Friday’s Fave Five #47

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.

I stepped away from writing for several months for personal reasons. Today I want to resume the FFF and share some blessings from the past few weeks.

1. One of our daughters was married on February 27. It was a beautiful wedding with a peacock colours theme. We love our new son-in-law and are enjoying getting to better know his wonderful family. (Thanks, Nicole VandeKamp for this picture of the entire wedding party!)

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2. Our son, who lives and teaches in China, was able to come for the month of February (during the Chinese New Year break) and stay with us to help prepare for the wedding. His wife stayed behind for some intensive language study, but the kids got to come with their dad. Normally the whole family stays with us for a few weeks every summer so it was a special treat to have them with us in winter. Though we had unusually warm weather this entire winter, there was still some snow for the kids to enjoy. They loved playing in the snow!

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3. As wonderful and joyous as weddings are, wedding planning, preparation, and participation are exhausting! This past week we were able to get away for a few days to our friend’s cabin a couple of hours south of us. It’s in the middle of a large farming area where just about all that’s available nearby is peace and quiet. Exactly what we needed! My dear husband sacrificed some of his time to drive me around so I could get some photos of rural Alberta.

01 Mountain view near Sundre - Copy

02 Mountain view near Sundre 3-16

05 Torrington area fence 2

06 Torrington area fence line

10 Torrington 3-16

09 Torrington abandon

12 Near Three Hills

08 Near Olds 2 (2)

07 Torrington community hall

11 West of Torrington

04 Torrington ice fog 3-1603 Near Olds 2

14 Torrington sunset 3-7-16 2

13 Torrington sunset 3-7-16

15 Torrington sunset 3-8-16

4. Because of my arthritis and fibromyalgia, ice is my enemy. Winters in central Alberta tend to be very icy. We have thoroughly enjoyed extraordinarily warm weather this winter, reminiscent of the welcomed Chinooks we so appreciated while living in Calgary. Today it’s 10 C (about 50 F) and ice everywhere is melting furiously. Yay to banished ice!

5. Our youngest daughter has completed her current phase of education and returned to us last month after her studies in China. It’s fun to have her home for a while. We are looking forward to seeing how God leads and provides for her and for each of our other children in future days.

It seems too early, but I have been reminded that we need to turn our clocks ahead this Saturday night. I don’t want to be late for church!!

Friday’s Fave Five #31

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.

My daughter’s surprise visit is almost over. Early Monday she heads back to Shanghai and nursing school. Barring any other surprises, we won’t see her again until 11 months from now.

Sometimes I wish I was not such an emotional creature. I am not fond of goodbyes and am not looking forward to that aspect of Monday morning. Anticipating this goodbye is a reminder to me to focus on the time we have been able to spend together with our youngest these past 5 weeks. We dedicated each of our children to the Lord when they were born, not to do our will but to follow His will. Our blessing now is that our children do love the Lord and are following what He has set before them to do, even when that takes them far from us and the comforts of home.

1. Our kids are a blessing to us All of our kids have been, and continue to be, a big help to us in multiple ways. Having Emma staying with us these past few weeks meant she willingly took care of some of the physical stuff that I still need help with after my surgery. That has been a blessing. Thanks, Em!

2. Good report from the surgeon Last Thursday I saw my orthopedic surgeon again. The hip joint has healed well and I don’t need to see him again until October. My muscles are still slow in getting back to normal due to a flare of fibromyalgia. I just need to be patient, listen to my body, and slowly return my physiotherapy exercises as my flare subsides. I hope to be able to retire my cane by the summer!

3. ‘No charge!’There is construction all around our area. This week when Emma was driving she picked up a small bolt in one of the tires. Our local Fountain Tire repaired it without charge, which was an unexpected blessing.

4. Fun with my kids The murder mystery event was lots of fun! It took me a while to ‘get’ my character and to ask the right questions of the other participants, but I eventually caught on. It was nice to meet some new people and spend time with family and friends. (No, I wasn’t the bad guy. They had to kill my character off so I could go home early!!)

5. Thoughtful husband Several times a month my husband surprises me by bringing home a Starbucks’ green tea latte fixed just the way I like it. I love that he does this without me asking, just because he knows I like them.

