he proudly showed me a bus ticket. I don’t know how long he was gone, but he put up four fingers, indicating four hours. He rode both the bus and the C-train all over the city by himself. No, he doesn’t get lost. He has a good sense of direction and memory. Previously I used to worry about him when he was out because of seizures. He hasn’t had a seizure for 4 ½ years. If I had seen that the scooter was still here, I would have started worrying. Fortunately, he came back safely.

Rachel took Dennis to his hearing aid evaluation on Wednesday. He is doing great! Who would have known that losing a hearing aid would be a blessing in disguise? He hears better and is now more part of whatever is going on, since he can’t turn them off and tune out the world like he did previously. (There is no on and off switch; they can only be turned off by taking them out of the ear and opening the battery compartment.)

On Friday night, we celebrated Renylor’s birthday by going to a Filipino restaurant, the Pacific Hut. It was a fun evening with our whole family.

Identity theft . . . I dealt with that last week. An “IRS agent” sent me form W-8BEN, used for reporting interest income in the U.S. for people living overseas, and wanted me to prove I was indeed living overseas. I checked the IRS website and W-8BEN was indeed a valid form. I know that IRS would normally send information through the mail, not e-mail, but really, what’s normal now days? (My interest income from my bank in Minnesota was one cent last quarter.) Should I fill out the form or not? I ended up filling it out and faxed it to the number on the bottom. I got a call from my bank later that day. Someone with a heavy accent had called the bank, said she was Janet Seever, and wanted the bank to wire money to her; she had made the mistake of calling the WRONG branch of the bank earlier to access “her account” and that branch phoned my bank. They told her that they couldn’t change the address and phone number on the account as she requested and that she had to appear in person to wire money. I have been busy contacting my bank here in Calgary to put protection on my accounts, Equifax in Canada, Equifax in Atlanta, GA, Canadian Anti-fraud Center, and have a couple more to reach on Monday. So far, no one has attempted to take out a new credit card. It’s scary. But they have my social security number and my Canadian social insurance number plus home address, mailing address, phone number and the number on my Canadian passport.

I’m following the U.S. news carefully and praying for all of my U.S. friends and relatives. May the Lord watch over you in uncertain times. Have a peaceful week in spite of what’s going on around you.

Sunday, October 6, 2013 9:58 PM CDT

We’ve come to the end of another weekend and Dennis is back at Waverley House. He spent time collecting cans and bottles while at home, went to church with me this morning, and watched football. Tim has a train simulator on his computer, so Dennis sat watching with a smile on his face while Andrew, as the “engineer,” drove the train along the track. What fun it was for the two of them!

Other bits and pieces—Dan and Levy from Taber were here Saturday night to Sunday morning so Levy could attend an annual fashion show in Calgary. Rachel and Renylor went along with her, and all of them had a good time.

My eye is slowly improving. I still can’t read, but can see there are letters on the page now. Part of the problem is astigmatism, so I will need new glasses. My ophthalmologist/surgeon, whom I saw on Wednesday, is pleased with how well my eye is healing. He said it will take two to three more months to heal completely, and he isn’t even talking about the second surgery at this point. Four sutures will need to come out.

Friday was the beginning of a new season of plays, so I enjoyed the first one with a few of my Wycliffe friends. “Boeing Boeing” was a farce about an American in Paris who was engaged to three airline stewardesses—from Texas, Germany and France—at the same time, and depended on them flying for different airlines and having different flight schedules so they didn’t meet. It was hilarious when they all showed up at once. We all had a good laugh, which I really needed by the end of the week.

Looking ahead—Renylor’s birthday is on Friday, and Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated the following Monday. We’ll be busy celebrating.
************************************************************RANDOM THOUGHTS

The sermon this morning was based on Malachi 3:3-7, and reminded me of a story I really appreciate about “Refiner’s Fire.”

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi,
and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. --Malachi 3:3

While reading Malachi chapter 3, a group of women in a Bible study came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse: "And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

One woman spoke up and said the verse was intended to convey the sanctifying influence of the grace of God. Then she said she would visit a silversmith and report to the other women what he said on the subject.

She went accordingly and, without telling the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver, which the smith described to her.

"But, sir," she said, "do you sit while the work of refining is going on?"

"Oh, yes, ma'am," replied the silversmith. "I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining is exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured."

The woman at once saw the beauty and comfort of the expression, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

God sees it needful to put His children into a furnace: His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random: "the very hairs of your head are all numbered."

As the woman was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back and said he had forgotten to mention that the only way to know when the purifying process is complete is . . .when he can see his own image reflected in the silver.

Author Unknown

During these unsettling times in the U.S., I’ll be praying for all of my relatives and friends. I’m once again reminded that we can trust an unknown future to a known God. May you know His peace.

Sunday, September 29, 2013 10:39 PM CDT

Anne outside my window is now a goldish-green— not a beautiful color yet, but the gold will come. Usually all of the trees lining the street are wearing their glorious autumn finery by now, but this year they are a bit late.

Do you want to know why trees change color in the fall? I found the reason fascinating when I taught science to 5th graders in Winsted, Minnesota, in 1970-1971.The leaves of trees and other plants contain three main pigments: carotene, anthocyanin, and the photosynthetic pigment, chlorophyll, which captures the sun’s energy to make food for plants. As the most abundant pigment, chlorophyll is what gives leaves their green hue in spring and summer. In fall, however, cooler and shorter days bring out another chemical that causes the circulation of water, nutrients and sugar to the leaves to be cut off. When this happens, chlorophyll disintegrates rapidly, letting carotene shine through as the yellow in maple, aspen and birch leaves. Anthocyanin, meanwhile, provides the oranges and reds of maples, sumacs and oaks. When there’s less sun, anthocyanin isn’t as chemically active and leaves are more orange or yellow than red. So why do leaves change color? Now you know.

In case you are wondering, the “rain mixed with snow” predicted for Thursday never came.
After spending Friday night and all day Saturday at the Fall Conference for InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship with my friend Laureen, I came back energized, encouraged, inspired and ready to tackle my next writing project.

Our speaker, Murray Puro—who has written numerous books—encouraged us to start with small things, because we never know where God will take our writing. He gave an example from his own life of how he had written a story as a thank-you gift for a professor at Regent Seminary, where he studied for his Master’s degree in theology. That story was later passed on (with his permission) to the editor of the local Christian paper. From there he had the opportunity to write many more stories, some of which were read by Eugene Peterson, well known for ‘The Message.’ Peterson, working on the ‘Life with God Bible’ (NRSV) with a committee, asked him to write a commentary on several books of the Bible. And it all started with a story he shared with his professor.
The following is some of what I gleaned over the weekend:
• You are a child of God. Don’t let being an author make you forget that.
• You need to see Who is the master of your fate and the pilot of your soul. Give your writing to the Lord.
• He has learned that sometimes he was turned down for writing “too well” because readers had gotten used to enjoying books that were less well written. Give them real writing that goes richer, deeper and they will learn to like it. The readership really wants more, but don’t yet know it and they settle for what is slick, quick and popular.
• Perseverance is needed to keep going. Don’t give up.
• Given a chance to write, say YES. Do it afraid, but do it anyway. You will have to face your fears.
• DARE to be an artist. DARE to be honest about the world that is around you and within you. DARE to go as far as the stars—and even farther. DARE to go as deep as your own heart and the deeper heart of God.

I received an honorable mention on a devotional I had written. I was pleased with that.
When I called Waverley House this afternoon, Dennis was wondering when I would be coming to see him. I took Andrew along so he could see his grandpa, and then I was planning to take the two of them to McDonald’s for a treat. Andrew thought it would be fun to have Rachel there too, so I called her on my cell phone. So we all ended up at McDonald’s and enjoyed watching Andrew in the new play area of the renovated McDonald’s.

Please pray that Rachel can find a different job with more regular hours. One of her clients that she works with several afternoons is going on vacation for three weeks. She is paid only for the hours she works, so this is a huge cut in pay, and the autistic boy she works with has been in the hospital. She’s not sure when he will be coming out. She’s picked up some extra hours on the weekends in October, but this means that she only has a couple days off in October, and is working many partial days.

Have a great week.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 9:37 PM CDT

Tonight I went to an information session on Enduring Power of Attorney, Personal Directives, Guardianship and Trusteeship. I’ve dealt with all of this in past years, but needed to know if any of this has been updated recently. It turned out to be a good review for me. It was all dry, boring details, but oh, so necessary when a loved one is incapacitated in some way. It’s wisest to get all of this into place BEFORE you think you are going to need it. I’ve said that before and will say it again. (Guardianship and Trusteeship can only be put into place after the person is incapacitated, but the other two must be done when the person is still healthy. ) These legal documents aren’t called by the same name in other places, but have the same function.

Friday night and Saturday is the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fall Conference, which I have attended every year since 1998. I’ll be riding with my friend Laureen, and I am SO looking forward to it.

I actually read words on a paper today— for the first time— by looking through the bifocal part of my right lens with my left eye and holding it close to my eye. That was a breakthrough for me, because it means that my vision is correctable. I will be able to read some day. Over-the-counter reading glasses are still inadequate to use for reading, even the 3.25 ones. Every day after work I come home exhausted. Thanks to those of you who are praying for my eye.

Tomorrow the weather will be getting nasty—rain mixed with snow. We’ve had snow already on Sept. 24th in the past. I’m not looking forward to snow at all. There are always many, many accidents on the first day with snow because everyone forgets to drive in winter conditions over the summer.

Have a good weekend.

Sunday, September 22, 2013 7:40 PM CDT

Happy first day of autumn or Autumnal Equinox, one of two days of the year when day and night are the same length. On our way to church this morning, the ash trees along Memorial Drive were beginning to turn gold, creating a beautiful autumn scene. I look forward to this scenic drive each year. It’s spectacular when all of the leaves have turned gold.

On Friday morning Rachel went with Dennis to pick up his new hearing aids, and because he had to wait until I took him for his 2 p.m. monthly appointment for blood work, she suggested that our family get together for lunch nearby. So we all ate together (Andrew had a day off from school), and it was fun. It was also a celebration that Dennis is now hearing better. The hearing aids were set by computer very specifically to his hearing loss and needs, with much more precision than was available previously on his old hearing aids.

The hearing aids have no off and on switch, and can only be shut off by taking them out and opening up the battery compartment for storage at night. So . . . Dennis is experiencing new sounds—both because he now hears better and because previously he had his hearing aids turned off much of the time, unless someone was talking to him. (And sometimes if he was angry, he had them turned off even when someone WAS trying to talk with him.) According to Rachel, this means he will hear sounds he doesn’t normally hear, and may be overwhelmed by all of the sound in his world. Rachel has experienced this with her own hearing aids and the background noise can be overwhelming. . . Rachel was laughing about Dennis’ reaction to hearing the whoosh of the automatic hand dryer in the men’s washroom for the first time. He came out and described it for her—using gestures, of course.

Rachel was a great help to me on Saturday. She and I took the last load of garbage from the garage ceiling to the dump this morning, and then she and I took a trailer load of cans to the recycling place. I hadn’t been to the recycling place for a few weeks because of my eye surgery, and they certainly piled up in the garage. Dennis earned $123 this time. What would he like to do with the money he is saving? Buy a car, of course.

We’ll be meeting with the Waverley House staff for a yearly family conference in October. Susan, the nurse, is setting up the meeting, and this time Tim and Rachel will try to attend as well. We are to work out a goal with Dennis for the coming year. Rachel suggested we could talk to him about a train ride. A longer one this time. . . No, buying a car will NOT be a goal.

Dennis came home at 4 p.m. as usual on Saturday. His activity, of course, was collecting cans, and then watching football on TV. Today, Sunday, is day three on using his hearing aids. He left them out until noon, but seemed to be doing OK with them this afternoon.

I have an urgent request for prayer from Rachel.
She just learned today that Karen, 31, who is one of her very closest friends, was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Karen will be getting chemo, but already the tumor is pressing on and affecting the function of her liver. Please pray for the Lord's miraculous healing touch on Karen's body.

Sixteen years ago, Karen and Rachel became roommates for three months. Karen's family put their house in Calgary up for sale, planning to have enough time to build a new home in a community north of here. They expected to have the house on the market for a number of months, but the buyer bought the house shortly after it was listed,and needed to move in immediately. Karen's parents were temporarily without a home, so bought a 12-foot camper that they parked in our backyard. Karen moved into our basement, and Rachel moved down there too so they could be roommates. Karen is also a close friend of Melynda, who shares the condo with Rachel. Rachel and Melynda were bridesmaids at Karen's wedding 10 years ago.

Thanks so much for praying.


After surgery to remove Karen’s pancreas and part of her liver, she had chemo and radiation. She also spent numerous months in the hospital. Now she is home and is CANCER FREE. Thank the Lord for His healing touch.

Thursday, September 19, 2013 9:03 PM CDT

Colder weather is here. With icy raindrops splashing down yesterday, it felt like fall, and rightly so according to the calendar. Tim even said he had heard of snow in the air someplace yesterday, but it melted very quickly. Most of the leaves on the trees in front of our house are green yet. But it won’t be long until they change to a beautiful autumn gold.

Rachel will be taking Dennis to pick up his new hearing aids tomorrow. He will ride the Handi-bus downtown, she will meet him at the hearing aid place, and then bring him back to our house. Then the two of them will take our car plus trailer and do some recycling of the 12 bags of cans Dennis has stashed in the garage. He also has a blood test tomorrow afternoon. Mavic, the home care aide at Waverley House, said the activity yesterday was a movie, and that Dennis went out with some of his housemates by Handi-bus. I’m glad he has the opportunity to be involved in some kind of social activity every week, although sometimes he chooses not to go.

Yesterday morning, an electrician checked and fixed all of the light fixtures in the garage that had gotten wet from the leaking roof, so the garage is now waterproof and has lights again. Now all I need is to have the garage door opener reinstalled. It will be nice to have frost-free windows all winter.

People have been asking how my eye is doing. . . . That's a good question. Healing is coming along very slowly. I've looked through over-the-counter-reading glasses and so far have been unable to read much of anything with them out of my left eye. When I try to use my eyes at work, they do not function together, of course, so by the end of the day, I am totally exhausted. I find it is more restful on my eye to cut out paper the shape of my glasses, cover the left side, and then only use my right eye for reading and computer work. It's so fortunate that the second eye surgery on the 17th was postponed until the left eye has an opportunity to heal. I have three types of eye drops I put in four times a day for a month, so I am getting good at it.

Another cross cultural wedding--Renylor's sister Aya married an airport customs agent from Finland on Sept. 18 in a simple beach wedding in the Philippines. They corresponded by email for eight months. When he came to the Philippines for the wedding, it was the first time they had met each other in person. He will be leaving for Finland again on the 22nd, and the two of them will be working through immigration issues so Aya can eventually join him. Since Finnish is her husband's first language and Aya is a Visayan speaker, what language do they use to communicate? You can probably guess. . . I did. Both are multilinguial, and the common language they share is English. Renylor is sad that she has missed two of her sisters’ weddings. She communicated a lot by Skype last night with everyone who was celebrating the wedding.

Monday, September 16, 2013 10:59 PM CDT

“Try to Remember the Kind of September.” Do you remember this song? A writer friend shared it, and it’s been running through my head lately. Many singers recorded it back in the days it was popular—Ed Ames, Jerry Orbach, The Brothers Four, Andy Williams, Perry Como. Nostalgia. . . Using Google, I listened to all of these singers at various times the last couple weeks, and realize that some of them—in their prime when they recorded it—have already passed away.

Try to remember the kind of September

Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh, so mellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow
Try to remember and if you remember
Then follow, follow.

This was a quiet weekend; Rachel was at a retreat for the worship team for part of the weekend, and Tim and family were in Taber with Dan and Levy’s family, watching people fire their model rockets. It’s a yearly event.

Dennis came home for the weekend and did his usual collecting; I was shocked when I discovered that he has 12 bags of cans and bottles collected and stored in the garage! Rachel went to Waverley House this week to give him a haircut and brought some of the bags back with her. She told me that the autistic boy she works with isn’t back from vacation yet, so she is free on Wednesday afternoon and may haul in some of the cans and bottles for recycling using our trailer. (No, we don’t tie bags on our roof rack anymore!! Not after scattering them all along 32nd Avenue when the bags ripped years back.)

Other than collecting cans, Dennis watched football on TV, and went to church with me, even though he only has one hearing aid right now since he lost his other one. Rachel took him in to have his hearing checked on Wednesday and he will be getting new hearing aids next week.

Friday, September 13, 2013 5:04 PM CDT

Update on my cataract surgery—with the complication of cornea sutures (Day 10): Today a technician checked my vision and found it was 20/40 (with a bit of difficulty reading some of the lower lines). The day after the surgery, it was 20/400, so it’s a great improvement. The surgeon said he was “Very happy” and surprised with how well I am doing. “I wouldn’t expect a normal patient to be doing that well at this stage.” He said he couldn’t see much swelling. So a big THANKS to all who were praying. God is healing my eyes. Another bit of good news is that I’m allowed to drive again and some of the other restrictions have also been taken off.

Sunday, September 8, 2013 10:35 PM CDT

This foggy Sunday morning really felt like fall, but the day turned sunny later on. Trees had yellow clusters of leaves earlier in the season, but the amount of colour hasn’t changed much over the past few weeks. “Anne”, outside my window, is still wearing her summer green.

My vision in my left eye is foggy too. There’s no “Wow! This is great!” Because of the complications, it’s taking time for the swelling to go down within the eye and for my vision to get more in focus.

Dennis wasn’t here for the weekend, so Rachel had a creative idea. She picked Dennis up at Waverley House on Saturday evening, and as a family we took a 25-minute drive out of town and ate at the Strathmore Station, a railroad station converted into a nice restaurant. Pictures on the wall were from railroads in years gone by. Dennis enjoyed being there, as did the rest of us. Rachel’s comment: “Why didn’t we do things like this as a family BEFORE Dad had his stroke?” (I don’t think our young adult children were into doing “fun things” with Mom and Dad years back—they wanted to do things with their friends.) Adding a grandchild to the mix makes a difference. Time is marching on.

Sunday after church we had our fall pot luck lunch to kick off a new children’s Sunday school season when children move up to the next grade. A lot of people stayed to eat and the food was great as usual. Our whole family was there, minus Dennis.

Repairs—when we had rain on Saturday, the garage floor remained dry for the first time in five years. I’m glad to have the roof repaired. Now to get the garage door opener re-installed. It had to be removed when Tim and Rachel took down the ceiling. I also have a new windshield on the car. Nice. Slowly the necessary repairs are getting done. The Lord has been providing the funds I need. I’m thankful.

I had a visit from Marie (writer friend) and Charles from Taber on Friday night. It was good to see them again. Marie had a couple doctors’ appointments on Friday, so they stayed here for the night.

I still have a restriction on driving, so will be riding with a Wycliffe friend going to the office tomorrow. I still need to take things easy and will know how my eye is healing when I see the doctor on Friday. I really do appreciate your prayers.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 8:49 PM CDT

Bits and Pieces

Thanks so much for praying for healing from my complicated cataract surgery. I saw the surgeon today and he says the sutures look good. He wants a follow-up visit with me on the 13th. The surgery scheduled for the 17th has been postponed until my left eye fully heals. There is a possibility that the cornea will split open next time too because of the RK surgery I had 21 years ago, so he will put in a couple sutures to hold things in place before he begins. I had a lot of pain yesterday, but am feeling much better today. The surgeon said to let them know next time when the numbing drops wear off because the surgery took longer than normal. The sutures were painful!

Rachel came over this afternoon and has been helping me. It’s great! She’s been cleaning out cupboards and drawers among other things. She's excellent at organizing things.

My garage roof is being repaired today. I’m happy about that.

Andrew started first grade yesterday. He was really excited to be a first grader.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 4:39 PM CDT

My cataract surgery this morning was not a simple procedure like it was supposed to be. At one point I heard the surgeon say, "The cornea has split." Not at all what I wanted to hear. . . Because of my RK surgery 20 years ago for near-sightedness, I have weak points on the cornea, and one of them split open. I had to have sutures put into the cornea to hold it together. Not fun at all. So what does this mean for the surgery scheduled two weeks from now? I don't know. I'll see the doctor again tomorrow morning and will know more by then. Thanks for all who have been praying. I need prayer for healing at this point.

Saturday, August 31, 2013 3:37 PM CDT

Just some random thoughts. . . I spent Thursday and Friday with my friends, Barry and Linda, at their home/retreat center called Dovercourt Sanctuary, and went with them on Thursday night to the Cowboy Church service at the Dovercourt Community Center. I enjoyed singing some of the old hymns once again and enjoyed a ladies’ trio. Great music!

On Friday morning during my walk down the road, I found two four-leaf clovers—not as many as in the past because I’m not seeing as well as last year. (I’ll have cataract surgery on Tuesday).

In the afternoon, I sat on the porch swing in back of the house, reading, thinking and praying. Chick-a-dees kept me company with their cheerful calls. Gray clouds over head turned more ominous, and as the thunder rolled and the rain came splashing down, I went inside. Tashi, the dog, followed me because she is afraid of thunder.

On Friday night we enjoyed a meal from Linda’s garden—potatoes, carrots, onions, peas, and green and yellow beans. Later we had strawberries, also from their garden. I enjoyed helping Linda pick the vegetables and later prepare them. It took me back to my days on the farm. While I was there, she and her daughter canned salsa, and she preserved a couple jars of chokecherry jam. As I was preparing to leave today, Linda was making zucchini pickles.

I drove back this morning and was on a paved road when a stone (or something) hit my windshield, leaving a smashed area about three inches in diameter on the passenger side and a six-inch concentric circle around it. Small pieces of glass landed on the dashboard. There were several other large cracks on the windshield already, so I guess it’s time to replace it.

I’m now looking forward to Dennis’ arrival at 4 p.m. today, the long weekend, and then cataract surgery on Tuesday.
Some of my gleanings from my reading on Thursday and Friday, thoughts for me to ponder:

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. ------Psalm 4:8

You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day. . . He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. ----Psalm 91: 5

I will trust and not be afraid. ----Isaiah 12:2

“God’s will is universal and absolute. No one can act outside of God’s will or against it.” --The Joy of Fearing God, Jerry Bridges

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good. (Story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers)
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. ----Isaiah 55:8-9

J.L. Dagg: “It should fill us with joy that infinite wisdom guides the affairs of the world. Many of its events are shrouded in darkness and mystery and inextricable confusion sometimes seems to reign, and God seems to have forgotten the creatures that He has made. Our own path through life is dark and devious, and beset with difficulties and dangers. How full of consolation is the doctrine that infinite wisdom directs every event, brings. . . light out of darkness and to those who love God, causes all things whatever be their present aspect and apparent tendency, to work together for good.” (P. 94, TJOFG)

“To hope in His unfailing love is to trust Him. As we stand in awe, let us trust Him, even when we don’t understand what He is doing.” --- Jerry Bridges

I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. --- Jeremiah 29:11
“The truth is, we live at all times in the presence of God. . . .Every breath we breathe is a gift from God.” –Jerry Bridges
“My times are in your hands.” Psalms 31:15

Practicing the Presence of God: 1) Give God your waking thoughts; 2) Give God your waiting thoughts. Spend time with Him in silence; 3) Give God your whispering thoughts. Pray short sentence prayers in the breaks of the day. 4) Give God your waning thoughts. “Wouldn’t you love to look back on your life and know you had done what you were called to do?” --- Just Like Jesus, Max Lucado

“If we truly acknowledge our dependence on God, we will also accept His providential workings in our lives, even through those circumstances that are difficult for us and which we don’t understand.” –Jerry Bridges

All of the days you ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. –Psalms 139:16

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 10:23 PM CDT

Tomorrow I’ll travel a couple hours to get to Dovercourt Sanctuary, a retreat center where I’ve been greatly blessed in the past. My friend Linda will be making salsa in the morning, and we’ll be going to the Cowboy Church in the evening. (Yes, such things really do exist. I had a great time there last year.)
The following was a devotional in Meet Me in the Meadow by Roy Lessin.

Fear ties you up; discouragement ties you down.

Fear says “you’d better not do it”; discouragement says, “it can’t be done.”

Fear trips you up; discouragement keeps you from getting up.

Fear wants you not to begin; discouragement wants you to quit.

Fear avoids the battle; discouragement throws in the towel.

Fear gives you the chills; discouragement gives you the blues.

Fear shuts you down; discouragement shuts you off.

Fear paralyzes; discouragement demoralizes.

Fear waves the flag of danger; discouragement waves the flag of defeat.

Fear deters; discouragement disqualifies.

Fear wants you to worry about the future; discouragement says you have no future.

What can you do when you encounter one or both of these spiritual foes? Don’t give in and don’t give up. Listen to the voice of the Lord, and not to the voices of fear or discouragement.

Here is what the Lord says…
Be strong and courageous! For you will lead these people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors he would give them. You are the one who will divide it among them as their grants of land. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:7-8 NKJV

Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1 NKJV

God’s answer and provision against these foes are strength and encouragement. It is His strength that makes you strong; it is His presence that gives you encouragement. The Lord is your strength; be strong in the Lord; encourage yourself in the Lord.

Here are some clear and certain promises stated in Deuteronomy 31 and Isaiah 43 that make His strength and encouragement a reality for you today:
• God will go before you.
• God will be with you.
• God will not fail you.
• God will not abandon you.
• God knows you, claims you, and calls you His own.

Sunday, August 25, 2013 8:52 PM CDT

What a beautiful, warm summer weekend! Dennis was home on Saturday and made $45.85 from recycling after just a week of collecting. I’m beginning to think that there are people along his “route” that are saving bottles for him—for instance, two cardboard boxes with ale and beer bottles two weeks in a row, which he doesn’t normally find in his normal collection places.

Tim, Renylor and Andrew were in Taber with Levy and Dan for the annual Corn Fest, so the house was very quiet. Too quiet. To make this weekend more enjoyable for Dennis, I took him to McDonald’s for supper, which is always a favorite place for him.

Last night Dennis showed me that he was missing one of his hearing aids. The ear mold and tube were still in his ear, but no hearing aid was attached. He has had this pair since Dec. 2005, which is longer than most pairs of hearing aids last. I’ll need to make an appointment for him to get new hearing aids, in between my appointments for cataract surgery. (He has money saved from his pensions that will be used for the hearing aids.) He also has a routine eye exam tomorrow. We’ll have some busy medical days ahead sandwiched in with an extremely busy time at work.

On Thursday and Friday I’ll be taking two of my vacation days and going to Dovercourt Sanctuary, something I’ve done yearly for the past three years. It’s a quiet place to think, pray and consider the future. If I take time off at home, there are too many things demanding my attention. Up there, two hours away, I actually do find peace and rest and no distractions.

I now have a quote for my garage roof. This time I have a trustworthy roofing company to do the job. I haven’t been given a date when they will work on it yet.

Last Tuesday I went to Senior’s Day at Heritage Park with three Wycliffe friends. A $10 ticket got me admission to the park, a ride around the park on a steam train, a ride on a steamer on the Glenmore Reservoir, a delicious lunch, and a ride of a Ferris wheel besides other interesting things. The park was a whole little village from the turn of the century. We saw an old fort, the restored home of an early pioneer, a Metis/Scottish man doing finger wearing, two First Nations women putting up a tipi, an exhibit of automobiles from the 1920s and earlier, etc.

We went to Heritage Park, as a family, years ago when Tim and Rachel were young. Now I’m wondering if Dennis would enjoy going out there again and riding on the steam train. Of course paying general admission and buying various rides separately would be much more expensive than going on the once-a-year Seniors’ Day. Also, we would need to bring a wheel chair or his scooter. How would we navigate getting a wheelchair onto the steamboat or the train? There were seniors on scooters there, but not that many of them had scooters or wheelchairs. They were quite a mobile bunch.

This was part of a devotional this week:

What things are possible for you today through faith? All things are possible, because your faith is in the God who knows no impossibilities.

• When the things that you are experiencing don’t make sense, faith says, “God knows what He is doing.”

• When your resources don’t match your need, faith says, “God is my provider.”

• When you are fearful to take the next step, faith says, “God will not fail me.”

• When you’re not sure what to do next, faith says, “God will guide me.”

• When you are in a situation that seems impossible, faith says, “Nothing is too hard for the Lord.”

Where will your faith journey with God lead you today? Whatever the step may be, wherever the path may lead, you can be certain that your obedience of faith will always bring you into His best.

This is an excerpt from Today is Your Best Day, by Roy Lessin.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 10:18 PM CDT

We've had some warm, summery days, but two days ago, frost warnings were given for some small towns north of here. Fall is on the way.

On Sunday I wrote something to post, but forgot to put it on Caring Bridge. So here it is, a few days late.

Dennis was home this weekend. I took him to the recycling place and he made $68.40 on his cans—and then he went can collecting three more times this weekend. I’m so glad he has something to occupy his time that makes him happy. Then this afternoon the whole family was together for a barbecue. Family time is precious.

Friday night I went to a get together with about eight single or widowed Wycliffe ladies for a barbecue and an evening of puzzles and dominoes. Fun! Then on Tuesday I will be taking a vacation day and going with them to a seniors’ day at Heritage Park. I think we may get a train ride around the park, and lunch comes with our ticket.
Andrew, waiting for my writers’ group on Tuesday (my friend Mary was bringing her grandson): “Grandma, it’s 6:48. They will be coming in 12 minutes.” Yes, they were planning to come at 7 p.m., and he saw the time on my computer, but how did a five year old figure that out that it was 12 more minutes?

My dishwasher is finally working again. The technician discovered that the drain was blocked, and that automatically shut off the dishwasher after only five minutes. The sensor could tell the water level wasn’t dropping as it should have been. Problem solved. Now I know what to look for. I never had that problem in 15 years with my old dishwasher. But then, it wasn’t as “smart” as this one.
“It is more courageous to ask the hard questions of God and wait for him to answer than it is to find hope on the side of coffee mug. Asking those questions requires courage because, in the end, it is very likely they will not be answered.” –Pastor Nate Pyle

I shared this last year and want to share it again. The author, who is unknown, did a brilliant job of painting a vivid word picture:

It wasn't the dusty look of the leaves or the flash of early goldenrod or the fattening pods on the milkweed. It wasn't those brilliant, cool days and chilly nights, right out of late September. It wasn't the different sound in the cawing of the crows, nor the chirping of the crickets or the katydids rasping in the darkness. It wasn't any one thing that made mid-August feel and look and sound like the very first stages of autumn. It was all those things coming at once, and at a time when we really didn't want to think about any season but summer.

That's the way it usually happens. There you are, right in the midst of summer, enjoying the sun, climbing a mountain or sailing a boat, eating the best sweet corn ever grown and the ripest juiciest tomatoes a garden ever produced. And thinking fine, idle summer thoughts. Then an insect or a wildflower or a breath of Canadian air intrudes, and you glance at the calendar and see that just days away are the first day of September.

Then you hear the frenzy in the rasping calls of cricket and katydid. You see the first red leaf on a sumac. You look for a daisy, and you see that the first blue asters are already in bloom. And you realize that you can lie abed till 6 o'clock and still get up with the sun. Then you know. Then you can read the clock of the year almost as well as the cricket and the katydid. It's already half-past August, less than fifteen minutes till autumn!

Author unknown

I might add the following: I know autumn is on the way when Anne outside my window exchanges her green "dress" for a gold one.

Monday, August 12, 2013 10:54 PM CDT

A Sunday train ride

Sunday was a delightful, warm, sunny day for a train ride. Tim, Renylor, Andrew, Dennis and I went on a railway excursion from Stettler to Big Valley, a total of 42.4 miles round trip. The 268 passengers on board nearly doubled Big Valley’s population of 300. The trip took an hour and 40 minutes, with a speed of between 12 and 18 miles per hour. Tim and I both found the gently swaying cars going clackity-clack on the rails a bit unsettling to our stomachs at first but gradually adjusted to it. Dennis and I went on this trip about seven years ago. It was a long day; we left the house at 7:50 a.m. and arrived back at 7 p.m. Stettler is about 120 miles from Calgary. Big Valley had 350 producing oil wells at one time years back when the little town was at the hub of oil production and many trains went through each day.

Andrew’s most exciting part was the “train robbery” that took place along the way. “Masked outlaws” entered the train, demanding money (change) from people. Renylor snapped a photo of Andrew, with a big grin on his face, handing a couple of loonies out the window to a masked man. The money raised goes to the Edmonton and Calgary children’s hospitals, so it was all for a good cause. Yesterday they raised more than $400. Andrew’s favorite part was the “gunfight” that left three outlaws “dead” on the ground, but still carefully hanging on to the reins of their peacefully grazing horses.

On the way back in the afternoon, our car was entertained by Rick Popovich, a professional entertainer with a waxed handle-bar mustache, wearing cowboy clothing, a cowboy hat and having boots with real spurs. He sometimes used people in the car in his songs and skits. He called on Tim and got his name. He told the passengers in the car, “Whenever I say the name Tim, I want you to raise your hand and say, ‘Way to go Tim’” which made shy Tim the center of attention for a whole song!

Dennis enjoyed the excursion but was sad that the train for the day was not the steam train they sometimes use, only a diesel. Tim was also disappointed.

The railroad was standard gauge, 4 ft 8 !/2 inches between the r
ails—the reason for the odd measurement? It went back to carriages made in England that needed to all have 4 ft. 8 ½ inches between the wheels so they could follow along the ruts in the road. Originally, that measurement goes back to Roman war chariots, that had three cubits (4 ‘ 8 ½ ‘) between the wheels, the distance across the rear of two horses standing side-by-side. So now you know where that comes from. I learned that the last time I rode the train with Dennis.

When the horn sounds two longs, a short, and a LONG as the train crosses a railway crossing, this is a “Q” from the Morse code alphabet. Years back it was used to signal the arrival of Queen Victoria— ruler of the far-flung British empire— at a port so someone would be ready to meet her and bring her in to the dock. Another interesting bit of history.

Today I went DeMong Eye Clinic for an evaluation of recent tests—No glaucoma, but both of the cataracts need to come out. The left one is scheduled for September 3rd and the other for September 17th—I’m amazed that it is so fast. Dr. Chow mentioned that the wait time is much less than in the past. I will end up being away from work for a week after each surgery and cannot drive, lift anything over five pounds or bend over during that time.

Tomorrow night my writer friends will be coming over, and then Marie will be spending the night before she goes back to Taber on Wednesday.

Please pray for Rachel and a digestive system problem that has not yet been diagnosed.

Thursday, August 8, 2013 11:47 PM CDT

The weather today was chilly and rainy, a preview of what’s to come. It really felt like fall.

I had an interesting evening yesterday, watching the play “Under the Lintel” with my friend Laureen. It was an 83 minute monologue by an eccentric Jewish librarian living in Holland who felt compelled to track down the story behind a book that landed in his dropbox and was 133 years overdue. He traveled the world to find clues of who had taken the book out of the library—sort of like Where is Waldo or the travels of Flat Stanley. Amusing. The actor did an amazing job.

A roofer checked our garage roof on Tuesday and will send me an estimate. He also did a temporary patch on the holes to stop it from leaking while he was up there. The company is trustworthy because it’s the company that patches the Wycliffe roof when leaks develop. I’m relieved.
A friend posted the following from Global News on Facebook yesterday: REGINA – RCMP is warning people about a traveling group of men who have been representing themselves as a small paving company.

Over the last few months, the suspects have been appearing in communities and going door to door saying they are a paving company that has some left over asphalt from a recent job. They then offer a paving service for a cheaper cost and do a portion of the work, then get the victim to pay a large portion of the agreed price and say they will be back the next day but never return.

RCMP believe there are seven victims from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

The main suspect is described as 5' 8'' tall, 175 lbs, light brown Hair, approx. 50 yrs of age with the first name Pat. Pat and his accomplice speak with an Irish accent. The suspects were last seen traveling in a white Dodge Ram truck which is also believed to be stolen.
THESE ARE THE TWO GUYS WHO SCAMMED ME ON THE GARAGE ROOF ON APRIL 5, 2010!! It makes me angry that they are still out there scamming people all this time and no one has stopped them. I think the seven people scammed is only the tip of the iceberg.

Monday, August 5, 2013 9:12 PM CDT

Bits and pieces—This weekend was a long weekend with Monday being a Civic Holiday (Picnic Day). Our family celebrated by going out for lunch on Sunday at Denny’s. Fun!

Challenges --On Saturday evening, while riding his scooter, Dennis saw a 2000 station wagon for sale for $1,350 and copied down the phone number. All weekend he was obsessed with buying it. “But you don’t have a driver’s license,” I said. He gave me a little grin and indicated that not having a driver’s license was not a problem. Just when I had been thinking of how little stress I had in my life . . . Today, when he was in a foul mood because of the car, I took him to Walmart to buy new blades for his shaver, and then took him out to eat at MacDonald’s. Distractions. He was in a better mood later on and by this afternoon the car that was for sale was no longer parked on the street.(People need to be careful buying used cars in Calgary because some have gone through the flood.)

Household challenges—Tim and Rachel have all of the ceiling drywall and insulation down in the garage, so now we know where all the leaks are. A roofer friend of a friend is going to give us an evaluation tomorrow of what needs to be done and an estimate of the price.

It just keeps on happening—I got the dishwasher fixed about three weeks ago by having the control box replaced. Now it is doing a quick cycle again without doing any washing, just like before. My dishes are “washed” in five minutes.

But in between times, I do have fun. Last night my friend Laureen and I went to a chamber music concert of Hayden, Bach and Dvorak. Beautiful, but nothing I recognized. On Wednesday, we are going to a play at the same place—a little hamlet called Rosebud, which is a training community for actors and musicians northeast of the city, about an hour’s drive.

Have a great week.

Sunday, July 28, 2013 9:45 PM CDT

It’s still July, but the chill of fall was in the air this morning—it was only 50 degrees in the morning and 63 by the afternoon.

I took Dennis for his blood test Saturday morning and took him back to Waverley House so he could ride the Handi-bus and bring his scooter home in the afternoon. While I was at Waverley House, I picked up the load of cans he had been saving for me this past week and recycled them, getting $42 for only one week of collecting. His time at home was mostly spent collecting cans, and he was out so late on Saturday night, that he needed to use his scooter lights on the way home. I was concerned, but he made it home safely.

Andrew will be starting another week of soccer on Monday and I'll be taking him. He loves it!

The repeat eye test I had on Friday showed no evidence of glaucoma like the one did previously. When I have my follow up appointment with the ophthalmologist on August 12, he will let me know when I can have cataract surgery for my left eye, and possibly the right as well.

I shared the following this week with a friend whose husband died in December. This prayer was a great blessing to me a couple years ago when I was going through an especially difficult time. It was written 100 years ago by a blind Scottish pastor who has written many well-known hymns.

Dear Lord, you have made waiting beautiful and patience divine. You have taught us your will should be accepted simply because it is your will. You have revealed to us that a person may see nothing but sorrow in his cup, yet still drink it because of a conviction that your eyes see farther than his own.

Father, give me your divine power –the power of Gethsemane. Give me the strength to wait for hope—to look through the window when there are no stars. Even when my joy is gone, give me the strength to stand victoriously in the darkest night and say, “To my Heavenly Father, the sun still shines.”

I will have reached the point of greatest strength once I have learned to wait for hope.” –George Matheson (Streams in the Desert for July 26)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 10:49 PM CDT

Days are getting shorter, and there are already clusters of yellow leaves on the top of some of the poplar trees in our neighborhood. I’m not ready for this yet. . . The trees only got their leaves a little over two months ago.

The weekend was uneventful, but sometimes those are needed. Dennis and I recycled cans as soon as he came home and got $40.60. Then he promptly went out and collected more. It keeps him occupied, makes him happy, and cleans up the neighborhood. It makes me happy too to see him doing something productive. He needs a repeat of his blood test this coming Friday, so I'll see him then.

Last night five of us writers and spouses got together. Times of fellowship are precious, especially since Marie and her husband drove two hours to get here. They scheduled some appointments in Calgary for the same day, and then stayed overnight with me.

Continuing garage roof saga: Tonight a friend with lots of construction experience came over. He got up on the roof with a hose to discover just where it was leaking and isolated the leaks to a crack in the tar on one end of the roof and a hole on the other. He’s going to discuss our roof with a friend of his who is an experienced roofer and ask what his friend would recommend for fixing it.

Young backseat driver: "Grandma, why are you turning? The light is red." (I had to explain the law allows right turns on red.) "Grandma, I want to see how much gas you have." (Was he afraid I would run out? This little boy doesn't miss anything.)

Friday, July 19, 2013 7:30 PM CDT

Happy Friday. I’m ready to start the weekend. How about you?

I’ve been dropping Andrew off at soccer camp at 8:30 on my way to work and picking him up at 4 p.m. this week. He has done well at soccer and learned to swim in their pool time each afternoon. (His kindergarten teacher recommended soccer because it would help him focus. His lack of focus was a problem in school.) Tim is going to enroll him in another soccer camp in two weeks since he has done so well at it and enjoys it so much. It’s great there’s something physically active that he enjoys doing.

Every time I drove into the parking lot of the sports arena, I would see a pile of snow melting by the fence. In July. On a daily basis. I was mystified, so I asked. They have a hockey rink, and the Zamboni machine shaves off the ice several times a day. The “snow” was just shaved ice from their hockey rink. OK. Now I get it.

Renylor completed her secretarial course at the immigrant center, so now she is coming to work with me and volunteering at the Wycliffe office one day a week to gain practical experience in a Canadian setting. She did secretarial work on a casual basis in the Philippines, but has not had a job here since coming. She would like to get a paying job at some point, but it would need to be on a bus route since she doesn’t drive yet.

I went to an eye appointment today, the third one in six weeks. The cataract in my left eye has progressed enough to need to come out. The cataract in the right eye isn’t as bad, but could be taken out as well. However, a test I took indicates I might have glaucoma in my right eye, but the test will need to be repeated to make certain. I need to go back to the eye clinic at the Rockyview Hospital for a repeat test, and then go back to see the doctor again for a follow up appointment. (It was a visual field test that lasts eight minutes; I needed to push a button every time I saw a flash of light on the screen.)

Tim and Rachel did more work on the tearing out insulation from the garage ceiling this week. Tomorrow morning Rachel wants to take a trailer load to the dump at 6:30 to get it out of the garage, and then go to work by 8 a.m. She wanted to get it taken care of so they have an empty trailer this coming week.

Dennis will be coming home tomorrow at 4 p.m. I have nothing planned for the weekend, but he will keep busy on his scooter, collecting cans and bottles.

Sunday, July 14, 2013 9:43 PM CDT

This will be short today—Just bits and pieces of our lives.

Dennis was not home this weekend, by his own choice. However, he pointed to the calendar and indicated he wanted to come home next weekend. I wonder if we did so many activities last weekend that we wore him out. On Saturday I picked him up for a blood test, and while he was in the car, he said, "Ah wub ew." (I love you). Normally he will repeat it when I say it to him, but this time it was spontaneous.

I was encouraged when Tim and Rachel worked on the garage ceiling again last Wednesday.

Andrew starts his soccer camp this coming week. I’ll be dropping him off in the morning and picking him up at 4 p.m. when it is over, and doing my work in between.

Have a great week.

Sunday, July 7, 2013 6:38 PM CDT

Weather—it’s been a bit unusual lately to put it mildly. On Monday and Tuesday we had 95 degrees (35 degrees C.), and on Saturday the highest temperature of the day was only 57 (14). Heavy rain Friday afternoon brought flash flooding in some of the low-lying areas that were flooded previously, and people have had their basements pumped out twice. The ground is so saturated that the water has nowhere to go. It was really cloudy Saturday afternoon, an ominous sign. We got some rain, but friends north of us got lots of hail, which stayed on the ground for hours. It was cold out!

In spite of everything, the “show must go on.” The 101st Calgary Stampede is being held this coming week in spite of all of the flooding on the Stampede grounds in previous weeks. There has been some major cleanup. However, some of the big name musical programs have been cancelled because the Saddledome (big covered stadium) where they were scheduled sustained much water damage with water up to the 10th row of seats on June 21st.

We celebrated Tim's birthday on the 4th with tacos and blueberry crisp, (because he didn't want a cake.) His birthday is actually the 2nd, but Rachel wasn't available to come over that night. I picked up Dennis at Waverley House, so he could join in the family celebration. Family times are special!

Dennis came home on Saturday afternoon, and I had already recycled his cans for him. He was happy to get the $54.50. Whenever the rain stops, he goes out collecting again. . . and again.

Encouragement—Using ladders Rachel had borrowed from friends, Rachel and Tim—masked and gloved--climbed up and unscrewed water-soaked mold-covered drywall from the garage ceiling. Rachel and I also took a load of garbage to the dump. There are still several layers of Styrofoam insulation that need to come down before they can discover just where all the leaking on the roof is coming from. It’s a huge step forward, however.

Sunday dawned bright and clear, although a bit cool. The whole family went to church for a special Stampede service which included some traditional music from the past, a cowboy “quiz” and a shorter sermon that usual. Afterward everyone had a Stampede lunch with beef on buns, baked beans and corn salad. As a belated birthday gift, after lunch Rachel and I paid Tim’s way to the Glenbow Museum downtown. Getting Dennis in his wheelchair on the C-train was an adventure, and I’m glad that Rachel was the one to do it. It’s something I would never attempt myself. The whole family enjoyed it.

The main exhibit was C.M. Escher’s drawings, which Tim especially likes. Escher is known as a “Mathemagician,” with his drawings gradually transforming themselves into something else—fish becoming birds, staircases in every direction, with people walking up on the horizontal. Great exhibit! We also saw Native American exhibits, the history of Alberta, and beautiful rocks/minerals. Impressive.

Tomorrow is the start of a new week. I hope it is a good one for you.

Sunday, July 7, 2013 6:38 PM CDT

Weather—it’s been a bit unusual lately to put it mildly. On Monday and Tuesday we had 95 degrees (35 degrees C.), and on Saturday the highest temperature of the day was only 57 (14). Heavy rain Friday afternoon brought flash flooding in some of the low-lying areas that were flooded previously, and people have had their basements pumped out twice. The ground is so saturated that the water has nowhere to go. It was really cloudy Saturday afternoon, an ominous sign. We got some rain, but friends north of us got lots of hail, which stayed on the ground for hours. It was cold out!

In spite of everything, the “show must go on.” The 101st Calgary Stampede is being held this coming week in spite of all of the flooding on the Stampede grounds in previous weeks. There has been some major cleanup. However, some of the big name musical programs have been cancelled because the Saddledome (big covered stadium) where they were scheduled sustained much water damage with water up to the 10th row of seats on June 21st.

We celebrated Tim's birthday on the 4th with tacos and blueberry crisp, (because he didn't want a cake.) His birthday is actually the 2nd, but Rachel wasn't available to come over that night. I picked up Dennis at Waverley House, so he could join in the family celebration. Family times are special!

Dennis came home on Saturday afternoon, and I had already recycled his cans for him. He was happy to get the $54.50. Whenever the rain stops, he goes out collecting again. . . and again.

Encouragement—Using ladders Rachel had borrowed from friends, Rachel and Tim—masked and gloved--climbed up and unscrewed water-soaked mold-covered drywall from the garage ceiling. Rachel and I also took a load of garbage to the dump. There are still several layers of Styrofoam insulation that need to come down before they can discover just where all the leaking on the roof is coming from. It’s a huge step forward, however.

Sunday dawned bright and clear, although a bit cool. The whole family went to church for a special Stampede service which included some traditional music from the past, a cowboy “quiz” and a shorter sermon that usual. Afterward everyone had a Stampede lunch with beef on buns, baked beans and corn salad. As a belated birthday gift, after lunch Rachel and I paid Tim’s way to the Glenbow Museum downtown. Getting Dennis in his wheelchair on the C-train was an adventure, and I’m glad that Rachel was the one to do it. It’s something I would never attempt myself. The whole family enjoyed it.

The main exhibit was C.M. Escher’s drawings, which Tim especially likes. Escher is known as a “Mathemagician,” with his drawings gradually transforming themselves into something else—fish becoming birds, staircases in every direction, with people walking up on the horizontal. Great exhibit! We also saw Native American exhibits, the history of Alberta, and beautiful rocks/minerals. Impressive.

Tomorrow is the start of a new week. I hope it is a good one for you.

Monday, July 1, 2013 10:10 AM CDT

Canada Day is turning out to be a beautiful, sunny day—without clouds. Birds are singing outside my window and the colorful potted plants that line my walk are doing beautifully.

Dennis has been home for the long weekend, and fortunately he found some things to do. We went to a movie on Saturday, he collected a garbage bag full of cans and bottles for recycling, and then he spent all Sunday afternoon paging through a large stack of old model railroad magazines. I’m not sure what he will do today, but I’m sure he won’t be up until much later. I was up late last night reading a book, and Dennis was up late watching television.

In church yesterday, we sang “In Christ Alone” (By Paul Getty and Stuart Townend). This song again had a “storm” message within it.

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

At the end of the church service, people were given the opportunity to share their flood experiences on an open microphone. Quite a few had stories to tell. One young woman had lost everything in the rental place where she was living. Others had helped in the cleanup. Even our pastor volunteered as part of the cleanup one day. The sad thing is that people living near the river where floods most often occur can’t get flood insurance. Water damage on their policies can’t be from water leaking under windows or under doors.

I have a leaking garage roof to deal with (my perpetual problem), but I can be thankful that I don’t have a basement full of water. Two weeks ago when the electricians were here, they turned off the power to the garage since water drips down from the light and the garage door opener when it rains. Also, the new dishwasher totally quit working, but is still under warranty. I realize that my problems are only minor in comparison to a lot of other people who won’t be able to live in their homes for months.

I got an email from Rachel, who was vacationing for the weekend with Melynda and Becky in Salmon Arm, B.C. The girls were hiking, and Melynda tripped and fell while running downhill trying to catch her dog. They spent the evening in the Salmon Arm hospital emergency room where Melynda was diagnosed with a possible torn ligament in her ankle and told she needed to stay off her foot for a week. It wasn’t quite the holiday weekend they had planned.

The house has been SO quiet without Tim, Renylor and Andrew here. I’m looking forward to having them back tonight. I hope their weekend was more uneventful than Rachel’s.

Saturday, June 29, 2013 11:52 AM CDT

It’s the beginning of the long Canada Day weekend, the temperature is 25 degrees (77degrees F.) and the sun is shining brightly.

It’s also day 10 of the largest flood in Calgary’s history. After the water started going down, cleanup swung into full force. Calgary’s community spirit shone through after the city put out a call for help. Thousands of people showed up, ready to get muddy and lend a hand to those in need. People began serving their neighbors, pulling soggy drywall from basements, forming human chains in conveying the trash to waiting garbage trucks. Even the Prime Minister’s wife took part by personally getting involved in the cleanup. However, there are still 10,000 people who can’t go back to their homes because of the damage.

A call went out for people who wanted to take a 2 ½ hour training course in grief counseling through the Samaritan’s Purse a couple miles from here, so I took the course last night. I have no idea how I’ll use it, but with so many people affected by the flood, sooner or later I’m likely to encounter someone who just wants a listening ear. We were taught the right and wrong things to say to a person struggling with great loss, how to comfort and be supportive. Samaritan’s Purse offers a whole day course, but this was just a stop-gap measure to have more people trained for the immediate need.

Personally, the effect on our lives hasn’t been that great except water restrictions—don’t use your dish washer, don’t wash clothes, don’t flush your toilet too often, take five-minute showers. I haven’t washed clothes for 10 days, so will do so today because I am running out of clothes. However, there is a feeling of sadness as we read the papers, look around at the need and loss, (and even feel a bit guilty that we aren’t suffering like others are at this point.)

It’s 10:30 a.m., and Dennis is here for the weekend. After coming in to get sunscreen, he left on his scooter. It will be a quiet weekend because Tim, Renylor and Andrew just left this morning to go camping a couple hours from here down toward the Alberta/Montana border which was not affected by flooding. Rachel and her housemate Melynda left early yesterday morning, and crossed the mountains to Salmon Arm in B.C., where they met up with their friend Becky, coming from Vancouver. The three of them will be staying in a motel for three days and enjoying a vacation.

So that leaves Dennis and me with very little to do and no one to do it with. I’m planning to take him to a movie this afternoon.

Have a good, safe weekend wherever you are. Happy 4th of July to my friends in the U.S.

Sunday, June 23, 2013 10:59 PM CDT

This morning at the beginning of the church service, we saw a video of the flood in downtown Calgary and around the city, accompanied by the song “I’ll Praise You in the Storm” by Casting Crowns. Everyones’ hearts have gone out to those who have lost so much. We had a time of prayer for those who have suffered losses—possessions, employment, finances. Some of our church friends had to be evacuated. Rachel’s friend Christine, her husband Jason and their six-week-old baby had just returned to their home after being evacuated and were happy to find it dry and undamaged. Some seniors in nursing homes were evacuated and their relatives had a difficult time tracking down where they had been taken.

I’ll Praise You in the Storm

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

The water has now subsided in some areas, people are returning to their homes, and the overwhelming job of clean-up has begun. Some of the streets that were flooded yesterday are now mud-encrusted and littered with tree limbs and rubbish.

One of the quotes from the Calgary Mayor, Naheed Nenshi is circulating on Facebook: “I can’t believe I actually have to say it: the river is CLOSED. You cannot boat on the river. I have a large number of nouns I could use to describe the people I saw in a canoe on the Bow River today. I am not allowed to say any of them. I can tell you, however, that I have been told that despite the state of local emergency, I am not allowed to invoke the Darwin law. If you are on the river, we have to rescue you.”

Dennis was home from Friday afternoon to this afternoon. He ended up having his blood test on Saturday morning instead of Friday, and after that we recycled the bags of cans that were piling up in the garage. He got $71.60, which made him happy.

Dennis’ question of the day yesterday was “Where is my passport?” It took me at least 20 minutes to figure out what he wanted. Describing a passport using only gestures is DIFFICULT.

Our mower is truly beyond repair. Tim tried fixing a number of things on it to no avail. I think it is at least 17 years old, so it has served us well. This afternoon Dennis, Rachel and I went to several hardware stores and bought a new mower.

Have a quiet, peaceful, dry week and may you find shelter in all of life’s storms. Thanks for your prayers for all of those who are suffering from the flood here in Alberta.

Friday, June 21, 2013 9:05 PM CDT

More rain today, but by 6 p.m. the sun is finally shining. The devastation is unbelievable. We’re watching continuous news of the situation on TV, with normal TV programming cancelled. Four lives have been lost in the flooding in High River, a small town south of Calgary, but none in Calgary so far.

One of our communication department members and his wife had to evacuate the house they were living in. “It doesn’t look good,” he said and explained how the bridge heading into his community is under water. Normally the property is bounded by a tiny creek way down the hill, but it’s now a raging river.

Water is flooding buildings in the downtown core, and the Saddledome, where Calgary Flames hockey games are played, is flooded up to row 10. The Calgary Zoo, which is on an island in the Bow River, is also flooded, and some of the animals had to be moved. They were thinking of moving the big cats to unused jail cells, but that hasn’t happened yet.

A large stretch of highway between Canmore and Banff has been washed out, cutting off a major route between Alberta and B.C.

Dennis was going to get his blood test this afternoon, but although he waited two hours for the Handi-bus, it never showed up—no big surprise. I eventually went to Waverly House and picked him up. He will get his blood test tomorrow morning.

This morning the home care aid was able to use the photos on his iPad to communicate with him and ask him questions. I had her ask him if he wanted to go to McDonalds when I picked him up, and he told her yes. However, it turned out that his mouth is still too sore to eat anything there so I fixed him mashed potatoes with mashed up hamburger in gravy. He had chocolate pudding as well.

Andrew showed his grandpa how to play games on the iPad. I asked him to check on the battery level (I didn't know where to find it) and he said, "It's 77, it's fine."

Dennis found a football game on TV, and is now watching that.

Thursday, June 20, 2013 11:04 PM CDT

Happy first day of summer. We are “celebrating” it in Calgary with rain, rain, rain. People are being evacuated in six communities along the river, with more communities to follow. More rain is predicted for the weekend. The estimate is that up to 100,000 Calgarians may be affected by the evacuation orders.

The flooding is equivalent to 2005, when my brother Jerry and his wife Sherry almost turned around at the Minnesota/Canada border after they were told that Calgary was flooded. I’m certainly glad they made that visit because it was the last time we saw Sherry before her untimely death that November. No, we aren’t affected by the flood. Our house is in an area of Calgary that isn’t prone to flooding.

The breaker downstairs has been fixed, so now the dryer can be used. That’s welcome news in weather like this. A number of other electrical problems or potential problems were fixed at the same time.

After a few painful days early this week when he could only eat soup, Dennis is now feeling much better and his mouth is healing. I’ll see him tomorrow when I accompany him to have his monthly blood test.

Rachel has set up the iPad for Dennis with pictures from our time in Minnesota and narration read by a male voice. I hope it works for him to be able to share his adventures with others.

Andrew is happy that I am home and he once again can come upstairs and do “farming” on Farmville on the computer.

I hope you’ve had a good week, wherever you are reading this.

Monday, June 17, 2013 10:48 PM CDT

When we arrived home at 12:30 a.m. last night after our flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul, the fragrance of lilacs filled the air as we got out of the car. It looked like they were still in full bloom in the dark, but morning proved they were past their prime. While we were gone, Renylor put a lot of plants in pots and planted others in the garden she made around the base of the small lilac bush.

I must have been tired when I got home last night. . . I had my alarm clock in a plastic bag with the battery out so it didn’t cause problems at the airport. This morning I found the plastic bag with my alarm clock in my refrigerator.

Today I still had Dennis at home with me, so I took care of several of his needs before taking him back to Waverley House. I had his dentist check out the dry socket/infection problem, and she prescribed more antibiotic and more prescription mouth wash. I found out later tonight that Waverley House could not accept a bottle of mouthwash from Marshall Drugs. Jenny, the caregiver on duty today, said it had to be sent back to Marshall Drugs to be divided into individual 15 ml. doses in separate syringes. Who would have guessed that?

I also took Dennis to get a new tube put into his hearing aid because Friday night his old tube slid out of his ear mold, and he almost lost his hearing aid. Rachel found it on the floor after we noticed he only had his ear mold in his ear with no hearing aid attached.

Looking back . . . we celebrated Father’s Day by eating at Denny’s in Minneapolis.

What’s changed in Minneapolis—there now are highways in Minneapolis with seven lanes in each direction. We have nothing that wide in Calgary. Many of the exits are on the left, with the highway dividing in two. I can only think of one like that in Calgary. Nearly all the exits in Calgary are from a lane on the right. Also, there are now simple bikes painted blue and green that can be rented to go from place to place in downtown Minneapolis. Another change is Frisbee golf, which many people are doing in parks on teams. I’ve not heard of it previously.

Things that need to be resolved up here: Tim hasn’t been able to figure out what’s wrong with the mower, so we may need a new one. The clothes dryer still doesn’t work because an electrician needs to look at the breaker. (The dryer is not at fault--that was already checked out.)

Saturday, June 15, 2013 12:14 AM CDT

I just got done losing half an hour's worth of work that vanished with the push of a wrong button. So I will make this really short. . .

We've had a couple nice visits with our niece Kari and her two lively children, and watched our nephew's ballgame where he got a great hit that drove in a run.

Last night was niece Rebecca's wedding to Ryan. It was lovely and God honoring. The morning of her wedding, Rebecca was hired as a social worker. She and Ryan will be living in student housing at Bethel University where Ryan will enter seminary in the fall. Rachel served as MC, putting her two years of Toastmaster's training to use.

Today Rachel is taking Dennis to look for trains, visit his mother and see where his brother Gary is living. I'm feeling a bit exhausted, so am just staying here at my sister Sharon's house. As mother of the bride, Sharon is feeling exhausted too. . .

I'm sad to leave all our families, because we don't know when we will next be back. However, I'm missing a little five-year-old boy who is waiting for me to come back and play Farmville with him.

I hope all of you have had a good week wherever you are.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 10:26 AM CDT

It’s a rainy, rainy Wednesday morning. I’ll attempt to post an update, although I’ve already lost one that I just tried to write on Caringbridge. It’s a challenge when I don’t have my own computer.

Today I’m planning to have lunch with a couple people I worked with in 1975 at North Hennepin College, while Rachel takes Dennis to look for trains. Then this afternoon we’ll visit a niece. She has suggested walking through an indoor nature center because of the rain. However, the train idea might not work unless the rain stops a bit.

We’ve had a variety of adventures—we were up on the farm for a day this weekend, but didn’t stay longer because it was cold, wet, and miserable. The furnace had quit working the previous week, and it was needed because the house was so cold. This happens all the time in June in Calgary, but not in Minnesota. People don’t remember a Minnesota June this cold, but I remember one back when I was 16 and we were trying to lay tile on our kitchen floor, and everyone was shivering as we did it.

While up in Pine City, we took Dennis to a farm estate auction. He likes auctions, but was bored after 15 minutes because he likes cars, trucks and campers at auctions, and they weren’t selling a couple of those until much later in the afternoon.

On Monday we celebrated Mom Seever’s 86th birthday most of the day. Our family, along with brother Ken and Sharon Seever, took her out to Famous Dave’s Ribs. Delicious food! Then we watched Sharon’s niece’s soccer game. It was fun! Lots of action for teams of young teenagers—the teams did a good job. We hope to see our nephew Mike play softball Thursday night, so we’ll have a bit of sports this time in Minnesota.

Last night the entire Seever family went to a Minnesota Twins game, which was exciting, especially since the Twins beat the Phillies 3-2. The weather was great for our adventure. Dennis really enjoyed it and was able to cheer like everyone else. We hadn’t been to a professional baseball game since 1991, when we went to a Texas Ranger’s game for our 16th anniversary when we were still in Dallas. Rachel is thinking of checking out Calgary Vipers’ baseball games (triple A league) when we are back in Calgary. They would be much less expensive and would get Dennis involved in watching something.

The downside of our time here: Dennis pointed out that the area where his tooth was pulled two weeks ago was hurting him. It didn’t look like it was healing well, so we took him to an emergency dental clinic yesterday morning. The diagnosis was dry socket and the start of an infection, so he is now on a powerful antibiotic and a prescription mouth wash. It will require a further dental visit when we are back in Calgary.

Our days are passing quickly, with our vacation soon coming to an end. We are thankful for good visits with friends and relatives. The next major event is Becca’s wedding on Friday afternoon then getting ready for our flight home on Sunday afternoon.

Friday, June 7, 2013 2:55 PM CDT

We have been staying with my sister Sharon, and will be staying with my sister Elaine next week. Here are bits and pieces of our lives:

+ Rachel and I got some lovely bargains at 40 per cent and 50 per cent off while shopping with my sister-in-law Sharon (yes, another Sharon) at Saver's, a thrift store. We love thrift stores!

+We had a great visit Wednesday night with about 20 friends from my University of Minnesota days. They were all part of a young people's group, whom I met between 1964 and 1968. Tonight we will see about eight friends who were part of a Bible study group Dennis and I attended over the years. That group dates back to 1975 for me and longer for Dennis. We have prayer and financial partners as part of each group.

+Last night we visited my cousin's husband, about 60 years old, who became a quadriplegic after neck surgery in Nov. 2012. He is living in a home for Parkinson's patients. He has been dealing with Huntington's disease over the past 10 years, and was gradually losing mobility. He hopes to gain enough movement in his hands to eventually be able to feed himself. Dennis was able to see that he isn't the only one with disabilities. However, Rich can still talk, but Dennis can't.

+Dennis has been very frustrated that Rachel and I can't find the train track he wants to see. We tried to figure it out on a Minneapolis-St. Paul map last night--for 45 minutes--while Dennis got more and more frustrated. Not fun!!

+I had a good visit with the missions secretary and missions pastor yesterday at our main supporting church.

On the weekend we'll be going up to the farm in Pine City and will be spending time with Bob and Elaine (my sister) up there.

I hope all of you are having a good week. We expected to come up here to warm weather, but it has been cold and rainy. The high yesterday was 57 degrees.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 9:58 AM CDT

Just a quick update of the past few days.

We arrived safely on Friday as scheduled, no delayed flights this year.

