Friday, October 31, 2014

In Local News

Just to inform you:  our local community centre, according to an online article I just read, "has underwent" a transformation.

Yes, you read that correctly: "has underwent".  

Not "has undergone" nor simply "underwent", but "has underwent".


So Much For Halloween Around Here

The Cutie Patootie Parade has ground to a halt and it is only 7pm.  Despite watching a fair number of kids going door to door across the street, I have had exactly 5 kids come to our door.  If no one shows up in the next hour I am shutting out the lights and giving up.  For this I gave up an invitation out for dinner! O well, I have decided that either I will hand absolutely everything left in my candy bag to the next kid who comes, if anyone does, or else I am going to put the remaining A&W candy in our Christmas Eve treat bags for church. haha 

Well hey, candy canes are not as popular as they once were, so...

Mouse in the House! the garage actually....3 trapped in the past 10 days.  It has happened since I put the run on the cats in our yard.  So, unless I find them actually up on the deck or drinking out of the bird bath, I'm not going to scare the cats away any more.  Sorry dear birdie buddies, but you are going to have to fend for yourselves for the next while until the mice have found other places to live for the winter.  As I tossed another dead mouse, the trap and a pair of disposable gloves into the garbage bin again this morning I realized just how many mice the neighbourhood cats have likely been eating.  So, to keep the balance of nature in check...or at least out of my garage....the cats can stay.

The annual Halloween parade of cutie patooties has begun for another year.  I had my first trick 'n' treaters at 4:07pm.  Hopefully I won't have more than the 20 max I have prepared for.  Once again I find myself living in a house that is farther back from the sidewalk than any other house on the street, hidden by trees on one side and a large church building on the other.  It is easy for the kids to race right past us on their quest for tooth rot and miss us completely, even with our dim light peering out into the darkness from above the front stoop.  

The littlest tots are darned cute and obviously have no clue what is going on, but they are game for anything as long as there is candy involved....and mom or dad standing right behind them in case they get scared.  I always pray an extra prayer Halloween night for their safety and for the church, our rectory and garage and all the church property to be free of vandalism as there is a strong anti-Christian sentiment right now among some of the town's older teens.  How I wish I could talk with them all, find out where their hatred is rooted and help them heal. Generally someone in a church has hurt them and they are acting out.  I can relate all too well, but Jesus is a fantastic and thorough healer.

My 3km walk this morning was in warmer weather than the past 2 days but I am wishing I could have waited and gone this afternoon when the biting wind finally started to die down and the high temperature reached a balmy +12C.  I did get some necessary grocery shopping done though and got to the hospital lab as required.  It made for a great circle loop of the town and I enjoyed it.  Felt like I was really being sneaky by getting in another circuit before the ice and snow.

Yesterday evening I decided I am tired of dusting ornaments.  This is a large house with lots of room for such things so every ornament I own has been out on display since we arrived here.  I dug a couple of boxes out of the garage, bubble wrapped all the ornaments, framed photos and small art works that have been sitting around for the past 5 years collecting dust, wiped them all down again and packed them up.  When the time is right I will haul them all out and rearrange them, but for now I am sick of looking at them, tired of the constant cleaning in this dusty town and in need of a visual break from the same old same old.  I left my pottery bowls out and the art up on the walls but my shelves and side tables are presently gloriously naked!!  Dusting next week will be a breeze!!  I even put a few knick-knacks into a box for the "Salvation Armani".  They are nice ornaments but I have had them for years and they no longer have any meaning or appeal, nice as they are and despite how much I enjoyed them for the first few years.  Some of my Japanese souvenirs met the same fate.  There are other people around to whom they will be new and fresh and fun and those are the people who should have them. 

Now I have to convince my husband that since we will never have another Christmas tree, our Christmas ornaments and decorations can also be given to the thrift store.  They also are in grand condition and someone with kids and a tree should be enjoying them.  I have an overwhelming need to downsize as I stand back and look at how we have filled up this huge house with new unnecessary items just over the past 5 years, let alone hanging onto all the older but equally unnecssary items we brought with us from the last town.  

So that is my big project for the next week or so....getting rid of more things we simply don't need or appreciate the way we used to and letting other people have some fun enjoying them. It feels good and very freeing to let go of beloved old objects that have brought me such calm during past stresses. I am a very visual person so photos, art and pottery, ornaments etc. bring me peace in times of storm.  I also have a short attention span and my interest in some of my past peace givers has waned.  Time to send them to new homes.

My husband will be home in a few hours from his Archdeacons' retreat.  I told him what I was doing when he contacted me last night and he said  he is inspired to do some turfing out of his own next week on his day off.  I will be thrilled to help him carry through on that noble thought that will never come to fruition without just a bit of help from yours truly.  Do I know this man? This packrat of mine?  O I do indeed!!  

I am good at pitching and tossing so have been asked numerous times by friends to help them get the courage to downsize.  It is time once again to practise what I preach!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Whaaaaa?? I Don't Understand...But Today Will Still Be a Good Day!

Using an incredible lack of far sightedness the powers that be in our little town decided earlier this week that they are not going to go along with Stars Air Ambulance's request for a two dollar per resident surcharge from the province's municipalities for the 2015 budget year.

I should freak out and say "I can't believe this!!", but unfortunately I find it frighteningly easy to believe.  The town council is going to send a letter on to explain why they don't feel a need to further supplement this life saving service through such a tiny amount charged per resident.  It would appear they will likely be one of the only towns in our area to make this decision, but time will tell if other town councils make an equally ridiculous decision that will eventually effect our quality of services despite Stars' promise, for the time being, to the contrary.

Between this cockamamie decision that, at worst would put up our residents' taxes by a miniscule amount per year, plus the administrative problems/medical politicking at our medical clinic that recently resulted in the loss of one of our best doctors after a few years of having almost no local doctor care at all, I am wondering if this is a safe place to live?  It wasn't for awhile and I thank the Lord I am not one of the people who lost life and/or quality of life through heart attack and stroke during those doctorless years, but I am stymied by this continued dedication to lack of excellence that seems to plague our town on a number of levels.

If I hear the phrases, "that's good enough" or "that's too much work" or "why would we want to do that" one more time I am going to scream!!!

On a more positive note, my husband was able to get away very early this morning for his long drive to the Archdeacons' retreat...although not a retreat from 2 days of meetings.  He was cheery, maybe because he was too tired and stunned to be otherwise after such  busy week thus far, but still it was nice to see him smiling and with colour in his face today.

He really enjoyed the Newcomers' Fair that happened at the local Elks hall last night.  He had a little booth set up for our church and quite happily and surprisingly with very short notice that we would be representing there, one of the church wardens was able to join him. They had a great time meeting all kinds of people and promoting our worship space.

