August 30th Day One

God’s love travels with us. I am grateful.

We're on our way!
We’re on our way!
My fabulous driver.
My fabulous driver.

It’s 1:45 and we’re on our way. We’ve started with a wonderful morning. Rev. Nancy spoke on the story of Esther with the theme line, “For such a time as this.” For the last five years I’ve talked about writing an inspirational travel blog. I guess I’ve been waiting “for such a time as this”. The hymns, the prayers, the entire service seemed to affirm my intention to use this trip as an opportunity to seek God through the whole trip. This morning, surely God was speaking in our church, to me and I’m sure to many others.

Loading up was very smooth. Besides the car packed solid, we’ve a ski box on the roof. That’s carrying grandson Chris’ skiis and x-box and sundry other things. I think our car will be needing God’s help on this cross country journey. For sure it won’t be giving it’s customary low mileage, although the gauge in the car shows it hovering between 5 and 6 litres per 100 km. That’s still better than many cars. We must be driving on the wings of God’s Spirit.

The wonders of modern technology have brought us good news from home. Granddaughter Ellie and her under 15 rugby team won the provincial championships this morning. Grandson Zachary and his under 18 rugby team won the provincial championships this afternoon. All in all, quite a day for our family. It was fun to text back and forth and feel included. Oh, how I hate to miss anything.

By 7:00 p.m. we are settling onto my sister Sharon’s couch, glass of wine in hand wrapped in her love and hospitality. We breathe deeply of the delicious aroma of homemade lentil soup simmering on the stove, a gift made by Sharon’s friend, as a special welcome for her weary family.

Once again, God has reminded me that we are truly blessed. Yes, we have left family behind and we will miss them. And yes, we are travelling to family, our loved ones we see once a year or less. We will renew connections with precious friends as well. We are not alone on this adventure. God’s gifts of people, events, and scenery are waiting for us all along the way. I am truly grateful.

View from Sharon's study.
View from Sharon’s study.

Sharon’s apartment is on the fourth floor. This picture was taken from the parking lot below so I wouldn’t have glare from her window. The huge window with this view is a writer’s dream. She says I can use it this afternoon. Blessings continue to pour down.

Get Ready! Get Set!

Get ready! Pack up your stuff!

Get set! Take time to pray!

Just the beginning.
Just the beginning.

We are packed and ready for tomorrow. Did it all in one day. Our car’s looking loaded down. We’re not moving. Ahead of us is a wonderful holiday. We’re leaving after church.  I don’t remember why we chose to leave on Sunday but now I’m pleased. I can’t think of a better way to begin the long drive to Vancouver. Put God first in your life has been my motto for a long time. Now I guess I do it out of habit.

We spent the day filling suitcases and boxes. We’ve things to bring for daughter Bonnie and Grandson Chris. Of course there are boxes of books. I intend to stop at a few bookstores on the way.

My hope is to dance and pray our way across western Canada and back. My plan is to blog about how God touches our lives on this journey and post pictures. I’ve packed up all my info on Grandma Grigg so I can at least get an outline for my book about her. Tom drives and I write. It’s a great division of labour and keeps us both sane. This will surely be a writing holiday.

Last night we had a family birthday party for son Brad. In lots of ways it felt like a farewell party for this journey. Today we ate up the leftovers. What could be better when we’re packing. Today, Connie, Ellie and I went shopping, but not for our trip. I needed just a few more minutes with family. Tonight, I’m truly aware of the blessing of family. We’ll miss them all.

Tomorrow, Go! Please pray for us. Thank you and blessings Janet

 

How Do I Issue the Invitation of Faith?

invitation-32378__180

As Christians, we know that God is with us, giving us strength, guidance, and challenge. Many times, I’ve heard others say, “I never would have gotten through Susie’s death without God, and without the support of my church family.” Consequently, we want others to have faith, too.

How do we make people understand the strength and joy, the wisdom and comfort that come with faith? How do we compete in this crazy world where every minute is filled with activity and work?

Jesus didn’t compete. He issued invitations to James and John. They immediately left their nets and followed him. Were they the only ones he asked? What about the ones who said, “Not interested, too busy, can’t.” They wouldn’t be mentioned in the Bible. They missed the adventure.

