As Life Rolls On

As a friend of mine always says, "We plan, God laughs." You never know what life will bring, but the ride can be a blast!

Monday, April 24, 2006

OK, so I'm a worry wart and I'm paranoid...........hey, I'm a Mom! Isn't that what we're suppose to do?

This is a picture of my two boys. James (lots of hair) is 24 and Jason (no hair) is 21. They are amazing young men who have their heads on straight and who are well repsected by everyone. So why worry you say....well let me tell you.

James graduated from the University of Western Ontario last year with a degree in History. He returned this year to do a minor in Anthropology. For the past 2 years he has worked with street kids at the Salvation Army Youth Shelter in London, ON. Over the last 5 summers, he has worked at camps in New Jersey and Washington States with children from the inner city. He is very good with youth. He is strong yet very sensitive, and kids seem to gravitate towards him. So why worry you ask again. Well, some time over the next couple of weeks he leaves for Korea.................yes, I said Korea, ............where he is going to teach English. I am very happy and excited for him.........HONEST I AM, ............but then I worry. Although he is my restless, happy wanderer, he will be alone with no family. So, ...........I worry. I guess I'll just have to make a trip to Korea some time to check up on him. Sounds like a good idea to me.

So Jason. Jason has just finished his 3rd year as a performance music major (trumpet) at the University of Toronto. He is very gifted and could have a successful career performing if he wanted to. But that is not what he wants. He finally admits that yes, he has a gift (his tutor states the best thing about Jason is how humble he is, but that doesn't mean I can't brag about him a bit, right?), but he wants to use that gift in Ministry. He currently plays both base guitar and trumpet in a worship band, solos on his trumpet at various churches when asked, and helps out with bands as a sub when asked. So why worry about Jason you ask? Well you see, Jason is going to join the military reserves.................NEED I SAY MORE! A couple of years ago (before the Afganistan stuff), Jason applied, and was accepted. At the last minute however, they changed their mind because of Jason's childhood medical history of asthma. Jason appealed that decision and lost. I WAS SO RELIEVED! He is a persistent lad however when he truly believes in something. He under went several medical tests to prove he is more medically fit than the military demands..........and he won. He took on the military, and he won! He was so excited. I was proud of him for his sense of right and wrong and his perseverance...............but now I worry. He claims that as he will be in the reserves, he will be safe..............but still I worry.

I guess that anyone who is a mom is blessed with this wonderful curse called worry.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Easter was different this year. We are so used to doing the dinner thing and the easter egg hunt with our kids (yes, my grown up kids still looked forward to the chocolate bunny and eggs every year), then doing the dinner thing and easter egg hunt again with all the neices and nephews. The first didn't happen this year, as all of our children stayed in Ontario when we moved. Not having dinner and doing the chocolate thing with them wasn't as hard as I thought (although I've had to buy chocolate for myself as theirs hasn't been around for me to "pick" at). I am resigned to the fact that we will have other times where we will look back and see as quality time (Jenn & Kevin are coming to visit in May...........YAHOO!).

What was hard was when I called home and I heard a sick daughter on the other end. Her sinuses were already bothering her a little when they went to the house of a friend. While there, she began having trouble breathing and had to leave. It seems that the person who lived in the house before the present owner had many cats. Although it has been a while since the cats inhabited the house, Jenn's allergy is as such that she still reacted. She has also now come down with a virus, so she is a sick puppy. When we lived in Ontario, although I did not necessarily run to my kids if they were sick, I always knew I could get to them quickly if I needed to. Now it would take me a day to get there. I guess this is something else I will have to wrestle with for a bit.

The second dinner happenned, only on a much smaller scale. Bruce & I went to the Good Friday Service with my brother Stephen and his family. Emily (my neice, age 9) came home with us after to spend the rest of the day and the night with us. What a blast. Emily & I did some scrapbooking together (she has a great eye for colour and space) and we pulled a special page together for her to take home and do a journal on. She was so excited though to be able to watch cable TV (they don't have cable in their house right now). She wrestled control of the TV remote away from Uncle Bruce, and didn't give it up the whole time she was here. She also downed a whole jar of peanut butter. They can't have any peanut products in their house as her sister has a peanut allergy. Emily was in seventh heaven.

On Saturday, we had a mini Sears family easter dinner at Stephen and Gayle's house. Bruce & I came bearing easter goodies for the kids. The plan was to do an easter egg hunt after dinner, but.................We plan, God laughs. Two older little ladies showed up at the house to drop off some items for easter Sunday morning just as we were getting ready to have dessert. Stephen, being the pastor he is, invited them in for tea. That cup of tea turned into a very long visit. Needless to say, Bruce & I didn't get to do the egg hunt. Oh well, the kids still got their goodies, so that is what counts. We, Stephen, Gayle, Bruce, myself and the kids all really missed not being with the rest of the Sears clan for the annual dinner and egg hunt, but we all see how God has watched out for each of us over the past year, and for that we are thankful.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

This is the most recent portrait of Bruce and I.
It's hard to believe we have been married almost 28 years. It's interesting that we were declared the couple least likely to make it, and are the only couple of the couples we hung out with when we were younger that did. Recently, I have reflected back as to why that is. I think that there are numerous reasons.

