Friday, December 31, 2010

Let's Travel Together!


It's the end and the beginning,
again....we step out, we step in...
we shed on...we shed off....
And so we go on...

This morning when I woke up, I was trying to stay focused on the positive things of 2010! As soon as I looked out my window and saw that mountain, I was reminded how many times I had climbed this peak and felt a thrill of adventure in conquering the challenges along the way.
I took a deep breath, alas, I started jotting down all the good things about this past year.
  • The Olympics played a huge role in my excitement over 2010. Lest we forget, that memorable goal by Sidney Crosby.... Right now I'm reliving and creating my Shutterfly album from my Olympic experiences and memories.
  • I love my work...both paid, and unpaid! Work is so freeing and therapeutic.
  • I'm grateful for employees who put their heart and energy into their work.
  • I love my group of friends who have been there for the past 40 years. We love to celebrate birthdays and tonight, we're off to celebrate New Years Eve together.
  • I love it when I get Skye, text or phone messages from Haiti.
  • I'm thankful for restored relationships.
  • It's been fun watching my daughter play house....in her new home. She just phoned me and asked when the Portzelky were arriving. (New Year's Cookies)
  • I'm always encouraged by those who inspire me to try something new...like wearing stilettos at my age.
  • Then there's my walking partners...it gives great enlightenment to shed off those extra pounds together.
  • I love it when the text comes through," Can you tape the Manchester game?" That means we get to watch soccer and mingle around some munchies together.

  • That brings me to another special group of friends...My Mennonite Girls Can Cook group, would of been totally embarrassed at my lack of culinary skills, while demonstrating at a local show in town. But they just keep smiling and embrace me for who I am.
  • Then there are those who have touched my life immensely over the past year....They have had to deal with health issues...Elsie, Mel, Mavis, Elvie, Helen, Julie, Char...and there are probably more, but I'm hoping and praying for each one of you in a special way. Life has not always handed us the deck of cards we wanted, but so much of that depends on how we play our hand. I'm praying that you too, can all hold on to your faith in God and allow him to journey with you. Remember you are being held in the palm of his hands.
  • I love this family...as these little ones, sat quietly with their parents, embracing their new pillows, designed with Mickey Mouse fabric. They were hand made by the oldest grand, while he learned to sew with me this past winter. Tucked inside each pillow was an invitation to join us on a Disney cruise, together with 16 other family members. They were watching the Disney Cruise promo...when that little guy piped up and cheered, "Yea! No Parents?" We all smiled, knowing full well what he meant.
This year a dear friend of ours, erected an Inukshuk on our front yard. The Inukshuk is a welcome sight and was the logo of our 2010 Winter Olympics. It meant friendship and the welcoming of the world to the 2010 games.
And so again...I too, want to welcome your friendship in the coming year and let's continue to travel the path together.

Happy New Year to all of YOU!
Welcome 2011!



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Post Christmas Syndrome!

As most of you know, it takes weeks to prepare,
and in no time had they gobbled down their food.
When are we opening the presents?
How many minutes did they sit at the table?

Now I know why women set their tables days in advance...
To enjoy the beauty of their own table scape.

This year we played the Surprise Game!
A gift is tightly wrapped.
A costume of a hat, robe and mittens must be worn.
If you role the dice and it equals 6, then it's your turn
to put on the garb and try to open the gift.
Well, they All got into this, young and old.
And you did notice the competitive rivalries between the siblings.
I wish you could of seen the mess of bodies and paper
strewn all over the floor just to get a gift certificate to TIMMY'S!

Let's open the presents...
And yes, they were finally occupied.
Except.....

For this little guy...
It's written on his face.
Presents did not really interest him,
but the toilet bowl did.
I found him warming his feet...
For the record...we do not have a bidet.
But that's been our Christmas for another year.

He finally fell asleep just before midnight.
And the whole house was still.
And we smiled with content.
That's what it's all about.

We all survived Christmas once again.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas EVE

It's Christmas Eve...
The lights are all lit,
Christmas carols can be heard in the background.
I wish I could invite all of you to my home tonight,
sit around the Family table....
and personally wish you all a Blessed Christmas.
Many of you have become like family to me.
My wish is that you may all enjoy a blessed time
with your family and friends.
Continue to share love with all those you meet.

