Friday, August 31, 2007

A Hand of Cards

(Thank-you! Thank-you one and all for your love and your prayers!! You are everyone so appreciated – your comments (Lovella, Grace, James, Sara, Elsie, ‘Monkey Giggles, Jill, Vicki) are as touching and comforting as floral bouquets!!
I send you each a virtual ‘hug’ (those kinds don’t hurt!!- smile)
I slept quite well the last two nights, which is a miracle, and rest always helps so the pain is somewhat less. I still have not received authorization, so am still ‘patiently’ waiting. )

A Hand of Cards

One day early on in our dating I was in the car with Vic.
An airplane caught our attention and I, impulsively, told Vic about a childhood memory.

Up until the summer before I started school, Mom was a great believer in after lunch naps.
I really don’t know how I stumbled across this very scientific method of weather forecast, but when I awoke from my nap, I would not immediately open my eyes.
I would wait, and if I heard the pleasant drone of a plane flying over our house, I knew that it was sunny and I could go outside to play. (we lived close to a small airport)

When I finished my little story, I expected Vic to laugh at my silliness but there was only silence. I glanced over to look into his face and saw him struggling with deep emotion. I was puzzled but waited for him to speak.
Finally, he said,
“When I hear an airplane fly overhead, I feel the fear I felt when I was a little boy. When we heard a plane, we had to run and make sure every crack in the windows was covered because if any light escaped the enemy planes would drop a bomb on us.”

I was stunned. How could the same sound stir such totally opposite memory emotions in our hearts. To me a delightful childish fantasy - to him a horror nightmare.

Have you ever thought about how much of who we are is determined totally outside of our control?
We have no influence or choice in such important things as….

Where we are born… what country,
When we are born….in what time in history…
To whom we are born…. Our parents…
Into what society we are born,
Where we fit into the birth order of our siblings, if we have any
What we look like, our hair color, our features, our body type, our skin color,
What we will be called …. Our identification
What gifts or talents will set us apart ….
What our basic personality is….
Where and how we will be educated in our childhood years….
What values or principles are modeled before us ,
What religion we are raised to think is true….
Our health… our genetic disposition….
Accidents that happen… that change our life in a second.

I could probably go on, but I’m sure you see my point….many of the most important things in our life we have no power over.

Just as in a card game, where every player must play the game with the cards he has been dealt, so we must play the game of life with the hand of life-cards we are given the day we are born. It is the only hand we will ever have. There is no option of calling for a re-shuffle.
Our life depends on what we do with the hand we have.

But there is a wonderful reprieve from even the worst possible hand.
In a card game a player who may initially groan over his 'bad' cards can still win the game if he holds in his hand one or more ‘trump’ cards. These cards overrule all other cards and can ensure a winning game !!

We also, no matter how bad our life-hand may be, have a trump card.
This trump card is our faith in God.
Faith can move mountains,
Faith can overcome the world,
Faith can turn disaster into triumph, suffering into glory, sorrow into joy, and weakness into strength!!
Joseph learned the power of this ‘trump’ card! He experienced how his trust in God turned even the worst ‘card’ into a ‘winning card' !!
He declared, “You thought evil against me, but God meant it for good!” (Gen. 50:20)

No matter what has been given us, no matter what threatens to destroy, we can play our trump card…. Simply ‘trust’ God and He will make up your lack!! from now until eternity !!
What comfort, what assurance, what security that trump card is in our life.

Sometimes it slips behind one of our other ‘cards’ and we forget we have it. But let’s make sure it is out in the open where we finger that card to play before we play any other….
And ride through life victorious !!!

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world and this is the victory that overcometh the world , even our faith !!!!” (I John 5:4)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I am sorry but new posts have not been readily forth coming.
Perhaps because my mind is preoccupied trying to deal with pain.

My new medication has still not received authorization from the government – a mere formality, but government wheels turn slowly.

My body has gone into a flair, meaning that the joints in my shoulders, wrists, hands , fingers, knees and ankles which have been declared to be foreign invading objects are under fresh attack by my immune system to eliminate at all cost !!

So, quite literally, I am my own worst enemy!!! Smile

Every step, every movement has to be evaluated in terms of pain – how severe will the pain be and what is the best way to move.
Nights are difficult and mornings impossible. A few hours in late afternoon/early evening seem the least painful which apparently is quite normal…. (Not what I call normal!! smile)

So I ask for your prayers that my medication approval will come through soon. I called yesterday morning and my rheumatologist’s secretary said it usually takes 1-3 weeks. I have waited a week and a half. She did say that if she had time she would call and see if she could speed it up.

