Friday, November 30, 2012

And Thus Endeth Road Trip #2!

Well, we started our trip south and got exactly 20 km from home before turning back.  The rain was coming down in buckets from a warm air system aloft and freezing on the road surface, glazing the tops of the snow banks in the ditches.  The whole area is to be covered in this by this evening so we turned around and came home.  Don't know if our friends will still try to go from their town as this won't have reached them yet, but it will. Even if the drive down went okay we would be facing a 2 or 3 hour + trip back on glare ice starting after 10pm.  As our friend said when we phoned to tell him of our decision:  you can control your own driving on the ice but you can't control the traffic around you.

So such is life.  My poor husband is so disappointed.

But in his case "older and wiser" definitely applies.  For that I am grateful. 

Just outside of town on our way out the freezing water had triggered the lights and arms of the railway crossing.  The arms were down and the lights were blinking, the siren ding donging, but nary a train in sight.  After a long wait we simply drove between the arms and continued on until the frozen rain forced us to turn back.  By the time we crossed the tracks again on the way home the arms were up, the lights had stopped blinking and the siren was silent once again.  Guess the RR crossing was trying to tell us something.

I am glad to be safely at home.


Freezing Rain Today...As We Travel.....Natch!!

So today we have a few hours round trip to another town, as mentioned in the last post, to do some diocesan business and we really do have to be there.  Fortunately we are travelling for most of the journey with a lovely couple who have lived here their entire lives and are used to driving in the dreadful conditions we are facing.........the horrendous FREEZING RAIN!  Aaaaaargh!!  WHY DO I LIVE HERE???

I am trying not to worry but after reading the weather report as to how widespread this icy rain is to be, I admit I wish we did not have to be on the road this afternoon nor tonight.  I am grateful for the other couple's big old 4WD farm vehicle that is so heavy and so much safer than our wee car.  I am grateful for their years of driving experience in this kind of weather and on these icy roads, but I am still not so excited about being out there on the road with all the other vehicles slipping and sliding about on the ice.

The candidates for our episcopal election are driving out as a group from Regina to this meeting and have even more hours of driving to face than we do.  They have their last diocesan meeting several hours on the other side of Regina tomorrow morning....that is if they can get there.  

We may all be staying in Swift Current overnight tonight and so I am going right now to pack up my toothbrush and a change of clothes to take along.  

Ooooh, how I detest the prairie winters.  They are too terrifying for me!!  But I have a feeling I am going to be facing them for years to come............

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blessings in Disguise

The car is fixed!  We picked it up last night at dinnertime. (and our first trip in it was out for dinner!)  Parts arrived from Vancouver by express, an opening appeared in the mechanic's schedule so he could complete the job a whole day early, and best of all my husband had time for a short afternoon nap.  When I see how exhausted he is, how close to the edge of a chronic fatigue episode, I can't help but see the good in having to cancel our trip to Regina.  Yes it is disappointing to miss important meetings but on the other hand if a person is too tired to pay attention and participate in the meetings then it is a waste of everyone's time and just adds stress to the situation.  We have to go to Regina next week again anyway to vote for our new Bishop.  My husband's health has been so good as to be almost miraculous since we came here and I am glad for these unexpected chances to stop the racing about his job demands so often.   He is losing his day off next week due to other meetings that had to be rescheduled earlier on because of bad winter roads so there is blessing in this set of circumstances.  He has a chance to pull back from the edge of a CFS episode.

Sometimes things just work out as they should.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Tis Done, Hallelujah!!

No more physiotherapy!  YIPPEEEEEEE!!!!!  I was discharged this morning.  I have to wait until tomorrow to receive the final report of my x-ray results from the radiologist, but it certainly appears on initial reading that there is no sign of necrosis setting in.  There is what will likely remain a permanent "hitch in my get along" when I go down stairs, but so what?  It is a minor inconvenience.  

The skill of the surgeons never ceases to amaze me. How can a teeny ankle like mine hold that much metal hardware??? Such precision is needed to attach the pins and plates and screws in just the right places.  X-rays fascinate me. I wish I had known more about them when I was still young enough to take courses to become an x-ray technician and have a useful career.  But that is a topic for a different blog entry.

So, today I rejoice in what appears to be good news:  release from therapy and relief that life goes on as usual. No immediately looming surgeries.  I am so very grateful....for so many things.

Now I can concentrate on making a few Christmas plans with my husband.  YIPPEEEEEEE!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No Road Trip After All

It's official.  The road trip to Regina has been cancelled.  Our car is still in pieces over at the mechanic's.  The parts won't be in until the day of our Regina meetings and it could be the day after that before we have transportation again.

I am relieved that our car is fixable.  I am relieved that the hotel was willing to cancel our entire reservation at no charge even though we were a bit late calling them while we dithered around here trying to decide how much stress and work to take on still trying to get to Regina.  We have only ever twice borrowed someone else's vehicle to go on a road trip and experienced break downs both times, so despite an offer from here of a beater even older than the one we are currently driving, we decided not to do it. (and no, there are no car rentals here)

My husband is disappointed to have to let down his colleagues and to miss the important meetings, but in actuality we are wondering if this is a blessing in disguise.  Sometimes there is a good reason why something planned and expected doesn't work out.  We will get a good workout in the morning walking on our 12 block round trip on the snowy ice to the physiotherapist's office at the hospital.  Maybe my husband will be able to get caught up on long overdue responses to work emails. Maybe he will be able to get a little extra rest.  His class out of town on Thursday was all ready covered by another staff when we thought we would be in Regina.

It is interesting how when we are trying to trust God for outcomes we can give up important meetings and the fun of a road trip without feeling overwhelmed by disappointment or anger or frustration. We must be experiencing some level of success with that in this instance.  Once we got over the shock of the change of plans we started to feel that perhaps things are working out just as they should be. Feeling peaceful is a wonderful thing.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Welcome Home Mrs. Downy Woodpecker

I admit I spent most of the day somewhat tied up in knots wondering if we had truly saved the life of my favourite little bird yesterday.  Her mate arrived at his usual time this morning to have a good feed of mixed nuts from the feeder but there was no sign of her at all.

But just after dinner, as I was standing at the kitchen window peering out at the feeders, she suddenly swooped down out of a large tree and headed straight for her favourite suet mixture.  She ate and ate and ate, then had a good long drink out of the waterer before flying off once again.

I was so happy I cried.

