Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oh Glorious Day - Sunday April 17, 2011

What a beautiful day! The sun is shining so brightly and I can see my tulips coming through the ground. Now I have to hide them from the dear. I cannot believe so much snow melted while we were in the US. I don't think I have seen this much "grass" showing in April since we moved here in 2006. It has been a little over two months since I have written. Where does the time go? At my age it is so hard to remember what we have done during that time.

In March Jake turned 17 - now that does make me feel old. Tyler and Terry Shannon had birthdays and it was so good to see them while we were in Chattanooga. Ray had the opportunity of preaching a revival at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church in Carrollton, Georgia the 3rd - 6th of April. On March 29th we drove to Calgary and stayed at the Acclaim hotel (great place to stay and PARK if you are flying out from Calgary). We then had to be at the airport at 5:00am on March 30th. We flew to DFW and thankfully Max Graber was able to come through security so we got to visit with a friendly face but no family :( Because of some work he does with his company at the airport he was able to use his badge and visit with us. It was very good to catch up with him.

Then we flew out to Chattanooga. We picked up a rent car and met my sister, Marylyn and her husband, Doyle for a Mexican food fix at Amigos. Yummy! The next day we drove to Spring City, Tennessee and visited Auntie Ruth in the nursing home. She actually called me by my first and middle name! Yeah. Then we drove to Crossville to see Auntie Bell and Uncle Wenton (it snowed on the drive over and I almost got sick). She was doing very well but since we have been back home to Canada she has been in the hospital with a lot of fluid on her heart and lungs. As we started back to Chattanooga we drove to Lenoir City and met our sweet sister-in-law, Linda Shannon, at Cracker Barrel. It was so good to connect with Linda. We stayed at Marylyn and Doyle's home in Red Bank during the time of our visit in Tennessee.

We were able to get together with Ray's brother Bob and his wife Sharon, brother Terry and his wife Darlene. We actually drove to East Ridge and ate at the Epicurean. Thanks Bob for the treat. The next morning we drove to Carrollton and arrived at Becky & Robert Ellington's home in Carrollton that afternoon. What a beautiful drive - so many dogwoods and azaleas blooming! We began the revival services on Sunday morning and with different groups providing the music for the services it was so enjoyable. Of course the Pleasant Ridge choir did an excellent job under Angie's leadership and Becky's playing :) Thank you so much for what you added to the worship. Ray preached powerful messages at each service. We were treated at lunch and dinner to be welcomed into several of the member's homes. We gained weight but did so with a smile on our face.... great southern cooks. Thanks to each of you who opened your home to us (we have thank you notes on the way). We stayed in Carrollton the day after the revival and Ray got to enjoy a 2nd round of golf with Brett and his dad. During our visit I got to see Calloway Gardens in all it's glory. I will attach a picture or two.

At this point we returned to Chattanooga and enjoyed the next evening playing Shanghai with Marylyn, Doyle, their son David and his wife Tracy who had driven up from North Carolina. Way to go Tracy - the rookie was good.

Saturday was a day set aside to honor Marylyn and Doyle for 50 years of marriage (anniversary is in June but their children wanted Ray and I to be there for the celebration - so it was held early). Susie and her family arrived from middle Tennessee. Joni, our brother David's wife drove from Pennsylvania with their 4 younger sons, Andrew, Benjamin, Wesley and Jesse. David's son Connor lives in California and was working. David & Tracy's son, Dustin, is serving in the US Navy and is on the USS Paul Hamilton and unable to join us. So there were 16 of us who enjoyed a lunch at home with a beautiful cake and yummy BLUE BELL ice cream.

David Wayne treated the family to a night at The Redneck - Italian Wedding. It was a murder mystery theater. We had seats front and center and they sure including most of us in the evenings events....whether we wanted to or not. I ended up dancing (yes dancing) with the mafia dad "Poppie" and the redneck bride's sister took a liking to THE SILVER FOX (that would be Ray). She put a lot of lipstick on his cheek. Jesse was a suspect in the murder as well as Bailey. Marylyn & Doyle had to go front and center to be recognized as well as David and Tracy who were celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary that day. Congrats kids.

We had a full pew plus at Oakwood BC where Marylyn and Doyle attend. It was fun to worship as a family. We all returned to M&D's for lunch (great ham) and people started heading out to their various states.

Ray drove back to Carrollton to visit with Dan Dockery on Monday after having lunch with brother Bob. I took off with Darlene and her daughter Carrie and her son Carter to do a little shopping.

