A New Song

001Do you ever wake up with an annoying song stuck in your head? Or some silly little TV advert? Worse yet….some children’s nursery rhyme on auto-rewind?!!

Well for the past week, I have started each day  with a new song that is lovely, comforting and ever-present with me as I go about my rather ordinary life. Now this could have presented a problem once upon a time because I rarely know ALL the words to any one song. That in itself can be torture to my feeble mind but then again years of such experiences have made me quite creative as I replace my own words to fill in such gaps in the repertoire that is my mind. But for some months  now  and I suspect every day from here on in, the words and music are clear and concise;  the melody is sweet; the music unforgettable. And I rest assured even  Bach could not compete.

I remember one day not so long ago, when my heart was heavy and my thoughts were troubled. You see, though I had been a Christian for many years, I had come to a place where I was not being fed and nourished Spiritually. I was attending a church just for the sake of duty and I was surrounded by nominal lukewarm believers. I thought that I would ‘get by’ feeding myself here and there with little tidbits of Scripture when I could make time. A dangerous game I was playing. The time became less and less and I allowed worldly matters to consume my days. Oh I wasn’t out bar-hopping or creating a ruckus but worse perhaps, I allowed myself to be satisfied with less than I  deserved and certainly less than God did. I knew I loved Jesus and I knew, without a doubt, that He loved me. I knew I was His child and was safe even, under His wings,  but I was settling for second best. In all of this,  depression crept upon me and tears flowed daily. I was putting blame everywhere but where it belonged. I had taken my eyes off the prize. I had set standards according to my feelings and attitudes.

Then came the day when I walked through the doors of a gathering that was serving up a great feast. The banquet hall set before me that day was made up of serious children of God worshipping Him freely with joy abounding! As I looked through my own tears, I began to recognize each and every person there as a long-lost brother or sister. I began to realize that this was the family God intended me to be a part of. Having been surrounded from my youth with ten loving brothers and sisters, I knew that they were just the beginning of a real family God had in store for me. And I did not have to wait until eternity to know the true love and joy of such fellowship. As the Praise  music faded, the Pastor came forth and began that morning, a year or so ago, to bring me into his fold. He and the other Godly Pastors taught that to be a Christian itself is not enough. It was never intended for any of us to rest on our laurels. God never meant for us to settle and stay in one place. At any age, He still had plans for us to prosper, not in the worlds’ ways but in His ways. He wants to use a lady in her 60’s as much as a man in his prime. He wants to see us grow daily. He wants to heal us and make all things new. He wants to bless us with His mercy and grace every morning and He wants to give us a new song in our hearts.

As I write this, I reflect on my new time of prayer and praise, my learning more and reaching farther. Still, there is much to be done. I still must place one foot in front of the other; I still fail too often but belonging to a family such as I have discovered on this small island of Bermuda, in this tiny church, with God’s dear people, has made me sing anew each day!

“I call upon your name Lord, the name above all names….You are the One Jesus…”cropped-2323232327ffp35-nu326-577578wsnrcg32359363955-nu0mrj.jpg