But I blame stress from earlier in the day for that.....I don't cry over birds....nope, not me....welllll, maybe I did a couple of times since yesterday........but really it was just the stress of our car ignition dying today and knowing how much hassle it is going to be if we can't get it fixed in time to head out Wednesday sometime for clergy days in Regina.  It isn't good form to miss mandatory clergy days, although we do live in a diocese with people that understand not being able to make a 5 hour drive with no car and not having the kind of public transportation services that would allow us to take that route.  Cancelling hotels at the last possible second before we would be charged for them anyway.....waiting until that last second just in case the car IS ready in time,  having to arrange to borrow a vehicle tomorrow so that my husband can get to work out of town in the morning........one little car ignition fails and the whole week's plans are now up in the air.  My husband is going to have to walk me the 8 blocks to physiotherapy and back Wednesday morning so I don't risk falling on the way to get an x-ray and a discharge from the therapist...wouldn't that just take the cake eh? hahaha

More sad news about the son of fellow clergy.  The young man was playing hockey on the weekend without a proper visor on his face mask.  He took a puck to the eye, which ruptured and although he had immediate emergency surgery there is no guarantee it has been saved. Chances of him actually being able to see out of it again are slim to none.  Sigh....young people don't realize how the damage happens in an instant and can be life changing.  We are just sick for him and his family as they add this new stress into their lives.

On a happier note my newish computer is up and running.  When my dear wonderful husband was not kicking the car and freaking out about the possible disaster of this week he was transferring all my computer data to the new machine.

Had a great email exchange with my son and he is so happy these days, crazy busy  like his dad, but so happy and so much to look forward to in the next few months.

The Christmas cards and letters are completed and as soon as I can get to the post office I will get them mailed away.  Have cut down severely on the number sent so that is saving some money and eliminating sending to a few folk who aren't that much needing to hear from us any more.

Saturday night is our church family banquet.....catered......all we do is eat and enjoy!  Our people deserve that after all the hard work they put into the fundraising dinners throughout the year.

Received a Christmas dinner invite tonight from dear dear friends in another town.  Looks like we will be able to see them and go to see our families in Calgary at some point before the new year as well.  Maybe by then our car will be safe to travel in again.  Yeah.......


Sunday, November 25, 2012

An Anniversary This Week

This is a significant week for me.  Wednesday is the one year anniversary of my fall when I broke my ankle in far too many places and displaced too many bones.  As it happens I get to have my final (?) physiotherapy session that morning and also an x-ray to check on the healing process.  The hope is that blood is flowing properly to all the bones involved so that I will not have to have an ankle fusion.  I am very hopeful about that as I am not experiencing the kind of pain or lack of distal movement to indicate a serious problem.

As soon as my appointment is over we leave for Regina for some meetings.  Assuming all is well with my ankle we are going to treat ourselves to a grand dinner out that night to celebrate. Simply being able to find a decent hotel room for a couple of nights the same week that Regina is hosting their annual Agribition and also the Canadian Cowboys Rodeo Final, is reason enough to have a celebration! It has been a bear of a year in a lot of ways, but particularly in regard to my health.  May this one year anniversary be the start of a more healthy and happy year.

Mrs. Downy Woodpecker is Alive and Well!

It is good news from Birdland!  20 minutes ago Mrs. Downy Woodpecker came down from the mesh in her makeshift cage, had a drink of water and a nibble of suet and began searching for a way out of the cage.  We released her outside and she immediately flew up into the nearest tree.  After a brief rest in the branches she flew off once again in the direction of her and her mate's winter nesting quarters.  What a relief....no broken wings and the extra protective layers that surround a woodpecker's brain saved the day.  SOOOOO relieved!  She can return to her winter home before the temperature drops again for the night.  Whew!

Please Get Well Mrs. Downy Woodpecker

This afternoon I have a female downy woodpecker ensconced in a tiny cage sitting on top of my clothes dryer.  She is in recovery, hopefully, from a serious smash into a window high atop our church.  The jury is still out as to the extent of her injuries and whether or not she will recover.

During coffee hour after this morning's service one of our children ran in from outside to get my husband.  Off they went to investigate "an accident".  My husband returned to the church hall cradling a soft feathery wounded bird in his hands.  It was my beloved Mrs. Downy Woodpecker.  She was unconscious, head buried beneath her wings and breathing the heavy breaths of a creature in shock.

Occasionally a bird will collide with that window because it so perfectly reflects the large trees across the street, but it is a rare occurrence. Birds who hit that window fall onto an overhang and are easy to spot.

I admit I burst into tears when I saw my dear little Mrs. Downy Woodpecker in such a condition.  What to do.........

My husband held her cupped in his hands for a good half hour before she began to stir.  Then we got a small cage set up on the dryer with some soft toques set between the bird and the metal dryer top.  A minute after laying her on the toques she regained consciousness sufficiently to fly up to the mesh and gain a good foothold, where she proceeded to sit and gaze vacantly ahead for a few minutes before tucking her head back under her feathers.  It has been a couple of hours now and she has moved a bit around the mesh and her breathing has finally slowed.  My husband is slipping a bit of suet and water in there to see if she shows any interest in either over the next little while.

We can only hope and pray she is not so injured as to not recover, or to not be able to fly.  Hopefully, if she is still alive in the next couple of hours we will be able to get her and her snack into a fabric lined box and get her out onto the deck to reacclimate to the cold weather before the temperature drops for night.  If she isn't ready for that we can put her, in her box,  into the enclosed breezeway and hook up a heating light for the coldest part of the night.  

It doesn't appear at this point that she has any broken wings, mostly a concussion.  If her wings were broken it would be more merciful to let her pass away, but so far so good from what we can see.

I will report the outcome when I have one to report, but for now I am praying for the restoration of this beautiful and precious creature of the air; my favourite bird of the large assembly who are wintering over in our yard.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Another Way I Know Christmas is Coming!

Today our church was assigned its day to raise volunteers and the forms to sign them up for the annual Salvation Army Kettle campaign.  In a couple of week's time our congregation will have 9 hours to fill in one hour time slots starting at noon.  We will hie ourselves away to the local WallyWorld and shake a leather strap of jingle bells to draw the attention of all the shoppers to the tripod and kettle set up beside us by the entrance and exit doors. 

Some people will open their wallets and deposit generous amounts of cash into the kettles, thrilled to be able once again to support a charity whose work they genuinely believe in.

Some people will snarl and tell us their opinion of charities in general in the nastiest tone of voice they can muster.

Some people will stand about and visit with us, excited to have new ears available to listen to their stories.

