Friday, November 30, 2012

Five on Friday

Quote of the Day
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922-2007);

2.  Check out this video for a glimpse of Canada at its best!

3.  I got a Christmas present in the mail yesterday!  My niece, Jill, sent me a lovely picture book called "Great Joy" by Kate DiCamillo - thanks so much, J!  I will have fun sharing the gorgeous pictures and the message.

4.  I had a chance to spend a bit of time with a friend, making cards this week.  It was fun to create together, try some new techniques and revel in the colours, images and textures available.  Thanks, T!

5.  Photo of the week:

Colours of Winter
(rosehips beside a birch tree)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lists of 2012 - #46

Listography 2012 - #46 - What's On My Wishlist

1.  New faucet set for the kitchen sink

2.  Complete painting for the inside of the house

3.  Bathroom reno (This is a no holds barred list!)

4.  Upgrade on the patio and outside landscaping

5.  Insert for our fireplace so it's more efficient

6.  Two accent chairs for the living room

7.  New coffee table for the living room

8.  Winter boots - dress and casual

9.  New sweaters

10.  Food processor

11.  New teapot for my Old Country Roses set of china

12.  Photobooks of our trips to South America and Africa

Lots of stuff but it's just a list, right?!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Just a little idea today from my friend, Linds, who recently wrote about some of her favourites.

Favourite Movie: I have a few that come to mind:
- Mary Poppins was the first movie I saw in a theatre when I was about 8 years old.  It came to the old theatre in Wetaskiwin and I went as a guest of Daphne Ludwig, our pastor's wife, who was very British.  I loved everything about the movie - and going to the theatre for the first time - and can still sing many of the songs by heart.  
- Love Story was the movie Bob and I saw on our very first date!  There are so many things to remember and smile about when I reflect on that night.  It was a double date with our closest friends at that time (R died just a short time later after a motorcycle mishap) and we were even stopped by the police on the way into the city!!  Many, many years later Bob found a copy of the movie and gave it to me on Valentine's Day.  
- Dr. Zhivago still is a favourite with its beautiful scenery, dramatic love story and timeless music.
- Any movie that stars Julia Roberts is at the top of my favourites list whether it's Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovitch or My Best Friend's Wedding.  She's such an amazing actress!

Favourite vacation/holiday: If you know me, you will know that I love traveling and would be gone monthly, if I could!  And because I love it so, every trip is one-to-remember!
- When our children were younger, we took a two-week trip to southern California, going via Montana, Yellowstone National Park, Bryce Canyon in Utah, the Grand Canyon in Arizona and on to San Diego and Los Angeles.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime and we had so much fun together.  I'm looking forward to going to Disneyland with our grandchildren someday.
- When Darrin was just a baby we went to Jamaica for 10 days with friends.  That was the first of many great vacations with many sets of friends. 
- Visiting the Great Wall of China, the commercial district of Hong Kong, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, Innsbruck and Vienna in Austria, Prague in the Czech Republic, Krakow in Poland, Manaus in Brazil, Iguassu Falls on the SA borders, and Buenos Aires in Argentina - we have been so incredibly lucky to see so many wonderful places in the world.  Each place had its own unique beauty and interesting people.  
- Traveling to Africa, driving on safari through Kenya and Tanzania, seeing Mount Kilimanjaro, cruising the Nile River and visiting temples and burial sites in Egypt, and then finishing in Zanzibar was an incredible month long adventure.  I still am in awe that we actually did this trip!

Favourite Book:  The list of possibilities is ever increasing in this category!  These come to mind:
- The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
- Earth's Children series by Jean Auel
- A Walk Across the Sun by Corbin Addison
- Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah
- Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks
- Still Alice by Lisa Genova
- The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
- The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rawling
- The Silver Chalice by Thomas Costain

Favourite Hymn:   The hymns learned in my childhood are mostly committed to memory from singing them for years and years.  Some of these were favourites of my grandmother too - she loved them and often sang in her native tongue, German.
- What A Friend We Have In Jesus
- Children of the Heavenly Father
- I Come to the Garden Alone - one of my Dad's favourites
- Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven - sung at our wedding
- Saviour Like a Shepherd Lead Me
- Just a Closer Walk with Thee

Favourite Colour:  I love colours - the brighter the better usually!  Sometimes when I look around a group of people gathered, I wonder about myself in that way.  
- orange is my all time favourite
- followed by yellow and green
- in combination, I love teal and brown, grey and yellow, and red and black.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gratitude Gifts Today

#4832 - #4902

- Christmas pyjamas washed and waiting for the grandchildren
- little piles of sewing finished
- sifting through my bins of fabric
- a bed with warm covers
- getting better after being sick

- wheat pack on my toes
- cold ginger ale
- fresh pumpkin granola
- working steadily in the kitchen
- cleaning day

- friends gathered
- Beads for Life
- ibuprofen
- dusted shelves
- visiting with my sister

- Christmas mugs and plates
- slow cooker full of chai tea
- pumpkin hummus
- washed floors
- Christmas shopping - in my home!

