Sunday, November 30, 2008
The title for this is intended to be a little “ironic” (if that is the right word) because I will start by saying
Happiness isn’t having time to keep up with my blog posts because if it was I’d be prettymiserable and I’m not.
Most of October and all of November have been a blur.
First I am teaching a course at the university which consumes 12-16 hours/week. Then there are the fall cleanup things – leaves to rake, winterizing, etc. that need to be squeezed in.
My Dad had a cold and then some problems with pain in his side that resulted in 2 consecutive weekends at the ER.
At the same time Linda was experiencing a recurring dry cough that eventually required (the 3rd weekend in a row) a visit to the ER to be diagnosed with atypical (“walking”) pneumonia.
I spent 2 weeks –more or less full-time doing wiring for our addition at the church building(it was a big celebration for me when we got the “rough-in” successfully inspected on November 18.
In all that there were many good things to celebrate and be happy about most notably
Our trip last weekend to Kingston to attend the Fall convocation at RMC where ”Dr.” Melissa was granted the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Sciences. (I hope sometime to devote a post to this event along with pictures - also see my Wednesday, September 17, 2008 post)
And this weekend we are in the process of doing something a bit unusual.
For many years there have been 2 relatively small congregations of similar beliefs meeting separately here in our city. At the initiation of the smaller group we agreed to merge the "2 into 1.We met with them this mornng as they said farewell to their meeting and tonight “we” meet the first time at the Pinehill building as a new combined group. We pray God’s blessing on this work that as one larger group we can better serve Him and the community here.
Well that’s all I can squeeze in for now – I wanted you (if there is still anyone checking) to know that I’m still alive and indeed Happiness is ..NOT having enough time to blog or do FACEBOOK (although if it goes on for too long withdrawl symptoms may catch up to me)
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Last post I talked about finding happiness and peace –no matter what our circumstances are. This is something God promises to Christians as they turn control over to Him and become centered not on the things of this world but on His gifts of love, hope and relationship.
We were visiting Chris and family in the Chicago area last weekend and I saw an article in the Chicago Tribune about Dr. Martin Seligman who is promoting a (relatively) new concept of positive psychology and has a website titled “Authentic Happiness”.
An excerpt from his website states “His research has demonstrated that it is possible to be happier — to feel more satisfied, to be more engaged with life, find more meaning, have higher hopes, and probably even laugh and smile more, regardless of one’s circumstances”.
Now we could debate whether there is a conflict between my claim that this ability to experience authentic happiness is part of God’s gift to Christians and Dr. Seligman’s assertion that it is something psychologists can teach to anyone (through a process called “positive psychology intervention”) and perhaps I will come back to this another time. Suffice it to say that for me these type of study results strengthen my faith that God was behind what Jesus taught.
However, no matter the foundation upon which you build your conviction that “Be Light hearted and happy” is a fundamental principle to living meaningful, peace filled lives – I think we all realize it is not always easy to experience this on a day-to-day basis.
And that one of the things that continually fights against my ability to live in the “peace that passes understanding” is my tendency to become over committed.
I’m there again (overcommitted that is)—
Last week, a long time friend of the family and Christian lady Phyliss Wright passed away and we attended the visitation and funeral. She was the daughter of Nelson and Annie Bailey. Her grandmother Edith Bailey (nee Cann) was my grandmother’s sister – let’s see I guess that makes us 2nd cousins. Annie (her mother) was a Hotchkiss and one of 3 Hotchkiss siblings that married 3 Bailey siblings. These were large families so there were many nephews, nieces and cousins at the funeral many of whom are part of the church families that grew out of our grandparents roots in North Livingston (now Thessalon) church of Christ.
During the week, Linda was also recovering from 2 weeks of having a bad cough (cold) and my Dad became ill with a cold (we hope these weren't connected but it is possible). Anyhow, we needed to spend extra time with him. As a result I was unable to get back to help with the building project and I won’t be there again this week. However, work has been progressing and the shingling is now complete.
In addition, as mentioned, we took the last weekend off to go visit Chris, Tammye , Hunter & Camdyn. Putting everything else aside to make that visit was part of living by the rule of not letting urgent things crowd out important things and what, in this world, could be more important than sharing life with your children and grandchildren.
Chris usually has a project lined up for us to do and this time I helped him replace the storm door going out to the deck. It is good working with him —I have become better at doing things together – although I still get a little “bossy” and "impatient" with others– just ask Linda about that.
We also had some great time sharing at the kitchen table, time at the park tossing a football and a special time with Hunter doing the same thing in the back yard, a special time with Camdyn Saturday evening with Hunter was at a sleepover and Chris & Tammye were out to a wedding reception.
course, attend a big band concert, tag monarch butterflies, make a snow globe, take classes, introduce children to the age-old custom of afternoon tea, attend a wide variety of special programs and events --in short, spend quality time together. In addition to vast formal gardens and picnic and camping grounds, Cantigny offers two history-rich museums: the Robert R. McCormick Museum and the Cantigny First Division Museum, fascinating for children and researchers alike.
