Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Today's Quote

"There is no refuge like a book
 To take us Lands away
 Nor any Coursers like a Page
 Of prancing poetry"
--Emily Dickenson

Surprise, Surprise......Eek!!

While I was away last week I broke a bit of filling off a back molar, so today I went to the dentist to see about a possible new filling.  Surprise, surprise:  I came home with a temporary crown and an appointment for the permanent crown to be placed in 9 days. This is my first crown and there are others needing to be done.

My wallet is as surprised as my mind and body~our dental insurance plan is not always so excited to cover such costs as we are excited to have it cover them.  The last time I applied for assistance for a crown it was rejected completely and now we are redoing the application process.  In 2 weeks I will know just how much today's surprise crown will actually cost ME and if there will be any assistance available for the one originally rejected.  

Never having had a crown before I have no idea what the total cost will be; not even a ballpark figure.  All I know is that it will cost less than a bridge between 2 teeth on the other side of my mouth that I am managing to live without for the present time.

Once again the Lord is letting me know that he is looking after providing for us.  I thought I had it all figured out this month where the money was coming in from to pay for last week's travels and things were working just fine until they started falling apart yesterday. As we worked on the travel expenses that will be covered by the Diocese, we discovered there have been changes we were unaware of that will cause a delay in receiving our remittance. It will not likely be here now ahead of the bills it is to pay.  Today was the next shock.  

So, here we go again with God deciding he is going to do things differently than my own very well thought out scheme.  It keeps me humble, that is for sure. Once again I am finding that the best laid plans are going awry in my financial planning, through no real fault of my own.  All will be well, just very different than what I had expected.  I suppose I am guilty of the old adage of "counting my chickens before they hatch", but the money I was counting on is still coming, just rather later than it was supposed to be.

I admit to being rather excited to see how this is all going to play out.  It has been awhile since my own financial planning has blown up in my face.  All the other times have been signalling the start of new "Adventures in Providence".  Will it be the same this time? Are there other unexpected events coming to both shake us up and add interest, even more joy, to our lives?

It seems that when God is going to do new things with and for us, the first hint we get is a list of surprising financial disasters and uncanny provisions to cover them. That seems to be the preparation each time, mentally and emotionally, for other new adventures that are coming.

Now that I am over the shock of suddenly owing a rather large sum to the dentist in the next month that I wasn't expecting, I am feeling sort of excited to see if anything else is coming along that will require a burst of new faith and trust in the Lord.  The surge of joy I felt when I realized all my planning has been for nought means that I am ready to start facing the next part of life's adventures.

 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Today's Quote

"All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art."
--Jorge Luis Borges


 

One Dead Rabbit

A friend arrived for tea this morning and announced she had seen a dead hare beside the road at the outskirts of town on her way here.

Sad news for the hare of course.

Also sad news for us.

The hare had all ready changed to his winter colour.  His fur was completely white all ready despite such warm temperatures last week.  

It means the cold and snow are coming soon, earlier than hoped for.  That hare should not have been completely white just yet.

From the good news column: we had company for tea this morning AND our car tire is now fixed, ready for pick up. Yay! Thank you Wayne for the loan of the air compressor so we could blow up the tire sufficiently to get the car to the garage.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

My Very Fun Past Week, etc.

We had a grand week away, my husband and I.  It more than made up for me having to stay home for over a week's worth of our summer holiday while he went camping and canoeing with his buddies.

The weather was phenomenal!!  Most afternoons the temperature climbed to +33C.  It was the best farewell to summer weather ever!  

During our time away my husband attended some excellent Diocesan meetings and we went together to the 100th anniversary of one of the churches in our archdeaconry.  The people at the church thought that perhaps 40 people would show up now that the church is very small in congregation size and struggling to stay afloat.  However, there were over 100 of us crammed into that wee church building and it was an excellent service.  The Bishop was there, a newly retired Archbishop who had once served that parish, a couple of their former priests, the present incumbent and my husband, their Archdeacon.  The narrow aisle up to the altar was jammed packed with portly, middle aged men in flowing albs, stoles, mitres and other typical Anglican accoutrements. The local community choir, robed in glittering white robes, adorned the space behind the altar and sang a beautiful anthem for us.  It was quite an amazing spectacle in that place.  The service liturgy was very thoughtfully planned and presented and the sermon, given by one of the former priests of the parish, in turns hilarious and moving. I am so glad I went along on the 6 hour round trip that afternoon.

The next day my husband headed to a city in the opposite direction, where he met for the first time with an English cousin and his wife.  What a treat for him, although he ended up eating lunch with them at a Boston Pizza instead of his hoped for Indian cuisine restaurant. hahaha  He admitted though, rather sheepishly, that BP's menu has improved since his last visit there....about 8 years ago I am guessing....and it really was quite a fine meal. hahaha  He is going  to have to remove BP from his complaint list about fast food chains.

His time at the clergy conference was most edifying, informative and also a lot of fun during an impromptu game of cricket with the bishop and archbishop.  Well, my husband didn't play cricket this time, but he and some other clergy put on an apparently hysterical display of cheerleading! haha  Rah! Rah!  They stopped short of making brassieres for themselves out of paper cups, but only just....  They were also informed that there would be no budget for pompoms next year~what a bunch of crazy people.  It was so good for my husband to just be able to relax and be silly for a change.  He so rarely gets to be.

While he was doing his thing I was doing mine.  I visited so many friends and had such a great time catching up on all their news.  It has been nearly a year since I was last there.  Where does the time go??

I ate too many restaurant meals, despite making most of my own lunches and a few breakfasts in the hotel room.  I gained 4 pounds in 10 days due to the fat content of most of the restaurant meals.....NOT GOOD!  So thankful to be home and making my own food again. Fortunately that is the end of any trips more than a day or 2 in length for the rest of this year.  My diet is grateful for that!

However, on the exercise front, I excelled due to the wonderful warm weather.  I walked a minimum of 5 kilometers every day, up hill and down and all around the town.  It was fantastic and I felt so good every single day.  The weather was like a special blessing just for me....oh, and the hundreds of farmers in the area who lost so much harvest time due to previous rains.  Thank you Lord for that blessing for so many people last week.

The visits with friends this time were all genuinely deep and meaningful.  We discussed all manner of local issues, personal problems and joys, spiritual journeys....it was really wonderful for me to see my friends face to face since so many of my present relationships depend on email and long distance phone calls to maintain them.

I found a few incredible sales on clothes and household items so, although I didn't do a lot of buying as I have everything I need all ready, I did take advantage of a few things that were particularly spectacular deals. eg: a beautiful beige 100% wool suit jacket on clearance for $5.99!!  I decided I would never find a deal that good anywhere else...perhaps a thrift store, but then the suit jacket would have been second hand and this was brand new.

