Tag Archives: Heaven

Viola Fuller Canonge Frew; Queen of the Universe

I feel a little like we ran a marathon.   Tired but happy to have crossed the finish line.    My family spent much of last week and all of yesterday in my 92-year-old Grandmother’s room at a local care facility.   Grandma has had Alzheimer’s for the last several years.  About a year ago she moved to Washington State to be near family.     Over the last year we’ve visited Grandma, talked about the past, listened to a whole variety of interesting stories brought on by her disease and medications and generally gotten to know my mother’s mother.    God has been so merciful to my grandmother and to our family.   At times she thought she was getting married again, once she thought she was going to be crowned the Queen of the Universe.  She was disappointed though because the crown they gave her was made of wood.   However, she never lost sight of her faith, or of who her family members were.

About a month ago, on my mother’s birthday as it should happen, the doctors told us that Grandma was terminal.   Part of me inside thought it was a silly thing to say, after all, we’re all terminal.   But to know it’s imminent is a different matter.   And so Hospice became a part of our lives and watching became our past time.      It’s not a fun thing to watch someone you love prepare to die.  Our bodies break down.   But it is an honor to be present.

Yesterday, we spent most of the day in Grandma’s room at her bedside.  She was comfortable, a combination of morphine and methadone will do that.   She was not alert or able to communicate.   However, if we sang to her, she’d raise her eyebrows.   There is some debate about if it was because she was enjoying the music or if it was because we sing off-key.    At any rate, we worked our way through an old Nazarene hymnal.   We sang Old Rugged Cross, Blessed Assurance, Fairest Lord Jesus.   At one point we got a little loopy and started singing children’s songs.   My aunt laughed when mom and I broke into Let’s all sing like the birdies do.   Grandma raised her eyebrows.

We ate trail mix and fruit and cookies.  We looked through photo albums.   We called relatives around the globe and they took turns saying goodbye to Grandma.    We sat quietly and listened to her breathing.     I’ve never heard anything like it before.  One of the hymns talked about praising God as long as He loaned us breath.   It made a lot of sense in that quiet room.

Yesterday was the 18th anniversary of my Uncle Ron’s heaven day.  When he had his bone marrow transplant he had to go to Wisconsin.  My aunt had to stay in Pennsylvania to be near their daughter Annie who was going through treatment for leukemia.  My grandmother is the one who went to Wisconsin to be with Ron.    I’m confident that Ron was among the greeters in Heaven watching and waiting for Grandma to arrive.     Annie’s heaven day is April 6th.    April 6th is also the day that my daughter (and my cousin’s daughter) was due to be born.    I love the symmetry that God weaves into families.  This is the same creator who made butterflies and buttercups.   But He’s also the creator of calculus.   I love that all creation fits into a pattern and that He watches and timed these dates to provide comfort and a reminder that He is the one in control of all of our days.

At six fourteen last night, Grandma took her last breath.  Two minutes later, her pulse stopped.   It was peaceful. No struggle.  Grandma crossed the finish line and finished her race.    I took a big breath.    Grandma received a crown of glory for a life surrendered to the king. I promise you that this one was not wooden.

My Jesus, I love thee.

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I love Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
(Oh my saviour) If ever I love Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

It is now (if ever I love my Saviour, ’tis now )
It is now (if ever I love my Saviour, ’tis now)

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
If ever I love Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.




Filed under Family

Going home for dinner

I was sitting at work this afternoon contemplating working late.   I got an email from the resident chef.    “What time are you getting off?  I’m making a special dinner.”    Well.    There isn’t much that keeps me away from dinner and much less that could prevent me from being present at what my husband considers a special dinner.

When I got home, my daughter and husband had an assembly line prepped on the kitchen table.    Dried corn husks, chili pork, and dough (which I learned later is called Masa).   Oh happy day.   TAMALES!    The three of us sat together and hand rolled tamales.    One corn husk, two tablespoons of Masa, one tablespoon of pork with chili sauce.    Roll them together and fold up the end so it doesn’t all fall out.  Tuck them together in a steamer basket.    Steam for 40 minutes.