The table is set...
Just like the rest of you,
we've completed most of our responsibilities,
the list is finished for now...
and now we just want to sit down
to relax and celebrate with each other.

Even the youngest has a name tag!

Tonight we will light the 4th Candle.

LOVE

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

Today I am thanking God for his Love.
It's boundless, limitless, and unchangeable.
His supply is inexhaustible.
It also includes not only the lovely,
but the unlovely.

My prayer for this Christmas is that the reality of Christmas
can make me bigger....my mind more open to possibilities,
my heart more creative,
my dreams more compelling,
my energies devoted more to others and less to self.

Let Christmas also make me smaller, too.... more humble,
more mindful of who I am and who God is.
Let the Christmas light a fire of love in me,
with passion and compassion...for those close to me,
and for a world in need.

May you all experience God's LOVE this Christmas Season.



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tis the Reason for the Season

Time for Family!
Young and Old!

What do people do at a typical family gathering?

EAT
EAT
EAT
Play games.
Play musical instruments.
Others reminisce.
Some stay up till 2:00 am.
Create a family trivia game.
Award the winner of the most accurate weather prediction.
Each year we have people make an early prediction of the weather.
Then we have a non-biased nephew add up the results and announce the winner.

This year we tried something different and unusual.
Instead of bringing a $15 gift....we made a unanimous decision to donate
to a charitable organization, World Vision.
You do the math. Thirty people.
We were well up and above in achieving our goals.
Then we posted the World Vision site on our TV screen,
and watched young and old choose their gifts for World Vision.
You too, may be interested in supporting an organization this year.

Isn't that the Reason for the Season?
You too, can make a difference.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

FAVE Five ~ JOY

It's Friday
Do we call it Frantic Friday?
Anyways, we're back to join our friend,
Susanne at Living to tell a Story,
Thanks for letting me share my highlights.

Last night we lit the third candle...JOY!
we waited till she was home.
This was a wonderful time sitting around the table,
feeling the generous warmth of family celebrating her home-coming.
Yes, you can imagine the JOY we all experienced.

This past week, we attended the live concert of
"André Rieu"
(born October 1, 1949 in Maastricht, Netherlands)
who is a Dutch violinist and conductor.
He is famous for creating an international revival in waltz music
and for his many top selling recordings with his "Johann Strauss Orchestra.
People were waltzing up and down the aisles...
At the end of the concert,
we were whisked away with thousands of balloons
floating down from the rafters.
Oh...it would be so much fun to learn to waltz.

It's time to find the perfect Christmas tree.
Out to the farm we rolled...on a perfectly dry day.
Ah ha!! we found it. Looks like someone found their tree.

It's always an enjoyment to take the time to decorate
the tree, especially this year.
She was coming home....

To me there's nothing more beautiful than taking time
to watch the glow of candles,
and reflecting on some quiet moments,
while listening to some beautiful Christmas Carols.

You know, sometimes we run around frantically
or we feel totally fragmented at this time of year.
There's only one week to go...and lots to do.
Maybe we won't have a picture perfect Christmas....
but so much depends on our attitude.
We need to continue maintaining an attitude of thankfulness and joy,
even for the areas that fail to satisfy us,
as we continue to practice faith in God's goodness.

This will allow us to live our dreams
and continue to move forward with JOY!



Fragmentation!

Are any of you dashing around
trying to put the pieces together?

I'm feeling somewhat like this Santa Claus.
He's totally fragmented.

This week we've been busy listening to the news events
in Haiti, wondering when she could find a flight out of the country.
The election results have brought the country to a chaotic halt.
The Airport closed down.
Canadian Embassy closed down.
Through a quick challenging ordeal,
she was en-routed for Toronto...
and is safe.

One friend left me with comforting words,
"There may not be anymore Canadians in Haiti to count on for help...
but God hasn't recalled His 'troops'
The angels are there to protect and guide her through
any danger and bring her home safe to us."

We are picking her up from YVR right now.

Then I get a phone call...
Mom, where are you?
Why aren't you at the hospital?
My second daughter somehow seemed to take an unexpected spill
and needed some first aid.
I let her know quite quickly that I did not work 24/7.

