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Welcome to my blog! Of course if we were visiting in person, I'd have the teapot out and we could sit and chat.
I'm honored you stopped by to listen to my thoughts and ponderings - and if you have a minute sometime, let me know you dropped by!

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

The God who Provides

   "The God Who Provides"... this phrase has been stuck in my head since last evening.  As I write this, it is Easter Sunday Morning.  And I find myself grateful on so many levels...

  We had a remarkable event last night.  We had gathered around the table, nine of us, for an Easter dinner.  I was missing mom, but she was minutes away, at Hospice House, and we were eating the ham she had provided.

  That is a funny story on its own... the ham.  Two weeks ago she asked dad to bring her the Save-on-Foods flyer.  She was looking for the free (for points) ham event that happens every year.  And she had enough points.  Sure enough, blazoned on the front of the flyer was the free ham... I thought she was going to muster up enough strength to go and get it, but I assured her I would pick it up and we would have it for Easter.

  So yes, yesterday we were eating this lovely ham, and buns lovingly made by mom's cousin, Virginia,.  We have been so blessed by MANY gifts of food these last weeks, and each gift has been appreciated!  It reminded me again of the outpouring of food after my dear nephew Chris died.  I still have one of the baskets that was full of food after his memorial.  To me it is a reminder of God's provision... we fed 1000 people at his memorial and there was enough food leftover to feed 800 people on Vancouver's eastside... I'll never forget that.

  So yes, back to our dinner.  We had just finished eating, and a dear friend of moms showed up...with an incredible dessert.  I had not known earlier in the day she was making this for us.  But when she arrived, it was dessert time...(and we Mennonites are known to always have dessert - at least at special occasions!!).  My brother was here and is gluten intolerant.  I was going to cut up some fruit...

  So when she announced that this amazing trifle, lovingly made was gluten free, more than one of us was moved to tears... it was so timely, so sweet, such a lovely gift in a bittersweet time.  To me, so symbolic of how God provides...and it is exactly what we need and more... abundant, sweet, overflowing with love.

  Isn't that what Easter is all about?  The gift of love that God lavishly provides through His Son?  He promises to be with us, to provide, to comfort, and we are not alone.

  Wishing each one a Blessed Easter, with thankfulness.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Orchids and Mom

Two weeks ago today, we brought mom home from hospice so she could enjoy her home for a few hours and take care of a few things.

  One of the "few things" was her precious orchids.  Those who know mom know she loves flowers.  She has always been a master gardener and in her Harrison Hot Springs years one of her big delights was flower-arranging.  We were reminiscing the other day with my sister Cathy and she remembers as a little girl traipsing with mom through the woods looking for ferns and mosses for mom's creations.

 It was during that time that a local flower shop closed and mom was able to receive many of the leftover supplies.  She grew many of her own flowers and the results were creative bouquets almost every Sunday of the year - a bouquet for the front of the church where my dad pastored.   I think it might have been a form of worship; a gift to God.  And definitely a lovely memory of our mom.

  In past years Mom has always loved her house to be filled with flowers.  Rarely was there a time when there wasn't a little bouquet creativity arranged on her table.  Even now, in Hospice House, her room is filled with flowers and she loves them!  Yesterday I carefully checked each one, watering and cleaning out, and she supervised with joy.

  Mom has been the recipient in the last couple of years of a number of orchids and took great joy in taking care of them and having them bloom again. So when we went home that Sunday, the care-taking of those orchids was on her list.  So it was with great trepidation that I took these orchid plants home.  They were all green but had some promise.  They came with clear instructions from mom and not a whole lot of confidence from me.  I've always joked she had the green thumb, and mine was decidedly brown, although it is true that I love flowers too...

  Anyways, it was to my great delight that one of the orchids bloomed this week.  That first bud slowly unfurling, and there it was... in all of its beauty.  I took this picture and brought it to mom - both of us were quite thrilled.

  But it also brought us to another conversation... about God's timing... we are in a time of waiting.  In creation, God never hurries... we don't see the growth of a plant or flower but it is never stagnant...and even now, in this final curtain of mom's life, so much is happening.  Meaningful conversations, quiet times, being present.  It is something beautiful, just like mom's orchid.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bubbles and Waves

I've long loved bubbles.  There is something magical about fun in a bottle.  I've blown bubbles with my grandsons, and it is funny how we progress from the fun of watching the bubbles created and blown about, to hilarious chasing them all over the yard to stomping on them.  But yes, I have boys.  Grandson boys, and they like to stomp, after all.

  There is something mysterious and magical about a bubble... how it is effervescent  and shimmers and holds light.  And so delicate and fragile and fleeting.

  It has felt like we have lived in a bubble these last days.  It seemed like a good way to describe it.  A precious moment in time, but fleeting.  We don't know when the bubble will burst.  With my mom approaching her life in heaven, our lives have all hung in the balance.  It is not sudden... we have this time to share, to enjoy, but we are also in a tension of waiting, and she is waiting as well.  We are in a vortex of time and space and it is somehow surreal.

  Another picture came to mind... riding the waves.  Mom loves the ocean.  When we were on the Atlantic recently, my husband actually recorded the sounds of the oceans on his phone... the rhythmic pounding of the waves, the gentle and yet fierce force of miles of water ebbing and flowing, never ceasing, pulsing with life.

