Monday, May 31, 2010

Simple Woman #90

For Today . . .  May 31, 2010

Outside my window . . . perhaps, just perhaps, warm weather has returned to our corner of the universe!  It was cool and rainy this morning but the day is ending with sunshine and +12 degree C temperatures.  The forecast is for clearing skies and frost (!) tonight with a high of +17 tomorrow.  Hopefully we have seen the last of the snow for at least 2 months!!

I am thankful . . . for so much goodness in health, relationships, food, peace, and joy - all gifts from my Heavenly Father.

And I also am thankful . . .  for all the moisture that has come to our area in the last few weeks.

I am praying . . . for our son-in-law and daughter who will celebrate their 11th anniversary this week. 

I am thinking . . .  about birthday gifts - June is a busy month in our family!

I am creating . . . 
  some surprise gifts :))

I am celebrating . . . our daughter-in-law Kelsey's birthday later this week.

From the kitchen . . .  not much!  Spiral Pasta in Cheese Sauce, Grilled Pork Chops, kernel corn, sauteed cabbage and cucumber slices for supper.

I am wearing . . .  brown dress pants, brown tshirt, green sweater, floral scarf and brown shoes. 

I am reading . . .  Luke 20 - The Last Supper
                          Shanghai Girls by Lisa See - on hold for now
                          The Help by Kathleen Stockett - "Set in Mississippi during a time when possibilities for women were very different than they are today, Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk.  Why?  Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times.  And sometimes lines are made to be crossed."  It's a very, very good read - I'm only on page 100 but I recommend it already.  This is our book club read for June.

I am hoping . . . to finish the garden planting this week.

I am hearing . . .  the second game in the Stanley Cup playoffs - Chicago just defeated Philadelphia - 2-0.

I am going . . . for a walk as the sun goes down. 

Around the house and yard . . .  still covering and moving plants around, dandelions blooming on the lawn, lilacs blooming and perfuming the yard.

One of my favourite things . . .  spring and summer blossoms. 

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . 3 more days of subbing, a whole province Health Advisory Council meeting, and a retirement party at which my friend will be honoured. 

A quote for today . . .  

When people asked how old she was, she would say 1009365, 
more or less, because she was so glad to be alive that she counted every day a birthday.
She had some disagreement from her knees about the actual figures though. . .

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you . .  . Meadow has learned to ride her two-wheeled bike without training wheels and is on the move now!  She is so cute pedaling along!  The other day she rode for 5 km alongside Naomi who was running.  For her 4th birthday, her great-grampa gave her a John Deere bike - with handbrakes!!!   She is thrilled but will have to wait a bit before she can reach the pedals.  

Sunday, May 30, 2010

An Afternoon with Robert Munsch

Robert Munsch was in Alberta this weekend so Meadow, Helayna, Naomi, Heather and I met up and spent some time listening to him tell some of his stories.

And then it was exciting to get books autographed, even if we did have to stand in line for a long time.

Our favourites were Mortimer, Stephanie's Ponytail and Love You Forever.

I hope this was just the first of many special events that we'll be able to share together as the years go by!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The End of May

The temperature is 0 degrees C,
4" of snow covers the ground,
the heater is running in the greenhouse,
my patio pots are covered in blankets,
the furnace is running,
I'm cold -
good-bye to the month of May!!

Only in Alberta is it possible to have snow 3 out of 5 weekends this month!
And they say global warming is real - I do agree that weather extremes are the norm these days.
Where is summer?!?!?!?!?!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

You Know -

You know the kids are (or have been) home when:

- the fridge is stuffed full

- there are more leftovers than you know what to do with!

- every tea towel in the house is dirty

- you have to sweep the floor after every meal

- the living room is strewn with toys

- dandelion bouquets are your centerpieces

- the step stool is parked in front of the bathroom sink

- the book bins are scattered everywhere

- Grampa has the quads parked right out the door

- the entryway has little hills of sand from emptied shoes and boots

- bubbles and wands have taken up residence on the picnic table

- the playpen occupies the scrapbook studio

- balls can be found hiding in your bed

- birthday hats are lined up on the fireplace hearth

- the bathtub has toys draining in it

- your camera memory cards are full

- your heart is full of joy but you still cry buckets of tears as everyone departs!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

holy experience

It has been a week full of overflowing goodness and blessings!