- sun rising golden onto a frosty day
- full day of subbing
- wedding rings
- baked barbecue chicken legs
- picking Bob up at the airport

- sleeping fast!
- winter morning sunrise
- Bible study group gathered in our home
- long visits
- afternoon nap with Blake and Maëlle

- lunch with my sister
- childhood stories shared around the supper table
- celebrating birthdays
- online sermons by Timothy Kellor
- beautiful table settings

- Sunday afternoon visits with 1 grandchild at a time
- making things together
- sharing lunch, just us 3
- guitar worship music
- little ones going out to skate in the dark

- late afternoon call to sub in home ec
- red cranberries hanging on the trees for the birds
- shelves full of jars with summer produce
- senior high foods students making perogies and pies
- laundry folded

- bags sewed for Christmas giving
- planning gift giving
- napping in the fort made of quilts
- walking to and from school with Meadow
- pizza from the local restaurant

- making Christmas cookies
- snuggling in front of the roaring fire
- baking shortbread men, 1 for each cousin
- snowshoeing around the yard with Blake
- taking photos

- watching them at gymnastics
- shortbread and chocolate peanut clusters for the freezer
- a day to sleep in
- big pot of soup
- croissant sandwiches

- amazing health care workers and doctors
- leftovers
- reading "The Hobbit"
- more fabric cutting
- celebrating Christ the King Sunday

- Christmas baskets coming together
- getting out the Advent candles
- marvelling that He chose to give His only son
- reading Mary's story, prep for next week's Sunday School lesson
- making a conscious choice to spend less, make more, share often and love fully

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Five on Friday

1.  Quote of the week:

The duration of your life is of less importance to God than the donation of your life. Take what you’ve learned from God and pass it on to others  (Rick Warren)

2.  Naomi and I spent an afternoon doing some Christmas baking.  It was fun working together and tasting yummy Brownie Bites, Peanut Clusters and Shortbread.  Blake helped me roll, cut and decorate little shortbread people, all named for his cousins!

3. And that day Blake and I also went out snowshoeing for a bit, wandering through the yard, looking for tracks and mountains (a pile of dirt) and exploring! 

4.  Last night we went to the Winter Lights event at a neighbor's greenhouse and bought some poinsettias so I am all set to transform into Christmas decor around our house.  The Christmas mugs and plates came out last week and the mantle pieces will follow shortly.,  It's the most wonderful time of the year!!

5.  Photo of the week:

cuddled up in front of the fireplace,
reading books on a cold winter day :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lists of 2012 - #45

Listography 2012 - #45 - Things I've Spent Money on This Week

1.  Beads for Life necklaces and bracelets

2.  Sunday offering

3.  Christmas gift at Canadian Tire

4.  Candy canes for Christmas baking

5.  Milk, yogurt, bananas, oranges - groceries

6.  Magazine subscriptions

7.  Fresh ginger for chai mix

8.  Almonds to make poppycock

9.  Developing pictures at Costco

10.  Amaryllis bulbs for Christmas gifts

11.  Stamps to mail some letters

12.  Gift to Compassion for our sponsor child in Brazil

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NaBloPoMo #6

NaBloPoMo #6 - Talk about the opening of your favourite book.

I have so many wonderful books that I could write about today.  Several years ago (actually I just looked inside the front cover and it was in 2000!),  the mother of one of my students gave me Ken Follet's first book, The Pillars of the Earth, as a Christmas gift.  She was a former English teacher who loved historical fiction - we were kindred spirits in that way.  All of this was long before the book became wildly popular.  I read it over the Christmas holidays that year and enjoyed every page!

The book is set in medieval England and opens with a prologue where in 1123 AD a hanging happens in the village square.  As a young man hangs, a teenaged pregnant woman places a curse on a knight, a monk and a priest, who were at the court when the young thief was convicted.  From this scene, the book jumps to 1135 and begins to trace the career of Tom, a builder and his son, Alfred.   Tom has a dream to work on a cathedral but suddenly finds himself out of work.   Moving on with his family, while travelling through the woods, they are attacked by thieves who steal the family's pig.  It's in the woods that they meet Ellen, the young woman who had delivered the curses earlier, now has a son and is considered a witch.

