Friday Fave Fave #114

1. Refreshing time away We were able to spend a few days in Banff and Canmore this past week. I still remember the first time over 30 years ago when we visited the Canadian Rockies a scant hour away from our new hometown of Calgary. There was such joy and peace and awe in observing the glorious craggy rocks jutting up so majestically from a pristine forested landscape. It’s no less majestic or awe-inspiring today and we loved our few days of rest there.

2. Insulin pump Our third daughter has had type 1 diabetes since she was 10. This week, over 20 years later, she received her first insulin pump. We are rejoicing with her and pray for better health and management for her because of this wonderful appliance.

3. Visiting old friends It’s always a blessing to visit with old friends. We connected with some friends in Canmore and later in Calgary on our way home where we enjoyed a blessed time of fellowship together.

4. Thanksgiving dinner The American in me still blinks when Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated in October. It’s less of a big deal in Canada but still a time for a family meal and fun times together. This year my daughters hosted dinner at their home and our married daughter and her husband joined us and our borrowed family in town for a delicious ham dinner. Afterward we played Timeline and we even convinced my husband, who is not a games person, to join in.

5 Mountain photography One of the reasons I love to visit the mountains is the opportunity to take pictures. The time of day, season of the year, clouds, snow and wind all provide an ever-changing landscape to photograph. Several people have asked me to make some more scripture cards, my photos with scripture verses added to them. I was pleased with some of the pictures from this past week and will share the scripture cards when I get them designed.

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Friday Fave Five #113

1. Opportunity to vote Canada called an election for October 21. Recently Elections Canada has offered early polling, more voting locations for registered voters, and the freedom to vote at any location in your province with proper paperwork and ID. My husband and I took advantage of one of the early polling days and found the polling station doing a brisk business. Yay for democracy!

2. Better than last year My firbromyalgia has flared up again. While there have been no dietary, supplement, or medical changes, the weather has certainly been colder, which seems to affect my body negatively. The thing is, even though I again have pain and some muscle spasms, I am in a far better place than I was a year ago at this time. For that I am very, very grateful.

3. Facetime and WeChat Though I am firmly planted in the prairies of western Canada, I have children and grandchildren living in China and the US. Last night I was working on a card order and chatted the whole time via Facetime with my daughter in South Carolina. On WeChat my 3 year old grandson in China left me a delightful audio message and my daughter-in-law and I discussed a book we are both reading via chat messages. What a gift!

4. Growth in understanding  As we age and continue in our Christian walk we can have “aha” moments where we realize things we were taught or things we assumed about what we were taught are wrong. I am grateful and humbled that God continues to teach us and transform our thinking as we filter our lives through His word. In the past we plowed through life and ministry without regular days off  and with only very occasional times away to recharge. Studying the life of Christ and the sabbath rest does not support that behaviour. Yes, there are times or even seasons when we need to set aside those restorative times, but there is nothing sacred or inherently spiritual about needlessly driving yourself into ineffectiveness or illness by refusing to rest and restore. With renewed appreciation we are looking forward to enjoying three days in the mountains on an upcoming mid-semester break.

5. Bathroom fixed Our main bathroom toilet leaked, damaged the subfloor, and caused some of the floor tiles to break. This week a local contractor did an excellent job of fixing the problem and replacing our flooring. We were without that bathroom for about a month so it is great to have it usable again.

These are a special order card and a few other cards I have been working on. I did post some of these on my Purple Grandma Designs facebook page, but many of you may not have seen them. This week I am organizing my craft area in preparation for making Christmas cards. Christmas is coming!

Special order card

I like the layered look of the desert scene with mountains in the background and cacti in the front.

Trying out one of my new Christmas dies!

A new die for my literature collection of dies.

This was fun to add details to this pretty die.

I am fond of the silhouette dies. The cat playing with the yarn is a cute detail!

Friday Fave Five #112

Four Seasons – Monday I ventured out to Costco to pick up my phone which had been repaired. Though officially we had no snow, there were a few flurries gently floating down. Clouds scuttered past on that chilly morning while the sun fought to break through. As I came over a slight rise the sun emerged and illuminated a stand of poplars bright with autumn yellow leaves. Immediately the scent of freshly cut grass surprised me as I drove past a country worker busy shaving down the rural roadside weeds, grass, and late blooming wildflowers.It was a delicious serendipitous moment, a rare juxtaposition of all four seasons, and a delightful sensory gift and blessing!

Strengthening While at Costco I did some shopping. I was thanking God that I could walk around that massive store for an hour and half without pain. I stopped briefly at 2 other stores on the way home and carried in my 8 bags of groceries. You may yawn and ask, “How is that mundane stuff a blessing?” well, for me it was the first time in over 2 years that I have had the strength and stamina to do something this normal without help! On the advise of my massage therapist I have resumed some of my physiotherapy. I am so thrilled that the muscle spasms which plagued me after any exercise since my surgery did not occur and I am again slowly building up and working through the soreness to strengthen my weakened body.