Oh, I’m going to throw in a lagniappe blessing this week. While shopping this past week I came across a $5 rack and was able to buy a spring coat in my new size for just $5!  Though it may not be the favorite coat I’ve ever owned, it will carry me through the spring and hopefully into an even smaller size in the fall!

 

Friday’s Fave Five #22

FFF daisies

Welcome to Friday’s Fave Five hosted by Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story.  This weekly exercise prompts us to share five blessings from the week.  It’s encouraging to stop, think about, and recount our blessings. I ‘m glad to be able to participate in FFF.

1.  Humor out my window  I am grateful for humor. I was working at my desk and glanced out the window to see a small, young girl, maybe 8 years old, walking a cat on a leash.  I can’t remember ever seeing someone trying to walk a cat before, and thought, “This should be interesting!” I wasn’t disappointed!!

The cat dashed ahead, yanking the girl behind, then abruptly came to a dead stop as the girl flew past him, then collapsed to the grass where he stretched and rolled leisurely for about a minute.  The little girl stood over the cat and pulled on the leash to get the cat going, but that cat was NOT going to move.  So the girl pulled harder – no luck – then used both hands and planted her feet before pulling up hard on the leash.  The cat suddenly sprang up and vaulted forward a few meters almost knocking the girl off her feet, before collapsing and stretching in the grass again.  Exasperation and frustration were etched on that poor girl’s face.  I’m sure I saw a sly grin on the face of that cat as he once again leaped up and dashed down the street out of my sight, the little girl practically airborne behind him!

2. New friends.  This week we enjoyed a visit from a lady in BC who heard about the Bible College and began supporting the work here.  Though we had previously corresponded, this was our first face to face meeting.  We had warm fellowship with this sister in Christ.

3.  New referral Though I don’t yet have a surgery date for my hip replacement, I now have a referral to an exercise specialist who will help me find exercise that will be appropriate for both my arthritis and my fibromyalgia, which tends to be worse in cold weather.

4. Harvest bounty My husband and I have been blessed with the generosity of friends who have shared some of their garden bounty with us.  Squash, tomatoes, beets, onions….yum!

5. Last class Number three daughter completed, and passed the final course for her bachelor’s degree this week.  She’s been out of school for several years now so it’s a relief and blessing to have everything finished and behind her!  Good job Anna!!

Hope you can take a moment to stop and think of some of the blessings in your life this past week.

Friday’s Fave Five #21

FFF daisies

Friday’s Fave Five is hosted by Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story and encourages us to put in writing five blessings from the week.

1. I have not posted for several weeks. Why? So I could spend as much time as possible with these two!  We had a wonderful summer. I was feeling much better than I did last summer, and was able to be more interactive with my grandchildren. Since next summer should be post hip replacement, maybe I can even be more active with them!

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2. My herb garden is winding down. It brought me lots of pleasure thus summer, though not quite like I expected.  It was an herb and vegetable garden, but the zucchini corporate takeover took out my kale, and a mighty wind storm took out my zucchini it all its golden glory (I planted yellow zucchini.)  The entire crown of the plant with its broad, bristly leaves and five golden fingers of zucchini-to-be ended up on the deck.  The plant never recovered. I planted ten peas and only two came up and my green beans elbowed the zucchini for sunlight before the demise of the squash.  Next year my husband is making me a second planter so I have veggies in one and herbs in the other!

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3. I am grateful for the wonderful privilege of having all five of my children together in one place for a few weeks each summer.  Our house was loud and messy, full of comings and goings, laughter and tears, discussions and debates.  We do Christmas in July (well…August this year) complete with holiday dishes, decorations, Christmas crackers (and the antics that go along with the hats and prizes), and Christmas readings. The China-based part of the family has left us until next year.DSC09573

4. Watching college football with my husband is one of my favorite pastimes. It’s that time of year and he is actually able to take a day off each week (well, most weeks) after years of having a too-heavy workload to do this.  I have one thing to say about college football:  Go Buckeyes!!

5. No word yet on my surgery date.  My first hip replacement was 8 years ago this December.  I am praying that I can have this one done before the snow comes since ice and snow hinder my mobility and make walking around on crutches or with a walker a little more tricky. Good news:  I am much more mobile this time than I was before the last surgery.  I’m very grateful for that!

 

Friday’s Fave Five # 16

FFF spring

It’s Friday and time to share five blessings from the week hosted by Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story.