I have been thinking of several verses in scripture….

“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which he suffered!” (Heb. 5:8)

Pain and suffering are an unavoidable reality in this earthly life, and even the Son of God did not escape it. But even in the pain, there is a good work of God going on. Nothing in His hand is wasted …. Nothing is impossible to bear if we trust in Him !!

“But the God of all grace who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus ….after that you have suffered a while …make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.” ( I Peter 5:30)

Our suffering in this life is temporary, and not an end unto itself. God will bring us through and make us perfect. Perhaps it is when we are suffering that He has our undivided attention !!!

“Forasmuch then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mine for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” (I Peter 4:1)

I used to wonder at this verse, but it really is true. Pain has a purging effect --- it draws a dividing line between what is important and what is not, making me thankful for small things, giving me a capacity for caring and feeling compassion for others.
David learned this 'ceasing from sin' as he says in Psalm 119:67 "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept Your Word."
I do not believe that God 'punishes' His children with pain and sickness, but I do believe that He uses it in our life to bring us closer to Him.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)

This verse is of course the best promise !! What joy it will be to live in a world that is pure goodness and peace and life - with no more suffering!!
God will one day put everything right, and what a celebration that will be!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Are you Smarter than a Raccoon?

I love raccoons.
Who has not been amused at their antics or smiled at their masked faces, but have you ever considered that they may be wiser than many of their two legged ‘higher on the intellectual scale‘ human fellow-creatures ?

I once did some work for a lady who had regular raccoon visitors in her back yard.
She laughingly told about watching the mother raccoon try to teach her little kits that the day time was for sleeping. She would line them up on a generous tree limb and settle them down. One kit would invariably decide that he didn’t want to sleep and would try to scamper off. The mother raccoon would grab him, give him a good swat and plunk him back down on the tree limb. Then another one would run off…but again a swift whack would put him in his place and eventually all the kits would settle in for their needed day’s rest!

I remember one day coming home after dark and just as I was slowing down to turn into my driveway, my headlights caught a raccoon family waddling beside the road. The mother was leading the way and obediently following in an orderly single file were her six little kits.

Discipline is an unavoidable part of a young kit’s life but not a one rebels against it and goes wayward. By the time a kit grows up it is a proper, mature raccoon wise in all the ways of its mother. The success rate of baby kits to grow up in the image of their mother is 100%.

One definition given for ‘wise’ is “a way of being or acting”. Given that ‘the way’ would be the highest standard modeled, the raccoon certainly grows up to be wise in how he has learned to act and be.

Do we come close? Hardly. How often man rebels against God’s correction and discipline preferring to go his own way and set his own standard of ‘being and acting’.
Can we who call ourselves God’s children say that truly we have ‘grown up in God’s image’ ?

The raccoon, in many places, has been forced out of his natural environment and has taken up permanent habitat in residential areas.
He has adapted well, without compromising his focus and purpose – finding food and shelter. The raccoon is extremely clever and man is hard pressed to find anything that will stump him.

One man who had a pond in his beautiful garden could not keep the raccoons from nightly eating his gold fish and destroying the water plants. He tried everything, including a new motion censor device that would spray anything moving within three feet. The censor worked fine, spraying the raccoons and startling them. But after a few attempts they recognized that the spray was simply annoying. They just ignored it and went on with their task at hand.

Scientists building traps to test the raccoon’s resourcefulness and wisdom in problem solving have been amazed at just how ‘wise’ the raccoons are. They can undo locks, open gates, out-trick traps, figure out mazes, do what it takes to get what they want – food. They can even squeeze themselves through a hole as small as 3 ½ inches square. Their fat body is just that – fat—so it can be squished through a very small opening. Whatever man can throw into their path, the raccoon will usually figure out a way around it, and probably enjoys the challenge.
He is extremely curious and resourceful.

Another definition given for wise is making due use of knowledge – being able to discern and judge soundly concerning what is true or false…choosing the best ends and the best means for accomplishing them.
According to this definition the raccoon is definitely wise.

What about us?
We have been taken out of our ‘natural environment’ – the Garden of Eden, and have been forced to live in the ‘world’ dominated by the enemy. But are we ‘wise’ like the raccoon and simply carry on with our God-given purpose or do we compromise and give in to the ways of the world? Are we wise to the traps and snares the enemy lays in our path to deceive and hinder us or are we wise like the raccoon and overcome anything the enemy can come up with?
Are we able to discern right and wrong and knowing what is a worthy goal and knowing how to accomplish that goal??

