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A Little Bit

Posted by twolatincats on February 11, 2014 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

She's 26 days old, born too early. There is a hole leading into her tummy. She was born without a connection between her esophagus and her stomach so that the only way she can take nourishment is through a grastic tube directly through that hole into her stomach. The gastic tube has been leaking and yesterday came out completely. The first surgery to repair the problem was unsuccessful and tomorrow a second surgery will be attempted.


She's just a little bit of a thing. Ester is her name and she is the first child of some special friends of mine, Maggie and Wilcar. I cannot imagine how hard this is for her parents. Maggie was devastated yesterday when the tube came out and she faced that gapping hole in her baby's stomach. Maggie and Wilcar understand what the odds are for Ester's survival. Yet the child has put on weight and her lung function has improved. She is bright-eyed and active.


Then the tube came out and the picture changed. There is danger of infection. She can't be fed and there is so little that she can fall back on to survive through surgery.


This is a "but God..." moment. I don't presume to speak for Him when it comes to what Ester's future will be. I don't know what His plans are for her though I pray that those plans will be successful surgery and a wonderful, full life, but this is one of those times when things are on a "need to know" basis and I don't need to know.


However, there are things that I can guarantee God will do for Ester and for her parents. We can summarize those in hese words from Psalm 57:

"Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfils his purpose for me. He sends from heaven and saves me...My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast...I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth."


He will fulfill His purpose for this little girl—and for her parents. That purpose is designed by One who loves them endlessly, is merciful, and is commited both to them and to bringing glory to His Name through them. They can seek shelter in Him and be strong because of Him. Whatever happens, they are safe in Him.

Global What?

Posted by twolatincats on January 6, 2014 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

It's -39 out there today, one more day of what has thus far been a very cold fall and winter. Global warming, eh? Funny, I haven't heard much about that recently. Perhaps someone out there—one of those "experts" has decided that this "warming" stuff was just one of the weather cycles that have been part of our experience since time immemorial. Just because we haven't recorded it before doesn't mean it hasn't always been true.


Oh well, the tongue-in-cheek definition of an expert is a "drip under pressure," i.e. someone of whom an answer is expected but who might not necessarily know what he's talking about. Sort of like a consultant, which I would define as someone who can hold down a regular job for some reason but who likes to tell others how to do that job.


Those are statements that are far too broad. There actually are experts who know what they are talking about and consultants who have stretched themselves beyond one job because they really have expertise to share. But I suspect there are fewer of these than we have been led to believe.


I appreciate the doctor who admitted freely that those in his profession really weren't as "expert" as many people believed. They simply had enough tools to be able to eliminate all the possibilities until they came up with what had to be the diagnosis. The good ones admit that sometimes everything gets eliminated and there is still no diagnosis.


I guess that's why it's still a good plan to stick your head out the window and check the weather yourself before venturing out and why it's important to listen to your own body rather than expect someone to figure out how you feel. It's probably why no one but you can determine what's in your heart and what needs to be done about it.

Ah, Christmas!

Posted by twolatincats on November 29, 2013 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Though I really don't need to hear Christmas music or see Christmas items on sale before we even get to the end of October, neither do I want to limit Christmas to the week between the actual date and New Year's Day.


So a month before Christmas the tree is up at my house. The Christmas cake is made and soaking in some extra flavour in the fridge. The beds have their Christmas quilts in place and I'm playing the music and watching the special television movies—many of which actually contain references to the real meaning of the season.


The weather here in the northeast of Ontario is cooperating nice as well. It's a little early for this much cold—it dipped down to minus 32 Celsius with the windchill last Sunday— but we have enough snow on the ground to make "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" seem more of a reality.


There is a little sadness that comes along with Christmases back here in Timmins. While I was living overseas Christmas was equally pleasurable, but different. Now that I have returned home it carries with the memories of Christmases past, when my parents were still living. I haven't reverted to a Scrooge-like mentality where the season, and anything that has to do with it, has become "humbug." By no means! The sadness is more of a happy one—though I know that sounds like a contradiction. I remember the good times at home, and my parents, with fondness, I miss them. But their absence is not a blight on the season but a blessing to be embraced.


