Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Blessings are the Clouds' Silver Linings

I can't believe a month has elapsed since I last posted!!  Where did the time go?  It's been a month of warm blessings and challenging times.  On April 5, my senior public school held their 50th Anniversary.  I attended with my husband and my brother and sister-in-law.  What a wonderful weekend this was!!  I saw old pictures from almost 40 years ago!  I saw acquaintances and friends that I had lost contact with.  It was absolutely wonderful to meet up with an old friend that I hadn't seen since 1989!!  We had lost contact with each other and to meet up again was such a source of warmth and love!  We've exchanged contact information and I'm hopeful that we will be able to stay connected over the miles.  It was a great day which brought back many memories.  The school hadn't really changed over the years and it didn't take long for me to find my bearings and remember the classrooms that were mine in those 2 years of Grades 7 and 8.  I even found a room that had the attendance records all the way from the beginning!  What a treasured visit this was.  After open house at the school, we went to a local restaurant for more connecting over dinner.  It was a fabulous day and as always, I had the warmth of my brother and sister-in-law's love as we stayed at their home.

The day after the school reunion, we went to visit my mom.  We started going through old toys and books in her basement.  What treasures we found!  I found a Children's Prayer Book that was given to me for Christmas from the church Sunday School in 1967!  My mom then mentioned that the church was celebrating it 60th Anniversary on April 27.  Hmmmm....I had just enjoyed a warm and fuzzy day at my old school, why not  make the trek to Kitchener again for my childhood church's anniversary!

Of course, in between these events there was the Easter too.  My son came home from university for Easter but had to return to his school for one last exam before coming home for the summer.  We enjoyed our Easter weekend with him and I was able to fuss and create a feast for 4 our Easter dinner.  He did return to school, wrote his exam and he is now back at home for the summer.  I am enjoying having my whole family under one roof again.

As the title of this post suggests, there have been some very challenging times in April as well.  My health is still really good.  The challenging times have been difficult.  Sometimes, I've been questioning God on why.  Why can't I have some long term peace in my home and around me?!  I've met the challenge of cancer and still relied on You.  I've continued my daily prayers and enjoyed the warmth of knowing You.  I've continued to praise, worship and be thankful for this world around me.  Why do You still send me so many challenges?!  As I've asked these questions of God, I've also realized that throughout these challenges my family is there beside me.  I am still surrounded by not only God's love but the love of family and friends.  These are the silver linings of the clouds or storms in my life at the moment.  And....not only have I been faced with some major challenges, but God has also given me many blessings.

Twice now, in April, my husband and I have gone for some motorcycle escapes in the surrounding areas.  They've been great fun and another way to enjoy God's world.  We were driving on a back county road when I heard a waterfall.  Over to my left was a  huge waterfall pouring down the rock face beside the road on my left.  All the snow melt was causing this rush of water.  It was beautiful!

This past weekend was the church anniversary.  I made the trek to Kitchener on my own as my son was helping a friend move from her apartment, my daughter was working and my husband was supervising the home front.  Once I had heard about the church anniversary, I had made contact with a lady that I used to sing in the church choir with.  I made arrangements for my sister and me to sing in the choir for the Anniversary service.  In that process, I was asked to provide some memories of my time at the church which I would present during the luncheon after the church service.  I agreed but then in the midst of the busyness of life, I forgot.  On Saturday night, I was at my brother's home and the phone rang.  It was the lady from the choir asking about my participation in the memory portion of the day.  OOPS!!!!  I had forgotten!  I agreed to do it and then promptly got a piece of paper from my brother so that I could write down some key points to jog my memory.  I have forgotten to mention too, that when I had been home and going through my mom's basement, I had come across an old mobile that she had hanging there.  It was a mobile I had made when I was a child of 6 or 7 (I think).  My memory isn't that clear of the age.  Anyway, the Anniversary service was very special as my sister and I sang in the choir just like we did as teenagers.  There were a few choir members from those years and we met many new choir members who opened their ranks and allowed us to join in.  The anthem and the hymns spoke to my heart!  I felt the warmth of the Holy Spirit as I sang.  As I looked out over the congregation, I recognized people from my childhood.  What a special day it was!  My mom, my siblings and their families took up a whole pew.  It was so nice to be together for the day.  After the service, there was the luncheon and then the sharing of memories.  I made sure that I ended my contribution with heartfelt thanks for the support of my church family from afar when they sent me the prayer shawl while I was going through chemotherapy.  The church building has been there for 60 years, but the church is more than just the physical building.  The church really is the caring human beings who taught me that the building is God's house and as such we can laugh, cry, grieve, disagree and learn that it's OK to agree to disagree and move on in love just like we do in our friends' and families' homes.  My childhood church truly did give me that foundation that God likes to hear us laugh in His home.  God is very much willing to comfort us as we grieve and cry in Her home.

My challenges are still very much here but the silver linings of these storms are definitely the blessings of reconnecting with old friends and having the support of my extended family and church families.  Despite the current storms, life continues to be great!  I pray each day that God will see me through these challenges.

As I write this, I am also getting ready for a fundraiser this weekend for my Relay For Life team.  Each year it is harder and harder to raise the funds.  The first year as I entered the team while I was still in chemotherapy and many friends and family donated.  As I remain in remission and the duration since my illness lengthens, it is more difficult to reach the same monetary goal that was reached in that first year.  I would ask that you please consider donating using the following link to help us reach our goal.  The money goes towards research which gives more people fighting cancer the opportunity to  beat this terrible disease.  The money raised also helps run support programs for cancer patients and their caregivers.  The link is as follows: http://convio.cancer.ca/site/TR?pg=team&fr_id=14852&team_id=308559

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