My hotel room was rather hilarious.  It is an older place that needs a new coat of paint in most of the rooms and some new carpet, but it is so well built that the soundproofing between rooms is nearly 100%.  Only once did I hear a loud voice from next door when a neighbouring fellow was shouting into his cell phone from the shower stall in his bathroom.  The rest of the time I heard only the voices in the hallway outside my room on occasion and that was all.  I was housed in the back portion of the hotel, second floor, no elevator and it was like finding my way through a rabbit warren to locate my room as the place is so large.  The breakfast that was included in my room fee was really, really good and I wish I could have taken advantage of it every day in good diabetic conscience.  The restaurant in general didn't have really marvellous food but the breakfast fare was delightfully far above the usual refined plastic food available at most "continental breakfasts" in lower priced hotels.

The toilet in the bathroom was a show all its own. haha  At some point someone in maintenance had installed the inner workings of the tank without realizing the shaft would be too tall for the short tank. Once the lid was put on the tank, a lid that was never designed for that particular tank in the first place, it pressed down on the shaft and kept the water running constantly.  My housekeeper, bless her heart, didn't speak more than 3 words of English and had no idea what I was trying to tell her about the problems with the tank.  I decided to just leave it until checking out on the last morning and reported it to the front desk at that time. During my stay I simply removed the tank lid and folded an old facecloth over and around the shaft so that the dripping water would follow the facecloth down into the tank water without making a constant irritating dripping noise.  I don't think that tank stopped running for more than a few minutes the entire 8 nights I was booked into that place.  I didn't report it immediately upon discovery because I have had maintenance folk come to make repairs at other hotels in times past and usually found a big mess left for me to clean up after the job was done.  Like so many other hotels, the cleaning staff have been given vaccums with no hose attachment so I had to request a special cleaning along the baseboards in my room.  I was okay with that dirt until I realized someone's half eaten candy was sitting under the desk and then I was rather unhappy until everything was cleaned up.  How are cleaning staff supposed to clean rooms properly when they are not issued the proper equipment??  I am not usually a "nightmare" guest in a hotel, but I expect, in this day of the return of bedbugs to Canada, to be given a completely clean room.

The other hilarious thing was the air conditioning unit in my room. At least twice a night it got itself so agitated it sounded like it was going to explode in its attempt to keep the temperature as low as the setting I programmed into it. haha 

The front desk staff were amazing, the waitresses in the attached restaurant very attentive and efficient and all the cleaning staff very pleasant.  Despite the foibles of my particular room this time, I would stay there again.

Coming home posed a bit of a challenge.  About the time we were leaving for home we realized a tire was going soft on the car.  Our 4 hour trip home turned into nearly 5 and a half hours as we had to keep stopping at every little town garage to pump more air into it.  So happy we did make it back safely as we discovered there is absolutely nowhere in that 4 hour drive, late on a Saturday, that has a place willing to service a disintegrating, fast flattening tire.  It is yet one more of the "joys of prairie living" that drives me mad!  The best we could have done, had the tire packed it in completely, would have been getting a tow truck to take us to the nearest town where we would be stranded for 2 days waiting for the tire shop to open Monday morning.  We barely had time to stop to grab a sandwich for supper at a little sub shop because we had to keep that car rolling until we could get home.  

This morning we were unable to attend the early service at our other church because the tire was flat as a pancake and our town as well has no emergency service for anyone on the weekends other than oilfield workers.  So grateful for our deacon who agreed to take that service despite his own trip yesterday to the city for diocesan meetings for which he had to arise at 4am to make it on time.  This huge part of our diocese is certainly short of emergency mechanical assistance on weekends.  

Despite the stress of the tire it was a lovely drive home.  Today it is much cooler than we both got used to last week and most of the leaves have suddenly dropped from our trees after still being mostly green and attached a week ago.  Here it feels very much like autumn and we will definitely not see any more temperatures in the +30C range until next summer.

It was great to get away.  I had the rest of my summer holiday and my husband, despite it being a working week where he lost his usual days off due to meetings, had a great time of learning and fellowship with fellow clergy.  

Memories of this grand week may have to sustain us through another bleak prairie winter and I am grateful to God that we have them.

Glad To Be Home....Sorta.....

It is great to be feeling so well these days.  The joy of being home again is that after church this morning I was able to begin the laundry immediately and feel real pleasure in accomplishing something concrete after a week of just having fun.  I am looking forward to doing dishes once my husband completes his curry making project and I have a schedule floating through my head for housework in the coming week.  

I remember all the times prior to this past few months when we would return from a trip away and my thoughts were more like, "Crap!  Now I have to cook and clean again.  Crap, crap, crap!"  

It feels good to get working on the home front once again.  
It feels good to feel good!

I hope I feel this good in a couple of days when I have some previously unscheduled, quasi-emergency dental work done.
Crap, crap, crap.....

From The Blog of a Wise and Dear Friend

I just read the following blogpost this morning and it reflects my own feelings about including lament as part of our Christian worship tradition.  The post was written by  Dr. Eric Ortland, a professor at the Briercrest Seminary...a super scholar and downright wonderful person.  Read on and enjoy:

Imagine if you went to church one day and the worship band was up on stage, and you saw on screen above the worship band all the normal information: Copyright Vineyard Music, 1998; in the key of B flat, written by Brian Doerkson. (I know it's not normally shown what key the song is in, but just hang with me here). And let's say the worship band starts up, but you notice something strange, because the song says a lot of things to God that sound rude: Lord, how could you let that happen? Why did you abandon me? I'm one of your own. Why didn't you protect me? If you had been there, this never would have happened (John 11.21)! And this hurts your cause too, Lord. People are scoffing at you in your absence. Come and visibly intervene for me! But no matter what, I will trust you forever. No matter what, you are my God forever.

Because that's the situation we get in the book of psalms: a miktam, of David, to the tune of "Doe of the Dawn" - those titles head the hymns we are comfortable with and also laments which appear rude to us. But both equally count as worship in the Bible, even though asking the lament-type questions sounds like the opposite of worship for us.

Could I suggest, knowing that this to be a generalization, that we in North American need to "biblicize" and complicate our worship by making lament as regular a feature of it as it is in the Bible's worship book? I want to emphasize that to be a real biblical lament, it has to include a confession of trust and unconditional loyalty from the lamenter; without that, it's just complaining. But I also want to emphasize that, unless we lament, we're being unbiblical and unhelpful.

Lament witnesses to and (as it were) proclaims the Lord Jesus in his fullness. You have probably noticed how some Christians know only the meek and mild Jesus and never seem to talk about the returning King, come to tread the winepress of his wrath - and other Christians only seem to know the wrathful judge, even though the biblical Jesus is both. I think it is the same with hymns and laments. Laments are liberally plastered over not just Jesus' trial, sufferings, and death, but much earlier in his life, too. We won't fully know the one "intimate with grief" (Isa 53) without these texts. They witness forward to the suffering of the Messiah as God won the greatest victory possible for his cause in the form of the greatest defeat imaginable. And we as Christians participate in this suffering and death (Matt 16.24, Rom 6.1-4, 2 Cor 4.10; and note the original context of Paul's quotation of Ps 44 at the end of Romans 8). We won't fully understand and "see" our Savior who died in shame and defeat and was raised in victory without laments. It will be easy to worship a shallow version of Jesus without these psalms.

