Category Archives: blessings

Glorious attitudes

So, doing “mom things” can be rather boring.

Diapering? Rarely exciting (and sometimes scary). Outfit changing? Semi-exciting. Feeding? More exciting (now that LO is eating some solids). Cleaning? Meh.

Every day, while completing these tasks and others like them, I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 10:31:

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Kinda puts completing mundane tasks into perspective.

Diapering the kiddo? How’s my attitude? Glorifying God? Check. Changing the kiddo? How’s my attitude? Glorifying God? Check. Feeding the kiddo? How’s my attitude? Glorifying God? Check. Cleaning up after the kiddo? How’s my attitude? Glorifying God? Check.

Since I’m usually listening to tunes throughout the day while completing said tasks, I smile every time I hear “Do Everything” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Here’s the first verse and chorus:

You’re picking up toys on the living room floor for the 15th time today … matching up socks and sweeping up lost Cheerios that got away … you put a baby on your hip and color on your lips and head out the door … and while I may not know you I bet I know you … wonder sometimes does it matter at all … well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you …

Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you … cause He made you to do … every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face … and tell the story of grace … with every move that you make … and every little thing you do

So true.

How’s your attitude?

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Nice people DO exist

Of course, they do. But some days it feels like those nice people are few and far in between.

On Tuesday, I took my parents to the Canadian National Exhibition.* We strolled up, down and around the midway, taking in the sights and sounds of the “local fair.”

After five hours, my kneecaps were practically walked off, so we returned to the GO train station to catch a ride home. Once home, I started work on dinner, and Mom and Dad went for a coffee run.

It was while they were out that Mom realized she was missing her cell phone. Not entirely uncommon as the dear woman is notorious for leaving purses all over the place. She remembered having it on the train, but couldn’t remember having it beyond that.

Oh, boy.

I called GO Transit to report a missing phone and was told it could take up to 48 hours for items to make their way to the Lost & Found in Toronto. We prayed someone would find it and turn it in. In the meantime, I suspended Mom’s cell service, declaring her phone might be lost.

My parents left Wednesday morning with no word of a phone sighting. Around 5 p.m., I received a text message from my Aunt Angie asking me to have Mom call her ASAP. I had her phone Dad. I then received a call from Mom on Dad’s cell.

Apparently, Aunt Angie had received a text from a strange number asking if she had lost a cell phone. She replied that she hadn’t, but her sister had. Mom gave me the number, and I called.

The gentleman on the other end had found the phone one stop beyond ours, but it was dead. Concerned that someone needed it, he took it to a phone store and had it charged. He then sent a text to the first number on the list: Aunt Angie.

Thank you, Mr. Wonderfully Nice Man, for picking up the phone, charging it and tracking down its owner. And, thank you, Lord, for answered prayer. We are grateful!

Especially, Mom (who left her purse at her son’s house on Wednesday afternoon and only had to backtrack 20 miles to retrieve it).

*If you are a farmer, do not go to The Farm. You will be disappointed.

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And there goes 2010

I can distinctly remember standing in my brother’s bedroom and declaring that I had eight years left until I graduated from high school. Eight years.

Eight years is forever when you’re in the fourth grade.

I was the kid who HATED school, so, yes, I started counting down to graduation at an early age. Seven years left. Six years left. Five years left. You get the idea. I’m not sure why I was counting down because, in retrospect, high school graduation was but a blip on my timeline.

But, I didn’t know that until I lived a bit more of my future and realized time really hadn’t been standing still. It was moving. And, now that I’m an adult, can it please just slow down a little bit?

Wasn’t it just 2009? What happened to 2010? Why, I’ll tell you.

It’s been a pretty full year. I can hardly wait to see what 2011 brings.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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Poppies in November

In honour of all who have served. Happy Remembrance Day!

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada, Veterans Day in the United States.

For my American pals, the month of November in Canada is filled with poppies. Most every individual you pass on the street or in the workplace or at the grocery has a poppy pinned to his or her lapel. The peppy blossom was pulled from a poem written on May 3, 1915, by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, one day after McCrae witnessed the death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, on a battlefield in Belgium.

Sitting at the back of an ambulance, McCrae wrote In Flanders Fields. He handed the finished piece to Sergeant Major Cyril Allinson, who was delivering mail that day. Later, Allinson would say that the poem was an exact description of the scene that lay before them. Poppies were everywhere, as they grew in profusion in Flanders in the disturbed earth of the battlefields and cemeteries where war casualties were buried. A fitting symbol of remembrance. Hence the poppy on the lapel.

In memory of all who have served, everywhere. Thank you.

In Flanders Fields

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.

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A letter to my dad

Thanks, Dad. For being my dad.

Hi, Dad.

With Father’s Day approaching, I’ve been thinking long and hard about all the wonderful father-like things for which I can applaud you. And, I have to say, I’m coming up short. Not because you haven’t been a wonderful father. But because you’re not the Hallmark-greeting-card dad everyone thinks of when they think of Father’s Day.

For that, I couldn’t be more grateful.

You’ve been my dad for 29 years now. That’s a long time for you to be a dad and for me to be a daughter. For the record, I think we’ve been doing an a-OK job at both. However, I don’t think I’ve been doing such a great job of telling you how much I love and appreciate you. Or how glad I am that God chose to give me to you instead of some other random male being.

