How God is speaking to us...

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

This has been our prayer and God has graciously been giving us His incredible joy, peace, and hope as we trust in Him.
It is also our prayer for you!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The companionship of significant women!!

This past month I have had the company of some of my favourite girlfriends. What a blessing they have been!!

A good friend sent me a wonderful book by the poet/author Luci Shaw entitled "God in the Dark: Through Grief and Beyond". It chronicles her journey with her husband Harold after his cancer diagnosis, death, and the grief that followed. Luci became my companion as we shared so many similarities in our experience and drew strength and peace from our same loving Heavenly Father. Reading her book was very cathartic and I made some significant steps forward in the continuing journey of processing Bob's passing and the new reality of life without him.

Then a week later, Barbie flew out to spend a week with me. Oh she is such a blessing to me in every way. There's nothing quite like a daughter!! She too was eager to see her dad's grave, so we went together and placed in the vase three delicate china roses that Bob and I were given when each of our children ("Rosebuds") were born many years ago. They will bloom all winter and have special significance.

We also celebrated Barbie's 42nd birthday together--November 16!! How can that be?? Chris Hopwood, another very special girlfriend, made us her famous "Mud Pie"!!

Just a few days later my two sisters-in-law, Vi and Lois, came for a fabulous four days together. The three of us have had quite a few "Sisters Weekends" together over the past few years in a variety of beautiful locations--Peru, Whistler, Palm Springs, Colorado Springs, and Victoria. We have always been close, but being together with Bob when he passed away has strengthened the bond between us even more. We all miss him so much. We chose this time to spend our weekend right here in my little "Rekindle Inn". I decorated early this year for Christmas so we enjoyed the cozy atmosphere of lights and candles and always delicious food and delightful conversation. Rehearsing memories, getting caught up on the present happenings in our lives, and sharing our dreams and desires for the future bring lots of encouragement and meaning to our time together.

We even drove up the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish on Sunday afternoon and went down to White Rock Beach on Monday for fish and chips. And it never even rained once during their stay!!

Now the house is very quiet once again. But I won't be here for long as I'll be flying down to Oklahoma City in a week to spend ten days with Mom and Dad and the Bolerjacks. I'll return here on December 14th and then will be flying to Regina Christmas Day to be with all of our kids and grandkids for a week.

I'm wondering whether it's finally time to discontinue this blog, but will likely wait until after Christmas so that I can share news about my parents and our children.

Thanks everyone for sharing this journey with me. Your encouragement, companionship, and prayers have made the journey lighter!!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Home once again

On Tuesday evening I returned home after two wonderful weeks with our children and grandchildren. It was pure delight to be with them all, but I was sure ready to come home for some rest!!

First of all I spent a week with David, Ann and the boys in Fredonia, NY. What a gift to be there to help celebrate David's 40th birthday on October 2nd and also attend a major recital featuring David and his piano professor colleague on the 4th. Even the Open House at Billy and Manny's school took place that week!! I loved being a silent listener to Ann giving the boys piano lessons and her always lovely playing at their church.

Then I flew to Regina for a week with Barbie, Tim, Kim, and the children. The weather was lovely and the harvest was over, but Tim and Kim were still incredibly busy getting their stable and barnyard ready for winter. I was able to see the kids in their classrooms at their school just west of the city in Grand Coulee. Kim is doing well and went to a horse show in Moose Jaw, winning first place in the class they entered!! That was a real celebration after all she's been through. And then we celebrated Thanksgiving together at Kim's mom's farm, who the kids affectionately call "Tractor Grandma"!!

While I was away, I received the news that the grave marker on Bob's grave had been installed and I was so eager to go and see it. So the morning after arriving home, I picked the last of my roses and took them to the cemetery to place them in the vase that is attached to the bronze stone. The kids and I are thrilled with the marker and its message for all to see that because Jesus is alive, those who trust Him will live also!! What a wonderful hope we have!!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Preserving memories

Since I've been home again, I've been gathering together all the cards, letters, emails, and even Facebook messages that were sent in the period around Bob's passing. I cherish all of these beautiful expressions of love and tribute and want to preserve them for our family. I'd like to complete this task before leaving once again for a couple of weeks. On Monday I will be flying to western New York to spend a week with David, Ann and the boys, followed by a week in Regina with Barbie, Tim, Kim and their four--where we will celebrate Thanksgiving together!!