The novel continues to follow the paths of these first characters and the author skillfully interweaves their stories to give us a glimpse into the people who lived and worked in England at this time.  The  first theme we see is how the power of nobility and church resulted in much social inequality and hardship for common classes.  Another theme that the author creates is the development of trade guilds and the creative thinking of builders, using new ideas and ways of building.  The use of the arch revolutionized building techniques, especially in cathedrals being built at this time.   The story has several strong women characters and they are developed in ways quite contrary to the social norms of the day ( a theme that I always enjoy).

Follett is an excellent storyteller and always holds my attention, in this case through 983 paperback pages.  The word pictures he paints are vivid and full of rich imagery.  He brings his characters right to life and continually surprises readers with the interconnected weavings of people, events and buildings. To paraphrase the back cover, intrigue, power, passion and romance form the outline of the story.

I loved it 12 years ago - and I still love it!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hello, Monday

Hello, day and a half of subbing.

Hello, two days of babysitting.

Hello, Health Advisory Council meeting.

Hello, watching gymnastics.

Hello, new week with Bob back at home.

Hello,  menu planning.

Hello, Christmas shoeboxes - time to ship you off.

Hello, quiet day at home - I am so looking forward to you.

Hello, December Daily building.

Hello, new week!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Five on Friday

1.  Quote of the week:

“Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

                                                                   Gandalf in The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

2.  New thing I learned this week:  how to change my profile and cover pictures in Facebook.  Yeah, me!!

3.  Have you heard of Beads for Life?  

This is the organization's mission statement:

"Our mission is to create sustainable opportunities for women to lift their families out of extreme poverty by connecting people worldwide in a circle of exchange that enriches everyone."

I was happy to host a bead party this week and I want to thank my wonderful friends who came, shopped, and supported the work.   Last year there were 3000 parties around the world - I hope you can find (or better yet, host!) one in your area.  I did some Christmas shopping but best of all, made a difference for some families in Uganda.

4.  Being sick for 24 hours is not fun!  

5.  Photo of the week:  

from Bob's time in NB
(thanks, M!)

Lists of 2012 - #44

Listography 2012 - #44 - Things I'm Feeling Stressed About (but really in pretty small ways)

1.  painting our main living area

2.  using up the rest of the tomatoes

3.  not having the garden completely cleaned out and rototilled

4.  the state of chaos in part of our basement

5.  what to give our son and son-in-laws for Christmas

6.  how much time to devote to a volunteer committee that's demanding alot

7.  re-doing our patio area (someday!)

8.  wrinkles!

9.  time to finish my sewing projects wish-list

10.  the causes to support this Christmas

11.  creating some photobooks

12.  farm accounting

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Saturday in the Greenhouse

For something completely different today, here's a look at the middle of October in our yard.  I did a quick walk one afternoon and captured a last look at autumn.

Cranberries still hanging

I love the textures in the dried zinnias

1 pumpkin still hiding in the grass

Bright green mint crawling everywhere

Dried sunflower heads

And by the next morning, this had happened -

Which meant that I had to get into the greenhouse for a final picking and cleanup!

Things were still growing

and slowly ripening

which meant I had all these tomatoes to pick!

Greenhouse almost ready for winter  

and my very dark chlorophyll-stained hand
at the end of the day!

And that's all she wrote for gardening this year!
In just 4 months it will be time to plant seeds again!
I'm not quite excited about that yet -
maybe after 4 more months of winter I'll feel different :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Gratitude Gifts Today

#4795 - #4832

- safety while storms rage all over the continent
- cocooning at home and avoiding icy roads
- empty chicken house, just in time
- cleaned out deep freeze
- room enough for all

- little trick-or-treaters
- great big 'thanks' shouted back at me
- imagination - of littles and parents
- candles burning bright in pumpkins
- "This Little Light of Mine"

- sewing
- iPhone photos - amazing technology
- slow cooker ready meals
- garlic smashed potatoes
- leftovers

- chicken stock cooking after supper
- fresh pears
- mint green tea
- rescheduling visits
- little ones playing in the sandbox

- cords and sweaters
- down-filled jacket
- warm gloves and boots
- hot dogs for lunch at school
- colours of the rainbow

- sun shining while snow diamonds twinkle
- chickadees outside my kitchen window
- fourteen cups of pumpkin for the freezer
- first batch of poppycock
- filling shoeboxes to send

- 3 gifts that begin with 'N' - our daugher Naomi, nuts and nachos
- quiet night times
- gifts that only He can give
- words of hymns that speak straight to me
- my Saviour and His unfailing love for me

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day

They shall grow not old, as we that 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.
Robert Laurence Binyon

Saturday, November 10, 2012

NaBloPoMo #5

NaBloPoMo #5 - If you could have any job you want, what would it be?