Freezing Bermudians

snowy car
We should have known when in the early dawn, this was the site that greeted us in our Vermont driveway……
But we are BRAVE Bermudians. And yes, to clarify, though I have lived all my adult life in Bermuda (ahem…more than 43 years), and I was born and bred in North-Eastern Canada, this little girl is totally Bermudianized and I do NOT care for temperatures below 40 degrees!
So at four o’clock in the afternoon, my adventurous husband and I set off for Foxborough, just outside Boston to enjoy an NFL game…specifically the New England Patriots versus the Denver Broncos, a promise of an exciting game for sure. Did I mention that this stadium which seats close to 100,000 people is OUTDOORS? and that the only tickets my darling husband could procure were in the nose-bleed section? IN THE WIND? Yes but we dressed warmly….I mean, we were so prepared, what could a little arctic freeze do to spoil our fun? In preparation for this, I even stopped shaving my legs for two days, telling Ray those few little scraggly hairs would add to my blanket of warmth. But I digress and I am once more sharing too much information. But honestly, with three pairs of socks, tights and two pairs of warm slacks, boots, a heavy wool blanket etc etc, well…..you will understand….
Snowy Game
ya see? It is not a pretty site!
To shorten this rather wordy report, I lost feeling in one foot after a half an hour but I was courageous as I huddled against the gale force (???) winds. The game itself started off very badly if one was a Patriots fan so the mood around us was not pleasant. Both Ray and I were blown away at the foul language and hateful snide remarks shouted at the top of drunken (at least that is my explanation) voices all around. Perhaps Ray was not as shocked since he had been to several such games throughout the years but I was saddened and disgusted. The game continued to go downhill and other parts of my body began to ice up. My fingers did not belong to me but rather were encased somewhere in the woolen mittens I wore. At least I hoped at the time that someday that’s where they would be found. Thankfully my back and head were warm but my face was as frozen as a new Botox recipient. Hey, maybe there was a silver lining here? by the time the second quarter was well underway, I was trembling. I no longer reacted to the foul messages being sent forth around me. Instead I spoke the love and warmth of Jesus over myself and all my loved ones, should this be the way I would be finally leaving this earth. They say just before you freeze to death, you get very very sleepy. I tried yawning a few times to test the expected time of my impending doom but once too often my jaw stayed that way and Ray had to force it shut! Well, this IS my blog and I can exaggerate if I feel the need to draw in any readers. The point was, I would not die seated in row 15 at the second to top tier of that massive stadium. I began to feverishly make plans for another day on this earth. Hurray….Perhaps tomorrow I would sit all day by a blazing fire in our cute pot-belly stove? hmmm
OK the 2 minute warning sounded and Ray promised that since it was such a terrible game anyway and I had suffered enough penance to earn 1000 people their way out of purgatory IF I were still a catholic so I perked up and peeped from under the blanket. Did I mention that most football players played the game in SHORT sleeved shirts???? I was aghast! By the way, any of you who may watch NFL games know that TWO MINUTES on the clock do NOT mean two actual minutes. I would have cried but any moisture in or around my eyes had long since frozen solid. I looked at my darling, handsome, protective husband and without a complaint, he smiled angelically (well that is how I saw it), took my arm and said, “Come on honey, let’s go home!” I fell madly, deeply and passionately in love AGAIN!

A New Song

Do you ever wake up with an annoying song stuck in your head? Or some silly little TV advert? Worse yet….some children’s nursery rhyme on auto-rewind?!!

Well for the past week, I have started each day  with a new song that is lovely, comforting and ever-present with me as I go about my rather ordinary life. Now this could have presented a problem once upon a time because I rarely know ALL the words to any one song. That in itself can be torture to my feeble mind but then again years of such experiences have made me quite creative as I replace my own words to fill in such gaps in the repertoire that is my mind. But for some months  now  and I suspect every day from here on in, the words and music are clear and concise;  the melody is sweet; the music unforgettable. And I rest assured even  Bach could not compete.

I remember one day not so long ago, when my heart was heavy and my thoughts were troubled. You see, though I had been a Christian for many years, I had come to a place where I was not being fed and nourished Spiritually. I was attending a church just for the sake of duty and I was surrounded by nominal lukewarm believers. I thought that I would ‘get by’ feeding myself here and there with little tidbits of Scripture when I could make time. A dangerous game I was playing. The time became less and less and I allowed worldly matters to consume my days. Oh I wasn’t out bar-hopping or creating a ruckus but worse perhaps, I allowed myself to be satisfied with less than I  deserved and certainly less than God did. I knew I loved Jesus and I knew, without a doubt, that He loved me. I knew I was His child and was safe even, under His wings,  but I was settling for second best. In all of this,  depression crept upon me and tears flowed daily. I was putting blame everywhere but where it belonged. I had taken my eyes off the prize. I had set standards according to my feelings and attitudes.

