Saturday, October 1, 2022

Remebering

 Almost exactly a year ago, on a stunningly beautiful weekend, I texted Val and asked her if she'd like to go for a walk through the Othello Tunnels with me. 

Ten seconds later she responded, enthusiastically (meaning, there were exclamation marks) saying YES, and that John would like to join us. 

When I got to their place, they were in their vehicle, waiting, with John offering to drive. 

After we got on the freeway, it was suggested (by Val? agreed to by John? or the other way around?) that we should stop in Hope and pick up a coffee and snacks at a great little independently owned coffee shop. Which we did. And even though there was a line-up to get in, everyone was happy and patient and totally fine. 


















We hung around Hope for a bit, enjoying the sunshine and scenery, then left for the tunnels. (Can I say how very glad I am that we did that? One month later, that whole area was DESTROYED by the great flood of 2021. I'm not sure that walking through that area will ever be a possibility again.) ANWAYS, we walked, stopped, gazed, were awestruck, took lots of pics (their 40th wedding anniversary was in November, and I thought these would be great backdrop pics for when they re-did their wedding vows. Haha. And, I suggested, if not that, they'd be beautiful in their funeral slide shows.) WHAT THE HECK JANE?































































(They didn't re-do their vows, so I threw in a couple of these pics into the slide show. Good photos should be shared.) 

We left the Othello River area as the light was fading. John thought we should go to Harrison and have dinner at the Black Forest, which was an excellent idea. I hadn't been there in years, and it's one of my favorite little communities in BC. So many good memories. 
















It was a perfect fall day. Lots of fresh air, good company, great food etc and so on. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



I have another travel memory with John. The same John, but a little bit different. It was March 1986 and for the first time in our three year marriage, Mark and I were going on a vacation. The plan was to spend 10 days in Palm Springs. I'd found a 2 bedroom condo that we were going to share with John n Val, and Fish n Margret. (I guess Fish and Marg slept on a pullout in the living room?) 

Val flew down with 3 month old baby James one day earlier than we planned to arrive.  

John, Mark and I were going to drive. (Fish and Marg must've arrived a day or two later? Shrugs shoulders. Memory is not what it used to be.) 

Anyway, the decision was to drive John's VW Rabbit, because it was diesel, and diesel was cheaper than gas. With three drivers, we could drive straight through, and not stop for night. I learnt how to drive stick for this trip so I could take my three hour shift, while someone slept. (Spoiler alert: No one slept while I drove.) I learned how to gear up (?), so I could get us onto the freeway from a rest stop, but never got the hang of gearing down, so I was never allowed to exit the freeway into a town or intersection; I was only able to pull into not-busy rest areas. 

We filled up with diesel only at truck stops NOT conveniently located beside the I-5. Truck stops off the beaten path, on dumpy little intersections always were a penny or two less than the sparkling big tourist-friendly ones. 

We ate at roadside dives. And John only ordered the cheapest thing on the menu. 

We were in The Amazing Race, (racing against ourselves, I guess) and arrived in Palm Springs at 6 am (5 hours ahead of schedule), when no one was awake and we had nothing to do. 


























Isn't it lovely the way we learn and evolve and grow and end up being slightly different than the people we were 40 years ago? 

John was really great in his 20's. But SO much more great in his 60's. I hope that can be said of me too. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's John's funeral tomorrow, about 15 years too soon. 

We'll be remembering with tears every version of the man; the one who ate grilled cheese for every meal, adding all the free condiments available to add bulk and flavor to his sandwich - to the man who spontaneously suggests we celebrate a good day by going to a lovely restaurant that's a big detour from our drive home and doesn't even have sandwiches on the menu. 

John, thank you for showing us how to live and serve with joy. Thank you for loving your family so very well; your kids and grands have been sharing, and will continue to share, stories about you and how you showed each one of them, in unique ways, how precious they are to you. And of course, Val. You loved her, thoroughly and completely and consistently, every day of your life together. A woman who is loved has confidence, peace and a beautiful smile. Thank you for being The Best Husband.



















