Friday’s Fave Five #67

FFF fall leaves 2

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

1. Visit with a friend. My husband co-pastors with another man. These two men each prefer the other and use their diverse gifts to work together for the body of Christ in our local church. The other pastor’s wife has MS and I struggle with fibromyalgia and arthritis. We two wives don’t always make it to church and certainly don’t get to spend much time together. This week we were able to enjoy a nice, edifying visit together.

2. Not getting lost. I am hopelessly directionally challenged. Well, maybe not hopelessly, since I was able to drive twice this week into new areas and not get lost! For someone like me, that is very encouraging.

3. Local cuisine. Our small town was established by Francophones and has purposely developed a French theme. A few months ago a new Quebec French restaurant (called Chartier) opened (with help from a very popular local crowd funding campaign.) We took some friends there to eat last week, and the place was buzzing! The whole staff is intent on offering locally sourced (when possible) foods and have been exceptionally careful to work with patrons who have food allergies and restrictions. My gluten-free duck grunt was absolutely delicious, and everyone else at the table raved about their meals.

4. Harvest moon. After our meal last Friday night, we drove around the perimeter of our town to look at both the recent development and the surrounding fields. It was neat to see the combines and other machinery working into the night to bring in the harvest. While we were watching the farmers work, we saw the mood rise. The beautiful orangey full moon was a harvest moon. I didn’t have my camera with me so I simply sat back and enjoyed the beauty of the evening.

5. College football. Call me crazy, but I enjoy watching US college football when I have a chance. It’s been fun to watch my home state team, the Ohio State Buckeyes, play very well. Go Bucks!

Here are some pictures from this past week.

Bird boxes

bird boxes

waiting for harvest

waves of ripened grain

along the fenceline

along the fence line

dried and ready

dried and ready

Alberta's changing colors

Alberta’s changing colors

already cut

already taken in

cut and dried

in the shadow of the cloud

in the shadow of the cloud

whispers of red

whispers of red

I love fences

I love fences

 

Friday’s Fave Five #63

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

1.Family night I always enjoy having my family here. These days when four of my five children live nearby, we try and have family night at least twice a month. Several of our children have lived abroad and are back here for now, and one still lives in China with his family. I cherish these face-to-face times we have to laugh, eat, debate, and share God’s grace in our lives.

2.Rest I have had a low-key restful week, which I pretty much always need after we travel. When we are traveling it’s hard to know for sure that I am eating gluten-free and avoiding the foods that make me sick. I did fairly well – only sick twice – but am grateful to be home again and to rest.

3.Crazy, amazing weather One of the things we missed when we moved to Alberta from the States many years ago was thunderstorms. While we would enjoy an occasional storm in Calgary, it was nothing like the humidity-infused, light and noise shows that defined South Carolina storms. This summer we have had many breathtaking thunderstorms in the Edmonton area. But not only did we have severe thunderstorm warnings here, we had a tornado warning while we were in Saskatchewan. In a moment of craziness, Bud and I drove around and took pictures of the menacing sky and the beautiful sunset colours as the storm weakened.

"What tornado warning?"

“What tornado warning?”

tornado warning

tornado warning

beginning to clear

beginning to clear

sun behind clouds

sun behind clouds

sunset coming

sunset coming

after the warning

after the warning

 

4.Joy in truth I have been deeply impressed as I have been studying the Scriptures that God is for us. He is for His children. This does not mean that we do not have trials or difficulties, but as we go through troubling times, God is there, encouraging us as we learn needed lessons, comforting us as we encounter our own failings, healing us as we acknowledge our sin-soaked brokenness and turn to Him for help. I find this deeply encouraging and the source of exceptional peace in dark moments.

5.Truffles The Lindt Lindor white chocolate truffles are gluten free…..and oh, so yummy!

Have you counted your blessings this week?

