Sunday, September 11, 2011


Their Courage

Their courage deems utmost respect

Their mission clear, our way protect

It’s sure to each what they must do

No give or take, keep freedom true

With the Grand Old Flag, they'll unite

Whenever they must, march to fight

A life we know counts hard on them

Without their ranks, hellish problem

If our Armed Forces ceased to be

How long could we survive as free

Let’s well realize the truthful score

We need our troops just like before

Boils down to this, words to engrave

Land of The Free, Due to The Brave

God Bless each one for being there

Their loved ones too, unending care

Hope born from love touches the will

Do back them strong, means to fulfill

Americans – Who Serve To Give

One Nation – Under God We Live

©2005Roger J. Robicheau

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Moments {An Anniversary}

In August of '91, I experienced my first life-changing event: I, along with my Mum and Dad and three brothers, made a transatlantic move from Africa to North America.

I was five and half years old.

There's not much I remember about Africa, more specifically, Sudan. I don't know if the memories I do have are because of repeat family tellings, or moments stored in my own memory banks. Either way, I want to record them just in case I lose my memories of Africa completely. :)

I remember...

*Swallowing a coin that my Uncle gave me.
...My Mum told him not to give it to me, since I had a habit of putting everything in my mouth. He just laughed, looked at me and said "You wouldn't do that, right?" and proceeded to place it in my eager hands. I remember walking behind him on the path to our house and putting it my mouth several times but always able to take it out...until the last time when it slipped all the way down and got stuck in my throat. The coin got stuck sideways so I was still able to breathe and drink water but couldn't eat. My mom was so frantic because at first she didn't know what was wrong {I kept quiet and didn't let her know I had disobeyed}. Finally we took a taxi to the hospital. I remember walking around a circular garden type thing in the middle of the courtyard, and then being put on a stretcher. While I was knocked out, the doctor pulled the coin out. I remember being wheeled out of the operating room, the doctor at my side. He held up the coin and asked me if I was going to swallow it. I grinned and shook my head. He gave it to my Mum for a keepsake, and also some x-ray shots, but I think both got lost in the shuffle of life. I was probably close to being four years  old.

*Eating fish at a neighbour's house.
...I remember it being really yummy and I *think* fish is tasty...but, I won't touch any kind of sea food...even the fake breaded stuff you can get from the freezer section at the grocery store! Maybe I don't want to ruin a good memory?!?!

*The facilities
...I am so, so thankful for modern toilets! There was only one time that I had to visit the local bathroom. My Mum normally took care of things for us since we were all so young, so a visiting lady must have taken me. Let me tell you that a hole in the ground in pitch black surroundings conjures up a whole lot of scary ideas! I was so afraid I would fall in!

Moving on.

*Some neighbourhood children
...I only remember one family with several children that played with us. I use to remember their names, but it has slipped my mind now. I still remember as we would chase each other to and from our homes.

*Going to a funeral
...I believe this was the grandpa of the kids who played with us. I remember going into the house where this old man lay dying. There was a stench of sickness, that coupled with the heat of day, just made me sick. I remember him lying on a thin mattress so decimated that I was scared. His eyes had shrunk in his head and he was just skin and bones. The room was dim and dirty...I never saw him again. He passed away that night. After, I remember being part of a crowd watching as some men carried a stretcher type thing that carried his body.

*The heat was ALWAYS so hot. I don't remember it ever being cool. Maybe that's one of the reasons summer is my least favorite season!

*Twisting my arm
...My older brother and I were doing cartwheels on the bed. As soon as Mum said we would get hurt if we didn't stop, we crashed into each other and I ended up hurting my arm.

*My first scar
...Some of the Mum's were having tea inside while a fellow baby and I played outside. We got into the usual mischief and then everything became quiet. Our Mum's knew that there was something wrong and came outside to find my arm sliced open from elbow to wrist and a bite mark on the little boy. Apparently, Baby and I made an agreement: I could bite him as hard as I wanted and he could cut me using the razor he found. We were about two and half years old. I still have the scar so I doubt I'll ever forget this memory {or telling ;}!

*My first flight
...And then, at five and half, my family boarded for their first flight on an airplane. The only memory I have of this is my Mum taking turns with having two kids in the bathroom...being sick. It lasted the entire flight. Maybe this also is a reason of why I don't want to ride on planes?!

On August 30, 1991, we landed on Canadian soil. And from that moment on, my life was changed.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Song of the Week & Blessings

During the announcement time of our evening service, our church takes a few moments to share blessings they received from their personal devotions, an answer to prayer, or a testimony.

