Naming one thousand gifts… day 13, 14 and 15



207. sumac hugging the banks of the upper Don River Valley

208. church spire above urban sprawl

209. old brick houses that someone still loves

210. hugging Dad

211. hugging Mom

212. playing silly hand clapping games with my neice

213. phone calls home

214. realizing home and the place you grew up are two different things

215. split rail fences

216. patina, erosion, moss, and all things that measure time passing

217. finding the one trophy I ever won for being a ‘good citizen’ in grade school

218. new and old things to photograph

219. preparing a meal for my parents

220. Hummingbird at Mom’s feeder

221. the kindness of the Go bus driver who let me ride with no cash to pay for my fare

222. moon shining on  my bed

223. internet access after a few days without it

224. playing childhood piano in the livingroom

225. good food, wine and conversation in local cafe

Naming one thousand gifts… day 3


32. blue and red spinnakers on distant sail racers

33. light and shadow playing in the trees

34. Japanese paper thin petals of Oriental Poppy

35. hearing yes to your question

36. discussing new ways to be healthy

37. having your Dad say he’s proud… of you

38. forgiveness

39. being OK with being who you are

40. friends who text me at 6 am… because they are up praying

41. giant peaches and retro beach towns

42. ducks that eat from my fingers

43. sunshine over soccer pitch

44. caramel eyes and velvet ears of Emmy dog

45. fresh strawberries over greens

46. eating together at the big table

47. the sound of the dishwasher running

48. coffee date with my husband

49. a lifetime of books, how the old ones smell

Good Friday 2011


Grace Redeemed

Sleep eludes me.
My spirit engulfed by guilt, grief and loss,
I rise before dawn
and walk to the garden alone,
seeking solace,
seeking peace.

The garden is cool, and the sweet scent of jasmine hangs in the air.
I seek out a quiet place,
and lose myself in thoughts of you.
Your words, your touch, your eyes.
I don’t know if I can carry on alone.

The events of the past week play out in my mind.
From joyous celebration to sudden death.
And I,
weak willed bystander,
fair weather friend,
watched from the sidelines, powerless to help you.

I fall to my knees and pray for absolution.

I feel a presence before I hear a sound.
A stranger is here, standing close beside me.
“Who are you?  What do you want?”, I ask through my tears.

A long moment’s silence and then he speaks.
He speaks my name.

I look up in confusion.
Is this someone’s cruel trick, or a ghost?
He should be dead in the grave,
but there is no denying the voice;
His sweet voice.

I rise to my feet, and look
into the eyes of my beloved.
He touches my cheek with warm fingers,
forgiveness in his smile.

Grace restored, I enter his embrace.
And then, with the lightness of burdens lifted
I turn, laughing with delight, and run to tell the others.

Lesley-Anne Evans, 2009

Peace, at last.


Rest in peace my beautiful boy. I will miss you and all you have done to enrich my life. Some day we will walk again on streets of gold.

I love you, Buddy.

‘Mom’

B U D D Y   E V A N S

Adopted home to live with us Thanksgiving 2005, at approximately 5 yrs of age.

Cancer took him from us far too soon, April 15, 2010

My Buddy



This is my attempt at writing through what is currently a very sad and difficult time for our family. I’ve written about Buddy, our German Shorthaired Pointer, many times before, including here, here, here, here and here. He is the inspiration of much writing over the past five years, as he has been my constant companion and noble friend.  Now we are in our last days with him at home. He has cancer in his beautiful birdy nose, and it’s aggressive, and affecting his ability to breathe. Ironically, I recognize it is about my Buddy, breathing.

Buddy needs us to let him go.

The letter below is words that our Buddy might say to us, his family. Words expressing some of the many moments that bond us, and granting us permission for his peaceful release.

It’s not the first time for us, we’ve lost three dogs over the years we’ve been married, yet it doesn’t get any easier to deal with. So many emotions. Such a feeling of powerlessness and loss. Yet there’s a foundation of trust that God will be enough for us as a family, and will comfort and heal our hurting hearts as we walk with him beside us.

And through it all, I’m believing in a God that has a future planned for his creatures without words. My hope in all of our pain, is that one day my family will be with Buddy again.

With a deep sadness,

Lesley-Anne


Dear family,

When I first met Mom at the SPCA, I laid down on her feet, doing my best to keep my excitement under check because she seemed to show more than just a passing interest in me. She took me into the visiting room and stayed for a while. Then she went away, came back and brought others with her. You all petted me, looked into my eyes and you smiled. I could tell you were kind. I knew I could trust you. I couldn’t believe my good fortune, because I’d been in and out of the pound and SPCA for what seemed like forever, and then you came.

