Friday’s Fave Five #79

FFF heart.

Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from this week.

Birds singing Our central Alberta weather has been mercurial this month. From bitterly cold to record breaking warmth, we’ve experienced it all within the same week. Wednesday was that record breaker for us and it was lovely to open windows, watch the snow melting and even hear some birds singing. I don’t care what the groundhog says, I’m ready for spring!

Reliable transportation My husband and I were reminiscing about our previous vehicle and how we had to guess when we needed a refill because the gas gauge was broken. We tracked mileage which helped, but we never mastered the refill game and ended up running out of gas several times. That is no longer a concern with our new vehicle and we are very grateful for the provision of this new car.

Family night My husband is not much of a games person, and though I really enjoy playing board games, I do not get to very often. When we were in China in December our son introduced us to the game Dixit which, surprisingly to me, my husband enjoyed. Our girls bought him Dixit for his birthday last month and we played it on Monday. It was lots of fun!

Thoughtful spouse My husband asked me to make Valentine’s cards for our daughters and since the girls are big Star Wars fans, I made them Star Wars themed cards I found on Pinterest. My husband gave them the cards with some candy and flowers on Monday night. I’m so grateful that he wanted to do something special for them on this holiday that can leave singles feeling lonely..

My thoughtful husband

My thoughtful husband

Unexpected sales One of my girls took some of my Purple Grandma Designs Valentine’s cards to work to see if anyone wanted or needed a card. I was amazed and blessed that she sold every one of them! These sales help pay for my supplies so I can also give away cards to bless and encourage others.

Here are the last of this year’s Valentine cards from Purple Grandma Designs.

img_7997 img_8000

I snapped a few phone shots of people snowkiting in some fields near our home. I did not even know what it was called – had to look up parasailing on snow and found out it’s called snowkiting. My phone does not take the best pictures, but this will give you an idea of what I saw.

Snowkiting near Beaumont

Snowkiting near Beaumont

February sunset colours

February sunset colours

Friday’s Fave Five #78


I’ve been sick this past week so this post is quite late. It’s not Friday. But you know that!

Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from this week.

Pictures from the past My mom went to be with the Lord almost 14 years ago. This week a friend sent me some photos of my mom enjoying fellowship at a Sunday School class Christmas party from fifteen years ago. A bonus that I didn’t notice at first was a partial shot of my dad in the corner of one of the pictures. Thank you, Beth. Your kind gesture blessed me and made my day.

My wonderful Mom

My wonderful Mom

Supplement sale One of the supplements I take that seems to help my fibromyalgia is a bit pricey. This week I found it on sale for about half of what I normally pay!

Medication provided Our doctor has put my husband on an expensive new medication, and it is helping him. We were praying about how to come up with the $300 + extra a month to pay for it, and God provided several months’ worth at no charge to us!

Answers to prayer Parenting adults is not like parenting juveniles. We no longer ‘control’ the decisions of our offspring, nor do we want to. But this does not mean we are no longer affected by the burdens and concerns of our children.

This week one of our daughters who has been diligently searching and praying for a better job, had a promising job interview. Is this job God’s answer for her need? I don’t know, but I am praying with eager anticipation, waiting to see how God will meet her need and other needs in the lives of all my children.

On the mend I have been dealing with an exhausting cough for over seven weeks. My primary source of nutrition has been the myriad cough drops and green tea I’ve consumed to try and soothe the persistent coughing fits! However…the last couple of days I seem to be getting better. Yay! I’m thankful for good doctors, helpful treatments, and the Great Physician.

No new photos this week because I wasn’t feeling well enough to go out in frigid temps to take pictures. I found a few more favorites from several months ago as I was organizing and backing up files this week.

Grandson 'modeling" Cows Canada sleeper

Grandson ‘modeling” Cows Canada sleeper

Banff National Park Clouds lifting

Banff National Park Clouds lifting

Banff National Park misty peaks

Banff National Park misty peaks

Banff National Park cloudy cap

Banff National Park cloudy cap

Here are this week’s Valentine cards from Purple Grandma Designs.







Friday’s Fave Five #77


Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of thee week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from this week.

1. Beautiful ice fog We had three full days in a row that were foggy so that many surfaces had layers of ice fog (hoar frost) on them. It made everything picture postcard beautiful.

January ice fog

January ice fog

2. Family night Our daughters and son-in-law joined us on Monday to celebrate my husband’s birthday. I tried out a couple recipes to cook both grouse and venison. Both meats were tasty and the time together as family was a blessing.

