Confession….

There is power right at your fingertips. And though I discovered it some years back, I seemed to have forgotten for a time. I am rather ashamed of myself and having spent several moments…alright HOURS in self reflection, I admitted freely that if I did not call on this power and use it henceforth, there could be serious consequences. In actual fact, lying in my bed last night, listening to my husbands quiet breathing as he slept ( yes, my husband who is reputed to be one of the world’s best already, is also not a snorer either….whoa! Careful there Helen, my auto spell tried to type ‘snorter’!!!   Well thankfully we have no worries there either…ah….but…back to my confession) Hmmm, yes I had to ask myself why I was suffering pain in my left arm. Heart attack? Just in case I jumped out of bed, which I am told is the worst thing I could have done, but jump I did and straight to my medicine cabinet for the low dose aspirin…but I would not actually take it because not so long ago I had a complete heart workup and all was in excellent shape….besides, I was starting to be sure it was a muscle related thing in my arm. Then I felt the twinges of a similar pain in my right arm. Hmmmm, this called for some serious detective work on my part and all within the confines of my warm blankets…..OK guys, slow as I am, realization finally struck. And so this time I hopped out of bed, made for the den, picked up my iPad and using this great power I possessed, I pressed, “delete”, “delete”, and so it went. You see, in my musings oh so poetic on the time spent with my darling grandchildren over the Christmas break, I, like any irresponsible grandparent, had allowed the sweet young things to download several apps on my iPad. In fairness, they were free!!! And not so bad, as long as I monitored the play time for them….ok ok so it was for my darling Zori (refer to my post several days ago) and Kara, don’t shoot me (that’s her mommy and my daughter) ‘Twas a cute little game and she got me into it too. The sad thing is; no the pathetic thing is, I played it more than she did. I would find myself in the last few days sneaking around so that my darling husband would not suspect I had a bit of an addiction and to a child’s game too! Folks I stand before you guilty as charged but perhaps you will forgive me for my bravery in this way too public confession. From that moment forward, I will NOT be playing games wherein the faster you swipe at the little critters, the more points you score. My arms are killing me, even though ( head held slightly aloft here) I did score over 40,000 coins in one swoop.

But seriously, though everything said here is true, it got me to thinking again…..so I’m retired and have lots of time, am I being responsible in my usage of that time ( and no, please do not call on me to join this organization or that). I have to ask myself daily…what more can I do to be productive and for a higher purpose. If I am really saying I want to spend more time with Jesus, is it to be only in prayer and bible reading? Not necessarily so, though they are vital points to work on. But perhaps, God can use me to share with you, and you and yes, you too….the love and mercy of my precious Savior….maybe He will even use my words to stir someone else to think more  of how they too should be using their time. Well Lord, here I am.

What about you?

I Want to be Like Zori

Over the Christmas school holidays, I was blessed to have my four year old granddaughter spend her days with me while mommy and daddy were at work. Her big brother was here too but at the age of 8 yrs, he was far more interested in playing outside with his 13 and 14 yr old cousins for much of the day. Sebastian and Xavier, two of my other grandsons, live right next to us so this was a huge deal to Isai. And so, though I could have watched Zori along with doing my regular household activities, I chose instead to spend most of these days right here with Zori, dedicating all of my time solely to her. We played together, sang together, watched Tom & Jerry on TV together, coloured and drew pictures, sang silly songs and then learned from her  the latest dance/gymnastic moves and I’ve loved every moment of it. But what captured me most, at the end of the two weeks, was just the act of ‘watching’…. yes watching a four year old and how she performed each day. To see life through her was a treat like none other. Her big brown eyes lighting up and her sweet voice filled with excitement as she reacted to things happening around her stole my heart and, gave me pause to reflect deeply.