Here are more pictures from our Saskatchewan trip.

hawk

hawk

taking off

taking off

circling

circling

hawk and hay

hawk and hay

thistle

thistle

moon in the mist

moon in the mist

over the rise

over the rise

fix building (16)

twins

fix building (7) - Copy

total abandon

fix building (4)

beyond the fence

fix building (3)

still standing

Friday’s Fave Five #62

FFF daisies

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

1. Trip to Saskatchewan We have been in Saskatchewan, travelling for the college. Canadians tease that Saskatchewan is so flat, you can set your cruise control, take a nap, and wake up an hour later still in your lane.  Saskatchewan certainly does have its vast expanses of beautiful, flat farm and ranch land, however, it also has scenic hills, expansive valleys and peaceful lakes. In between our obligations we stayed at a cottage at Last Mountain Lake. Driving into Regina from the cottage we had to pass through the long and hilly Qu’appelle Valley. Driving into town we also stopped at the reconstructed Last Mountain House, a Hudson’s Bay outpost for a few years in the late 1800’s, until fire burned the original post to the ground. Yes, we found Saskatchewan peaceful, interesting, and certainly not all flat.

2. Field of flax In Saskatchewan we noticed field after field of a crop with periwinkle-blue flowers. They were lovely! After asking around we discovered this pale blue crop is flax. Flax is harvested to produce flax seed, flax seed oil, linen and paper. I’ve not seen any flax growing around us in Alberta, but was told it’s a big crop in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Flax field

Flax field

Flax flowers

Flax flowers

3. New lawn We’ve had a new front lawn put it. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? We first had to have some trees removed. The one pine tree was so large, and the gnarly roots rippled out of the ground in so many places, that nothing else could grow on one entire side of the front yard. Once that tree and those roots were taken out, it looked like a bomb crater! The landscapers dug out the rest of the lawn, graded both sides, added fresh topsoil, and laid sod. They did a great job and now we have a yard that looks nice and is much easier to keep up with.

4. Out to eat again! Daughter number two took me to lunch yesterday at Celebrate! A gluten free bakery and café in Edmonton. Though their café menu is quite small, they make up for it with a nice variety of breads, buns, cookies, pastries and squares. We each enjoyed a delicious sandwich and some amazing sweet treats. Then we popped over to an antique store across the street and leisurely wandered around. I was bemused to see a number of familiar items from my childhood in an antique store. My daughter patiently reminded me that stuff from the 50’s and 60’s qualifies as antiques.

5. Community A sense of community is important to me. I always appreciate interacting with friends or children of friends at church, at home or as I come across them in their workplace. Out shopping the other day, I ran into children of friends in two different places and also had a visit from some adopted grandchildren. I enjoyed a lengthy conversation with a young man, an employee at Michaels, about the pros and cons of Copic markers and Prismacolor markers, and discussed herbs with Sylvia, owner of our new local restaurant, Chartier. Community is important for every believer. It is our opportunity to live out Christ in the nuances of everyday life.

Hope you have a blessed week. Here are a few pictures from our Saskatchewan trip.

Saskatchewan barn

Saskatchewan barn

Canola field

Canola field

Windmill and hay bales

Windmill and hay bales

Anyone know the name of this?

Anyone know the name of this?

Saskatchewan grain elevator

Saskatchewan grain elevator

Fence with bird house

Fence with bird house

Prairie grasses and wildflowers

Prairie grasses and wildflowers

Down the fenceline

Down the fence line

More wildflowers and grasses

More wildflowers and grasses

Purple wildflowers

Purple wildflowers

Church building

Church building

Slipping away

Slipping away

 

Friday’s Fave Five # 61

FFF spring

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

1. Beautiful fields The fields surrounding Beaumont are beautiful with growth. I am not a farmer in any sense of the word, but I appreciate the peacefulness and vitality of the farmland that surrounds our community. Right now the wheat is beginning to show just the faintest hint of yellowy beige on the tops of the stalks, soybeans (I think) are deep, healthy green, and blooming canola fields almost shine with their vibrant yellow blossoms.

I am still trying different things with my camera to try and capture the luminous yellow of canola, especially in contrast with a dark sky. I went out to take photos several different days this past week and the resulting pictures were better than any I have taken before, but I am still working on getting it exactly right.

canola fields (1) canola fields (2) canola fields (3) canola fields (4) canola fields (5) canola fields (7) canola fields (9) canola fields (11)

2. Meals at Chartier Our youngest daughter treated us to Saturday brunch at Chartier, a new restaurant in town. Delicious! Two of my other daughters took me there for brunch the following Saturday! Am I ever spoiled!! If you live in the Edmonton area, come try a meal at Chartier. Check their website or look them up on Facebook to find out when they have their bakery window open. Walk right up on the sidewalk to the window and the staff will show you the bakes of the day. Smells wonderful! This is one of those times when I am truly sad I am gluten intolerant. (Though they do offer several gluten free meals which are yummy!)