I keep saying that I want to do a review of "The Shack". That seems to be more distant now than it was before. John Mark Hicks has written a series of posts giving his views on the Shack which I have skimmed and will need to put into the background until I have do my own review – if you are interested you can find the first of the series by clicking HERE
Well I need to get at the important things that are waiting for me (It was rainy yesterday when I started this – it is a bright, crisp, sunny fall day today --- and it is my birthday. Just another day in the 23375 (give or take a day or 2) that I have lived so far. Today I have lived (if I did the math correctly) .004% more days than yesterday – that surely is something to celebrate!!)
Friday, September 26, 2008
I have at least 4 major projects that are consuming my time
I am teaching the adult class Sunday mornings, I am spending 2 days or so a week helping with the addition at our building and I’m teaching a course in Systems Analysis at Algoma University.
Of course life goes on and there are many day-to-day household tasks that need to be done and sometimes are getting neglected. So it is no surprise that I’ve not had much time for “NET surfing” – visiting with my friends in discussion groups, on blogs and via Facebook.
Speaking of the building project, we have been kidding our chief planner Lloyd Hotchkiss about “raising the roof”.
We are using mostly volunteer labor and with a wall height of 14 feet it was a bit daunting to think of putting up the trusses “in place” so Lloyd came up with the idea of assembling the roof on the ground and then lifting it into place with the crane.
It worked amazingly well – although we learned some lessons about the need to do better measurements of “what was there” rather than depending on the design plans.
However, I’m resisting the “buffet table” and keeping closer to biting off what I can chew.
One (out of about 400) of my favorite Bible passages is found in Philippians “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”. About 2 weeks ago I came across a blog by Silas Shotwell where he discusses (in his post for September 13) this idea of being happy in all circumstances. He discusses the Preface to the “The Little Book” which is the simple statement “Be Light Hearted and Happy”. I have posted this above my desk in a renewed effort to let the Spirit have fuller reign in my life and to fuller experience the fruits of letting Him reign in my life.
It does help keep things in perspective when life closes in. When things happen that seem depressing and might put me into the dumps – seeing this statement and thinking about all the blessings I experience each day remind me that I need to “Rejoice” – not rant and rave about how bad things are. However, it isn’t always easy and I also struggle with the balance – The Bible says to “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice”. How can I be happy and light-hearted while”weeping”?
Linda has had a really bad cold the past 2 weeks and it has been depressing to her. If I go around all “Pollyanna-ish” it seems to lack sympathy and understanding for her circumstances. How can I be light hearted and happy when she is feeling so miserable?
As mentioned, I have been helping with the construction of the addition tour church building – I’ve made my share of mistakes. One day we were roughing out a wall on the ground and I put the opening for a doorway in the top – fortunately my friend Len who is overseeing the framing work noticed it before we sheeted it in and was helpful in tearing it apart and doing it right.
This morning I came across the story of DQ in the blogpost by Wendy my “down under” INTERNET friend – As I read about DQ I thought he seems to personify this life principle of “Being happy in his skin” no matter how difficult his life may seem.
I do want to avoid making my happiness be based on comparing my circumstances to others whose circumstance may be worse. We likely all have heard the saying “I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.”. I wonder if it is a good idea to use the fact that there is someone worse off than I am to “shame” myself into being happy. I think we need to base our happiness on knowing that we have peace in Jesus – not because we perceive that we are in better circumstances than someone else.
However, the fact is that keeping this note of encouragement in front of me has helped me be more positive about life and spend less time worrying about the problems we encounter. I want to face those things with the attitude I will do what I can to overcome and I will leave the rest to God – and because He is there I can “rejoice always”
Well that’s it for to-day
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Yeah Dr. Melissa – Mom & Dad are very proud and very happy for you. ( This picture of her with her grandfather taken when she was home in June is one of the most recent I have. I hope we will have one of her graduation - with the hood and all in a few months)
A couple of weeks ago I received the following notice by email from Melissa who, up until yesterday was a (civilian) graduate student at the Royal Military College in Kingston
(The notice is slightly edited – removing the French version and scientific units since I don’t have the proper character sets and they came through garbled)
THESIS ORAL EXAMINATION
DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY AND CHEMICAL ENGINEERING Royal Military College of Canada Kingston, Ontario CANADA RMC
TRANSFER OF POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYLS (PCBS) FROM CONTAMINATED SOIL TO KEY PLANT SPECIES IN REALISTIC FIELD CONDITIONSImplications for the application of phytoextraction as a persistent organic pollutant (POP) remediation strategy.
Melissa L. Whitfield Åslund Candidate PhD, Environmental Science
Supervisors: Dr. Barbara A Zeeb & Dr. Kenneth J. Reimer
16 Sep 2008 9:30 hrs SB4301, Sawyer Building, Module 3
The uptake and translocation of PCBs in plants was researched over three years in a field trial of PCB phytoextraction. The soil was contaminated with a mixture of Aroclors 1254 and 1260. The study species were Cucurbita pepo ssp pepo cv. Howden (pumpkin), Carex normalis (sedge), and Festuca arundinacea (tall fescue).
