Welcome to my Blog!

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!

You can also find me on Facebook at Grace Notes, Thoughts and Prayers.

I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Unexpected Places, Unexpected graces.

I'm not in the habit of writing travel blogs: in fact most who know me know I am a nervous traveller, and exploration and adventure is usually not high in my comfort zone.

So when hubby and I go jetting off without a whole lot of agenda, I'm suspicious that our children might be a little concerned. We actually had hoped to make more plans, but life got in the way.

To add to this we are small town people, and don't care for crowds or heavy traffic.

So the fact that we actually drove into downtown Montreal was a little daunting indeed, staying at a hotel we had found on the internet on our previous stop, and found ourselves in a chic modern hotel in the heart of the city, relinquishing our car to a valet who parked it who knows where.

Thankfully armed with travel maps and guides (yes, written on paper), we set out to walk Old Montreal, with its beautiful architecture and history.

Eating is another thing all together, everything pricey and feeling foreign, and we found help in the most unexpected of places.

We wandered into a fur store, (probably somewhat controversial from where we come from) and as we looked with fascination at the wares (raccoon hats and luxurious fur coats), the prioprietor engaged us in conversation and was one of the most friendly we had met. We discovered she was Montreal born, anglophone, but conversant in French, German and Spanish and knew some rudimentary Mandarin as well.

With no pressure to buy a thing, she advised us on good eateries (daunting in Montreal), and on her advice we found ourselves in a tiny out of the way Chinese restaurant in the Chinese district. We sat down, tired from our busy morning of exploring, and immediately are served a pot of Chinese tea, which we had not asked for, but at that point felt grateful.

Next came the complimentary soup, delicious and savoury and nourishing.

We each ordered one thing on the menu, sure that the $4.50 price was somewhat suspect, but also observed that the place probably had more locals than tourists. A good sign.

Plates full of rice and stir fry were delivered and ultimately enjoyed. All for under $10 for two. So if ever visiting Montreal, we would be happy to recommend the VIP restaurant in the Chinese district of Old Montreal.

Unexpected graces in unexpectant places. Part of the adventure of life, surprises to be savoured and enjoyed.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Yellow Roses

I write this for my children.

Yellow roses, they were the thing, between their father and I.

Yellow roses in the wedding bouquet, and every anniversary after, a rose for every year.

When Andy died, twenty years ago this week, on September 23, 1995, we bought 41 yellow roses.  One rose for every year of his life.

And we gave those roses away at his funeral... and found them later, many of them, strewn on his fresh grave.

I drove by Hope recently, in a Greyhound bus of all things, on my way to visit family and passed close to the cemetery.  I gazed at Mt. Cheam, the mountain we climbed, and it presides over Hope like a beautiful monument.  We had good times on that mountain, and challenging too..

You can see the mountain from the graveside, and for some reason that has always comforted me.

Years later, I wrote a book, and Steve, our oldest son helped me, and we created Yellow Rose Publishing.  It never went anywhere, as it often goes with the self-publishing world, but it was another way to acknowledge the past.

There are many good memories.  These were the wonderful years when the kids were young.  Andy was well respected in his career and an outstanding ambulance paramedic and unit chief.  He was an RCMP auxiliary.  And he had two honour guards at his memorial.

Yes, we need to remember.  The good times.

And we grow from the challenges we faced, the learning that comes from grief, the wisdom that comes from years.

I cried out to God in those years, and I believe my prayers were answered.  I was not abandoned, although there were times I did feel that way.

No, God was gracious and eventually our family expanded to include a wonderful step-dad for my children with two beautiful children.  Twenty years later, and I look back, and remember, but also am so very grateful for today, with our beautiful family including six - almost seven, adorable grandchildren.

In fact, Andy would be proud... one little grandson bears his name.

So here is a yellow rose... for my children, in memory of their dad.  And I'm grateful for them, each one and what they mean to me.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A troubled week

So last week I contemplated writing a tongue-in-cheek post about murder because I had destroyed a host of invasive bugs:  spiders, flies, fruit-flies, wasps. And was intent on getting rid of a mouse that had dared to cross my thresh-hold.

Life is messy at times, and these are pesky annoyances that most of us face at one time or another.

And because I hold life sacred, and even feel bugs have a place in Gods plan for this earth, I usually try to spare them. Until they become a problem.

But this whole week turned heavy, and when murder is in the news, and involves human life, and involves the young, my heart wants to bleed. And I know I am not alone.

There is no making sense of it, and I find myself questioning how people can do such vile things. It is beyond imagination.

