Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"leaves" of thankfulness

I couldn't sleep past 4 this morning ... not really sure why, except I had these thoughts over and over about honouring my family on my blog today. I trust the Lord will get me through my day, 8 hours or no. Since we don't celebrate a November Thanksgiving here in Canada anymore, I thought I would be thankful in my own way for all the "leaves" of blessing Father has showered on me and mine.

I need to paint a picture -

meet my Daddy ... aka Granddad, Genius, tumor-man. Ok, ok, yah, yah ... not supposed to joke about cancer, I know ... but in my house, laughter is the best medicine. Dad was told he has cancer a couple years ago now, in his lungs and brain, but he is still the one we all go to when we just don't "get" it.

He rolls his eyes in his sympathetic way ( he truly feels sorry for us lesser brained people ) and answers faster than you can ask: how did you know? Dad made sure I knew he thought I was beautiful. My Dad is strong, too ... strong willed ... but he finally met the Lord two February's ago ( now he'll probably tell me I have the date wrong here, and I'll say " what do you know, you have the tumor " ). I really believe that our homeschooling had something to do with it, too. I remember the day that my oldest couldn't sleep much. He really felt he was supposed to talk to Granddad about Jesus, after all, he had already talked to him about how he should stop smoking and he had! So, armed with his little Bible, some Scriptures and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, Jonam walked a few blocks down the road to preach the good news to Granddad, who was very obliging and told him that was a mighty big load he was carrying. Jonam did his thing, told my Dad he would give him three days to make a decision, and happily came home. Seems to me it took more like three years ( forgive him, he's British ), but Dad is now a member of THE family, and cancer's got nothing on him. My Dad "leaves" me with quiet endurance ... In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.

Now, for my Mom, aka Aino, Aiti, Mummo. My Mom was born in Toronto to a Finnish carpenter and his wife. She speaks fluently in Finnish and makes a mean pulla ( ok, here is where my Dad says that she would probably burn it if he didn't supervise ). Pulla is a kind of braided coffee bread and it is fantastic. They always bring a loaf whenever they come for a visit. For those of you who know what I am talking about, she chose angel food cake ... and for those of you who know and love her, that is no surprise. Anyone who has had the priviledge of meeting my Mom cannot help but love her also. She manages the Crisis Pregnancy Centre back home and displays a "mean" poker face in the middle of anything. I count my Mom as one of my best friends. I've been there, done that, and she loved me through it all. I remember as a little girl being convinced in that little girl way that I had breathed under water. Why, I ran half way around the world telling anyone who would listen, but it was my Mom who said " Kristina, if you really think that that's what happened, then I believe you " Wow. It wasn't the fact that I had " convinced " my Mom of the impossible, but that she was willing to tell me she believed in me that made all the difference. My Mom " leaves " me with strong conviction ... Therefore, put on the whole armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

I have one big brother, too, but mostly I remember wishing he was adopted, or I was, or something. Ok, I did say we like to joke in my family, right? My brother, Eric, is almost 5 years older than me so that automatically makes him smarter, cooler and infinitely more handsome ... he trained me well.

We didn' always get along so well. I have absolutely NO idea why, but it seems to me that most of our time together was kind of strained and consisted of me breaking his " stuff " or playing with things he specifically asked me NOT to touch. I remember the time he had bought an Indiana Jones hat and told me NOT to touch it ... AT ALL! ... and I just had to put it on my head. He wasn't home to remind me in his gentle, all-loving, big brother way so I kind of " forgot " that he had said not to and tried it on for size ( really quickly, ok, and I already know that all of you first borns will not understand at all, or sympathize with my completely legitimate and genetic temptation ). Later on that day I found out ( boy, did I ) that he had taken a hair out of his head and closed it in his bedroom door so he would know I had been in his room when it was no longer there! I still do not know why he felt so uneasy around this beautiful little priceless treasure of a sister. ( I am soooo the baby )

Anyway, when I finally found myself in grade 9 and he was a big grade 13 ... and yes, we did have 5 years of High School here in Ontario, we became fast friends and I finally stopped going into his room and touching all his " stuff ".

As a matter of fact, he started inviting me to visit him at University and loaning me things of his if I wanted to borrow them. He has two handsome young boys of his own now, along with a beautiful, intelligent and very gracious wife, and I am very blessed. My brother " leaves " me with philosophy and philanthropy ... a generous man prospers; he who refreshes others will bimself be refreshed.

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