Sunday, March 31, 2013


Today we celebrate Easter. It has been beautiful spring (almost summer like) weather here in BC for more than a week. Signs of new life are everywhere in the buds on the trees, cherry blossoms, beautiful spring flowers and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets as the days are getting longer. Those are all good things to celebrate. But Easter's true meaning has never meant more to me (and I think I speak for the rest of Sandra's family) than it has this year.

Easter is truly about Jesus Christ conquering death and sin's curse. While Sandra's body is physically dying, her life will soon be new again in the presence of God! This time, as hard as it may be, is like a long cold winter. We pray for the relief of new life for Sandra's body when she can join in the heavenly chorus. For her that will be such a thrill! She is ready for that. We all cling to that hope, assurance and joy!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never spoil or fade. (I Peter 1:3,4)

--written by Ardie

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday Correction

The passage reference I posted this morning with the Palm Sunday story was mis-typed. It should have been Matthew 21:1-11 not chapter 11. I apologize for any confusion or inconvenience. This correction and the original posting were written by Ardie. Blessings to all!

Palm Sunday

Over 2000 years ago, a crowd lined the streets of Jerusalem to witness Jesus riding a donkey. He was celebrated as a hero. The people shouted "Hosanna!" which I found one dictionary to say is a Hebrew blessing--kind of like applauding someone. In my imagination, the translation into today's time would be like a new celebrity (sort of unknown yet) walking (not riding in a limo) into Hollywood and being swarmed by the paparazzi and adoring fans. Weird to think of it that way. But the crowds were fickle then as they are today. Read Matthew 11:1-11. The crowds asked of Jesus, "Who is this?"

I'm thankful, though, that Jesus didn't waver on his journey to death on a cross and his resurrection. The victory he won for us gives Sandra and us hope today. Sandra has had a difficult week as she is slipping from this life on earth bit by bit. In the hard times, what gives us hope is that Sandra relaxes and responds to reading of the Bible and talk of heaven. Those are the most peaceful times, resting in the Jesus who saves.

Please continue to pray for peace and comfort for Sandra as we continue to hope in Jesus, our only comfort in life and in death.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break

Today is the first official day of Spring Break at Abbotsford Christian Schools (ACS) where Sandra taught for the past 20+ years. Words cannot adequately describe the amazing support Sandra and all of us as family have received from the ACS community in the past years of Sandra's struggle with cancer. Not only the staff and students, but parents and alumni have been so supportive and giving. 

One of God's daily little miracles happened when we brought Sandra to the emergency room back on January 10 of this year. There were 2 nurses on duty in ER with ACS connections who gave care to Sandra--a parent and alumnus. The porter that day was an ACS parent, The nurse consultant in the early days regarding the pick line was an ACS parent. Sandra's had blood drawn by ACS parents several times over the years. She had a nurse on the oncology ward who was a former student. The quality of care and love from all of them has been overwhelming as consistently they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to provide comfort and exceptional care for Sandra. I can't possibly list all of the ways Sandra and we as a family have been blessed over the years by the ACS community. Every instance of encouragement and prayer have been appreciated. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

It is common to travel over Spring Break. Sandra loved to travel. Her last big sightseeing trip was in the summer of 2011. She flew to Newfoundland and attended Festival 500, the international choral festival with her niece. They attended workshops, sang in the mass choir and stayed with a dear friend of Sandra's. They had a few days also for sightseeing on that beautiful island. Here are a couple of pictures from that summer. 

Sandra the coal miner with that great smile on her face

Sandra and her niece in beautiful Newfoundland

In this time of travels--geographically, physically or spiritually, I want to share this prayer with you from an Irish contemplative--appropriate with celebrating St. Patrick's Day yesterday.

Help me to journey beyond the familiar into the unknown.

Give me the faith to leave old ways
and break fresh ground with You.

Christ of the mysteries, I trust You
to be stronger than each storm within me.
I will trust in the darkness and know
that my times, even now, are in Your hand.

Tune my spirit to the music of heaven,
and somehow, make my obedience count
for You. 

--Prayer of St. Brendan

--blog update written by Ardie

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Smiles and Momentary Troubles

It has been a precious week of family times. Once again we gathered as a family for a meal at Christine Morrison on Tuesday evening. Sandra's parents, all 4 of Sandra's siblings were there along with all but 1 spouse (we missed you Brian!). Mel & Mary have now returned home and Sharon has been spending long days at Sandra's bedside. Sandra doesn't leave her bed much anymore. She dozes a large part of the day now. There are moments when the smile is bright. Sandra has become known for her smile at the hospice and before that already by the doctors and staff at Abbotsord Hospital. We love to see it when it appears.

