My life as a Christian! My life as a Writer!

If someone asked me “What do you do”, I’d be hard press to answer. Let’s see, I am a Christian, wife, mother, grandmother, writer, baker/chef, scrapbooker, and part-time genealogist. Oh, and did I mention I work fulltime 40-hour-weeks outside the home as well?

I recently had a discussion with a friend of mine who’s not a Christian.  Joe knows I’m a social butterfly, but he also knows I prefer to be a homebody. I always did. He says I live a sheltered life. That like a hermit, I’m closed in all the time and I don’t do anything. Part of me wanted to laugh because honestly, there are not enough hours in the run of a day to do everything I want to do, let alone do the things I need to do.

So I decided to take a walk down memory lane and look back on my life. Then, I’ll ask you to answer the following question: is this what you would consider a sheltered life? Am I missing something ?

I was 16 years old when, in 1977, my dad and I watched the new movie Roots: Saga of an American Family. I couldn’t believe what I saw, heard, and how they treated these people. I don’t think there’s a strong enough adjective to describe how I felt. At the end of the movie, I vowed that one day I’d go to Africa. I even said I’d marry an African. God had someone else in mind for me and He blessed me with a wonderful husband. He and I joke about that sometimes. He knows I’ve always had an immense love for these people.

In 1984, my great-uncle, who was involved in genealogy for many years, passed the “genealogy bug” down to me. Years later, when he passed away, my great-aunt gave me all his work. Wow… I love digging, and looking for a link between families. It’s a lot of fun.

In 1989, I opened my heart to Jesus. I’ve never looked back. This is not to say life is always rosy. Where in the Bible does it say that Christians don’t go through trials? It doesn’t. But, I loved my life as a follower of Christ. He’s always been there to help me through the trials, and when wall was too high for me to climb, He led me to walk around it. And when the load was too heavy for me to bear, He carried me… Load and all.

I’ve done many things as a Christian I more than likely wouldn’t have even thought of had it not been for Him. When we joined a church, I joined the choir, met awesome people, learned sign language, and got involved with the church’s Deaf ministry. Twenty four years later, I’m still there, “interpreting” on Sunday mornings for our deaf congregants. My first calling? Perhaps.

It took me 21 years before I realized my African dream, but with God, I did it… and not only once but twice. In 1998, God honoured the desire of my heart by opening a door.  I joined a team of World Vision volunteers for a short-term mission “trip of a lifetime” to the beautiful land of Zimbabwe, Africa. I spent the entire month of July there. But it wasn’t long enough, so He opened it again in Nov/Dec 1999. This time I spent six weeks there.

It was around 2003 that I started scrapbooking. Of course, one of the first albums I did was my 1998 African journey. Then, I moved on to our family heritage album, created an album for each of my boys. Now, we have a grandson. Is there anything more satisfying than mounting pages for his album? I forget how many albums I have for him now. I take so many pictures of him.

In 2010, we wanted to buy a house. We looked at many but each one had something one of us didn’t like. So we looked at the possibility of building instead. We made a list of the things we both wanted in preparation to meet with a contractor. Just a few days before we were to meet with him, our Realtor showed us this house. God has a true sense of humor. EVERYTHING from our list is in this house. And more!

In 2012, I attended Write to Publish in Chicago. I published my first book. I’ve written for many years, ‘just for fun’ but never took my writing seriously until the past few years. I entered a challenge, met the 50K in 30 days, entered the story in a publishing contest twice, shortlisted, worked with an editor and finally published it on Amazon. Now, I’m working on another story which I hope to pitch to an agent next year at another writers’ conference. God willing, of course!

These are but a few of the things I’ve done. I traveled across Canada twice, to the USA on different occasions. I’ve always been a go-getter and when I put my heart to doing something, I normally do it.

Sadly, poor Joe walked away from God many years ago and he no longer knows Christ as the personal Saviour of his life. That breaks my heart. I’ve talked to him about God on several occasions, but he doesn’t believe in what I believe. To be honest, he doesn’t seem to know what he himself believes. I wish there were a way I could convince him. But he doesn’t want to talk about it.