We had a great time visiting with family who were here for Alyssa's high school graduation party. Alyssa is my sister Sharon's daughter. Congratulations, Alyssa! We are staying with my sister and her family until this coming weekend.

On Sunday morning we attended Stadium Village Church (formerly Bethany Presbyterian) on the edge of the University of Minnesota campus, where I attended for 11 years, starting in 1964. The congregation was mostly International students (Asian) who are here for summer school.

Yesterday we spent the day with the Seever side of the family. Ken and Sharon came up from Atlanta, Georgia, for two weeks to be here during the time we are in Minnesota. We had some delicious meals in Mom Seever's seniors apartment (Mom is a great cook), and played the traditional Seever card game we've been playing every time we get together for the past 38 years. Then Sharon, Rachel and I visited the Unique Thrift Store, a block away from Mom's apartment. We are headed for another visit with the Seever side of the family today.

Thursday, May 30, 2013 10:10 PM CDT

We're packed and ready to leave for Minnesota tomorrow. Dennis was so excited about it that he was up late packing last night at Waverley House.

The new dryer has been tripping the breaker frequently the past few days. It's still under warranty, so I'll let Tim deal with it in the coming week when we're gone. It's possible that the problem is really a breaker problem, but I guess the repairman will soon find out. Both Renylor and I had wet clothes that we hung up on hangers to dry in the house. We've had a rainy couple of days and we couldn't put them outside. Fortunately a few things I wanted to pack in my suitcase were dry by this afternoon.

Tomorrow is our 38th wedding anniversary, which we already celebrated on Saturday. We'll celebrate by taking a flight together.

Sunday, May 26, 2013 9:41 PM CDT

This was a beautiful weekend; it was also a “Dennis” weekend.

We’ve had a rainy week and were experiencing a downpour when I booked the Handi-bus on Friday morning, so I assumed that Saturday would be rainy as well. No scooter would be coming home this weekend. Dennis was upset when he arrived at home at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and the sun was shining. . . I guessed wrong. So I needed an alternative. “Dennis, do you want to eat at McDonalds?” He did. While we were there, I said, “Let’s consider this an early anniversary celebration. Do you want to go to a movie tonight?” So we went to “The Great Gatsby.” (Based on the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which we read in our English class at the U of M in 1964—it’s a hauntingly sad story.) Dennis enjoyed the wild car driving scenes with Gatsby (Leonard DiCaprio) at the wheel. I’m sure they had a stunt driver.

Today Dennis and I went to Carstairs, a 45-minute drive north of here, for lunch with our friends Kevin and Lynn. Dennis especially enjoyed the pot luck lunch—including apple pie. Kevin and Lynn have been good friends for the past 10 years. We’ve been camping together, they’ve stayed at our house on one occasion when they had just come from overseas, and we’ve celebrated Christmas together. They were in Wycliffe for a number of years, but the past couple years have been working with Trans-World Radio. This was the last time we’ll get to see them before they head for Bonaire, which is near South America, for three years. Kevin will be rigging the tall radio towers.

We’re all excited that Renylor passed her written learner's test and is now learning to drive. She was studying the book online, and believe it or not, Andrew was reading some of it along with her.

Tomorrow morning at 8:10, Dennis will have his tooth pulled by the oral surgeon. He is NOT looking forward to it at all, and I can’t say that I blame him. I will be picking him up and taking him there.

Calgary trivia—gas is up to the equivalent of $4.37 U.S./ gallon this weekend, the most we’ve paid for it. What is the price of gas where you are living?
Continue to pray for Karen, Rachel’s friend, who had cancer surgery this past week. She is in a lot of pain at this point.

Have a good week. I hope my American friends and relatives are having a good, safe Memorial Day weekend. We’ll be flying to Minnesota on Friday, May 31 (our actual anniversary). So we’ll be seeing some of you very soon.

Monday, May 20, 2013 11:37 PM CDT

Happy Victoria Day to all Canadians (or people who would like to be Canadians for the day so they can get this day off work.) The world is now a beautiful new-leaf green, the May tree (choke cherry) is now in bloom, lilacs in our front yard are beginning to open, and the crab apple tree in our neighbor’s yard will soon burst into bloom. Spring weather, which took so long in coming, is finally here. It was well worth waiting for. Now I’m wondering how we got to day 20 already on the calendar. May is 2/3 over!

We had a family time today—Dennis was home from Waverley House as usual, and Rachel came over for a taco lunch. Afterward, Rachel and I went for a walk around the neighborhood while Andrew rode his bike and Dennis rode his scooter. We must have looked like quite a parade.

Then later in the afternoon, Rachel mowed the lawn and trimmed it. I was thankful Tim had raked it last week. I planted flowers while all of this other work was going on. Three neighbors also did yard work today, so our neighborhood is looking great.

Little surprises of life—I ended up taking Dennis to the clinic today because of a skin rash for which he needed antibiotics. Then this evening, I received a call from Waverley House. He didn’t have his cane—could I look for it? When I couldn’t find it at home, we both guessed that he had left it on the Handi-bus. So I went to Superstore, bought a new one, and took it to Waverley House. While I was there, I picked up his bags of cans.

A nice little surprise. . . Last weekend, I turned the non-functional dishwasher on to show Rachel what it was doing, and it mysteriously started working properly. It’s been working properly all week. I’m grateful.

My cousin Grace’s husband had surgery to stabilize deteriorating vertebrae in November, and it left him paralyzed from the neck down. Grace posts on a Facebook page, and had the following advice yesterday, which is excellent: “When following the progress of someone else in times of trauma it's easy to shrug off the issues as happening to someone else. Take a few moments now and then to think about how you would want care if something happens to you. Who do you want to make decisions for you? What's important to you for quality of life? As we continue through this journey, just the simple moments of being there, holding hands and recounting the good things that happened today can make such a difference.”

Sunday, May 12, 2013 8:33 PM CDT

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers reading this. I hope your day was special. Today was so beautiful and warm, that Renylor was out digging up the flower bed, and put some petunias and pansies in pots. The pots will stay near the house for now, because we still can have freezing weather until the end of May. If the weather turns cold, the pots can be covered at night.

Dennis was home this weekend as usual and enjoyed traveling through the neighborhood, collecting cans and bottles. I recycled his cans and bottles on Friday afternoon and his earnings this time came to $47.10.

Our family gathered for Mother’s Day lunch at our house—grilled hamburgers, sweet potatoes, salad and pineapple up-side-down cake. We’ve done a lot of family things together lately. It’s so nice.

Rachel is bringing Dennis up to the 21st Century with modern technology. He now has an iPad and has his own Facebook account. If people send him messages, someone can read the messages to him and reply on his behalf. Rachel is still coming up to speed on it so she can teach Dennis how to do very simple things. When he goes on vacation, for instance, Rachel can take pictures of him doing things and post them on the iPad. A special voice recording program allows someone to narrate the pictures. So he will later be able to show and tell people what he did in Minnesota. Another program consists of pictures that he can click on to show where he is in pain and how bad the pain is. Or pictures of rooms with a narrator telling what Dennis wants to do in each room. All of the speech programs we saw when he was in the hospital in Ponoka (2005-2006) were much more expensive than these simple ones.

On Saturday, I took the car in to have the winter tires taken off, and while it was in the shop, the mechanics did an oil change as well. I still need to have the wheels aligned, but that will need to wait for a few weeks when I am less busy. The car maintenance took longer than I was planning on, so I called Rachel to pick me up, since I didn’t want to wait there for four hours. We ended up shopping and picked up some things I’ve needed--like a hat and a back pack to carry lunch and water when I help chaperone the kindergarten zoo trip on Thursday. It was fun to have some mother-daughter time.

On Thursday night, Rachel, Renylor and I went to the Toby Mac concert here in Calgary. It was great! As I predicted previously, I was one of the oldest people there. I only saw two other people with gray hair! Rachel: “Mom, I didn’t know you liked rap!” She and Renylor had as much fun watching me and my reactions as they did watching the concert. It was loud! Joyous. Energetic. It ended with a mosh pit (people get on stage and move to the music.) I don’t know if I’ve seen one previously or only heard about them. I knew many of the songs from listening to our local Christian radio station as I drive to and from work. Toby Mac (his stage name) is 48, and always wears a hat or cap. I had wondered if he was bald—but no, that’s not the reason for the hat. (No, I didn't find out why he wears a hat.)

Have a great week.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 10:21 PM CDT


Dennis had one tooth extracted today. Because his bleeding time (INR) had gone up significantly in the past two weeks, the oral surgeon decided to wait to do the other tooth so Dennis wouldn’t have a bleeding problem on both sides of his mouth. Actually it didn’t bleed very much. Dennis now has an appointment for Monday, May 27 at 8:10 a.m. We also need to repeat the lab test for the INR before he has his next tooth extracted. (The next available time slot was in September.)

As Dennis was collecting cans and bottles last week, someone handed him a five dollar bill. Must have thought he was destitute.

Our new dishwasher, installed in January, now has a washing cycle of five minutes and then the “clean” light goes on. I emailed an online expert and got this response: “This is actually the most common problem that I see with these newer Bosch dishwashers. Unfortunately this issue means that your main relay control board under the dishwasher on the right side of the dishwasher has failed. You'll need to un-install the dishwasher and pull the dishwasher out to access the control board for replacement. These units are all under 5 years old, so I would recommend calling Bosch because it's still under warranty since the unit was just bought in December.” I’m wondering. . . Why did I end up picking a lemon?

What’s next? I need to have the snow tires taken off next Saturday as I assume that major snow storms are done for the year.

I also need to get the garage roof fixed. This has been a CONTINUING problem that goes on and on and on. (I know this sentence is redundant, but so is the problem.)

Andrew observing my computer: “Grandma, the battery is only charged 31 per cent. You need to plug it in.” Sure enough I checked and the cord had accidentally gotten disconnected. Another time he told me, “Your computer isn’t working because it’s on the airplane mode.” He was right about that one as well.

Thanks to those of you praying for Rachel’s friend Karen who has pancreatic and liver cancer. Here is what was posted on Facebook yesterday: “Mark and Karen received a new diagnosis from their Doctor in Red Deer and he has confirmed with 100 per cent certainty that Karen has a neuroendocrine tumour of the pancreas. This is very good news because it means that Karen has more options for treatment now and this type of cancer is much more slow growing.” The doctor is now planning to do surgery, which wasn’t an option with the previous diagnosis.

Monday, May 6, 2013 8:01 AM CDT

What a beautiful weekend! The temperature got up to 77 degrees (25 degrees C.) yesterday, the warmest weather we’ve had since last year. The trees still don’t have leaves, but those will come soon with weather like this. In a normal year, leaves start coming out the last weekend of April. We haven’t had many normal years lately.

It was very much a family weekend. Friday was my birthday, so my whole family took me out to Perkins to eat. Rachel and Renylor (and Tim) gave me gift cards to use at my favorite store, and Dennis gave me a dozen red roses!! (With help from Rachel in getting them.) The icing on the cake (so to speak) was getting my Mother’s Day story published on my birthday and sent around via an inspirational e-mail called WarmFuzzyStories.

After eating at Perkins, everyone was too full for the angel food cake and strawberries Rachel brought with her, so she decided we would have a pot luck barbecue at her condo after church on Sunday and have the cake then. So we all were together Sunday afternoon too. Fun family times!

Dennis was able to be out on his scooter three times this weekend, and the Handi-bus booked to take him back to Waverley House had enough space for it, unlike last weekend. What would life have been like without the freedom the scooter gives him? I don’t even want to think of it. I’m so glad a friend suggested getting a scooter for Dennis back in 2007.

This week: a blood test for Dennis to check on his INR (bleeding time because of Warfarin) before he has his two teeth pulled on Wednesday.

On Thursday night I’m looking forward to going to a Toby Mac concert with Rachel and Renylor. He’s a very popular singer—the tickets sold out the day they went on sale. This will be another concert held in a church, probably promoting Compassion Canada, which supports orphans around the world.

Have a great week, and I hope you are finally having spring weather (for those of you living in the Northern Hemisphere.)

Monday, April 29, 2013 8:23 PM CDT

Swirling snow this afternoon was a reminder that the warm weather over the past weekend wasn’t here for good. But I do hope the weather remains warmer than the year we had snow on the ground the first 10 days of May. That was unusual.

I took Dennis’ glasses to the optical shop this afternoon and was able to get them bent back into shape. Then I took them to Waverley House. Jenny, the home care aide, told me that when the Handi-bus brought Dennis back last night, he didn’t want to get off because he didn’t have his scooter with him. He was still upset about it today about leaving his scooter behind.

There’s no way to get the scooter back to Waverley House unless Dennis came home, and then the Handi-bus picked up him and his scooter later in the evening. So, the next best thing was to tell him I will have him come home Friday afternoon so he can ride on his scooter. He reluctantly agreed. . . .very reluctantly.

Today I booked a time at the lab for Dennis’ blood test next Monday (INR) prior to his tooth extraction on Wednesday. I also arranged with Jenny at Waverley House to fax in the prescription for antibiotics for tooth extraction to Marshall’s Drugs. It makes me wonder about the other three clients in Waverley House who don’t have relatives to accompany them to appointments or make arrangements. Maybe their needs aren’t as complicated as Dennis’ needs.

Sunday, April 28, 2013 9:45 PM CDT

Grass is turning green in the back yard, so I guess spring really hasn’t by-passed us.

When Dennis came home this weekend, we recycled cans. He was delighted to make $69.50. Afterward he spent a number of hours on his scooter, searching for more cans and bottles in our neighborhood.

Now that he is back at Waverley House, I have two problems to deal with. I accidentally sat on his glasses when I sat down beside him on the sofa. . . so I’ll need to take them in to see if the frame can be straightened. The second problem is that his scooter is still here. The Handi-bus that came to pick him up at 5 p.m. didn’t have room for his scooter because it wasn’t written on their order, although he brought it with him when he came home on Saturday. Sigh . . .

Have a great week.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 10:13 PM CDT

The weather today was up to 59 degrees (15 degrees C.) and the snow is gone, at least for this week. I’ve seen photos of big snow banks still on the ground in Minnesota, so my relatives have been experiencing less spring-like weather than we have.

On Monday I got a call from Waverley House, the kind I don’t like to receive. Dennis had a very painful tooth and the personal care giver didn’t know if she could give him Tylenol more than the once a day, as it has been prescribed just for at night. 1) I called the nurse at the clinic where our doctor works to get a new prescription to be sent to Marshall Drugs, the only place it can be filled. (The doctor actually prescribed Tylenol 3 this time, not ordinary Tylenol). 2) I contacted Dennis’ dentist so she could seal the two teeth with a temporary “cement” to keep the roots from being exposed, since she had done that previously and the temporary cement had fallen out. 3) I begged the oral surgeon’s office to give us an appointment SOON for tooth extraction, since they hadn’t yet set up an appointment from our visit last month. It is on May 8th, 4) I had an eye appointment the same day, but can’t see with drops dilating my eyes, so I rebooked for a later date so I can assist Dennis in getting to the oral surgeon. 5) The appointment I had with the ophthalmologist to review the results of that eye test also had to be rebooked. Whew!

I had an opportunity to go to a concert last night with a free ticket that someone else couldn’t use. Don Moen and Laura Story provided the music for the evening. It was great!! I used to hear Don Moen on the radio on Sunday mornings on the way to church. Laura Story has many songs that she has written that are played on our local Christian radio station. One of them is “Blessings” with the following words in the chorus:

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the achings of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Laura Story has a very powerful testimony of how the Lord brought her and her husband through difficult times. Seven years ago, her husband needed brain surgery after a tumor was discovered. Doctors warned the two of them that he might lose his memory as a result of the surgery and not even know her. When he awoke after surgery, Laura was in his room. After seeing her, he exclaimed, “Laura Story. What are you doing here?” He remembered her from the past, but not the fact they were married. But he was fine with that when she told him. After seven years, he is finally able to work at a part time job.

Yes, I can identify with all of that (except Dennis always recognized that I was his wife.) Yes, the trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights are indeed God’s mercies in disguise. I know exactly what she is saying in her song.

Sunday, April 21, 2013 7:38 PM CDT

What a sad week, with people killed and maimed at the Boston Marathon, plus the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, that left many dead. In support of those grieving in Boston, 800 runners ran in Calgary on Saturday. Yes, people up here in Canada are moved by what happens in the U.S.

Dennis was home for the weekend. Although he was booked to come with his scooter, when he saw the weather on Saturday, he changed his mind. No scooter. We’ve had snow flurries both Saturday and Sunday, but now at 5:30 p.m., the streets are snow-free. Dennis watched some TV this weekend, including a program on hog hunters in Texas--about people who hunt feral hogs that destroy crops and smaller livestock. Dennis is now back at Waverley House.

Bits and pieces of our lives:

On Monday we had an impromptu family pizza party. Rachel has been in Red Deer a lot with her sick friend Karen, so she wanted to do something as a family. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to pick up Dennis, although we did have a family night with everyone the week before to make up for missing Easter.

Afterward this past Monday, I had my writers meeting here, with three people attending. The friendship goes back at least a dozen years with this group of three. One of the writers, Marie, will be moving to Taber, 2 ½ hours from here, the end of May. But she says she wants to come back for the meetings. We’ll see what happens.

On Wednesday between her two jobs, Rachel picked up Dennis and took him to see one of her clients who uses an I-Pad that generates speech when the user clicks on the icons. Would it work for Dennis? When he tried one like it in Ponoka Hospital years back, it was too complicated for him. But he has improved since then. If he did get one, Andrew would probably show him how it works! While Rachel was driving Dennis back to Waverley House, she stopped at the Wycliffe office. What a nice surprise! She also gave him a haircut.

On Friday night, I went to “The Gondoliers,” a Gilbert and Sullivan opera, with my single senior Wycliffe friends. This was the last play of the season. Season tickets are only $40 for four plays, so we’ll do it again next year. It was very well done, and the costumes were fantastic—very colorful. I’m enjoying this immensely. Dennis and I never did anything like this in the past, because he had difficulty hearing stage performances. It opens up a whole new world for me.

I took Tim to the airport this morning so he could fly to Ontario and meet with the rest of his company headquartered out there this week. Right now he is the only programmer for his company. “It’s job security for me,” he says, since they can’t function without a programmer. I’ll be taking Andrew to school and picking him up from Monday to Thursday, since Renylor doesn’t drive.

Renylor’s Papa hopes to come to Calgary for three months. He’s now working on his passport application. He wants to see snow while he is here, which is most likely because snow falls anytime from September through May.

A big train show was held in Calgary this weekend, but without Tim or Rachel to assist me, I made the wise decision not to go. It’s too hard to handle the wheelchair and find a parking space on my own for a very handicapped person. Renylor and Andrew would have been along, but they aren’t the assistance that Tim or Rachel would have been.

Update on Rachel's friend Karen: the prognosis was so poor with chemo that she decided to go to Mexico for an alternate treatment. The doctor is based in San Diego and works at a hospital across the border. (She was actually told about this treatment by the hospital up here that did the biopsies.) Karen and her husband are now at that hospital in Mexico, and her mother says she is doing better, on much less pain medication, and has a positive attitude. The treatment lasts for three weeks. Thanks for your prayers! Please keep praying. She has a difficult road ahead of her.

Have a good week. And may spring truly be on the way. If April showers bring May flowers, what does April snow bring? One of my friends was wondering that.

Sunday, April 14, 2013 8:37 PM CDT

CHECK OUT UPDATE ADDED at 12:30 p.m., located at the bottom.

“White Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland” are appropriate songs for today. Other places north of here probably got more snow, but we did get several inches, and it’s not melting. We’re hoping that spring comes to stay someday.

I took Dennis for his monthly blood test on Friday, and then he stayed at home until Saturday. There wasn’t much going on, so he was bored. Andrew sat beside him and played on his touch screen I-Pad (actually it’s Tim’s) as he watched TV. Dennis spent much of Saturday in bed for lack of anything better to do. It bothers me that I can’t find anything of interest for him, so I’m glad that finding things for him to do during the week isn’t my responsibility.

Renylor is sick with bronchitis this weekend, and is now on antibiotics. Please pray for her return to good health. Tim, Renylor and Andrew seem to battle colds and related illnesses often.

This afternoon Rachel and I went to a baby shower for Christine, one of her former housemates. We had a lovely time, and Rachel saw four classmates from high school who were at the shower. Two brought their babies with them, and one had a baby on the way. Two of them were on the basketball team with Rachel years back.

Please continue to pray for Rachel’s friend Karen as she and her husband Mark weigh the options with her doctors for treatment for her aggressive form of cancer. Ask God to bring peace to their lives as they trust Him with the results. Pray for Karen’s family, and for Rachel as well as she struggles with what’s happening to her friend and tries to be supportive.

On Saturday night as she was coming home from Red Deer where she had been visiting Karen, Rachel lost her purse in Booster Juice (a fast food place). Pray that the person finding it will be honest enough to try to contact her. She had a lot of cards in it that she will need to replace, plus one hundred dollars that she can’t afford to lose. Fortunately her main credit card, her keys and her cell phone weren’t in her purse.

Have a good week. Thanks so much for your prayers.

Facebook message from Rachel:
God is so GOOD!! He sent me a darling friend to stop by the booster juice this morning am- she was able to pick up my purse (and bring it to Calgary) which WAS there. Thanks Erin Jennifer!!! And thank you God!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013 5:42 PM CDT

Blizzard conditions for a while this afternoon, but everything melts within a couple hours. When will spring really come? But when I see photos of deep snowdrifts in other areas of Canada and the U.S., I realize that we are fortunate. Tulips are bravely coming up by the house.

Rachel got some sad news today. After six more biopsies, her friend Karen got the diagnosis of cancer. Please continue praying. Karen and her husband Mark realize that they are surrounded by prayer.

Sunday, April 7, 2013 3:22 PM CDT

Today is a snowy day in Calgary. After having 64 degrees (18) last Wednesday, we’ve had snowy days since then. At least it melts quickly when the sun comes out.

Dennis was in a better mood this weekend, and rode his scooter twice Saturday night. He enjoyed having Andrew here (Andrew was gone last weekend). Andrew tried to teach him a game on a touch-screen, but Dennis didn’t catch on, so Andrew is enjoying playing it by himself.

Please continue praying for Rachel’s friend Karen. Doctors found tumors in her pancreas and liver and several smaller ones. However, the biopsy and blood test came back “inconclusive” as the doctors found no cancer cells. So they will be repeating the biopsies. Pray that the Lord is healing her and that this is the beginning of a miracle. Karen’s mother was overseas this week as a chaperone for a Christian school group, so Rachel took a day and a half off work just to sit by her bedside since she was in so much pain and so terrified of the diagnosis.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 3:00 PM CDT

I have an urgent request for prayer from Rachel.
She just learned today that Karen, 31, who is one of her very closest friends, was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Karen will be getting chemo, but already the tumor is pressing on and affecting the function of her liver. Please pray for the Lord's miraculous healing touch on Karen's body.

Sixteen years ago, Karen and Rachel became roommates for three months. Karen's family put their house in Calgary up for sale, planning to have enough time to build a new home in a community north of here. They expected to have the house on the market for a number of months, but the buyer bought the house shortly after it was listed,and needed to move in immediately. Karen's parents were temporarily without a home, so bought a 12-foot camper that they parked in our backyard. Karen moved into our basement, and Rachel moved down there too so they could be roommates. Karen is also a close friend of Melynda, who shares the condo with Rachel. Rachel and Melynda were bridesmaids at Karen's wedding 10 years ago.

Thanks so much for praying.

Monday, April 1, 2013 7:18 PM CDT

Happy Easter! He is risen indeed. I hope yesterday was a meaningful day for you. One of the special songs we sang in church was “In Christ Alone,” which contains the gospel message in four verses. The words were so meaningful to me!

In Christ Alone, written by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty (third verse)

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

Dennis was home on Friday and the two of us went to a Tenebrae (Shadows) service at church, in which Scripture was interspersed with songs. (I especially appreciated the song, “How Great the Father’s Love for Us,” also written by Stuart Towend.) A candle was extinguished after each Scripture reading until the room was dark, except for the “Christ Candle” that was then carried out. I had never been to a Tenebrae service previously and found it very meaningful. I think Dennis did OK with it.

Easter was quiet for us. Rachel has been sick with a cold and sinus problems, so wasn’t in church and didn’t come over for Easter dinner. Tim, Renylor and Andrew were in Taber visiting Dan and Levy for the weekend, so they weren’t here either. So Dennis and I had store-bought barbecued chicken, sweet potatoes, dressing, asparagus, and fruit for dessert (and chocolate from the chocolate bunny I chopped up). I had taken the turkey out to thaw on Saturday, but changed my mind when I realized no one would be at home to share it, so I immediately put it back in the freezer for a later date. In the afternoon, I had a long phone conversation with a writing friend, Laureen, which brightened my day. She had gotten stuck on an article she was working on, and our conversation gave her some new ideas.

Dennis had his scooter home for the weekend for the first time this year, and although part of Saturday would have been warm enough to venture out with it, he shook his head “no”. I think he was a bit sad this weekend, and there was no Andrew to cheer him up. He did enjoy watching “Storage Wars” on Friday night, and we watched “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston on Saturday night. I finally got too tired to watch it and went to bed, but Dennis watched it to the end, probably with his hearing aids off as usual because voices from TV are muffled.

I finished watching the five-week series, “The Bible” Sunday night and enjoyed it. Did everything accurately follow the Bible? Not exactly, but there was enough there to pique peoples’ interest and give them an idea of what’s in the Bible if theirs is on a shelf somewhere collecting dust.

Monday, March 25, 2013 11:42 PM CDT

On the first day of spring, the temperature was a warm 55 degrees (13 degrees C.), but hasn't been up to the melting point since then. We're enjoying much longer days, however.

Dennis was home for the weekend, and mostly watched the history channel. I sat beside him watching it with him. I took him to the oral surgeon last Monday, and they will set up an appointment for May or June. What happens when a person has unbearable pain? Fortunately Dennis is not in pain.

May you all have a meaningful Easter week.

Sunday, March 17, 2013 8:22 PM CDT

Welcome to the wonderful white Winter Wonderland of Calgary. We woke up to swirling snow this morning, but not quite blizzard conditions like two weekends ago. On Wednesday the temperature was a spring-like 57 degrees (14 degrees C.) and by the next day, the temperature had dropped to 10 degrees (-12 degrees C.). It was cold the rest of the week. Sadie Sparrow was holding a grass in her beak this afternoon, so she senses that spring is on its way, although the weather today was anything but spring-like. The sun did come out in the afternoon, but it was still cold in spite of the sunshine.

When Dennis came home this weekend, he had a garbage bag of cans from Friday’s mall excursion with his housemates. It was a very quiet couple of days at home as he watched programs on the history channel. Rachel came over this afternoon for a visit with her dad as well as booking our tickets for a trip to Minnesota in June. The three of us watched a funny 3-minute video of a race car driver in disguise going for a “test drive” of a car, nearly giving the car salesman a heart attack. (Google to find it using the words ‘Pepsi Max and Jeff Gordon present “Test Drive.”’) Hilarious! Dennis really enjoyed it. I wonder. . . was it an ad for Pepsi Max used for the Super Bowl game??

Tomorrow I’ll accompany Dennis to the oral surgeon to get an evaluation of what needs to be done with the two broken teeth. At least the dentist’s office is nearby, not on the other side of Calgary.

I took a couple vacation days on Thursday and Friday to organize our Canadian and U.S. taxes. I’ll work on them in earnest in the next couple of weeks. Friday morning I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with my friend Lynn who flew in from Ontario the previous night and stayed overnight to avoid driving home an hour away late at night in the snow. We had a great visit.

Andrew: “Grandma, insects are attacking your bananas.” Yes, there were fruit flies. I would expect a five-year-old to say, “Grandma, bugs are flying around your bananas.”

Have a good, safe, productive week.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 8:41 PM CDT

Happy Turn-Your-Clock-Ahead Day, aka the first Sunday of Daylight Savings Time. How different this sunny Sunday is from one week ago when we were experiencing a blizzard. This afternoon the temperature was 7 degrees (45 degrees F.), shrinking the piles of snow and creating puddles on the street. In this dry climate, a lot of the moisture just evaporates. This weekend my sparrows were roosting near the garage overhang. Momma sparrow had a long piece of grass in her beak. I’m not sure if she was tearing the old nest apart, or gathering material for a new nest. The sparrows really should have names after all these years—how about Sadie and Sammy Sparrow? Anne, the poplar tree outside of my window, has more noticeable leaf buds now days. Spring is coming ever closer. . .

This weekend, Dennis came home on Friday. First he had his monthly blood test at the lab at 2:30 on Friday, and then he indicated he wanted to go somewhere. He drew a picture on a paper I supplied for him. Was it a book? Yes. Did he want an atlas? Yes. At Chapters Bookstore? No. He directed my driving to CAA (Canadian Automobile Association for Americans reading this) where we got a map of the U.S. for free and a lovely, much larger map book of the U.S. for about seven dollars---much, much nicer than the other two he bought previously at Chapters, and certainly less expensive. Next we went to Superstore to buy his favorite M &M cookies. Yummy! He likes to share them with Andrew, who was waiting for his grandpa when we walked in the door.

On Saturday we recycled cans for $51. Knowing that Dennis recycles cans, two people from the Wycliffe office brought some of theirs into the office for Dennis to add to his collection. Dennis was happy to get the money on Saturday, and I was happy to clear out the garbage bags of cans piled in the garage.

On Sunday Dennis went to church with me. Even though it was the start of Daylight Savings Time, more people were in church than usual. Jon Neufeld of the band Starfield was in church, representing Food for the Hungry. Jon sang and played his guitar with our own church worship band. It really sounded GREAT!! I turned to Rachel and said, “Don’t you wish this was the Sunday you were playing the keyboard with the band?” (She played last Sunday, her team’s turn on a monthly rotation.) “No,” she said. “I’m not that good and would have been really nervous.” It turns out that our church worship leader also felt nervous sharing the stage with a nationally known Canadian Christian singer.

After church, our whole family went to Denny’s Restaurant. It was for no special reason other than a family time together. We had a fun time! We did barbecues in January and February, so this was our March family event.

Other family bits and pieces:

Dennis has a consultation with an oral surgeon on March 18th. Fortunately the cement that Dr. Eleanor sealed the two broken teeth with has kept them from hurting.

After being sick for a few days a couple weeks ago, Andrew has been sick all week with a cough and fever. He is coughing only a little now and his fever is gone, so I hope he will be able to finally go back to school. He has been doing Farmville 2 with me. (It’s a farming game on the computer.) When he was 2 ½, he sat on my lap and did what I told him to do on Farmville 1. Now he reads the instructions and explains to me what some of the icons mean. . .

Reading a short book in my spare time this week was a great stress reliever. I especially enjoyed it because the author, Carolyn Aarsen, is someone I know through InScribe Christian Writers Fellowship. She was a speaker at a couple of our conferences in years past and used to be a member of InScribe.

Last Monday, Lynn, a friend who lives about an hour’s drive from here, spent the night with me so she could leave at 5:30 a.m. for the airport. She was catching an early flight to Ontario for her son’s graduation from medic training. She’ll also be stopping here overnight when she comes back from Ontario on Thursday night. Her husband Kevin does rigging on radio towers, and is already in Bonaire, an island 50 miles from the Venezuela coast, working with Trans World Radio. Lynn will be joining him when the paper work goes through. Lynn and Kevin worked with Wycliffe for a number of years, and she was my prayer partner when she worked at the office. It’s so good to see her again.

Please pray for my friend Marie and her American husband Charles. They have been married for three years, most of which Charles has been up here working on his Landed Immigrant status. The Canadian Immigration Department now is questioning a very minor incident that took place 48 years ago, and is sending him back to the U.S. until he can supply information on it. Please pray that the information can still be tracked down after all this time. Thanks! (Marie is the person who invited me to attend “An Evening with C.S. Lewis” a week ago.)

At 7:25 p.m. it’s still daylight outside, although the sun is now setting, tingeing the western sky a pale orange. I’m enjoying more daylight in the evening, but it will be hard to get up early in the morning.

Have a great week.

Monday, March 4, 2013 8:46 AM CST

After we had a glimpse of spring last week, winter is starting all over again. This Sunday was a day of blowing and swirling snow— genuine blizzard conditions. When Tim came in from shoveling our sidewalk, he said it’s the most snow we’ve gotten at one time all winter. Andrew had fun with his little shovel, throwing snow over his shoulder onto what he had just shoveled. I wasn’t feeling well, so didn’t attempt to go to church this morning. It’s probably just as well, because driving on the roads is treacherous this afternoon.

Dennis was home this weekend as usual. Andrew spent quite a bit of time upstairs playing games with his grandpa. They have a great bond and grandpa is a good game-player. They also sat and watched Andrew’s favorite program, “Splat-A-Lot” where teenage players get doused with a water hose, slide into a “pond” of water, slip on slime . . . you get the picture. Andrew waits eagerly each Saturday until his grandpa comes home.

Dennis wanted me to take him shopping Saturday night so he could buy a card. I didn’t know what he wanted to buy. He left the car ahead of me while I was still picking up some things that had dropped out of my purse and locking the car. I searched unsuccessfully for him in Co-op, not realizing that he had gone down the hallway to the other store. He found a cute one on his own in the dollar store that was definitely for a birthday. His friend Doreen at Waverley House is celebrating her birthday this week. Dennis’ card said, “Happy Birthday to a special granddaughter.” Oh well, it’s the thought that counts. When I read it to him, he was OK with it. Doreen would understand.

I thought the Handi-bus would be late Sunday afternoon picking Dennis up. It wasn’t. I found out from the driver that a lot of people had cancelled their rides because of the snow.

I went to an interesting program on Friday night. My writer friend Marie won two tickets to “An Evening with C.S. Lewis” through the local Christian radio station Included with the tickets was “meet and greet”, which gave us the privilege of talking with the actor, David Payne, before the program—very interesting.

Have a great week.

Thursday, February 28, 2013 7:37 PM CST

I’m enjoying pink tulips, a gift from Renylor. I’m thinking spring. Tomorrow the temperature is supposed to get up to 9 degrees (48 degrees F.), which should take care of much of the 3-4 inches of snow we got on Monday night.

On Monday I rode the C-train to the Kerby Senior Center and got the paperwork done for Adult Guardianship. All that is needed now is for Rachel to sign two papers. I’ll never need to get it renewed again. Patty, the woman who filled out the forms for me, said that now days people applying for the first time need a police background check to make sure they aren’t involved in criminal activity. (It happens.)

On the weekend when Dennis was here, Andrew came upstairs and sat next to his grandpa for a couple hours. He was playing games on his mother’s I-pad, while Grandpa was watching TV. It was really cute to see them together like that.

Continuing tooth saga. . . I accompanied Dennis to the dentist today. He had not one broken molar, but two. Dr. Eleanor X-rayed them and said they would both need root canals if she fixed them. Or they could be pulled. It’s useless to spend a lot of money fixing things at this point because he is on his way to dentures. He has only six teeth on top, but the two molars are firmly anchored and bone would need to be cut to get them out. On the bottom, some of his front teeth are worn down to the gums, but they are still holding in there solidly. To remove anything requires an oral surgeon because Dennis is on a high level of blood thinner. The good news—Dr. Eleanor took two X-rays, put “cement” on the two teeth to temporarily cover the roots, and charged us nothing. The referral she gave us is to an oral surgeon a couple miles away instead of across the city like the one we’ve seen previously. So, we’ll wait for the referral to come through, and then Dennis will need a blood test a day or two before the oral surgeon works on him to make sure his bleeding time isn’t so high it would cause excessive bleeding. He also needs to be on antibiotic before dental work is done. Everything is complicated, and having a oral surgeon pull teeth is more expensive than a dentist.

When I dropped Dennis off at Waverley House after the dental appointment, he indicated he had two bags of cans. Where did he get them since he can’t use his scooter outside?? I found out that when he goes on an excursion to the malls by Handi-bus with the other Waverley House residents, he collects cans anywhere he can find them.

Life is short (especially when you live dangerously). On Saturday night, Dennis and I viewed a reality TV show of heavy tow trucks towing cars in a blizzard on the Coquihalla Highway in the mountains in B.C. I said to myself, “Filming this is risky.” On Monday I learned that the filmmaker had died in a plane crash in Kenya on Sunday morning while filming footage for “Dangerous Flights,” for which he had already gathered footage from 30 countries. The 30-year-old filmmaker, who already had quite a career in the reality shows, was originally from Calgary.

Sunday, February 24, 2013 9:55 PM CST

We had a quiet weekend, but those are good too. On Saturday, Dennis and I went to a get together for retired Wycliffe members at the Wycliffe office, with about 40 other people. Dennis knew most of them, so it was an encouraging time for him—and for me as well. Then afterward we stopped at Chuck E. Cheese for about an hour. Dan and Levy came up from Taber for a car show and had a birthday party for their three-year-old son, Stanley (Dashaen), at Chuck E. Cheese. Our whole family was invited. It was too noisy, so Dennis and I left after an hour, but all of the children were having a great time. Their sweet little daughter is now nine months old. (Levy is a close friend of Renylor’s from the Philippines, and they have often stayed in our purple bedroom in the past.)

Dennis and I watched two reality shows Saturday evening—one was of cars getting towed in the middle of a blizzard, and the other was of State Troopers working in Alaska. We’ve never seen either of these shows previously, but I think that Dennis enjoyed both of them. This afternoon a baseball game was on television. Isn’t it a bit early for baseball? It must have been a preseason games.

Coming up this week: I’m going to the Kerby Senior Centre tomorrow morning to get assistance in applying for the renewal of the Adult Guardianship I have for Dennis. Dennis also pointed out that he has another broken tooth, so I need to make a dental appointment for him. Dental work for him is never ending because his teeth are so fragile.

Have a great week.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 10:51 AM CST

We woke up to fresh snow on Sunday, a reminder that winter is still here. It was not as warm this weekend as it had been the previous week.

Dennis came home at 4:30 on Saturday. He had a U.S./Canada/ Mexico atlas in an Indigo (Chapters) bag, drew an air map, pointed to Rachel’s name on an envelope, and indicated driving somewhere. It involved him and me, and he was getting more agitated by the minute when I didn’t understand. My stress level was rising. Where did he want to go? Did he want to go to Rachel’s condo? Tim, who came upstairs, thought about it for a minute. “Dad bought the Alas at Chapters when Rachel took him there, and now he wants to exchange it for something else.” It turned out that he was mostly right.

I took Dennis to Chapters and he exchanged his Atlas for a nicer, more expensive one of the U.S. and Canada. Later we found out in talking with Rachel that she wasn’t with him when he bought the first atlas—he was out on his weekly excursion with other Waverley House people by Handi-bus. Dennis wanted to buy the atlas for Rachel for when we travel to Minnesota this summer to attend a family wedding and high school graduation party. (More of that later. We’re still working on plans.) Rachel explained that she could get maps for free at CAA and Dennis agreed she should take the atlas back to the store for him.

This has been a busy weekend for Dennis (and the rest of us too). On Sunday he went to a pot luck after church with us, where a few friends from the past greeted him. Then Rachel took him to a movie for a father-daughter Sunday afternoon. Later Sunday night, Dennis and I watched “Storage Wars”.

On Monday noon the whole family went to Rachel’s condo for a pot luck barbecue. It was a bit chilly to be barbecuing outside, but at least it wasn’t snowing. Afterward we watched a movie on TV. I think we all need a rest after a busy weekend.

On Monday night, several from the writers’ group met at our house. Fortunately I was well this time, so no one left like last time when there was a mass exodus .

Have a good, productive, peaceful week filled with God’s blessings. (I just broke the rule on using a limited number of adjectives.)

Friday, February 15, 2013 1:33 PM CST

Happy belated Valentine’s Day. I hope you did something to make the day special yesterday.

My special event yesterday was taking Dennis to Swiss Chalet in the evening for a Valentine’s Day “date.” We both enjoyed the good food and it was fun. While we were there, Dennis pointed to my leg. I was puzzled until I remembered that last weekend I slipped on some ice and bruised my leg. At first I wondered if I had broken something, but I’m doing fine. I was amazed that Dennis remembered.

Weather today is chilly, but for the past week, ice and snow have been melting until half of the yards and the nearby countryside are dead-grass brown. This is not the end of our snow by any means, but just a reminder that spring isn’t too far away. How I long for spring! The whole alley behind Waverley House is nothing but thick, slippery ice, so I had to carefully hang on to the car as I walked around it to pick up Dennis last night. My sparrows come to visit on occasion, but won’t be doing any nest building very soon.

At this time 25 years ago, Calgary became the first Canadian city to host the Winter Olympics. It’s much in the news the past week, and they are even doing a day-by-day account of the Olympic events that took place. Twenty-five years ago—in 1988—we were still working in Australia and coming to Calgary wasn’t even on our radar. We came in Sept. 1993.

We’ll keep busy the rest of the weekend. On Sunday, we’ll be having a potluck lunch at church, and Dennis indicated he would be willing to go. Then on Monday, “Family Day” (a holiday up here), Rachel is planning to organize something for our whole family. Monday night I’m going to host another writers’ group and hope that I will look well enough so my fellow writers won’t flee like last time.

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, February 10, 2013 8:38 PM CST

After a week of warm weather, which melted much of our snow and cleared some of streets of the packed snow, snow fell gently on Saturday morning and afternoon—-nothing like the blizzard sweeping the eastern U.S., which dumped 38 inches of snow in some areas and left 550,000 people without power. Fortunately nothing like that has happened here in the 19 1/2 years we’ve lived in Calgary. The most we got at one time was 18 inches a number of years back.

I accompanied Dennis to his doctor evaluation (capacity assessment) for Adult Guardianship on Wednesday. I left the Wycliffe office at noon, drove to Waverley House, and rode the Handi-bus with him, finally walking in my front door at 6 p.m. and feeling exhausted. It was a long time to spend with a husband who did NOT want his capacity assessed and didn’t like the long wait for the Handi-bus to pick him up for the return trip. Now I can book an appointment with Joanna through the Kerby Senior Center, who will help me with the Guardianship paperwork.

After Dennis had his monthly blood test on Friday afternoon, he wanted to go shopping with me at Co-op, a local grocery store. He picked out a heart-shaped Valentine cake—glazed strawberries in the middle with whipped cream around the edge and LOVE in plastic letters. He paid for it himself. How romantic and thoughtful!

On Friday night Dennis watched “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” With a big grin on his face, he indicated he wanted to be on the program and win lots of money. He also enjoyed watching “Jeopardy”. Unfortunately, there was nothing else interesting to watch this weekend.

One of my Facebook friends, Adalee, went to Jungle Camp in Mexico (Wycliffe training) with Dennis and me in 1976. We’ve been in touch in various ways over the years, but connected again as friends a couple years ago on Facebook. Adalee posted something funny on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then on Thursday I learned she died very unexpectedly that Wednesday night of a massive heart attack. She was just my age and it was so sudden. I feel sad. She was working with Wycliffe in Malaysia at the time of her death. Then Sunday a memorial service was held for another Wycliffe friend who died in Cameroon in December. Life is short. Handle with prayer.

Yes, my dishwasher is now installed and working well. Finally. I have a lot more space in my kitchen without a dishwasher in the middle of it.
Isaiah 48:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 This is what the LORD says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go.

Sunday, February 3, 2013 10:32 PM CST

Super Bowl Sunday. Dennis watched this afternoon, and then Rachel took him back to Waverley House after the game was almost over.

This week: Dennis and I will be going to the doctor to have a “capacity assessment” form filled out. This is in preparation for applying for Adult Guardianship. Once the form is filled out, I’ll be able to meet with the woman who helps people make the application. This one does not require a lawyer, for which I am deeply, deeply grateful. (It saves us between $800 and $1,000.) It also won’t take three months to process this time—or so I am told.

Continuing saga: The dishwasher may be installed on Tuesday. The wiring has been completed. The installer is putting me on his list for Tuesday, but from past experience, this may or may not happen. The dishwasher was supposed to be installed on January 4th.

Tim and Renylor went out tonight for a belated 6th anniversary celebration, since Tim was in Ontario on the day of their anniversary, January 28. Andrew stayed at home with me, and I just finished putting him to bed about an hour ago. Instead of me reading a book to him, Andrew read a book about Dino Friends to me.

Saturday, January 26, 2013 8:01 PM CST

This morning my two sparrows were sitting on the rafters outside my window with feathers fluffed against the cold. Planning ahead toward nest building? They’ve come year after year for a good number of years. I’m always relieved when I see they’ve survived another winter.

Recycling on Saturday—Dennis made $42. 35, not bad for the middle of winter—but the can accumulation took several months this time. It will be quite some time before the streets are free of ice and snow so Dennis can use his scooter for his normal collection route. The ice on the streets is a few inches higher than the sidewalk. It will be a super slushy mess when it all starts melting.

In the afternoon, Dennis, Rachel and I went to a movie. We were planning to see a certain movie, only to find out once we arrived that it was no longer being shown in the theatre. (I had gotten old information, I guess.) Dennis chose instead an Arnold Schwartzenegger movie, “The Last Stand” where a small town sheriff battles a Mexican drug cartel. The movie had numerous gun battles, but also had many humorous places, which Dennis thoroughly enjoyed. Good wins out over evil in the end. It was hilarious to see two high-powered cars racing through a corn field, with ripe ears of corn flying in every direction. Then later on in the afternoon, Dennis watched one of the last football games of the season. He returned to Waverley House at 7 p.m. tonight.

Tomorrow afternoon, as part of my Christmas present, Rachel is taking me to Edmonton to see an Amy Grant concert at Breakforth, a huge Christian convention held each January. I’m excited! The concert starts at 6 p.m. and Rachel will be driving back 2 ½ hours after the concert. It will be a late night for both of us.

Bits and pieces of our lives from the past week:

A stomach virus swept through our family this past week—Tim, Andrew and I, as well as Dennis at Waverley House, all had it. I felt a little sick Monday night, but figured I had overeaten the hummus (chick peas, lemon juice and garlic) I made the day before. Three members of our writers’ group came over Monday night and took one look at me. “Janet, you’re sick. We’re not staying.” One of them anointed me with oil, they prayed, and left. I ended up sleeping 11 hours that night and being home from work for the next two days. They were so right. . . I really WASN’T well. But I’ve never had anyone walk out on me like that before.

Household update: the new dishwasher has been in the middle of the kitchen floor since the end of Dec. An electrician came over on Tuesday and strung a new wire down to the basement, since all new dishwashers need to be wired directly to a breaker—to avoid overheating and fires. (Remember my dishwasher was burning hot in December??) The job will be finished when he and the installer can both be here at the same time to finish the job. Who knows when that will be?

SMILE for your photo . . . The men from the city came to take a video of the sewer line on Wednesday. They left us a detailed list of all of the dips and said we are doing a good job of treating our sewer line carefully—no grease or anything else down there. (Garbage disposals aren’t good, but we don’t have one.) So I guess we live cautiously until the next time. The city is willing to come out because they can only view their own line by going through customers’ lines. A new pipe through the back yard would cost thousands they said, and there’s no guarantee that the heavy earth moving equipment wouldn’t put a dip in the new pipe as they dump dirt on top of it. It’s cheaper to live with the uncertainty of never knowing when the sewer line will back up. . . . In the meantime, we’ll be careful.

The little household downstairs—Tim will be gone this coming week from Sunday until Friday for work in Ontario, so I will be dropping off Andrew at school each morning and picking him up each afternoon. Renylor is upgrading her computer skills once a week at an immigrant center a couple miles from here. The course lasts three months, I think. She’s been using a treadmill downstairs and her doctor was pleasantly surprised that she did better on her six-minute walking test. That’s good news.

Thursday night my writer friend Laureen and I went out to Swiss Chalet to celebrate her birthday belatedly, and discuss writing like we always do. She now teaches half time and is a writer the other half, chalking up many writing successes, getting published in local Christian and small town newspapers that actually pay money for articles. (My spare-time writing earns me a Starbucks gift card for $5.)

If you are still reading at this point, I hope you have a great week. Please pray for Tim if you think of it; after he got over the stomach “flu,” he is starting to come down with another cold and sinus problems, not a good thing to have when you are away for work.

Sunday, January 20, 2013 7:13 PM CST

Weather records were broken or close to being broken across Alberta on Tuesday as strong gusts of warm winds drove temperatures above normal highs, turning snow heaps to slush in some places. The temperature here in Calgary got up to 46 degrees F. (8 degrees C.) “I think spring is coming,” said Andrew as I picked him up from school. “The birds will be flying back.” Today was more like January with 5 degrees. (-15 degrees C.) Brrrr. (Robin in Australia, this weather report is for you. . .)

Dennis had a busy weekend. On Saturday for lunch, Rachel had the whole family over to her condo for barbecued chicken and hot dogs. (Tuesday would have been nicer grilling weather.) After eating and watching a couple programs on TV, we went home. Then later on, Dennis and I had a “romantic evening” sitting together on the sofa, watching “Storage Wars.” (Storage units are auctioned off when the owners abandon them. Some have goods worth a small fortune, and others are worthless.) Dennis always did like auctions and watching bidding going on energizes him. When the auction is over on the program, each bidder tallies up what the items in the storage lockers are actually worth.

Today Dennis went to church with me, and then spent the afternoon watching a couple of the few remaining football games. At 5 p.m., the Handi-bus picked him up to take him back to Waverley House. Thus starts another week for both of us.

Today Dennis found a screw in the living room, and tried to explain to me with gestures where it was from. I stopped him and said, “Show me.” So he walked out into the kitchen and found a chair that was missing a couple of screws. I would have had no idea where that screw belonged, but he knew right where to look. Very little gets past him. So the screw is now taped to the back of the chair with duct tape until our handywoman (Rachel) comes over and locates the screw driver set we need.

On Friday, the weekly excursion for Waverley House was going to the mall by Handi-bus, and Dennis was able to ride his scooter around the mall. I got this note from my friend Gail who used to come to our church years back: “ Hi Janet...Was at Marlborough yesterday and saw Dennis...He seemed to recognize me even before I wrote him a note...Saw him again later and he waved and smiled...Just thought that was neat.” Yes, he does remember people from the past.

New challenge: On Monday I received a letter advising me that my monthly U.S. Social Security payment has been dropped to $167 per month without any indication as to why the amount has been changed. (The drop was down 60 per cent from the previous amount of $422.) I was also told that I owe Social Security $1,500 because of overpayment since May. I have appealed and asked for an explanation. Thanks for praying for a positive outcome—or at least a good explanation for the change.

Inspiration from my reading for the past week:
Isaiah 55:8-9: "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the Heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

Psalm 37:23-25 New International Version (NIV):
THE LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him." (Romans 15:13)

“My face is shining upon you, beaming out Peace that transcends understanding. You are surrounded by a sea of problems, but you are face to Face with Me, your Peace. As long as you focus on Me, you are safe. If you gaze too long at the myriad problems around you, you will sink under the weight of your burdens. When you start to sink, simply call out "Help me, Jesus!" and I will lift you up.

The closer you live to Me, the safer you are. Fix your eyes on Me, the One who never changes."

Excerpt from the January 15 devotional of "Jesus Calling", by Sarah Young.

God Cares About Every Detail
God cares about every detail of your life...
He collects every tear in a bottle. (Psalm 56:8)
He numbers every hair on your head. (Luke 12:7)
He knows every hurt in your heart. (Psalm 34:18)
The Lord knows all you are going through.
He loves you, He cares for you,
and He will make sure not one detail is overlooked.
Thinking of You and Praying too
God cares, cares right down to the last detail.
James 5:11 The Message

Sunday, January 13, 2013 8:08 PM CST

It’s now Sunday evening, and Dennis has gone back to his second home at Waverley House. We have 8-12 inches of snow on the ground—it’s been a snowy week.

On Friday I went with Dennis to get his blood drawn at the Sundridge Laboratory and then brought him home for the weekend. We had a little pizza party to celebrate Rachel’s birthday, and then she and I joined two friends of mine at the Pumphouse Theatre, to watch “Diary of Anne Frank.” After seeing the play, Rachel remembered seeing “The Hiding Place” (Corrie Ten Boom). I remembered it too, but not any details. We saw it in Dallas when Rachel was about nine years old, and my mother was visiting us in 1991. Both are about hiding Jews from Hitler in WW2. The acting in “Diary of Anne Frank was excellent, especially Anne.

This was a weekend of football games for Dennis, which kept him occupied while he was home. I dread the time when there are no longer football games, because then he has nothing to occupy his time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 10:20 PM CST

Swirling snow outside tonight. It looks like blizzard conditions.

I accompanied Dennis to the Bible study for disabled people at Centre Street Church this morning to see how he would like it. I could see some major problems that would have to be overcome with the drop off and pick up. The drop off point is on the lower level east side, and the Bible study is at the second floor west side, and it’s a huge church. After the study, the area in front of the east door was so crowded that we didn’t even know when the Handi-bus driver came in, 15 minutes early, to look for Dennis. But I need not have worried because Dennis decided, if he couldn’t speak and participate, he didn’t want to attend. He’s NOT going back. Scratch another thing off the list of possible activities. (We’re scratched a lot off the list over the years.) But he did appreciate that I took him there, and he reached over and patted my head as I was leaving Waverley House. That’s his way of saying, “Thanks for trying.”

I’ll see him on Friday afternoon when I accompany him to his monthly blood test. Then that night, Rachel and I will be going to see “The Diary of Ann Frank.”

Good news—the cashier’s check I was looking for on Friday arrived today.

The Sewer Saga: 1) Team of two get it opened, request that I call their supervisor the next morning. 2) My question: “Do we need the back yard dug up and new sewer pipes put in?” Supervisor: “You don’t want to do that. It creates a big mess and is very expensive. There are only two small dips in the pipe. If you have it done, the city will need to need to fix the pipe in the alley.” [There’s a dip in their pipe too.] “Arrange to have another team come out to flush it out, and then just have it inspected yearly.” (“You can also use a garden hose and put hot water down it.”) 4) Second team came at 10 this morning. They got a 1 inch auger down it, but not a three inch auger. That got stuck before it reached the main line. So we need to arrange for ANOTHER crew to bring their camera and see what’s going on. Too much information?? Yeah, I thought so. . . Suffice it to say, I wish Dennis were the one handling this.

Rachel posted the following from Proverbs 31 on my Facebook page today: “A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. . . . She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day. She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.”(The Message)

My response: “ Thanks, Rachel. It put a smile on my face. I haven't purchased any fields lately, but have purchased everything else to replace things that keep breaking.”

I’m exhausted tonight, but maybe it’s not because I’m coming down with anything. It’s just because I’m forced to handle things outside of my comfort zone, and it just keeps coming at me.

Sunday, January 6, 2013 7:54 PM CST

Days are getting longer, and we had a couple days this past week above freezing. We’ve had snow on the ground since October 24th so it’s going to seem like a really long winter. But winter won’t last forever.

Dennis came home again as usual on Saturday afternoon. After he got home, he and Andrew played a fun game called “Cut the Rope” that is similar to “Connect Four”. Before Christmas Rachel took Dennis Christmas shopping, and this was a game Dennis purchased for Andrew. It’s fun for both of them. It’s also been a football weekend because Dennis was able to find a number of games on TV. He now is back at Waverley House after boarding the Handi-bus at 5 p.m.

On Wednesday morning, I’ll be getting Dennis started at a Bible study at Centre Street Church that’s designed for disabled people, some of whom can’t speak or can’t read or write. We’ll see how he fits in and if he likes it. I hope someone there makes him feel at home.

Daily Challenges

I now have a new dishwasher which was supposed to be installed on the 4th. Instead, it’s sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor. The old one plugged in, but new ones don’t come with plugs. The installer told me new ones must be wired into the system with their own breaker—in case they overheat. The electrician who did work on the renovation last summer can’t come until January 19. So I’ll wait. . . I’m just glad it’s not the refrigerator or stove waiting to be installed.

On Saturday I had a 3 ½ hour wait at the local walk-in clinic to get an antibiotic for a kidney infection. I’m glad I had a book with me.

On Saturday my credit card got cancelled. Someone had tried to hack into it but there was no evidence that it had been used (yet).

I’ve been waiting for a U.S. dollar cashier’s check from my bank in Minnesota to pay our Dallas house taxes due Jan. 31st. The check request was sent on Nov. 21st, but still no check. I called on the 4th, and discovered that they had sent it with NO STREET ADDRESS, (who does things like that?) and it was returned to them. So they had just sent it back to me a couple days ago. (The Dallas Tax Department does not accept U.S. dollar checks from Canadian banks.) Wire transfer next year??

I’m now wondering what this coming week will bring. The above happened on just Friday and Saturday.

However, I spoke too soon. . . After I typed the above, we’ve discovered a sewer blockage and water all over the laundry area. We’ve had this previously and the city is sending someone out to unblock it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 9:11 PM CST

Happy New Year

Below is one of my favorite New Year’s poems:

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” –from a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins.

(This poem was quoted by King George 6th in his Christmas 1939 address during WWII when the world was in turmoil.)


May you enter this new year firmly holding on to the Hand of God; may you know His peace and His presence in all of your unknowns.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

My New Year’s Eve was very ordinary. Dennis was bored, so insisted on returning to Waverley House New Year’s Eve, and I took him there. I took care of Rachel’s dog at her house, read a book, and continued reading on New Year’s Day. I’ve been off work over Christmas, using saved up vacation time. I’m not sure if I’ve ready to go back to work. . . The time off has been nice while it lasted.

Sunday, December 30, 2012 4:40 PM CST

Happy Sunday and Happy New Year. It’s a cool, gray day (-6 degrees C.; 21 degrees F.) as we come to the end of 2012. We had a lovely church service this morning with people sharing on an open microphone how the Lord has blessed them this past year; some stories were really moving. This afternoon Dennis is watching football and I’m getting used to a new computer.
God’s Provision. . . Our rent income from our house in Dallas has been minimal the past few months because of repairs and routine maintenance on the house. However, on Thursday, I received a check for the full amount (!) After I deposited the check, I headed to Future Shop and found a dishwasher on sale. Our current dishwasher had been squealing and going clunk during the cycles and a lot of dishes were not getting clean. Then on Saturday, the pump totally quit working. Four hours after I removed all of the unwashed dishes and washed them by hand, the inside of the door was burning HOT as was the inside top of the dishwasher, even though the dial was now pointing to off. Something was clearly and dangerously wrong, making me think it might start a fire. Fortunately, Dennis, who had just arrived from Waverley House, remembered where the dishwasher was plugged in—in a remote place under the sink. I am so thankful Dennis still remembers so many things. That solved the overheating problem. The new dishwasher will be installed on January 3rd.

As if a dishwasher wasn’t enough to deal with, on Friday my six+-year-old laptop computer wouldn’t turn on—and Tim wasn’t able to retrieve anything from the badly damaged hard drive. I now have a new Toshiba laptop, which is much, much faster than the old one. As a writer, a computer isn’t a luxury—it’s part of the work I do on a daily basis; it allows me to check work e-mail from home, send things back and forth from work to home, and is a means of communicating with friends, relatives and financial and prayer partners. My writing was all saved in a Dropbox and I was able to retrieve all of it. However, I lost all e-mail addresses, bookmarked URLs and all of the saved e-mail folders. But I am thankful that the rent check mentioned previously also covered most of the new laptop except for about $200.

When I think of all of the expenses I have had this past year, it can only be the Lord who has been bringing me through all of this. Since December 2012, I have had the following expenses: new mobility scooter for Dennis, new refrigerator, new washer and dryer, new water heater, complete renovations on two bathrooms plus the utility room, new dishwasher, new computer, major repairs on the car and new snow tires. I’m not complaining you understand—I’m sharing my amazement. With all of the expenses, a person would think that I’m deeply in debt, but I’m not. I have $400 on my line of credit and pay off my credit card bill monthly. The Lord has been good to me, very good indeed. I think of the verse from Philippians that Andrew called to my attention in October 2011 when he told me “Jesus is in the bathroom.” Philippians 4:19: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (The verse was on a plaque on the bathroom wall.)

I’ve had a number of vacation days last week, and still have one more on the 31st. I’ll be returning to work on the 2nd. Dennis will be staying until New Year’s Day. By that time, he will be bored and want to go back to his second home.

On New Year’s Eve, I will be dog sitting for Rachel at her condo so she and Melynda can spend the night with their friend Karen and her husband Mark in Red Deer, 2 ½ hours from here. Napoleon is now longer a puppy but still chews on everything, empties the garbage can if it’s not secured, and generally wreaks havoc. My house is not dog proof, but Rachel’s is. Renylor thought she might like to dog sit for Rachel, but unfortunately, she has been sick, as have been Tim and Andrew as well.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 3:29 PM CST

The presents under the tree have been opened and enjoyed; the fragrance of my new cranberry pear bellini candle fills the air, and foil-covered plates of cookies remain in the refrigerator because no one felt like eating any dessert after yesterday’s turkey dinner. We had an enjoyable Christmas. How about you?

Dennis came home for the holiday weekend on Saturday afternoon. Because he had nothing of interest to do, I encouraged him to go downstairs and watch a movie with Andrew. At that point, Tim brought out an early Christmas present—a set of three railroad DVDs. Andrew looked at the case and read "The World's Greatest Railroads". (I’m constantly amazed at what he is able to read.) Dennis was soon enthralled watching two of the three DVDs, which included a couple trains we had ridden on in Australia—the Ghan and the Puffing Billy. On Sunday afternoon, he enjoyed a number of football games, but it won’t be long before football season is over. That leaves a number of months with no football and too much snow and cold weather to ride his scooter outside. It’s a struggle to find things that entertain him. He gets bored, bored, bored. . . and depressed at times like that.

On Monday night, Dennis and I went to a candlelight Christmas Eve service at church, and sat with Rachel. Tim, Renylor and Andrew would have come with us, but stayed home because Tim is battling a throat and ear infection and Andrew was still coughing from his last cold. Cold and flu season takes its toll on that little family. After the Christmas Eve service, Dennis and I went over to Rachel and Melynda's condo for snacks. It’s been a tradition of spending Christmas Eve with Melynda’s family for the past 18 years. Dennis had fun watching the interaction between some of the people in the room—Melynda.s relatives—while Rachel had fun watching Dennis enjoying himself. I was oblivious to what was going on because I was enjoying the food.

On Christmas Day morning, Rachel read the Christmas story, and then we opened presents. After that we had a turkey dinner, but Tim was too sick to stay upstairs to eat. This year I made a boneless rolled turkey roast, which was less mess than dealing with turkey bones. Afterward Dennis watched a couple DVDs he had gotten for Christmas, including “Flywheel,” the first of the “Fireproof.” “Courageous” and “Facing the Giants” series. He watched the DVD without wearing his hearing aids, but reacted appropriately to the emotion of what was going on.

Today is Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, a holiday in Canada which originated in Great Britain. Unwanted goods were boxed and given to the poor—sort of like packing up things and donating them to Good Will in our times. This morning Dennis was still at home but wanted to go back to Waverley House, so I took him there at 10:30.

Busy boy department—Andrew was putting on his boots on Sunday morning, getting ready to go to the car for church. “Andrew, what’s Christmas all about?” I asked, hoping he would mention Jesus. “It’s about getting presents,” he responded. “We celebrate Christmas because Jesus was born in a manger,” I told him. Andrew: “Jesus grew up and was a man.” Me:“Yes, now he lives in heaven.” Andrew: “Heaven is a bad place!” Me (surprised): “Heaven is a very good place. Why did you say it’s a bad place?” Andrew: “You have to die to go there.” At that point I was at a loss for words.

In case you were wondering, the temperature was -26 degrees C.this morning. (-15 degrees F.)

Saturday, December 22, 2012 1:03 PM CST

Recently, I was working on Christmas letters and wrapping presents on the living room table, when among the papers I discovered a half of a sheet of paper with neat handwriting. I recognized the handwriting, but where did it come from? It was Christmas greetings written by DENNIS—at least nine years ago, possibly much longer. He has written nothing since Nov. 13, 2004 that has made any sense. The main thing he can write is his name.

So, here is his Christmas message to you.
Christmas blessings to you!

