Sunday, July 24, 2016

I Just Have To Thank God For Her Help With Our Finances....As Always!

Oh, but before I do that, just want to say that Nan will not be having her hip replacement surgery tomorrow after all. She has come down rather suddenly with a terrible respiratory infection and had to cancel the operation for now.  Please pray she can be rescheduled very much sooner than later so that her job will not be adversely effected by this change of plan. Thank you SO much!

I don't know why things go this way so often, but this month the last week before pay day has had some very unexpected expenses crop up.  The way God has taken care of them has been amazing...as usual...as always...as is needed by us constantly it seems!

The first thing that happened was receiving a phone call from a friend here in town I literally have not seen or talked to for months...almost a year in fact!  I mentioned to her that I was ordering my new osteoporosis injection medication and asking her to pray that this new med will work for me.  Until I talked to her I wasn't even thinking about costs involved.  She is aware of this injection as she herself has had it and she informed me that it costs well over four hundred dollars per injection.  Gasp!!!  It hit me that since my husband's health insurance company would not yet have the exception drug status letter of permission when I went to the pharmacy to pick up the meds for my first shot, I would have to pay the full cost up front and then be reimbursed by the insurance company in a few weeks' time.  So thankful my friend contacted me the very day I had to order the prescription and prepare me for the amount of money I would need to come up with.  As it happened I was able to put it on the credit card and the reimbursement should arrive before the credit card bill. Whew!!!  I am so thankful these injections are only every six months and not monthly or weekly.  I can't imagine how embarrassing it would have been to go to pick up the meds and be hit with that bill. I know I would have been flustered and not understood that I could use my credit card to pay for it, would have freaked out completely when it got through my thick skull that the cost is only for one injection and generally would have made a total fool of myself because that is what I do when I am in shock!  I would have started to cry and walked out of the store without the prescription until my mind kicked back into gear and I remembered that I had a credit card in my wallet. Thank you Lord for that preparation time before I had to purchase the meds!

The other thing that happened was on a much smaller scale, but equally cool.  Tomorrow evening we have to pay a fairly hefty ticket price for a farewell dinner for one of our priests who is moving out of Canada after many fruitful years in our diocese.  Oooh, Lord, why couldn't it be NEXT Monday, after pay day??  I had the money in my wallet, but with my husband inviting a young newlywed couple over to our home for brunch tomorrow morning that money would be needed for groceries.  Hmmmm.....  So we prayed again about the best way to do both things.  After church this morning the treasurer of our congregation handed me an envelope.  Inside was a cheque in the same amount as the tickets we need to purchase tomorrow evening at the farewell.  It is payment for a church service I played piano for almost 2 months ago. I hadn't realized  I would be paid to do it.  

It seems God takes care of us the same way during times of steady employment as he does during times of unemployment.  It helps us not to be afraid of retirement and our nearly non-existent pension amounts we will have to survive on.  God is still God and he takes care of us no matter what our own circumstances are.  We just have to keep trusting him and not let ourselves succumb to worry.  

Thank you Lord for your nurturing self.  You care for us like a mother cares for a newborn child.  You care for us even though we are not always wise in our expenditures, do not deserve your mercy because we sometimes blow our budget big time no matter how hard we try to do things properly.  One of the biggest spiritual lessons of our lives has been learning how you take care of our material needs.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for not letting us get what we truly deserve!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

And All That Jazz

Where has the past week disappeared to?  I am not aware of accomplishing a lot, but it seems it has been a "feel good" week in many ways.  

Clearance sales have been the mainstay of my entertainment this week.  My best purchases were two for the price of one camisole tops. All spring and summer thus far the prices seemed out of line for cheap polyester under tops with spaghetti straps, but I have been needing a few to wear under other summer tops that are either too see through to be worn on their own, or have deep scoop necks, or are sleeveless but with larger than normal arm holes, all created with the idea of wearing another little top undeneath. FINALLY I will be able to wear them for the rest of the summer.  