One of the most special tributes was written in the form of a very personal eulogy by our son David. It was read at Bob's Memorial Service, but since many were not able to attend the service, I decided to post in on the blog so more could read it.


Eulogy for Bob Rose, written by David Rose

A little over one month ago, Dad's health deteriorated quickly, and he entered the hospital. After a couple of days there, he seemed near death. A steady stream of visitors came through to say their good-byes. He sprang back to life on a Sunday afternoon though, and experienced the following vision. He described a large field in a valley with tall grass. There were different kinds of animals grazing in the field - sheep, deer and others. A gentle wind brushed over the grass. The animals all lifted their heads together, looking in one direction. Dad faltered a bit at this point, clearly not able to express what he saw or felt. I was with him, and remarked that he was sounding a little like C.S. Lewis. Dad smiled, and said, "Yes...but I don't yet feel, as Lewis said in “The Last Battle”, (which alludes to the redemption of Narnia).... that the things which happened after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot describe them"....he felt like he could describe them, yet the medication and tender awareness he felt at that moment prevented him from finishing.

His vision will remain brief and forever sublime. He was certain of several things though. The vision was a glimpse of perfect listening - the willingness to be swept upwards towards God with the gentlest of nudges - for God was in that field, and he spoke and was heard - or rather one could say - God spoke and everything in that field was listening.

There is of course a difference between hearing and listening. The great composer, Igor Stravinsky once said, “To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also.” Hearing is easy. It is a gift to all but the deaf. Listening is a choice and an effort – which always requires a response. Simply hearing requires no response….And yet I wonder if there is not an even deeper level of awareness - as yet unnamed - listening not only to the words of someone, but discerning beyond that to the desires of their heart.

Dad possessed this rare and deeper level of listening. Years ago, one of his children asked him, "Dad, do you really believe the story of Noah's ark? I you really think that Noah lined up 2 tigers and 2 elephants and 2 mosquitoes and brought them onto a boat, and they sailed around while the world was drowned?"

Now...ask would you answer this question? One could spin off in so many ways, and get tangled up so easily. The question itself is a trap of sorts. This is how Dad answered this question.

He paused for several long seconds. This was his way – you can imagine an elevator inside him – it needed to progress upwards through his consciousness before his mouth opened and words came out. "Well...I think about it this way. If you believe in a God who created the world and everything in it. If you believe he made all these things from scratch, where there was nothing before. If you believe that he built that elephant without any help...If you believe all those things and also that God loves you - it isn't so hard to imagine, is it? He added, "I’ll be honest, I don't know if this story is true exactly as it appears, but with a God who did all those amazing things, something like that wouldn't be such a big deal, would it?

I think, in Dad's answer, is an example of this deeper kind of listening. He didn't listen only to the question, but had a sense of the longing underneath. He saw a child who believed and loved God, but who was looking down into the muck of the world, and not up to the splendour of our creator. This is God after all! The creator of the heavens and earth! Could he not have guided even a 3rd mosquito into a boat if he wished?!


Robert Arthur Rose was born in the small town of Hanna, Alberta on Mar. 7th, 1943. He was the first child of three given to Pastor Bill Rose and his wife Anna. Bill and Anna lived as did many young pastors in Western Canada at the time - from day to day and on the grace of God. The menu was varied (eggs, fresh cream, potatoes, chicken, and on one occasion - BEAR!)- and was bound to the generosity of farmers among the congregation. After Bob's sister Vi was born, the family moved to the tiny town of Haywarden, Saskatchewan - where Bill pastored two churches. The family eventually settled in Kamloops, B.C, where Lois was born. They made their home in the basement of Kamloops Alliance church, where Bill served as pastor.

Little Bob would wander upstairs into the sanctuary, drawn by the pump organ and the piano - and spend hours tickling the keys while little sister Vi madly worked the organ pump. Not to worry, their musical collaboration was to become more equitable in the future when at 6 and 4 years old they made their radio debut singing "Born Among Cattle" in two-part harmony--always a source of great laughter to us kids!!

Bob's early fascination with the piano developed in him a magnificent ear and naturalness for music. He needed to be "strongly encouraged" (coerced) to play the piano in public, so his gifts likely remained hidden to most of us. He would groan at the mention of them as 'gifts', but gifts they were. His tinkering did not remain unnoticed at the church, and Bob was enlisted to play piano in the services. It is likely here where he developed his gentle interpretations of the great hymns.

