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THE BEST LAID PLANS: WICKED STRONG

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It is the summer of 1996. I am 42 years old, have a great job as a speech/language pathologist, and a wonderful family.

My summer plans are chalk full…starting a Masters degree, directing two camps for Teen Time (a ranch program for teens), and a family vacation.


Laurie Harrison is a wife, mom, grandmother and cancer fighter. She is part of the inspiration behind North Pointe Strong – Supporting the Fighters. This is her story.


Not In My Plans

But…

Why is there always a “but?”

After a routine mammogram, my doctor diagnosed breast cancer. That was not on my list of summer activities. Oh well, I would have the mastectomy, rest for a few days, do my university courses, and still go on holidays.

But…

After the surgery, the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes. That meant chemo.

Again, chemo was not in my plans.

Facing Cancer With Friends

I called a friend in Winnipeg who had gone through the same thing several years before. Guess what? She was coming to Edmonton the following week. Coincidence? No way!

She was able to help me be strong and face what was coming as she had been there.

The chemo was scheduled and my colleagues at work, as well as our friends made sure that our family was well fed, and even better, remembered in their prayers. You see, God doesn’t promise that life will be easy…He does promise that He will be with us through everything.  

Many times I listened to the old hymns, with tears streaming down my face. My favorite one was, “I Know The Master of the Wind.”

Yes, I do.

Lemons Into Lemonade

22 years later, I am still here and grateful for everything that I have been through. Several of my colleagues and friends have had similar diagnoses and I have been able to listen, and lend a shoulder to cry on. And pray.

God does turn lemons into lemonade.

A practical suggestion I would like to leave with anyone getting a cancer diagnosis – when your friends or family offer any help at all, just say, “Thank you” and let them love you. 

It is hard for friends or relatives to cope and helping you is something they can do.

APPLICATION

Facing cancer? Know someone who is? You are invited to attend “North Pointe Strong” hosted by Pastor Jocelyn Jones at North Pointe on Saturday January 26th at 10:00am – 11:30am. Sharing / Support / Prayer / Inspiration


Hope grows here. I write to share stories that inspire people, build faith in Jesus, and offer lasting purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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38 INSIGHTS ABOUT WEALTH

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Wealth

38 Biblical Insights About Wealth

1. God is the owner of everything you have. Psalm 50:10,11

2. You are a trustee, manager, steward of 100% of what God entrusts to you during your lifetime. Matthew 25:14-31

3. God provides for you and prospers you so that you can share with others. 2 Corinthians 9:8

4. God sees the size of your gifts. Mark 12:41-44

5. Every good thing you have came from God. James 1:7

6. Refuse to become selfish about what God has entrusted to you. Mark 8:36

7. Give in proportion to how much God has blessed you materially. Mark 12:44; Acts 11:29

8. God has works for you to do during your lifetime on earth. 1 Peter 2:12

9. Actively set up a practical way to insure that you give 10% or more of your resources to God’s work. 1 Corinthians 16:2

10. Realize that wealth can deceive you. Mark 8:36

11. Your giving will be a great help and an encouragement to many others. Acts 4:34-37

12. Your giving will allow you to experience a fuller, richer more enjoyable life. 1 Timothy 6:18,19

13. Your life does not consist in the abundance of your possessions. Luke 12:15

14. You should not live for this life but for eternity. Luke 16:9

15. God will reward you for your faithful generosity. 1 Corinthians 15:58

16. While you cannot serve God and money – you can learn to serve God with money. Luke 16:11-15

17. Understand the destructive force that desires for more money can have on your life and faith. 1 Timothy 6:9-11

18. God will bring specific needy people in to your life that you can truly help. James 2:15,16

19. Realize the dangers of pursuing a life of pleasure. 2 Timothy 3:1-5

20. Doing good and helping the poor will give you a good reputation among others. Acts 9:36

21. Your job is to search out God’s plan for the resources He has entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 3:16,17

