Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Chocolate Cola


Chocolate syrup in cola is really delicious! Who’d a thunk it?? haha

I like flavourings in colas, but had no idea chocolate would be such a good match.

Summer just gets better and better........

Lotsa Good Stuff

My husband's second day off this week is going very well indeed.  We both slept pretty well last night and were up in time to get some work done around here before going out to run errands.  Now we are home before the worst of the heat arrives.

Early this morning I was able to talk to the gal who sets up the watering systems here at our complex.  She did notice I had a tarp out last time the sprinkler system was shooting water under our front windows and down the foundation wall into the basement. So, this morning she changed the direction of the hose heads and now the grass near the window is still being watered without me having to run outside with a tarp or clean up a flood downstairs. She is so accommodating and we really appreciate it.

I found a good supplier of sugar free drink syrups at Gale's Florist's on 13th Ave, in Cathedral district.  Her prices are good at $12 a bottle.  I have paid as much as $22 a bottle in other gift shops, the only places I seem to be able to get these at all....hm....maybe I have only SEEN them for $22 a bottle because I am quite certain I would never have paid that much! haha Today I purchased one bottle each of vanilla, chocolate and raspberry.

My husband had a small serendipity on Sunday morning on his way out to the church in Lumsden: he missed the street the church is actually located on and ended up on a different street where he discovered a garage sale happening.  He found an old but still useful air compressor, a nice small one that he can use to paint his canoe and do some other jobs with in a shop space he is going to be able to use for the rest of this summer.  The lady was asking $35 for it, but since it was the last morning of her sale and she wanted to close up for the day, he got it for $30.  This morning we spent a loooooong time at Princess Auto while he sussed out hoses and sprayers and M joints to use with his new prized possession. hahaha  He had the time of his life in there picking things out and finding good deals.  He absolutely MUST be coming out of his latest CFS episode with some hope and happiness because he is becoming so interested again in things outside of his job and ministry. I enjoyed wandering around Princess Auto looking at all the cool "stuff", but I particularly enjoyed watching my husband's enthusiasm for this spray painting venture.

We stopped for lunch at Five Guys Burgers and Fries.  Once a year we go for a fast food style burger in the summer time.  Last year I went to Wendy's and the year before that it was Fat Burger.  As far as commercial fast food burgers go, Five Guys was adequate too.  Unfortunately the meat patties are only about half the diameter of the doughy white buns, so once the toppings are on there isn't enough meat in the whole slew of things to keep the burger hot.  Sigh.......  I think it was probably as good as any in terms of fast food and being able to choose your own toppings is great, but I don't think I'll bother going there again.  I ordered what is called the "small burger", assuming that meant the whole thing would be small enough to fit into my allowed carb count better than the "regular burger" that my husband ordered.  The only difference was the amount of meat.  I got a McDonald's sized, thin patty on the giant bun while my husband got two of the same thin patties on the same sized bun.  We thought when we ordered that having sauteed onions and mushrooms would ensure that cold lettuce, tomatoes and pickles didn't take over the burger, but the onions and mushrooms were not freshly sauteed. They were added to the burgers from condiment jars just like the fresh veggies were.  What I ended up with was a doughy mouthful of COLD.  Yuck!  My husband wasn't that enamoured of the tasteless hamburger meat so he gave me part of one of his patties so I could get some more warmth into my meal and it did help.  He was able to catch the eye of the fellow working the grill before he added salted seasonings to the fries, so we were able to avoid that, but the fries were pretty average, not remotely crispy and the skins on some of them were burnt and inedible.  As a fast food place it is okay, really there wasn't much wrong with any of the food, it is just that I can't seem to enjoy that kind of fast food fare any more.  At least it wasn't expensive.  We paid $24 for our food and drinks.  So, we didn't feel ripped off.  Next summer we will try a different burger place we have never been to before.  If someone who likes fast food burgers asked me, I would recommend they go to Five Guys, but to ask for an extra meat patty both for protein content and to keep the burger hot in the doughy old buns.