My other fun purchase was at Bach and Beyond where there was a large table of clearance CD's.  Talk about rock bottom prices!  As my musical library has become severely depleted of late from clearing out many CD's I don't listen to any more, I decided to pick up a few of the least expensive ones on the table: a compilation of BTO hits...great for creating energy while house cleaning; The Chieftains for when I need inspiration to complete tasks of all kinds; Dvorak's 9th Symphony for when I just want to kick back and listen more intently to relax my mind; the Best of Bread for when I am feeling either sappy or sorry for myself and am needing some time to just be melancholy...it works because even though I have not listened to Bread since my early 20's I still remember every word to every song 40 years later...and I am not ashamed to admit it either!!!  Wow...I must have been feeling sappy and melancholy a lot in my early 20's!! hahaha

Please send up a prayer for my friend Nan who is having a big hip surgery on Monday.  It will be a lengthy recovery time with lots of painful physio and I empathize greatly.  Prayers will help keep her going for that first few weeks after the operation.

I am becoming quite adept at getting up in the wee hours of the morning to shut windows against the lightning and huge rain drops, only to have to get up an hour later and open them up again after the storm ends and the steamy heat fills the house.  Yup, it happened again this morning.  I am also getting better at falling back to sleep after each awakening...a good thing as I have been feeling kind of tired from the interruptions the first few nights this went on.

My parents have reached the stage of life I have dreaded most of all since I realized they were aging more quickly:  the stage where they call and ream me out for not contacting them about this, that and the other thing, when in reality we did talk about those very things in a telephone conversation only a few days previously.  Sigh.....this is a toughie for me.  I am not surprised about Dad because his memory is beginning to fail quite quickly.  Mom, I suspect, has suddenly developed the same problem because of the stress of caring for Dad.  If I remind her of previous conversations she is able to stop and think for a second and then actually remember we did talk recently.  I have to get her alone on the phone to do that, a nearly impossible feat, because Dad is the one who gets upset that he has forgotten. There is no point in attempting to trigger his memory and upsetting him over something that he won't remember no matter how detailed the reminder is.  

I so enjoyed watching "Room" this week.  It is quite well done.  The return of the daughter to her now split up family after 7 years of captivity with a kidnapper seemed fairly realistically scripted to me.  The rejection of her son by her own father because of who her son's father is seemed so very possible and even probable.  Her complete breakdown being faced with the larger world after having to spend 7 years in a confined space and having to keep herself together mentally there for the sake of her son...all the difficulties of transitioning back to her former life...so well done.  The acting is excellent.  It held my attention from start to finish and even drew in my skeptical husband.  He is not big on dramas to start with unless they involved guns and intrigue, but he got right into "Room".

My husband is happily back at work but with a new attitude: he has stopped fretting about the impossibility of ever completing many of the tasks he is charged with.  Over our holidays something seemed to click with him when he was told by his bishop that the task is next to impossible for one person, or even several people, to handle quickly and efficiently, that he needs to start believing it and to start scheduling the rest of his life into his weekly calendar. So far so good!!

There are some fun church types of events coming up this week: tomorrow evening our own congregation is having dinner together at a restaurant.  It is not our favourite restaurant because on their entire menu there are not more than three items in total either of us can eat, but we are looking forward to the fellowship we always have with these people. They are a lot of fun to spend time with.  O how we will miss them when we are no longer part of them later this fall.

Monday morning we are putting together a brunch for a young newlywed couple we know and love dearly.

Monday evening is a big farewell party for an outgoing priest and his wife.  His congregation is also a lot of fun to be with. My husband has duties there to represent the Bishop who will be absent for another committment.  There will be a meal and a programme and many fun visits.

Tuesday afternoon I get my first injection of the new osteoporosis drug.  O how hard I am praying there will be no allergic reaction this time....I admit to being a bit frightened.  If this doesn't work for me then I am out of options. There is nothing else available that does not contain the bone builder I nearly killed myself with 3 years ago.  Trusting the Lord for this one.....

Our Bishop will be at our church a week from today for a service and brunch together with our congregation.  He is riding his bicycle along the Trans Canada Highway across the middle section of our diocese, from the Alberta border to the Manitoba border, in 10 days.  He starts out today. He is doing this to raise funds for our struggling diocese and has been in training for a year in order to accomplish the goal.  I am praying for better weather where he will be riding today than we have locally, that is for sure!  Along the way he is stopping in to encourage various parishes.  Looking forward to hearing his adventures next Saturday.