The snow is holding off so far so it appears the wee ones will have a dry and hopefully safe time tomorrow trick 'n' treating.  My husband should have a safe trip home weatherwise and I pray there will be no drunk drivers on the road on what should just be a fun, if silly, night for the kids in town.  I am able to pad out our candy giving with no resentment that I am expected to contribute to the rotting of childrens' teeth: the local A&W was handing out bags of suckers at the Newcomers' Fair and gave an extra leftover one to my husband for us to hand out tomorrow night.  Yay, I get to be curmudgeonly about Halloween handouts without having to admit it to anyone but the readers of this blog! teehee

A friend from Ontario is calling me today and we always have the best chats. Her life recently was turned upside down in the most postive of ways by leaving Alberta and returning to her childhood home.

I am going to take advantage of our few degrees of warmth today and take a long walk to WallyWorld after lunch to seek out a decent 65th anniversary card for one of our church couples and hopefully find as well nice birthday cards for my mom and auntie who will turn 87 and 89 respectively next month.  

I think today will be another good day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When Does a Person Call in the Health Inspector?

Recently I had a meal in a restaurant that was so bad it either defies description or is worthy of an entire post dedicated to just how wretched it was!  I am opting for the latter course, maybe because I still can't believe how bad the food was and I need to see it in print!

I went to a restaurant I rarely go to for one reason or another but have never had reason to suspect the food wasn't just fine.  It is a busy place, so.....must be okay, right?  WRONGO!!!

I ordered a relatively safe meal for my health issues: a chicken wrap.  When it came, with a large side of salad, I was delighted to see there was lots of chicken, the wrap was one of the small ones I can safely eat all of without getting too many carbs and the bit of grated cheese and dressing fell almost within range of the amount of each that I am allowed to have at a meal.

I bit into the wrap, started to chew and nearly vomited the entire mouthful back onto my plate.  The dressing had obviously soured in the bottle and the chicken had the texture of ground "chicken lips" or other chicken body parts that were never intended for human consumption.  This minced, fatty garbage in my wrap had been shaped into little cubes to look just like pieces of chicken breast.  It had the texture of jellied fat.  In other words it was VILE!!

I put down the wrap and started on my salad.  The top of it was fine and the oil and balsamic vinegar dressing was very tasty.  However, as I began to mix it up with my fork I realized that the centre portion of my salad was rotting, slimy and had apparently been spooned onto my plate from a pre-mixed carton without being futher washed or inspected for vegetable fermentation.  Thankfully none of it made it into my mouth before I noticed how disgusting it was.

I could have sent the entire plate of glop back to the kitchen and left the place, BUT there was another problem, a sticky social problem: I was with 2 friends who are both nearly 100 years old and were trying to give me a great treat of an evening out with them.  Their meals looked only moderately better than mine had been but they were heartily enjoying them and were very proud of themselves for taking me out for a "treat".  Aiiii yiiiii....what to do????!!

It seemed a cruelty to let them know, in their ongoing delight, that my meal wasn't even edible so I did what any "good" pastor's wife would do under the circumstances:  I put bite after bite of that meal into my mouth, swallowed as much as I could without barfing it back up instantly and as tactfully as possible spit the rest into my napkin when they weren't looking.  Sigh.....What a messy situation in every way.  SO glad the napkins were banquet sized heavy paper and I had an extra one that came wrapped around my utensils by happy accident.  

My elderly friends were so happy but I couldn't in good conscience let them pay for my meal as originally planned.  As they neared the end of their "veritable feast" as they called their meals, I slipped over to the cash register and picked up the tab.  Since they have taken me out previously twice and not let me pay for anything, I felt it was my turn anyway and finally convinced them that my paying was the right thing to do.  

They drove me home immediately after dinner since it was nearing their bed time.  I walked into the house, raced for the bathroom sink and managed to regurgitate what I had swallowed before sitting down with a hot cup of camomile tea, 3 prunes, a bit of yogourt and a slice of bread and cheese.

Is there any more embarrassing, humilating and confusing social situation to be in as a pastor's wife??  I suppose there is, but I can't think of one right now.

I lay awake in bed later that night wondering if I could make an anonymous call to the health inspector to check out that restaurant, but decided it wasn't a good idea. There is only one in our town and he knows me well from doing annual inspections on our church kitchen. Anonymity would be impossible.  Also, if the rest of the town is happy with that kind of food who am I to complain?  I have the option of never eating there again option I am going to exercise on a daily basis.  

Ewwwwww....yuck!  I am getting tummy upset goose bumps just writing about it.  The people I went out with are the dearest people on the planet and would be upset for weeks if they thought I ended up with a bad meal at their instigation.  Everything worked out just fine in the end, but I admit I have actually prayed that next time we go out we could go elsewhere and they could be just as happy.

Monday, October 27, 2014

'Bye 'Bye Beautiful Indian Summer

By 11pm yesterday our wonderful Indian summer weather had come to an end.  A coating of  freezing rain had covered every outdoor surface and a couple of centimeters of snow lay on top of the grass and tree branches.  

This morning it all remains just as it was last night.  The highways are struggling with icy surfaces this morning and there isn't much sound of traffic coming from the street that runs past our house, apart from the school buses. 

Our temperature is to hover around the 0 mark all day and dip down below again tonight.  And thus endeth our lovely autumn.  We knew it was coming but denial is a marvellous coping mechanism before reality strikes with a vengeance.

On the plus side: by tomorrow we should have a high temperature of +3C and the daily highs should be  up to +5C by the end of the week.  After today there is no more snow predicted for awhile.  If that is true then my husband's last long road trip for awhile that happens later this week, should go smoothly.

I am sad because my outdoor walks have come to an end until spring unless this ice melts off for a few days between now and the next snow.  Once again I am so grateful that our large church hall and sanctuary are right next door and I can wander around in there creating walking patterns around the pews and tables and chairs for long periods of time each day.  If the "scenery" is less than fascinating at least my mind is free to think interesting thoughts.

At church yesterday when we realized the forecast was for snow by today we were commenting on how blessed we all feel that we got an "extra" month of autumn weather this year to make up for the lousy spring.  While the dreary grey skies and icy streets and snow piles make us feel kind of  BLAH, we all expressed great gratitude that it has taken this long for the weather to change.  

My husband was so cheery when he got home last night from the weekend of Diocesan seminars.  He enjoyed the fellowship so much with his colleagues and friends, there was a good turnout to the seminar he was co-teaching and he had good sleeps that refreshed him greatly.  He enjoyed travelling with his newly ordained assistant priest and visiting friends the night before the seminars in our former town of residence.  He and his assistant arrived back here nearly 2 hours before the freezing rain and snow began so that was a definite answer to prayer.

Today I slept in for an hour because I had a somewhat late night snack yesterday.  Now it is after 9am and my husband is still sleeping in.  It is his day off so we have decided we have to stop answering phones and checking even personal emails on those days.  So, I had best sign off and shut down for now.  I want to honour his day off by eliminating as many sources of possible stress as I can.

Enjoy Monday everybody! I know I am going to even with the bad weather.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Thanks SO Much for Asking, but Not This Time

Thanks so much to family and friends who emailed to ask me if I would post my little sermon from this morning. Normally I would do that, but this time it was tailored to address a particular problem our parish is experiencing at the moment.  It wouldn't be fair to post the sermon with so many things in it that are pertinent only to our congregation, sort of a breach of trust.

