Saturday, May 16, 2015

30 Ways to Help Around the House

I've been cleaning up my electronic files and found a post I saved in 2011. I can't find the original online, but it included a photo by Suat Eman - if anyone can post the link to it I would be grateful.

I've modified it a bit to suit our home and share it with you in case it can be helpful in your home. The goal is for family members to look for ways to help around the house...not to always be told or asked.

The list provides a starting place to help children especially notice the many small, but ongoing, tasks that need to happen on a regular basis.

Looking for opportunities to serve around the house?

Check out the following suggestions:
  1. Are there dishes in the drainboard that need to be put away?
  2. Does the kitchen table need to be wiped clean?
  3. Does the kitchen floor need to be swept? Dustpanned?
  4. Do the hallways need to be swept? Dustpanned?
  5. Do the bedrooms need to be swept? Dustpanned?
  6. Does the carpet need to be vacuumed?
  7. Are there globs of toothpaste on the bathroom counter or floor?
  8. Any beds that need to be made?
  9. Does the garbage need to be taken out?
  10. Does the recycling need to be taken out?
  11. Does clean laundry need to be brought up from the basement? 
  12. Does clean laundry need to be sorted?
  13. Does clean laundry need to be folded?
  14. Does clean laundry need to be put away?
  15. Does dirty laundry need to be taken down to the basement? And sorted?
  16. Do books need to be gathered up and taken downstairs?
  17. How are the bookshelves? Books sticking out? A mess?
  18. Are there piles of shoes in the back hallway that need to be tidied?
  19. Are there jackets in the back hallway that need to be hung up?
  20. Does the van need to be cleaned out? Does it need a new garbage bag?
  21. Do I see any areas that really need dusting?
  22. Is the buffet drawer a mess? Could I organize it?
  23. Are there any toys out that need to be put away?
  24. Do the toy bins need organizing or sorting through?
  25. Do the cupboard faces or baseboards need to be wiped down?
  26. Do the bathroom mirrors need to be cleaned?
  27. Does the front hallway mirror need to be cleaned?
  28. Do the walkway and driveway need to be swept?
  29. How else can I help outside?
  30. If my brother or sister is asking for help, how can I be helpful?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Date Night: March

In March we had a book store themed date and it was great and very inexpensive. The idea came from Love Actually and they provide a list of challenge ideas. There were a lot of ideas so we only used a few of them.

Find a new date idea.

Find a new recipe you'd like to try...

A place you'd like to visit:

Florianópolis, Brazil

We ended the night with treats at Starbucks.

What about you? Read any good books lately?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Eulogy for Papa

My grandfather was a brilliant, powerful man with a great sense of humour.

There was one thing I could always be sure of when I worked hard or accomplished something – Papa would be proud of me. Whether it was the completion of a Masters degree, an award of achievement in highschool, or a well done grade-school project, Papa was proud of me. He taught me the importance of hard work and being proud of each others' accomplishments. 

Papa worked hard and accomplished much, and he used these accomplishments to bless others. 

Matthew 25:34-40 (NKJV) says:
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then PAPA will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did I see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did I see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did I see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to PAPA, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

I was so very privileged to be able to be with Papa at the end of his journey. As I spent time with him overnight from Saturday into Sunday I spoke to him and thanked him for giving me a lifetime of being a wonderful grandfather, for demonstrating that a continent apart was not too far away to visit your grandchildren. Most importantly, for blessing me and my children with a rich inheritance of faith.

At 2:02 on Sunday morning I was holding Papa’s warm hand when he tightened it around mine. He opened his eyes and looked up and he was finally free of all suffering. The song playing on the CD was "Give Thanks,” which includes the words “and now, let the weak say I am strong!" I am so thankful that Papa can finally say this again.

Most will be familiar with the “love passage” in 1st Corinthians 13, which describes many attributes of love. It ends with “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (NKJV) Through these past five years especially, I have witnessed the steadfastness of love between Nanny and Papa. Nanny continued to “bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things.” Thank you Nanny for showing us how to live this verse.

