Prayer has been on my mind a lot lately. Actually, it’s been much more intense in the last few weeks.
I participate online in a home group with Church of the Rock in Winnipeg, Canada. We watch a short video and then discuss it. One of the pastors serves as a host. The series we are currently studying deals with prayer. And it has me thinking about prayer a lot more than usual, especially the circumstances surrounding when, why and how I pray.
We tend to pray for ourselves when we are in need much more than when things in our lives are going smoothly. Somehow praise for God isn’t always included. But there is a reason why our church services begin with praise. This strengthens our communication and relationship with God.
I plead guilty to praying for others more often than praying for myself. But I am trying to change that. My prayers with God have become more like conversations with a friend. I take more time to pray each day, always including praise.
And now, what prompted me to write this post.
Last week, someone in my past contacted me, someone I haven’t heard from in years. We are blood relatives and although we lived in different cities in Canada, we were quite close. But it’s interesting how my divorce and my becoming a Christian has completely changed our relationship. While I have reached out to him when he has experienced crises in his life during the last decade, I have undergone four major surgeries without hearing a word from him. My daughter got married. My first granddaughter was born. Still no acknowledgment on his part. And yes, he was well aware of all of these events. Last week I received a text on Facebook Messenger from him. Not a text to sincerely inquire as to my well-being. Nope. He had an agenda. He had a new venture on his mind and he would have benefited financially had I gone along with this. Needless to say I have had no response to my text informing him that I was not interested in this venture. And I wonder if and when I will ever hear from him in the future.
When he needs me in his life and it’s convenient for him, then he reaches out. Otherwise I am ignored and forgotten, like a book that gets put up on a high shelf never to be dusted.
However God forgives my sins and I need to forgive others. There is no room in my heart for anger or bitterness. I want my heart to be filled with peace, love and tranquility. So I have chosen to pray for this cousin instead.
Prayer is powerful.
April 5th was my mother’s birthday. She would have celebrated her 105th birthday that day. But sadly she passed away more than twenty years ago. And the last time we were together on Mother’s Day was in 1996. Cell phones with cameras weren’t around yet, and somehow we just didn’t drag out a real camera that day to take photos. At the time, my son was fifteen and my daughter was twelve. And the only pictures I have of that day are those etched in my mind and in my heart forever.
It was a glorious sunny day in Winnipeg, unseasonably warm and the snow had already disappeared. I had prepared brunch that day at home. I still recall the menu vividly………..salad, quiche, fresh fruit and a lemon trifle for dessert. We wanted to spend a quiet, leisurely time at home rather than fight the crowds in the restaurants. My mother was scheduled for surgery that week, a surgery that tragically took her life.
This year I will be back in Winnipeg for Mother’s Day. Instead of a virtual visit to the cemetery on my laptop, I will be able to visit in person, a routine I followed every year after her death until I moved away several years ago.
And I am a mother as well. I fondly recall the last time I spent Mother’s Day with both of my children back in 2009. My daughter made a lovely brunch and this time we did take pictures.
My daughter has since moved to Ontario, but I have been able to spend time with my son on Mother’s Day when I have come back to visit. Here is a shot of us back in 2013.
It’s been a while since I’ve been with both of my kids on Mother’s Day but last year they were both together in Toronto and sent me this lovely photo.
Another memorable Mother’s Day was the first one I spent in Mexico. I was living in Culiacan. Juan and I taught together, and he and his wife Lucila had adopted me into their family. At the time they had a toddler named Juan Carlos. We went out for raspados and went to a park. Lucila had made a bracelet for me which I treasure and still wear.
So I have had mothers on my mind this month, although Mother’s Day in Mexico is on May 10th and in Canada it’s on May 14th.
I am looking forward to spending Mother’s Day this year with my son. It will be the highlight of my visit to Winnipeg. Kyle be warned. There will be photos.
I was on the phone yesterday morning with a friend from Leavenworth and our conversation turned to how God has done awesome things in our lives by having amazing people cross our paths. In this post I would like to share with you one of these amazing people who came into my life almost four years ago when I lived in Guadalajara.
I had just returned from having my second knee replacement in Winnipeg. While I was glad that I did not have to contend with ice and snow, I was a little apprehensive about leaving my security blanket of medical expertise back in Canada.
I was teaching English at a school in Miravalle and Saturday was Grammar and Conversation Club. One of my new students, Pedro, is a doctor who was an orthopedic surgeon. His specialty? Knee replacements! Of course he often chides me that I should be using a cane and that I walk too much, a very different philosophy than that of my doctor back in Winnipeg.
Pedro is an amazing student. He constantly reads books in English………classic novels, philosophy……….you name it, he is intrigued by it. He also introduced me to Spanish literary works, and encourages me in my quest to become more fluent in this language. Here is a photo of him giving us an anatomy lesson.
And here he is proudly displaying his diploma upon completing a grammar unit.
