Reflecting On 2020


2020 Review

1. What were the highlights or accomplishments of the past year?

  • I guess the biggest highlight came right at the end of the year when Brian left his position as Maintenance Manager at the hotel to take the job of head Custodian at the school here in town. It should be a little slower least once he has everything on his to-do list completed, possibly by next fall! haha
  • With covid causing layoffs at the hotel, Daniel went in search of a new occupation and found it at Alternative Landscaping. While others collected CERB or EI, he worked from spring through to fall when he was again laid off. He's looking forward to going back in the spring.
  • Springtime brought more family to our new town, with Dennis and Dana deciding to move here as well!
  • In July we had a visit from our daughter in law, Naomi and the grandkids, as well as Naomi's sister. We all enjoyed a nice get together at Dennis and Dana's home, but missed seeing Lorne.  We were thankful for the summer reprieve from covid!
  • During a summer teen day camp, one of our granddaughters accepted Christ as her Saviour. That's a highlight worth mentioning! 
  • In the late fall, Jeremy moved back to Manitoba in preparation for a new job at a gold mine in Snow Lake MB,  starting in January. It's a 2 weeks in and 2 weeks out job so we're looking forward to having him's been a long 2 1/2 years of him living in Nova Scotia!
  • Another year end highlight was our son Justin getting engaged to Ruth, a wonderful lady and welcome addition to our family, as well as news of a new grandbaby coming in May 2021.
  • It seems the highlights all came at the end of the year. Justin started a course in taxidermy in December and hopes to start his own business when he's done. He also has the opportunity to use his videography skills doing some work for the college.
2. What were the major themes of the past year?
  • The main theme of 2020 has been dealing with Covid 19. For me, life has not changed a lot except that for most of the year we've been doing online church because we aren't able to gather.
  • Change seems to have been the other main theme for our family, location and church. Besides those listed in highlights, our daughter Nicole ended her stint in the banking field and returned to healthcare. Two grandkids also started new jobs. Although we haven't been able to attend church much since summer, we've been enjoying online services.  
  • And everyone would be surprised if I didn't say renovations! I'm not sure we've had many years when working on a house wasn't a theme. haha, We managed to complete most of the projects we wanted to do here...adding insulation and drywall, getting rid of a lot of the old panelling. What can I say? we love working on houses! 

3. What disappointments or regrets did you experience?
  • I don't think disappointment or regret are the right words, but losing Mom in February was a difficult time. I miss her terribly, but I know she's home with our Saviour and one day I'll see her and Dad again. I can picture her there enjoying the most beautiful gardens and her very own waterfall.  
4. What was missing from the past year?
  • For most of the year....spending time with friends and family and attending church.

5. What did you learn from the past year?
  • This probably sounds strange, but I realized how little my life was changed when covid caused us to have to keep our distance from other people. Of course, I missed spending time with my family, but much of my communication with people is via text and the phone. For so many years my time was spent caring for was easier to just stay home, and I got used to that. I know the same thing happened to Mom until it got hard for her to leave home. I know I have that tendency and it's something I need to be aware of and work to overcome. I need to make the effort to get out in our community and meet people, and to be more connected. Something to keep in mind when the covid restrictions are lifted.

It would be nice to think that when we awake on January 1, 2021 everything will be changed and we can all go on with life, covid19 just a bad memory, but it's going to be a while before we're out of this. And will life ever return to the way it was? Probably not...and maybe that's not a bad thing. God has allowed this situation; surely He has a purpose or many purposes. He has a plan for each and every life and uses such circumstances to bring about His will...drawing the lost to himself, calling the wanderers back, giving opportunities for growth and learning to all of us. 

The only question is, "What does God want to do in my life as 2020 comes to a close and I step into 2021?'

Promises From Psalms; Psalm 37:39

This week's promise once again comes from Psalm 37

Meditating on God's promises from Psalm 37:39

God IS my strength in the time of trouble. 

Though my flesh is weak and I struggle in difficult times, my God never fails me. He is my strength! 

For when I am weak, then am I strong

1 Corinthians 12:9-10

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. I could think of no better hymn to portray the truth of Psalm 37:39.

Join me again next week as I look at another promise from Psalms.

