Monday, September 19, 2011

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."
Maya Angelou

I've been keeping myself busy these days, not allowing too much time for reflection or for the mind to wander. It's just better that way. But on Saturday I was a passenger in a car... a car driving through a very pretty section of south western Ontario. Lost in the beauty of rolling fields and trees laced with sunshine my mind did the unthinkable... it wandered.  For a moment I forgot where I was and why I was there.  Suddenly I was looking for the mountains on the horizon and for a quick second I thought, "Where am I? What am I doing here?" A wave of great sadness washed over and, for just a moment drowned the beauty that surrounded me. I missed my family. I missed my girls and my son. I missed my grandchildren.  I wanted them to be there with me.

I wonder if I'll ever get used to this. I wonder if next year at this time I'll still feel the same way.  Perhaps I will slowly adjust to being in a different place, so far from those I love and long to be with. Perhaps not.  It's not easy to go where God calls you to go. The road is often difficult and takes you places you would never have dared to go. And if you're like me, you'll resist it. And that will make it more difficult.  However, I'm discovering again that if you embrace it and absorb the experience, it will take your breath away.

Breathe on me breath of God... until my heart is pure, until my will is one with Thine, to do and to endure... (Edwin Hatch 1835-1889)

Go ahead, take my breath away.

grace... Kathie

Friday, September 09, 2011


I am feeling... so ..... discombobulated.


Verb (used with object), - lat'ed, -lat'ing.
To confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate: The speaker was completely dicombobulated by the hecklers.
Origin:  1825-35, Americanism; fanciful lteration of discompose or discomfort.

Is it September already? What happened? I'll tell you what happened - a storm blew across the country and we were caught up in its path. We were swept into London in a whirlwind of unpacking boxes, getting our bearings, finding where things are, getting new services set up and tears and humidity and learning about our new work which is turning out to be like memorizing an encyclopedia.

Well, let me tell you, for those who haven't been keeping up with my facebook posts, we are now beginning the routine which will help us to settle in our new home and work in London, Ontario.  Our two young boys who came with us on this trip have begun school and both seem to like their school, their respective teachers and have met other kids in their classes - thank you Lord! 

Poor old cuddles, she's discombobulated too. Can find the door, bumps into walls (she's blind as a bat!) and pees on the floor all the time. Gotta watch where you're stepping.  The vet said it will take her six months or more to adjust - we wonder if she'll live that long!

We have yet to find a doctor, dentist, naturopath.... vet and groomers. We haven't got our health card form sent in yet nor do we have licence plates as our Suburban didn't pass the Ontario government's idea of a safe vehicle. That's another huge amount of money.

However, we do have our driver's licence! That's one thing done.
We know where to shop! That's another...
We know where several Tim Horton's are... and that's really important as well as Swiss Chalet!

We're getting there.... slowly!

But we've also been sick... a flu bug going through us.... literally...
S l o w i  n  g    u    s     d    o   w    n!

I had someone say to me they hadn't heard me this confused since I dropped my phone in the toilet! Well, stress and grief will do that to you I suppose.  What can a person do?  Just muddle on, getting through it, getting on with the necessary, taking care of the urgent and attending to the important.

In the meantime, I like my work, I like the staff (we have a wizard who wears funky socks who works for us!) I like London... a bit conservative here, a bit traditional... but friendly.  I think we'll be ok, we just need time to settle in.

So, as for the question in my last post.... We Are Now Here.

I'm thankful for my family & friends who have prayed for us through this whole ordeal.  I know we're being covered by their prayers and I know God is answering them. 

I'm also thankful for Skype and the Internet. 


ps....let me know what you think of this new look on my blog, I'm trying new things.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Are we there yet...?

The day that lasted forever is happening right now. Anxious to arrive at our new home in London, we got up early this morning to head out. But a thunderstorm decided to make a dramatic entrance and there were downpours so thick we were soaked through in a minute while we got the trailer hooked up. Quite a change from the cold constant drizzle of the lower mainland we're used to.

Then we got in the road but had to inflate the air shocks (pronounced "shacks" in Illinois.) Then the i90 to the i294 around Chicago. Need I say more? That took forever. Does Chicago ever end?

Then the question- do we take i94 or i196? The gps has been steering us wrong and wanted us to take the i90 right through downtown Chicago so we won't follow that. Then what happened to our Michigan map? Got to buy another one.

Now we're on the last leg of this journey and the signs say Port Huron 110 miles. But there is another lighting and thunderstorm. How long can this day last for? Will it be dark when we try to park the trailer in the driveway? Is the driveway even long enough?