22. Your generous financial and material support will help Christian leaders advance the kingdom. Titus 3:13

23. Large gifts can sometimes be used to encourage others to also give generously.   1 Chronicles 29:1-9

24. When you give you will jeopardize your reward in heaven if you do it for the wrong motives. Matthew 6:1-4

25. It is dangerous to overstate the value of your giving in order to impress others. Acts 5:1-4

26. Your giving can spur people on to love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24,25

27. God has a high regard for the Christian in humble financial circumstances. James 1:9-11

28. Even your small kindnesses will be remembered by God. Matthew 10:42

29. Generous giving brings great joy to God’s people and Christian leaders. 1 Chronicles 29:1-9

30. The more you have, the more you will become tempted to become harsher with others. James 2:6

31. In God’s work, the giver and the front-line worker are equal partners and will be rewarded accordingly. Matthew 10:41,42

32. If you want your children to be generous givers, you need to actively train and engage them in the process of giving. Ephesians 6:4

33. God calls some people to actively distribute their riches so they will be free from many encumbrances of riches to follow Jesus more fully. Mark 10:21-15

34. We are to be content with God’s daily provisions. 1 Timothy 6:6-8

35. It is important to honestly talk with those you may choose to significantly help.  Mark 10:51,52

36. Any wealth gained from dishonest means is destructive and will ultimately be 100% redirected by God. Proverbs 28:8

37. There are a variety of ways you can support God’s work. James 1:27

38. Your giving in this life will have an impact on your experiences in eternity. Matthew 6:19-21

APPLICATION: Money is a master. The best way to master money is to be mastered by God. Giving God the first 10% of your income is about trust.


Hope grows here. I write to share stories that inspire people, build faith in Jesus, and offer lasting purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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SUPPORTING THE FIGHTERS

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Cancer fighters. They come in all ages and stages of life. Bound by common strengths – courage, faith and hope – they fight for tomorrow, today.

What follows are just four of the stories from women at North Pointe. Read and share and invite fighters you know to be a part of #NorthPointeStrong.

Fighter #1 – Dorothy Visser’s Story

I am sitting on my deck reflecting on the day and feeling so peaceful. These past couple of months have been the hardest and most blessed in my life.

Cancer. The diagnosis terrified me. Would the cancer kill me?

My fear made me feel guilty. An inner voice nagged me, “Isn’t love supposed to cast out fear? Doesn’t God love you? Where’s your faith?”

Read more here.

Fighter #2 – Cindy Kremp’s Story

My friend Cindy was in a comfortable cabin at a beautiful lake enjoying a family holiday. Her doctor’s phone number appeared on her cell phone screen.

“Why would my doctor be calling me?”

A deafening silence followed his word “cancer.” Unable to speak she listened to him say, over and over “I am so sorry. I am so sorry.”

“I didn’t think anyone could cry as much as I was during it all, buckets and buckets.

Horror and sorrow.

Your world comes to a complete stop.

You have no idea what is before you and the unknown is scary.

Read more here.

Fighter – #3 – Mitch Dick’s Story

I refuse to give cancer any power. That’s why I spell cancer – small “c.” cancer is something that happens to someone else and you feel sad for them and thankful it’s not you, until it happens to you.

Read more here.

Fighter #4 – Katelyn Murray’s Story

Katelyn Murray was on a twenty-four month journey through leukemia. Her journey started when she was twelve.

On Sunday February 4, 2018 (World Cancer Day) she told her story and rang her “end-of-treatment-bell” at North Pointe. She is one tough teen. This is a portion of the speech she gave at her celebration party.

Read more here.

APPLICATION

Pastor Jocelyn Jones has her own story of fighting cancer. She invites you to meet with other fighters and be supported in fighting cancer. Saturday January 26, 2019 at 10:00am – 11:30am at North Pointe.


Hope grows here. I write to share stories that inspire people, build faith in Jesus, and offer lasting purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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ITS MY LIFE OR IS IT?

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Our local “greatest hits” FM station was playing on my car radio. I was traveling south and encountered a funeral procession heading north. Reality interfaced with entertainment.

Ironically, the song playing on the radio was Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life.” 

Its My Life

As the lengthy procession passed by I wondered if the deceased had ever said, or sung, ”It’s my life! I just want to live while I’m alive.”  How long had they lived? Was their death sudden? Were they happy with their life? Did they accomplish their goals? Were they a person of religious faith? Did they think their life mattered?

