Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bits and Pieces.

We recently hosted a rather overdue reunion of some besties. Whoa, these little people are growing up faster than weeds. Seriously, where does time go?

They've been best friends since the beginning of time.

Well, the beginning of their time, I mean. Which began just a decade or so ago.

They've learned and grown together over the years.

Shared childhood secrets.

Instigated and settled arguments.

Laughed out loud.

They used to look like this.

Cute, hey?

Stumpy little legs are now long and lanky. Ankle socks aren't so stylin' any more, I guess.

But they still hold hands.

Still adore each other.

Besties are the best.

We've been busy with VBS.

The Samaritan woman at Sychar's well was one of the lessons this week.

For snack, we ate the wells.

Graham Cracker, Kit Kat, Rice Krispie and Zangy Tangy Stick. Glued together with lots of chocolate.

A palatable little something for everyone.

Needless to say, I ate the whole thing.

Just one. Honest.

Somebody's got a new bedroom. Big brother moves out, little sister moves in.

I'd say she looks pretty pleased about the whole rearrangement.

Monday, August 15, 2011

When Irish Eyes Are Smilin.

Despite the fact that having to fly unexpectedly to Ireland was primarily for a tearful purpose, their Irish eyes were smiling when our girlies discovered they'd be spending a whole two weeks with their favorite first cousins.

Their five-star accommodations at Brookside included a limitless supply of fresh air and farm animals... free access to a pantry loaded with chocolate, crisps and other delectable goodies... and Fanta and Coca Cola on tap.

I'd say Alana and Kayleigh were living the dream.

They got out and about, too. Newcastle. Murlough Beach. Croob Hike. Dundonald Bowling. Newtownards. Petting Farm. Belfast City Bus Tour.

I managed to go on a few of the outings too. Here's some Ireland memories, 2011.

And some interesting signs and store-fronts...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sadness. And Singing.

It was Wednesday, July 20th, 2001.

The news that came was quite unexpected.

Mom was seriously ill and had been readmitted to the hospital.

The doctors' verdict was grim. The cancer had returned, we were told, and nothing could be done. Mom's death was "imminent", they said, and she would have just a few hours, maybe a day or two at the most.

But we know that in His hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:10)

We hurriedly booked flights. Arriving the following Sunday, we anticipated greeting sorrowful family members at the airport, bearing the news of Mom's passing. But instead we learned, although weak, her condition had stabilized, and she remained in the hospital.

I distinctly remember thinking right then just how vastly different our plans can be from God's plan. He is the One in contol. Everything in His time.

'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways', said the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

With emotions suddenly flipped upside down, we headed directly to the hospital. I'd be able to see Mom again. What a wonderful thought. Tell her how much I loved her. Just one more time.

The Lord graciously planned it so that, every day for two weeks, I told Mom I loved her. Those first few hospital visits were precious. We enjoyed many short conversations together. As the days passed and her frail body weakened, it became such a struggle for her to converse. Yet, as she lay helplessly on the bed, she was so very aware of everything going on around her. Towards the end, her speech became slurred and it was more difficult to understand just what she was trying to say. Being heavily medicated meant that she was pain-free, for which we are thankful, but it was heart-wrenching to watch her body succumb to that ravaging disease of angiosarcoma.

Last Friday was, unknowingly then, my final visit with Mom. Close to midnight, it seemed she was trying to sing, although the words were incomprehensible. I gently took her hand, leaned in, and asked her if she indeed was singing. Her response will be etched in my mind forever. In her weakness, she opened her eyes, and as a smile broke across her face, she softly whispered a mumbled "uh-huh". How beautiful, her last night on earth, and she was happily singing with what earthly strength she could muster. Merely a few hours later she joined in fervent song with the redeemed in heaven! What a precious memory.

It was so difficult to leave on Saturday evening and fly back home to Canada. How I would have loved to have stood there at the graveside with my family, and silently watched as Mom's remains were laid to rest. But it was not to be.

'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways', said the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

Instead I will look back and tearfully treasure those last happy moments I shared with Mom in this life, and look forward to the day when our tears will be wiped away, and we will be reunited forever on the beautiful shores of heaven.

Goodnight, my darling Mom.