Some people will make a point of looking in the other direction and taking the widest path possible around us to avoid any contact with us whatsoever, either because they do not want to give and also don't want to feel associated guilt for their decision, OR they don't want to be seen near us because being seen near a bunch of middle aged folk standing in a popular store ringing straps of leather jingle bells and asking for money simply isn't cool.

What I most enjoy is the excitement of some of our congregants as they sign up to volunteer their time.  They love collecting money that they know is being wisely used to help others, they love visiting with their many friends as they stand around in WallyWorld, they love having something different to do in the course of their week's activities. Some of them sign up for 2 and 3 hours at a time.  One of our parishioners who is presently several thousand miles away from here emailed to say he would be back in time to volunteer and would we please make sure to sign him up for a few hours.  

I can't wait to go and take my turn with my husband.  He wears his clerical collar and as a result we get to meet many people we have never met before.  Obviously he is a clergyman but they don't necessarily know what church he is with. They are curious.  In a town this small it is perfectly fine to come right up and ask him where he ministers and strike up a conversation about their opinions, good and not so good, of churches and God and life in general. He loves fielding their comments.  I love learning about the people of our town.

Soon I will be standing around in this very popular local venue, jingle bells in hand, collecting money for one of my favourite charities.  In any other circumstance I would not be caught dead ringing jingle bells in public and asking for money, but for the Salvation Army it is a privilege. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

I Am So Spoiled....and Loving It!

My husband is going crazy buying me things before Christmas.  He is not a big buyer of gifts and is not much into receiving them himself...gifting is not an issue nor a desire in his life apart from giving to various charities.

BUT today he went a little crazy on me.  A new top mattress for the bed has been needed for some time now but we haven't spent any money for anything large like that for ages.  Today he decided enough is enough and off we went to the furniture store.  Maybe my purchasing a little curio cabinet is what did it, what unleashed his latent urge to spend money.  Our local store has an excellent selection of mattresses and I got to pick out the one I liked best, the one that is firm enough for my back.  There was a sale.  By the time we left the store we had also purchased a new box spring.

Then it was on to the local computer store.  We have both lost patience with my computer.  It wasn't the best to start with and due to a problem with its "insides" we have not been able to add sufficient memory to properly download videos and tv shows without the whole system doing the herky jerky every 20 seconds of the watching process.......most frustrating. Some videos never were able to load.  I have lived with this situation fairly well but lately a lot of things about this old machine have been frustrating me.  Today my husband decided it was time for a different machine.....not the new Windows 8 because I don't need that kind of advanced system....not a laptop because I have no need of one.....but a much newer model than my present one and with a ton of memory.  Right now he is downloading all my files for the new machine.

When he proudly brought my  "new" computer into the house he also showed me the new battery backup system he purchased when I wasn't looking.  It is for some of the appliances I presently use that lose all their pre-programmed data if the power in our house blips out for even a split second....a common occurrence in rural areas it seems.  I am as excited about the battery backup as I am about the faster, more efficient computer.

And so, I have had my Christmas for this year........gift crazy is my husband this not quite holiday season.  I am happily in shock.  

When your spouse is not a giftie type of person it is as thrilling to hear him say he wants to do some shopping as it is to actually receive the resulting purchases.  Since he allowed me to get some pre-holiday season presents for him earlier this month in Vancouver, he decided it was my turn to receive...and receive....and receive......aiiiii yiiiiii...... 

Today was one of those rare days that are special because of their rarity.  It was a ton of fun. Being able to do our shopping locally from small proprietor owned businesses was an added bonus.

A month of shopping.....for us this is a big deal.  I can't remember how many years it has been since we did a shopping blow out for ourselves.  It is so easy to shop for other people, to surprise them with something they really want or need.  It is easy to make charitable donations and volunteer time to help other folk.  But shopping for ourselves, even things we need, has never been that special to us.  Today it was.  It was spontaneous.  It was unexpected.  

I am grateful. 

I am spoiled rotten!

God Gets No Credit For His Own Decisions From His Own People

The results of the voting are in on the ordination of women as bishops in the Church of England.  Short version is that the result of the vote was "no"...for now.  Obviously for the many voters in favour of ordaining women bishops it was disappointing, but o dear me........the mudslinging, the whining, the wingeing, the slanderous comments about those who voted against the motion.  I have spent several days reading reactionary comments from those who did not get their way in this vote.  

Once again claimants to be followers of Jesus have embarrassed him and themselves. Once again we get to look like complete idiots in the eyes of the rest of the world. There was a tremendous amount of discussion, prayers......years and years worth in fact.....before this vote was taken.  Due democratic process was followed.  The result was announced.

And then all hell broke loose.

Well, the reaction is not heavenly, so............

Apparently God has no part in these election results.  Obviously he doesn't in the minds of some of the more vocal detractors of the voting results.  So if God isn't able to do his will through the discussion, prayers and voting procedures why bother to claim to be his follower, why bother to entrench yourself in a faith and practise based on his omnipotence and omniscience? A God who doesn't instantly kowtow to the culture of the times....well, of all the nerve!

Claiming to be a disciple of a trustworthy God and then freaking out when he doesn't do what you want him to do is pretty hypocritical.  This is a good lesson to myself to step back and think before reacting when I don't get the answer I think is right/necessary/righteous/culturally appealing to my own prayer requests.

Look and learn, watch and listen......these are great little adages to apply to myself as I read so many ugly responses to the CoE vote on ordination of women bishops.  

Lord preserve me from public kneejerk reactions that bring embarrassment to you and to the rest of your people...reactions that display my own human tendency toward hypocrisy.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What a Feeling!

Today was a day of enjoyment, creativity, worship and gratefulness.

Yesterday I purchased an oak curio cabinet, a long tall Sally of a cabinet and it was delivered the same day to my house.

So what, you say?  Big deal!  Who cares?  People buy curio cabinets all the time but they don't blog about them.

Well, I am blogging about mine.

Since I have been married, over 35 years ago now, I have purchased exactly two pieces of furniture by myself, for myself, designs and colours of my own choosing.  I have been gifted over the years with furniture chosen and purchased by my parents, friends, parishioners and complete strangers.  All those things have been wonderfully useful and mostly they have been quite likeable items. This giant church manse is happily filled with such things.  But a navy couch in my living room and now the oak curio cabinet are of MY choosing so yes, for me it is a huge big gigantic humungous deal!  I am 58 years old and have never had the opportunity to choose and purchase my own furniture.  It is a GARGANTUAN deal! The cabinet even has a spotlight in the top. Yes sirree, it does so!