3. Borrowed grandchildren I always enjoy visiting with my surrogate grandchildren. This week these precious ones came over with their mom for a lunch visit. I hope they have as much fun visiting Purple Grandma as she has hosting them!

Borrowed grandchildren

Borrowed grandchildren

4. Church growth Our church continues to grow, both organically and from new folks joining with us. We have two baby showers for church ladies over the next couple of weeks. When these little ones are born, we will have added 10 new babies to the church family over the last year and a half or so. We’ve also been blessed over the past few months with a number of new individuals and families choosing to worship with us and attend membership classes in preparation for joining the church.

5. Photography The beautiful ice fog days inspired some interesting photos. I played with different filters this week. Here are a few of my favorites.


Ice fog acreage


Cottony cold


Ice fog branches


Directional ice fog


Looks like fake spray-on snow!


Shivering sunflower


Frosty splendor


Frosty raspberry

I began working on some Valentine cards this week. Here are the latest cards from Purple Grandma Designs.





Shanghai is a large city of about twenty-three million people. Though it’s the most westernized city in China, the vast majority of those twenty-three million people are…wait for it….Chinese! White or black people are the obvious exceptions in the sea of Asian faces.

In preparing to visit China I was told to expect people to stare at me, a non-Asian, in public. About all I have in common physically with the Chinese are my dark eyes. My silvery hair used to be dark brown, but no longer. I certainly would never be mistaken for an Asian. I’m an introvert and do not enjoy being stared at, but as a larger woman close to 6 feet tall, I have rarely managed to engage stealth mode and slip in and out of a group unnoticed. Even so, I was still not looking forward to being stared at every time I went out into public

Then had an interesting idea. Instead of letting all that staring make me uncomfortable, I decided I would simply smile at everyone I noticed staring at me. Guess what? Most everyone smiled back! Some shyly, some warmly, and some with a broad grin as if to say, “Aha! You caught me looking!”

I’m not a xenophobe, and my guess is that many people from other cultures are not either. But be honest, don’t we tend to do a double take when we notice someone very different from us? Those glances are often simply borne out of curiosity or an awareness of something different.

There was one thing, however, that made me jumpy and particularly concerned about getting around in Shanghai, the possibility of being targeted by pickpockets in crowded places. I was warned by several people to be aware of pickpockets who often work in pairs and follow foreigners or get especially close to potential targets in public places. Great. So be aware of anyone getting particularly close to me in public places.

Have you ever observed Asians in crowded places? They have a different cultural norm for respecting personal space, so close crowding and jostling are perfectly acceptable to them. How was I supposed to sort out pickpockets from the non-threatening Chinese shopper? What if someone stole my passport? My credit card? My camera? Several of my new acquaintances regaled me with their stories of being pickpocketed or targeted for pickpocketing. I was so nervous about the possibility of being pickpocketed that I wouldn’t even take my cross-body purse or my camera out with me the first few days we were in Shanghai. (And my husband would tell you that my purse is surgically attached to me so that I am never without it.)

As we prepared to visit some famous sites of Shanghai I realized I was being ridiculous. Yes, take precautions. And yes, be vigilant. But stop being overly imaginative and take both camera and purse and enjoy observing a new culture.

On our whirlwind tour of Shanghai, we stopped at Yu Garden, wandering through the shopping area first, then stepping outside to learn about some of the amazing ancient Chinese buildings. My husband exercised his excellent bargaining skills to purchase some gifts and mementos. He drove such a hard bargain that one of the shopkeepers grumbled and said, “You make me poverty!” as he closed the deal and wrapped up the parcel, a broad grin on his face.

One of my favorite things to do in a new location is to find a place to sit, observe, and absorb the atmosphere of a place. I love to look through my camera lens and snap images of things that impress me. An interesting architectural feature – click. Busy intersection – click. Sun-dappled flower- click. Fascinating people – click.

While perched on a low wall outside of Yu Garden I used my camera to capture snippets of the busyness of the place. An older Chinese gentleman sat down near me and, after observing me quietly for a minute, greeted me in excellent English. We went on to have a conversation about Canada and oil and economics. He stood up and said, “It was nice talking with you.” Yes, I thought, it WAS very nice to chat with this stranger in a city of 23 million people.

Near the City God Temple we stopped to take some pictures when three older Chinese people accosted us. They crowded close to us grinning broadly and loudly repeated, “Heh-low!” Were these some of the infamous pickpockets we had been warned about? Cautiously we replied, “Hello” which produced even broader grins and more enthusiastic “Heh-lows.”