Plant and soil samples were analyzed both via gas chromatography electron capture detection (GC-ECD) for total PCB concentrations and via gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) for individual PCB congener concentrations.
For pumpkin plants, the PCB concentration was observed to decrease exponentially within the shoot as distance from the root increased. This pattern, and the preferential mobilization of two pentachlorinated co-eluting PCB congener pairs (93/95 and 105/127) in pumpkin plant shoots, suggested that the primary PCB transfer pathway was root uptake and translocation. The PCB concentration in pumpkin plant leaves and stems increased significantly from 5.7 and 3.9, respectively, in year one to 10.1 and 9.3 , respectively, in year two. These high shoot PCB concentrations were maintained in the third year. In both years two and three, the lower parts of the pumpkin shoots achieved PCB concentrations that were greater than the soil PCB concentration. This had not been reported previously in any part of a plant shoot for PCBs. Therefore, pumpkin plants are excellent candidates for further PCB phytoextraction research.
Relatively high PCB concentrations were observed in sedge and tall fescue shoots (concentration of 20 and 39 , respectively, were observed in year 3 of the study). However, the primary transfer pathway of PCBs from soil to these shoots appeared to be soil particle contamination. Application of a sand barrier between contaminated soil and growing shoots was found to significantly reduce the shoot PCB concentration of both species and the PCB congener pattern in the plant shoots was found to be nearly identical to that of the soil. Therefore, these species may not be appropriate for phytoextraction. However, their interception of soil particles may make them good candidates for groundcover of PCB contaminated sites in future phytoextraction applications.
KEYWORDS: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), phytoextraction, bioaccumulation factors (BAFs), uptake pathway, phytoremediation, field study
Melissa is our youngest and I suppose will always be our “baby”.
Many of my posts about our journey through life have focused on our children and grandchildren.
I need to say that while I am boasting and swollen with a special pride and a special joy about Melissa’s accomplishment it doesn’t take away from the fact that we are especially proud of each of our children
(Those who have read “The Shack” by William P. Young may remember the phrase “I am especially fond of …
I’m sure that I failed many times in communicating this aspect of God’s love to my children but as I grow older I begin to understand more and more what it means and I pray that as I seek to let Jesus live more fully in me that I will be able to show that type of love in my relationships with my children and with others.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Of course the earlier part of the summer was consumed by travelling back & forth to Thessalon as Linda had the opportunity to care for and be a companion to her mother during her final weeks on this earth.
I may have said this before, one day as I was driving the 95 km (55 miles) from home to “home” (my sister-in-law’s driveway where we had the BBB parked) I thought I haven’t driven this road as many times in a short period for almost 42 years since the summer before Linda and I were married. I was working in the Sault and she was at home – having completed her nursing training in June - helping her Mom and preparing for the wedding. Of course the road has changed a fair bit with many more passing lanes and sections of 4 lane – none of the long lineups caused by a slow moving vehicle towing a camping trailer so the trip is faster and safer. (especially since I was no longer an impatient 20 year old who wanted toget home to see his girl or who was rushing because he had left late and needed to get to work.)
Anyhow, we came home after the funeral and dived right into making preparations for the long August weekend . We had a family reunion (my family) precipitated by the fact that my brother Elwood and his wife Shirley had come from Arkansas. I copied the following account from my facebook “wall” where I reported that I was “fed up” by Tuesday.
“My brother Elwood and Shirley from Little Rock, my sister Ruby and Art (Ford) from Beamsville and my brother John and Diane all arrived in Sault Ste. Marie Thursday evening. We had a full weekend of visiting and eating. (John & Diane brought Linda a lovely bouquet of yellow roses in memoryofher Mom)
Elwood, Shirley and my Dad were at our house for dinner Thursday and they stayed with Dad. Ruby (my sister) and Art stayed with us. John (my oldest brother) & Diane parked their T@B trailer at my niece Megan's place.
Friday morning my Dad, four sons (John, Elwood, Charlie & Rob) and one son-in-law (Art) went golfing at Root River.
10 of us went to Amici's for lunch on Sunday and also were at the monthly "birthday's & anniversaries" event at church in the evening.
The only one of my siblings that wasn’t here for the weekend was the youngest my brother Lawrence (far right in this family picture taken almost 2 years ago when we congregated on Thanksgiving (October) for an early family celebration for my Dad’s 90th.
Since then I’ve been busy helping with the construction project at the church building. We are adding a new entrance to accommodate a lifting device to make our facilities more accessible for the aging and those with physical handicaps and preparing for the course that I’m scheduled to teach in September as well as teaching an adult class each week at our Sunday assembly. I’ve been reviewing the purpose and meaning of the Lord’s table.
We made another trip to Thessalon on the 10th -- to visit with the family of the late Heb and Margaret Weir. We grew up with this family. I was baptized at the same time as Norman – the oldest son – who now lives in BC and was back for one of his rare visits east. The (I think) youngest daughter Arlene is one of Linda’s “adopted” daughter/sister’s and they have maintained a close relationship even though Byron and Arlene and their family had to move away for employment reasons in the 90’s.
