Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

The anticipation of Advent calms my soul, while all around the world seeks to hurry and worry me away from His presence.  I know that in the calm and the thinking and the quiet and the waiting, I am building my character in His ways.  So I settle into the reflecting and I read wise words of daughters and friends and I know that the way to prepare the heart is to count the blessings in this day - and in every day along the way to Bethlehem.

- Sunday teachings

- His word, the Bible

- familiar faces

- warm handshakes

- planning for caroling in the community

- poinsettias

- Christmas music

- traditions like poppycock

- creating time

- laughter with friends

- cookies

- the imagination of our grandchildren

- a little one's head on my shoulder

- figuring out how to do something totally new

- trips to find gifts

- knowing exactly what to get

- smell of juniper wreath

- time in prayer

- working with kids

- supper

- parcels

- red berries

- Refresh Tazo tea

- that He would come for me

- celebrating His birth

holy experience

Monday, November 29, 2010

Welcome, Advent!

Welcome to the time of great expectation,
the days of counting,
the time of quiet preparedness,
the time to sit with God and wonder,
the most exciting time of the year!

For He is coming!
The One I am waiting for,
the One who gathers me up and carries me,
the One on whom I rest my hopes and dreams,
the One who created me for His purposes,
the One who is always there.

He is coming as a little baby,
sent to a world who doesn't see Him, 
to remind me again that my life is nothing without Him.
And my heart leaps with joy and excitement
as the days count down.

And I expect that 
I will see Him in the faces that I meet,
 I will hear Him in the hymns and carols,
 I will feel Him in the hugs and greetings,
 I will serve Him by helping more of His children.
 I know that He desires these things for me
and that it will be very good to celebrate His birth.
And I am glad!

What are you expecting this season?

(Question based on Pastor Scott's sermon today)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bags Are Packed

And I am off to spend tonight and tomorrow scrapbooking at the local school!  A new school is nearly complete and in an effort to raise money for the playground, the parent association is sponsoring this crop.  I am looking forward to it and hope to get my December Daily album ready since Advent begins on Sunday.   Next week  I'll show you what I've  accomplished.

Have a marvelous weekend, doing something that you truly love!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Current | Two

listening: CBC National News

eating: a ripe Bartlett pear - one of my favourite fruits

drinking: hot Triple Jim's premium apple cider, with cinnamon and cloves - won't be going back to those super sweet packages of cider mix - this is so, so good!

wearing: navy cords, burgundy sweater, vest and slippers

feeling: very happy that I got up at 6 a.m. and spent a couple of hours sewing FIRST THING this morning :)

weather: beautifully warm at -2 degrees C - it was sunny this afternoon and so gorgeous outside.  

wanting: to get lots of sewing done in the next few weeks.

needing: to plan meals for the Christmas festivities, make poppycock and do some grocery shopping.

thinking: about what I need to take with me for a scrapbook event this weekend.

enjoying: the last of the fall decorations before they are put away very soon.

wondering: if I should just go to bed and start early again tomorrow.  It's hard to stay up late and get up early!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Have You Read - -

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. 
Instructions: Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 

6 The Bible 

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D'urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch-22 - Joseph Heller

14 The Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

19 The Time-Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Graeme

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne 

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgommery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel 

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Inferno - Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine St. Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare 

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl 

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

How about you?

Thanks for sharing, Rhonda!  I thought I was an avid reader but  I've only read 23 on this list!  That's not even 25% - I definitely need to read more!! 

Have you read many of these?

Gratitude Gifts Today

As the weekend draws to a close, there are so many things that I count as gifts from the One who made me and sustains me.  The last Sunday of the church year is a reminder to look at all that happened in the past year and to think about what was good and what needs to change.  I know that even though I am fickle as the wind that blows and many times my good intentions scatter across the land without being carried out, still the One who created me loves and sustains me and gives me brand new days to start all over.

Still I number His gifts and marvel at His inifinte goodness!

