Lessons From a Seventy-Five-Year-Old Musher

… And a top skiing instructor, and an extreme landscaper, and a backcountry horseman (in the 1940’s when most women did NOT do that).

Yes, of course, this is one and the same person – my mom!

As mentioned, in the 1940’s, when most of my mom’s friends were learning the fine art of sewing, doing kitchen duties and catering to their husband’s every need, Mom was kicking around on her horse in the B.C. backcountry when she wasn’t teaching gym to kids. She wanted to visit family in Vancouver 300 miles away approximately, so off she went (in her twenties) on her horse without a second thought, with some grain for her and her horse to eat, beef jerky, and a general idea of how to get there. Did I mention there were no roads? Seven days later she and her horse wandered into Vancouver no worse for wear, visited for a few days, then turned around and went home again. No problem!

mom and horse

As a small child, I assumed that every kid’s mom was able to man-handle 100 pound slabs of rock from the hills surrounding our place to put into landscaping. (She was only about 5’4 ) We lived on three acres that contained barns, horse pastures, fish ponds, huge multilevelled barbecue areas, ravines, and lake frontage to romp around in. Normal stuff, I thought.

Then, I remember, when I was about seven, skiing with family while mom taught others to ski. She’d started skiing when she was about 50, but as her indomitable nature dictated, she excelled quickly then was hired to teach at our local mountain. She has been hailed as one of the best teachers to have hit the mountain, even to this day!

Later, my parents, in their seventies, lived in a cabin by a small lake above our town. No running water, outdoor biffy, and bears for neighbours. My kids’ earliest memories were of tobogganing by the cabin in the winter, and fishing on the lake in the summer. Mom owned two siberian huskies that pulled her around on a sleigh in the winter. These dogs were obstinate pullers by nature, but were as calm and obedient on the leash as any citified dog.

How?

Mom twisted their leashes over their backs, around their middles and through their hind legs. So… uhm, pulling for these male dogs was not an option on the leash. Ingenious, right? This allowed mom to take them on lengthy strolls through the woods by herself.

mom and dogs

Mom has always had a quiet, get-things-done nature with no negative thoughts on her situation or other people. Don’t think for a second that our family has always been blessed with good health and prosperity. We have had our share of tragedies with finances, health and relationships, but with everything she showed a humble determination to simply work through obstacles, and when you couldn’t, you worked with what you had left. Let go and let God, was her steadfast motto. She introduced me to my faith and showed me where her strength comes from.

She is now celebrating her 97th birthday and is going strong.
Elsie Wilson is the ultimate hard act to follow!!

Love you to the moon and back, Mom!!!

IMG_20151029_181039778

How would you respond?

Picture this…

The building where you work went up in flames.

Now you no longer have a job.

The bank where you keep all your money fails.

Now you have no savings, no checking, no credit card.

Your car is stolen. Your phone was in it.

Your house and everything in it are flattened by a tornado.

Now you have no possessions.

Your family was in the house.

Now they are all dead.

Maybe some of this has happened to you.

How did you respond?

Just stop and let it sink in for a moment. You have lost everything.

Now really, how would you respond?

Firefighters fighting fire during training

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground…

AND WORSHIPPED.

He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.””

Job 1:20-21

Mislabeled

LABEL 5

The word “Superstar” was stamped across her bum,
the “A” a multi-coloured, glittery star.

The little dictator yelled her list of demands to the other girls in her class,
her face firetruck red with fury.
She couldn’t have been older than eight.

I soon noticed she wasn’t the only one mislabeled.
A boy with “Awesome” stamped across his chest pushed another boy off the swing.
A girl with an angel hat had thrown herself on the ground in a full tantrum.

It got me thinking about Labels.

Not the ones that others give to us:
Jock, Stupid, Braniac…
But the ones we give ourselves:

Mother, Wife, Teacher, Employee.

Oh yes, they are all very functional labels.
And as humans we love to put things into boxes.
It makes us feel safe.

IMG_2356

But how often do we use labels,
to keep ourselves safe?

I can’t do that I’m a “Busy Mother.”
I’m “Not A Public Speaker.”
Me? I am “Not A Leader.”

Labeling is not a bad thing in and of itself.

But when it keeps us from moving outside of our box,
keeps us from trusting that God knows best.
Then it is a problem.

So be careful that your self-labels aren’t keeping you from being obedient to God.

After all, when it comes to labels God knows best.
Beloved.
Treasure.

Mine…

Do you have a label that keeps you from fulfilling the grand plan God has for your life? Share it in the comment box. I love to hear from you!

 

Karen deBlieck

Karen deBlieck

A Rainbow Kind of Day

GEDC0204

It’s been a rainbow kind of day.
Not the kind that have been splattered across social media of late.
No.

You know what I speak of:
a spring day when a fine mist falls from the sky,
the clouds are dark and menacing,
yet the sun is still out.
A perfect day for a stunning rainbow.