The ‘boys’ (Isai, Sebastian and Xavier) played endless hours of football (aka soccer) outside in Bermuda’s lovely climate. They never tire of the sport and in order to keep a close watch on them, I invited them to bring their goal nets over to my front yard so that I could monitor their play from the safety of my den. Several times Zori asked to be outside with them but seeing the fierceness of their kicks and head butts of that ball made me keep her indoors for the most part.

On Friday Zori had, by now, abandoned completely our time of song and dance. Our cozy TV watching and art activity was no longer interesting for her. Instead, she spent the whole day between the open window overlooking the yard and running back and forth to the front screen door. All this while she was agog with excitement and full of happy giggles. “Xavier! Xavier!” she would shout over and over. She rapped on the window sill to grab his attention in the middle of his play and he good naturedly responded with a wave and a smile and even sweet words of greeting more often than not. Each and every time Xavier looked her way, Zori was filled with glee. Her eyes would light up even more and she would giggle and skip across the room like she had won a prize. A minute later she would run to the front door and on tippy toes peeking out through the screen door, she would call out, “Xavier! Xavier!” again.     All Zori wanted was a look from him, a smile, an acknowledgement that he knew she was there, his biggest fan. Her joy was complete. She didn’t need to be in the center of his game; she didn’t ask for his undivided attention; she just wanted to be near him and to know that in his great big world, he knew she was there. You see, my little granddaughter Zori has fallen madly in love. Oh she has always loved her big cousins, but this week, that great admiration became a wonderful sweet new love. And Xavier is the object of her affection!

 

i watched with a full heart as she sang out to him throughout the days and I cherished these precious moments of young innocence. Ray and I chuckled at seeing her developing crush and wished so much that we could capture that joy.

This morning I woke up, the first day of the New Year and thought about Jesus and my relationship with Him. I had to admit that I have been rather too comfortable with my love for Him. Perhaps I was even taking Him for granted. Knowing His great capacity for love for me, I had become lazy in acknowledging what I owed to Him. Though I held Jesus dear to my heart, I realized that I want more. I want to be like Zori. I want to run to Him. I want to call out to Him over and over. I want to let Him know that I am here and I am His biggest fan. I want Him to know that I am overjoyed to be near Him. I want to glow in the satisfaction that even from His place of Glory, from Paradise itself, He smiles down on me and even takes time to give me a loving wave. I want to trip over my words because I am so awed in His presence. I want to bubble with inner delight because He knows me and still loves me. I want to see Him in everything all day long and to call out to Him with adoration. “Jesus! Jesus!”

i want to be like Zori!

Waiting for Dawn

A life well lived must include several vital components not the least of which is…sleep. To think that a good part of each day is spent lying semi conscious upon a bed may seem like lost hours in a ever faster revolving world (that seems to pass by with far too much speed once a person has entered their 60’s) must be denied and I am here to attest that not a moment is ever really wasted. Indeed, while the refreshing time is necessary to face yet another day in the daily grind, that time of sweet sleep can be more than a proverbial snooze fest. You see I believe I have mastered the art of sleep. Or perhaps I should say, sleep has become an adventure unparalleled in the modern age of high definition and has consumed me with fervour. Ah, dreams….hmmm
One night I may be carried through the wilds of Africa and just before dawn, I am thrust onto a sick out-of-control carnival ride. There are any number of confusing experiences all within the span of one night’s sojourn that would keep a psychiatrist in business for a decade but these insane dreams are not what concerns me right now. You see, it is 2:30 a.m. and I am in the middle of one of these dreams. I have decided that, rather than weakening to full cerebral control and perhaps try to read, I would bring my sleeping thoughts and excursions to you. And so, while it is rather marvellous that I am able to type during such a time as this, it is vital you understand that tis not I who pens this but my semiconscious state of mind…..
Perhaps too, by now, you will have realized that such a comedic attempt at forming brilliant communication, must only be thus explained….she is out cold, off the wall, and well into another episode of demented dreams!
I am sure that some hours after dawn when I do sit and sip my tea in the kitchen and work on another crossword puzzle to begin anew the day, I will be able to decipher some sane purpose in my jumble of words that lay on the screen before me.
And so now, I plan to shut my eyes once again, whisper some words of sweet worship to my ever present Help who never leaves me, hold onto the joy that God brings to my weary thoughts and roll onto my side to venture into yet another mid sleep slumber time…….hmmmmmm

We’re Singing Mother into Paradise

Every once in awhile I like to read old posts and I felt led to share this one again.