Ideally, it would be nice if he met a Christian who could lead him to Christ.  Will you please pray for Joe? Please pray, since he won’t listen to me, that God will put someone in his path.

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The Centurion’s Wife, by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke

 

Lately I’ve been sharing not only about the books I’ve read, but those that touched me in a special way. And with Easter less than a month away, I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts on a wonderful novel I read recently, one that had a big impact on me.

The Centurion’s Wife by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke.

Set in the early Christian era, The Centurion’s Wife is a biblically based fiction account of the centurion whose servant Jesus healed before his death on the cross. It tells of Leah, Pilate’s niece and servant to his wife Procula. Leah’s hand in marriage is promised to Centurion Alban but she doesn’t want to marry. In fact, she pleads with her mistress, but to no avail. The wedding will take place, and that’s all there is to it.

Soon after Jesus’ body disappears from the tomb, Procula sends Leah to try to find out whether Jesus’ disciples are planning a revolt. She meets and befriends Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha to name a few. Alban, however, tries to find the guards posted at Jesus’ tomb when the body disappeared. I don’t want to say too much more for fear I’ll give too much of it away, but suffice to say that somewhere in the middle of compelling story of faith and hope, Alban and Leah take you on a fantastic journey of mystery and later, love.

I’m convinced that both believers and non-believers alike will enjoy this book. It is thought-provoking, something I love in a book. I’ve read other books by Davis Bunn but it was the first I read of his novels co-authored by Janette Oke. After reading this one, I’m hooked and definitely want to read more.

To read more about Davis Bunn and Janette Oke, and the books they’ve written, individually and co-authored, visit their websites.

Is There Ever A Good Time To Say Goodbye?

No! There’s never a good time to say goodbye. But around Christmas time? When everyone is getting ready to celebrate the birth of Christ?

Recently, we lost a dear friend to cancer. From the moment he was given 12 to 18 months, until the end, 4 1/2 years later, Terry lived each day to the fullest. At his funeral, knowing how I felt losing such a dear friend, I remember thinking how hard it must be for his family to lose their loved one so close to Christmastime. What I didn’t know was that our family would be in a similar situation just 2 1/2 weeks later.

Tuesday December 13, hubby and I were cleaning up the supper dishes when the phone rang. The voice at the other end was obviously very upset, and I didn’t understand a lot of what she said – let alone trying to figure out who she was – until I heard the words ‘Donald’s dead’.

What?!? was my first response. As she began speaking again, I recognized her as Laurie, my husband’s cousin.

Donald, my husband’s brother, was out hunting rabbit. Investigators, who ruled out foul play and suicide, would later tell us they believed Donald tripped and instinctively tried to steady himself. The gun went off, killing him instantly.

Like his brothers, and their father before them, my husband is an avid hunter; and this freak accident had me do a lot of thinking. First of all, I’m still in denial about Donald’s passing. I lost count how many times Tuesday evening, I prayed that this was a nightmare, that I would wake up and realize it was just that, a terrible dream. And woke, I did, several times through the night in fact, but it was still very real.

Right now, though, my heart goes out to my mother-in-law; I can’t imagine the thought of losing either of my children; as well it goes to my brother-in-law, Raymond, who found Donald. But more than anything, I ache deeply for my husband. I lost a brother too,  so I know the pain.

Perhaps it was the look of agony in my husband’s eyes when we first got the news that tears away at me. Perhaps it’s was the tears I knew he so wanted to shed but couldn’t. Perhaps, it’s not having the chance to say ‘I love you brother’, one more time… Whatever it was, it has me thinking.

– My brother died in a house fire. There was no time to say goodbye…
– 18 months later, my father died of sudden heart complications. There was no time to say goodbye…
– My father-in-law was scheduled for tests, but died suddenly the night before. There was no time to say goodbye…
– And now, Donald, a mere 200 yards from his mother’s house, and yet… no time to say goodbye.