Just an overview then: the Old Testament reading was the last chapter of Deuteronomy, (chapter 34) where Moses finally dies and Joshua takes up the leadership of the Israelites to actually bring them into the land of Promise.

The reminder for our congregation from this passage is that God will not withdraw his hand and leave us casting about for solutions to our present problem with no hope of a good outcome.  The call was to gather together more as a Christian community and pray together for help from the Lord, to entrust our leadership team with the mandate we gave them to seek God along with us and lead where he seems to want us to follow.  Yes, even if it means that some things have to change in the near future.

I was delighted that the response today in the Prayers of the People was, "Lord, lead us out of despair and into hope!"  I hadn't had a chance to look at that particular group of prayers prior to the service so was delighted to have that response happening right after the sermon time.

All but one parishioner stayed for coffee and cookies after the service and we had a grand talk together, all at one table instead of our usual scattering of groups of 2 or 3 all at different tables.  We actually talked about our church situation and how we need to be less worried and more trusting in God.  I am so proud of these people as they face difficulties and are feeling more certain than they were even a week ago that a godly solution can be found.

A New Buddy For a Pleasant Sunday Afternoon

Church went amazingly well today.  The flow of the music, prayers and responses fit beautifully together with the words I felt I had been given for the sermon, so it was relaxing to have God firmly in control of things instead of myself.

As I was eating my lunch at home afterward I noticed a large white doggy tail wagging out in the middle of the side yard, so I put down my sandwich and went to investigate.  

Our side yard has a gap in the fence and sometimes an animal will follow its nose or another animal through that gap and then not be able to find its way back out of the yard.  That seemed to be the case today with an hilarious dog.

He was delighted when I came outside onto the deck.  His bushy tail was wagging and his body quivering with excitement when I spoke to him.  What a cutie patootie!  I know nearly zero about breeds of dog unfortunately. This fellow was pure white, medium sized and short haired other than the bushy tail. He looked like a cross that included a "Bill Sykes dog" from the movie "Oliver". He had one bright blue eye, one black eye, one droopy ear and a dew rag tied around his neck.  He was adorable.  When I came out and started to pet him he started dancing about, then led me to the gate in our 7 foot high fence, obviously wanting me to let him out again, (which I did, but not until I took some time to pat him some more and just enjoy his friendly nature).

It is always a bit of a let down to come home from church and be all alone for the rest of the day, so the presence of that funny, friendly, tail wagging dog was a big treat on a slow moving afternoon.

Spending a bit of time with him this afternoon will give me something new to talk about at dinner tonight.  One of our dear couples from the church, both in their 90's are picking me up and taking me out to a restaurant this evening. They are such fun.  It will make the time not only go quickly but with joy while I wait for my husband to return home after his busy weekend of seminars.  He called this morning to say it is going extremely well and he is very very happy.  It is not always easy for ministers to keep pumping out sermons and other talks week after week without some new and interesting input from others like he is getting this weekend.  I can't believe how quickly this 3 days has gone by...until this afternoon. Seems that when I am eagerly awaiting my husband's return home, the closer it gets to his arrival the more the time seems to drag.

Got a lovely email from a friend in Roman Catholic seminary. He is going to be here in the area in a couple of weeks and wants to see us for the first time since his seminary journey began.  How exciting...and getting together with him ensures that a good meal with decent wine is a given!  YIPPEE!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Whew!! Sermon Completed!

Being less than comfortable doing a sermon at the best of times, this go round has been particularly frustrating.  However, it all changed earlier this afternoon when a friend from far away called and we started discussing the particular lectionary readings I am supposed to be basing the sermon on.

One idea she mentioned stood out like a neon sign. It was the one thought I needed to bring all the ideas together for a coherent sermon that will apply very specifically to our church's present stresses.

As a result the sermon is all written up now, printed off and ready for a review this evening when I practise delivering it to my office mirror.  If nothing else, the fact that it is rather short will give me grace to be heard and perhaps some of the thoughts will even be remembered in the coming week.  There are only 2 points, they are clear, short and don't need a lot of belabouring to be understood. I was trying to unnecessarily complicate things, but the Spirit knows that simplicity is far more appropriate this week.

Thank you Lord for the guidance of your Spirit through the words of my friend.  It is yet another lesson for me in how God's people need each other and were created for community rather than solitude.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Inevitable Winter Weather

The wind changed today.  It was definitely a cold wind, unlike the balmy breezes we have been enjoying for the past few weeks.  The chill went right through my light jacket as I quick stepped to a restaurant for my lunch, trying not to shiver visibly as I realized my choice for a coat was all wrong.  Yesterday I took my walks, leisurely strolls, in my shirt sleeves.

The sun is so low in the sky by mid afternoon that 2:30pm looks and feels like 5:30pm did a month ago.

The forcast for tomorrow is not too bad with a high of +16C, but after dipping well below zero overnight into Sunday the daytime highs are predicted to be only about +2C to +4C for the next few days. Brrrrrr....

By Monday we are possible going to experience periods of snow, or light rain and flurries depending on which weather forecast you believe.  I would prefer periods of snow without the rain coming down first and freezing all over everything. Once that happens we will not be free of the ice for the entire winter. I would so love just one winter like Northern Alberta: lots of snow but not much ice on the roads and sidewalks; certainly not the thick base of ice that we struggle with here every winter.

My husband and his assistant priest got away to their weekend of seminars in good time today.  My husband called me from a lovely little Thai restaurant where he was having his dinner tonight, all excited about his weekend and about a chance to spend time in a favourite city of mine, but on his own and able to visit his buddies, to talk about theolgy and philosphy to his heart's content.  Tomorrow the seminars begin and he will be intensely busy teaching and learning.

I have the music decided for the local Sunday service, but now am struggling with my homily.  It isn't coming together yet.  I have several pages of unconnected ideas in my attempt to tie the scriptures for this week together as a cohesive unit.  The commentaries on these lections that I am reading are not doing that great a job either actually, so it will be interesting to see what I can glean from some other commentaries and authors.  The tie in is the death of Moses and I can make some of the connections between readings smoothly, but what I have still leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe after a good sleep tonight I will have more success in completing this "mess" of a message.  There isn't one main idea that stands out to me as a core for my sermon.  Prayer and sleep and tomorrow something will come to mind and spirit, I am sure. I think some of life's current stresses are distracting me from focusing my prayers and thoughts.  Sunday service may be more "interesting" than any one is expecting. hahaha


Thursday, October 23, 2014

But I'm Not Jealous!!

My hair dresser told me today that she has begun a project for herself as a break away from child rearing and hair styling.  She has joined the local roller derby group.

Oooh, I am so envious! I freely admit it.

When I was 18 I was old enough to join the roller derby group in my home city. Roller derby in those days was far more rough and tumble than it is today with the newer rules for women, but I wanted very much to participate.  I started that summer to go to the local rollerskating rink to practise the skating techniques, practise falling down without injuring myself too badly, doing exercises in preparation for my hopeful acceptance into the group that autumn.

I didn't tell anyone I was doing it.  My family had no idea and I was not dumb enough to tell my parents as that would have been the end of it right there.  By the end of Sept. I felt more than ready to apply to join up.

