Sunday, 29 December 2013

Peace On Earth


This Christmas I was so excited about some of the gifts I gave.  It's such a great feeling to find something special, for someone special, knowing the gift will mean a lot regardless of the size or cost. I was actually quite proud of myself and all my great finds. I thought for sure this year I was going to give more than I could ever receive...wrong!

My receiving started well before the 25th. One huge gift came from friends in the fitness community. Fellow fitness instructors and many participants went in on the most amazing gift for me and Mike...I'm still in shock. Over seventy names were written on the cards that accompanied the gift. Wow!

I received many other special gifts as well, including one from Mike. With help from some elves (who happen to look a lot like his sisters), Mike gave me a gift that took my breath away. I will cherish his gift for the rest of my life. But as I ponder gifts given and received throughout the season, I continually give thanks for the best gift I was given...another Christmas with Mike!

Every day with Mike is a gift and the peace we have in the midst of ALS is also an amazing gift. For Christians, Christmas is about the perfect gift given to an imperfect humanity on the very first Christmas; Jesus Christ. And the peace that comes from knowing Him is inconceivable. I am not offended if you don't celebrate Christ at Christmas...Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays to you for sure. But if you do celebrate Christ at Christmas and if you know him personally every day of the year then you may know about this peace that surpasses all understanding that I am talking about.

Oswald Chambers puts it this way: When you really see Jesus, I defy you to doubt Him. If you see Him when He says, "Let not your heart be troubled...", I defy you to worry. It is virtually impossible to doubt when He is there. Every time you are in personal contact with Jesus, His words are real to you. "My peace I give you" - a peace which brings an unconstrained confidence and covers you completely, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. "Your life is hidden with Christ in God, "and the peace of Jesus Christ that cannot be disturbed has been imparted to you.

Peace on earth came in the form of a baby born in a manger; fully man, fully God...the Messiah. Born to us...a Saviour!

Merry Christmas, Season's Greetings, Happy Holidays...Peace!
Elanna, Peter, Michaela and Luke continue to make us feel at home in their house...we are so grateful and super blessed to be here with them. Thanks for everything you guys! 
 
Me and Mike with our beautiful children and granddaughter Leah. We are all grateful to spend another wonderful Christmas together!
 
Me and Elanna with our parents...luckiest girls in the world!
 
Erin, Nathan and Madison...our greatest gifts
 
Elanna with her gems
 
 
 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Temperatures Rising

It's been really cold here this past week. I know compared to the rest of Canada it's almost tropical, but for us west coasters, it's freezing. The temperature has been as low as minus eight degrees with the wind chill factor of -15. Compared to Calgary (-28) and other places across the country (-40), it's pretty balmy here in the Vancouver area, but I'm a big baby and it's been way too cold for me! Though, I will take cold and sunny over warm and rainy most of the time.

Lying in bed the other morning, a little chilly and not quite awake yet, I was either dreaming or recalling a favourite memory in my slumberous state. Mike and I were in our old little room, in our old cozy bed all cuddled up together. He had his big strong arm around me pulling me up against his hot body. All tucked inside him, I felt warm and secure. Hidden under the covers, like two spoons in a dark drawer fitting perfectly together, quiet and still on a cold winters morning. When fully awake, I decided that this is definitely what I miss the most.

Trying to describe that feeling of being enveloped in a warm body, being held and hugged...snow falling, temperature rising on a cold winters morning; there aren't words to describe that feeling. I didn't realize at the time how wonderful, how exceptional it is to be held like that. But now I know and it's what I miss the most.

This morning, again feeling a little chilly and still sleepy, I decided to recreate the scene. With our beds pushed together, I re-arranged Mike's pillows and nuzzled in next to him. My strong arm around his frailty, gently pulling my cool self up against his hot body. Hidden under the covers, not as perfect a fit, but still like two spoons in a dark drawer, quiet and still...snow falling, temperature rising on a cold winter's morning.

How wonderful, how exceptional it is to hold and be held like this!


                                                                           January 2011

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Richer Than You Think


The more things we lose because of ALS, the richer we become...does that make any sense? Perhaps this "devastating" illness isn't as devastating as we thought. Almost everything about our lives has changed, but the best things remain. Mike has lost his job, his home, most possessions, the ability to drive, write, run, walk, talk, eat and so on. But the best things in Mike's life still belong to him, such as love, laughter, family, friends...we are richer than we think.

"You're Richer Than You Think"...that's a Scotiabank slogan. My mom worked for Scotiabank as a teller most of her working years and loved it and they loved her...she was their best employee! Anyway, I wonder if those Scotiabank advertising geniuses know how insightful their "you're richer than you think" statement really is. Apart from high interest savings accounts, investment plans, mutual funds and RRSP's, their "You're richer than you think" is very true for most of us.

The other night, my parents, Mike's mum and sisters, Aileen and Pat, and Mike and I watched some old home movies. One video we watched was a video Mike and I made for my mom for her 60th birthday (16 years ago). There were some skits Mike did with my mom and a song and dance/skit he and our children did together to the song 'Sixteen Candles'...they just changed it a little and sang 'Sixty Candles' instead (the cake was pretty much on fire with that many lit candles). It was one of those "you had to be there" things, so I'm not going to try to describe it. It was funny though. Super funny! We laughed and laughed. Being with family, laughing together, talking, sharing, and reminiscing; this is what it means to be 'rich' and we are richer than we think.

Mike and I and our children have had the amazing opportunity to travel to Malawi, Africa on a few occasions (as I have mentioned before). It was an invaluable experience for all of us, especially for our kids. After observing how people live in this very poor country, they realized quickly that they are richer than they think.

Madison is doing a fundraiser this month for 'Project Wellness' - our family/my parent's charitable organization. She is going to run 25K across Maple Ridge the weekend before Christmas and all money raised goes to Project Wellness. We just started spreading the word and she already has friends and hockey team mates interested in joining her. My dad, in his mid-seventies still goes to Malawi a few times a year to drill wells, oversee building projects and farming projects. He makes sure the children are fed and have school uniforms and have medical supplies etc. These are the things the money donated to Project Wellness goes to.
                                                               Malawi pictures (2007-2008)
Madison and Gerald
 
Nathan and Madison and some happy children
 
Mike, Erin and friend Lauren visiting patients at a hospital
 
Me and Mike with a group of children
 
For more information on Project Wellness and/or Madison's fundraiser, email me at nadinesands@shaw.ca or go to projectwellness.ca