Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How to Knit Correctly... and Other Things that Grandma Taught Me.

"What are you doing?" my Grandma asked.
"Knitting." I said. (I thought the wool and knitting needles made that rather apparent.)
"No you're not," she retorted, "that's not knitting. Stop that right now."

This conversation was the beginning of one of my favourite memories of my Grandma Klassen and, since I've taken up knitting again, I think of her often while I knit the "correct" way. You see, Grandma was born in Russia so of course she learned how to knit the European way or what is commonly known as the Continental Method. I first learned how to knit from some friends while I was away in Bible School (Canada) so I learned the English style - the wrong way, according to Grandma.

She was very patient with me as she demonstrated over and over & I tried to relearn the way I had been doing it for years. The continental method is not easy to learn, wrapping the yarn around your fingers with just the right tension, never letting the wool out of your hands and wrapping the stitches with your left hand and not your right. I was ready to give up so many times.

But she knew something that I didn't know.
When I mastered it I would be able to knit twice as fast as before.
And she was right.

To this day I am grateful for that knitting lesson.
But Grandma taught me so much more than that...she taught me by her example and how she lived. Grandma went through some pretty tough times in her life and yet her motto was always "it is what it is." I'm pretty sure that she had plenty of days when she doubted God but she trusted in Him until her last breath.

Today would have been Grandma's 98th birthday, she's been gone for quite a while now - I still miss her. Now I'm an 'Oma' and I just pray that when my grandson looks back on my life, what I said and what I did will have left the same impact on him as Grandma left upon me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Glimpse of Spring

Last Sunday, Peter, one of church family members shared with us about the season of winter. Not the actual growing season of snow and cold of the environment around us but the season of winter in our hearts. The times when we go through loss and hurt and disappointment.

It's a hard subject to talk about or, for that matter, even to listen too but Peter spoke to us from a heart that is, unfortunately, all too familiar with the subject and, as I listened, I found myself thinking back to my life's seasons. I have to admit, though I don't want to (I'd rather live in denial thank you very much) that this last year has been a bit of a winter for me. Letting go of some dreams and picturing them now through a heavy dose of reality? Watching my friends go through illness and my family go through loss? Not my favourite way to pass the time and a really good way to lose sleep.

I get it. I get that I need these times to grow in my faith but I'm impatient and what I really want is Spring and green and warmth and light.

So at the end of his message I was feeling a little heavy. Don't get me wrong, the message was awesome, it just gave me a LOT to think about.

Then the most wonderful little thing happened... Peter invited the worship team up to end the service. He said we were going to sing "Come, Now is the Time to Worship." I was in the back that Sunday and there had been no Sunday School that morning so all the kids were in the back with their parents. The drums kicked in, the music got louder and suddenly the children started to dance. They jumped into the aisle and just started to dance.

It was something... we all stood there smiling and watching and enjoying.
They had no worries.
They were being watched over by those who loved them.
And in their happy faces and dancing feet we all saw, and were reminded of, a season of Spring.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Snow Day

It's been snowing all day. It started last night and it hasn't stopped. The weatherman told us it was coming and I can't say that I was surprised but still I'm not happy.

I don't like snow. And I don't understand why people do. I just spent a while on Facebook and you should see the statuses... everyone seems so happy about it! Yes it's pretty and you can have some fun in it... if you don't mind being wet and cold. It's quiet and peaceful. That's about it.

So I've spent most of the day making the best of it and trying not to grumble (yes I realize that this blog is sounding very grumbly) or resent the disruption of my day. I cleaned my house and vacuumed, I cleaned the fish tank, did my dishes and washed the kitchen floor. And I'm blogging - something I've neglected for a long time. And while I've been checking off a long neglected to-do list I've been mulling this over, wondering why I'm feeling so out of sorts.

Yes there are the obvious reasons... dangerous driving conditions, missing work, shovelling, slipping & sliding. But I think the thing is that I am truly a West Coast girl. I live on the West of British Columbia and have my whole life. I've grown up with rain, living on the edge of the rain forest. I love the smell of the wet earth, green and musty. I love the sound it makes on my roof and I love how I can smell it in the air when it's coming.

We've been told that this winter we should expect cold weather and lots of snow. I guess this is my way of venting and bracing myself for it. I guess that I will have to make the most of my "snow days" and learn to accept them when they come. There isn't a whole lot I can do about it is there? So you know what? "Singin' in the Rain" is on TV and I'm going to watch it and enjoy every minute of it. I think that's the closest I'm going to get to rain today.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Full Circle's been a year.
And when I say that I am not talking about counting the last 365 days either.

Last August 29th our lives took a definite hairpin turn (not just a bend) in the road and the rollercoaster ride began. We gained a son-in-law, a grandson, another son-in-law and lost a nephew in just under 365 days.
Like I said...whew.

So last weekend Tony and I went back to Princeton, where we were when this whole rollercoaster ride began. We felt we needed to go back there and finish what we started.