A month later I had the accident that resulted in my hip being broken and that was the end of my roller derby dream.  Sigh......that was a tough loss for me.

Now I can live my dream vicariously through the local roller derby club and my friend's involvement. She is still training and won't be skating against the other clubs until January, but I can't wait to go and watch her and the rest of the club.  

Yay, a sport done locally that I truly enjoy!  A sport for adults!! 


Excellent Quote

From the Salesian Missions in New Rochelle, NY:

Take time to think, it is the source of power. 
Take time to play, it is the source of perpetual youth. 
Take time to read, it is the fountain of wisdom. 
Take time to pray, it is the greatest power on earth. 
Take time to love and be loved, it is a God-given privilege. 
Take time to be friendly, it is the road to happiness. 
Take time to laugh, it is the music of the soul. 
Take time to give, it is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to work, it is the price of success. 
Take time to do charity, it is the key to heaven.

Happy Hair Day

Is there a happier day than hair cut and style day?  I don't think so.  Today is that day for me.  YAY!!!  I always look nice for 3 days after a new cut and style before having to revert to my own devices to try keeping it up.  I am rarely successful, so even with a well cut, simple style, it remains beyond my control to look decent after that intial 3 days.  Hence, the over load of joy on The Day. hahaha 

O Canada

Our country's population is still reeling today after two terrorist attacks in as many days, one in Quebec and one in Ontario.

Yesterday a convicted felon, recently converted to Islam for the apparent purpose of launching attacks on the Canadian military as an act of terrorism or wannabe terrorism after being denied the ability to travel internationally, invaded our national parliament buildings.  He killed a soldier on guard duty at the national war memorial and injured security staff while our politicians and their aides scrambled for safety. He was eventually shot and killed by security police.

The news channels are filled with the usual analysis (sorry folks, but in my opinion "analysis" is NOT news, only the sound of opinions flowing freely from media types who have been assigned to fill air time but have not been given any new information to share) and the released facts have been sparse to date.  "Joe Canadian" has not been given much information about what actually is going on and how the situation is being handled.

However, despite a lack of information to go on, I actually have only one question and that is:  WHY ARE WE SO SHOCKED THAT THIS OCCURRED HERE?

Over the past few years, particularly under the leadership of our current Prime Minister, Canada has exchanged its traditional military role as internationsl peace keeper to one of active combat overseas.  Our soldiers are being slaughtered in ugly wars in other countries. Our role in international war is not much different now than that of our southern neighbours, so why o why should we be so shocked when our own country receives the same type of fall out from terrorists that is being experienced there?

While the two incidents of terrorism here did not have the splashy pizzazz of the United States' horrific 9/11 disaster, I personally find them even more frightening.  Micro-terrorism is not as difficult to perform.  Murdering a soldier or politician or two, here and there and who knows where else, is not that difficult.  It requires minimal planning and expense in comparision to what happened down south.  It is much easier to execute. (pun intentional)

I hope we will not be naive as a nation.  We have been seemingly immune to the types of tragedies and disasters that have been occuring around us for decades, but now we have lost our international "good reputation" as peace keepers and we can expect to reap the consequences.

O Canada, what have you done to yourself?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

When Are We Going to Get It?

Apparently our RCMP are moving toward creating a 50/50 gender hiring policy.  They do not want to be discriminatory in their hiring of officers to protect our citizens.  

Not being discrminatory is a fine thing.

However, to use a policy that demands hiring percentages based on gender is incredibly discriminatory. In this case it is men who will be  discrminated against.  Hiring policies based on gender are actually guilty of prolonging and bolstering the very problem the policies are supposed to be eliminating.

When are we going to understand that until gender is no longer an issue at all, AT ALL, until it is removed from the hiring equation and hiring is based on qualifications and experience only, we will not be free of gender discriminatory hiring practises??

Such a Good Day

Last night it began to rain. Fortunately the cloud cover lasted for the night so the water didn't freeze on the ground.  Is it too much to hope for that this year the first snow will arrive on dry ground and we avoid the winter-long ice cover on sidewalks and streets?  Looking forward to a cloudy day today but with another slight warming trend at least until the weekend.

Yesterday was glorious again: a sunny day with blue sky and a perfect day for taking a couple of good long walks.  

The grocery store had all the items I needed yesterday so I avoided racing all over town for a change to get everything and getting frustrated by not finding at least one major item, as so often happens here.

Had an encouraging long distance call from a friend in another province.  We have a good mutual support system that has stood us in good stead for the past nearly 40 years...WOW FORTY YEARS!!  She is very near and dear to me.  We have been through a lot together.

My husband completed the last section of the garage clean out and reorganization on his day off.  He proudly showed me the result of his efforts last night and I admit to be very impressed.  It will be uplifting for him now every time he goes out there, instead of it being a constant reminder of how far behind he has been on the details of home life and work over the past year or two.  I am delighted.  It will be less depressing for me as well now when I go out there to get the car.

As long as it isn't icy underfoot I am going to "suit up" and go for my usual walk later today.  I want to take advantage of every possible walking day before the winter sets in.  Once it arrives I am facing many months of walking inside the house and church, the local mall and the walking track at the arena.  Those venues can become rather monotonous by the time our 5 to 7 months of icy winter are over.  For every day I can still walk outside I am extremely grateful.  To have gotten this far into October with no snow is quite wonderful!!  At least when it arrives I have all my new sweaters to enjoy wearing. The best thing about being the age I am is that when those sweaters go out of style next year I can still wear mine quite happily.  No one  is looking at me at this stage of my life.  Being invisible has its perks.

My husband will be heading to our other town and church today and tomorrow so I am going to take advantage of the down time to get the house cleaned and start researching my homily for Sunday.  He will be on his second last "out trip" related to diocesan events this weekend so I am taking the local service for him. Fortunately we have available lay assistance in the other town to take their service so I won't have to drive down there and back. (There is a hint in the forecast of some light flurries perhaps on Sunday...a pox on that I say!)  Oooh, another thing to be grateful for: I will have the car for this weekend as my husband is riding to his event with another parishioner.  If I want to go anywhere farther away than the local WalMart I will have wheels to do it....although I suspect the car will never leave the garage the entire weekend.  

It is time to read the morning online news papers and then get on with my day, get some vaccuming done and maybe even the dusting.  Such excitement...can I stand it??? hahahahahaha  Another good day in the offing......

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Is There Anything Cuter??

Yesterday afternoon the temperature soared to +24C, somewhat unusual for an autumn prairie afternoon. All the birds that hang out at our place decided it was the perfect day for a bath.  At one point we counted nearly 20 sparrows jammed into our tiny bird bath, water flying everywhere as they hustled and bustled and fluffed their feathers while chasing each other around in a circle.  Two large mourning doves chased the sparrows off at one point and had their own "soak in the tub".  My husband had to refill the bird bath three times yesterday.

We took advantage of the weather with a walk down to the local "jack of all trades" store to pick up new suet packs to tie onto the net house frame for the winter.  We originally put up the suet for the woodpeckers, but over the past few weeks we have seen ALL the other birds feasting on it.  The jays, sparrows, nuthatches, finches and flickers all seem to enjoy it.  