Then came the day when I walked through the doors of a gathering that was serving up a great feast. The banquet hall set before me that day was made up of serious children of God worshipping Him freely with joy abounding! As I looked through my own tears, I began to recognize each and every person there as a long-lost brother or sister. I began to realize that this was the family God intended me to be a part of. Having been surrounded from my youth with ten loving brothers and sisters, I knew that they were just the beginning of a real family God had in store for me. And I did not have to wait until eternity to know the true love and joy of such fellowship. As the Praise  music faded, the Pastor came forth and began that morning, a year or so ago, to bring me into his fold. He and the other Godly Pastors taught that to be a Christian itself is not enough. It was never intended for any of us to rest on our laurels. God never meant for us to settle and stay in one place. At any age, He still had plans for us to prosper, not in the worlds’ ways but in His ways. He wants to use a lady in her 60’s as much as a man in his prime. He wants to see us grow daily. He wants to heal us and make all things new. He wants to bless us with His mercy and grace every morning and He wants to give us a new song in our hearts.

As I write this, I reflect on my new time of prayer and praise, my learning more and reaching farther. Still, there is much to be done. I still must place one foot in front of the other; I still fail too often but belonging to a family such as I have discovered on this small island of Bermuda, in this tiny church, with God’s dear people, has made me sing anew each day!

“I call upon your name Lord, the name above all names….You are the One Jesus…”cropped-2323232327ffp35-nu326-577578wsnrcg32359363955-nu0mrj.jpg

Hearing That Still Small Voice

God really wants to be in a personal relationship with us. It is absolutely astounding that the Creator of the Universe cares for every one of us to such a degree that He desires to be in touch with us in a powerful way. While He is a God who wants to be praised and honored and glorified and rightly so, He also wants to just hear from us.

Any of us who are parents can relate to this in that we too desire our children to tell us about their thoughts and plans and feelings. When we collect them from school, we wait to hear about their day with their classmates, teachers and even the mean little girl in their class. We imagine waging wars on their behalf but soon realize this would be the worst thing we could do….for our child. They need to learn to deal with these issues and unless we sense real danger, we try to teach and equip them to forge ahead.

Once these children become teenagers, we truly are in war mode or we ought to be. Because we have to fight to keep them on the straight and narrow. We have to fight to know what is going on in their minds since suddenly we are the enemy all too often.

What must it be like to be God? I shan’t even try to go there but I will share a real experience I had with my own teenage daughter some years back. She is our eldest and now well into her thirties so we have made it through….thank you Lord.

Anyway, here in Bermuda, because our island is so small, there is a law that allows only one car per household. So, the norm here is to ride motorbikes. The mild weather helps and all kids get to ride their own motorbike at the age of 16. My daughter, was 17 years old and not exactly the easiest child to rear. (again normal).  My husband was away on business and she came to me about 9 pm one evening and said her friend’s dad could get them backstage at some Reggae thing and she wanted to go. She knew it was a school night and the rules were….no going out but she also knew how to play me. I was weary of the battles and so before she actually came to me, I  had been  praying for God’s direction regarding her and my other children. I had been particularly concerned about her. When she came to me, she expected me to flat-out say no and to engage in the usual battle. I felt the Lord speak to me in that still small voice, “Trust me. Do not say no.” I was shocked. I knew she ought not to go out at that hour on her bike. I started to sputter and the voice again spoke to me, “Do you trust me?” So I calmly turned and said, “Yes but don’t be late” She was as surprised as I was and ran to get ready to meet these well-known singers. My heart was racing and I began to argue with God. Why would you ever tell me to do this? His answer was simple. “Take her helmet and anoint it with oil.” I flushed and felt foolish. Was I imaging this? Again, that quiet voice in my heart, “Trust me. Anoint her helmet and keys” They were lying on the table. I self-consciously got out the olive oil and in obedience, I quickly made a sign of the cross on her helmet and keys and spoke God’s anointing over them and my daughter. I quickly turned away hoping no one had seen me. They would be sure I was nuts. About 15 minutes later, my daughter rushed into the room. She was all prettied up, hair done, make up perfect, and in a cute little outfit. Her face was filled with such excitement. I was fighting with God in my mind but He reminded me to trust Him. She happily said goodbye and started walking to the door, grabbing her helmet and keys. As soon as she put her helmet on her head, she stopped short. She turned and looked at me and with extreme surprise on her pretty face, she said to me. “Mom, I am not going. I am staying home tonight but thanks anyway.” She called out goodnight and leaving her helmet and keys went to her room. I was just about frozen in place I was so amazed. Tears started to pour down my cheeks as I began to thank my awesome God.