Jon Bon Jovi, reflecting on the broad appeal of his song said, “When I was writing ‘It’s My Life’, I thought I was writing very self-indulgently about my own life and where I was in it. I didn’t realize that the phrase ‘It’s My Life’ would be taken as being about everyone – teenagers, older guys, mechanics, whoever. “It’s my life, and I’m taking control. Everyone kind of feels that way from time to time.” The song struck a chord and soared to #1 worldwide in 2000.

Talk about tapping into the collective conscious.

Living Is The Trick

Red Smith, the late NY Times sports columnist wrote, “Dying is no big deal. The least of us will manage that. Living is the trick.”

So how are you doing with that?

January is such a timely month to think about living. Are you happy with your life? Do you know that you matter? What are your hopes and dreams for 2019?

What better time than today to make a change.

3 Choices For Change

1. You can’t choose where you came from but you can choose where you go from here. Envision new beginnings or start overs. Shed the disappointments of yesterday and schedule purposeful appointments for your success in the coming year.

2. Set aside time to meet with God. Daily. Don’t lean solely on your own understanding. Determine in all your ways to acknowledge God. Trust God to direct your steps.

3. To borrow from Jon Bon, “Each one of you has something no one else has, or has ever had: your fingerprints, your brain, your heart. Be an individual. Be unique. Stand out. Make noise. Make someone notice. That’s the power of individuals.”

Writing is a craft that I will amplify this year. I will make 2019 a year to stand out, make noise and leave my fingerprints on life changes for readers wherever God and the digital world take my words.

No reserves, retreats or regrets.

Take a lesson from Jon Bon. It’s your life. Make it a hit.

Application

I would really appreciate knowing in which city or town you are reading this post. Please let me know below. And if you were to share this post on your social media platforms I would be honored. Thank you and have an awesome year!


Hope grows here. I write to share stories that inspire people, build faith in Jesus, and offer lasting purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

  • Subscribe. I’ll put helpful content into your email box early Mondays and Thursdays, as well as upcoming events at North Pointe Community Church, Edmonton, Alberta.
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THE POINTES OF VIEW TOP 5 POSTS OF 2018

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POST #1. WICKED STRONG: JOCELYN’S CANCER JOURNEY

“I have cancer.”

Jocelyn’s voice sounded a million miles away.

Unreal.

Words I never expected to hear from my wife.

Read more here.

POST #2. MY ENCOUNTER WITH GOD: AKIANE KRAMARIK

Akiane Kramarik’s atheist parents were surprised when their three-year-old began to describe dreams and visions from God. This inexplicable direction in their daughter’s life, combined with a remarkable talent in art and poetry, inspired her family to re-examine their own lives.

Read more here.

POST #3. SILVER LININGS: VANESSA GLEW’S STORY

On April 8th, 2013, I heard the words you never want to hear, “You have cancer.”

My life was never the same from that day on. Fortunately for me the mass in my sigmoid colon was operable. They found what was causing my grief and it was going to be removed.  This was my FIRST Silver Linings moment.

Read more here.

POST #4. I WANT TO GO TO HIS CHURCH

Being a hockey chaplain is low profile work. The good they do is largely unnoticed – until thrust into the unimaginable. On April 6th Sean Brandow’s team was devastated in a horrific bus crash that claimed the lives of fifteen people.

Sean and his children were driving the same route as the hockey team to a Friday night playoff game against the Nipawin Hawks and came across the wreckage of the crash. He walked up on a scene he never wants to see again to sounds he never wants to hear again and later coming to the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon to sit and hold the hand of a lifeless body.

Read more here.

POST #5. AN EIGHT-YEAR OLD’S BUCKET LIST

How on earth can you make sense of an eight-year old needing a bucket list?

Buckets are for kids to fill with sand and make sandcastles. And collect Saskatoons, raspberries or ladybugs. Or for carrying water to pour over their sister’s head.

Janaya Chekowski-McKenzie, is a bright, spunky, beautiful eight-year old, and an incredible fighter with unlimited potential.

However, the list of her medical complications is almost as long as her bucket list.

Read more here.

APPLICATION: Which one of these five is your favorite? Please leave a comment below. And pass this post on to friends so they can enjoy reading more at Pointes Of View in 2019. Thank you.