When I moved to Mazatlan, we kept in touch via Facebook and What’s App. Pedro has also become a loyal follower of my blog posts. And he is now studying French in his constant search for knowledge. And he is an avid cyclist. I snagged this photo of him last month when I was in Guadalajara last month.
Back in January I was faced with the dilemma of where to have cataract surgery. I was not confident with either of the two doctors I had seen here in Mazatlan. And if I went back to Winnipeg I was looking at a surgery date of September for the first eye. My anxiety level was at an all-time high and I could feel a cloud of depression about to descend.
What do I do when I’m upset? I write. So I wrote a blog post called Curve Ball. One of the first comments I received was from Pedro, wanting to know what my problem was. So I messaged him and explained. He asked if he could check around and help me. I agreed and the following day he phoned me with the name and phone number of a colleague at the hospital where he works.
I finally got the courage and entered the number in my cell phone. To my surprise it was a personal number complete with What’s App, rather than an office number. The doctor answered immediately and asked if I wanted to come in the next day. Taken aback, I explained that I needed to organize a few things before I could come to Guadalajara. So we agreed to a time the following week.
The rest is history. The entire experience was a great one, where everything went smoothly. I was impressed with the technology and most of all the professionalism of the staff. Everyone was most attentive, caring and compassionate before, during and after the surgery.
Back to Pedro. He welcomed me into his home, where his daughter gave up her bedroom to me when I stayed there after the surgeries. He accompanied me to my surgery and if I couldn’t see my own kids’ faces immediately upon leaving the recovery room, it was definitely a feel good to see Pedro’s face after the first surgery. Pedro’s wife Maria is also a doctor in an emergency room, and she was there waiting for me when I came out of the second surgery as Pedro had to go back to work. Needless to say, their support means the world to me. I could never have done this without them.
Living in a foreign country with no blood family here, my friends are important to me and they become my family. I am both honored and proud to include Pedro and Maria among them.
I am truly blessed that Pedro came into my classroom that day back in 2013. Today is his birthday so I thought this blog post would be appropriate. I hope you have a fabulous day, Pedro, and an amazing year. Feliz Cumple!
Internet dating sites. They are everywhere. We are bombarded by their advertisements when we watch TV or listen to the radio. They show up on Facebook and other social media. Statistics show that you are more likely to meet your soulmate on the Internet than you are to meet them at the gym, work, school or in your community. There are websites designed to help you create your perfect profile.
When I lived in Canada I had friends who constantly perused these sites. At the time I was very married and quite dismissive of their efforts to find the perfect partner on line. In actuality most of them met with disastrous results yet they were hooked on these sites.
A close friend of mine here has chosen to join not one but two of these sites, and he has graciously shared his experiences with me and has encouraged me to write a blog post about them. So here goes…………..
My friend is in his late fifties, a casualty of multiple divorces and has just recently ended a long distance relationship with a woman in another country. He readily admits that he is needy and craves attention. He is in search of an honest and sincere lady with minimal baggage and grown, independent children.
He signed up on Our Time, a site for people over the age of fifty. He described himself as toned and athletic build and stated his hobbies and favorite pastimes. He also included several photos on his profile, as he is searching for an attractive partner with a build similar to his own.
Within minutes he was deluged with women from all over the USA, as well as other countries. He was unprepared for the huge response from women in their thirties. What in the world were they doing on a site supposedly geared to people over the age of 50? They eagerly provided him with phone numbers for texting and email addresses. And he groaned loudly about all the photos of women who are a little on the heavy side and don’t meet his criteria for physical appearance.
Dismayed by the lack of proper matching by profile, he then chose to join Match. He is frustrated by all the women out there who want to text and message but not talk on the phone. Equally annoying are all the women who have messaged him with contact info, yet their profiles are empty of words as well as photos. I caution him to beware of scams.
My friend is very trusting. While he is open and honest, I highly doubt that everyone out there in cyberspace is. It will be interesting to see just how his new relationships unfold. I firmly believe that the best way to get to know someone is in person, face to face. Only then are we able to determine if the profile pics are realistic and if the words written are sincere and true.
I suppose there is a plus to all this. He is learning about Skype and Google Chat, as he has found a few women who want to actually talk. And he has found a couple of local ladies and has spent hours on the phone with them. One of them he has actually had two dates with, and he is meeting another woman over the weekend. These two women have divulged a great deal of information about themselves and their past relationships to him, much of which he has shared with me.
Last night he informed me that the latest woman of interest lives in Guyana and they are now trying to figure out a way to talk other than just messaging. And he is going home to the east coast for Thanksgiving and is contemplating looking up a couple of the ladies in that area. His search is indeed intense and filled with enthusiasm. Will it be another long distance relationship? Or will he decide to engage in a relationship with someone who lives closer by? I know he will continue to confide in me, but I think that this will be my one and only post on his adventures in the Internet dating world.