The following weekend we are going to the 20th wedding anniversary of some parishioner friends and the next day it is off to Yorkton for another farewell to their outgoing priests.  O how we are going to miss those who have found employment elsewhere in other dioceses at home and abroad.  It seems our diocese is in the middle of some big changes and we are hoping they will be for the better...although why losing these particular folk would be better we have no idea.

Well, it is breakfast time once again.  I'd best quit blithering and go downstairs to the kitchen.  I have a lazy day planned for myself after all the walking I did in yesterday's heat.   

PS Did I mention we watched the Roughriders vs the Red Blacks football game last night?  It was a good game because the score was so close all through the second half of the game.  Somehow, by some miracle, the Roughriders managed to win despite some stellar and rather spectacular fumbling of the ball.  Since it is probably the only game we will watch all season, I thought it was worth a mention.  

Friday, July 22, 2016

True Death and Darkness

I am working my way slowly through Elie Wiesel's "Night".  Although it is a very slim volume it is taking me days to read it because I want to be able to read between the lines of this rather sparse account of his time in a World War 2 concentration camp and how his experiences there and the suffering he witnessed caused him to lose his faith in God.  Before the camps he was very pious, devout, determined to learn all there is to know about God and his Jewish faith.

The poignancy of his recorded history in the camps, for me, is in all the details he has NOT recorded.  It is almost as if he is saving the reader from experiencing second hand the worst of the tragedies by not going into a lot of detail.

Wiesel is a true social, political and human rights activist.  If I was in a place of suffering like he has been I would want him on my side.

This little book of darkness raises a question for me:  what is it that causes some of the most devout believers to renounce their faith in God and others who are undergoing the same type of suffering cling all the harder to their spiritual beliefs?  What are the factors involved for each person?  

I have read probably every book published by authors who either survived the horrendous conditions in those camps and kept their faith, or even found new faith, so it is good to read an author who lost his.  In human terms it seems that losing faith makes more sense when you are watching thousands of innocent people being herded into burning ovens and gas chambers to be killed and babies being murdered by the hundreds before your very eyes.

My question can't really be answered of course, but I am wondering how I would react under such extreme conditions of suffering.  Would God continue to be my place of refuge or would the assault on my senses due to those kinds of experiences bring me to a place of being unable to believe a loving God exists at all?

Here are some well known quotes of Elie Wiesel's carry a lot of truth: 

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
 
We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
 
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

More Pseudo Death on the Home Front

Aiiiii yiiiii what a silly day with the local "critters"! hahaha

About four hours ago, on this brutally hot day, I looked out the front window and noticed one of this year's crop of adorable wee bunnies flat out on its stomach under a tree in the front yard. I thought it was great it could lay in the shade out of the bright sun.

An hour later I noticed it was still out there, laying completely still, over an hour later it was still there, completely immobile. It looked like it could be dead, but I waited nearly another hour in hopes I was wrong. After all,  "killing" that big ball of lint in the kitchen earlier this morning seemed like enough "death" for one day!

Soooooo outside I finally went. The rabbit truly had not moved a whisker in four hours, ears flat down on the side of its head, back legs sprawled out behind him. Hoooo boy, what to do about a dead rabbit. In the last month I have had to call in the building maintenance pest control to get rid of gophers outside and mice in the attic. Was I going to have to call them again to safely get rid of a rabbit carcass? Sigh..... They are so tired of hearing from me.

Dreading seeing a dead bunny, sure its little furry self should be removed before the little kids next door saw it and got upset or one of the neighbourhood dogs found it, I approached it with a certain amount of trepidation. I got within a meter of the bunny when its little brown eyes popped open, its ears jerked straight up, it's butt began to wiggle as it gathered its back legs underneath it, getting ready to spring away from me.

YAY! The bunny was alive! Slowly I backed away from it, sorry I had disturbed its cooling rest on such a hot day, but ecstatic it was still in the land of the living. My chuckling, patient husband has now explained to me that it is not unusual for rabbits to lay still for hours at a time, cooling off in the heat, tummies sated after munching happily on fresh clover.

