Monday, November 24, 2014

November.

It was supposed to rain all weekend.
Every single day. Every hour.

So I planned accordingly.
I was going to stay inside and do nothing.
And not feel guilty about it.

Friday night, on my way home from work, I picked up this:




And made a tuna casserole. One that would last all weekend. So I wouldn't have to cook again. When I plan on being lazy, I plan on Getting An A in Laziness. Cook once. Eat the same food for every meal thereafter.







Saturday?

Turned out to be NOT RAINY.
But I wasn't mentally prepared to change my expectations for the day. But guilt set it. And every time I looked out the window, the blue skies taunted me.

So. OKFINE. At 5 pm I went to church.
And then came right back home again and had some more tuna casserole. In bed.

Sunday?

Turned out to be NOT RAINY.
What the flippen heck.


The weather forecast app on my phone is very clear. It is going to rain every single day til next July.
At 2 I ate the last of my casserole then called a friend and made arrangements to go for a walk.


This is what greeted me at her front door when I arrived an hour later:







I know right?
She's the fun one.



It was a good day to be outside.






























Sadly, though, it's November.































And all I can think about is making it to Jan 5.
Six weeks.

Just hold it together for 6 weeks.












































As the days get shorter and greyer and darker and colder, I'm to get cheerier and happier and jollier and funner for The Season that is looming.












































Oh yes.
You can imagine how much fun it was to walk with me today.
Hahaha.

Just a barrel of laughs.

































I definitely have to get some Vitamin D tablets.
































God?
Can you fill me with some giggles?


Or maybe peace?

Can you help me Just Chill Out about expectations regarding Christmas?

Why do I always get like this?

Sigh.

I know.

I know.










































God?
Your will be done.

I'm praying that Your will be done in my life these next six weeks.

Open my eyes to things and people that You want me to see.

Open my heart to emotions and thoughts You want me to feel.

Fill me with hope.

And if not joy, at least contentment.































God?

There are so many people in my life who are hurting right now.

Guide those who are struggling with drug and alcohol addictions to meetings and rehab centres. When they arrive, arrange for them to be greeted by someone You have already placed there. Provide them with counsellors, mentors, friends, and sponsors handpicked by You. God I pray that this Christmas season would see a huge increase in addicts getting help. I pray You would be moving in their midst, bringing about change in their lives. I pray that they will get so physically ill every time they use, that they would be eager and desperate to get help. God? I pray that the whole lot of them hit bottom in the next six weeks and that You will be there to catch them.


And God? About those who need jobs?
Are you on it?
Could you be preparing them for positions uniquely suited for their gifts and talents? Could you arrange for them to be employed doing what they were born to do? Could they make a living from a job that is exactly perfect for who they are? Please? Could they feel good about their contributions? And could their co-workers and supervisors be people of faith? Whoa. Not asking for much here, am I? God, I pray that You will place those who are needing work in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. May they stretch and grow while employed there. May they make new friends while they are there. May they come to know You better through this work experience.


Annnnd.
Sigh.
Regarding those folks I know that have messed up relationships?
I don't even know how to pray.
For those who are sleeping with partners they are not married to, and those who are not sleeping with the partners they are married to, could you step in? Do something? I don't know what. But I just sense a whole lot of pain because of the decisions that are being made. I ache for them all. You probably do too. This wasn't your plan. I pray Your will be done. Go on. Just meddle.


Christmas.
It's coming.
And it should be about Your gift to us.


And all I can think about is, how can I spend some time with my kids.
Its like an obsession.
How can I make it fun? How can I plan something that they'll look forward to? How can I make it meaningful? How much food should I prepare? How much money should I spend? How can I keep it light and happy? How can I prepare myself not to be disappointed? How can I introduce the idea that Christmas isn't about family, food and presents? How can I bring Jesus into it? How can I not get caught up comparing my Christmas to everyone else's?

God? Your will be done.
I'm giving it over to You.
Guide me as I make plans. Make sure poor ones don't happen. Inspire me to follow through on ones that come from you.

Help me to crave time with You.



Oh. And one other thing.







