Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Looking Forward to a Break in the Action

This is a busy week, although with the end of the Lent and Holy Week services we have had a few hours to just rest.  It feels good.

Today has turned into a work day in part for my husband, as usual on his second "day off" each week, but yesterday, Easter Monday, he only worked a very little bit.  We watched tv shows and movies together and lallygagged about the house.  It was lovely.

I went to the doctor yesterday to get some meds that I have needed for awhile for my skin.  Now that my liver is settling down and the diabetes is under control I am able to treat the non-liver related skin problems and wow, things are clearing up after only 24 hours of treatment.  In a few weeks I hope to be A-OK to wear some new summer dresses and get out of these skin covering, hot, long pants I have had on every day since last summer's health issues began. I expressed my hope and joy this afternoon by purchasing another dress: at the pharmacy!  Only in a town this small could a person purchase clothing at a pharmacy...one of the idiosyncrasies of shopping in somewhat remote smaller centres.  It was fun getting a great deal on a cute little dress that I will probably wear a lot this summer.  The pharmacy also has a rack of lovely scarves, but I behaved myself and stayed away from it so I wouldn't be tempted.  I need another scarf like a moose needs a hat rack...to quote a favourite local expression.

The next 2 days will be a blur of pastoral visits in outlying areas of the parish, hospital visits and what have you.  So many seniors are ill and some of our parishioners are desperately ill who are not so senior in age.  

Then we head for the city for some ordination services.  We are really looking forward to that as one of the ordinations will be for a fellow in our region. He is going to be a wonderful priest.  We Anglicans are blessed to have him with us.

The following week will be spent visiting with our son.  We are pretty jazzed about that.  It is so kind of him to take time out of his incredibly busy pre-school term prep to visit us before he leaves for the south once again.  With all the time spent doing extra church services and now a week of pastoral visiting there has been no time to prepare, so guess he will take us as he finds us. 

Lots of good things this week and in the week ahead.  A break in the usual action is a happy thing right now. As someone told me yesterday: "Jesus is risen but his pastors are taking a nap!"

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Teensy Weensy Easter Weekend "Cheat"! AKA OOOOH, That Tasted GOOD!!

Recently some parishioners went house sitting in southern California.  They  had a great time and I am very happy for them to have spent some of our own coldest days of early spring in a much warmer climate with prettier scenery.

They returned bearing a lovely gift for ME!  They found a chocolatier there, one of my favourites actually, selling a lovely collection of "no sugar added" chocolates, thought of me and brought me a box for a treat.  Technically I really should't eat anything with alcohol sugars any too often, but occasionally they could be part of a yummy snack.  I was terrified to even try them.  What if one bite initiated a return of my sugar cravings....the ones I had all my life, well before the onset of diabetes??

When I got home I took the lid off the box and stared at the glorious array of candies in the box.  I checked the ingredients listings and the nutritional value label.  2 candies would give me 1 carbohydrate serving and not all the carbs were comprised of sugar alcohols.  I could actually have one snack of these chocolates.  I hemmed and hawed and put the box away for awhile, but I felt very guilty for being afraid to even try them after our parishioners were so thoughful and generous.

So, when the next snack time possibility rolled around I selected 2 chocolates and spent the next 5 minutes savouring those delicious flavours of double chocolate mint and peanut butter and cream.  O my goodness, they were delightful.  This was the first time to truly feast on any sort of sweet sugary tasting food in the past 5 months. As soon as I was done eating I started to panic. What if I couldn't wait a few more days until I could snack on these again? What if I went crazy and just popped the rest of them into my body like I would have a few months ago? What if I lost all control and pushed my blood sugar up into the danger zone?

After about a minute of the sheer terror that accompanies the "O dear Lord in heaven, what have I just done??" events of life, I had a sudden revelation:  as much as I had enjoyed my 2 chocolates, I had no desire, no craving, no sudden irresistible impulse to ingest any more of them.  I looked at the remainder of the chocolates in the box and felt no problem of temptation.

I felt FREE!  I knew I didn't want any more of them. What a marvellous shock! For the first time in my life I have self-control when it comes to chocolates!!

So, with great gratitude, I picked out 4 more chocolates for other times and gave my husband the rest of the box of goodies. One day soon I will have another 2 chocolates at snack time, but for now they are wrapped up in my office desk drawer.  In the past 48 hours or so, this is the first time I even thought of them again.  I look forward to having more of them at some point later this week, but thoughts of sweet chocolates are not taking over my mind and creating any yearnings for treats.