3. Gardening My raised bed garden is flourishing. We’ve enjoyed peas, zucchini, and kale thus far….oh, and lots of yummy, healthy herbs. I really love grabbing fresh produce from the garden to use in my smoothies. My husband’s idea of building a raised garden bed for me a few years ago has produced an unexpected blessing and provided hours of satisfaction and enjoyment.

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4. A new baby There is nothing like cuddling a newborn. A special blessing since my friend, Louise has been through many trials with her health and fertility these past few years. Now God has blessed Brian and Louise with a healthy, robust little boy, Caleb. We are all so very happy for them!

Purple Grandma and Caleb

5. Car repair blessing We had to spend much less money on a car repair than we had expected. That is always a blessing when you have an older vehicle.

And a few more photos from this week….

canola fields (12) wheat and fences 7-12-16 flowers and grasses (1)

Friday’s Fave Five #59 (and day 5 of anniversary trip)

FFF daisies

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

Anniversary trip My husband and I have been away this week celebrating our 37th anniversary. God provided for us in a very special way so we could rent a well-appointed roomy condo in beautiful Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia. We have had a relaxing week of rest and exploration.

Mountains all around. Radium Hot Springs is located between two mountain ranges. Different weather conditions have allowed us to enjoy a wide variety of ‘moods’ of these magnificent mountain ranges.

mountains (6)

Snow-capped beauty

mountains (5)

Storm passing by

mountains (4)

Mists descending

mountains (3)

Magnificent peaks

 

Revisiting the town of Invermere, where we vacationed 25 years ago. My mother-in-law joined us for that vacation, the last significant time we spent with her with her before Alzhe imers took away the wonderful mother she was to all of us. During that vacation Mom used to take our children one at a time to the local bakery to enjoy a treat together. That bakery is still there, owned by the same people, and still creating some amazing breads and pastries. They also have a nice selection of gluten free bread and pastries which I really enjoyed sampling!

An opportunity to photograph the beauty. My husband has taken me out every day to explore and allow me to take pictures. Though we have had sunshine, rain, slush or hail every day, we still found many wonderful things to photograph. I’m including some from day 5 at the end of this post.

interesting cloud

Amazing cloud formation

Building

Rural rustic

deer

This little guy came right up to the side of the road as we were driving by.

flower (3)

BC wildflower

flower (6)

Pretty purple

flower (4)

Brightening the landscape

flower (5)

These grow wild along the roadside

Hot tub I got to sit in a hot tub a couple of different times to see if soaking in the warm waters would help my fibromyalgia, which has been flaring up lately. It did not help much, but it felt great to soak.

But…..it’s always nice to arrive home safely!

Friday’s Fave Five #58

FFF tulips

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

1. Thunderstorms We had a lovely thunderstorm last night. When we lived in South Carolina and saw that a storm was brewing, we would gather our small children and sit on the front porch to experience the passing storm. My husband would tell the children that they did not have to be afraid of thunder, for it was simply God talking. (Job 37 and other passages) Thunderstorms are not as common here so we especially appreciated last night’s demonstration of light and sound.

2. Flowers Our wild rose bush and irises are blooming. Such pretty spots of color in the yard!

IMG_6376 IMG_6393

3. Answer to prayer Daughter number 3 has been working three part time jobs since losing her job in October. One of those part time jobs will become a full time job with benefits at the end of this month. We are so thankful for this answer to prayer!

4. Meal with friends Eating out can be tricky for people like me who are gluten intolerant. Last week we enjoyed a meal with friends at Red Robin where they seem to take allergies seriously, and I enjoyed a delicious, safe meal.

5. Anniversary I thank God for my husband, who loves God and is serious about his ministries to God’s people. Wednesday was our 37th anniversary. Neither of us was feeling great that day so we nabbed take out at Edo Japan, where they also are careful in preparing meals for those with food sensitivities.

