November 30, 2014

Love, Trust, Count - by Susan Barclay

Harvest or Thanksgiving cornucopia filled with vegetables on a white background - stock photoAs I was thinking this month about leaving a legacy, I thought about my writing, and  about the epitaph I would most want inscribed on my gravestone. Then I re-read the writing prompt and saw that we were to “write a memorial-building account of something [we] want to pass on to [others]…about God’s goodness in [our lives].” That made me think again with new direction.

In January I wrote on my personal blog about having chosen a word for the year. Initially, I identified the word as ‘habits’; later, I defined it more specifically as ‘trust’. As it turned out, there was a lot I was going to have to trust God for this year. And, praise God, He is faithful. He has shown His goodness time and time again. 

Looking back on my life, I see many stories I can share with family and friends to testify of God’s provision. Some examples:

·         He allowed me to be born into a Christian family, to attend church and participate actively in a community of faith;

·         When I was seven, He (literally) saved my life by stopping me from running into a bog;

·         Even though I did some dumb things when I was a pre-teen and a teenager, He spared me from harm;

·         He didn’t always answer my prayers the way I wanted Him to, and in retrospect, I see how He was guiding my path and keeping me from heartache;

·         Just at the right time, He blessed me with a god-fearing husband. We have been together now for more than twenty years and are raising two beautiful children;

·         He gave me a talent and a dream and opportunity to pursue both;

·         Through different events, He’s taught me that my heart and home are large enough to embrace people in need, and He’s more than big enough to take care of us all. 

I could go on but you get the idea. As the song says, “our God is able to do exceeding abundantly, exceeding abundantly above/all our hopes, all our dreams, all we ever hope to be/our God is able to do.” 

If I could model the legacy I want to leave, I would demonstrate the following: love God, love people; trust God, count your blessings. I leave you with this hymn as a reminder to do just that.
Count Your Blessings
 For more of my writing, please visit 

November 29, 2014

Our Family Legacy Story - Ruth L. Snyder

In 1998, we heard about nineteen-year-old Mary, a single parent who was unsure of her ability to provide for her baby. Five months later, after figuring there was no possibility of adopting that particular baby, we sat down to fill out an adoption application with a private agency.  That night we received a phone call asking if we were still interested in adopting Mary's baby.  Four frantic days later, we brought our eldest daughter home.

Four years later, twin boys were placed with us by Child & Family Services.  (The boys were born at 27 weeks gestation, weighing less than two pounds each.  The fact they survived is a miracle.) Our 18-month-old twins introduced us to a completely new world special needs. Only those who walk in these shoes know the special joys, challenges, and gifts these children provide.  The first thing we noticed about our boys was their silence no babbling, no chatter.  We were told they had “global developmental delays.  After six months of scooping with a spoon, our hand over his - every day, several times a day - we celebrated while Luke actually fed himself.  At twenty-seven months, we cheered while Levi took his first wobbly step.  A few months later, he was able to climb up on a chair by himself and stand. We clapped, momentarily forgetting that Levis balance still needed help.  He stood for mere seconds, grinning from ear to ear, before taking a terrible tumble to the floor.  He landed on his head with glasses protruding at an odd angle, and blood gushing. We cringed as the doctor interrogated us. We learned to sign, using Signing Exact English, so the twins had a means of communicating with us.  Progress was excruciatingly slow.  Our boys, at age four, finally voiced the words, “Mom” and “Dad” for the first time.  The pediatrician who first saw our twins said they would never walk, talk, or feed themselves.  We are thankful God had other plans for them!

Two years later, Jayson joined our family.  Although Jayson is a full sibling to Luke and Levi, he had fewer obvious challenges.  However, parenting skills that worked with our other children were not nearly as effective with Jayson. We learned to be very creative in dealing with challenging behaviors.

Several years later, we received another phone call informing us we had been matched with twins (a three-year-old boy and girl). However, the adoption fell through before we even met the children, due to circumstances beyond our control. 