Eating in man’s environment could be dangerous to a raccoon’s health but they are wise in avoiding harmful or unhealthy food. When mother raccoon takes her babies to enjoy a gourmet meal from a garbage can, she eats first. Then the baby kits eagerly smell her mouth so they can ‘see’ what she has eaten and then they too know what is safe in the garbage can to eat and what is not.

Are we ‘wise’ like the raccoon? Do we ‘smell’ God’s word so that we will know what is safe to partake of in the world around us? Do we only eat what comes out of God’s mouth or do we indiscriminately eat whatever comes our way, and then wonder why we are weak and sick??

The raccoon has very sensitive hands.
His fingers have 10,000 times more nerve endings than our hands making it possible for him to ‘see’ as well or better with his hands than his eyes. His favorite food is found under water where his eyes are useless so he needs to be able to ‘see’ with his hands in order to find the crustaceans he loves to eat. He is wise in using what has been given him. When he encounters something new, he will very carefully go over the whole thing with his hands, testing every aspect of the object.

Are we are wise as the raccoon? God has given His children the Holy Spirit who is 10,000 times 10,000 more sensitive than we are and can ‘see’ where our physical eyes cannot. Have we learned to trust His guidance in the invisible spiritual realm to lead us in His will to fulfill His purposes for our well being and spiritual health? Do we 'test' through Him the things we hear and see?

The raccoon is wise in perseverance. He does not give up no matter what.
We once had pet ducks and one by one we were losing them. Every morning we would get up and find the remains of another half eaten duck. We did what we could to keep our ducks in safe places at night but to no avail. Finally we had only one duck left and we put the duck in a large metal cage with a combination lock on the door. We thought surely it would be safe. But no, morning light revealed that the duck was dead and half eaten though still in the cage. We were stumped. What was small enough to get through the tiny wire mesh and yet strong enough to kill a duck?
We set up a trap - the same wire cage the duck had been in and triggered the door with a string attached to food at the far end of the cage. We caught our thief. A large raccoon. And there was no doubt of his guilt. His right fore leg was stripped to the bone of fur and flesh. He had reached through the tiny mesh ignoring the pain in his leg to grasp hold of the duck, kill it and pull back small amounts of meat. We were torn between sadness at what our ducks had suffered at the hands of this determined raccoon and admiration at his perseverance.

Are we so wise as the raccoon that we will fight – to our hurt if necessary- for what we believe in? Or will we simply give up if the going gets too difficult or threatening?

The raccoon has a very small gullet, and is wise enough to know that he must eat slowly --- if he gulps his food he will choke --. So he takes small bites and chews his food well.

Are we as wise as the raccoon? Do we recognize that we must chew the Word of God slowly and take small bites so that it will take root in our spirits? Or do gulp our spiritual food on the run not giving our minds time to become quiet so we can digest what God is saying to us?

The raccoon is also wise in knowing when to do his work. He knows when his ‘enemy’ sleeps and makes good use of that time. Hence he works at night when man is not watching.

Are we wise as the raccoon? Are we aware of where our enemy likes to be and work when he is not looking? Are we wise, knowing where Satan would be most likely to entrap us?
(Lest Satan should get an advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices.

II Cor. 2:11)

God has put so many picture examples around us to teach us how to live and sometimes we need to humble ourselves and learn the best lessons from unexpected places, even creatures that we consider beneath us.
For God says….”The foolishness of God is wiser than men….” I Cor. 1:25.

It is in the ability to humble ourselves that we become wise….and I am thankful to the raccoon for the wise lessons he teaches us !!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

God's Bridges

Today I received a package in the mail – delivered to my front door, even!—all the way from Australia.
My friend, Carolanne, declared me a winner in her photo contest and the prize was one of her photos (my choice) and a box of Tim Tams. I am saving the Tim Tams for special guests.
Before you credit me with unselfishness…I confess that that is not my motive!! – I, regretfully, can’t eat them because they contain Gluten.

The photo I choose is pictured above. (it is a scanned copy and does not quite do justice to the original)
I choose it because when I looked at it …I thought about its symbolic meaning.

Bridges….. There is something fascinating about a bridge.
Some were built years ago and show their age, others are designed for beauty and become photographers’ delight.
All of them are built for a purpose.