To-day we go on the road again. This time to my nephew (Mervyn) Lee Whitfield’s wedding in Kitchener on Friday. We hope to visit with some friends in the area on Saturday and then go to Kingston for a short visit with Melissa and Alexander –and then take a few days travelling home in time for me to start teaching after the Labor Day weekend. I guess this is an early anniversary trip (it is September 3) since labor day is early this year and we won’t be able to take our “traditional” weekend trip closer to the actual date. .
I’ll close with a reference to this post by Dee Andrews about the Whisperings of God (May 18) which I’ve had floating around in my files for several months.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Peacefully in her sleep at the Algoma Manor, Thessalon on Tuesday July 22, 2008. Martha Goodmurphy in her 85th. year, wife of the late Arthur Goodmurphy and dear friend of Merlin Trivers.
Martha was born and raised in the Kynoch and Dayton areas. She was married in June 1943 to a young man who was about to be shipped overseas. She lived for 60 years on the small farm on North Livinston Road (near Thessalon) where she & Arthur moved around 1945 when Linda was a baby after he returned home from the war with an injured arm. They raised 10 children there. Arthur died in May 1995. In the fall of 2005, Martha gave up the house at her farm (now owned by her daughter Theresa) and moved into a rented house in Thessalon where she lived until she suffered a heart attack in February 2008.
The limitations imposed on her activities by severe congestive heart failure required her to move into the Algoma Manor (home for the aged) in Thessalon) in March 2008. Shortly after the move she was confined to a wheel chair and required assistance for most activities of daily living. This was a difficult transition for a woman who was fiercely independent and used to doing what she wanted when she wanted to. Martha never really accepted this situation.
After making an emergency trip back from Vancouver when her Mom was hospitalized again in mid-May, (see earlier posts) Linda spent (at least) 3 days each week living in our motorhome (which was parked in my sister-in-law’s driveway) so she could be near her mother to provide care and support. For Linda and her brothers and sisters, it was very difficult period as they watched their mother disappear into a sea of confusion, pain and anger. There were moments when the “real” Martha surfaced and we enjoyed her humor and her smile but often the pain, the medication and the frustration of her restrictions consumed her. She is at rest and it is a blessing.
Her funeral was a private event for “her family” (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their spouses /partners. Our son Christopher along with Tammye, Hunter and Camdyn came from Illinois. Melissa and Alexander came from Kingston. Kevin, Sarah & Will were unable to travel the long distance from Vancouver but they were connected – Sarah called us on the cell phone as we were driving to the cemetery—without knowing anything of the timing. I don’t have an exact count but there were well over 50 people present As Arliss said at the interment – “This is a pretty big crowd for a private family affair”
The funeral was followed by a lunch at Arliss’ house that included the “aunts & uncles” and some of the closest cousins.
Martha’s “church roots” were in the United Church and she had been attending their services during the period she lived in Thessalon. Unfortunately the minister that she had known for several years had retired and was unavailable. As a result the funeral was conducted by Charlie Martin the minister at the Thessalon Bible chapel who was known by several of the family.
The funeral was very much a family affair – Martha had picked 3 hymns. “I come to the garden alone”, “God will Take Care of You (Be Not Dismayed)” and “Jesus Savior Pilot me” These were sung (on tape) – The garden by Linda and Terry and other 2 solo by Linda.
The scripture readings were selected by Linda as reflective of her mother’s attitudes – Colossians 3 “Work as unto the Lord” and Romans 12:18 “In as much as it is within you live at peace with all men”
As the “ranking” son-in-law I wanted to do Martha’s eulogy and my offer to do so was accepted by her family. The text of the Eulogy follows and includes a poem written and read by Jamie –Theresa’s son. Jamie was raised in a trailer right beside his grandmother’s house and was very close to her.
At the end Linda read a short letter “To my family” that her Mom had left in the lockbox -- It was 2 short notes - one written in 1995 after their father’s death and one written in 2002 just before her open heart surgery. It was poignant and expressed her desire for her family to remain close together after her passing.
Her granddaughter Kylie had arranged for a piper to do “Amazing Grace” that the graveside – It was a perfect summer day—a little cool with some clouds and the haunting music allowed us to say goodbye with gratitude for her gifts to us and with thankfulness that she was now at rest.
(The text of my eulogy and Jamie's poem were prepared independently and without knowledge of the letter. Charlie Martin who had only moved to Thessalon 3 or 4 years ago said in his remarks "hard-working, honest, tough" are what I heard about the Goodmurphy's when I moved here. I found it interesting that her letter contained the line "I may have seemed hard at times with my rules of life "Don't lie, don't steal, Don't hurt others" . It seems clear to me that her commitment to raising her family by those rules is reflected in Jamie's poem, in the eulogy and in Charlie Martin's comments)
Prepared for the funeral of Martha Goodmurphy July 26 2008
by her son-in-law Charlie Whitfield
Our mother, grandmother and great grandmother Martha has passed from this world. She will be missed and the sense of loss will be with us for sometime. It is right and natural for each of us in her family to grieve - in our own way and our own time.