Second, I think our contemporary worship scene, having, as it does, only hymns, unintentionally excludes people. There are people in every church service whom God is baptizing into the way of the cross, the way of following Jesus. But it can be hard when you come to church bleeding and beaten, and you want to worship, and you know you should be worshipping, and everyone around you seems so happy. Biblically, asking the questions of a lament, together with a confession of trust, is an act of worshipping and honoring God, not dishonoring him. It is a ministry to Christians who are hurting, who are struggling with the distance and inactivity of the God they are trying to trust, to shape and interpret their experience through the genre of lament. You will help those Christians draw nearer to God than they ever have before.

Third, it will help with our music. So much modern worship music sounds U2, and I like U2, and there is something worshipful and devout about their sound. But our songs all sound like the same song, over and over. Aesthetics maybe aren't the Bible's top priority, but they are not trivial.

I'm sure there are Christian musicians reading this, so: listen up. I want you to write more worshipful, trustful, God-honoring laments. Hold forth Jesus Christ, who reigns in victory on high but still bears the scars in his body, to us Christ-followers who are learning what it means to take up our crosses.
Posted by Dr. Eric Ortland, September 22, on his blog: scatterings1976.blogspot.ca 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Heading Home Tomorrow

I have enjoyed having a few days with no email nor blogging to be concerned about, but now I am looking forward to getting back to routine at home with computer access any old time of day I want to have it.  

So will share some of the fun moments once I am back.  There were some interesting experiences in the hotel. haha  There were grand visits with good friends.  There were too many rich, fatty, salty, DELICIOUS meals....eek!!  (I at last discovered Boston Pizza's soft grilled chicken tacos....yum.....)

For now I will leave you with one of the quotes I have been enjoying during my reading times over this past week:

"No two persons ever read the same book."  Edmund Wilson

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Happy Travels!!

So let's get the only downer thus far on this trip out of the way to start with and then move on to the happy stuff!

Tonight I was eating a wonderful spicy chicken southwestern salad for dinner and lost a tiny bit of filling from a bottom molar....not a surprise as it is one of the last old fillings left in my mouth from sometime in the middle 1970's, but not the sort of thing I wanted to have happen while I am less than half way through my trip.  I will call my dentist from home tomorrow morning and set up an appointment for as soon as I return.  MORE money having to be spent on my teeth just now is not exciting AT ALL!

There, that is the end of the bad news.

I am having a lot of fun thus far.

Day 1: actually got away from home on time, AND we didn't even forget anything we need for this trip...who says there are no miracles??!!!?  Those of you who know us and our scatterbrained attempts at packing will be amazed! (you are amazed, are you not??) 2.5 hours later we were at a town where my husband attended a diocesan meeting while I was blessed to spend that time with a former parishioner who is one of the most amazing women I have ever had the privilege of spending time with.  We shared and laughed and drank chai tea.  My husband picked me up at dinner time and we went for Philippine food for the very first time.  It was delicious.  My husband had some mango chicken with a spicy lime and pepper sauce.  I had kare-kare: beef shank cooked to the point of melting in my mouth and surrounded by bok choy and green beans in peanut sauce.  It was fantastic, way too much sweet sauce for this diabetic, but o well.........there are times when that is just how it is, haha.  I left as much of the sauce as I could, but wow, it was hard to do as it tasted so good.  Off to the next town after dinner, checking into our hotel just  before 9pm after another 2 hour drive.

Day 2: my husband headed into the city, an hour away, for Diocesan Council and I had breakfast with a good friend here at the hotel.  She and I did some looking around some of our favourite local haunts and then we too drove into the city for a fabulous oven baked sole and green bean lunch, perfect for me. A couple of intense hours of window shopping ensued before we drove back here.  She dropped me back at my hotel just as my husband also arrived. Then he and I went to the house of some other dear friends for a lovely curry dinner and a marvellous visit.  It has been a whole year since I last saw them and I have missed them very much.

Day 3:  today we had a most delicious breakfast that is provided to guests at the hotel restaurant.  It certainly beats out the complimentary breakfasts at most lower priced hotels.  There wasn't a pre-prepared, rubber, microwaveable omelet in sight!!  How do you spell "HALLELUJAH"!!?  Less money for the room and far better breakfast, plus, a "Lunch To Go".  We made use of that today.  Last night we took an order form down to the restaurant with our choice of sandwiches, drinks and veggies with dip, to be made and then picked up this morning.  It allowed us to stay for nearly the entire church service of our choice today before racing out during the last hymn and heading out on a 5 hour round trip back in the direction we had come from 2 days previously when this trip began. This time we had to overshoot the town from Friday's meeting, travelling another 30 minutes in order to participate in the 100th anniversary of a church in my husband's archdeanery.  It was packed out in that little church and very warm, but we all survived quite happily despite the heat.  There were a plethora of bishops and other clergy, a well thought out service that went off without a hitch, lovely old hymns and many funny stories of incidents from days long ago.  We raced out of there in a big hurry because we had to get back to THIS town again in time for my husband to attend a presentation by a former seminary prof who has just published a novel about zombies....yup, zombies....and my husband wanted to hear his philosophy as to why he wrote it and what he is hoping to accomplish with it in terms of outreach and mission.

Day 4 yet to come:  my husband is leaving early in the morning to return to the city.  He will meet a cousin there he has never met before. The man is from England and is visiting Canada for the first time.  They found each other during a mutual internet search on family trees and ancestry and are very excited to meet in person.  Then my husband heads a small distance out of the city to spend 4 days at a monastery with his colleagues at an annual conference. After he leaves I will meet up with a friend for breakfast and we will spend the morning catching up on each other's news.  I am hoping to spend part of the day getting some banking done, reading an excellent novel and vegging a bit in the evening in front of the massive flat screen tv in my hotel room.

My husband just phoned to say the zombie novel presentation is over and he is on his way back here to the hotel.  He is so sweet.  He is picking up a burger to go with the very late dinner I put together for him here in the hotel room and when he gets the occasional burger he always asks me if there is anything I can eat from the fast food venue, just in case there is actually something he could gift me with. As usual, there isn't, but he is always so concerned that if I am left to fend for my own dinner when we are out of town, I may not have found anything suitable.  He takes good care of me.

So, off to prepare the rest of the dinner I am making for him here.  Hopefully the forecast of another unusually warm autumn day holds for tomorrow.  I have a very long walk in mind for the afternoon.

Friday, September 19, 2014

That Being Said......

.....today I leave for over a week of travelling and WILL see at least a few of our old friends.

ROAD TRIP!!!!

YIPPEE!!!!!!

Caution: light blogging ahead.....

A Miserable Dream

I had an opportunity to attend a seminar on dream interpretation this weekend but had to turn it down due to other committments.  However, the bad dream that woke me up early this morning, well, I think I can interpret it at least somewhat accurately all on my own.

In my dream my husband had to be away for a combined church service between one of our congregations and a visiting group from our deanery....I don't know who any of those people were as they certainly were not people I have ever met in real life.

