December 31, 2011

Blessed New Year

“Happy New Year” is something that we say to each other at the end of one year and at the beginning of a new year. However, to be truly happy, we need God’s blessing and guidance in all that we hope to do and accomplish. In August of this year, as I was thinking ahead about my life, I told my family that I was hoping to be able to make Christmas and the New Year. And here I am, on December 31, 2011, writing this blog post.

This past year has been one of many, many changes for us. In January we traded in our 7 passenger SUV and downsized to a 5 passenger vehicle. In February, we sold the double home we have lived in with my parents for 25 years and downsized into a much smaller 2-bedroom bungalow in Dundas. My parents moved to a Christian retirement home in Hamilton where several other families of our church live, including my mother-in law. During the months of March-April, I was being tested for ALS, and was diagnosed in May. Lena took two months of vacation/leave in July and August so that we could spend time at our trailer on Pigeon Lake near Peterborough. In August, I resigned from my position as Principal at the school where I have served for 33 years, and I withdrew from active duty as an elder in my church. In September we renovated our ensuite bathroom to make it wheel-chair accessible. In October/November, Lena took a two month compassion leave from her work and is now into a six-month leave of absence. Thankfully, her supervisor was able to keep her job open for her so that she can return to work after I am gone. In November, our minister and friend for the past 22 years accepted a call to a congregation in the Netherlands. We spent 2 relaxing weeks in Florida, in November, with our close friends, using a wheel-chair accessible van which we purchased with the help of another dear friend. In December, we have begun physical therapy, occupational therapy, and respiratory therapy to make life more comfortable. Thank-you for the many calls, emails, cards, visits and loving support received in the past year.

Despite all of these major, traumatic, life changing events in our lives, God has been good to Lena and I in 2011. We have been surrounded and carried by the love and prayers of our family, friends, and members of our church and school community. God has graciously given us a rich measure of His abiding presence and peace in our hearts, enabling us to cope day by day. We know that the year 2012 will be difficult for our family, but God promises "I will never leave you nor forsake you", and we hold on to that promise. We are living one day at a time, in dependence on Him.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your journey, Jack, and giving God all the Glory for His Love. Dad,Mom,Margaret & Henk

  2. I am reading a book by Billy Graham called "Nearing Home". He writes, whether he stays longer on this earth (he is 92) he is in a win win situation - he'll either be here or in heaven. I think you and Billy Graham are of the same mindset! Wishing you continued grace and courage.
    Love, Garry and Marietta

  3. Uncle Jack,
    I was a little frustrated today with my limitations because of being 8.5 months pregnant. I was trying to chase little Trevor and spin him in circles. I was huffing and puffing, and dizzy in no time. After my selfish mini pity party I read this post. You were doing these same fun things with the little ones in your life, just a short time ago. Thank-you for the reminder to be THANKFUL. I am thankful to have you in my life and love you so much. Elisabeth

  4. Dear 'Uncle Jack' & family,
    Greetings to you from New Zealand. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Your blog & witness has touched our life, we thank you and God for this. May God give each one of you what you need every day again during this new year.
    With love,
    Martijn & Stephanie & children.
    (Sam & Cara 's New Zealand friends)