Stay tuned...it's 6:15 pm now, I'll update later.


So the cable guy figured the driveway was 20 ft long and that gave me something else to fret about. How great I am at that these days. We ran out of American money and didn't have any American cash when we hit the bridge from Port Huron over to Sarnia. No one mentioned it cost money to get out of the states! Crazy! The woman asked how we got into the US - hadn't we come over the bridge? Then we told he we came from BC and that we used up all our cash at the tolls on the highways! Couldn't we pay online like the other toll booth worker told us? She radioed someone and then said we could go through, but only this once, never again! Real stern. We just said thanks and hightailed it out of there!

It was so easy to find our new house. So close to everything. And the driveway was just long enough for our RV. We won't keep it there for long as I think they have rules here about that.

It seemed weird walking into a strange house. It seems very nice but tonight I'm too tired to notice much - except the bed! Gonna have to do something about that!

What was so nice was that my best friend was here to welcome me. She even had dinner ready for us! We haven't lived in the same province for 19 years now. This is another consolation God has blessed me with. If I have to be so far from my kids, at least I have Dora, Linda and so many others here. And my brothers aren't too far either. I'm looking forwarding to connecting with new friends too. I just hope everyone is patient with me and my tears of grief for my family. I miss my children and grandbabies so much...Sigh... Well, sometimes you just have to suck it up and get on with it!

(Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone...how cool is that!?)


Monday, July 25, 2011

A Long Day

We've now been on the road for over a week and we are headed for our next and final stop before London. All the stops have been pre-planned except the first one (car broke down) and have turnned out ok, some better than others. If you have to stop in Worthington, Minnesota , be sure to stay at the American Inn right off the I90. Very nice for a quick stop. Not 4 star but reasonable rates and recently completely redone.

However, I didn't plan our next stop very well. We are a bit far from Six Flags and Ed is not sure how that will work. We are also worried about leaving the dog for so long. She did fine the other day when we were gone for 8 hrs sightseeing and she'll likely be fine, but she's lost a bit of weight on this trip. She is an old girl after all, 14 - 98 in doggie years! So we're looking into the possibility of a different campground a bit closer. I'm praying.

We were late yesterday. It was a long drive and seemed to take forever. We stopped a couple of times and bemoaned the consequence of arriving so late. We decided to stop for dinner an hour before our destination and it was a great meal. They had wifi which cheered up the boys - and Ed and I - and so we all caught up on Facebook. When we left to go it was dark out and we were tired. I heaved a sigh and got back into the car. As we drove along we were treated with a lovely sight - fireflies dotting the fields around us as we drove. I've never seen so many of them before! It was fascinating! Then we came across a great mystery. There seemed to be dozens of red flashing lights over the fields. We could not figure them out. Very strange. Finally, there were some close enough to the highway and Nathan realized what they were - windmills! Generating electricity!

Much to our delight, the hotel pool was open to midnight. The boys and Ed went down while I enjoyed some time alone! This morning we leave behind Worthington and we're on our way to the Chicago area. Tomorrow Six Flags. God has been very good to using this trip. We're looking forward to see what other blessings he has for us in the next few weeks!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone...how cool is that!?


Location:Illinois 72,Kirkland,United States

Saturday, July 23, 2011

R & R

As I sit and write this post I'm watching the dying embers of our campfire. Crackling sounds fill the night and the voices of the boys getting settled can be heard in the background. It's peaceful. I don't want it to end, but it will. I've learned that all things end eventually. But for now I take in the sights and sounds and hold them as memories to draw on when I need to visit a peaceful place.

We tried to sleep in this morning but it was no good. Perhaps tomorrow, but not too late. We have sight seeing to do! Today was a day of rest. Well, for me it was. Do you call water sliding and swimming and basketball and bike riding rest? That was the day the boys had. They're a little more tanned and water logged but having a good time. Right now they're watching The Forbidden Kingdom with Jackie Chan and comparing the laughs they hear to Dad and Derek's. I think they're right.

Tomorrow it's off to Mt. Rushmore, caves and zip-lining - ok, so it's crazy and I may chicken out if it's too high, but we'll see.

Now it's off to la la land. A good rest and now a good sleep.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone...how cool is that!?