His Child 2

I wrote this over 16 years ago and decided to share it again in my blog….

I always remember the Twenty-Third Psalm was my parents’ favorite scripture.  Every night they would recite it together as they prayed for their eleven children and later many grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.  After Dad died, Mom continued this tradition.  We always knew we were loved and lovingly prayed for.  It gave us comfort and even encouragement over the years.  Then after Christmas a few years ago, we were called together once again when news came that Mom had another cerebral aneurysm.  Fifteen years before that she had had a successful surgery on two aneurysms and we were told then that there were several more.  She could live two weeks, the surgeon said, or twenty years before another one might burst.  So now, at the age of eighty-two, Mom lay in the hospital in Ottawa…

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It’s All About Me

Granted we are living in the “Me” age and being aware of that, I would venture to say, those of us with any sort of self awareness and conscience even, strive to NOT be that person. Deep inside; however, I feel sure everyone of us can relate to it. How we live our lives; How we interact with family members; fellow workers and so on….well being of sound mind, we generally do not want to fit into that mold. Then add in the fact that we call ourselves Christians, well, you can see where I am heading….
Max Lucado, well known Christian author and motivational speaker has written a book of this very topic, “It’s Not About Me”. Indeed, I admire Max and this book is one of his finest pieces of work. But today, in spite of how this message seems to be going, allow me to send you into a bit of a tailspin. Listen while I openly confess to you, that I avow here and now that indeed it IS all about me. Yes, you read that correctly. Now, bear with me and my huge ego while I explain the bold and honest truth of this statement. I feel too, that after reflecting on my words, you too will admit and confess this same thing after first experiencing some humble hesitation.
You see, in order to be spiritually nourished, any Christian worth his salt will advise you to get into the Word. Read scriptures, listen to the Word, sing the Word and study the Word. Today as I pulled myself away from the idiotic lure of today’s social media, I got back into some scripture I had been studying. I love to read and highlight, read and study, read and devour. It hit me then so very very profoundly that when I read in earnest, I must admit, It is all about me. Yes, and this is not a bad thing. It’s not a matter of pride! It’s a matter of life or death. Each of us MUST go to the Word as though it were written just for us. This is how it will impact your life, just as it impacts my life. If I browse through the feast that lies before me and just pick out a few little tidbits here and there, then I will leave the banquet table as hungry as when I sat down. If I admire a tasty morsel and take it in order to share it with someone I feel needs it, then I am but a fool. Every item on the menu that is set our before me is designed just for me. And realizing that I can eat my fill and still need more is vital. It certainly is a relief too that after rising from this table of delicacies, I will not be ungainly and fat. This food nourishes and satisfies like no other. This food brings life and healing, comfort and joy, love and peace and everlasting pleasure.
Yes, God’s Word is all about ME.
I urge you this day to make it all about YOU.

A New Song

001Do you ever wake up with an annoying song stuck in your head? Or some silly little TV advert? Worse yet….some children’s nursery rhyme on auto-rewind?!!

Well for the past week, I have started each day  with a new song that is lovely, comforting and ever-present with me as I go about my rather ordinary life. Now this could have presented a problem once upon a time because I rarely know ALL the words to any one song. That in itself can be torture to my feeble mind but then again years of such experiences have made me quite creative as I replace my own words to fill in such gaps in the repertoire that is my mind. But for some months  now  and I suspect every day from here on in, the words and music are clear and concise;  the melody is sweet; the music unforgettable. And I rest assured even  Bach could not compete.