Bruce is the oldest of 3 children (all boys) and I am second oldest and oldest daughter of what ended up being 7 children in total. We both have the stereotypical charatcteristics of oldest children in that we are stubborn, can both be very bullheaded, like to be in charge and are both very competative. That all came in handy at times, yet wouldn't you have liked to be a fly on the wall when both of us dug our heals in on an issue. That all being said, neither of us likes to loose, so we have always done whatever it took to come out with a win/win solution when we had to. With that kind of positive stubborness, how can we loose.

Over the years, I think both of us can say that we are not only husband and wife, we are also each other's best friend. We can read each other simply through a look or a sigh. There is a great respect for what we have each accomplished, and recognize that neither of us would be were we are without the other. We also give each other personal space. We have a philosophy that we each have our own individual lives, yet we have our life together. With that kind of respect, how can we loose.

When we were first married, my dad made a statement that became indicative of the support we would receive from our family. He stated that he did not see Bruce as a son-in-law, but as a son. WOW, that was powerful. Bruce's mom used to say to me (she passed away 6 years ago) that she saw me as the daughter she never had. Whenever we needed support as a family, we could always rely on my siblings. With family support like that, how can we loose.

Over the years, I believe God has placed objective people in our lives to help us focus on the good in each other and in what we have. When some of Bruce's friends in Ontario were questioning him about why he would leave everything and move to Alberta for me, one good friend praised him for having the courage to put his life on hold so that I could accept the new position in another province. I have a long distance friend (well was a long distance friend, but is no longer) who over the years has told me over and over again that she thought I had "the good one." I don't think she realized that there were times when she said that, that I had needed to hear it. It is so good to be able to spend time with that friend and her husband now. With supportive friends like that, how can we loose.

I believe that we have always had our priorities straight. "Things" have always taken a back seat to our children and family. When other people worked two jobs and long hours, we went with the basics to ensure we could spend time with the kids and ensure their needs (not wants) were covered. Some our fondest memories (and our children's) are of picnics at the beach or skating on the rink in the back yard that Bruce had built. With proper priorities, how can we loose.

I think that for me, one of the greatest reasons why we have made it is because of my faith. I am such a hot head, and I have "foot in mouth" disease when I am mad. There have been so many times when I have prayed that God give me the right words and I have even surprised myself when I have spoken. I say what I need to say, not the "nasty" thing I had thought of saying. Not to say that I haven't said "nasty" things at times, 'cause Lord knows that "foot in mouth" has been extra large at times. I have also continually prayed that God give me a forgiving heart. It works. I honestly don't remember the reasons why I have been angry at Bruce after we have wrestled with an issue. With a caring and powerful God that sets such a loving example for us, how can we loose.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

So I've finally done it, started my blog. My sisters and some of my sister-in-laws (yes, I have a large family) all have one and have been after me to get one going. The problem was ...............well let's go back to the beginning.

I lived in Ontario, less than 10 kilometres from where I grew up. I was comfortable and content, my children were either living at home or living close by, and I loved my "job". I say "job", as it didn't seem like a job to me, as I enjoyed what I was doing and was truly fullfilled. To top it all off, my parents and all of my brothers and sisters outside of one all lived within close driving distance. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, life was good. I had it all planned out, keep living where we were, keep doing what I was doing, keep close to my family.

BUT............ We Plan; God Laughs

I was the co chair of the Ontario Homeless Committee for The Salvation Army. Late last April, at the Ontario Homeless Conference for which I was responsible, a gentleman from Alberta approached me and said: "Come work for me." "HA HA HA, No Way" was my response. When I returned from the conference, I shared what had happened with Bruce (my husband). I was shocked by his response: "Joanne, you should have a good look at it before you say no, you've worked hard to get to where you are, maybe this is what you need to do. Call the kids to see what they say."


I couldn't believe what I heard from my kids. Each of them said "It's about time you did something like this. You always put us first, it's time for you now." Go figure, usually it's the mother pushing the fledglings out of the nest, here my fledglings were pushing me out. They truly are amazing, insightful people (can you tell I'm a proud mama). After a great deal of thought and prayer, and several conversations with Alberta guy, I flew to Alberta to "check it out" at the end of June. Three weeks later, I couldn't believe it, but I had moved. The other shocker was that my brother and his wife (Stephen & Gayle) were transfered to the same city in Alberta and they and their children arrived just 1 week after me. Can you say "divine intervention".

Bruce stayed in Ontario to sell our house and make sure our 2 sons were settled back in school for the fall. The plan was that he would sell the house, Jason (our youngest son) would move in with Jenn & Kevin (our daughter and son-in-law), James (our oldest son/middle child) was going to continue to live with my parents to complete one more year of school, Bruce would resign from his job of 27 years and would join me in Alberta in September.

But............We Plan, God Laughs

The house didn't sell for over 7 months. Boy was that hard. I was without my greatest supporter of 27 years for 7 long months. We were married young and are truly each others best friend and confidant. I am not a crier, but he heard many tears over the phone through out the seven months. I have come to love and appreciate him even more than I already did. God knew what he was doing when he had Stephen and Gayle transfered here as well. They have been a wonderful support.

But Bruce is here now. Actually, he was only here for 3 weeks when I had to return to Ontario for 2 weeks of business.........."Welcome to Alberta honey, oh, by the way, I'm goin' home in 3 weeks to see the kids." Ha, ha. When I got back last week, he had the office and the computer all set up for me (he's such a good guy!).

So now a new journey has begun as life rolls on. Who knows what else I will plan that God will laugh at, but I welcome it with open arms. I know that He has new and exciting things in store for me and my family.