What is the meaning of Christmas?
+Family get-togethers
+Exchanging gifts
+Maybe a Christmas Eve candlelight service singing Christmas songs

The true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. He came into the world to invite us to ask Him to be our Lord and Savior. Have you invited Jesus to live in your heart? If you haven’t, doing so would make this your best Christmas ever.
--Dennis, written for a Christmas long ago.
Dennis will be coming home later this afternoon, and will be staying until the afternoon of the 26th (Boxing Day up here). Our Christmas plans are to go to the candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve, and then go to Rachel and Melynda’s condo afterward to share snacks and Christmas cookies. On Christmas Day, our whole little family will be together at our house to open gifts and have a turkey dinner.

Have a wonderful Christmas! Jesus is the Reason for the season.

Sunday, December 16, 2012 7:38 PM CST

It’s been a sad week. I’m sure most of you have been watching or reading about the unfolding tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where so many innocent children were gunned down. As well, a translator friend of ours passed away overseas; a writer friend of mine lost her husband at 52 years of age; and Margaret, a Wycliffe prayer warrior who prayed for our family constantly over the years, died at 89. All will be missed. In addition to this, Jay, a friend of ours who had severe intestinal complications when he had surgery for a badly broken leg in July, slipped on ice a couple days ago, and now needs surgery on a broken elbow. All of these situations need prayer—for the families who lost loved ones and for successful surgery for Jay, without complications this time.

I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the bad things that were happening, when a song popped into my mind. It was written as a poem on Christmas Day in 1863 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in the days of the U.S. Civil War. It was later set to music. Are you familiar with “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”? Here are the words of the last two verses:

And in despair I bowed my head;/"There is no peace on earth," I said;/ "For hate is strong,/And mocks the song/Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:/"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;/The Wrong shall fail,/The Right prevail, /With peace on earth, good-will to men."

God is still with us, even in the midst of our sadness and sorrow. Especially in our sadness and sorrow. . . . He never changes.

On a happy note, my brother and sister-in-law, David and Paula, have adopted a baby boy whom they have named Braeden James. What a nice early Christmas present!

Dennis was home for the weekend. How did we spend a romantic Friday evening? Sitting on the sofa, holding hands and watching “Storage Wars” and later “Parking Wars” –while eating a Christmas cookie. On Sunday afternoon Dennis watched football and is now back at Waverley House. He ended up somehow being booked on two Handi-buses, which arrived ten minutes apart! Needless to say, he was already gone by the time the second arrived.

At nurse Susan’s suggestion for more involvement for Dennis in the community, I visited with the pastor for disabled people at Centre Street Church this past week. I learned of a Bible study held Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m., which Dennis would fit into. Some people there can’t speak and others can’t read. People in the group are developmentally delayed, not stroke victims, but he just might fit in anyway. Dennis is willing to try it, starting the second Wednesday of January. It will surprise me if he sticks with it, but we can hope. . . .

Rachel has been away this weekend. She and her housemate Melynda flew to Vancouver to be with Becky, a close friend of theirs who lost her mother to cancer a couple weeks ago.

Have a peaceful, safe week as you look forward to Christmas.

Sunday, December 9, 2012 11:53 PM CST

It’s Sunday night, and time to get ready for a new week. Last night was the coldest night of the season so far, -2 degrees F. / -18 degrees C. However, it’s warming up, and the temperature right now isn’t nearly that cold.

Last Thursday, I got a call from Susan, the Waverley House nurse who watches over the needs of the clients. She talked to Dennis for quite a while the day before and discovered that he is feeling very sad. This happens every winter when he no longer can go outside on his scooter and ends up with nothing to do. Susan suggested some of the programs Center Street Church runs for people with disabilities. I’m going to check it out this week and see if there is any program that will be suitable for Dennis. One of his housemates attends a program there, but I found out it was a ladies’ Bible study, not something that would be suitable for him.

Friday was a “Dennis Day”. I accompanied him to his monthly blood test, took him out on a “date” to Swiss Chalet (a restaurant that specializes in chicken) and then we watched a video afterward. He doesn't usually come home on a Friday night, but this time he did.

On Saturday, we watched another video, and then we went to a Wycliffe Christmas party for the people who work with me in communications. He knew most of the people at the party and seemed to enjoy himself. I’m worn out from all we were doing this weekend. I wonder if Dennis felt worn out too? Now I need to catch up on all of the other things I didn’t get accomplished over the weekend--the preparation for Christmas type of things.

Have a good, peaceful week.

Monday, December 3, 2012 10:25 PM CST

Today was a beautiful day—we saw the sun for the first time in a number of days, and the weather warmed up to the point that the snow on the main streets was melting.

I called Joanna, the woman who helped me with adult guardianship previously. Yes, she still remembered working with me. She greeted me with, “Six years have passed and we’re both still alive. Can you imagine that?” I chuckled to myself. I have a feeling that she’s quite a bit older than I am. She assured me that this time around was much easier and would only take half an hour of work. Last time it took multiple trips to the court office. That’s really GOOD news.

Sunday, December 2, 2012 10:08 PM CST

“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”. . . The branches of the trees in front of our house were snow-covered this morning and the ground had a new blanket of white. This morning in the festively decorated church, a family came up to the front to lead a responsive reading about Advent and lit the first Advent candle. This afternoon Rachel came over and put up our tree—how I enjoy sitting and watching her work. I even went to a Christmas concert on Friday night. Yes, Christmas is on its way.

Dennis was home as usual this weekend. We enjoyed pizza while watching “Storage Wars” on Saturday night. He later watched football, and when that ran out on Sunday evening, it was curling. The Handi-bus picking him up was 50 minutes late because the snow made driving so difficult. In past years I used to pick Dennis up on Saturday and drive him back to Waverley House on Sunday night. It certainly makes things easier when he can go by Handi-bus.

Tim’s friend Erin has now returned to B.C., so the house seems empty. It was good for Tim to have his friend here.

My six years of adult guardianship for Dennis is up in 2013, so I need to reapply. Fortunately, Joanna—the woman who helped me the first time I applied—is still available to help. She did the work for free, while a lawyer would charge $800-$1,000. Now days they have combined trusteeship and guardianship, so I will soon see what the changes mean. I hope to avoid the challenges I had applying for trusteeship last time, including spending the $800 it cost to tell the judge that I didn’t need to renew the six-month limited trusteeship I had to sort out bank accounts and keep Dennis from writing $10,000 checks on our line of credit.

Monday, November 26, 2012 7:46 PM CST

It was a very quiet weekend. On Saturday night Dennis, Renylor, Andrew and I went to a Christmas pot luck party hosted by Rachel’s former roommate Christine and her husband Jason. There were a lot of people we knew from church, and Dennis seemed to enjoy himself when people came up to him and greeted him. His memory of the past is great.

Sunday afternoon was the Grey Cup football game with the Calgary Stampeders playing against the Toronto Argonauts. It drew much excitement from Stampeder fans here in Calgary. However, the game was so lopsided (Stampeders were losing) that Dennis turned it off and wanted to go back to Waverley House.

I wasn’t feeling well this morning so decided to keep my germs to myself and stayed home. I’ve been doing some of my office work on my computer at home, and ended up taking a one-hour nap. I think I really needed that.

I have an eye appointment on Wednesday, and we will be having our office Annual General Meeting on Thursday.

I hope all of you have a good week.

Thursday, November 22, 2012 11:17 AM CST

(This was written Wednesday, but didn't get posted properly.)

Fog. Gently falling snow. A Winter Wonderland. After having above freezing temperatures earlier, we are back to “winter”again, at least temporarily However, it won’t last long, because by the weekend, warm temperatures will be back again. It was hard to drive in the slush today, and there was plenty of it.

Some of you are wondering why nothing was posted this weekend. I ended up reading a book on Sunday evening, and then on Monday evening, I had my writers’ group here. On Tuesday night I just plain forgot I was going to post something. So, I’m trying to catch up tonight.

Dennis and I got flu shots and pneumonia shots at the doctor’s office on the other end of Calgary on Monday. I left the house at 9:15 to head for Waverley House to ride the Handi-bus with Dennis. After we got back and I was finally able to head to the Wycliffe office, it was 3 p.m. Medical appointments with Dennis by Handi-bus make a very long day.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends and relatives.

I’m having work done to my car tomorrow, so decided to take one of my vacation days, and come back home after dropping my car off. Then in the evening we’ll have a small Thanksgiving celebration with Tim, Renylor, Andrew and Erin, who is still visiting here. I have leftover turkey from Canadian Thanksgiving stored in the freezer, and I’m making dressing and cheesy potatoes. I thought about making apple pies, but don’t know if I’m that motivated.

I'm counting my blessings for Thanksgiving--I have many. I hope you do too.

Monday, November 12, 2012 9:12 PM CST

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Snow!! So much of it was coming down on Thursday, Nov. 8, that I wasn’t sure that we would all be able to get together at Denny’s restaurant for Dennis’ birthday party. . . but we all made it there, and Dennis enjoyed his time of celebrating.

On Friday, Dennis had his blood test, and rather than take him back to Waverley House through the snowy roads, I arranged for him to come home with me for the long weekend. He stayed until tonight, because today was Remembrance Day holiday. He had football games to watch during part of his time home, so that kept him occupied.

Rachel noticed his bed was in poor condition the last time she was at Waverley House, so we went bed shopping on Saturday. Now he will be enjoying a more comfortable bed.

Today, Monday, we celebrated Andrew’s birthday, because Rachel was able to come over tonight rather than tomorrow night. However, Andrew had a really bad cough and was miserable the whole time. He’s happy about his new Lego set, however. I’m sure he will have hours of fun with it.

Erin, Tim's friend from B.C., is here to spend time with Tim and Renylor. He is a computer programmer like Tim and will be working remotely while he is here.

Have a great week.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 5:40 PM CST

“It’s spring,” said our little Munchkin as he looked out the door on Monday morning. Nearly all of our snow is now gone, but we hear it’s coming back in full force soon. The weather is already turning colder this afternoon. The thermometer is hovering at freezing with a bitterly cold wind blowing.

I watched the election results as they came in last night. This morning the sun still rose, the earth is still turning on its axis, and God is still on His throne. However, during the 2008 election, President Obama promised to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” Some of that process was begun in his first term, but much more will be coming in the near future now that the election gave him a mandate to carry on with his transformation. In four years I’ll have difficulty recognizing the land of my birth. I’ll continue to pray. . .

Oswald Chamber’s devotional for today was quite appropriate.
We know that all things work together for good to those who love God . . . —Romans 8:28

“The circumstances of a saint’s life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you can’t understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God brings you to places, among people, and into certain conditions to accomplish a definite purpose through the intercession of the Spirit in you. . . .”

Tomorrow is the day the Seever family celebrates: Dennis turns 66. Denny’s, here we come.
One more thought from a blog site:

As for the challenges we face, hold fast to this wisdom from James 1:2-4: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Sunday, November 4, 2012 11:19 PM CST

Today is warmer than the past couple weeks, so the snow is melting. It’s about half gone now—I can see patches of brown grass showing through in many places.

On Friday I took our car in to have it winterized and have a basic check-up. The report is that the 2003 Suzuki is well maintained, but needs a new ball joint (I’m not surprised because the other one was replaced a year or so ago.) Replacing It can take anywhere from 1 ½ hours to 5 hours. (I hope not the 5 hour estimate).

Dennis was home this weekend, and spent his time watching football. When Rachel came over last night, she ended up watching football with him. Today he decided that he wanted to go out to eat, so we went to McDonalds. Then he wanted me to drive some place for him, so he drew a map on a piece of paper. It turned out to be a wild goose chase, because the place he remembered really wasn’t where he thought it would be. “I’m sorry I couldn’t find it for you,” I said, and he reached over and patted my shoulder. I never did figure out what he wanted me to find for him, but at least he appreciated my effort.

It’s Dennis’ birthday on the 8th so we’ll be taking him to Denny’s to eat that evening.

Facebook brings some amazing connections. I got a friend request from Annie Famorca, the daughter of the lady who was our Filipino landlady in 1985. I’ve been sending our newsletters to Annie’s mother, Agnes, for years and got a n a few replies early on, but none at all for 10 or 15 years. I was also unable to make a connection with Agnes when I was in the Philippines four years ago. What a surprise! Agnes is very much alive and recently visited Annie, a nurse with two daughters, in California! Annie has some nice pictures on her website with her mother.

I don’t know what the future holds—none of us do—but I know Who holds the future. Pray for the battered U.S. and vote on Tuesday. I’m praying for the land of my birth.

Have a peaceful week.

Sunday, October 28, 2012 8:30 PM CDT

Today we woke up to hoarfrost on all of the trees—a Winter Wonderland. By this afternoon, the temperature got up to 40 degrees and some of the snow started melting. Tonight at 6:45, the temperature is still 41. Nice! We saw the sun this afternoon for the first time in at least a week, probably a lot longer.

Dennis was home this weekend, and since it wasn’t scooter riding weather, he watched football. We also recycled the last of his cans, earning him $34.45. I suppose the weather could warm up, but this may be the end of his can and bottle collecting until next spring.

Today in church, the front steps were lined with new children’s shoes heading for Mexico. Our friends Gregg and Charleen (neighbors who attend the same Bible study I attend) take them down to Mazitland for children who live in the dump. Children without shoes often get infected feet and die from infections. Last year people at our church contributed 270 pairs of shoes, and there are a number of other churches involved in collecting shoes as well. This year they will be driving down to the border and dropping them off in Texas for others from the mission to carry into Mexico.

Rachel worked all day Saturday, and then had a visit from an out-of-town friend, who came to church with her. She’s so busy, that I only knew she had been over here on Wednesday night—while I was at Bible study—when I saw the three bags of cans in the back of my car the next morning. She had been to Waverley House to give Dennis a haircut, and then brought his can collection back with her. (I rode to Bible study with Gregg and Charleen, so my car was at home.)

Tim’s friend Erin from Gabriola Island in B.C. has re-booked his tickets and will be coming Nov. 10-Dec. 1. (He was planning to come in Sept., but Tim and family weren’t back from the Philippines yet.) So I guess my purple bedroom will be occupied. Erin is a computer programmer like Tim, so will be bringing work with him. There’s no word yet on Tim’s job situation. His boss went to the U.S. last week to talk with one of their former clients so see if they could get that client back.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be taking Andrew to school because Tim’s car will be in the shop for winterizing. Then at 4:30, I’ll be accompanying Dennis to a dental appointment—after I pick Andrew up at school and drop him off at home. I need to write everything down to remember where I need to be each day. I do a lot of juggling with my time. August through October are the busiest months at work, but now I am mostly finished with those work projects.

Have a good week. Please pray for the up-coming U.S. election. I see the U.S. being fundamentally transformed with few people realizing what’s happening. It’s alarming to see the direction everything is headed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 1:59 PM CDT

"Winter Wonderland," "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," and "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," seem appropriate for today. In fact, I even wished a couple of my co-workers "Merry Christmas." It's just as if we missed the entire month of November and moved directly into December.

The roads are an absolute mess this morning. I could tell that sanding trucks had been out, but no plowing had been done on the major routes. Could it be that the city was caught by surprise and hasn't yet hired their winter crew? I don't know how much snow we got, but the temperature this morning was 19 degrees F.

It's never been like this for little kids trick or treating for Halloween previously. Of course, it could still warm up later on. Dennis will NOT be out collecting cans and bottles today. I wonder if our fall will come back?

On another topic, we had three of us last night for our writers group. We missed the ones who were unable to come, but had a nice time sharing about our writing

Sunday, October 21, 2012 7:13 PM CDT

Sunrise this morning was stripes of pink and gray, but the day has been gray with no sunshine. Snow fell yesterday and is still on the ground today. Most of the remaining leaves were stripped off the trees earlier in the week by a bitterly cold rainstorm that pelted down icy raindrops. I wrapped a towel around Andrew to get him to the car as I was picking him up from school that day. As I peer out my window, I can see a small number of leaves are bravely clinging to Anne’s lower branches.

I can now get my car in the garage, just in time for winter weather. Rachel did a quick and efficient job of getting the remaining reno stuff stashed away on shelves. Andrew’s bike is hanging from a hook on the ceiling, and the nine bags of cans and bottles are gone. Dennis and I took them to the Bottle Depot yesterday afternoon, and he made $83.30. He still has three bags at Waverley House, which the driver had no room for in the Handi-Bus. That means I will need to pick them up sometime this week.

Oh yes, Dennis needs ANOTHER trip to the dentist. He lost the side of another tooth.

This weekend was a quiet one. Dennis did not have his scooter with him, and it would have been too cold to ride anyway. Instead he enjoyed watching some football on TV. Then this afternoon we had a family lunch together with Rachel, Tim, Renylor and Andrew. As I sit here at the computer, Dennis is now back at his “home number two” as Andrew would call it.

A first for Rachel--she played piano for the worship band at church this morning. It was just to try it out, and she will now be permanently on one of the three teams. She has no music to read. She just plays the melody with her right hand and plays chords with her left. She was enthusiastic about doing it, and it looked like she was having a good time up there.

I’ve acquired seven books in various ways over the past couple months, but haven’t had time to open any to start reading. I’ve been busy sending out newsletters, proofreading 13 short articles for a friend, and writing a 1,000 word article for CSC News. But I’m done with all of those things. . . for now. On Monday night our writers’ group will be meeting at our house.
Andrew came home with the wrong black jacket last week, so I sewed a yellow plastic car—like an oddly shaped button-- to the front of his jacket to avoid confusion. Renylor has a black jacket, so Andrew asked her, “Mommy, do you want a yellow car on your jacket too?”

Pray for Tim’s job situation. The company he works with does marketing research, with most if not all of their customers from the U.S. With the downturn in the U.S. economy, a lot of the companies are delaying their market research projects. Tim has been with the company for 10 years, and the company, which once employed a couple dozen people is now down to a skeleton crew of seven “holding down the fort.” Tim still has a job for now, but doesn’t know what will happen by the end of next month. Pray for peace in this stressful situation and that the Lord will direct him to another computer job should that be necessary. His boss is working hard to keep her company afloat.

As you think ahead, please pray for the upcoming U.S. election as well, and VOTE.

Monday, October 15, 2012 8:51 AM CDT

Yesterday the sun rose with brilliant shades of orange, rose and yellow at 7:50, a truly beautiful start for the day. All of this will be an hour earlier on Nov. 4 when Daylight Saving Time ends. Yes, I checked my calendar. Many trees still have three-quarters of their leaves, but we had a preview of winter with a snowfall on Thursday—enough so the sidewalks needed to be shoveled. The snow was enough of a warning for me to get my snow tires on, which I did on Saturday.

We celebrated Renylor’s birthday by taking her out to a Filipino restaurant on Wednesday. (Dennis was also along.) What is served for a Filipino meal? Pancit (noodles), friend rice, barbecued beef on skewers, chop suey, spring rolls, pork, and a type of beef stew. The meal is served family style, with everyone able to taste everything. We had a Dairy Queen ice cream cake for a birthday cake afterward.

I went to a “Courageous” concert on Friday night. Justin Hines, a young man crippled and in a wheelchair because of Larsen’s Syndrome, sang beautifully. Tony Melendez, a man born armless because of Thalidimide, played a guitar with his feet and sang. We also heard a hand-bell choir with some handicapped people. It was truly an inspiring evening.

Booking a clinic appointment on line is much easier than waiting two hours in the waiting room. Dennis got his blood test quickly on Friday, and then we went to McDonalds afterward. He collected so many cans over the weekend, that we now have another nine garbage bags full in our garage which will need to be recycled next weekend. Some are from last weekend and during the week.

There were two kindergarten classes with 30 students each, so an extra class has been started, beginning today. Andrew will be in the new class. Instructions to children as they went home on Thursday: “Practice zipping your jackets.” Can you imagine a teacher needing to help 30 kids with their zippers?

Monday, October 8, 2012 8:11 PM CDT

We had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, with our celebration Sunday night instead of Monday, the “official” Thanksgiving Day. On Saturday night, Dennis and I watched “Facing the Giants” and “Fireproof”, two Christian DVDs, to which he really reacts positively. On Sunday, Dennis went to church with me, as he has been doing lately, and then we watched “Crocodile Dundee” while I was cooking and getting ready for our family to come for the Thanksgiving meal. Football was on later in the afternoon and evening. Great entertainment for Dennis, a football fan! It was so special celebrating with our family with a turkey dinner. (Andrew had a hot dog instead of turkey and wondered why there was no rice. A meal just isn’t a meal without rice.)

I have so many things for which to be thankful for-—family, friends, health, the ability to work at a job, the freedom to worship God, and so many more...

Dan and Levy from Taber were here with Tim and Renylor from Saturday night to Sunday morning and stayed in the “purple bedroom.” Renylor, Rachel and Levy went to a fashion show Saturday night, and from the photos they took, it looks like they had a good time. Dan and Levy now have Darienne (Ayen) born in May, along with Stanley who is 2 1/2. Andrew and Stanley played nicely together. I invited them to our Thanksgiving meal too, but they needed to leave early to go to a performance of “Toopy and Bino,” a children’s program. They are “family” at this stage, since we don’t have relatives in Canada.

Thursday was an encouraging day for me. I got a phone call from my friend Debbie in the United Arab Emirates to tell me how much she appreciates me. (We’ve been friends for 10 years and she has been through some difficult times.) Then Lynn, a prayer partner of mine from the past, stopped by the Wycliffe office. Later in the evening, a single friend from the office invited me for a meal. I had been feeling a bit down earlier in the week, but all of this was so very encouraging. Thank you, Lord, for special friends.

Yesterday at our Thanksgiving meal, Rachel asked Andrew, "Who is cute?" A: "I am." R: "Who else is cute?" (pointing to herself). A, with an impish grin: "Daddy is." He worked his way down his list, even calling me cute, before he got to Rachel. His latest trick is to count backward. Yesterday I heard him do it from 30--rapidly.

Today I was working on an article on the computer and Andrew was sitting on my lap, reading what I already had on the screen. He read “drove to the city of Vancouver” and “only 12 hours away.” Yes, he knows about Vancouver, because that’s where he and his family went to get Renylor’s passport renewed earlier in the summer so they could go to the Philippines.

Have a good week. I hope my Canadian friends had a good Thanksgiving. To my American friends and relatives, your Thanksgiving is coming.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 11:28 PM CDT

Fall is truly here. This morning I scraped ice and snow off my car window, and there were flurries off and on during the day, but nothing stayed on the ground. Tonight there is a prediction of killing frost. It’s hard to believe that a couple days ago the temperatures were in the 70s during the day.

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, so Dennis will be coming on Saturday and going back on Monday. I wonder if it will warm up enough for him to ride his scooter. Or will football occupy his time?

Teachable moments. . . Last spring Andrew got a plastic sword, and one day, when I walked into the living room, I saw that one of my large geraniums no longer had any leaves left. They were all in a pile on the floor around the bottom of the plant. Oh dear! I explained to Andrew that the plant wasn’t happy. We need to be kind to plants, and to animals and to people. Plants are happy when they have light and water. At that point we started practicing being kind to the plant, and he would often water it. It flourished, and over the summer, it had a large number of orangy-red blossoms.

I brought it in last night to rescue it from the cold weather. This morning, Andrew saw it. “Plant, I love you,” he said and he watered it. He also watered a second geranium I had brought into the house. His favorite word lately is survive. He watered the plants “so they will survive.” Where did he hear it? “Daddy says it,” he told me.

While Tim is away this week, I’ve been taking Andrew to school as well as picking him up after school. “Rundle Village” he read from a sign in front of an apartment building along the way. Renylor said she had gotten an e-mail from Tim and Andrew read it out loud. He also read "Today will never come again" on a Facebook post. He always leaves me wondering how he knows all of this. He will be five on November 13th.

In the Philippines, people have their Christmas trees up in the “er” months (September-December.) I saw a photo from Renylor’s extended family posted on Facebook, with a Christmas tree in the corner of the living room. I’m hardly ready for fall, and certainly not thinking of Christmas yet.

Sunday, September 30, 2012 10:43 PM CDT

Part of this weekend was an exciting writer’s conference in Wetaskiwan, a 2 ½ hour drive from here. I drove up to Airdrie, a half hour drive from here, and then rode the rest of the way with my friend Laureen. We took advantage of our time in the car to have long conversations about writing and everything else. Mostly everything else. . . It’s a case of “iron sharpens iron.”

The speaker was Nancy Rue, from Kentucky, who writes books for teenagers. Some of the points of one of her talks were:

1)Be a good steward of your time.
2)Focus on the work that God has given you to do.
3)Be part of your spiritual community
4)Listen to God in the place you are in.

She used an analogy of trying to learn to drive a Harley Davidson motorcycle with being a writer, and came up with some humorous points. (She took lessons but never did master driving the motorcycle.)

I always enjoy seeing my writer friends in person at the conference. There were some whom I only knew from Facebook previously. We had a great time of fellowship. Two people who came to the conference were at the writer's meeting last Monday at our house for the first time. Both submitted writing to the fall contest and won awards, very encouraging to both of them.

Because I was away, Dennis was unable to come home this weekend. So to make up for it, I took him, Renylor and Andrew to McDonalds this afternoon. It seems that Rachel was also concerned that he was alone, so she took Dennis, Renylor and Andrew to the mall yesterday. She knew her dad needed new shoes so found a pair of size 13 shoes at half price for Zellers. I’m thankful I didn’t need to run around to find the shoes because it’s hard to find shoes that fit. Rachel also got him a McDonalds milkshake. So in spite of the fact that he didn’t come home this weekend, he definitely was NOT lonely. Everyone cared for him.

As we dropped Dennis off this afternoon, Andrew said, “I don’t want to say goodbye to Grandpa; I don’t want him to go. I want to be with him.” He’s keenly feeling the separation from his Filipino relatives now days and doesn’t want a separation from his grandpa here either.

Busy boy department—Andrew started school on Thursday after the doctor said he was over his cold and cough enough to not be contagious. Tim went to Ontario early this morning for his work, and won’t be back until Thursday, so I’ll be taking Andrew to school and bringing him home for the next four days, juggling my work schedule around it.

Have a great week. The fall weather here is beautiful—no killing frost yet, and no snow either. I hope you have good weather where you are.

Sunday, September 23, 2012 8:27 PM CDT

This was a gorgeous fall day, our first Sunday in the season. The temperature got up to 75 degrees this afternoon, and “Anne” in front of my window has exchanged her some of her green for gold. Her new color shimmers in the sunlight. I’m trying not to be sad with the passing of the summer season, but to enjoy every moment of it.

Dennis willingly came to church with me, something he’s been doing since we were in Minnesota this summer. He seems to be a more social person as a result of all of his interaction with friends and relatives this summer. We made him a part of everything we did, something that is still benefiting his outlook on life.

It's great to have Tim, Renylor and Andrew back. However, Andrew was really sick with a cold for about three days. Tim got a fever on Saturday, spending most of the day sleeping. Renylor is now starting to cough. I think that the recycled air on airplanes is probably filled with viruses from everyone who coughs or sneezes. Andrew might be well enough to go to school tomorrow, but will anyone be well enough to take him? I'll be the one to pick him up after school.

Rachel is finally getting over her cold, cough and sinus problems that kept her off work for four days. She never gets that sick with anything, so this was highly unusual. .

Andrew came upstairs last night as I was at my computer. "Server not found," he read, looking at my screen. "Grandma, that means you're not connected to the Internet." Later he saw something posted on Facebook as I was looking at new Facebook postings. "Today will never come again," he read without any hesitation. I remember learning to read with the Dick and Jane readers. "See Jane. See Dick run. Run, Sally, run." We were proud of ourselves to be finally reading. Little Andrew is well beyond simple things like that.

Dennis got $79.20 yesterday for his recycling efforts, and has already filled another garbage bag with cans from his weekend excursions. Earning money on his own gives him a sense of independence.

Last Friday night was the first play of the season that I see with my friends. “Noises Off’ was a play within a play and absolutely hilarious. The next play in January will be “The Diary of Anne Frank.” It should be excellent.

Looking ahead this week. . . The writers’ group will be meeting at our house tomorrow night, and on Friday night, I’ll be going to a writers’ conference with my friend Laureen. I look forward to the conference each fall.

Have a good week.

Thursday, September 20, 2012 9:56 AM CDT

For those of you who are wondering, Tim, Renylor, and Andrew came back safely last night. Tim said that a couple times as Andrew was sitting on the plane, tears would roll down his cheeks. He was so sad to be leaving everything behind. Tim told him, "don't worry, you'll be going back again." Unfortunately, the Philippines is so far away, that it will be a long time. I'm sad too, thinking of my little grandson, who belongs to two worlds, but can't be part of both of them at the same time because they are so far apart.

Rachel has been sick again, after not fully recovering from when she first got sick on August 1. This time her doctor was sure she had walking pneumonia, but the X-ray came back negative. She has been home three days this week, feeling so sick and completely lacking energy. She is on strong antibiotics now. If it was a virus, the antibiotics won't help, but there must be secondary infections going on. She was too sick to buy groceries and had been living on cans of soup, so I did a little grocery shopping for her. The two of us ate pizza and watched a movie together Tuesday night. I know she appreciated the company.

I went to the dentist yesterday afternoon, and am having a crown put on a tooth that was crumbling to the point that only the filling was left standing. Fortunately, she didn't need to do much drilling and left much of the old filling there. I've known for three years that I would need a crown on that tooth, but have been avoiding it.

I hope all of you are enjoying your week.

Sunday, September 16, 2012 3:51 PM CDT

Ash trees along Memorial Drive—the main east-west street on the way to church—have partially turned to their autumn gold. By next week, this route will be ablaze with color, creating a spectacular sight. Awesome beauty!

What a busy weekend—and Dennis was a real trouper to be willing to come with me. It was 100th anniversary celebration of the church we attend here in Calgary, Grace Baptist. Saturday afternoon started out with “A Taste of Grace,” during which we took our “passports” to various booths to be stamped when we picked up food from that area of the world—European, North American, Latin American, African and Asian. All delicious! Then in the evening a program featured memories from the past. We saw a lot of people we haven’t seen for years.

This morning was a lovely sit-down breakfast of quiche, tiny potatoes, fruit and muffins. Dennis objected to coming, but I convinced him he would enjoy the food, and besides, I had already bought tickets for it. Afterward during the Sunday morning church service, people carried 63 flags (3 ft. X 5 ft., is my guess), which they waved at appropriate times during a song that mentioned various places around the globe. What a moving sight! The flags represented the places of origin of our congregation members. We’re truly an international group. The morning Scripture was read in Spanish, Tagalog, Nigerian, Korean, Farsi (Persian), Mandarin and English.

I learned two interesting bits of information this morning—which I probably already knew, but forgot. The church was started as a German Baptist church in 1912, by German-speaking immigrants, and the services were in German. It was the original German Baptist Church (later called North American Baptist) in the Calgary area, with all other North American Baptist churches in Calgary started as church plants or offshoots of Grace Baptist.

Rachel was under a huge amount of stress, gathering photos for the event. She had to come up with 72, which were enlarged and printed on 12 large banners. These were mounted on stands in the configuration of a triangle, holding three banners each. I knew her stress was over yesterday when she sent me an e-mail punctuated with four smiley faces.

After the third try on Friday, Dennis now has a long enough tube between his left hearing aid and his ear mold, so that it no longer pulls on his ear. I talked with the audiologist about new hearing aids for Dennis. He has the analog kind, which they no longer make. The new ones are digital. The audiologist said that the way people hear in the analog and digital are completely different and some people have difficulty adjusting. She suggested that he hold onto his old ones as long as possible while they are still working—much different advice than the hearing aid receptionist who said the switch over from the analog to the digital would be great and he would really like the new digital ones. So caution is the keyword here. Don’t change to the new unless it is necessary.

Dennis is asserting his independence. He took all of his money out of the bank, so I got him a fire-proof locked box to put it in, rather than putting it in his sock drawer. I noticed he also had four bus tickets in his billfold. He also has his passport with him. So is he actually planning something? Or just wanting to be in control of his life? I don’t know, but won’t worry about it at this point.

Tomorrow we’ll be getting new neighbors in the house next door. We’ll miss Kim and Brad, who moved to the southern part of Calgary to be near their children’s school. (The children, who lived with their mother much of the time, are now in Brad’s custody.)

On Friday I had to turn in forms at the hospital for Renylor’s doctor to fill out and fax to Air Canada to give her permission to travel from Vancouver. She already had permission on Philippine Airlines, but not on Air Canada yet.

I’m excited this week because my grandson will be home on Wednesday night. Please pray that all will go well, all will stay healthy and there will be no surprises.
Have a great week.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 10:03 PM CDT

It’s starting to look and feel more like fall. The temperature was 36 degrees at 6 a.m. today, a bit of a change from last week’s warm weather.

Tim and family are tentatively scheduled to fly back here on Sept. 19th. Thanks for your continued prayers.

Dennis and I had routine physicals yesterday. The doctor’s office is in the far south part of Calgary, so we went together by Handi-bus. I left the house at 8 a.m., drove to Waverley House, and rode with Dennis. I finally got to my office at 2 p.m. this afternoon. It takes a LONG time. The doctor was pleased with Dennis’ results, and amazed that I now need only half of the medicine for diabetes I had been taking. That’s something that almost never happens, he said. He usually increases doses for diabetics over time.

Meanwhile back in Dallas—In July the air conditioning system needed to be fixed—a large expenditure. Now in September, the furnace needs to be replaced. Steve, the caretaker for the house, can get one for $900 including installation. (I haven’t seen any for that price up here. . .) So money I was hoping to use in paying of the remaining renovation bills up here won’t be available right now.

I hope you’re having a good week.

Monday, September 10, 2012 10:31 PM CDT

Just a short message from Tim:

Renylor saw Doctora Triño yesterday, and she's good to go now I guess, so I just need to rebook. Will let you know when I know more.

I am so happy to get their news. Thanks to all who have been praying.

Sunday, September 9, 2012 7:22 PM CDT

Today was a beautiful sunny Sunday, with a temperature up to 80 degrees this afternoon. Trees are now tinged with the first hint of gold, so it won’t be long until they are wearing all of their autumn finery. A strong wind came roaring through at 5 p.m., the kind that rips branches off of trees and flips unloaded semis. Powerful. Best viewed from inside the house. I’m watching the tree tops violently thrashing back and forth, and expect to hear the hail pelting down on the roof at any minute. . . But it didn’t happen. Half an hour later, the wind has calmed down, and we are experiencing rain. Some small branches are littering the ground. Now after the rain, it's 61 degrees.

Dennis went to church with me today, something he has been doing more lately. However, he walked out to sit in the foyer half way through the service because he was so angry that Rachel and I took away something that was his. We were puzzled. Was it a bank book? No. It took a half hour to figure out it was his passport that we used to go to Minnesota. The solution was simple. I had locked it up at home after Rachel gave it back to me. (I had entrusted all three to her because she was less likely to lose them.) Anyway, Dennis now has his own passport in his possession and will put it in his drawer at Waverley House. Next year he will remember where he put it, because his memory is better than mine.

On Friday, I took him for his monthly blood test, and later we got his hearing aid back. It was fixed during the week, but the tube is still too short, and pulls on his ear. We have another appointment next Friday afternoon, our third trip to the hearing aid place in three weeks.

Rachel took off the railings downstairs like Dennis suggested, and the delivery men were able to carry the washer and dryer into the basement without any problem. I’m enjoying my new washer and dryer, which work well.
This afternoon I went to a baby shower for Christina, who is married to Robert, Melynda’s younger brother. Robert, the son of our neighbors, was a five-year-old when we came to Calgary in 1993. Time passes. . . We passed our 19 year mark of being in Calgary on September 1st.

On Wednesday, Dennis, Rachel and I went to a farewell for Cheche and her son Miggy. Cheche is Renylor’s Filipina friend who came over for Thanksgiving and Christmas last year because she had nowhere else to spend her holidays. She now has a green card to go to the U.S., where she will marry her Filipino boyfriend. Renylor would often take Andrew and hop on the bus to see Cheche. There will be a big void in Renylor’s life now that one of her few close Filipina friends is leaving.

I haven’t heard from Tim and Renylor since early last week, but I received this from Realyn, Renylor’s sister, a couple days ago:

REALYN: hello maam janet renylor is a little bit fine now and also kuya tim and andrew but renylor need some rest and still under observation of her doctor but shes doing fine not like before thanks for your prayer maam janet we all miss u too here renylor and kuya tim miss you so much hope that everything will be ok....take care always maam janet regards me to Rachel.

ME: lot of my friends are praying for her.I'm just so sad that she is sick and can't fly back. Andrew said he missed me and wanted me to come over there.

REALYN: yeah sorry to hear that maam janet we are all praying here also thanks so much for all of ur friends there...yes andrew miss u so much he always talk about about you here,he is very sweet boy hope you can visit here again maam janet we all miss u there too.......yes my sister renylor is a fighter i know she will be ok soon i always pray for her that everything is gonna be fine dont worry maam janet we are here for them to take care:) take care always there maam janet

So thank you, all of my Caring Bridge friends, who pray for us. Yes, we need your prayers. God bless all of you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 1:04 AM CDT

Update on Renylor at 12:05 a.m. Tuesday and 10:20 P.M.; WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 1 A.M.

In answer to my question of how she was doing, Tim responded:

Renylor is doing fine... she has had the cough and was coughing up blood with the cough, which does sound severe.... but none of her other symptoms were ever really bad beyond coughing hard. Her cough is much less today and less (old/blackish) blood in the phlegm. Her blood pressure was high when Dra Trinio checked her yesterday (140/110) but it was back down to 110/80 by last night at home. Not sure how much the higher was from walking around without oxygen....

anyway, she's fine/recovering fine, it's just frustrating....
UPDATE 10:20 P.M. TUESDAY --message from Tim

Renylor has been coughing much less now.

1:15 WEDNESDAY MORNING, September 5

Message from Renylor: Hi Mom,sorry we didn't come home yet....I've been sick this few days...but right now I'm less coughing ..i hope ill feel completely better soon. Thanks for all the prayers. say hi to your friends..I miss you mom, Rachel and dad...Andrew is doing great. Andrew wants you to come here. :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012 9:06 PM CDT

UPDATED 1 a.m. Monday morning

Message from Tim:

Renylor has pneumonia. She's okay but we can't leave as planned..:(
She's feeling better some but she had an xray and saw her old doctor here.... Too much fluid in lungs and high blood pressure, we need to wait a week or two :(. Kinda throws a wrench in everything.
Note from Janet: Please pray for Tim, Renylor and Andrew. Any problem with Renylor's lungs is a major concern because she is on oxygen and has low lung capacity to begin with. (I'm not sure if she was using oxygen 24/7 in the Philippines because of the much lower altitude than here in Calgary--sea level vs. 3,000 feet in Calgary.) Andrew was supposed to start school this week, and Erin (Tim's friend from Gabriola Island) was coming to spend three weeks with them, starting the 7th of September.
This is Labor Day weekend, a three-day weekend just like in the U.S. Enjoy your holiday and keep safe.

Recycling: We took in as many of Dennis’ bags as we could fit into the car and still see out of the windows (but none tied to the roof rack). He made the most yet--$101.05! He was happy. While we were at the bottle depot, snow crystals hit my windshield for about five minutes. I could hardly believe it, but then this is Calgary, and we’ve had snow every month of the year in the past.

Sunday was a busy day for Dennis. He got up at 7 a.m., did an hour of can collecting on his scooter, went to church with me, and then we went to McDonalds with a 2-meals-for-$10 coupon. After we ate, we went to see “Madagascar 3” at the cheap theater at the matinee rate ($3 per person). So our “date” afternoon came to a total of $16.50 for the two of us, not bad at all. The movie was silly and I was quite sleepy. Later on Dennis alternated looking for cans and bottles with watching football. For his sake, I’m really glad football season is here.

Renovation: The basement bathroom is finished now and so is the laundry area. However, when I was washing clothes on Thursday night, I ended up with water all over the floor. When the plumber was here to finish something else on Friday, he discovered it wasn’t a plumbing problem; the bottom of the washer was leaking. Did I want a repairman to look at it? NO! The washer is 20 years old, so I figure it has served its useful life.

So I went to Lowe’s and bought a GE high efficiency washer for 25 per cent off, and a matching dryer at 25 per cent off. Our dryer still runs but it is questionable at times—It’s also 20 years old, and I keep wondering when it’s going to quit running. The design of this new washer and dryer is a bit unusual; the lid is angled down, higher in the back than the front, and has wavy ridges on it like a built-in washboard. However, the price was right. I later learned that I got the last set in stock, and after I left the store, two other couples came and tried to buy that model. No, I wasn’t planning to get a new washer and dryer while finishing up a huge remodeling project, but neither can we go without a functional washer. But the Lord provides.

On Sunday afternoon, Dennis got out his tape measure and measured from railing to railing on the basement stairs. He pointed out to me that one of the railings might need to be removed to get the old washer out because the stairway with railings on both sides might be too narrow. He also pointed out that a post might need to come out. (It’s been taken out previously when a davenport was too big to turn the corner at the bottom of the stairs.) He’s always thinking, and this time he was able to make me understand his concerns.

Have you heard the expression, “Once in a blue moon”? Friday night was a blue moon, which occurs on the rare occasion that a month has two full moons. The full moon outside my window was beautiful, but not looking blue, of course.

Have a good week.

Sunday, August 26, 2012 8:10 PM CDT

On Saturday Dennis came on the Handi-bus much earlier than normal (40 minutes early) so we had time to recycle his cans. He made $80 this time, and still has 9 bags of cans in the garage, another whole load. He’s been busy. He found 30 more cans while he was out on his scooter in the afternoon.

Football! Dennis is happy he now can watch it. Need I say more?

While I was away Thursday and Friday at Dovercourt Sanctuary (see below), the “cleaning fairy” (a.k.a. Rachel) came. My living room is completely rearranged and some cupboards and the hall closet are better organized. Rachel is still coughing but had enough energy to do that, since organizing actually energizes her. I gave her an open invitation to help me downsize some things in the library/computer room. She also came over for lunch today and helped me do some organizing/downsizing. How I appreciate her help! She also gave Dennis and me haircuts.

I haven’t heard much from Tim and Renylor lately, but Renylor posted a picture of her sister April’s new baby, Andrea Chloe, who looks like she is about a week old in the photo. Cute little girl! Now Andrew has a cousin and actually got to meet her as a newborn. I’m so glad Renylor was in the Philippines for the event!

Thanks for praying! My friend Jay is finally able to eat solid food a month after his surgery. He has a 22 inch rod inside his tibia. I wonder if he will need to carry an X-ray with him to show why he is setting off alarms when going through airport security. His PICC line for nutrition was removed, a great step forward.
On Thursday morning, I drove to Dovercourt Sanctuary, a beautiful 2 ½ hour drive from our house. The mostly treeless Alberta prairies turn into heavily wooded areas the farther north and west I traveled. Located on 100 acres of land near Rocky Mountain House, the 1 ½ -story house overlooks a wooded area and the rushing Clearwater River below. Besides two bedrooms in the house designed for guests, there is also an apartment above the garage and a cabin down the hill toward the river. Wycliffe members, Barry and Linda built it as a retreat center to provide a place for people who need a time of reflection and prayer—and just to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

I was there last summer, August 17-18, needing a quiet place to seek answers to some of my questions for the future. I was greatly blessed. Since that time, a few things for the future have gradually fallen in place. My main question was about retirement when I come to the point when I am no longer able to work.

So why did I go there again? In the midst of a busy life, I need to pause to reflect---where have I been in life, where am I now, and where am I going? I need to remember all the way: “Remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you.” –Deut.8:12

I spent time reading “Nearing Home --- Life, Faith and Finishing Well” by Billy Graham, published when he was 93. He is an amazingly articulate man even at that age, and I was blessed by what I read. As I was reading, I was sitting on a porch swing in back of the house, overlooking a wooded area and the Clearwater River below. I could hear wind chimes, which were hanging up to the right of me, while thunder rumbled off in the distance. Chick-a-dees call out their name as they fly past.

I hear all of these sounds, but do I hear God’s voice in the midst of all of the other distractions? That’s important, and is the reason I am spending time here alone.
The following quotes and Scripture are from Dr. Billy Graham’s book:

“Scripture is full of examples of people the LORD used late in life.”

“What testimony are you passing onto others following you? Remembering what God has done for you will invigorate you in old age.”

“I also know that God has a purpose in everything, and He will guide us into whatever he has for us if our hearts, minds and eyes are watching and waiting attentively.”
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” --1 Corinthians 10:31

Considerations in retiring: 1) Has your physical health declined? Has your attitude toward work changed? 2) Consider what your spouse will be doing. 3) Consider the pitfalls—loneliness, loss of purpose, depression.
Retirees often succumb to illness a year or two after retirement.

“The Word of God should fill us with thankful hearts that God Himself has not forsaken the aged.” –Corrie Ten Boom

"God designs transitions and provides the grace to embrace what follows.

Hidden peril is fear, but God’s antidote for fear is found in Romans 8:38-39.”Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future. . . nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Mrs. Ruth Graham wanted the following on her tombstone, and she got it. . . “End of Construction. Thank you for your patience.”

“We are not meant for this world alone. We are meant for heaven, our final home. Heaven is our destiny and heaven is our joyful hope."

“Even if we deny it or ignore it, this inner yearning [for heaven] is still there. The Bible says God placed it within us: ‘He set eternity in the hearts of men.’” (Ecclesiastes 3:11.)
The wind is now chilly as rain rolls in. As I continue to sit on the porch swing reading, the light is fading. Wind rustles the pines and poplar trees on the bank and down by the river. A flash of lightning splits the sky, with thunder following close behind. Then comes the hail, and I retreat inside the house for warmth and safety. Tika, the cat, curls up beside me, purring.
On Thursday night, I went with Barry and Linda to the cowboy church that meets in the Dovercourt Community Center every Thursday night. The talented musicians—definitely not the younger generation—played what I guess could be called blue-grass music with five guitars and a piano. We sang hymns from the “Cowboy Hymnbook”, songs I haven’t sung for years, including the following:

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

I don't know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.
I don't borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to grey.

I don't worry o'er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I'll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.
--Ira Stamphill

A local lay preacher gave a 15-minute with such vivid illustrations that they totally captured my attention. One I needed to hear was the following. It reminded me that God knows our needs and supplies them.

In its early days, Dallas Theological Seminary was in critical need of $10,000 to keep the work going. During a prayer meeting, renowned Bible teacher Harry Ironside, a lecturer at the school, prayed, “Lord, you own the cattle on a thousand hills. Please sell some of those cattle to help us meet this need.” Shortly after the prayer meeting, a check for $10,000 arrived at the school, sent days earlier by a friend who had no idea of the urgent need or of Ironside’s prayer. The man simply said the money came from the sale of some of his cattle!

While at Dovercourt Sanctuary, I made a list of the things I’m grateful for:

!)For the many people who have encouraged me along life’s journey.
2) That the Lord has been with us and has provided for us in so many ways over the years.
3) For the beauty of God’s creation around me.
4) For the ability to walk, talk, see, hear, drive a car and still work at a job. That I have been in reasonably good health.

What I need to do as the next steps when I get back to Calgary:

1)Contact the office of Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship because my guardianship for Dennis expires in 2013. Is it a simple process to renew, or do I need to start all over again from square 1?
2)Contact the representative at the office that gives support to caregivers or the Kerby Centre (seniors’ center) to get help in accounting since I need to keep track of pensions that come in for Dennis and how they are spent for him. I have been doing it, but don’t know if I am doing it right.

Oh yes, this year I found five 4-leaf clovers and one 5-leaf clover. I don't believe in luck, of course, but finding them is fun anyway.

Have a great week! God bless you all and may He meet all of your needs.

Monday, August 20, 2012 10:11 PM CDT

On Saturday afternoon, my friend Elaine received an extra Global Fest ticket from a neighbor, and wondered if I wanted to go with her and a friend. It’s held outdoors in a park with an amphitheater, overlooking a lake. I’ve never been there previously because it’s too far for Dennis to walk from where cars are parked, and I certainly wouldn’t leave him at home. This weekend Dennis wasn’t at home, so I was able to go. Each night a different country puts on a performance and a fireworks display. The Mexican group, in beautiful costumes, did an awesome job. The fireworks, synchronized to music, were spectacular. Different countries compete in putting on the fireworks displays over about a week.

On Sunday, I took Dennis out to McDonald’s for lunch since he wasn’t home this weekend; I wanted to do something special with him. He indicated that the Friday activity of going to Prince’s Island Park with the Waverley House people was good. He found 12 cans! (He never gives up on collecting.)

The renovation is progressing. The electrician has done a great job in adding some more needed outlets and bringing some things up to code. The washer and dryer are now reconnected. Yes, the renovation is extending into the laundry room. Also, the plumber found that my kitchen faucet upstairs is completely worn out, and the pipe under the sink has started leaking. A bucket is now collecting the drips. I wonder. . . will it never end?

In June I wrote a devotional based on Philippians 4:19: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” As part of that devotional, I wrote the following: “In the following months, I had many needs, but I saw God supply them one by one in amazing ways. In fact, I started writing down the blessings and sharing the list with others. God supplied needs above and beyond what I could imagine, sometimes in dramatic ways so I would know it was His doing and not my own. That verse serves as a good reminder of God’s amazing love and his concern for His children.”

So now, I ask myself, as I see more and more things that need to be fixed and the costs skyrocketing, do I REALLY believe what I wrote? . . . Can I say those things now, in looking ahead toward the future, rather than just looking BACK at what the Lord has already done for me? The answer needs to be YES. I think this is a test to see if I really meant what I wrote.

Remember the quote I shared: “If you are going through something hard and wonder where God is, the teacher is always quiet during a test.” --Quote seen on Internet
Oh yes, when it really rains hard, water seems to be leaking in the garage roof again, so there’s probably more to fix. I don’t even want to think about it.

On Thursday and Friday I’ll be going to Dovercourt Sanctuary, a two hour drive north of here to stay in the home/retreat center that some Wycliffe friends built. This is a place of quiet contemplation and nearness to nature. I need to get away by myself and think and pray. It’s been very beneficial in the past two years. I think I need something like that about now, and have a few vacation days left.

Thanks for praying for my friend Jay. He says he is about 50% better. His digestive system shut down for two weeks after the surgery, and he is just now finally able to eat pureed food. He spent two weeks in the hospital after his surgery to repair broken bones in his leg and had a PICC line through which he received nutrition. Scary!

Friday, August 17, 2012 10:49 PM CDT

Renovation progress! We now have a new hot water heater and the water has been turned back on. I stayed with Rachel two nights because of the lack of water, but I’ll be happy tonight to sleep in my own bed.

Rachel is going camping this weekend, so will be sleeping in the wilderness tonight with Taikwon Do friends. The sky is a beautiful blue with no sign of ominous clouds like we had earlier this week, so camping should be pleasant. The temperature this afternoon was a very pleasant 79 degrees.

Dennis won’t be coming home this weekend because I was unsure of the water/electricity situation. An electrician is coming tomorrow to do some electrical work. All of this needs to be done while Tim, Renylor and Andrew are away.

Dennis did have a special treat today. The outing for the week was a Handi-bus trip to Prince’s Island Park. On an island in the Bow River just across from downtown Calgary, Prince’s Island Park with its flower gardens is a beautiful place in the summer. I’m sure Dennis enjoyed his adventure there with his other disabled friends. We used to go there when Tim and Rachel were little and feed stale bread to the ducks that eagerly waited for handouts and bravely waddled up to people feeding them. What a mess they made on the ground! That practice is now prohibited.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 6:37 PM CDT

Weather is again making news. In the past couple of days we’ve a number of bad storms in the area, with a semi being flipped by strong winds, and hail damaging 85 new Audis on a car lot. How expensive would that be? I heard strong winds and a bit of hail bouncing on our roof Sunday night, but it soon passed. We had no damage here. There were trees down and a lot of fallen tree branches in other areas. No, there haven’t been any tornadoes, just extreme winds. How extreme does wind need to be to flip semis?? (Rob in Australia, this weather update is for you.)

Our Internet connection has been out for two days, so I called the Shaw Cable Company to repair the problem. Tim depends upon the connection from the Philippines so he can keep in contact with the home office, and later on next week to do his work from a distance. I went downstairs to check to see what was wrong when it happened, but I had no idea what to look for. The cords looked like a tangle of black spaghetti running every which way, and the modem has flashing lights that continuously blink. I couldn’t begin to know what to look for.

The Shaw repairman came this afternoon while I was still at the office. (They had told me he would come between 5 and 8, but he was here by 4! But he was willing to wait until I rushed home.)

Bill, one of the bathroom renovators was working downstairs when I let the Shaw repairman in. When Bill heard what we were looking for, he said, “I wonder if this has anything to do with your problem?”, and he pointed out a cable that had gotten cut when the bathtub was removed. Internet is now back on.

The water is now shut off for the next couple of days while Mark is putting in new plumbing. I have some water saved in kettles for simple things like washing my hands and filling the cat’s water dish. I’ll be sleeping overnight at Rachel’s place so I can have a shower in the morning.

“If you are going through something hard and wonder where God is, the teacher is always quiet during a test.” --Quote seen on Internet

Rachel is now on antibiotics for her cough. The doctor thinks it’s related to her sinus problem that has been going on for the same length of time. I hope she gets better soon, because she has been feeling sick and worn out. It’s not like Rachel to have no energy.

I shared this last year and want to share it again. The author, who is unknown, did a brilliant job of painting a vivid word picture.

It wasn't the dusty look of the leaves or the flash of early goldenrod or the fattening pods on the milkweed. It wasn't those brilliant, cool days and chilly nights, right out of late September. It wasn't the different sound in the cawing of the crows, nor the chirping of the crickets or the katydids rasping in the darkness. It wasn't any one thing that made mid-August feel and look and sound like the very first stages of Autumn. It was all those things coming at once, and at a time when we really didn't want to think about any season but summer.

That's the way it usually happens. There you are, right in the midst of summer, enjoying the sun, climbing a mountain or sailing a boat, eating the best sweet corn ever grown and the ripest juiciest tomatoes a garden ever produced. And thinking fine, idle summer thoughts. Then an insect or a wildflower or a breath of Canadian air intrudes, and you glance at the calendar and see that just days away are the first day of September.

Then you hear the frenzy in the rasping calls of cricket and katydid. You see the first red leaf on a sumac. You look for a daisy, and you see that the first blue asters are already in bloom. And you realize that you can lie abed till 6 o'clock and still get up with the sun. Then you know. Then you can read the clock of the year almost as well as the cricket and the katydid. It's already half-past August, less than fifteen minutes till Autumn!

Author unknown

I might add the following: I know autumn is on the way when Anne outside my window exchanges her green "dress" for a gold one.

Sunday, August 12, 2012 4:31 PM CDT

It was a pleasant surprise to need to close all of the windows Saturday morning because it was so cool in the house—far different from earlier in the week. By late afternoon, the house would reach 80 degrees each day, and even with three fans running, it would barely cool off for sleeping. I wilt in such conditions, and accomplished very little those evenings, feeling totally exhausted much of the time.

Dennis successfully had his blood test Friday afternoon at a time when there were few people in the waiting room. As his “reward”, I got him a McDonald’s chocolate milk shake—just like a kid again—before I took him back to Waverley House. We made sure he brought his health card with him this time.

I went to a wedding Saturday morning of Coral and James. Coral, a student at the time, served at the Wycliffe office in the summer of 2005, and we’ve kept in touch with each other since then. The wedding was at Centre Street Church, and while I was waiting to go past the receiving line, I noticed three people in line in front of me whose stories I’ve written for CSC News in the past two years.

Dennis came home by Handi-bus at 4 P.M. Saturday afternoon. Much to my surprise, he was willing to go to the wedding reception with me at 6 p.m. Coral worked in the Wycliffe office the summer Dennis was in rehab in the hospital in Ponoka, so he had never met her. However, there were eight people from the Wycliffe office that Dennis did know at the reception. The alternative was for both of us to stay home, because without Tim and Renylor in the basement right now, I would never leave Dennis alone for a whole evening.

This morning Dennis went to church with me, for the second Sunday in a row. He doesn’t get much out of the sermon because of his hearing, but he enjoys the interaction with other people. He seems to be becoming more of a “social” person since our trip to Minnesota. That’s a really good thing.

Do I miss Tim, Renylor and Andrew? Yes, I certainly do. But I’m hoping that in their time in the Philippines is fantastic, and my focus is on the good time they are having, not on missing them. Renylor’s sister posted some pictures on Facebook of all of them having fun. Their activity for this weekend was to go as a whole family to an island resort. Renylor is surrounded by dozens of friends and relatives, and when she comes back here, she will have no family except us. I’m sure it will really be hard to arrive back here on September 4th.

Rachel has been sick for the past two weeks. She arrived back here with a cold and bad cough, and hasn’t been able to get rid of it. She has been feeling exhausted too, like I have. I suppose part of it might be the heat of the past week as well.

The major renovation of the downstairs bathroom and laundry room will begin on Monday, with water shut off for two days while the plumber cuts off all the old pipes and installs new ones. Changes will be made to bring that area of the house up to the city code. It’s expensive but needed. I have half of the needed funds in hand, and the Lord has faithfully been providing. I’ll spend two nights at Rachel’s condo while the water is off. No, Sherman will NOT be involved this time—just Mark (the plumber) and his father-in-law.

Please pray for a friend of mine, Jay, whom we saw when we were in Minnesota. We saw him and his wife Sandy on a Thursday night at a group potluck, and Friday night he fell from a ladder while picking some apples. He needed surgery to set the bones near his ankle and had serious complications from the surgery. He’s already been hospitalized over two weeks. He and his wife have been my friends for 48 years, since we were all university students.

Some meaningful words from a song we sang this morning:

Let me rediscover You
And breathe in me Your life anew
Tell me of the God I never knew
Let me rediscover You

Saturday, August 4, 2012 12:26 AM CDT

A few leaves on the poplar trees along the street are turning yellow already. I’m not ready for fall yet, but I guess it will be coming sooner than we think. This is a three-day weekend in Canada, with Monday sometimes called “Picnic Day.” It’s a day meant to celebrate cultural diversity in this country.

Dennis is coming home this afternoon and will stay until Monday afternoon. It’s a sunny day, so he will get to use his scooter. Hurray! The temperature is supposed to get up to 30 degrees C. (86 degrees F.) this weekend, although the temperature is a pleasant 68 degrees at the moment.

As I sit here and type, beautiful, fluffy full-grown sparrow babies are sitting on the lattice-work rafters outside my window. Their feathers sometimes look a yellowy-green in the sun. This was Momma and Papa Sparrow’s second batch of the summer. Their antics cheer me.

For those of you who do not want to read about my sparrows and are wondering what is going on in our lives, this will be bits and pieces.

TIM AND FAMILY--Tim and family arrived safely in the Philippines a couple days ago. The permission they received to fly with Philippine Airlines is good for just 10 days, so they need to repeat the process over again when they return to Canada. Renylor did well with traveling. However, when they got to the Manila airport, she had to meet with authorities there to explain her portable oxygen concentrator and show the permission letter she had. She had to take eight bulky, expensive batteries with her to run the machine during the long travel time, since one battery only lasts for eight hours, and there’s no place to recharge along the way.

In the last Facebook post by Tim a couple days ago, he wrote that Papa was driving them to the family home, so they had just left the Cagayan de Oro airport at that time. They are now without Internet connection for a couple weeks. I am praying that they are having a fantastic, healthy, safe time. When I miss them, I think of how fortunate I am to have them here in Canada, and how much Renylor's family must be enjoying their visit.

DENNIS’ IMPROVEMENT -- Here is an email from a friend who organized the get-together of people from my University of Minnesota days. We were all part of the same youth group, and many of us went on to become involved in missions. “It was fun! The time went fast. A great turn out and thank God that the weather held too. Denny seemed stronger to me and after we prayed and I had put my hand on him as we prayed for the two of you he turned to me and said thank you. That was very sweet. Hope you return home and reentry to work goes well. Darla “ (Dennis just learned to say “thank you” a few weeks ago, so I was delighted he said it in that situation. I wonder if he could say other things at this point? Nerves regenerate in seven years, and Dennis’ stroke was eight years ago this coming November. Are nerves regenerating and making new connections? Could he now relearn other things? I wonder.)

RACHEL’S ASSISTANCE -- On Thursday night, Rachel changed door locks for me since there were too many spare keys floating around in too many places. Afterward she and I watched a movie, “Leap Year” on her TV. She later posted the following on Facebook: “Reversed and installed two exterior door knobs, as well as installing a new shower head... Sometimes I wonder if I missed my calling... And yes I used plumbing tape.” Yes, I certainly appreciate Rachel. The shower head was on her shower in her condo.

On Friday, I attempted to get Dennis’ monthly blood lab work done, since the mobile lab is no longer doing his blood work at Waverley House. When they found out he was going on vacation, they said that anyone well enough to go on vacation was well enough to go to the clinic to have blood drawn. So, I took him, and at 2:45, there were few people waiting. But he forgot to bring his health card, so we had to return to Waverley House to pick it up. By the time we got back, the waiting area was full. We waited 25 minutes, and they only called two walk-in people during that time, with nine more to go before they reached Dennis. So we left and had supper at McDonald’s. Next week we repeat the process, but remember his card and go early. Yes, we could book an appointment, but people have told us it’s almost impossible to get a call through because the line is so busy.

I hope all of you are having a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 9:44 PM CDT

Thanks for praying! Renylor's doctor was able to talk with the official doctor in Manilla who screens PAL passengers with medical conditions. Renylor now has permission to travel, but just for 10 days. To come back to Canada, they will need to repeat this process.

Rachel took them to the airport at 7 p.m. They will be flying to Vancouver, Seoul, Manila, Cagayan de Oro, a long trip with a number of plane changes.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 8:44 PM CDT

Our trip back to Calgary was uneventful, and we were in our house by 1 a.m. I'm tired today.

The one thing we needed to deal with in the morning was a car with the battery completely dead, which came as a surprise because it has given me no trouble in past weeks. I got a boost from CAA, and the CAA truck driver told me not to turn off the car for two hours or the car wouldn’t start. Anything that requires that much time needs to be replaced. After all, the battery was the original one in the car and was 9 ½ years old. I took Dennis with me to get the new battery.

This afternoon Mark, the plumber, came to look at the bathroom downstairs, which needs some repairs. Sherman is no longer working with him, which is a good thing. Sherman left some things undone in the upstairs bathroom, so Mark will send Bill (his father-in-law, who is a reliable workman) over to finish it. I’m relieved. . .

When I took Dennis to Waverley House, he immediately went out to ride his scooter. He really missed it!

Tim, Renylor and Andrew were scheduled to fly to the Philippines tomorrow to spend a month there. They’ve worked hard to get a doctor’s certificate and rent a portable oxygen converter. Now one of the airlines they are traveling on is saying that Renylor didn’t have permission to fly, and then they are trying to charge her an outrageous fee for flying on top of what Tim and Renylor are already paying for tickets. Please pray that they can book on another airline and get things straightened out.

Hail tonight, which turned to rain. The lawn was turning brown so we need the moisture.

Sunday, July 29, 2012 2:08 PM CDT

Time is swiftly passing, carrying us along with it, like leaves on a meandering stream. We have only the rest of Sunday left and tomorrow before we board our Delta flight for Canada in the evening. We hope our next flight on Delta doesn’t take 22 hours to get off the ground. Unfortunately, Delta is the only airline that flies directly from Minneapolis to Calgary.

The Seever reunion yesterday was good—21 people, with cousins coming from several places in Wisconsin, including Eau Claire where many of Mom Seever’s relatives lived in years past. We had some good visits. Dennis’ brother Al came from Flagstaff, Arizona, to be with the family, so it was good to see him too. He and Dennis are going to watch some trains later on this afternoon.

On Friday night, Dennis, Rachel and I attended the GROOP reunion, with almost 60 other people. If you are wondering how we fit it into our busy schedule, Glennda, the organizer, purposely planned the reunion around an evening we were free!! (We put it on our calendar in May.) GROOP was a singles group started in the late 1960s through First Covenant Church, through which Dennis and I met in 1973. I knew 17 of the people there at the reunion, including a number of special friends who were part of a Friday night Bible study group Dennis and I once attended and who are now part of our prayer and financial team. Good to reconnect with all of them! Rachel spent her time talking with Stephen and Sarah, Glennda’s two adult children.
Elaine, one of our special friends who was at the GROOP get together, told me the following story of a friend of hers. I had her repeat it to me several times to try to get things straight and took notes as she talked. Here is what I had in my notes:

A good friend of hers, who was a public health nurse, died of an aneurysm at the hospital in Grand Rapids earlier this week. Since this talented woman was very involved in her church and community, the word of her untimely death soon spread through the hospital. There was no brain activity, but medical personnel kept her organs alive since she was an organ donor. Her lifeless body was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Duluth 80 miles away to harvest the organs. At the hospital in Duluth, a nurse pinched her arm and the “dead” woman pushed the nurse’s hand away. She was alive!