You took me. We went home. I stayed. My sleepover never ended. I remember being nervous at first when you left me for any length of time. I just wanted to be with you every minute. So I howled when you left, got a little frantic and paced around the house, pressed my nose against the window glass waiting for you, hoping you would come back. You always did.

Now I had a family. Claire was afraid of me at first, but I just waited. I was so big compared to her little. So I laid down and rolled over and grinned and tried to show her that I was gentle and loving and not to be afraid of.

I know I was fat, and my body didn’t fit my age or energy level. But you had a plan for that too. Soon we started to walk every day along a beautiful creek with smells of wild things and birds that would set my heart beating faster and faster. I felt safe walking there with you. You talked to me. Sometimes you sang. And then we would come home again where I would rest and watch you do all the interesting things you do. I began to feel a rhythm to my life with you.

One of my favourite times of the day were when I woke up each morning. Mom would come down the stairs and say in a bright voice, “Are you hungry boy?” “Oh yes, Oh yes,” I would pant, and bounce and turn in circles and show you just how happy I was at that idea. In the afternoon after we had picked up the kids at school, I knew that it was time to eat again, and I would dance for you, barking sometimes with excitement. “Speak!” you said, so I spoke in my loud voice and smiled at you. I love food! Even now I get excited when I hear you say, “Time for your pills, Buddy,” because I know there will be food.

Our home is heaven to me. Lying in the sun on the front porch without a worry in the world, watching quail cross the road, listening to the sounds of morning while you fold clothes in the laundry room, greeting the mailman and neighbours as they walk by. “What a good dog,” the neighbour lady says… and I think, I’m not being good, I just know there’s nowhere better to go than right here. I used to run away all the time, but I think I was running trying to find someone who’d love me like you do. And the backyard, full of birds and creatures that I can smell and point at and hunt for hours, the backyard was an adventure every time you let me go outside. And you didn’t leave me there like my last people did. You brought me back inside, kept me warm and dry and honoured to be your companion.

I know I didn’t come to you perfect, and I’m sorry for the times when my good nose led me to butter dishes, loaves of bread, oven warm muffins and cinnamon buns, and the Belgian chocolates that Malcolm brought home from school. I was so sick that night after the chocolates, and I know it was hard for Mom to lie on the floor with me all night, but it helped me feel better. With you, I’ve had the best second half of my life. The first half is gone from my mind now. I never could imagine having a family like you all. When Dad let me start sleeping in the couch I felt spoiled and undeserving of that, but I also felt loved. So I laid on the couch a lot after that, knowing I must be special to deserve that place.

Malcolm’s bed was another place I didn’t expect to sleep, but laying there beside him I felt safe. I never had to worry about being alone anymore. Graeme walked with me, and I know he told me things he never told anyone else. When he trained me to be a visiting Pet’s and People dog… I really felt like I had a really important job to do and it made me proud. Claire called me ‘baby’, and the happy stories she told me as she played beside me on the floor were always fun. I walked over her toys, and I didn’t mean to knock them down, but I did. I just wanted to be close up to all of you, touch you with my paws, let you know I was still here. Like when I would climb right up on Dad as he sat on the couch, I just wanted to just be closer than I could be, maybe sit in his lap to show him I loved him. I would follow Mom around the house most days, looking up at her to say,  “Hello,” and, “I’m still here, and I still love you,” and, “Do you want to do something together soon? Walk?”

I know you are all worried about me now, because I feel it and I see it in your eyes. I know I’m sick. I’ve tried to fight it, but it’s too much for me. I’m so tired. I want to stay with you, because it hasn’t been long enough for us. Five years has gone by so very fast. You look at me and cry, and I want to comfort you, so I look back into your eyes for a long time to let you know it’s OK. I trust you. I always have trusted you with my life. And now I trust you with the ending too. Thank you for giving me a second chance at a happy life. Thank you that I was good enough to keep.

God will make me well again soon, and I will wait for you.

I love you with all my heart,

Buddy

xoxoxoxo

Poetry Friday006


I’ve got relationships on the brain at the moment… complicated, fickle, and utterly transcendent as they are.  So I’ve dug up some poems that echo with the universal experience of living with and among other humans. Enjoy.


Words 1

Today
I have grown weary of utterances
both yours and mine
spoken, heard, yet
not sinking in
words ripple out to
the horizon
… gone…

Yesterday’s words return like echoes across
a darkly organic lake
alive with possibilities of leaping trout
and pan fried filets for supper

The Day After

He drove you to the airport, came home,
sat on the couch, looked into my eyes, and said
“Thank you for everything”.