But for now, I want to look beyond our sorrow and remind us that “Mom – Grandma” is still here – she lives on in each of you who have had your lives shaped by who she was and that is a living legacy that will endure.
It is impossible to mention all the memories that we could use to paint a picture of “Mom-Grandma” as she lived through her 84 years. I will try to give a brief snapshot as I share some memories and a few stories that I collected as I’ve listened to your conversations over the past few days.
I first attached myself to this family some 47 years ago when I started dating Linda so I have been a part of the family longer than some of the younger children. Of course, I was only an (almost) daily fixture for about 2 years and then I moved away. A couple of years of close contact and many (short) visits can’t compare to living with Mom every day for 17 or 18 years while growing up. So it is really Linda, Terry, Frank, Carol, Dan, Joe, Theresa, Arliss, Erin and Stephanie who experienced the “full force” and full measure of their Mom’s personality.
I know she loved them deeply - she loved them with the fierce love of a mother bear for her cubs – prepared to go to the ends of the earth to be sure they were cared for, aggressively protecting them , and occasionally swatting them to keep them in line.
And I know they loved her in return – even in the midst of the frustration that they sometimes experienced when she insisted that they should do it her way. As they grew and as they learned, her values and her characteristics shaped their personalities and became a part of the fabric of their lives.
But as I thought back , there are a couple of strong memories that I have of Martha from that period when I became a fixture around “Hungry Hollow”.
Another thing that I remember about “Mom” was her passion for the farm – her cows and the way she knew it was time to go to the barn at 2 in the morning to help birth a calf.
But the most enduring memory for me – formed over the many years and it is one that is often mentioned by others in the family --was her impish mischievous nature that to me is best captured in a picture of the Armstrong family where a young Martha is instantly recognizable with her “silly little crooked grin” and the upside down guitar. At times she clearly was marching to a different drummer.
In time I came to recognize that the “crooked smirky grin” meant one of 2 things
EITHER she had just thought up some grand scheme that she was about to make happen and she likely expected you dive in and help her – no matter how impossible or “weird” you thought it was.
A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds.
If you want to read the entire passage it is found in Proverbs 31 verses 10 to 31.
This reading describes many of “Mom’s” great qualities and I will illustrate them with stories that I have gathered as I have sat and listened to the family talk over the past few days. I hope these stories show her as she was – not some idealized perfect woman but the real picture of our Mom and Grandma that each of us carries in our hearts, one which reveals not only the good qualities but also shows a few of the rough edges. I hope listening will fill our hearts with laughter and maybe some tears.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear. She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Linda often mentioned how her Mom would spend time at the sewing machine putting together clothes for the kids and one of Linda’s earliest memories is of her Mom working at the sewing machine while listening to the news about the succession of the young Princess Elizabeth to the throne (which happened in 1952 when Linda would have been 7 years old)
I’m not sure what this may bring to mind for each of you but I included it because of a story that Linda told me as we were reminiscing about her Mom”.
She looks over a field and buys it, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
I’m sure this one fits. As a young bride she saw an opportunity and purchased the small farm on North Livingston Road that came to be known as “Hungry Hollow”. Later she bought a house and had it moved to the farm to replace the ramshackle old house that was originally there
I’ not sure “Mom” was eager about rising early –I seem to remember her voicing a few complaints -- but she was up early and she did work hard long days keeping the family going. Of course, she expected (even demanded) that her kids kick in and help. I know you all worked hard at “home and hearth” under your mother’s watchful eye – guided by her (sometimes shouted) instructions and the occasional swat on the back of the head if her directions weren’t getting the results she wanted fast enough. Reportedly, Erin, when he was thinking of getting married, told his mother that he couldn’t find the right ring. When she asked “Why?” – he said “Well it has to match the dent in the back of my head made by your ring!!
“Mom” was like a mother hen – her wings opened to protect whatever walked through the door whether a stray cat or one of the many nephews and nieces that lived nearby or a friend that one of the kids brought home – if they needed mothering, she mothered, if they needed food, she fed them and if they needed a “kick in the rear” to straighten them out she’d give that too. But there were limits – if you lied to her or broke her trust, she would not hesitate to say (using words that were a little bit stronger) “There’s the door don’t let it hit you on the behind on your way out”.
A story Martha often told about Joe illustrates this point. When he was a youngster he scrimped and saved his money. Really too young to do this alone, he took off one day and walked to the store to buy his Mom a vase that he had seen her admire. Even though there were times that she frustrated and infuriated – she was always loved and respected by each of her children.
Jamie read his poem he had written (accompanied by Kylie for support)
Friendly neighbor, loving soul
We all bathe in your afterglow,
I can’t say where your journey leads
But the path you chose was true indeed
You loved us all and spoke the truth
Shared the memories of your youth
I always liked to hear you laugh
Rest assured we’ll all miss that
You always stressed love and respect
A greater teacher I’ve never met
Oh Grandma how you loved to talk
And sometimes left us all in shock
We never knew what you might say
But we always knew we’d love the way
Your heart would melt around young kids
And yours raised theirs the way you did
With undying love and sacrifice
Wisdom, pride and sound advice
I can’t express what you meant to us
Because words could never say enough
I know we all must say Goodbye
But you’re the first to make me cry.