While at work today, I noticed many of the women
feeling the frantic Christmas rush....
Finally I looked at them and said,
"Get over it...we have to do this till we die."
Yes, ladies there's no choice about getting frazzled at Christmas.

I've got one hand on the phone,
the other stirring the dough,
quickly answering the door for a surprise visit,
another arm is ironing,
the other wrapping gifts,
then it's checking the grocery list,
then it's making fresh linens,
my feet are pushing the vacuum around,
while almost tripping on the cord,
because I still had my ear on the phone.
How many things can we do at one time?

We put so many expectations on ourselves.
I do it too...
Each year I'm going to change the system.
Somehow the system changes me.

But as you all know,
by Christmas we'll all be assembled under the tree!


Friday, December 10, 2010

FAVE Five ~ Peace

Welcome back to our FAVE Five
hosted by our dear friend,
Susanne at Living to tell a Story.
That's what Christmas is all about.

This week we lit the second candle. Peace. "I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27

A weekly highlight is hearing my daughter's voice. She's in lockdown as she explains to me about the hopelessness that she feels for the country of Haiti. Haitian protesters have set fire to buildings, clashed violently with UN peacekeepers and shut down the capital's airport to express their anger at the choice of candidates for a second round of presidential elections. We are expecting our "Sweet Mikki " to be home at Christmas...Her role is working as a rehab therapist amidst the disabled. How does one bring Peace to a war torn country?

Another highlight this past week, was a grand reunion for some of us who had not seen each other for almost forty years. We were all friends, either in high school, church youth group or Bible School. We laughed, we chatted, we ate, we cried and just enjoyed our special time together. Sometimes life hands us a deck of cards, and we have no clue how we can see PEACE in our circumstances....I'm sure many of us have laid awake in the wee hours of the night thinking...Perfect Peace?
What does that mean? Does that even make sense? For each one of us it means something different, but the four of us, we all understood what God's Perfect Peace meant for our futures.

Another wonderful event that warmed my heart this week was taking in the drama at the The Lights of Christmas, down at Warm Beach, WA. It was one spectacular event that had us laughing as they performed the ever popular, Uff Da! It's Christmas. It's a story of the Scandinavian families immigrating and settling in America, but through this story, I saw one tight knit family building traditions based on their cultural roots in Europe. They were determined to bring their culture with them... Did they succeed? This drama will keep you smiling and laughing.

These dear women were amazing...They were making the family recipes, and keeping those recipes a secret, not to be shared with any one...Oh yes, the secret, was, a pound of butter, a pound of flour, a pound of sugar and a pound of laughter. And they joyfully animated the joy of creating these recipes in their kitchens, with the hopes of handing them down to the younger generations.
I'm sure that all the gals who contribute on the MGCC blog...could of seen themselves in this wonderful vignette. Maybe we have a cookbook...coming...but watch out for the drama that is on the verge of erupting soon!

Once again, as you leave this wonderful community in Warm Beach one cannot depart without knowing God's Peace as the story of the birth of Christ unfolds as you walk through,
The Lights of Christmas. It's the Peace of knowing that good news has come on earth. It's the peace of knowing that all is truly well, that the light has shined in the darkness, it's a heavenly peace. My prayer for all of you is that even through the busyness of your thoughts, that you will truly feel God's Peace as we near the miracle of this holy night.


Friday, December 3, 2010

FAVE Five ~ HOPE

It's time for FAVE Five's
Thanks Susanne for hosting this site.
This week I would love to share with you,
how we celebrate Advent.

The candlebra is the first Christmas decoration,
to be carefully taken out of it's packaging and
to be placed in the window on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day.

On Saturday, just before Advent,
the oldest has been invited to assist his Opa,
with putting up the lights, creating his own pattern,
meanwhile I'm baking up a storm inside,
mostly Pfeffernusse and Gingersnaps.
Halfway through the job...the little fellow comes inside.
"Hm...I smell something....I think I should bring Opa some cookies."
Knowing full well, that he was the one who wanted cookies.

On Sunday the family is invited for Advents supper at 4:30 pm.
The table is set, with a few simple things...
mandarin oranges, and their favorite Christmas cookies.
This oldest grand reads the traditional meaning of Advent.
He then lights the first Candle.
The Hope that we have in Jesus Christ,
thus being call the candle of HOPE!