- little smiles and big hugs as I arrive at their door

- a chance to just visit with our daughter

- caring for the little ones while Mama has an extra nap

- pizza to pick-up

- her first hockey game and those little legs pushing and flying around the ice

- our Bible study group

- discussions and learning from His word

- the examples of leaders from the Bible

- praying for a dear friend and trusting Him to be there

- a day of cooking and good food

- Bob's help to vacuum and mop floors

- good friends gathered at our table

- leisurely eating and savouring the bites

- sharing memories of loved ones

- pumpkin pie

- games

- time with my parents

- listening to their memories of childhood

- setting up the Christmas tree at church

- getting all the lights to work!

- remembering that He is the light of our world

- new sewing projects

- more days of work

- comments from blog friends

- planning scrapbook projects

- warm boots

- planning how to help others instead of buying things

- little marvels in nature


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giving 2

Our church partners with Canadian Lutheran World Relief to provide resources and help to communities around the world.  At Christmas time, we choose gifts, from the catalogue Gifts From The Heart, to help families around the world.

$15 provides a fishnet

$30 gives a sack of potatoes

$20 educates a teacher

$50 provides medical care
(photos from CLWR site)

In many instances, CLWR is able to partner with the Canadian International Development Agency who matches gifts up to 3X.  That means a $50 donation can be $150 by the time it leaves Canada.  

I love that our gifts can mean  new opportunities and so much potential for another family!  I think this year we will give a gift of chickens - good food like eggs and  the possibliity to generate some income by selling eggs means a lot for a family.

There are so many opportunities like this one, sponsored by other organizations.  Consider picking one or two and honoring your loved ones in a very special way.

From the Kitchen Today

Pumpkin French Toast
with maple syrup

Stuffed Mushrooms

Orange Ginger Carrot Soup
Whole Wheat Buns

Sweet and Sour Spareribs
Coconut Rice with Peas

Cranberry Walnut Pear Salad

Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream

Sweet Orange Herbal Tea

It was a very productive day!  And it was good to share supper with our dear friends.   I'm thinking that it would be a good idea to have guests over to share a meal with once every week.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Simple Woman #101

Today . . .  November 17, 2010

Outside my window . . . snow coming down and wind blowing!  The first winter storm has progressively worsened today and the prediction is for more bad weather and poor driving conditions.  The temperature by morning is going to feel like -27 degrees C!

I am thankful . . .  for a solid house with a furnace that works!

And I also am thankful . . .   for a job that allows me to have occasional free days at home.

I am praying . . .    that we will know how to share the abundance we have with others who have much less. 

I am also praying . . .  for healing for a friend who recently had surgery.

I am thinking . . .   about Christmas gifts that I want to sew.

I am creating . . . 
  a nightgown for Meadow and a mini scrapbook album for a friend and her new baby. 

I am celebrating . . .  two dear friends who had birthdays yesterday!

From the kitchen . . . chicken stir-fry with broccoli and mushrooms over brown rice, fresh buns and banoffee muffins.

I am wearing . . .  black track pants, orange striped tshirt, fleece jacket and slippers - winter's here!

I am reading . . .  Acts 3 - v. 28 - "You have made known to me the paths of life;  you will fill me with joy in your presence."
                            The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall - It's 1928 in China and the Communists and Chiang Ki-shek's troops are about to clash.  Lydia and her mother, exiled Russians, live in the International Settlement but Lydia roams the city and falls in love with a Chinese  Communist youth.  Intrigue and ideals meet in this interesting novel.

I am hoping . . .  to get to a meeting in the city tomorrow night but the road conditions need to improve.  I don't like driving on icy roads!

I am hearing . . .  Dragon's Den (a show where entrepreneurs try to convince a panel of 5 investors to finance their newest ideas) on CBC TV. 

I am going . . . to cut into some lovely white material that's printed with little yellow and pink flowers.

Around the house and yard . . . snow covering most everything now.  Bob did get the garden rototilled on the weekend so everything is safely  put to bed and resting.