Every bridge allows passage over a difficult gap or barrier, providing a safe connection between two separated sides.
Bridges are often built over rivers because boats or barges are just impossible or too inconvenient.
Bridges may be built over canyons or freeways that present a difficulty in reaching one side from the other.

Then there are the metaphorical bridges.
Distance that separates people can be bridged by letters, e-mails, telephones or the internet.
Two hearts can be connected by the bridge of friendship.
The bridge of forgiveness can restore a relationship severed by offences.
Words can bridge the gap between teacher and student, between the one who weeps and the one who comforts, between the one who is discouraged and the one who edifies.
Differences in culture, beliefs, language, color are easily bridged by love.

But my musing took me farther….and I became fascinated by mind pictures of God’s bridges in our life.

Over every difficulty, every tragedy, every impossible situation, God can build a bridge.
We may face daunting ‘gaps and barriers’ that threaten to stop us cold in our tracks. But if we stop, look, and listen we will see that there is a way provided over the frightening chasm.

When Joseph was left for years unjustly imprisoned, forgotten in a foreign land, God gave Pharaoh a dream that was the bridge that took Joseph from prison to throne.

When Jonah struggled with resentment and anger, God built a bridge. A little shade bush took Jonah from anger to humility.

For Job, who served God out of self-righteousness, the tragic circumstances of his life became the bridge that Job crossed to find the joy of ‘knowing God experientially’. (Job 42:5, 6)

Sometimes God’s bridge is not recognized for what it is. The Shunnamite woman who secretly yearned to have a child did not know that her caring for the prophet Elisha would be the bridge God built to give her the child of her dreams.

Paul delighted in God’s bridges. He shouted, “What persecutions, afflictions presented themselves as looming fissures before me but over them ALL God built bridges for me to escape !!” (paraphrase mine- II Tim.3:11)

And of course the most architecturally perfect and utterly amazing is the bridge God built over the impossibly deep and wide divide of sin that separates every person from God.
He carried His own cross and built it over the canyon of eternal condemnation – providing a bridge of forgiveness, taking us from darkness to Light !

Perhaps you are facing a dark moment today, a difficult circumstance, or a frightening tragedy.
Let you heart be still….and look for the bridge God has already provided for you to find your way. Not only has He already built a bridge but He Himself will guide you across.

Jesus promises, “These things have I spoken, that in me you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome (built bridges over) the world.” (John 16:33)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Yesterday I had a rheumatologist appointment in Vancouver.
Since my old meds weren't working anymore, my doctor switched me to a new one called Felunamide. It costs $10,000.00 a year, which is more than I can afford.
But because I have failed the more common drugs, Dr. Lacaille, thankfully , informed me the government would cover the cost for it. I just have to wait a few days for authorization.
New drugs, of course, are never 'free'. They come with warnings of the potentially serious side effects --- some fatal -- 'if experiencing these side effects drug use may have to be discontinued'.
(especially if they cause death, right? smile)
Even though I trust my Rheumatologist, I always do my research before I take new drugs carefully weighing the risks vs. the benefits. And it is never comforting to read of some of the more horrific side effects.

Death is not something we like to consider or talk about. And yet as surely as we have been born, we will all one day leave this earth. Sooner or later (unless Jesus returns first!) death will claim the life we so value and enjoy.

I sometimes wonder at people who have no faith in God. How do they deal with the inevitability of death? Does it really not fill them with trepidation and fear? If it does, for the most part they hide it well, or simply choose not to think about it.

But how things change for us who are believers!!! Even though we do not seek death and we grieve and mourn for those who leave us, we have the assurance that 'death' does not end 'life'.

Last night coming home from Vancouver, suddenly the sky provided some 'WOW!" moments.
It was spectacular!!!
Of course, I had my camera and tried to capture some of the glory for you !