After experiencing too much stress over issues related to my husband's work, I have, after MUCHO prayer, fasting and consultation with my spiritual directors, begun attending a downtown church of a different denomination for a "sabbatical" period of 8 months.  My husband and I met with the minister from there and he has welcomed me in for that period of time.  I am going to join their choir in the autumn.  The director is amenable, even though I can't guarantee him I will be there much past the new year.  It is very kind of the leadership to provide this place of healing and protection for me while our local denominational churches get some huge issues sorted out.  I have been finding it difficult to listen to my husband's reports about work and be the strength he needs me to be when I haven't had the edification that comes from true worship and praise at church for most of the last couple of years...as good as the services are and as nice as the people have been to me, all over the diocese, knowing the stresses happening in their midst due to the upcoming changes in the new year, Sunday morning services have been just an extension of the stresses I hear every day from my husband.  It has not been relaxing and God has not been the centre of my focus during the worship, sad to say.  That is an indication of MY inability to deal with it; not the fault of the churches or congregations.  I am feeling pretty good right now with this decision finally being made.  I look forward to returning to my Anglican context next year, but for now I am going to obey my heart and the suggestions of those in my circle of spiritual directors and take a wee break.  God and I need to feel better connected again. 

My husband is napping.  I am so happy for the weeks when he has 2 weekdays off together.  He can spend part of an afternoon napping without feeling like he is "wasting" his time off.

Tonight is OT group.  We are very much looking forward to it.

Monday, July 16, 2018

All In a Day's Work!

The weather is so perfect today: +24C with a slight breeze and a sunny, clear blue sky.  This is the kind of summer day I most enjoy.

My husband is enjoying his day off.  He put another layer of cement patching on the basement wall cracks after a good sleep in this morning.  He has been working on some writing projects he has been behind on and helped me set up the new door bell I purchased today.  Now he is watching the final round of the 2017 Stongman Competition from Botswana.  Apparently the 2018 competition took place in the Philippines this past spring, so he will be looking for that to appear on the tv before long. hahaha  I can tell when he is relaxed and happy because he organizes his day very well around chores, writing and mindless entertainment.

I enjoyed running some errands this morning, rejoicing in the fact that we have a reliable vehicle to drive and that we live in a large enough city, small as Regina actually is, to have decent grocery shopping, giftware, restaurants and activities to enjoy.  It was such a lovely morning that I parked blocks away from the venues I had to go to, just so I could get a good walk out of the deal.  If they were a kilometre closer to home I wouldn't have to take the car at all!

Yesterday I said goodbye to the Calgary Stampede Rodeo and Chuchwagon tv coverage for another year.  CBC did about the best job they have ever done in covering the events.  My mother and I are both rodeo and chuckwagon crazed and enjoy comparing notes after each day's results are finalized. hahaha Rodeo...me and mom...who'd a thunk it?? hahaha  My favourite driver was in the Dash for Cash, but unfortunately came in third. The man who did win certainly deserved to, but I am very loyal to my own fave. hahaha  Chuckwagon races...moi....hahahahaha!

Last night I had a much better sleep than the previous night.  YAY!  It wasn't a long sleep, only 6 hours, but I didn't wake up once in that time.  I feel rested today.  Just before bedtime I got an email from my son to let me know his bursitis is clearing nicely after the injection and he is coming up with better ways to rest his arms on the desks at work and at home. He apparently had a wonderful date last evening who introduced him to a marvellous restaurant in his own neighbourhood he was unaware of. They tried drinking some orange based wine and he said it was surprisingly good.  Hearing from the son always relaxes me. It is so great to have a context for his life in NYC after our brief visit there.  A lot of things he tells us now make sense because we can get a visual of what he is talking about.