Meanwhile, the grieving husband was walking along the shore of Lake Superior, contemplating living his life without his wife. The atheistic doctor, whom my friend Elaine knows and has been praying for, contacted the husband on his cell phone. “Are you a religious man?” the doctor asked. The man acknowledged that he was. “Your wife is alive. It’s a miracle,” the amazed doctor told him.

Elaine has already talked with the woman by phone and is planning to visit her this week. The woman can talk and knows people, but will need a lot of therapy to regain some of the things she has lost. Praise the Lord, she is ALIVE!!
People who saw Dennis two years ago keep telling me how much they think he has improved since they last saw him. They see him as being more alert and communicating better. It’s encouraging to me to hear this, because we don’t always notice slight month-to-month improvements.

We went to church today with my sister and her husband, Sharon and Phil. Their church supports us, and is number six on the list of church contacts I needed to make.

I wrote about visiting Joyce, my former roommate on July 19. She found out on July 18 that her cancer was back and she had just weeks to live. Joyce has now finished her race, and passed away peacefully on Friday,July 27. Her twin daughters flew in from the southern U.S. and were at her bedside as she left this world to meet Jesus. Last week she told us that her prayer was to “finish well.” Yes, Joyce, you have finished well. I know we’ll see you again someday.

The afternoon activity is watching the Olympics, and later this evening, my brother and sister-in-law, David and Paula, will be coming over for a barbecue at Sharon and Phil’s place, where we are spending this weekend.

Friday, July 27, 2012 9:11 AM CDT

What a busy few days we’ve had! (I had the misfortune of erasing another entry when it was half done. I’m trying again. . . I now have an external mouse to use, and I’m typing it in Word FIRST so it gets saved.)

Tuesday was basically a Seever day, with time spent with Mom, Ken and Sharon. A lunch, Sharon and I went to Rose Garden by ourselves for a $5.99 all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, with the others opting to eat at home. It’s a fun place we’ve gone to in the past where servers bring steaming bowls of food to the table and dish out whatever people want. Excellent food! Fantastic service! Look it up if you are in Coon Rapids.

In the evening Dennis and I met with the mission committee at Redeemer Lutheran Church, people we’ve known over the years, church no. 5 on our list of churches we needed to contact. We had a good visit. As we were leaving, a younger missionary came in for the next interview. Jeremy has served 14 years in India and had gotten training with YWAM in Texas. When he heard we were with Wycliffe, he mentioned that his resident assistant at the YWAM training school in Texas, Mark Evans, was an MK whose parents worked with Wycliffe. Yes, we knew of Mark! We had spent a month with Peter and Bev Evans, Mark’s parents in PNG, helping them build their village house! Small world.

Wednesday was spent with my sister Elaine, since she had taken off two vacation days from work to be with us. The morning was low key, with all of us visiting a thrift store with her. (Does anyone notice a pattern here?) Rachel says that Minnesota thrift stores have a higher quality clothing than Canada, with some items still having their original price tags. Canadians, she thinks, have more of a tendency to wear their clothes out before recycling them to thrift stores.

We spent our afternoon with Elaine’s daughter Kari and her two children, Eli and Brielle--busy, active children,8 and 3,who at times require a lot of Kari’s attention. Kari had a bathroom painting project that had already extended for many months, something extremely difficult to tackle with her two children around. Rachel put on paint clothes and the two of them were able to complete the painting in the afternoon and evening. It was great for Rachel to work with her cousin on the project. Dennis napped on the porch while Elaine and I were busy visiting and spending time with Elaine’s grandchildren so Kari and Rachel could paint. In the evening, Dennis and I were able to relax with Bob and Elaine in front of their TV while watching “America’s got Talent” and “Storage Wars.” Dennis even enjoyed these. We sometimes watch “Storage Wars” on Saturday evenings up in Canada, so Dennis was familiar with it.

Are you getting tired of reading yet? These posts are getting longer . . . especially since this current one didn’t accidentally get erased.

Thursday morning, Elaine and I went over to Kari’s. She has a “Healing Touch” ministry for people with physical and emotional pain--using soft music, aromatic oils, a light touch of her hands and prayer. She prayed for me and my back problems, a very restful, peaceful and relaxing experience. I loved the lemon fragrance!

While Elaine and I were at Kari’s house, Rachel took Dennis out to watch trains, much to his delight. Afterward the two of them went out to eat with Elaine, Kari, and the two children, while I had a special time meeting with North Hennepin Community College friends for lunch.

Back in 1972-1975, I worked as a paraprofessional (lab assistant) in the biology department at North Hennepin Community College. The people in the department were a close-knit group who spent many lunch hours gathered in a circle on chairs in Dr. John’s small office; I was there with them for lunch as they ate their brown bag lunches, and exchanged work information, family stories and jokes. They enjoyed each others’ company and continued to work at the college until their retirement. I’ve been in touch with Pat, the department secretary over the years, and this time I met with her and Betty, the microbiology instructor, and Dr. John, the botany and biology professor. It was wonderful!! Dr. John said he still has something I gave him years back—a horseradish plant from our family farm. No, he has never attempted to pull it up and use it. Two others were planning to come for lunch, but missed it for some reason. What happy memories the lunch brought back.

“Friends are friends forever if the Lord is the Lord of them.” On Thursday evening Dennis, Rachel and I gathered with 27 other people under a picnic shelter at Minnehaha Park for a pot luck supper. Becky and Larry Lorence, second cousins with whose family I lived for four years when I was at the University of Minnesota, were also there. This group of people originally met in the Bethany Presbyterian young people’s group in the 1960s. Amazingly, they have stayed in the Minneapolis area and have stayed close friends over the years. The women still meet as the Friends Forever monthly prayer group, and the men meet together on occasion as well. All of them are part of our prayer team and many of them are part of our financial team as well. How I appreciate them! The strong bond of friendship is still there after all of these years. They wanted me to share what was going on in the world of Wycliffe and in our lives, so I did. What a blessing it was to see them! Dennis enjoyed seeing them as well, because he remembers many of them from years past.

Joy, my former roommate’s daughter, was there, so she and Rachel started talking, since they are about the same age. They later decided to ride on one of the quad bicycles, a cart with bicycle wheels and places for four people to pedal. They took Dennis along, and he helped them pedal. Yes, he really was able to help! The two of them did not have enough leg power to move it on their own after he later got tired and decided to get off.

This evening we’ll be attending another get together.

One thing I forgot to mention—Rachel and I visited her honorary “grandpa” who “adopted” her after he met her at Wooddale Church two years ago. “Grandpa Bloom”, 88, is a former pastor who keeps in touch with many people and writes to them. He is a delightful man with an amazing memory for details.

After extremely hot days the first week, our weather has cooled down a bit. Four more days here and we’ll be back in Canada. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 9:26 AM CDT

This update has gotten erased two times while I've been working on it, so the third time will be even shorter. We've had visits with Stadium Village Church, a great missions conference on Saturday and Sunday at Wooddale church, visits with friends at the church; supper with Del and Louise, who are special friends from the past. Dennis has been involved in some of this, but not all. He's tired, and so am I. Rachel and her cousins went to an amusement park on Sunday.

We've spent time with various relatives in between times and have alternated staying with my two sisters. On this rainy Tuesday, we'll soon be heading out to spend more time with Mom Seever, Ken and Sharon.

Tonight we'll be meeting with the Redeemer Lutheran Missions committee during their monthly meeting.

By the time we get back to Canada, I have a feeling we will be totally worn out. We have three get togethers to go to on Thursday and Friday, a Seever family reunion on Saturday, and another church to visit on Sunday. Great fun, but tiring.

Thursday, July 19, 2012 9:44 PM CDT

Our days in Minnesota are passing quickly.

Today Dennis, Rachel and I went to visit Joyce, my roommate from 1974 to 1975. Dennis and Maurice helped us move into our apartment, and a little over a year later, we both married our "moving men." It was a bittersweet visit, because Joyce's lymphoma has come back after a long remission, and her doctor has given her weeks or possibly months to live. But our times are in the Lord's hands, and He is the one who controls our lives. Joyce gave me one of her special books, which I will treasure.

Yesterday Rachel and I drove to Silver Lake so I could speak at Grace Bible Church, where many of my relatives on my mother's side used to attend. We arrived early so Rachel and I had an opportunity to visit the Bohemian Cemetery, where many of our relatives are buried. Rachel enjoys doing genealogy, so she took photos of some of the gravestones. One of the people to die recently was Eddie Klima, who was my mother's younger cousin.

When we got to the church, we were greeted by Eddie's widow, who said, "Hi, my name is Betty, and I'm a relative of yours. I didn't remember meeting her before. I heard a marvelous story about Eddie, which I will share later. (I'm having trouble posting things on a computer which isn't my own.)

Special times with relatives--visits to a couple thrift stores and our card games with the Seever side of the family. Today we went to a couple garage sales with my sister Elaine, niece Kari and her two children. We also toured a historical farm from 1900, and saw their petting zoo of farm animals. Tonight we went to nephew Michael's baseball game--a full day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 9:41 AM CDT

We’re now in Minnesota, getting off to a rather slow start. We were supposed to be in the air by 11:35 on Friday, but it wasn’t until Saturday at 9:30 a.m. that we actually flew. The plane had mechanical problems, so it was good to know the mechanics had replaced a part and the plane was working well before we took off the next day. We had a voucher to stay in the hotel across the street from the airport, so although we didn’t go where we intended to go, it was a pleasant place to spend the night.

It was good to be up on the family farm, surrounded by people we love. Twenty of us spent Saturday night at the farm, some of the adventurous people in tents down by the lake. On Sunday a few others jointed us for a lovely family reunion. My two sisters and two brothers and many of their family members were there, plus several cousins and their families.

Dennis was feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the people and conversations going on so withdrew from the situation. It was at that point my brother David took Dennis on a ride around the farm in the old farm truck. I rode along and saw things I hadn’t seen in years—the lake lots that had been sold years ago and are now built up into beautiful lake homes with manicured lawns, pasture areas that are now grown up with small trees, and fields rented by cousins. My cousin’s son has some amazing corn. We used to say “knee high by the 4th of July.” This corn—using special seeds and special fertilizer—is seven feet tall on July 15.

Monday morning we drove back to the cities. We are staying with Bob and Elaine (my sister and brother-in-law) and visiting the Seever side of the family. We spent time with Mom Seever, brother Ken and his wife Sharon, and brother Gary. The adventure for the afternoon was visiting a couple thrift stores. Then in the evening we played a traditional card game we’ve been playing for the past 37 years, ever since I married Dennis.

Now we’re off to another adventure today with the Seever side of the family. It’s so good to be with both sides of the family once again!

I’m using Rachel’s Notebook computer, which I find a bit of a challenge. So have a good week, and I’m not sure when I’ll post again, although a lot of things will be happening. We did have a good visit with one of our supporting churches on Sunday, and will be at another church Wednesday night.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 9:38 AM CDT

We’re now in Minnesota, getting off to a rather slow start. We were supposed to be in the air by 11:35 on Friday, but it wasn’t until Saturday at 9:30 a.m. that we actually flew. The plane had mechanical problems, so it was good to know the mechanics had replaced a part and the plane was working well before we took off the next day. We had a voucher to stay in the hotel across the street from the airport, so although we didn’t go where we intended to go, it was a pleasant place to spend the night.

It was good to be up on the family farm, surrounded by people we love. Twenty of us spent Saturday night at the farm, some of the adventurous people in tents down by the lake. On Sunday a few others jointed us for a lovely family reunion. My two sisters and two brothers and many of their family members were there, plus several cousins and their families.

Dennis was feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the people and conversations going on so withdrew from the situation. It was at that point my brother David took Dennis on a ride around the farm in the old farm truck. I rode along and saw things I hadn’t seen in years—the lake lots that had been sold years ago and are now built up into beautiful lake homes with manicured lawns, pasture areas that are now grown up with small trees, and fields rented by cousins. My cousin’s son has some amazing corn. We used to say “knee high by the 4th of July.” This corn—using special seeds and special fertilizer—is seven feet tall on July 15.

Monday morning we drove back to the cities. We are staying with Bob and Elaine (my sister and brother-in-law) and visiting the Seever side of the family. We spent time with Mom Seever, brother Ken and his wife Sharon, and brother Gary. The adventure for the afternoon was visiting a couple thrift stores. Then in the evening we played a traditional card game we’ve been playing for the past 37 years, ever since I married Dennis.

Now we’re off to another adventure today with the Seever side of the family. It’s so good to be with both sides of the family once again!
I’m using Rachel’s Notebook computer, which I find a bit of a challenge. So have a good week, and I’m not sure when I’ll post again, although a lot of things will be happening. We did have a good visit with one of our supporting churches on Sunday, and will be at another church Wednesday night.

Sunday, July 8, 2012 9:30 PM CDT

Now, at 7:30 p.m., the temperature is 81 degrees. We’ve had a couple hot, summery days, so nice for a change. This week is the beginning of the Calgary Stampede, so people there are enjoying the warm weather too and probably going home with sunburns. It’s the 100th year celebration this year, so there are special festivities. I won’t be going this year because my focus is on getting ready to go to Minnesota.

Tim and Rachel are planning to go to hear the Beach Boys at the Stampede one night this week. The Beach Boys were popular when I was young (the band started in 1961) and occasionally a person still hears some of their music. My brother David enjoyed their music too.

Dennis made $81.50 this week on his can and bottle collection. I took the cans in Saturday morning because the bottle depot closes early afternoon and he gets here too late on the Handi-bus. The whole car was packed with garbage bags of cans, but the one thing I won’t do is tie any extra bags on the roof rack. In his collecting this weekend, Dennis collected ¾ of a garbage bag of cans—a very successful weekend.

I’ve been organizing, packing and making lists for when we leave on the 13th. I’m really eager to go to Minnesota, and I think Dennis is too. (So is Rachel). Tim and Renylor are counting the days until they leave for the Philippines—23 days.

Have a good week, and I’ll see some of you soon.

Thursday, July 5, 2012 8:11 PM CDT

Beginning at 6:45 tonight, pea-sized hail bounced all over the ground for the next five minutes. As I looked up into the sky, a bright rainbow stretched across the dark cloudy sky. The hail was so noisy, Tim and Andrew came upstairs to see what was going on. A lot of my potted plants are looking bedraggled, especially the petunias. Photos from another part of the city showed hail piled up in drifts like snow.

On July 4th, , I took Dennis for a routine blood test, and then we celebrated afterward by eating at the food court at the mall, making the day “special”. July 4th was a holiday in the U.S., of course, but I find we need to celebrate ordinary days too. Life is short, and we don’t know the number of “ordinary days” allotted to us.

Andrew was digging in the dirt next to the sidewalk a couple days ago, and made a hole. Yesterday I noticed he had put a flower pot with marigolds into the hole. He’s getting the idea of planting flowers.

The following was encouraging. No, I haven’t seen anything like that happening with Dennis. But it’s nice to know it does happen sometimes.
Mountain View, AR (LifeNews.com) — A man who was in a coma for 20 years has awaken from it and regained his speech and movement capabilities as his brain has rewired itself by growing new connections from those that were severed in an automobile accident. Terry Wallis is one of a few people to make such a dramatic recovery after a prolonged coma.

Wallis speaks in a slurred but coherent voice, telling visitors "Glad to be met" and telling them of his brother’s plans to light fireworks today at his house nearby.

For his family, each word is a miracle. Wallis began recovering from the coma in June 2003, as national controversy about an incapacitated woman, Terri Schiavo, began to develop.

Wallis’ first word was "Mom" and he has been speaking more and improving his speech ever since. He can now count to 25 uninterrupted.

Researchers published a paper this week in the Journal of Clinical Investigation about Wallis’ story and say that his case provides strong evidence that the brain heals itself by forming new neural connections. The article includes images of Mr. Wallis’ brain, the first ones to be taken from a recovering comatose patient.

"We read about these widely publicized cases of miraculous recovery every few years, but none of them, not one, has ever been followed up scientifically until now," said Dr. Nicholas Schiff, a neuroscientist at Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan and the senior author of the new study.
"In essence, Terry’s brain may have been seeking out new pathways to reestablish functional connections to areas involved in speech and motor control to compensate for those lost due to damage," he explained.

The paper appears to suggest that Wallis did not make a sudden recovery three years ago, but his awakening from the coma was the result of years of nerves regrowing and healing themselves.

Despite the recovery, Wallis has complete amnesia about the 20 years he missed, when he was barely conscious and communicated only through nods and grunts, according to an AP report.

"He still thinks Ronald Reagan is president," his father, Jerry, said in a statement.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 11:43 PM CDT

What a lovely, sunny weekend—a long weekend because of Canada Day. Dennis was home from 4 p.m. Saturday night until 8 p.m. Monday. July 2nd was Tim’s birthday, so we celebrated.

I worked on making check lists for our Minnesota trip and then doing things on the check list. My concern is that something will fall through the cracks. So far on the schedule are two family reunions, interaction with six supporting churches including a missions conference, and visits with two groups of prayer and financial partners. I also talked with an old friend from when I worked at North Hennepin Community College who is going to see if she can get some people together for lunch. This was all before Wycliffe Days, so it’s been 37 years. Yes, I still remember them all—such a special group of people in the biology department, who have remained close to each other over the years.

For your interest: the population of Calgary is now 1.1 million people. I think the population was about 700,000 when we came in 1993.
A verse from my reading. . .
God Will Never Forget You
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

Isaiah 49:1,6,15

A friend asked a question about the spiritual retreat last week. In case you are wondering about the nine ways of relating to God, here is what we learned.

Sacred Pathways –Nine ways of relating to God

Naturalists – loving God outdoors

Sensates – Loving God with the senses

Traditionalists – Loving God through Ritual and Symbol

Ascetics - Loving God in solitude and simplicity

Activists - Loving God through confrontation (social justice)

Caregivers – Loving God by loving others

Enthusiasts – Loving God with Mystery and Celebration

Contemptatives – Loving God through adoration

Intellectuals - loving God with the mind.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 10:42 PM CDT

The sparrows outside my window are raising a second brood of babies. I heard them cheeping as I came home, and saw the mother bringing worms in her beak. They’re fun to watch as I sit at my computer.

Today was a Wycliffe spiritual retreat at Entheos, about 35 or 40 minutes from here, outside of Calgary. As I rode with friends, I could see a new covering of snow on the mountains in the distance. Entheos is a beautiful wilderness area with lots of hiking trails. A wind storm must have gone through recently because a number of tall spruce trees had fallen down along the trails.

The theme of the day was “Sacred Pathways”, using an excerpt from a book on discovering the way we relate to God. Some of the things I learned surprised me—people’s spiritual temperaments differ, and there are nine different classifications. We all worship differently.

The verse for the day that blessed me: Isaiah 43:1b-2 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk though the fire you shall not be burned, and the flames shall not consume you.”

Two songs that blessed me today are below.

Please pray for the fires in Colorado. The number of people evacuated now stands at 36,000, and I have friends in the city who were evacuated.

Conversation with Andrew tonight at bedtime: Me, as I sat down on his bed with difficulty: My knee hurts tonight. Andrew: Why does your knee hurt? Me: Because it’s old. Andrew: Does that mean you are going to die? (This was asked in the same emotionless way as any other question is asked, just looking for facts.) Renylor was horrified by the question, but I assured him that I wasn’t planning to die any time soon.

Let Me Rediscover You

Your Spirit hovers over my waters
Your love burns longer than the sun
The skies of thunder echo Your wonder
Your praises can't be over-sung
The whole universe is witness
To only a part of what You've done

Let me rediscover You
And breathe in me Your life anew
Tell me of the God I never knew
Let me rediscover You

(There are a couple more verses, but I found the chorus the most meaningful.) Sung by Downhere

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

Stuart Townend, Keith Getty

Sunday, June 24, 2012 10:29 PM CDT

It’s been a wet, rainy Sunday, and now, at 8:45 p.m., the sun is finally shining.

Dennis found 16 cans and bottles early this morning, so wanted to go to church with me after that since he was done collecting. Renylor and Andrew came along as well, so that was really nice. Both Dennis and Renylor decided they wanted coffee before the church service--we actually got there early enough to have coffee, which doesn’t happen very often.

I got a sewing machine yesterday, and I’m having fun using it. I’ve mended two things and shortened a skirt. (It’s nice to have a machine that works.)The price is actually less than I paid for my first sewing machine that I bought in 1969 when I first started working. If I took into account the value of today’s dollar compared with the value of the dollar back in 1969, my new sewing machine is much less expensive.

Tim, Renylor and Andrew are preparing to go to the Philippines for a month in August. Tim will have some vacation time, and will be working from a distance some of the time. Traveling with oxygen is difficult. Renylor can rent a portable oxygen concentrator, but the two rechargeable batteries each last only eight hours and the travel time is longer than two batteries will last. They could use prayer as they work everything out for travel.

Have a good week.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 10:15 PM CDT

Happy first day of summer. The days will be getting shorter once again. Where has June gone? It really didn’t feel like spring because of all of the cool, rainy days we had.

It had been impossible so far to find insurance for Dennis, a 65 year old with a lot of pre-existing conditions. What could I do? One place indicated they would insure Dennis if we were only traveling for 17 days. So, should we try to rebook for 17 days? If so, what would it cost to rebook?

Rachel’s clients were at camp this morning, so she did not work this morning. She invited me over for breakfast (delicious pancakes) and then we got busy to see how much it would cost to rebook for just 17 days. We talked with Jennifer from the discount travel agency about rebooking, and she said she would call me at my office with the information.

By the time I got to my office from Rachel’s condo, Jennifer’s message was on my phone. Not good. . . NOT GOOD AT ALL!!. Delta has a $150 rebooking fee, per person, the tickets on a different day were about $270 more expensive, and with additional fees, it came to $499 extra PER PERSON. And there was no guarantee that the person who told me she could issue insurance for 17 days would hold to what she had said. Someone else might find other reasons to exclude Dennis.

So, I did some more calling for insurance. Then someone I contacted suggested I go back to the discount travel agency that had just told me rebooking flights would cost almost $1,500. What Jennifer came up with was an ALL INCLUSIVE policy that covered the cancellation plus everything else, with no rebooking of the flights to return to Calgary earlier. So in the end, she booked Dennis’ all inclusive policy, which came to just $100 more than the cancellation insurance alone. There were no medical questions, just the assurance that he had been stable for three months. Actually, Dennis has been stable in everything for the past three years. So we now have a policy for him—one that will cover much more than the other policies I was trying to get. As Rachel said yesterday about her bursary for her hearing aids, “I’m over the moon.” (Thank you, thank you, Lord.) And thanks for all of you who pray for us. I know your prayers are helping. God is good to us.

Someone asked Rachel when she would receive her hearing aids. This was her response via her Facebook page:

“July 4th, American independence day- how fitting that I will be getting my new ears!!! I feel like I am being set free! okay that's cheesy- but seriously!? I am stoked!!!

Also, the days Rachel will be going to Minnesota, are days that one of her clients will be on vacation, so she wouldn’t be working some of her hours anyway. She also found a co-worker who was going to be short of hours, and was willing to work the early morning shift for her while she is gone. She was very thankful that all is working out so well.

A friend of mine shared the following verse with us today: Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Thanks so much, Karen.

Andrew had his graduation from pre-school tonight. The children sang a couple songs with actions, and then walked up and down the aisles blowing bubbles for the audience (from the little bottles of bubble solution people now get at weddings instead of throwing rice.) Andrew was excited! Rachel picked up Dennis from Waverley House, so he was able to see his grandson as well.

Tonight I am exhausted. I don’t want to go through another day like this anytime soon. It was so stressful. Maybe in a few days I’ll forget how very stressful it’s been and just remember that I am SO very thankful.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 10:29 PM CDT

I just wanted to share the following. Rachel and Tim both inherited Dennis' hearing problem, and their hearing loss gets worse over time. Both have hearing aids. Rachel got hers when she was finishing her university classes, and they are now quite old as far as hearing aids go. One got broken beyond repair about a month ago.

Rachel’s Facebook post:
Just had to share an answer to prayer!!! I have needed new hearing aids and had applied for a grant as they are about $4600 for the ones I'm looking at- I had given it to God- he knows my need and he supplied $3700 of that from this bursary towards my hearing aids. Insurance will pay $500 and all I need to pay is $500!!! What an answer!!

Rachel’s Facebook post:
“I’m over the moon with gratitude-God is so good to me. I am getting much needed funding for new FANTASTIC hearing aids!!!! Now I'll be able to hear that much better :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012 10:06 PM CDT

Happy Father’s Day to all of you fathers reading this. I hope your day was special.

This morning Dennis wanted to attend church with me, a nice surprise. Usually he would rather sleep because he has difficulty hearing what’s going on in the service. This afternoon Rachel, Tim, Renylor, and Andrew joined us for a Father’s Day meal of tacos. We had them on our camping adventure at William Watson Lodge in May and they were a hit. . . so we had them again. (We’ve had “Cheesy Potatoes” so many times for family meals that it was time to retire the recipe and try something different.) It was good to be together for a family time.

The day started out really nice, but it’s now rainy. However, the sun has come out again, so there must be a rainbow somewhere.

Have a great week.

Below is a Father’s Day story about my dad. I’ve also shared it previously, I’m sure.
Thanks, Dad

By Janet Seever

My father grew up as an only child of second-generation German immigrants, a rigid upbringing. In his early twenties, he married his high school sweetheart from a neighboring farm. I was the first of five children.
Dad expected his children to excel at school and whatever else they did. As the oldest, I worked hard to meet his expectations.

In this era, fathers did not hug or kiss their children. Praise was sparse because it might “go to their heads and make them proud.”

I remember a few occasions when we did things together. Dad would carefully mark rows in the garden early each spring when the ground was still cold and damp. My brother and I would follow him as he planted the first long rows of peas. I also remember planting spruce seedlings with him as part of a conservation project.

A few times I fished with Dad and my younger brother in Dad’s old wooden boat. When the lake was high, huge sunfish hid around the roots of up-ended willow trees.

How I longed for Dad to say, “I love you” and give me a hug, but it never happened. Did he approve of me? It was difficult to tell in my teenage years.

I grew up, graduated from the university, and eventually married. Unfortunately, my husband and I often lived hundreds of miles away from my family, and at times our work took us overseas. Mom wrote weekly, telling of events back home, what my dad was doing, and news of my siblings. But Dad never wrote. He left that up to Mom.

When we came home to the farm, our visits were cordial, but Dad and I were never close like some fathers and daughters.

In 1986, it was time to say good-bye for another of our overseas assignments. My husband, two children and I, stood with Mom and Dad, our arms around each other. My husband prayed for God to watch over all us while we were apart.
Afterward, I hugged Dad and said, “I love you.” It was still awkward.

“I love you too,” he said and I noticed him brushing a tear from his eyes. How I wished we had been closer over the years.

My parents were in their early sixties, so I expected to have many more times together in the future. We’d be back from our work in Australia in four years.

Then two and a half years later, a life-shattering call came from home. That Sunday afternoon, Dad had been snowmobiling around the edge of the farm property, visiting neighbors. When he failed to return home, my brother-in-law searched for him and found him in the snow, dead of a massive heart attack.

Friends urged me to go home to Minnesota for the funeral. “You’re not doing this for your father,” they said. “You’re doing this for yourself.” How true it proved to be.
At the funeral, people had wonderful stories of Dad, a man of integrity with a quiet faith, Their stories were fresh; recent. They knew him so well. Even my youngest brother, twenty years younger than I, had related to Dad in a different way from me—as a friend.

Dad, how I wish I had really known you! I screamed inwardly. It was like a song without an ending, a book with the last pages torn out.

I grieved, for Dad and the close relationship that would never be.

Then, three years after his death, my mother died as well.

After the funeral, all of us five adult children came back to the farm and sifted through the treasures we had left behind in the attic of the family farmhouse. I was going through a box of my memorabilia when I came across a small canvas bag. Inside the bag were drawings I had done, old letters, and photos. In the midst, I discovered two letters from my dad written years back when I was finishing university—the only personal thing I had in his handwriting. How could I have forgotten that they existed?

I carefully pulled out the yellowing paper. The first one was about things on the farm. The second was about an honor society I had been elected to at the university.

When I read the first paragraph of the second letter, my eyes welled with tears, for he had written, “How proud I am to have a daughter like you. . .”

Thanks, Dad. Thanks.

© 2004 Janet Seever

Friday, June 15, 2012 9:18 PM CDT

Just a quick update tonight—Weather scoreboard for the week: Gloriously sunny days (2); cold and rainy (2); sunny but chilly (1 ).

Today I took Dennis to lunch at McDonald’s, and after that we tried to find travel insurance for him for the Minnesota trip. So far, we have been told “no” twice because of pre-existing conditions. One person who turned us down told us it would be no problem if we wanted insurance for two days less. I talked with Rachel about making a change in travel plans, but she was of the opinion that it would cost hundreds of dollars to change our flights back. Maybe so, but we can’t go without some kind of insurance for Dennis. So, when you think of us trying to make travel plans, we would appreciate prayer.

Earlier in the week, we had a good family night at Rachel’s condo on Monday night.

Today was Andrew’s last day at preschool; Wednesday night they have “graduation.”

Yesterday would have been my mother’s 87th birthday, but she has been gone for 20 years now. I’ve shared “Just One More Letter” several times in the past, but just wanted to share it one more time.

Just One More Letter
By Janet Seever

During the night of an ice storm in March 1957, my baby sister was born. While Mom was in the hospital, my four-year-old sister and I, a ten-year-old, stayed with our paternal grandparents. My nine-year-old brother stayed with our maternal grandparents.

When the time came for Mom to bring baby Sharon home from the hospital, we were excited about going home as well. However, my sister and I started developing red spots . . . measles! The only way we were allowed to see our baby sister for the next two weeks was by walking on the hard-packed winter trail across a cornfield, going to the back of our house, and peering through the bedroom window.

Mom would tear an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper into quarters, and write a personal note to each of us every day. She would slide the bedroom window open far enough to pass the notes out to us. I delivered my brother’s note to him on the school bus the next morning and carried my notes in my pocket.

Those quarter-page notes were the first of many letters to come in the following years.

After graduating from high school in 1964, I moved from a small town of 2,000 to Minneapolis, seventy miles away. As a country girl, I found the city overwhelming—there were no wide-open spaces and the houses were too close together for my liking. I missed the lake near our home and my family. The University of Minnesota, which I attended that fall, had 40,000 students. It was many times larger than our entire town.

Mom’s weekly letters, my source of encouragement, would arrive like clockwork. I would write my letter on Sunday, she would receive it on Tuesday, and her reply would be in my mailbox on Thursday. Often when I had a tough day in class, Mom’s letter would be waiting for me.

She wrote of ordinary things—what my dad was doing on the farm; who had gotten married, joined the army or had a baby; what my brother and sisters were doing; which elderly person at church had died; how her large garden was doing. Often the letters were written late at night, while she was finishing a batch of beans in the pressure cooker or had a kettle of tomatoes boiling on the stove. On more than one occasion, a spatter of tomato juice landed on the letter. “It’s midnight now,” she would write, “so I guess I should head to bed. I’m falling asleep while writing this.”

After university, I worked at various jobs—in a medical research lab, as a teacher, and at a community college. One constant throughout that time was my mother’s caring correspondence.

After I got married, my husband and I went overseas to do mission work in Papua New Guinea. I was so lonely at first that I would dream of being back home, only to wake up and find myself half a world away from all that was familiar. In 1977, personal computers didn’t exist and we had no telephone, so letters were the only means of communication for the next four years. Mom’s letters were my lifeline, my connection with home. By this time, my brother and two sisters were also away from home, so she was burning the midnight oil, as she would put it, writing to my siblings as well.

She now numbered the front of each envelope to make certain each one arrived safely, and surprisingly enough, they all did. It took two weeks for the letter to reach us, and two more weeks for my reply to get back to her. This was particularly worrisome when she had exploratory surgery for colon cancer. By the time the letter telling us that she would have surgery reached us, she had already had the surgery (her “grand opening”, she called it), and it took another two weeks for us to learn the outcome! It turned out to be polyps, not cancer.

Our mission work eventually took us to the Philippines, Australia, and Dallas, Texas. In the late ’80s, I began saving Mom’s letters, knowing that someday she wouldn’t be with us. I had no idea how soon that time would come.

My dad passed away in 1989 and we moved back to the U.S. in 1990. After twenty-six years of weekly letters, Mom and I switched to talking on the telephone more often than writing.

Then in the spring of 1992, Mom came down with a mysterious illness. After many trips to doctors and courses of antibiotics, she only got worse. The whole family was with her in intensive care on a June evening as Jesus called her Home. I was holding her hand as she slipped away. She was sixty-seven.

There would be no more encouraging letters or phone calls. Later I found nearly 200 letters from her that I had saved. Sometimes I would find a letter tucked away in a dresser drawer or as a marker in a recipe book. Nine years later, while cleaning out a storage shed, I even located some of those original quarter-page well-creased notes from 1957.

If I could write just one more letter to Mom, this is what I would say:

Mom, thanks for the unconditional love you showered on my siblings and me. You treated us all equally and had no favorites. Thanks for making do with so little when we were growing up. We never realized how poor we were materially, because we were rich in so many other ways. Thanks for your example of courage, faithfulness and determination as you lived out your life in situations that were often difficult. Thanks for making the time to write letters when you were too tired and too busy. You’ll never know how much they encouraged me. Thank you for always providing a listening ear to your family and to many others. I thank God for the privilege of having you as my mother. Your grateful daughter, Janet

-- © Janet Seever 2006

Sunday, June 10, 2012 11:13 PM CDT

Weather—we’ve had lots of it lately. Two small tornadoes touched down in the province this past week, one in Taber where Dan and Levy live. Hail fell in other parts of the province. Snow fell in Canmore, west of here toward the Rocky Mountains two days ago. Daytime temperatures were in the low 50s for the past three days, and before that in the 60s—no heat wave here. There’s now a danger of flooding along the rivers because there’s been so much rain, and more snow than normal in the mountains. This afternoon was very windy. That’s enough about weather for now, I guess. I’m ready for a bit of NORMAL weather.

Dennis was home this weekend, and spent much of his time out collecting cans for recycling. I took his bags of cans in on Saturday morning. He made $67.65 this time, which made him very happy.

Tomorrow night, Rachel has decided to have a family night with a movie at her condo and pizza. I’ll be picking up Dennis and bringing him along for the evening. Tim and family will also be coming. I think Rachel is finding the condo very empty since Melynda is working out of town during the week.

Our 2003 Suzuki has been a great car over the years, but now a few things are causing problems. I had it booked into the Hyundai dealership at 7 a.m. on Thursday, since the two parts they ordered were in. (There’s no longer a Suzuki dealership in Calgary, and parts are hard to get.) I got a call at noon that they were able to repair nothing.

Replacement of the ball joint part could not be done because the bolts are rusted and need to be cut off. New bolts are on order. I’m glad they didn’t cut the bolts off first and then discover they had no replacement bolts.

The door handle they ordered turned out to be the wrong part. The WHOLE door panel needs to be replaced to replace the handle--either $600 new, or $350 from the wrecking yard. No thanks. I'll continue to close my door by pulling on the plastic "map holder pocket" on the door. I’m thinking of putting a label on it “Door Handle.” This is just the handle to pull it shut, not the latch to open the door. Melynda also has a Suzuki, and her door handle is also off, so Rachel was familiar with the problem I’m having. I wonder how many other people are closing their doors by pulling on the map holder pocket?

Have a great week.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 7:31 PM CDT

Today I went to Waverley House for the annual meeting on Dennis’ situation. All is well. Susan, the nurse who oversees the homes, said she was glad that things are going so smoothly and “that Dennis’ family is so supportive.” She suggested things he might like to do at the Kerby Center (senior citizen center), but none of them interested him. Misty, the home administrator, said that as it is now, Dennis is a busy person, seldom home because he is always out on his scooter collecting cans and bottles. It is a GOOD thing that he keeps so busy. When he’s at Waverley House, he takes naps.

He’s been involved in painting (with assistance), making cards, going down to the lake with others, and going to the mall. Misty and Susan were both happy to hear that he will be going to Minnesota this summer.
I’ve been joyfully reflecting on some of the good things in our lives lately—a visit and meal with special friends, Dan and Barb, who used to lead our Bible study 10 years ago; the fragrance of lilacs in the air; a grandson who brings us all so much joy; a special family time in a cabin at William Watson Lodge on May 25 to 27 (our third year there); a wonderful 37th anniversary celebration with Dennis at Denny’s restaurant on May 31st; and seeing Rachel’s housemate, Melynda, receive her master’s degree in social work on June 4th at the University of Calgary. I thank the Lord for each one of these special blessings in our lives.

The following are some of the other bits and pieces of our lives:

• Word Alive magazine, Wycliffe Canada’s publication for which I sometimes write, received two awards at this year’s Evangelical Press Association (EPA) annual convention, including the honor of being chosen as the top publication in the missionary category and receiving second place for overall use of photography. The EPA is a professional association of some 300 Christian magazines, newsletters, newspapers and content-rich websites from throughout North America.

• From January to March, the Lord provided extra money for us, which I put away in our savings account. I called a plumber on April 11 to fix what I thought would be several minor problems. As he worked, more and more problems came to light—12 in all, some of them major. It turned into a complete bathroom renovation, including replacing the bathroom ceiling because of mold and installing more ventilation in the attic space. The extra money covered everything, with $200 left over. I’ve seen the Lord provide for us in very unusual ways on two other occasions, when we needed money to purchase a house in Dallas, and when we purchased our current one in Calgary. I'm deeply thankful to the Lord for His amazing provision.

• On April 17, Rachel tore or stretched her ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) by landing wrong on her knee after a flying kick in Taekwon Do. She is getting physio for it, and no longer can do her full range of activities, especially Taekwon Do training. The good news is that she received recognition as “employee of the year “from the Calgary Society for Disabled Persons where she works. She will also have the opportunity to be a volunteer reader for the children’s story time at the Chestermere Library east of Calgary on Friday mornings in between two of her jobs.

We’re looking forward to our visit in Minnesota from July 13 to July 30. Dennis, Rachel and I will be flying there, and then borrowing a vehicle from my brother, David. We’ll be visiting six of our church partners, attending several family reunions with the Ausmus and Seever sides of the family, and visiting several groups of praying friends and financial partners. It will be a very busy time for us, but so much fun to see everyone once again. We’ll be staying with my two sisters, Sharon Leivestad and Elaine Haglund while we are there.

Sunday, June 3, 2012 8:28 PM CDT

I took a couple vacation days to catch up with "life" this past week.

On Friday morning, I dropped Andrew off at preschool, and then went to Future Shop to buy a new mouse because mine had died. (Computer mouse, that is.) A Chinese couple with an elementary school aged boy were standing and waiting. I looked at the sign on the door, which said the store opened at 10. My watch said 9:30. The man wondered why it wasn't open because his watch said it was after 10 and he showed me his watch. Mystified, I asked, "Where did you come from?" I was thinking of one province where one area is half an hour different from the rest of the province.

"China," Feng (Frank) responded, and his wife Lily added that they still had jetlag. Hoping to buy food, they had walked about a mile from their hotel to find a place that sold groceries. I explained to them that Future Shop was an electronics store and did not sell food. At that point I realized that helping them was the MOST IMPORTANT thing I had to do that morning—Rachel would call it a “God thing.” So I took them to a grocery store, pointing out things that wouldn’t spoil since they said they had no refrigerator. It was a totally new—and probably overwhelming--experience for them. They are only used to Chinese food.

Frank has experience in the oil and gas industry and was looking for a job in Calgary. The family was planning to stay a week and then return to China. Frank would come back in August or September.

After their time of shopping, I told them I was going to take them a bit farther and made a big loop, pointing out some apartment buildings as possible housing, and where we live before dropping them off at their hotel. They invited me up to their hotel room to visit, but by that time I needed to pick up Andrew—and get my mouse.

On Sunday morning, I sent them an email, asking them how they were doing. Lily responded: “It was so lucky to meet you in front of future shop. It is most beautiful memory of our first visit in Canada. I can not wait to tell my friends and relatives in China. Frank will come back to here in Aug or Sep, he will surely contact you. Yesterday we visit our friends here, today, we will go downtown to have a look and buy something today. Don't worry about us, we can resolve it. Thanks for your care.”

I’m glad I listened to God’s gentle nudge and assisted strangers. I’ve been a stranger myself in various places, and deeply appreciated a helping hand in the past.


Home for the weekend, Dennis went for his usual scooter rides, picking up cans and bottles. He now has four bags of cans and bottles in the garage and two in the back of our car. It’s only been a couple weeks since we last went to the recycling depot, but it looks like we will need to go again soon. The one thing I won’t do is tie garbage bags of cans on the roof rack if they don’t all fit in the car. I did that once, and the results were disastrous, as I already mentioned.

This afternoon, Dennis, Tim, Renylor, Andrew and I had a “pizza picnic” in our back yard. Fun! Dennis then saw dead hollyhock stalks from last year in the back yard, and proceeded to pull them all out, something I hadn’t gotten around to doing. I appreciated his help.

After lunch, Dennis found a music tape in his drawer that dated back to the time we were in Port Moresby in 1979, awaiting the birth of Tim. It was his favorite tape and brought back memories for both of us. Then it was time to go back to Waverley House.

Renylor and I planted the flowers in pots and in my garden by the front of the house yesterday. It should look beautiful in the weeks to come. The air is still fragrant with lilacs.

Tim bought a little bicycle for Andrew, which has training wheels on it. Andrew never did a great job of mastering a tricycle for some reason or another, but he really took off on his new little iridescent green bike. He and Tim went to one playground and then he rode past another playground.

Tomorrow I’m going with Rachel to Melynda’s graduation from the U of C. (Melynda, Rachel’s housemate, is getting her master’s degree in social work.) It’s been a lot of work for her, but she has certainly persevered. Congratulations, Melynda, for a job well done!

On Tuesday, I’ll be going back to work. This has been a great break. I didn’t do all I wanted to do, but have checked a number of things off my “to do” list. Have a good week.

Thursday, May 31, 2012 11:49 PM CDT

Lilacs are in bloom in our front yard. I can’t get enough of the fragrance and want to hold on to that memory when the lilacs are done for the season—just like I want to hold on to other special memories. Our spring and summer seasons are over so quickly . . . TOO quickly. We are three weeks away from the longest day of the year.

Yesterday morning I acted as one of the chaperones for Andrew's preschool class at the new Science Center in Calgary. After we were done at the Science Center, I was trying unsuccessfully to find the way out of the parking lot past the toll machine. "That's the wrong way, Grandma," Andrew told me, to which I responded, "How do you know?" At that point I looked at the sign up ahead, and that's exactly what it said: WRONG WAY. It helps that at least one of us is literate. :-) Andrew is 4 1/2 years old. (As it turned out, the entrance and the exit are on opposite sides of the parking lot.)

While at the Science Center, Renylor and I met the mother of Andrew’s best friend, Damian, whom he talks about all the time. I hope Damian and Andrew can play together sometime during the summer. Damian’s family lives in Taradale where Dennis is living in Waverley House.

Last night Tim and Renylor took Andrew to the kindergarten orientation at Cecil Swanson Elementary School, where Rachel attended school in 1994. How can Andrew be that old already? Where has the time gone? On June 6th, it will be four years since Tim, Renylor and eight-month-old Andrew arrived in Calgary.

The following is a Facebook post from Rachel: “Okay I admit it, I am super excited to be a volunteer storyteller at Chestermere Public Library Friday June 8th at 10:30.-11. Does that make me a nerd? :) If you live there you should come out with the kids!!! I promise to entertain!!!” A librarian at the school had overheard her reading to the Autistic 10-year-old she works with, and asked Rachel if she wanted to be a volunteer storyteller. Rachel was able to fit it into her Friday schedule between her morning job and her afternoon job.

Today, May 31st, is our 37th anniversary. (It also would have been my dad’s 90th birthday, but he only made it to 66, which is as old as I am now.) I took Dennis out for a "date" at Denny's restaurant to celebrate tonight. We enjoyed our food, but there wasn't much conversation since his speech is limited to about a dozen and a half words. After I dropped Dennis off, I was thinking, "This is as good as it gets. We have limitations to our lives, but we enjoyed the evening and each other's company in the best way we could. It was a very special evening."

Sunday, May 27, 2012 8:04 PM CDT

It’s 50 (10 C.) degrees right now, up from 46 (8 C.) degrees earlier in the afternoon This isn’t weather we’d expect at the end of May. Earlier this afternoon, we came back from our weekend at William Watson Lodge.

On Friday night, we hit a huge rainstorm on the way out there. A tarp did nothing to protect things we were carrying in the trailer, along with Dennis’ scooter. Nearly everything in my suitcase was wet. . . Rachel knew the experience of wet clothes from last weekend, but in her case, they were camping in a tent, and the temperature outside was -5 degrees (23). Cold!! At least we had a warm cabin and everything dried by the next day.

Friday night, as we got closer to WWL, the rain turned to a mist, and we were driving through the clouds. Along the way, we saw 21 deer and one moose beside the road. Later Rachel, Tim and Renylor, saw a coyote chasing a rabbit, which hid under the steps of one of the cabins, and today we saw a big-horned mountain sheep with very impressive horns as we drove back to Calgary. What fun to see all the wildlife! (It’s best viewed from the safety of a car.)

When we were in the cabin on Friday night, freshly falling snow covered the deck. We had plenty of indoor activities, so we didn’t need to go outside. Rachel and Renylor did Karaoke, Andrew and his grandpa played snakes and ladders, Tim and I read our books. On Saturday, Andrew got to ride on his grandpa’s lap on the scooter, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

So how did Dennis like it? It was just “OK” for him. Very few things are ever “great” or “exciting” because he constantly reminds us that he can’t talk. If he could talk, life would be more exciting, but there’s nothing we can do to change that. So we do our best to provide interesting things in his life, knowing that everything falls short.

I’m looking out of my window as I type this. I see my friendly sparrows, but there are two fluffy other birds with them, which are tinged with yellow. I guess their babies have grown up and are learning to fly.

Update on Rachel and the possible tear in her anterior cruciate ligament. She went to her family doctor, and up here, there are four guidelines that she must fit into to qualify for an MRI. Her problem apparently isn’t severe enough, so she gets physio for it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012 11:28 PM CDT

The blossoms of the flowering crab next door are half open, but there is no fragrance wafting our way. I think it’s just plain too cold. Areas on the northwestern edge of Calgary had some snow over night. I still have my snow shovel in the car “just in case,” and we’ll probably see some snow when we go to William Watson Lodge this weekend. We do have a lot of daylight, however, because it’s still light out at 9:30. Our days are getting much longer.

It was raining on the way to work, and I convinced myself that the strange squishing sound was just the back wipers, or the way the rain was coming down. It turned out I had a flat tire and didn’t know it. Fortunately I didn’t ruin the tire (as I’ve done twice in the past by driving on a very low/flat tire.) I had run over a very sharp rock, but was able to get it fixed with no problem. My car needs to be in running order for tomorrow to pull the little trailer with Dennis’ scooter. I have the only car in the family with a trailer hitch.

I had an eye appointment on Wednesday: Glaucoma –none; macular degeneration-- it’s there, but stable; cataracts-–worse, especially in my left eye, but not to the point of needing something to be done since I’m seeing well with my right eye yet. “I don’t want to get to the point where I can’t drive,” I told Dr. Chow, to which he replied, “We won’t let that happen.” There’s one major problem when I do have cataract surgery done later on. I had RK surgery 20 years ago to improve my vision, and it’s extremely difficult to get a good correction with cataract surgery for people who have had RK surgery for nearsightedness. It’s also very difficult to get a good correction on people who have had LASIK surgery done to correct their vision. (Radial Keratotomy (RK) eye surgery was performed in the U.S. in the 1980s and early 1990s, but has been discontinued.)

We visited with our friends, Dan and Barb, on Tuesday night and had an enjoyable time (see Sunday post). It reminds me of Michael W. Smith’s song: “Friends are friends forever if the Lord is the lord of them.” When Dan dropped Dennis off at Waverley House after our visit, Dennis proudly showed off his scooter with the canopy.

We leave here for William Watson Lodge tomorrow night. Please pray that we would have a safe trip. Thanks!

Monday, May 21, 2012 10:25 AM CDT

This weekend was the long Victoria Day weekend when people head for the mountains. Rachel went camping with friends (she was really cold Friday night, but no snow). Tim, Renylor and Andrew headed to Taber to visit Levy and Dan, who had a new baby in early May. So—no family barbecue or trip to the park to entertain a handicapped man; I needed family for those things. How would I keep Dennis occupied? It was a major concern, since he would be home from Saturday afternoon until Monday afternoon.

As It turned out, we went to the cheap theater ($5 evenings, and $3 matinees) both Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Dennis was frustrated watching “Journey 2, The Mysterious Island.” I thought the giant bumble bees and giant lizard would entertain him, but he wanted to hear the dialogue, not just see the interesting scenes. This afternoon, he was more positive while watching “The Three Stooges”—their brand of humor is funny to him, not at all to me, and he didn’t really need to hear the dialogue to know what was going on—he could see it. I was pleased at the end of the show that the producers explained that the hammers and mallets they were hitting each other with were just rubber, so kids would know that they shouldn’t try it at home with the real thing. We then had a meal at McDonald’s.

After eating at McDonald’s, Dennis kept directing my turns in the car, and we finally ended up at a hardware store. He acted out what he was looking for—It was six feet long and round. Was it a bath pole? Some kind of grab bar? Was it for the bathroom? The kitchen? Did we have one previously? Could he show me at home and then we could look for it tomorrow? No, no, no, to all the questions. We spent about 45 minutes searching for it, and it turned out that it was exactly as he described it—a six foot long dowel rod, ¼ inch in diameter. I’m not sure at all what he had wanted it for, but he now has it. It’s SO frustrating to both of us that he doesn’t have the words just to tell me. I found out on Monday. . . One of my big plants was tipping over and needed a taller support pole. It wasn’t really strong enough to support the plant, but combined with the old, much shorter one, it did well.

On Saturday afternoon, Dennis was upset about something, and was pointing toward the garage. I caught on quickly, realizing he was concerned that all his bags of cans were missing. I had recycled them earlier on Saturday and he received $81.75 for all of his hard work. Now he’s starting over again with his can collecting.

Monday was a great day for can collecting, because it seems like everyone was partying over the weekend, and left their cans behind. Dennis wrote down 80 and 65 on a piece of paper, and also held up fingers (for counting). I counted his fingers on his left hand, five at a time, and he confirmed that was the number of cans he had gotten. I think the numbers were for the whole weekend, but he got most of the cans today. And yes, it proves he can still count.

Update on Rachel’s knee: She went to the sports clinic that specializes in knee injuries last week. The doctor thought she might have a tear in her anterior cruciate ligament. She is going to see her own doctor in two weeks and have an MRI done at some point. This kind of injury doesn’t heal, and if it is bad enough, it would require surgery. It really puts a damper on her Taekwon Do practice. Flying kicks against boards are NOT what she needs to be doing at this point.

On Tuesday night, Dennis and I will be getting together with our special friends, Dan and Barb, who were our Bible study leaders 10 years ago, and lived across the street from us. They now live in Nanaimo, located on an island just off the coast of B.C. They are back to visit family in the area. Barb was a special prayer partner of mine back in the days when we were both concerned about our teenagers. As mothers, we'll always be concerned about our now adult children, but not quite in the same way.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 8:23 PM CDT

Bits and pieces of our lives

I love spring with its fragrance of plum blossoms and May tree blossoms! (May trees are known as pin cherry trees in Minnesota.) The crab apple tree next door, which usually blossoms in mid-May, will be a while yet. We didn’t have the early spring that our relatives did in Minnesota. However, the trees are all finally wearing their spring-leaf green, including Anne outside of my window.

This coming weekend is the long Victoria Day weekend, traditionally the first camping weekend of the season. About every three years, the mountain areas get snow on that weekend, so campers end up braving the cold and battling to keep their tents from collapsing under the weight of the snow. What an adventure! Also, if people think they are getting away from civilization into pristine wilderness with peace and tranquility, they have another guess coming. The newspaper said that 30,000 camping reservations had been processed in Alberta and all camp grounds are filled!

The canopy for Dennis’ scooter didn’t make it home over the weekend. It caught on the Handi-bus somehow, and broke. Rachel figured out what was needed to fix it, so drilled an extra hole and is going to install it tonight after Taekwon Do.

Rachel still occasionally gets twinges in her knee that she injured, so tomorrow is going to a sports medicine clinic that specializes in knee injuries. I’m glad that she is going to have it checked out. The doctor at the Emergency Room on April 18 didn’t think it was a serious problem then, but the problem is still there.

Last night I went to an event of a lifetime—a Michael W. Smith concert held at a local 2,000-seat mega-church, which was packed. I’ve been listening to Michael W. Smith since the 1980s, and he’s continuing to write new songs that speak to a person’s heart—very worshipful music. I was so blessed by it. When I told Rachel about it, she was envious of me. She said she would have enjoyed it, but is short of cash at the moment.

The concert was sold out, so they booked a second concert tomorrow night in the same church. So I had an idea—I bought Rachel a ticket for all the help she’s been to me, like the weekend she cut tile for five hours for Sherman for the bathroom, when she had wanted to do something else with her time that weekend. I had another idea. Would her roommate Melynda like to go as well as a graduation gift? YES, she would!! (Melynda just received her master’s degree in social work.) So I bought the tickets on line and discovered they are in the second row! Those tickets had been reserved for musicians, but when not all of them were purchased, the seats were open to the general public at the same price as all other seats in the church. Wow! I’m excited to give gifts that are appreciated. I’m imagining how much fun the girls will have being there, especially that close to the front. (My income tax refund came at just the right time.)

Recently Melynda got a job in social work in Sylvan Lake, about three hours from here, and will be starting June 5. She will be staying with a friend in Red Deer, two hours from here, during the week, and then commuting back to Calgary on weekends. Unfortunately she is unable to take her miniature pincher dog with her, and really wanted to have him there. Rachel says that taking care of the dog is like taking care of a small child.

Sunday, May 13, 2012 7:58 PM CDT

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope all of you who are mothers had a wonderful celebration. After church, our whole family went over to Rachel’s for a potluck lunch, each of us supplying part of it. It was fun and tasty with the first barbecued chicken and hamburgers of the outdoor grilling season.

The dandelions are in full bloom, I went to my first garage sale yesterday, the plum tree in Rachel’s back yard is in full bloom and the trees on our street now have their leaves. It’s hard to believe that May is half over, and the new leaves that were so long in coming will begin turning yellow in three short months. Up here, we treasure all the warm weather we can get.

I had snow tires taken off the car Saturday since I figure that snow storms are over. This was an item on my “To do” check list for the weekend, one of the very few I actually accomplished.

The red lily that Dennis gave me for my birthday blossomed beautifully all week, with all 14 blossoms open at the same time. I’ve never seen anything like that previously. Gorgeous!

I took Dennis out on a “date” Saturday night. I got him a milkshake at A &W, and then we went to the inexpensive theater to see “John Carter,” which is from a book written 100 years ago. It has a lot of the action, similar to the Star Wars movies from 20 years ago. I think Dennis liked it. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

I can truly say that the Lord provides. When I called the plumber a month ago, I had NO idea what lay ahead. I now can say, I AM SO RELIEVED, because the bathroom, ceiling and attic space ventilation system are nearly done. Repairs on the house were something I would think about (worry about) in the middle of the night. Now I won’t need to think about them anymore. And the cost was covered by the extra funds that came the first three months of the year. An income tax refund back a couple days ago means I’ll have money to cover some remaining problems with the bathroom downstairs.

On the lighter side. . . A humorous writer, Phil Callaway spoke at our Fall Writers’ Conference a few years back. To keep people awake and alert, he threw Halloween candy at them during his talks. He edits “The Servant Magazine” for Prairie Bible College, and wrote the following in his editorial on turning 50. (Fifty was just a few years ago for me.)

Phil Callaway writes: “I’m one year closer to Home. Look in the mirror and you will discover that gravity doesn’t tend to lift anything. Thankfully this life is but a dress rehearsal for the real thing. The thought of eternity with Christ brings me a wider grin than ever. In fact it would make my hair stand on end. If I had some. This longing to be with Jesus doesn’t mean I do silly things to get there faster or that I’m content to leave this world as it is. But hope bubbles to the surface more quickly than it did even a year ago, beckoning me to do something lasting down here. I can truly say—without medication—that I love 50. I can stay up as late as I want now. Sometimes until 8 p.m. My parents don’t tell me what to do anymore, though others do. Last week both the police and the doctor told me to slow down.”—Phil Callaway.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 8:46 PM CDT

The saga continues. . .

A person never knows what they’ll find in the ceiling. . . beyond the drywall and beyond the insulation. When the house was built in the 1970s, the vent pipe to the roof was put in straight up (by the old code). That’s what caused the water to leak down from the roof, into the ceiling and caused the mold. The mold wasn’t the black kind, and wasn’t as bad as Sherman first thought it would be. The proper way to install a vent now is with a bend in the pipe, out the side of house, and not straight up. That prevents potential water damage.

Sherman pointed out that the attic space is very hot and needs proper ventilation. He showed me a number of houses next to ours that have now put in proper ventilation and have a metal whirling fan on top to vent the air. This wasn’t done in the 1970s, but is now part of the code. Because of almost no ventilation in our house, a lot of heat escapes from the roof in the winter and melts the snow on the roof. Heat in the attic also makes fires in the roof extremely difficult to extinguish, so it’s a fire hazard.

I checked all this with Alan, a Wycliffe co-worker who used to do construction work. He confirmed to me that what Sherman was telling me is true about the need for ventilation in the attic space and the placement of the ventilation pipe coming from the fan. So I’m going ahead and having these things done. . . Sigh.

Sherman asked me if I was going to get angry about all he had found. I said, “No. I’m going to sit down and cry.”

Mark, the plumber, came over to talk to me about what needs to be fixed in the basement at a later date. (Yes, there’s MORE to do!!) He said that a bathroom renovation can take anywhere between 5 and 30 days as long as there aren’t problems beyond the bathroom, so I guess we are in a normal time frame. Work started on April 11. He told of one project he worked on with a dishonest contractor who took more than six months to finish two bathrooms. He doesn’t work with that contractor any more.

Last week Mark prayed over the bathroom (a bathroom blessing that he does for all his renovations)—that it was fixed properly and that it would work well for us. Today Sherman told Mark, “I think you need to pray over the bathroom again, so we won’t find any more problems that need to be fixed.” Sherman is a Buddhist and didn’t think his Buddhist prayers would work on our house.

Rachel is a very organized person—all of this disorganization in our house causes her deep distress, and she doesn’t even live here. I just tripped over a shovel on my way to the phone. However, I did use the bathtub two mornings and the toilet is working too.

I’m weary, but tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, May 6, 2012 6:01 PM CDT

SNOW! On Saturday, it didn’t just come down in large flakes—it clumped together and covered everything. So Dennis had Jenny, the care home aide, call me and tell me he wasn’t coming home this weekend. If he can’t use his scooter, there’s nothing else to do. So I picked him up and took him to the local bank, where they apparently know him quite well, and he took out money to buy the canopy for his scooter to keep him dry in the rain. Rachel will be picking it up for him on Monday when she drops something off at Medi-chair for one of her clients. Then we went to McDonalds, a good way to end our adventure for the day.

By today the snow had all melted, but it still doesn’t look like spring. Anne, the tree across the street from my window, still doesn’t have leaves. Neither do many of the others in the neighborhood. It was chilly and very windy.

I’ve read one book, “The Shadow of Your Smile” by Susan May Warren in the past couple of days and have started on another by Marcia Laycock. I usually don’t have time (take time) to read books, but this time for reading is a birthday present to me.

Friday, May 4, 2012 10:49 PM CDT

I’m wondering. . . What’s next?

1)I took my car to the Hyundai dealership at 7:30 a.m. this morning for an oil change, and it cost $500. To be fair, that included an oil filter and ordering a $337 part that’s needed to keep it in running order (something to do with the ball joint). I have a Suzuki, but all the Suzuki dealers have closed down in Calgary. Hyundai is the only place that officially services them, and they have a policy of pre-payment on parts. People used to have parts ordered and then neglect to have them installed. It will require four hours of labor when the part arrives.

2)I had Sherman check into repairing water damage around a vent pipe in the bathroom. When he lifted up a ceiling grate, he discovered mold. . . lots of it. So he will need to replace drywall on the ceiling and insulation. (A vent cap had blown off the vent and rain was getting in years back.) So the bathroom is not done yet. I’ve asked him to put on the door tomorrow when he comes over so we can at least use the tub and toilet, even if I can’t use the shower for now.

3)Mark, the plumber, checked some things in the bathroom downstairs for me, and discovered some of the same problems the bathroom upstairs had. The problems need to be repaired in the near future and will need to be done at a time when Tim and Renylor are on vacation (and not at home) since they don’t have a half bath like I do in the master bedroom.

4) Oh, yes. Our water heater is in bad condition and will need to be replaced before it starts leaking. We knew that it was old and needed to be replaced. Mark confirmed that.

You’re probably wondering if I wish Dennis was able to do all of this. No, not really at this point, because some of the problems have resulted from “creative” fixes he did in the past that are no longer holding together or working.

I’ll be waiting for my income tax refund to help pay for this next round of repairs. I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed right now. Just a little bit. . .

Tonight I'm relaxing by reading a book that I bought with my birthday money when I was with Laureen at the Christian bookstore last night. It's a nice diversion.

Thursday, May 3, 2012 11:38 PM CDT

I’ve been celebrating!

Wednesday night, Rachel took me out to eat at Perkins. Unknown to me, she organized a party there—Tim, Renylor, Andrew , Dennis, Rachel’s roommate, and four people from our Bible study were all waiting there for me. Rachel picked Dennis up at Waverley House earlier in the afternoon and then took him shopping. He bought me a beautiful red lily and a beautiful birthday card—all so thoughtful.

Tonight my writer friend, Laureen, took me out to eat at a Thai restaurant, and then the two of us went to a Christian bookstore so I could spend the money she gave me for a book.

I am so blessed by good wishes and love from so many. I had over 80 birthday greetings on Facebook as well as a number of cards. Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 7:44 PM CDT

The weather is gray, cold and rainy today, anything but spring-like. Snow is predicted tonight. No, I didn’t put my snow shovel away yet and yes, this is normal for Calgary in the spring. Most of the trees do not have leaves yet, even though I thought they were going to leaf out over the weekend. It just didn’t happen.

My brain is scrambled tonight after an intensive one-day computer training session. I had learned programs on Word 2003, but am having trouble figuring out the same programs on Word 2007. Everything is in a different place on the programs. There’s so much to remember.

I had a good visit last night with Coral, a young woman who worked at the Wycliffe office the summer of 2005. We’ve kept in touch by email and she gets our newsletters, but it was much more enjoyable to catch up in person. She’s about Rachel’s age and knows the “Prince Charming” Rachel was dating a year ago. She told me he is now engaged. Rachel is happy for him, because she realizes that for all of their common interests, they were just too different in other ways.

Good news—the bathroom is nearly finished. Sherman will be finishing the grout tomorrow, and Mark, the plumber, will becoming on Thursday to hook things up. It’s been going on so long that I dreamed last night that Sherman had moved in with us. I quickly woke up. Sherman, 29, is Chinese, has a master’s degree in business law, and will tell you his life history if you listen to him.

Renylor’s 21 year old sister, April, is getting married this Saturday. It’s so very hard for Renylor to have her family is so far away, but she does have Skype conversations with them.