Life settled into a comfortable routine.  It seemed our family was complete. I decided to take on a part-time position with our local school board.  A month later, we were informed our boys had a new baby sister and were asked to consider adopting her. Our file was still open from the “match” that fell through, making it possible for us to become foster parents in a matter of days.  We drove to the hospital to meet our new little daughter.  Although we had four children, we had never cared for a newborn before, let alone one who had heart problems.  The hospital staff patiently showed us what we needed to know to care for her. A year later she was taken off her heart medication because there was no trace of any heart problems.

The next summer my husband and four older children were anticipating a carefree afternoon ride on horses in the backwoods at camp when a tanker truck zoomed over a double yellow line and rammed into the van in which they were riding. The van rolled and came to a screeching halt in the ditch. (My husband describes seeing bodies flop around like clothes in a washing machine. One of the ambulance attendants asked our daughter how many people died in the accident.) We're thankful the van took a left turn, avoiding most of the impact, thankful a young fellow passenger scooted from the corner that was hit to the middle seat because the seat belt wouldn't hook, and thankful the worst injury was a broken leg (to the fellow passenger). I'll never forget my family stumbling through the doorway of the cabin, dusty, bloody, and tearful, but alive.

Seven months later I received a phone call informing me my husband was in emergency at the local hospital. He had taken a snowmobile he fixed, out for a test drive and the next thing he knew he was lying on the snow several meters away from the crumpled snowmobile. Somehow he was able to start the machine and drive it back to the shop where he worked. (That was the last time the snowmobile started.) His coworker rushed him to the hospital where he was put in a neck brace and immobilized. Although he wasn't wearing a helmet, he walked away with minor injuries and a few major bruises.

As you can see, we have many things for which to praise the Lord. Will you join us in praising Him for His goodness and His wonderful works in our family?

Ruth L. Snyder and her husband, Kendall, have five children ages six to seventeen. Besides looking after her family, Ruth enjoys teaching Music for Young Children and writing. She currently serves as the editor for In the Loop, a quarterly newsletter for foster, adoptive, and kinship families in northeastern Alberta, Canada. Connect with Ruth at

November 28, 2014


I'm convinced that one way to leave a good lasting legacy is to write memoirs. Having read many in preparation for writing my second book, I found the personal stories of being in a blind school most helpful. Learning the details of life in those institutions reassured me that my recollections were valid.

Though I wrote about some bad things which happened in my life, my latest memoir shows how God providentially used those to give me a passion for his truth. Being in a cultic house church and learning the minister's blasphemous doctrines now fuels my desire to study the scriptures as God meant them to be understood.

I learned so much from excellent Bible teachers such as Hank Hanegraaff, John MacArthur, and R. C. Sproul. They taught me the concept that everything in Scripture must be taken in its proper context. This includes cultural and literary aspects. Much of the Bible is a mystery to new believers because they weren't taught about the Old Testament times and cultural norms. Neither do they know how to interpret the various genres of writing in the scriptures.

The danger regarding reading the Bible  without an understanding of its history and the Lord's character is that people come up with bizarre ideas and misconceptions. The house church I attended had many false notions. One of those was the idea that evil spirits could be kept out of a person's home by dedicating it to the Lord. The lay minister got this notion from Deuteronomy 20:5 which reads, "And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it." As you can read from the context, demons are totally foreign to the context of Israel going to war. Uneducated believers, as I once was, would never know this without being taught how to read verses in context.

This is just one example of how my latest book is a perpetual blessing to my familial relatives as well as my siblings in the body of Christ regarding reading his Word. Showing, rather than telling, demonstrates how gullible I was and how wicked the church elders were. The end of How I Was Razed shows our heavenly Father's gentle leading as I transitioned from naive believer to biblically-equipped saint.

Furthermore, he bore my angry words when my eyesight grew worse instead of better, no matter how I psyched myself up to believe he would heal me. Now I understand clearly about providence and how the Lord works through disabilities. I'm much happier now than I was in that cult  because I understand the true nature of our heavenly Father.