Well....HALLELUJAH!  I just got a phone call from Mom and Dad. The missing anniversary card I sent them on July 5 arrived today!  The enclosed gift was intact.  It appears though that I was correct in thinking it may have become lost somewhere in my local postal outlet because it was stamped as having left there on July 10, when I actually arranged for it to be mailed it on July 5. Hopefully the other card I sent at the same time, which also was not delivered last week, will arrive at its destination as well.  Thank you Lord!!  

Hopefully my husband will feel up to going out tomorrow for awhile. I am so happy for him the weeks he has two days off in a row. He can veg on day one and get mobile and active away from home on day two.  It will be two or three more weeks now before the next such arrangement of days off, thanks to the mess next week has turned into with the visiting African Bishop...no, that isn't right. It isn't a mess now that the schedule has been set up. It just means my husband loses his days off...not exactly the first time for that in the past 3.5 years, right? hahaha

So....it is time to go start scouting around the kitchen to decide what would be the most tasty dinner I can come up with out of the ingredients in the refrigerator.  Tomorrow and the following day it will probably be too hot to cook much, so I have a package of chicken breasts thawing for cooking tomorrow morning while it is still relatively cool on its way to plus thirty something degrees.  The amount of meat in that package should last us until Friday once I get it cooked and sliced up.  The heat will probably send us out doing our errands earlier in the morning rather than later in the heat of the day.  

Aaah...two days off in a row for my husband to spend at home.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

I Absolutely Cannot Sleep!

What the heck?

It is 5am. I have been awake since 2am. So, I am officially giving up on this whole sleeping thing for the rest of the morning.

Usually if I am struggling to sleep it is either because I need to be praying for people or because I am wildly upset about something. I have prayed for everyone who has come to mind in the past three hours and made sure I am at peace about an upset that happened yesterday in relation to my husband’s job.

Still, I can’t sleep.

The temperatures cooled down nicely overnight and there has been very little street noise to keep me awake.

I am not conscious of any low blood sugar related hunger pangs, no stomach upsets from last night’s dinner.

The lack of exercise yesterday may be a contributing factor. Maybe....

I am reading a biography of Robert De Niro in the evenings, so maybe I will pick up my book and try to lull myself back into some sort of unconscious stupor until the alarm rings 90 minutes from now.

Man, I hate times like this. It is going to be very difficult to stay awake this afternoon to read the book of Joshua for the upcoming discussion group, that is for sure.


Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Jury is Out For Me on This Restaurant

As both of us were stuck indoors all day today we decided to take a quick trip to the TaiPei Casserole on the corner of Quance and Prince of Wales for our dinner tonight.  It has only been open a short time and it seemed interesting from what we read and looked at on the website.

It was interesting.  It is nice to go to a new place while it is still so clean and pretty inside and the wait staff was marvellous, so polite and attentive.  The menu is quite extensive and I expect we will go another time or two to try some other dishes than what we had tonight.

My husband had the sizzling chicken fried steak.  It was tasty enough with a giant piece of chicken, covered in sizzling skin (ouch on the cholesterol), covering a bed of penne, broccoli/baby carrots/niblets corn and with a side dish of hot pepper sauce.  It was accompanied by an over easy egg, but the plate was SO hot the egg had burned on the bottom side.   No worries, within minutes he was presented with a fresh egg, properly cooked and the old one was whisked away.  He said it was quite delicious. For a drink he ordered a strawberry milk/green tea concoction.  What he liked about it is that he was able to choose how sweet he wanted it: 30% sugar added, 50% sugar added, or no sugar at all.  He was also asked if he would like ice: again with the 30%, 50% or none at all.  He had the option of adding other things to the drink, such as the pearl tapioca, coconut and several other options for another 50 cents each. What a great idea. The tea added to his strawberry milk was a nice oolong that created a very different and tasty flavour that he had never had before. 