I still really love teaching so I'm not sure I would change that.  But I've always had a heart for helping children in other parts of the world and haven't really done much about going and being part of that.

My niece has a dream about building a school in China and I wish that I spoke Mandarin (or any other language for that matter!) so I could go and help her.  Working with girls in Afghanistan, teaching in Africa, or going to any place in the world where there are huge education needs would be something that I'd like to experience.

In 2004 I spent 2 weeks doing professional development with teachers in western Belize alongside 3 colleagues from our school division.  The teachers were so receptive and so excited to learn more about helping their students.  They did their jobs with so few materials and supplies.  Their classes were big, their schools had the bare minimum in furniture and books -  and still they worked so hard to make a difference with and for their students.  My time spent in San Ignacio was the highlight of my career and remains an incredible memory!

Having said that, I'd really like to work as a tour guide somewhere with lots of history, cool buildings, and unique experiences.  The little hurdle of language skills pops up but the question assumes that all the requirements for the job would somehow magically happen.  (Ah, dreams!)   I know the travel industry is a hard business - long hours, demanding clients, on the road often - but it's always had a pull on me.

So - do tell - what would your dream job be?

Friday, November 09, 2012

Five on Friday

Quote of the Day
“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit light a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it..”
Wilfred Peterson (1900-1995);

2.  A big winter storm this week has left us buried in fluffy snow and made the roads very icy and slippery.  After 2 days of driving in it, I'm safely cocooned at home today - drinking lovely homemade chai tea and sewing Christmas treats.  I am happy!

3.  I poked around online a bit today and ordered a few things for Christmas :)  

4.  A few weeks ago I went to an East Indian grocery store in the city to buy some whole spices for making a chai tea concentrate.  I nearly called my friend to come over and read the words on the bags - everything was in Punjabi!  Eventually I found the spice wall and by looking at the shapes of the whole spices, I was able to identify what I needed.  Heather gave me this chai tea recipe and this morning I actually made a batch.  It was wonderful!!  The fresh orange zest comes through beautifully and using half milk was still too strong so I did a 1/3 tea, 2/3 milk ratio.  I'm so happy to have my very own recipe for my favourite hot beverage!  Thanks so much, Lindsay Jewell!

5.  Photo of the week:

after 2.5 days of winter storming 
outside our patio just after 4 pm
(see the sun going down already?!)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Lists of 2012 - #43

Listography - #43 - Random Happy Memories

1.  Getting the phone calls that told us about the birth of each of our grandchildren.

2.  The wedding days of our children.

3.  Quading trips with my family.

4.  Seeing animals on safari, especially the first giraffes, zebras and lions.

5.  Working with teachers on professional development in Belize.

6.  Climbing the Great Wall of China.

7.  Taking the train through Poland and the Czech Republic.

8.  Driving through Austria and seeing the beautiful mountains and architecture.

9.  Staying at the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City.

10.  Seeing the incredible farms of Brazil and Argentina.

11.  Sea kayaking around the shore in Nova Scotia.

12.  Summers spent with my grandparents at the farm.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

NaBloPoMo #4

NaBloPoMO #4

 If you were President of the United States, what would your first act in office be?

So many needs, so many agendas, so much inequality, so many with so much and so many with so little.

I wish there was a way to equalize things so that everyone could have the resources to meet their needs for food, shelter, education and healthcare.

Could I wipe out poverty and provide hope for those who are marginalized and on the fringe of society?  To provide opportunities and hope for women, their children and families would be my first act in office.  How to do it?  I have no idea except I do know that prayer can accomplish anything.

 It makes me sad and somewhat angry that so much of government is controlled by big business and people who's agendas are motivated by profit, with no consideration of ethics or morals.  I believe there are enough resources in the world but they are not distributed and available to all.   When it's politics and power interfering I wish there could be great big sweeping changes.

Monday, November 05, 2012

NaBloPoMo - #3

Halloween 2012 

I was so surprised to run and open the door after the doorbell rang and see 7 - yes, seven! - trick or treaters standing there!  We never get that many kids at one time ever!  They crowded into the entryway and I started to recognize faces from my days of subbing at the local school. 

Little Miss S was surprised to see me - “Mrs. K, I didn’t know you lived here!” 