I didn’t tell this to my daughter until about 5 years ago. God was just teaching me to trust in Him in ALL things. He knew there were some major hurdles coming in my life, as in everyone else’s and I needed to practice that trust.

God is GREAT…………….

There WAS Something about Mary

Her name was Mary  and I was an 18-year-old student nurse.   That early morning in March, 1968, when I was first assigned to be her care-giver for the day, I felt a knot deep inside my stomach. I had heard so much about Mary and I was terrified.

You may think it is because she was a difficult and demanding patient.  You may surmise that she was at death’s door and likely to pass at any given time….But Mary was the bravest woman I have ever met in my entire life!
Mary was full of cancer and in the 1960’s all too often there was no hope. We knew she would die of this horrid disease but it seemed, at that time, as though she would be with us forever. She was dying, yes, but oh so slowly and ever so painfully. To make matters worse…..

Well, let me tell you first why I was so terrified.  I was told that she was a quiet old lady but so filled with cancer and infection that she had to be in Isolation.  In that small hospital, the Isolation Ward was dark and dreary but what was probably the most frightening for us students was the horrible smell and the ugliness of the rotting flesh. I shan’t describe it any further than that. Because we had to gown up and wear masks etc., I gathered all I would need before entering her room so that I could clean her and change her dressings without having to go out for additional supplies. Mary was blind and she was frail. She had a small voice despite her big heart. I could tell that she craved company, being alone all the time like that. Sadly no one visited and certainly no one (myself included) just stopped in to chat. It was painful to be there and I was, like most of my fellow students, a coward. Still I tried my best to be loving and gentle with her. When I had to remove her dressings, I could have cried but what still, to this day, makes my heart stir, is that though she was trembling in severe, agonizing  pain, all she did was whisper, “Thank you Jesus; thank you Jesus” I could not believe the faith of this poor woman; I didn’t understand then that we truly can cast all our cares on Him. But Mary taught me about that the very first day.  I recall vividly that when I had finished doing her dressings and seeing to her other needs, I left that room a totally different person than when I had entered it. Still, though her faith touched me, I hated to be assigned to her because it was so very difficult. In the  three years I was in training (Nursing School), Mary was there  and I  often wondered why God waited so long to ‘take her home’ but now I realize that perhaps it was so that she could be a testimony of Great Faith and Love to so many of us young students! Mary was grateful for every little thing that any of us did for her. I know I could have done far more and I still regret my immaturity in this regard. It probably wasn’t until I myself was going through a battle with bi-lateral breast cancer myself over 10 years ago that I began to understand  how Mary could,  during her pain and suffering, thank Jesus. You see, I experienced His loving arms about me when I was at my worst. I knew that He held Mary close to His heart each and every day. Looking back now, I believe He was there with us in that dark room.

I fully believe that when I walk through the gates of heaven into eternity one day, one of the first people I will see is a glorified and rejoicing Mary. For I know that “our” Savior has gathered her into Paradise with Him.  All her  tears and suffering have been removed from her forever!

Thank You, Mary!