My husband bought a pack of fresh mixed nuts and hung them up under our kitchen window eave. Some of the birds prefer feeding under the safety of that eave, particularly when the hawks pass over our place.  The Downys love eating those nuts but the ones in the old bag are getting moldy in the middle of the bag.  He took that bag down and was going to toss it out but realized there are still some good nuts around the outside, so he rehung it over on the net house frame. Seconds after he came back indoors Missy Downy was at the new nut bag. She took a few mouthfuls, stopped and looked all around. Then she flew directly over to the new location of the old nut bag and ate her fill, mold and all.  She didn't return to the new bag. haha  Downy Jr. was much more impressed with the new nuts than the old ones, so my husband felt justified in putting them out there.  The jays were delighted with the fresh cashews.

It is shaping up to be a delightful winter with the birds that winter over at our place.  A new heat tape is in place in the bird bath to guarantee there will be fresh water even in the -40C days of December and January. There is an extra suet pack or 2 in the garage storage, fresh packs of mixed seeds and bags of sunflower seeds in the shells.  After leaving the feeders and bird bath empty for most of Sept. so that the migrating birds would indeed migrate out of our place, the birds who spend winters in the yard will be well taken care of.

Monday, October 20, 2014

'Flu' Shot With a Pneumonia Shot Chaser

So glad to get our 'flu' shots out of the way today. Neither my husband nor myself have had them previously. No pain at the site of injection for either of us and the soreness of the arm muscles is minimal.  

As a diabetic I also received a free pneumonia vaccination.  My husband would have had to pay for his as  he too is under the age of 65.  What a great country we live in as far as access to vaccinations against various illnesses.  I realize we have some pretty severe problems with our health care system, as do other countries in the world, but to be well taken care of for such shots as we had today is pretty great.

The arm where I received my pneumonia vaccination is sore, but it is a small price to pay for this kind of protection.

Thank You God for Another Warm and Sunny Autumn Day

After a very good sleep last night I feel more like writing a bit this morning while the laundry is whirring around in the machines.

What a great trip over the weekend.  The sun shone continually every day, the evenings were cool without being jarringly cold.  I barely wore my outdoor jacket all weekend.

Highlights of the trip included:
--a safer than usual trip to City #1 on a crowded 2 lane highway that has us biting our knuckles every time we have to drive on it.  We didn't get trapped behind more than one or two large, slow moving vehicles for the entire 2 hour trip.

--we got our errands done there in rather a longer time than we planned because the infrastructure of that city no longer keeps up with the amount of truck traffic using its ring roads and highway off ramps. Twice our ability to turn left on the green light was thwarted because the oncoming truck traffic, that was also trying to turn left behind us, had trailers and rigs that completely blocked the intersection we had to turn across.  The left turn lanes are no longer long enough to handle the number of rigs using them and the lights are not synchronised properly to allow the traffic to flow.  Next time we go in during busy day time hours we will try to plan an alternate route to our city destinations.

--visiting a parishioner in hospital in the city was very sweet.  She had a good chance of not living through the surgery, however not only did she survive and do well in recovery, the day we saw her she was more worried about her hair style than about her new hip replacement!  She is going to be fine!  Hallelujah!

--had 2 Indian meals, the first in City #1 was terrible and we have confirmation now that we are correct in our assumption that if it is noon on a Friday and there are no guests in a particular restaurant it is because the food is horrific.  haha.  O well, we did have a lovely visit with the proprietor whose ancestors had been in the British army in India in the 1800's.  When the army was removed from India this man's family lost everything they had and emigrated to Kenya.  They came to Canada 53 years ago with the equivalent of one Canadian dollar to their name.  I am glad they found a good home here.  I do hope though that the quality of the meals served in their restaurant improves...yikes! The second meal, in City #2 was fantastic as it always is at our favourite spot and we are glad we had time to stop and eat dinner there on our way home on Saturday evening. The dhosa were particularly delicious and made right at our table.

--I am now officially old.  For the third time in as many trips one of my waitresses called me "dear".  If I was as brave as my mother in law used to be I would have told her in no uncertain terms, "I am NOT your DEAR!!", but I actually get a bit of a kick out of it.  The waitresses mean well and are trying to be kind to we elderly and incompetent, slow and witless types. haha

--We arrived at our hotel in City #2 to discover they are renovating (thus the surprising drop in cost that allowed us to stay there in the first place) and so we were upgraded to a suite.  It was old, a bit shabby and the kitchenette sported disposable dishes and cutlery, but how wonderful it was to have the bedroom separate from the rest of the suite. When an inebriated guest fell into the wall and tripped the fire alarm on our floor at 4am, I was able to leave my husband sleeping, quietly shut the door to the bedroom and spend the rest of the night reading my book while wrapped up in a blanket on the couch.  I could turn up the heat in the living room and he could turn down the heat in the bedroom and it was all good.  

--We arrived at our hotel in plenty of time to have an early dinner at the restaurant down the street.  It was delicious and I had a calabrese salad that was excellent!!  I was able to get the dressing on the side so only used about a teaspoon of it on the salad, which was good as it is a very sweet dressing. The butter lettuce was crisp and fresh. The bocconcini was perfect in texture.  I had a glass of red wine that wasn't horrible and we ended up having a great date together. The downtown mall was open late so we had a brisk walk all around it before settling back into the hotel for the night.

--The next morning when I was packing up to check out of the hotel, I managed to haul both my husband's tote bags, my suitcase and a couple of plastic bags from our shopping at the mall the night before, all in one load.  When I got on the elevator, our alarm tripping guest was in there all ready with his son, still not quite sober, friendly as you please.  He took one look at all the bags I was carrying and said, "Sheez, you must be one strong woman."  I cracked up!  If you are familiar with First Nations understated humour and tone of voice you can imagine the hilarity.  We both got laughing and when he got off with me in the lobby he grabbed his son's arm and told him he should look for a strong woman for himself. I cracked up all over again.  

--The ordination service for our deacon was beautiful, inspiring, full of colourful robes, pomp and ceremony and joy!  My husband has the pleasure of working in a diocese filled with some of the most sincere clergy colleagues he has ever met, including our bishop. It is always a pleasure to get together and share in such a joyful occasion.  I am so glad I was able to go along for this trip.

--The sermon my husband preached at the ordination was able to be adapted for the next day's church services so he didn't have to stay up half the night completing the one he had originally started writing.  We didn't get home until after 10pm the night before, so he was grateful to realize how fitting the sermon from the ordination actually was for the next day's preaching.

--In a few minute we are leaving for the local 'flu' shot clinic to get our immunization needles.  As a diabetic I am supposed to get one each year and as someone who has so much contact with people in his work, including sharing in the common communion cup each week, my husband also requires some assistance in battling these diseases.

--Will spend the afternoon digging out the now frosted flowers from the front of the house.  While we were away some of the church men cut down the giant hedge in front of the rectory from being nearly 8 feet in height to waist height.  It is going to be so much easier to look after next spring and summer.  It looks good and we are so grateful they did that.