For some reason we had to meet in a house...in a combined kitchen/dining room.  My husband had appointed me to be in charge of the service and had approved my sermon.  To start with everything was going well. The visitors had happily taken up their assigned parts in the service, our own congregation held up their end and things were going smoothly until a few minutes before I was to preach.

At that point my husband appeared for some unexplained reason.  He started making himself a cup of tea (of COURSE he was making tea, as those of you who know my husband will be chuckling about), and he also interrupted the flow of the service by telling us where he had been and how what he had learned there went hand in hand with what I was about to talk about in my sermon.  He went on and on to the point where he essentially used up all the time allotted for my sermon. I could feel some panic and resentment beginning to rise.

As he was talking some more people came into the room.  They were friends of the visiting congregation but were not there for church. They wanted to visit their friends and so as my husband was winding up his talk, they were chatting amongst themselves and interrupting the entire assembly.  As my husband completed his talk and I realized there would be no time for my sermon, I also realized that the whole group had gotten completely out of hand.  Chat, chat, chat, yak, yak, yak.....

I hollered to get everyone's attention back but one couple just kept talking.  I asked them if they could please stop until we were finished the last part of our service and they looked at me and said, "You mean WE have to be quiet too?? But we aren't here for church, we are here to visit." And they began talking again.  I tried to explain, I tried to finish the service but by then a free-for-all had erupted all around me and no one listened so I walked out of the room and out of the house, angry, resentful, crying.

I woke up choking and spluttering, heart racing and feeling angry and panicked.

It doesn't take a special seminar to interpret that dream.  What I felt in the dream and when I first woke up was complete impotence....impotence over my life, a complete lack of control over my life's circumstances and a lot of frustration in dealing with being as socially and culturally isolated as I have been for the past nearly 10 years.

I suspect what set this dream up is the cancellation of plans on Sunday that I have been looking forward to for several weeks, because something came up in the ministry, in yet anothr town, that requires our attendence.  It involves another 6 hour round trip of driving we hadn't expected when we made our own plans, more pot luck meals that neither of us can eat due to our health issues and so requiring even more time away from our own personal morning committment in order to find some food to take for ourselves, missing out on some very much needed social engagements with old friends and basically taking over our entire day, ruining every plan we had made and were so excited about....probably the last time we could have seen our old friends for a very long time...sigh.....

It is a most rare experience that I ever feel resentful or angry when a ministry event interferes with the rest of our life. When you are in full time ministry it IS your life.  I am not sure why this one change of plans is hitting me so hard and making me so disproportionately angry inside to the point where I am having nightmares.  It isn't the dream that needs interpreting in this case, it is the reason for it and then some soul searching to figure out how to deal more maturely and less emotionally over the cancellation of a few personal plans that should be somewhat disappointing, but not so anger inducing that I have such a dream and such an emotional response to it.

My concern is that a root of bitterness is forming within me.  I need to be praying and seeking God to get that root pulled out and replaced with the peace and joy I usually experience over anything ministry related.  

As I look back on some of the foods I have been trying to reintroduce to my diet over the past month, I am possibly seeing a correlation between intake and the beginning of this emotional upheaval...something to further investigate, that is for sure.  I hope these tiny feelings of disappointment burgeoning to the point of rage are a result of my diet and not from a formation of bitterness in my heart.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Acutely Aware

As I have slowly come out of the allergy and diabetes induced haze that has followed me daily for the past couple of years, I have become more acutely aware of my surroundings.

Over the past few days I have finally noticed, during my afternoon walks outdoors, the number of houses from which booming drums and thwanging guitar music of several genres is emanating rather loudly.  I realized yesteday that the drummer who lives kitty corner to our place does indeed practise for most of the afternoon and often well into the evening and that has been the racket that overpowers my television sound night after night. Fortunately for him, he is a really fine drummer! haha

I realize now just how many cats come to hunt birds at our place day after day.  Perhaps I should not assume this town has no cat bylaw and check that out.  Maybe if a few cats turned up at the pound rather than returning home each evening I would have less cat poop and urine to deal with in our side yard...something I need to consider since I don't know who owns any of these obviously well cared for pets.

I realize how many dogs there are in this town.  Walking downtown the past few days I have at last become conscious of how many dogs of all sizes are barking from yards, peering out of windows, playing with chew toys on the front decks and also how many have escaped the confines of home and are running around the streets terrifying pedestrians like myself. There are some very lovely animals here. Yesterday a very small dog with rather sharp teeth and a nasty bark raced out from behind its owner's car in their driveway and attached itself rather viciously to my pant leg.  Fortunately it did very little damage to the pants and none to my leg while the owner detached it from my person.  Interestingly, there was not a word spoken to me, no apology, not even a grunt as she hoisted the dog up over her shoulder and took him into the house. Mind you, I didn't say anything either. What do you say in such a situation that doesn't sound rude or angry?  Something humorous seemed rather inappropriate at the time, so....

The yellowing leaves on the trees this autumn seem more yellow than ever, brighter and cheerier than I have noticed in the past.  The trees are just starting to turn colours and some of the reds are particularly beautiful this year.

I have noticed how well dressed so many of the townfolk are here. It is nice to be in a place where a certain sense of pride accompanies the majority of the residents.  

Although there are many old houses in our part of town, for the most part they are well looked after.  The ones that are neglected stand out because they are so few and far between.  New siding is going on to quite a few homes this fall. New owners of very old homes are sprucing them up beautifully.  

I am becoming more aware of the excellency of some of our medical and retail services. Our visiting family had to attend both the hospital emergency room and the clinic during their stay and were treated extremely well by all the staff and by the pharmacist. The remaining downtown businesses seem to be stepping up their level of customer service and that can only continue to improve our town and how people feel about it.


Awareness of my age and the age of various family members hit me like a baseball bat the other day for some reason.  I was struck again by my parents' health conditions, the age of my son and the struggles of other relatives with health issues.

There doesn't seem to be any particular reason, beyond the lifting of the mental haze, that I am feeling so aware of my surroundings and feeling so refective about all that I notice these days, but it is keeping my mind filled with good thoughts, with questions to research, with problems to solve.

I have a sense that life is starting to "heat up" once again and my husband's job is certainly a huge contributing factor to that.

I am enjoying feeling so alive again!
   

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Son of Missy

Last evening I looked out at the suet pack and there was a new downy woodpecker gorging on it.  He is a beautiful male and appears to be Missy's offspring.  What a treat to have him along with her back in our area.  He is too tiny to be her mate so am assuming he is her son.  There is  no daddy downy anywhere around that we have seen, but Missy and her as yet unnamed baby boy are certainly welcome and appreciated.  

(I can't believe I am naming birds....or feeding birds....or interested in birds....or that my husband purchased yet another feeder yesterday specifically for the finches...or that he took sanding paper to the plastic landing spokes to roughen them so their "little feet will have a better grip."  What is happening to us???? hahahaha  Is this some particular brand of age induced senility??)

Relaxing Post Visit

It is a beautiful day today. The sun is shining low in the sky as befits autumn, the sky is autumn blue and cloudless and the temperatures are climbing again for a few days with a high of +23C  predicted today, possibly up to +27C by the end of the week.  If it can continue into the following week we are going to have a very pleasant trip around the Diocese for all the important meetings that happen each September.