Saturday my oldest daughter and I took a drive in the country on a sometimes rainy day. We had great conversation and I was able to take some pictures. So here are Five Fave Photos from this week:

IMG_6277 - Copy

IMG_6313 - Copy IMG_6308 - Copy IMG_6268 - Copy IMG_6259 - Copy - Copy

 

Friday’s Fave Five #51

FFF tulips

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

1. Borrowing grandkids – My own grandchildren live in China for most of the year so I always enjoy “borrowing” grandkids from church people and my daughters’ friends. This week I had a visit from Hadrian, Aurelia, and Ophelia and their mom. I got to chat with the older two who shared some fun things going on in their pre-school lives. On Monday Henry, Charlotte and their parents joined us at the fire pit after supper, and yesterday I visited my daughter who is babysitting for Sydney, Brice, Heidi and Blake. My daughter introduced me as her mother, and I was amused as the two older pre-schoolers whispered to each other that I did NOT look like a mother, but a grandmother!

IMG_5582

2. Planting seeds – I’m itching to get my garden planted, but last night’s frost reminded me that it’s still too early. I have some seeds ready to plant and am planning which veggies to put in this year.

3. Getting around – No ice, no snow, and warmer weather mean it’s easier to get around and be active. I’m so very grateful for that!

4. New grandson on the way – Speaking of grandchildren….Our family in China will be adding a new little boy to the family in August. They might possibly be here for the birth, but right now we are praying that things can be worked out for that to happen.

5. GF chicken nuggets – I’ve tried a couple of the President’s Choice brand gluten free foods, including some chicken nuggets made with whole chunks of white meat, and have been happy with them. It’s nice to have something safe and tasty to fall back on when my schedule does not permit cooking.

Here are some pictures I took this week near home. I will be glad when things start blooming here! Hope your week held many blessings.

IMG_5499 IMG_5510 IMG_5538

Friday’s Fave Five #50

FFF daisies

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

1.Gluten Free Deals I have been eating gluten free for three years now, since I first found out I was severely gluten intolerant. Finding products and recipes I enjoy has been an interesting challenge. Recently I learned that Amazon.ca offers some well-priced deals for gluten free foods I like. Well-priced, as in less expensive than any store sale I have found to date. I have ordered gf products twice now when ordering books for my husband, and thus qualified for free shipping. Even though Amazon.com has offered food items for quite a while, Amazon.ca has been slowly catching up. Yipee for good deals!

2. Photography I’m still learning how to use my new camera. Since taking landscape shots is currently my favorite photographic interest, and I love the contrast between light and shadow, I wanted to buy a hood for one of my lenses. The hood helps shield the sun from the lens so the photo doesn’t have glare or spots on it. (Although I have taken some very artistically interesting photos that do have spots or shady areas on them.) Anyway, it took a while to find the right hood, so I am glad to now have one!

I didn’t get out to take pictures this week (working on taxes!!) so here are a few of my favorites from our trip to Arizona this past December.

AZ Canyon park (5) Az Sedona

AZ Grand Canyon (19) AZ Grand Canyon (56)

AZ Grand Canyon (7) AZ Grand Canyon (8)

3. Memories of Mom My mom would have been 86 on April 2, but she went to be with the Lord thirteen years ago after a courageous battle with ovarian cancer. Hardly a day goes by that I do not think of ways in which my parents influenced me. I was blessed with caring parents. They were not perfect, but they loved my sister and me. So often I wished I had asked more questions about their childhoods, their teen years, what it was like to live in war time, what were their extended families like, what they thought about certain things. Sadly, I did not learn to ask these sorts of questions until I married my husband and he taught me how to both ask questions and express myself orally. By then we lived far away, I was busy rearing five kids and serving in ministry, and I simply never thought to ask about those things. Anyway, Thanks, Mom, for your influence.

4. Protection This week I was spared from a collision. I have been driving for MANY years, but I do not particularly enjoy driving. I enjoy the freedom of getting myself from A to B, but if someone is coming with me and wants to drive, I’m all for it. On the Whitemud, a major road in Edmonton, I was merging right to exit while exiting traffic was merging left in the lane to my right. Sound confusing? Yep! It was. I checked right and no one was coming so I began moving into the right lane. I was barely in that lane when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a red SUV suddenly squeezing into that lane from the exit lane. I was able to pull back and he whizzed by on my right. If I had completed my merge we would have had much more than a fender bender. So thankful for God’s protection!