One of my favourite things . . . collecting items for our loved ones, to put in their Christmas stockings.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . another day of subbing, a health advisory council meeting, a day with Meadow and Blake, watching Meadow's first hockey game of the season, Bible study and friends for dinner on Sunday.  

A quote for today . . .  

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. ”
Michelangelo (1475-1564);
sculptor, painter, architect

Here is a picture thought I am sharing . . . visions of springtime!

Please join us over at Peggy's if you'd like to participate!

My Role

 In the last 5 years it has come to me that God wants me to serve Him by serving my family. That is contrary to what the world wants me to believe - no big surprise that God's way is not the way of the world, is it?! But He gave me the role and joy of being a mother for a reason and I honour Him when I enjoy that role. And I have His model of parenting to follow - His always giving, always sacrificing, always waiting, always loving model. So my calling and my time are my gifts with which to serve Him. (written in response to a blog question from Jeanne @ At A Hen's Pace)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

The week was full of remembering and thankfulness for those who have served, especially in war and peacekeeping.

But then Ann and Melinda remind me that there is  One who has served by giving His very life

and the red poppies remind of His blood

and the pictures remind of agony and suffering

and the green leaves remind of new growth

and my tears are for my very life.

What sacrifice HE made for me and what must I sacrifice to truly serve Him?

And I know that His grace is mine again today

and tomorrow

and for every tomorrow

 and I know that I serve Him with my thanks.

And the gifts keep coming,

steady and sure,

and noticed and counted.

- writers who share and in the sharing empower and inspire my writing

- sunshine and crisp blue skies

- standing outside in the sunshine

- a community gathered in remembrance and in honour

- a request to please pray for them as they serve

- our national anthem

- words in poetry and in music

- safe travel

- the excitement of grandchildren

- little dances amidst the cries of "Gamma's here, Gamma's here!"

- sitting between the two of them at mealtimes

- handcrafted jewellery

- time for adult conversation

- vacation travel

- safe returns from vacation travel

- beautiful pictures of newborn twins

- watching them mix dirt burgers

- enthusiastic sliding down piles of dirt

- dishes done within minutes of supper being over

- serving by babysitting

- bedtime stories

- praying with them as they settle into bed

- Sunday messages and encouragement in daily living

- excitement as they check things out of the church library

- little eyes filled with wonder at Christmas lights

- amazing 50% sale on fabrics

- warm winter jackets

- pizza

- leftovers

- organizing

- rows of jars all tucked away in a re-purposed cupboard

- memories of my Gramma's jars all in a row

- finding the perfect Christmas gifts on another great sale

- days of work

- children's creativity in art

- the patterns of math thinking

- tuna waldorf salad

- bracelets on a tree

- sunset

- tasks completed

- my washing machine and dryer

- God's grace that gives me everything

- the joy that builds as Advent approaches

- God's incredible love for me and you!

holy experience

Monday, November 15, 2010

Giving 1

Inspired by the sermon "Grace of Giving"  at Rockpointe Church today, by Vanessa and her giving project,  and to combat the materialism of Christmas in some little measure, I want to find meaningful ways to help others this season.  I thought about this during my 2.5 hour drive home from Airdrie today and decided I want to find one cause to support each week from now until Christmas.   I'd like to show you some of these special projects and invite you to tell me about yours.  

The first project I love is Operation Christmas Child, sponsored by Samaritan's Purse.  Each fall, I fill a few shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, clothes, candy, and personal hygiene items and send them to the office in Calgary.  After being processed, they are shipped, along with thousands of other shoeboxes, to children around the world in more than 17 countries who may have never received a gift of any kind.  This year many of the boxes are being shipped to Haiti.  Last year, more than 640,000 boxes were collected and some day  I hope I can volunteer to help deliver boxes.  Our daughter Heather and her husband, Jonathan, were part of a team that delivered one year in Mexico and it impacted them in a huge way.    

