It’s definitely been a while since my last blog post. I wrote one, it just didn’t make the cut. Then I re-wrote it and well, I’m contemplating if it makes the cut. Here’s the thing, I’m at a place in my life where I’m wondering if I should just live it…not necessarily write about it and post it on the internet (for a while anyway).
Mike and I agreed if telling our story helped even one person, it was well worth it. I know it has helped many people and I am humbled and overjoyed about that. I continue to hear from people who have found my blog and/or my book and I’ve made many connections. I also occasionally look at my blogger account where the majority of my blog posts exist and see that it’s still getting hundreds of hits a month from all over the world (alswithcourage.blogspot.com). That’s pretty cool.
Along with helping others, my blog has helped me – it’s been cheap therapy, so thanks for reading! Seriously though, it’s been one lesson after another. The Lord has spoken to me as He has directed my writing. He has used it to strengthen my faith, to help me grow and heal and know Him more…and I am so thankful for that. This experience has been such a blessing!
So finally here goes – my revised (three times) blog post. I anticipate a lesson or two for me by the time it’s complete and I hope you enjoy. The title has changed a few times, but the smile that comes to my face ultimately makes the decision. It’s called, ‘Shades of Yellow’…
I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life. I go out for “coffee” with friends sometimes and weekly with my parents and sister, but I choose a different beverage. Not tea because I don’t drink tea either, sometimes just water.
I remember from a young age, my parents being coffee drinkers. It was common to see my mom with a coffee cup in hand during the early hours of the day. She would often forget where she placed her coffee as she went about her morning routine. It’s actually a great memory. A few times, I asked for a sip and with a sour face, I’d say, “How can you drink this stuff?” She told me it was something you had to acquire a taste for. That’s when I learned the meaning of “acquire a taste for” and wondered why anyone would want to acquire a taste for coffee.
A few months ago, I went for coffee with a new friend. “Coffee” turned into dinner and a three and a half hour conversation. It didn’t take long for me to realize he’s the type of guy who could sweep a girl right off her feet. I went home and searched my closet for heavier shoes. Later, I wondered, “Was that a date?”
I was barely eighteen when Mike swept me off my feet. After our first date he wanted me to be his girlfriend. I told him I was too young for a serious relationship. He didn’t try to talk me into anything, instead he took out one of my closest friends. He knew I’d be at his place with his roommates and others that night socializing, so he came in holding my friend’s hand. I was infuriated and when I took him aside to confront him, he replied something like, “You chose to be unattached.” His plan worked, and by the end of the night, I was his girlfriend…that was almost thirty years ago.
I grieved the loss of Mike over the course of his illness and I’ve grieved throughout the seventeen months since he passed away and even though I still grieve, the Lord has recently given me new hopes and dreams causing me to believe I could fall in love again.
It’s amazing how God can redeem things, including hopes and dreams. God has proved this in my life many times.
At the author event I was a part of back in April at Whitby’s book store in White Rock BC, the three of us authors there were asked what inspired our book titles. I shared that when I wrote my blog post, ‘Hold On and Let Go’ in February 2014, I thought it was the perfect title for our story and imagined it on the cover of a book someday (it became ‘Hold On, Let Go – Facing ALS with Courage and Hope over a year now already). Anyway, in this post I mention how God redeems things. Here is part of the post:
“People say what a difficult time we must be going through, but I don’t feel like that at all. It’s been difficult at times, but not necessarily a difficult time. It’s been a time to grow and to learn. It’s been a time to put things in proper perspective. It’s a process for sure, but we are learning to hold on and let go. We let go of things in our lives that hinder and distract us like worry and fear and hold on to things that enhance and beautify our lives like faith, hope, and love and all the other wonderful outpourings of the Lord.
Good things come from bad things all the time. That’s how God works. He redeems things. God has done it with ALS in our lives a lot. I am constantly reminded of the Bible verse, Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Not long ago, I received a message from Leah’s mom, Katrina. She said, “I was talking to Leah this evening about her favourite colours and she told me that they are green, purple, and red. She also said that she loves yellow too because its Granddad’s favourite colour. It’s the colour of sunshine, and it’s a happy colour. She told me that when she used to pick candies from his candy bowl she always chose the yellow ones.” In another message, Katrina told me that Leah was still saving her yellow candies for Granddad.