I figured if I had homemade tamales in my very near future I better get a run in.    I love days I run.    I figure if I tie on the shoes, go at least two miles and break a sweat then I can eat whatever I feel like with no guilt associated.    I should get a t-shirt that says “I run so I can eat”.

My sister and the five-year old came along for the run.    My daughter runs with me about once a week.    Normally she can do almost half a mile no problems.   Today she was tired at the first lap and asked if she could walk.    We told her to pray and ask God for strength.    That girl prayed.    “Jesus, help me.”   “God, Help, Help”.   “I know you can help me run”.    Pretty soon she was saying, “I’m not going to stop until I get home”.    When we rounded the last lap to drop her back off at home she said “Thank you for helping Jesus.   Thank you.”     About this time I was wondering if I would be able to breathe better when the lump in my throat left.    I’m amazed at the faith of this girl.

My mom talks about how when she saw me cross the finish line of the Portland Marathon that she burst into tears because she saw a picture of what it would be like when I cross the final finish line and hit heaven.   Today I understood what she was talking about when I saw the courage and faith of my daughter.

When we got home, the house smelled like heaven.   The tamales were perfect.  Warm and a little spicy.   Guess what?  Going home for dinner is a good plan.    Keeping your eye on heaven as your real home is better.   I am not going to quit until I get home. I should get a t-shirt that says that.

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Filed under Food

High Tide

In case you hadn’t noticed, life isn’t perfect.  Cars crash, things break, families fight, wars start, pets die, medical tests loom and jobs are lost.

It can feel like you are standing by the ocean and waves keep coming.   Wading in the surf and anticipating that next cold wave to hit is a vulnerable place to be.   I’ve talked to several people who are jumping waves recently.   Naturally, questions abound.  “Why is God letting this happen?”   “Why me?” “Does it ever end?”

The way to keep your balance when the waves are hitting is to make eternity your personal timeline.   The thing about happiness in this life is to remember it isn’t about this life.  It  does not mean that the difficulties don’t hurt.  But it puts that pain in perspective.  It is not permanent.

Matthew 6: 19 – 20 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Want to know what kind of treasures you can store in heaven?

AUTHORS: I love books.  All kinds.  My favorites though are by people who claim to know Jesus.   When I get to heaven I plan on going and meeting all my favorite authors.  I am going to have lunch with C.S. Lewis.   On a side note, this is one of the many reasons to read the whole Bible.  Do you know how embarrassing it’s going to be to be standing in heaven when Malachi comes up and asks how you liked his book?   Awkward if you didn’t read it.

FAMILY: I can’t wait to meet my mom’s father.  He sounds like an incredible person.  He died about four years before I was born.   I want to see my cousin and my grandmother again.  Talk about a good family reunion.  It’s one of the many reasons I pray for my daughter and my niece and nephews.   I want to see them there too.


Psalm 56:8      “Record my misery;
list my tears on your scroll
are they not in your record?”

I love that God sees us when we hurt and keeps track of those tears.  Someday, we’ll have the joy of watching as He wipes them off the record permanently.    In The Great Divorce, CS Lewis talks about how in heaven, Good ultimately wins everything and sadness and gloom and strife no longer have any sting.    So cry deeply but briefly.   God sees you.

STORIES: My sister has a theory about heaven that one of the fun things to do will be to go hear about the stories you were a part of on Earth that you had no idea.    Ever donate to a good cause?   Want to meet the people who were impacted?  How fun would that be.    It’s a great past time, giving unexpected kindness.  If you are having a bad day, do something nice for someone else.  Store up a fun story for heaven.

GRACE: If God created us to be in relationship with Him and each other then heaven is bound to be the best party.   Ever been somewhere when old friends reunite?   Ever introduce people you knew were going to hit it off?   That’s the kind of relationships God is looking for.   The best treasure to invest in here is in introducing people to eternal relationships.  It doesn’t get better than friends forever.

The last couple of weeks its seemed like high tide for people I love.    I have a message of hope for you.    I saw this quotation in a cubicle the other day.    It’s a good perspective.   “Everything will be okay in the end.   If it’s not okay, it’s not yet the end.”

Life isn’t perfect.   Heaven is.   Keep jumping waves.


Filed under Books, Faith