I want to share that I am not telling you about this giving project to brag but rather to joyfully share what we have decided to live out in our lives.  By documenting in a public way, I hope you will be inspired and perhaps find a new project to support.  My blog has always been a documentation of my life and this is an important part of Christmas for me.  Thanks for listening :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Current | One

listening: Extreme Home Makeover

eating: a crunchy Spartan apple

drinking: water

wearing: jeans, a sweatshirt and down-filled vest (when outside) 

feeling: a bit tired.  Helayna came down to my bed at 5:18 a.m. this morning and it took a while to convince her to go back to sleep!

weather: sunny but cool because of the wind today.

wanting: the snow to stay away for a very long time!

needing: to go to bed soon.

thinking: about going to Fabricland tomorrow.  It's a 50% off weekend for sewing club members :)

enjoying: a quiet house after a busy fun-filled day with the grandchildren.

wondering: what time I should head home tomorrow.

Thanks to Lee at The Linar Studio for the inspiration to do this one!

Messages In Nature

Last week as I waited to give Bob his lunch out in the field, I saw the most interesting Russian thistle plant growing on the fence line.   As I snapped from above and below -

I was reminded of how sometimes I can see someone - just blending in to the crowd, not standing out in any particular way, not really making much of an impression.  And how I don't notice their uniqueness or the special way that God created them.

It's not until I take time to look at them on their own, away from the colour and glitz and glamour of the world's view, that I notice the most amazing things  - like how much their beauty differs from what society calls beauty and how some of the marvelous is hidden.

And how they are amazing when viewed from another angle, the one that I would have missed at first glance, the one the world doesn't take time to appreciate.  

I was blessed to have this very tall, very brown plant speak its message to me that quiet autumn day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day

"They shall not grow old
as we who are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
and in the morning
We will remember them."
Laurence Binyon

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Thinking

Lately I've been thinking alot about my writing on this blog and pondering the direction I should be pursuing with my writing.  I know that I need, and want, to challenge myself to do it better and when I read Ann's post yesterday, the message penetrated my soul.  Pierced right through the simple and the easy and the smooth to lodge in that part of my heart that I keep locked and buried and safe.   So now I am processing and pondering and wrestling with the voices.   This may take some time and real effort on my part.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

 A whole week of November has trickled by and our lives are slowing as winter approaches.  The lamps glow golden as evening comes earlier, thanks to a change from daylight saving time, and the scents of comfort food waft through the house.  I like coming home and opening the door to smell what's cooking in the crockpot.   My life is full with blessings once again.

- beautiful weather lingering long

- excellent driving conditions on the roads

- watching the sun come up as I go to work

- an extra hour of sleep on Saturday night!

- baking cakes - carrot, pumpkin chocolate, walnut pear

- coming home with 1 slice of each kind left over

- Sunday night suppers with family around the table

- empty garden pots put away

- a beautiful cut lawn

- the stark beauty of empty trees

- pictures of places to visit like the Napa Valley

picture from a Food Lover's Odyssey

- time to do some browsing and thinking about gift giving

- reading children's classics like Little House On The Prairie again

- leftovers for lunch

- music to sing along to

- hugs from little grade one students

- current affairs discussions with tweens and their efforts to understand

- watching my husband work the land

- greeting each member of our church family as they came in

- coming to the Lord's table

- clean laundry filling the drawers

- seeing Blake play and laugh

- listening to Meadow's questions "why"

- Samuel walking back and forth through puddles (even if it's only via video camera)

- phone calls from Helayna

- Silas' laughter

- colors under my feet

- working with my sister and my niece in the kitchen

- opening jars of summer goodness

- stalks of wheat collected in a vase

- autumn candlelight

- warm apple pie

- red poppies and Remembrance Day

- praying for each of our children and their partners

- the saints in my life who have showed me how to love God and live my life as His child

holy experience

Sunday, November 07, 2010


Today was a full day of activities and accomplishments:

- cut the lawn - imagine - Nov. 6th and the grass is still semi-green

- trimmed all the tight spots with the push mower

- put away the hoses, pots and garden tools

- carrot cake and pumpkin chocolate cake were baked and iced

- cheese and sausage were cut and are ready for lunch at church tomorrow

- four loads of laundry were finished

- had a visit with my sister, brother, niece and nephew

- worked together to get supper ready for the American hunter-guests

- tasted a new appetizer

- signed up for a fund-raising scrapbooking crop

- thought about Christmas projects - time to get moving on them!