1.Spring clean up My friend Joanne came over and cleaned up my garden beds, something I can’t do right now as I am waiting for hip replacement.  Her help was such a blessing!

2. God’s peace  I have been blessed the past few days in particular by God’s peace even in sad times, as well as godly colleagues who comfort and encourage us along the way.

3.  Helpful dietitian and doctor  My doctor has helped me get my low thyroid figured out and treated and my dietitian is guiding me in keeping track of my eating…I’m starting to lose weight again!!

4. WCBF Ladies Retreat  Our annual ladies retreat begins this afternoon.  I am so thankful that I am well enough to attend and look forward to catching up with old friends, being challenged by the speaker, and tending my book table.

5. Peach smoothies!  MacDonald’s peach smoothies are back and it’s a treat I can enjoy, even with all of my food restrictions.  Yay!!

Can you think of five blessings from this past week?

Friday’s Fave Five #10

FFF tulips

This weekly exercise has forced me to stop and think about the many, many, blessings in my life.  Sadly I find that my mind quickly jumps to problems, injustices, or needs much more quickly than to counting my many blessings.  Thanks, Susanne for hosting FFF!

This past week my constant companion has been the dread pirate…I mean the dreadful cold which has been circulating and pouncing on innocent, unsuspecting victims.  This undesirable creature generously gifted me with the full meal deal – sore throat, coughing, stuffy nose, runny nose, (yes, both, and occasionally at the same time) coughing, blocked ears, painful sinuses, coughing, sneezing, and more coughing.  In light of this I am thankful for…..

1.  Tissues, cough syrup, hot tea, chicken soup and Vaseline (for my Rudolph-imitating nose.)

2.  Books I was able to do some extra reading this week and finished an audio format of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Covert by Rosaria Butterfield. Very compelling read about how God got the attention of a liberal, feminist, lesbian, tenured English professor and drew her to faith in Christ through a Christian couple who demonstrated love, friendship, kindness and wisdom as they interacted with Rosaria and shared the gospel with her.

3. Magnifying glass I am thankful for my magnifying glass which allows these aging eyes to read the small print.  Sure seems to be a lot more small print than there used to be. 🙂

4.  Spring!…Oh yohoo, Spring!…Winter has been like an expected guest who arrived early, overstayed his welcome, and refused to leave when it was time to go. I am grateful that the cold and snow of this past week will soon be gone and gentle spring will bless us with warmth, and growth, and greater mobility.

5.  Christmas cards To all of you who didn’t receive a Christmas card from us this past year:  sorry, I didn’t get any sent out. The good news is that this week I finished making cards for this coming Christmas.  Yay!  Now somebody remind me in November when I can’t find them that I stored them in the craft cabinet.

Maybe you can stop for a minute and thank God for some of the blessings of the past week!

Friday’s Fave Five #4

FFF heart.

Welcome to Friday’s Fave Five, hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story, in which we can share five of our favorite things from the last week, a wonderful exercise in looking for and appreciating the good things God blesses us with. Click on the button to learn more, then go to Susanne’s to read others’ faves and link up your own.

We had another out-of the ordinary week with some sadness but also some blessings.  God is good – always – and I am glad to rest in that knowledge.  So here are some blessings from the week…

1.  Visit from my niece My niece from South Carolina is up here visiting our daughter Sarah.  These two girls, daughters of two brothers, were born a few months apart.  Though ministry in different parts of North America initially provided limited contact for the two families, the girls have reconnected as young adults and have enjoyed some international travel together.  The girls are headed to scenic Jasper to experience a few exciting winter activities.

2.  A supportive physician I have a wonderful physician who has compassion and is working with me to try and sort out my current medical concerns.  She cares more for me as a person than for squeezing my symptoms into a particular medical diagnosis.  Her willingness to allow me to incorporate traditional medications and alternative remedies has helped me eliminate some of my medical problems….and we continue to work on the remaining issues.

3.  A loving husband I love how my husband calls me up and asks me to lunch.  He did that today and took me to a restaurant where it’s safe for me to eat.  He has been my sweetheart for thirty-five years.

4.  Many daughters God has given me four daughters, a daughter-in-law, and a number of daughters in the faith. I love their individual gifts and abilities and am blessed to be a part of each of their lives.