Tonight I wiped it down, my husband installed the shelves and I began to pick and choose what to put into the cabinet. After trying out various assortments of ornaments, china and glass bowls, I decided to be true to my own style of Keep It Simple Stupid.  On 4 of the 5 shelves I placed one piece of beloved pottery from Canada and Japan.  On the middle shelf I placed my antique cocoa set, a family heirloom. The cabinet is angled into the corner beside my navy couch.  I like it.  The only painting I ever did in my life that is worth keeping is above the couch.  Finally there is a wee corner of my own choosing in the house where I live.  It feels good.

To accommodate the addition of the cabinet into the living room I had to move my little boombox and rack of CD's into our oversized kitchen.  The kitchen looks homier now, less barren with its light linoleum and stark white walls.  I listened to my CD's today more than on any day since I moved in here over 2 years ago.  I found a worship and praise CD I haven't listened to in 3 years, cranked up the volume so I could hear it over the water filling the sink for dishwashing and sang my heart out.  When the dishes were done I moved myself onto a kitchen chair and kept singing until the CD ended.  I closed my eyes and lost myself in the music and praise.

Today was a day of enjoyment, creativity, worship and gratefulness. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Bakery's Back! YIPPEE!!

This morning I noticed that the local bakery is open again.  There was a terrible fire in the building last winter and the decision of the owners at that time was that it wouldn't be possible to reopen. 

BUT it is open, it is, it is!!

The return of any retail business to our town is big news, exciting news, in this case yummy news.

I just HAD to celebrate with them, particularly after finding out that on their first day of reopening the doughnut fryer blew up. Those poor people. They deserve a sympathy buy from myself.

So........a few dozen cookies and muffins later......

Now, if I can just exercise some self-discipline and freeze a few things for company at a later date......yeah.........there's a plan.........yeah.........

I'll let you know how that's workin' for me..........

(The chocolate chip cookies are delicious, by the way.....and there is a muffin calling my name.....urp.....)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

When Things Aren't Working Out as Expected

Today I heard something very wise.  Someone said that when things you thought you were supposed to be doing seem unsuccessful, stop and look at what you are doing that IS successful and is bringing fulfillment to your life and then do it more often.

That certainly applies to anyone's life, but it struck a real chord with me today.  When you work in church ministry it is easy to adopt an ideal or preconceived notion of how that ministry is supposed to work in order to quantify your success or failure.  Sometimes the preconceived notion of outcome happens.......and sometimes it doesn't! For anyone in a job like ministry where outcomes can be difficult to recognize as successful or failing there is always tension, wondering, temptation to discouragement, constant nerve wracking analysis in trying to figure out if you are doing what needs to be done for a church congregation or not, whether you are meeting goals that are often nebulous.

One of the presuppositions about church ministry is that the number of regular attenders in a church congregation are supposed to increase over time.  But what if no one new shows up in that first year?  Or two?  Or three? Or four?

Another one is that the pastor will inspire more people each year to want to attend Bible study and spiritual growth among the congregation will become obvious to one and all.
But what if no one comes to the study and you never really know for certain where your congregation stands in relationship to your faith's traditional beliefs?

Another one is that if you are a good pastor you will inspire  your congregants to start up new programmes for attracting youth and young families so that as the oldest members become unable to carry on the ministries of the church there will be newcomers primed and enthusiastic about taking them over.
But what if there are no interested young families or youth despite your best efforts and those of your congregants to interest them in attending and participating? What if you are performing more funerals than baptisms each year?

Another one is that the pastor will be able to inspire long time congregants to new enthusiasm to increase their participation in the weekly details that keep the church running smoothly---volunteers of all ages will suddenly pop out of the woodwork and fall all over themselves to help out with things they have never helped with before.
But what if the congregants are too tired, too busy, gone too often, to do any more than they have been doing?  What if circumstances in their lives have worn them out so badly that they are no longer excited about "doing"?

There are many more presuppositions and expectations that ministers in all areas of The Church have for themselves and the people they minister to.  These are only a few of the more common ones.  What happens when expectations are disappointed?  How do ministers avoid complete despair and the depression that comes on when they feel they have failed their people and done poorly in meeting their ministry expectations?

Part of the answer is to take our eyes off what is not working and look more intently at what is working.  

What about the contributions to the local ministerial association that are so appreciated by fellow clergy?  What about those wonderful visits with some of the young people who don't come to the church but who are keen to talk about Jesus with us at other times in other places?  What about the Bible courses taught to other groups  of people who do not attend our churches but who are keen to learn and to be discipled?  What about the dinners we serve up in our homes for congregants to come and just have a social time that breeds good communication and a sense of comfort and safety for them with the pastor?  What about that nursing home service where you can sense the gratitude of people who are shut in that we would come and include them in the church community outside the walls of their residences? These things are not happening as part of the mainline ministry and yet the feeling of satisfaction that accompanies them shouldn't be taken lightly.

What sorts of things bring you fulfillment in your calling, what positive experiences are going on still in spite of the apparent failings in meeting "the usual expectations" of your ministry or other type of career? Maybe those "side issue" events that so fulfill and inspire you are really the major events of your working life.  Maybe they are as important as what you conceive your "real" job to be. Maybe they actually indicate your true calling in life no matter your recognized position.

My husband loves to teach.  Over the past year he took every opportunity to do so in many different circumstances.  When he is tempted to be discouraged about other parts of his ministry, to feel a failure when expected results don't happen as often as he would hope, he just starts thinking about how fulfilled he is when teaching people who really want to learn, who respond to his words and who are encouraged by what they are learning.  His sermons are improving on Sunday mornings because he has been in teaching mode at other times during the week.  He is enjoying the rest of his ministry more because he has one particular area whereby he feels fulfilled nearly every day.  He loves to teach and does it well.  He is less stressed about other things because he doesn't have to focus only on what seems to be wrong in other areas of life.  No one person is called to do everything, to fulfill on their own every aspect of their job or ministry. Maybe the reasons you find yourself in a particular place doing a particular job are not first and foremost what you assumed them to be.

It makes sense.....look at what IS working and do more of it!  

In the words of the old song, "Do what you do, do well!"  Thank you Ned Miller for those good words!

And Again Our Town Says Farewell...........Sigh....