--Just sorting out the details today as to how my husband's accommodation for next weekend's Diocesan seminar sessions is going to work out.  I have got to stay home this time and keep my diet sorted out.  O my...all this travelling and restaurant food is wreaking havoc with my system...not so much the diabetes and the stress on my liver from the extra fats and sodium that cannot be completely avoided in such circumstances.

--Another sunny, nicely warm day is upon us.  How grateful I am.  I am praying it will last until Nov. 1 so that my husband's last 2 long drives out of town between then and now will not be ruined by ice and snow.  On days like this it is nearly impossible to imagine that first blizzard rolling in and changing the season so completely to winter once again.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Home At Last

We arrived home last night rather late after a most productive weekend away.  Our deacon is now fully priested and will be ready to take his own parish once there is a suitable one available for him.  As much as I have enjoyed all the travelling over the past few weeks, I have to stay home now for a couple of months and get my diet back on track.  Too many restaurant meals during that time, despite being as strict as possible in what I order, have resulted in too much fat and sodium, so my liver is all ready starting to react.  Time to slow down, take over my own cooking again and relax more.

Tomorrow I will blog more about the weekend's events....after going to the 'flu' clinic for a shot...after getting some paper work completed....after sending in some required information to the diocesan office........after.......well, I'll get to writing eventually. Yawn......zzzzzzzzz

PS did you know that bleaching and ironing albs and purificators is a pain in the butt?  Also, not the most fun way to spend a Sunday evening! hahaha

Thursday, October 16, 2014

On the Road Once More

It seems we have barely arrived home from Thanksgiving travels and we are heading out again in the morning for a couple of days.  Wow...does it ever end???  For my husband that would be a NO!  Next weekend he is gone again to teach at a Diocesan seminar weekend and then a couple of weeks later he has to hope and pray for good weather to drive far away for an Archdeacon's retreat.  I continue to hope and pray along with him for that good weather, particularly for dry roads!!

We have to get to 2 cities tomorrow, one for Communion wine and to pick up our scissors from the sharpening shop where we left them WEEKS ago. I assume they will still be there after all this time.  It is going to mean lunch in a very nice restaurant so that is always a nice thing for us.  I am not sure why we both enjoy eating out so much.  My husband didn't grow up with that and my family ate out so often it shouldn't be such a great treat for me at this stage of my life.  O well, it is going to be fun!

We were able to secure a lovely room in our favourite hotel in city #2. The rates have certainly gone down with the end of the summer season upon us.  I wish we could loll around in the morning until check out time and enjoy it, as that would line us up perfectly to get my husband to the ordination luncheon and rehearsal on time, but we have to back track about a half hour up the highway to the acreage of some former parishioners. They would like Dell to do a house blessing for them and that is always a fun ceremony.  I am grateful that once we get back to the city there is a good coffee bar/restaurant near the church for me to go to for my lunch until it is time for the ordination service to begin.

It is going to be rather late when we get home that night.  Driving that many hours in the dark is a bit daunting due to the amount of wildlife on the roads.  There are so many deer, moose and prong horned goats out at dusk and for the first hour after dark that it makes for a rather stressful trip, peering through the darkness into the ditches and surrounding fields for the tell tale flashes of wild animal eyeballs reflecting in the headlights of the car. It also amazes me how many inebriated drivers this province still boasts of on the highways despite all the education available and the high cost of police fines these days.

Up and early the next morning to do our regular round of church services, so hopefully we can both collapse in the afternoon....after a series of hospital visits that should have been done earlier this week if there had been time.  

Does this ministry ever slow down???  Apparently not...but we can at least say we are never bored or looking for something to do!!!

Temptation Over!

Yeah.....well, so much for the wasabi chocolate.  My blood sugar was just fine after I ate it, but I had the same old reaction emotionally within an hour of consumption: crabby, miserable and nasty.

Good to know that all this tracking of my refined sugar intake symptoms so closely is why I was able to recognize the reason I was feeling so peckish in the afternoon. It is worth the trouble to do it.

Interesting how simply having a negative physical or emotional reaction to a food will now be sufficient grounds to stay away from the offender.  I certainly have no desire left to ever eat the wasabi chocolate again.

Whew!  Dodged a bullet!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My First Real Diabetic Diet Temptation??

The other day I purchased a bar of Lindt wasabi flavoured chocolate for my husband to try, only to discover he tried it on one of his camping trips this summer and doesn't care for it at all.  I read the nutrition label this afternoon and thought I could certainly get away with trying one small square with only 4grams of carb, 3 of them refined sugar.

One big problem: of all the bits of dessert I have tried in the past year, none of which I really care to ever taste again, this one is the first exception.  I LOVE wasabi chocolate!!!!  Just in case it becomes a temptation I can't overcome well in the coming weeks, I have put the rest of the bar out of sight and hopefully by tomorrow out of mind as well.  

I am not a great fan of wasabi and find it difficult to have to eat it on sushi, although I do eat it on any sort of sashimi for safety's sake, but the mix with the dark chocolate is the perfect blend of warmth and sweetness. O my my my....delicious.

This is my first true temptation....may it soon dissipate and also end up being the last!!

Fa La La La La Etcetera.....

"Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm."
--Winston Churchill

Good thing, especially today for both my husband and I!

My dear husband drove over to the seniors' manor to do a Bible study and came away without his hat. He had all ready reached the hospital to do morning visits, but decided it best to return to the manor right away to get his lost item.  Back to the hospital he drove, did a communion and some visiting, then returned to the car to discover his keys locked inside.  Home he walked, borrowed my keys and headed back to the hospital to get the car.  By the time lunch time arrived he was all ready exhausted, but he has to get a move on to drive down to our other church for a vestry meeting and some other visting this evening.

I started off the day enthusiastically.  In fact I was a bit too enthusiastic when I arrived at the dentist's office all ready for my cleaning procedure. When I put my coat and purse onto the wall rack I was so jazzed that I put too much weight on the purse handles and pulled the rack right out of the wall.  Drywall dust was everywhere.....sigh....  My dental technician laughed until I thought she would fall down!  I didn't laugh at all.  Sigh.....

My morning improved from there though.  After a short session in the dental chair I walked downtown and did some necessary banking, was able to get a prescription refill I thought I was going to have to fight for, found some soda my husband hadn't been able to yet locate here in town and when I walked into the laser clinic to make an appointment they had just had a cancellation and took me immediately.  Very cool!  My hair dresser is able to cut my hair exactly when I want it cut next week, also very unexpected and cool!!

So now my poor exhausted husband is about to leave for the next set of today's ministry duties and I am going to watch a movie I have been wanting to see for a long time. Tomorrow and Friday will be laundry and packing days for our next trip out of town this weekend.  With all this travelling the weeks are flying by!  Soon the dreaded snow will once again be upon us, but for now we are taking every opportunity to be on the road out of town before the storms arrive.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Somewhat Stoned...How Long Has It Been?