Ray and I continued visiting with other family members. We saw my Auntie "Cooter" Clara Victoria and Uncle Pete and visited with Auntie M (Marme or Marleita). On Tuesday night we went to Terry and Darlene's home and got to play with their three grandsons. Terry & Darlene's son Tyler and his wife Amy were there with their two sons Owen and Tanner. Handsome Shannon boys. Carrie's husband Mike also joined us with Carter.

As our time drew to a close we felt the need to revisit Amigos for a last Mexican fix. We then said goodbye from the restaurant and headed to the airport. Checking into the Chattanooga airport is sooooo much better than checking in at DFW or Atlanta! It was a sad day though to again fly through DFW and NOT see our family. It was almost 10:30pm by the time we got out of the Calgary airport and heading to our hotel. No snow - yeah! The next morning we planned on an early start so we could get home early. Oops - 10" of snow the next morning! It was a very slow drive the first couple of hours and it took 12 hours to arrive safely at home. Thank you dear Jesus.

Before leaving for Tennessee and Georgia we had finished up our college/singles Bible study and got to see a Monday night baptism. Thats right Monday night. Ray had baptized two young boys, Leif & Sage Gillett, and a young lady, Ember Selnes on Sunday morning the 27th of March. That afternoon he received a call from one of our college students, Roy Bai. Ray had the opportunity of leading him to the Lord earlier on and he had decided he needed to follow Christ in believers baptism. Since we were leaving on Tuesday morning and he would be gone back home to Calgary before we returned from the states.... what could you do. We called our folks and about 50 of them showed up Monday night along with 5 of Roy's friends from school and we had a baptismal service. God is so very good.

Bridget and Josh Zylstra waited until we got back into Canada before having baby "Hannah Lynn" - yeah - we got a girl. We have four more babies coming but we know two of them are boys.

Now, for what is going on with us! In order for us to apply for an extension to stay in Canada to pastor - immigration required that the church see if they could find a Canadian pastor. The church put out an advertisement and a student at the seminary in Cochrane who will graduate in May felt led to send his resume. Trevor and Amy Schaffrick are now being looked at as the possible next pastor for Cornerstone. Ray and I cannot be sad at this turn of events SINCE we have prayed that a Canadian pastor would come to the forefront since we came to Canada almost 5 years ago. We will let you know what the outcome of all this will be. God's timing is always better than ours!

We need to head out to the service at longterm care and then the Palm Sunday service at the Anglical church - so talk to you later - remember God is good all the time - we serve a mighty God.

If you have a chance to watch my song of the month on youtube my deliverer is coming in honor of Rich Mullins.... be sure you do.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How Deep The Father's Love For Me

It will be Valentine's Day tomorrow and as I am making chocolate covered strawberries for the college/singles who will be over later... I am reminded of how much God loves me (us). He is the type of Father who would definitely be doing something "special" for us to show His love - wait - HE already did.
"How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom."
Remember, no matter, what your circumstances are this Valentine's Day in the year 2011, GOD LOVES YOU. And speaking of circumstances - one of my readings for this morning was as follows: "Cast all your anxiety on Me. Unless you deal with it properly, anxiety can be toxic - both to you and to others. Simply releasing it is not sufficient. You need to project it vigorously away from yourself, toward Me. Consider the following illustration: If you accidentally pulled the pin out of a hand grenade, you would not hold onto the grenade or drop it near your feet. Nor would you pitch it to another person. You would throw it as far away as possible from yourself and others. When you cast your anxiety on Me, I remove it so far away that it cannot harm anyone. In fact, I delight in doing this very thing, because I care for you so compassionately.
EVER since the Fall, human emotions have been out of kilter. People ofter "act out" painful feelings without even realizing what is bothering them. Or they may bottle up their emotions and pretend everything is all right. I urge you to be self-controlled and alert so you can identify hurtful feelings and confess them to Me. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you with this. As you yield to His work within you, your anxious feelings will subside. My Spirit can accomplish holy changes in you--producing Love, Joy, Peace...and self-control."
See I Peter 5:7-8; Isaiah 49:13; Romans 8:9; Galatians 5:22-23.
(taken from 'Jesus Lives' by Sarah Young)
Ray and I had the opportunity to ride around and enjoy the country yesterday - it was warm and beautiful. We stopped in at the Hoover home and I just sat and watched all the birds at her feeder. I am putting a couple of the pictures from her home (birds and horses) on the blog for you to enjoy also.
God bless each of you as you live the life you have been given with great JOY on this fun day. Hope

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February - the month for love to bloom

View of our sidewalk with minimal snow this year.....