Our company left early this morning to begin wending their way toward Manitoba, visiting old friends and meandering through provincial and national parks to see the fall colours and the wild animals preparing for the winter.  They are carrying a small book that describes many beautiful and sometimes not so well known prairie places that are particularly appealing this time of year.  Hopefully they will have the chance to visit a fair number of them over the next ten days.

As per usual for me, after having company even for such a short time, I am dead on my feet today.  We had a lot of fun going out for dinner last night and I was rather hyper by the time bed time rolled around.  I  could not get to sleep. I read my book, I watched inane televsion programmes and finally fell asleep just before 2am, but was awake again at 6:30am to take the garbage bin to the curb and get a few things set up for our travellers.  I feel an afternoon nap coming on.

I think the specific thing we all noticed about each other during this visit is how much we have all aged over the past year.  It wasn't depressing as much as it was a curiosity.  Our family has had some rather intense stress over the past 3 months; not bad stresses, just some unexpected stresses that have taken a lot of energy to deal with.  Hopefully as the stresses begin to ease we will all regain a bit more "bounce"!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Happy Tired After the Weekend

It was a good weekend.  My husband's sister and her husband arrived on Saturday and we had a lovely  evening together.  On Sunday she made the circuit with us from church to church as my husband took his part in a priestly rotation to another parish that is currently without a priest.  Today she and her husband are getting their RV cleaned out and ready for the second phase of their holiday, leaving us tomorrow.

Having the company was so easy with them staying in their RV. Like us, they have several food sensitivies and prefer to make their own breakfasts, so we share lunches and suppers together and it works out very well.  Tonight I think we are just going to go out for pizza or do a "community" cook and have fun here at home making all sorts of "mismatched" dishes that we each enjoy.

The weather here is improving for the moment.  Yesterday's travelling was in mostly dry conditions with the sun shining brilliantly, if not particularly warmly.  It was the perfect day for a long drive around the province.  We saw dozens of prong horned goats, a couple of large male deer with huge racks of antlers and a pair of herons flying along the South Saskatchewan River where we did our ferry crossings.

The thing that stands out to me each time we have such a day is the difference between each community and each church family.  On a day like we had yesterday we met every kind of person there is to meet I suspect.  It was a most interesting experience in good and not so good ways. It certainly reinforced for me my ignorance of some of the rural cultures we have to deal with at times and I need to learn far more than I have to date.  I need to learn to be less easily wounded by people who have a different set of social skills and expectations than my own.

One of our own churches served up delicious coffee and a snack treat after service.  Since it was Holy Cross Day we were treated to delicious cookies shaped like crosses with icing droozled on to resemble the snake Moses hoisted up on a post when the Hebrew people were seeking God for his solution to an innundation of poisonous snakes in their camp as they travelled across the desert after escaping from their slavery in Egypt.  

My husband has a fabulous sermon from that reading in the Book of Numbers that he calls, "The Theology of Snake on a Stick."  He points out how people have the option to look up to Jesus on the cross for healing of their spiritual illnesses in much the same way the Hebrews had God's instruction to look to the snake on Moses' post in order to be healed of their physical snake bites.  What I hadn't realized very well until my husband pointed it out to me, is that Jesus on the cross doesn't identify himself as the conquering hero of liberation. He identifies with the snake!!  Like the snake for the Hebrews, he was seen by the Romans as the cause of many problems, but instead, voluntarily looking to him in trust and faith, also like voluntarily looking at Moses' snake, he becomes the source of healing instead to those who choose to accept it.

I enjoyed the little bunny trails in the sermon as well:  talking briefly about how the snake on the stick image associated with healing is a concept predates Christianity.  There have been a few controversies over the centuries about the old healing gods and their symbols, such as the Rod of Asclepius with its symbol of the single snake, compared to the Caduceus of Hermes with its two intertwined snakes and its winged staff.  My own medic alert bracelet features Aesclepius' rod and my friend's sports a large medallion featuring Hermes' caduceus.  Always fun to learn the origins of symbols we take for granted today...and likely haven't bothered to research?  My bad......

Today will be very low key in honour of my husband's day off work, although of course there are "just a couple of emails  I need to respond to this afternoon.....", haha.  As usual.....

Tomorrow I will do laundry and start preparing for another nine days on the road.  My husband has meeting after meeting around the Diocese and I am going to visit good friends in our former city of residence.  I can hardly believe it has been about a year since I was last there!!!!  I remember one quick overnight visit there in the last year when I had time to have breakfast with a friend the next morning. That was the end of January I believe.  Wow, it has been awhile and I miss my friends there so badly.  Now that they are all back from holidays it will be easy to complete my visiting schedule.

Looking back at a good weekend and ahead to an excellent week to come. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Yard Filled with Flutterers

Missy was back this morning having a feeding frenzy of peanuts and cashews.  Right on her heels....hey, wait a minute....birds don't have heels...uh...do they?

ANYWAY, a few minutes later a couple of nut hatches arrived.  The downy woodpeckers and nut hatches seem to travel together around here.  These nut hatches are the larger variety, with  brownish feathers and whiter chests compared to the smaller steel blues with copper coloured breasts. They are characterized by a high energy level and perky demeanor.  They love to swing on the nut feeders and peer into the kitchen.  When we go outside, only a few feet from them, they rarely fly away. Instead they peer at us curiously and then go about their business.

It is going to be fun to watch the interaction between them and the larger thrashers and blue jays.

I Got's An Owwwwwie!!!!

I am rather unimpressed with myself  just at the moment.  About 15 minutes ago I bent over in my office to pick up my purse from the floor, miscalculated the distance between my forehead and the edge of my desk and proceeded to knock myself out when the 2 connected! 

Yeee0uch!!

At least I was sitting down on the office chair and didn't land on the floor!  I was only "out" for a few seconds but I am still seeing a few "stars" and my forehead has an ugly "goose egg" swelling starting up, right out there for all the world to see.

I suspect I gave myself a mild concussion because there is so  little pain all ready and the swelling is pretty tiny for such a mighty crash head first into the furniture.  HOWEVER, that is okay.  I am ashamed to admit what I am really dreading about this smack on the head.

What I am really dreading is the colouration that may follow this swelling.  I don't mind the purples and blues and reds, but those yellows.  Oh Lord, preserve me from the yellows. Deep Bruise Yellow is NOT my colour.  I look like a cadaver when that colour comes anywhere even close to my face, let alone appears ON my face! hahahahaha

What fun to be so old and clumsy, yet still so vain.  Guess I am as human as they come, hahahaha.  Yup, no doubt about it.  

Now that I have taken a few minutes to discuss it I will get up and see if vaccuming is still on my chore list for this morning.  Thank goodness I at least got the floors washed before disfiguring myself once again.  I am getting far too good at this smashing into things and knocking myself senseless business.

Too Cute for Words!!!!

