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Posts Tagged ‘Banff’

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

Thanks for your patience as I have been sparse with writing and posting. It has been an interesting 7 months. I know God has a purpose in this unexpected health journey and I see some of that purpose, but most of it remains unknown to me at this point. But I am at peace with the fact that whether or not I ever figure things out, God has it planned for my good and His glory and I rest in that.

1. Medical update – My recovery journey continues to provide some unexpected detours. The month of November was pretty much taken up with fighting a bad cold and a lingering constant cough. I was so relieved when that cough abated!

But come December, instead of gaining strength and feeling better, I was weaker and constantly fatigued. I had been making good progress with my physio until I found I was unable to complete my reps and instead had to go lay down after doing a few simple exercises.

There was something wrong with me and my whole family was concerned. The signs were all there and under normal circumstances I might have put them together, but I was so very tired and was certainly not processing things well mentally. Hair loss. Brittle nails and particularly dry skin. Food irritating my tongue. Forgetfulness and fogginess. And utter, debilitating fatigue. While sitting in my chair one day I bent over to pick something up off the floor and immediately fell asleep all hunched over. I would do a few things around the house and, absolutely spent physically, sink into bed and drop off to sleep. Twelve hours of sleep at night and I still was exhausted when I awoke. It finally dawned on me that some underlying problem (other than recovery from surgery) was going on.

Blood tests revealed I have both iron deficiency and anemia. My stored iron is so low that my doctor scheduled me for an iron infusion, but there is a waiting list, so I likely won’t get the treatment until April. Meantime I am on oral iron and after three weeks I am feeling a modicum of improvement.

After starting a new physio exercise in December my hip and pelvis hurt and ached constantly. It felt to me like something had shifted and I was concerned that the exercise had caused damage. After x-rays and a consult with my surgeon I was greatly relieved to learn that there was no shift and the bone grafts were continuing to heal well. There is always discomfort as new physio stretches and strengthens weakened areas, but this concerning level of pain and discomfort is most likely due to my iron problem. I see my therapist again soon and we will discuss how to handle physio in light of my iron issues.

So, here’s a simple bit of advice: if you feel like something is wrong physically, go get it checked out right away. At least then you will be dealing with your reality and won’t be wasting time speculating (or worrying) about all the things that could possibly be causing you to feel so bad.

2. Amusing translation – My son and his family live and work in China. They teach there and are constantly working on acquiring and improving their Mandarin. It’s a tough language and not at all like English. But they are making progress. They teach their program in English and most of the students use electronic translators to help them better understand the English instruction. But when those translators provide a literal translation, the results can be really amusing.

I bought some Japanese matcha powder and the translated message on the package truly lost something in the translation. I got the gist of it, but It made me smile, and I hope it will make you smile too. “Only for once, all customers are in a lifetime. We have the soul which entertains the customer so that there may be no regret.”

3. Office makeover – Now that I am in my golden years, I am trying hard to declutter and reorganize. A young friend is helping me rearrange my office space so that I can sell off some of my library and do more writing. I need a larger desk and have spent hours investigating what’s out there, but I’m having a hard time choosing the best quality with all the features I need that is within my budget. I don’t mind buying used, but I am not in a position to go look at desks that are advertised online, plus I would need to pay someone to pick it up and bring it to my house. I am, however, excited about getting going on the office makeover!

4. Light! – I look forward to each December when we get past that shortest (and darkest) day of the year here and begin to see more and more light each day as winter melts away. We were having some pleasant warm days until Thursday when temperatures dropped and we received a huge dump of snow. Now the sun is back out and reflecting against all that newly fallen snow, it makes for a pretty, bright day.

5. Black raspberries – I love black raspberries. We had a few bushes in my Ohio childhood yard, along with raspberries, red currents, blueberries, and the overhang of a mulberry tree from the vacant lot next to us. I enjoyed them all, but black raspberries were (and still are) my favorites.