- waking to hear the sounds of a little boy who's had a long sleep

- little arms reaching up to me

- snuggling

- quiet time without Mommy and Daddy - a few minutes snatched and tucked away to remember

- healthy appetites

- many hands in the kitchen

- a daughter who took charge of keeping the floors swept - thanks, H!

- a crowded table at mealtimes

- time outside together

- a teeter-totter that Grampa put together again

- watching our daughters and son-in-laws love on their sweet little ones

- hearing so many of Silas' words and how he adds new ones every day

- swings that Grampa put up

- a family picture with everyone in it  - I am so happy about that!

- buttercups picked along the creek

- a very cute and silly little boy playing hide and seek

- calves and cows back in the pastures

- birthday parties

- the day after birthday parties

- time to read with our granddaughters

- how good babies smell after a bath

- leftovers that can be pulled out to quickly make a meal

- a deep freeze with meal items prepared ahead of time

- having fun riding the quads

- flying a kite on a windy afternoon

- seeing how much joy they give to each other

- playing Rook with Tyler and Melinda - big game fans that they are

- sunshine and warmer weather

- peanut butter on celery

- blowing bubbles together

- introducing Samuel to the sandbox

- the first picking of rhubarb, even if the stalks are short

- finding potatoes poking through the ground

- time together

- hearing the birds sing through open windows

- so thankful that God protects travelers and those on the roads

- resting in His promises of grace and provision when my heart is sad

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Simple Woman #89

For Today . . .  May 24, 2010

Outside my window . . . the sun came out and dried up all the rain!  And the temperature recovered from -1 degree at 5 a.m. to get up to +16 degrees C this afternoon.  There was a breeze blowing and Tyler, Melinda and Helayna even flew a kite for awhile!

I am thankful . . . that all our family came home this weekend to celebrate Samuel's birthday.

And I also am thankful . . .  for both sets of our parents who are enjoying these 5 great-grandchildren.

I am praying . . . that Samuel will grow to be strong and wise, compassionate and filled with God's spirit, moving in his life and through him.  

I am thinking . . .  about our good friends who were included in the party because they are  just like part of our family.  We are blessed!

I am creating . . . 
  precious memories with our grandchildren!

I am celebrating . . . our family!

From the kitchen . . .  Tyler made scrambled eggs for breakfast, lunch was leftovers from the barbecue last night and supper was Lemon Chicken, Grilled Salmon, Sweet Potato Casserole, tossed salad, asparagus, and beans.  Vanilla ice cream and strawberries made up dessert.  And I had made a Summer Lentil Salad - which I forgot to serve - duh!  So it's already for lunch tomorrow.

I am wearing . . .  black yoga pants, black and pink top, navy hoodie and crocs.  

I am reading . . .  Luke 19 - Zaccheus, The Entry Into Jerusalen

                              Shanghai Girls by Lisa See - Pearl and May, Chinese sisters living in Shanghai, are sent to America as immigrant brides, after their father has gambled away the family's wealth.  

                              Chicken Soup for the Soul - Moms and Sons - which Darrin gave me for Mother's Day.  The stories I've read so far are heartwarming!
I am hoping . . . to savour every minute of the time we still have with Samuel, Tyler and Melinda.

I am hearing . . .  Silas' little voice saying "Cod, cod" and "Ast, ast" - which translated means "quad, quad, fast, fast"!  That boy - and his sister and his cousins - sure do love going for rides!

I am going . . . to water the plants in the greenhouse when I'm finished writing this.  

Around the house and yard . . .  Remember those plants I planted into the patio pots last week?  They have taken up residence back in the house in order to escape the frost and cold temperatures we've had all weekend!  Hopefully by tomorrow they'll be back outside.  

One of my favourite things . . .  being surrounded by our family.  

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . a day of subbing, steak supper, babysitting Blake while Meadow and Naomi go on an 'end of playschool' fieldtrip, high school graduation, Bible study and saying good-bye to our daughter and her family.

A quote for today . . .  

"Look for the gifts inside the journey."

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you . .  .  as part of our quad ride after supper, we stopped to pick buttercups (marsh marigolds) along the creek in the pasture.  These two were hiding in between the hillocks, picking flowers and having fun.  It was a very special time.  Mommy and Daddy said to come home after 15 minutes but I 'think' it was just a wee bit longer :))  (15 minutes with grandchildren just flies by!)

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Party

It was Samuel's first birthday party celebration today!

He loved the balloons Uncle Darrin and Auntie Kelsey brought.

Auntie Naomi and Mommy baked and decorated a baseball cake.