I remember one day not so long ago, when my heart was heavy and my thoughts were troubled. You see, though I had been a Christian for many years, I had come to a place where I was not being fed and nourished Spiritually. I was attending a church just for the sake of duty and I was surrounded by nominal lukewarm believers. I thought that I would ‘get by’ feeding myself here and there with little tidbits of Scripture when I could make time. A dangerous game I was playing. The time became less and less and I allowed worldly matters to consume my days. Oh I wasn’t out bar-hopping or creating a ruckus but worse perhaps, I allowed myself to be satisfied with less than I  deserved and certainly less than God did. I knew I loved Jesus and I knew, without a doubt, that He loved me. I knew I was His child and was safe even, under His wings,  but I was settling for second best. In all of this,  depression crept upon me and tears flowed daily. I was putting blame everywhere but where it belonged. I had taken my eyes off the prize. I had set standards according to my feelings and attitudes.

Then came the day when I walked through the doors of a gathering that was serving up a great feast. The banquet hall set before me that day was made up of serious children of God worshipping Him freely with joy abounding! As I looked through my own tears, I began to recognize each and every person there as a long-lost brother or sister. I began to realize that this was the family God intended me to be a part of. Having been surrounded from my youth with ten loving brothers and sisters, I knew that they were just the beginning of a real family God had in store for me. And I did not have to wait until eternity to know the true love and joy of such fellowship. As the Praise  music faded, the Pastor came forth and began that morning, a year or so ago, to bring me into his fold. He and the other Godly Pastors taught that to be a Christian itself is not enough. It was never intended for any of us to rest on our laurels. God never meant for us to settle and stay in one place. At any age, He still had plans for us to prosper, not in the worlds’ ways but in His ways. He wants to use a lady in her 60’s as much as a man in his prime. He wants to see us grow daily. He wants to heal us and make all things new. He wants to bless us with His mercy and grace every morning and He wants to give us a new song in our hearts.

As I write this, I reflect on my new time of prayer and praise, my learning more and reaching farther. Still, there is much to be done. I still must place one foot in front of the other; I still fail too often but belonging to a family such as I have discovered on this small island of Bermuda, in this tiny church, with God’s dear people, has made me sing anew each day!

“I call upon your name Lord, the name above all names….You are the One Jesus…”cropped-2323232327ffp35-nu326-577578wsnrcg32359363955-nu0mrj.jpg

Parlez-vous francais?

So how old IS too old to learn a new language?
Some say …never  Others may say….forget it, c’est impossible! But I say….try anyway!

My heritage includes a smattering of French blood mixed in with some good ole’ Scottish . We will not discuss if, because I was born and brought up in Canada, it is real French because the fact is French is French! (wow…try saying that word over and over in your mind….it’s totally weird)

Anyway recently I was reconnected with the French side of my family by becoming first FaceBook friends with long lost cousins and then actually going to Quebec to meet some of them. I was beyond thrilled to get to know one particular cousin, RoseLine….she is glamorously beautiful, incredibly intelligent and one of the nicest people I have ever met! And so I invited her and her lovely teenage daughter to visit with us in Bermuda. This was a week of fun, laughter, warmth and growing for me. It is for this reason that I have decided at the age of 64 to really, seriously learn to speak my father’s mother tongue. Yikes! I am actually bold enough to mention this in my blog with the understanding that at any time within the next six months to a year, anyone of you can challenge me to speak French. But I am bold and brave so here I go.

I have chosen the highly esteemed Rosetta Stone to be my professeur…I have already done 3 complete lessons and I must say I am enjoying it. I believe I am actually learning a little. For example, last night I dreamed totally in French. OK OK so it was a brief dream and it was just colourful photos with cute little captions underneath but….hey…

Did I mention that I have a rather fragile memory bank? Or that I always have to use ONE password for every area of my life because …well, let’s put it this way…I now have thirteen email accounts that I cannot access because I cannot remember where I put my secret little password notebook for such. Or that I have called my own children by a brother or sister’s name more often than not? Never mind; I fully intend on overcoming all age-related obstacles and one day within a relatively short time, I will be blogging a post completely in French! Hurrah!