I really appreciated this message, but the way Leah remembers the story isn’t quite right. This is how the story goes: When Leah was little, she would always choose the red, purple or orange coloured candies. Mike would take the yellow ones because the yellow ones were her least favourite. Leah eventually assumed that Granddad’s favourite colour was yellow. Mike wasn’t actually fond of the colour yellow. I found that out one day after painting all the rooms in our house various shades of yellow. While standing there with a paint roller covered in something called ‘Lemon Twist’ or ‘Sunshine on My Shoulder’, Mike passed by and said that he never was very fond of yellow.
Anyway, Leah continued to save all her yellow candies for Granddad long after he stopped eating. She would come in and hand Mike some yellow skittles or a yellow sucker that I intercepted and put in a dish and kept in a cupboard. Soon, she just took them straight to the cupboard. The collection of yellow candy grew over time…there was even a yellow feather in there. The dish was a little gift of sunshine and so is our darling Leah. She is our precious treasure! (Leah recently turned 7)
When my good friend Karen Acaster brought up the topic of “love” in conversation a while ago, I told her I wasn’t going to look for love, but if love found me, I was open to it. When I think back on our conversation, my heart didn’t necessarily agree with that statement the way my head did. But recently, its like the Lord opened the curtains of my heart and various shades of sunshine poured in. In that same conversation Karen talked about Mike’s love for me and how amazing, how deep, how selfless it was and how happy he’d be if love found me again when I was ready. I just smiled. I had no idea my heart was being made ready, and since then has come alive with the butterflies that now reside there again.
Shortly after the “coffee” date with my new friend, I contemplated the unexpected connection we had and I was experiencing some mixed emotions to say the least. I was looking for some advice…for my beloved Mike’s advice. I said to God, “What would Mike tell me?” Without hesitation, I heard, “You are worth far more than rubies. Remember what you are worth.”
These words come from Proverbs 31:10-21:
”A woman of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies…
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue…
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised…”
It’s funny because this Scripture crossed my mind while I wrote my last post ‘Good Men Empower Women’. It’s wonderful advice to pass on to all the women in my life.
So to Leah, and my girls and all the young women and not so young women in my life, and to me, remember what you are worth. You are worth far more than rubies!
Feeling valued beyond words and overwhelmed by God’s extravagant love, I give thanks to Him for His healing power and the hope and joy He’s poured in to my life, and for all of His provisions. He knows my needs far better than I do and He is always faithful to provide… and He continues to redeem things.
Only the Lord knows what my future holds concerning my writing (and everything else in my life of course). I love writing and don’t plan to give it up but wonder if this is a good place to end (or just take a break from) my ‘ALS With Courage’ story. Maybe it’s time to start my next book. I’m praying about it and in the meantime, you can reach me on Facebook or here on my website.
To all of you who have been touched by ALS, you are like brothers and sisters to me and to everyone – friends and family and those I’ve never met, God bless you all! Thanks for your encouragement, support and love!
“Each of us may be sure that if God sends us on strong paths, He will provide us with strong shoes and He will not send us out on any journey for which He does not equip well.” Alexander Maclaren
Happy Birthday to my mom (June 1). Here is another wonderful memory of my mom and coffee: My mom and I have done a lot of painting together. Not pictures, but walls…you know, rooms. We have painted each other’s places (way more mine than hers). We have painted a bunch of rooms in my sister’s homes and some for friends. It’s always been so much fun. And when I think of those times, this is what I see – my mom with a paint brush in one hand and a coffee cup in the other and a huge smile on her face and tons of laughter. She’s a woman who lives to help her kids and grandkids and others… She’s a woman of noble character. She is clothed with strength and dignity. She speaks wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She is a woman who fears the Lord, a woman to be praised. Thanks mom and dad for your steadfast love and all your prayers and encouragement!
Thanks Elanna for all your help with my blog – for editing, title suggestions and for being such a great ear!
Pictured my mom, dad, Elanna and me at the ALS Society of BC recognition night. I was so honoured to receive the Exceptional Advocacy award.
I’m speaking at Alderbrook Church in Abbotsford, BC on Sunday, June 12 at 10:00am. If you are in or around Abbotsford, I’d love to see you there. Consider this my invitation to each one of you. Adlerbrook Church meets at Columbia Bible College – 2940 Clearbrook Road.
This Sunday, June 5 is our annual ALS Walk in Port Coquitlam. Join team “I Like Mike” at Riverside High School – Registration at 10:00, walk starts at 11:00. If you can’t make it and want to make a donation, you can do that here: albs.ca
Saturday, June 11 is the ALS Walk in Abbotsford. We will walk in honour of good friend Neil Hemming who sadly passed away on April 13. Again, donations can be made here: albs.ca