(This poem was written by Jamie and is on the cover of a CD of family pictures scanned from the original prints by Theresa)
As I said at the beginning, it would take hours to cover all the stories that I know could be told but I hope that what we have shared today have described who Mom-Grandma really was and that we will leave here with memories that will keep her alive in our hearts for a lifetime to come.
When she was growing up in a dirt poor family it wasn’t even thinkable for a young woman to do anything more than get married and raise a family but if “Mom” could have waved a magic wand and gone on in school she likely would have become a Doctor. Her substitute dream was to raise 10 children. The results of her fulfilling that dream are in this room today.
So to all here who are the living heritage of this complex many faceted woman – remember her ability to dream and pursue her dreams . Dream as she did, work hard at accomplishing them - when you are disappointed, learn from your experience, avoid looking back in anger or bitterness – Dream new dreams and keep looking forward in hope.
Each time you get together as part of this family, I want you to see her there, sitting in her rocking chair, leaning forward listening to the chatter, smiling contentedly and whispering the words inscribed below the picture of her family on the headstone in Maple Ridge Cemetery where she will soon be laid to rest “
“My life, my pride, my happiness”
Friday, May 30, 2008
I started this post almost a month ago. I’ll give the reason I choose the title a little later. It almost seems prophetic because our journey has experienced some twists and turns during the past few weeks.
On Saturday morning May 10 – the day before Mother’s day, Linda and I were awakened by the cell phone ringing. We had gone to the Anmore Campground on Friday evening and we were hoping to spend Saturday at Buntzen Lake Park with Kevin & Will (if it wasn’t raining).
However, the phone call was from Linda’s youngest sister Stephanie who was calling to say that Martha (Linda’s Mom) was back in hospital and not doing well. She was in serious distress with congestive heart failure – receiving morphine for the pain. It seemed quite possible that she would not be alive much longer.
We discussed our options and concluded that we should return home as quickly as possible. We spent the rest of the morning packing up and saying goodbye to Will & Kevin. (Sarah was working so we didn’t get to see her before we left.
We pulled away from the curb at Kevin’s around 1:00 p.m. PDT and we pulled up at our curb in Sault Ste. Marie at 3:30 EDT (12:30 PDT) -- over 2200 miles (3500 km) in 96 hours ( 4 days). We traveled to Moses Lake WA (Walmart) on Saturday – made Bozeman MT by Sunday night (Walmart again – same one we stayed at on the way out), Bismarck ND on Monday (KOA – also a repeat from the trip out) and Ashland WI Tuesday (Walmart). We were on the road (almost) dawn to dusk every day – although one of the beauties of traveling with the BBB was the ability to pull over and rest every couple of hours – and we did take a longer break around midday. Still it was a tiring -- and thankfully uneventful – trip.
After a brief stop at home - check mail, water plants, send email to say we were there, -- we continued the remaining 90 km (50 miles) to Thessalon and mostly we have been here ever since. I went home for a couple of days last week, Linda came home Friday afternoon and Saturday – I went back home Tuesday this week -- so we have gotten most of the spring cleanup of leaves out of the flower gardens and some of the other work at home. It is a little unsettling not being able to plan “what’s next” and it has been stressful for Linda working to find ways to help Martha be more comfortable. I am learning a bit of what “living one day at a time” really means.
One of the “silver linings” of this situation has been visiting with people I haven’t seen for years. I suppose it is a fact of reaching this point in our lives that many of our old high school acquaintances have parents or friends in the home for the aged and we have enjoyed getting re-acquainted. I sat for much of the afternoon visiting with Linda’s brother Terry – something I haven’t done for many years.
Well – that’s a brief slice of what’s been going on in our lives -- now back to the original post.
The title came from a walk around the seawall at Stanley Park in Vancouver. The path is fairly smooth but there are many rocks on the beach below.
I am always impressed by the “rock artist” who takes the chaos of the rock strewn beach and makes these great rock figures.
I choose the title because it seemed to be a metaphor that applied to my life. I walk mostly on a smooth path. I often see chaos around me (and sometimes it intrudes into my walk) but the question always is – “Will I just walk by or will I like the rock artist help restore – in some small way - some order from that chaos?” I pray that my eyes can be open to those opportunities to create something good from the rocks on or beside my path.
Kevin & Sarah enjoyed some time together while Grandma and Grandpa played with Will
When I started this mean of expressing myself and keeping friends and family posted on what was going on in my life –I made an effort to have something to say about each day because many of the bloggers (John Dobbs in particular) that I became familiar with and used as “mentors” seemed to post every day. However, not everyone who blogs maintains a daily schedule - some do weekly posts and some post when the “spirit moves them”.
But even those that have a schedule seldom are 100% consistent in the frequency of their posts. Many of the ones that I visit regularly often post every day. But even in those cases, I observe “dry spells”. Circumstance such as travel, illness or just lack of inspiration cause gaps in the postings.