The sudden passing of these people reminds me of the shortness of life. I penned these few words as they came to mind.

As you prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ
Think of the One who brought us hope and eternal life
Thank God for sending His Son to earth
Making His birth, His life, His death all it’s worth

As you fill the stockings with treats
And put presents under the tree
As you bake mom’s famous shortbread and pies
Cakes and the sweets and all your little heart desires

This Christmas, make time
Take that extra step
Go the extra mile
To enjoy the people in your life

There is no time like the present
Show them you care with a hug, a smile
Take the time to show
Let your loved ones know

Life is such an uncertainty. Live each day to its fullest. And tell someone you love them. Today.

May your Christmas be blessed And your New Year free of sorrow

Here are the words of a poem someone shared with me. The author is unknown but the words are so true.

If You’re Ever Going To Love Me

If you’re ever going to love me, love me now, while I can know,
All the sweet and tender feelings which from real affection flow.
Love me now, while I’m living; do not wait ’til I am gone
And chisel it in marble – warm love words on ice-cold stone.

If you’ve dear sweet thoughts about me, why not whisper them to me?
Don’t you know ‘twould make me happy and as glad as glad could be?
If you wait ’til I’m sleeping, never to waken here again,
There’ll be walls of earth between us and I couldn’t hear you then.

If you knew someone was thirsting for a drop of water sweet.
Would you be so slow to bring it? Would you step with laggard feet?
There are tender hearts all around us who are thirsting for our love;
Why withhold from them what nature makes them crave all else above?

I won’t need your kind caresses when the grass grows over my face;
I won’t crave your love or kisses in my last low resting place.
So, then, if you love me, if it’s just a little bit,
Let me know now while living; I can own and treasure it.

Are you ready for Christmas?

It’s been a while since I posted anything in here but things have been so busy, I didn’t realize that we were THIS close to Christmas.

Personally I can’t believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve. It seems that just yesterday it was just the beginning of fall. Just yesterday, weren’t we raking leaves, getting ready for Thanksgiving and then carving pumpkins for Halloween. (Yes for some of us, Thanksgiving comes before Halloween!).

Before we knew it, it was time for all the practices for the Christmas production at our church. The choir starts practicing in October. Some of us “interpret” this production for the Deaf Community and by November’s end, I had attended several of the rehearsals. A huge performance such as this one, one can’t just “wing it”. It needs hours of preparation. On December 3, we interpreted the Christmas performance… wow… seems like it was yesterday. 3 weeks ago already? Where did time go?

So how ready are we for Christmas that seems to have crept up on us like a thief in the night? Well, for starters, looking out the window, it sure doesn’t look like Christmas. But then again, what is Christmas supposed to look like? For some of us in the North-eastern part of the continent, Christmas usually means that there is snow on the ground. But there’s none at all this year. In fact, it’s been raining since Tuesday, with very high winds, and temperatures have been hovering on the plus side.

I suggested to a friend this morning that perhaps, this Christmas, we should pretend we’re on the south side of the border. Like in Florida maybe? Okay, so not that far south. It is not that cold in Florida, is it? Um… I just checked the weather in Orlando, Florida, it is currently 12o C. Here, it’s 2 o C.

The thing is, regardless where we are this Christmas season, we need to remember the true reason for the season. Why do we celebrate Christmas? It has become so commercialized that with some (and I heard this with my own ears), it’s all about who’s going to get the most… and biggest… and most expensive presents. Thanksfully, this is NOT what Christmas is all about.

When people ask me if I’m ready for Christmas, I can easily say I’m ready 365 days a year. I may not have all my shopping and baking done but I’m still ready. To me, presents and turkey and mistletoe are not the reasons for the season. Christmas is not about the time spent with family and friends.

To me, Christmas is all about celebrating (the birth of Jesus Christ who came to this earth for salvation of all men. He is the best present anyone could get. And the best part is… we can make this happen in someone’s life. This Christmas season, won’t you stop for a moment, and share the news of Jesus Christ with someone you love?

I’m ready for Christmas. Are you?