If this link doesn't connect on my blog, do take a moment to cut and paste it into your web browser.  This little bear on the golf course at Fairmont Hot Springs is just adorable!

http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2014/09/10/adorable-bear-cub-breaks-disrupts-golf-game-steals-ball-at-fairmont-hot-springs/

Seeking the Lost....and FINALLY Finding It!

Yesterday afernoon my husband found his reading glasses that have been missing for over 2 months.  YES!!!  We have been confounded at every turn in our search for them.  He certainly had more peace and assurance that they would turn up than I did after that length of time.  

Turns out they were at the nursing home in our other town, a place I had all ready been to in the search.  My husband though knew exactly where in that building they were most likely to be and found them within minutes of his arrival.  Grateful, that is what I am, that they were found, protective case and all.


My husband's glasses and my ring going missing over the past few months, both in the same town, have provided a real prayer ministry for a lady in our church.  She has prayed exhaustively for the finding of our lost articles, has had other friends of hers praying as well and her/their faith has been encouraged through the finding of them.  Her excitement yesterday when the glasses showed up was encouraging to my husband.

An inconvenience for ourselves has turned into an opportunity for someone else to grow in faith and trust in God.  COOL!!!  As usual, something that is as ultimately insignificant as a couple of missing items has turned into a spiritual opportunity for more people than just the two of us.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Missy's Return

We haven't seen our little female downy woodpecker in several months.  I have been feeling somewhat heartbroken because of being so certain she was eaten by a hawk or crow.  She was with us for quite awhile before completely disappearing.

Tonight as I was washing dishes, I happened to look up at the mesh bag of peanuts and cashews hanging right outside the kitchen window and saw a familiar looking bird tail hanging down from the other side of the bag.  It was getting late into the evening and the sun was going down. The finches, sparrows, blue jays and thrashers had finished eating 2 hours previously and were gone for the night.

My husband was sitting on a chair behind me and said he was sure it was Missy Woodpecker who had swooped in so suddenly with absolute assurance that there was a feeder there she is familiar with.

We snuck around to the patio door where we could get a clearer view of the other side of the mesh bag and sure enough: there was Missy, apparently still without a mate, all on her own and eating a huge amount of the nuts.  She gorged herself for nearly 15 minutes before flying off into the trees in the yard.

We will see what happens tomorrow, if she shows up again, but it was definitely her.  That odd marking on the side of her head is a great identifyer.  Over the next day or two, if she sticks around, we should find out if she is still alone (or again alone) or if she has a mate that has returned with her.

I was so disappointed when she disappeared and now I am rejoicing that she has returned to our feeders.  Hopefully she will stay for at least a few days.  We will never know where she has been over the summer but are grateful she is still alive and still as cute as ever. We purchased a huge amount of winter bird seed last weekend and some more peanuts, the winter suet blocks will be out soon, so she will be well fed this winter should she decide to hang out at our place once again.

Basic Bible Reading

Many of our friends were shocked and saddened this past week by the death of their dear friend, a hunter who was killed by a grizzly bear while he was out doing a solo hunt for big horned sheep.  He leaves behind a wife and children.

Some of his friends are questioning why such a terrible thing would happen to a disciple of Christ and in grief we often ask such questions.  I am sure that the Christians of Syria, Nigeria and other places world wide where horrendous and torturous deaths among God's people have become the norm, are asking the same question at times.  Some of the parents of the many Christian students killed in the Columbine school shootings are probably still wondering about a loving God allowing their children to be the ones who were taken.

I think we have to be careful when we read biblical promises.  We have to be careful about our own assumptions and presumptions, plus our personal interpretations based on them.

Every so often I have to remind myself of the basics of bible reading:

-who was the author of the particular book or passage and/or what were the author's intentions?

-who was the author writing to/for?

-how would the people who read those writings at that time interpret them?

-what is the context surrounding the particular promise or instruction?

-is the promise/information/instruction meant also for cultures and peoples who would follow the culture and peoples the passage was written for? 
ie: was it written specifically for the Hebrews or was it also meant for the following generations of new testament Christians?  Some Christians tend to take every old testament promise and automatically bring it into our own context, whether it was originally meant for us or not. We pick and choose old testament ideas as is pleasing to us sometimes.  ie: we want to claim every promise in the old testament as universal to all God's people but we disdain following old testament dietary laws and feast days.

In other words, context, context, context. 

Sometimes I forget.........


More Downtown "Deaths"

Had a bit of a shock yesterday on my daily walk downtown:  2 more long established businesses in the downtown have closed permanently.  One was a massage therapy clinic and the other my favourite local ladies dress shop.

The owner of the dress shop was, for the last time, locking the door of her now empty retail space as I passed by so I asked her if she was changing locations or closing completely.  She decided to give up her store after several decades of clothing retail work because she is older and wishes to retire.  As seems to be the case here these days, no one in town wanted to step in and buy out her business to keep it running.

So with these new closures on top of the loss of the pizza parlor and antique shop, all in the same block, our downtown retail shopping has essentially shrunk from 3 blocks along Main Street to 2.  So sad.....  I also discovered that the only restaurant downtown has changed owners and o my, the food has been very poor of late.  Scratch that possibility off my list of places to go for a lunch treat when my husband is out of town.

Personally I am very sad about the loss of the clothing store.  The lady in charge always had an excellent selection in her small space and most reasonable prices.  We still have 5 clothing retailers in town but only 3 that are not specifically casual wear or jeans and their prices are so out of line that I rarely shop at any of them. (Hint: Joseph Ribkoff is NOT a high fashion designer label and shouldn't be priced as such.  Also, washable plastic jackets made in China are not worth paying the hefty over two hundred dollar price no matter how many silver painted zippers they carry on the front pockets!) They all carry more or less the same type of product anyway, tacky patterns and overly bright colours.  As much as I want to shop locally, for decent clothing I will be forced to drive to a city now.

The other day a visiting friend mentioned that wow, our town here is certainly booming.  He was basing his opinion on the number of new hotels being built along the highway and the number of transport trucks and semis stopped along the service road.  We explained to him that the new hotels were being built to house temporary work crews for the railway, road maintance department and the oilfield.  There are indeed a tremendous number of those employees coming in for stays of several weeks at a time, but they are not moving here with their families.  Other than some restaurant meals and some gasoline they are not really contributing much to the local economy.  They don't purchase much in the way of groceries or clothing here, they don't have children in school or wives seeking local employment.

No, our town is not really booming.  Its core is dying out slowly but surely.  Even the little mall out on the highway continues to suffer losses, with no significant rise in profit for the businesses that have been able to remain out there. Perhaps the closure of the downtown clothing store will boost the business of the mall stores, I don't know. The restaurant in the mall is losing money and the owners have been forced to close their small "drinks and snacks" booth in the middle of the mall.  There are a few grubby tables, chairs and 2 seater couches sitting there but the kiosk is no longer open, just sitting there disintegrating, bits and pieces falling off it onto the floor as the days go by.