We have lived in Alberta for 30 years and have found black raspberries are almost unknown here. One vendor at a farmer’s market told me there was no such thing as black raspberries! A few years ago, one of my daughters found some black raspberry spread at the Italian market in Edmonton. It was delicious, and I bought that brand several times until I was told they were discontinuing it. Last week my husband and I stopped in at the Italian market and I was delighted to see they were carrying the black raspberry spread again!

We had a two-day R and R in the mountains earlier this month. Here are a few photos from our time there.

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It’s another cold day in Alberta. The high today is expected to be -18C (around zero F.) Any way you measure it, it’s mighty cold out there!

This morning as I was driving home from an appointment I noticed a sun dog. I didn’t get a change to take a picture since I was driving, but it’s a really impressive phenomenon.

It’s day 3 in my photos of Alberta series. These were all taken in the past few weeks. I hope you enjoy them and join me in praising our Creator God for the gift of beauty in nature.

 

Layered loveliness

Layered loveliness

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Even the most insignificant has a moment of glory

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Frigid foggy farm building

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Whiter than snow

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Afternoon awe

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Chalky contrast on cobalt

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Frigid temperatures arrived Sunday night and we are in the minus 20’s C (below zero F for all my American friends,)  These pictures were taken before the deep freeze hit, but most are still pretty wintery.

I am blessed that God has allowed us to live in such a beautiful part of the world. As you look at these photos, perhaps you’ll take a moment to reflect on Psalm 8 where the psalmist praises God for His majesty, glory, and creative artistry.

O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

http://biblehub.com/esv/psalms/8.htm

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Majestic views

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Lake Minnewanka

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Canmore

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Sun and snow fence

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Breathtaking beauty

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The mundane sparkles

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I have some nice photos taken over the past month in our travels in Alberta. I’ll share a few each day this week. Hope you enjoy them.

Majestic Mountains

Majestic mountains near Banff

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Snowy foliage

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Enrobed in snow

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Near Lake Minnewanka 

Condo visitors

Condo visitors

"Good Morning!"

“Good Morning!”

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

Family time We celebrated daughter # 3’s birthday this week. As we were gathered around the table the topic drifted to hair.

“Do you remember when we were kids and I thought since mom’s razor was just for legs that nothing would happen when I ran it down my arm hair from shoulder to wrist?” “My arm itched like crazy the next day!”

“Yeah, and I wondered what would happen when I swiped it across my forehead and was shocked when I looked in the mirror and saw I was missing an eyebrow, and then tried to arrange my bangs so no one would notice.”

And the time when as a three-year-old, the birthday girl “borrowed” mom’s scissors, opened them widely and, placing the blades flat on her forehead right at her hairline, cut a perfect V in her bangs all the way to the scalp.

When “someone” turned on the gas grill on without opening the lid, waited a few minutes, then opened it and threw in a match. After the “whoosh,” her once straight hair was singed and curly.

Ah, memories! We laughed so hard tears were streaming down our faces.

A new RN Daughter #4 passed her NCLEX nursing exam and is now officially an RN. My father-in-law was a physician and my mother-in-law a nurse and perhaps hoped that some of their children or grandchildren would follow the medical route, but until now, none did. We have plenty of doctors in the family, but none of the medical variety. And now we have a nurse!

Remembrance Day Today is Remembrance Day in Canada (Veterans Day in the US.) When we first moved to Canada almost 30 years ago I remember being impressed at how seriously Canadians commemorate Remembrance Day. Red paper poppies are purchased to help support our war veterans and worn in the lapels of young and old. Schools hold assemblies to educate and solemnly recall the sacrifices others have made. Urban, suburban, exurban, and rural communities all suspend normal activities at 11 a.m. on November 11th to reflect, remember and give thanks. Wreaths are laid at cenotaphs throughout the land and those who fought for the freedoms and rights of our country are honored. The poem, “In Flanders Fields” is quoted and the phrase “Lest we forget” is repeated and tweeted throughout the day. (“Lest we forget” is quoted from an 1897 poem, “Recessional” by Rudyard Kipling and was likely inspired by the passages in Deuteronomy 4 and 6.)