Then ^ . She had just turned 19 when they got married. LOOK at her cute face! 

Now (below). They haven't changed a bit. 

They were the classic Green Acres couple. She was pure city, classic and cultured. He was 100% country, happiest in a field with his gumboots on. 





































































































Psalms 127:3-5 (NLT)

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Three things I'm thankful for:


1. The way this man has welcomed me into his home every single time I've dropped by, unannounced to hang out with Val. He often sits at the table with us, eating M+M's peanuts with a glass of cold milk. (And brings me a glass of milk too.) He has been like a big brother, from taking my ugly green couches to the dump, offering to look after ALL THE CANS that accumulate at the lake, to praying for my boys, and encouraging me to plan another European vacation for us all. Below is a pic of him and me on my 40th birthday in their backyard. I think he's praying for me. Or leading the choir in singing Happy Birthday. 























2. I am thankful for emotions and tears and laughter and memories and photos and faith. 


3. I am thankful for the anticipated record-breaking sunny temps forecast for next week. (When I was navigating my way through that first year without Mark, we had SO many beautiful winter days. I believed they were a gift from God, "I know things are shitty about your marriage, Jane. But I'm here, and I love you. Here's a sunny day. Don't be too sad. It's gonna be OK. I have a good plan; you're gonna live a good life...") Val would call me on a really unexpectedly good weather day, and say, 'God did this for you.'

When I was sitting with her this evening, after a spectacular sunset had faded, I showed her the forecast for next week (first week of October and every single day the temps will be in the high 20's) and said, "This is for you. God loves you and has a plan."

She said, "I know. I remember."

And they we both started crying again. 


Sunday, September 11, 2022

Young Jane has some questions ...

 It occurred to me this evening, while I was writing in my prayer journal, that if the 35 year old me were to show up and read over my shoulder, she'd be wondering a few things:

(I've just spend 2 hours looking for a photo of myself at age 35.)

Pretty sure there are none. A million pics of my kids by themselves or with their dad, but not a single one of me from ages 23 - 50. 

If there are any young moms reading, please get in touch with me. I'd love to hang out at your house to take casual/not posed 'mom' pics with you and your kids. In your yard, at the park, on boring days ... just capturing you doing you. 


OH. WAIT. 

My father-in-law took at pic of me and my mom-in-law on the day after I brought Drew home from the hospital. Lemme find it. 

And we'll change this blog post to be about current me with THAT Jane. The Jane who is going to deep dive into post partum for a few months before resurfacing the following Spring, 
























OK. Finally. THREE HOURS after I started, we can proceed. Not sure I even feel like it now. 

Things I'm praying about this weekend:

1. My hair. It's falling out by the handful. My pony tail is a limp, thin, collection of fine, easily detached hair. God? Am I going to be bald? Has my hair been too much of a defining 'thing' for me? Please, could You, who knows exactly how many hairs are on my head, protect the rest from escaping my scalp? 

Her: It's the perms, isn't it? All those chemicals. Why didn't you take better care of it? Our hair is kinda important. That, and our boobs are what make us feel feminine. 

Me to her: Actually, Julie said NO MORE PERMS in the late 90's, early 2000's. We've had straight hair ever since. This might be menopausal. Or normal. Or something. We've had a good run.


2. God? I'm SO very tired of plumbing issues. It's been never-ending. And my capacity to care is dwindling. Could You oversee this project now? Can I just hand it over to you? No? That's not how this works? Well, then, give me patience and wisdom as I get Mike back to figure out why we have no working exterior taps? Turns out I do need a couple hose bibs to work. And direct me to someone who can help me with my dishwasher in Langley. The owner's manual says I need to hire a professional to unclog the clogged drain. Ugh. 

Her: We still hang out at the cabin? Cool. I'm glad. But why are you dealing with plumbers? Where's dad? 

Me to her: Dad died. In 2016, after about 10 years of massive health issues. Dementia, Parkinson's, Heart Disease, Stroke ... And yup I miss him for a whole lot of reasons, but the most selfish reason is I wish he was around to look after this place. He did it so much better than I am. 
















