Friday, October 27, 2017

Five Minute Friday: OVERCOME

Once again I'm linking up with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday community, writing for five minutes on a given prompt. Today's word is OVERCOME.

I have found as the mom of children with a disability that progress often happens very slowly. In some cases, it seems like it will never happen. I look at something Jonathan is having difficulty with and think, "He has been struggling with this same issue for so long now. Will he ever overcome it? Does he even want to?"

There's one particular area (which I won't specify) that he has had a lot of challenge with. Even earlier this year, at 14 years of age, he just wasn't "getting it." We would remind him and try to explain why he needed to be doing something different, but nothing really changed. It didn't seem that important to him. And it wasn't something we could force him to do, at 14  or any other age.

But this summer, almost overnight, something clicked. He figured it out. He started trying the new method and having success; and when we praised and encouraged him, his motivation increased. It's like he was standing in front of a low wall, staring at it with trepidation, moving closer and then backing away ... and then just like that, he stepped over it. There's still more to be done to be really finished with the process --  but he overcame the obstacle.

Because of this, I think I will be less likely to be discouraged when the next goal seems far-off and unachievable. It's OK, whether you have a disability or not, to move at your own pace, and overcome your obstacles when you're ready.

photo Jeannie Prinsen 2014


Monday, October 23, 2017

Poem: Mass for a fallen leaf

I wrote this poem a few years ago. It's appropriate to the season, so I thought I'd share it here.

 photo pixabay

Mass for a fallen leaf

On the street I saw a yellow leaf that

a car had driven over, leaving a

tire print resembling a staff of music.

I looked around for someone to show it

to, but everyone was hurrying through

sheets of rain. I gave it my most solemn

attention for a moment. I could have

taken the leaf home and dried it between

the pages of a book, but I left it

at rest on the pavement. I saw this as

a minor act of love: I thought someone

else might see it, commiserate with its

flattened, tired condition, read the notes, and

take comfort – just as I did when I walked

off, humming its autumnal requiem.       


Friday, October 20, 2017

Five Minute Friday: DISCOVER

Today I'm linking up with the Five Minute Friday community, writing for five minutes on a given prompt. This week's word is DISCOVER.

I have been staring at the word "discover" all day, trying to think what to write about it.

Normally when we hyphenate this word at the end of a line, it looks like this:


"Dis" means reverse (as in disentangle), so "discover" means reversing the covering, as it were: revealing and showing something that was previously hidden.

But if we hyphenate "discover" in the wrong place at the end of a line, it might become


and then it's reminiscent of the old days when we used to listen to vinyl records: "Please turn that disc over; Side A is done."

And if we change the verb "discover" to the noun "discovery" and hyphenate that incorrectly at the end of a line, we might get 


which allows us to continue with the musical theme: "I never really liked disco very much."

These are some of the fascinating discoveries I have made while pondering the word "discover."

They may not be the most profound insights ever unearthed -- but I like to think that all the best discoveries come from a process of taking things apart, rearranging them, looking at them in new ways, trying and failing and trying again ... and eventually dis-covering what was hidden and revealing it for all the world to see.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Five Minute Friday: INVITE

Today I'm linking up with the Five Minute Friday community, writing for five minutes on a given prompt.

Today's word is INVITE.

Last weekend was Thanksgiving, and my brother and sister-in-law and niece came from out of town. There were six of us around the supper table on Saturday night (because Richard had to work till 7 p.m., he couldn't join us till later), so we cleared off our dual-purpose work-and-dining table for the meal. (By the way, it wasn't turkey: it was lasagna, garlic bread, salad, and pumpkin pie.)

As I was getting the table ready ahead of time, it occurred to me that we hadn't actually used it as a dining table in months.

Richard and I used to invite people over all the time. Now, we rarely do, unless it's having family over on birthdays for takeout pizza or a barbecue on the deck. 

Right now, mealtimes are hard, even just for the four of us. Jonathan is often cranky at suppertime, first refusing to come to the table, and then pushing away and screaming "DONE!" halfway through, even if we're eating something he likes (which we almost always are). It can be stressful and we don't really want to subject guests to that -- so we don't invite.

When I stop and think about this, I feel a bit sad. Sharing fellowship around a table is important, and it doesn't happen at our house as often anymore. I miss it. 

But maybe this is just a season we are in, and it will get better with time. I've learned from experience that the best approach is to have realistic expectations -- whether about hosting, or anything else in life.


Monday, October 09, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian (and those who wish they were!) friends and family. 

Yesterday in church we sang one of my favourite hymns, "Great is Thy Faithfulness." The second verse says

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

What a beautiful image: the changing seasons, the stars and planets, all of nature are witnesses to God's faithfulness and join us in praising Him.

Pastor Mark's sermon yesterday emphasized that what is fixed and immovable must be the basis for our thanksgiving. God is that fixed and immovable foundation. Thanking Him in all things, and then answering His call to love others and help those in need, should be our response.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Five Minute Friday: STORY

Today I'm joining the Five Minute Friday community again, writing for five minutes on a given prompt. (Thank goodness for these regular prompts; this fall my blog's been fairly quiet otherwise!)

Today's word is STORY.

I've joined one of our church's Life Groups this fall. My group, which is meeting every Tuesday night for about six weeks, is called "Redemption Reel." In this group we explore specific elements of our personal stories, see how God has been at work behind the scenes, and seek healing in areas that require it.

The first session was about our backstory. We were asked to plot important events from our life on a "life map," according to how positive or negative an impact they had on us.

The second session, just a few days ago, was about the characters in our story. Again we were given a life map on which we could add the names of significant people, write a couple of descriptive words about each, and place them on the chart according to whether their influence on us was positive or negative.

The truth is, though -- and this was acknowledged in our group -- that people and events often have a very mixed influence on our lives. We can look back at joyful, life-giving times with a person ... but if the relationship ends, then the strongest lingering emotion can be sadness or anger. That doesn't negate the good, but it can make it a lot harder to recall the good and to integrate that with the painful aspects. 

Conversely, we can go through a devastating event and then, at some point in the future, see that something positive came from it. Again, that doesn't negate the bad -- but it makes us realize that life is complicated. Our stories, and the people in them, are complicated. There's so much we don't know and can't yet see.

That's why it is important to trust that my story is being written by a good Author, who has perspective over everything in my life and everyone else's, and who is always working for our good.