And it was good.
Being able to reflect on the past year and seeing that, even though it didn't seem like it at times, God was there with us through this whole journey. He saw us through the disappointments, the fear, the busy-ness, the stress and the joy. I don't know how many times I read Jeremiah 29:11 during this time.
"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."
In the middle of it all I'm not sure I believed it, in fact there were times that I was downright mad at God and told Him so and questioned His plans for me and my family.

Too bad that hindsight is always 20/20 and our foresight is sometimes non-existent. Now that this year is done I can say "Yup, it wasn't so bad. God was with us." It sounds so trite and I'm sorry that it does.

But He was.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"It's A Mystery!"

I love a good mystery.

We had a couple of mysterious happenings this morning at church and it got me to thinking about how much fun they can be and how much I enjoy them.

Yes I know there are plenty of bad mysteries out there but today I'm talking about the fun ones - like who gave you the anonymous Valentine's card, where exactly is Noah's ark or, like what happened to Pastor Wes this morning, who washed your car for you while you weren't looking!? It's a mystery!

This is probably why I love geocaching so much. I tie on my hiking boots, grab my gps and drive to a trailhead. Looking out over a huge forest-covered mountain I think "there's something hidden out there just waiting for me to find it. Where could it be? It's a mystery." After I find it I just want to do it all over again. That's probably why, as of today, I've done this process exactly 1646 times!!!

I think the best mystery for me is what exactly heaven is going to be like and look like. I try to picture my loved ones who have already gone there, walking the streets of gold, and I just can't. Yes I know that John does his best to try and describe it to us in his book of Revelation but I seriously doubt that his words do it justice. Not for me anyway.

So I guess, for now, I'll just have to live with the wonderful, delicious mystery!

But let me tell you something wonderful,
a mystery I'll probably never fully understand.
We're not all going to die - but we are all going to be changed.
You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet,
and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes - it's over!

I Corinthians 15:51 (The Message)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Are You Needy?

A couple of Saturdays ago I went hiking with my cousin.

We probably hiked for 3 hours that day and talked and visited the whole time. Hiking is so great for that. We talked about our kids, our grandkids, our families, what's been great and what's been not so great in our lives.

One thing that I've always appreciated about my cousin is her insight into what makes people tick and how much she loves to delve into how God works in our lives. She loves Christian non-fiction, learning more and more about the human psyche, where I just glaze over when any book is deeper than a good Karen Kingsbury. She made an observation that day that has stuck with me ever since. She said "I think God created us needy."

I don't think I've ever thought about that before. My first reaction to that statement is that being "needy" is not a good thing. When we hear the word needy we equate it with someone who is annoying and cloying. But the more we talked the more I understood her statement. We talked about our grandsons (they were born within a few months of each other) and how needy they are right now. Their whole world revolves around their parents and what their parents can do for them. Isn't it amazing how God created our children this way? We are 'forced' to take care of them 24/7 which ultimately forms this bond that connects us to our offspring in a way that nothing else ever will because they are so needy.

I've often wondered why God allows us to go through bad times. I think we all wonder that. Maybe it is because He wants us to need Him just like our children need us when they are born. We are born with this insatiable desire to fill a void and then we spend the rest of our lives trying to fill it when it really is so simple... go to the Father. The One who gave us life. It never ceases to amaze me what the world thinks it needs at this point... the list is never ending. Money, sex, work, parties and vacations... there is definitely enough things to choose from. Or we can fill our lives with good things - spending time with our spouse or our children, volunteering and taking care of others, going to church or building a house in Mexico. Good things. But they're all just things, they are not a relationship with the One who loves us and made us. We need Him, plain & simple.

So thanks, my friend, for giving me so much to think about the past couple of weeks.... looking forward to our next hike and our next talk.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thankful for the Storm

A couple of nights ago we had a wicked wind storm. Of course living in a rural area with many large trees it was inevitable...our power went out. Great.

Being the techie that I am I don't do well without my gadgets. What am I supposed to do now? And it didn't take long for my daughter, Tessa, to start experiencing Facebook withdrawl. "What am I supposed to do all night!" she complained. Wow, are we really that bad?

Soon Tony brought out the propane lantern and put it on the kitchen table. Even though it wasn't quite dark yet we gravitated towards it. Jenna got out her text books, announced that this was perfect for her because she needed to study for a class anyways. Tony grabbed some Outdoor Life magazines that he hadn't had a chance to read yet and Tessa decided that she would knit with me.

We had some hot water in the carafe so the girls made some tea and I made a snack. We started telling stories about how it would have been in the 'olden' days and pretty soon we were just laughing and talking and catching up. Before we knew it three hours had gone by.

Sometime during that evening, Tessa, in all her wisdom said, "Actually this is a lot of fun. We should do this more often."

Hopefully we won't need God to send us another storm to remember that.