Hope grows here. I write to share stories that inspire people, build faith in Jesus, and offer lasting purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

  • Subscribe. I’ll put helpful content into your email box early Mondays and Thursdays, as well as upcoming events at North Pointe Community Church, Edmonton, Alberta.
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HOW TO HAVE YOUR BEST YEAR EVER

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HOW TO HAVE YOUR BEST YEARI was about to embark on my best year ever.  I just didn’t know it at the time. All I knew is that I had an idea that would move me out of my comfort zone. For years I’d talked about writing a book. Now was the time to stop talking and get it done.

Out Of The Comfort Zone

In my wildest dreams I didn’t foresee that within two years the book would be published, sell over 4,000 copies and win a Canadian national award. Your dreams and mine may not be the same but achieving them will follow a shared path. I couldn’t shake the thought that the year would be great if I not only achieved my goal of writing a book, but did it with others who were mutually supportive. What’s your dream? Let me be the nudge to start you on your best year ever.

The Steps

The first step was to write down my goal. Then, to hold myself accountable and invite others into the process, I shared my goal with a few people who expressed an interest in writing. “One of my goals is to organize a group of aspiring writers in North Pointe Community Church. To be mutually supportive in seeing each of us write and publish our 1st print book or eBook by the end of the year. To record and share our journey to help other aspiring writers in their journey.”

The Start

Nine days later five of us met at a Starbucks.

There was an energizing excitement about the possibilities and potential of such a group.

We were all fledgling writers – equal parts aspiration and angst. A group could provide support, encouragement and a level of accountability for our writing dreams.

Commitments

We committed to the following: 1. Read and apply the principles of Michael Hyatt’s book Platform. 2. Start a blog or Facebook page to publish our writing. 3. Hold a writers group meeting once a month for the rest of the year. 4. Record and share our process weekly. 5. Publish an eBook or print book by the end of the year.

Outcomes

So how did we do? ALL of us accomplished the first four goals. NONE of us achieved the last one. But some of us accomplished it in 2015. What did transpire was the production of a lot of writing. SOME of us were published for the first time in national magazines. EACH of us wrote more than we have ever written before.

Meaningful Progress Is Success

One thing we gained was seeing quantifiable, meaningful progress. Reflecting back on my personal growth is like watching infants learning to walk. Clinging to fixed objects for support. Wobbly first steps. Lots of falls. Then the joy of staying on your feet, unassisted for more than a few steps.

Bob and Cory 1983

2018 Goals Accomplished

In 2018 I wrote and self-published the memoir, Phyllis: Love Never Lets Go. I posted twice a week and wrote everyday. I was published six times in Equip and The Testimony (2 out of 3 ain’t bad.) Pointes of View reached the 400,000 mark of views.

My Personal Writing Goals For 2019

For 2019 I’ve committed to the following: 1. To write everyday and post twice a week. 2. To be published in Faith Today magazine. 3. To finish my memoir – The Velveteen Pastor Follow the pattern of written, smart goals, accountability, group support and make 2019 your best year ever!

The Writers Group

My associates inspire me with their aspirations. Are you a writer? Why not join us. Monday January 21st at 4:30pm is the next meeting at North Pointe. Follow the group and see where their goals take them and YOU in 2019. Ruth Johnstone Author of “When Troubles Fall Like Lemondrops” / Entrepreneur / Facebook page Alisha Jans-Lemoine Writer / Blogger for Single Parents / Facebook page Charity Mongrain Writer / Facebook page Michael Voll Pastor / Writer / Blogger @michaelvoll / michaelvoll.com Timothy D. Fowler Writer / Photographer / Outdoorsman / World Traveler  @Timothydfowler / scribblesandsnaps.ca Susan Glover Life Coach / Blogger / John Maxwell Team APPLICATION: What goals have you set for 2019? Please leave a comment below.
Hope grows here. I write to share stories that inspire people, build faith in Jesus, and offer lasting purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.
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BROKEN TO GLOW: LOSS, GRIEF AND MERCY

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It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

Doug and Mimi Marchewka endured more than enough breathless moments after their only son, Hudson was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Its what CF families are told to expect.