One thing I want to do for my family members is to write a memoir about my sister Diane and our adventures during our formative years. Before I was exiled to Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind, Diane and I were best friends. We walked everywhere together and had so much fun. I'd like to share that part of my life, especially with Diane's children. My sister died in 2004 of a liver disease so I now have nobody who I can reminisce with about those relatively carefree days. The book will be a memorial to my beloved sister who I still miss today.

November 27, 2014

Building a Memorial of God’s Goodness by Melanie Fischer

If I was given a brick every time the Lord revealed His goodness in my life, what a monument I could build!

BRICK: I got into my car after picking up groceries. I spotted a lady walking across the parking lot, heading to her car with a bouquet of flowers. Instantly I contemplated going back inside to purchase a bundle of spring petals. I hesitated though, knowing that flowers was not a wise purchase at this time. I decided to pray for them instead. The next day, at the end of the Sunday service, one of the ladies walked right up to me and asked if I would like the floral arrangement that decorated the front of the church. “Yes, yes I would” I replied.

BRICK: My daughter sat nervously waiting to take her driver’s test. I prayed in my head for the Lord to hold her in His hands. Without skipping a beat, “Daddy’s Hands” began to play through the speakers.

BRICK: I was growing weary of my current job and desperately wanted to know if this was what I was to continue to do, or if there was something else that I was being called to. I then petitioned for the Lord to make it obvious if He was releasing me from these works. Within moments, my phone “dinged” with a text from a friend asking if she could hire me for a writing project.

BRICK: An unexpected insurance bill came in the mail. It was only $35, but money was really tight at the time, and even that amount was a stretch. I had a peace about it though and trusted that the Lord would take care of it. Sure enough, out of the blue, we received a rebate cheque in the mail from our phone company for the exact amount.

BRICK: I had a heavy conviction on my heart to take better care of my body. As I filled up my glass bowl with leftovers, I prayed that the Lord would teach me what size of portions I should have. I then put my bowl into the microwave for a couple minutes. I pulled out the steaming hot food, and as I lifted it up, I bumped the side of the microwave. The bowl then literally split in half, spilling a good part of my food onto the floor.

BRICK: The missionary focus that Sunday was on an African village that was struggling to survive. The stories of extreme poverty and starvation left me hungry to help. Money was tight though, so I was unsure if I was able to give. I felt a strong nudge to put my grocery money into the offering plate. I took a deep breath and trusted that the Lord would provide. I drove straight home after church because I was expecting company. The family member who came for a visit was already parked out front of my house. As I walked over to give her a hug she told me that she needed help carrying some bags inside. She opened her trunk and doors to reveal a car packed with groceries. She said that her church prayed for a family to bless. We were on their hearts. AMEN!

It may be argued by some that the Lord’s hand cannot be seen, but the wake that the brush of His hand leaves behind certainly is visible. A memorial which is built in dedication of the goodness that God pours upon our lives is one that will never cease in being built.

November 26, 2014

Word to Word by Marnie Pohlmann

Nana’s Journal 
                             - Marnie Pohlmann

She gathered her feelings
With soft word ribbon,
Laced to pages with cursive bows
And teardrops.
Bouquets of pain and hope,
Intertwined with faith,
Pressed into her journal
In ink,
So generations to follow
Could meet her, 
Know her thoughts,
Feel her love,
Untie their hearts,
And worship her Lord.

My Mom, Olive, was also known as Nana.  We always knew Mom loved playing with words, but it was not until her death that we found how she had been using her talent. She had put a few thoughts into a small journal - thoughts on parenting, insights to Scripture, and opinions about her life circumstances. She wrote in prose, poetry, and prayer. I copied the journal for each of  my siblings, as a legacy to pass on to their children.
Mom and Me

 Chasing after her own nine children as well as a myriad of foster children with a variety of physical, mental, or emotional needs, I did not often see Mom reading, yet I know she enjoyed an assortment of books. I did see Mom do the Scramble puzzle in the newspaper every day, as well as the Cryptogram puzzle, and sometimes the Crossword puzzle, though she did not like the newspaper crosswords as much because they often focused on Hollywood stars, and she did not watch much television.