3. God? Just about every conversation I'm a part of lately is about retirement. I'm not in a position to do so for at least 10 years. And even then, I'm not sure how I'll be able to afford it. But, if at all possible, I don't want to work past 70. Or do I? Please give me peace about my finances and my retirement. I hate being worried. If there's something I should be doing, give me wisdom, or just do it for me. THANK YOU x 1000 for my job; I pray I would continue to be effective and needed in the coming seasons. 

Her: Why the heck are you worried about retirement and finances? You're working? What happened to Billie's? I'm confused. Isn't Mark looking after all this? Why are you worried? WHAT HAPPENED?

Me to her: Ahhh, mate. Bad news. Remember that secretary that had us worried? Well, he and she fell in love. So they got married. I've been on my own since '98. Our baby had just turned 4. Max was 8 and Clint was 12. Haha. That was a plot twist we didn't see coming. But we're OK. I only worry about money about once a month. And that happens to be today. I'm sure I'll be fine. God's been looking after me really well, so I should stop fretting. 




























Her: Who are those men? 

Me: Those are our boys! (And their younger brother.) Mikhail, Max, Drew, and Clint. (Clint's 35, same age as you ...)

Her: I. Can't. Even. 

Me to her: I know girlfriend. I know. Crazy. All of it. But good. 

4. Thank you God, for another clean mammogram. Thank you for the technology that gives me peace. All those twinges and tings and throbs are not cancer. It's my mind, being stupid. God I pray for peace and boring mammogram results for my friends who're being mindful of my story and have their own worries about bumps and lumps. 

Her: Why would you pray about mammograms?

Me to her: Well, sweets. We were diagnosed with breast cancer on August 1 2019. They caught it early, we had some slicing and dicing done and then some zaps of radiation, and we're fine. But we're fi

Her: WE HAD CANCER? WHAT THE HECK? 

Me: Right? Haha. Another plot twist; life hasn't been boring. NO one in our family has ever had it. We're the first. But it's all good. Honest. But one in eight women in Canada get it, so I keep praying. 












5. Thank you God, for keeping me n my fam safe from Covid. More and more people are getting it, and I pray that those I love (and strangers too, I guess), would heal quickly and completely. Let there be no lingering effects. Give us wisdom as we head back into a new normal.

Her: Covid? 

Me: I don't think you wanna know. Sigh, OK. It is a world-wide, global pandemic called the Coronavirus. It has affected 608 million people, with 6.51 deaths resulting from it. Schools, churches, community centres, government offices and businesses closed. Countries shut their borders. There was a challenge getting groceries as the supply chain got snapped. Wild. So unexpected. But it was a great eye-opener as to the kindness of strangers. The willingness of just about everyone to step up and help those who were house-bound, shut-in, or struggling was so very inspiring. 

Her: I got nothin. I just can't imagine ...

6. Thank you, thank you, thankyou, for the fun evenings this summer; hanging out with friends in my condo. Thank you for bringing into my life such a fabulous collection of women who bring richness to my life. So, so, SO very grateful for their love, their attention, their wisdom, their joy, their meaningful conversations, their investment in my life. 

Her: Friends? Whaaa? When did we make friends?

Me: I know, right? Haha. It just kinda happened around my 40th birthday. With no husband, and no kids every other weekend, I was getting lonely. So I started getting to know the women in my life. No one is more surprised than me. But it's awesome. 













Her: Huh. I woulda never guessed. Aren't we shy? Don't we like reading? 

Me: In 2022, it's called being an introvert. And a fun thing to do with other introverts? Is to sit in a room, or at the beach together and read by yourself. Hahahaha. Ah, young Jane - so many good things ahead for you. 
