Meditating on God's promises from Psalm 37:39

Read our previous Promise: Psalm 37:23-24

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Promises from Psalms; Psalm 37:23-24

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord

Meditating on God's Promises from  Psalm 37:23-24

As believers, we're held in Jesus' hand and kept by the power of God, and when we delight in God's way, even though we may stumble and fall, he holds us up. No matter what circumstances, sorrows and trials come our way, we can trust the Lord to direct our steps.

A Mother's Love, Steadfast and Sure

A mother’s love is steadfast and sure, and come what may, it will endure.

trusting God to work out His will and His way in their lives.

The time we have with our children is so fleeting and sometimes we mothers wish we could turn back the clock and perhaps take better advantage of every passing minute. But as much as we would like to keep our children under our protective wings, we understand the necessity of letting go and trusting God to work out His will and His way in their lives.

Remembering Mom

Forever In Our Hearts

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Missing Mom and looking forward to some glad morning in the upper garden there.

A Mother's Heart; Celebrating Motherhood

About thirteen years ago, I made a little book for Mom, called A Mother's Heart.

A Mother's Heart; Celebrating Motherhood

It was a gift for Mother's Day with a reading for each day of the month. That book came back to me when Mom moved to the care home and we were cleaning up her house. I recently came across it and decided to gift it again, this time to my youngest daughter, who was born around the time I wrote it. 

Living With Lichen Planus and It's Many Forms

One of my main reasons for starting this blog was to document my Wellness Journey.  The impetus for beginning that journey was a diagnosis of Oral Lichen Planus. Since there have been changes in my condition, I thought it was time for an update.

My experience with Lichen Planus

How do I cope with the various forms of Lichen Planus

Promises from Psalms; Psalm 34:22

To know that my guilt is gone, that I've been redeemed and that I belong to Christ is a most precious promise.

Meditating on the God's promises from Psalm 34:22

Such Awesome Love Christ Had For Man

Today's post continues the theme of "He Put a New Song In My Mouth." Easter may have passed but the truth of what Christ has done for us is something to be celebrated every day.

How can I possibly express God's love with mere words?

Will You With the Crowd Cry Crucify?

Last month I shared in my testimony that I came to know Christ on March 18, 1985. That year, Easter Sunday fell less than 3 weeks later on April 7th. When I first got saved I had no Bible knowledge. Knowing that Easter was just a few weeks away, I wanted to learn all I could about what my Saviour had done for me.

One of the first things I read about in my Bible was Jesus’ crucifixion. 

What is your response to the sacrifice Christ made?

These are some portions of scripture that describe the time leading up to and including the crucifixion of Christ:

Luke 23:1 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.

Luke 23:20-24 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go. And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.

Matthew 27:27-31 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

Luke 23:33,34a And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

The account of Jesus suffering on that cross and shedding his blood for my sins made an indelible impression on my heart. 

How can anyone who reads or hears of the sacrifice Jesus made not be profoundly affected by it?

An old spiritual asks the question, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” The haunting tone of the song draws the listener into the scene and truly can cause one to tremble, knowing that though not physically there, our sin was there, and it was not ‘they’ but ‘we’ who crucified our Lord. It was our sin that caused Jesus to walk that road to Calvary. It was your sin and mine that swung that hammer, driving those nails through Jesus’ hands, as he willingly endured excruciating physical pain. But that pain could not compare with the anguish Jesus must have experienced when he, the sinless Son of God, took upon himself the sins of the whole world. He became the sacrificial lamb, shedding his blood for our redemption.

As Jesus hung on that cross, blood pouring from the wounds on his head, his hands and his feet, he looked down at the crowd below, and saw the faces of those who had earlier cried, “Crucify him!” As the crowd continued to mock and deride him, Jesus said, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.” In the face of such amazing love and wondrous grace, how can anyone remain in that crowd crying, “Crucify!”? Why not step out from the crowd and kneel at Jesus' feet where his precious blood will wash away your sin?

Several years later, I wrote this song

Will You Cry Crucify?