When Your Boy Has Cystic Fibrosis

In November 2018 Hudson began palliative home care. Doctors warned they were facing their last Christmas together. They braced themselves. Talking to the head nurse of home care in December was sobering as she asked if the Woods had the funeral home they would be using picked yet. It hit home that he really didn’t have a lot of time left.

Hudson was a big fan of Thomas the Tank Engine. One of his last family experiences was singing Christmas carols on the Polar Express in Stettler, Alberta on December 9th.

Hudson died eight days shy of Christmas.

Brokenhearted falls far short of describing their ache. Mimi says, “No parent should ever have to bury a child.”

The Marchewkas are people of faith. However, faith in God doesn’t lessen the hurt but offers a hope for life beyond the hurt. Mimi asked if I would help her with a memorial for Hudson.

She shared this story.

Dollar Tree

I was in Dollar Tree last night, and there was a lady and two kids behind me in the LONG line. One was a big kid, and the other one was a toddler. The bigger one had a pack of glow sticks, and the toddler was screaming for them.

The Mom opened the pack and gave him one, which stopped his tears. He walked around with it smiling; but then the bigger boy took it, and the toddler started screaming again. Just as the Mom was about to fuss, the older child bent the glow stick and handed it back to the toddler.

As we walked outside at the same time, the toddler noticed that the stick was now glowing and his brother said, “I had to break it so that you could get the full effect from it.”

Gracefully Broken

I almost ran, because I could hear God saying to me, “I had to break you to show you why I created you. You had to go through it so you could fulfill your purpose.”

That precious child was happy just swinging that “unbroken” glow stick around in the air, because he didn’t understand what it was created to do – which was “glow”.

There are some people who will be content just “being,” but some of us that God has chosen… we have to be “broken.”

We get sick…

…lose a job.

…go through a divorce.

…bury our spouse, parents, best friend, or our child.

See Us Glowing

In those moments of desperation, God is breaking us.

But… when the breaking is done, we will be able to see the reason for which we were created. So when you see us glowing, just know that we have been broken but healed by His grace and mercy.

APPLICATION: Thank you, Mimi. Please leave a comment for Mimi below. Do you know grieving families at Christmas? Please share this post with them. Thank you.


Hope grows here. I write to share stories that inspire people, build faith in Jesus, and offer lasting purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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TO ALL FIRST RESPONDERS

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First Responders

They call him “Tuna.” He’s the kind of guy you want around in an emergency, not only because he’s a Paramedic but also because he could lift a truck if need be to save someone.

Crazy Tough

Before moving to Edmonton, Charles Blades competed on the Nova Scotia provincial rugby team, as well as a Pittsburgh rugby team, so you know he’s a bit crazy and tough. And I’m proud of the way he is using his abilities to serve people in the greater Edmonton area everyday.

He’s one of Edmonton’s first responders who run in when others are running out.

He’s my brother-in-law.

This is a shout out to every first responder at Christmastime. Gratitude for how the women and men who wear a uniform and anonymously go about lifesaving work, week in and week out.

First Responders

Schedules are challenging, stress is high, risk is routine and rewards are rare – other than knowing you have done the best you can. Too often first responders are the butt of thoughtless comments or jokes. I’ll never figure out why some people think they’re funny by belittling the very people who could one day save their lives.

First responders are trained to deal with a wide array of potential medical emergencies. Because of the high level of stress and uncertainty associated with the position, first responders need to pay careful attention to their physical and mental health.

Even with such preparation, first responders face unique risks of being the first people to aid those in life-threatening situations or with unknown contagions. The spouses and families of first responders experience their own kind of disquiet, as they understand the cost of sending their loved ones out the door to whatever may come their way.

Responding To 911

Our family has unforgettable experiences with first responders.

Our youngest son suffered a seizure from a high fever when he was two years old and we were living in Montreal. Firefighters, paramedics, and police were in our townhouse within minutes to save his life. He spent a weekend in hospital under 24-hour watch but he recovered to tell the tale.

Our local St. Albert Firefighters responded to a 911 call from our home when a kitchen appliance caught fire, spewing toxic smoke. They contained the damage and saved the day.

Heroes

When Constable David Wynn was killed in the line of duty in 2017, the RCMP used our church as a parking depot and changing area in preparation for his memorial processional through St. Albert. Edmonton Police Service and Edmonton Fire Rescue Service officers have stationed their fire trucks and police cars in our parking lot for our community carnivals so kids could climb aboard and feel the thrill.