His Loving Arms

When I say I am a Breast Cancer Survivor, most people congratulate me. Hey, hey, hey……I didn’t do anything really. I mean what could I do? I suppose people imply that I was a fighter but in all honesty, it was not a battle I chose. In fact, I did very little fighting. I was in “getting by one day at a time mode” but more importantly, I was in a “trusting” mode. I completely and totally HAD to put all my trust in God. Oh yes, in fairness, I placed myself in the hands of excellent Doctors and Nurses and a hospital that was second to none. But even these professionals lose patients all the time. For surely even they know that ultimately they are not in control. They must know that there is someone with far more power than all their learned selves who draws a line in the sands of time. I know that Almighty God had a specific plan for me. Indeed I believe He does for every one of us. Whether we acknowledge it or not, well, that is another thing. But I told Jesus the day I was diagnosed, “I want you to use me to touch someone else’s life and hopefully draw them to you, Lord” I meant it from the bottom of my heart then and I meant it through all the months of treatments. I meant it when I was afire with radiation burns; I meant it through horrid chemotherapy treatments. I meant it the first time I had to be hospitalized with pneumonia and even the second time but I was close that night to saying too much. What I did say as my husband was leading my weakened and feverish body out the door was, “Someone HAD better be getting ‘saved’ by all this Lord!” He knew I was about at my limit and He guided me through that bout of suffering. When my pneumonia was starting to get under some sort of control and I awoke in that lonely hospital bed to a mouth full of wretched painful sores (from the chemotherapy) I allowed the tears to flow. That was the last straw or so I thought. Was I brave? Not really. I was surviving. When they found cancer in the second breast, I paused and with tears flowing again, I said to my husband, “Just maybe this IS my time to die…” He turned away before he cried and shook his head. He was not ready to give up. He was fighting for me. He carried my burden bravely. He was there for me every moment of every day. When he couldn’t be physically there, he made sure my daughter was there. When I couldn’t be with my youngest daughter when she began her first year of University abroad, he brought along her Godfather in support. He led the family through this battle in such a way that I feel he deserved a medal of honor. All my children pulled together and supported me and each other. My ten brothers and sisters were in constant prayer. One brother flew over 4000 miles to spend time with me. I was loved and cherished and surrounded by prayer. Friends were on their knees.

I must describe one night in particular for you. With my blood count so depleted by the ongoing chemotherapy, I had to have injections daily for ten days after each chemotherapy session. The injection itself was extremely painful and just before i plunged the needle into my stomach, I held my breath and prayed. But what was to come was far worse. The medication worked deep within the bone marrow to stimulate white blood cell growth. As a result, all my bones were excruciatingly painful. I could barely walk. I was in constant pain. I could not stand the feel of the sheets touching me. I had to keep anyone from touching me. I was to ward off my precious grandchildren. I hobbled about with a walking stick and grasping onto my husband’s arm for support. One night as I gingerly made my way into bed, I began to softly cry. The pain was close to unbearable. As I lay there trying to get comfortable and ready to try to sleep, I silently cried to the Lord, “Help me please” It was then that Ray crept closer to me and with the most gentle touch ever, he slowly and lovingly gathered me into his loving arms. He held me and loved me and cherished me and I knew it was the touch of the “Master”. I closed my eyes and knew that I was held in His loving arms.

Praise be to God.

I have been cancer free for over ten years now.

Congratulations to Ray Medeiros, my loving husband. And thank you to Jesus Christ my precious Savior!

Condo Living in 1959 Antigonish

in 1959 or so my younger  brothers and sisters and I built the first condominium ever! Some of our friends and other neighborhood kids helped. At least it was the first condo complex  in our small town, I am sure. The summers were long and luxurious and we filled our days and evenings with so many adventures, too many to mention now but let me tell you about the first condominium in Antigonish, Nova Scotia….

The tree house of that season (we built dozens over the years) had been completed about 2 weeks before. We had all taken turns sleeping in it until the afternoon my little sister fell right out onto the hard ground and smashed her pretty little face rather badly. That put a stop to our camping out in the tree house. When one of us had run into the house to announce to our already overworked and somewhat frazzled mom that Beth fell out of the tree and couldn’t talk to us, her first response was to pray urgently (that was how this recurring expression was explained to us good little catholic children back then), “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” We knew this meant serious business and scattered out of the path of the storm as she raced to rescue her baby girl. Thankfully, my dear little sister was fine within a short period of time and to this day, she remains “The Pretty One” when referenced to the Brasset girls.

So it was this historic event in our household that gave us a big STOP in tree construction for the rest of that summer. I believe it was my younger brother Jimmy who came up with our new plan and so the condominium was sketched and planned and constructed soon after. We did not choose “condo” as a name for our invention but rather called it our multi-storied luxury home. It was a simple but brilliant design and as soon as the place was completed (in the safety of our back porch), plans were made for our first house-warming party; that is, we fought for about 4 hours about who would sleep where. Naturally everyone wanted the top story because of the view (of our neighbor’s rhubarb patch) and one darling neighborhood child/friend/cousin won out. Myra often did win, I recall now. Anyway Mom and Dad were more than happy to let us occupy our elegant home that night. Children began arriving at dusk and by nightfall there were enough pillows, blankets, snacks, flashlights, (oh the electric was yet to be done) and comic books to devour to feed and clothe a battalion of soldiers.