Mom taught us to play with words, too, especially while traveling or if we ever said we were bored. For example, take the word “conflagration” and see how many words you can make using the letters from this word. What is the largest word you can form? How many three-letter words can you list? At the end of her life, Dad said he found papers on which Mom had been playing this game using the names of her chemotherapy medicines.

Mom used words, both in games and in her journal, to make sense of life. She passed on this method of maintaining sanity to me, so while I may not often write to share with others, I cannot help but write through my emotions and circumstances.

Yes, Mom passed to her kids a love of playing with words, from Scrabble to creative writing. More than playing with words, though, Mom passed on a love of The Word.

As a child sitting through the sermons at church, I loved to lean into Mom and share her Bible. She had notes written in her well-worn King James translation with its cracked black leather cover.  I found some of the treasures she underlined. I loved to read Colossians 1:9-13, which she had noted as her prayer for each of her children.

Mom showed me that God is personal. He spoke through His Word specifically to her, and to her life circumstances, so I knew God would also speak to me as I read His Word. Amid life struggles, Mom showed me I could walk in peace, with God.

I Am Finding
                                   - Olive Shaver Freeman

When one is in a state of complete devastation
God is there!
When one is in great confusion
God is there!
When one feels intense betrayal
God is there!
When one is lost in a feeling of very little or no self-worth
God is there!
When one is searching desperately for the will to go on coping
God is there!
Yes Yes Yes
I am finding
Who long ago found me,
Who is with me right where I am
And where God is
There is peace!

The example of my Mom and the words she left are a legacy that leads to God.
May my life and my words also lead to God.

November 25, 2014

The Journey Home by Vickie Stam

Genesis 18:14 "Is there anything too hard for the Lord?"

Life is full of surprises! For my parents, I was a surprise baby. But not a life that God did not intend.

Every once in a while I find myself travelling back in time to revisit my past and in doing so I am pulling some of those unexpected events from my memory bank. I didn't always appreciate the gift of memories the way I do now. The times I consider to be "the hard times" are not always something I enjoy reminiscing about. But these days those still frames in my mind allow me to view the days gone by as part of God's plan for me. The knowledge that my Heavenly Father knows all of my trials and triumphs long before they've transpired is sometimes difficult for me to fathom.

But, God never promised my life would be filled with only joy and no pain. In fact, it was in those trials that I found myself reaching out to him, longing for his help. God was patiently waiting to draw me closer to him. Waiting for me to trust him to unfold the rest of his perfect plan for me.

It's been quite a journey. Through it all, I've had the privilege to share my ups and downs with my family and friends.... people that only he could have brought into my life.

I'm reminded, "It's not how far we go in's how we get there." I'm certain God isn't finished with me yet and I know that he will walk with me the rest of the way home.

John 14:3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

How wonderful to know that one day I am going to share a place with my heavenly Father. I've often wondered what heaven will be like but in the meantime it is my desire to carry out God's plan for me here on earth.

I'm a Christian, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend.

Being a Christian you are given the gift of grace, forgiveness and hope. Jesus died so that all might live. Being a wife is the gift God gave to Adam; a helpmate so he would no longer be alone in the garden of Eden. Being a mother is the gift he gave to many women in the bible, even Sarah who in her old age thought she would never conceive and bring forth a child, yet she did. Being a grandmother is the gift that is described in Proverbs as, "a crown of the aged." Being a friend is the gift he gives you when he surrounds you with a family, brings people into your life from within your neighbourhood, your church and around the world.

I have so much to be thankful for! I hope what I leave behind are memories... memories of the person that God intended me to be.


November 24, 2014

Giving It All to God by Tandy Balson

In 2005 my husband and I were feeling very unsettled in our lives. We both had jobs we enjoyed, good friends and fulfilling volunteer roles. Perhaps our feelings had something to do with the fact that both of our children and our two grandchildren were in Calgary and we lived in Vancouver.