Thanksgiving long weekend went very well indeed, at least until the last few hours of the holiday break:  2 excellent church services, perfect weather to drive back and forth to the city to see my parents, the joy of knowing we were able to help them out with some errands and shopping, cooking Thanksgiving dinner together to share with a family friend, an unexpected phone call from my son and some delicious restaurant meals, along with a restaurant adventure.

Although the trip there and back took place completely in post-harvest Great Land of Brown, we spotted the occasional field of voluntary canola or winter wheat greening up the scenery for a few seconds as we raced past it.  We arrived in the city earlier than expected and had time to have our dinner before going over to mom's and dad's.  

We opted for a newly renovated Himalayan venue that used to be a somewhat rough and tumble buffet.  It has been renovated into a much higher class, quality dining space with a marvellous menu and a fairly extensive wine list, the buffet now offered only at lunch time.  Reservations are normally required to gain entrance to the place now, but because we were rather early the maitre d' whipped a Reserved sign off a table for 2 and seated us immediately.  As it turned out the couple who had reserved the table for the evening phoned shortly after we arrived to let the restaurant know they would be half an hour late.  It gave us plenty of time to relax and enjoy our meal and the ambiance of the seating area.  I ordered basa fish with vegetables and my husband a lamb dish.  We were treated to papadum with a small tray of mango dip and sweet yogourt cucumber dip and we were given freshly made naan with our main course.  My plate arrived with a most appetizing bowl of cauliflower  in a hot tomato sauce and a potato/green pea/black eyed bean salad, saffron rice, while the basa fish with hot tomatoes, green peppers and onions came on a separate, steaming hot cast iron tray.  My husband's lamb stew was freshly made, lovely to look at as well and he enjoyed the same salad as myself.  We dawdled over our meal because the atmosphere was so pleasant and it was an unexpected treat.  Had we been unable to score a table we would have been stuck going to the chain fish and fries restaurant next door.

Thanksgiving Monday was a good day for my parents.  We took them to the recycle so they could get rid of a lot of junk and then shopping for some clothing and hardware store goods.  Dad managed to get out of the car and walk through all the stores but he was incredibly tired out when we got home.  In the afternoon we all cooked dinner together and a special family friend came to join us for the meal.  We had a great visit but I could see dad wilting by the time we all left for the night.  He was very excited that his grandson telephoned from the west coast. My mom was delighted that the "boy" would take time to call in the midst of his incredibly busy work schedule.  Way to go son! haha

This morning before we left I took mom shopping for a few more items.  Dad was so exhausted he really wasn't feeling well, so my husband stayed with him while mom and I got one of our rare chances to go out alone.  We even took time to go for coffee before we returned and mom said she felt like our short time together was a holiday.  She is so restricted with caring for dad and I feel badly for them both.  He can't get out that often and pays for it every time he does and she is bound to the house because of his needs.  He panics when she leaves to go out on the bus on her own because he is afraid she will have an accident and never come back and then what will happen to him?  (dad has reached the stage where everything is about him and him alone, but that happens often with age and we all just roll with it)  Mornings like this one are what make me wish I lived closer and could take mom out more...and dad too, to get him out of that condo more often for shorter periods of time.

Before my husband and I drove back through the Great Land of Brown we looked for somewhere new to have lunch.  My husband said he was in the mood for Lebanese food but wasn't sure where to go to get it so early in the day.  Only a few minutes after he said that I noticed "Genuine Lebanese Lounge" on a restaurant sign, so we whipped into the parking lot to go in and check it out. was a lounge all right.  It was a sheeshah lounge and the hookahs were in "full bloom" by the time we left the place.  When we arrived there was only one small party of young men enjoying their pipe of tobacco with mint oils and the place is well ventilated, so we hunkered down with our menus and ordered our shwarma meals.  To say the wait was long is giving the place too much was incredibly long, although the food was more than worth the wait.  The problem for me was that as we sat and waited with our drinks, more people were arriving to smoke. Along with the sharp mint odor, green apple and orange blossom smoke began to seep out from under the ceiling ventilators and make their way to our table.  Within about 30 minutes my head was beginning to spin just a bit and my stomach began to dance about somewhat dangerously.  Another 15 minutes and my husband asked me if I realized that my entire body was vibrating.  Ooh, yes, I certainly did realize it!!  About every 3rd sentence I would forget what I was saying.  Here I thought the 1970's had ended long ago for me, but here I was in a hookah lounge not even needing my own pipe to feel very strange indeed!!  About the time I had my wallet open to put down the money for our drinks and flee the place for fresh air, our missing waiter materialized with our plates of food.  It was quite fabulous fare but unfortunately I had to wolf it down rather unceremoniously to settle my stomach.  As soon as I downed the last bite I left my husband on his own to finish his meal and pay the bill while I stumbled outside.  

Was it my imagination or had the colours on the street signs and buildings reached a new intensity during my time inside the restaurant?  Did the air smell different than before I went in?  Had our car changed shape somewhat?  I fell into the car, rolled down the window and tried to just relax and stop vibrating physically and mentally.  When my husband returned he took one look at me and started laughing uproariously.  I mean, how embarrassing, how totally humiliating is it to be in that condition from simply sitting in a sheeshah bar and not even be smoking the hookah???????  

Obviously he would be driving us home, laughing all the way.  It took nearly 5 hours for me to completely regain control of myself.  I never HAD to actually do any drugs in the '70.  All I would have had to do was just be in the same room as someone who was smoking any kind of drug and blowing the smoke in my direction in order to buzz myself halfway into the following week.  

Sigh...... Embarrassing....humiliating....and at my age too.........I have never seen my husband so enjoying my discomfort.  Even the Great Land of Brown seemed to have taken on a more incredibly interesting appearance during the drive home.  I couldn't close my eyes to rest. It was like they were glued open.  Sigh.....  I am never going to live this down.

So, quite a weekend.  I am grateful to have been able to spend time with my parents; I just could have skipped the middle 6 hours of today, thank you very much!!! hohoho!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Joyous Sukkot

When we arrived in Japan to pastor our little church my husband asked his Japanese mentoring pastor if he had some advice to give about preaching to his new Japanese congregation.  Baba-sensei had only one sentence of instruction to give him. "Preach the Word with joy!"

A good word of advice that applies not only in Japan.

The Jewish calendar has taken  us into the time of Sukkot, The Feast of Booths.  After a time of repentence our Jewish friends have entered a time of incredible joy and rejoicing for the goodness of God who forgives and restores.  

As Christians we too should be rejoicing.  Joy is our witness of the goodness of God to the rest of the world.  Over the last couple of centuries we have given joy short shrift and replaced it with a form of godliness that doesn't get past the repenting and atoning, not only for our own sake but for the sake of  standing in judgement of what we feel others should also repent of and atone for.  Too often, pure joy has been treated as a suspicious attitude to have by us sinner folk, or it has simply gotten lost in our over burdened spirits as we focus selfishly on our own sin too much of the time.  We negate the forgiveness of God so easily by being wrapped up in the dark side of our lives.

Our own scriptures admonish us in a number of places to retain our joy.  A key passage contains the following verse, Philippians 4:4:

Rejoice in the Lord always...and AGAIN I say, rejoice!!