As I was looking at these photos this morning and marveling at the beauty of God's sunset sky, I thought about how many sunsets have been daily admired around the globe for thousands of years.
Each sunset has its own glory, and the glory never grows old.
I have yet to meet someone who declared they were tired of looking at sunsets.
And I thought about the message of the sunset.
The sunset marks the end of the day.
Some days - we are relieved when they are finally over.
Some days - are almost perfect.
But every day ends with a sunset.
I wonder....did God make the end of a day so breathtakingly beautiful to show us we need not fear the end of our life? That death is but the beginning of a glory we cannot even imagine?? That death is not to be dreaded but faced with wide-eyed anticipation?
When Paul writes in I Cor.15:54 that "death is swallowed up in victory!" and then goes on to exclaim "Death, where is your sting?" is he seeing the mysterious beauty of life's sunset ?
When Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, "and upon those who sat in the ...shadow of death, Light has dawned!" , is this Light in the face of death symbolized by the awesome light of the sunset??
A great gift that God has put into every person's heart is the will to live !
We are programed to fully and completely partake of this earthly life, but when death does come bringing grief to the ones left behind...we "sorrow not as those who have no hope!" (I Thess. 5:13).
We will see our loved ones again....they are just on the other side of the sunset.
And one day soon we too will step through that wondrous light and join them.
"I thank you , Lord, this day for the beauty of your loving promises poured out into the sunset !! Grant that we would not be so consumed with the things of this life that we miss your Words written in the sky. May reading them fill us with Your joy!!" Amen

Monday, August 20, 2007

The River Speaks

I had one morning of our Jasper vacation all to myself.
It was a lovely day -- perfect to spend in quiet thoughts with God.
So I took my bible and my notebook and walked the few yards down behind our cabin to the red bench in the photo and sat and watched the river. The two hours or so that I spent there, I will always remember as a special time.

I looked down at the beautiful river…and
I thought about the river of life that flows from God’s throne and wondered that God choose a river and not a lake or an ocean.

"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." (Rev.22:1)

I thought of the ways that the physical river before me symbolized the characteristics of that spiritual, heavenly river of God.

The river's source is not seen when you look at the river. Yet we know that it comes from the high places of the earth and its waters will return there again.
I had my bible in my hand and opened it...It fell open to Ecc.1 and my eyes rested on verse 7 which reads. "All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full. To the place from which the rivers come, there they return again."

So God's river of life too flows from Him and returns to Him again. - all things come from God and all things return to Him again.

The river is a place where people love to come.
As I sat watching the river that morning, several white water rafts came drifting down stream. Everyone was obviously enjoying the experience and they all waved at me as they went by.
There is something inviting about a river!

I saw children playing in the river. They stayed where it was shallow enough to be safe for them. Older, braver souls risked the deeper water.

Ezekiel when he was shown the river of God saw that the water came up to his ankles, then the water came up to his waist, then the water was so deep he needed to swim. (Exek.37:3,4,5)

Some Christians have only enough faith to wade in God's river up to their ankles, others dare to walk in up to their waists and others throw themselves into the river and abandon themselves to the waters of life --- wanting God's Spirit to permeate their being --- to fill their thoughts, their actions, their worship !!!

I loved how the sunlight caught the countless tiny mirrors riding the crests of the waves and reflected the light back to itself in a wondrous dance giving glory to the sun.

I can only imagine the glory of God's river that flows from His throne. Words like clear as crystal, pure -- only give us hints.
Can you imagine the beauty of the Light of the Son of God reflected on His river?
"And the city had no need of the sun neither of the moon to shine in it; the glory of God did lighten it and the Lamb is the light thereof." (Rev.21:23)

Tiny streams gently trickling ever downward,
water tumbling over mountain rock walls asks no direction –
they all find their way into the river and becomes one with it.

We too are called to lose ourselves in God's river of life. We become one with the One who created us in His image -- He in us and we in Him.

"Hereby know we that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit." (I John 4:13)

‘Nevertheless..I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me….” (Gal.2;20)

I listened to the continuous, gentle rushing of the river over its rocky bed and I thought about how it never stops. Every day, every hour, every minute it flows in divine rhythm, keeping God’s time.

It pictures for us the eternity of God as well as the things of God…what is of God shall never pass away.
The river flowed through the Garden of Eden; it shall flow in the New Jerusalem.

“I know that what ever God does, it shall be forever…..” (Ecc. 3;14)

Have you ever watched how debris that falls in the river is so easily washed away?
Whether it is a paper cup or a house caught in a flash flood, the rushing waters carry it away down stream leaving no evidence of it .

So also the river of God washes, and cleanses , taking our sin out of God’s sight.

“ are not the rivers of Damascus better….Could I not wash in them and be clean?” asked Naaman. (II Kings 5:12) The answer was no, it must be the river of God.

How things thrive on the river bank! Trees drinking continually of the life giving water grow strong and tall.

How much more we if we sink our roots deep into the waters of life of God’s river?