Bob went to high school in Red Deer, Alberta, and in 1961 headed to the University of Alberta to study pre-med. Interesting to think what would have been if he had become a doctor? Can't you almost see him with a stethoscope hanging around his neck? It was not to be though – the required course of calculus managed to better him twice (a fact which was very reassuring to his kids in moments of failure). No matter, Bob would later become a healer of sorts - but not a healer of bodies. His interests directed him more deeply inside - to that place beneath the flesh, and he changed his major to Psychology, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in 1965.

The next decision in Bob's life was likely the one that brought him into most of our lives. As he was pondering his next move, a young lady in Southern California was also pondering hers. A cheerful and extroverted girl named Carol Dodds arrived in Regina, Saskatchewan in the late summer of 1966. She had come to attend the Canadian Bible College, and found herself pursued by a gentle man named Robert Rose.

At the time, students were not permitted to date in their first term, so Bob waited patiently until the end of term, and asked Carol on a date. She resisted him for a time….”too formal, too serious….too old” But his persistence won her over eventually and they began a lifelong journey together – the “formal, serious, old guy”, and the “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, will-chat-with-anyone….anytime…..anywhere, storm clouds part when they see her….kind a’ gal”.

Bob’s gifts were noticed early in his time at CBC, and he was asked to stay on a second year to teach Intro to Psychology. He and Carol both went to the University of Regina, where Bob obtained his Masters in Psychology (while still teaching part time at CBC).

The Bible College was not yet finished with him though….he was brought on to teach full time – a real ‘dog’s breakfast’ of courses, including —Psych, Greek, Christian Ed, and Women’s Phys. Ed (you probably didn’t see that one coming!).

After marrying Carol, three children arrived….first Barbara– the pragmatist – who against all predictions ended up taking after her mother; David, the musician and Tim the Cowboy – both of whom bear many of the marks of the “Rose male”.

Bob finished his formal studies at the U of Alberta, achieving a Doctorate in Educational administration. He returned to CBC to serve as the Academic Dean – a role he fulfilled for 11 years before becoming the President of the College in 1988. In 1996 Bob and Carol moved to White Rock after serving the Canadian Bible College and Seminary for 29 years of his life. The friendships which were forged in the cold prairies at CBC were among the most lasting and meaningful in the lives of Bob and Carol. The spirit and servants of the Christian and Missionary Alliance continued with Bob and Carol well after leaving CBC.

Since coming to the West Coast, Bob served as Associate Pastor at Pacific Community Church, and started his own business called ‘In-Vision’, which enabled him to exercise his gifts in strengthening the boards of churches, charitable organizations, and other institutions.

What he loved most though was working with individuals, coaching one-on-one--where he could help empower people to live out their God-given calling.
He was to continue this kind of work more formally after being invited to become Executive Administrator at the Canadian Pacific District office of the Christian and Missionary Alliance churches.

In April 2011, Dad was diagnosed with urothelial carcinoma and kidney failure and given 12 to 18 months to live. We all marveled at the dialysis machine which became a frequent companion to him – a noble yet clutsy contraption of man, performing the same function as our ping pong ball sized kidneys do in each of our bodies. From this point, God gave him almost two years of good quality life in which he continued to exercise his gifts whenever he was able.

In February, the cancer began to advance rapidly to his liver. At around 10:30 pm, on March 5, 2013, just two days short of his 70th birthday, Dad's breathing became shallow, and he left the presence of his loved ones on earth for the open arms of his Savior, Jesus Christ.

One of Dad's favourite authors, Henri Nouwen, said, “The mystery of one man is too immense and too profound to be explained by another man.” I don’t think this ever stops us from trying though.

Knowing Dad, he would have considered his Eulogy utterly wasted trying to solve his own personal mystery. Yet he would have celebrated any attempt to dwell on the mystery of the God he served – for this was the topic closest to his heart.

Dad’s great gift, so utterly unique in the world, and so desperately needed – was to create the space needed to listen to God. Not to hear God, but to listen to him. To talk with Bob Rose was to briefly inhabit the grassy field of his vision – green grass gently swaying, a place of peace, where the lost sheep can be found. He heard the longing beneath our clumsy words, and directed our gaze to the loving Father above –who walked so closely with him all his life and in his final months, and with whom he walks right now.