Thank you.
Thank you for this unexpected non-rainy fall day.
Thank you for friends who are free to walk.
Thank you for friends' husbands who text to say, "Sunday Roast is ready. Invite Jane to stay for dinner."
Thank you for my neighbourhood. 
Thank you for my job. 
Thank you that Clint and Stacy were able to drop in tonight to help me with my TV. (Please be with him as he finishes up his last class of university. May he end well.)
Thank you for language. And words. Help me to use them wisely.
Thank you for memories and the passage of time.
Thank you for deciding I should have generous, loving parents.
Thank you for tuna. 
And roast beef. And roast potatoes. And roast gravy. And salad with avocados.





Thank you for music and books and movies and TV shows and actors and writers and directors and publishers and artists and photographers and videographers and talented, gifted, artistic people.

God? I'm going to pray for Martin Smith's upcoming UK concerts, (like the one in Manchester on Dec 10). I pray Your blessing on those evenings, and I ask that You would fill the venues with folks that who need to be there.

And thank you for this ministry. I agree whole-heartedly in a ministry that is called to provide a chaplain for each project undertaken in the Canadian film/entertainment industry.
Thank you for the internet.
And relationships.

God I pray that this week you would reveal Yourself in new, powerful, highly personal ways to the 78 people on my list. Overwhelm them with Your love. Be right in their faces with Your glory. Make it so they absolutely cannot ignore it. Then enable them to respond. Bring into their lives, companions of Your choosing to walk alongside. Touch them in their most vulnerable spot. Stir up their deepest longings and wrap Your arms around them. Hold them close. Whisper. Or shout. Call them. Woo them. Heal them. Don't give up. Don't grow weary. Be unrelenting. This week. This week, do something spectacular. Something so very personal that they would know, the God of The Universe wants them. Loves them. Desires a relationship with them.


Thank you for loving my people. Thank you for being on it. Even before I asked. Thank you for doing more than I could even imagine. Thank you for being God.





























Amen.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

It Takes A Village


Email rec'd at 3 pm: Jane, could you contact the publisher and ask them to add the words "USA" in the COUNTRY OF ORIGIN field on the customs documents regarding our magazine shipment?

I don't usually deal with the publisher of our magazines, nor do I ever handle the shipping/importing of them. But the fella who does was in a car accident yesterday, so I gave it a shot.

Email from me to my contact at Pubpress: Hi. Not sure if you're the right person, but you're the only email address I have. Could you add the words "USA" to the COUNTRY OF ORIGIN field on the customs document, or could you forward this email to the person who usually does this sort of thing?

On a whim, I included my contact person at Focus US, and cc'ed her on the message. She knows everything. Let's call her Kia. (Short for Knows It All). Plus I cc'ed everyone remotely interested in this project.

Kia's email to me: Hi Jane. The publisher is located in Kentucky and they are on Eastern Time. Their office is now closed, so they'll handle your request on Monday morning.

My reply: OK. Monday morning is fine. Thanks.

Seconds later, the transport company sends an email to both Kia and myself: The driver is one hour away from the border.

Well, this information is a game changer.
There's a driver. With 100,000 magazines, in a truck, approaching the border. It's Friday late afternoon/evening (depending where in the country he is) and he won't be able to cross unless we get the words USA added to his paperwork. Is it snowing where he is? Will he have to sleep in his truck all weekend? Is he cold?

Time for a Plan B.
Think, Jane. Think.
What's a good plan B?

Kia and I exchange a few emails.
I think the driver is probably back east. (He is coming from Kentucky, after all. And he left on Wednesday.) He's probably trying to cross somewhere in Ontario. And then come across the continent to Vancouver via Canada. I'm thinking, maybe, instead of sleeping in his truck all weekend, maybe he could just start driving west via the US? And by the time he reaches the west coast on Monday - we'll have that paperwork issue all sorted. And he can cross over in Surrey.

Hey. It's a plan.
I rock at plans involving crossing borders.

Kia in Colorado thought she'd try and find a home phone number of someone from Pubpress to see if they could help. She tracked down the contact information of one of the press men. He said he'd make a few calls to see if he could get someone to go back to the office.