7. God? Could you remove my longing to travel? I'm aching to go to Italy. And Ireland. And Portugal. And the south of France. And the Caribbean. Maybe Iceland. And Turkey. Croatia? Thailand? It seems that everyone is going somewhere, now that countries are opening their borders again and I don't know how I'm going to be able to swing it. It feels like I have to save for my retirement, or not save, and take advantage of travel opportunities. But not both. And I want to be responsible about this. And I trust that if I can't see all the beauty in the world in this lifetime, I'll have eternity to sightsee in the next. But Facebook. And Instagram. They're fueling my fire for travel. And I think I need You to redirect my attention. What would You have me do? Please direct my paths. 

Her: Since when do we need more than Palm Springs trips every Spring Break? What's Facebook? Can't believe you're even praying about this.

Me: Babe, the world opened up for us. We love to travel. We've taken the kids to Montreal and New York. Did a house swap and lived in England for 3 weeks. Went to Europe with Max and 35 other grade 9's ... joined Sue on her business trips to Vietnam, Cambodia and Japan. Have been on a couple cruises. Been to Rose's place in Mexico. Visited Karm in the Yukon. Been to Colorado, Texas, Florida and Arizona with Sandra... 

When the travel bug bites you, the sting lasts a long time. 

And Facebook is... Well, it's a social media platform on the internet. A place where people share photos and thoughts with other people/friends. It's a lovely, lovely part of my life. As are other platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Trust me on this.  


8. God, I don't think I've prayed for packages/mail delivery as much as I have this past year. Something that used to be reliable, and I wouldn't have given it a second thought, now seems like something that needs divine intervention. There are parcels on their way to me from Colorado; a cheque that's been in the mail since June, and a box of Brio magazines in the mail since July. Could you speed them along? Could they not be lost? 

And there are envelopes on their way to England from Canada  - and from England to Italy. It all seems lost. Stolen? Destroyed? Hindered in some way from getting to their destinations. 

Can you do something? Your will be done. Please let your will be that all those packages arrive at their destinations next week. 

Her: Seriously? We pray about mail? Who are we? And who do we know in Colorado? England? Italy?

Me: Remember me mentioning that thing called social media? Well, uh, I've gotten to know some people in other countries because of tweets. It's really hard to explain. But trust me. The world is a tiny place because of the internet. We care about people we've never met because of ... well, it's kinda like being pen pals with someone. And your letters to each other can only be 140 characters long. And you don't have to put a postage stamp on it. Just hit send. Or enter. Depending. You're going to love it. 

9. God, the news out of the Ukraine today seems like good news? The Ukrainians are pushing back? Regaining some territory? Is this war ending soon? Will Putin retreat? Get testicular cancer? Will the people in Russia learn the truth about their leaders and this war? I pray Your protection over the women and children; provide them with clean water, courage, hope, fresh vegetables, sharp pencils, warm socks, and wisdom in the midst bombs dropping around them. I pray Your will be done, both in Ukraine and Russia. 

Her: What the flipping heck? I don't remember praying about wars before. Do we like pray about everything? 

Me: Buckle up, little Jane. We pray all the time about random shit. 

10. God, could you intervene in the lives of those who are stuck in the dark abyss of alcoholism and drug addiction? They desperately need you. Stir in their hearts a longing to live clean. Bring into their lives friends who've got some clean time racked up who can walk alongside. Provide them with AA and NA groups who're good fits for their personalities and social needs. If necessary, I pray You would get them placed in rehab houses where their lives would be filled with friendships, purpose and guidance. I pray for role models and sponsors; give them patience and wisdom; let them have the words and know when to say them. I pray for the fellowships - let them be transparent and reliable and relevant. God, I pray for the parents of those who're struggling; give them peace. Allow them to lean on You for strength. Restore the broken relationships, mend the broken hearts, fix the broken bits. In Jesus' name. 

Her: Whoa. We really do pray for everything. 

Me: Max was caught up in drug addiction. He's clean now, but yu

Her: MAX WAS WHAT? OH GOD. OH GOD. OH GOD. How did we cope? Is he OK? (Turns away sobbing uncontrollably).

Me: Rough days. He's clean. Eleven years. It's good. A million friends were praying; his brothers stood by his side. He made some solid friends. Stop crying. Do you need a kleenex? 





