You can listen here too:

©Deborah Bolack 2001

Walk down the road to Calvary, along the path Christ trod,
and witness there the sacrifice of the Holy Lamb of God.
Watch as the nails are driven in; each blow struck by our sin,
as willingly, Christ laid down his life in such agony and pain.
Will you with the crowd cry crucify, (crucify) and spit in the Saviour’s face?
Will you turn away, and try to deny he suffered and died in your place?
Or will you to the cruel cross draw nigh,
seeking out God’s gift of grace,
where the precious blood of the crucified will all your sins erase?

Hear Jesus say, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
The Son of God, who knew no sin, is pleading there for me and you.
Watch as the crimson drops of blood fall on those kneeling below,
for they have found God’s redeeming love,
beneath the cleansing flow.
Step out from the crowd crying crucify, and look to the Saviour’s face.
When you turn to Him, He will not deny. He offers salvation through faith.
Oh, will you to the cruel cross draw nigh,
seeking out God’s gift of grace,
where the precious blood of the crucified will all your sins erase?

Will you cry crucify, crucify,
Or accept God's gift of grace?
(Accept God's gift of grace!)

What will our response be? Will you cry crucify, or accept God's gift of grace?

Will you cry crucify, or accept God's gift of grace?

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Promises From Psalms; Psalm 34:15

This week we have a wonderful promise found in Psalm 34:15.

Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

No matter what is going on in the world around us, his children are always under the watchful eye of God, and he is listening for our cry.

As a mom, I can relate to this in a small way, at least in the hearing part. As I was thinking about this verse, I couldn't help but think of an incident that happened many years ago. My children and I were attending a sports day at a local school, where one of my foster children was participating. While I was watching her, my son went to play on the swings. A short time later, I heard a cry from across the schoolyard. Amid the noise of over 100 children laughing, playing and cheering, I instantly recognized the cry of my child. What a comfort to know that just as I respond to my child, my Father is listening for my cry. Not only that, but he is also watching over me at all times, and nothing that comes into my life has caught him unaware. 

(in case you're curious, I had to take my son across the street to the hospital to have his chin stitched up!)

Song for this week: The Eyes of the Lord

The message of this Psalm is very similar to Psalm 33:18 from 2 weeks ago, so I had to do some digging to find a different song for this week. This one is adapted from the words found in Psalm 34 verses 15, 17-19, and 22.

Join me again next week as I look at another promise from Psalms.

Meditating on God's promises found in Psalm 34:15

Read our previous Promise: Psalm 34:8 

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He Put a New Song In My Mouth

With Easter just around the corner, we're continuing the theme of Celebrating New Life, with the focus on this portion of scripture: Psalm 40:1-5, in particular, verse 3. How wonderful it is to know and to trust the Lord!

Psalm 40:3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord."

God put a new song in my mouth and a song on my heart.

Our 1962 House; Planned Renovations and Tour

We've been living in our home for almost a year, and we've spent the winter figuring out what renovations are needed and prioritizing what needs to be done this spring and summer.

A video tour of the main floor and planned renovations

Promises From Psalms; Psalm 33:18

This week's Promise From Psalms:

Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; Psalm 33:18

Meditating on God's Promises From Psalm 33:18

Spring Brings New Life: My Testimony

35 years ago Jesus Christ became my Lord and Saviour.

My testimony of salvation isn’t a flashy one. In fact, it happened rather quietly, as God used the prayers of many people, and the words and testimony of a few to bring me to a saving knowledge of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Once I came to believe, 'God is' and began to seek him, God honoured his word by revealing more to me.

New House Tour; Exterior Improvements

Welcome to our new to us 1960s home.

About 9 months ago we moved to what we hope will be the home we will spend our retirement years in. We'd been planning and preparing to downsize for a few years, and when our daughter and her family moved to a small town about 20 minutes away, we decided it was the perfect place to retire.
Later this month, I'll be sharing a tour of the interior of our house along with some of our planned renovations. But first I'll share what we've done so far.

1962 home- outdoor renos; fence and deck, with photos and video

Promises From Psalms; Psalm 16:11

This weeks Promise: 

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11 

Meditating on Promises From Psalm 16:11

Planning For Spring; Celebrating New Life

Are you looking forward to spring as much as I am?