Gramma baked and Daddy iced the cupcakes.

Everyone sang Happy Birthday and the cousins took turns blowing out the candle, over and over again!

And then we ate cake, opened presents, took pictures and had a very good time altogether.
It was the perfect family gathering for a perfect little man!  We are so thankful that he came to Alberta to meet everyone and share the fun with us!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Cousins

are here and we are all so busy having fun and getting ready to celebrate Samuel's first birthday  that we just don't have time to post!  We'll show you all the fun when we get a few extra minutes!

(They really were having fun, even if it doesn't look like it!)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Today I went to the greenhouse with Naomi, Meadow and Blake and they gave me this gorgeous Midnight Blue rose for Mother's Day.  I've never seen one in this deep purple color so it caught my eye right away but it was hard to just pick one out of all the gorgeous bushes and colors they had for sale.  I know I'll love watching this bloom over the summer - thanks so much, guys!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

God has filled my day with His gifts again!

holy experience

- seven solid hours of sleep

- time to read in the morning, my favourite time to do it

- blossoms everywhere!

- email from our daughter-in-law

- conversations with friends - and the big intense but respectful discussions that result

- seeing Meadow's surprise and her eyes light up when we drove in unannounced

- reading other lists

- expert advise from our green thumb daughter and her husband

- photographing this time of year - I think it's just about my favourite time to be out with the camera

- planning "The Party"

- Barbara Reid's book "The Party"! - a children's story about family reunion parties - it makes me think of our gathering this weekend

- homemade yogurt - I think I'm getting the techniques refined

- driving through the pasture and along the creek on the quad

- clean laundry

- morning recess

- cold drinks on hot days

- a washing machine that I can turn the knob on and walk away (imagine having to carry the water, boil the water, scrub the clothes, wring them out, hang them up, carry out the water - it's exhausting to think about doing laundry back then!)

- hearing the red-winged blackbirds as they fly around the creek

- salmon salad sandwiches eaten in the field - just about anything tastes good when it's eaten outside

- knowing that these guys are just about ready to board the plane - and that they'll be in Alberta by 9 p.m. tonight!!

- an afternoon of baking

- warm Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

- a little voice saying "Bonjour, Gramma!"

- finding this cool idea for a summer activity on Stacy Julian's blog today

- marsh marigolds shining in the sun

- the fresh outdoors smell after a rainshower

- the brilliance of a rainbow in the eastern sky

- knowing that God holds me each day in His hands

- that Ann would start this Gratitude Community

Monday, May 17, 2010

Simple Woman #88

For Today . . .  May 17, 2010

Outside my window . . . a delightfully hot (+25 degrees C) spring day, with brilliant sunshine and a small rain shower this evening.  

I am thankful . . . for friends who encourage and hold me accountable in my faith life. 

And I also am thankful . . .  for authors who write works of fiction that still enlighten me and provide authentic experiences with characters that could be alive.

I am praying . . . for our family to arrive home safely this week and for us to enjoy each other over the weekend.

I am thinking . . .  about Samuel's first birthday party and everyone who's excited to meet him.

I am creating . . .   more homes for seedling transplants and my patio pots of tomatoes and flowers. 

I am celebrating . . .  Nurses Week - I'm so thankful for the men and women who provide care when we are sick.  And I am proud and thankful that our daughter, Naomi, is a nurse!

From the kitchen . . .  cheese on toast for breakfast, leftover tuna casserole in my lunch and Grilled Pork Chops with mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh veggies and dip for supper.

I am wearing . . .  a navy blue jacket with pants and a blue-white-turquoise top, pearl earrings and black dress shoes (a teaching outfit!).

I am reading . . .  Luke 14 - 'For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.'
                         Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - by Dai Sijie - set during Mao's Cultural Revolution, 2 boys are sent to the countryside for 're-education' but that takes a surprising turn when they discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translation. "A beguiling and unexpected story about the resilience of the human spirit, the wonder of romantic awakening and the magical power of storytelling."  (all comments from the inside cover)

                       The Perfect Apron by Rob Merrett - it's full of lovely patterns and ideas.  
I am hoping . . . my spider plants will like the transplanting and new soil that they got tonight.  It's been overdue.

I am hearing . . . the bees buzzing in the apple trees - they are just loaded with the little guys who are going dizzy, trying to drink nectar from all the blossoms!

I am going . . .  to finish making a batch of homemade yogurt tonight.  

I am sending . . . a card to someone who recently had a serious health issue and I am praying that her health will be restored and her fears will rest with the One who comforts each of us.