Does it make you wonder if Bob ever felt – while in this world with us – that he was ever listened to with the depth of compassion and understanding with which he himself listened? I pause for a moment, wondering if this gift was ever returned to him – and then this pause transforms into a blaze of joy, imagining him in the loving arms of his Father in heaven – free of pain, worry, despair, completely understood and loved on a level we couldn’t possibly imagine. He is home at last.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Home Sweet Home!

I flew home from OK on Saturday after spending almost six weeks there with Mom and Dad and the Bolerjacks. Barbie even flew down from Regina last week and we had a wonderful time together. Having always lived so far away from Buddy and Barb and their family, she was thrilled to reconnect with her cousins and aunt and uncle and especially being able to visit Grandpa and Grandma in their new home.

Our Vietnamese family from southern California also flew out for a few days. These are the two sisters, Bonnie and Lan, that Mom and Dad sponsored and took into their home and hearts way back in 1975 when they came as refugees to the US, along with two of Bonnie's children. Lan's husband Chris came as well. What a grand reunion we had--lots of laughter, tears, food, talking, and love!!

This has been a summer full of family gatherings, marred only by Bob's absence. I have missed his presence and companionship so much. And of course we all miss Jim. He was a very special brother to Barb and me and also our Vietnamese sisters, and the doting son of Mom and Dad. Sometimes I feel like I've got one foot in heaven and am ready to go, but asking the Lord for a new sense of purpose while I'm still here. An old gospel song, "Until Then", comes to mind often and has given me perspective on how to keep on living: "Until then, my heart will go on singing, Until then, with joy I'll carry on, Until the day my eyes behold that City, Until the day God calls me home"!!

I love having Barbie with me. We have grown very close in the past few years and even more so since together we walked with Bob through his final weeks. All the kids and grandkids are so loving and attentive and phone often and send emails. I'm hoping to go to western NY to be with David, Ann, and the boys the first week of October, and then to Regina to visit Tim, Kim, their four, and Barbie the second week of October. And we plan to spend Christmas all together in Regina.

Mom is feeling quite well these days, with no apparent sign of her cancer causing any immediate problems. We are so grateful to the Lord. Unless there is some major health concern with Mom and Dad, I won't likely go back to OKC until November. I plan to spend a few weeks there every few months.

Although it's been wonderful to be away with family, I'm so happy to be back in our little home, which we've called "Rekindle Inn". I have such happy memories of Bob and my shared life here and am loving being back in our neighbourhood and fellowshipping with my church family. Being here on Sunday was a special "feast" in every way. I am so blessed!!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Mom and Dad's 70th wedding anniversary

Today is my parents' 70th wedding anniversary and we have been celebrating all week! The first event took place on Monday evening at Barb and Buddy's home with all of the Bolerjack family.

Both of Barb and Buddy's sons and their families live here in Oklahoma City and Mom and Dad are thrilled to be able to see some of their grandchildren and adorable great grandchildren at least once a week!! Up until this move, they have never lived near their grown children, so this is a huge blessing!!

At noon today, Mom and Dad were honoured at Tealridge, the Retirement Community where they live. These two pictures were taken in the lobby of their "home".

Mom is doing remarkably well and has no obvious symptoms yet of her cancer. She will have her blood checked next week to see if a transfusion is needed. She and Dad are relying on the Lord for strength to face whatever lies ahead and enjoying every day that He gives them together. They both tire quite easily, which is understandable given their ages!!

Barbie is flying down here on August 30th and will spend ten days with us. She hasn't seen her grandma and grandpa for almost three years and has never been to OK before. I'm looking SO forward to her coming. When she goes home to Regina, I will fly home to White Rock and plan to be there for at least three weeks, possibly longer. It will be great to be home again. I think that I'm feeling Bob's absence even more these days because he was never here with me in OK and I am so far removed from our shared life together and our wonderful network of friends in BC.