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I thought it was a long drive to Coeur D'Alene from Arlington, but it couldn't compare to today's drive. Today we drove k800 kms through one mountain after another. I thought that after Billings it would be flat prairie, however, I was wrong. We have to drive down Hwy 90 through Wyoming and the Big Horn Mountains, which will take us to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

So far the scenery has been spectacular! Idaho and Montana are wonderful. The people are very friendly and the service we've received has been great. The beds we've slept in haven't been great and both Ed and I have very sore backs. Avoid the Comfort Inn in Coeur D'Alene. After tonight we are camping for three nights so we'll be in our own beds. Yes!

The boys are doing well for their first long road trip. Their old enough not to be asking "are we there yet?" - well, Nate is! ;-) They've been playing games on their iPods and listening to music, playing cards and sleeping.

Tonight we arrived later than we thought. Silly me, I forgot the time change. We got a quick supper and headed off to the pool and great watersides. The hot tub was just what I needed to relax after a day of sitting cooped up in the car.

The other surprise on this trip
is Cuddles who is 14. We weren't sure how she'd do being so old, blind and deaf! But she is traveling really well. Not eati
much but getting offered. Hopefully shell be just fine.

It's been distracting looking at the scenery but off and on I get very emotional thinking of all the family we've left behind. I don't like this feeling and pray that this melancholy passes.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone...how cool is that!?


Location:Access Rd,Billings,United States

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


So here we are stuck in Arlington, Washington. Not. Much to see or do, but there's a small pool and hot tub. Our plan was to be in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho the first night but we only made it part way before the car gave out. Hopefully, they'll be able to fix it and get it going for us.

Sometimes you have to wonder why things happen the way they do. We had a three hour wait while AAA got their act in gear. Talk about frustration! Then a nice older gentleman came up to us and asked if he could help. They saw our trailer and have a similar one, and well you know, an RV'er needs help...you help. They stayed and kept us company, chatting about RV's, camping, grandchildren - you know, just stuff. Turns out they were from Coeur D'Alene and were on their way to Seattle to see their new grandbaby. Small town folk with big hearts. I got her name - Zala. Turns out her Aunt was a Brigadier in the Salvation Army! Told us some stories they heard from her.

We said goodbye to our new RV friends and went off with the two giant tow trucks - thank goodness we got BCAA RV Premium coverage. But if we hadn't, that nice gentleman from Idaho was willing to give us a tow to the nearest campsite.

I think they were angels.

God is gracious...Kathie

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone...how cool is that!?

Location:Smokey Point Blvd,Arlington,United States

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Ring Leader

Well, here is my DISC personality profile. I was checking out this site to find a short test to give some prospective employees and did the test to see what you get for free.  I believe I might get the full one, it's not that expensive. Anyway, I thought I'd share this with you. If you know me, let me know if you think this is like me. Click on the title of the blog to go to the website, do yours and let me know what yours is. You can even post it on Facebook if you're brave and courageous!

Kathie , as the  "Ring Leader " you have a powerful personality with the outgoing nature and drive to make things happen, even if the odds are stacked against you. Self-directed and self-motivated, you naturally gravitate towards leadership positions. People are likely drawn to your contagious enthusiasm and big personality, which paired with your strong determination can win others over to your objectives and point of view very quickly. You are naturally charismatic, persuasive, and relational. In times of pressure, you tend to be objective in your approach and direct in your communication, yet can remain diplomatic and sensitive to others. In times of low stress, however, you can mix business with pleasure and come alive in social situations. Naturally, optimistic, you seek out the possibilities in life, yet value stability and consistency.

Your creativity and ability to solve problems are some of your greatest strengths. This paired with your drive and vision allows you to create new opportunities, keeping your experiences fresh and exciting. Often bored by routines, you find daily tasks to be mundane and like to mix things up, preferring to develop new ideas rather than maintaining systems already in place. You are a bold person, whose character is marked by originality, expressiveness, generosity, and determination.

You are a natural born communicator and an adept social navigator. Where often others will sit by, you will engage new people or invite others in to make them feel at home. You may develop friends easily, exhibiting a high sense of loyalty and a desire for a positive group dynamic. With a talent for creative reasoning and big picture thinking, you can be a great innovator and are typically seen this way by others. Your energy and forward thinking can generate a team-oriented environment, helping you to accomplish your goals by motivating others, while creating an atmosphere that is fun and exciting.

Food for Thought

  •  Bored by routine, you may have a short attention span and change scenarios often. Challenges arise for you in time-management and with detailed tasks that involve a long commitment of time or repetitive activity.