Word is out that our Sears order office will be closing very soon. It is not closing due to diminishing sales.  Apparently there is no one able or willing to take over from the retiring manager of the outlet.  This will be a huge blow to the folk who have ordered so many things regularly over the years. I was about to order a new mattress set and now with the closure there will be a number of delivery problems and associated costs, so I will go elsewhere in a search for a good old fashioned memory foam free mattress.  This is most disappointing, for myself but particularly for all the regular Sears customers.  It is the usual scenario:  no young people able to stay around the town to run the retail sector.  As I watch our town dying so quickly I can't say that I blame them for bailing to the larger, more exciting centres with at least a few higher paying jobs available.  Lots of university grads now from our little town who can't get jobs in their field in a place this tiny and so have to move on.  I have never been privy before to the death of a small town....(and without a very fast turn around in direction it will indeed die out in the next few years).....it is frightening to see how quickly things can change in once booming little centres. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Literary Quote

"'You are a lad,' he began, 'of sudden desires, impetuous whims, a lad used to early satisfaction of your wants.  Partly it is in your nature to be thus, partly it is the result of your upbringing which included too few restraints, which left you like a badly or partly broken colt, resentful of curbs. For this I am more to blame than you, though it's hard to see how I should have done other than I did.  Perhaps I did not interest myself in your upbringing until too late, for by the time I began to teach you it was already clear that you were not of a ratiocinative or meditative turn of mind.  Reading you found irksome, writing you hardly attempted after you had passed the abecedarian stage, and number, when you had mastered simple multiplication, you were content to leave as a mystery.  Now I believe it is idle to force a  young mind to accept what it cannot understand, for I believe it will reject all such forced teaching once the force is removed (whether it be the ferule of the pedant, or a Father's more tender insistence), and what is true of the teaching of knowledge is true of moral teachings too.  That this is so is witnessed in the Annals of our Kind for who can deny that the generality of our race possesses no real sense of right and wrong at all?  And this is because what it might have learnt by Reason is denied by its disability in reasoning, and what is taught by the rod is rejected when the rod is no longer feared.'"
--Julian Rathbone, Joseph: The life of Joseph Bosham, self-styled 3rd Viscount of Bosham, covering the years  from 1790 to 1813; reprinted by Abacus Publishing; London, 1999.

Pre-Advent Christmas aka You Know You are in Saskatchewan When...

Tonight we went out for dinner to the one restaurant it is still safe to eat at here in our town.  Driving home in the darkness we noticed the prairie annual pre-Advent Christmas tradition is alive and well.

Remembrance Day in Canada is on November 11th.  On November 12th our prairie friends and neighbours pop the Christmas light displays onto their lawns and rooftops and erect their indoor Christmas trees and other interior decorations.  With only 6 or 7 weeks between Remembrance Day and Christmas it is a good thing they aren't wasting any time and yes, that comment is tongue in cheek!  I have never seen anything like this anywhere else I have lived.  Advent doesn't start for another 2 weeks, let alone Christmas, but the light displays, Christmas blow up lawn ornaments and indoor trees abound on every street. Living room windows are filled with giant fir and spruce trees covered in every conceivable type of decoration, from laquered Christmas candy cane cookies to fuzzy tinsel to artfully tied and starched white and red bows.

I don't know where this tradition began.  Did it start back in the so-called Dirty Thirties when money was tight and other celebrations so few and far between as to be nearly non-existent for so many people?

Did it start in the 1950's when Saskatchewan began to be known as the "have not" province of Canada; the agricultural province that simply didn't receive the big money from oil revenues or ranching or mining or provincial handouts that other provinces did?

Wherever this all originated it still never ceases to shock me despite the years I have lived in this province.

I am not into Christmas trees and lights and decorations any more myself.  Once my son moved away from home that sort of thing lost its joy and purpose.  I prefer a little less glitz for myself at Christmas.  But I do enjoy the displays that other people set up on their properties.

One great thing about everyone setting up so early for Christmas is that on Boxing Day all ready it all comes down and is put away...until November 12th of the following year.  My husband's tradition of not putting up a tree or lights until Christmas Eve and leaving them up until 12th Night (Epiphany) is not practised here.....by anyone.  In fact, in one place where we lived a few years ago we were presented with a fully decorated tree and 2 long strands of outdoor lights on Dec. 1st, because our parishioners thought we were too poor to afford decorations and lights of our own. Why else would we not have a tree all ready standing in our cramped little apt. living room and no garish coloured lights adorning our eaves?  It was a lovely gesture and we didn't have the heart to hurt their feelings and admit we had a whole closet filled with Christmas lights and tree decorations of our own sitting unused and being readied for the thrift store.  

Seeing all the decorations up in town all ready reminded me that I need to hang up our Christmas wreath on our outside front door so that we don't have a repeat performance of giftings for the season from well meaning and loving friends.

Guess I had better go now and put up that wreath.  A friend is coming over tomorrow afternoon with some of her Christmas baking as a delicious gift for the rector and his wife....yum!!  If I don't show some evidence of our bountiful collection of Christmas decorations I know she will be back with some of her own to share with us.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...everywhere I go.......(Feel free to sing along.  On Boxing Day it will all be over anyway.)

"An Embarrassment of Riches"

That is what one of our fellow clergy called the roster of candidates vying  to become the new bishop of our diocese at next month's election.

It is true.  We who are voting delegates stand amazed at the people who are running for the position.  Any one of them could be a wonderful bishop for us.  When the list of candidates was released a few days ago I read it and nearly wept with happiness that God is so prepared to take such good care of us after the departure of our last dearly beloved bishop. That man set us on a good and progressive path that apparently any and all of the candidates are prepared to continue to move forward on.  They seem to have a good grasp of what we need here.  I was so impressed by the answers each of them gave in response to the questions set forth by the episcopal search committee. All seem prepared to attempt to take on the problems that are particular to our diocese.

That being said, a list of candidates like this is going to create one problem, but a happy one.  It is possible we will be going to more than 2 or 3 ballots on this election.  We may be voting all day long.  BUT in the end we trust that the one elected will be God's choice to lead us forward into the next phase of recovery in what was a dying diocese until a few years ago.  There is hope.  New people are starting to attend church in some areas, in other areas there is a return to church by some who have left in times past.  There is more education for lay folk and clergy available.  There are Cursillo retreat weekends that are beginning to draw interest.  The diocesan camp has drawn new attention from church congregations throughout the diocese who abandoned it for a time.