The local WalMart cannot seem to retain staff and its small offering of stock doesn't recommend it unless a person is fortunate enough to stumble on the item they need somewhere in the midst of aisles crammed with pallets of cardboard boxes.  Some of the ladies wear cannot be accessed because of the pallets jammed against the clothing displays.  Friends from Alberta who were just transferred into the area made their first foray into WalMart the other day and were so disgusted they will likely go 2 hours out of their way to a different town all together if they need anything specific to WalMart.  Ours has so little and the staff is not what you would call helpful or friendly. Ours is following the pattern of the rest of the town businesses: slowly sliding into filthy disarray and the typical, "There, that's good enough." sort of attitude.  Even a small strive toward excellence could help this place so much.

I don't know what it will take to revitalize this area, if it is even possible at this point on the slow slide downward.  I believe in supporting local merchants but over the past 4 years too many of them have packed up and disappeared, or have had to cut back substantially on their stock, forcing me to go elsewhere and adding to the loss in my own community.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Couple of Good Old Quotes

"Oh the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person: having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them out.  Just as they are--chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with a the breath of kindness, blow the rest away."
--Dinah Maria(Mulock)Craik, 1826-1887

"I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for harm, to give you a future and a hope."
--Jeremiah 29:11

 

Monday, September 8, 2014

BIG WHEW!!!

Despite my many unsuccessful experiments with diet over the past 3 months, my A1C has dropped another 3 tenths of a point.  So in the last 9 months it has dropped from 5.9 to 5.4!  I am grateful, relieved, thrilled and extremely surprised!!!  WOW!

I am newly inspired to continue with the strictness of my regimen.  I am so grateful to get these results and to have had such a good talk with my doctor as I had today.  She has helped me so much and is very supportive of my continuing "anal" behaviour with diet and exercise.  My weight is stable and has been now for 4 months.  I feel well almost every day.  Exercise for me is the key to keeping those numbers down every day.

So very happy and so very grateful that for now all is well.  Thanks for caring, family and friends.  Your support has been partly responsible for the good results.

And Just Like That, Summer Comes to an End

The prairie weather is a never ending source of fascination to me.  Yesterday our highest temperature was +27C, sunny and beautiful.  I woke up this morning to a cold rain, a temperature of +1C and forecast daytime highs of only +9C to +12C for the entire week.  It will be freezing now overnight.

I feel sorriest for the southern Alberta farmers today. They are watching the snow falling on their freshly swathed crops still laying on the ground, waiting to be combined.  We may get some of that lovely white stuff here as well in the next day or two.  Well, we can pray that it is a short lived bit of weather and that the sun will soon be shining, drying out the swath and leaving good grade crops to be sold.  

Usually when there is snow this early it means there is some good weather for a month or two following closely behind.  Hope that is the case this year or the length of our winter will be truly unbearable.

My husband is happy he spent all the time he spent yesterday repairing one of the bird feeders and getting in some good seed for the winter months. He spilled a bit on the back deck and the bluejays and thrashers could hardly wait for him to leave so they could dive bomb the deck and scoop up some favourite seeds.  Now he just has to fix up the heating tape for the waterer and all will be in place just in case winter is coming early after all.

We are having good friends from seminary over for lunch today. They have just been assigned to a church about an hour south of us. What fun for us to have them in the area. They will be in our town fairly often for their shopping and errands.  I am going to make a particularly good lunch today to celebrate their newest posting....and to keep us warm on a cold day!!  The furnace will be going on once my husband wakes up this morning.

It is going to be a grand afternoon of picking all the mint my husband grew this summer.  As it may freeze overnight tonight, we want to get it into the house for drying.

The rest of the week will be spent getting the house back in order after a month of holidays.  My husband's sister and her husband are coming to stay with us next weekend so I want the house to be as sparkly as it can be after so much neglect! Hopefully they won't be arriving with their big RV to find snow on the ground here. Brrr!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Ministry Days Away

We are visiting another town today for ministry purposes and it is a lovely day to do so.  The last of the summer sun is shining down, there is a projected high of +24C and no rain forecast at home until Monday.  While those rains may include some snow flurries, today I don't care.  It is summery and I will enjoy it in the midst of the meetings.

When we arrived yesterday we had a couple of hours to spare and so my husband went shopping for shoes and sweaters and books and camp gear.  This little place is amazingly well stocked and we were able to get here on back roads, rather than the usual knuckle whitening trip to the city on overcrowded 2 lane highways.  This Archdeacon position does have its travel perks even if my husband is tied up in meetings most of the time.

A friend alerted me the other day to the fact that Jan Karon has just published a new book in the Father Tim series and I was pleased to be able to purchase it yesterday.  By the time I, my husband and my parents have read it, it will be worth the cost and then some.  Mom is thinking of passing on her series of the books to another friend and from there the books will be passed on to the friend's daughter and on it goes.  One thing my family does well is book recycling.  As soon as I am finished reading my present Canadian novel, "The Stone Diaries" by Carol Shields, (deserving winner of The Governor General's Award), I will start the new Karon book.

Had a terrific walk last night after dinner. For some reason there are fewer mosquitoes here, so few hours from home.  I can't figure that out but I certainly did enjoy it last night.  I could wander over the short trimmed grass in the park area and stir up very few of the little creatures.  YES!!

So, off to prepare for more meetings this morning before the drive home.  Hopefully we can be home by dinner as tonight I have to get the church bulletins done, songs picked and practised for both services in the morning and get the altar set up at the local church.  None of it takes all that long, but I do want to be home in time to get to bed early tonight.  

Here's to a pleasant "summer is nearly over, but not quite yet" kind of day!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Teensy Weensy Froggies

It took me a long time to mow the lawn this morning.  That is because it took me awhile to get started mowing once I had all the cords attached to the mower and plugged into the electrical outlet.

What slowed me down was the discovery of several tiny green and brown striped frogs in the grass beside where I placed the lawnmower as I was preparing to start it up.  I am so grateful I saw them moving before I set those sharp blades awhirring!!  It seems we have a colony of the little creatures out beside the house in the shadiest, dew-dampiest area of the lawn.  There isn't much distance between the side of the house there and the flowerbeds along the outside wall of the church and so it is a perfect place for the frogs to live. Moisture catches on the grass and plants overnight now with the dropping temperatures. There are flies, mosquitoes, small spiders and most any other sort of insect the frogs would enjoy eating.  

I have loved frogs all my life. When I was younger I had quite a collection of stuffed, ceramic and china frogs, posters and paintings and photos of them lining the walls of my apartment.  Today I fell in love with this small colony. I wonder how long they have been there?  None of them were more than 5 centimeters long in the body and were very easy to fit into my gloved hands for transport across the grass and into the flowerbed where they would be safe from the mower.  After moving them far enough away from where I was working, I combed the grass all around that area of the lawn to be sure I hadn't missed any of them.  Never have I watched the ground so carefully when mowing.  I would have been sick to my stomach if I had run any of them over.

It was a busy morning out there in the yard.  A second ginger cat has discovered our bird feeders and in between swathes of mowing I was busy putting the run on her.  She is beautiful and I hope that she and the other cats around here whose owners allow their pets to run about unattended, will be safe from the cars and dogs and other dangers lurking for kitties on the loose.