Before I would leave Papa after a visit I would leave him with the blessing from Numbers 6:24-26 and that is what I want to bless you with today:

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’

Monday, April 27, 2015

Papa's Last Day

*** WARNING: Some readers may find this entry difficult as it deals with death. ***

April 25, 2015

9:30 pm

Dear Papa,

We're having a sleepover tonight. I'm all set up on the chair bed beside you, with my sleeping bag and pillow.

I sang along with the CD for a bit and read to you a little. I watched as the PSW washed your face, wet your mouth, applied cream to your limbs, and vaseline to your lips. I listened as the nurse suctioned phlegm from your mouth, trying to give you a bit more time between choking fits.

I said bedtime prayers with you...

"Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should for before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take."

11:11 p.m.

I was asking God to take you home Papa, wondering why He just didn't. It took something the PSW said to remind me of our gift of free will. "He [Papa] decides when to go."

April 26, 2015

12:27 a.m.

Your breathing seems to be slowing and becoming more shallow.

I'm here Papa. But I don't want you to stay for me. You've given me a lifetime of being a wonderful grandfather. You taught me the importance of hard work and being proud of each others' accomplishments. The value of giving to enrich the lives of others, and the importance of investing for the future. That music is part of a well rounded education. That a continent apart is not too far away to visit your grandchildren.

12:34 a.m. 

Your breathing is like sips of air through a straw with holes in it.

In the research I did about palliative care and end of life, I don't remember reading about smell. Someone should've written about smell. Your body is breaking down and giving off a distinct odour. It's hard to describe. I was thinking about how God formed the first man from dust and how we recite "dust to dust" at funerals. Is it an earthy smell then? The smell of decay?

1:18 a.m. 

I'm torn Papa. I wonder if I should be talking to you, offering you comfort somehow. But what can I say? And will my voice keep you anchored to this world? Better to err on the side of comfort. I'll read to you from Steve Fry's "I Am: The Unveiling of God."

I held your hand, soft and so very hot. I reminded you that generations of your family follow God because of you. That when you get to heaven you'll see your parents, your sister, your son-in-law Silas, the grandson you never met because he was born in Brazil and died after a day. Your body will be free of pain, your mind whole again. But it's your choice Papa, you have to tell Jesus you're ready to go.

2:02 a.m. 

I was holding your hand and you tightened it. You let out a huge gurgle and stopped breathing. You opened your eyes and looked up to the left corner of the room. I know that's when your spirit left you. The song playing on the CD was "Give Thanks." And now, let the weak say "I am strong!" 

My Papa is free from pain. Thank You Jesus.


After Papa's spirit left, his strong heart took another 10 minutes or so to finish its work. The lungs pushed out air about six more times and it was more than a little unnerving, especially when accompanied by sound. At some point Papa's whole body twitched, which I knew was to be expected.

I touched his hand again, since I had stepped away from the bed when his body was having its final moments. It was still soft and warm. I placed my hand on his chest, over his heart and lungs. Everything still. Peaceful. Thank You God.

I sat with my grandfather's shell for about an hour. Watched his colour go from rosy to waxen. Touched his cooling hands one last time, and left.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Letters to Papa: April 24

Dear Papa,

I read to you from Ann Voskamp's "The Greatest Gift" today. You sleep soundly, snoring away, but I have read that you can still hear.

The chapter I read said:
"Now all is calm. God comes... God comes quiet... This night a battle has been waged and won you. Love had to come back for you. Love had to get you. This night, you on this visited planet, your rescue is here. You can breathe."

Ironic since every couple of minutes or so fluids build up in the back of your throat and you gasp, try to cough, choke. But soon Papa. Soon you will be with Jesus and there will be no more struggle.
"Let the warm breath of heaven fall on you."
You cough again. I'm here with you Papa. I'm here.
"And the bulk of all your worn shreds slip off the weariness of your back. You have tried to polish enough for Him with these rags. You have tried to patch together so much for Him. You have tried to produce too much for Him with these rags."
Yes Papa. You are a good and faithful servant. You have done much for God. Now it's time for all the weariness to slip off.