Wow......who knew self-control was possible for me?  Thank you Lord!  To be honest I can't even recall the sweetness in my mouth the way I always could before. What a relief! There is hope!

Now if I could just stop having occasional thoughts of cheeseburgers with bacon......

Good News At Last From Our "Fire Damaged" Friends

We are very happy for our friends in Moose Jaw whose property and retail store were badly smoke damaged in the big fire there in the winter.  They are back in their suite above the store. They have their grand reopening of the store tomorrow. We are so grateful they are okay and that the only book store in Moose Jaw is going to remain viable.  

If you live in the Moose Jaw area or will be travelling that way in the future, here is their announcement.  Perhaps you would enjoy dropping in to peruse their wares:

Over a month has gone by since the Jubilee Block fire of March 12 closed Post Horizon Booksellers with collateral damage from the inferno.  The store has been scrubbed from top to bottom - even the books have been cleaned - and structural repairs to the building are underway.

The doors of PHB will open again on Tuesday, April 22.  New store hours will be 9:30am - 5:30pm, Monday through Saturday, and Thursday evening till 9:00pm.

To mark the occasion, we are hosting a "Book Ceilidh" on Tuesday evening, April 22,  from 6:30 - 8:00pm.  The event will feature music from Don Mitchell and Doug Shepherd of Desperate for Haggis, readings from local authors including Bob Currie, Jim McLean, and Greg Simison.  There will be book baskets to give away and, for that evening only, a 20% discount on books*.  The remainder of the week, April 22 - 26, we are offering a 15% discount*.

Post Horizon Booksellers is Moose Jaw's only bookstore, and we still have it!  As well as our collections of over 22,000 select second-hand books, remember we also offer new books through McNally-Robinson in Saskatoon.   So whatever you would like to read - new and used -  we can keep you turning pages.

With kind regards,

Nelson EH Reid

*discount pricing does not apply to new books, antiquarian books, or special orders.
Post Horizon Booksellers
57 High Street West
Moose Jaw, SK    S6H 1S4

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy For My Parents

My parents had a nice weekend for a change.  Dad's back has improved just a little bit in the last couple of weeks, so for only the second time in the last  6 months he was able to get out of the apt. for something other than a medical appointment....twice!!

Friday evening he was well enough to go to dinner at the home of a friend.  Mom was pretty excited as well. Although she is out on the city buses most days going to appointments and getting groceries and running errands, her social life has been nearly as dismal as my father's in the past 18 months.  I got the detailed description of the wonderful assortment of foods their friend fed them.  Getting out to visit was so good for them both, I think they could have been served soup and crackers and enjoyed it just as much as the feast they actually ate.

My dad was able to accompany Mom and her friend to church this morning for only the second time in that 18 months.  This time he didn't need to come home early or leave the service to go and lie down in the back room.  He survived a long Easter service AND the coffee hour afterward, where he was delighted to see so many friends.  It was nice for Mom to have him with her this week.  Dad's back was protesting by the time he returned home and tomorrow he will likely be in agonizing pain again, but it will have been worth it.

I am happy my parents had such a truly happy Easter weekend.

A Scattered Sort of Resurrection Sunday

This has been an Easter weekend of experiencing opposite ends of the spectrum of life.  Abounding joy of the resurrection of Jesus has been tempered by the reality of this earthly life.

Yesterday we went over to one of the seniors' manors and celebrated the 90th birthday of one of our parishioners.  It was a joyous occasion and our 90 year old friend outlasted every one of us at the party.  She was up on into the night, after everyone else had left, reading her cards and having a great time remembering all the folk who travelled to share in her special day.

From her party we went up to the next floor of the manor to see another parishioner.  It was a big bump back to planet reality when we visited with her.  She is much younger than our partying friend, but less than a month ago was flattened with congestive heart failure.  She has basically come home from hospital to die, surrounded by her family and it could happen any day.  Some of her family members were there to help her and stay with her.  Her final question to my husband before we left her was "Why do these things have to happen?"  It speaks of the state of her depression over this health issue, her desperation to hang on, to stay with us all and not have to face more suffering on the road to death.  I hope we were able to comfort her before we left.  I hope she will be able to grasp onto the Jesus she knows well between now and the time of her passing and get the comfort from him that he is so eager to give.

Today we woke up to wind and sunshine.  Now, mid afternoon, the wind has died down but the rain clouds are building to deliver another deluge over the next few hours.  