Do YOU think I can pull this one off?

My sister Maureen with our Dad

My sister Maureen with our Dad

Listening to the Voice of God

 Recently our Pastor has been talking about listening to God’s voice. To do this, we have to be able to know His voice. To know His voice, we have to be in frequent communication with Him. We must also know the Word of God, reflecting constantly on what we read in the Bible. As well as ongoing intimate prayer time, we must learn to wait on Him and ‘listen’. if we are to simply recite off a slew of petitions and then close down prayer time at that time, it is not being receptive to hearing from Him.

One has to wonder then, why do we pray? Is our time of prayer a means of asking for things or to cry and complain about  our lot in life? Or are we really striving to be intimate with our Abba Father? Do we really want a relationship with Him or are we using Him and His open heart to be our own personal sounding board? I ask myself this from time to time and looking back on my life over these past forty plus years, I can see many times when I have failed miserably. I will also admit with as much humility as I can muster, that thankfully  I am able to see growth too. I would say, that like a child developing into a teen and then a young adult, there are times of growth often in spurts. Months or even years when it would seem things are at a standstill, whilst friends and classmates are stretching beyond in inches and feet, growing faster and stronger in our human eyes. Such a child often feels frustrated and though he would like to be bigger, taller and more mature physically, but there is nothing he or she can do to control these spurts. Or is there? I recall two of my rather short for their age brothers spending hours hanging from a monkey bar set, trying desperately to gain some height. They may have ended up with longer arms but they remained undertall well into manhood. Handsome brothers but not tall by any means! I recall my own son telling me when he was about ten or twelve years old, “Mom, I am aiming to be six foot two one day.” Cute and adorable my son, but you will be what you will be. He might have surrounded himself with disappointment to the extreme or he could accept what God had always intended from before he was born…In the meantime, I watched him grow inwardly and I stood by his side with pride as he became wise beyond his years compared to many friends and classmates his age. He is now a rather nice five foot ten as an adult. What he could control during his years of development was how he nourished his body both nutritionally and athletically.

In my own times of growth, I can see where I stepped forward and allowed myself to be molded and shaped by various life’s circumstances. For every stagnant lapse, there were more times of growth. I am happy to say that this year as I creep reluctantly towards my 65th birthday, I am still learning. I am still growing and learning to rely on God. I am praying and listening; I am praising and waiting for His guidance and direction.

I write this as I sit on an airplane heading for my homeland after a brief trip to the frigid North (Vermont). My husband sits on my right side, deeply engrossed in his book on his ipad and listening to some country tunes. It is as though I am alone. But on my left side is a very nice looking gentleman. He has been quiet and just as I wondered if God wanted me to talk to him about Jesus and Salvation, the flight attendant came by offering soft drinks. The man whose life I was about to change forever, reached across me to accept a ginger ale; he excused himself to me and I almost PASSED OUT…the dear man has to have the worst breath I have even beheld on any human being…in fact, even worse than my stinky dogs’ breaths! Oh my dear Lord, surely this is your way of telling me to “Be still…” I shall herein now pause this missive to pray for this man and his eternal soul, because my dear sweet Jesus, I cannot talk to him.

What would YOU do?

*** After a time of intense prayer, I took out some breath mints, offering one first to my husband and then to him. He declined politely! So being the creative person that I am, I  then, in about five minutes flat, compiled a slide show on my own Ipad of various scripture quotes and lovely photos accompanied by inspirational messages of Salvation and so on. I set up the ipad so that he could easily follow along and sat back closing my eyes….

Again I ask….what would YOU do?