Most years, March is a bit of a blah month here and we're more than ready for winter to be over! The official date for spring falls on March 19st, but some years it seems that winter didn't get the memo. The odd year, spring comes early, but more often than not, the snow lingers or winter gives us one more snowstorm. There have been years I felt like we were living in Narnia where it's "Always winter, but never Christmas!" 

But no matter how barren our surroundings, new life is waiting to appear.

The perfect time of year to make plans for spring, and be reminded of the promise of new life.

How Do I Cope With Having An Estranged Child?

I thought I was coping quite well...until I saw her picture on a relative's FB. I thought I had let go of the hurt...but that picture just brought everything back to the forefront.

I wrote last week about pregnancy losses, and as hard as those are, there is a greater loss...that of a child who is still living but refuses contact, as our oldest adopted daughter does.
Looking to Jesus in how to respond to rejection

Promises from Psalms; Psalm 27:5

This past week, I was able to spend a few days sitting with my mom, saying goodbye to her before she went home to be with Jesus. Knowing that she would be going to a place 'Where the storms never darken the skies' gave me peace and made it so much easier to say goodbye for now.

 Psalm 27:5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: In the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me;He shall set me up upon a rock.

Four Names ~ Giving Meaning, Purpose and Honour

Four names on a page...names that were carefully chosen to give meaning to lives that would never be give purpose to mourning for what would never give honour to God, who always knows what is best for us.

I've never talked about these names...they were really just for me at the time I chose them, but when I came across that piece of paper I thought maybe it's time to share them.

God has a plan for each life he forms.  Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.

Promises From Psalms; Psalm 30:5

One day, all the trials of this life will fade like the darkness of night and we'll live eternally and joyfully in the light of our Lord!

Meditating on God's promises found in Psalm 30:5 Joy comes in the morning.

A Love Story; How True Love Has Carried Us Through the Years

How is 'True Love' defined?

This is the Websters Dictionary online definition of love:

1.A feeling of strong attachment induced by that which delights or commands admiration; preeminent kindness or devotion to another; affection; tenderness
2. Especially, devoted attachment to, or tender or passionate affection for one of the opposite sex

As I read that definition, I thought,  that doesn't seem like enough to keep a marriage relationship going through all the struggles this life presents. 

True love, our love story and song based on  1 Corinthians 13

Promises From Psalms; Psalm 23

This week's Promise From Psalms is an entire Psalm. There is so much in Psalm 23, I couldn't just pick one or two verses.

Praising God for all his promises found in Psalm 23

A Life Well Lived; We're Just Passing Through

It's taken me a long time to write this post...Mother's Day 2018 we went to visit the home where I grew up...or what was left of it. I knew I wanted to write about it, but I couldn't get all of my thoughts organized enough to express in a post, so I set it aside.

My parents are an example of a life well-lived.

I mentioned on our About page that my parents were my inspiration for Living Our Lives Well. I wanted whatever I wrote to honour them and be a reflection of their lives and faith.

What I eventually wrote lyrics!

No music yet...not for lack of trying, but nothing sounds quite right yet. Hopefully one day it will come.

Honouring my parents life well lived in song

Promises from Psalms; Psalm 18:30

Again, in Psalm 18, David is calling on God in his distress. Throughout the earlier verses, he recounts his situation and God's response and he continues to speak of the character and righteousness of God.

Psalm 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Stories of Love and Loss

As I contemplated a theme for this month, love seemed to be the obvious topic, given Valentine's Day is coming up. Why not? Who doesn't like a good love story? And I just happen to have one to tell...mine and my husband's. 

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you

5 Specific Ways To Focus On Time In God's Word

As I set goals for the coming year, time in God's word is one of the areas I looked at. Some years, I've used a printed Bible reading plan where I check off the chapters as I read them. Last year, I subscribed to an online Bible reading plan. I also read the Proverb for the date and posted a verse from the Proverb each day. Aside from that, I didn't really have a specific plan or goal for the year. This year, I wanted to be more intentional, so I looked at specific ways I could focus more on my time in God's word.

Promises From Psalms; Psalm 12:6,7

The first words in this Psalm are, "Help, Lord." Once again David is calling out to God for help. The Psalm ends with verses 6 & 7 speaking of God's word.