  •  You are talkative and get excited about your ideas. In social situations, bring attention to whether you are focusing on what others are saying or on what you are going to say next.
  •   You may be short-tempered and lack patience with others when frustrated. In these times, your body language and tone can become acutely direct, which can be threatening or offensive to more passive styles. This is a common communication breakdown that can only improve through understanding and awareness. 
  •  Being a self-directed person, you do not like to be rushed or pressured. You probably prefer leadership roles and may have a difficult time with other's authority or rules.
  •  You have a strong need to be recognized for your accomplishments and actions and approved of by others. You may have a tendency to be generous with those around you, and will especially struggle in times of feeling taken advantage by others. 

  •  You are a big picture thinker and may not gather all the needed information before making decisions or moving forward on something you are excited about. Having a detail-oriented person who can gather information and support your visions with information will help you in achieving your goals.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Sweet Sorrow

All my bags are packed; I’m ready to go….well, not quite - and not on a jet plane. But, after 14 years in Maple Ridge, 17 years in Metro Vancouver, the Chiu family is moving.  Well, not quite the whole Chiu family – our three grown children, two son-in-laws and our eight grandchildren will stay here where they’ve made lives for themselves.  When Ed and I and our two youngest make our way east it will be the first time our family will be separated.

Ok, so let’s not talk about that right now….

This has been a long journey for us to this point. As Salvation Army officers we have always known that one day we would be moved to another appointment.  It’s just the way it goes. People retire, new officers are commissioned, ill health and other reasons force people to resign and appointments have to be filled.  So every year the grand shuffle takes place.  For 14 years we’ve managed to avoid being caught up in that shuffle.  We’ve had some very sensitive leaders that have listened carefully to us when family situations, poor health and aging parents dictated that it would be best to stay. We’ve been blessed to have these leaders and are very aware that this has been a tremendous privilege.

Our ministry here in Maple Ridge has also greatly benefited from us being here for so long.  When we arrived in 1997 there was a small, newly planted church that was struggling financially and only allowed to stay open I’m sure because of a lease agreement that was pretty expensive.  However, God had plans for The Salvation Army in Maple Ridge and today there is a thriving church and social ministry where people find salvation and new life every week.  

But now it’s time for a new adventure.  I’ve not been able to bring myself to write about this move even though I’ve known we were going to move for several months. Perhaps if I didn’t write about it, it wouldn’t happen.

I guess that didn’t work.  So I guess I’ll write now.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Corners of My Mind

I sat in the waiting room at the UBC Alzheimer's & Related Disorders Clinic looking around at the others. There were a few my age... but they were not patients, they were with their aging parents.  I, on the other hand, was the patient.  How weird was that? God? What is this all about?

When my name was called a volunteer took me to a small room and conducted a memory test. 

"I'm going to say three words and then I want you to remember them after I ask you a few other questions. Then I'm going to ask you more questions and then I'll ask you to remember the three words again."

No problem, I thought. I repeated the three words a couple of times and said, "OK, let's go." So on the questions came and in my mind I'm thinking, "What were those words?" and then the questions kept coming.  Then she asked me for the words.... "uh.... uhhhh......" Finally, I remembered them and she gave me a hint on the third word.

On to more questions for a while.... then.... what were those three words again....I sat there and wracked my brain for a few seconds and then... bingo! There they were. Phew. Passed that test.

"Now I'm going to ask you to repeat five words, and we're going to do the same thing again."

WHAT??? Panic! Oh no, what if I can't remember them!  I repeated them a couple of times and then off we went again.  When it came time to remember the words I got one.... ONE!  I'll never forget that blessed word... VELVET! It will stick with me forever.  I couldn't get the others without prompting!  I'm hopeless!  On the fifth word I guessed - luckily it was the right one and the young woman never realized! 

What frightened me about this test was that I was there for long term memory loss - NOT short term memory loss!  I nervously laughed to Ed when I told him what happened back in the waiting room. I spent the whole afternoon there being tested and examined, poked and prodded, knocked on all my joints with a rubber hammer, walking, balancing... the whole shebang.  The result is that I have to have more tests.

This all started after my surgery two years ago.  I had attended the Leading Women conference in Toronto and when I returned home I found out I had to have the surgery.  It was going to be the big one some women have to have. Yes, a hysterectomy.  They took ALL my inside girlie parts. And surprise, they had a cancellation just in a week.  It was now or never. OK. So on March 13th I went into the hospital and I've never been the same since.

The first time I experienced a lost memory was when I received an email a few weeks later. "Who was this person emailing me" I asked myself. I didn't recognize the name at all. I clicked on the email and the person was asking me for something I had promised to send.  "They have the wrong person," I thought. So I replied and said as much.  But apparently I not only knew this person, I had lunch with them at the conference and was supposed to send something to them and must have forgotten.  Well, I had forgotten a lot of things.