Start reading at Philippians chapter 3 and keep going to Phil. 4:9 get the whole context.

Then do some back up reading:
Ps. 33:1
Habakkuk 3:18
2 Corinthians 6:10
1Thessalonians 5:16

So many of us Christians spend our lives letting the world see our constant analytical reflection of our own walk with Christ. We are quick to discuss the failures and the concerns but rarely the joy.  Joy is the key in sharing Jesus' goodness with each other and with the rest of the population. Spending our time blabbing about whether or not something is "God's will" or not, going on and on about our own sinfulness and refusing to allow ourselves to rest in the joy of the Lord, leads to our own downfall in sharing about God's amazing forgiveness and love.  If other people don't see the joy our walk with Christ is supposed to bring us, why would they be interested in knowing more about him?

Do I hear a rousing chorus of "I've Got the Joy, Joy, Joy Joy Down in my Heart!"?  And don't forget to do the actions, okay?  heehee

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I Know How Alexander Felt On His Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

Today has been a very sad day as far as news from several friends.  My heart is aching for all of them.

Someone we know was accused of and confessed to an horrendous crime.  There will definitely be a jail term in the offing once the case has gone through the courts.

Another friend just received a diagnosis of ALS, "Lou Gehrig's Disease", after several months of physical problems and wondering what on earth was wrong.

This morning a farm accident claimed all the fingers on the hand of another friend.

By 3pm today I was scared to answer the phone because I wasn't sure what bad news I was going to hear next.  I don't think it was an accident that the leader of one of our Diocesan prayer groups phoned me earlier today and shared some of her prayer ideas.  Believe me, they will be put to good use in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Return of the Mountain Man

My husband is safely and happily home from his mountain climb.  The weather was perfect, he went with a really good friend and he got in some good climbs and hikes.  I am very happy to see him, stinky camp smoke on his clothes and all.  He arrived at the restaurant a dear friend took me to for dinner just as we were finishing our meal, was able to enjoy dinner and a visit with us.
It has been a great week thus far for us both, but back to work tomorrow.

This Thanksgiving Season I am Thankful for My Son

Dear son: This Thanksgiving season I find I am particularly thankful to have you in my life.  Here are some of the things I am most thankful for:
I am thankful that despite my supposed inability to conceive, you were born.

I am thankful that God in her wisdom permitted me to have the son I always wanted. When I thought about children, before I knew I wasn't technically able to have any, I knew I wanted a boy and one day......there you were!!
I am thankful that you were a curious and intelligent child with deep emotional sensitivities that often surprised me with their wise expressions at a very young age.
I am thankful that although your childhood was not the happiest and you saw so little of your dad due to his work committments, you have forgiven me for my deep imperfections as a parent and your dad for being away; that we have a solid, close knit family who seem to know when to be involved and when to step back from each other's lives.  It has been a learning process but we have all survived remarkably well.

I am thankful for your spirituality and your relationship with God.  It is a very personal relationship that is different from mine or daddy's or anyone else's and it is as creative as you are. I love it.
I am thankful for your maturity about life because it has been hard won and learned "through many dangers, toils and snares". 

I am thankful for your honesty, particularly when you know ahead of time you are going to be saying things my Mother's Heart is not going to want to hear.  Those are the things I most need to know in order to understand who you are and what you are making of your life.  While you deserve your own privacy as we all do, I am thankful that you are not afraid any more to just be real with me.

I am thankful for your incredible work ethic.  While I sometimes worry you are going to burn out, you seem to know how to get a grip when you get too close to the edge. You are learning how to step away from the work and take some relaxation time in order to refresh and restore yourself.  No one could be prouder of how hard you work at everything you do than your dad and I are.
I am thankful that you are not afraid to express your the things you say and do and in your amazing art works.
I am thankful for your incredible sense of humour that sneaks into your life and your work even at the most odd or painful times.

I am thankful for the never ending fountain of creativity that wells up inside you and brings you new joys in your paintings and sculpture year after year.
Finally, I am thankful to be blessed with an amazing son I don't deserve to have.  You are my special gift from God, my son who reminds me that there is a vast world out there just waiting to be discovered, that I have family and am not alone, that brings me intense joy, severe emotional pain, anxiety, peace and all the other good and bad things that sons bring to their mothers.  You exemplify for me the forgiveness that is possible for a son to give to his mother for her imperfections and mistakes as a parent.
You are a son I am so proud, thrilled and completely stunned to be able to call my own.  Happy Thanksgiving.  Love, Mom

We Are a Crazy People

The world and the people in it are getting stranger and more frightening all the time.  

This morning I read about an Alberta girl who was being bullied at school. Her locker was broken into and threatening messages appeared on her phone etc.  She decided to counteract the bullying by printing up nearly 900 post-it notes with positive messages and posted one on every locker in the school.  Then she got in trouble with the adminstration because some of them fell off the lockers, the janitor was not happy that he/she had to clean those up and the girl was in trouble for littering. Meantime the kids who bullied her have not been made accountable.  What is wrong with this picture?? (And no, I am not one of those people who think every incident of bullying is only up to the school staff to deal with...I have VERY strong opinions about parents who abdicate their own responsibilities and expect the school to raise their children for them in every aspect of life. Just so ya' know....)

Ebola has broken out in 2 victims (and a dog?) in Spain adding to world wide paranoia about the spread of the disease assuming plague-like proportions.  How frightened should we actually be?  I don't know.  I am grateful I do not live in western Africa right now but I do want to do more to financially assist medical teams there who are in desperate straits trying to get this epidemic under control.

Terrorists are beheading westerners left, right and centre in the middle east, killing Christians en masse and leading us into another war.  The tension begins once again:  when do we allow other countries to fight their own wars and when do we intercede for reasons ranging from humanitarian compassion to protecting our own country's interests globally?  There are good reasons and not so good reasons and downright bad reasons for our country's intervention in that particular situation and the answers as to why we are involved in some wars in other countries and not in others are not black and white, not easily fathomed.  It is easy to be cynical and cranky about North Americans only involving themselves in other country's politics according to our own financial gain, but there are always other reasons involved as well that we may not be aware of as the mere "general population".

It would be easy to become so upset about the state of the world in general as to render myself quite useless in participating in or enjoying the life I live here in Canada. There is pressure from some quarters to assume a form of "survivor's guilt" by those of us not suffering in such ways and who are unable to go to these countries and sacrifice our lives in hopes of ending the disaster.  Somewhere there is a balance between doing all I can to assist in other countries who are having struggles and living out the necessary details of my own life.  Prayer and financial giving are what I can do at this time and so I will do those things to the best of my ability.  As other opportunities arise, if they should do so, I pray I will have the courage to follow them through,

I am not certain how crazy the world has to get before the Lord intervenes and shuts down life as we know it and I am not certain I want to know.  It would seem that "the time is not yet."  I do not believe in the Rapture, at least not in the way it is generally promoted in some churches, but I do believe that Jesus will come again and make things right in his Father's time and way.  However it plays out it is good to have assurance that the horrendous things we humans have chosen to commit upon each other and upon the earth will not continue forever.