My lovely daughter-in-law speaks Mandarin quite well. She learned these three were from another province in China and were tourists in Shanghai just like we were. They asked my daughter-in-law if they could have a picture with my husband, and then with my husband and me. She told us they vigorously debated among themselves whether my husband was 2 meters tall or not. They practiced their one English word, “Heh-low!” over and over with us, and delightedly thumped my husband on the back and pumped his hand in thanks for the photo. They tried saying “Canada” and we tried to say the Mandarin word for thank you. It was a fun cultural exchange, with no pickpocketing involved!

We learned from our son that the Chinese are gift-giving people. Before flying to Shanghai we had consulted our family about appropriate gifts to take for the special Chinese people who have blessed and befriended our loved ones in China. We wanted to thank them for their help and kindnesses to our son and his family over the years. Instead we found that we were blessed and honored that so many regaled us with special gifts and meals during our stay.

While in Shanghai I was treated with great kindness, even by strangers. My fibromyalgia and arthritis sometimes prevent me from walking very far so we used taxis to get around. Some of the cabs were a tight fit for me and I would have to maneuver my leg carefully to get seated. Several times a cabbie or worker where we were staying would see me struggling to get my sore leg in and would run over and help lift my leg into the taxi. I was really touched by those gestures of kindness.

The Chinese are like any other people group. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are beautiful, some more ordinary looking. Some are short and some a little taller. From our observations, they seem to love their children and respect their elders. Like in any large metropolitan area, a small criminal element exists, but many people we interacted with were kind and thoughtful. Our encounters with people in Shanghai were mostly positive and provided us with good memories of this city of twenty-three million people.



City God Temple

City God Temple

Near Yu Garden

Near Yu Garden


Fresh fruit treats at Yu Garden

Fresh fruit treats at Yu Garden

Tea House

Tea House by Yu Garden

Wall of flowers by the Bund

Wall of flowers by the Bund

Friday’s Fave Five #76


It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends. And yes, I realize I am once again posting this on Saturday. 🙂

Break in the weather After a couple of very cold weeks, we’ve enjoyed a week of unseasonably warm weather. A lovely break for Albertans in January!

Christmas banquet in January Our church’s Christmas banquet was held last Saturday. (Yes, we know it’s after Christmas, but people are not as busy in mid-January as they generally are in December.) Several ladies in our church did the catering this time and the result was fantastic! It was the best catered meal we’ve ever had at the church.

Word with Friends all time high score for one word – crimples – which crossed both a triple and a double word tile with the ‘m’ on a triple letter tile. I was trying to clear my letter tray and rearranged the letters until I saw the word. I tried to play it, unsure if it was even a word, but it is!! It means to crimp, curl, or wave, but can also mean to wrinkle or crumple. The score for that one word? 191 points. That will likely stand as my high score forever!

 Finishing a big project I have the majority of the work done on a research and writing project I have had on my ‘to do’ list on for several months. It needs only final editing to be complete. Yay!

Answer to prayer A friend had brain surgery last July to remove a tumor behind her ear. She has recovered well, but had the ongoing side effect of double vision. Many have been praying that God would resolve that problem and this week he did just that!

I haven’t done much with photography or cards the past few weeks. Here are a few fun pictures with friends and family from our trip to Shanghai last month.

Jade figure in store window

Jade figure in store window

Future chef

Future chef

My favorite Minnie Mouse

My favorite Minnie Mouse

Fetching the wheelchair for Granny

Fetching the wheelchair for Granny


Happy baby


My very own Mad Hatter

My very own Mad Hatter

Shanghai sycamores

Shanghai sycamores

Friday’s Fave Five #75

fff winter buttonIt’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

We had the joy of traveling to China to visit our son and his family for Christmas. This is my first FFF in a month so my blessings this week are compiled from the past few weeks. I’m writing specifically about our Shanghai experiences on my blog, PurpleGrandma.com, so check them out if you are interested in my Impressions of Shanghai series.

Good trip Because of my health issues, traveling can sometimes cause problems. Our trip to China produced only minor issues, both concerning mobility and food sensitivities. I was treated like royalty by family and the wonderful people we met along the way.

Family For me the highlight of our trip was spending time with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. It was a joy to meet the newest member of the family and spend some granny time with him.

New friends Meeting and spending time with the team of teachers my son works with was fabulous. What a wonderful group of dedicated teachers these folks all are!

Cultural experiences Visiting and spending time in a new culture was so interesting! I enjoyed observing and taking pictures of life in Shanghai. Next time I won’t be so skittish about the possibility of being pickpocketed and will carry my camera with me everywhere.

No place like home This week we had some bitterly cold temperatures. A well-insulated warm house is a great blessing on these winter days.