As I dropped bags of chips, boxes of Smarties, and bars of KitKats into their pillowcases, one bigger boy piped up with “It smells like chicken in here.”  

“Yes,” I said, “if I had known you were coming, I would have made some for you.”  

“Hey, can I trade candy for chicken?” was his immediate response!

I’m sure I will remember that response each and every Halloween from now on because it was so spontaneous and so unique.  Candy for chicken - imagine!!  Who would have thought I’d hear that on Halloween night?  It was probably his stomach screaming for protein after a long day of sugary treats!

(Using an idea from Write.Click.Scrapbook)

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Five on Friday


Quote of the Day
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1926-2004);
psychiatrist, author

2.   Did you know that  within 72 hours you’ll forget 95 percent of what you heard? 

3.  This week I popped a lovely little chicken into my slow cooker, added a little paprika and garlic salt, filled the cavity with an onion and a whole head of garlic (following the ideas here) - and walked away for 7+ hours.  When I got home, the house smelled yummy and supper was nearly ready.  I cooked some potatoes, squeezed the head of roasted garlic into them and (s)mashed the whole lot together.  Some gravy from the slow cooker drippings and cooked creamed cabbage rounded out a  most delicious meal!  You should try it!  I'm so glad I took N's advice and tried this method.  

4.  I started a little sewing project this week - but I can't show you because it's going to be a Christmas present.  I like how it's turning out so far :)  Next up - some pouches for the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

5.  Photo of the week:

the birthday girl with her Olympic swimming pool cake
(her Mama is so creative!)

Friday, November 02, 2012

NaBloPoMo #2

National Blogging Post Month

Prompt #2 - If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

W - e - l - l - --- it would have to be somewhere close to most of my family!  I would not be happy if I lived far away from all of them and could only see them once a year.  I'm so blessed to be able to drive to my parents, my sisters and brothers, and three of our four children (sorry, M!).  I like being able to celebrate birthdays, to watch the milestones as they grow up, to cheer at games and sporting events, to bake pies and watch flowers grow together.   I am content living on our farm with its wide open spaces, beautiful views and tall trees.

One of the things I like best about living in a cold climate is the definite change in seasons - the leaves greening up the bare limbs of trees in springtime, the long evenings of summer, the gorgeous coloured leaves of autumn and the hoarfrost and snowflakes of winter.  I'll take short trips to here and there and everywhere over leaving our home and our province to move somewhere far away.  There are so many wonderful places that we've visited and I know there are many more just waiting for us to explore!

But the old adage that there's no place like home really does ring true for me.  I'm always happy to travel and then I'm happy to come home again.  I'll be calling this place home for many years to come, I hope.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Lists of 2012 - #42

Listography 2012 - #42 - Answered Prayers

1.  For safety while driving daily

2.  For guiding our decisions and actions while being stewards of the land and farming

3.  For continuing good health for me and those I love

4.  For dignity for our parents while they age

5.  For energy, strength, curiosity and the ability to learn for our grandchildren

6.  For bountiful food that we've produced

7.  For wisdom in finances

8.  For patience - moment by moment some days

9.  For days of subbing

10.  For simpler, quieter, intentional living

11.  For opportunities to serve in many places in many ways

12.  For grace day after day

National Blog Posting Month

Over at BlogHer, November has the distinction of being National Blog Posting Month (otherwise known as NaBloPoMo).  The idea is to write and share something every single day for the month.  I'm in!  After the busy-ness of summer and fall, I'm ready to focus on writing and sharing more.  Plus I love the idea of recording some thoughts and memories of this time in my life.  Feel free to check it out and join in - I'd love to visit you and read your posts so let me know where to find you :)

The prompt for November 1is "what's your favourite quote and why".

I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to Words and different ones speak to me on different days depending on my mood, what season it is and the things about which I'm praying.  I went back and looked at everything I'd collected on my board.  What a pleasant surprise to read some that I'd tucked away and forgotten about!

Many of my favourite words come from the Bible.  There are promises in Isaiah, comfort in the Psalms, words from Jesus in the gospels, and wisdom from Paul in his writings.  This quote isn't a scripture but the words speak straight to my heart.  God is always there, He loves me more than I can understand and He promises all that I need as He looks after it all.

And I also love these words.  I've always been interested in women's issues and in helping women around the world.  It's fascinating to see how women survive, work hard to support their families and what they do to make life better - all the while smiling and encouraging each other.  Perhaps it's because I have three daughters and now four granddaughters that I love so much and of whom I've so very proud that these words speak so clearly to me.