A couple of celebrations—I’m going out to eat on Wednesday night with Rachel for my birthday, and again on Thursday night with Laureen, my writer friend, for another celebration. Today at the office, we had our monthly celebration of birthdays and anniversaries for May, so I’m stretching my celebrations out as long as I can. May 3rd is my actual birthday.

I hope you are having a great week and enjoying spring (if you live in the northern hemisphere.).

Sunday, April 29, 2012 9:07 PM CDT

On Wednesday evening, on my way to a Bible study just outside of the city, I heard a frog chorus in a nearby swamp. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard frogs. They sounded so happy.

On Saturday, the weather was so pleasant that I put on my gardening hat and cleared the old dead plants from my flower garden. Green leaves are beginning to open on a few of the trees, and the lawns are turning green. Trees usually leaf out the last weekend of April in a “normal” year, so I guess this is about normal. Last year everything was late. We also had a good hard rain earlier in the week, which really helped the grass grow.

Dennis came home on Saturday as usual, and went out for three excursions on his scooter to collect cans and bottles over the weekend. On Sunday, he showed me by holding up fingers that he had picked up 18 that day.

Andrew came upstairs and watched a couple of children’s programs while sitting on Grandpa’s lap. It’s great to see the bonding going on between the two of them.

Knowing how Dennis likes to eat, I tried to persuade him to go with me to the potluck at church today, but he chose to stay at home. He was right. There were so many people there that he would have had a miserable time. He doesn’t do well at all in crowds.

While at the potluck, I talked to Dorothy, who used to be married to Doug, a stroke victim. Doug was in a speech class with Dennis years back and now comes to our church. He is able to say very few words. Dorothy told me she had to move to B.C. because Doug kept running away from his group home and trying to move back home with her. Caring for him was too much for her. She was glad to hear that Dennis is in a personal care home and that it’s working well. “A lot of the wives are dying,” she said, referring to the fact women she knew from a stroke support group were under so much stress caring for their spouses that they were starting to get ill.

Progress in the bathroom!! All of the wall tile is in place. Sherman does a great job when he sticks to it, and he was here for nine hours Saturday. Rachel helped him cut tile for five of those hours, which really speeded things up with a second person working. They used our neighbor Gregg’s tile cutting saw. The tub, toilet and sink will be hooked up early in the coming week. I’m thankful. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get my bathroom back—work has been in progress since April 11.

Rachel received a great honor at work. She was named the employee of the year for her organization out of about 50 employees. I’m proud of her!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 3:11 PM CDT

Monday -- The temperature was 25.6 degrees (78 degrees F.) — record-setting for this day of the year. Two dozen records were set for high temperatures across the country, but snow is predicted for Thursday and Friday. No, I didn’t put my snow shovel away yet. And yes, this kind of change is normal for Calgary.

This morning, Wednesday, was really foggy. I think the fog drifted in with Tim, Renylor, Andrew and Rachel when they came back last night from Vancouver. They arrived safely at 10:45 after driving through the mountains with low-hanging clouds (fog) all the way. Rachel got motion sick while going through the mountains, especially at times when she wasn’t driving.

Although the driving—both ways--was miserable and challenging, they were able to do all that was required to renew Renylor’s passport. They also managed to have a good time during the days in between going to the Embassy. Rachel reported, via mobile phone: “Vancouver has been sooo lovely! Stanley Park, attempts at flying a kite, aquarium visit, arcade and gas town tour, and now Granville Island. Plus two lovely visits with friends so far. I wish I had time to see all my misplaced Alberta friends!”

Just how bad was the accident on the way to Vancouver on Saturday? Rachel said that the trailer of one of the semis was tipped over on the highway, and dead cows were scattered all over. Blood was flowing over the highway, so workers were throwing dirt on it until they could do a proper clean up a day or two later.

On Monday, Alberta held a provincial election, to elect a provincial premier. (The previous one, Allison Redford, had been appointed to replace a premier who had resigned part way through his term.) On Monday, Ms. Redford retained her position and became the first elected female premier of the province. The election turned out much differently from what all the pollsters had predicted. Now the robotic political phone calls will stop. . . One good thing is that political campaigning only lasted a month up here.

Renovation project—going very slowly. Gregg plans to help Sherman again tonight.

At my routine doctor visit yesterday, Dr. G. was very pleased with my blood test results. He had taken me off of Actose (for diabetes) in December when he discovered it can cause bladder cancer. It had previously worked well, along with another medication, to very effectively bring down my blood sugar. Dr. G. was surprised (and delighted) that my blood sugar continued to go down WITHOUT the Actose, and was pleased that I am very slowly losing more weight.

Sunday, April 22, 2012 8:36 PM CDT

The temperature this afternoon was 70 degrees, and I found three little purple May flowers (hepaticas) blooming under the leaves. Spring!!

Progress! Our neighbor, Gregg (father of Rachel’s roommate Melynda) came over to help Sherman with the bathroom on Saturday. Gregg has lots of renovation experience, and continued working after Sherman needed to leave for another job at 2 p.m., staying until 8:30. They worked well together. I’m grateful that the project is moving ahead.

Dennis was home this weekend with nothing much to do except collect cans bottles by riding around on his scooter. We went out for lunch at McDonald’s this noon, Dennis’ favorite place to eat. He liked that.

Rachel’s adventure—the trip to Vancouver to renew Renylor’s passport. They were delayed two hours in the mountains because of an accident involving three semis, one of which as carrying cattle and they also had a delay because of an avalanche watch. Andrew threw up two times (He has a sensitive stomach and the stench of the cattle involved in the accident probably did it.) When they were nearing Vancouver, they had the problem of getting around all of the construction. They were finally in their hotel at midnight. Tim posted a beach picture on Facebook today, so it looks like Sunday was a peaceful day. Renylor has an appointment at the Embassy tomorrow.

Election day tomorrow for provincial positions including the premier. The campaigning only lasted a month, not a year like in the U.S.

Have a good week.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 1:45 PM CDT

Bits and pieces of our lives:

Dennis had dental work done yesterday, a stainless steel crown for $188 to replace a large filling that had fallen out. I was amazed at the low price, considering what crowns normally cost. Dr. Chiu was able to do it on the spot, so no waiting for a week with a temporary filling before the crown was put in.

This morning I went in for a routine blood test that I have every three months. Usually I’m there on a walk-in basis when the clinic opens at 6:30, and it takes just half an hour of waiting. I got there at 7:30 this morning, without realizing that most of the later patients are ones with appointments. I waited for 2 hours and 15 minutes. They were taking six walk-in people per hour along with the people with appointments. Never again. . .

Bathroom renovation is going slowly. The plumber did his basic work in one day, and is waiting for the dry waller to finish his work so everything can be hooked up. The dry waller, who does excellent work (or so I’ve heard), is working on a couple jobs, and seems to be disorganized when he is there, which has been seldom. Very little work has gotten done so far. He was there from 6 to 8 p.m. last night and promises to be back again today. He apologized that the saw made so much noise last night, and I said, “Sherman, that saw is music to my ears. It means something is getting done.”

This is from Rachel’s facebook post. She injured her knee last night when she was at Taekwon Do practice, and will be getting crutches today. Rachel writes: “What a crazy day or two. (minor) knee injury led to a visit @ the Peter Loughheed where I inadvertently lost my phone and had it stolen. When the guy realized I had a pass code he answered it and decided to let me have it back- so I took an hour round trip to pick it up all the way in Royal Oaks last night at 11 pm. Sketchy. So glad I have a pass code!” (She took her roommate with her to get her phone back. What a scary adventure. It was dangerous for both of them.)

Rachel will be having a few tough days working with her clients while on crutches. She took this morning off work, and this afternoon will be working with an autistic child, so that won't require standing.

This weekend, she will be helping Tim and Renylor drive to Vancouver to get Renylor’s passport renewed at the Filipino Embassy there, the only place in Canada for passport renewal and it must be done in person. Since Rachel’s injury is on her left knee, she can still use her right leg for driving.

What more excitement do we need?

We have repeated snow and thawing conditions. Our nephew Greg's wife, living in Idaho, posted a picture of a couple huge white lilac trees in full bloom. Am I allowed to be jealous?? I could almost smell the lilac fragrance. Almost, but not quite.

Sunday, April 15, 2012 10:30 PM CDT

We had a major snowstorm two days ago, everything melted, and then we got more snow. It comes and goes. My sparrows are back—always two in the past, but today there are five now sitting on a beam outside my window. Have they heard that the overhang of our garage roof is a great place to build a nest? Is there a sign up that says, “Nesting area available?” Or were they just visitors?

On Thursday I found out just what was lurking under the floor boards and behind the wall in the bathroom. As pieces were pulled away, more and more problems came to light—at least a dozen that all needed attention. Mark, the plumber, pointed them all out to me and I made a list. Some of them were disasters waiting to happen. He is very thorough in doing things right the first time so the repairs last. Our bathroom required a complete renovation. Now there are no more surprises. At least here in Canada there were no cockroaches—we would have found some living in the walls in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

The dry waller, who is working three jobs at the same time, came briefly on Friday evening—and then his drill battery lost its charge. I hope he plans to come tomorrow. He was coming Saturday night as well, but forgot his tool belt on his other job. . . Sigh.

Dan and Levy, Renylor's friends from Tabor, were here this weekend. Levy brought some Filipino jewelry to sell, and Renylor had a booth at a community trade show. However, people just looked at it, and bought nothing. It was too fancy.

Dennis was here for the weekend. He wanted to watch the men working on the bathroom, but that didn’t happen.

Busy boy department—Andrew is learning to add. I guess he does it by counting.

Have a great week.

Thursday, April 12, 2012 1:55 PM CDT

On Sunday, I explained to Dennis the situation of our bathroom, what needed to be done, and also that the plumber would give us a good price for the job. I really needed his OK for it, since Dennis was the person who had remodeled our bathroom about 12 years ago. I needed his blessing to tackle the job.

I met Mark, the plumber, a year ago at a Christian trade show while I was assisting a writer friend at the next booth, and started started talking with him. I kept his business card "just in case" because I certainly wouldn't ever go back to the major plumbing company that charged me $395 to change a faucet that I had provided myself. (Would have charged $595 if they had supplied the faucet.) It was over the weekend, gallons of water were running down my drain, and there was no shut off valve on the sink--I was desperate. Mark, the current plumber said he would have charged me $117 to do the same job. But, unfortunately, I didn't know Mark at that time.

On Wednesday, Rachel and I bought water and mold resistant drywall, and new tiles for the floor. There has been a moldy, discolored area on the floor for years, so I've wanted to have the floor redone forever. Now that other problems have shown up, I'll get it all done at once. The most unusual thing happened the past few months--we've had good months financially, and I've been able to save up enough money so that all of the bathroom expenses will be covered, something that never happened previously. The Lord provides in mysterious ways. I didn't know what I needed the extra money for, but now I know.

Today is Thursday, the BATHROOM RENOVATION day. I sent “Prayer Alive” to myself via e-mail and have been working on it at home in between answering questions, locating shutoff valves, etc. for Mark, Bill and Sherman. No, they don’t all fit into the bathroom at one time! Sherman was just over here from his job in a neighboring community, scoping things out because he will be doing drywall, and tiling after the other two are done ripping out drywall, taking out the tub, toilet and vanity, and doing the plumbing. What they found is that there was a lot of mold under the linoleum (no surprise there), a lot of the drywall needed to be replaced as well, and the shower valve was totally worn out. They also found that some of the plumbing connections were barely holding together, and it’s a wonder I didn’t have a major water leak. (I am SO glad that Dennis is not here while they are working. And I’ll be SO glad when the project is done in a couple days.)

Oh yes, one other thing. . . another of Dennis’ fillings has fallen out. So that means another trip to the dentist next week. Do I need any more excitement? I wonder. . .

Then this afternoon, I’ll have follow-up ultrasound on a lump on top of my foot. The doctor already determined in January that it’s not cancerous because it doesn’t have an extensive network of blood vessels growing to it. I also think it might be shrinking, but they just want to watch it. The possibilities of what it is are all benign.

In August 2010, I was pondering retirement plans for the future, and still haven’t figured anything out. . . I’ll be 66 in May. Living in two different homes presents a challenge because pension is divided two ways, and not anywhere equally at that.

Anyway, I wrote the following as an introduction to the Winter 2010 issue of “Prayer Alive” and shared it recently with a couple people, who were encouraged. I thought it might be worth sharing it here again. A friend, who wrote from Australia, (not knowing I had shared the article with others), sent me a devotional last week also based on Isaiah 49:15b-16a/ May you also be blessed. It’s a good reminder to me that God hasn’t forgotten me.

He Understands Our Needs
(winter 2010 “Prayer Alive” editorial)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Several months ago, I was dealing with a perplexing, complex problem concerning the future, looking for a solution that had been evading me. At that time, I spent two days at Dovercourt Sanctuary—a place of rest and renewal—searching for wisdom from the Lord. (Dovercourt Sanctuary was featured in the fall issue of Prayer Alive.)

My second morning there, I was reading from Living Light, a devotional book, when I came across the verses from Isaiah 49:15b-16a: “. . . I will not forget you. Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands.” I thought about it, along with some other meaningful verses I had read, and wrote them down in my notebook. What a blessing they were!
A while later that same morning, I began reading in Philip Yancy’s book, Prayer—Does It Make a Difference?, and encountered the same verses “ . . . I will not forget you. I have graven you in the palms of my hands.” It’s a fairly obscure passage, so to encounter it twice in the same morning was highly unusual.

Imagine my amazement that afternoon, when I picked up a booklet and discovered the same verses on the cover! When I opened the booklet, and randomly began reading an article, the whole article focused on Isaiah 49:15b-16a. In all, I encountered Isaiah 49:15a-16b six times in the three publications that day.

So did I ever find the solution for which I was searching? No. But far more important was my message from the Lord that He has not forgotten me. I’ll find an answer of His choosing in His time.

As you pray for the requests in this issue, you’ll be praying for specific needs of the Wycliffe office concerning the future, and for members going through a time of transition. The journey ahead may not always be clear in each situation, but pray for the Lord’s peace, presence and wisdom. Pray especially that every person will know that the Lord has not forgotten them and their needs.

As you pray, be reassured that the Lord has your needs in mind as well. He has not forgotten you.

Sunday, April 8, 2012 10:39 PM CDT

Happy Easter to all of you. He is risen; He is risen indeed.

We had a lovely Easter today. Dennis, Renylor, Andrew and I went to church, and since there was no children’s church, Andrew stayed with us during the service. The busy boy stayed quiet (mostly) by “writing” on a piece of paper and putting it in an offering envelope. He told Renylor, “I wrote a letter to Jesus. I said ‘I love you.’” Afterward, I had the family over for Easter dinner, and then Dennis and I watched “The Ten Commandments.” That’s an old movie, but it was well done.

Earlier in the week. . . .

Thursday afternoon I had a plumber look at some problems we were having in the bathroom and with an outdoor faucet that we’ll need to use to water my plants in the summer. Now I need an estimate from him. There have been some water leaks, so I don’t yet know how extensive the repairs will be.

On Friday morning I went to the Good Friday service in Jubilee Auditorium. The choir music was beautiful, and so were the old hymns, but I missed some of the meaningful modern worship songs sung in past years—like “there is a Redeemer” and “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”—which by now have become too old to be contemporary and too new to be traditional.

Dennis came home on Friday at 1:30, and Rachel joined us, but wasn’t too lively since she was suffering from cold and headache. We ended up watching a couple movies on TV—“War Horse” was one of them. Andrew came up and played a marble game(Kerplunk) with his Grandpa. The object was to keep marbles from falling while removing plastic sticks from a cylinder, but every time a marble dropped, Andrew would shout, “I won, I won.” We couldn’t convince him that the object of the game was to keep marbles from falling.

On Saturday, Rachel helped me with some downsizing. “Mom, have you used this in the past six months or the past year? If not, you don’t need it anymore.” (She’s good at convincing me that there are things I really don’t need, but sometimes I hold my ground for sentimental reasons.) Dennis and I took his cans to the recycling place, and he got $66.25 for his effort.

Have a good week.

Thursday, April 5, 2012 9:10 AM CDT

Spring is flirting with us--coming some days, bringing beautiful balmy weather, on others staying away. Sometimes a Chinook brings wind with it, and I’ve heard of another semi-trailer truck being flipped because it was unloaded. This morning is like a Winter Wonderland, after having a snow warning last night. The sun is shining brightly, with a temperature of -3 degrees (27 degrees F.) We might have three or four inches of snow on the ground. If the temperature warms up, it melts very quickly.

But snow is better than the tornadoes that they’ve had in Texas. We have a house down there in Duncanville, so I wrote to a friend who had posted on Facebook and she wrote back.

Fran wrote: "Janet, I haven't heard of any damage in Duncanville. Rain and small hail was all. Marilyn, yes, there were SEVERAL truck trailers flying through the air. That was near Lancaster, the city hardest hit. An interesting aside, son Jon thinks he worked on a temp job one afternoon several years ago at that trucking company."

Looking ahead: Dennis will be coming home Friday afternoon. Rachel has Friday off, so she will be thinking of something special to do with her dad and me. In the morning I’ll be attending a traditional Good Friday service in the Jubilee Auditorium. I look forward to that each year.

This week I had ONE MORE piece of paperwork to fill out and sign to prove I am the best person to handle Dennis' Canadian pension and his Old Age Security payments and take care of his needs. (This is the third time I've been contacted about this.) I haven't seen anyone else stepping forward to do it for him. I hope this last piece of paperwork satisfies the government.

I’m taking a vacation day today, Thursday, to FINISH my taxes. It’s complicated doing taxes for two countries, but I’m looking forward to a big refund from Canada. With two people over 65, one very handicapped, lots of medical deductions, we get a lot of deductions on our taxes.

On Tuesday, April 3rd, we said good bye to Helen, a long-time friend from church in a 1-hour-50 min. service filled with her favorite hymns, duets and trios, and many special memories. We’ll all miss this special lady who was so much a part of whatever was going on. My last memory of her was a couple weeks ago when she was selling baked goods at the concert to raise money for two urgently-needed furnaces for the church. On Sundays she—along with her walker—would be sitting on a bench by the church office door after the service. “How are you doing, Helen?” I would routinely ask and she would just as routinely reply, “I’m still here.” Now she’s not here any longer.

Gas in Calgary is now equal to $4.47 (U.S.) per gallon. . . for those who are wondering what gas prices are like up here.

HAPPY EASTER to all of you.

This was in my reading for last night. It’s always a good reminder for me. Do you also need reminding that God cares about our needs? I certainly do!

Luke 12:27-32
New International Version (NIV)
27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

Monday, April 2, 2012 6:43 PM CDT

I hope you had a good Palm Sunday. (It was also April Fool’s Day, but I didn’t get fooled. Did you?)

Dennis was home for part of the weekend as usual. He was a bit upset that the Handi-bus driver didn’t have space to bring his two garbage bags of cans home with him, so I’ll need to pick them up sometime this week. Dennis went out for a ride around the neighborhood as soon as he got home, and collected his quota of cans for the afternoon. The weather wasn’t that bad, and I’m glad he has something to occupy his time. The scooter is such a blessing! Later we watched a bit of TV together.

He described an accident for me that he had seen, and got quite emotional about it. By the time he told me, it had been cleaned up, and there were no cars along the road. He also described it to Rachel again on Sunday when she came over for lunch and a visit. She even drew a map and he pointed out where it happened. I think we were doing quite well in figuring out what he was trying to communicate to us.

On Friday, two of my friends and I went to the Gilbert and Sullivan musical, “HMS Pinafore.” It was great! Now that the season is over for our season tickets, I’m looking forward to the next season that begins next fall. Seeing a play with our season tickets actually costs less than going to see a movie at the theatre.

Now may the rest of your coming week be a good one until we celebrate Easter next Sunday.

Sunday, March 25, 2012 11:17 PM CDT

Happy spring to all of you! Today started out foggy with a bitter chill in the air, but by the afternoon, the temperature was up to 32 degrees (O degrees C.) with sunshine. It’s not the kind of weather my relatives are having in Minnesota, with the grass turning green already down there. But it’s better than a snowstorm. The tulips along the house are coming up. If you’re wondering why I include a Calgary “weather report”, it’s because my relatives in Minnesota like to know what is happening up here, and we have a friend in Australia who is a retired meteorologist. Rob, are you reading this today??

Dennis was home this weekend. He went for a ride on Saturday to collect cans and bottles, and then watched curling on TV. On Sunday, he decided he wanted to go to church with me, which was really nice. In the afternoon, we watched “Hook”, a 1991 movie in which Robin Williams played Peter Pan and Dustin Hoffman was Captain Hook. All in all, it was a pleasant weekend.

The Handi-Bus picked Dennis up at 5 p.m. to return him to Waverley House, and by 7 p.m. I discovered he had left his glasses behind. So I drove over to Waverley House with them. I also returned his sunglasses to him, which he has forgotten two weeks in a row.

WHAT I LEARNED THIS WEEK: A concert does not sound the same as the same music on a CD. I enjoyed the Chris Tomlin concert I attended on Wednesday night, but found the loud music a bit disconcerting. My body was vibrating to the rhythm of the drum beat. The LOUD drum beat. The PAINFULLY LOUD drum beat. But the CD with Chris Tomlin’s music does not have the loud drum beat, and it sounds wonderful.

ANOTHER THING I LEARNED: Modern CDs have a smaller hole and won’t play at all on older CD players. I had a problem with what I thought was a defective CD at Christmas; the replacement was also defective. Now, when I got a new Chris Tomlin CD, it just went click, click like the “defective” ones at Christmas. I finally figured out that the problem was the hole size. The new CD player I now have has a graduated spindle, which will play my old CDs and the new ones with smaller holes. I am now thoroughly enjoying my new Chris Tomlin CD. Did anyone else run into the problem with new CDs not playing on old CD players? Well, now you know. . .

My writer friend Laureen and I got together Friday night to bounce ideas off each other for the book she’s writing. It was a lot of fun! She is also working some of the ideas I gave her into an article she is writing for a magazine. We thoroughly enjoy our monthly times together.

Progress this week—I sent out the rest of my newsletters, sent others by email. I also nearly finished my Canadian taxes. It’s a GOOD feeling. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. Now I need to take some of the information on the Canadian taxes and use it on the U.S. taxes.

This week we sang two songs that have been special to me in going through the challenges of Dennis’ stroke, especially in the early days. God has been faithful throughout the past seven years. It’s been a stretching and learning experience for me. The two songs are “Faithful One” and “Blessed be Your Name.”

One Scripture reading today at church was from James 1:2-4 (NIV) , which was also meaningful.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Faithful one so unchanging.
Faithful one, so unchanging Ageless one, you're my rock of peace

Lord of all I depend on you.I call out to you, again and again I call out to you, again and again

You are my rock in times of trouble
you lift me up when I fall down
All through the storm Your love is the anchor
My hope is in You alone. By Brian Doerksen.

Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Matt Redman

Sunday, March 18, 2012 8:41 PM CDT

I hope this past week was a good one for you. This coming week marks the first day of spring. I’m so eager for spring at this point, although the winter was much milder than last year. I’m glad that the predictions for an extremely cold winter didn’t come true.

After starting to send out letters on March 3rd, this week I’ve tried valiantly to get the rest of my 450 newsletters sent out. It takes time to write even short notes on them, but I can’t imagine sending them without any note to let people know I care. The pile of envelopes is going down, so the end is in sight. I’m slightly under 100 right now. The next thing I need to do is finish my/our U.S. and Canadian taxes, and I still need two additional pieces of financial paperwork. The Canadian one isn’t due until April 30, but I need information off of it for the U.S. one, due the 15th. So I need to get everything done by the 15th.

On Friday I took Rachel out for lunch at Tim Horton’s, and we had a good conversation. I’ll need to do this again. Usually when I call her at home, she is multitasking and puts me on her speaker phone—and sometimes has a conversation with her roommate going on at the same time. (Actually, with her wild schedule, I’m fortunate I get to talk with her at all.)

On Friday at 2:30 p.m., I got a call from Waverley House that the hinge on Dennis’ leg brace had broken. I called Cascade Orthotics—Yes, they could fix it if I got it in by 4. Otherwise I would have to wait until Monday. So, I immediately dropped everything, drove to Waverley House, and then took the leg brace to Cascade Orthotics, which is close to Foothills Hospital, 18 km from our house. Dennis now has a like-new brace, with new straps, a new hinge, and new bumper pad where the upper and lower parts come together. Whew!

Friday night was a fund-raiser at church to purchase two new furnaces for the church—a silent auction, sale of baked goods, and loud (Christian) bands from the local community. As I was listening to the music that echoed off the walls, I turned to the 80-year old couple behind me and told them I was surprised to see them enjoying it. Vern then explained that his sons used to play music like that in the garage with their friends—to the point that it was so loud it could be heard all the way down the street and the police came to check on it. Vern said he fixed the problem quickly for the police by pulling the cord for the amplifier. Funny story.

Andrew was absolutely delighted to see his grandpa Saturday afternoon, greeting him with, “Grandpa, I’m so happy to see you. I waited such a long time for you to come home,” when Dennis came into the house.

Grandpa held up his fingers one at a time, counting to five, and Andrew counted along. Andrew can count to 100, so it was no real challenge for him . . . but he was doing it with his grandpa. When Dennis had his supper, Andrew sat down beside him, happily eating a hamburger along with him. I explained to Andrew that Grandpa talks using his hands. I think they spent an hour together.

This Sunday afternoon, Andrew spent the whole afternoon with his grandpa, cuddled up on his lap, playing with Renylor’s I-pod, then watching “Mary Poppins,” and then watching curling (a Canadian sport that hasn’t caught on in the U.S.yet.) Andrew enjoys any kind of sports. Later he was singing one of the songs he heard in church this morning, “Your grace is enough.” The tune was even right.
It was a great grandson/grandpa bonding weekend.

The week ahead is a fun/busy one for me. On Monday, a couple writer friends will come over for the evening, on Wednesday, I’ll be going to a Chris Tomlin concert at Centre Street Church, and on Friday Laureen and I will be getting together again to work on more ideas for her book. Tomorrow morning I need to work from home again. Tim is sick and needs to see the doctor, so I need to take Andrew to preschool again and pick him up.

Sunday, March 11, 2012 8:13 PM CDT

Since I was having a busy weekend, I didn’t have Dennis come home like he usually does. So Rachel took him out to the Science Centre yesterday, along with Renylor and Andrew. When I talked with Jenny, the personal care home aide working at Waverley House, she said that Dennis was really excited about what he was able to see at the Science Centre. Andrew had a fun time too. Rachel and I will be eating lunch together tomorrow, so I’ll ask her then just what they saw and did.

So what was the weekend like for me?

--- Friday night, I went to a roast beef dinner at the home of Elaine, a single friend with whom I attend plays. The other six single ladies there also go to the plays. I enjoyed playing Rummicub with three people afterward. Others put together a puzzle, and played dominoes.

--On Saturday, I spent four hours transcribing the interview I had done for the next article I’m writing for CSC News; worked on sending out more newsletters (just getting started, really); and went to a Christian poetry reading in the evening with my friend Marie, who won four free tickets on the local Christian radio station. It was held at “OVER by Stuches Caribbean Restaurant” (I kid you not—that was really the name above the door). Marie is a poet so was in her element. I enjoyed it, but don’t write poetry. All the people doing the readings were black people, one from Nigeria, several from the Caribbean and I’m not sure about the others. The most impressive was Josh, who did a marvelous Christian rap and gave his testimony. He had his choice of music and sports scholarships and decided to take the music scholarship to major in music at a college in the U.S.

--Today. . . Was it difficult for you to get up an hour earlier as well? After church I worked on sending out more newsletters and then went to a missions committee meeting at church.

--This week. . . I’m not as busy at work as I was in January when I was meeting a couple of big deadlines. But now writing the article, sending out newsletters, and work on Canadian and U.S. taxes take up all of my free time at home. Sometimes I feel like a hamster running on an exercise wheel. But I did have fun this past weekend as well, so I guess I can’t complain.

I’m glad it’s starting to feel like spring, even though I know we’ll probably get more snow this month, as well as in April and even May. It no longer stays on the ground very long. The sparrows are up on the garage roof, and knocked down their old nest, getting ready to start over again with nest building. It's 7:15 and still light outside. That part of Daylight Savings Time is nice.

Thursday, March 8, 2012 10:05 PM CST

After a major snowstorm two days ago, the weather has warmed up, melting much of the snow. Major highways and streets are clear, but streets like ours are filled with slush. The alley in back of Waverley House is slushy too. Dennis drove his scooter out into it today, and had really rough going. I know he’s been doing a lot of collecting, because his black garbage bag is ¾ full of cans.

Dennis won’t be coming home this weekend because I’ll be out Saturday night, attending a Christian poetry reading with a writer friend who won tickets in a Christian radio program contest. I’ll be busy for an hour Sunday afternoon too. So, I made this a special evening for Dennis. I gave him the choice of going to McDonald’s, or Swiss Chalet, or Denny’s Restaurant. He chose to go to Denny’s Restaurant, where we had a delicious meal. While we were there, he showed me a piece of paper, on which he had copied “Let’s Make a Deal.” Using charades, he indicated he wanted to fly to be on the program, he wanted me to come along, and he wanted to win $10,000. He certainly can dream big.

After we were done with the meal, we left the restaurant, and he directed my turns until I drove into a Chrysler truck lot. I wasn’t sure why we were there, but he just wanted to look around. When we got back to Waverley House, he showed me a notebook with drawings he had done of truck parts and a truck. He also had a bright blue paint sample taped in the notebook. He’s dreaming big. . . . It’s new trucks this time.

All in all, it was a really good evening. Dennis was very appreciative that I had made an effort to do something special.

Sunday, March 4, 2012 10:19 PM CST

This weekend was a very quiet one. The weather was so warm on Saturday, that much of the snow in the yard melted, and Dennis was able to go on scooter rides twice to look for cans. By Sunday morning, the ground was fully white again, but that snow also was melting by the afternoon. I think spring is on the way.

We had a family lunch this noon with all of us gathered at our house. Unfortunately Andrew had a cough and cold again, so was feeling sick. This afternoon Dennis and Rachel had some Dad and daughter time. She drove him around to do a couple things together. While she shopped at a second hand store, he walked around the store to get exercise.

Renylor needs to renew her Filipino passport. The only Filipino consulate where it can be done is located in Vancouver, and people must appear in person. It’s not easy traveling on a plane and staying anywhere since she is on oxygen. This is a new challenge for them. Please pray that they will figure out how to do it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 7:03 AM CST

Just a quick update today. . .

On Sunday, I took Tim to the airport for his flight to Ontario. He will be there the next four days. The weather was cold and snow on the roads made driving a bit treacherous. Andrew wanted to visit his grandpa at "Waberley" House in the afternoon, but I said no because I had no desire brave the cold and get out on the slippery road again.

When I called Waverley House Sunday afternoon to see how Dennis was doing, I found out that he was back in bed again. I think being at Waverley House was just as boring as it would have been at home.

I took Andrew to preschool Monday morning and was surprised to find out that the class was going on a field trip and I needed to take Andrew there. (Renylor had lost the school calendar for February so didn't know ahead of time.) The children went to Pices Emporium, a huge pet store that specializes in fish, which is located less than a mile from the Wycliffe office. Although the store on the corner of a route I sometimes travel, I've never seen it before because it looks like any of the other buildings in the industrial area where it is located, and has no windows as a store normally would. Along with rows and rows of aquariums and tanks with fish, the store also has live coral, tarantulas, lizards, small monkeys, some birds and a small tortoise. No other child was quite as excited as Andrew, when it came time to pet a hamster and Mortoise the tortoise, who is four years old and will eventually grow to be huge--about three feet high. (I'm not sure they get that big in captivity.)

By the afternoon, weather warmed up a bit and snow on the roads began melting. Andrew had a great time playing in the snow in the afternoon. I saw his tracks all over the snow in the front yard and evidence that he had been shoveling it.

Andrew was putting his socks on Sunday morning and was having trouble. "This one doesn't fit, Grandma. It's on the wrong foot." I just learned something new.

Have a great week.

Thursday, February 23, 2012 11:07 PM CST

Tonight I went to visit Dennis at Waverley House because he needed toothpaste, hand lotion and a bar of soap. (He decided he doesn’t like the body wash, although he still has four bottles from Christmas.) I also got him bus tickets, which he will need after a few more Handi-bus trips.

As I was driving through the alley in a snowstorm, I missed the place because the whole backyard is now enclosed in a chain link fence. The fence has been up since early January, so it’s probably been six weeks since I’ve been there. He comes home each weekend by Handi-bus, so I haven’t needed to go there.

No, he doesn’t want to come home this weekend. With snow on the ground and temperatures predicted to plunge, he wouldn’t be able to ride his scooter, and there’s no more football. There’s nothing to do, so he would rather just stay at Waverley House. “Your grandson will miss you.” He just shrugs his shoulders.

There’s a fleeting thought of panic that crosses my mind. Haven’t I been a good enough wife to him? What if he doesn’t want to come home anymore? “Will you want to come home again when the weather is better and you can ride your scooter?” I cautiously ask. He nods yes to that.

The snow is much deeper now as I wade my way through it to the car. I don’t have boots because there was no snow on the ground this morning.

Suddenly Dennis is yelling by the Waverley House door, waving at me to come back. He holds his bank book in his hand and points to the Canada Pension Plan deposit and the Old Age Pension deposit, both of which I have transferred to another account so I can use them to pay for his monthly Waverley House charge. I try to explain it to him. He is angry. It’s his money, and he doesn’t want to use it to pay for Waverley House. He tries to tell me that it belongs to HIM, in his own account.

By the time I leave, it’s snowing so hard that I miss a turn and temporarily get lost, although I’ve traveled that route many times in the past. I’m weary tonight when I finally get home. I wonder why. . .

Sunday, February 19, 2012 10:43 PM CST

It’s a long weekend with Family Day on Monday, to give families an opportunity to do something together. The weather was really beautiful but on Saturday and Sunday, everything was much colder. It’s the wind that makes it seem cold.

The following is bits and pieces of our lives, quite disconnected from each other, but that’s the way life is sometimes—or maybe more often than not.

On Thursday afternoon, Laureen (my writer friend) and I met at Swiss Chalet for a chicken dinner and a writing session. We bounced ideas off each other for a book that she’s working on, ending up being there from 5:15 until 8 p.m., when the waitress started clearing everything off of our table to hurry us along. It was fun! I’m getting to know the characters in Laureen’s book quite well at this point. When I’m writing something, I bounce ideas off her and value her suggestions as well. Iron sharpens iron, as the saying goes.

More paperwork—I need to fill out three pages to apply with the government so I can be officially designated as the person to see that Dennis’ bills are paid when his pensions come in. The good news is that I don’t need to see a lawyer and spend a thousand dollars to set up an official Trusteeship through the court system. This limited trusteeship simply says that Dennis is not competent to handle his routine financial affairs and I am appointed to do it. This is a step forward. The term “Involuntary separation” came up again, and this time I’ll be writing it on one of the forms. It simply means that Dennis and I don’t live at the same address any more.

I’m continually amazed at children’s ability to learn. When Tim and Rachel were growing up, I just accepted the fact they were learning and was too busy to pay much attention. Now, since Dennis had his stroke, I realize just how miraculous learning a language and recognizing words actually is. This past week I made a Valentine for Andrew and asked him if he could read what I had written. He read, “Happy Valentine’s Day to Andrew from Grandma. I love you,” all without any prompting.

Saturday afternoon, Tim, Renylor, Andrew, Rachel and I were invited to a birthday party for Miggy, the four-year old son of Cheche (Cheryl). Cheche and Miggy have celebrated birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas with us in the past. It was a real Filipino gathering. One of the people there was Vin, Renylor’s second cousin who immigrated to Canada last summer. Rachel left in the early afternoon, and I went home with Tim so I could wait for the Handi-bus to drop Dennis off. It was culturally Filipino, because guests were invited for noon, and the last ones left at 11 p.m.! Renylor’s friends, Dan, Levy and Stanley (from Taber) were in Calgary for a car show, so stopped at the party as well. They spent Saturday night here with us, and will be with us again tonight. (Levy was Tim and Renylor’s wedding planner in the Philippines and a good friend of Renylor’s.)

Yesterday evening, Dennis and I watched “the Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, one of the Narnia stories by C.S. Lewis, which Dennis read to Tim and Rachel when they were little in Australia. Then this morning, Dennis went to church with me, which was really nice. His hearing is so poor that he gets little out of it, but at least he was with other people.

Sunday afternoon, Tim, Renylor and Andrew along with their other Filipino friends went to the zoo. Dennis, Rachel and I were going to join them, but the weather was really chilly, and it was the opening weekend of the long-anticipated penguin exhibit. Rachel suggested a movie instead because Dennis would have had difficulty riding on his scooter in the crowd. It turned out that we made a wise choice because some of Tim and Renylor’s friends ended up waiting in line for an hour and a half to see the penguins. It’s a permanent exhibit, so we can always see them in the spring when there are no lines.

As I said previously, Monday is Family Day, a welcome day off from work. We had a “family day” today, so I’ll spend tomorrow doing paper work. When I finish the application, I’ll do further work on income tax. Tomorrow night, Mary and Marie, friends from the writers group will be here to discuss writing, and to pray together.


“One step forward in obedience is worth years of studying about it.” –Oswald Chambers

As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. –Colossians 1:11-12, The Message

Sunday, February 12, 2012 9:33 PM CST

The weather was cloudy today, but the temperature was warm (3 degrees C./ 37 F. ), much nicer than some of the bitterly cold weather we had during the week. It wasn’t so much the actual temperature, but the wind. Today was nice enough for Dennis to go for a scooter ride while he was at home, during which he collected eight cans and bottles.

This weekend we managed to get to the Bottle Depot to recycle our cans and bottles before closing time, unlike last week. Dennis’ hard work over the past few weeks earned him $51.25 of spending money.

Andrew and his grandpa are developing a special relationship. When Dennis arrived home on the Handi-bus, Andrew greeted him with, “Grandpa, I waited for you to come from Waberly (Waverley) House.”

This morning, when Andrew came upstairs to visit with us as I was getting ready for church, he noticed his grandpa didn’t have his leg brace on. Concerned, Andrew asked him, “Don’t you have your ankle anymore?” He asked this several times with no response, so finally he was frustrated and said, “Answer yes or no.” (Dennis didn’t have his hearing aids on, and probably wouldn’t have known what Andrew meant by ankle anyway. It took me a while to figure out.)

Andrew was watching TV with his grandpa yesterday, when a picture of a building came on the screen. "Closed," said Andrew, reading the sign on the building. The next one had a sign that said "Loading zone," and Andrew read "Loading zone." How did he know all of that? Has he seen those signs before? So I wrote on a piece of paper. "Andrew is a good boy," and he read that too. He leaves me trying to figure out how he is learning all of this. (He was four in November.) He saw the word musical and read music, but was puzzled because there were extra letters.

Rachel spent the afternoon with us, which was really nice. She and I watched a re-make of the movie “The Parent Trap,” filmed when Lindsay Lohan was a freckle-faced 12-year-old, and played a set of identical twins in the movie. I first saw the move was when Hayley Mills played that part, but she’s now my age, so that’s a really old movie.

A week ago on Friday, one of my stories—written back in 2004—was circulated to a huge e-mail list called “Insight of the Day”. I was surprised because I didn’t know they still had my story in their files after all of these years. As the result of that story, one of the readers tracked me down. Kim and I have had some interesting e-mail conversations about writing. She has written a book about her son, who had four heart surgeries within his first year of life because the two great veins of the heart were reversed. She is at the stage trying to get it published.

On this day in 1989, my dad passed away from a massive heart attack at the young age of 66. I’m remembering him today.

Have a good week. I’m always amazed that I still have readers who read this blog.

Monday, February 6, 2012 9:19 PM CST

This morning I woke up to fresh snow on the ground and a beautiful pink sunrise. However, by this afternoon, all the snow was gone.

We had a quiet weekend with very little going on. Dennis and I were going to recycle cans at the recycling place Saturday afternoon, but arrived just as they were locking the door. We’ll try again next week.

On Sunday we had a family lunch, the first time we were all together since Christmas, and then in the afternoon, Rachel stayed to watch the Super Bowl game with her dad. I think they both had a good afternoon.

Have a good week.

Sunday, January 29, 2012 7:46 PM CST

Although the day was cloudy, the temperature was 52 degrees this afternoon. I arranged for Dennis to bring his scooter with him this weekend, but he didn’t because the wind was bitterly cold yesterday—not good scooter riding weather. However, he has been going out twice a day this past week to collect cans, and brought a garbage bag full when he came home.

There were no football games this weekend, so Dennis watched other things on TV, and a couple times I sat down and watched with him.

Waverley House now has “dog therapy.” Someone brings in a specially trained dog so the clients in the home can pet him. As far as I know, this is new to the home. I’ll need to ask later on and find out more about it.

Tim and Renylor celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary yesterday. Where has the time gone?

Rachel attended a 10-course Chinese meal last night, as a reception for the wedding of a Chinese girlfriend from high school days. She said she tried shark fin soup, jellyfish (could she mean squid?), shrimp balls and other Chinese delicacies and wasn’t sure how much she wanted to eat when she stopped over for a visit after church. This afternoon she taught Andrew how to play “Go fish.”

I have a busy week ahead, but last Thursday I met two deadlines at work and felt totally exhausted like I had just run a marathon; OK, I don’t know what a marathon would be like. . . make that “running a one-mile race.”

BUSY BOY FILE – (Or the world according to Andrew). Two days ago I baked muffins using crushed pineapple. Andrew pointed to the can and said, “What’s that, Grandma?” “Pineapple,” I replied. This morning I wanted to see if he remembered, so I wrote pineapple on a piece of paper and showed it to him. “Pineapple,” Andrew read without any hesitation. I later showed him the word “apple” and he read that too. He has a fantastic memory, because once he has seen a word, he remembers it.

As I was getting ready for church, Andrew came upstairs. “What day is it, Grandma?” he asked. “Sunday,” I said, wondering how he didn’t know it was Sunday if we were going to church. Andrew then looked at a calendar on my wall and said, “Day 29.” Now how did he figure that out? He also looked at the clock and told me it was “almost 10:00,” and he was right about that too. Very observant. I don’t think many kids his age would pay attention to those things.

Sunday, January 22, 2012 8:43 PM CST

The temperature this evening is 23 degrees F. (-5 degrees C.), much more pleasant than the frigid temperatures of last week. The sun shone brightly, making it a very pleasant day.

Dennis and I watched “Courageous,” the new Christian movie now out on DVD, on Saturday night. He seemed to follow along well, and when I would explain something he might be missing, he indicated he already understood what was going on. This afternoon was football. He needs to enjoy it while he can because the season will soon be over.

Busy boy file: Me to Andrew: “Let’s call Aunty Rachel.” Andrew: “I can do it.” He flips through my list of the last 100 phone calls, sees Rachel’s number and presses ‘dial,’ Now why have I never thought of that? And where did he learn how to do it? (Renylor says he scrolls through her phone list on her cell phone, picks out the person she wants to call, presses the name to dial the number, and then he hands the phone to her.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 8:43 PM CST

Winter came with a vengeance. It was -33 degrees C. today (-22 degrees F.) It’s hard to believe that last week our overnight temperatures were 45 degrees F. and we had a record-setting 59 degrees F. on the 9th.

Rachel is grieving another loss in her life. Yesterday one of her clients passed away. Mary Pat, who had Down Syndrome, had a seizure last week, and her condition deteriorated while she was hospitalized. While she lived in the home, for the past 1 ½ years Rachel would get her up each morning, help her bathe, and help her get dressed. Rachel had taken numerous photos of her during some of her happy times so will be doing a Power Point at the funeral tomorrow and speaking (on behalf of the agency.) Please pray for Rachel during this very sad time during her life, coping with two losses in two weeks. I encourage her as much as I can.

Sunday, January 15, 2012 9:23 PM CST

Yesterday my sparrows, which have come back year after year, were back again, checking out their nesting area under the overhang on the garage roof. Are they confused about the season? Today winter came back with a vengeance--fresh snow and a biting, bitterly cold wind. Nesting plans are on hold indefinitely. Or at least until March or so.

Last night was a game and karaoke night (celebrating Rachel’s 30th birthday) at her condo. There was no birthday cake or singing “Happy Birthday”, just an evening of fun, which was the way she wanted it. Andrew and his little friend Miggie enjoyed building towers with blocks. Counting kids, more than 20 people packed into that small condo.

Dennis stayed home and watched two football games while we were gone. TV is a good baby sitter for disabled adults. In years past, it was dangerous to leave him on his own because of seizures, but he hasn’t had one for 2 ½ years. He watched football again today.

Tonight, Dennis, Tim, Renylor, Andrew and I took Rachel out to celebrate her birthday as a family. It was a fun evening at Perkins. Turning 30 is a major milestone, so we all worked on making it special in various ways.

Friday night I helped my writer friend Laureen celebrate her birthday and we ended the evening with a friendly game of Scrabble. (I think I’ve had enough celebrating for a while. I'm having way too much fun.)

Rachel wrote the following on Wednesday night after her friend Kerri’s funeral. I thought it was a moving tribute to a friend:

Life is uncertain, love fully. Pain is a given, know you will be strengthened. True friends are a blessing, don't leave earth without leaving your footprints on their hearts. Hope is eternal, never lose faith; in God, others, or yourself. Today is a new day, with no mistakes in it yet, go out and make a difference in someone else's life while you have the chance!

My thought for the day: Romans 15:13 May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit. (GNT)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:43 PM CST

Light, downy snow fell this morning. It seems more like winter at this point, and hopefully the trees won’t be too confused. They could have a problem if the leaf buds started growing too early. It may get warm again by the end of the week.

I took Dennis to the dentist yesterday. Fortunately, the gum grew over the area where the tooth had chipped off, sealing the open area. All that the dentist needed to do at this point was to grind off the sharp corners. If it starts hurting, that’s another story. I won’t think about that for now. The dentist also ground down a few other sharp edges.

“Are you any closer to figuring out your retirement?” That's a question I am sometimes asked. It's like a big jigsaw puzzle. (I'm not a puzzle person, but the analogy seems to fit.) I have a few more pieces at this point, but not all of them that I need. I'm working on figuring out where they fit in the puzzle.

+ Good news--Wycliffe now has a different classification with Revenue Canada (If you are from the U.S., think IRS). According to OLD Revenue Canada regulations, a person needed to work FULL TIME to remain a member of Wycliffe Canada and receive pay through Wycliffe. The good news--and it is VERY good news for me-- is that under the new Revenue Canada classification, a person can now work PART TIME, remain a Wycliffe member and continue to be on the Wycliffe payroll. (At this point I'm continuing to work 4 1/2 days a week and don't see that changing in the near future. However, this nearly 66-year-old body wasn't built to last forever.)

+Another bit of good news is that Dennis' retirement from the Canadian government is a bit more than I thought it would be.

+ Also, when I called to straighten out Dennis' Old Age Security (OAS) because they had the wrong account number, the person on the end of the line asked if I needed to apply for GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement) --so that is another possibility for help later on. I don't need anything like that as long as I am still working.

+I’m still trusting in God’s promise in Isaiah 49 that He hasn’t forgotten me.

A question I have now is, How much of Dennis' financial transactions can I handle without getting full Trusteeship? I don't know. . . I just do what I need to do to keep paying his bills. If we would have had Enduring Power of Attorney for each other, that would not have been a problem at all-- but at 58, we didn't know we needed those things before Dennis had his stroke.

So what are my thoughts to others nearing retirement age? 1)-Get an Enduring Power of Attorney or the equivalent before you think you need it. 2) Be aware that all your retirement plans (or non-plans) will change drastically if one spouse needs to be in a care facility. Our financial outlook would look a whole lot different if we were living together. . . .but I am thankful that Dennis is in a good place where he is safe, his needs are cared for, and I don’t have the unbearable stress I had previously. He is safe, and so am I.

From the Busy Boy file.
When I came home from work yesterday afternoon, Andrew greeted me with, “Grandma, it’s so good that you came home.” He was thoughtful for a while, and then he announced, “This house has two homes.” I had never thought about it that way before, but he was exactly right. How did he figure that out at four? Andrew is a bright spot in our lives.

Sunday, January 8, 2012 8:21 PM CST

We set a record this week with 15 degrees C (59 degrees F.). This isn’t a normal January temperature in a winter that was supposed to be bitterly cold—much colder than last winter. But I’m not complaining, you understand. Not at all. We’ll get enough snow, I’m sure, in the coming weeks. When the Chinook blew through, parts of a couple highways were closed because of high wind warnings. Remember the winds I wrote about in a previous post on November 27? This wasn’t nearly as bad, but I think people now take warnings more seriously because of the damage that can occur.

On Friday a semi trailer truck collided with the back of another vehicle on Deerfoot Trail, the main highway that runs through the city. Though the semi was covered, chicken parts sloshed out from the top of the container when the driver hit his brakes. Two lanes of traffic were covered with chicken entrails for about 500 metres. Crews were out cleaning up the mess for about 2 ½ hours. No, I didn’t see it, wasn’t driving there, and am glad I missed it. I just read about it. No one was injured, but the stench would have been incredible if it had happened in the middle of the summer, according to a chief from the fire department. What a day brightener for people coming home in rush hour traffic at 4 p.m.! (I thought this was a rather unique Calgary story.)

Dennis and his scooter came home for the weekend at 4 p.m. on Saturday, but he didn’t ride his scooter this weekend, Instead, he watched football. I watched the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers along with him this afternoon.

Tomorrow Dennis has a dental appointment to have the top of a tooth “cemented”. This was done in December, and didn’t last very long, so the dentist said she would try again. The next step is either a root canal or to have the tooth pulled if this doesn’t work.

Dennis is speaking, and I occasionally hear real words. . . I frantically start to write them down, but I can’t catch all of them. . . It’s all so real. THEN I WAKE UP. It’s only a dream. This is a dream that has repeated itself numerous times over the years, and each time it seems so real. And then I read articles that people with strokes can still sing, and learn to speak again from that. Singing is in a different part of the brain. I told Rachel about the dream and she and I had Dennis singing “This is the Day that the Lord Has Made’ and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” with us. Some of the words sound somewhat like they are supposed to sound. Too bad we can’t remember more songs that he would know words to. He knew the tunes, but doesn’t really remember words to a lot of songs.

Monday, January 2, 2012 9:12 PM CST

Happy New Year to all of you reading this. Here is a poem that has blessed me over the years:

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'

And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'

So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
Trod gladly into the night
He led me towards the hills
And the breaking of day in the lone east.

So heart be still!
What need our human life to know
If God hath comprehension?

In all the dizzy strife of things
Both high and low,
God hideth his intention."

"This poem was written in 1908 by Minnie Louise Haskins, an American
lecturer at the London School of Economics, who wrote as a hobby. It
was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth the late Queen Mother, who showed
it to her husband King George VI. He included it in his famous
Christmas message broadcast in 1939 at the beginning of the Second
World War. After the King's death the Queen Mother had it engraved on
bronze plaques on the entrance to the King George VI Memorial Chapel,
Windsor, where both are now interred. It was also read at the funeral
service of the Queen Mother.”—Information from Wikipedia

We’ve had a very quiet New Year’s Day weekend. Dennis was home for three days, arriving on Saturday afternoon. He was able to take his scooter out on both Saturday and Sunday, although the days weren’t very warm. He found six cans and bottles during his excursions on his scooter.

On Saturday night, Dennis and I watched “Fireproof” (a Christian movie starring Kirk Cameron). We were in bed by 10 p.m., having no desire to see the New Year in. On Sunday we had a meal with only part of our family present.

On Monday afternoon, Dennis and I watched “Dark Knight”, a Batman movie. The plot was complex and confusing, because a person never knew who were the good guys or who was only pretending. Dennis was eager to get back to Waverley House and back to his normal routine and friends there. He was disappointed that he couldn't go back yesterday, but the Handi-bus was already booked for Monday, and I had no way of getting his scooter back except by Handi-bus.

I'll be going back to work tomorrow, and don't know if I'm ready for it. . . It was nice to have a break.

Rachel is sad this weekend because a friend from years back died on New Year’s Day. What a shock! Kerri was only in her late 30s. Renylor, Andrew and I went over to visit with Rachel tonight and encourage her.

Thursday, December 29, 2011 5:08 PM CST

Happy New Year! It’s almost here. Today the temperature is 45 degrees (7 degrees C.), with rapidly vanishing snow and lots of brown grass showing. There are no water puddles, because the moisture evaporates —a unique phenomenon of the weather here in Alberta.

I’ve enjoyed having a couple vacation days between Christmas and New Year’s Day. During my time off, I’ve written an article for CSC News, read a book, and started organizing some information for income tax time. I keep telling myself that I need to relax, but often that’s hard for me to do because I have a check list of things that need to be done. I’ve accomplished quite a few of them, but should have a day or two without a list.

I talked with Jenny at Waverley House on the phone. Dennis is doing fine and keeps checking the back alley to see if he can use his scooter. Unfortunately the back alley is still full of ice and is slippery. Maybe I should book him to come home on Handi-bus for the weekend with his scooter. The sidewalks here are clear, unless of course, snow is in the forecast in the next few days.

In the last post on Monday, I mentioned that Andrew had been to the emergency room at the hospital and had gotten rehydrated. He had fevers off and on, and a cough, for the next few days. Today is the first day he has been without a fever.

Update on information about Dennis' brother Ken from last time--He had one new stent put in and a clot removed from one of the four stents put in five years ago, so the procedure this time wasn't as extensive as I first had thought. I heard today that he is gradually regaining energy.

Monday, December 26, 2011 10:26 PM CST

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed a special time with your families. We had a good Christmas, generally speaking. On Christmas Eve, Rachel, Dennis and I went to the candle light service at church, something I look forward to each year. After that we spent time with our neighbors, Charleen and Gregg, an annual event on Christmas Eve. They were heading for Mexico for vacation on Christmas Day.

On Christmas Day, we opened gifts and had our turkey dinner. Renylor’s Filipino friend, Cheryl, and her son Miggie joined us for the meal. Andrew had been sick a couple days, and by 5 p.m., Tim and Renylor took him to the emergency room where he was X-rayed, and had blood and urine tests. The doctor put him on an IV because he was getting dehydrated from throwing up. Finally, by tonight, he is doing better, but not yet back to his lively self. The doctor concluded it was a virus because the tests revealed nothing. Cheryl and Miggie were getting over pink eye, so most of the group here wasn’t too healthy. (Andrew and Miggie did not play together, in case you are wondering.)

Last night and this morning, Dennis and I watched two DVDs that he received for Christmas presents—“Facing the Giants” and “Get Smart”. We also saw an old, old Perry Mason program where they were still using black, rotary dial telephones. By 5 p.m. today, Dennis was ready to go back to Waverley House. He’s hoping to be able to get out on his scooter in this nice weather one of these days. It’s been above freezing for much of the past week.

We learned last night that Dennis’ brother Ken had a mild heart attack two weeks ago and had five stents put in. He and his wife Sharon have been in the process of moving to Atlanta, Georgia, and Ken was back in Minneapolis when it happened. That was a shock to hear. He is out of the hospital and is recovering.

Today I feel a bit weary at the end of all of this busy-ness, and am thankful that I still have a few vacation days before the New Year.

Happy New Year to each of you. May the Lord watch over you and give you a healthy year. Good health is something we can’t take for granted.

Friday, December 23, 2011 5:22 PM CST

Merry Christmas to all of you taking the time to read this—instead of wrapping Christmas presents, organizing a Christmas meal or doing a hundred and one other things that keep people exceedingly busy at this time of year. I hope this holy celebration is a meaningful one to you and you have time to relax after your preparation is over. I want to keep “Jesus is the Reason for the season” uppermost in my mind and not forget why we are celebrating as I rush around to finish everything that needs to be done.

Our Christmas plans are as follows: Dennis will be coming home at 4 p.m. Saturday, some of us will be going to candlelight Christmas Eve services at 6 p.m., church at 10:30 on Sunday, and the whole family gathered for Christmas dinner after church. Yes, we’ll open presents at some point too. The weather predictions are for unseasonably warm weather on Sunday, so nice that Dennis will be wishing he had his scooter at home. He will be staying here until 5 p.m. on Monday. I have a few vacation days left so will take some days off between Christmas and New Years. How about you? How are you celebrating?

Busy boy department—Andrew had his first school program in his entire life on Wednesday night. The pre-school children in his class sang Christmas carols while wearing paper angel wings and carrying a light, maybe some kind of flashlight. Andrew walked up on stage and then kept walking until he was at the other end of the line. The teacher’s assistant went down to retrieve him; then he twirled around and around. Renylor was hoping he wouldn’t do anything to embarrass her, but that’s all he did. He marches to “a different drummer” all right, but he is uniquely Andrew, and we love him.

I learned some things about the computer from Andrew—how to tag photos with names on Facebook. Then he found Google and opened up a pool game. (“It’s billiards,” he said.) He had to show me how to push the mouse to make the ball roll. I never would have figured that one out. Neither of us scored any points, but it was an interesting experience. He learns from watching Renylor who uses the computer quite a bit.

Sunday, December 18, 2011 10:23 PM CST

I have no new updates concerning the Philippines beyond what I posted yesterday.

This weekend was a bit unusual. Rachel was over yesterday to help Dennis wrap his presents, and after she had put a name on the package, he would change his mind. After he did that about three times, she was getting really frustrated.

He had a large box of chocolates he was going to give as a group gift to everyone in Waverley House, and this afternoon, he changed his mind again. He indicated he meant it for our whole family at our house.

At 4:40 this afternoon, he kept insisting he wanted to go to Co-op to go shopping and made motions about taking his scooter. I told him it was too late to go to Co-op because the Handi-bus was scheduled to pick him up at 5 p.m. Besides, his scooter was at Waverley House so he couldn't take it. He kept insisting and tapping his head which means, "Think, you're not using your head." Finally, I said, “Do you want to go to the garage to look for your scooter?" Eventually he calmed down and prepared for the Handi-bus by putting on his coat. I wonder what's going on in his mind? He’s not usually that way and would know that his scooter was NOT here. Sometimes communication is so very difficult, because I was not understanding at all what he wanted, and what I was understanding didn’t make any sense.

Handi-bus finally picked him up at 5:30, but he didn’t get home until 7 p.m. It’s a 15 minute trip between our house and Waverley House, so where was he for an hour and a half on the Handi-bus? He tried to tell Jenny and the others in the house what had happened, but they didn’t understand him. He arrived home at Waverley House and was safe. I guess that was the most important thing. It often takes us an hour and a half when we visit the doctor on the other end of Calgary, because they schedule numerous pick ups and drop offs along the way, but taking so long on just a short trip is highly unusual.

Saturday, December 17, 2011 2:09 PM CST


Further update at 7:33 p.m. from Renylor- I already called my family and they are fine and safe,just no electricity at this moment. ..no damage..thank God..

We had thawing weather yesterday, so some of our snow has melted, but not a chance of a brown Christmas, at least not as of today. There’s enough snow on the ground for a white Christmas—maybe a dirty white one.

On Wednesday night Rachel arranged for Handi-bus to drop Dennis off at the Sunridge Mall so he could go Christmas shopping on his scooter. He was enthusiastic about shopping after getting the scooter (I think I told him it was a Christmas gift to him). The mall trip was a group activity, since Rachel, Renylor, Andrew, Kelly (Rachel’s friend) and I were all there. Andrew enjoyed his ride with Grandpa on his scooter. That scooter is speedy—Dennis would ride on ahead and then wait for the rest of us to catch up. He generously bought gifts for the family from money in his recycling and train sale account and bought a large box of candy for the residents at Waverley House. He was actually having a GOOD time thinking of others this year.

Going to a shopping mall was another group activity for the Waverley House residents on Thursday. Dennis would be proudly riding that scooter, which has lights, turn signals and a horn. (The speed indicator goes all the way from a turtle picture to a hare picture. Now how fast would that be?)

While I was fixing supper the other night, Andrew opened up the Wordscraper (Scrabble) game on my computer. He typed in Andrew and it brought up Andrew D. , so he started a new game between me and Andrew D. It turns out that Andrew D. is a real person—a church friend of Rachel’s and a Facebook friend of mine. Now how scary is that? Little Andrew types Andrew under all the family photos he sees on Facebook. I’ve heard it’s possible for children to sign up for things on Internet that later cost parents huge amounts of money. So I’ll need to shut the cover on my computer while I’m away during the day. Andrew is not allowed to come upstairs when I’m away, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

Last night I saw a pantomime of Peter Pan, using my second play ticket of the season. (Pantomime is an English form of play with speaking parts, but where the audience hisses and boos.) It was a fun evening and some familiar songs were incorporated into the play, which was rewritten by a Calgarian. Tinkerbell was played by a young lady who had studied ballet in school for seven years. The crocodile “Lola” was a large man with a green wig who sang “Whatever Lola wants, Lola Gets” and eventually got Captain Hook.

Now a sad story that's just beginning to unfold. . . There’s been a lot of flooding from Typhoon Sendong in Iligan City and the northern part of Mindanao where all of Renylor’s relatives live. Iligan City is a city of 318,000 people, and Renylor’s uncle was the mayor there at one time. Pictures coming out of the area are sad ones, with a lot of destruction, and pictures of dead bodies—a lot of them children, some of them about the size of Andrew. Renylor has not heard yet how her family has fared in all of this, but knows that they would have moved up the mountain to keep ahead of the flooding. Please pray for their continued safety. She is still waiting to hear.

Renylor’s uncle Ronnie is a news reporter with a television station and posted some photos online that he took from a helicopter of the flooded area. Levy, our wedding planner friend living in Taber, noticed that one of the families lost in the flooding is a young family whose wedding she planned and their loved ones.
I just instant messaged Ronnie Enderes who was online. He said that a lot of people are still missing and some of his late wife's relatives (not related to Renylor) are still missing. (I met Ronnie at Tim and Renylor's wedding nearly five years ago. His wife died of a stroke several years ago.)

LIVE from Iligan:
Ronnie: am still uploading. lots of people are affected. i still have to find out. many are missing. retrieval opeartions are ongoin

Renylor just said she was in touch with you. I won't take up your time now, but will keep on praying.

Ronnie Enderes:
thnak you maam. i'll be going back to the field in a little while. some of my wife's relatives are still missing
Chat Conversation End
Renylor said she's heard that her relatives are safe, but she doesn't know the condition of any of their houses.

Sendong was actually classified as a tropical storm, not a typhoon. Most storms hit the Philippines farther north, so people on Mindanao aren't prepared for such a storm. The amount of rain they usually get in one month fell within a 12 hour period. Rivers flooded at 2:30 a.m., so people were sleeping.

Sunday, December 11, 2011 10:22 PM CST

Bits and pieces of our lives

Falling snow this morning made driving difficult. I took Tim to the airport, so he could fly to Ontario for work. He will be gone until Thursday, so I will need to take Andrew to preschool on Monday and Wednesday. On those days I’ll do my work on my computer from home in the morning.

On Saturday night, Dennis and I went by Handi-bus to the Communications Dept. potluck Christmas party. It was a fun evening, and I didn’t need to worry about getting lost or getting stuck in the snow. I think Dennis enjoyed it, since he enjoys eating. A number of people talked with him.

The patch job on Dennis’ tooth lasted two days. Now it will be on to Plan B. It still doesn’t hurt, so that is a very good thing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011 10:05 PM CST

This has been a relatively quiet week. The personal home care aide at Waverley House said that Dennis has been happy this week, because he’s excited about his new scooter. However, the weather has been too cold to ride it.

Today he had another trip to the dentist. I drove him this time to avoid the problems we’ve had with Handi-bus. Another side broke off of a tooth, and this time there was nothing to anchor the filling to, so the dentist cemented the existing filling in, knowing that it won’t hold for long. Fortunately, she only charged for the X-ray. We’ll be back again, I know. Next time it’s either a root canal or having the tooth pulled. A root canal wouldn’t make sense because eventually he will need dentures.

Tonight I got together with my writer friend, but we didn’t have a three-hour meal like we sometimes do, while we discuss writing. Tonight she was headed to her nephew’s concert after we ate. It was a nice visit, but short.