This week I was reading through the beginning of Psalms--one of my favorite books--when verse 4 of chapter 16 caught my eye:

"Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god"

This verse is talking about a god may have been built of wood or stone. We see in the time of Israel, especially during the time of the Judges, how they would forsake the true God and follow after the powerless gods made by the heathen hands around them. Then they would experience multiplied sorrows as they became subject to the different powers during that time period.

Throughout the book of Judges, we notice a cycle of the children of Israel following God and then going after strange gods. Once they were fed up with the emptiness that comes from following anyone/thing except the God of heaven, they would lift up their voices and weep for mercy and deliverance.

And God would graciously forgive and deliver them from their enemies.

I thought about now: I may not have an idol made from wood or stone sitting in my living room, but I can have other things that take the place of God in my life. It made me pause and think about what I'm following after and what fills my life. Am I following after gods that just bring an emptiness to my heart and life? The sorrows that will multiply as a result of not having God first in my life--is it worth it?

I continued reading and came to the last verse in this chapter:

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

Being in God's presence--having Him FIRST in our lives--brings us joy. At His right hand, we have pleasures for evermore. There is a satisfaction, a joy, in putting God first. Have you noticed a restlessness and dissatisfaction when you let your personal walk with God slide?

I have. And this verse has been such a challenge and blessing to me this week to always, ALWAYS, keep God number 1 in my life. I'm thankful for the mercy He shows me when I fail.

I love the following song about the mercy of God. It is such a blessing and reminder of what God does for me every time I listen to it. I hope it will be the same for you.

Every morning that breaks there are mercies anew. Every breath that I take is your faithfulness proved, and at the end of each day, when my labors are through, I will sing of your mercies anew.

When I've fallen and strayed, there were mercies anew. For you sought me in love and my heart you pursued. In the face of my sin, Lord, You never withdrew. So I sing of your mercies anew.

And Your mercies they will never end; for ten thousand years they remain. And when this world's beauty has passed away, Your mercies will be unchanged.

And when the storms swirl and rage, there are mercies anew. In affliction and pain, You will carry me through. And at the end of my days, when your throne fills my view, I will sing of your mercies anew. I will sing of your mercies anew.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My Experience In Getting A Car

What a crazy past few days. Literally, I thought I was going crazy during the process of getting a car.

I have been looking on Kijiji {like Craig's list in America} for a car since the beginning of summer, but nothing really panned out. Well, my brother offered to sell me his car, but I'm not a huge fan of Pontiac Sunfires and didn't really want to get it. I eventually gave in and this past Tuesday went through the process of changing the ownership over to me.

What a N.I.G.H.T.M.A.R.E.

In Ontario you have to get an emissions test as well as a safety anytime you change ownership. Drive Clean is Ontario's mandatory vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance program. It improves our health and environment by reducing smog-causing pollutants through testing and repairing vehicle emissions systems. I suppose it is good for the environment and all, but the mechanic bill sure racks up if your car fails the e-test! The real sinker is the safety test. Basically, you have to get everything that is wrong with your car fixed before you can get ownership. And, if you get an older car or a previous owner didn't take care of the car, you'll have major problems.

On Monday, my brother and I went to Service Ontario to see what exactly we needed to do in order to have the ownership transferred over to me. The lady at the counter told us the right spots to sign on the back, said I would need to get insurance, and that the car need to be safetied as the certificate is only good for 30 days. Nothing about getting another e-test done.

My brother left for college that night leaving me to wade through all government requirements.

I started looking for the best insurance rates on Tuesday and made an appointment for Wednesday morning. I talked to the insurance lady {which, incidentally, is the same one my Dad has dealt with and one I used when I was a secondary driver before I went away to college} and we got everything set up. Since there is history between her and my family, we talked and one thing brought up was getting the safety done on my car. Notice, I never told her definitely I was going to take my car that day to get it safetied.

Now that I had insurance, I could get my temporary plates and drive the car to get it safetied and so on. Upon receiving my temps, I was told I had 10 days to get the safety done. Alright, that gives me enough time to figure out which mechanic to use. I asked around and the general consensus was to NOT got to Canadian Tire which is what I was going to do originally since my brother had taken it there. Apparently, they have a bad record of over charging and finding things to fix.

I ended up taking it to Ultra Care Auto upon recommendation and they did a quick look at the framework--so a pre-pre-safety. They said the car looked pretty good but that I would definitely have to change the front two tires.

I planned on visiting several body shops to find the best deal, but matters were taken out of my hands when I got a call from my insurance lady asking me for "the papers". I was really confused as to what she wanted from me seeing as I had a full 9 days before my temps expired. That's what I understood, but apparently--which the insurance lady failed to inform me--the insurance company requires new policy holders to bring a copy of ownership and safety to the office within 24 hours. Based off of our hour+ talk when I got my insurance, she assumed I would get my safety done immediately and therefore saw no need to tell me of their 24 hour policy.