Hope is continuing to grow and that is a good thing.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Huge Loss to Our Town...Again

The other day I was having lunch at the one remaining non-Chinese food restaurant in what is left of our downtown core and found out that it is for sale.  The owner can no longer afford to keep renovating his old building to keep it set up properly for a restaurant.  The place is falling apart, he recently spent a lot of money just to get the roof  back up barely to non-leaking standard but it isn't enough.  He wants to leave the area to be closer to aging parents elsewhere and unload the ruin of his old building.

I can't fault his reasons for wanting to get out of the building and out of the town.  I am just sorry it going to leave another huge gap in our downtown services.  On days when my husband teaches out of town I love to go downtown to do my errands and splurge on a yummy chicken caesar salad.  Another simple pleasure will soon come to an end.

Our chamber of commerce continues to issue statements about the glorious state of our retail sector, but really the only businesses that seem to be thriving, apart from the downtown groceries, are the gasoline stations, fast food drive-ins, agriculture and automotive businesses strung out along the highway from one end of town to the other.  Like so many prairie towns, our downtown core is dying a fast death and we are becoming nothing more than a pitstop for people passing through on their way elsewhere.  There is getting to be less and less shopping for locals.

We are surrounded here by ghost towns.  The signs for the remains of each settlement still stand but this part of our province is fast depopulating and I am guessing that in another ten years our town will join the list of "used to be's".

It is a most depressing state of affairs.

Mirror Mirror

Last night the movie Mirror Mirror finally came on my satellite movie channel.  It didn't get a lot of box office blitz and I didn't read any reviews, but I got the feeling it kind of fizzled at the box office as it didn't last long in the theatres.

So I wasn't sure I wanted to stay up late enough to watch it, but I am so glad I did.  It is understated and hilarious, great costumes and sets, plus my favourite actor Nathan Lane has a sizeable role in it.  Great hokey humour and some good more sophisticated one liners, some interesting casting and a good lot of fun.  

I think this is my favourite take on the Snow White story.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ooooooh How I Love Japlish

Something I enjoy about anyone for who English is not a first language are the heroic attempts to make sense of and use my incredibly difficult native tongue.  In particular I enjoy the Japanese attempts because they as a people are so incredibly sincere about wanting to learn and to use English properly.  I love the Japanese people anyway, but their attempts at English, often with the use of electronic English dictionaries and thesaurus', cheer my heart even more.

Today I was looking around home for a new folder to put some banking papers in and my husband found one of our little zip folders from our Japanese life of a few years ago.  The company is called JOYFUL IMPRESSION, which is stitched onto the side of the material on the outside of the folder. Under the company name is the logo: "We produce it for whole human beings".

Isn't that lovely?  

I will look at it and smile everytime I use the folder.

Too Much of a Good Thing

I think that I ate all the "pickled peppers Peter Piper picked" on my pizza last night.  I am paying the price.  It is 2:30am and I am wide awake with a vaguely queasy tummy, a touch of heartburn and an overwhelming essence of red peppers hovering about my sinuses.

Ooooh, I love peppers but lately they have been less than fond of me.  

The upset is worth it.  They are wonderfully delicious.  

I knew I would pay the price and I didn't care.

Sin in haste and repent at leisure.  Isn't that how the old saying goes?  

Apparently I will be repenting for my pepper gluttony for the rest of the night.  So very thankful for a computer and some good books to read.  I am going to just enjoy being awake in the middle of the night!

Take that red peppers, take that!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Day of Lovely Surprises

I am so delighted to have gotten in another walk before the streets and sidwalks return to their icy state for a few more weeks.  The sun came out today, the high temperature is to be about 0 to +1C, so the snow on top of the ice is melted just enough at this time of midday to give my boots good grip for walking.  Today I walked downtown AND back all by myself.  What a nice surprise to have such a day in mid November.  Sun, walking, being outdoors....it is all good!

Another lovely surprise was being invited to lunch by a parishioner with who I am discovering a number of things in common.  We yakked and laughed and enjoyed our meal together.  It was really fun!  She is a kind hearted person who gives much of herself in her job and to her family.

Another lovely surprise is that this new friend gave me a present....something she saw in a store one day that made her think of me.  It is  a nice little personal gift that I will use many times and enjoy muchly!  

Another lovely surprise is that the soup I have been labouring over making the past couple of days has actually turned out!  Yesterday it didn't taste all that good, something was missing in the herbs I was using.  But this morning it hit me what the problem was and I was able to fix it up.  There will be enough for my husband to have a bowl or 2 and the rest can go into freezer cartons to take to my parents next time we head west.

Another lovely thing is that a friend from AB is going to call this afternoon for a good chat.  We haven't talked for a few weeks and I am delighted to have time today to just sit and put my feet up for a good old chinwag.

What a lovely day I am having.....(and in case you haven't noticed it is "lovely")... mostly in the way of being able to enjoy the most mundane things like a sunny day and shovelled sidewalks, time with new friends and old friends, my own homemade soup being edible.....yeah, a neat day all around.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Small Victory

Today an inconvenience turned into a confidence builder.  

This week is one of those rare weeks where my  husband and our car are both gone all day everyday for pretty  much the entire week.  It means I can't get to the stores I need to get to for groceries as they are too far away and the more expensive stores closer to home require at least a 10 block round trip walk on the icy streets.  For someone recovering from a broken ankle as slowly as I am, the idea of such a venture is daunting to say the least.

However, I had a medical appointment downtown this morning and a short list of groceries that have reached the stage of critical need.  No husband and no car meant I had to face a few fears and possibilities of falling, put on my good winter boots and head out on my own.  

It was a slippery, terrifying, exhilarating, confidence building walk!  Walking that slowly, duck walking at snail's pace across the icy intersections that put my heart in my stomach, has exhausted me completely but the joy is that I succeeded....not even a small slip underfoot.  

I am excited, grateful, feeling more confident and less trapped in the house.

I need to remember today's lesson next time I am tempted to be bummed out by an apparent inconvenience.    

Monday, November 12, 2012

And Then There Was the Newspaper Article With the Line....

......that this year's annual hospital fundraising event was going to be very formal instead of the usual "cool and sheik". HAHAHAHA  

Was that supposed to read "cool and chic"???

Who proofs these articles before they are published?  I LOVE this stuff!!

Bring it on newspapers, bring it on!!

Other Newsworthy Events in the Media

Just read an archived news item from the Halloween edition of a newspaper published in a town I once lived in.  hahaha  The town is fairly small as evidenced by the front page main news item, complete with large font headline in dark ink: LOCAL CHILDREN CAUGHT THROWING PUMPKINS!!!