5. More Signs of Spring There is more green to be seen this week and temperatures continue to be warm (though we did wake up to a dusting of snow on Tuesday morning!) Perhaps we will even escape a not-so-uncommon spring dump of snow this year!

What blessings did you enjoy this week?

Friday’s Fave Five #41

christmas-fff

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

Book Club One of my daughters started a book club and invited me to participate. I’ve really enjoyed interacting with my daughter and her friends as we continue this fun and challenging exercise.

Birthday Yesterday was my 60th birthday. It’s always extra special having a birthday at the beginning of July. When I was a kid we would enjoy 4th of July celebrations near my birthday, including one memorable year when we all crowded into my grandparent’s bathroom while a tornado churned over us.

Now that I am also a Canadian, I get to celebrate Canada Day on July 1st which is also my oldest grandchild’s birthday. I am very blessed to be a part of two such wonderful heritages.

Friends and Photography Last weekend we attended a conference about an eight hour drive from us in Saskatchewan. It was a blessing to reconnect with others in ministry, some of whom we have known for over 20 years. I also got to practice some more of my landscape photography, though on the fly as we headed home since there was no time to stop and set up a shot. In spite of that, I think I got some memorable pictures.

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Camera My husband blessed me with a new camera for my birthday. He is so thoughtful and generous and knows how much I enjoy taking landscape pictures. Such a blessing!

Family and Gluten free food My niece is up visiting my middle daughter and we have been able to enjoy doing some special things together. We visited the Muttart Conservatory and had a family birthday cook out yesterday. Today we visited my favorite Beaumont restaurant, the Crepe & Shake Café. They are always super careful to take care of my gluten-free needs, and their food is local sourced and delicious.

FullSizeRenderHope you can think of some blessings from this past week and look for new ones in this coming week!

 

Friday’s Fave Five #40

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

1. New baby Newborns are so sweet!  Last week I was finally able to meet Tommy, newborn son of my friends in ministry, Duncan and Meg.

2. Successful luncheon Foundation Baptist College held a friendship Luncheon last Saturday. My husband is president of the college but promotion and event planning are not among his natural skills. God has arranged things these past few months so that our oldest daughter was hired as administrative assistant at the college, and planned the luncheon as her first project. It was a lot of hard work, but was a great success. Best of all, I am watching the pressure of working two jobs with no assistance lift from my husband’s shoulders as Laura takes on more responsibilities.

3. Week at the cabin Sunday afternoon my husband and I left for a week of rest at a friend’s modern cabin near Torrington, AB. He has been able to rest, sleep, relax, and enjoy down time. Each day we have driven on different rural roads looking for broken down farm and homestead buildings, which I love to photograph. Good thing he has been so willing to drive or I would still be wandering around rural south-central Alberta trying to find my way back to the cabin. It’s been a lovely week!

6-10-15 after church (3)

6-10-15 (16)

4. 911 Last week I made my first ever 911 call. I stopped by our local tax office to show a newly arrived document to our tax prparer. As I was parking I caught a glimpse of someone with a red jacket or shirt going into the office. One minute later I walked into the office, but no one was in sight. I called out a few times, but no one answered. Then I noticed that the cash register was standing open. I called out again, but still no answer. Hmmm. Something does not seem right. So I went back to my car and called 911. The RCMP came and discovered the owner and a computer repair man in a back room where they could not hear people at the front of the office. The cash register? It had been broken for a while and won’t close properly. (You can tell I live in a small town!) I thought maybe I had overreacted, but the normally reserved owner thanked me profusely for caring and gave me a big hug. Whew! Glad all was well!

5. Gluten-free success Travelling can be ‘iffy’ for those who have to eat gluten-free. Though we are preparing breakfast and supper at the cabin, we have eaten lunches out this week. Edo Japan in Olds, The Red Ox in Innisfail, and Country Cousins in Torrington all successfully accommodated my gluten-free requirements and provided good meals which did not make me sick.