Meanwhile, the driver kept moving forward, inching his way towards Canada.

An hour passes and Kia and I have our fingers crossed that someone at Pubpress is willing to give us a hand.

Then:
Email from Kia: Jane which border crossing is the driver at? 

I haven't a clue. Kia makes some calls and finds out he's at Emerson, Manitoba.

Emerson, Manitoba?
Can't be a very big/busy border crossing. Are they even open for commercial traffic in the evening? Do they have a computer? Does anyone there know how to open email attachments? Is it snowing in Emerson?

Email from Candi at Pubpress (not her real name) at 5:30: I'm hoping they'll accept this. (The attachment is a note, handwritten by her, on Pubpress letterhead simply saying, Country of Origin - USA.)

I'm hoping the customs people in Emerson are laid back prairie folk who are OK with handwritten, scanned email notes.

A flurry of emails then went back and forth between Pubpress, Kia and the Transport Company and finally at 6 pm (our time) (PST) I received the email, "All Clear!".

So we all (by the time I got the All Clear email, there were 9 of us trying to get that driver into Canada) went home and started our weekends.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Can I admit that I was a bit emotional by the time I left work?
Besides me, there were 8 people, all across North America, most of us strangers to each other, working together to keep that shipment moving.

Everyone was in a different time zone, and everyone had finished work for the day. Plus, it was Friday. No one had to do this.

Yet everyone did.
And, as far as I can tell, no one was complaining about helping out.

I had a teary moment a few minutes after I sent a thank you email to the whole lot of them for rallying around to help me keep that shipment moving towards our mail house. I had just been the recipient of kindness and effort by strangers. None of them had anything to gain by helping me out. They all just did it.

So professional.

So awesome.


Such a good learning experience.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. It's been a month. I totally forgot how to use these. Thankful that Clint was able to walk me through the process, AGAIN, on how to use Netflix. Sadly, he wasn't able to tell me how to stop scrolling through the options and finally just pick something already. After an hour, I just hit play and watched whatever movie was in the DVD player. Edge of Tomorrow for the win.





this is my TV screen. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?


2. I am thankful for the hockey tickets I received this week from our envelope supplier. Jenn (a HUGE Kessler fan) (she wrote a book about him) had just finished writing the 110,000 words for her new book, and I celebrated by attending the Nucks vs Ducks game. So much fun going to a game with a loud, outgoing, American fan who knows the game well enough to shout play ideas to the guys on the ice.






3. I am thankful for words.



Words are so powerful, yes?
On Monday night, I attended Brenda's retirement party and blogged about it late on Tuesday night.

On Tuesday night I had visited my dad. On my way out of the building I had two ten-second encounters with women I had never met before. One in the elevator and one in the lobby. One thought I was pregnant, the other thought I was old enough to be a resident of the care home. I wrote out those conversations and posted them as my status late on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, while at work, my phone/computer pinged all day long notifying me of responses to my words. People were crying (blog) and laughing (status).

Do you know how weird that feels?
To write words and have someone's (in this case, it was a lot of strangers) emotions affected by those words?
I may have been crying when I wrote that blog post. How can it be that someone can read those words and cry too?
I was laughing when I wrote out my status. Wild, then, that someone reading it, catches that laughter and responds in kind.

I don't think I've been aware of that happening before. At least not with strangers. And not so many.

And then.

Then, at the end of the day, a sweet girl comments on my Facebook status using just two words, "love  you" and I come undone.


WORDS.  Use them wisely. They have so much power.



Shalom, friends,
xo

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Back in BC

I arrived at the Bellingham airport on Sunday afternoon.
Max was there to pick me up.

Yes, I loved that.

We drove to his place in New West, where he got out, then I drove back to Surrey to get changed. I had an hour to get into Vancouver for the Martin Smith concert.

Mom: Hi! You're home...
Me: Hi. Gotta run. Going to see a concert in Vancouver.
Mom: Want to use my car?