I keep Christmas well. If doing so depended only on the memories of the past I might tell a different story. I remember that my mother died three days before Christmas in 1991. My father had passed away just three months before. That first Christmas without them was rough, but it has given way to better times and better memories that depend, not on circumstances, but on the reason we have Christmas at all.


It's not the tree, the Christmas cake, the music or the gifts. It's not the Christmas programs or even the snow and cold. It's Jesus, the reason for it all. For Him, I can celebrate Christmas well, in the absence of all the trappings or in their presence. It's all good because of Him.

Those Bloomin' Fence Posts!

Posted by twolatincats on November 5, 2013 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (1)

I hunted high and low for the slide. Yes "slide!" I took the photo back in the 70s when we actually used things called slide projectors to make presentations. Unhappily many years have passed and I can't find the slide so you will just have to believe me when I say that I'm not lying to you.


The place was Costa Rica. The year was probably 1975 or 76. I was in San Jose at language school. It was called the "Instituto de Idiomas" in Spanish or, as we preferred it, the "instituto de idiotas." I doubt you'll have any trouble translating that! Most of us were not particularly good at the language—at least when we started.


But I digress.


One day I was out of the city taking in the sights and sounds of this beautiful country tucked away in Central America. I saw what I considered an amazing sight. Someone had put up a barbed-wire fence to keep their animals in the fields. The fence posts were trunks of trees set in the ground at regular intervals just like fence posts in many parts of the world—but with one difference. These fence posts had started to throw out branches and leaves again. They had taken root.


I had to take a picture. I had never seen a fence post come back to life before.


Though the slide doesn't seem to be around anymore I have the picture engraved in my memory because it has forever reminded me of what the Lord has done in my life. He has turned that stunted post that was me before I met Him, into something better than could have been expected otherwise. A fence post is a useful thing but when a fence post actually grows back into a tree it not only protects, but it gives shade, produces oxygen, beautifies and provides shelter.


I'm so glad to be a bloomin' fence post.

The Blue Sapphire Caper

Posted by twolatincats on October 30, 2013 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)

My Aunt Esther was born in 1911. She is still alive and reasonably well, living in a small town in the Ottawa Valley/ She was the most precocious of my mother's sisters.


When she was able to travel she usually managed to come north once a year for a visit. Because Aunt Esther had once lived in Timmins, she still had friends in the area and enjoyed getting together with them as well as spending time with our family.


She also liked to entertain, something my mother was definitely NOT fond of. However, she humoured Esther and let her invite her friends over to our home for tea. I'm not sure what was served with the tea, but the event was special enough that my aunt insisted that my mother bring out the good china for the occasion.


After the party was over and the guests had left, my aunt discovered that her diamond and blue sapphire ring was missing. I assumed that the stones were the real deal since the ring had been insured. My mother and Aunt Esther turned the house upside down. No ring! At the time I was living away from home so I only heard the story much later. Aunt Esther returned to the valley, sans ring, and the incident was basically forgotten.


The next time I returned home for a visit with my parents, I had some reason for going into the china cabinet to look for something. I lifted up a china cup that had been resting on top of another cup. And, to my surprise, there was the diamond and sapphire ring. I told my mother of my discovery and she then told me the story. Aunt Esther must have slipped the ring into the cup for safe keeping when she was washing dishes after the tea party and then had forgotten what she had done with it. Since my mother hardly ever used the china cups, the ring was never discovered.


I called my aunt. She was thrilled and embarrassed. She had already collected the insurance on the ring and wondered how she was going to explain this to her insurance man!


In those days that diamond and sapphire ring was important to my aunt. I confess it was important to me too! I loved that ring and hoped that one day, Aunt Esther would leave it to me. It's funny how things lose their luster after a while. At 102, my aunt really isn't as interested in jewelry as she once was. I'm not sure she's miss that ring should it happen to go astray again.


When she celebrated her 95th birthday, she told me that all she wanted as a gift was to go home—to her heavenly home. Somehow sapphires and diamonds weren't nearly as valuable to her as being with the Lord.


She had the right idea.





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