Saturday, December 3, 2011 3:27 PM CST

Now that Thanksgiving is past, Christmas is in the air. Our local Christian radio station is playing all Christmas music until Christmas Day. Some of the songs are the classics like “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” “Sleigh Ride” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” sung by singers long dead, like Perry Como and Burl Ives. It brings back memories of Christmases long past when the world was simpler, at least in the eyes of a child. This afternoon, the snow is softly falling.

I am now the proud owner of a new refrigerator to replace our 20-year-old one that died last weekend. It was supposed to be delivered on Thursday night, but the delivery company said “no one was home.” I am not sure where they were trying to deliver it, because I was waiting as eagerly as a kid for Christmas and had all of the outside lights on. Then, on Friday the morning, I heard a humming noise from the old refrigerator; it started running again after a week of silence! The new refrigerator was delivered at 2:15 Friday afternoon. We have a house built with 32-inch doorways, before 36- inch became standard, so the delivery men needed to take the doors off of the old refrigerator to get it out the front door—a first for them. (The new one is smaller.) Dennis needed to take handles off of that larger refrigerator when moving it into the house in 1994 and then widened the doorway between the kitchen and the living room to accommodate any future moves. We used that doorway yesterday.

Dennis’ new Leo mobility scooter was delivered one hour after the refrigerator arrived. Then Hand-bus brought Dennis home at 6 p.m. so he could see his new scooter. Yes! The platform between the front wheel wells and the back battery compartment was long enough for his size 12 shoes! On Saturday morning, he went out for ride in 22 degree (-5 degrees C.) weather in spite of the snow on the streets. He found out that the scooter slipped and slid in snowy conditions, but he managed to find six cans and bottles anyway.

I’m thankful that my income tax return from last spring has covered winter tires, a refrigerator and the scooter—all in the past three or four weeks. Now I can’t have any major expenses until the next tax return!

Rachel came over and put up Christmas decorations for me this morning and decorated the Christmas tree. I’m thankful for her help. She enjoys doing it.

Update on last Sunday’s major windstorm: Our neighbors just had their roof re-shingled a month ago after last summer’s hailstorm. On Sunday afternoon, they found half of the shingles from the back side of their house on the ground! We had our roof replaced because of the same hail damage last year, but it was done in the middle of this summer, and did NOT blow off. I am thankful ours is intact, but very sorry for our neighbors, Charleen and Gregg. They are the ones who have dealt with so much sickness.
I generally tell you about my family, but today I’ll tell you about myself. “How are you doing . . . really?” is a question I’ve been asked by people who won’t settle for my response, “I’m doing fine.” They can see me struggling to get out of a car, leaning on furniture, pulling myself up the stairs with the hand railing or walking rather stiffly.

A week ago, I was describing my pain to my chiropractor: “Sometimes I have pain over one hip, sometimes over the other—it shifts from one day to the next. I occasionally have Sciatic nerve pain in my leg. When I walk up stairs, I often need to take one step at a time, putting my left foot on the step and pulling my right one up. Will it ever get better?”

His answer to me: “Your back problem has been going on for a long time. I don’t know if it will get any better. At this point, I consider treatment successful if it doesn’t get worse. My goal is to keep you out of a wheelchair.”
So I’m thankful—for not being in a wheelchair, or even using a cane or walker, at least not yet. A lot of people my age have difficulty walking and end up getting knee and hip replacements—but there’s no replacement for a back. (In case you are wondering, it’s nothing exotic with an unpronounceable name: scoliosis in my middle vertebrae, a missing curve in my lower vertebrae, and arthritis progressing.)
On Nov. 30th, Wycliffe Canada had an induction ceremony for Roy Eyre, (pronounced ‘air’) as the new president of Wycliffe Canada. During his talk, Roy shared a quote from Oswald Chambers that another Wycliffe member gave him, just before he was going to meet with 120 Wycliffe members and be introduced as the next president last May. The quote was extremely meaningful to Roy. It sounded familiar to me and I’m sure I’ve shared it sometime in the past as well.

“If Jesus ever commanded us to do something he was unable to equip us to accomplish, He would be a liar,” wrote Chambers. “And if we make our own inability a stumbling block, or an excuse not to be obedient, it means that we are telling God that there is something that He has not yet taken into account. Every element of our own self-reliance we put to death by the power of God. The moment we recognize our complete weakness and our dependence on Him will be the moment that the Spirit of God will show His power.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 8:27 AM CST

I woke up to several inches of snow on the ground this morning. I don’t like to drive through it, but I must admit it’s really beautiful. The wind isn’t howling and I wasn’t pelted with ice crystals when I scraped off the car, so I don’t mind softly falling snow. (The loaner scooter is now taking up garage space, which is why the car is outside.)

Rachel told me that she talked with George at Medi-chair. He said that the one scooter we looked at with enough foot space for Dennis is not sturdy enough to withstand the kind of wear he will give it. George would not recommend getting it. So now what? Doesn’t any other scooter manufacturer make scooters with enough foot room? (Space between where the battery compartment ends and the fender begins.)

My 20-year-old refrigerator died over the weekend. I didn’t realize anything was wrong until I saw that food in the freezing compartment was melting. Then I checked the refrigerator temperature and found it was 55 degrees. I should have realized at some point that the kitchen was silent . . . it had been running a lot lately. Rachel helped me locate another one for a reasonable price, which will be delivered on Thursday night.

I got lab reports back from my doctor a few days ago. He said I had earned a “gold star” this time—so different from two years ago when he was telling me he was going to put me on the last medication he could possibly give me.

Today we will be having the induction service for Roy Eyre as the new Wycliffe president, and following that we will have the Annual General Meeting.

More on the wind last weekend—there is a street light pole down by the Wycliffe office, bent over when something hurled by the wind hit it about six feet off the ground. What amount of force would it take to do that? One building downtown lost 12 huge windows when hit by flying debris. Gusts were 85 to 110 km/hour (53 to 68 mph). Material at building sites becomes especially dangerous when flying through the air. At least there were no deaths this time. The wind was also flipping over semis that weren’t carrying heavy loads. Downtown Calgary streets weren’t cleared of debris until mid-Monday.

Sunday, November 27, 2011 7:20 PM CST

High wind warnings were posted today after gusts of wind blew through Calgary this noon, knocking down power lines, blowing over a few trees, knocking out windows, and ripping the roof off of a house. The sun was shining and the sky was blue as all of this was happening, so the weather was very deceptive. The temperature was 13 degrees (55 degrees F.) Downtown Calgary was even shut down because windows on one of the big buildings shattered and shards of glass hit a parked car. I thought I was driving through hail at one point on my drive home from church, but it turned out that the wind was throwing small stones at my windshield. By mid-afternoon, things had quieted down. This was the kind of wind storm that was blowing semis off the road last week.

Saturday morning Rachel, Dennis and I looked at scooters at Medi-chair because his current scooter is obsolete and will never run again because of a part that is no longer being made. What we were looking for had to be 1) sturdy because Dennis gives it a lot of rough wear, 2) a four wheeler, because three wheels make Dennis feel insecure 3) enough foot room for size 12 feet, 4) at a price that isn’t outrageous. Unfortunately, the brand that was the sturdiest had only a very short foot space and Dennis’ feet were cramped and uncomfortable. He couldn’t put his feet down flat. New scooters will go 25 miles on one charge, which probably isn’t a good thing for Dennis to know.

George, the man working at Medi-chair , had a couple of other brands in his warehouse that he couldn’t show us until next week because the warehouse is closed on Saturdays. All scooters are right hand drive so need to be switched at the factory to make them left hand drive for Dennis. In the meantime, Dennis has a used scooter on loan from Medi-chair. Unfortunately he discovered on Sunday that the battery doesn’t hold much of a charge.

On Saturday, 28 of us Americans met at the Calgary office to celebrate American Thanksgiving. Everyone brought part of the delicious meal. We had known some of the young adults there when they were grade school or junior high students. Time has certainly passed. After our meal, I looked around the room—Dennis was happily watching a football game, Rachel and Tim were both involved in highly competitive table games, Renylor was talking with one of the other young women there, and Andrew was playing with some of the other children. I am so blessed and have so much for which to be thankful! It was a wonderful evening.

On Friday night, I attended a wonderful Christmas concert called “Emmanuel” put on by the Rocky Mountain College choir. Some of my single friends that I normally go to plays with were also attending, so we sat together. What a lovely concert!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 7:02 PM CST

Happy Thanksgiving to you. We’ll be celebrating with American friends at the Wycliffe office on Saturday.

We are once again snowless after a warm Chinook wind blew through. It was so windy yesterday that south of Calgary some semis were blown off the road by 100 km/hr winds. That’s a strong wind.

What we have learned about refurbished scooters--if anything goes wrong, they are NOT a good value for the money. Rachel checked with Medi-chair, the shop that was trouble-shooting to see why the scooter still won't run. The scooter needs one more part, which shouldn't be a problem . . . BUT they told her the scooter is obsolete, and the company no longer even manufactures the part. So, on Saturday morning, Rachel, Dennis and I will be looking for a new scooter at Medi-chair, not a refurbished one. If we buy locally and the scooter is new, it means that the company selling the scooter knows where it can be fixed and that parts are available. The two scooters Dennis has had previously were manufactured long distances away (the first one in Iowa), local repair shops had no access to the parts, and could not repair the scooters. When the first scooter lost an arm rest in transport, we needed to find a local manufacturing plant that could manufacture an arm rest for us.

Fortunately, I did not have to pay for re-roofing the leaking garage roof this summer, just for a patch job. So I still have money left from my income tax return. However, any thought of new hearing aids for Dennis will be put on hold for the near future.

Monday, November 21, 2011 11:34 PM CST

“Fall” is coming back. After what felt like a bitterly cold weekend, the weather is once again above freezing. The “bitterly cold weekend” will probably not seem as cold later on, once we adjust to it, but it was a shock to go from just barely freezing to 0 degrees (-18 C.)

This past weekend was almost a peaceful one . . . until Dennis indicated that he wanted $300 from me. I’m not sure what he wanted it for, but when I told him I didn’t have $300 for him, he put on his coat at 1:30 Sunday afternoon, and was ready to head out the door. So I called the Handi-bus and cancelled his trip, and took him back to Waverley House myself. I was afraid if I was stopped long enough at a stoplight, he would jump out of the door, but that didn’t happen fortunately.

Then later on, the home care aid called me and said Dennis wanted to know about his scooter. Rachel’s still working on that one, and has it at Medichair for trouble shooting.

Busy boy department: Andrew was on my computer and clicked on my Wordscraper (Scrabble) file. He next found “practice”, clicked on “Get hint”, and then finally “play word”. Words zipped up on the board, and he came out with an amazing score. How did he figure out how to do all of that in sequence? I had never even noticed the practice button previously because I’ve been so concentrated on playing a game with my friend in Australian. He was fascinated that the computer was making words all by itself. Later he found the Google file, and typed in YTV (which stands for Youth TV). “That’s my favorite,” he said. A couple days ago, he found a Sears map, listing all the Sears stores around Calgary. It also had some beautiful scenery pictures. He remembered; yesterday he asked me to find the Sears map again on Google. I amazed at the learning ability of kids in general and Andrew in particular.

Tonight I had a writer’s meeting at my house with a couple of my writer friends.

Friday, November 18, 2011 9:10 PM CST

Brrrr! Winter weather is here. Today the temperature got down to 0 degrees F. (-18 degrees C.)

Some things are just too good to be true (See the post for Thursday.) I went to Waverley House this morning to meet with the occupational therapist about Easter Seals and mobility scooters they loan people. Dennis evidently didn’t know I was coming because his face lit up in surprise when I walked in.

The occupational therapist explained about the scooter and then pulled out some paperwork that we needed to fill out. Before we even got started with the paperwork, she asked me a couple qualifying questions—does Dennis own anything, like property? Yes, he is a joint owner of a house in Calgary, a house in Dallas (producing rent that we use as part of our monthly income) and a 2003 car. No, she informed us, Dennis is NOT qualified for a loaner scooter. Owning anything automatically disqualifies a person from even being considered by Easter Seals. They are looking for destitute people who couldn’t afford it otherwise. So I guess we can praise the Lord that we are definitely not destitute.

I mentioned that I had been told that people over 65 receive $708 toward the purchase of one hearing aid. Although she didn’t deal with hearing aids directly, she knew enough about it to say that Dennis probably wouldn’t qualify for that either, because our combined income is too high and we own property.

However, the GOOD news is that Steve, the manager of our Dallas property, managed to get our outrageous taxes reduced by $700, so I guess the money we don’t need to spend on taxes eventually goes toward hearing aids.

Dennis handed me his new bifocals in a plastic bag. A screw had come out already. (Two years ago screws had come out of his prescription reading glasses about five times before he gave up wearing them.) So I took them to the optical shop and asked if they had any way of sealing the screws, and they said no. Could I put clear nail polish on the screws myself? The two women agreed that it wouldn’t void any warranty as long as I didn’t get polish on the lenses.

Writing news—I completed one article this week for CSC News, and now have a new assignment. This time I am assigned to write about one of my co-workers in the communications department at the Wycliffe office! It should be interesting to get to know Melanie a little better. She attends Center Street Church. I also picked up the Fall/Winter issue of CSC News on Thursday and saw the article I wrote in the spring. I make no money on this writing. My only reward is seeing my name in print and helping others tell their amazing stories. None of my friends attending that church are even aware that I write articles because I guess they don’t read CSC News.

Dennis’ brother Al just moved to Flagstaff, Arizona, yesterday, and will be starting work at a post office down there. He has always wanted to move to Flagstaff, but never dreamed it would be possible. Then Dennis’ brother Ken and his wife Sharon will be moving to Atlanta, Georgia, on December 1st to be near their son and family. I can’t even imagine how lonely Dennis’ mom will be this Christmas. She and her son Gary are the only ones left in Minneapolis. She has two nieces about 90 miles away.

Thursday, November 17, 2011 11:39 PM CST

We’re coming to the end of another week. I hope it’s been a good week for you.

Jenny, the personal care home aide, said that Dennis has been spending more time in bed lately because he is depressed that his scooter isn’t working yet. He keeps going out to the Waverley House garage to check on it. The man who sold Rachel the refurbished scooter for Dennis had an extra circuit board in a non-functional scooter he was using for spare parts, so installed it into Dennis’ scooter at no charge two days ago. However, something is still wrong with the scooter. (When Rachel hooked up the two new batteries for the scooter a couple weeks ago, something wasn’t quite right in the connections and it caused the short.) Rachel is having the scooter checked further at one of the repair shops to see what else went wrong besides a shorted out circuit board. Scooters can be a real pain to keep running.

I talked with Susan, the Waveley House nurse, this morning. She has already arranged for an occupational therapist to visit Dennis tomorrow at Waverley House. I'm taking a vacation day anyway, so I will be able to go there from 10-11 a.m. Susan is arranging with Easter Seals for the loan of a scooter for Dennis while his other scooter is being repaired. The Easter Seal scooter is a refurbished one, free to the client and on loan until the client no longer needs it. (Some people end up having them on loan for years.) If I had known about the Easter Seal loan program, we wouldn’t have needed to buy this current scooter.

We’ve had a couple of nice days lately when Dennis could have ridden outside, but from now on, the scooter (whichever one he will be using) will be useful for mall excursions.

On Monday night I went to a local mosque with the Next Gen ministries young people and others (50-60 of us) interested in learning about Ahmadiyya Muslims. We had a tour of the mosque, an explanation of what they believe, and a delicious Pakistani meal. They are of sect that is considered heretical and is persecuted by Orthodox Muslims. The cultural exchange was arranged after the Wycliffe member who directs NextGen ministries spoke on the Christian’s view of heaven and life after death at a symposium at which an Ahmadiyya Muslim was also speaking on the same topic. Monday night was an interesting evening. I think that some people from the mosque will eventually have an invitation to visit our Wycliffe office some evening.

Today I had our car winterized and the brakes checked. These are all of the things Dennis used to do, which are now my responsibility.

From my "busy boy" file:
I've caught myself calling Andrew "Tim" on occasion and have to stop myself. A couple days ago I caught him dumping baking soda litter box deodorant into the cat's food dish, and I probably yelled, "Tim, don't do that!"

Monday night, when I came in at 9:53 from the mosque visit, Andrew was still awake. He heard me fumbling with the key in the door, so he ran up the stairs and stood in the dark hallway, back lit by the basement stairway light. I was startled to see a little person standing there."You're late," he said. "It's 10 o'clock. It's past your bedtime." Now where did all that come from? I just chuckled.

New study just out: “The age of 80 has become the new 65. The magic retirement age, long considered to be at 65, has become irrelevant thanks to rising healthcare costs, mortgage obligations and other debts. A quarter of middle class Americans see 80 as a good age to shoot for when it comes to retirement.” –information from a Wells Fargo study. I find this information to be scary, because how many people are still capable of working at that age??

Sunday, November 13, 2011 10:00 PM CST

This was truly a beautiful weekend, with no snow in sight. I now have snow tires on, but there is no urgency to try them out on freshly fallen snow. That can wait.

Dennis was home for the weekend. He mostly watched football, and today he celebrated Andrew's birthday with all of us. Today marks the seventh year since his stroke in 2004.

Today 15 of us celebrated Andrew’s fourth birthday with a party at Stir Crazy, similar to Chuck E. Cheese—with many children’s play areas. Andrew enjoyed bouncing and sliding in a “house” with all kinds of bouncing areas and slides, huge balls to swing on and stairs to climb on two different levels. Everything is cushioned and well padded, with heavy mesh (rope) walls to keep the children in and allow parents to see their children. Levy, Dan, and Stanley came from Taber for the weekend. (Levy is Renylor’s friend from the Philippines.) Four children besides Andrew were at the party, so adults outnumbered the children in our group. The noise level was high! It was difficult to hold a conversation. Dennis was along and just watched.

Have a good week! It’s hard to believe that Christmas isn’t that far away. In Calgary, Christmas decorations go up immediately after Halloween, unlike the U.S. where people wait until after Thanksgiving. Tonight we saw colored lights in someone's yard along our street.

Friday, November 11, 2011 11:41 AM CST

Today is Canadian Remembrance Day, a holiday, when Canadians honor those who have died in the service of their country—like the U.S. Veteran's Day. People buy and wear colorful red poppies. On TV, various somber, reflective memorial services are being broadcast this morning.

When we stopped in Germany and Belgium in 1990, on our way home from our four years in Australia, we saw the poppies growing wild in field after field, and remembered the famous memorial poem written about Flanders Fields in WW I, a poem we had to memorize when I was in school.

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

So today, we remember. . . not only the Canadian soldiers who died in the many wars, but Americans as well.

On Wednesday, Rachel, Renylor, Andrew and I took Dennis to Perkin’s to celebrate Dennis’ 65th birthday with a delicious meal. This was what he had requested. Afterward we came back to the house to eat chocolate cake and continue our celebration. The day before, the home care aid at Waverley House had made a chocolate cake and got pizza to celebrate Dennis’ birthday. Then this weekend, it’s Andrew’s fourth birthday, so we’ll be celebrating again. On Andrew’s birthday, Nov. 13, we’ll also mark the seventh year since Dennis’ stroke. We won’t be celebrating that, but we’ll be remembering a time when the lives of everyone in our family were changed.

Yesterday was the Wycliffe Day of Prayer, so we gathered in the office lunchroom for the whole day, and prayed for various needs around the world. It was also a time of praising the Lord for the good things happening in Bible translation.

On Wednesday, while Tim was away in Ontario for work, I took Andrew to his preschool activity of the day, a one-hour excursion to the library. I stayed with the group as one of the adult chaperones. It was interesting to watch Andrew in action. While other children sat quietly in a semi-circle, watching the librarian read books, Andrew needed to sit by one of the teacher’s assistants who was keeping track of him. He wanted to wander off and check out various things around the room.

Tim wonders if Andrew’s behavior is normal. I think back to when Tim was 2 ½. I went to a church Bible study held in one of the members’ homes. Women always brought their children, but when I started attending, they quickly made a rule—no more children at the Bible study. Tim was into everything. Then I think of Rachel when she was in kindergarten. I was mortified when I found out that the teacher made her do her schoolwork in the teacher’s office, because Rachel “led the other children astray” in the classroom. Once, when I asked my mom how I got two hyperactive children like this, she said, “It doesn’t surprise me a bit. You were just like that when you were little.” So I think that Andrew comes by it naturally. He’s from a line of inquisitive children.

Dennis will be coming home for the weekend, either tomorrow, or tonight if Rachel decides to bring him. He's sad that his scooter still isn't in running condition.

Sunday, November 6, 2011 11:08 PM CST

Our first snowfall of the season arrived during morning rush-hour traffic on Friday morning. The sanding crews and snow removal crews were out in full force, stuck in the rush hour traffic with everyone else—so being prepared did little good for the crews. The first time we get snow is always bad, because it’s usually warm enough for some of it to melt and form ice. There were 350 accidents during the day. Tim, Rachel and I all had bad driving experiences that day, but no accidents. We’ve all decided we need snow tires rather than relying on “All season” tires. During our first season here in 1992, we had hardly any snow, but that’s not been true the past few winters. We’ve had lots of snow. I have an appointment to get snow tires on Friday.

My computer was out of commission for a day. Tim used a scanning program to check the hard drive, and it is now functional once again. I’m thankful. I use it for so many things—online banking, checking e-mails from the Wycliffe office, working on articles, answering e-mails, keeping up with FaceBook and updating Caring Bridge. I borrowed Renylor’s Notebook computer for the day, but found it frustrating because it’s so compact and one key can serve up to four functions. Old dogs don’t learn new tricks very well. . .

Dennis was home for the weekend again, and enjoyed watching football. He accidentally clicked on another “Pay for View” movie—something he’s done three or four times now. This time it was “Toy Story 2.” Tim said I could watch it with Andrew since we were going to pay for it anyway, but I never did get around to doing that this evening.

Dennis was wondering if his scooter was fixed yet. It needed a part and will be ready in a couple weeks. It’s too cold now for him to be out riding, so I think this is the end of the scooter season.

On Wednesday we’ll be getting together at Perkin’s Restaurant to celebrate Dennis’ 65th birthday. It’s actually on Nov. 8th, but the 9th was the only day most of us can get together. Tim is out in Ontario for his work most of this week.

Tim can use some prayer for his work. The other programmer quit, so Tim is the only one doing programming. They will be switching over to a new programming language, which Tim will need to learn. Many challenges ahead. . . He’s worked at the same job since 2002.

I was blessed today when we sang “In Christ Alone” in church. The words are so comforting.

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

By Stuart Townend and Keith Getty

Thursday, November 3, 2011 10:51 PM CDT

If you've been to CaringBridge lately, you know I was quietly going about life when I was broadsided by an avalanche of appointments which seemed to come out of nowhere. The only one listed on my calendar for any length of time was my eye appointment, which I knew about six months ago. Hopefully, we had the last of the appointments today—a dental appointment for Dennis.

I arranged for the Handi-bus to drop him off in front of Co-op, the ONLY designated drop off point, or so I was told. His appointment was at 2:00. I drove into the parking lot at 1:35, and the Handi-bus was already there, and was dropping Dennis off in front of the dental office, where I was told they wouldn’t do it just last week.

During my eye appointment yesterday, I was told that my situation is stable, and I need to have all tests repeated in six months.

I guess that’s enough about appointments already; I’m feeling a bit exhausted by all of it. Fortunately, I was several weeks ahead of schedule on my work at the Wycliffe office, so everything is getting done on time anyway.

We’ll have snow on the ground in the morning.

Monday, October 31, 2011 9:19 PM CDT

I took Dennis to see the doctor today. After looking at the X-ray and ultrasound results, the doctor said Dennis had some kind of inflammation in his knee previously, but the swelling is now gone. If it starts hurting again, Dennis will need to get a blood test for gout. He has some arthritis in his knee, but that's to be expected at his age. He’s feeling better now than he was last week. I'm thankful for that.

He is now booked for a dental appointment on Thursday, with the Co-op as the Handi-bus drop off point. I will be waiting there for him, holding my cell phone.

Andrew went out trick or treating tonight as Cat in the Hat. Cute! He liked the idea of ringing doorbells and getting candy dropped into his basket. I've had only eight children—besides Andrew--ring my doorbell, and in the past years, I’ve had 20 or so. I’m wondering if our neighborhood is an aging neighborhood with far fewer children now days. Afterwards, Tim, Renylor and Andrew went over to visit Wendy, Steve and Spencer, to spread Halloween joy, I guess.

We had light snow this morning, which didn't stay on the ground very long. By this afternoon, we had sunshine.

Sunday, October 30, 2011 9:34 PM CDT

Bits and Pieces of our Lives

+On Saturday afternoon, I planned to take Dennis to Zeller’s Store to shop for a badly needed winter jacket. When I got to Waverley House and explained to Dennis what I planned to do, he pointed out a very nice second-hand jacket we had gotten just last year that was hanging in his closet. I had completely forgotten about it. We went shopping anyway, and he pointed out to me that he wanted to eat in a little café that was part of the store. We had our supper there, and he was happy.

+Dennis pointed out another broken tooth, so I’ll need to make another appointment. His teeth are very fragile at this point and keep breaking.

+Rachel managed to get Dennis’ scooter into the back of my car. Tim and I plan to take it to a scooter repair shop a couple miles from the Wycliffe office over the noon hour on Tuesday. They will check to see why the scooter isn’t working.

+Rachel helped me get my cell phone set up. The learning curve is steep for me, but I’m beginning to enter the 21st century.

+Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be taking Dennis to a doctor’s appointment to get the results of the X-ray and the ultrasound on his knee.

+On Wednesday afternoon, I’ll be getting the results of a couple eye tests I had in August and September. The doctor is still checking for glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and cataracts.

+I made good progress this weekend on the article I’m working on for the Centre Street Church newspaper.

Friday, October 28, 2011 9:39 PM CDT

The end of the week. Sigh. . . As I said previously, it’s been a long week.

I talked with Rachel about the horrible Handi-bus experience yesterday, and she sympathized with me. She said that there are a lot of unusual rules and regulations about where the Handi-buses stop and drop off passengers and what the drivers can and cannot do. She has enough experience working with clients who ride Handi-buses daily to have learned a lot of these things. Since I have limited experience with Handi-buses, I couldn’t possibly know about the peculiarities. One of my co-workers used to drive Handi-buses many years back, and said there were indeed some terrible situations he had experienced while driving the bus.

I’ve thought of what would have happened if they had taken Dennis away by ambulance—for starters, it would have cost me $300. And then, he wouldn’t have gone peacefully; he would have fought. . . hard. He’s a big man and he’s still strong, especially if he is angry and threatened. He probably would have punched and kicked whoever was trying to restrain him, and bitten them if they got their hands near his mouth. That would have gotten him labeled as a ‘violent” person and perhaps gotten him removed from Waverley House. I am SO thankful all of that didn’t happen.

So today I did the logical thing and bought an inexpensive cell phone and plan for emergencies only, so the Handi-bus driver can contact me in the future.

I said he had three doctor’s appointments in two days. What I should have said was three medical appointments. One was actually the dental appointment, and another was an ultrasound of his knee. The eye doctor yesterday found nothing abnormal with his eye, and prescribed drops to see if that will help. If the drops don’t help, there’s a specialist working out of the same office as the eye doctor, and Dennis can get an appointment with him.

I’m really ready for the weekend. Tomorrow I have an article I’ll be working on, but that’s not stressful. Then in the afternoon, I’ll be bringing Dennis home for the weekend. (Can you imagine I forgot to book the Handi-bus to transport him??)

Did I say a couple weeks ago that my life was easy?? What was I thinking!

Oh yes, Rachel went over to Waverley House this morning to get the batteries hooked up to Dennis’ scooter, and still can’t get it to run at all. Dennis is not happy at all about that. Soon the snow will be flying so days of traveling by scooter are numbered anyway.

Have a great weekend. We’ve had no snow, so far, but I don’t know how long that will last. I bought some sturdy boots for the winter this afternoon, so I’ll be prepared.

Thursday, October 27, 2011 10:54 PM CDT

It’s been a long week, and it’s not even over yet. Dennis had three doctor’s appointments this week and has one more next Monday.

Today I had a HORRIBLE experience with Handi-bus, which left me exhausted and Dennis extremely frustrated and angry. The Handi-bus was booked to take Dennis to a dental appointment in an office that’s part of a small mall about six blocks from our house. I waited at the dental office— which opens onto the shopping mall parking lot— for 20 minutes for Dennis to arrive. Instead, the Handi-bus parked in front of the Co-op grocery store, half a block away. Dennis kept getting more and more agitated, pointing down the street to where he was supposed to go. The driver tried to call me, but had my home number, not a cell phone number (I have no cell phone) so that did no good. He then called Waverley House, and the woman on duty called Rachel to see if she knew where the dentist’s office was. The driver then called his supervisor who told him to bring Dennis back to Waverley House, but Dennis refused to go, so the driver was going to call paramedics to haul this agitated man away.

The driver then pulled his Handi-bus far enough ahead so I was able to see him. Dennis, looking out the window, started pointing at me and I called out to the driver, who was standing outside, talking on his cell phone, probably trying to call for assistance. “That’s my husband,” I yelled to him. He wasn’t even going to let Dennis out, and all Dennis wanted was to GET TO HIS DENTAL APPOINTMENT! The driver angrily let me know how I had inconvenienced him.

I later talked on the phone with someone from Handi-bus and learned something I didn’t know. The Co-op was indeed the designated drop off and pick-up spot. Unfortunately, no one had ever told me that previously. And the driver was too stubborn to even drive past the place that Dennis tried so hard to point out to him, where he would have seen me waiting. The representative from Handi-bus apologized that no one had told me about the drop-off spot.

Anyway, Dennis got his filling put into his tooth. As I was driving him back to Waverley House, he made a punching motion into the air. “So you felt like punching the driver?” I asked. He nodded yes. Fortunately it didn’t happen, or he might have found himself locked up somewhere. He knew exactly what he wanted and where he was supposed to be but no one was listening to him. Oh, the agony of not having speech and not being able to communicate his needs. I also wonder if the driver should be driving for handicapped people when he is so insensitive to finding out what they need.

Tonight, I had Marie, a writer friend over. She was part of the group that met monthly, until Dot, our hostess went to live in a nursing home.

The wind has been blowing lately, and has blown nearly all of the leaves off of most trees around here. A few trees hold on to their leaves longer, but they are an exception.

Sunday, October 23, 2011 4:06 PM CDT

The sunrise this Sunday morning was a beautiful orange against gray clouds—picture perfect. The sunrises are later all the time, but the time of the sunrise will change soon when we lose Daylight Savings Time in a couple weeks.

Why I am glad we are not at William Watson Lodge this weekend: 1) Renylor and Andrew are both on antibiotics, the second round for Andrew, who is still fighting bronchitis. Renylor is doing a lot of coughing, but my cough finally seems to have lessened. Two friends of a friend have ended up in the hospital with pneumonia from this nasty virus. 2.) Tim still had work to do for his job this weekend. 3) Rachel has her friend Becky from B.C. here for the week and had to pick her up from the airport yesterday. She also had a party to attend Saturday night for a friend who had just gotten married. 4) Rachel tried to the switch batteries in Dennis’ current scooter, with the batteries purchased last spring for the old, now non-functional scooter. Something isn’t working right in the battery trade off, and the “new” scooter is not yet running. So Dennis would not have had a scooter to ride anyway this weekend. I can’t imagine him being at William Watson Lodge without a scooter. It would have been no fun at all. Bookings are made four months in advance for a cabin at William Watson Lodge, so we’ll try again next spring.

As an alternate to a weekend at William Watson Lodge, we all went to Denny’s Restaurant as a family on Saturday noon. Rachel had just picked up her friend Becky at the airport, after picking up Dennis at Waverley House. Tim, Renylor, Andrew and I joined them at the restaurant. Dennis enjoys eating, so it was a good choice.

In the afternoon, Dennis watched football and then tried to turn to the World Series so he could watch the Texas Rangers. Unfortunately, he got stuck on a pay-for-view channel (again), and I needed Tim to come upstairs to figure things out (again). So we’ll end up paying for something we had no intention of watching. Again. I wonder. . . is there any way to turn that function off?

This Sunday morning at church, we had a dedication of about 200 pairs of new shoes-- in a rainbow of colors—spread out along the steps in the front of the church. There were also some new socks as well. These shoes represent about a quarter of a shipment of new shoes our friends Gregg and Charleen will be taking with them to Mexico at Christmas as a part of a program Gregg started called “Shoes for Life” in Spanish. Homeless people who live in the local dumps get cuts on their bare feet, and later die from infections. . . so the shoes really are saving their lives. Then I thought back . . . this wouldn’t even be happening if our little sixth grade girl in 1994 hadn’t invited Melynda, our sixth grade neighbor to church at the time. In 1994, no one in Charleen and Gregg’s family was a Christian and no one went to church.

You’ve prayed for both Gregg and Charleen previously for health concerns. Both are doing better.

After church I saw Laura, whose husband had a stroke the same time Dennis had his. Laura is now in a walker herself, so can no longer care for her husband at home. He has been hospitalized since January, waiting placement in a nursing home. This often happens because of a lack of bed space in nursing homes. Dennis was in Foothills Hospital from November until March before he was put into Waverley House.

This is another medical week coming up. On Wednesday, I’ll take a vacation day to get Dennis to an eye appointment and an appointment for an ultrasound on his knee. On Thursday, he’ll have a filling replaced at the dentist.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 9:01 PM CDT

With much colder weather on the horizon, the flowers and grass are now brown after a killing frost a few days ago. Everything is looking dead, a sign of the season before the snow flies. However, sunrises have been glorious shades of pink, orange and gray the past few days.

Today was a medical day. I coughed a lot during the night, and woke up exhausted, so stayed home for fear my coughing would once again torment my co-workers as it must have yesterday afternoon. Little Andrew still has a persistent cough on occasion, and Renylor has developed a slight one as well. As I said before, this virus is a nasty one. I felt better during the day with much less coughing and was able to work on sending out my newsletters.

This morning Rachel took Dennis to the clinic as she said she would. Yes, Jenny was right in saying he needed to go to a doctor. At the clinic, the doctor filled out a requisition sheet so Dennis went for an X-ray of his knee and a blood test to find out what level his INR is (INR is the bleeding time, important to test because of the blood thinner he is on.) He will have an ultrasound of the knee next week, the day before he has his dental work. I joined Rachel at the lab and spent the afternoon with her and Dennis. Jenny says Dennis sighs every time he takes a step on his right foot, his skin on that knee is cooler than his other knee, and there is no swelling. The doctor is not able to do anything for Dennis until he gets the results of the tests, since he doesn’t know what is going on.

Also, while we were out with Dennis, he tried to tell us he couldn’t see well out of his right eye. He just had an eye exam a couple months ago, so I don’t know what problem he is having with his eye. This is another thing that needs to be checked out.

Late this afternoon I interviewed a person for another article for CSC News, and managed to get through the interview with hardly any coughing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 10:58 PM CDT

I said life was easy now that Dennis is in Waverley House. Well, I spoke too soon. It’s not quite that easy.

Dennis got his tooth filled this morning, but the dentist found a large filling on the other side of his mouth that was loose and sliding around in the tooth. She cemented it in for now so it doesn’t fall out. She would have done both today--no one else was waiting in the office. However, if she gave him an injection on the other side of his mouth, his whole tongue would have been numb, and he could easily have bit it. So she will fill the tooth next week. So I repeat this procedure in a week and take him in again. Fortunately the dentist is in a mall only six blocks from our family home—not clear across Calgary, like the one we see when a tooth needs to be pulled.

The virus I got is a nasty one. I coughed and coughed all afternoon at work (confined to my little office) and had nothing to take for it. At least I have cough drops and cough medicine tonight. I usually don’t get viruses going around, probably because I’ve had a lot of them already. Not so this time.

Then this evening, got a call from the new personal care aide on duty at Waverley House. Dennis had a pain in his right knee tonight, and she wants me to take him to a doctor in the morning. I wish the other care givers had been on duty. They wouldn't have reacted so quickly to tell me to take Dennis to the doctor. At least I don't think so. It sounds like arthritis to me. Jenny doesn't know Dennis and worries about things. When Rachel heard that I’ve been sick and that her dad may need to see a doctor, she volunteered to take him tomorrow after 9:30 when she is off work. He will go to the local walk in clinic—if his knee is still hurting. I need to call in the morning and find out how he is feeling.

We won't be going to William Watson Lodge this weekend as planned. Rachel will be doing something else and couldn't come; Tim didn't know if he could make it or not, he's stressed out with work, and of course I can't drive the car alone pulling the trailer with the scooter, especially not on mountainous roads-- the last 50 km in the dark--with someone who jumps out of the car when he is upset. (Actually, he hasn’t tried jumping out of the car lately.) Besides I'm still feeling sick. . . so I canceled.

Since we won’t be going to William Watson Lodge, Rachel suggested we all go out for breakfast on Saturday, so as a family we will be going to Denny’s Restaurant. Dennis likes that too.

Monday, October 17, 2011 5:57 PM CDT

This was an ordinary weekend, but “Ordinary” is OK once in a while. Dennis came home on Saturday afternoon, and we recycled cans for $65. On Sunday, he held out his out his hand once again for me to give him spending money for the week. He intends to save the $65. Most of the rest of the weekend, he spent watching football. That’s OK too. It keeps him happy.

Last night I was hit by a virus that’s going around. It really affected my throat, so I decided my co-workers would probably be happy if I didn’t pass it on to them. I stayed home and wrote notes on prayer letters.

I set up an appointment for Dennis to have dental work done on Wednesday. He pointed out a new cavity to me when he was at home.

This afternoon, I talked with Christina, the personal care aide at Waverley House, to let her know that I would be picking Dennis up on Wednesday. She told me she was showing him how to use the computer at Waverley House.What did he want to look up? Cars, of course. He just doesn’t give up.

Friday, October 14, 2011 11:38 PM CDT

Fall came gently to Calgary this year—no killing frost yet, and most of the golden leaves are still on the trees. A few of my petunias are still blossoming. I could take another couple months of weather like this. . . but it won’t last, of course. We’ve had no snow yet, and often see snow—at least a dusting briefly on the ground--the last week of September or early October. However, the year that Dennis had his stroke (2004), he was still riding his motorcycle in November, and we had weather just like this extending in early November.

Last Wednesday I went to a two-hour seminar sponsored by the Caregiver Support Center, and came away realizing how many, many things I have to be thankful for. I am in a MUCH better place in life than I was 2 ½ years ago.
The topic was “Say Good Things to Yourself,” a way of focusing on the positive and not letting negative thoughts take over our lives. “What we think, we become.” The speaker showed us how to replace negative self-talk with positive, realistic statements. It’s a good reminder for everyone.

My guess is that many of the people there were full-time caregivers for a loved one, at least those who spoke up. The loved ones they were caring for generally had dementia or Alzheimer’s. Many of the caregivers were feeling overwhelmed with the burden of being on duty 24/7, had little assistance from others, little family support, found their own health deteriorating, felt overwhelmed and did not know where to turn for assistance. I could relate. . . I’ve been there in the past. I was almost feeling guilty that my life is so easy and stress free, relatively speaking, in comparison to the others there. . .

With Dennis at Waverley House during the week, I’m not on duty 24/7. I have a family who readily assists me in things we need to do for Dennis. I am no longer under unbearable stress. I can live a “normal” life during the week, by going to work, doing things with friends, and not worrying about getting back home to see what problem Dennis has gotten into or wondering when he will have his next seizure.

If I need to take a weekend off to do something, like going to the writers’ conference two weeks ago, I know that Dennis is well cared for. I am no longer his “social director” trying to figure out interesting things for him to do. I can be his “wife” on weekends, not his “caregiver.” I am so thankful for these things. We have found a new “normal” and it is working for us. Is my life easy? Not necessarily, but it is certainly MUCH easier than when Dennis lived at home.

A song by Jason Gray has been running through my head lately. I had some of the words and finally tracked it down on Internet. It’s called, “Remind Me Who I Am.” The song is on a music video. Many people appear in the video holding up cardboard signs—I don’t matter, I am angry, regrets only, addict, victim, illegal, weak, refugee, rejected, my life doesn’t count, empty. In the video Jason snaps Polaroid pictures of each person and their sign – and by the end of the video, each sign has turned into the word “beloved,” as God sees us, rather than what we label ourselves. It’s a good reminder for me, because I have a tendency to get down on myself at times. (This is an example of healthy self-talk as well.)

Remind Me Who I Am
When I lose my way/ And I forget my name/Remind me who I am
In the mirror all I see is /Who I don’t wanna be/ Remind me who I am
In the loneliest places/ When I can’t remember what grace is/

Tell me, once again,/ who I am to You, who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget,/ who I am to you, that I belong to You. (several additional verses)

I am reminded of verses that can also form healthy self-talk, reminding us of who we are in Christ.

You say, “It’s impossible.” God says: All things are possible. – Luke 18:27

You say, “I’m too tired.” God says: I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28-30

You say, “Nobody really loves me.” God says: I love you. – John 3:16

You say, “I can’t go on.” God says: My grace is sufficient. 2 Corinthians 12:9, Psalm 91:15

You say, “I can’t figure things out.” God says: I will direct your steps. – Proverbs 3:5-6

You say, “I can’t do it.” God says: You can do all things. – Phil. 4:13

You say, “I’m not able.” God says, “I am able. – 2 Corinthians 9:8

You say, “I can’t manage.” God says: I will supply all your needs. Phil. 4:19

You say, “I’m afraid.” God says: I have not given you the spirit of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7

You say, “I’m always worried and frustrated.” God says: Cast all your cares on ME. 1 Peter 5:7

You say, “I’m not smart enough.” God says: I will give you wisdom. 1 Cor. 1:30

You say, “I feel all alone.” God says: I will never leave you or forsake you. Hebrews 13:5

You say, “I feel all alone.” God says: I have forgiven you. 1 John 1:9
On a sad note, a nine-year-old boy whom Rachel teaches each week in Taekwon Do, was killed in a house fire last night. Rachel is grieving his loss.

Monday, October 10, 2011 9:45 PM CDT

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving.

This has been a weekend of celebrations. First, Rachel planned a surprise birthday party on Saturday night for Renylor, whose birthday is actually the 11th. However, Andrew had bronchitis, so three families with children couldn't come to it. We ended up having just a family celebration plus one of Rachel's friends, Kelley, who lives two doors down from us. We had a nice party anyway.

Today was Canadian Thanksgiving, so we again gathered. This time a single Filipina friend of Renylor's came with her son. (Andrew calls Miguel his best friend.) Rachel's friend Kelley was also here. It's nice to have new "family" members for celebrations--ones that don't have families of their own nearby to share holidays and celebrations.

Dennis was home, and was very much part of the celebrations. When he wasn't eating--we did a lot of that--he enjoyed watching football on television.

Have a great week.

Saturday, October 8, 2011 8:41 AM CDT

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends. It’s a long weekend, and our family will be celebrating on Monday, when Rachel is off work and can be here.

Dennis will be coming by Handi-bus this afternoon, so he will be joining in the family festivities. It’s been a bit rainy off and on lately, so it’s not always been easy to get out on his scooter this past week. He was perfectly content not to bring it this afternoon, because he will be watching football on TV anyway.

This week has mostly been an “Andrew” week. Since Tim was in Ontario with his job this past week, I took Andrew to preschool two days. It was a privilege for me to see how he interacts with teachers and others. The name of the school is Sonshine Play School, a bit different than I wrote Monday. The teacher tells them Bible stories as part of their time there. I’ve seen her gather the children together at the end of the playtime and have seen her telling them an interactive story or singing. It’s so cute. Andrew is really happy to be there.

On Wednesday, my writer friend Laureen—who is also a teacher for special needs children—was there for the morning. Once every two weeks she works with the children who are getting speech therapy from the speech therapist, and Andrew is one of them. Small world! Laureen has been subbing the past year, and just got the part-time job of visiting schools a couple weeks ago, which she does in addition to subbing.

On Thursday night Andrew developed a cough and had a fever, so he couldn’t go to Play School on Friday. Instead, I took Renylor and Andrew to the local walk-in clinic to have the cough checked out, and he is now on penicillin for bronchitis.

Several nights ago, I prayed with Andrew before bedtime as I sometimes do, and then I said, "Do you want to see a picture of Jesus?" I took him upstairs, and pointed out a picture on the wall of Jesus holding a lamb in His arms. But Andrew wasn’t interested in the picture because I’m sure he has seen it there before. "Jesus is in the bathroom," he said excitedly as he ran down the hall. When I got to the bathroom, he pointed to a plaque on the wall. The plaque has flowers in the corner and the Scripture from Philippians 4:19: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. “ Rachel had put up the plaque while I was away over the weekend. Andrew wasn’t there when she put it up, nor did she tell him about it. He figured it out on his own that the name Jesus was there. Rachel was as amazed as I am when I told her about it. Andrew will be four November 13th.

One of Rachel’s clients will be gone for three weeks, so Rachel was very short of hours for the next three weeks. The agency arranged other times so she would have her hours, but she ends up working split shifts a lot and will be working 21 days straight. I’m sure that she would appreciate prayer for the next few weeks. She needs to have her calendar with her at all times, so she knows where she needs to be next. It’s very stressful for her, but at least she will be getting close to her normal pay.
God feeds the smallest bird, but he does not throw the
seed into the nest. That's why He gave them wings. –Bob Perks

Monday, October 3, 2011 10:42 AM CDT

What a beautiful, encouraging weekend I had with a group of writers at the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship Fall Conference. I rode up to Wetaskiwin with my writer friend, Laureen. (She’s the one I get together with every month or six weeks to share a meal and work on writing.) This was a new venue for our conference, and was about three hours from Calgary, the same distance as Edmonton, where it was held in the past.

I’ve been going to conferences since 1998, not as much to learn new things anymore, but to see old friends and to be encouraged and challenged in my writing. I was blessed by being there.

Our main speaker was Grace Fox, who has written hundreds of articles for Canadian publications, including Readers’ Digest, and is the author of four books. The theme was “Words Descending like Dew,” taken from Deut. 32:2. Grace has only been involved in writing for 12 years. Wow! Has she ever progressed in those 12 years. She has also spoken on various television programs in Canada.

“If God gives us a message that needs to be told, we are the ones who need to get it out,” she says.

One of her talks was on “How to Maintain a Christ-like Attitude”, which applies to writing, but a lot of other things as well. Most people can identify with it, I’m sure. Here are her four main points:

1) Acknowledge the source of our ability—God has given us talents, and ours is a love of words. We need to thank Him for it and invite our Creator into our work.
2) Be teachable – We never get to the point where we don’t need to be taught.

3) Maintain an attitude of humility.

4) Recognize that it’s not about us.

She encouraged us to “do it afraid if we have to,” but to just do it. We never know who our writing will touch.

I also went to an interesting session on writing devotionals, during which Marcia showed us three examples of what she had written—the rough draft, an edited version and the final version.. Our use of powerful, descriptive words and showing rather than telling can bring our writing to life. What a difference! (I entered a devotional I had written in the writing contest for the conference and received Honorable Mention.)

Wetaskiwin is a small city/large town of 12,000 people. Laureen and I stayed at a small new hotel, with shops on the front of the building and rooms above. The hotel had NO elevator. . . and 23 steps up which we had to drag our suitcases. What if they had a guest with a 50-pound suitcase and a heart condition?? On Saturday night, after the conference was over, we went to a little Italian restaurant.
I got back to Calgary about 1:30 p.m. after a lovely two-day “vacation”, during which I didn’t need to worry about Dennis. It was great!! I called Waverley House when I got back and found out he was doing fine. I’ll go to see him tonight after work.

While I was away, Rachel finished fixing the toilet with some assistance from Tim. Then she did a bit of organizing for me. It will take me a while to figure out what she did with everything, but I’m enjoying the results. I had been already working on downsizing this summer as well. My problem has been that I lost basement storage space and have had to figure out where to put everything upstairs. Not everything fits so I have needed to recycle, give away and throw away some stuff.

Tim is now in Ontario for the week, so I took Andrew to preschool, Sunshine School, in a church a mile from here. Children there get a lot of individual attention, with 16 children enrolled—I know because Andrew counted all of the name tags for us—and seven adults who work with the children. I’m taking a three mornings of vacation time this week so I can drop him off and pick him up each day.

Anne has put on her gold fall coat at this point. I can see her as I look out my window.

Have a great week!

Thursday, September 29, 2011 9:13 PM CDT

In case you are wondering. . . the refrigerator is no longer making little water puddles on the floor. The ice maker is shut off and the little shut off valve is no longer dripping. The ice maker has worked well for the past 19 years, so I guess I can't expect it to work forever.

The other repair job. . . Rachel replaced the flapper valve in the toilet, but that didn’t fix the problem. She is going to replace another piece as well, which has a unique sounding name that I don’t remember.

Today I took Dennis to get his photo identity card at the local registry. It’s something I should have gotten for him long ago, but no one thought of it previously. He was unhappy that I came 15 minutes late, because he didn't take his afternoon ride, since he was waiting for me. He had two garbage bags of cans and bottles ($20 worth) for me to take home with me.

I’ll be going to the writers’ conference this weekend. That puts a smile on my face.

The weekend temperature is supposed to get up to 8 degrees C. (46 degrees) and the prediction is for rain. We have certainly enjoyed the nice summer weather while it lasted. Right now it’s 61 degrees at 8 p.m.

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, September 25, 2011 9:31 PM CDT

Happy autumn to all of you. (Or as a friend said, Happy Equinox.) We’ve had 81 degree weather the past couple days—beautiful summer weather. At this time of year, we’ve had snow storms in past years, so I’m not complaining at all. I’m thankful for every bit of summer we can get.

Rachel wrote the following on her Facebook page last night: “Loved her family day- farmers market with parents, thrift store hunting, dinner all together + a wasp or two, and a movie with her wonderful sister in law!! It's amazing how much you miss your family when it's been too long!”

Yes, we did have a wonderful family day yesterday. Rachel picked up Dennis at Waverley House in the morning and then took us to the Farmer’s Market. I had never been to this one previously. It’s a building filled with little shops, a food court, and fresh produce. It was fun! Dennis didn’t do much walking; he mostly found places to sit down. I bought some beets, apples, and two butternut squash. We ate delicious waffles there for lunch—a real treat.

Then in the evening, we had a barbecue in the backyard and a good family time. And like Rachel wrote, there were wasps buzzing around, trying to eat our food.

Current challenges. . . more leaks. This time it’s a leaky toilet and a refrigerator that has been leaving water puddles on the floor. We figured the refrigerator leak had something to do with the ice maker, but where was the shut off valve? No one knew. I asked Dennis this afternoon, and he took me down to the basement. There’s a little metal water pipe with a shut off valve running up from the water heater. No one else would have figured that one out. However, when we attempted to turn it off, that valve started dripping as well. We’ll get it all figured out . . . somehow. I miss Dennis’ expertise on so many things.

Dennis enjoyed watching his football games Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

I hope all of you have a wonderful week. I’m looking forward to a writers’ conference next weekend.

Sunday, September 25, 2011 9:31 PM CDT

Happy autumn to all of you. (Or as a friend said, Happy Equinox.) We’ve had 81 degree weather the past couple days—beautiful summer weather. At this time of year, we’ve had snow storms in past years, so I’m not complaining at all. I’m thankful for every bit of summer we can get.

Rachel wrote the following on her Facebook page last night: “Loved her family day- farmers market with parents, thrift store hunting, dinner all together + a wasp or two, and a movie with her wonderful sister in law!! It's amazing how much you miss your family when it's been too long!”

Yes, we did have a wonderful family day yesterday. Rachel picked up Dennis at Waverley House in the morning and then took us to the Farmer’s Market. I had never been to this one previously. It’s a building filled with little shops, a food court, and fresh produce. It was fun! Dennis didn’t do much walking; he mostly found places to sit down. I bought some beets, apples, and two butternut squash. We ate delicious waffles there for lunch—a real treat.

Then in the evening, we had a barbecue in the backyard and a good family time. And like Rachel wrote, there were wasps buzzing around, trying to eat our food.

Current challenges. . . more leaks. This time it’s a leaky toilet and a refrigerator that has been leaving water puddles on the floor. We figured the refrigerator leak had something to do with the ice maker, but where was the shut off valve? No one knew. I asked Dennis this afternoon, and he took me down to the basement. There’s a little metal water pipe with a shut off valve running up from the water heater. No one else would have figured that one out. However, when we attempted to turn it off, that valve started dripping as well. We’ll get it all figured out . . . somehow. I miss Dennis’ expertise on so many things.

Dennis enjoyed watching his football games Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

I hope all of you have a wonderful week. I’m looking forward to a writers’ conference next weekend.

Sunday, September 18, 2011 3:36 PM CDT

Happy Sunday to all of you.

This morning, as I peer out my window, Anne’s vibrant green coat is tinged with just a hint of gold, a sign that fall is almost here. “Anne,” in case you don’t remember, is one of the poplar trees on the green strip between our quiet little street, Rundleview Road, and the bustling major north-south street, 52. Rachel named five of the trees 17 years ago, based on characters from the Anne of Green Gables books, which always puts a smile on my face. Andrew, on the other hand, numbers things—church number 1, church number 2, church number 3. He’s up to five on those, and up to two on numbering schools, school 1 being his Sunday school, and school 2 being his preschool.

It’s been a lovely, warm weekend. Dennis came home by Handi-bus at 2 p.m. yesterday, earlier than usual to allow enough time to go to the can recycling depot before closing time. I loaded eight trash bags of cans into the car, the result of Dennis’ collecting efforts over the past few weeks. That’s as much as we can carry—I tried tying a couple trash bags loaded with cans onto our roof rack one time, and the results were disastrous. Fully loaded trash bags aren’t strong enough to withstand wind and left turns, so we ended up picking up scattered cans on the roadway for the next half hour. Yesterday, the results were enough to put a big smile on Dennis’ face—he earned $82, which he will put into his bank account.

I learned that Waverley House has a computer that the clients can use, so Christina said she would set it up for Dennis. Yesterday I asked him about it, and from his reaction, I don’t think he was able to get anywhere on it. He showed me just one hand, indicating that he was frustrated by not being able to use two hands.

A Filipino banquet, cultural night and fund-raising event for a missions trip to the Philippines was held last night at church—the church Andrew now calls “Grandma’s church number 1. I took Renylor and Andrew with me, but Dennis chose to stay home and watch football. It would have been too long for him to sit there, anyway. I wonder. . . does Andrew realize these people, brightly dressed in traditional costumes, doing dances to a gong, are part of his cultural heritage?

Actually, the dancers represented a tribal group in central Luzon (large northern island) —Ifugao speakers who are living in the mountains, and travel up the mountains by foot on narrow paths along the terraced rice fields. Renylor’s family is outside of a city on the southern island of Mindanao. I suppose it’s about like someone in rural northern Minnesota having something in common with someone living in New Orleans. The Ifugao, just north of where we lived in the Philippines in 1985, received their entire Bible just one year ago.

This past week I asked Andrew, “What did you learn in school today?” to which he replied, “I’m a boy.” That surprised me because we used to talk about “big boy” underwear after he was potty trained and sleeping in a “big boy” bed. Then I realized that up until now, he’s always played with little boys and hasn’t realized that little girls exist. The word “boy” probably was a generic term in his mind for “child.” I found this really interesting, because a person never fully realizes what’s going on in little minds or how they are processing information from their view of the world. Last night, after the Filipino cultural night, Andrew said, “Good night, girls,” to a couple little Filipino girls. I think he’s catching on.

That got me thinking. . . when Tim was about four, he told me Rachel wanted a girled cheese sandwich, and he wanted a boy girled cheese sandwich. I still chuckle over that one.

Have a great week, and celebrate life.

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
it's about learning to dance in the rain!"-- Vivian Greene

Sunday, September 11, 2011 10:55 PM CDT

Remembering. . . Where were you on 9-11? I was at work, and someone turned on a TV in our lunchroom after the tragedy began to unfold.

Challenge of the week: Dennis wants to take $600 out of his account and was unhappy when I told him “no.” I wasn’t sure why he wanted it, but what I did understand was that he wanted a computer. So I took him to the computer store to look at computers. The prices of laptops have really come down over the past couple years. I was really surprised. But if he had trouble navigating on a computer before his stroke, it would be impossible now after his stroke. So what does he want?

It had been really warm until a cold wind blew through today, so it’s feeling more like fall this afternoon. I see more yellow leaves all the time.

Have a great week.

Saturday, September 10, 2011 8:42 PM CDT

Challenge #1 – On Friday I took Dennis’ hearing aid in to see if it could be fixed. It turned out to be a very simple problem—blockage of a tube in a place where I couldn’t see it and didn’t have the proper tool to reach it. I now have a new little kit with the proper tool, a piece of fine plastic line attached to a tiny handle that will turn around corners and can reach through the entire tube. The old kits didn’t have that tool, so I’ve never seen it previously.

I also found out about the Naida Phonak hearing aid, the ONLY aid that Calgary Hearing Care carries that’s powerful enough for Dennis’ profound hearing loss. The woman who cleaned Dennis’ hearing aid told me about the Naida. Dennis’ current aid is analog, and the new one is digital. “It’s like the difference between listening to an AM radio station and an FM radio station,” she said. “He would be able to hear much more clearly.” So I’m thinking about it for November. Not taking any action. Just thinking. . .

However, in reading more about it, I found that it’s expensive. (Once Dennis reaches 65, $708 will be covered for him by the government, so part of it would be covered.) I also found by reading an online website discussing wearers’ experiences with that particular hearing aid that the Naida is very complicated and takes a lot of fine tuning to adjust it for each person’s needs. The wearer may need to come back for many adjustments. How do they do adjustments for someone who can’t TELL them what he’s hearing or what sound is bothering him? Are all of the modern digital hearing aids that complicated?

Challenge #2 – the leaky garage roof. Ryan, a workman from the C company, came Saturday morning to do an evaluation and then worked on it in the afternoon. He knew that I had already been scammed so, fortunately, he didn’t tell me I needed a new roof. I’m very thankful. He said he could fix it with a liquid rubber patch the width of the garage in the area just under the overhang of the house roof. Water rushing off the house roof hits the same place on the garage roof all the time and wears holes in it. He also put calking between the house and the garage, which had never been done previously and patched other cracks in the tar with liquid rubber. The patchwork cost $262, much less than the thousands the scammer got from me last year. A hard rain will show whether Ryan got it all or not. Actually, Ryan remembers being on our roof three years ago when it first started leaking and he couldn’t tell at that time where the leak was coming from. (Nobody else was able to find it then either.)

So both of the CHALLENGES were things I didn’t need to worry about at all. The verse I shared previously from Phil. 4:6-7 in my last post is a good one for me to remember: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Today was a beautiful day, much like the middle of July, or so it seemed. I took Renylor and Andrew to Prairie Winds Park, and Rachel brought Cheche (Renylor’s Filipina friend who lives near Rachel) and her son Miguel. The boys all enjoyed playing on the slides and other playground equipment. Fun!

Dennis came home by Handi-bus at 4 p.m., so is now home until tomorrow afternoon. He started out watching football, but now at 7:30, the game seems to be over and there’s nothing else on television he wants to watch.


A new verse to think about:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.-- Matthew 11:28 NIV

Thursday, September 8, 2011 9:40 PM CDT

The Rocky Mountains in the distance are wearing a new coat of white, some of the leaves on the poplar trees along our street have a faint golden tinge, and the days are very noticeably shorter. Even though fall is fast approaching, we’ve had lovely, warm days this week.

Yesterday I accompanied Dennis to the doctor for a medical exam, the first step in applying for a driver’s license. Dr. G. did not fill out the paperwork for Dennis, because it is not covered by Alberta Health. (I figured he wouldn’t). He told Dennis to think about it for a week, and if he really did want to try the simulated road test, Dr. G. would give Dennis a referral. If Dennis decided not to take that, the medical exam would be a waste of money at this point. The simulated driving test costs $250 to take, and Dr. G. is quite certain Dennis won’t have the skills to pass it. Is it worth trying? That’s what Dennis must decide.

I asked Dr. G. about the study on the sleeping pill Ambien (zolpidem, see entry for August 28) that’s starting to wake up stroke patients. Dr. G. said he doesn’t prescribe anything that affects the brain and suggested that we talk with one of Dennis’ other doctors who deal with issues affecting the brain.

One bit of good news—I got the result of a bone density test that was taken in June. My bone density is completely normal, much to the surprise of my doctor.

Late this afternoon, I took Dennis to pick up his bifocals. He hasn’t worn bifocals for about 10 years, so it will take a while for him to get used to them.

Challenges ahead: Tomorrow I’ll be checking with Canadian Hearing Care because one of Dennis’ hearing aids has stopped working. He can get one free hearing aid once he reaches the age of 65, but that won’t be until Nov. 8th. I think that buying just one now isn’t a good solution because hearing aids need to be matched to work together. I’ll find out tomorrow what we need to do. I don’t want to buy new hearing aids now before he turns 65 and don't know if the ones he has are worth repairing. We got the old ones in December 2005, which is outdated for hearing aids as advances have been made since that time and hearing aids wear out. Dennis' hearing aids have had much hard use.

Another challenge: The part of the garage roof that Rachel patched has developed a major leak again, and floods the garage floor when we have a heavy rain, as we had last week. A roofing company is going to send someone to look at it. They were planning to do it last week, but it was raining last week. I haven’t heard from anyone yet this week. (This was the garage roof “fixed” by the two scammers in April 2010.)

Tomorrow night is the beginning of the new theatre season. My single senior friends and I will be going to “The Odd Couple,” which should be hilarious.

Andrew started preschool on Tuesday and seems to like it. His latest interest is asking what’s on warning labels and telling us about air bags that go KA-BOOM. (No, he hasn’t experienced it, just heard about it.) Renylor is learning to take buses and the C-train to get to two nearby malls and to visit her friend who lives in back of one of the malls. Andrew is becoming a good little bus rider, and is starting to recognize the numbers on buses.
The following verses from Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV) have been meaningful to me lately.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Monday, September 5, 2011 9:51 PM CDT

What a beautiful, warm day! Today was Labor Day up here too so we had the day off as well.

Here are some quick bits and pieces of our lives:

+We went to the Calgary Corn Maze yesterday. Dennis and I went along as well, making a total of nine adults and four children in our group. The children enjoyed the kiddie playground and the petting zoo. This year Dennis was unwilling to walk anywhere with his cane, so he sat at a picnic table and watched everyone having fun. The group there was mostly young parents with children up to the age of six or seven. I did not notice any other grandparents there, although I am sure there was a greater age range last year when we were there in October.

+ Dennis stayed overnight again last night, so I took him back to Waverley House this noon. He was eager to go out for a scooter ride.

+ I talked with my two sisters this evening. The Labor Day family reunion was a success. They had 17 people in the house, four camping by the lake, and seven came Sunday afternoon. It was quite a houseful for meals!

Rachel came back safely from B.C. She and her housemate arrived back here at 2:30 a.m. Fortunately they didn’t see any deer standing in the road as they were driving.

Andrew will be starting pre-school tomorrow morning.

Saturday, September 3, 2011 8:52 PM CDT

Several people have pointed out to me that the Rocky Mountains off in the distance are wearing a new coat of snow. Yes, indeed they are. It’s a sign of the changing seasons.

My family in Minnesota is once again getting together for a family reunion on the farm over Labor Day weekend, as they’ve been doing annually since my mother’s passing in 1992. I’d love to be a part of it, but once again we’re too far away. Right now I’m missing all of them and feeling a bit sad. I wonder. . . do they ever miss us when they all get together? Or have we missed so many reunions that not having us there just seems normal, and no one gives us a second thought?

I went to a wedding this afternoon for a Wycliffe MK who married another MK. The bride and groom looked so very young, but since I know the bride’s parents and the good job they did of raising six children, I’m sure the young couple will do well. I think the bride is eight years younger than Rachel. Time passes so quickly.
After I came back from the wedding, I picked up Dennis at Waverley House. He was waiting for me. He hadn’t eaten yet, so I took him to McDonald’s, a special treat for the weekend. He doesn’t have his scooter at home with him, but that’s OK, because he’s watching football. I’m SO thankful for football!