What I am recognizing is the rise of mental illness and drug addiction -  for which we are resource poor,  and this seems to be a desperate growing segment of our population. And this is far from saying that those who struggle with these issues are all violent; I know most are not!!  But we don't have the resources to help them, to segregate some of them if necessary to protect the vulnerable.

I have no knowledge if this was a part of this weeks tragedy, but I am deeply concerned about the mental health needs in our community, our province, our country. There is such anger out there, we see it in the mass killings, we see it often on the news, and sadly we even become immune to it.

I think it is because we feel helpless. I know I do.

And like the surging crisis of the Syrian refugees, sometimes it takes one terrible tragedy to initiate the conversation, and say, how do I make a difference?

I'm open to ideas.  I know it deeply troubles me.  So for now, I write, I pray, and have conversations.

Because life is precious, and each person needs to know they are loved.




Tuesday, September 8, 2015

It's September!

I've been scrolling down my Facebook Feed and admiring all the Back-to-School photos.  My favourite so far is posted by my son's close friend, capturing his three children, including his little one holding a big sign that says she is NOT going to school.  Very cute.

And there they go... our eldest grandson seriously heading off to Grade One, and we wonder, where did the time go?

For us, September is always about birthdays and I am trying not to think that my two eldest are having birthdays celebrating their mid and getting to be upper thirties... ahem... and even my dad, cheerful at 84, wondered how he could have grandchildren that old.  (Sorry, kids!)

The the years turn round, and we mark another September on our calendar, celebrating people we love.  The joy of our little grand-daughter, just turned two was a particular delight this past weekend, and she brings a smile to my face like no one can.

My hubby also marks a milestone this month, and I always delight that he shares a birthday day with our son.
This month we also mark an important anniversary in our family, twenty years ago this summer Andy, my first husband, and my children's father died, of melanoma, on September 23.  So those memories are poignant and alive, especially at this time of year.

I remember one year, on that anniversary day,  my yellow rose bush produced a beautiful rose... and since he had given me yellow roses every year, that was especially meaningful.



A month of remembering.  A month of celebration.  A month of new beginnings.  A new year for many.

And as we turn the pages over, we are grateful for memories, for new opportunities and new starts, for birthdays to celebrate, for family,  for a hope and a future.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

God's Appointments

My pastor asked me recently if I had been able to connect with someone we both knew... someone who was going through a challenging time.

Yes, I said... I had.  In fact, I had three encounters, three visits.

And then I realized... not one of these visits were on my calendar, not one had been arranged, not one in my appointment book.

No, these were appointments set up by God... a chance meeting in a hallway, one in a waiting room... and we talked, and I sensed God had planned it all along.

I love the idea of God appointments.

Sometimes we just have to show up, and say... what is next?  Or we go about our day, and are surprised by the encounters that come across our paths.  And as one wise woman once told me, your interruptions are your work.

The other day I went to visit one woman, in a hospital room... and had a good visit with her, and as I was leaving, her bed-mate called out my name... how she knew it I was not sure, but I turned around, and spent time with her.  She was very sick, discouraged and our time was precious.  There was the gift of God's presence and care in the midst of challenges.  And I was so grateful she had called out to me.

Recently I went to see a gal in the hospital; someone who I didn't know, but her name had surfaced on one of my lists.  It turned out she was a friend of a friend!  And we enjoyed getting to know one another!

Her challenges were great, and after some time had passed I felt compelled to bring her a quilt... and  there are generous groups who give me prayer shawls or care quilts to give out to those who truly need an extra touch... and I always tell the recipient that these are reminders of God's care in a very tangible way.

So I felt compelled this day to bring a quilt... not a shawl, and I did that... another God appointment.  She loved the quilt.  And in the giving, she began to tell me of some of her history and some of her past friends.  And one of her past friends was one of my current friends... the very lady who organized the sewing of the quilts!

This was amazing to both of us!  It felt like God had organized a friend reunion, and that very afternoon, she was reunited with the lady who had made the quilt... a long-lost-friendship made new.

These encounters always encourage me greatly... because I see the incredible compassion of God who uses people, and circumstances, who knows our coming and going... and when we truly seek to follow Him and be a part of what He is already doing, amazing things happen.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Quiet

I sit
  alone

The fan gently moving the air.

Construction, traffic noise
  muted in the distance

as I sit
  in silence.

Sometimes my mind
  is noisy.

And I want to YELL
  Be Quiet!!

Turn off the lists
  the shoulds
    the concerns that worry
       the heartaches that
          weigh.

Leave the fixing
  the striving
Can I let it go?

Just to have a few
  moments of

Silence

 and Refreshment

    with You.

@Grace Wulff 2015