Mom and Dad and our older siblings seemed quite proud of us and were chuckling as they said their good nights and closed the kitchen door for the night. (our doors were never ever locked; in fact, we did not own a key except for our car and the post box).

It was exciting and another wondrous adventure for the Brasset kids and their few chosen friends and we laughed and giggled long into the night. We had trap doors separating one floor from the next and we passed coded notes to each other in our childish excitement. We snuggled as the summer cold evening air crept into our new digs. It took us awhile but we did fall into a sweet sleep at about 1 am. All was quiet on the Brasset porch until about 3am when Myra, our Penthouse tenant came crashing through her suite and toppled onto the next floor’s residents of which I was one. With all our combined weight, it was only a matter of seconds before that floor caved in and the multiplied bunch of kids broke through the final two floors almost suffocating the lower class tenants on the ground floor. There were no tears since we had somehow managed to bring our blankets and pillows with us and we were soon a mess of jumbled laughing children. It would seem that somehow we did not disturb the sleeping household so we just rearranged ourselves and all crowded together on the ground floor, we finished out the night. It was one of the best sleep-overs I have ever attended and a sweet memory to this day.

Kids today………….they don’t know what they are missing!

Myra and I in Antigonish 2011

Ready, Set and Go?

So today was a big day. We are down to final preparations for this RV trip. And lists have been checked twice, at least.

Linens….clean and fresh

Pantry….stocked

Various Games….on board

Books……loaded and ready to be devoured

Computer…..just waiting

Screened porch….ready at a moment’s notice

Storehouse with tales of adventures and excitement……ready to be compiled

Dogs…….ready to sniff their way around campgrounds

Bible…..by my side

AND

CPAP machine…….(oh the pain….) yup, ready to force feed me air to keep me breathing at night! Cheech! Aging is SO much fun.

And then when we had just finished stocking the refrigerator, the rains came again. The musical sound of rain in an RV could be recorded and make someone lots of money. Wow, what joy there is in being retired and having a lovely home on wheels.

We plan on spending some time in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and then time in Maine. We want to revisit Kennebunkport and spend some time around picturesque Bar Harbor before driving to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. We hear the weather has not been particularily kind but we don’t mind at all. To be on the road is our purpose and then meeting up with friends our main goal.

Let the good times begin!

7 Lessons from 7 Brothers

I am reposting this from August 8th…partly because I have been a wee bit under the weather and am not feeling particularly inspired to write much just now and partly because I just LOVE my brothers….all SEVEN of them.

(My three sisters are FABULOUS too but this is for the guys)

Rob………taught me to dance, I mean REALLY dance. When I was about 10 ten years old, he would pull me into his ‘space’ (with 13 in the house, we did still manage to have our own space and that was closely guarded!) I learned to “Rock around the Clock” and I have been doing it ever since. He taught me to “feel” the beat.

Michael…..taught me that in life there are always consequences and if I sassed my mother, he was there to ensure it never happen again, at least on his watch! He was loving but firm and direct. He taught me to respect and honor my parents.

David……taught me about helping others. Ever since I can remember, he dedicated his time to others. Whether it be teaching the dishwashers at a local chinese restaurant English or inviting the mentally challanged into our family circle, David was the helper.

Don…..taught me to laugh out loud, even before the expression was popular! He showed me how to find humour in every situation but not at the risk of hurting another person. And he taught me to laugh at myself!

Ed……taught me to know that Jesus is real. Ed taught me how to love deeply and to forgive completely. He taught me about sweet precious love for others.

Jimmy……taught me first and foremost patience. Jimmy was a wonderfully brilliant brother, a gifted musician and a not so easy brother to live with. He delighted in making every day a challange and taught me to challenge myself. He taught me about perseverence and loyalty and taught me to become more humble.

Bill…………taught me how to love! He taught me to cherish family and to see the good in all of us. He taught me how to respect others. He taught me to appreciate all that we had and he taught me to be more thankful. Bill was always my cheerleader and always will be, no matter my many flaws!