Tim just informed me that Dan and Levy are coming tonight so they can go to the Corn Maze with Tim, Renylor and Andrew. So the purple room WILL be used after all. Tim’s (male) friend Erin will be coming late tonight, driving from B.C. with friends. Erin will stay down in the basement with Tim, Renylor and Andrew and will be here for a couple weeks. I guess he will go to the Corn Maze as well.

I bought Andrew an inexpensive digital alarm clock so he could continue learning to tell the time. However, it’s never the RIGHT time, because he has learned to push buttons and make the numbers change. He has also learned he can turn on a radio station. He starts preschool next Tuesday. I hope his teacher is patient with extremely active little boys.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 10:11 PM CDT

Happy September 1st. After having a high temperature of 29 degrees (84 degrees F.) two days ago, the 10 degrees (50 degrees F.) of today feels really cold. The weather feels like fall already, with a few more leaves turning yellow. We had rain most of the day.

Late this afternoon, I took Dennis to get bifocals made from the prescription he got on July 6th. He has gotten tired of putting on and taking off reading glasses. I hope that these don't keep falling apart like his last prescription ones did. However, they will probably last longer since he won't be removing them many times a day.

The activity for Friday is a Handi-bus trip to the Marlborough Mall. Last time Dennis turned down a mall trip because he didn't have a scooter to use.

Rachel is now in Vancouver with her house-mate Melynda, visiting Melynda's grandmother.

Sunday, August 28, 2011 9:36 PM CDT

It’s Sunday night and Dennis is now back at Waverley House. Tomorrow will be my first day back at work after a week and a half of vacation. I don’t know if I’m ready to go back, but the calendar says that I am and I have a huge amount of work waiting for me in the next two months. September and October are always my busiest months of the year.

It now appears that we won’t have Renylor’s second cousin staying with us temporarily. He’s met some friends and is making other arrangements. I hope to meet him and that he will come over to visit, but that’s a bit different than staying with us. The purple bedroom is now ready for guests if anyone is coming this way...

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS FROM AN ARTICLE THAT TIM FOUND ON INTERNET. I would like to find out more about it, and wonder if something like this would help Dennis speak again. It’s worth doing more reading about the drug zolpidem and its amazing affect on brain-damaged people.

“Across three continents, brain-damaged patients are reporting remarkable improvements after taking a pill that should make them fall asleep but that, instead, appears to be waking up cells in their brains that were thought to have been dead. In the next two months, trials on patients are expected to begin in South Africa aimed at finding out exactly what is going on inside their heads. Because, at the moment, the results are baffling doctors.

“The remarkable story of this pill and its active ingredient, zolpidem, begins in 1994 when Louis Viljoen, a sporty 24-year-old switchboard operator, was hit by a truck while riding his bike in Springs, a small town 30 minutes' drive east of Johannesburg. He suffered severe brain injuries that left him in a deep coma. He was treated in various hospitals before being settled in the Ikaya Tinivorster rehabilitation centre nearby. Doctors expected him to die and told his mother, Sienie Engelbrecht, that he would never regain consciousness. "His eyes were open but there was nothing there," says Sienie, a sales rep. "I visited him every day for five years and we would speak to him but there was no recognition, no communication, nothing."

“The hospital ward sister, Lucy Hughes, was periodically concerned that involuntary spasms in Louis's left arm, that resulted in him tearing at his mattress, might be a sign that deep inside he might be uncomfortable. In 1999, five years after Louis's accident, she suggested to Sienie that the family's GP, Dr Wally Nel, be asked to prescribe a sedative. Nel prescribed Stilnox, the brand name in South Africa for zolpidem. "I crushed it up and gave it to him in a bottle with a soft drink," Sienie recalls. "He couldn't swallow properly then, but I helped him and sat at his bedside. After about 25 minutes, I heard him making a sound like 'mmm'. He hadn't made a sound for five years.

"Then he turned his head in my direction. I said, 'Louis, can you hear me?' And he said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Say hello, Louis', and he said, 'Hello, mummy.' I couldn't believe it. I just cried and cried."

“Hughes was called over and other staff members gathered in disbelief. "Sienie told me he was talking and I said he couldn't be - it wasn't possible," she recalls. "Then I heard him. His mother was speechless and so were we. It was a very emotional moment."

“Louis has now been given Stilnox every day for seven years. Although the effects of the drug are supposed to wear off after about two and a quarter hours, and zolpidem's power as a sedative means it cannot simply be taken every time a patient slips out of consciousness, his improvement continues as if long-dormant pathways in his brain are coming back to life.” --From an article “Reborn” written by Steve Boggan in 2006 and published in the UK

Saturday, August 27, 2011 9:43 PM CDT

Happy end of August. Our summer is nearly over, and I’m not ready to see it go.

I’ve had a week of vacation this past week, and have worked hard at sorting boxes of paperwork stored in our computer room. If I haven’t looked through it in the past seven years (since Dennis had his stroke) it probably isn’t vital to keep. I recycled a lot of things in the blue recycling bin in the back alley. On Friday afternoon, Rachel, who is the “Queen of Recycling” assisted Tim and Renylor and also me to a lesser extent in weeding out items no longer being used into those going to Good Will, those that could be recycled and those needing to go to the dump. Organizing things energizes her. She loves it! I often feel overwhelmed, but she tackles such things with gusto. On Friday night Renylor, Andrew and I watched a movie with her at her condo, a fun and relaxing time.

Rachel helped Dennis on Saturday morning with his scooter by installing the new batteries we bought in the spring for the other scooter, and she also installed a mirror. She was going to switch the seat belt from the old scooter to the new scooter, but didn’t have the tools to do it. She then brought Dennis home for the weekend, and they made a trip to the dump with our loaded trailer. He’s extremely happy that the football season has started once again and he can watch games on TV. That’s what he’s doing this afternoon.

I’m learning about Filipino hospitality and responsibility toward relatives. Renylor’s friend Cheche was providing a temporary place for Renylor’s male relative Venn (fourth degree relative who is a newly arrived immigrant), to stay because Cheche and Venn were next door neighbors in Bukidnon in the Philippines. What a small world. . . I found out that her “fourth degree relative” is actually a second cousin. However, Cheche is a single mom so Venn needs to move to somewhere else. Renylor invited him to stay here temporarily. Tim and Renylor don’t have extra space in the basement, and Tim’s best man, Erin, will be coming to spend two weeks with them in September. So Venn will be coming sometime this week and will be staying upstairs in the purple bedroom. I’m now part of the Filipino kinship system. . . . He’s a male nurse, has taught nursing, and just found a job a couple days ago as an assistant to an optometrist.

A couple days ago, Andrew looked at the clock and told me it said fifty-three minutes after 12. The time was indeed 12:53. Now how did he learn to read the number 53? He amazes me. Renylor said he is getting to know that a two digit number starting with two is twenty___, and a number starting with three is thirty____. On Friday afternoon, he was given another speech evaluation. The evaluator had him look at pictures and talk about them. Andrew said, “That says Zoo. Z-O-O.” A surprised evaluator said, “He can read!” She told Renylor that Andrew had a great imagination, is very quick, and likes to explain things in great detail. Andrew’s friend Spencer has 256 little match-box like cars that he sorts according to color, and a number of plastic activity sets. Andrew, on the other hand, has a whole book case of second-hand children’s books, and loves to figure out what’s going on with clocks. Children are so different in their interests.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 10:10 PM CDT

The temperature was a beautiful 84 today (29 C.), one of the warmer days we’ve had. I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation day. For lunch, my writer friend Laureen and I had a picnic in a little park at the end of the runway at the Calgary Airport. She was doing research for her book about a Down Syndrome eight-year-old boy who happens to love airplanes. The majority of the planes that took off were West Jet planes. Other people enjoyed watching the planes as well, since a dozen and a half cars were parked there over the noon hour.

This afternoon Rachel didn’t have her second job—the family of the little autistic boy she works with two afternoons a week was on vacation. She had time to take Dennis to see the scooter I had found for sale on line. He was happy with it and bought it to replace his other scooter, which is no longer functional. It was a refurbished one that came from a Veteran’s nursing home and the price was good--$600, which is a fraction of what a new one would cost. Andrew was along with them, and they all stopped for lunch at McDonald’s. It seems that most scooters are a right-hand drive, so afterward Rachel stopped at a scooter repair shop to have it switched from a right hand drive to a left hand drive.

Tonight Dennis was complaining that it didn’t run very far before the charge went out of the battery. So I went over to Waverley House to check out the problem. I encouraged him to put it on the battery charger overnight, and then see how far it would go. We purchased new batteries for the other scooter this spring, so hope they will work in this scooter. Rachel plans to switch them on Saturday, since they are newer than the batteries currently in the scooter.

Monday, August 22, 2011 12:39 AM CDT

Happy third week of August. It’s been a beautiful weekend, and we’ll take all the days like this we can get. Dennis was home for the weekend, as usual. I took him out to McDonald’s for lunch on Sunday to make it a special day for him. He liked that. He also watched a lot of football on television, because he no longer has a scooter to ride--his is beyond repair. He got it used on June 16, 2007 and put a fair number of kilometers on it since then. He was unable to go to the mall excursion last Monday with his housemates because he couldn’t walk around the mall without his scooter, so he needs another one soon.

We found some used scooters for sale online. Rachel will be taking him to see one on Wednesday, after she is done with work. It’s an older scooter, one of eight that came from a veterans’ retirement home, and the seller has refurbished all of them. At this point he has sold all but two. The good thing is that parts are available in Calgary, unlike his old, now defunct, scooter, which was manufactured in Iowa and had no parts available locally.

Today is Monday, part of my vacation week, so I haven’t accomplished too much yet today. I have paperwork I plan to get to, some boxes of paperwork that need to be sorted, and the rest of the mundane things of life. Nothing fun planned for today.

Last evening, Tim, Renylor and Andrew went to a Filipino celebration in the Northeast part of Calgary, complete with fireworks at the end. Andrew referred to it as “Stampede number 2” because it was crowded like the Calgary Stampede was in July. Renylor met a relative from the Philippines at the event, whom she referred to as a “fourth degree cousin.” He is just immigrating to Canada, but didn’t know Renylor was here in Calgary. She said a “fourth degree cousin” might not sound very close but their families know each other well. I think her cousin is a male nurse, and he is temporarily staying with a friend.

THOUGHTS FROM THE FOOTBALL GAME LAST WEEK—1) I get a great deal of satisfaction from taking Dennis to somewhere he really enjoys himself. He is limited in what he enjoys so it made me happy. 2) I was wondering about my eyesight, because I know it’s been changing. However, I was delighted to find that I could read ALL of the player’s numbers clearly, no matter where they were on the field.

INTERESTING NOTE ON LINDA’S BABY CHICKS FROM WHEN I WAS AT DOVERCOURT SANCTUARY LAST WEEK: Baby chicks are shipped immediately after they are hatched, and can survive two days without food and water. However, they need warmth. Barry and Linda’s neighbor picked up the boxes of chicks from the postal truck in Calgary, and brought them to the farm adjoining Barry and Linda’s property. The local feed store in Rocky Mountain House took most of the chicks and Barry and Linda ended up getting their chicks to raise for free. They consider the chicks a gift from the Lord. In spite of the fact my mother raised chickens, I didn’t remember that chicks could survive their first two days without food and water(they rely on nutrients from the egg the first two days), so I’ve learned something new. Linda had just taken a book out of the library on raising chickens, but decided she would read it this winter and plan on raising chickens NEXT spring. She did some fast reading after the chicks arrived. Is that a God thing, or what? The nine-pound broiler Linda cooked was the only one of its type in the batch of chicks, and required four hours to cook, just like a turkey.

UPDATE ON RACHEL’S DOG—She never did see the doctor at the animal hospital, because they triage four-footed furry patients, and he was at the end of the line for a many-hour wait. Rachel got some doggy pain medicine from Charleen, our neighbor, and that seemed to work. Rachel was gone for the weekend, so left her dog with Charleen. Napoleon escaped from Charleen’s backyard five times, so I think he is well on his way to recovery. The dog is a miniature pincher and part greyhound, so likes to RUN. It’s technically Charleen’s son’s dog, but Rachel and Melynda (Robert’s sister) “inherited” it when Robert moved to get married.

Thursday, August 18, 2011 5:58 PM CDT

On Wednesday morning, I drove to Dovercourt Sanctuary, a beautiful 2 ½ hour drive from our house. The mostly treeless Alberta prairies turn into heavily wooded areas the farther north and west I traveled. Located on 100 acres of land near Rocky Mountain House, the 1 ½ -story house overlooks a wooded area and the rushing Clearwater River below. Besides two bedrooms in the house designed for guests, there is also an apartment above the garage and a cabin down the hill toward the river. Wycliffe members, Barry and Linda built it as a retreat center to provide a place for people who need a time of reflection and prayer—and just to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

I was here last summer, August 18-19, needing a quiet place to seek answers to some of my questions for the future. I was greatly blessed. I came up with no answers, just the Lord’s assurance that He is with me. And that is enough. Since that time, a few things for the future have gradually fallen in place. My main question was about retirement when I come to the point when I am no longer able to work.

This summer, Barry and Linda are raising 34 hens and roosters, acquired during the postal strike back in June. A neighbor of theirs had baby chicks on order, and tracked down her order to a parked postal truck loaded with mail. All mail delivery had stopped at that point, but a postal worker was finally persuaded that it was wise look for boxes of live chicks. With the temperature dropping to 8 degrees (46 degrees F.) all of the chicks would have died over night. (He discovered he had 500 baby chicks in 10 boxes board in the fully loaded mail truck, none of them going to their correct destinations! ) The chicks did not go where they were meant to go, but all of them found homes. I can’t even begin to imagine the effect 500 dead baby chicks would have had on the mail that was finally delivered two weeks later when the strike was over. Broiler #34, bred for fast weight gain, was our dinner today, and weighed nine pounds—like a small turkey. There were six different breeds of chickens in the lot that Linda got.

On Wednesday afternoon, I enjoyed accompanying Linda to her garden, helping her pick beans and peas. Everything is so late this year that both crops are just beginning to bear. Heat has not been a problem up here this summer. Afterward, I sat on the back porch with Linda and helped her shell peas. All of these things were mundane chores when I was growing up, but I now welcomed them because they brought memories of the past, since I grew up on a farm with a quarter acre garden. Those rows were SO long when I was weeding them in the summer as part of my 4-H project. All the children in our family had 4-H garden projects.
Last night Linda made beef stew with home grown beans, peas, carrots, zucchini, and turnips along with new potatoes from the garden. Delicious! Growing a garden at a high altitude (an hour from the Rocky Mountains) and latitude (farther north than Calgary) is a great challenge as you can imagine. In my growing up days in Minnesota, we had always celebrated the 4th of July with new peas from the garden and new potatoes with butter and parsley. Everything is much later up here. Tomatoes don’t even ripen on the vine.

Last night I watched “Chicken Run” with Barry, Linda, David and Paul. David is a middle aged cousin from England, and Paul is a friend of his who accompanied him on his visit to Canada. This was their fifth trip over here and they’re staying for about 10 days in the cabin on the hillside. Tonight I’ll have an opportunity to tag along with everyone to chuckwagon races in Rocky Mountain House (the name of the town). Tomorrow afternoon, David and Paul will ride with me to Calgary since they need to catch a flight at the Calgary Airport back to England.

You might wonder why I have my computer with me if I came here for rest and relaxation. I needed to keep in touch with Rachel because she was going through a bit of stress. 1) Her dog was bitten by another dog in the dog park, and she needed to take him to a dog hospital for attention. He will survive, but is in great pain. 2) Our neighbor cut his toe with a chain saw and I needed to find out how he was doing. 3) Rachel checked Dennis’ scooter, and he definitely needs a new one at this point. His is worn out.

What does a person do in a time of renewal and reflection? I read 20 Psalms and wrote down verses that were the most meaningful to me. Afterward I saw there was a pattern to the ones I was choosing. Can you see what was important to me?

Psalm 56:3 RSV—When I am afraid, I put my trust in thee. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust without a fear. What can flesh do to me?

Psalm 61:2 RSV –Lead me to the rock that is higher than I: for thou are art my refuge, a strong tower against my enemy.

Psalm 73:28B RSV -- I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of thy works.

Psalm 71:1 RSV - In the, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 8:48 PM CDT

Thought for the day—It makes me wish I had written something like this. . . I find it breath-takingly beautiful. Actually I’d like to meet the person named “author unknown” someday and also the person named “Anonymous.” Half-Past August brought up nothing on a Google search. It was written at least 30 years ago, possibly much longer.

HALF-PAST AUGUST -- Author Unknown

It wasn't the dusty look of the leaves, or the flash of early goldenrod or the fattening pods on the milkweed. It wasn't those brilliant, cool days and chilly nights, right out of late September. It wasn't the different sound in the cawing of the crows, nor the chirping of the crickets nor the katydids rasping in the darkness. It wasn't any one thing that made mid-August feel and look and sound like the very first stages of Autumn. It was all those things coming at once, and at a time when we really didn't want to think about any season but summer.

That's the way it usually happens. There you are, right in the midst of summer, enjoying the sun, climbing a mountain or sailing a boat, riding a motorcycle, eating the best sweet corn ever grown and the ripest juiciest tomatoes a garden ever produced. And thinking fine, idle summer thoughts. Then an insect or a wildflower or a breath of Canadian air intrudes, and you glance at the calendar and see that just two weeks from today is the first day of September.

Or, you happen to be at just the right place at the right time, and realize that sunset has moved down all the way to the tip of Cape Split, already half-way to the Winter solstice. when you hear the frenzy in the rasping calls of cricket and katydid. You see the first red leaf on sumac. You look for a daisy, and you see that the first asters are already in bloom. And you realize that you can lie abed till 6 o'clock and still get up with the sun. Then you know. Then you can read the clock of the year almost as well as the cricket and the katydid. It's already half-past August, less than fifteen minutes till Autumn!

Bits and Pieces of our Lives

Our cat brought a dead little bird in from outside and deposited it on the floor in the hallway just now. Don’t I feed him enough? At least he didn’t deposit it in my hand.

Dennis’ scooter quit working once again. Rachel may check to see if she can help, but maybe it’s time for a new scooter, or at least a trip to the scooter repair shop.

Andrew was upstairs with me this afternoon, watching the numbers on the clock flip and learning to read the time. He also has started doing Farmville again. It’s a good way to get him to sit still on my lap. Otherwise he doesn’t sit still for a minute.

I’m packing up to start my vacation tomorrow morning. It will be good to get out of Calgary.

I received an e-mail this morning from Pretoria, South Africa. A man had read an inspirational story I had written in 2004 about my father. It has been circling the Internet since then. His e-mail was a great affirmation of the work I do as a writer. He wrote:

Hi Janet I read one of your testimonies of your Dad dated in 2004 . I am a father of three children and one grand child, for some reason I am not a man of many words, I do love my children very much ,but I to need to tell them, please pray with me that I will be an inspiration of GOD'S LOVE to them by letting them know. They are young adults already, and soon will be staring their own families. Thank you so much for sharing. God Bless, Paul

Sunday, August 14, 2011 8:36 PM CDT

I hope you’ve all had a great weekend. The weather here has been gorgeous, and we treasure every summer day we can get.
Dennis’ scooter wasn’t working earlier in the week, so I went over to Waverley House to visit on Thursday and took him to Safeway to get him out of the house. He wanted to buy Coke, hardly a surprise to me.

On Friday, between her two jobs, Rachel took Andrew with her to Waverley House, and figured out that a switch had been pushed on the scooter, disengaging the wheels. She corrected the situation, and the scooter is now running again. Hurray! Dennis is happy. So Andrew rode with Dennis and all three of them went to a little park near Waverley House. Dennis and Andrew were having a great time, from their expressions on photos Rachel took and posted on Facebook.

Andrew puts a smile on our faces in many ways. While he was at Waverley House, he asked Rachel about a sign on the house bulletin board. She told him it said, “No Smoking.” When he got home, he saw steam rising from macaroni I had put into a colander in the sink. “Grandma,” he said, “You shouldn’t be smoking.” Andrew had trouble sleeping a couple nights ago. Renylor explained to him how a clock works, and he ended up staying awake, watching the numbers change to 1 and start counting over again.

Saturday morning. . . I heard someone fiddling with our front door at 8:20 a.m. Had Tim gone out to Tim Horton’s to get some coffee? Not likely, so I went to the peep hole and called out, asking who it was and what they wanted. No reply. I called again, and the scruffy looking man asked if I had matches. No!! A lighter? No!! He left, hid behind a post for a while, and then ambled down the street. I called police, letting them know that someone was prowling around the neighborhood, checking doors. Just two days ago, police killed a man--who was into dealing drugs—late at night just six blocks from here when he threatened them with a weapon in the dark. He and two others had stolen two pick up trucks. And then this past week, a 33-year-old on a date with someone he had met on an online dating service, met in person for the first time in the parking lot of a local restaurant just a couple miles from here. He was held up and shot by the date’s accomplice hiding in the back seat of her car. The place is on a route I take daily to work. Fortunately the “date” took the bleeding man to the local emergency room, or he would have died from the gunshot wound in his stomach. It’s getting dangerous around here.

On Saturday, I was sorting through paperwork and came across two letters from Mom, one from 1976, when Dennis and I were in the midst of Jungle Camp training in Mexico. She was concerned about the kind of diseases we would encounter down there. The second was from 1990, when she was learning to cope with a harsh Minnesota winter as a widow. Nostalgia. Mom wanted to come up to Canada to visit us, but never got that opportunity, because she passed away in June 1992, and we came up here in September 1993.

Senior moment. . . I picked up my basket of laundry and walked out the back door, intent on taking it to the recycling bin in the alley. Oops. I came back in and got the correct bag for recycling, and then took my laundry to the wash machine in the basement. Have you ever done anything like that?

Saturday night Dennis and I went to a football game between the Calgary Wolfpack and the Lloydminister Vandals, part of the AFL. It actually stands for Alberta Football League. The Wolfpack led by many points the first half, and then the Vandals came roaring back and nearly won the game in the end. A lot of great passes and great catches. The Vandals would have tied it if they had scored points on the ball they got down to the first yard line, but it was turned over to the Wolfpack. A train track runs within yards of the end of the field. Dennis was delighted to see three trains and collect $1.60 worth of cans and bottle when the stands cleared. All in all, it was a great night.

Tonight I told our neighbors Gregg and Charleen about the man who tried to get into our house on Saturday morning. Gregg said someone had been smoking crack in his unfinished shed, because he had seen a lot of used matches there, so he has now locked his shed at night. So there’s a crack addict wandering around our area. And that’s probably why the man wanted matches (along with who knows what else.)

Have a great week. I have some vacation time and will be going up to Dovercourt Sanctuary (retreat center), a 2 ½ hour drive northwest of here for three days. Then I have next week off an d will probably end up doing things at home.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011 8:24 PM CDT

After a few cool days, summer has returned. Today was 75 (24 C.) degrees. Now, after a shower at 7:15 p.m., it’s 66 degrees (20 C.)and there’s a severe thunderstorm watch in effect.

This morning I accompanied Dennis to his emergency dental appointment. I was thankful that after calling to make the appointment yesterday, we were able to get in today. But I wondered how many hundred dollars it was going to cost. He’s had broken teeth previously, and usually the side chips out of the tooth, exposing the filling. Good news! The chips were only small ones and the dentist was able to do some grinding to smooth out the sharp edges. No fillings were involved! Dr. Eleanor just put some cement in where one tooth had worn down and was pulling away from the filling a bit. The entire bill came to $52. Thank you, Lord!

Last night I went downstairs to see Andrew while he was busy playing a game on Renylor’s I-pod. (I think he’s going to be a computer programmer when he grows up, just like his dad.) He briefly glanced up at me and said, “Grandma, I’m really busy right now.” Now where did that come from?? It makes me realize just how much he’s grown up in the past year and how well he's learning to use language. A year ago he used to be excited about coming upstairs and “harming” (farming) on Farmville on my computer.

Sunday, August 7, 2011 9:52 PM CDT

We’ve had some wild weather lately, with hail on two occasions. On Friday rain came down so hard that a 60-year-old man in Northwest Calgary drowned when he went outside to check on his car. Knee-deep water swept him under his parked car, and bystanders were unable to pull him out.

During that same rainstorm, Rachel was driving on the Deerfoot Highway, the main highway running north and south through Calgary. She said traffic was moving at 30 km/hr. (18 miles/hr.) and cars were pulling off to the side of the road. She was in the middle lane, so could not pull off. The windshield wipers were unable to keep up with the rain. Scary. When she finally was able to exit, water was flowing over the curbs. But fortunately, she was safe and all was well.

I checked the garage after the rain storm. We still have some water coming in, but not much since Rachel put the patch on the roof. I thought the patch was fully taking care of the problem, but at least it’s not as bad as previously.

Tim and Renylor came back home late Saturday night after being in B.C. for a week. It’s great to have them back and have little Andrew bouncing around here again.

Dennis was home for the weekend, but not much has been going on. We recycled the cans that he had collected over the past couple weeks, earning him $42.65, and then he went out for another can collecting ride on Saturday evening.

On Sunday for lunch, I had Rachel, Tim, Renylor and Andrew join Dennis and me for hamburgers. Then, in the afternoon, Dennis, Rachel and I watched “Crocodile Dundee 2.” Part of it was set in the U.S., and I fell asleep during that part. The setting of the rest was in Australia in Kakudu National Park, so we all enjoyed the latter part of it. Dennis was excited about watching it.

Dennis pointed out to me that a couple teeth are bothering him, so I’ll need to make a dentist appointment. I think fillings have fallen out, or teeth have broken off once again, because both teeth feel really sharp.

My applications for the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security pension have gone through. If you remember a month back, they sent me more forms asking for more information for both Dennis and me. I’ll be getting $142 for one of them and $146 for the other, and we don’t yet know what Dennis will be getting. U.S. Social Security has written me twice, saying I have not put in enough quarters to get anything. However, I was told previously that I could get a small amount based on Dennis’ earnings. (Money put into Social Security was put in Dennis’ name, which is why they are telling me I don’t have enough quarters.) We’ll have challenges ahead, but I suppose many people do. Not everyone goes on cruises or around-the-world trips once they retire. Our main problem is that we are living in two different places, and Dennis’ personal care home adds $1,009/month to our monthly budget. Dennis is already getting his U.S. Social Security in the form of Disability payments, which pays for 3/4 of his personal care home.

Then I think back to the Scripture promise I had last year--that God has not forgotten me, and He has engraved me in the palms of His hands. (Isaiah 49:16). I know he will be watching over us in the future as He has in the past.

Sunday, July 31, 2011 7:04 PM CDT

This is a long weekend for Canadians—to enjoy summer activities before fall comes much too soon. Monday is called a “Civic Holiday” or otherwise known as “Picnic Day. “ We’ve had glorious summer weather all weekend, but there’s a hint that fall isn’t too far off because a few leaves in some of the poplar trees are beginning to turn yellow. I’m NOT ready for fall yet.

Dennis was home this weekend from late Saturday afternoon to late Sunday afternoon. As Dennis and I watched “Crocodile Dundee” Saturday night with Rachel, I realized that the first time we saw it was when we had just arrived in Australia in 1986. The setting was in Kakadu National Park, located in the Northern Territory, a place where we had visited twice. Dennis thoroughly enjoyed the movie—it kept his attention, and not all movies do that. Nostalgia. . . remembering the sights and sounds of Australia and knowing that we’ll never again go back to the place that was home for four years, and that 24 years have passed since we arrived there.

After church this morning, I took Dennis out to eat at McDonald’s. Many people go camping or take trips, but a trip to McDonald’s was our way of making the day special. I think eating at McDonald’s made it special to him.
Sunday morning, Tim, Renylor and Andrew left at for a trip to Osoyoos, B.C. , where they will be stay for a week with Dan, Levy and Stanley in a cabin owned by Dan’s aunt. Today was probably a wiser day to travel than on Friday when everyone else was rushing to get to the mountains.

On Friday night I was invited to a barbecue with a bunch of single and widowed women from the Wycliffe office to celebrate one person’s 71st birthday. I felt right at home with the group, because socially I now most often do things as a “single,” not with Dennis with other couples. Some of the women are the people I attend plays with. One of the activities afterward was to work on a 500 piece puzzle. I had three pieces together by the time one of the women had put together the entire puzzle frame. Andrew has a puzzle with 36 pieces. I think I could manage that.

I don’t go out socially with Dennis, but we do get together with our family for celebrations. That’s always special for all of us.

Thursday was a gorgeous day to spend time in Canmore, about half an hour from Banff. My friend Laureen drove. We had a picnic lunch in the park, walked along the river, visited a bunch of shops, a second-hand book store, a farmer’s market, ate at a restaurant, and then came back to Calgary. The most memorable place was the soap shop, with a wide mixture of scents. Soap is made in slabs, much like fudge in the fudge shops, and then is cut into bars. The natural fragrances--pumpkin, grapefruit, vanilla, avocado, apricot, chocolate/ale/expresso coffee--are almost overpowering when a person first walks into the shop, but by the time we left, our noses were desensitized and we hardly noticed it.

Thanks to those of you who prayed for Gregg, our friend who was rapidly losing weight in Feb. and March. He is undergoing an alternative treatment for Lyme disease, and it’s working. He feels 50 per cent better than previously.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 10:56 PM CDT

Challenges again. This afternoon I called Waverley House to see how Dennis was doing and find out when I could book the Handi-bus for him this weekend. Susannah, the personal care aid, said Dennis was really upset about something this afternoon and was pointing at his bank book. Oh dear! What now?

I told her I would take him out to McDonalds to eat so we could discuss the problem. He was happy to have a fillet- o- fish meal. Afterward I told him that his brother Allan is hoping to visit at Christmas and could take a couple more boxes of train things back to Minnesota to sell. Dennis was happy with that. I then took him back to Waverley House and although he was carrying his billfold and bankbook in his pocket, he was no longer upset. So I never did find out just what his problem was, but thought best not to bring it up as long as he was content.

There’s a potluck at noon at Waverley House and the other houses on Saturday, so I’ll book the Handi-bus for later on in the afternoon. Dennis was fine with that. The excursion tomorrow is to the Farmer’s Market, but he said no to that.

Last night Rachel patched a 12 inch x 6 inch hole in our garage roof, where rain was pouring in and covering the garage floor, whenever it rained this summer. This was the hole we’ve been trying to find for the past two years, which was only a small leak at one time, but opened up so it was totally noticeable. (This was the garage roof that the scammers “fixed” last spring.) I hope her patch works. I’m so thankful for her help.

Tomorrow is a vacation day for me. My writer friend, Laureen, and I will be going to Canmore, doing some walking, visiting some shops, eating a picnic lunch and then in the evening eating at a restaurant. Canmore is a touristy place toward the mountains on the way to Banff. It should be fun. I’m looking forward to it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011 10:13 PM CDT

It was a quiet weekend, with Dennis not at home because of the Saturday Stampeders’ game. So Rachel organized a trip to Prairie Winds Park this afternoon. Rachel, Renylor, Andrew and I picked up Dennis and his scooter at Waverley House this afternoon for a trip to the park. Dennis rode around a large walking path in the park, with Andrew riding on his lap. He would ride ahead and then wait for Rachel, Renylor and I to catch up with him. Afterward we went to McDonalds for a treat and then took Dennis home.

Dennis was unhappy that the Stampeders lost yesterday, but glad that he could go to the game.

Andrew said something interesting: “We’re going to get Grandpa at House 2.” (So our house is House 1).

One of my articles is in the Spring/Summer issue of CSC News, and I now have a new writing assignment.

Friday, July 22, 2011 7:44 PM CDT

Update on Dennis’ hearing aid. . . I went to the hearing aid office today, to have the missing piece of plastic checked out. It actually was a door that covers a panel where technicians can make adjustments. Yes, I can just cover it with a little piece of tape that can be removed if a technician ever needs to make an adjustment. They didn’t have any spare doors, and Dennis’ model is now obsolete. It’s a 2005, and that’s old for hearing aids.

When a client reaches 65, Aids to Daily Living will supply $708 toward ONE hearing aid, and the client pays the other $236. This funding is available every five years. The value of the hearing aid is up to $1,600, so the elderly client gets a good deal . . . on one hearing aid. (But to hear well at all, a person needs two.) There’s also a program where the elderly can get hearing aids for free if the couple is making under a certain amount, but we wouldn’t qualify because I’m still working. Unless, of course, they take into account that we are living in separate homes, which costs more. Dennis turns 65 in November, so his hearing aid needs to keep working until then.

After I put the tape on the hearing aid, I took it to Dennis. He was happy to see me, generally in a good mood, and eager to go to the Stampeders game tomorrow. It's been cold and rainy today, so I hope the weather improves for the game.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 9:43 PM CDT

This afternoon I went to Waverley House to deliver some paperwork for the nurse and to see what arrangements I could make for the weekend that wouldn’t interfere with any Waverley House activity. I found out from Susannah that Dennis had wanted her to call me about the weekend. They will all be going to a Stampeders’ game (football) from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, so no plans for bringing him home this weekend. He’s really excited about going.

He also showed me his hearing aid. A tiny plastic piece came off, so I need to see how much of a problem that will cause. Is what I’m seeing the inner circuitry of the hearing aid, exposed to the elements? I’ll need to drive to the hearing aid place tomorrow and find out. Could it be covered with a tiny piece of tape, or would that short it out?

Then Dennis showed me his bankbook and wrote $500 and $1000 on a piece of paper. He acted out flying. “Do you want to go to Minnesota?” Yes. “Who would you see?” He used his communication book and pointed out people in his family. He wanted to go by himself. No talk of buying a truck today.

I explained to him that I now have a medical form from the Driver’s License Registry that he needs to have filled out by his doctor before he can take any driving test. If we take it to Dr. G., he knows Dennis well and will automatically tell Dennis “no.” End of story. Dennis is thinking about that one. Dr. G. already told Dennis that six months ago, and Dennis threw away his driver’s manual because he knew it was hopeless then.

I left there feeling a bit exhausted, like I’ve been running in circles, like a hamster on an exercise wheel. As long as Dennis thinks I’m doing something about his needs/wants, it’s probably OK. As long as I don’t say “no” too often. . . The reality of the situation and his perception of it are often two very different things. . . like being able to go to Minnesota by himself.

One bit of good news—Rachel went to the church to search for her friend’s keys in the “Lost and Found”, and found the set of keys that I lost months ago! I was amazed and deeply grateful. Now to find out where the other lost set is—the one missing for three weeks.

Is the U.S. financial situation like Y2K?? A catastrophe that might or might not happen . . .yet? A lot of things going on concern me. Then I remember, our times are in His hands.

Saturday, July 16, 2011 9:09 PM CDT

This weekend Dennis only wanted to be home on Saturday, so he came at 11 by Handi-bus and went back to Waverley House at 4. He seemed pleased that we now have the Discovery channel on TV. I sat and watched some of it with him. I’m not sure why he wanted to be here such a short time, but part of it may be that he was still angry over not getting his money from the bank and not buying the truck he wanted.

Yesterday Rachel, Renylor, Andrew and I went to the Stampede. We went to a children’s agricultural building with farm animals—cows, calves, sheep, pigs, and eight-day-old piglets--where Andrew had an opportunity to take his turn at milking a fiberglass and rubber cow. Later in the Kid’s Zone, we saw “Three Little Pigs” acted out by children and a father from the audience, all wearing balloons twisted into pig and wolf masks. After we ate hot dogs for our supper, we watched a fashion show (casual clothing) and walked through the activity building. We saw a lot in our time there. Rachel went to a concert afterward, while Renylor, Andrew and I headed home. Andrew enjoyed everything so much that he was reluctant to leave. He kept saying, “I want to stay here.”

The one thing I missed was the ice show, but we couldn’t go in because Renylor had a stroller for Andrew, and strollers weren’t allowed. The two Canadian Olympic gold medal winners from about six or eight years ago were skating, so it would have been fun to watch.

I sat down to rest whenever I could at the Stampede because all of that walking was a bit hard on me. This past week I got the results of the X-rays done the previous week. Since the last X-rays a year ago, my neck and upper back have improved with chiropractic treatment, but the two lumbar vertebrae are still out of alignment and are still pinching nerves. My back problems are because of my scoliosis, which I’ve had for years.

A week and a half ago, workmen put new roofing on our house, and most of it was covered by insurance. This was to repair damage done by hail a year ago. We’re very thankful to finally have it done.

We’ve had beautiful weather here the past few days, so are enjoying summer, which will quickly be over, I’m afraid. I hope all of you are having a nice weekend. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement.

Thursday, July 14, 2011 0:00 AM CDT

Challenges! This afternoon after I got home from work, I got a call from the bank. Dennis was there trying to take ALL his money out of the bank again, but the teller noticed a note that she was not to give him money unless his wife was there. I told her not to give him that large amount because it was very dangerous for him, as a handicapped person, to carry so much around. The last time the teller just gave it to him, and we had to persuade him to put it back into the bank later because it would be much safer there.

So now what’s going on? When I got the home care aide on the phone, she told me she had tried to call me last night (I was out) to let me know that Dennis had started marking trucks on a Bargain Finder again.

I called Rachel, and fortunately she wasn’t busy this evening, so the two of us went to see Dennis and took him out to McDonald’s for a milk shake. We found out that once again he wanted to get a truck. We looked at what he had marked in the Bargain Finder and then followed his “air map” to a used car lot where he wanted to look at trucks. Will it never end??

The weekend of July 2-3, a spare set of keys vanished from my purse. Does Dennis know about those? Earlier in the spring, another set vanished as well. I’m a bit absent minded, but I’m also getting very concerned. Missing keys can turn up in odd places, but so far, neither set has been found.

Friday, July 8, 2011 10:14 PM CDT

This week has been a medical week—Dennis had a routine eye exam and is doing fine. He can continue to use the over-the-counter reading glasses that he has. Then a couple days later, I had X-rays taken of my back, hopefully to find out where nerves are being pinched. Getting in and out of a car is a major challenge at this point, as is walking up and down stairs. I used to be bothered by arthritis in my knees a few years back, but that’s not a problem at all anymore. Problems just shift from one area to another as the years roll by. Are you finding that too?

I mentioned going to a Christian concert on Monday night —Casting Crowns. I enjoy their music and have a CD of theirs that I listen to as I’m going to sleep. Its contemporary worship music, and some of the band members are worship leaders in churches in Atlanta, Georgia. The average age of the audience was probably 25, with very, very few people my age. We stood up for a good part of it, singing along with words projected on a screen. It was exciting, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it made me feel like I was 25 again. . . . although I did need to sit down at times and felt my true age by the end of the evening.

Today I had lunch with a friend who has been involved in Bible translation for over 40 years. She’s been an encouragement to me in various ways over the years, so it was good to get together for a chat. She doesn’t get out very often, although she is still working from home.

I’ve been watching the news to see pictures of royalty in the city today. It was the biggest crowd ever for a Stampede parade, which has been held every year for the past 99 years. I’ve been to just one or two parades in the years we’ve been in Calgary. This wasn’t one of those years.

Tonight Rachel, her roommate and a former roommate are camping. The weather has turned very cold and windy, so I hope they have enough warm clothing and don’t have their tent blown away. It’s also been rainy tonight. Rachel put waterproofing on her tent earlier in the week, so I hope that helps.

Dennis will be coming home by Handi-bus tomorrow afternoon, and will have his scooter with him. Nothing else is planned for the weekend.

Monday, July 4, 2011 4:30 PM CDT

Happy 4th of July to all of my American friends and relatives. I hope you had a wonderful and safe weekend.

We celebrated Canada Day with a birthday party for Tim on July 1st. His birthday is actually on July 2nd, and on that day he, Renylor, and Andrew went to Taber to see Dan, Levy, and little Stanley. (Levy is Renylor’s friend from the Philippines, so it gives her an opportunity to speak Visayan.) We’ve had beautiful weather, so I hope they had a good time. They will be back tonight. Tim had work today, so took his computer with him, and was working at a distance.

Dennis was home Friday for Tim’s birthday party, and had a good time. Then I had the Handi-bus take him back Saturday afternoon so he could attend the Waverley House ice cream party that evening. Today the Waverley House clients will be going to the park by Handi-bus, so it’s been fun for Dennis.

Rachel was able to borrow a long ladder, so this was a painting weekend for us. The major parts of the project are done, and all that remains is the trim around the windows. I’m thankful that it’s nearly done.

Tonight I’ll be going to a Casting Crowns concert (Christian band). Birthday money certainly comes in handy.

Have a great week, and a safe one as well.

Monday, June 27, 2011 9:04 PM CDT

Tim's birthday is coming up on July 2 and we were planning a birthday party on that day. However, that was the same day as an ice cream party at Waverley House, so we changed the party date to Friday. That way Dennis can now go to BOTH parties. Susannah said that put a smile on Dennis' face. Last night when he got back to the home, she said he was so happy and was waving at everyone. Then he went out on his scooter. He certainly has adjusted to living there. Today was a barbecue in back of Waverley House, and Dennis had a great time at that too. The people out there are his other family.

For those who are wondering, I am doing much better today. With back exercises, the pain is much less. I take Advil when I need it, but generally try to avoid taking medication unless the pain is bad.

Sunday, June 26, 2011 8:34 PM CDT

It’s Sunday night, the end of the weekend. Dennis is safely back at Waverley House, and we’ll be starting another new week. At the end of this week, we’ll celebrate Canada Day on July 1st, Tim’s birthday on July 2nd, and a couple days later will be the 4th of July, U.S. Independence Day. I remember when I was growing up, the 4th of July marked the countdown to fall. By that time our summer vacation was nearly half over, and we would soon be getting ready for school. How the years have flown!

Saturday was clean-up day around here. Dennis came home by Handi-bus at 1 p.m. and watched us while Rachel and I worked on yard work. She mowed and trimmed while I pulled some weeds and raked the up piles of grass. It had gotten long because of all of the rain lately and the fact that Tim had put fertilizer on it a week and a half ago. While we were doing yard work, Tim cleaned all of the carpets in the basement, and some of mine as well. What a help they were to me! Oh yes, Rachel had her dog over here, and he escaped twice. He’s a regular Houdini. She had to jump in her car both times and track him down.

Rachel was my “cleaning fairy” on Friday as well. While I was out, she came over and cleaned my house, rearranged some of the living room furniture, and washed the windows (something I was planning to do since I recently bought a replacement squeegee for the window cleaner.) What a lovely surprise!!

Yesterday was NOT a good day for Dennis, however. I could tell he was feeling a bit depressed. By 6 p.m., he indicated that he wanted to DRIVE HIS SCOOTER back to Waverley House on his own. I talked and talked until I talked him out of it, telling him we could talk to Tim after he got back from returning the carpet cleaning machine to the store. (Dealing with an angry, determined man on my own is no fun.) No, Tim wouldn’t take him and his scooter back (rightly so), and suggested he watch a movie here. So eventually we watched “Yellowstone Park in the winter”, and then saw an old movie from 1986. So what was Dennis’ problem? All of his housemates at Waverley House had gone to a Viper’s baseball game tonight (I was not aware they had an outing), but mostly, he wanted the Discovery channel on our TV, and we don’t have it. Challenges. . .

On Friday afternoon, I had a delightful time visiting a retired friend whose husband is in a nursing home. At one time we all worked together in the Wycliffe office, Dennis and Keith both together in receipting. Yvonne and I swam in the retirement community’s pool, enjoyed the hot tub, ate fajitas, and saw a movie (“The Social Network” on how Facebook got its start.) On Thursday night I went with friends to a free barbecue for the opening of Morpheus Theatre’s new rehearsal halls in the Parkland Community Centre. These are the friends I’ve been seeing plays with the past two years.

This afternoon, I took Renylor to the Good Will store to get some shorts for Andrew. I walked around the store once, and then sat down for the rest of the time because I was in pain. (I have arthritis in my back and also get sciatic nerve pain on a regular basis.) If I didn’t have Tim and Rachel’s help with various things, I’d have a hard time living on my own. This body is wearing out. I’m so thankful for their help!

Have a great week! Our postal strike, which started on June 14, should be over on Tuesday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 0:00 AM CDT

This morning as I was walking to the car in the driveway, I paused to smell the fragrance of the lilac bush in the front yard. Soon the lilacs will be done, because some of the tiny flowers are already turning brown. The day was beautiful—77 (25 C.) degrees, the warmest we’ve had lately. It did feel like summer.

I went to visit Dennis after work, and we had quite a good “conversation.” His two electric shavers weren’t working—I think the blades were dull—so I shaved him with a razor. He thought the candy and nuts he had gotten for Father’s Day were still at home. No, they weren’t. I found the candy and nuts where he had packed them in his blue carrying bag. He wants us to get the Discovery Channel on our TV at home so he can watch it over the weekend when he is at home. And he also wanted $10 for spending money because he put ALL of his can collection money in the bank. (He does that on purpose.)I understood everything he tried to tell me this afternoon, so I’m getting better at it. I was pleased.

The new home care aide, Susannah, working at Waverley House had the radio in the kitchen playing softly for background music as she worked, and I recognized the Christian station I listen to in the car. I found out she goes to the huge church that I write the newspaper articles for. That was a pleasant surprise.

Yesterday was a Wycliffe office retreat at a retreat center near the Rocky Mountains. It’s in a beautiful wooded area, and I got a photo of a female moose down by the creek, nibbling on some grass. The retreat theme was “Rhythm of Rest,” encouraging us to spend time resting, praying and worshiping the Lord rather than keeping busy every moment of the day. One song I appreciated was “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us,” and a verse I read during our personal reflection time was Isaiah 55: 8 – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts and neither are your ways my ways.” Another verse was “Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest” found in Matt. 11:28.

All children going to pre-school get a speech evaluation, and Tim and Renylor found out that Andrew has a lisp on five sounds. He will get speech therapy when he starts pre-school this fall. (I think it’s his Filipino “accent”.) Renylor works hard with him, teaching him how to count, his colors and shapes. Today Rachel took Renylor and Andrew to Prairie Winds Park, so he had fun wading in a wading pool there.

Monday, June 20, 2011 8:56 PM CDT

Tomorrow is the first day of summer, which is hard to believe. It’s been wet and cool lately, so cool that our furnace came on two mornings ago.

Dennis came home for the weekend on Saturday afternoon, without his scooter. It was really a rainy day, so he wouldn’t have had much use for it. We recycled cans ($64.30 made him happy), went to Wendy’s so he could get a milkshake, and then he watched golf.

I took Andrew to church on my own, since Renylor was short on oxygen in her tanks. (At home she has a machine that extracts oxygen from the room air, so she still had oxygen at home.) Rachel helped watch Andrew when I got to church. Afterward, we had barbecued chicken for our Father’s Day lunch, and it was a good family time. The Handi-bus picked up Dennis at 5:20. All in all, it was uneventful, which is probably good. We need peaceful, quiet weekends on occasion.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 8:47 PM CDT

Today I’m feeling the same as I felt years back when I went to a teacher interview for Tim or Rachel and came home with a good report. . . This morning I met with Susan (the nurse), Laura (the assistant administrator), Ms. X (the owner of all of the seven Waverley Houses for handicapped clients), and a student nurse learning about caring for handicapped people. Dennis, of course, was there as well. It was the yearly evaluation.

The nurse, speaking on behalf of everyone involved at Waverley house said: they love having Dennis at Waverley House, he has settled in unbelievably well, the staff has nothing but good things to say about him. As well, she credited his “good family support” in helping him do well there. A lot of clients, she said, don’t have the family support like Dennis does. (That’s true—he’s the only person in his house who gets to go home on weekends and has family doing things with him on a regular basis.)

Last night Dennis went with a group of handicapped clients to McMahon Stadium to see the local football team play their first pre-season game. It was cold and wet, and the home team lost. Not a terribly inspiring situation, but it did get him out, doing things with other people. I booked the Handi-bus to bring him (and his scooter) home for the weekend, and made sure I booked the return trip for SUNDAY, not Saturday like last time. The weather forecast is for rain most of the weekend, so we’ll probably need a “Plan B” to keep him occupied. Maybe he will have enough clear weather to go for one ride.

Sunday, June 12, 2011 10:54 PM CDT

Our Saturday started off with a “For Sale” sign in our yard. (The real estate agent had it put there by mistake and I immediately called the agent and had it removed it.)

The Handi-bus dropped Dennis off at 1 p.m. with his scooter, but since it was cold and rainy, there was nothing to do but watch TV. . . or a DVD. I went to the local Video store to rent “Blind Side”, a football movie with a Christian theme. (We watched it in January and Dennis really enjoyed it at that time) Unfortunately the store was going out of business, so I was unable to get anything. Dennis started channel surfing and got the TV stuck on pay-for-view on a movie (I still don’t understand our cable box three remote controls and Shaw cable.) I got some advice from Rachel on how to get it out of that mode as she was running off to do a night shift, but it didn’t work. Tim, Renylor and Andrew were out, so I couldn’t ask for Tim’s advice, so we were stuck with nothing for Dennis to do. In the meantime, the Handi-bus came to pick Dennis up and take him back to Waverley House! I had forgotten to specify that the pick-up was on Sunday, NOT on Saturday, so I told the driver sorry—the booking was a mistake. This was not turning out to be a great day.

So what should we do?? We couldn’t watch TV or a DVD and it was too cold and rainy for Dennis to ride his scooter. So we went out for an ice cream cone at McDonald’s and then saw “Soul Surfer” (about a girl surfer in Hawaii who lost her arm in a shark attack) at the discount theater. It was a really good choice for a way to spend an evening.

This morning I had a car load when I went to church—Dennis, Renylor and Andrew. Later this afternoon Tim helped me get Dennis and scooter back to Waverley House.

Sunday, June 5, 2011 10:08 PM CDT

What a gorgeous weekend! The weather was the nicest we’ve had in the four times we’ve been to William Watson Lodge. On the way Dennis, Rachel and I spotted 20 deer grazing along the highway, and at one point, seven big-horned sheep were either standing in the middle of the road or off to the side of it. This is why it’s best to drive in daylight if possible.
The last remnant of the winter snow was just melting, so Andrew enjoyed making snowballs and throwing them. We had to be cautious in going down to the lake, half a km. from our cabin, because the night before someone spotted a grizzly bear and two cubs by the lake. We went down as a family group for safety, and all weekend, all of us/or Rachel walked along with Dennis as he rode his scooter. We wanted to make certain he didn’t get stranded like last fall when the battery got low. We purchased a new set of batteries a couple months ago to make sure the batteries held the charge.

On Saturday morning, all of us went down to a children’s playground, and in the afternoon, Dennis, Rachel and Andrew discovered a much larger playground on one of their exploration rides/walks. Andrew really bonded with his Grandpa this weekend, as he rode on Dennis’ lap wherever Dennis went with his scooter. The scenery, as always, was breath-taking--a reminder of the beauty of God's creation.

Dennis beat Rachel three games out of four when playing Skip-bow. She prompted him on what he needed to play, but by the end, he was really catching on. Rachel and Renylor did some Karaoke, and I did some reading and put a lot of photos into my photo album, some dating back two years or so ago.

The entire weekend was positive, with a lot of good family interaction. We got back about 12:30 this afternoon.

Friday, June 3, 2011 3:41 PM CDT

The flowering crab next door is finally beginning to blossom about three weeks later than it usually does. A few of the small trees across the street, newly planted last year, are just getting their leaves, but otherwise everything in the neighborhood is a beautiful spring green. Dandelions are out in full force, especially in our back yard. Dennis used to keep them well under control, and Tim is trying his best to tame them, which is rather a losing battle at this point. The dandy-lions are roaring.

Dennis and I had a lovely evening at China Rose on Tuesday, enjoying a delicious buffet meal to celebrate our anniversary. Today we’re getting ready to go to William Watson Lodge. It’s now 2:30, Dennis plus scooter arrived here by Handi-bus and I’m putting the finishing touches on packing. We’ll wait for Rachel to get done with work, and then she will drive our car, pulling the trailer with the scooter. Tim, Renylor and Andrew will drive separately.

I’m looking forward to this weekend. Please pray for safety for us as we travel. It’s not such a great distance from here, but the last 50 km is through the mountains. Deer and other animals can run across the road at night, but because we are nearing the longest day of the year, it should still be daylight for traveling.

We have two problems at the moment--it's raining hard outside, and we'll need to finish putting everything into the trailer in the rain. Hopefully the rain will let up by the time we leave. Also, we need to stop and pick up a new bulb for the trailer because the left turn signal is not working.

Sunday, May 29, 2011 9:28 PM CDT

Today was a beautiful, sunny day with a temperature of 59 degrees (15 degrees C.). After being in Dallas for 10 days, the weather up here still feels chilly, but is much better than the cold, rainy weather of a few days ago.

My time with Dennis was short. I picked him up at 4 p.m. on Saturday and we watched “Flight 93” (true story of the events of 9-11) in the evening. This morning the two of us went to church, ate lunch and then I took him back to Waverley House. On Tuesday night, we’ll be going out to eat to celebrate our 36th anniversary. Then next weekend, will be a family outing at William Watson Lodge. So we’ll see plenty of each other in the days to come.

I’m thankful to Renylor for planting all of my annual flowers today, with Andrew’s help. They will look beautiful in the weeks to come.

Last Friday night I enjoyed watching the musical, “Brigadoon” at the Pumphouse Theater, where I’ve watched other plays during the year. I sang in the chorus of “Brigadoon” in high school 49 years ago, and surprisingly remembered most of the words to the songs. Fun!!

This week I've shared the following twice with friends. It's always a good reminder to me that God is still with us in spite of the difficulties we encounter along the way. It's from 2 Corinthians 4 NIV:

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Thursday, May 26, 2011 11:16 PM CDT

Rachel and I arrived back home safely from Dallas late last night. We left summer weather behind, and are now experiencing the cold, wet weather of a late Alberta spring. Most of the trees have their leaves by now, but the flowering crab that bursts into bloom mid-May is still not convinced that it's spring.

Rachel picked up Dennis this afternoon, and then they went to McDonald's with Tim, Renylor and Andrew for an afternoon snack. He was home this evening so I fixed supper and then took him back to Waverley House. He did fine while we were away, but is frustrated by the wet weather because he can't ride his scooter.

The night before we left Dallas, we spent three hours sitting in the hallway of the International Linguistics Center dorm (guest house) with six other people, listening to a radio and watching tornadoes being tracked across the Dallas-Fort Worth area on computer. We were safe. Someone told us that 100 planes had been damaged--by hail I guess. It was a wild night, but we were safe.

Monday, May 23, 2011 3:57 PM CDT

Our time in Dallas is nearly over, and it's been great. We've had many visits with people I've kept in touch with from the past--tonight we are invited over for a meal. It's the last thing written on my calendar, except to leave for Calgary on Wednesday afternoon. I think we'll go to an arboretum tomorrow, one we used to take Tim and Rachel to in the early 1990s.

Rachel has had fun getting to know some of the students living in the dorm (now called the guest house) and studying linguistics. As an MK, she has some understanding of what they will be doing overseas in the future. As I write this, she and two others are gathered around a piano. She is playing piano, another person is playing a guitar, and the third is playing a pianica. Beautiful music!

Yesterday I spoke at two churches. One supports us on a regular basis and we've known people in the other church since 1981, some of whom may pray for us from time to time.

Yesterday afternoon on our way back from church, we stopped at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival, and spent a couple hours walking around, observing the activities and eating lunch there. They had glass blowing, jousting, a carillon concert, camel and elephant rides, and many other activities. We just watched. Fun!

Thanks to those of you who are praying for us as we travel. That's a great encouragement to us. I'm very thankful I've had Rachel with me.

Thursday, May 19, 2011 5:55 PM CDT

Greetings to all of you from Dallas where the weather has been in the 70s and all the trees have beautiful dark green leaves.

So far Rachel and I have had some good visits with friends of mine from the past and attended a Wednesday night service at a church we attended when the children were young. We saw three people we knew from the past.

Today our house manager showed Rachel and me through the house Dennis and I own, which is being rented out. The outside needs a bit of work, but the inside looks great.

Rachel and I drove all around Duncanville this afternoon and saw the neighborhood she once knew and schools she used to attend. Nostalgia.

Rachel brought her little computer with her. I am typing on it with an internal mouse, which is causing me frustration most of the time. . . so I will stop here before I lose everything.

Sunday, May 15, 2011 10:32 PM CDT

Dennis has a smile on his face. On Saturday morning we gathered up all of the bags of cans and bottles in the garage, filled up the entire car, and took them to the Bottle Depot (recycling place) to earn $72 for Dennis. Afterwards we ate at McDonalds, and then I took him back to Waverley House so he could go riding on his scooter and collect even more cans. Although the day is bright and sunny, it’s still chilly and windy—not at all as pleasant as it looks. Some of the trees are beginning to get their leaves, but everything is a couple weeks behind schedule.

At Waverley House, they celebrated birthdays last night and had a barbecue. There’s another barbecue planned for this afternoon, and then the activity of the day is repotting annual plants into a wide variety of planters for the seven houses for handicapped people. Dennis is giving that a pass, but Susan, the recreational therapist, told him he could watch if he didn’t want to plant anything. He’s eager to go bowling on Monday, their activity for the week. I’m thankful that there are activities for him to be involved in, much more so than when he first moved into Waverley House in March 2009.

This past week has been a busy week for me, because I needed to get ahead on the production of “Prayer Alive” (small prayer magazine that I edit), since I’ll be gone 10 days. It’s now in the hands of the proofers, and will be ready for printing when I get back from Texas. I also wrote a news release about the new president of Wycliffe Canada. Roy Eyre and his wife Becky worked in the Wycliffe Canada office from 1998 to 2002, where Roy served as our graphic artist. After that they worked in Orlando, Florida, at Wycliffe U.S.A.’ s main office, where Roy had a great variety of leadership training and experience. At 39, he is the youngest person to serve as Wycliffe Canada president, a position he will begin in November.

It’s sad to see water flooding parts of Manitoba and Louisiana as dikes/levees are purposely breached to allow spillage on less populated areas, salvaging areas with higher populations. However, in the midst of the sadness, I discovered someone had written a gem of a descriptive sentence: “The water is expected to pool in low-lying areas and slowly ooze over the area's grid roads, like syrup covering a waffle.”

Update on Mom Seever: She’s doing really well, now living temporarily in a care facility until she regains strength and is allowed to use her arms. She has a lot of restrictions on what she is allowed to do until her ribs and sternum grow back together and the large incisions in her legs heal. Thanks to all of you who prayed and are praying.

Rachel spent the weekend in Jasper, Alberta, attending a Taekwon Do competition, and came back with a bronze medal. She was also a judge for 10-11 year-old- girls who were competing. The 412 km (255 mile) trip took five hours because it was on roads through the mountains.

Tomorrow at 2:25 p.m., Rachel and I will fly to Dallas, where we will be staying until May 25th. Please pray for safety in travel, and good visits with supporting churches and friends. Thanks! We’ll be taking a GPS along to navigate the challenging highways and roads. While we are there, we will be staying at the guest house (dorm) at the International Linguistics Center, where Dennis and I worked before coming to Canada. Tim will be watching out for his dad while we are away.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 11:02 PM CDT

I’m still celebrating. Last week our family couldn’t all get together to celebrate my birthday and Mother’s Day, so Rachel organized it for this evening. After work, she picked up Dennis at Waverley House. He wanted to stop at Co-op along the way, and bought red, yellow and white tulips for me! How thoughtful of him!

We had delicious Chinese take-out, and afterward had a Filipino cake that Tim and Renylor bought for the occasion. It was an Ube (purple yam ) cake, and comes rolled up like a jelly roll, frosted with purple whipped cream frosting. Yummy! Rachel gave me three DVDs from the Narnia series, so this evening we watched the first half of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis. While we were in Australia from 1986 to 1990, Dennis read the Narnia series to our kids, and they loved it.

I’m fascinated by the way children learn to use language. I went downstairs to see Andrew when I first came home this evening, and was going back upstairs. At first he didn’t want me to leave, and then he said, “Have a great time. Come again soon.” Later he saw an ant crawling by the back door and said, “Ants are so cute.” I didn’t think it was so cute crawling on my floor, but now I don’t dare kill ants while Andrew is watching.

Sunday, May 8, 2011 3:23 PM CDT

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there. I want to honor my own mother on this special day. What I'm sharing today, I have shared previously, but I just wanted to tell the story again.
Just One More Letter
By Janet Seever

During the night of an ice storm in March 1957, my baby sister was born. While Mom was in the hospital, my four-year-old sister and I, a ten-year-old, stayed with our paternal grandparents. My nine-year-old brother stayed with our maternal grandparents.

When the time came for Mom to bring baby Sharon home from the hospital, we were excited about going home as well. However, my sister and I started developing red spots . . . measles! The only way we were allowed to see our baby sister for the next two weeks was by walking on the hard-packed winter trail across a cornfield, going to the back of our house, and peering through the bedroom window.

Mom would tear an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper into quarters, and write a personal note to each of us every day. She would slide the bedroom window open far enough to pass the notes out to us. I delivered my brother’s note to him on the school bus the next morning and carried my notes in my pocket.

Those quarter-page notes were the first of many letters to come in the following years.

After graduating from high school in 1964, I moved from a small town of 2,000 to Minneapolis, seventy miles away. As a country girl, I found the city overwhelming—there were no wide-open spaces and the houses were too close together for my liking. I missed the lake near our home and my family. The University of Minnesota, which I attended that fall, had 40,000 students. It was many times larger than our entire town.

Mom’s weekly letters, my source of encouragement, would arrive like clockwork. I would write my letter on Sunday, she would receive it on Tuesday, and her reply would be in my mailbox on Thursday. Often when I had a tough day in class, Mom’s letter would be waiting for me.

She wrote of ordinary things—what my dad was doing on the farm; who had gotten married, joined the army or had a baby; what my brother and sisters were doing; which elderly person at church had died; how her large garden was doing. Often the letters were written late at night, while she was finishing a batch of beans in the pressure cooker or had a kettle of tomatoes boiling on the stove. On more than one occasion, a spatter of tomato juice landed on the letter. “It’s midnight now,” she would write, “so I guess I should head to bed. I’m falling asleep while writing this.”

After university, I worked at various jobs—in a medical research lab, as a teacher, and at a community college. One constant throughout that time was my mother’s caring correspondence.

After I got married, my husband and I went overseas to do mission work in Papua New Guinea. I was so lonely at first that I would dream of being back home, only to wake up and find myself half a world away from all that was familiar. In 1977, personal computers didn’t exist and we had no telephone, so letters were the only means of communication for the next four years. Mom’s letters were my lifeline, my connection with home. By this time, my brother and two sisters were also away from home, so she was burning the midnight oil, as she would put it, writing to my siblings as well.

She now numbered the front of each envelope to make certain each one arrived safely, and surprisingly enough, they all did. It took two weeks for the letter to reach us, and two more weeks for my reply to get back to her. This was particularly worrisome when she had exploratory surgery for colon cancer. By the time the letter telling us that she would have surgery reached us, she had already had the surgery (her “grand opening”, she called it), and it took another two weeks for us to learn the outcome! It turned out to be polyps, not cancer.

Our mission work eventually took us to the Philippines, Australia, and Dallas, Texas. In the late ’80s, I began saving Mom’s letters, knowing that someday she wouldn’t be with us. I had no idea how soon that time would come.

My dad passed away in 1989 and we moved back to the U.S. in 1990. After twenty-six years of weekly letters, Mom and I switched to talking on the telephone more often than writing.

Then in the spring of 1992, Mom came down with a mysterious illness. After many trips to doctors and courses of antibiotics, she only got worse. The whole family was with her in intensive care on a June evening as Jesus called her Home. I was holding her hand as she slipped away. She was sixty-seven.

There would be no more encouraging letters or phone calls. Later I found nearly 200 letters from her that I had saved. Sometimes I would find a letter tucked away in a dresser drawer or as a marker in a recipe book. Nine years later, while cleaning out a storage shed, I even located some of those original quarter-page well-creased notes from 1957.

