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Archive for the ‘Women’s Issues’ Category

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.

1. Spring! After all that snow in April we have finally been enjoying exceptionally warm and sunny days. Three of our daughters came over Monday night and we grilled shrimp skewers and ate outside. Anna made another British Cooking show recipe for the family to enjoy.

Alberta skies

Anna bakes our day!

2. Provision We are rejoicing that this week God provided Anna with a better paying job.

3. Vocabulary I love words. I love the nuances that words give to a sentence or story. I love learning new words and playing games like Balderdash that teach new words.

Sadly, I’m not a very good speller. I used to ask my mom how to spell certain words (my mom was a wiz with spelling and grammar.) She would ALWAYS tell me to look it up in the dictionary. This did not make sense to my young mind. How can you look it up if you don’t know how it is spelled? And, of course, she would then say, “Sound it out.” So, I would look it up, sound it out, and learn something.

But when I was bored I would sit and read entry after entry in the dictionary just for fun. I learned about forms and tenses and definitions and punctuation, and pronunciation (I just had to look up that spelling!) and all kinds of helpful details.

This week a young man came to our door selling security systems. (He reminded me of a young Larry Fitch, a man I first met in my college days whose life has blessed my family at various times in the years since.) This salesman was giving me his spiel in a friendly, non-pushy way when out came the words incremental and decremental. Now, incremental I knew, but decremental? That was new to me. I’m afraid I heard little of his talk after that. I was turning the word over in my mind and delighting in the fact that a techy kid at the door taught me a new word!

4. Progress I have about half of my culled books ready to sell. Yay for sorting and purging!

5. More deals The first Tuesday of every month two local grocery stores offer a percentage off your shopping that day. One offers 15% and the other 10%. I made it to both stores this month to pick up items each stocks that the other does not. When I got to the checkout at the 10% store, they were giving customers 15% off that day. That was an unexpected blessing.

Thanks to everyone who told me my FFF link wasn’t working. I think I have it fixed now!!

Some pictures of my cute grandchildren in China

Clover field beauty

This stuff is itchy!

Brotherly love

Here are some custom order cards from this week for Purple Grandma Designs

For a 102-year-old mom!!

Custom order card

Custom order card

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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.

See this picture? I took it today. It is a blue sky with clouds and sun. I am very thankful for that blue sky after a long stretch of dismal gray days. See this second picture? I also took it today. No more snow in the yard! Shadows from the sun! I am extremely grateful for the snow being gone, for sunshine, and for blue skies!

We seem to attract interesting animals in our neighborhood. Drake and Dessa Duck showed up again this week, hanging out on a neighboring roof and complaining about the late April snowstorm. Yesterday this rabbit was spotted ‘running laps around the house’ as my helper, Kathleen, pointed out. See how he hides in our brownish grass? Amazing to think that he was pure white just a few weeks ago. At least we have not had any visits from the moose that were spotted outside our town earlier this week.

Yesterday when I was out shopping I passed a grocery cart with two little girls in it. The younger one grinned and waved as I walked by and the older one scowled at me. I’m not sure why, but this made me really miss my own grandchildren. It is easy to focus on what you do not have, but it is not profitable or even proper for a Christian to do this. I am so blessed to live at a time when I can regularly see or speak to my family in China through technology and spend time with them at least once a year. This is what I will focus on: just a little over two months before they get here!

I don’t regularly buy Tide unless it’s on sale. At the store, all the varieties had sale prices on the shelf tags except the one I prefer. When I took one to the front to get the price checked, the Tide I liked was only $2.50 a bottle! I zipped back to the display and grabbed three more bottles. Good deals on things we need are always a blessing.

I discovered an interesting-looking gluten free scone mix this week made by the Namaste company. I have tried and liked several of their other products so I was hoping this would also be good. I made it today and am very happy with the results.

Here are a few of the cards I have been working on for Purple Grandma Designs

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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.

Windows open and birds singing. We have had a weird, weird April weather wise. Last weekend brought a big snowstorm followed by a few spring-like days. The forecast is for more snow this weekend. Sigh. Despite the fickle weather, I am extremely grateful for the days when we can open the windows and air out the house. It’s nice to hear the birds singing, too. And spring can’t really be that far away for us, can it?

Technology Yesterday I had to go to Costco to take care of a problem with my husband’s new glasses and pick up a few things. I was walking down one of the main aisles and saw a display of drones for sale. I find technology fascinating (though my proficiency with it does not match my appreciation for it!) and mentioned seeing the display to my husband. We had to go back today to fix the glasses problem and while there, my hubby wanted to look at the drones. Long story short, we came home with an early anniversary gift for him. It was fun to watch him figuring out how the drone worked. An adopted granddaughter stayed glued to his side mesmerized by the buzzing and flying of the drone.

More technology My daughter-in-law does an amazing job of regularly posting photos and video clips of their life in China so those of us in North America can keep up with their lives. I’m grateful for the technology that makes this possible. Our youngest grandson is recovering from whooping cough and our oldest grandson from a stomach bug. Even though we can’t be there with them to help, we can pray for them during these times and have peace that they remain in God’s care at all times.

I love, love, love this picture of my grandson in a backpack in the change room while his mama is trying on clothes.

Taxes, part one. I finished all the accounting and other necessary information for our Canadian taxes and have turned it all in to our wonderful tax lady. Now I just need to pull together the papers I need for the US taxes. The hard part is done, and because we live out of the US, we have an automatic extension to file each year. Doing taxes is probably my least favorite responsibility and I am always very relieved when that work is behind me for another year.

Beautiful violets My African violets continue to thrive and it looks like I need to transplant them again or maybe prune them. My black thumb has evidently been banished and I am able to keep plants alive. Speaking of which, I am very eager to get my garden planted, but we need the weather to cooperate first. Last week of May is usually the earliest things get planted safely here.

I tried a few different filters on my violets photos. Which one do you like best?

For those of you who are friends on Facebook you have read the two installments about the ‘our’ ducks. Here are a couple of pictures of Drake and Dessa Duck, new neighborhood residents.

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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.

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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.

Heh-low!

Heh-low!

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

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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. 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

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Happy baby

 

My very own Mad Hatter

My very own Mad Hatter

Shanghai sycamores

Shanghai sycamores

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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.

Friends in ministry We had a leadership retreat for the church this week. It was wonderful to spend time together with the other pastor and his wife in prayer and fellowship and making plans for the future of our church.

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Mountain splendor

Help with fibromyalgia My fibromyalgia has been in a flare lately and I have had more trouble than usual with muscle spasms and pain. One of my daughters came over and worked on the muscles in my neck and shoulders to provide some relief until I could make it to the massage therapist. Her help was a particular blessing to me.

Garage When we first moved from Calgary to Edmonton, we converted the garage into an office for my husband. He now has an office at the college and the garage has been made back into a garage. I enjoy observing how much pleasure and satisfaction my husband gets out of being able to park his vehicle in a garage. It’s especially nice not have to scrape ice and snow off the car before heading to work!

Yummy food My husband and I split a delicious steak dinner this week. Everything from the asparagus to the mushrooms to the steak were all scrumptious! (And gluten free!!)

Cards and Photos I made a special order card this week and finished up some fall-themed cards for my Purple Grandma Designs ministry.

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Special order

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From the fall collection

I’ve been trying different things to capture the effects of the sun in landscape photos. Here are some pictures from this past week.

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Behind the storm

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Sunset glow

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Burst of light

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Swirling mists

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Shrouded peak

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Alberta prairie

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View from the balcony

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