Around the house and yard . . . the dandelions are springing up again after being mowed down on Saturday - man, they are resilient!  The apple trees are full of blossoms as are the saskatoons and mayday trees.

One of my favourite things . . .  the smell of Mayday blossoms.   Too bad they fade so fast :(

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . another day of subbing, babysitting Meadow and Blake so Naomi can go to the dentist, welcoming Samuel, Melinda and Tyler to Alberta, and lots of fun for our whole family to be together on the weekend!  Oh, lots of cooking, cleaning and more planting in the garden too!

A quote for today . . .  

You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need.

-Jerry Gillies

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you . . .  I planted 2 of my flower patio pots tonight.  I love the purple wave petunias but did branch out and added a a Snowstorm Bacopa and a Setaria grass (otherwise known as ornamental foxtail - I picked it for the seed heads that will come later) to each pot.  

You can join the daybook group over at Peggy's blog.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Corners of My Yard

Spring is officially here and the evidence is -

dandelions thriving on the lawn!!  It's very dry and overnight everything has turned yellow!  I cut the grass yesterday but this morning their heads are all standing up again - ugh!!

Luckily there are also these pretty apple blossoms to enjoy!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tales from Africa

In case you might be interested, I've gone back to Jambo, Safari, our African vacation blog and done some more posts.  I hope to get the rest of the trip documented in the next weeks.  

Next stop - leaving Serengeti and heading to Ngorongoro Crater!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ten on Thursday

1.  Look who's one today!!

We are very excited to be planning for his birthday party next week when he arrives in Alberta with his Mommy and Daddy!  It will be his first time to meet most of our family and we have lots of special times planned.  You can read more about him over at A Year Without Peanut Butter.  Thanks for the picture, Mel!

2.   As part of a totally new venture,  I transplanted 30 tiny tomato seedlings tonight.  This is the first time we've grown any seeds like this so the learning curve is steep.  The 3 pumpkins and 3 buttercup squash are looking like prospects for actually producing something but the tomatoes may need until Christmas!  Stay tuned!!

3.   I found some lovely treasures at the thrift store today - a blancher, some canning jars and a salad spinner.  

4.  Here's one of the heirloom tomatoes that I bought at the greenhouse yesterday.  I'm giving it to my Dad for Father's Day - he's right into trying new varieties of things.  His latest venture was planting the sprouted seeds that were inside an eating tomato.

5.   I have this craving for rhubarb but mine's too short to harvest yet.   It's one of my favourite spring tastes!  What's your favourite springtime food?

6.  Have you ever heard of a Picnic Club?  There's one in Provo, Utah and it sounds like a marvelous way to enjoy summer!  I think every community should have one of these :))

7.  The raspberry patch is cleaned out and ready to grow.  You can see the pile of old dead canes in the background here.

8.  I awoke at 5 a.m. this morning (no, I didn't actually stay up at that time!) and the sky was already getting light.  The days are so very long now.  We're just a little more than a month away from the longest day of the year!

9.   You might like reading 52 Ways to Build Your Courage in this ezine by Christine Kane.   It's very encouraging and makes me think about what I could really try to do.

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 11,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at

10.  I've just read these 10 points over and it appears that growing things is on my mind today!!  

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

holy experience

Again my life is filled to overflowing!

- sunlight streaming in through the window

- the patterns of frost on the grass

- leaves bursting out

- chives that survived the winter

- a visit to a lovely greenhouse, nestled in the country

- cuddling Blake who wasn't feeling great

- ducks bobbing in the ditch water

- little projects sewn, filled and shared for Mother's Day

- community members willing to be part of the change in health care

- folding a load of clean laundry first thing in the morning

- watching Meadow swim in her kids' pool - with warm water in it

- using my camera and learning how to read the light

- a spotless countertop

- lunch ready to grab and go

- leaving for school early

- quiet moments - absolute stillness

- major cleanup done in the bedroom

- healthy heirloom tomato plants

- +20 on the thermometer

- buds just forming on the apple trees

- menu planning incorporating good food into our meals

- Farmer's Market opening this week :))

- peanut M&M candies

- a new umbrella plant for the living room, after searching for a long time

- colored notepaper

- time with my Mom and siblings

- transplanting seedlings 

- setting herbs into pots

- remembering Samuel's birth, 1 year ago tonight

- treasuring the gift of grandchildren

- time to pause and reflect

- living the Resurrection story