So, I did what any young-doing-this-for-the-first-time-single lady would do: I panicked. Looking back, that was my first big, BIG, mistake. With pressure from my insurance lady to get this done {since what she had done could get her fired} ASAP, I parked my car at the mechanic's around 2:00 Thursday afternoon. The mechanic was doing me a favor since they were pretty busy until the following Tuesday.

I called to let my insurance lady {IL} know I had it parked and would bring her the papers as soon as I could. She told me she wanted them by noon the next day {Friday} since the office people would be mad at her if she gave them paperwork at 3:00 in the afternoon on a long weekend. And also, she would have to re-do the insurance policy if the present one became null and void.

My second big mistake was accepting blame that all of this was MY fault and rushing around trying to rectify the problem without thinking through the situation.

Friday morning T was gracious enough to pick me up in the morning so I could pick up my car from the mechanics. The print shop is just down the street a little ways so I was going to help out until the car was finished. The mechanic had assured me it would be well before noon, but the closer it got to 12:00 and no phone call, the more my stomach started to be queasy and I was losing concentration on my task at hand {packaging some books for Reformer's Unanimous}. I recounted the box twice because L & A didn't think I had counted right. The first time they thought there wasn't enough in the box; when I recounted into a different box--I reached 500 before the first box was empty!! While A--the expert packer--was sorting through, L, seeing that I was far away in my thoughts and terribly worried about the strict timetable I was on, gently suggested I go call the mechanic to get an update. I threw her a grateful smile and walked up to the front of the building where Mr. K gave them a quick call for me. They would be done in 15 minutes and not a minute to spare. The IL was not going to get her papers before noon.

After leaving the auto body shop, I went over to the Service Ontario to get my permanent plates and ownership. I looked in dismay at the long line of people, and settled in to wait. It went surprisingly fast, and soon I was at the counter and told the lady what I needed. She asked me for a paper  and after a blank look from me, gave me a form to fill out. While I was doing that she punched some info into the computer, asked for my driver's license, temporary ownership, safety, and e-test. I showed her the only paper the mechanic gave me. She shook her head. I showed her the e-test paper my brother had gotten when he got his done, thinking that is what she wanted. Nope. She wanted a current one. I almost told her that I was told by her people that all I had to get was the safety. But, there was a long line of people behind me and I just didn't want to get into it with her. So, I packed up my papers and left.

I went back to the mechanic to ask him if they could do a quick e-test. They didn't, but he referred me to a mechanic over at....Canadian Tire. By this time it was nearing after 1 so I asked the CT guy if they could do it before 3. He said yes, but it might be about an hour before anyone could look at my car. I told him I would wait in the waiting area and sat in a spot where I could see my car. Bad move. Every few seconds I looked up only to see my car still in its parked spot. I tried reading, and even writing a letter to my friend but nothing worked. I was super conscious of the time and knew it was getting later and later in the day. By 2:00, I realized that my car might not even pass the e-test. But, I still couldn't relax until I knew for sure whether it failed or not and my all day running around and stressing out and being sick to my stomach was all for naught.

Finally I saw a mechanic pull my car into the body shop and anxiously watched through the window. He would do something and scribble on a piece of paper and test something else. His face didn't give me one clue as to whether or not my car would pass. "This is ridiculous" I told my self  and I didn't care whether or not I was on time at my IL's office. Of course, I wanted my car to pass the e-test, but I was done catering to my IL. If things worked out, they worked out; if not? so be it.

I watched as the mechanic slipped the paper into a protective sheet and walked to the entrance of the service center. I quickly got up out of my seat and went to be checked out. I pulled out my wallet ready to pay, when the words of the cashier stopped me cold: She didn't pass.

I knew it was a possibility, but I didn't think the car would actually fail the e-test. I paid for the service and drove away. As soon as I could, I called the IL to let her know that I wasn't going to be coming in. By this time it was 3:00. She told me for a fee of $200 I could get plates for my car for this year--overriding the failed e-test. I asked her how much it was to get my plates after re-doing the e-test, but she didn't know. I agreed to call Service Ontario to see if I could do as she suggested.

Third big mistake. Why I kept pursuing it after all that had gone on during the day, I have no idea.

I couldn't do it {which I already had my suspicions} and learned the normal fee is around $75. I called my IL back and told her there was nothing more I could do and I was not coming in on Tuesday {as she kept saying for me to do} and told her I would think about it and see what my options are this weekend.

I better hurry...time is running short.