Lately my lack of consistency in writing is matched only by my lack of consistency in going by and seeing what others have written today.
After a year or so of blogging I found that a commitment to doing a daily post was a growing source of frustration and I started thinking more in terms of once a week and the occasional special blog about some special event. Even that goal has been elusive – In 2007 I managed 34 posts – slightly less than 3/month and only 8 so far this year which is less than 2/month. Part of the slowdown this year has been a venture into using FACEBOOK. While I don’t spend a lot of time with it –it is one more thing in the “virtual” world that needs to be balanced with the rest of the journey.
So why am I boring you with yet another discussion of my failures to blog very often? (Maybe some would be thankful that I’m slowing down !!! I know Linda still thinks I spend too much time at the computer – and that may be true – finding balance between the various things available to us is a daily challenge. But I digress.)
My reason for mentioning this inconsistency in posting is that I see my reaction to that reality as a sign of how I have been changed in some small ways by the work of the Spirit over the past 4 or 5 years.
Throughout most of my life – as I have I have mentioned before-- I have had a tendency (some might say obsession) with making more commitments than I could ever possibly meet and then being frustrated and upset when my efforts to juggle things resulted in important things being ignored as I tried to keep ahead of the urgent. I lived by the credo “If it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would get done”.
Part of the journey that I have written about in these posts has dealt with “making real” something my consulting friend Terry Miller taught me about 15 years ago – and something Jesus taught over 2000 years ago. Paraphrasing (both of them) – the lesson is
“Know what’s important; concentrate on getting those things done each day; Don’t make promises to do something unless you know you can keep it WITHOUT breaking some other promise you have already made”
In terms of pragmatic change brought about by this principle, more recently I have been trying to live by 2 mottos
– the Nike creed “Just do it!” (so when something needs to be done, don’t talk about it “just do it
– “to-day is the first (and maybe last) day of the rest of your life ”- I want to spend some time each day acting as if it was the first day of my life (what would I be doing if this situation was brand new and I was just starting) and I want to do something each day that I would do if I knew it was the last day of my life.
So now – even though I am aiming at least one post a week and I have a desire to get by and visit with a circle of perhaps 10-12 of my favorite bloggers – some daily – some weekly; I no longer feel driven to meet that aim – it isn’t a commitment (promise) that has to be met – and despite what I get from those visits that enriches my life if it doesn’t get done during the time I spend “writing and making the rounds” so be it. There are other “first things” and “last things” I need to be doing.
And I more than ever realize that the most important thing – both first and last and in between – is in that “real world” of daily interactions (some electronic) with family, friends and strangers especially those encounters that provide a better understanding of the presence and power of Jesus in this world.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
His 18 year old son John Robert was killed in a traffic accident yesterday day 3 days before his high school graduation.
I met John in 2006 when we were in Pascagoula Mississippi doing Katrina relief. We became friends quickly and he helped me to get started with my blogging.
We also met Maggy and came to love her. We met his son John Robert a couple of times and observed him leading singing in the services but we didn't really get to know him very well.
John (JD to many) is a prolific and insightful writer and his words of encouragement and exhortation have meant so much to me in the time I have known him.
Our friendship has deepened as we kept in touch through blogs, discussion lists and email. I know he was proud of John Robert and loved him deeply.
My hart is broken for John & Maggy -- When I read about it on the Berean spirit list and went to tell Linda both of us were in tears.
John & Maggy - we love you with the love of the Lord and we pray that through this time of pain and darkness God's light and God's peace will lift you up and you will feel the comfort of his love.
A mutual "internet friend" Wendy Cayliss from Australia expressed much of what I would want to have written so I'll just point you there if you want to read more about how I feel.
John in his Hope Remains blog gives the basic information about John Robert's death.
What more can I say -- May God be with you and keep you my friends
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Well we have arrived and are settled in for a while – actually we have our RV parked on the street outside Kevin’s house. It works well but we will be moving to an RV park for at least a few days later in the week.
So in the words of Elmer Fudd we are "westing" in the west after 2200 miles (3400km) of living like a turtle with our home travelling with us.
– getting through the Lookout and 4th of July Passes.
(The picture was taken just west Lookout pass looking back up towards the summit ).
There was lots of snow on the side of the roads through the mountains but we got through it all without any serious rain or snow -- and that was a blessing.
The highlight of the climbing is the 10 mile long hill climbing up out of the
I almost broke an ankle getting out of the RV to take this picture at the overlook on the east side of the
sandal - fell off the bottom step and was hopping down a slope in my sock feet getting pricked with thistles – yelling :OW, ow, ow!!” – my loving wife expressed her concern by laughing her head off – I guess you had to see it to see the humor – I sure wasn’t laughing but then again I wasn’t hurt either.
We arrived in
Friday we finished the journey to Coquitlam and have been enjoying our time especially with Will – he hardly missed a beat and took to us right away even though it had been six months since we saw them last at Melissa’s wedding.
It has been (relatively) cold since we got here – it even snowed on Friday night. To-day is the first day in the “double digits” 12-13C (low-50’sF). We enjoyed Sunday morning services at South Burnaby and spent Sunday afternoon at the Greater Vancouver Zoo. Yesterday we enjoyed Will while his parents worked.