If I could write just one more letter to Mom, this is what I would say:

Mom, thanks for the unconditional love you showered on my siblings and me. You treated us all equally and had no favorites. Thanks for making do with so little when we were growing up. We never realized how poor we were materially, because we were rich in so many other ways. Thanks for your example of courage, faithfulness and determination as you lived out your life in situations that were often difficult. Thanks for making the time to write letters when you were too tired and too busy. You’ll never know how much they encouraged me. Thank you for always providing a listening ear to your family and to many others. I thank God for the privilege of having you as my mother. Your grateful daughter, Janet

-- © Janet Seever 2006


Saturday, May 7, 2011 10:06 PM CDT

Thanks for those of you who prayed for Mom Seever’s open heart surgery. I had intended to attend an all-day Wycliffe seminar, but instead waited at home for updates on how she was doing. She came through the surgery very well, especially considering she is 83. Sharon, my sister-in-law, kept me updated with phone calls, and I passed the information on to Dennis.

More about Thursday and Friday. . . Dennis and I had an awesome two days. It was wonderful seeing Wycliffe people we hadn't seen in years at the retreat, and connecting with people who had only been names previously. There were about 175 adults and children present. The theme was "Under the Rothem Tree" from 1 Kings 19, which is the story of Elijah’s showdown with the prophets of Baal, running away from Jezebel, and then sitting under a broom (rothem) tree, where he lamented, "It is enough, Lord."

It was truly a healing time for those attending. People shared stories of physical problems, disappointments in language work, misunderstandings, burnout and forgiveness. I even got to meet in person a number of people whose stories and prayer requests were told in “Prayer Alive,” which I edit.

The Lord ministered to ALL of us throughout the two days, especially during the times of worship. It was truly healing. Some of the songs we sang several times were "In Christ Alone,""Blessed Be the Name of the Lord," "How Deep the Father's Love for Us," and "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." All of them are favorites of mine, because the words are so meaningful.

During the Thursday night banquet, awards were given out for years of service in multiples of five. I received a 35-year certificate. The highest number of years was 45 years, and although two people were listed for 50, they weren’t present.

After being home Friday evening and part of Saturday, Dennis was bored. He had me take him back to Waverley House at 3 p.m., so he could ride his scooter. That was fine, because there really isn't much Dennis can do at home.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers. Rachel is planning to see me in the evening, but for most of the day, my family will be scattered. Tim and Renylor will be taking Andrew to see and ride Thomas the Tank Engine, which is always a favorite with the children when it comes to town once a year.

Friday, May 6, 2011 11:01 PM CDT

Dennis and I got back this evening from an amazing two-day Wycliffe retreat. Dennis enjoyed seeing many of his old friends who came to the event. A total of about 175 people were there, including 24 children and many Wycliffe volunteers.

When we got back home, we discovered that Dennis' brother in Minneapolis was trying to call us. Dennis' mother will undergo emergency open heart surgery tomorrow morning to replace a damaged heart valve and bypass two arteries. I'd appreciate your prayers for a successful surgery. Thanks so much!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 2:47 PM CDT

I feel blessed. So many people sent me greetings on my birthday—cards, emails, and 67 Facebook birthday messages. Wow! I also have a tulip bouquet and a carnation/chrysanthemum bouquet, plus a gift card to Sears and some thoughtful gifts from Rachel. It was just like Christmas in May. (Of course, Mother’s Day and my birthday are combined.) My writing friend, Laureen, came over to visit and brought me a cream puff and the tulips. Then on next Wednesday, my family will celebrate with a meal at a restaurant somewhere. It’s the one night Rachel has nothing scheduled.

This morning I got a call from Maha at Waverley House. Dennis had NO medication for the next four days, Marshall Drugs doesn’t deliver until anywhere from 5 to 7 p.m., and I’m planning to pick Dennis up at 3 to drive north to Carstairs. So. . . I arranged with Marshall Drugs to pick up the medication myself. It was on the way to downtown Calgary, and I missed a very tricky turn on the way, so I wandered around for about 45 minutes. The Pharmacy itself is like a rabbit warren, with hallways leading every which way. But I eventually made it home—with the medications. That’s the important part.

I’m now finishing my packing, and then next I’ll pick Dennis up. I’m looking forward to this evening with special friends, and Thursday and Friday at the Wycliffe retreat at the River’s Edge Christian camp. Dennis will be in the men’s side of the divided cabin, and I’m on the women’s side. Two men will be assisting Dennis, and I am in a room with a woman who had back surgery in December and has mobility issues. Dot was thankful that Dennis was coming, because she said, “I’m glad I won’t be the only one with mobility issues.” I feel privileged to share a cabin with her because I hope I can be of some assistance.

I’d appreciate your prayers for the next few days that things would go smoothly, that there would be safety for all who attend the camp, and that Dennis will have a good time and make a connection with old friends.

On the topic of Andrew’s new-found desire to spell: Lori, a friend of mine in the office, said her son read at 3 ½ and just about drove her crazy asking how everything was spelled. So she eventually made 50 tags with names , which she put on everything around the house.

Sunday, May 1, 2011 8:30 PM CDT

We had snow at times on Thursday and Friday, but now it has all melted. My tulips have now recognized it is spring and are cautiously poking up out of the ground. Usually the trees start getting their leaves by the last weekend of April, but that’s not happening yet. However, by Sunday afternoon, the weather was pleasantly warm, and I was able to clear some of the dead plants from my garden while kneeling on a kneeling pad in the warm sunshine.

Friday, after she was done with her morning job, Rachel picked up my car (with the trailer hitch) at the Wycliffe office, went back and got Renylor, Andrew and the trailer, went to Waverley House and picked up Dennis and his scooter. Then she came back to the Wycliffe office and gave me the keys to her car so I could follow her to the scooter repair place. We got the two scooter batteries replaced because they were eight years old, and not holding the charge like they used to. Scooter batteries are expensive--$299 for two batteries. Then all of us ate at McDonalds. Dennis liked that. Afterward Rachel dropped off Renylor and Andrew, left the scooter in the garage to charge until tomorrow, and took the trailer off in our back yard where we park it. Then she got into her own car which I had driven home and drove Dennis back to Waverley House. Whew! She did all of this before she needed to go to work with her autistic child later in the afternoon. I don’t think I could remember what I needed to do in the right order. I would need to write it all down, step by step. I even had trouble remembering my own phone number twice this week. Is that scary, or what? I jokingly said I didn't call myself that often, but the store clerk looked at me with pity in her eyes. Truly a senior moment.

On May 5 and 6th, Dennis and I will be going to the Wycliffe retreat at River’s Edge, a Christian retreat center. I’m looking forward to it.

I picked up Dennis at 4 on Saturday, and he was able to enjoy three rides on his scooter over the weekend. He collected more cans and now wants to take them to the recycling place. That will need to wait until a Saturday when the place is open.

Pool, pizza, zoo, house. Andrew, at 3 ½, is now spelling these words with plastic letters on the refrigerator. He is fascinated by words, and he especially likes words with the letter ‘z’. I showed him two words I wrote on a paper. “Cat, hat,” he read. He was absolutely right! He also was able to read the word Thomas (from Thomas the Tank Engine) and Max and Ruby (a children’s program he likes) from words I wrote on a paper. It’s fun to watch his excitement over the fact that letters on a paper have meaning. That’s what Wycliffe literacy workers discover overseas when people are able to read their own language for the first time. But it hits even closer to home when it's my own grandson!

When I dropped Renylor and Andrew in front of the church this morning, Andrew said, “It says No Parking.” Now how did he know that? I asked Renylor afterward, and she told me that every time he sees a sign, he asks what it says. He’s asked about No Parking signs previously and happened to remember today that he had seen those words before.

Tomorrow is Election Day in Canada, and by the evening, we may hear of changes in the government as the votes are counted.

Gas is now equivalent to $4.65 US per gallon, factoring in the difference in the size of U.S. and Imperial gallons and taking into account the exchange rate.

May the Lord give all of you a good week. I will officially become a senior citizen (65)on Tuesday.

Sunday, April 24, 2011 10:51 PM CDT

He is risen indeed. I hope you had a really happy Easter. Ours was beautiful, sunny, and spring-like. Snow is gone except on the north side of houses, which don’t get the sun.

Dennis came to church with me, and afterward we had an Easter lunch with Renylor and Andrew. Andrew had a stuffy nose, and couldn’t sleep, so no one downstairs got much sleep last night. Tomorrow night everyone will be here for a turkey dinner. Hopefully Tim, Renylor and Andrew will get more sleep tonight.

Dennis has his scooter at home for the weekend, so went for a couple rides. That’s enough to put a smile on his face. It gives him an opportunity to do something he likes to do.

I had a call this afternoon from Manang Trining, a lady from the Philippines who is in California visiting her daughter. She has called me previously when she has been in the U.S. It was good to hear her voice. I've known her since 1985 and enjoy hearing what the Lord is doing in her life. She accepted the Lord at a ladies' retreat at the Wycliffe center in 1985, and I would stop to visit her on market days in Bagabag to encourage her in her new faith.

Other random events—Dennis and I voted in the election yesterday, taking advantage of early voting. Elections are called quickly in Canada, and no one takes two years to prepare for them. On Friday I went to a Good Friday service, which is an annual event up here held in Jubilee Auditorium with 2,000 or so people in attendance. Thursday was a funeral for Bill, 80, a retired Wycliffe member who had served for 43 years. What a testimony his life was of the Lord’s goodness. Bill and his wife Coby were serving in Papua New Guinea back in 1977-1981 when we were there.

Have a good week, everyone.

Easter Monday is a holiday up here, so I still have another day off. Dennis will be going back to Waverley House tomorrow night.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 4:24 PM CDT

I often talk about the weather up here—there always seems to be a lot of interesting things happening. Although we should have a warm Easter weekend, a person never knows what the following weeks will be like. I remember back to one year when we had snow on the ground the first 10 days of May, and another time when all the leaf buds froze and we didn’t have any leaves on the trees until the end of June. A friend shared the following with me, and I thought it was hilarious.


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Good news on the health front for me. I went to see my ophthalmologist this morning to get the results of two previous eye tests. Everything remains the same as last June, and the sight in my right eye even improved. Cataracts are a minor problem, macular degeneration is in the beginning stages, diabetic retinopathy negative, and glaucoma negative. All of the tests are to be repeated in six months. I also checked with my doctor’s office to see about the results of the treadmill test and the echocardiogram I had earlier. The message I got back was that he doesn’t need to see me about the results until I come in for my physical in June, which means nothing worrisome. That’s good news too.

I’m looking forward to Easter weekend. Dennis indicated he didn’t want to come unless he gets to bring his scooter along. At least that’s the message I thought I got. I’ll need to see if that can be arranged with the Handi-bus.

Rachel’s boyfriend Greg will be coming with her on Easter Monday to celebrate Easter with our family at that time (it’s an official holiday for most people up here); they will be having an Easter meal with his aunt and uncle on a farm three hours north of here on Easter, with other relatives coming down from Edmonton. Then this past weekend Rachel spent the weekend with Greg and his parents at their time-share on the other side of the Rockies. They’re really getting to know each other’s families. Meeting Greg was the best thing that has happened to Rachel in recent years.

Looking ahead. . . on May 5th and 6th, everyone from Wycliffe including retired members will be having meetings (think “retreat”) at a camp, River’s Edge, several hours from here. It’s one thing to plan to attend camp myself, but quite another to consider the logistics in bringing Dennis with me. We worked it out so we will be spending the night before the camp with friends two towns north of here, so it’s only a half hour drive to camp early the next morning. At the camp, men will be in one set of cabins, six to a room, and the women in another set of cabins. I can’t be with Dennis so will need someone to watch out for him while he is in the cabin. He does everything for himself, but more slowly than everyone else. Have you ever tried to put socks on with one hand? He can do it.

May the Lord richly bless you as you celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THIS SEASON AS WELL.

Sunday, April 17, 2011 8:48 PM CDT

Snow, snow, snow and more snow—eight inches Wednesday night and now a few inches more on Saturday. It still feels like the middle of winter. The good thing is that it has been warm enough that Andrew was able to play in it. He and Renylor made a magnificent snowman! That’s something his relatives in the Philippines have never done.

Happy Palm Sunday. Dennis willingly went to church with me this Sunday, and was even able to get up on his own. He wanted to be there. But this Sunday we were the only ones in our family there. Rachel was out of town for the weekend.

This afternoon I went to a missions event and heard many testimonies of what the Lord is doing through a hospital in Nepal, where Samaritan’s Purse is active. I also met two of the doctors who worked there for many years before their retirement. What a blessing the afternoon proved to be! This was at the church for which I write newspaper articles. I was greeted at the church by Diane, whose testimony I had shared in an article a couple years ago. She recognized me and greeted me with, “You’re the writer lady.” I agreed that I indeed was. I later heard from the pastor’s wife that having Diane's testimony shared in the newspaper opened a whole ministry opportunity for Diane to reach out to other hurting people in the church. That blessed me.

Yesterday was the Supertrain, a one-day event with model railroad displays. It was held at an indoor soccer stadium. This year Dennis, Tim, Renylor, Andrew and I went. Pushing Dennis’ wheelchair on the indoor/outdoor green “grass” carpet proved to be a challenge, and my arms ached when I woke up this morning. But Dennis enjoyed it, and Andrew had a fantastic time playing in the Thomas the Tank Engine play area. Andrew’s friend Spencer was there with his mother, so the two boys played alongside each other. Afterward all of us went to Denny’s to eat. I used Christmas money I had been saving. It certainly came in handy for the extra expenses of the day.

I made good progress on writing notes on newsletters that I’m sending out. I also made progress on the next article for CSC News. I’m now waiting for corrections from the subject of the article.

Looking ahead: Rachel and I are planning to fly to Dallas from May 16 to May 25 to visit a major supporting church, see friends in another church, and visit Wycliffe friends. Dennis and I were last down there in 2003 before his stroke, so it really is time for a visit. Rachel will be my driver, since the highways are really wild. I think the term “mixmaster” is applied to one of the highways on which we will travel. It consists of a bunch of flyovers and unhelpful signs like “to Shreveport, LA,” instead of highway numbers or names of nearer communities. Dennis didn’t want to go with us because I told him he would need to use his own money for the ticket.

Thanks for praying for our friend and neighbor Gregg (rapid weight loss, many other symptoms). Finally, after months, doctors have discovered the first piece of the puzzle in his mysterious disease. His adrenal glands are overproducing a hormone, cortisol. Next Wednesday he will see one of the top endocrinologists in Calgary who will try to figure out what is causing the problem. Please ask God to give that doctor wisdom. Gregg’s symptoms are debilitating.

Regarding Mom Seever’s heart problem: Doctor may wait and observe her or do something less invasive than open heart surgery for valve replacement. She sees her doctor again in two weeks for a reevaluation. Thanks for praying. She is spending a week in a time share with new friends from the seniors apartments.I hope she has a good time this coming week.

My writer friend Laureen is also experiencing neck pain and excruciating headaches. Pray that doctors will find a solution to her problem.

The rest of us appreciate your prayers too!

Sunday, April 10, 2011 9:47 PM CDT

It must be spring this weekend. The temperature was up to 55 degrees today (13 degrees C.) and most of the snow is gone. One brave clump of tulips by the house is up, but the rest of them don’t know it’s spring yet. The alley behind Waveley House is full of large mud holes, but otherwise everything is dry. Melting snow up here in Calgary evaporates, rather than collecting in big puddles along the road—except for in that alley. I expect Dennis will be getting out his scooter by the end of the week, mud or no mud.

Dennis came home for the weekend on Saturday. Rachel thought it would be nice to spend some time at the Leisure Center pool Saturday afternoon (just six blocks from our home)—so that was our adventure of the day. She had given Renylor and Andrew a couple pool passes for Christmas, and thought it would be a good day to use them. Dennis was even willing to go. (Tim ended up working at his computer so was not along with us.) So all the rest of us went--Dennis, Renylor, Andrew, Rachel and Greg (her boyfriend). Renylor's friend Wendy and her son Spencer also joined us. Dennis and I sat in the hot tub for quite a while, and then in the end, we tried the steam room with Rachel and Greg. Wendy, Renylor and boys stayed in the shallow end of the pool, and Greg and Rachel went down the three-story water slide called the “Thunder Run” a number of times. Dennis would loved going down that water slide in the past. He always enjoyed adventure! Dennis and I hadn’t been to the pool for about 15 years.

Afterward, Dennis, Rachel, Greg and I ate in the food court at the mall. Greg had his combination padlock with him and showed it to us. He then turned to Dennis and said, “The combination of the lock is the engine number of a ’65 Mustang. Do you remember that?” The rest of us had blank looks on our faces, but Dennis took his finger and wrote three numbers on the table. He was absolutely correct on the first two numbers he had written! He remembered! And Greg had engaged him in something that was meaningful to him. (A lot of people have a tendency to not attempt to talk with Dennis because they know he can’t talk.)

Rachel told Greg how before her dad had his stroke, she had gotten him a memory book for fathers to record memories for their children. He had listed the make, model and year of every car he had ever owned! How wonderful that he had filled out that memory book for her, because she now has something in his handwriting with memories that she would never know otherwise.

This morning in church, Rachel and Greg sat on one side of me, and Renylor and Andrew on the other side. I was a happy Mom! Now, if only Tim would decide to come some Sunday and Dennis would be with us that Sunday as well.

At Waveley House this past week, the group went to the mall, so Dennis had a little excitement to his week. I’m not sure what he did at the mall, but I think they ate lunch there.

Because I didn't see Dennis last weekend, I took him to McDonald's for supper on Monday night. He really enjoyed that.

On Thursday night my writer friend Laureen and I discussed our writing for three hours over a half-price buffet meal at China Rose, a Chinese restaurant. Her insights into an article I was writing gave me some useful help on making the article better. Thanks, Laureen.

Dennis’ mom, Shirley, has a heart valve problem with her aorta, and doctors want to do a valve replacement in a couple weeks. She’s 83, but in good health otherwise. I’m sure valve replacement has advanced since Dennis had his in 1985. Dennis ‘was a St. Jude valve with a stainless steel ring and butterfly flaps. Doctors want to put in a pig tissue valve for Mom. Back in 1985, there was a problem with the tissue valves calcifying in five to seven years, but things have advanced since then. The advantage of a pig tissue valve is that the person doesn’t need to be on blood thinner like Dennis has been for years, a facing the danger of a stroke.

Please continue to pray for Gregg, Charleen’s husband, who has been losing weight. Doctors have the results of a CAT scan, but won’t tell him until THEY set up an appointment with him, not the other way around.

Monday, April 4, 2011 10:40 PM CDT

The sun was shining brightly today, with melting snow, so spring may come some day. The two sparrows are back again as well.

Since I didn’t see Dennis at all over the weekend because of the snow, I went to Waverley House and took him out to eat tonight. He was delighted to have a meal at McDonald’s. It felt like a special occasion, and he was really glad to see me. He was also delighted to hear the amount Al had made selling his model trains at the flea market. All in all, we had a very good time.

The following are verses from the sermon yesterday on worry; it’s a good reminder that the Lord cares for us in the midst of our struggles.

Psalm 34: 4 NIV - I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

Isaiah 41:10 NIV -- So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Philippians 4:6 NIV -- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

1Peter 4:7 NIV -- Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Psalm 56 :3-4 NIV -- When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Saturday, April 2, 2011 10:13 PM CDT

“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”. . . or “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”—either one is fitting for today. Calgary has a winter storm watch in effect, and hour by hour the snow is piling up. I didn’t bring Dennis home this weekend. Rachel warned me that if I did get him home, by tomorrow I wouldn’t get him back, especially trying to drive through the streets of Taradale. The ground was bare and beginning to look like spring before this current dump of snow, but temperatures should get into the melting range later on in the week. People who have been out driving said the streets are really slippery.

Last Monday I got Dennis’ hearing aid fixed and took it back to him. He was in a really good mood at that time. The rest of the week was a busy one for me, besides the work I normally do at the office. I had an eye test on Wednesday to check my peripheral vision at Rockyview Hospital, and won’t know the results of any tests until my visit with the ophthalmologist on April 20. On Friday, I went out for lunch with a friend who is leaving Wycliffe to join another mission, and then in the afternoon I sat at the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship book table at the Christian Career Fair held for the first time in Calgary.

Dennis’ brother Al sold a bunch of his trains at a model railroad flea market today. That will put a smile on Dennis’ face when I tell him about it.

Andrew has been sick with a cold and congestion, and he coughs so hard that he throws up. Poor little guy. He’s been really miserable. Today has been a bit better for him, but now the rest of our downstairs family is sick.

Please continue to pray for our friend Gregg (husband of Charleen), who has lost 50 pounds since Christmas, and no doctor has been able to figure out why. He now has swollen lymph nodes along with all his other pain that he has experienced. He will be seeing a specialist on Monday. Pray that tests will show the cause of his illness. The doctors need to check for tropical illnesses, since he has spent time in Mexico.

Sunday, March 27, 2011 7:01 PM CDT

We’ve had hoarfrost on all of the trees for the last few days. It looks lovely, but I’m trying to imagine what tulips will look like . . .if they are ever able to poke their way out of the snow. Someday. . . maybe.

On Saturday, when I went to Waverley House at 3 p.m. to pick Dennis up, Christina told me he didn’t want to go home. So I went into his room to see him. The first thing he showed me were three candy bars that his friend had just bought him. Then he showed me his hearing aid. The tube won’t stay in anymore, so it needs a new tube, and I need to take it to the hearing aid repair place this week. Then he wrote numbers on a paper. He was basically asking me when he would get his money for his train that Al had sold (later) and when is the train flea market where Al will be taking other trains to sell (April 2). No, he didn’t want to go home with me, and no, he didn’t want me to take him to McDonald’s . I had a missions event to attend, so he would have been watching a DVD with Tim anyway. Being at home can get rather boring since there’s no football to watch anymore. I told him that in the spring, the Handi-bus can bring him home with his scooter.

“The Sorcerer” on Friday night (Gilbert and Sullivan) was absolutely delightful! I’m so glad I was able to attend. Then on Saturday night, l went to a fund-raising missions event for Kathy, who is planning to go to Uganda with Action International Ministries. I met Kathy two years ago when I wrote an article about her for CSC News.

Rachel’s boyfriend’s parents came down from Edmonton for the weekend and were in church this morning with Greg. Delightful people! This is the first time Rachel has met them.

I figured out what to do about Dennis’ retirement fund renewal. I don’t really need to take him to the bank. I went to Waverley House this afternoon, and had him sign a paper with the retirement account information on it, indicating that he did want to renew it. Problem solved, I hope. I just need to turn it in to the bank. Yes, he was happy to see me.

Thursday, March 24, 2011 4:16 PM CDT

“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” I guess I took down my Christmas wreath too soon. I figured I was stretching things by keeping it up until early March, but this definitely is more like winter weather.

Yesterday I received a call from Susan, the nurse, who oversees the health of people at Waverley House. A call from her always worries me because I wonder what has happened, but I need not have worried. She only needed some information for a form she was filling out. She told me that Dennis has been enjoying playing pool on the outings, when they go out by Handi-bus. He has a bit of trouble doing it with just one hand, but has fun doing it anyway. That was news to me, and I’m glad he has found something else he likes to do.

Yesterday I received a call from the bank that Dennis’ small RSP ($3,000 pension fund) is up for renewal. He can either renew it or cash it in. No, I can’t do it for him because his name is on the account and I don’t have trusteeship or power of attorney. I set up an appointment on Saturday, and got to thinking about it. Can you guess what he will want to do? Normally, in the past, he would routinely say that he wants to renew it. However, life has changed. Everything has changed. He will want to take the money NOW and put it into his personal account so he can buy a truck sooner—a truck that he doesn’t have a driver’s license to drive, and something we definitely do NOT need. I definitely need Rachel to go along with me (and a little prayer too.) This isn’t something I can tackle on my own. Can you see how much fun it is to deal with a brain-injured person? I always have to keep one step ahead of him, and that isn’t always possible.

I just finished reading an encouraging book called Heaven Is for Real, by Todd Burpo. It tells the story of his four-year-old son's visit to heaven when he was at the point of death from a burst appendix. Colton later recalls things about heaven that he could not possibly know unless he actually had the experience. His father, who is a pastor, was able to check things in the Bible and found passages that confirmed what his son was telling him. Plus Colton saw loved ones who had died previously that, as a four-year-old, he had no knowledge of. Another encouraging book is 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper, which I read a number of years ago. I’m reminded that some day, Dennis will be able to talk and hear. That’s encouraging to me.

On Friday I’ll be going to the last play of the season, “The Scorcerer,” a Gilbert and Sullivan musical. I’ve had great enjoyment from my season ticket of four plays. I go to these with single ladies from the Wycliffe office.

I hope you’re having a good week.

I would like prayer for my friend Charleen and her husband Gregg. Charleen is the friend who suffers from the pain problem. After radical surgery in December to cut the nerve endings, Charleen is still in pain. Some days are better than others, but lately she has been struggling.

Her husband Gregg has lost a huge amount of weight since December. Doctors have done many tests and find no cause for it. Both Charleen and Gregg are Christians who are trusting the Lord. Thanks for praying.

Monday, March 21, 2011 11:37 PM CDT

Winter is back again. Tonight I went to the Wycliffe office to hear friends speak at Café Wycliffe (weekly meeting for young people interested in missions.) By the time I got out of the meeting at 9 p.m., the ground was covered with a number of inches of snow.

I spent today at a Symposium for Private Guardians, which was attended by a large group of people dealing with difficult situations—regarding parents with dementia, brothers and sisters with developmental disabilities, and brain injured children, to name just a few. I realized that I have come a long, long way since I began dealing with all of this. We are in a good situation when compared with some who were just searching for long-term care for their loved ones. On occasion anger and frustration boiled over as people were wondering what to do next. Later I was able to talk with a woman who helped me put together the guardianship paperwork in 2006. Johanna said she had helped many people in the room apply for guardianship in the 20 years she had been volunteering to help people with their applications.

Guardianship and trusteeship has changed a bit in the past two years. There seems to be a more streamlined way to apply without going to a lawyer and having the lawyer present the paperwork to the court. Application forms are now filed with the Office of the Public Guardian instead of with the court. I also learned there is now an informal trusteeship, which sounds more like something that would work for us. It deals with monthly income for the handicapped person, and not with investments, stocks or property. I already have that with the US Disability Pension I receive for Dennis’ care. Once a year they ask me how it was spent and I fill out a one-page form. From what I read, OAS (Old Age Security) and Canada Pension also have a provision where they deal directly with the caregiver and the caregiver is responsible to the agency to show how the money has been used. (I’m not certain how much of either Dennis will be getting since they take into consideration that he is already getting U.S. disability pension.) Informal trusteeship seems to eliminate the necessity of going through a court and paying a huge amount of money. I’m not sure exactly how it works, but I certainly want to find out.

I came home with four folders with stacks of information to read in my spare time. All in all, it was an extremely valuable day for me. I also met one woman I used to see at women’s meetings at church years back. She cares for a 45-year-old son who was deprived of oxygen at birth and is profoundly handicapped.

Sunday, March 20, 2011 8:36 PM CDT

Happy spring to all of you. The days are getting much longer, and although we had a bit of snow overnight, it has all melted. My two sparrows are back, eager to get busy with nest building. I don’t know how old they are in sparrow years, but they’re been back each year for quite a number of years. I certainly would miss them if they didn’t come.

I picked Dennis up at 10:30 on Saturday, and we ate our lunch at McDonald’s--a treat for him! Then we drove out to Strathmore, 50 km. from here to see Rachel compete in a regional Taekwon Do tournament. The people with black belts competed at the very end of the day. Rachel did an awesome job, winning both a gold and silver medal. Dennis and I haven’t seen her compete for quite a number of years, so I was glad we were able to attend.

After church today, Dennis and I were talking with Rachel and her boyfriend Greg. (I was talking, Dennis was listening.) Greg was wondering if we were doing anything this afternoon. No, we had no plans. So on the spur of the moment, he invited us to his place and he and Rachel fixed lunch for us. He made a delicious casserole of fried potatoes, sausage and green beans, while Rachel fixed a salad. I also learned he is an artist, and minored art in college. It was a very pleasant afternoon, and I welcomed the opportunity to get to know Greg a little better. He teaches industrial arts at a school just north of Calgary, so has some of the same skills Dennis had before his stroke.

Last week I had an echocardiogram to check on my heart (no results back yet), and had the retinas of my eyes photographed at the eye clinic, to check for glaucoma, macular degeneration or retinopathy, I’m not sure which one, or maybe all three. People who are diabetic (I’m type 2) are 25 times more likely to lose their eyesight than the average person. Diabetics are also more likely to die of heart problems. I guess all of these things are like getting routine maintenance done on your car. On the 30th, I will have another fluourisein (orange) dye test done on my eyes like last year, which makes me half blind for about eight hours, and can temporarily turn a person’s eyes and skin yellow.

Tomorrow I’m taking a vacation day to attend an all-day symposium on adult guardianship. I went to one previously, but the presenters this time are different, and the location is within a couple miles of here. I hope to learn something different from what I learned last time.

Sunday, March 13, 2011 9:27 PM CDT

Happy Daylight- Savings-Time Sunday. Did you remember to set your clocks ahead last night? I almost forgot, and then I was reminded of it on a church post on Facebook. Just before I went to bed, Dennis pointed to his watch. He knew and was wondering if I had remembered. He is aware of more things than people give him credit for.

Yesterday when I picked Dennis up at Waverley House, he was ready for me. He had drawn a picture of a glass with a straw in it, and showed me side panels from boxes of Chicken McNuggets and apple pie. Yes, we ate at McDonalds. It got me thinking. If he used cards this week to show me what he wanted, we need to make more cards with pictures on them so he can use the cards more to communicate. Rachel made some cards for him quite a while ago, but he hasn’t used them recently.

At home, he spent the evening watching the horrifying footage taken of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Yes, he knew what had happened there. It’s all so very sad. Dennis also watched hockey after he tired of the continuous news on CNN.

This morning Renylor and Andrew came to church with me, the first time in a number of weeks. Andrew was restless and wanted to talk, so I pointed out where Rachel was sitting. He happily sat on her lap while Rachel’s boyfriend, Greg, entertained him by drawing pictures for him. At one point, Andrew said out loud, “That’s a cat.” Children go to Sunday school after the worship part of the service is over, so Andrew didn’t need to stay quiet too long. This past week he and Renylor went to the zoo with Wendy and her son Spencer. He especially liked the zebras. I think he had fun saying the word zebra.

Today we had a sewer pipe blockage like we had twice last year, but this time it was simple to get it fixed. The city sent two men over within two hours of my call, and they had the problem fixed in fifteen minutes. One problem was in our back yard and the other was on the city property. The pipes have three dips in them, which causes the problem.

I hope all of you have a good, peaceful week.

Saturday, March 12, 2011 0:14 AM CST

An 8.9 earthquake in Japan and a tsunami following it make other things look insignificant in comparison. Then, of course, there’s still a tremendous amount of unrest and fighting in the Middle East. It makes a person wonder what comes next. . . (See Matt. 24:4-8 below)

Yesterday I saw signs that spring might be coming. A considerable amount of our snow vanished (the moisture evaporates here in Calgary, so there’s not water running down the streets). One of my sparrows was back in the late afternoon. However, today we had light snow again.

Today I interviewed Tyler, a young man with a powerful testimony, for an article I’m writing. His father started a ministry to homeless people in Calgary many years ago. I also saw that the new issue of CSC (Centre Street Church) News has one of my articles in it. I’m glad that my writing ability can be used in this way.

Today Dennis went to the mall with his housemates by Handi-bus, and had a good time. He especially enjoyed eating at A & W afterward. When Maha was talking to me on the phone, she passed my greetings on to Dennis. She said he waved at me. “Tell him I’m waving back at him,” I replied. She said he smiled when she told him that. I’ll be picking him up tomorrow afternoon.

For those of you wondering about gas prices up here, it’s more expensive than in the U.S. After converting Canadian dollars to U.S. dollars and converting Imperial gallons to U.S. gallons, we pay $4.19 per gallon. Our Wycliffe pay, our house rent in Dallas, and Dennis’ disability pay all originate in the U.S. We’re getting a lot fewer dollars in the exchange than we were even last year at this time. Last year we received 6 cents more per U.S. dollar, and in 2009 we received 31 cents more per dollar. It makes a big difference in trying to stretch our money to cover everything.

This evening I went to a Steve Bell concert. It was a fun evening, even though I went by myself. He is a middle-aged Canadian singer who plays a guitar and has an awesome four-piece band to back him up. A lot of the audience was made up of older people who enjoy his style of music.
My times are in your hands (Psalm 31:15 NIV).

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? (Matt. 6:25 NIV)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matt. 24:4-8 NIV)

Sunday, March 6, 2011 6:33 PM CST

I hope all of you had a good weekend. It’s gone past much too quickly, but I’m pleased with the headway I’ve made on our taxes. That’s a big plus. This year I won’t need to take vacation days to do them.

It’s still cold up here, so I’ve decided to leave my wreath on the door a little longer, to see if spring actually might be coming this year. I remember one year when the trees got all of their leaves by the end of April, and we had a killing frost. The trees had NO leaves until the end of June because they all froze off. The days are getting longer, but even my sparrows, which were so eager for nest building, have gone back into hiding. When the thermometer reads -11 (-25 C.), it doesn’t prompt any spring activities.

Dan, a computer programmer from church, came over this afternoon with a computer program he designed to see if it would help Dennis. He had 56 words in rows on the screen and thought he could teach Dennis to read them and that they would help Dennis to communicate. Unfortunately, Dennis could identify only his own name on the screen. Maybe if Dennis would work at it long enough, he would catch on. Surely he could be taught to read using a simple reading book. . . He just needs to try. . .

What I find that people don’t understand is that different parts of the brain have different functions. Sometimes other parts of the brain can take over for the damaged parts, but for Dennis, so far in the 6 ½ years since his stroke, it hasn’t happened. He can’t read because the stroke destroyed that part of his brain.

Logic doesn’t exist in Dennis’ world either. When he found out that he would be getting OAS (Old Age Security pension—I’m not sure how much) from the Canadian government and I told him it was to be used to meet his needs, he had a meltdown. He needs things like a sunlight lamp because he can no longer borrow it from the hospital Mood Disorder program, and he also needs new, expensive batteries for his scooter. The money is all his, he thinks, and it needs to go to his account for his own personal use, not to buy any of these things. I can’t touch it. In the past when I’ve crossed him on money issues, he has locked me out of the house in a snow storm; taken my credit card, debit card and driver’s license; and threatened suicide. I don’t want to go through all of that again, so need to figure a way around it. But I won’t worry about it for now. I have no idea how much it will be (just a small amount, I’m sure) or when it will start. Trying to reason with him is useless, because he doesn’t think logically.

Dennis had a good time at Waveley House on Friday, celebrating Doreen’s birthday with all of the others in the home. She bought pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and a chocolate and carrot cake. I heard that he enjoyed eating, and sang “Happy Birthday” to Doreen.

Have a good week.
We sang “In Christ Alone” this morning at church, and I found it deeply comforting. I hope it encourages you as well.

In Christ Alone
Songwriters: Getty, Julian Keith; Townend, Stuart Richard;

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless Babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save

‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live, I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again

And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From a life?s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from His hand
?Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I stand

I will stand, I will stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground, all other ground
Is sinking sand, is sinking sand
So I stand

Thursday, March 3, 2011 10:35 PM CST

It’s definitely winter yet, with a temperature of -11 degrees (-25 C.) this morning. A Canadian climatologist says that people have something to complain about this year, because it has been colder and snowier than normal. The bad news is that we can expect colder than normal weather for the next three months. Is anyone ready to move to Canada? I remember having milder winters when we first came up here. We were supposed to have a Chinook come through this afternoon, but it went to Banff instead. They had warm weather, but we didn’t.

Dennis had his last appointment with Dr. B. at Foothills Hospital this afternoon. After 13 years, his mood has been so stable that she doesn’t need to see him anymore. His family doctor can prescribe his medication. It’s really good news, but at the same time it’s sad because we’ll miss seeing her. She is a wonderful doctor.

While we were at Foothills Hospital, we saw Garth, who used to come to our church years back. He had a stroke in 2004, just two weeks before Dennis had his, and was at the Fanning Centre the same time Dennis was there. Garth is now at the Foothills Hospital on a transition ward, waiting placement in an assisted living facility. His wife, who worked and cared for him, is now dealing with MS. It made me realize how fortunate I am at this stage of our journey. Things are calm and more predictable than they were a few years back, and Dennis is well cared for.

Thanks for praying for what I thought was a kidney infection. It wasn’t. The antibiotic wasn’t working because I needed an anti-fungal medication instead. I am feeling much, much better.

Thursday, March 3, 2011 10:35 PM CST

It’s definitely winter yet, with a temperature of -11 degrees (-25 C.) this morning. A Canadian climatologist says that people have something to complain about this year, because it has been colder and snowier than normal. The bad news is that we can expect colder than normal weather for the next three months. Is anyone ready to move to Canada? I remember having milder winters when we first came up here. We were supposed to have a Chinook come through this afternoon, but it went to Banff instead. They had warm weather, but we didn’t.

Dennis had his last appointment with Dr. B. at Foothills Hospital this afternoon. After 13 years, his mood has been so stable that she doesn’t need to see him anymore. His family doctor can prescribe his medication. It’s really good news, but at the same time it’s sad because we’ll miss seeing her. She is a wonderful doctor.

While we were at Foothills Hospital, we saw Garth, who used to come to our church years back. He had a stroke in 2004, just two weeks before Dennis had his, and was at the Fanning Centre the same time Dennis was there. Garth is now at the Foothills Hospital on a transition ward, waiting placement in an assisted living facility. His wife, who worked and cared for him, is now dealing with MS. It made me realize how fortunate I am at this stage of our journey. Things are calm and more predictable than they were a few years back, and Dennis is well cared for.

Thanks for praying for what I thought was a kidney infection. It wasn’t. The antibiotic wasn’t working because I needed an anti-fungal medication instead. I am feeling much, much better.

Sunday, February 27, 2011 8:31 PM CST

Do you suppose I should take down my Christmas wreath that’s still on our outside door? I’m thinking about it. But it has been so wintry, that I haven’t even noticed that it might be a bit out of place according to the calendar.

Yesterday afternoon was an interesting time for us. A Home and Garden Show was being held in Calgary, so Rachel figured it would give her dad something else to do other than watch TV on a Saturday afternoon. Yes, he was willing to go. So Dennis, Rachel, her friend Greg (who teaches industrial arts), and I went. I pushed Dennis in his wheelchair through the crowded aisles, while Rachel and Greg went off on their own, since it was impossible to stick together. Dennis and I saw so many innovative things in the building industry, which I know Dennis would have liked to talk about, IF ONLY HE HAD WORDS. One thing we noticed was a heavy Styrofoam form, with rebar in the middle, where concrete is poured directly into the form. The individual blocks stack together like Lego to form a concrete wall, which already has the insulation on both sides. Fascinating! Afterward we all ate at McDonald’s and then saw Greg’s amazing underground garage, which he has built into a hillside in back of his house. He not only knew about the Styrofoam forms, he had actually used them to build his garage. Dennis had SO MANY things he wanted to say and questions he wanted to ask. At one point he had tears in his eyes because he could not express himself. Other than his frustration, he did have a good time. It certainly wasn’t another boring Saturday afternoon with no football to watch.

I bought a very handy item at the Home and Garden Show—a “Turbo Snake” (a mini drain cleaner that has Velcro-like barbs on the end of a plastic-coated wire.) My bathroom sink drain is now flowing well. I suppose I could have used Draino, but I don’t like corrosive chemicals.

After church today, Dennis and I met Dan, who designs computer programs and installed the first computers in the Wycliffe office many years back. He is wondering if a specialized program he could design would help Dennis communicate. I told him that Dennis had already tried them all, and nothing worked. However, Dan pointed out that all were standard programs, and nothing had been designed specifically for Dennis. I have his contact information.

Dennis and I stayed for a soup luncheon at church to raise money for the Mexico missions trip some of the students will be going on this summer. They will be building a small house for a poor family in Mexico who now live in a make-shift shelter. Dennis was reluctant to stay because he knew it would be noisy, but we managed to find a quiet place to sit.

I’d appreciate your prayers for my health. I’m battling a kidney infection that so far doesn’t seem to be responding to the antibiotics I’ve been on.

Monday, February 21, 2011 10:08 PM CST

It was Family Day, an Alberta holiday, so I had the day off. I made progress on doing my Canadian and U.S. taxes. Last year was an absolute nightmare, but this year I already know how to do it. No, I can’t use an on-line tax program because that was what caused my nightmare last year. The program wasn’t designed to move back and forth between U.S. dollars and Canadian dollars, and some of the categories didn’t work for U.S. income. Then it wouldn’t let me erase anything I had put in.

Since it was Family Day, I did something with Dennis today—we ate at McDonald’s. He enjoyed that. We also stopped at Co-op to pick up some things he thought he needed (like Coke and cookies). Anyway, it made him happy, and it made me happy to see that he was happy. I’ll see him again on the weekend. He’s really eager for spring weather so he can ride his scooter, and I’m eager for spring. The temperature was up to thawing by late afternoon when a Chinook came through, but another cold front will soon be on its way. More winter, but at least we didn’t get a foot of snow like Minnesota got.

Sunday, February 20, 2011 11:10 PM CST

We’ve had a bit of cold weather lately, but I’m not complaining at all because I’ve seen pictures my Minnesota relatives have posted of white-out conditions in Minnesota this afternoon. We’ve had sunshine all day. I think everyone is eager for spring. (That’s a bit of an understatement.)

This is a long weekend, but Dennis was home for just Saturday and Sunday, because I want to make great progress on doing taxes tomorrow. At least that’s what I’m hoping. Tomorrow is “Family Day,” a provincial holiday so I’m planning to spend the day at home.

Andrew and Renylor were both well enough to come to church with me today, since one or the other has been sick the past couple Sundays. Andrew loves Kids Blox (Sunday School). He always likes to sit with Aunty Rachel for the first part of the service before the children leave for Kids Blox.

Rachel was over yesterday evening so we could all watch “Unstoppable” together. It was based on the true story of a runaway train in Pennsylvania, and Dennis thoroughly enjoyed watching it since he likes trains. Tonight Rachel was over and brought along a friend’s DVD, “Faith Like Potatoes.” I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t yet seen it.

On Thursday I had a great visit with my writer friend, Laureen. We do a great job of encouraging one another. It was a fun evening.

I hope you all have a great week. Thanks for your prayers for our family.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 8:04 PM CST

We awoke this morning to a Winter Wonderland with hoarfrost coating all of the trees. It was beautiful but cold, with a small amount of snow during the day. Winter is definitely back, at least for a few days. It’s supposed to warm up a bit over the weekend.

My feeling of sadness from last week is now gone. Thanks to those of you who prayed. It really helped to analyze where the sadness was coming from and to again focus on the fact that our times are really in God’s hands.

As I was working on a Bible study today on Ephesians, the song “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” by Stuart Townend was running through my mind. How it blessed me! Ephesians is a good reminder of who we are in Christ and how much God loves us.

Lyrics: How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 8:03 AM CST

UPDATED 11:30 a.m.

Happy Tuesday to all of you. I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day yesterday and have had a great start to the week. We continue to have spring-like weather up here in Calgary, and large patches of grass are peeking through the snow. However, colder weather is on the way for tomorrow. The sunrise this morning was a spectacular orange and gray.

Back to my last posting on Sunday when I said I was feeling sad. . . . One other concern I’m dealing with is health issues, which is a major underlying factor for everything else I mentioned. I had a treadmill stress test a few weeks back. I passed by getting up to 93 per cent of the maximum heart rate. It did produce a mild upper arm pain in my left arm, but the heart tracings were completely normal. I’ve had arm pains checked out previously and they have had no obvious connection to anything heart related. However, I am at high risk for heart problems and had parents with heart problems who died at 66 and 67. I’m scheduled for an echocardiogram on March 16.

In the last posting on Sunday, I said that no one notices the work I do—that’s not quite true. Yesterday a friend at the Wycliffe office mentioned that she was blessed by something I had written in Prayer Alive and went to a Wycliffe retreat center I had mentioned in my little article. She thought I would like to know. Yes, it was a great affirmation to me. And yes, she was blessed by her time at the retreat center.

That, then, reminded me of the verse I received six times at that same retreat (a home of Wycliffe members in Rocky Mountain House), which I shared in my Prayer Alive article: Isaiah 49:15 a, 16b: “ . . . I will not forget you. Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands.” I'm encouraged whenever I remember that verse.

God knows the exact number of my days. (He knows the number of yours too.) I choose to live as wisely as I can, “redeeming the time.” (Redeem the time, because the days are evil" --EPHESIANS 5:16 )

On Thursday, I'm looking forward to getting together with my writer friend Laureen. We tend to encourage one another. Encouraging one another is biblical too.

Update on "no one notices the work I do". . .

This morning I received the following from long-time Wycliffe friends, S. and E., whom I've known since our days in PNG in 1977 to 1981. How their words blessed me!


Just want to thank you for your editorial in the Winter 2010 Prayer Alive. Praying through the issue again, your editorial met a specific need in our own hearts/lives, so we stopped to thank God for you and Dennis, your faithful service over many years and places, and for your tender heart before the Lord. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for Prayer Alive.
(Here is the editorial they were responding to, in case you are really confused. I've shared it several times previously in Caring Bridge, so if it sounds familiar, you're right. You've read it previously.)

Several months ago, I was dealing with a perplexing, complex problem concerning the future, looking for a solution that had been evading me. At that time, I spent two days at Dovercourt Sanctuary—a place of rest and renewal—searching for wisdom from the Lord. (Dovercourt Sanctuary was featured in the fall issue of Prayer Alive.)

My second morning there, I was reading from Living Light, a devotional book, when I came across the verses from Isaiah 49:15b-16a: “. . . I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” I thought about it, along with some other meaningful verses I had read, and wrote them down in my notebook. What a blessing they were!

A while later that same morning, I began reading in Philip Yancey’s book, Prayer—Does It Make a Difference?, and encountered the same verses “ . . . I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” It’s a fairly obscure passage, so to encounter it twice in the same morning was highly unusual.

Imagine my amazement that afternoon, when I picked up a booklet and discovered the same verses on the cover! When I opened the booklet, and randomly began reading an article, the whole article focused on Isaiah 49:15b-16a. In all, I saw those verses twice more for a total of six times in the three publications that day.

So did I ever find the solution for which I was searching? No. But far more important was the Lord’s message that He has not forgotten me. What an impact that had on me!

As you pray for the requests in this issue, you’ll be praying for specific needs of the Wycliffe office concerning the future, and for members going through a time of transition. The journey ahead may not always be clear in each situation, but pray for the Lord’s peace, presence and wisdom. Pray especially that every person will know that the Lord has not forgotten them and their needs.

As you pray, be reassured that the Lord has your needs in mind as well. He has not forgotten you.

Sunday, February 13, 2011 8:28 PM CST

The pair of sparrows is back again, sitting on rafters outside my window, looking into nest building for the new season. I don’t know how many seasons it’s been, but they faithfully come year after year. Amazing. Yes, it means that spring is coming. The temperature lately has been high enough to melt a lot of the snow from last Monday.

Happy Valentine’s Day! I used my three heart-shaped pans and made three gigantic chocolate chip cookies—one for Dennis, one for Rachel, and one for Tim and his little family. I cut Dennis’ giant cookie into bars that will be shared with all of his housemates, and Rachel’s will be shared with her housemate, or with a special friend she has been getting to know lately.

Dennis was home for the weekend. On Saturday, he watched a few police shows, which have enough action that he doesn’t need to depend on the words. This afternoon, he wanted me to call his brother Al, to find out what is going on with his trains. After we talked with Al, he was satisfied. A few of his books will be sold on eBay, and the other things will go into a couple flea markets in April. I told him that previously, but he wanted to hear again. We also wished Mom Seever a Happy Valentine’s Day by phone.

Since football is over, there wasn’t much to do today, so I took Dennis back to Waverley House early. This afternoon it seemed so lonely and sad when I dropped him off. If I didn’t have Tim, Renylor, and Andrew living here, I would be lonely indeed. I’m not a person who enjoys living alone.

This week I felt a bit sad, and I wasn’t sure why until I started thinking about some of the things going on in my life. Applying for Old Age Security pension on Monday meant both Dennis and I have nearly reached a major milestone, signifying that on the “train of life” we’re getting closer to the end of the line. Then six co-workers in the office are getting ready to retire in the next month or two. I’ll miss all of them, Later on in the week, we had a planning meeting for upcoming issues of Word Alive. Others in the department are planning story-gathering trips overseas in the coming year, but I work on things more in the background, including working on Prayer Alive. I enjoy what I do, but it’s not the kind of work that gets noticed. (At one time I used to do more writing for Word Alive.)

I know I’m just being silly with what I’ve just written, so I’m working on counting my blessings. Step by step I’m doing the things I’m supposed to be doing at this stage of life. It’s just that nothing is clear regarding the future and the legal requirements I need to meet in caring for a handicapped spouse. I think that’s an overriding reason for feeling sad. Why can’t things be easier? So many unknowns. . .

The following was meaningful to me this past week.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans … to give you a future and a hope … You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.” Jeremiah 29:11, 13 (LB)

The Bible says, “We may make our plans, but God has the last word” (Proverbs 16:1 GNT).

Jesus said, “Don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time” (Matthew 6:34 LB).

“Don’t boast about what you’re going to do tomorrow, for you don’t know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1).

Thought: Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (NIV). There is only so much sand in the hourglass of your life. How much do you think is left? If there is only enough sand for this day, what three things would you attempt to do?

Monday, February 7, 2011 9:17 PM CST

Six inches of new snow, so driving has really been messy. Dennis and I went down to the Canada Services office (not the consulate as I said previously) and turned in our OAS paperwork. The nasty weather kept everyone else away, so there was no wait, which was nice.

Dennis was home for the weekend, and enjoyed watching the Green Bay Packers win the Super Bowl game. Rachel came over to watch with him, but ended up spending most of her time talking with Renylor and me. She has an interesting and very busy life, so we don’t see her as often as we used to.

Friday, February 4, 2011 11:12 PM CST

I’ve been reading the news of the snowstorm in Dallas, and seeing photos from friends. Wow! At the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, 630 flights were cancelled because of all of the snow. We had 9 degrees C. (48 degrees F.) today, leaving large brown patches showing through the rapidly melting snow. It was a beautiful day!
Andrew made a little snowman today with the sticky snow in the back yard. He said, “Snowman, you’re so `cute. I give you a hug.” Then a man from the gas company came to determine where the best place was to install an outdoor meter, since the indoor one can’t be read if no one comes to the door to let the meter reader in. Andrew told him, “You’re so cute.” The man then squatted down in the snow to see his partner through the basement window to find out the location of the existing meter. Andrew said, “I copy you,” and sat down in the snow too. (Renylor told me these stories of how Andrew was entertaining people this afternoon.)

I’ll be picking up Dennis tomorrow at 10 and taking him to get his monthly blood test done. I wasn’t planning to do it that way at all, but the mobile lab was scheduled to come to Waverley House on Monday morning at the very time we are planning to go to the Canadian consulate to turn in our Old Age Security (OAS) pension applications. Our Wycliffe retirement adviser is coming along to assist us. (What we’ll eventually be getting is minimal.) The government automatically sends applications when people approach 65 to make sure the paperwork is done on time. Suddenly I’m feeling much older.

Dennis is looking forward to watching the Super Bowl game in Dallas on TV Sunday. The snowstorm really messed up people’s plans for the game. I wonder how soggy the field will be.

Sunday, January 30, 2011 10:05 PM CST

After a week of lovely weather, winter has returned to Calgary with more snow and freezing temperatures. Spring is getting closer with longer days, but we are still in for many more days of winter. Somehow, this year winter seems longer than in the past. Are you finding that true too?

I had the Handi-bus bring Dennis home this weekend. He spent most of his time at home watching television, first some nature programs yesterday, and today a program on highlights of past Super Bowls. He was disappointed when I asked him at 5:30 if he was ready to go back. The home care aide who packed up his medication for the weekend put Monday’s medication in his bag as well so he had the idea he was staying until Monday. I had Tim drive him back while I rode along. I was afraid the roads would be bad out in Taradale where the home is located, but I was pleasantly surprised. The city is doing more plowing this year.

On Friday night I babysat for Andrew tonight while Tim and Renylor went out for a meal on their fourth anniversary. What a lively little boy! I was planning to watch him downstairs, but he ended up coming upstairs, and my place isn’t childproof. He emptied my roll of Scotch tape when I wasn’t looking and we ended up making a “snowball” of tape. He’s long past the harming (farming) stage on my computer, so I showed him a picture of Uncle Allan on Facebook and said he could send him a message. This is what he wrote:

We posted it, but then Andrew wouldn't let me make another post right afterward saying, "Andrew is saying hi to you." Within about two minutes, I got a phone call. It was Al. "Jan, are you OK?" He was concerned something bad had happened to me.

Monday, January 24, 2011 9:50 PM CST

Life is getting back to normal after a busy week.

On Saturday we all went to Banff, enjoyed the gorgeous mountain scenery, looked at a few shops designed for tourists, and ate at the food court. Al took the gondola car up Sulfur Mountain and took beautiful photos from there.

Dennis is now able to go up and down on escalators, quite a feat considering that they scare me. I'm always afraid that I'll put my foot over the edge of the rising step and end up falling. He had no problem, and even chose the escalator over using an elevator.

After our time in Banff, I had the family over at our house for a spaghetti supper.

Sunday evening, Al took Dennis back to Waverley House, and this afternoon, he took the flight back to Minneapolis, taking with him two large storage containers with Dennis' trains. I'm thankful that he was able to deal with the trains, because they have been a major concern of mine for a number of years. Al intends to take the trains to a model railroad flea market and sell them there. He's sold the others on eBay, but these aren't worth as much.

Friday, January 21, 2011 10:58 PM CST

The weather was beautiful today—a few degrees above thawing. Andrew enjoyed throwing the snowballs I made for him, and Renylor rolled a big ball to make a snowman in the front yard. Dennis’ brother Allan said the temperature was 50 degrees warmer than Minneapolis today, where the temperature was down to -22 degrees F. Days are getting longer, and winter isn’t so bad when we have days like this. We’ll have more cold weather, but we enjoy days like this when they come.

Yesterday morning Al and I picked Dennis up at Waverley House. Then the two of them went to three hobby shops, McDonalds, and watched three trains. In the afternoon they went through a number of Dennis' train boxes in the garage to figure out what Allan will carry with him to the U.S. to sell on eBay. Some stuff is good, other things aren’t worth that much if anything. They did find some real treasures stored in some of the boxes. Today Dennis and Al recycled Dennis’ bags of cans and bottles stored in the garage. It’s been good for Dennis to have Al here.

Tonight Rachel, Renylor and Andrew went to church for “Beach Night”. A crew of willing workers covered the gym floor with tarps and put down a load of sand early in the week, covering half of the gym floor with sand. During the week various age groups come to play in the sand—beach volley ball and other activities. This has been done every January for about 10 years, if not more. Tonight was the younger children’s night. Rachel said Andrew was having fun, but he wanted to kick everyone’s sand castle over. Rachel had to restrain and distract him. He’s a lively little boy.

Tomorrow our entire family is traveling to Banff and the Rocky Mountains for the day. According to the weather forecast, it should be another nice day.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 9:01 PM CST

Just a quick update. . .

Dennis’ brother Al arrived at 6 p.m. Monday night, the whole family (except for Rachel) had supper together, and then Dennis was picked up by Handi-Bus at 7:30 and taken back to Waverley House. Dennis hasn’t seen Al much, but that’s about to change. I’ll be picking Dennis up at Waverley House at 9 a.m. tomorrow, and then Al and Dennis will have Thursday and Friday together—looking at Dennis’ trains in the garage, going to a hobby shop, perhaps visiting the zoo, and anything else they can think of doing together. I’ll be doing a bit of proofreading from home, so Al can use our car to get around.

Tonight Tim and Al went to the Flames/Minnesota Wild hockey game. Renylor was planning to go with them, but then she changed her mind. I hope it’s a good game. No matter which team wins, one of the two of them will be happy, since they will be cheering for opposing teams.

I had a doctor’s appointment at 7:45 this morning, and then have a treadmill stress test on January 31. I’m feeling exhausted tonight.

The weather has been gradually warming up, so by this weekend things should start thawing. All of us as a family are planning to go to Banff. It should be fun.

Sunday, January 16, 2011 6:32 PM CST

This was another snowy weekend, with a gray sky all day. Snow is piled up all over, looking white and clean yet because it’s still fresh. My sister says they have had 52 inches of snow in Minneapolis this winter. I don’t think we have had nearly that much, but certainly a lot more than the first few years after we arrived here in 1993.
A week ago, 100 people were stranded in their cars along a major highway just east of Calgary because of the snowstorm and all were safely rescued. I don’t think they would have been as fortunate this weekend—it’s bitterly cold.

Dennis is home this weekend as usual, and I had the Handi-bus bring him. That certainly made things a lot easier. I’m going to use the Handi-Bus more often from now on since it’s so much more convenient. He will be staying until tomorrow night because his brother Al is flying in tomorrow afternoon. Al will be here for a week.

Dennis enjoyed football all afternoon, but football season is fast coming to an end.

We celebrated Rachel’s 29th birthday with a pizza lunch today here at our house. (Andrew loves pizza so he did well at eating.) Yesterday was Rachel’s actual birthday, so she has been celebrating all weekend—first by going out for coffee yesterday, then out to eat with a bunch of girlfriends and finally to a concert at church. She was a bit partied out today.

On Thursday I helped my writer friend Laureen celebrate her birthday at a Thai restaurant and then we played Scrabble afterward. She beat me, but then I’ve learned to be a gracious loser by playing Scrabble online with my Australian friend Ann. (Playing with me helps her keep her win/loss average up!)

Monday, January 10, 2011 8:15 PM CST

Calgary Weather Information: On Sunday, RCMP and emergency crews rescued more than 100 people who spent hours stuck in their vehicles along the Trans-Canada Highway near Strathmore, about 50 km east of Calgary. A stretch of stranded vehicles lined the Trans-Canada Highway near Strathmore Sunday as high winds and drifting snow caused treacherous driving conditions. Some motorists had been stranded more than 20 hours, spending the night huddled in their vehicles and using fuel sparingly to keep warm. In some locations, snow drifts piled higher than semi cabs. Police are advising against any unnecessary travel within Calgary and on surrounding highways.

On a personal note—I spent time in the emergency room at the local hospital early this morning (4:30 a.m.) getting arm pains checked out. I was thankful we live only a mile from the hospital and that Tim was able to take me there. An EKG, blood tests and a chest X-ray determined I wasn’t having a heart attack, but the doctor decided it would be wise for me to have a tread mill test once again, because it’s been five years since I had the last one. Now I’m wondering—could the pain be caused from gripping the wheel so tightly on Sunday when I was driving through the drifts on the streets?

Sunday, January 9, 2011 8:10 PM CST

Swirling snow, drifts in streets, bitterly cold wind. The temperature was only -13 (9 degrees F.), but it felt colder than that. I made it to church across the drifts because I have an all-wheel-drive car. Others didn’t. Enough said about the weather. The days are slowly getting longer. Spring is coming. . . someday.

Dennis was home, Rachel was over, and we all enjoyed a family meal today. Afterward Dennis watched an afternoon of football, and Rachel, Renylor and I watched a DVD. Rachel volunteered to take Dennis back to Waverley House, and it’s fortunate that she did. She called when she got back home: “Mom, it’s a good thing I took Dad back, because you never would have made it. The street by the school had drifts 2 ½ feet deep, and I had to drive on the sidewalk.” I figured that would be the case, so I would have asked Tim to go with me if Rachel hadn’t volunteered. There’s an open field where the wind sweeps across, blocking that street for a week last year. I don’t think much plowing was done anywhere this weekend because the snow was still drifting.

Dennis’ passport? Yes, he had it and he’s keeping it in his drawer with his socks, because it belongs to HIM! He wouldn’t give it back to me to lock up, so I’m not about to argue with him.

Thursday, January 6, 2011 7:51 PM CST

I made progress recently. As Baby Boomers turning 65 this year, Dennis and I had a number of forms to fill out for the Canadian government for the Canadian Old Age Security and the Canada Pension Plan, since we’ve lived here for 17 years and paid into various retirement/pension funds. (I do the paperwork for Dennis, of course.) I’ve been carrying the forms around in a folder since September, and finally had time to sit down and do some research for the questions they were asking. One thing they wanted to know is where Dennis and I had lived every year since we were both 18—give the exact month, day and year for each change of residence! That had me stumped until I realized that was the very information we had in entry and exit permits stamped in our old expired passports as we moved from country to country in years past. Filling out the forms wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be, and they only wanted to know the country, not the exact address.

As I worked on it, Dennis wanted to know what I was doing, so I told him. When it came time to put away all of the paperwork and passports, I noticed that Dennis’ current passport is MISSING! (I didn’t need the information in it for the forms, but we certainly need it if we plan to cross the border in the future.) I have a feeling Dennis took it at some point when my back was turned, and thought he was pulling a fast one on me. I hope Dennis understands that the safest place for his passport is to keep it locked up at home with all of the other important papers and passports. I need to find out when I pick him up this weekend. Such are the challenges we continually face with Dennis’ desire to be “independent.”

Does filling out this paperwork mean I am planning to retire anytime soon? Not at all. We just need to get the paperwork in place, and also to figure out what amount we will get from Canada and later from the U.S.

Tomorrow night I’ll be attending another play—“Under the Milk Wood”—with my senior friends. I’ve heard that it’s written and acted a bit like “Our Town,” the Thornton Wilder play in which the “stage manager” has an active speaking part as he explains the setting and what’s going on in the play. With a season ticket, the cost per play is actually less than going to a movie. I’m looking forward to my “night out with the girls.”

Back to Christmas. . . some of my friends wrote in their Christmas cards that I was an encouragement to them in what I had gone through, and how I was trusting the Lord in the situation. That reminded me of something I had written—“Learning to be Content”--in early 2004, mere months before Dennis had his stroke. It’s a reminder to me once again that God gives us His grace only as we need it, not beforehand. (Elaine, if you are reading this, you modeled God’s grace to me.)
Learning to Be Content

The address on the envelope of the Christmas letter was one our friend Elaine had never used before. Had she moved, I wondered as I slit the envelope. I opened the letter and read. She quickly explained the reason for her change of address in her letter. After 30 years of teaching, and living in a major city, she had retired. She was now helping her 86-year-old dad take care of her 64-year-old brother who needed 24-hour supervision.

As I read those words, sadness swept over me. What a difficult situation Elaine must be in. I had no idea what the brother’s problem was, but 24-hour care must certainly be burdensome to the care-givers.

However, as I continued to read, the next section reflected Elaine’s feeling about the situation.

“There’s hardly a dull moment, and we do have our ups and downs,” she wrote. “Sometimes I feel a little bit like I am in the ‘Little House in the Big Woods.’ We are .3 of mile off a gravel road that is off another gravel road. We overlook a pond. When we are not enjoying God’s beautiful creation, we are either enjoying our favorite hobbies, or taking care of Gordy, my favorite brother.”

Then it dawned on me. My favorite brother, she called him. Caring for Gordy was not a burden to her, but a privilege. Elaine displayed a graciousness I knew nothing of.

Am I as gracious when asked to do something that seems burdensome, or am I glad to serve? God calls us to be content in whatever situation we are in.

Saturday, January 1, 2011 9:13 PM CST

Happy New Year to each of you!

Multiple stripes of maroon, pink and apricot painted the sky this morning, backlighting the spruce trees across the road—a picture-perfect sunrise for New Year’s Day. Dennis and I went to bed at 10 last night, so we did not see the New Year arrive. So much for watching the Times Square ball drop at midnight.

Dennis has been here at home since early yesterday afternoon. He was supposed to have the packing in his nose removed yesterday morning, but he pulled it out himself sometime in the middle of the night within hours of when it was put in on Tuesday. When I saw what it looked like, I didn’t blame him. It was three inches long! Considering that the central breathing tube was hard plastic, it would have been very painful. Try to imagine that stuck up your nose. I can’t. Fortunately, there is no new bleeding. . . at least not yet. And I was very thankful not to spend many hours on Friday sitting in a walk-in clinic or minor emergency room with Dennis to have some doctor remove it.

Dennis enjoyed a number of FBI programs on TV Friday and football today. I’m than