I stuck with water as most of the drinks had either too much sugar or too many carbs, but they looked pretty amazing.   I ordered one of the casserole dishes.  Both my casserole and my husband's sizzling dish gave us the choice of having a base of either fried rice, penne, spaghetti, potatoes and a couple of other options.  Very nice to be able to pick.  There was a choice of four different sauces as well.  I also chose the hot black pepper sauce, but mine was incorporated into my rice casserole.  My dish was pretty simple: a base of rice in the sauce, topped with several pieces of chicken steak (again there was a lot of skin that I removed, but that left me with lots of chicken meat), fresh onion slices, the ubiquitous frozen veggie mix of lima and green beans, diced carrots, peas and niblets corn, hahaha, but in a casserole that is just fine.  I wouldn't say my dish was exactly spectacular for the price, but it was tasty enough and it wasn't  a huge portion. I am positive I did not exceed my recommended dinner carb count, at least not by much, depending on how much sugar may have been added to the sauce.  I am guessing not much.  

Even with the expensive drink my husband had, our total bill with taxes came to only $40.90.  That is a pretty darned good price for hot, filling food.  There are some more expensive steak dishes and I suspect we will reserve our steak intake to restaurants we all ready know and trust, but my goodness, there is no want for variety at Taipei Casserole.  There are several soups, a good list of appetizers, chicken dishes, beef dishes, (the pork dishes have been removed for some reason and, no I didn't ask why because I didn't want to know, haha), vegetable dishes, egg dishes, crepes, rice and pasta dishes, stir fry and myriad interesting tea and oriental style cold drinks.  I can even get quite a selection of my old favourite Japanese Calpis waters, but with diabetes I can't have them any more. They are about the sweetest drinks the Japanese ever ingest and it is too much sugar for me. 

So yes, we will try this place another time or two.  The menu is not the usual Chinese food menu, that is for sure...thank the Lord!  I think next time I will try the chicken/corn soup and some wings.

The wind has been howling all day and this morning with the cloud cover it was downright chilly!  YAY!!  Now the sun is shining at 7pm but the wind is keeping the temperature down below +25C.  Looks like we will be blessed with another cooler day or two before another mid-week warm up.  Thankful for the reprieve from the heat, that is for sure. 

If you think of it over the next week or so, my husband is going to need a bit of prayer for strength for driving all over the southern part of the province between July 22 and 26.  Before he left on his bicycling sabbatical, our bishop arranged for a visit to our diocese by the present Anglican Bishop of Burundi, Bishop Paisable.  At the time the visit was arranged, no one realized our own Bishop would be across the country in the Maritimes.  So, instead of having his days off, my husband will now be taking Bishop P. on a driving tour of the diocese for four days.  Fortunately the rest of the diocesan churches and clergy have stepped up and are filling the days with visits all over the place to all manner of different diocesan parishes.  Some of the rural parishes in particular are thrilled to meet an African bishop coming from such a war torn country as Burundi.  Bishop P. will be able to update everyone on how the construction is progressing on the hospital our diocese is building there in the city of Muyinga.  At first it was looking like Dell and I would be taking the Bishop on tours all by ourselves for four days, but the staff of the local Cathedral and four of the rural parishes have put together a wonderful schedule for our visitor.  So, looks like I will be carless for most of a week.  Good. That will call on my creative skills in arranging transportation to some events of my own while my husband is on the road.  This week at Old Testament study we will find out if anyone there can pick me up for study the following week.  My husband will have to miss it as he will be on the road home until close to 10pm from that day's visits with Bishop P.

Life is never dull.....THANK YOU LORD FOR THAT!!!! I can't handle dull!

Good Reminders from Deuteronomy

I am reading the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua this weekend in preparation for the Old Testament discussion group we are joining this coming week.

I admit I haven't looked deeply, seriously, at the book of Deuteronomy for a long time.  This morning, just reading the first 17 chapters brought reminder after reminder of how God worked then with his people the Israelites specifically, but also reminders of how he has worked in my own life, bringing a needed reminder that he will continue to work in my life in the future as things become less stable once again next year.

