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:

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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

Friday Fave Five #108

On Fridays I post FFF to be intentional about recounting blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Family time – Since our family from China is with us for such a short time each year we need to pack in a lot of togetherness in just a few weeks. Family brunch, kiddy pool, and games day made for a lovely gathering this week.

2. More family time – Our daughter and son-in-law hosted a family BBQ last week for his family and ours. It was so nice to touch base with Tim’s side of the family again and to spend a few hours together.

3. Garden joys – Because I came to gardening quite recently I am still learning much about making my garden flourish. This year besides my herbs, I planted kale for my smoothies, and a small amount of zucchini, onions, green beans, and peas. We have a couple of deck rail planters for flowers and a small ground level triangular bed near the confluence of two sidewalks. Sadly, I cannot get down to weed that bed at this point, so I rely on others to help with that bed. However, the raised beds and rail planters are easy for me to access and I have learned more about pruning and deadheading this year which has resulted in a more verdant garden. I have not yet cooked any of my delicious peas. By the time I pick them and shell them with my grandchildren we have managed to enjoy every single sweet pea that we have picked!

My beloved built me raised bed planters which allows me to tend to my garden even with my limited mobility and this week he and my son and daughter-in-law finished a third planter for me. It’s a bit late for planting up here in central Alberta but my husband went out to nurseries and home centers on a quest to rescue some end of season vegetable plants. After much searching he found some dilapidated tomato plants and our plant rescue project has ensued! We’ll see if together we can nurse them back to health and encourage them to produce some tomatoes.

4. Kids and grandkids – I am exceptionally blessed to not only have wonderful children, but also an amazing daughter-in-law and son-in-law. They are as dear to me as my own children and I thank God for joining them with our family. Our grandchildren are pretty special, too, and I love spending time with them and hearing their thoughts and dreams and observing the uniqueness of each one.

5. Health networking – It has been somewhat frustrating to try and figure out what I’m doing or not doing that has recently stalled my recovery. One element I never accounted for in the past was the gluten free aspect which has been part of my life now for over five years. Identifying and addressing food sensitivities five years ago made a huge difference in managing my fibromyalgia. Though I am diagnosed as gluten intolerant and not celiac, I have connected with the celiac community and share observations and discoveries with my fellow GF friends.

Recently a celiac friend asked me if I have trouble with raw veggies. I was surprised and relieved that I was not the only one with the GF / raw veggie digestion issue. I do pretty well when my raw greens are whirred to oblivion in my Ninja, but not so great when eating them whole or in a salad. They just do not seem to digest properly if I ingest quantities of raw veggies. Part of the problem is that I am exceptionally sensitive to the preservative that is used on most packaged and store-bought lettuce and several times have grown violently ill after eating salads made from packaged lettuce, so I avoid lettuce completely. In the summer I grow and use my own kale and in the winter I buy organic kale or organic spinach and manage that just fine. My physiotherapist mentioned using a grow lamp / hydroponics system to grow veggies inside during the winter. I’ll have to investigate that option for the future.

 

Friday Fave Five #107

On Fridays I post FFF to be intentional about recounting blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

I’ve missed several weeks due to a busy schedule and ongoing fatigue and issues with my fibromyalgia. Thanks for sticking with me.

1. Family – Our family from China surprised us by arriving a week early for their annual time with us. We had no inkling this was the plan thanks to some sneaky familial assistants on this side of the world. It is an incredible blessing to be able to spend time each year with family who lives and works so far from us.

2. Health update – Last year at this time I had just gotten home from hospital after emergency hip replacement revision surgery. Though I have had quite a few setbacks over this past year, I am doing far better than I was a year ago. I am still dealing with some fatigue and low stamina and have been surprised to realize that social interaction absolutely wears me out. My doctor is working with me to try and eliminate any obvious reasons for this tiredness. I’m not quite three months past my iron transfusion treatments so perhaps I just need a little more time for that to fully take effect.

My one-year post-surgical checkup went well. The bone grafts and range of motion look good. I still need to do physio and was warned that a revision surgery means the joint will never be as stable as the original so lifelong strengthening and caution are both necessary to help avoid another revision.

There are several other health issues that cropped up during this past year and one may require surgery. After this long year of many health issues I am willing to try almost anything to avoid surgery again. We’ll see how the surgical consult goes first. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which health issues are simply age related. A friend recently mentioned she was having age-related health problems. She told me that aging isn’t for sissies. Yep. We’re a brave lot, and not always because we want to be.

3. Infused water – While attending a conference last month I was introduced to infused water served in those lovely glass dispensers. The fruit and herbs look so pretty in the dispenser and the water is flavorful and refreshing. For my birthday my husband got me a double dispenser with a nice wrought iron looking stand. My herb garden provides the perfect source for delicious and interesting ingredients for a variety of fruit and herb infused water combos. I’m having fun with both the experimenting and the delicious water.