You know how sometimes you don't know you need something until all of a sudden you realize you did? Like, as I was waiting at the Palm Springs airport at 5:45 am on Sunday morning, the last thing I thought I needed was to attend a concert in Vancouver 13 hours later.

But, SURPRISE. It was exactly what I needed.
And as I sat there, I knew, incredibly, with absolutely no doubt, that this was a divine appointment and I was right where God wanted me to be.

New song added to playlist and listened to on repeat for the past 48 hours:





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday was a very full day back at work after being away for over a week. As expected.
And a gigantic part of me wanted to spend the evening unpacking, doing some laundry, and maybe watching TV.

But I had a thing to go to.
So I came home from work, said hi to my mom as I passed her on my way to the basement to pick up my camera, and then I said bye as I left the house 2 minutes later.

Her: What? You're going out again?
Me: Yeah, I gotta thing.
Her: Want to use my car?

Arrow was hosting a Retirement Party for Brenda and my laundry and TV watching were going to have to wait. This woman was going to be honoured and I needed to be there:










































She has cancer.
BUT LOOK AT THAT SMILE.
Seriously.
I have never smiled that big in my whole life. And just look at her.
So much inner joy is just radiating out of her face.

I love that about her.
She has not had great medical news since September, but boy howdy, you'd never know it. She has this faith, man, that just inspires me.

And she's lived this life, that completely humbles me.
So many people has she invested in.

So many.
Like thousands.

Yeah, sure, it was her job to do that. But I think that was the point. She was going to do it, regardless, so God created a job for her that was perfect.

She is leaving behind a legacy.
People from all over the world sent in words of gratefulness and thanksgiving for the time, love and energy she'd poured into their lives. Marriages were saved/made stronger, families were held together and flourished, ministries prospered as a result of her. She listened. And prayed. And spoke words of wisdom into their lives.

And she asked the hard questions.

As one person after another shared their "Brenda" stories, I sat with my camera and fought back tears. Finally after two hours, I just let them drip.

Haha.
(Therein lies a greatest difference between us. She can smile in a second and I can cry on a dime.) Different giftings, I guess.

Legacy.
She's got one.

She's in her mid-50's and has a legacy.

I'm a few years behind her and I can't even freakin figure out where I should live.
Oy.
































Dear God,
Could you heal her?
Make the cancer go away?
Do a miracle and extend her life so she can attend all her grandchildren's weddings.
K?

































God, I pray that You would continue to be her rock. When she comes to you to hear Your heartbeat, may it be clear. Strong. Steady. Constant.

Fill her with Your peace.

Continue to provide her with Your wisdom. Enable her to share it with people who need to hear it.

May You never stop reaching people through her smile.






























Give her family hope. And energy. And patience.
Thank you for this season of growth and laughter and togetherness.

Protect the whole lot of them from discouragement, fatigue and doubt.
Place your angels on their rooftops and do not allow evil to enter.

Fill them with Your joy...














































Amen.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today, after work, I stopped in at home to pick up the DVD collection I'd bought in Palm Springs.

Mom: Hi.
Me: Hi, On my way out.
Mom: Again?  Where are you going today?
Me: Going to bring these Natalie Wood movies to dad.
Mom: Want to take my car?

These three conversations with my mom are exactly why I have been lending my truck to my kids when they need it.

I have been the recipient of vehicular generosity my whole life.
Even before I ask, it is offered.
This? Is the love language I grew up with.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Me, kissing his forehead and squeezing his hand: Bye Dad. Love you.
Him: Bye. I. Love. You. Too.
I wave at his doorway and make my way to the elevator.
Door opens.
Her, in a wheelchair with her wig on backwards: FINALLY. Can you help me?
Me: Sure. What can I do?
Her: I'm trying to get to the 4th floor. And I keeping pressing the button. But every time the door opens, it's the 3rd floor. I've been in here forever.
Me: Here. Let me try. (And I use the secret way to press buttons that the residents don't know about.)
Her, touching my stomach: You got a baby in there?
Me: Nope. Just a lot of fat.
Her: I don't knooooow. Looks like a baby to me.
Me: Wouldn't that be something?
Her: I think it would be awesome.
Then, like magic, the doors open and we're on the 4th floor.
She leaves and I go down 4 floors and out to the foyer. A notice on the door indicates that the code to leave the building has been changed.
Me, to the other woman/visitor in the lobby who looks to be about my age: Do you know the new code?
Her, looking me over (I'm in a dress with boots holding a purse with truck keys in my hand): Do you live here, dear?
Me: Blinks
Her: Because, I'm sorry. I can't give that information to residents/elders.
Whoa. Ego took a beating tonight. ‪#‎OldAndFat‬ ‪#‎ButMyDadLovesMe‬