All the mowing and animal removal certainly dropped my blood sugar into a nice range prior to lunch time, so I had better go now and have another long walk before I test it again after lunch.  


It was a perfect morning for mowing....sunny, not too hot, only one wasp that seemed threatened by my presence and fun with cats and frogs.  So grateful that soon it will be freezing overnight and thus the mosquitoes will soon be eliminated from the landscape, but for now the natural coconut and lime organic spray I am using is quite effective to keep them from biting me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Brrrrrr!!!!!!!!

The ten degree drop in daytime temperatures has left me feeling chilled to the bone all ready and the autumn has not yet arrived.  Guess I adjusted pretty well this year to the blistering hot days earlier in the summer.  There is snow in the highest elevations in the Alberta Rocky Mountains, a very cold rain has begun falling here at home and I am going to spend the afternoon hauling my light sweaters and shirts with at least elbow length sleeves out of the storage bins.

When I woke up this morning I realized it is time to put away the summer night wear and haul out the thick cotton flannel....with sleeves and high necklines!!  It is time to wash the summer blankets and put the autumn quilt on the bed.

Fortunately it seems we are forecast for a long fall season, but the Farmers' Almanac is predicting extreme cold for all the Canadian prairies and the midwest in the USA.  Since their accuracy is still in the neighbourhood of 76% even with recent surprising climate changes, I suspect it is going to be wickedly cold this winter.

Whatever was bothering my health last week and upping my blood glucose readings seems to have disappeared. All is back to "normal" once again. Whew!!

Yesterday was my husband's last day of holidays for the summer, but it was myself who had a stellar day.  In the morning I was able to run all my errands, including picking up another large bag of fresh BC peaches and some cherries.  I had some of each for breakfast this morning and am so glad I spent the large amount of cash for the small amount of fresh and delicious fruit.  At noon I went for a long lunch with one of our church musicians.  LOOOOOOONG it was, indeed!  We arrived at the restaurant just after 1pm and finally dragged ourselves out again, still talking well after 4pm.  Then we sat in front of my house and talked for at least another half hour.  It was an absolultely delightful afternoon.  My husband was able to complete his summer garage cleaning and organizing project as I wasn't there to interrupt him or distract him from working.  To celebrate the end of his holidays we went out for dinner.  Two meals out in one day right here in the home town. hahaha  That is a nearly unheard of occurrence and it was a lot of fun.  All the salads didn't hurt me and the Greek chicken breast was a nice treat.  I did discover I cannot handle eating restaurant soups any more.  I spooned what I could of the rice, veggies and chicken in my noontime cup of soup, but left almost all the broth in the teeny bowl.  There seems to be so much salt in restaurant and other commercial soups that one taste leaves me feeling I could float my entire body in it as easily as I could in the Dead Sea!  Blecch! Pooey!!!  Tells me how far I have come in reducing my sodium intake and that makes me happy.  I have lost another inch around my waist in the last month but it is just a repositioning of the fat I still carry, not more weight loss!  haha GOOD THING after all the money I spent on that new wardrobe! hohoho!

Tomorrow is to be a dry day so I will attempt to mow the front yard again. I love the first mowing after the temperature begins its downward spiral.  The grass and leaves smell different in the fall.  The wasps are kind of lazy all ready and won't pose as much as a threat as they do in mid summer.  The mosquitoes are beginning to die off a bit as the nights get colder and if I wait until the sun is shining most everywhere in the front of the house they won't be much of a problem.

Then Friday we are on the road again for 2 days on ministry related business. Travelling so soon after the end of holidays will make us feel like we are still having holidays.  My husband is getting all prepared for his first Sunday services of the fall term and for the various conferences coming up after the middle of the month....again with the travelling. YAY!

I am very conscious these days of being highly blessed.  The snow is supposed to hold off until November and if that proves to be true, well, does life on the winter struck prairie get any better than that?

 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Suffering of Christ for Me

I have come across this poem more than once over the summer so decided I would copy it into my blog today.  One more reminder of the uniqueness of Christ as God:
 
 
The Only God With Scars
 
If we have never sought Thee, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow,
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.

The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place;
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy scars, we claim Thy grace.

The other gods were strong, but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God's wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.

-by Edward Shillito
taken from Christopher Ash, "Job: The Wisdom of the Cross"; (Wheaton: Crossway, 2014)

Monday, September 1, 2014

From Zero to Hero

 As much as I don't like blogging about news or politics, I am delighted that the Alberta court of appeals decided in favour of a teacher who was suspended and then fired for giving 0's to students for homework that was not finished or was not handed in.  His school had a no 0's policy and he was brave enough and realistic enough about the real world to go ahead and give the, what I consider proper, 0 grade when deserved by the neglectful students.  The courts not only upheld what he did, he was awarded all his back pay and pension top up for the time he was out of the classroom.

This teacher was doing the students a huge favour by allowing them to suffer the consequences of their own actions.  That is the way the world still works to a large extent, even in North America, the most deluded continent in the world when it comes to ideas of "self-esteem" and "positive self talk" and its emphasis on the rights of children.  Unfortunately childrens' rights are being translated into allowing the poor kids to do and say whatever they want, whenever they want; no limits or discipline or borders to their actions.  Why can't we understand that we are not loving them by allowing them to run wild?  Why do we not understand true discipline as a loving teacher that keeps them from all kinds of harm and dire consequences because their lack of life experience gives them unrealistic expectations about their own ideas and actions?  I am not talking about abusing them, I am talking about helping them understand cause and effect. Leading them to believe otherwise is cruelty, not love.

It seems that so many parents I have known over the past 2 generations of offspring being born are not enforcing standards or discipline because they are just plain too lazy to put in the time and effort it takes to truly help their children.  I hear all kinds of excuses about not wanting to damage the child's self-esteem etc., but in reality it seems to translate into a simple selfishness that puts everything from the parents' all mighty careers to their bowling league buddies ahead of expressing true love for their own kids. The kids are left too often to absorb life's lessons through some kind of mysterious and non-existent osmosis.

We now have a generation of people in their 20's and 30's who have no concept of being motivated and disciplined enough to even bother to show up for work on time, who can't grasp that their personal needs and wants are not the centre of everyone else's universe, who are sincerely shocked when anyone challenges them about their words and actions, who strive and fail over and over to reach goals in areas they have no ability to attain even though they envision themselves as being able. What could be more self-esteem destroying than that??  

All we have really taught our kids is how to be selfish and self-centered.  How is this being loving parents?  I wonder what would happen to North Americans, particularly this latest generation of Millenials, if there was to be a major war on our own soil.  How would they deal with losing all their perceived rights?  Emotionally and mentally they would be the first to feel the heat of a harsh reality that is so foreign to them as they begin their adult lives still with a child's naivety.

Having said that, I applaud all the parents and children who have muddled through the maze of today's families and the lack of cohesion in societal standards and who are faring pretty well for themselves.  Fortunately there are still a few of them left.

Hopefully the rest of the population will begin to understand that the Alberta teacher who gave 0's to students who did not do their school work was actually doing more to help them with life than the school policy that forbade him doing it.  Love is NOT never having to say you're sorry!!