College football A friend of my daughters smiled when she heard I love to watch US college football. She told my daughters I was surprising. (I’ll need to investigate that remark!) Surprising or not, I am happy to be able to watch most of the games for my team, the Ohio State Buckeyes. You can take the girl out of Ohio…..

Last of the green beans We harvested the very last of the green beans, something we thought we had already done. But those hearty bushes kept pumping out my favorite veggies until this week when frost silenced their productivity.

Ladies meeting God gave me enough ability to host and teach a ladies’ study on Saturday. Though I am solidly planted on the introvert side of the spectrum, God has called on me to teach at times. I am so grateful for His grace and help to do this after these past two years of minimal ministerial activity. The fellowship was wonderful and I needed the remainder of the day to recharge and rest, but it was a great blessing to me in so many ways.

A few more of my Alberta early fall photos:

Friday Fave Five #111

Why do I begin this September post with such a wintery picture? We’ve barely crossed the portal from summer into fall and, dear friends, this weekend in central Alberta the thermometer has crawled to just above zero C. While snow is not forecast for our particular area, many places in southern and western Alberta are bracing for an early heavy blast of snow. Alas, my hopes for a prolonged Indian summer have been dashed!

1. Peaceful photography This past week my dear husband drove me around to capture rural autumn photos. Sometimes on these jaunts we grab a beverage before we head out and sometimes it’s just the two of us and my camera. He helps me look for beautiful or unusual scenes or objects in nature to photograph while we spend time together. Sometimes we chat and other times we quietly reflect on the beautiful area we live in.

2. Eye can still see! One thing I have learned to appreciate in a new way is the ability to see. A vision concern that cropped up as I dealt with many health issues after my surgery was the possibility that my retina was detaching. I was experiencing ongoing bright flashes and large, dark floaters in my eyes. My opthamologist was out of town and her office sent me to the ER for evaluation. Thankfully the retina did not detach and I was simply experiencing one of the inevitable symptoms of aging. I have had eye related issues all of my life. I was diagnosed with amblyopia (lazy eye) and severe astigmatism at age 5 so in one way my eyes have never been that great, but this new condition has me straining to see clearly at times. These floaters are interesting to get used to as there is always “stuff” swimming around in my field of vision. It reminds me of the water in a fish bowl. If you feed your fish too much or do not clean the bowl as often as you should, the water became clouded with little bits of debris. Looking through the debris field while driving at night or in a storm requires extra caution and concentration. Thankfully our bodies adjust and I am very, very grateful that I can still see and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.

3. Community choir As my health improves I am working to be less wearied by social interaction. Joining the community choir run by my oldest daughter has been a step toward that. Saturday we joined her children’s choirs for a short performance in our small town. It’s been fun and challenging and I continue to learn much about music.

4. Of shorts and flip flops We Albertans are a hearty lot, and this time of year I am amused by how many folks wear shorts and sandals or flip flops as temperatures drop and snow threatens to fly. These past few days have been cold and rainy. Stalwart pedestrians I drove past were bent over, hoodies shielding their faces, but still wearing shorts and flip flops. I must admit that I do try and wear my sandals until slush and snow make it too uncomfortable to continue, but no shorts for me!

5. Farewell to gardening…until spring This week I harvested my herbs and picked the remaining green beans from our raised garden beds. I dry the herbs and use them in my cooking over the winter so that, in a sense, my garden stays with me throughout the winter. Yes, I know I can grow herbs indoors over the winter, and perhaps someday I will try and do so, but I still seem to kill off most indoor plants so I’m not really inspired to try growing indoor herbs yet.

 

Friday Fave Five #110

FFF swirly

Last year it snowed on the last day of summer. Looks like we will miss that distinction this year. We have had lovely warm weather so far this September, but fall is imposing herself on us. The trees are quickly yellowing and every slight puff of wind showers the landscape with abandoned leaves.We Albertans know that warm weather can transform into wintery in a flash this time of year so we enjoy each day of sunshine and warmth that comes our way!

1. Sodastream plus peach vinegar – yum! Our son and daughter-in-law gave us a Sodastream last year. I’m not at all mechanical and never really took the time to learn how to use it until this summer when my daughter-in-law patiently showed me how. She used it regularly but I used it only occasionally during their month long visit until……my youngest daughter introduced me to one of those fancy olive oil and vinegar stores. We went in and sampled many delicious oils, vinegars, and salts. One display had samples of soda water with various vinegars added. Sounds weird, but it tastes delicious! My favorite is peach white vinegar added to my soda stream, and boy, is it good!

2. Purging stuff We were kicking around the idea of holding a garage sale while my China family was here since my d-i-l likes that sort of thing and I knew I did not have the energy to do it myself. In the end we decided to ditch the garage sale idea and just spend time together. The diabetes group came and picked up all the stuff we had collected and now our garage is much more tidy.

3. Yeti thermal tumbler It’s fun to learn about new gadgets and devices. I was recently given a large 30 oz Yeti thermal tumbler, a brand and product that was new to me. I pretty much carry tea around with me all day and this mighty mug keeps my hot beverages hot for a very long time. I’m really liking it!