In a dark world of wars and rumours of wars, terrorism, sexual predators, drunk drivers, murder and general mayhem, an article about a group of 5 through 7 year olds throwing pumpkins at each other, not at cars nor houses nor other peoples' pampered pets, was the front page news event of the day.

I found it lovely.  If I am going to continue to  live in rural prairie lands I want to live in a town like that again.  I want to live in a town that has so few crimes of note that these  pumpkin tossing youngsters are the worst criminals of the newsday.  The kids weren't even tossing pumpkins in an attempt to injure each other. They were simply watching the pumpkins hit the pavement to see whose could make the most satisfying and farthest reaching SPLLLLAAAAAAT. Their crime was making a public mess and not cleaning up after themselves.

Sometimes it is nice to step away from the vicious realities occurring in the rest of the world and enjoy a newpaper with a front page story like that.

O How Well We Know the Path that Others Should Take

I have just finished reading a comment posted on another blog and I am torn between being appalled and chuckling at how human we all are in our ability to think we know what direction the lives of other people should take. Reading the letter was deja vu to me....back to the days of yore when my Baptist church friends were terrified of being sullied by exposure to the charismatics, when my Orangemen Irish relatives were terrified of being sullied by exposure to the Roman Catholics.  Each had the truth and the other group was going down for its apostate beliefs and practises.

In this instance the letter was written by a person who left our particular denomination in the church to join up with a break away group.  Now of course the rest of us must prove our love to God in the same way: repent of being apostate by remaining in the "mother" group and join in the new adherence to the REAL church of God.

The letter struck a chord in me because since leaving the evangelical churches to return to a mainline denomination I have heard so little of this sort of rhetoric, the sort that contributed to my leaving the evangelical churches in the first place.  

I have no doubt at all that the person who wrote the comment has the purest of intentions in wanting to save the rest of us from our walk into heresy.  Unfortunately when we feel we have to save others from their perceived errors we tend to assume that we are speaking to them with the voice of God Herself (or the Universal He, Him-self....suit Your-self).  Since we feel we have been led to take a certain path in our spiritual lives or church then "obviously" everyone else claiming to be servants of God must also follow along with us.  Somewhere along the line we become so very sure of what we are saying that we cross the line of God's love into whining, nagging, belligerence and develop a most self-righteous attitude. We berate others who are not doing what we are doing and tell each other outright that our way is the only way and everyone else who does something different couldn't possibly be receiving direction from God.  We so quickly change from love to smugness, from love to anger, from allowing our brothers and sisters to find their own direction from God to assuming we have some sort of special communication from God that separates us from the common rabble who are missing out on the True Way.  

How quickly the power of darkness can inflitrate even our best and most loving of intentions to turn concern for others into a demand that they obey what we assume is the correct direction for their lives.  How blind we become as we assume the role of God and judge while still thinking we are acting in love. Honestly, all of us who try to serve God, or at least most of us, have been guilty of thinking we know what is best for others in the Church; maybe we haven't voiced it, but we have thought it.  

People uninvolved in the Church do not see our internal intentions, they only see our outward actions and flee as quickly as possible before becoming victims of our "loving judgements" toward them.

No wonder the reputation of Jesus has been sullied in the eyes of onlookers who do not know him and have only his disciples to watch and listen to.  For centuries we have messed it up, confused love and self-righteousness, peace of mind and smugness, true discipleship and personal politics. The person who wrote the comment I read this morning is not alone.

Even God's own people are still so very human......forgive us and deliver us Lord.

A New Era??

So we have a new Archbishop of Canterbury, the former Bishop of Durham.  His education, background and orthodox position are somewhat different than our last Archbishop.  On paper it sounds good, a little more right wing, a better connection perhaps with we common folk of the parishes.  Are we turning around from the confusion and division that has characterized our denomination over the past decade?  It is of course far too soon to tell, but for now I will allow myself a small ray of hope, knowing that even good changes take years to root.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Whirlwind Mini Vacation Comes to an End

Home again, home again, jiggety jig!
What an amazing week away for us. We packed so much into a few days it is as if we had our lost summer vacation after all.  So grateful for the week of compassionate leave!  There was time to rest and catch up after the craziness of this autumn and a miserable summer.

It was grand to see the turnout for my husband's mother's memorial service and to hear the stories of the many relatives and friends who had known her well over the past 9 decades.  She was such a forceful personality that we found it odd that she didn't suddenly appear from behind a door or curtain and let us know she had overheard us talking about her. haha  A family dinner at her favourite pub ended a good day of memories.

The next morning we left Kelowna for Vancouver.  Periods of rain left the high mountain Coquihalla Pass freeway covered in puddles, but there was neither ice nor snow, only a few miles of fog to endure.  Being a Sunday morning there were fewer semi rigs and we made fantastic time into the city.  No accidents, bumper to bumper traffic, nor road construction slowed the drive this time.

Meeting up with our son was wonderful.  We miss him terribly as he is such a character and brings us much laughter these days as he is being restored to his old self after some rough times.  We toured his art studio, went to the exhibit at the gallery where he works, dragged him around on a mad shopping spree that made him feel like a kid at Christmas, walked through the huge red and golden maple leaves that covered the sidewalks and streets, viewed Georgian Bay (aka and properly called The Strait of Georgia to visitors) and all the massive freighters, ooh'd and ahh'd over the new Port Mann bridge, bought tons of tea in Little India and Chinatown, visited until we almost ran out of words and enjoyed sumptuous meals at Vancouver's best ethnic restaurants...hang the expense. One night we purchased a selection of cheeses and crackers, wine and beer and enjoyed our family tradition of laying around in the hotel room snacking and chatting for the evening.  One thing we don't do is watch tv together because we never have time with all the other fun things there are to do in Vancouver.  Our son doesn't even own a television.  He is too busy working to fritter away time with The Boob Tube and I hope this winter I can be that busy as well!! 

Should any of you happen to find yourselves in Vancouver in the near future and enjoy great food, check out Japanese Restaurant Shiro and for Italian, Campagnolo is a must.  Shiro has about the most authentic Japanese cuisine available on the Canadian west coast and the deep fried chick pea salad at Campagnolo definitely deserves its place on the list of "101 Things to Do in Vancouver".  There are so many wonderful Vietnamese pho restaurants it is impossible to list them all.  As a kid I never understood why my oriental soups came with a broad, flat bottomed, high sided spoon.  I was in my 30's before I discovered how to chopstick the meats,noodles and veggies out of my soup and onto the spoon before glugging down the broth at the end. 

