For Diane, With Love – The Other Side

In March of 2015, Diane Van Bommel, a beloved friend and relative, suspected the return of her cancer. Soon after, this was confirmed, and while still hopeful, she started to prepare, not knowing how much time she would have left. She asked me to write a song for her funeral, to celebrate her new life on “the other side”, and to comfort her family and friends with the knowledge that she was safe and not so far away. She passed away on December 26, 2015. It was an honour and a privilege to sing for her. For those who have asked, here is the video, along with the lyrics.

The Other Side                                                  (c) Tina Pumfrey, SOCAN, 2015

I’m on the other side, no need to cry for me, I’m safe and I’m sound, I’m home

My suffering is done, my forever just begun, and you know that I’m here singin’ praise

In God’s goodness and faithfulness, He never turned His back on me,

I spent my days in His hand

Now I’m singin’ Hallelujah with saints and angels all around

I’m on the other side, yeah, I’m on the other side

He measured out my days, He sure did make them full, poured out so many blessings over me

No one’s future can be told, trust in Him, let it unfold,

and thank Him for the love along the way

In God’s goodness and faithfulness, He never turned His back on me,

I spent my days in His hand

Now I’m singin’ Hallelujah with saints and angels all around

I’m on the other side, yeah, I’m on the other side

And you know, He kept me safe, I never lost my way,

And no matter how lonely the valley, He’ll bring you home

I’m on the other side, no need to cry for me, I’m safe and I’m sound, I’m home

My suffering is done, my forever just begun, and you know that I’m here singin’ praise

In God’s goodness and faithfulness, He never turned His back on me,

I spent my days in His hand

Now I’m singin’ Hallelujah with saints and angels all around

I’m on the other side, yeah, I’m on the other side

And I’m singin’ Amen, Amen, Hallelu – u – jah!

To read Diane’s many words of wisdom, visit http://www.divbblog.wordpress.com and http://www.godgivesblessings.wordpress.com.  Her legacy will live on through her writings.

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A Song for Sunday–Living the Dream

Living the Dream–Downhere

This song comes across as a little tongue-in-cheek, but maybe that’s just because of where I’m at livin’ my own dreams. Sometimes it’s hard to sort out exactly which parts of our everyday existence are helping us to live our dreams. Responsibilities can feel like burdens or distractions from what we really want to be doing, and sometimes a crisis really throws us off course for a while… or at least, that’s the tendency, to think we’re being drawn away from the path we should be on. But what if right here, in the middle of the mess, is exactly where we’re supposed to be?

Usually, I’m trying to live my dreams by squeezing little bits of time into the cracks between working at my job, driving the kids to where they need to go, getting the household chores done (or at least trying to). But then there are moments when I realize that all of those everyday things aren’t just distractions, they aren’t just things in my way.

As for me, I’m singing a new song.
I’m not gonna dwell inside
Some alternate reality

I feel free
I’m making the best of it
I’m seeing with eyes that find the heart and soul of true beauty

Lately, I’ve taken to calling certain irritations “problems of privilege”. Sure, doing housework isn’t necessarily my idea of fun, but these jobs are tied to a blessing–I have a family. My property taxes are going up? I that “problem” because I have a house. The car needs to go to the shop? I try to remind myself to be thankful that I have a car. I’m exhausted by week’s end, yet again? I have so many things to keep me busy because of the people in my life. How could I not be thankful for them?

Everyday, love makes the promise
That we can be great
If we wanted and
We are living the dream.

Highs and lows we’ll take on together,
Choosing joy whatever the weather, and
We are living the dream,
Living the dream,
Living the dream.

This is the dream.

This song is a good reminder that the dream is not off in some distant “someday”, but right here, around us today, if we just look at things a little differently. Even in the tough times, and I’ve had a few, God’s blessings surround us, if we just try to open our eyes see them.

Merry Christmas!

Video

Merry Christmas to one and all! I’m feeling blessed to be able to share this day with my family, with everyone together and in good health. We went to church last night, and it was beautiful and meaningful, but with the strange duality that Christmas has taken on in our society, I can’t help but be relieved that the gift-unwrapping is over and I can relax a bit. I hope you are able to celebrate with the ones you love, in a way that you can enjoy.

And of course, I can’t help but send you a musical Christmas wish! I was a bit disappointed not to find a better video, but the song is still fun.

Because It‘s ChristmasSidewalk Prophets

And in this world so loud and busy, sometimes we forget just why

We celebrate this time each year

But if you listen close, the angels cry

The whole world sings the reason why

             Because it’s Christmas, our Saviour’s born tonight

Because it’s Christmas, love is filling the air

Because it’s Christmas, the thrill of hope is everywhere

So let the music play and let your worry melt away

Because it’s Christmas

May many blessings be yours this Christmas.

 

A Song for Sunday–The Old Rugged Cross

The Old Rugged Cross–Alan Jackson

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

On Good Friday, our church was very full. Each year, the students from a local school put on a put on a play depicting the passion of Christ for the children of the parish. Later, the people are invited to come forward to venerate the cross. As we prepared for this ritual, the priest urged us to think about our challenges and our worries, and then to symbolically lay them on the cross as we approached. It’s one thing to think, in the abstract, that everyone has cares and burdens. It’s quite another to see, with my own eyes, hundreds of people come to silently bow, genuflect, or touch the cross in their turn. Some two thousand years after He walked this earth, Jesus still heals broken people every day, and brings hope to those who need it. The priest’s words about the cross brought to mind the recent passing of a well-loved great aunt on my mother’s side of the family.

About six weeks ago, I received news that my great aunt was in her final days in the intensive care unit. She was a small, spirited lady with a sharp wit, a kind heart, and a big family. I remember happy visits to her home when I was a child–she made some great desserts! A few months ago, I brought my youngest son with me to see her in the long-term care facility. She still had funny comments, and made me laugh, but she had been slowly failing for the last few years. Along with many others in our extended family, I prayed that she would not suffer long before leaving this world. She lingered longer than the doctors expected, and during that time, she was surrounded by the loving presence of her adult children as they kept a vigil with her.

When I received a call to help with the music at her funeral, I accepted it as an honour. During the practice, two of her sons shared that in her last moments, they had been singing to her at her bedside. As she passed, they were singing The Old Rugged Cross. What a beautiful way to leave this world and enter into the next! What a wonderful tribute to their mother, and a testament to the peace that their faith brought them. It was a privilege to accompany them as they sang at her funeral. I have a completely new appreciation for this song, and for the strength of those amazing cousins of mine. It amazes me, the peace that embracing Jesus and the cross can bring in difficult times–and yet, it doesn’t, because I’ve experienced it for myself when in need. It’s reassuring to know that, even when so many things in our lives change, God is always the same, and always there.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.