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord…and whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes…”

In the middle of the street and on either side of the river…was the tree of life!!" (Rev.22:2)

How I loved listening to the voice of the river. The calming sound of rushing water.
Yet the river can also raise its voice . Just a few kilometres from where I sat beside the river, were the crashing Athabasca falls. Here the river’s voice was raised to a roar, no longer a gentle, hypnotic sound but a voice that could not be ignored.
here to hear the Athabasca Falls as I stood at the top of the falls - make sure you turn your volume up) So God also speaks, sometimes softly – and how easily we tune Him out.
But then He speaks with the “voice of many waters”.
“And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and the voice of loud thunder!” (Rev.14:2)

God speaks, and how comforting it is to hear His voice, but let us not become so preoccupied with the things of this world that we turn away from Him and He must raise His voice to get our attention.

Next time you see a river or hear the rippling of running water....listen for the soft gentle voice of God and thrill to the knowing that God is forever and forever we will be with Him.
"There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabbernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved." (Ps.46:4,5)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Lost and Found

I have a terrible fault.
I get lost – even when I know where I am going – my sense of directions is hopeless.

Today was an example.

I had plans this morning to meet my cousin, Lovella, and her friend Becky for lunch in honor of Jill who is visiting from Texas.
We were meeting at Minter Gardens which is not far from where I live. I had been there before but never driven on my own.
So I did what I have gotten in the habit of doing. I went to 'myTelus' and typed in the starting and destination addresses and printed out the directions.
I like the step by step directions given and also how long each step should take.

Doing a double precaution , I asked my husband if the directions were correct.
He glanced at it and thought I shouldn’t have a problem. I asked him how long it took to get to Minter Gardens and he said about 45 minutes. I checked my print-out instructions and they estimated 40 min. Pretty close.
So I thought I was good to go.

I left myself plenty of time to make sure I wouldn’t be late .
Everything was great until I got to the specified freeway exit 170.
I took the exit but then realized that nothing looked familiar. I quickly decided that driving around was getting me no-where.

I thought I better stop and ask for help. I wished I still had my cell phone but I had cancelled it a few months ago.
I stopped at a gas station and tried to call Lovella from a phone booth but the call was cut off after she said ‘Hello’. The booth kept my two loonies and all I had left was a toonie and it didn’t fit into the coin slot.

A lady was sitting in a car nearby waiting for someone so I walked over and asked her if she knew how to get to Minter Gardens. She didn’t.
I asked another couple and they were tourists and had no idea.
The gas station attendents were East Indian and hardly spoke English.
I passed a gentlemen and I asked if he was from the area and he said no but kindly offered to try to help me anyway. I told him I was looking for Minter Gardens and happily he knew where it was and gave me directions.

I finally arrived at Minter Gardens a half hour late to meet my friends who had been worrying that I had run into trouble!! Jill had suggested they pray and so they had!! Wonderful friends!!
Instead of the 15 minutes it should have taken me to drive from my house to Minter Gardens, it took me one and a half hours.

Those of you who know me, know that most of my experiences get turned into an object lesson. This one is an easy script !!

I may be unusual in the fact that I struggle to find my way around on this earth, but when it comes to finding the way from here to eternity I am the same as the rest of you -- we are all ‘challenged’ and everyone of us has gotten ‘lost’.

The distance between earth and heaven can be measured by a single breath but we all take considerably longer to get there. And while you may laugh at someone who takes an hour and a half to travel a distance that should only take fifteen minutes, most of us wander around in circles and dead ended detours for many years.
We follow instructions that seem right , we trust the ‘print out’.
For a time everything is great. We do not even know we are lost….but then there comes that defining moment where we recognize that something is wrong. Something is missing from our life – something important. We know we are heading in the wrong direction.

We begin to look for answers, for someone who can help us, give us the directions we need.
We try money, but quickly find that our money cannot buy eternal riches – it is useless- it just doesn’t fit into the ‘slot’.
We ask the people in our life…people who are close to us. But often they don’t have the answers either and they shake their heads with blank looks on their faces.

But we are getting desperate…. Finding the right way becomes the most important thing in our life….nothing else matters. We know that time is running out!

Perhaps we even try to pray…. More likely someone is praying for us!

And finally, someone comes into our life who has answers.
We listen and our heart responds.
We know the truth when we hear it !
How grateful we are when our feet are directed onto the right path.
Finally, we know where we are going…. And we know we will be welcomed when finally we arrive at our destination.

“All we like sheep have gone astray.
We have turned every one to his own way…
Repent and turn to God….
There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents…
In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.
And this is the promise that He has promised us, even eternal life!!!”