We prayed for a move or a change. It might be a physical move or just a change in attitude that we needed. A business opportunity came up that would put us only six hours away from our kids. The closer we got to making this move, the better the opportunity became and the less peace we had about it. Since we didn’t feel that God was telling us to go ahead, we decided to back away from it.

My husband heard about a job in the Calgary area and expressed his interest. As we prayed about this, everything came together quickly and easily. There was no doubt in our minds this was God’s plan for us. Our desire to be closer to our children and to play a bigger role in the lives of our grandchildren was about to be fulfilled. God confirmed for each of us that although the move would accomplish this desire, it was about much more.

A faith building legacy of relying on God for our plans was beginning. Our family saw us stand firm in our faith through difficult job situations and illness. When they went through trials, we could be there physically, lending support. They knew we were praying for them.

I found meaningful volunteer work where I knew I was making a difference in lives. Through this, I met someone who encouraged me to take the reflections I was writing and share them through a blog, which she named Time with Tandy. I knew this was something I didn’t have the skill to do on my own. When I gave my meager talents back to God, he took them and magnified them. Like the story of the loaves and fishes, he was able to do much more with my little offering than I could ever have imagined.

My family has heard me proclaim that the words I write do not come from me, they come through me. All thanks and praise goes back to God. This part of the legacy is showing my family what can be accomplished when you turn your life over to Jesus.

We now have seven grandchildren and our goal is to help them experience God’s love. Actions speak louder than words so this must be done by example. Neither family is currently attending church, so we have taken the opportunity to model for them what a life lived for Jesus looks like.

Our seven-year-old grandson recently saw me with my Bible and expressed interest in having one of his own. A few days later my husband and I stopped by their house and presented him with one. He was thrilled. The legacy of faith and relying on God is being passed on to future generations. We thank God for allowing us to play this vital role in the lives of our loved ones.

 You can find more of Tandy's writing by clicking on the following links:

November 23, 2014

A Legacy of Prayer and Blessing by Terrie Lynne

Ever since my children were babies I have prayed a night time prayer of blessing and protection over them. I must admit my prayer has expanded in length as the years have gone by and their little worlds and situations have expanded beyond their crib, the school ground, and into the real world!
When they were young, they didn't want to go to asleep until we had our special prayer time together. Many conversations about life or life situations would spring out of our time together.
 Even though they are grown adults now, and living their own lives, I still pray my prayer for them. Although, they may not literally hear me they know I still pray, and find comfort in knowing this.
As a believer and a parent this is a legacy that I want to pass on to my children. My hope is they will carry this on to their children and for generations to come! Perhaps when I'm old, my children will pray their own prayer of blessing and protection over me.

 Sharing this story with you reminds me of a book titled, "I'll Love You Forever" that I enjoyed reading to my kids when they were little. The story is of a mother praying for her child and how the circle of love and dedication was carried on by her child onto her grandchild and eventually back to her when she was old.  My eyes still fill with tears when I think about the words in that book. The words that mother would say were, "I'll love you forever, I'll like for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be." They are simplistic yet powerful words that we all may appreciate having spoken over us no matter how old we are.

 Although we may not hear them from our parents or children, because of life's circumstances, I believe we can find peace and comfort  in knowing there is a loving Heavenly Father who wants to speak words of love and compassion to us. Perhaps words like " I'll love you forever, I'll love you for always, forever and ever my baby you'll be"! Not just while we are here on earth but for all eternity! Amen!

 Give Thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever. (Chronicles 16:34)

Photos by family photo album,,

November 21, 2014

Some Dance to Remember, Some Dance to Forget * Jocelyn Faire

Some Dance to Remember, Some dance to forget *

Remember the Good Things                                               

Forgetting what lies behind ....
I have struggled with that verse, and with the next part about straining to that which lies ahead.
(Philippians 3:13)

How does one let go of the past pains to prevent them from staining the future?
And how do I keep those block-buster God moments on my forehead for the next time when the dark thoughts weigh heavy? What does joyful anticipation look like?