Tomorrow is Bob and my 44th wedding anniversary. Earlier this week I was dreading the prospect of this significant day, but am feeling much better as the day approaches--trying to focus my thoughts on the blessing of having shared so many years with him. Good memories are a precious gift--and I have plenty!!--including our anniversary two years ago, just a few months after Bob's cancer and kidney failure were diagnosed.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Down in Oklahoma

I've been here in Oklahoma City with my family for almost a week now. It's been so good to be with Mom and Dad and also my sister Barb and her husband Buddy. We now know more about the nature of Mom's cancer and have been informed of possible options for treatment and have come to a decision regarding those options.

On Thursday, all of us met with a surgeon and found out that Mom has "Duodenal Cancer" and that the tumor has NOT spread to any other organ!! It is localized in her duodenum, but may have affected some surrounding lymph nodes, something that surgery would reveal. It would be medically possible for Mom to undergo this very major surgery to remove the tumor, but at 90 years old we don't think that would be wise. The surgeon also suggested a lesser but still major surgical procedure that would make her more comfortable as the disease progresses--when her ability to eat and eliminate her food will become difficult. However we have decided against that as well.

We deliberated as a family and prayed about this decision and came to a unanimous agreement within hours, and all of us have such peace. The surgeon has given Mom a prognosis of about a year without surgery, but her times are in God's hands!! And the lovely Christian Retirement Community where Mom and Dad live want to do all that they can to enable them to stay there with extra home-care assisting when Mom needs it. And Barb and I are committed to spending as much time as possible with them in this next year.

Considering that Mom is 90 years old and has had many health challenges in recent years and now has cancer, she looks AMAZING, as this picture taken at noon today shows!!

I'm unsure when I will return home to White Rock, but will be there for sure by mid-September, as I've been asked to work for a week at the Notary Public office where I worked for so many years. This will help finance some of my travels!!

I'm still living in the "afterglow" of having all of our children and grandchildren with me in late July. We had a wonderful experience the last afternoon that we were together when we visited Bob's grave. The grandchildren were so sweet and enjoyed gathering tiny wildflowers (some were weeds I'm sure!) amongst the grass and setting them on Bob's temporary grave marker.

We all joined hands and prayed and when I said "Amen", one of our grandsons so excitedly said, "Nana, I had a vision while you were praying--that Papa came down from the clouds and kissed you on your cheek and went back up to heaven!!" Wow!! Later we questioned him a bit more about his "vision" asking whether it was just a thought that he had when I was praying or a vivid picture, and he replied that it was REAL and that the clouds parted and Papa came down in a bright yellow light and kissed me on the cheek and went back up to heaven--and that he was wearing a black sweater, tan pants, and that he was wearing his glasses and that he is still bald!!!

Now we almost expect something quite dramatic to happen when we pray at Papa's grave. At Bob's burial service on March 22nd, when Pastor Brian said "Amen" at the end of his prayer of committal, there was a single loud clap of thunder--and no rain!!! The grandchildren in particular were absolutely certain that God was in the thunder welcoming Papa into heaven!! The Lord assures us in so many ways that He is with us and that He loves us.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Summer fun with the family

All of our children and grandchildren spent between one and two weeks with me this month and we had a wonderful time. We had three days away together at Cedar Springs last week, just south of Abbotsford in the foothills of Mt. Baker. Vi and Jerry joined us as well as Lois and Duane's daughter Anita.

Of course the kids love going to the beach here in White Rock. They all left yesterday to return home with plans percolating of spending Christmas together in Regina.

While we were at Cedar Springs, we received news that my mom has been diagnosed with a malignant tumour in her abdomen!! What a shock that has been, especially with all that we've been through as a family this year. She had a CT scan on Friday to determine whether the cancer has metastasized to any other organs and when the extent of the cancer has been determined, the doctor will talk to the family about options. Consequently I'm flying down to Oklahoma City tomorrow morning for an indefinite period of time.

Mom and Dad's spirits are good and Mom is home from the hospital and feeling pretty well. The doctor thinks that she's likely had this tumour for some time. It was discovered when she was hospitalized for anemia, and since she's received a few pints of blood, she's been feeling much better. All of the family have an appointment with a surgeon on Thursday, but at 90 years old, Mom doesn't want any aggressive treatment.

My folks will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on August 21st, so I anticipate that I may still be there to celebrate with them.

I'm feeling pretty tired right now and need to finish packing and get to bed. I have more to share about the time with the kids, but will wait until I'm down in OK to give more details and of course report on how Mom's doing.

We appreciate your continued prayers for us all.