(Is. 53:6, Acts 28:20, Luke 15:10, Prov. 3:6, I John 2:25)

I can’t resist posting some of the photos I took today before my batteries went dead!!
You can probably find Lovella’s or

Jill’s or Becky’s version of today on their blogs!
But here are a few of my pictures.

The first photo is the four of us....from left to right...Lovella, Becky, Jill, me (You can see I am also directionally challenged in height!! smile)

Friday, August 17, 2007

The High Places of the Earth

We spent a few days vacationing in Jasper National Park in Alberta.
The park is celebrating its 100th birthday this year - 2007 ~~!!

Vic and I both prefer the wild outdoors to vacationing in cities. We both love the Rocky Mountains of B.C. and Alberta ---- the places where God walks ! High in the crisp mountain air and with breathtaking scenery it is very easy to feel that you are walking where God sets His feet !!

"For, lo, he that formeth the mountains and createth the wind and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The Lord, The God of hosts is His name." (Amos 4:13)

There were not too many wild flowers still in bloom. In August the mountain weather is already beginning to take on the chill of winter. But there were still a few hardy flowers offering their beauty. It is hard to believe how these delicate flowers survive the harsh conditions of their environment and faithfully bloom year after year.
If God can grow flowers where the best gardener would fail..... why do we so easily doubt His care for us His children??? Will He not provide for us and shelter us from even the most severe conditions of life? "...O ye of little faith!!" (Matt.6:28-30)

Below is Vic on one of his three mountain hikes of the trip. He climbed with Gary, his nephew. Gary and his wife Darlene joined us on our trip -- it was nice to have someone to share our holiday with. Vic and Gary could go hiking and Darlene and I were free to go shopping in Jasper village or read.

As we drove through the mountains, we kept stopping to take pictures but with mountains -- you really have to be there. The glory is just tooo overwhelming for a camera to capture!!
We saw endless variations of divine sculpture in stone, broad brushes of color, snow topped peaks and slopes of green vegetation.
I have posted a few of our mountain photos and hope you can at least get a small sense of their grandeur. Click on the photo to do it some small justice.

The mountain lakes were azure in colour or deep blue under the sky ...all of them beautiful.

A big tourist attraction is the 80 foot high Athabasca Falls. An unexpectedly breathtaking experience. The Athabasca River flows gently along with no evidence of impending crashing of water against stone until it falls over the edge. It has cut a sharp twisting path of stone down to the river bed far below.
Over the years it has changed route and here in the abandoned path man has built stone steps leading down to the river bed where white water rafters begin their ride down river.
When the sun is shining there is a perpetual rainbow where the spray catches the sun's rays.
Another tourist don't-miss-it is the Columbia Icefields that have greatly retreated since 1843, but are still huge. Buses carry hundreds of tourists daily up to the icefields where they transfer from the shuttle bus to a bus designed to drive on ice and they ride up high on the glacier.

Below is a shot Vic took from Mt. Wilcox opposite the Columbia Icefields, looking down on the parking lot at the foot of the glacier. You can make out the tiny toy cars and buses at the bottom of the picture and if you look really close you can see people walking on the glacier itself.
I love wild animals ! And it is always a moment of excitement when Vic or I spot wildlife. We didn't get pictures of all the wild life that we saw in Jasper -- nor did we by any means see all the wild life there is !! We were hoping to see a grizzley bear...but none appeared. We found out when we got home that a huge black bear was playing in our back yard at home while we were away !
We did see lots of mountain sheep!
The two young mountain sheep below took for granted that they had the right of way and stopped traffic in both directions as they sauntered across the highway.
Below is a mother elk and her young calf grazing beside running water.
A couple of mature mountain sheep taking a break from butting heads. I am amazed they don't end up with massive headaches!!