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. ...(NIV)
        -I can clearly see that I have not quite taken hold of this either.
but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead... (Amplified)
~ ~ ~~~ ~ ~~~ ~ ~~~ ~ ~~~ ~ ~~
Dominique is a young Afrikaans woman I met while working as a nurse in a drug rehab clinic in Western Australia. Her childhood tale of sexual abuse, parental neglect, self harm and addiction tore my hear in two. So much trauma had been done to her as a child, I wondered if she could ever make it.
Her and I met for our first coffee in the fall of 2009, shortly before her 34th birthday. The founder of the clinic asked if I could spend some time with her. That short walk to the local coffee shop began a most challenging and fulfilling relationship. Initially, I thought I could help her, fix her, evangelize her ... and after two years I realized that what was most important, was just to love her. She had been a project for enough people. 
Bit by bit, she let out pieces of her story ... how she found her mother on the floor after an overdose ... How her uncle had taken her and her sister to a black township, where she had seen a man doused with gasoline, then lit. How she could still vividly recall her uncle in her bedroom ... her heart pounding with fear ... the footsteps of her mother coming towards the door, surely to her rescue ... only to hear the pause and the sound of those same footsteps retreat. And in that moment, the reality that she knew that she knew.
She despised her own life of addiction, and I wish I could say that Christ has miraculously healed her, but it has not happened yet. Various psychologists, therapists, Christians and psychiatrists have analyzed, scrutinized and project-size disappointed her.
So I struggle as I read Philippians 3:13 &14, about letting go of the past and pressing on to the goal of knowing the prize. How can she forget and strive for what lies ahead when there is no earthly reason to believe it will be any better than the horror that has kept her awake at night for years? And how do I encourage and love my friend who doesn't fully understand the True Prize? Often I feel that my own uncertainties make me a strange guide, and yet I know that it is because of my own questions that we connect. 

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said "We are all just prisoners here, of our own device" ...
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! " *

And I pray as I think of Dominique as she drug dances to forget.

* song lyrics from
Hotel California released by The Eagles, Feb 1977 ...

Although people have interpreted the song in many ways apparently,

In the 2013 documentary History of the Eagles, Henley said that the song was about "a journey from innocence to experience...that's all".[2] From Wikipedia

Jocelyn blogs at:

November 20, 2014

Leaving a Legacy - Joylene M. Bailey

The words “Leaving a Legacy” bring up an instant image for me. 

I was about 8 or 9 years old on a visit to Grandpa and Grandma in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.  Getting up in what seemed like the middle of the night to use the bathroom wasn’t scary because everything about Grandma & Grandpa’s house felt cozy and safe. Leftover smells of veranika and farmer sausage, the carpeted hallway, Grandma's sewing room walls covered with pictures of cousins, aunts, uncles and other relatives in outdated clothing, the mantel clock on Grandpa’s desk that chimed the quarter hours like a guardian angel. All added to the embrace that was Grandpa & Grandma’s house.  So it didn’t frighten me to hear voices murmuring when the house should have been dark and quiet.

Grandpa & Grandma’s bedroom was across from mine, and that night as I padded to the bathroom there they were.  In their pajamas, kneeling by their bed, side-by-side, backs towards me, praying - in Low German with smatterings of English. 

In that brief moment I heard them pray for their children, their grandchildren, their great-grandchildren, and future generations to come.  In my 8-year-old head it was just Grandma & Grandpa praying, but that image was burned into my brain.

When I think about it now I see the significance of this seemingly simple vignette.  First of all, I know without a doubt that this wasn’t a one-time thing. It was something they did every night.  And, I am humbled and overjoyed to realize that those many many years ago they were praying for my grandson, whose first birthday is today.  Their prayers still cover my family. My prayers will join theirs as I pray for my children, grandchildren, and generations to come.   

Thank you Grandma & Grandpa. What a legacy!