Thanks, God!

When I was home last, I found the scrapbook I created my senior year of high school. Do you remember it? I went through all of our family photo albums and removed so many pictures that any stranger who leafed through one would think you and Mom never had a daughter. Sorry, Mom. Inside the scrapbook, I found an assignment that I’d completed for Advanced Senior English, where I collected quotes from random individuals regarding advice on living life. Your advice?

“Work hard. Then work harder.”

You’ve spent your entire lifetime working. Working for your parents. Working to provide for your wife and children. Working to run a farming operation. Working to keep yourself busy. Working. Working. Working. I don’t fault you for this. You were a product of your environment, raised to work a lot and to work hard. And, I appreciate you working to provide me with opportunities that I may not have had otherwise. Thank you!

Now that you find yourself working a bit less than you’d like, and possibly contemplating retirement, I hope that you’ll take some time to at least consider the benefits of working less (like visiting me!) and simply enjoy more. Because, you’ve certainly earned it.

I hope more than anything, that on this particular Father’s Day, you know how much I love you. And, how blessed I am to have you in my life. I also hope that you have some Peanut M&Ms in the house, because there weren’t any there the last time I was home, and there are few things on this earth that are more delicious than Peanut M&Ms.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Love,
Jill

P.S. I did not mail a bag of Peanut M&Ms to your house, because they surely would’ve melted by the time the Canada Post shipped them out of the country.

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One year ago today

One year ago today, I took a half day at work, met my fiancé at the Municipal Building in Findlay, Ohio, signed some papers and got married.

This is us exchanging vows.

It was a covert operation. OK, not really covert. Our parents knew. Our siblings knew. My director knew. Some of our closest friends knew. It turns out I’m not amazing with secrets. Plus, it wasn’t really a secret. We were planning a civil ceremony at some point anyway because we wanted to begin my application process for legality in Canada. That day, one year ago today, fit into our schedules perfectly.

One year ago today, my friend Erin sent a bouquet of flowers and matching boutonniere to my office. My director gave me something borrowed and something blue plus a penny for my shoe. Hey, that rhymes! My mom called me one last time to ask if I was sure she couldn’t attend. Sorry, Mom. You can come to the next ceremony. Fiancé and I grabbed a bite to eat and then went to purchase our marriage license. Gal pal Lara and my then-pastor and his wife met us outside the courtroom to stand as our witnesses.

And, witness they did, perhaps the shortest wedding ceremony ever. Imagine attending an auction only instead of the auctioneer seeking the highest bidder, he’s asking you to agree to love, honor and respect the individual standing in front of you for the rest of your life.

Done and done.

We exchanged vows.

This is us kissing.

We kissed.

We were married.

It was short and sweet. And, we celebrated with Lara and ice cream at Dietsch’s. It was perfect.

This entire past year? Also perfect. Because I got to spend it with someone who is perfect for me. And, while this date isn’t particularly the date we’ll officially recognize our anniversary, it will always be one that we hold dear.

Because it’s the day that the Canadian and U.S. governments recognize as our wedding date, and I just want my permanent residency already! Seriously.

I digress.

Happy real-but-not-officially-celebrated anniversary, Husband! I love you!

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Plain old perseverance never hurt anyone

I like the word “persevere.” It’s fun to say, but hard to do.

The beginning of a new year always gets people thinking about goals and what they’d like to accomplish as they set out to conquer another 365 days. There’s just something fresh and clean about January 1. It’s like we’ve been given a metaphorical clean slate upon which we can write anything, do anything, accomplish anything.

And yet, accomplishing something…anything…is difficult without perseverance.

As Christians, we are called to persevere in (and through) life. In Galatians 6:9, we read “We will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Oh those tricky cause-and-effect statements. Notice it’s not “We will reap a harvest. Period.” It’s “We will reap a harvest IF we do not give up.”

Too often we set out to do something great, something like lose weight, eat more healthy foods, quit smoking or move to a foreign city. Maybe we start a job search or desire to read through a list of books. We begin with a youthful zeal, and we make it a few hours or days or maybe even months. And then, we fall off the horse. We lose interest. Perhaps self-doubt sets in. Maybe those Twinkies look way too delicious.

Suddenly, we say, “Oh, I’ll do that later today. I’ll start that tomorrow. Or maybe next week.” More likely we say, “Oh, that will be a New Year’s resolution next year.” Or worse, we say, “I just can’t do it,” and we give up entirely.

That puts us right back where we started. Wanting to reap. But, not wanting to sow. Wanting all the benefits of something without having to put in any effort.

We can hardly expect to blessed in life just because I am me and you are you. Not one of us is entitled to anything. We can, however, expect great things if we focus our attention on the One who is capable of bestowing blessings. We can expect blessings. We can expect results.

We can succeed because we are determined, not because we are entitled. We can succeed because we put forth effort. We can succeed at whatever we put our minds to, if we persevere.

If we seek and trust God, first and foremost. If we set goals, and we practice being relentless. If we continue on until a task is done. If we recognize that life isn’t about being easy, but about living and learning and leaning on God, trusting that He will run our race alongside us.

After all, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). We surely can persevere.

So, what’s keeping you from persevering?