Men and women in my circle of pastoral influence are on active duty in undercover work, policing organized crime, community service or are retired officers. They have my utmost admiration and appreciation. They are my heroes.

So here’s to every firefighter, police officer, paramedic, all emergency response personnel and their spouses and loved ones.

Merry Christmas, thank you and prayers for all you do.

APPLICATION: Please send this post on to first responders you know. Leave a comment below. Thank you.


Hope grows here. I write to share stories that inspire people, build faith in Jesus, and offer lasting purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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NORTH POINTE STRONG

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Preparing for round 3. It’s not exactly what I had planned for Christmas this year.

The timing of my “bad” days will put me right on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. With all that has been going on we weren’t able to host our annual events or have the house filled with family and friends on a rotating basis. It’s been a bit hard knowing that my favorite season has been and continues to be tainted by all this.


Angela Hawrylak is a fighter. She is battling cancer – the fight of a lifetime. This is her second bout. In 2013 she was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Follicular Lymphoma – stage 3. Angela possesses a resolute courage that is helping her get beyond the diagnosis and treatment. Its because of women like Angela that NORTH POINTE STRONG was born. See below.


Give Thanks

As we bid farewell to family members entering into a new chapter in their lives and we enjoy what time we have left with yet another family member I can be honest that it has been a bit difficult to find my “joy” this season. But I’m trying daily to remember that God is good all the time and to give thanks IN all circumstances.

I am thankful for CHEMO, that it’s working!

I am thankful to still have some hair 🙂

Chemo may not be pleasant but it IS manageable.

I’m still me and we are adjusting to this new normal.

I can still care for my family and home and things don’t need to be perfect.

I am moody and my brain is foggy and confused but my dear husband, Tom loves me all the same.

My kids are resilient loving and understanding.

I have a little village that may not be many but are amazingly mighty <3

Even though I can’t taste (or even sometimes eat) the food network is fun to watch.

Laughter really is healing.

Disney makes me smile 🙂

Its okay not to be okay.

I’m thankful for employment and that Tom has a job again!!!!

Social media can and will close the distance between people.

A life well lived is a blessing and this was never intended as our permanent home.

Time, moments and memories are precious.

Its All About Jesus

In the scheme of things…one Christmas like this will give me many more to come and that’s our hope.

And most importantly… Christmas isn’t the lights, the gifts or the parties.

Its all about Jesus, God’s love and so much more.

North Pointe Strong

North Pointe’s Women’s Pastor – Jocelyn Jones – faced her own battle with cancer in March 2018. From this experience, Jocelyn and friends are starting a group for all women who are fighting cancer or who have beaten cancer.

Empathy goes a long way in generating hope. North Pointe STRONG is all about mutual support through faith, love, courage and prayer.

North Pointe STRONG is supporting the fighters, admiring the survivors, honoring the taken and never, never giving up hope.

APPLICATION: North Pointe STRONG is a support group for all women fighting cancer. The first meeting is Saturday January 26th at 10:00am at North Pointe – 14025 167 Ave. Baking and coffee and tea served. Register online here for FREE. Please share with and invite your friends or family members who are in their own fight with cancer.


Hope grows here. I write to share stories that inspire people, build faith in Jesus, and offer lasting purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

  • Subscribe. I’ll put helpful content into your email box early Mondays and Thursdays, as well as upcoming events at North Pointe Community Church, Edmonton, Alberta.
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A CREATURE WAS STIRRING

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“His hair was shoulder-length, his youthful face hid behind an abundance of shaggy beard. Over tight, faded blue jeans and an old, bulky knit, he had thrown his pride and joy — a sheepskin wrap.”

Where were you when you first heard Jerry Forbes reading A Creature Was Stirring? For me it was December 1990, in our ’82 Cutlass Sierra, the radio dial tuned to Edmonton’s 630 CHED. Our family moved to Edmonton that August. We never heard of Santas Anonymous or Jerry Forbes. After listening to – or more accurately, experiencing – the recording, I would never forget it.