People came up and talked to me that I should have known... now I just pretend I know them and hope they don't notice!

There were events I attended but had no recollection of... and apparently I enjoyed myself too!

It was very strange and disconcerting. However, at first the doctor put it down to a side effect of the anesthetic.  OK, it would all come back, no problem.  But then it didn't.  Some things that happened before the surgery just disappeared into the recesses of somewhere... but not my mind.  Oh well, I guess I could just live with that. Deal with it. Done.

But then I noticed as time went by other things went missing.  After six months some things were just gone. Policy decisions at work... things I'd agreed to I couldn't remember... weird.  So back to the doctor.  It was then the referral was made to UBC and I was sent for a CT Scan. Now it's an EEG and an MRI and some blood tests.  It could be just trauma from my surgery - and it was traumatic for me. Or it could be that blood flow was cut off temporarily during the surgery, which can happen... who knew? At least it doesn't appear to be progressive. I'm just praying that God will show them what's wrong so I can have some answers.

This is turning out to be more than I bargained for.  I should have just gone on in blissful ignorance! Oh well, I guess I'll cope somehow. One good thing is I don't have to spend any money on books, I can just read all the ones I have over again!

One thing I'm thankful for... God is in control.  Even if I were to lose all my memories, God will never forget me, never leave me nor forsake me. It makes going through life much easier and comforting to know this.  It gives me peace.  I can't imagine what it's like for Darwinists and atheists to go through life knowing there is no purpose to their life nor is there any point in anything.  Whatever happens, I know God has a plan for me and for those who love me. I think perhaps I will never forget that.

grace.... Kathie

Monday, February 21, 2011

Life's Just Like That

Change. I crave it sometimes. It causes stress. I like it. I hate it.

Do I sound a little conflicted? Yes, because I am.

Sometimes change in our lives can bring excitement. We anticipate a positive event like a wedding, birth of a baby, graduation, new job... all of these types of changes can bring stress, but it's generally good stress with positive outcomes.

Other changes can bring negative stress. Divorce, death, serious accident, ill health, losing a job, moving... these can knock a body over, overwhelm a person.

But change just for changes sake, for some people is just fine.  I remember lots of times coming home and my dear hubby had rearranged all the furniture. Many times, during the early days of our marriage I would go into the kitchen and look for something, only to find he'd rearranged that too.  Me? I like things put in one place. I like to know that everything has it's place - and it's the same place as last month, next month and next year!

I think behind all this change stuff is control.  Positive changes are usually within your control. You choose them.  You're the architect of that change.  But do those changes still have negative stresses to them?  You bet they do! That's because every thing we do, every change we make affects others in our lives and they experience a loss of... wait for it....control.

So, it all comes down to this control thing.  Am I saying that people who don't like change might have problems with control in their lives?

What do you think?

Well, perhaps then, when we're feeling that things are just a little bit out of control, we can depend on God. He never changes. He never leaves us. He never forsakes us. When we're freaking out, He is there. When we're experiencing loss of control, He reminds us that we can depend on Him to get us through. He knows the future - He is in control - even though it may not "feel" like it, He holds on to us so that we're not overwhelmed or knocked over.

Thank God! Here's a great song by a favourite group of mine, enjoy!


(Don't forget to slide over to the right side to pause the music playlist)

grace... Kathie
(the sometimes control freak who feels overwhelmed and knocked over sometimes!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Real Chatty Kathy Doll

So this was my favourite toy of all time - my Chatty Kathy Doll!  I loved this doll so much, I took her everywhere.  I think I wore her out, I definately eventually ruined her hair by brushing it so much! I don't know what ever happened to her, I'm sure I grew out of her.  My mom was terrible too, she always threw out my broken toys and things she didn't think I wanted.  Has your mom ever done that! I've lost a few treasured items during those years. 
Anyway, this is me and my mom, back when I was about 4 or 5 years old - me with my Chatty Kathy Doll! Watch one original commercials I would have watched as a little girl that made me want one of these lovelies - just click on the YouTube link below.


Chatty Kathy Doll Commercial on Youtube

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


A wonderful surprise that came in the mail from one of the other kathys in my life!  I'm not sure what to do with this little girl, but she's so precious. I had one of these dolls when I was a little girl! I'll have to try to post it here, blogger's not letting me put up two pics.

grace... kathie