I had to wonder if I had done anything at all
other than hold my tongue at the appropriate moment,
serve another coffee, another hot supper,
engage in another verbal volley to offset your negative remarks,
or say ‘uh-huh’ in response to your rhetorical babbling.
Did I really do anything?

OK, I did stifle resentment and disbelief just below the surface,
like when I dressed for Christmas dinner, my vision of ‘festive femininity’,
and was greeted with your, “Are you going somewhere?”
rather than an affirmation or even a small compliment, man to woman.
“Jeez! Did you just fricken say that?” I thought, but didn’t voice,
instead letting the hurt pool in my eyes while
I mashed potatoes, basted the fowl one last time in 350 degree hot oil.
Did you have an inkling of what constricted my heart —
the desire to lash out, wound you as deeply as you wounded me?
And there were times when I did… sort of. Did you hear that bit of sarcasm when
I let it leak? But that would take some emotional intelligence on your part.

So no, I don’t feel like I deserve any thanks —
nor do I want any.
I’d rather take a stiff chalk brush and wipe your most recent scribblings
from the blackboard of my familial life.

By now your plane has deposited you far enough away.
Here I am searching for normal,
…the day after.

Wonder

In my ordinary life:  divine favour.

How your dark lashes veil a sure and tested sounding
And, how loon crying, echoes the call of dawn on Okanagan Lake.

How a breath of Claire’s freshly washed hair somehow expands my lungs
And, how my lips feel, against your unshaven cheek.

How the backyard lilac opening, diffuses a heady spring
And, summer breaks, under my tongue, with chocolate bits of a dipped DQ cone.

And the way I feel,
stepping wet from the shower, into your waiting eyes.

Understanding Forgiveness


For those of you just joining us, we are looking at the subject of forgiveness with my friend and fellow blogger Donna Lowe. I introduced you to Donna in my recent interview with her.

Today, Donna is looking at one Bible story that has forgiveness written all over it. It’s the story of David, a man who was called, ‘A man after God’s own heart’, yet David needed God’s forgiveness in his life too.  David was guilty of some pretty big and ugly stuff, including adultery and murder! So, David’s story can help us to see that God is able and willing to forgive us of the big and little stuff, if we come to him in the right attitude and motivation of heart and spirit, like David did.

I trust that as you read today’s blog you will come to a fresh or a renewed understanding of God’s forgiveness, available to you and for you.

Understanding Forgiveness – Part One

David – A symbol of God’s abundant Pardon.

We all need forgiveness.  We all have people we need to exonerate.  Though we know we should, and maybe we even know why, most of us do not know “how” to forgive.  Sadly, too many people are living as prisoners, bound by the chains of unforgiveness.

Forgiveness is not a human inclination.  Whether giving or receiving forgiveness, we tend to reject the idea that it’s the best way.  True forgiveness is contingent upon our faith in Jesus.  Without Him, forgiveness is impossible!

As we begin to understand the amazing pardon God has made available for us, both to give and receive, it is my hope and prayer that you would experience the freedom in forgiveness and that those chains loosen

God knew it would be hard for us to understand, and because He knew we would always be looking for a “loophole,” God gave us many clear illustrations of what forgiveness really means, infact, it is the central theme of the entire Bible.  David’s story was no exception.

David was just a boy when he was hand picked by God to be the future King of Israel.  You might remember the story of David and his famous fight with the giant Goliath.  David did many wonderful things for God.  At one point God even called David,  “a man after His own heart.”  However, it is David’s fall into sin that is the focus of our attention today.

Why are we focusing on David’s sin, if there was so much that was good about him.  The short answer is because God did.  “And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David.  Behold I have made him a witness to the peoples.”  Isaiah 55:3. God used David’s story as a symbol of His abundant pardon.

Here is a quick synopsis of David’s fall:

After David became King of Israel, the Israelites went to battle against the Syrians.  While his army was at war, David remained in the comfort of his palace.  At the end of a blistering hot day, David wandered out onto the roof top to enjoy the cool of the evening.  From this vantage point, David was able to see into the home of Bathsheba.  David’s gaze fell upon this beautiful woman as she was bathing.

Bathsheba was married to Uriah.  He was the loyal commander of David’s army.  Though David was also married, the temptation was more than he could resist.  While Uriah was out fighting for the nation of Israel, David sent for Bathsheba, slept with her, and she became pregnant.

Rather than owning up to his mistake, David tried to cover it up.  He sent for Uriah, and on several occasions, tried to manipulate Uriah into sleeping with Bathsheba, to alter the evidence.  Uriah, loyal to the army, refused to indulge himself while the others were still at war.  When that plan failed, David conspired and intentionally had Uriah sent to the front lines, so that he would be killed in combat.