My husband was delighted to find his favourite Pendleton wool shirts at 3Vets and some great knives at Cookworks.  In Chinatown he finally found a proper water boiling kettle at a price he could afford.......FINALLY.  He has been seeking one that will boil water and maintain it at the proper temperatures for his various favourite kinds of tea. I got him his Christmas present early as well:  a new Swiss army knife with many more useful attachments than his old one. I found some lovely Japanese greeting cards, some chopsticks to replace my old broken down ohashi and a winter coat in a style that I have wanted for years but haven't been made for a couple of decades.  FINALLY!  I WILL be warm this winter.  

It was very hard not to feel depressed the day we left Vancouver to return to the prairies.  I admit it.  The humid air, the rain rather than snow in winter, the low hanging clouds, the lack of ice on the streets, the ocean, the flowers still blooming in November, the retail and entertainment venues, the huge number of people on the streets.........they are all good for me.  It was a beautiful sunny morning when all 3 of us left Vancouver, us to head home and The Boy to Berlin for a work related gig.  I was able to keep a stiff upper lip until we got to Chilliwack and then I broke down and sobbed.  The thought of returning to ice and snow and freezing cold was less than appealing.

We drove to Revelstoke for the night and found an hilarious old motel that has been redecorated and spruced up considerably.  The ski season hasn't started yet and so there were few guests anywhere in town that night and the proprietor of the motel told us to choose any room we wanted.  We chose one on the top floor in the back of the motel, away from the highway and no one else was back there so we knew it would be quiet (except of course for the ear splitting squeal of braking trains as they rolled into town every hour throughout the night on the tracks that turned out to be about 25 feet from our room window. hahaha It was like fingernails on a chalkboard only amplified about 1000%!!!) The room was so large we could have rented it out for dances! As we drove earlier between Kamloops and Sicamous we passed the resort areas on Blind Bay where I had my most favourite vacations as a child, so the memories were intact even though the area has turned from a gracious resort area to a tourist trap over the past 35 years.

After our fun night in Revelstoke (home made cannelloni dinner at Isabella's...YES!) we headed for Calgary the next morning still revelling in the fun we had experienced thus far.  By the time we hit Field our memories were all ready fading as we drove smack dab into the entrails of the first major winter snow storm of the year.  The highway became a rink of icy rivulets and solid ice chunk ruts, polished snow and flying gravel from the sanding trucks and snowploughs trying desperately and inadequately to clear the mess and get vehicle tires back onto dry pavement.

Our car's studded tires performed admirably and that, combined with my husband's excellent driving skills, kept us moving and on the road.  A number of faster drivers who passed us were not so fortunate.  We came across 8 accidents between Field and Calgary, all involving the vehicles who had been in too much of a hurry for the road conditions and who didn't have proper winter tires.  We reached a top speed of 60km per hour between Field and Calgary and it took hours and hours to get back to my parents' warm condominium to spend the night.  Instead of returning home the next day we spent an extra day in the city with members of our families in order to avoid driving in a second storm that hit closer to our home town that day.  

And so, yesterday we crawled home the rest of the way.  But as we drove north and east from Calgary, gradually the ice and snow faded from the roads and we only lost an hour of time.  Our 5 hour journey was just over 6 hours and we are grateful to be here, back safely to the land of ice and snow, scheming about new ways to head back to Vancouver again at some point before winter here is over.  

We have had both church services now in both towns this weekend and are back into the swing of life here at home.  It is all good......ice and snow and all. 

Oh, except for the bad colds we are both coming down with......welcome back to winter!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Yay, We Found a Wireless Connection

What a great drive we had out here to Kelowna!  Since we didn't get under way until noon on Thursday, the ice on all the highways had melted.  It must have been wicked earlier in the day because every road we drove on was puddley wet and sand covered. We passed numerous ongoing snowploughs as they returned from digging out side road exits and farmers' driveways. We drove for a good 5 hours in the sandy wet and fog and our white car turned an interestingly textured ecru.

Staying with my parents overnight was good but also somewhat difficult as they seem to have aged so much since our last visit in September.  It goes with the territory when you are 85 years old, but it is still sad to see it happening to two such active people who always had such a interest in so many things.  The transition to a world of doctor appointments, lack of transportation and a certain loss of personal mobility has to be as depressing for them as it is for me to see them facing these age related realities. 

The drive through the Rockies yesterday was delightful.  There is so little traffic this time of year, the first snow etches the peaks and valleys, cut lines and crags of each mountain so clearly.  Castle Mountain, located between Banff and Lake Louise Alberta, truly appears to be a turreted castle with the light coating of snow defining the edges of each slab of rock and each dip where the rock has eroded over time.   Along Rogers Pass we drove into fog and over the course of a short distance we came across two fairly recent accidents:  semi rigs that had turned over on their sides and smashed up against the side of the mountains when they lost control on the curves of the road in dense fog.  We were fortunate to be able to pass the police cars, park ranger truck and ambulances before the narrow two lane highway was blocked in order to allow tow trucks to right the semis and pull them out of the ditches.  The injuries to the drivers did not appear to be serious this time, so that is also good news.  Now...if the good roads and reasonable early winter weather will just hold through next week for a safe trip home.....

I doubt we are going to see much sunshine this trip.  We have driven through very little of it since leaving home.  The sky is a leaden grey again today and rainfall is predicted.  Tomorrow we may be driving through heavy rainfall on the way into Vancouver but it will be worth it to unload the 3 large boxes of dishes and silverware and other household goods at our son's place. He needs the items and I need to get rid of them!! Oh, and of course it will also be wonderful to see our son!!

This afternoon is the memorial service for my husband's mother.  His sister is having a difficult time being back here and being in this building once again where her mother was living at the time of her death.  My husband and I are staying in the same room we were in the week his mother left us but he is coping just fine with that.  He will be leading this afternoon's gathering and I think he will do well speaking to the elderly rels and friends in attendance.  Once this service is over then there are only the remains of the legalities to deal with, as well as the rest of the grieving process.

For myself it is still difficult to understand that she is gone, never to return.  When my father in law passed away it was expected, not a huge surprise due to a health issue we knew could take him at any time.  This is different somehow with the unexpected and relatively quick departure of my husband's mother...no time for preparation at all.

So we shall see how the afternoon transpires.  Life is changing rapidly these days for all of us.