And now the time change just happened so I get an extra hour of sleep - sweet!!

Tree skeleton waiting for winter's blanket

Friday, November 05, 2010

Ten on Thursday - Editted

1.  So eager to watch this TV series on the Great Migration, which begins on Sunday night on the National Geographic channel.  We don't have cable TV but you can bet we'll be visiting someone who does.  The first episode features the wildebeest, which we saw last year in the Serengeti, and red crabs in Australia.   There is no one who does better photography than these guys!

2.  If you like tea and have a David's Tea shop near you, you will love visiting and sampling some interesting new combinations.  Think Dark Walnut or Pumpkin Chai or Three Loves!

3.  The last two days have been gloriously warm!  It was +15 degrees C this afternoon and we all should have been outside enjoying the sunshine.  A strong wind last night started moving this system away and unfortunately colder weather is on its way :(

4.  Flavoured coffee creamer fan -  you might want to consider these recipes, on the Deliciously Organic blog,  - with no additives or preservatives.

5.  I did a little Christmas shopping today - only 50 days until Christmas!

6.  The Body Shop has some wonderful new scents for the holiday season - Jolly Orange and Spice Vanilla - yum!

Friday add-ons:
7.  Vanessa has been a friend of our daughter's for years - they were running mates on the track team through school and Heather was a bridesmaid at her wedding.  She's doing an amazing giveaway on her blog this week - please go and check it out - and encourage her heart!  She has such a love for the Lord and desires to serve Him in her life.

8.  The last of my carrots are dug!  I have never dug carrots in November without snow on the ground so I am happy.  I see carrot soup and carrot cake on the agenda for this weekend.  To my surprise most of the last row was from heritage seeds so these have dark red skin and bright orange flesh.  There is still one row of parsnips in the ground.  I know they get sweeter and keep longer if you can delay the digging so I think they will stay where they are for today.

9.  The amazing Jessica Sprague, digital scrapbooker and teacher extraordinaire!, has just released a new book Stories In Hand.  This is an incredible collection of questions to use in capturing stories and memories.  The sample layouts are quite beautiful and inspiring.  It would make a lovely Christmas gift - just sayin' :)

10.  My rosebush outside has 4 more buds!  I could hardly believe my eyes when I went outside to empty the last of the patio pots this morning.  Roses in November - now that's a happy thought!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Sewing Projects

Last week I saw this great idea for a quilted table runner made by Jennifer and featured on the Sew, Mama, Sew blog.  I took the idea and adapted it a bit to make one for a square table.

It's definitely Halloween colors but the prints are autumn designs so I think it can be used from September through November.

The four squares on the back make it reversible - a nice little bonus.

You can see the stitch in the ditch quilting lines that show through on the back.

  I had a great time creating this and will definitely be making more in other sizes and colors!

Gratitude Gifts Today

As the weather turns warm again, my heart overflows with thanks for all the good things He gives.

- waking up rested

- showers of warm water

- new sweaters and boots

- leftovers

- donuts

- bright orange pumpkins

- Sundays shared with family

- pumpkins to carve

- warm weather

- no snow

- friends

- amazing music performed by local talent

- the healing power of music (read about it here)

- strength given by God

- jokes and laughter

- unexpected day of quadding

- sisters

- Grampa and grandson

- good news for our son-in-law

- little voices on the phone

- my washing machine and dryer

- excellent driving conditions

- new book to read

- Halloween chocolate bars

- God's promises for me

- Bible study evenings

- that He always provides for us

holy experience