A Christmas Classic

Forbes first aired what has become a Christmas classic in 1966. His piece of creative writing – a mere 631 words – never ceases to inspire a smile or a tear. Without fail, every Christmastime for the past 28 years, the story airs on my car radio at just the moment I need to be reminded of the power of kindness.

Forbes, the founder of 630 CHED’s Santas Anonymous, had a goal that no child should go without a toy at Christmas. In 1955, Santas Anonymous delivered toys to about 600 children — in 2018 over 25,000 kids will receive toys, thanks to the generosity of Edmontonians.

Forbes Philanthropy

Jerry Forbes passed away in 1981, but his son Marty — and Marty’s family — have continued the Forbes’ tradition of philanthropy. Marty and I met through serving on the Board of the John Cameron Changing Lives Foundation and with The Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree.

Whenever I’ve needed assistance from the media for help with a good cause, Marty has generously responded. He was the reason CTV made Janaya Chekowski’s dream of a personal concert come true at North Pointe in 2018.

Marty, like his dad, spreads generous helpings of Christmas joy where most needed. Read or listen to Jerry Forbe’s A Creature Was Stirring.

A Creature Was Stirring

His hair was shoulder-length, his youthful face hid behind an abundance of shaggy beard. Over tight, faded blue jeans and an old, bulky knit, he had thrown his pride and joy — a sheepskin wrap.

 It had a hole in the centre through which he put his head. It was without arms, fell front and back down past his waist to his mid-thigh and it was gathered at the waist with a chain.

His ’68 Chevy moved slowly through the streets. It stopped , then started again, making a u-turn at the corner as the driver gazed through the darkness of the night to view the street markers. He was unfamiliar territory.

The House on Maple Street

The houses were one-room frame and most of them were bare of paint. Lights were few and glowed softly behind polythene which substituted for storm windows. Up one side of the deserted street and down the other. Then on to the next block the old Chevy made it’s way.

 It stopped.

The door opened and the young man with the long hair and with the beard and faded jeans and the sheepskin coat got out of the passenger side and walked to the gate of the house that was a duplicate of all those around it.

He walked slowly up the walk trying to see the house numbers through the dark. He read them. Satisfied that this was the place he returned to his car opened the trunk and removed two large brown shopping bags like they use in the supermarket.

Poverty At Christmastime

He returned to the front door of the old house and knocked gently. No answer. He knocked again. Then he heard the sound of children. The door opened and in a brief second through the dim light inside he saw poverty at Christmastime. The floor was bare. Three little children were playing there with an old cardboard box. The kitchen table was covered with tattered oil cloth and surrounded by four wooden chairs.

 A double bed sat in one corner, sagging but neatly made and a small electric stove sat against the wall. A young woman, perhaps in her late twenties, but looking tired and older than her years, came to the door scooping up the smallest child as she did. The other child who opened the door looked at the stranger outside and then stepped back glancing quickly at her mother.

Santas Anonymous

“Good evening, mam. These are gifts for the little ones from Santas Anonymous,” the young man said. The mother looked a long moment at the long-haired, bearded youth with the outlandish sheepskin jacket. She took the two shopping bags filled with gaily wrapped Christmas gifts. She sat the baby down on the floor again and quickly looked at the bright display of parcels.

 Her eyes welled up with tears and she could bring herself to say only an almost inaudible, “Thank you.”

 “You’re welcome, mam,” the youth said as he turned to go “and have a very Merry Christmas.”

 And then it happened.

Was That Jesus?

Just as his foot hit the top step of the old porch, as the door was about to close behind him, a small child’s voice said, “Mommy, was that Jesus?”

It hit trip hammer hard and the young man stopped for the briefest moment. His chin dropped to his chest. And an almost overwhelming emotion swept through him.

He walked slowly now to his ancient car, crawled in behind the wheel, sat there for a moment trying to get a deep breath. He wiped a tear off is bearded cheek and drove off into the night.

It hadn’t happened before. It might not ever happen again. But that small child in that small house on Maple Street gave this strange lad in the sheepskin coat the most beautiful Christmas gift he had ever received.

Hear Jerry Forbes read his 1966 Christmas Classic.

APPLICATION: Do you love this story too? Please share it around. Merry Christmas.


Hope grows here. I write to share stories that inspire people, build faith in Jesus, and offer lasting purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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