Verses sent by a dear friend of Sandra's really struck me as appropriate this week. From 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:

Therefore we do not lose heart. 
Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer, comments and emails. Just a reminder, the email address is 

--written by Ardie

Monday, March 11, 2013

Leaps and Songs

The tube change last week went really well. Sandra was put out for the procedure so was so sleepy afterwards she slept right through a couple hour visit from her nephew on his way back to Fort St. John. 

Sleep has become a bigger part of the day in the last while, but Sandra was able to join us for a family meal around the big dining table at Christine Morrison last evening. It's been great having Mel & Mary out visiting. Sharon arrives tomorrow as well. 

One of the days recently in our devotions, we read Psalm 28. Sandra really liked verse 7, asking me to read it over again:

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise him.

--written by Ardie

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Routine and Refuge

We tend to be creatures of habit. Sandra always had routines and patterns in her life such as laundry on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The last few months, though, routines have been harder to stick with. Sandra is settling into Christine Morrison well, but with her health needs changing from day to day, routines aren’t always adhered to. The nice thing about hospice is that Sandra isn’t pressured into a routine that isn’t helpful to her. Even though meals are brought around at certain times, the nurses don’t insist on waking Sandra up if she’s sleepy in the morning. The bowl of cereal and milk can wait a couple of hours. Or if she’s hungry at different times, fresh sandwiches are kept in the refrigerator to be brought out as needed. It’s definitely a kind of place where resident and family alike are made to feel welcome and at home.

Sandra’s routines have often consisted of dozing late into the morning, getting cleaned up and into the wheel chair late morning, to go fix a puzzle or get wheeled around until lunch. Then it’s time for more strolling for the afternoon. Sandra loves to be wheeled up and down the hallways—she finds it soothing. But lately, she seems to be sleeping more. We do know the cancer is advancing and she is experiencing some difficulty now in the bladder area. There is concern of a possible infection.

Tomorrow (Thursday) Sandra will have sort of a field trip. She will be transported by ambulance back to Abbotsford Hospital for a routine procedure (tube change) that happens every 6 weeks. She should be back in Mission by mid to late afternoon.

Specific prayers for Sandra:
  • ·         That all will go smoothly with the transport and procedure.
  • ·         That if any infection is present it will be cleared up quickly.

It is our prayer for Sandra and for all of you dear readers:

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;

    let me never be put to shame;
    deliver me in your righteousness.
 Turn your ear to me,
    come quickly to my rescue; 
be my rock of refuge,
    a strong fortress to save me.

(Psalm 32:1, 2)

--written by Ardie

Monday, March 4, 2013

And the Winner Is...


Right away when Sandra heard that name, she said, that's it! A few days later, we listed all of the names submitted and went through them again. Sandra said Thelonious is the name! The original bearer of the name is Thelonious Monk, great jazz pianist and composer. As I write this I'm listening to some of his music. We were kind of surprised by the pick as Sandra is not a huge lover of jazz. But she does own a cd by him and he is a pianist which is Sandra's instrument of choice as well.

Thank you again for all of the submissions! Even if your submission didn't get mentioned in the blog, please know that your emails, comments and suggestions were all heard by Sandra. They were all cherished because of you the sender and what you mean to Sandra.

So the winning submitter is cousin Anna from Holland. Since we can't deliver the prize in person, here's a virtual chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven this morning at Christine Morrison Hospice. And if you ever make it out to BC, we will treat you to a fresh out of the oven cookie!

Thanks again to all of you blog readers for your notes of encouragement, emails and especially prayers for Sandra's journey. Keep it all coming!

--written by Ardie

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Monkeying Around

Thanks so much for suggesting creative names for Sandra's new pet monkey! We certainly have had fun, lots of chuckles and a sense of being loved in reading all of the meanings and reasons behind the names.

Many of you submitted appropriate monkey names such as George, Sam and even Monkey. There were Dutch names and Latin names submitted. All were good suggestions.

The most common suggestion was Cookie or some variation on that name such as C.C., short for chocolate chip. It seems like writing about fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies here at Christine Morrison made a lot of people hungry!

Some of you thoughtfully provided comfort or assurance through Biblical names such as Shiloh, Gabriel and Daniel.

The final category was musical names like Kodaly, Chorus, Thelonius and Melodious. The suggestion of naming the monkey Chippity Doo Dah, combining the chocolate chip cookie theme and music together, produced the most laughs by far!

Thanks for your participation! Stay tuned to find out the winner....

--written by Ardie