This particular passage from Deuteronomy 1:27-33 and beyond, (trust God to get my attention three minutes into the reading, right?), is the reminder I need to remember all the ways God has provided for my every need in times past when I had nothing and no one else to rely on for a roof over my head and food in my stomach:

"....and you grumbled in your tents and said, "Because the Lord hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us.  Where can we go up? Our brethren have made our hearts melt, saying, "The people are bigger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified to heaven.  And besides, we saw the sons of the Anakim [giants] there."  Then I said to you, 'Do not be shocked, nor fear them.  The Lord your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked, until you came to this place.  But for all this, you did not trust the Lord your God, who goes before you on your way, to seek out a place for you to encamp, in fire by night and cloud by day, to show you the way in which you should go." 
(NASB version) 

Now, I am not an Israelite. I have not been miraculously delivered along with all my people by God, from slavery in a foreign land and led for several decades through a wilderness on the way to a new and wonderful land.  That is the people this scriptural text was written to and for, not specifically for me here in the 21st century Christian church, and we as Christians can get ourselves into trouble and confusion by trying to overlay everything written for others onto our own culture and relationship with God.

However, all scripture being able to be used by God for all his followers in one way or another, something struck me that I am as guilty of right now as those newly delivered Israelis were then:  in my fear of being accused of presumption upon God for providing for my husband and I in the future, like he has done in decades past before steady ministry work and income were a part of our lives, I have allowed that to turn into a lack of faith...questioning God about whether or not he will continue to provide for us once life as we currently know it comes to an end.  God rewards those who trust him fully.  Lack of faith in God's complete ability to provide and protect is what kept most of the delivered people from actually seeing the promised new land.  

Turns out it is not presumptuous to trust God.  I have always known that, if I am being honest. He proved it so fully years ago.  However, I have allowed myself to be turned away by others who have hinted to me that perhaps I don't have the right to expect God to literally drop money out of the skies at my feet like he has in times past.  Perhaps I am thinking more highly of myself than I have a right to. So, I have been feeling in recent weeks like maybe I don't actually have the right to expect God to act like his heavenly father self, to take care of us in the ways he has done previously when other, more usual venues for provision have closed their doors to us for one reason and another.

After reading the first 17 chapters of Deuteronomy this morning, I think I will allow my heart and mind to return to the assumption that God is going to continue to care for us in his own way, by his own means....as he always has, is right now, and will in the future.  Thank you author(s) of the book of Deuteronomy.  I realize I have actually been struggling AGAINST the peace that has been trying to invade my mind for the past few weeks.  I need to remember that other people, no matter how spiritually knowledgeable or well meaning, are not always giving me the wisdom that comes from God. I need to pray more about their words and not just assume they are right in their assessment of my life in the Lord.  I realize they are trying to protect me from my own possible over zealousness of belief, but I need to move forward again in faith that is based on past experience with God.

Deuteronomy 17:  I think this chapter would be appropriate reading for many of the leaders or our world: political and spiritual and corporate.  God's ideas of how the blessing of being in leadership should be modelled to the world is QUITE different than the models we have adopted.  teehee  Quite different!  Take a read and see what I mean........

Friday, July 13, 2018

Dunder and Blitzen!!

WOW! The lightning is sparking and flashing, the thunder is booming far to close to us and the rain is coming down in sheets this afternoon.  We hit a high of +33C at 3:30pm and are paying for it with this amazing display of electrical power in the skies.  Just south of us there is a tornado watch, but no warnings yet for anyone in the area.  Hopefully it stays that way.  I am so grateful my husband walked in the door from work just before the storm hit, so he didn't get drenched along the way.

It has been a good day.  My husband was able to go to the funeral of a dear old friend in Moose Jaw and I kept an appointment I had made here previously.  The morning flew by for us both.

I spent time today with a close friend from church and we had a great little walk around the lake, followed by a long and informative visit.  We are rather in tune about such things as friendships, marriages, working relationships, church life....she has been a great encouragement to me over the past few years.  

I am grateful for good days like this.  I am even grateful for the storm because our land needs the moisture so badly. Now, if the rain will not, PLEASE GOD not turn into hail!  AMEN!!