To-day I have had some time to get caught up on a few things – although there is a mountain of email sitting in the inbox that needs to be processed – mostly reading material and some” junk” but it all adds up.
I am fairly current with my discussion lists and I’ve also been dabbling with Facebook and I’m still wondering if I can keep it in balance. So far I’ve had to pick and choose who to interact with and how much. I find it is more like meeting
people in the mall – sometimes you just nod and go by – sometimes you stop and say “hello” and sometimes you have a longer visit – maybe even sit down for coffee. Blogs generally are more like dropping in for coffee and a chat.
Speaking of blogs I did make a quick stop at a number of my more favorite blog sites – This report only scratches the surface of those I would like to spend some time with --
For you popcorn lovers Dee Andrews gives the definitive answers.
Bobby Cohoon challenges us to speak with our actions in a post that includes this admonitions
Sure we are to preach and teach, but we are also to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. St. Francis of
My niece Lene tagged me back in February – but I think she forgot to tell me (or else I missed her tag) – I just was at her “Snuggles ‘n Squishes” blog
Here are the Rules: Post the rules on your blog, and then give your answers. List one fact about yourself for each letter in your middle name. Each fact must begin with a letter from your middle name. If you do not have a middle name, use your maiden name(or create a middle name).Once you are tagged, update your blog with your middle name and your answers. At the end of your post, tag one person for each letter of you middle name. Leave them a comment on their blog telling them that they have been tagged, and that they need to come read your blog for details.
This could be difficult for me because I have 2 “middle” Clifford Franklin (for a total of 16 letters) so I guess I’ll cheat and use the short form Cliff from the first one (As an aside my full name is Charles Clifford Franklin – my mother used to say I was named after 3 of my uncles – but I’ve also heard (and suspected) that there was a connection to my grandfather’s political views – if you are unfamiliar with the CCF party in Canadian politics you could research it)
C – Well that’s the first letter of my “main” name - I also answer to Charles but please don’t call me “Chuck” or “Chas” (not sure why but those nicknames don’t appeal to me)
L – That’s easy L is for Linda the love of my life.
I – well maybe is for IT (Information Technology) which is what I did for 30 years plus in my business career
F- OK now it’s getting tougher – I’m NOT fair – although I have blue eyes and my hair (what little is left)can become quite light at the end of a summer in the sun. Facts might be a good one – I’m analytical by nature and always want to have the facts before I make decisions – although I tend to err on 2 sides – ‘paralysis by analysis’ – missing the boat because I wait too long or “jump to conclusions” without looking at all the facts that are available.
F – (again) – Fortunate – I had the fortune of being born to Godly parents who instilled in me a strong sense of love for God and I have been fortunate to have a great wife – great kids and good health in most of my immediate family – God is gracious and I know his love is there even when things aren’t so good but I am grateful for the fortune I have in the world and the great fortune that waits in eternity.
Who to tag? I don’t think I’ll tag anyone in particular. If you are inclined to be “tagged” please do so—I’d appreciate you leaving a comment telling me that you did so.
Monday, April 14, 2008
But it has been a bit of a challenge getting to this point. We spent 3 days last week organizing, cleaning up on personal business, loading up the “BBB”, instructing our house sitter and all the things needed for the trip.
Thursday morning I did the car hookup and we were on the road – we had to stop in Sault Michigan for gas and to take on provisions – didn’t do that before we crossed the border because of all the restrictions on meats and fruits. So it was after noon before we were really on the road.
We kept hearing of serious winter storm warnings to the west and we hoped to get clear of Duluth before it hit. We almost made it but in hindsight we would have been better to “go to ground” in Superior.
However, we survived and around noon on Friday it had cleared enough that we ventured on to Brainerd MN – for a WALMART night.
Last night I flushed the antifreeze out of the BBB’s water lines and filled the hot water tank, and put some water in the fresh water tank – so we are now completely operational – and self-contained for showers and other such mundane things.
With the down day and INTERNET I decided to visit some friends in “blogland”
DeeAndrews asks ”What’s your favorite food” (April 14), gives a wise quote from Thomas Carlyle about sticking to the job at hand (April 11) and provides a lovely story (from 28 years ago) about her son when he was 10 called “Close to an Angel” (April 9) .
I was startled to find that my friend Neva – Dancing in the Light had surgery last week for a spinal cyst – that thankfully was benign and removed successfully – Praise God!!
I dropped by John Dobb’s Out here Hope Remains – I hadn’t been there for a long time and he is such a prolific (and excellent) writer that I need to go back and spend several hours to even begin to mine some of the morsels of wisdom he leaves there to “chew on”. One post that caught my attention was an “Open Letter to Miley Cyrus” encouraging her to remain true to her values as she moves into young adulthood as a star. There might be some wisdom found there for any father who is bringing a young daughter through the early teens.
Well – a closing thought
Yesterday we enjoyed great sunshine and a hike in the Painted Canyon of the North Dakota Bad Lands.
1O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
2 From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise
3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!