4. Rural living – Though we live in a small town just outside a major city, we have to drive past fields of crops regardless of what direction we go when we head out of town. I love observing the various stages involved in planting and harvesting each year. Currently the canola fields are that trademark cheerful sunny yellow. Pretty soon the flowers will disappear, and the stinky sock stage will be upon us. Don’t you love my technical terms? Canola has a stage in the growing cycle when the plants indeed smell like dirty gym socks. Don’t you wonder who ever had the idea of using the seeds from this stinky plant to produce an oil you cook with?

5. New restaurant – This week we tried a delicious meal at a Brazilian steak restaurant. The salad bar had little placards above each item listing all the ingredients and indicating whether the food was nut, dairy, or gluten free. At lunchtime there are six meats offered and special servers move from table to table providing portions of meat cut from a long skewer. Each place setting includes a small set of tongs which diners use to hold the serving of meat while the server cuts it off the skewer. The meat servers brought by three kinds of beef, one of chicken and two of pork. Our server urged us to try the Brazilian cheese buns, a Yorkshire pudding style popover made with cheese instead of pan drippings. I told her I could not have any since I had to eat gluten free. She broke into a big grin and told me the cheese buns were gluten free and eating them would “change your life!” While they did not change my life in any significant way, they certainly were absolutely delicious!

Friday Fave Five #106

On Fridays I post FFF to be intentional about recounting blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

  1. Quietness – I am an introvert and really appreciate and need quiet breaks after social interaction. These past few weeks have been intense and exceptionally busy for my husband and me. We left on Monday to spend the week at a cabin in a tiny lake community west of our large city. It’s very peaceful here, wind rustling through the leaves, a variety of birds singing and calling, and a general sereneness and lack of bustle that causes one to take a deep breath and sigh contentedly.
  2. Visit – On our way to the cabin we stopped and visited our daughter and son-in-law who live about 45 minutes from us. They moved shortly before my emergency surgery last year and my ensuing mobility issues prevented me from getting over to their new place for months. We rejoiced with them at their home and saw for ourselves the careful and beautiful way my daughter has lent her artistic touch to their home.
  3. Hot tub – Our cabin is a private residence with its own hot tub right outside the back door. How delightful it has been to soak whenever we want to, surrounded by swaying green birches and pines set against clear deep blue skies. My fibromyalgia responds well to the warm waters and I am grateful.
  4. Photo ops – Our schedules have not been conducive lately to enjoyable drives in the countryside to take photos. I love taking pictures of abandoned rural buildings and wonder what brought people to these remote areas and what eventually caused them to leave. This week we have captured some intriguing buildings and some pretty nature shots. It’s a blissful way to spend time with my beloved.
  5. Reading – My husband and I are reading (listening to an audiobook of) Eight Women of Faith by Michael Haykin during our time away. I appreciate and love reading about women in missions and those who have influenced church history. Some of the subjects in the book I have read about extensively while others I have never heard of before. The chapters are short enough to read one a day during our getaway and I’ve learned about some very inspirational women this week.

I’m also reading (yes, actually reading) Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel. This book was recommended to me several years ago, but I am just getting around to reading it now. I’m a couple of chapters in and am finding much food for thought thus far.

Here are five pics from this week.

Friday’s fave Five #105

On Fridays I post FFF to be intentional about recounting blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Mother’s Day – My daughters brought Mother’s Day brunch over before church. The weather was warm and sunny, so we enjoyed an el fresco meal while chatting and spending family time together .

2. Herb Garden – My herb garden is planted! I used my gift card from a favorite nursery to select about a dozen different herbs for my raised bed planter. My husband planted flowers in the railing boxes, and we need to get our vegetables in soon. The growing season is short but intense here with the long days of summer sunshine and I am grateful for the blessing of warm weather after a very long, cold winter.

3. Ministry friends – It ended up that the college guest speaker and his wife did not stay in our home this past week after all. My husband had a stomach bug right before they were due to arrive, so the college board did not want to take chances that I might get it and pass it on to our guests. We were able to host them for several meals during the week and were blessed by fellowship with these new friends.

4. Rest – God prescribed rest as part of His creative process. It has been a long and intense couple of months for us and we look forward to an upcoming restful week.

5. Loving husband – This has been a doozy of a year health wise for me. While the recent iron infusions seem to be nudging my stamina and energy forward, I still am fairly frail and unable to handle much social interaction or physical activity in a day. It has not helped that in my weakened condition I still am dealing with secondary conditions and even sometimes negative effects from the meds and treatments for these conditions. I am researching and deciding the best way to heal my immune system in light of my body’s particular reactions and requirements. Throughout this whole process my husband has been a kind and helpful support. I am so very blessed by his loving assistance as well as the help of my family and friends.

And a bonus blessing: Less than two months now before we see the these special kiddos!