OK - Valentine's Day is what everyone thinks of when they see February on the calendar - right? But there are other important things in February.

5th - Hope's birthday..... ugh!

7th - Ed Peterson's birthday

9th - Luke will turn 13 - woohoo

23rd - Niece, Ariel will turn 17

28th - Caleb will turn 15

Looks like we are all getting older - now what would the alternative be?

I just looked back in January and did not show birthdays and important dates!

I mentioned that grandson COLE turned 11 on the 1st and sent pictures of his paintball party; friend Janice had a birthday on the 7th, nephew Aaron turned 11 on the 8th (only 1 week younger than Cole). Sister-in-law Darlene had a birthday on the 20th, Ray's brother Bob had a birthday on the 22nd, and my kidney-in-love Liz had a birthday on the 28th. (I will try to do a better job of mentioning special dates.)

On the 20th of January Ray and I rode to Cochrane, AB with Dick & Shirlee Hale. The Midwest Baptist Association was hosting pastors and their wives at a retreat. The roads were not easy to travel (10 hour drive) but the company was great. The planners had thought of everything - we enjoyed our time away. Then the long drive home. Did I tell you that living in the Peace Country means you spend a lot of time ON THE ROAD?

I am continuing to care for preschoolers on Wednesday mornings as the young moms continue their Bible study time. Carole and Patty are sure a blessing to help out during these times. Thanks to Mona for leading the ladies and for Ranea for assisting.

Ray has been asked by Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church in Carrollton, Georgia to preach a revival in April. We are so excited to visit a lot of our friends who for three years have traveled north to help us with our Vacation Bible School. Such faithful folks - can't wait to spend some time on their turf. Thank you pastor Danny for the invitation.

Since the church is only a couple hours from our family in Chattanooga, TN - we are planning on seeing brothers, sisters and aunts while we are there in the neighborhood.

I just talked to Laura in Arlington and emailed Matt in Corinth and it seems the entire Metroplex is iced in. Everyone be careful!

On February 14th when hearts indeed think of love - remember that the Lord Jesus loved us so much that He gave up His life on earth to make a way for us to experience freedom from sin...... oh what love the Father has lavished on us.

Praise Him!! Love you all, Hope

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Papa and Peyton

Here is a picture of Ray removing snow from our driveway (he also did all the sidewalks) that fell all night and is still coming down.

I forgot to share one of the joys from our trip (I am sure I forgot more than one)! Peyton got a bicycle for Christmas and we went to the church parking lot in Corinth and he was riding in about 15 minutes..... Matt was very innovative in his teaching technique.

Friday, January 7, 2011


OK - I guess I pushed the wrong button!!!! I did not have my pictures on the blog or finish with a song of the month.
PICTURES - top left - da girls at lunch - we did not consume any of the stuff in bottles!!
next right - Luke in his paintball attire
center - Cole and his great cake
next left - Matt, Heather, Cole & Peyton at the 3D Narnia
left - family photo at Paul & Laura's home
center - da boys
right - driving to Calgary - sunset with a cross

Ray just went up to the church and our total Lottie Moon Offering was $13, 710 - what a faithful group of folks.
SONG FOR JANUARY - Press On sung by Selah
When the valley is deep
when the mountain is steep
when the body is weary
when we stumble and fall
when the choices are hard
when we're battered and scarred
when we've spent our resources
when we've given our all
In Jesus' name, we press on
In Jesus' name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on
In Jesus' name, we press on
In Jesus' name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on
To press on
As most of you know we are waiting on God as he orders our steps into the future. The church has had to "advertise" for a pastor and see if there is a "Canadian" pastor - if not we will then be able to apply for an extension. Please pray for us as we wait on the Lord to enlighten us as to His perfect plan for our lives. Blessings on each of you in 2011