Newest member of the family


At Shanghai Disney


Fruit on a stick


East meets west – Chinese and English signs


The Bund


Family, teachers, and students at Christmas


A perfectly normal family Christmas picture

Impressions of Shanghai: It’s not fun to parbreak at Disney

This is the second in a series of posts on my observations of Shanghai from our recent trip to China.

If you were to ask my children two of the things I dislike most they would probably shout in unison, “Noise and crowds!”

You might want to add to that list amusement parks. Most people go to amusement parks (noisy, crowded amusement parks I might add) for the rides. All my life I have had a serious problem with motion sickness so even the thought of riding zippy rides is not appealing to me on any level. And in my mind all amusement park rides ARE zippy rides.

My experiences as a child include (and I will be delicate here and use a wonderful Balderdash word) parbreaking after riding almost any ride. Cedar Point had a log ride that basically soaked you as you splashed down the incline in a dugout, and for some reason I never got sick on that. But beside that one happy memory (Oh yay! A ride that doesn’t make me sick!!) Cedar Point, King’s Mountain, the Lake County Fair, and Conneaut Lake Park all produced unpleasant childhood memories, at least where rides were concerned.

Add to that my tendency to get pounding headaches when walking around in the hot sun and you can perhaps understand why the thought of visiting any amusement park is not on my list of, oh say, the top million things I would like to do.

So when my daughter-in-law excitedly told me there was a now a Shanghai Disney (yawn) and that the family had a season’s pass (that’s nice) and wouldn’t it be so much fun to take the kids to Disney for a memorable day with their grandparents (arrkk…red alert!!) my primary thought was, “Fun! It’s not fun to parbreak at Disney!”

But my husband, who typically has no interest in amusement parks, thought it would be a nice family outing. So I swallowed my objections, loaded my purse with ginger chews, and off we went.

We visited the park on a Thursday in December. The sky was overcast, so no sun, the temperature was chilly, so no heat, and visiting on a week day in the winter meant that while it was busy, it was not crowded or exceptionally noisy.

But the ghost of amusement park rides past still haunted me.

It was with some trepidation I stepped onto the ride, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure. “Hey! It’s in water, so maybe it won’t be so bad!” We fought pirates! We survived the Kracken! We found treasure! And best of all, not even a whisper of nausea.

Next we tackled the Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue, an interactive ride where we “rangers” use our pulse blasters to shoot at targets to fight the evil Emperor Zurg and save the space aliens’ home. My competitive streak surfaced and I found myself keeping a sharp eye out for the targets and blasting them with great gusto. All too soon the ride was over and I had a respectable score to show for my target shooting. And again, no nausea.

I suddenly realized I was having fun and enjoying myself immensely!

Next we visited the interactive displays at Tron Realm in Tomorrowland where my grandson was absolutely captivated by the driving simulator. The futuristic vehicles and technology were truly amazing. I was even tempted for an instant to line up for the Tron roller coaster ride. It really looked spectacular! But when I saw it plummet down the track and do a 180 roll, I quickly dismissed that thought.

Before the day was over we toured the Enchanted Storybook Castle, threaded our way through the Alice in Wonderland Maze, enjoyed a colorful parade, and watched our son and grandson line up for 45 minutes to enjoy the Jet Pack ride which lasted 80 seconds. The look of utter joy on our grandson’s face while on that ride made the long wait seem insignificant.

Shanghai Disney has done a wonderful job of bringing together east and west to provide an enjoyable family experience. The park is clean, the costumed personnel are friendly and helpful, and the park is much, much more than simply zippy rides.

On our way out we stopped briefly at Starbucks and at the wonderfully imaginative Lego store. It was time to leave and we barely scratched the surface of things to see and do. Would I go back to Shanghai Disney? Absolutely! (But maybe not on a crowded, noisy, hot summer day.)

And best of all? No parbreaking at Disney!

Shanghai Disney

Shanghai Disney

Interactive delight

Interactive delight

This WOULD make me parbreak!

This WOULD make me parbreak!

Defeating the evil Emperor Zurg

Defeating the evil Emperor Zurg

A day at Disney Shanghai

A day at Shanghai Disney



The utter joy

Utter joy

Lego meets Disney

Lego Snow White

Goodbye, Shanghai Disney

Goodbye, Shanghai Disney

A note about accessibility: Because of my mobility limitations we rented a wheelchair and my family took turns pushing me around the park. Disney Shanghai is very handicap friendly. The park’s Guidemap clearly indicates which areas are wheelchair accessible.

Details on Shanghai Disney taken from https://www.shanghaidisneyresort.com/en/

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