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Inspiring friends
2. Generous parents
3. Creative co-workers


Shalom.
xo


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Annnnd. Back to that Top Ten List:

Number 8:

I am loving this trip because it's been so diverse.

  • A few days in Disney. 
  • The wedding.
  • A couple days with Max.
  • These last days of doing nothing but hanging out at the pool, reading, watching movies. 
The perfect blend of busy and not. 

Number 9:

The Street Fair. A Thursday night tradition. 



































































































































On Thursday night we had Heather and Debbie over for supper, then we walked up to the Street Market. LOVE living this close to downtown. Love warm evenings in November when a person can walk around in shorts and a t-shirt.

Number 10:

I am so glad that I got 99.9% of all my work done before I left. I've been checking emails and To Do lists and everything's ticking along nicely. I bet no one even realizes I'm not there. A stress-free holiday in every sense of the word.  


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Desert cities
2. Warm air
3. The internet


Shalom,
xo

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Rest of That Top Ten List

(...Top Ten Things About This Trip That I Love ...)
(I've already posted 1 - 4)

5. Have you seen The World of Color?
I LOVE it.
SO hard.

































































































































































































































































































































































































6. And the other thing I've loved about this trip, so far?
Was the day I met up with Max, Clint and Stacy at Disneyland. (Saturday.)

On Friday Sandra and I noticed that in most of the long ride line-ups, people were playing a game using their smart phones. So I asked one of the young women to show me which app it was. (Do you watch Ellen? She plays it with her guests; called, "Head's Up". )

So, I downloaded the app in preparation for my Day at Disney with my kids.
Being AT Disneyland is not enough. I needed more.
(Because I am not the fun parent.
I know this.
It sucks.
But there it is.
I am the one they call when their trucks break down. Or when they need money for insurance.
But I'm not fun. I don't do crazy things. Or buy outrageous toys. Or go on wild adventures.
I am boring.

I need to laugh more around them.)

ANYway, in anticipation of standing in long lines with them, I had this new fun game all ready to go.

Me: Have you noticed everyone playing a charades-type game in the line ups?
(Clint, Stacy and Max have been at Disneyland two full days already, with their dad.)
Them: No.
Me: Really? Seemed like yesterday everyone was playing it. Here. Let me show you.
Them: Looks dumb.
Me: No. It's fun. Here, let's do a practice game.
Them: Uh, no.
Me: Just one game?
Them: OK Fine.

So we played one game.
They were not fans.

So I put my phone in the breast pocket of my denim vest and we just talked while in the line up for Thunder Mountain.

Evidence of cell phone placement









































And after 5 minutes of talking, Clint reached over and pulled my phone out of that pocket and my heart smiled so wide I could hardly breathe.










































(Actually, you're supposed to put the phone on your forehead, but we're too cool for that. Clint (above) is guessing which movie we are giving him clues for.) Max's turn to guess, below:





































































































































































































Eventually it got to the point where just Clint and Max were playing. They have this short-hand to clue-giving that is fascinating to watch.

The category was always movies.
When Sandra and I played, we described the movies. Or listed the actors. Or said some characters' names. Or discussed the plot. Or, most importantly, said whether we'd seen it together and if we'd liked it...

The boys on the other hand?
































Just said one line from the movie and that was all it took.
Usually the other one could successfully guess which movie it was.


















































































































7. Another Top Thing?
DOLEWHIP.

How can it be that I've never tried this before?
So good:























































































More tomorrow.
Takes forever to upload pics...

Shalom,
xo