  We are in this ebb and flow... not knowing, yet knowing very well.  Of letting ourselves go with the flow, with the ebb and tide, as days come and days go.  Each day a gift.

  It is not always easy to live this way... and yet isn't all of life like that?  We protect ourselves in our bubbles of so called normalcy  but we never really know what tomorrow will bring. It reminds me to keep accounts short, forgiveness swift, love paramount.  To relax into the ebb and flow, savoring the moment.

 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring


Spring came today.
Calendar speaking, but I wasn't ready.
Winter still encroached the spaces of my heart.
Endings, saying good-byes, profound sadness.

But spring is persistent.
Even in the cold wind, and the grey skies of March,
The kale blooms green in the garden.
The rhubarb shows it’s red roots, full of promise.
The lilac branches in my garden are bursting, just ready to
Bust out of their dry cold skin.

Even in the good-byes, there are the hellos.
Hello to life, never stagnant, always changing, forever new.
The transformation from death to life,
Death to old ideas, harmful habits,
Bring life to new awareness of self, to beauty, to the freshness
Of spring.

Life is full
Full of the goodbyes, the shedding, the letting go
Which brings forth
Transformation.
Death is the passageway to
LIFE.


© Grace Wulff 
March 20 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Holding up the Bits

  I have this vivid picture in my mind of a memory early in my mommy days. My little son Steve, probably around two years old, had dropped a picture and the glass was completely cracked.

  He was devastated, I remember and with the heart felt cries of a little one, cried, "Mommy! Please fix it!!!"

  As I knelt beside him, the picture was my last concern. No, it was his tears that moved me. The picture didn't matter, but he sure did.

  As I remembered it brought me to another picture.  Of God as a daddy listening to us, to me. I'm holding up all my broken bits and crying. "Can't you fix it?"  And I see His loving gaze because I really don't understand the big picture.

  No, His greater vision is love for me, for us. It encompasses our brokenness, our humanness and wraps us up in the arms of a loving God who gives us gifts of compassion and mercy.

  It reminds me yet again to let go, to trust, to live in the knowledge that there is a loving Creator God who knows me well, and I can trust Him with it all.   Comforting thoughts, indeed.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A path to Peace

   I've been thinking a lot about peace this week. How we get there, even in the midst of challenges, in the chaos of life.

  It is not lost on me that just two years ago I had a heart attack. Kinda gets your attention!!  It was also in a time of high stress. There were lots of contributing factors, but it has led me to seek a more peaceful life. Sometimes that means a peaceful heart in the midst of all that life brings.

   These thoughts came to me this week:  A life of forgiveness and love leads to a life of peace.
I've been mulling that over for days.

  We tend to think of forgiveness as a single act, but I'm starting to realize it can be more of a attitude toward life; a way of responding to all that comes our way. To live a life of forgiveness and love involves true acceptance of our humanity, of our own imperfections, and the imperfections of those around us,  perhaps that is why Jesus emphasized forgiveness in the Lord's Prayer. He knew we might need help with this!!

  A life of forgiveness helps me with my attitudes of entitlement, with my irritations with others, or things that go wrong.  Forgiveness and love enlarge my heart so I can more easily show mercy to others, and to myself as well.  And it is a reflection of the Father's love and His great mercy.  I love those verses in Lamentations:
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."  (Lamentations 3:22-23)

  It seems to me that many of us can fall into the trap of thinking we have it right... our thinking, our way of life, the conclusions we reach, they are the right way.  Or even worse, we can start to think that our way is God's way.  It is that kind of faulty thinking that leads us to judgement instead of love and understanding.

  Oh, I have so much to learn.  About God's mercy, and love and compassion, and how he wants to enlarge my heart to overflowing... this reminds me of that old hymn.  Here are some of the lines:

Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise!
(Peter Van Essen)

  There is peace in that!  And rest.  And even joy!!



Sunday, March 10, 2013

Songs in the night

  I was awake in the night. Not unusual really, but there is a lot to think about.

  My dear mother was moved to Hospice yesterday. It is hard to face that reality. That the end of life, as we know it, is near.  I usually am near, but this week I find myself miles away rejoicing in the new life of a baby grandson.

  Lately songs come to me, often at night and I've written about this before. I think of them as reminders from God, and when I start thinking out the words I am often amazed at the message there for me.

  A song we sang recently has been playing over and over and has become a constant prayer.  It goes:

He is my Peace...that has broken down every wall,
He is my Peace, He is my Peace...
Cast all your care on Him, for He cares for you
He cares for you...He cares for you
He is my Peace, He is my Peace.

And then this song came to me... I remember singing it with a ladies group in Hope when my kids were little!

I cast all my cares upon You
I lay all of my burdens down at your feet
And anytime I don't know, what to do
I will cast all my care upon You.

As I think about coming home, I find myself wanting to clench to life.  And yet it is about opening up my clenched hands and holding them up to God...with open hands and an open heart. It is about letting go and trusting it all to God. The God who cares for me, who loves my mom and is calling her home, who loves and brings new life so we have hope.