4. Slipping back into ministry After two plus years of medical chaos following my emergency surgery I am feeling stable enough to resume some previous ministries. I’m grateful for the improvement and look forward to continuing the Titus 2 model of an older woman teaching the younger.

5. Community choir I have always loved to sing but like many other things in life I did not have much confidence in my efforts. My oldest daughter leads an adult community choir which another daughter and I have joined. I am learning so much, enjoying meeting others in my community, and I get to hang out with my kids!

Here are a few rural Alberta photos from last month:

Friday Fave Five #109

fall FFF 1

It’s been a long time since I have posted. Some of you know I have had ongoing medical issues these past two years. I’m grateful that there is much improvement, though energy and stamina are still low.

I would like to jump back in to Fave Five by sharing some blessings from the last few weeks.

1.Annual visit from family in China Our son and his family live and work in China so time we can actually spend together is precious. Every year we eagerly look forward to the summer visit of our son, daughter-in-law and our three grandchildren.We’ve started a tradition of Grandpa taking the boys and Grandma taking our granddaughter out for a one on one special meal. They can order whatever they want and talk about anything they would like. It’s so much fun!Granny and Chloe at Chartier (3)

2.Family photos We had family photos taken for the first time in about five years. Our summer was cool and very rainy which created the perfect conditions for breeding mosquitoes. The evening we had pictures taken the mosquitoes were everywhere and the photographer snapped a funny shot of our daughter swallowing a mosquito!Family pics parents and siblings Emma mosquitoShayna, our photographer, captured a few other fun shots that evening.

Here’s one of all of us:Family pics everyone standing3. Travel Blessings Bud and I had to drive back to the States for about seven weeks in May and June. We have several churches we still partner with in ministry and it was time to catch up with them face to face and give a report of the ministries we are involved in. Because of my medical issues we were’t sure how I would fare on this journey but God gave strength and help and overall the trip went smoothly. We were blessed to catch up with old friends and make new ones. A highlight of the trip was taking a week to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We were married in a double wedding forty years ago and remain the closest of friends. The four of enjoyed an anniversary week on the coast of SC.

4. A garden in spite of circumstances My foray into gardening has come late in life and I am learning new things every year. This year I learned to set my hanging baskets in into a container of water to refresh them and it worked wonderfully. In the past we watered our hanging baskets only from the top and they would fade and die very quickly. This summer we deadheaded and watered and soaked those baskets and had lovely flowers for 3 months.

Our growing season in central Alberta is pretty short and most people here find it’s safe to plant at the end of May. I was hoping I could sneak in some of my plants before we drove off the first week of May, but a snowfall here a few days before we left put the kibosh on that idea!

Our daughters put in a zucchini plant and some herbs while we were away and we finished the planting at the very end of June The rains and cool weather made doubtful that we would see much of a harvest, but we have had pretty good results. Though my peas did not come up well, the green beans are producing like crazy right now. If we can stave off the nighttime frost, we should enjoy delicious green beans through the end of the month. That one zucchini plant gave us dozens of nice zuchs and the herbs, potatoes, and some other squash plants produced more than we expected. There is nothing quite like picking fresh produce from your own little garden!      thyme

5. The blessing of children I have been blessed to have my children live nearby for part of my adult life. Three of our five children have studied or worked abroad and all went away from home for university. Our youngest moved back home a few years ago after finishing her RN studies but was unable to have her RN certification recognized in Alberta without jumping through many very expensive and time-consuming hoops. At the end of August she moved back to the States to take an RN to BSN online course while working as a nurse. We dedicated each of our children to the Lord at their birth and are grateful they seek to honor HIm in their choices, even when that means they live far from home.                                                                                                                                              Friday Fave Five is hosted by Suzanne at  Living to Tell the Story  https://susannesspace.blogspot.com/

A Poem that Encouraged Me

I have not posted in a long time. My health struggles are ongoing and the Lord is teaching me much through these times. A friend has been gently urging me to write during my trials and after much prayer and consideration I plan to start writing again. I won’t promise to post on any specific schedule, but as I am able to. Thanks for sticking with me.

We are learning this hymn at church and felt the author echoed my own sentiments in this ancient but timeless text. I hope this blesses you as you read it.

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul

Dear refuge of my weary soul,
On Thee, when sorrows rise
On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,
My fainting hope relies
To Thee I tell each rising grief,
For Thou alone can heal
Thy Word can bring a sweet relief,
For every pain I feel

But oh! When gloomy doubts prevail,
I fear to call Thee mine
The springs of comfort seem to fail,
And all my hopes decline
Yet gracious God, where shall I flee?
Thou art my only trust
And still my soul would cleave to Thee
Though prostrate in the dust

Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face,
And shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of sovereign grace,
Be deaf when I complain?
No still the ear of sovereign grace,
Attends the mourner’s prayer
Oh may I ever find access,
To breathe my sorrows there

Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet,
Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet

Lyrics: Anne Steele (1716 – 1778) public domain