Thank you to all who have served. Lest we forget. Lest we forget.

African violets My mom was a gardener par excellence. She loved growing flowers, but especially enjoyed nurturing and growing African violets. We had a small kitchen and no dining room so the table was pushed up against the exterior wall of the kitchen under a very large picture window. My dad built three or four shelves across that north-facing window and there mom tended her many African violet plants.

Until very recently I have been known as the botanical equivalent of the Angel of Death. I love flowers, but my heart would sink when anyone gave me a living plant. I knew they had just passed the death sentence on that lovely bit of nature. My family all joked about it. My husband would shake his head and ask, “How long do you think this one will last?”

But when we moved from Calgary to Edmonton seven years ago something changed. Some might even call it a miracle of sorts; I no longer automatically made plants die! First, my husband built me raised planters and encouraged me to start an herb garden as part of my post-surgical therapy. I was extremely skeptical, but to my absolute shock, not only did my plants survive, they thrived.

Indoor plants were still iffy. But somehow, over these past few years, I have two African violet plants that have done very well. I watched them grow and prosper and I remembered Mom. I remembered Mom transplanting hers when they outgrew the pot. I remember her trimming off the flowers when they wilted, and pinching off broken or damaged leaves. I remember her fertilizing the plants, gently brushing the dust off the leaves, and carefully avoiding getting the leaves wet when she watered her violets. I even remember her talking to her plants, and boy, did we ever tease her about that!

My African violets are outgrowing their latest pots and need something now, and I’m not certain what. Sure, I can google it or call a garden center or ask around, but I really, really, wish I could ask my mom. Not only would she have told me the right thing to do for my plants, she would have been proud and probably amazed that I haven’t killed these violets, and may even be developing a green thumb!

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Cards and Photos Here are some more cards I made this week when I had to lay low and be quiet. The photos are from various photography opportunities over the past month.

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Lake Louise

elk

Banff National Park elk

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Quiet abandon

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Splendor

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Majesty

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Canadian Rockies

 

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fff winter button

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. To the mountains! Last Friday we headed off to the Canadian Rockies for a three-day family holiday.  We left the Edmonton area with winter temperatures hovering around -18C (0F) and arrived in the Banff area five hours later to unusually warm temps near plus 10C (50F).  Banff is usually cold and snowy in February so this was a wonderful unexpected break from the weather as well as a break from routine.

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2. High tea While in Banff we enjoyed high tea at the Banff Springs Hotel.  This was the inaugural foray into the high tea experience for my husband, and he thoroughly enjoyed it and wants to go with us again for high tea in the future.

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3. Reminiscing Our family lived in Calgary for over 20 years during the growing up years of our five children. We tried to drive up to the mountains several times a year to enjoy hiking, camping, or a short holiday from our many ministerial responsibilities. As our children have gone off to college and ended up in various locations throughout the world for work and education, they always love to visit the mountains when returning to Alberta.  It was fun to watch our four daughters reminisce and revisit places that inspired them during those formative years.

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4. Beginning to understand Do you ever wonder why God allows certain hard things in your life?  I do.  These past couple of weeks I have been able to weep with several ladies who lost pregnancies.  If I had not experienced two miscarriages in my childbearing years I would have been less equipped to offer help, empathy, and encouragement to these ladies.  God sees the whole picture and works all things for our good and His glory.  I’m so glad He is trustworthy, even when I do not understand.

5. Murder mystery My artsy daughters are hosting a murder mystery event tonight.  I enjoy a good mystery, am fond of games, and appreciate that there will be gluten free options for me to nibble on throughout the evening.  But I especially appreciate that my girls have chosen to invite friends and family, married and single, to celebrate a holiday that can be a lonely time for singles.  Genuine love isn’t just about couples. I look forward to spending time brothers and sisters in Christ tonight.

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