 

Freezing Bermudians

snowy car
We should have known when in the early dawn, this was the site that greeted us in our Vermont driveway……
But we are BRAVE Bermudians. And yes, to clarify, though I have lived all my adult life in Bermuda (ahem…more than 43 years), and I was born and bred in North-Eastern Canada, this little girl is totally Bermudianized and I do NOT care for temperatures below 40 degrees!
So at four o’clock in the afternoon, my adventurous husband and I set off for Foxborough, just outside Boston to enjoy an NFL game…specifically the New England Patriots versus the Denver Broncos, a promise of an exciting game for sure. Did I mention that this stadium which seats close to 100,000 people is OUTDOORS? and that the only tickets my darling husband could procure were in the nose-bleed section? IN THE WIND? Yes but we dressed warmly….I mean, we were so prepared, what could a little arctic freeze do to spoil our fun? In preparation for this, I even stopped shaving my legs for two days, telling Ray those few little scraggly hairs would add to my blanket of warmth. But I digress and I am once more sharing too much information. But honestly, with three pairs of socks, tights and two pairs of warm slacks, boots, a heavy wool blanket etc etc, well…..you will understand….
Snowy Game
ya see? It is not a pretty site!
To shorten this rather wordy report, I lost feeling in one foot after a half an hour but I was courageous as I huddled against the gale force (???) winds. The game itself started off very badly if one was a Patriots fan so the mood around us was not pleasant. Both Ray and I were blown away at the foul language and hateful snide remarks shouted at the top of drunken (at least that is my explanation) voices all around. Perhaps Ray was not as shocked since he had been to several such games throughout the years but I was saddened and disgusted. The game continued to go downhill and other parts of my body began to ice up. My fingers did not belong to me but rather were encased somewhere in the woolen mittens I wore. At least I hoped at the time that someday that’s where they would be found. Thankfully my back and head were warm but my face was as frozen as a new Botox recipient. Hey, maybe there was a silver lining here? by the time the second quarter was well underway, I was trembling. I no longer reacted to the foul messages being sent forth around me. Instead I spoke the love and warmth of Jesus over myself and all my loved ones, should this be the way I would be finally leaving this earth. They say just before you freeze to death, you get very very sleepy. I tried yawning a few times to test the expected time of my impending doom but once too often my jaw stayed that way and Ray had to force it shut! Well, this IS my blog and I can exaggerate if I feel the need to draw in any readers. The point was, I would not die seated in row 15 at the second to top tier of that massive stadium. I began to feverishly make plans for another day on this earth. Hurray….Perhaps tomorrow I would sit all day by a blazing fire in our cute pot-belly stove? hmmm
OK the 2 minute warning sounded and Ray promised that since it was such a terrible game anyway and I had suffered enough penance to earn 1000 people their way out of purgatory IF I were still a catholic so I perked up and peeped from under the blanket. Did I mention that most football players played the game in SHORT sleeved shirts???? I was aghast! By the way, any of you who may watch NFL games know that TWO MINUTES on the clock do NOT mean two actual minutes. I would have cried but any moisture in or around my eyes had long since frozen solid. I looked at my darling, handsome, protective husband and without a complaint, he smiled angelically (well that is how I saw it), took my arm and said, “Come on honey, let’s go home!” I fell madly, deeply and passionately in love AGAIN!

Colour Infusion

medeiros_helen_image2.jpg

As I sit here in Vermont on this rather cold November day, my heart pines for some homeland colour and warmth. While I love having this get-a-way time away from Bermuda, it is funny that I would purposely choose such a bleak time of year. At this time of year, the beautiful colours Fall leaves have faded into blah. Most trees are bare, the ground is brown and grey. The sun is hidden behind a blanket of gloomy grey clouds and even people are mostly dressed in greys, black and ugly browns.
So to brighten up this day I have decided to post some of my favourite colourful photos of my Bermuda homeland. Hope you will enjoy them and imagine yourself on a warm tropical beach….

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