11. God? Ugh. What is my problem? WHY CAN'T I CONTROL MY EATING? Why can't I get my ass off the couch and JUST MOVE A LITTLE. I'm embarrassed and ashamed. I need Your help. But be gentle with me. Don't give me, like a parasite. Or colon cancer. Or have my tongue cut out. Are you disappointed in me too? Gross. If we're going to get started on one particular body part, could it be my lower stomach? Can we figure out a thing? 

Her: DID YOU GET FAT? We just lost all that weight. Did you put it all back on again? 

Me: Mate. I'm not proud of myself. Quit harping. 

12. Lastly, God? Could You be at work, behind the scenes, calling Your lost sheep? Be their shepherd, hold them close, find and protect them from evil, enable them to run to you, longing to be Your's. Be relentless. Don't get weary. Keep at it. Use everything in creation to get their attention. Shout or whisper. Open their eyes. Show them what they need to see. Please. This is a begging prayer. Even though this is the last on my list, it's my biggest, most desperate, never-ending prayer. In Jesus's powerful name. Amen

Her: I'm afraid to ask. Is this prayer for anyone in particular?  

Me: People we love so so much. 

Her: What are our kids up to these days? 

Me: Clint's got his own business. He's a producer, specializing in food marketing. He's gifted with amazing video/photo skills. He graduated from SFU and has spent months in Africa with his other business - a student travel experience. Not married. No kids. Lives in Vancouver. Extremely independent. We're proud of him and wish we could see him more often. 



































Max graduated from BCIT and has been working with Clint for the past couple Covid years. But he's currently looking for a new job. He lives in Vancouver, near Kit's Beach. Not married. No kids. He too is independent and I wish I could see him more often. Probably the wish of all moms everywhere. Terribly proud of the man he's become. 

 















And Drewbs? He's married! We have a daughter! And we love her to bits. She's a hair stylist. Drew works for Mark at LCT. They own a townhouse in Abby and have 2 cats. Their lives are stressful these days, but they're figuring it out. So so proud of these two. 
















































Her: Anything else I should know? 

Me: We paint rocks. 

Her: *blinks. Wait, what? 

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Ruthless






















Ruthless. 

That's not an oft-used word, eh? 

To be without ruth? 

Wha? 

Haha. 

ANY wayzzzz

I'm grateful for:


  • Summer evenings beside a body of water. Kits Beach. Cultus Lake. By myself or with a friend.
  •  Music. Songs. Singers. Instrumentalists. Currently listening to: I Speak Jesus. And Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls
  • Smooth rocks. They're easy to paint. PLUS they feel so good in your hand. 
  • Friends who like to put dots on smooth rocks. Or friends who don't mind hanging out while I do the dotting.
  • Dotting tools. Especially THESE
  • Air conditioners.
  • Neighbours.
  • People who live Every Single Day of their lives. So inspiring, yes?
  • Weekly supper with my mom.
  • Couples who still believe in love. And get married.
  • Artists. Current fav is: Wendy Brightbill Someday I'll own on of her originals. Maybe. 
  • Answered prayers, even if they make you cry. 
  • Good preachers; just listened to Northview's online sermon while catching up on some work.
  • The Bible. God loves us. He tells us over and over in his love letter to us. Have you read it? 
  • Sandy beaches. 
  • Folding lawnchairs and backpacks filled with snacks. And frosty cold bottles of water. 
  • Good books. Currently reading Cutting for Stone again. SO good. I might do a re-read of Louise Penny books before the next one comes out this fall. 
  • Blue hydrangeas


















  • Green grass
  • Postage stamps. Loving the new sunflower ones.
  • Pedicures that include foot massages and bright pink toe nails.
  • Late night conversations with my boy. 
  • Egg salad sandwiches on fresh soft white bread with avocado
  • Spontaneous gatherings with old friends
  • Movie nights.
  • French Onion Soup; two bowls
  • Water systems that work.
  • Plumbers who know how to fix burst pipes.
  • Clicky keyboards
  • Large monitors
  • Emotions. All of them. Especially contentment. But also sadness, I guess. 
  • Fleetwood Mac songs, especially The Chain
  • My team at work. Seriously The Best People.
  • Pink rubber flip flops.
  • My book club.
  • My book club at the lake.
  • Men who are enthusiastically kind about taking green furniture to the dump. (Looking at John and Zac; so ruthlessly grateful for your help.)