2 0 1 1

We have zipped through another year. I have no idea what happened to 2010. Does it seem that way to you? Back in November our church surprised us with the annoucement that they were sending us "home for Christmas". What a wonderful shock. It did not take us long to book those tickets. We decided to fly out of Calgary and prayed for good weather for the drive. Before we took that drive we had to drive to Edmonton on the 15th for an early morning appointment with the dermatologist for Ray to have a basal cell carcinoma removed from his nose. Now that drive was another matter. We heard that the 15th would produce a snow storm so we opted to drive to Edmonton on the 14th. As our 44th wedding anniversary was the 18th we thought we would use this time for a celebration of that event. The drive on the 14th was full of snow and slush being thrown onto your windshield preventing you from seeing the road. God as usual provided us safety and we arrived at our hotel. We opted to stay on the south side close to the doctors office. The wind and snow HOWLED all night Tuesday and all day Wednesday. We ate a lovely breakfast at the hotel while looking at a great fireplace. COZY. We decided to "venture" out that afternoon and went to a movie theater. That was quite the adventure. The snow was piled up on the roads and parking lots. But it was an adventure. Then we got to eat at the Olive Garden. Yummy!

The next morning we got to Ray's appointment and he actually went in a little early. He got 10 stitches and I was given instructions on how to remove them. Oh fun. Ray insisted on driving home as the roads were not that great. I honestly do not know how he could see with that big bandage on his nose. But again our God was most mericful.

After arriving home we unpacked and packed for our drive to Calgary after church on Sunday. We had decided to stay at the Delta Hotel which is at the airport... nice call. We used Park N Jet and I would sure recommend it for your parking needs. We dropped the car off and they delivered us to the hotel. I was almost too excited to sleep and we had to be up at 4:00am to checkin at 5:00am. All went without a hitch even with our "body scans".

Upon our arrival in Texas Paul picked us up and we went to the bank and took care of some business and then picked up Ron & Carol Hey's extra car. WHAT A BLESSING. We used it the full 2-1/2 weeks. We drove to Matt and Heather's home in Corinth and got to love and hug on Cole and Peyton.

Christmas Eve morning we drove to Paul & Laura's home in Arlington where the entire family spent the day. Everyone was playing games, cards, phones, Ipads and went easy and grilled hamburgers!! Good call on the easy meal. We also did our usual family pictures (thanks MATT). It is his least favorite thing to do but since we were not opening presents (except for Ray and I getting a Kindle from the kids) he could have our attention.

Matt and Heather spent Christmas day with her family in Azle and Laura's family got together at Lesly's (Laura's sister) home in Arlington. Ray and I were invited but I had bronchitis and the general feeling bad delayed our visit by a couple of hours. We enjoyed that morning with Larry & Linda Carter who provided Motel 6 (and literally did keep the light on for us) while we were in Arlington.

We enjoyed attending a basketball tournament that Caleb (14 and 6'3") was involved in. It was a kick to see Jacob (16) driving - our firstborn grandson - how is that possible?
We drove back north to Corinth the 30th and got to see the 3D Narnia. Good movie. I have a picture of Matt's family in their glasses. Our Cole (#4 grandson) turned 11 on the 1st - our millennium baby. Heather had made the best cake (see picture) for his paintball party. What a blast - I would have loved to get out there... I can do a lot "in my mind" but the reality is a little different. Paul brought Luke up to get some shooting in and he and his brothers AND MOM had been at an all night lockin at their church. He was moving a little slow.
We had theopportunity to attend services both Sundays at LABC and see so many of our friends. Matt and Heather drove down to Arlington to spend Sunday with us and we enjoyed our time as the entire family was under one roof. It was very hard to tell our youngest grandsons goodbye.
We had a small friends get together at Linda and Larry's home Sunday night the 2nd and it was a fun time to hear how everyone was doing. I actually got to go to lunch with all of these girlfriends too (see picture). It was good to see that Janice & Max are getting their home built back after the flood in September.
We flew home on the 5th and got out of the airport heading north around 3:00pm. After 7-1/2 hours we stopped for the night in Valleyview. It was too dark and the slush that was being thrown on the windows prevented us from seeing the road - let alone watch for the animals on the road. Thursday morning we started the last trek home and found that from Peace River to Fairview the roads were not that great. God in His mightly plan for us kept us safe on two occasions that we know of and we are as ever THANKFUL to Him.
On arriving home we went straight to the carwash, then at the house we went through mail - washed clothes (Thanks Mert & Ivan for the new washer and dryer), cleaned out the freezer (I told Ray the first pretty day we needed to do that and he said - it is about as pretty as it is going to get), put stuff away and rejoiced in being home.
Thank you to our church family in Canada for the opportunity to be with our family for the first time since 2005. You blessed us more than you can ever know.