More young mountain sheep with some babies among them.
What a world of beauty God has created for His creatures..... also makes for lovely photos!!
A baby mountain sheep.....sooo cute !! We could get really close...but not close enough to touch!!
One evening we went out for a little drive to see if we could see more wild life and came across this little coyote, pictured below. We couldn't understand him...but he was calling, howling, barking, for the longest time !! Far in the distance we could hear others answering...but I guess the stand off was that they couldn't decide whether they should join him...or should he go join them !! (smile) If you've never heard a coyote, they have the funniest voice -- sharp, loud and always sounds a little off key!!
We almost didn't get accommodations -- everything was full when we tried booking over two months ago. One place, Jasper House had one cabin left for the week we needed it. We weren't sure where it was but it was right across the street from the campsite Vic's nephew and wife were staying, so it was perfect!! God always does things well !!!
When we stopped to register at the office, the pleasant girl greeted us in an unmistakable Australian accent. In our conversation I learned that Anna ( in photo below) lives in Melbourne, not far for where my friend Carolanne lives in a suburb of Melbourne. Anna's friend from northern Australia was also working at Jasper House as a maid -- she cleaned our cabin. I happened to be there one morning when she knocked on the door to see if we needed room service and when she came in to bring fresh towels for the bathroom she remarked, "Oh, your room always smells so good!!! I'm HUNGRY!"
I had brought my slow cooker along and so during the day the smells of dinner were filling the cabin!
Below is the view from our front door..At night the elk came to enjoy the tasty tenderness of the green lawn grass !! In the morning you had to be careful where you stepped!!!
There were only a few of the cabins that backed onto the Athabasca River. Ours was one of them and below is the view from our eating/sitting area. Mt. Edith Cavel is under the white cloud. It was so lovely sitting by the large open window and listen to the river song.
On our way home we decided to stop for dinner at a place called "Three Valley Gap". We had never stopped before because we were always on our way somewhere when we would pass it. It is a few miles out of Revelstoke, British Columbia. When you are travelling from the coast you come around a curve in the road and there it sits -- a breathtaking sight at the end of a long lake.
We wanted to stretch our legs a little before we sat down for dinner so we spent some time in the gift shop and then walked to the cafe sitting area that overlooked the court yard gardens. There was no one in the coffee shop area except for the couple, pictured below.
As we walked toward the windows to look at the garden, the gentleman asked, "And how are you folks today?" We answered that we were fine and then Vic asked if they were guests in the chateau. The gentleman smiled and said, "No, this is our place."
We stayed and talked to them for quite awhile and learned the history of the amazing successful family business.
The gentleman, Gordon Bell, was a visionary who at the age of 11 made his first investment!!
At the young age of 22 with his young wife Ethel he bought the first seven acres that Three Valley Gap Chateau sits on. He and his wife now have 4 grown children and 12 grandchildren -- who help him run the place. The whole resort is his dream, he designed and built it all, and now manages it with a hands-on style in every area of operation.
The 200 room Chateau includes amazing honeymoon suites including one called The Cave which features total stone construction with hot and cold water flowing down a rock wall into the bathtub.
There is a formal dining room, a coffee shop, a large gift shop, a play area, indoor swimming pool, a lake, boat rides, helicopter rides, a Railway Museum, a Ghost town with many authentic original buildings that were moved to the property, and Gordon is now in the process of building the largest covered round house (rail) in the world.
A wonderful success story of a man born in the depression of 1933 who followed his dreams and made them come true. I asked his wife Ethel who has stuck by him for 53 years, if she ever tired of his dreams. She smiled and shook her head 'no'.
We enjoyed our conversation with this interesting couple !!
We decided we are taking our kids for a holiday to Three Valley Gap next summer !!

We also went to Miette Hotsprings. (I had a picture posted but somehow it disappeared and I can't put it back!! )
On the way there Vic and I were wondering how anyone would have found the springs since they were hidden --as a needle in a haystack -- surrounded by miles and miles and miles of forest. We concluded that it must have been the local natives who knew they were there and told the white man.
At the springs, Vic and Gary and Darlene, went to enjoy the hot pools while I walked around the building to stand at the chain link fence to watch. I'm not a water lover !
I had brought a book but I never got to read it.
Standing at the fence beside me was an older woman named Elsie, with snow white hair and beautiful dark brown eyes. She didn't do water either !! Her husband was in the pool.
And so we started to talk....and didn't stop for almost an hour. She told me fascinating stories!
She was native.....and her grandmother was one of the local natives who lived in the area when the white miners came looking for gold, and learned about the Miette Hotsprings from the natives in the mid 1800's. The miners first carved a rough trail to the springs in 1910.
Elsie's grandmother's name was Adelene McCauley and her story is told in a book called "The Color of Gold".
What were the chances of me meeting her?

We spent wonderful days at Jasper........
I found it relaxing and restful - a time to spend with loved ones, meet new people, enjoy God's creation, and spend quiet time sitting beside the river (tomorrow's post)
All around were signs of God's love and care -- like the photo below where the clouds reflect the light of God's promises that His mercy and faithfulness will be new in the morning !!
Lam. 3:23 "They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness!"