As we left the house, rejoicing in the upcoming service of the resurrection, we discovered a crow with a badly broken wing flapping in confusion across our front yard.  It broke our hearts to just leave that bird to whatever fate, but there was no time to put it out of its misery and we don't know the laws here regarding the putting down of injured wildlife.  I can only pray it was discovered and dealt with by one of the other neighbours before any cats found it.  Seeing its distress and knowing the final outcome made for a rather upsetting start to our drive out of town.

As we drove along, committing the fate of the bird to the Lord, our car started to shake and we realized we had a low tire on the car.  It did get us to the other town and back, but it didn't make for the relaxing drive we remember from other years of doing Easter morning services here.

Along the way, we rounded a corner at top speed and discovered a small herd of antelope prancing along beside us in the ditch.  Just as we noticed them and started to slow down, one of them leapt up onto the road in front of us. My husband "stood on" the brakes and swerved to avoid the antelope at about the same time it realized it was in danger.  As it spun around to get out of the way it lost its footing on the slippery tarred surface of the road and took a nasty tumble, landing heavily on one hip. My husband pulled over to the other side of the road and we watched to make sure the antelope hadn't been badly injured, but fortunately it went leaping away with the rest of the herd, bruised but not slowed down.  Fortunately there were no broken bones in its leg, our biggest worry after the way it slipped and fell.

Both church services went very well.  The joy of our congregants in both churches helped dissipate that nagging sense of worry about the birds and and animals and our dying friend.  My husband talked about how the resurrection itself can seem like such a fairy tale, too unreal, not applicable in any way to life in the real world where suffering and death continue all around us.  He talked about how we can make better use of the life of Christ in the resurrection than we often do as Christians.  He talked about how for Christians, resurrection life for our spirit is like the air that we breathe for our bodies.  It isn't enough to know about the workings of oxygen and respiratory systems, we have to breathe it in to receive the benefits of it....take it into ourselves.  So also with the resurrection life of Christ.  Many of us know much about Jesus and the resurrection, but we have neglected to receive that Person and power into our own lives, so are not benefitting from them the way we could and should be.

So this weekend we have seen life at its best and worst moments through the lives of our parishioners and through the wildlife that surrounds us here.

For me, the good news is that He Lives!!  He lives with us in the comfort he can bring when there is suffering and the excess of joy he can bring when we have times of celebration.

The Lord is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

In the past week I have received several emails from friends in other places.  They were writing to say that in their particular church services last Sunday, the acknowledgement of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem was barely mentioned, if at all.  Many of them are not having Good Friday services either because "talking about crucifixion and death is too negative."  Wha......??  

I hate to remind people, but in order to provide salvation for humankind, Jesus' death on the cross was God's choice, for whatever reason. I don't have to completely understand it. I don't have to like it. Was it negative?  You bet it was a negative experience......for God/Christ in his human form.

He not only provided the sacrificial lamb to suffer in our place, He actually experienced the suffering himself! Talk about ultimate forgiveness extended to a creation run amok.

I don't always enjoy the Good Friday service.  I don't always feel in the mood to acknowledge that my own lack of obedience to my creator is added to the disobedience of other humans that put Jesus on that cross.  I don't always enjoy experiencing what I call "necessary guilt": the simple acknowledgement that I have not been perfect as God is perfect and that I too need Christ's sacrifice to provide my pathway to restoration of harmony with my heavenly father.  However, I do need that reminder every so often and it is good to have it in the midst of my Christian community; corporate acknowledgement of our own imperfection and deep love and gratitude for our creator God who delivers us from the ultimate consequences of that state.

From the pain and humiliation of public crucifixion to the risen, conquering Christ.  Redemption for the world coming from the suffering of Christ our God on the cross.   GOOD Friday indeed!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cannibal Hawk

A bit of sadness late this afternoon when a Sharp-Shinned Hawk appeared in our trees and selected a beautiful little junko for his dinner.  I am glad I didn't see the kill as I get a bit weepy when nature takes its course in these instances, but I have to admit that the hawk was quite magnificent to look at as it balanced itself and its dinner on a narrow tree branch while it ate.

When it was done it flew up into a higher tree and took off on a flight northward.  It was like watching a guided missile take flight.  The aerodynamic structure of that bird and the way it was able to pull in its feathers to gain height and speed was breathtaking.  We occasionally get a bird of prey in our yard due to the variety of tall trees and of smaller birds for prey. Hopefully it won't happen again for a long time, but those hawks are amazing to watch.  I am sorry it ate one of our favourite little birds, but I am not sorry I got to see it in flight.