Psalm 12:6, 7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

4 Healthy Choices For a Quick Start to Weight Loss

Apparently, January 17th is Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day, and here we are a week past that date. How is everyone doing? I prefer to set goals, rather than make resolutions, but if I don't have some plans set in place to reach those goals, then they really are no more beneficial than a resolution, and I'm no more likely to succeed. 
A couple of weeks ago I wrote Maintaining Wellness; How do I Get Back On Track? One area I wanted to get back on track with is my weight. I've gained back a little of the weight I lost two years ago, and need to head off that upward trend! Today, I'm talking about some of the foods that help me do just that. I'm not a nutritionist; I'm just sharing some of my favourites.
Making healthy choices to quick start weight loss

Promises From Psalms; Psalm 9:9-10

Psalm 9 speaks again of praising the Lord and rejoicing. I've been more intentional about spending more time listening to songs of praise to God. When I praise God in song I draw nearer to Him and I'm more at peace. I've always known this, and yet I forget and go days without music being a part of my day.

Psalm 9:9,10 KJV

Beyond Decluttering, Does It Ever End?

So, you've spent a few months, or maybe a year, decluttering your home.

You've dumped all your clothes on the bed and only kept what you love...folding them neatly Marie Kondo style, you've pared down your bookshelves to only your favourite authors, you've given away all your nicknacks, emptied the basement and've even tossed all of the expired medication! You can finally breathe a sigh of's done! Until you open a closet or cabinet and aaaarrgh it's overflowing again! Or the junk mail and flyers have once again piled up on the kitchen counter! Picnic plates in the winter? And what are those tools doing in here? Please tell me I'm not the only one who's had this problem!

A place for everthing, and everything in it's place

Promises From Psalms; Psalm 5:11-12

Our second Promise From Psalms is found in Psalm 5:11-12.

 This Psalm is a prayer of David crying out to God for help and direction. In verses 11 and 12, the Psalmist speaks of those who put their trust in God.  Because He defends them they can rejoice and shout for joy; those that love His name can be joyful in him. God will bless the righteous and with favour will compass him with a shield. 

Psalm 5:11-12 KJV

Maintaining Wellness; How Do I Get Back On Track?

I've been asking myself this question for the past few months...but even more so after the holidays!! Maybe you're asking the same questions, "How do I get back on track? How do I lose these ten pounds I seem to have gained over the holidays? What can I do to get more energy? How do I get a good night's sleep? How can I wake up energized and feeling refreshed?" 

If like me, you've been derailed in your journey to wellness, hopefully sharing what I'm doing will help you too. 
How I'm getting back on track with good habits for healthy living

Promises From Psalms; Psalm 1:1-3

 Since my theme for January is Start Well, Persevere, Finish Well, what better way to start the year than to commit to meditating on 52 promises from God over the next 12 months?

Psalm 1:1-3 Scripture memory

Better Is the End Of a Thing; Start Well, Persevere, Finish Well

   Even though I don't make resolutions, there's something about the beginning of a new year that feels like a fresh new opening a brand new notebook and seeing all those empty, pristine pages just waiting to be filled. I'm always excited to start writing in that notebook. 

Start Well, Persevere, Finish Well

My Verse For 2020 ~ Jeremiah 33:3

I wrote this over ten years ago...

 In Mark 9 we read the account of the man whose son had a dumb spirit. Even the disciples failed to help this man and his son. It occurred to me that if this man had been like many people, he would have used that as an excuse to turn away from Jesus, but no, he still sought out the Lord. As I reread the different accounts in the gospels, I couldn’t help but think what great faith that man had. Then I realized that this is also where Jesus spoke to his disciples about having faith that can move a mountain. I thought, “Lord, I want that faith that moves mountains!”
 I decided to look for other examples of that kind of faith. I read about the woman with the issue of blood. She had been to all the doctors and had spent all of her money trying to find someone who could heal her. Even after twelve years she still held out hope. When she heard about Jesus she knew that if she could just get close enough to touch but his clothes, she would be made whole. That is mountain moving faith! Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief!
  As much as I believe God’s word to be true, there are still situations when I have to say, “Help thou mine unbelief.” Will I ever come to the point of believing that through faith I can move a mountain? Oh, how I want that faith!
My scripture and word for the coming year