Well, what do I know about rabbits, city gal that I am? I am SO ignorant about the habits of rabbits, I apparently can't even tell if they are alive or dead!!!!  hahahaha. What a day!

Killed It Deader Than Dead!! Yay Me!

Early this morning I noticed a good sized black spider crouching on the ceiling above the tea cupboard. I ran to grab the footstool and fly swatter before the spider could crawl farther across the ceiling, out of reach.

I climbed on the stool and took a mighty swack at the spider, mashing it between the fly swatter netting. Aaaaaah, gotcha!!!

As I lowered the fly swatter and grabbed a damp paper towel to clean off the nasty spider carcass, I had a closer look at my victim.

Hmmmmm.....yup, dead as a duck. I killed it all right.....stupid fuzzy black ball of lint.....

One of Those Rare Magical Evenings!

This evening was one of those evenings where everything fell into place, from the entertainment to the food to the company to the ambiance...one of those rare social events that make life special.

We had a wonderful time with friends at The Nest piano bar on Albert Street.

I admit we weren't expecting much so perhaps that is one of the reasons we so fully enjoyed ourselves, but....no....it really was a good time!

The four of us shared everything from burgers to salads to pastas to  liver and onions to red wine with robust tannins to creme brulee desserts to baked German potatoes.  Everything was perfectly sourced, prepared and presented.

My grilled chicken burger was properly cooked and under the lettuce and tomato were sweet blueberries and baked brie...to die for!  My field greens salad was accompanied by a house made raspberry vinegrette that was not at all sweet, perfect with greens that were fresh, properly cleaned and not a brown spot anywhere!  The freshness alone was enough to establish it as one of the best restaurant green salads in town.  My friend gave me a good taste of her liver and onions and o wow...that is definitely what I am ordering next time we go there!  AND there WILL be a next time.  I have not been able to force myself to eat liver for quite some time after bad experiences in restaurants in recent years, but this was amazing....tender, rather than overcooked and dried out.  The bacon slice on top of that liver was so thick it was sufficient source of protein for a dinner all by itself!  It was also perfectly cooked-no goopy, chewy, barely cooked fat on it.  My husband truly enjoyed his chicken fusilli as it had such good flavour and the pasta was ever so slightly el dente as it should be.  My other friend's burger had so many delightful layers he had to eat it with a knife and fork as there was no way he could get his mouth around it.  

The talented Chris Hamilton entertained us greatly with his piano and harmonica skills and his banter.  We handed him request after request and he complied quite happily.  He was a  lot of fun to watch and listen to.  Hopefully we can return some evening when he is there again.

After an extended dinner we came back to our home for tea and more visiting.  These are very special friends that we don't get to see nearly often enough and that added to the sweetness of the event.

If we had not received that gift card to go to The Nest I doubt we would have gone.  "Piano Bar" can mean many things as we have learned over the years and not all piano bars are very special. Some have been downright sleezy with dreadful food.  The Nest though has some of the best food we have eaten since we moved here and it is most reasonably priced.  There is something on the menu for every taste and wallet.  There are at least two excellent red wines on the list...two more excellent red wines than most of the local restaurants carry.  The beer prices are very reasonable!  

It is possible that we have a new, "regular" date night hangout!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

It Isn't Lying, It Is Changing My Mind

I am constantly amazed by people who read things like blogs or emails that mention a person's upcoming plans and then assume what they have read to be the gospel truth, impossible to be anything but. At some point afterward the writer changes plans. If the writer either doesn't have the time, availability/access to the Internet, motivation or thought to rewrite the plans and instantly publish the change for all to see, that person is suddenly a liar apparently.

Twice in the past week I have read items on social media where one person is accusing another of lying when all that has happened has been the author's change of plans going unrecorded.

It struck me that my own blog and emails need a "codicil"!! haha

The only way for my readers to be certain of my daily plans is to read about them after the fact. I change my mind six times a day about what I am doing. Even the most exciting or best laid plans will change if I feel like changing them. I don't feel obligated to run to my iPad every time it happens.

Just sayin'.....don't feel betrayed if I end up writing one thing and subsequently doing another without releasing the change on social media.

'K?