This year I revived an old tradition.
My children remembered this very clearly.
I had made this Advent calendar thirty years ago...
Each morning they took turns opening a small gift.
So this year...I brought it back to life.
And you should of seen the smiles on the adult faces.
Here, my oldest son shows his two little boys...
the process of choosing a small gift.
Yes, the top last three gifts will be for Mikki
as she too, can't wait for her turn.

It's the time of year, where we can set aside the
time and space for inner preparation,
time to read, listen, time to pray, time to ponder.
It's the time of year to rearrange our obligations to make
sure there's room for prayer and reflection in the midst of busyness.

May you all take time to prepare room for Him.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Her Legacy Lives On!

It was just another normal Thursday, off to the gym, then I quickly stopped off to pick up a few groceries, as the roads were miserable and why wander back to town. I sat down at Starbucks in Safeway and had me a wonderful Americano....and I was just people watching, thinking...
"What would drive people to town this early in these snowy hazardous conditions?"

Then two elderly women caught my attention. I observed them from where I sat, as they were in the checkout counter and they looked so happy. They walked passed me and I said, "Looks like you are enjoying the snow and each others company." Well it didn't take long and they let me know that they were both sisters and had lived next door to each other for over 60 years.
I asked them what was the key to keeping their relationship? One promptly responded, and said, "Always mind your own business." That's quite simple. They were heading off to McDonalds to catch their free coffee.

Somehow our conversation continued....we introduced ourselves to each other, Velma and Ellen. I was not in any particular rush today, and so we just chatted it up and before we knew it, we started recognizing many familiar families in town.
Yes, they knew Eryn..and Collin...and there lovely family of three. These women were the great aunts of this young family. Yes, they remembered Mikki, which was Eryn's best friend in high school. What a small world.
We smiled, enjoyed each others company, and finally they shuffled along their way to McDonalds.

What prompted me to share this today? I think when I sat at Starbucks gazing, I realized that these two women reminded me of my own mother, and I was sort of trying to imagine her shopping for groceries for her family, and being and happy and content.

On Saturday, Nov. 27th, 2010 another milestone is marked. Ten years ago she slipped away from us, leaving us feel robbed, just a bit too early. But nevertheless her legacy lives on forever. She has taught me so much and I realize how much she sacrificed to be a mother and wife.
This past year, I've taken the time to read her familiar devotional book called, 'Be Still and Know,' by Millie Stamm. I love to feel it's pages and observe all the underlinings and highlighting and contemplate what she was thinking as she scribbled notes into the margins. I too, have started to add sticky notes to her pages. She and I have continued the journey together. Only mothers and daughters can truly understand this special bond.

This Monday, I'll be having a special luncheon with a long time friend whom I have not seen for over 35 years. What makes this luncheon special, is that her mother and my mother were close friends also and her mother will be hosting the luncheon while we have a reunion. I am feeling so honored and thankful for this opportunity to meet with other women of kindred spirits.

She's in her glory!

So Mom, I am meeting your special friend, and I will throw my arms around her and her daughter, both, feeling the warm presence that you so often gave to others.
May your legacy continue to live in my heart forever.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Down & Under!

It was way back...
when we just got married that I saw his mother
carrying two large stuffed bags down the roadway.
Never did I know that 37 years later,
I would still be thanking her for a gift of a life time.

At the crack of dawn...I hear the alarm,
I'm off to the gym
with my down jacket and hood,
and down mittens.

Brrr....it's cold out there.

I think the truck warmed up for 20 minutes.
(By the way, I can start it from inside.)
We are not used to this weather.

Finally when I arrived back home,
A welcoming face smiled and said,
"Are you warm enough?"
The memory of Briercrest, a Bible College near Moose Jaw,
lingers in his mind.
He commented that, way back then,
I always wore so many layers.
"What do you think?"
You can't survive the winter prairies without your downs.

Just before I sit down to a warm cup of coffee,
I slip into my fluffy down slippers.
Off to work I go...
donning my downs.

It doesn't take long....
And I'm deep down and under.
His Mom knew that I would appreciate those goose duvets.
That's it for today folks.