Because God is Holy, he cannot condone sin.  The penalty for sin is death!  However, because of His amazing Grace, He had a plan for reconciliation.  Even before we knew we needed it – God prepared a way for us.  From David’s story, let’s try to grasp the principles God wants us to learn.

Does God have restrictions?

God’s forgiveness is abundant, while we have many conditions.  We will forgive some people, but not others.  We find some offenses easier to forgive, while others are just too big.  We will forgive someone once, maybe twice, but we will not be a doormat for anyone.

In Isaiah 55:8&9 God reminds us, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9.  We simply must understand forgiveness from a Godly perspective!

Who Qualifies?

Isaiah 55:1a reads, “HO!  Every one who thirsts, come to the waters.”  Not long ago I heard an amazing teaching on the single word “Ho.”  The word is spoken is a loud shout, coming from the inner soul.  It is like a deep groaning that surfaces and cannot be contained.  “Ho” portrays God’s longing to get this word out to the people.  “Ho!  Every one who thirsts,” qualifies for God’s promise.  We all have a thirst.  It is the deep longing inside each of us that only God can satisfy.  Forgiveness from God, it is like water to a parched soul.

How much does it cost?

God accepts us as we are.  Because Jesus paid the price on the cross, forgiveness is free to anyone who seeks Him.  Isaiah 55:1b.  “And you who have no money come, buy and eat.  Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.”

How much is too much?

All sin is equal to God.  “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”  James 2:10.  God does not compare your sin, to mine, or mine to another’s and decide on some scale of “better or worse,” who will receive a pardon and who will not, as we do.  You and I, David the murderer, and even Billy Graham, we are all equal to one another in God’s eyes.

What is the limit?

We often limit the number of times we will forgive one another.  Imagine if God had said to David, “David, I definitely could have forgiven you, if all you had done was sneak a peak at Bathsheba while she was bathing.  Ok, maybe, just maybe, I might have been able to forgive the adultery.  Fool me once, shame on you!  Fool me twice shame on Me.  But David – three strikes and you are out!  You just had to go and murder Uriah.  You can’t expect me to forgive you now!”   God in His Grace forgave David for His sins.

Time sensitive offer.

“Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is Near.  Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “  Isaiah 55:6&7

We do not know when our lives will end, nor do we know the life span of another.  This is a decision that demands immediate attention.

Have you accepted God’s abundant pardon?  Do you have someone you need to forgive?

Seek the Lord while He may be found.  Call upon Him while He is near.

Shalom Aleichem.

~dl.

Another day of grace…


Something I wrote a couple of years ago seems to fit today. A grey winter’s day with a feeling of heaviness, continued concern about the health of my dog, but also expectation that God can step in at any time and change things.

Just Enough Blue

“Enough blue to make a shirt,” is one of many odd yet endearing sayings that I carry around with me, thanks to my British family heritage.   This particular saying was used by my Grandmother Christina Cook, and I learned that it meant the sky showed some promise of opening up to a better day.  Grandma would say this when the sky was cloudy but showed just a hint of blue, just enough to plan with, or consider doing something with, that day.   It usually meant an activity like a picnic, or a fishing trip to the Grande River, or a visit to my Uncle’s dairy barn next door.

I walked down to Sarson’s beach on Friday and stood by the shoreline in the quieted park, tourists gone, boats winterized, and not even a kayak breaking the perfect, clear surface of our lake.  I guess you could qualify the day as mostly cloudy, and chilly enough to wish I had worn gloves.  Standing there, looking across the mirrored expanse of Lake Okanagan I saw light.  It took me a moment to ‘see’ that the light was glowing because, even though I wasn’t aware of it, somewhere there was a break in the clouds.

I looked up and searched until I found the tiny piece of blue that was responsible for the glowing land on the other side.  There it was, in the words of my maternal grandmother, “enough blue to make a shirt” or, in this case, enough blue to create a patch of sunshine on the west side near Peachland.  How interesting, I thought.  It didn’t last long.  Even as I watched, the sunlight faded, and then another patch of light illuminated a different piece of land some distance away.

Today there is no blue, just grey clouds hanging low over the valley and blessing us with the occasional sprinkling of rain.  I haven’t even ventured outside yet and it’s almost lunch time.  I feel rather melancholy, weather and Mozart playing on my mind.  But what I feel is not depression, it’s contentment to wait.  My spirits are quieted by the knowledge that there may be blue tomorrow or the next day.  That memory of the glimpse of blue on Friday is carried inside me.  I saw blue, and it’s still there behind the clouds.

Tomorrow may be sunny or cloudy or something in-between.  What I carry into tomorrow is ‘enough blue to make a shirt’… and it’s just enough for me to hope.”

Lesley-Anne Evans, 2008