Regardless of how many said no, some said yes. His following became large enough to be a problem for the religious leaders and the Romans. Why did some accept his invitation?

As I read the stories, I see that Jesus did more than issue invitations. He lived what he taught. He lived acceptance of everyone, even when he received criticism. He lived compassion and kindness, even when he was tired. Jesus passionately lived what he believed. People met him, watched him, listened to him, saw him in action, experienced his love, and they believed. They joined his group.

St. Paul wrote to tell us to live so that when people get to know us, they will have met Jesus. That’s our calling, our life’s work as Christians. In everything we say and everything we do, whether it’s standing in line at the grocery store, working at the office, or cooking dinner at home, we can choose to let Jesus’ compassion, acceptance, love shine through us. Only then will others want to make faith a priority in their busy lives.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 4:20)

 

Do You Love Fireworks?

Fireworks - Great Fun!
Fireworks – Great Fun!

Last month I had two experiences of fireworks: first for Canada’s birthday, then at a friend’s wedding. Both times, the light display was spectacular. Fireworks are fun. They delight young and old.  We hear the bang, lights flash in the black sky, and we “ooh” and “aahh.” I think it’s the surprise and the danger under control that fascinate us, as much as the beauty and the sound. In twenty minutes, sometimes a half hour, the show is over. We walk away, the excitement and beauty lingering in our minds and our conversation.

There are amazing light displays available to us most every night. On clear black nights when the silvery sliver of new moon shines, the sky is filled with stars. I’ve watched the blinking of Pleiades, the constellation that seems to be there, but when we look too hard, it disappears. The Milky Way’s millions of stars, light years away, make a path across the heavens. When the moon is full, the stars fade as the night sky becomes almost as light as the day. And there are more. Occasionally, we can thrill to the delicate dance of the northern lights and the excitement and fear that comes when thunder and lightning fills the sky.

When we’ve had enough excitement, we can soak in the peace of a magnificent sunset. Pinks, reds, mauves, spread across the horizon, sometimes feathering out to fill the entire sky. Like fireworks, sunset’s spectacular light show lasts only for minutes before it begins to fade.

On a much smaller scale, mystery comes to a dark night with the magic and surprise of flashing fireflies. They float around me and weave through the trees and long grasses. I can watch for hours, or at least, for as long as I can endure the mosquitoes.

God’s light shows are endless and free, and better than anything produced by Steven Spielberg.  All they require is that we open our eyes to see them. Use your mid-August nights to watch for the meteor showers that cascade through the black sky every year. Every night, when you return home, look up as you step out of your car, or better yet, go for a walk. If you like fireworks, you’ll love God’s beautiful world.

Northern Lights
Northern Lights

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of God’s hand. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2)

 

Thoughts For Today

It’s easy to accept the inheritance of physical traits because we can see them. Friends tells us, “your daughter looks so much like you.” When it comes to character traits the old nature/nurture debate comes into play. As an adopted child who found her birth mother,  I can tell you that our genes play a part in how we approach problems, our resilience in the face of adversity, our inner strength, and our attitude toward life. I lived with my birth mother for only the first year and a half of life yet I have developed many of her character traits, even my extreme determination to walk with as straight a back as possible came from her. Her characteristics that I treasure most were her resilience and her acceptance. They carried her through a tough life, and they have helped me in tough times as well.

Last week, once again we said goodbye to my son David, his wife Joanne and teenage daughter, Jenna. Although I tell myself how fortunate I am that they return home every summer and for most Christmas holidays, saying good bye gets harder every year. I hear my mom’s spirit speak, “You can’t change it. Accept it. Find the goodness in it and carry on.” I know she’s right.

Their travelling life has given them opportunities the rest of us only dream about. Our granddaughter Jenna has been on real African safaris. She understands the need to stop hunting for sport and poaching for greed. She has seen the animals in their natural habitat and experienced the beauty of their freedom. Her last two years in Ethiopia have shown her what true hunger and poverty looks like.

My main desire is that the three of them will find peace and joy in this new part of Africa and that their amazing experiences will strengthen them.  I have Mom’s spirit of acceptance, yes. And still, I can’t keep back the flood of tears that are pouring down my face today.