I am at home in bed due to a brutal cold,
sadly missing my friend from high school’s wedding. 😦

This day is filled with a deep sadness,
crammed into the nooks and crannies,
hiding in the shadows.
My church is packed to say goodbye to Walt Hartholt after a year and a half fight with cancer.
Thankfully the church is streaming the service so I can still partake.

Walt was active in the community,
father, husband, principal, teacher and mentor.
He touched so many peoples lives  there is now a hole where he used to be.
There is a deep sadness at his passing.
But as I hear his family and close friends speak about his faith.
About his conviction that “God is good” even through this season.
I am struck by God’s faithfulness.

Through the sorrow and rain of today,
God’s rainbow, His faithfulness, stretches across generations.

Lately,
I’ve felt like my life has been filled with bad news:
friends losing a child,
parents dying before they see their children grown,
families splitting.

hopecrc

It is enough to make me only see the dark clouds,
to feel the weight of the world and all its sin on my shoulders.

When I heard how Walt, even through the pain,
remembered God’s goodness and faithfulness.
This reminder filled my heart with joy.

Thank you Walt for this final gift.
That even through the trials and pains of this world,
as Christians our joy through it all remains like bedrock.

Like a rainbow,
more beautiful for the dark clouds behind.

“God is good…
it is well with my soul.”

Please feel free to share your “dark clouds” in the comment section below or just ask for prayer. I’d love to pray for you!

Karen deBlieck

Karen deBlieck

GOD’s got this

We buried a close family friend today. One of my dad’s oldest friends, a fellow church member, neighbor-down-the-road when my brothers and I were growing up.

It was sad yet triumphant. Cancer and pneumonia are no longer ravaging his earthly body. He’s basking in the splendor029 and radiance of his LORD and SAVIOR, an assurance his family and friends will cling to in the days to come.

A week ago Sunday we buried my dad’s older brother. We gathered with family members we’d seen seldom in the last twenty years. I re-introduced myself to cousins I’d not shared breathing space with for thirty-five years. Elated exclamations of “It’s so good to see you!” mixed with regretful murmurs, “Why did we let so many years go by …”

It was especially tough as he was the first of three siblings to pass. Yet we rejoiced that his twenty year battle with Parkinson’s disease had ended. We remembered his bravery in submitting to experimental procedures that paved the way for promising treatments and applauded his decision to donate his brain to research. He too gained his eternal reward and no doubt welcomed my dad’s long-time friend to heaven.

Pill Box

Pill Box

My daughter’s most recent battle with medical bureaucracy has heaped frustration and concern upon an already heavy load. Two weeks of shrugs, finger-pointing and “we have no idea what happened…” to secure insurance coverage for a much needed drug. This skirmish comes on the heels of a sixteen-month-and-counting ordeal of wading through mountains of red tape to gain approval and figure out the endless details for another needed medication. And how could I forget the brand-spanking-new, state-of-the-art piece of medical equipment that suddenly, unexplainedly stopped working. It appears an act of Congress may be required to get it replaced.

Yet our excitement spiked late last week with the official announcement of FDA approval for a drug that will address the basic defect that causes her cystic fibrosis. The answer to twenty-six years of prayers! When the discovery of the gene responsible for the majority of CF cases wowed the medical world the very week she was diagnosed in 1989, we knew GOD was already at work. What we prayed would be available within ten years, alas, took just shy of twenty-six years to arrive. Yet we rejoice and praise GOD for his provision through those long years.   flag - liberty

As our beloved country rocks with dissension, as hatred threatens the Christian tenets many of us hold dear, fear and uncertainty creep in, clouding the peace and joy that should reign in our hearts. We lament the way things used to be. We dread what may be ahead. We succumb to doubts and worry.

Let us be convinced that nothing that’s happened has been a surprise to GOD. Nothing that will transpire in the days to come will catch him by surprise.

If you are a Christian, you serve a GOD who cannot be defeated or crushed or lessened in anyway by the plots of man. Now more than ever we must seek HIS WORD to get our marching orders because we are soldiers in the LORD’s ARMY.HE has not abandoned us. Let’s not abandon HIM.

We long for smooth sailing, for easy everything—for pain and disease and calamity to pass us by. For longer—much longer—with our loved ones. For assurance of plenty in the days to come. Even as GOD’s word plainly tell us to expect the opposite of smooth sailing, it promises us that HE’s got this. Whatever “this” may be.file000125780080 (2)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Two songs have blanketed my mind in recent days.

Even So Come” by Kristian Stanfill

“Like a bride waiting for her groom
We’ll be a Church ready for You
Every heart longing for our King
We sing
Even so come
Lord Jesus, come…”

“We Won’t Be Shaken” by Building 429

“Whatever will come my way
Through fire or pouring rain
We won’t be shaken
No we won’t be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we’ll rise and sing
That we won’t be shaken…”

Will you join me in clinging to the HOPE and PROMISE of Romans 8:31…

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”