  • Days and days of sunshine (My weather app is just so much fun to look at this month.)
  • Dyson fans. 
  • Stories of random acts of generosity. People really are good. 
  • Cut offs. I bought a pair in June and have worn them everyday (well, almost every day) since. I never thought I'd wear shorts again (after that ugly milestone birthday) but here I am, exposing my thighs like I'm a 16 year old. 
  • Friendly strangers.
Last weekend I was minding my own business, sitting in the lake, reading my book, when three women approached the shore, talking amongst themselves. When I looked up, one of them said, "Don't worry. We aren't planning on sitting here, interrupting you. We're heading out for a swim." They removed their brightly coloured bathing suit cover-ups and gingerly stepped over the rocks. They observed how sharp the rocks were; their old feet were not happy. Then one gal looked at me and asked what I was reading. Proud that I wasn't reading something fluffy, I held it up so she could see the front cover. 
"OH! I love that book! One of my favorites. You'll love it."
I replied, "It's one of my favorites too. I ready it ten years ago, so this is a re-read. I've forgotten most of it, so it feels new to me. One of the few benefits of growing old."

They went off chatting and swimming and I resumed reading. 
But the image of those three friends stuck with me for the next hour as I waited for them to return. Those gals must've been in their 60's. Maybe one of them a bit older than that? They way they confidently strutted up to the lake, took off their outer layer and with bodies that were lovely but not 20, they waded into the lake with joy in their voices, left an impact on me. 

When they returned, after FOREVER, we talked again, briefly, about books and book clubs. I asked if I could take a picture of them, to capture a bit of The Happy they had about them. 

























We exchanged email addresses; I sent them the 1/2 dozen photos I took, they're going to send me book recommendations. 
There are memes about three older women going swimming (can't find one now, of course), being comfortable in their skin. These three are REAL LIFE examples of that. And it was inspiring. 

  • So grateful for Zac. He's spending his weekend taking down the tree-fort my dad built twenty years ago. BC Parks just saw it, and duct-taped a BY ORDER OF PARK OFFICE notice to the decaying structure, advising us we were required to remove it immediately. 






















































  • Thankful for mammograms.
  • and all the hidden things that can be seen from blood tests
  • Thankful for dentists who convince their patients that smiles are important. 
  • Thankful for this cloudy Sunday afternoon.


Thanks for stopping by.
Moisturize your forehead, rehydrate hourly and feel your boobs. 
joxo





Thursday, August 4, 2022

Just a Lovely Lovely Wednesday

 Three (or more) Things I'm Thankful For:

1. I love that when I get Mitzi serviced, I have free wifi, a water cooler, and a desk in a quiet area available for my use. 

2. I am so so grateful that Covid and the accompanying shortage of workers has made us a more grace-filled people. The publisher that prints our Focus magazines had to close for two weeks because of assorted ailments; there was no one to run the presses. Meh. The magazines will get here when they get here. So many things are outside our control; worrying and fretting is a waste of time. So glad we're chill after we've looked into all options.

3. I got mail! From Hungary! And I love it so hard. It's an original watercolour with ink called The Fairytale Enchanted Forest that I ordered a couple weeks (?) (months?) ago. 

























4. Met Heather for pedi's after work, then we saw a movie. AND SHE HAD MORE BLUE HYDRANGEA FOR ME. 






















































5. I have friends coming over tomorrow night to paint rocks with me. SO excited. 


6. Woot! BRIO magazine:

My article. And one of my rocks. 























































Such an unexpectedly good day. 

Thanks for reading, grab a crayon, colour something, then feel your boobs. 

joxo