5.  Green tea While I can no longer have regular tea or coffee, I really enjoy green tea.  My two favorites?  Peach green tea (loose tea) from Glenn’s in Red Deer served with delicious local honey, and Starbucks green tea latte, half sweet, non-fat.   Yum!

Hope you have a week of encouragement and blessings.

Friday’s Fave Five #3

FFF birds on a wire

Welcome to Friday’s Fave Five, hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story, in which we can share five of our favorite things from the last week, a wonderful exercise in looking for and appreciating the good things God blesses us with. Click on the button to learn more, then go to Susanne’s to read others’ faves and link up your own.

I confess I wanted to skip the Fave Fives this week because it has been a week of struggling for me physically, which inevitably affects my ability to think and my mindset.  Then came the thought, “There is something very wrong with a Christian who cannot come up with five blessings from the previous week!”  So true!  So here we go…

1. My family chipped in together to buy me a Ninja Ultima blender (think Vitamix, but half the price) for Christmas.  It is a powerful machine and has inspired me to experiment with my morning veggie-fruit-yogurt smoothies.  I’m working on shifting my pH away from acidic to more alkaline and have discovered I like the kale-spinach-zucchini-carrot combo…when I add an apple and some raspberries to the mix.

2. My husband and I were married in a double wedding with his sister and her husband almost 35 years ago.  Although ministry for each couple has separated us physically, we try to get together every 5 years to celebrate our mutual anniversary.  This year we are looking at heading to the Grand Canyon and it’s been fun to start researching what is available.  That set me to thinking about previous trips and brought back some lovely memories.

3. When I was waffling about posting this week God reminded me of the passage in 1 Samuel 30 when David encouraged himself in the Lord his God after the devastating raid on Ziglag.  I turned to the scriptures with that in mind and was blessed by meditating on the Word.

4.Last night my daughter-in-law sent us their flight itineraries for this summer.  Our son and his wife live and teach in China and are the busy parents of our two grandchildren.  Each summer the Chinese contingency hits North American soil and splits their time between Canada and the US, where her parents live.  Woo-hoo!!  Just a few short months!!

5.The missionary book organization project is almost finished. When I told my daughter Sarah that I was getting my office cleaned up, she laughed.  Hard.  I guess I will be forever known for my piling system of organization.  But, hey!  I know where all my stuff is…..at least most of the time!

Have a joyful week!

Friday’s Fave Five

Welcome to Friday’s Fave Five, hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story, in which we can share five of our favorite things from the last week, a wonderful exercise in looking for and appreciating the good things God blesses us with. Click on the button to learn more, then go to Susanne’s to read others’ faves and link up your own.

This has been a busy week.  My flare of fibromyalgia seems to to be glowing less brightly these past few weeks (maybe an upturn in my health?  I hope so!!) and I have been able to get to some of the work on my backlog pile. Yay!! A few more things crossed off my ‘To Do’ list.

1.  I am an organizational paradox.  While I keep a well-organized filing cabinet for tax purposes, I am quite comfortable with my piling system for personal stuff.   Right now it looks more like a mountain than a pile as I work on organizing my missionary books which, of course, must be cataloged, cross-cataloged and arranged alphabetically by subject and sub arranged by author.  Out of chaos comes order?  Well, something like that.  It feels good to organize the books and dust the shelves.

2.  God gave me privilege of being the person used to lead a young woman to the Lord this week.  She was a serious seeker who has been attending our church for the past couple of months.  We will meet weekly to discuss her questions and to work through a new believer’s series my husband wrote.

3.  Three young ladies, ages 12, 13 and 14, come help me with household chores.  One comes early in the week and two sisters come later in the week.  I am exceedingly grateful that they wanted this kind of job.  They clean, shovel sidewalks, collect mail from the superbox, carry laundry up and down the stairs, take out garbage, help with spring / fall cleaning and even lend a hand with decorating.  They are fun and hard working and I am very blessed to have a clean house and necessary jobs done through their efforts.

4.  I finished reading all of my personal library books on Gladys Aylward.  God used her in amazing ways because she took God’s Books - Careyword at face value.  I hope to write a couple of posts about her next week.  I see that writing about missionaries who have multiple volumes on their lives will prove to be challenging, if only because of the time it will take to wade through all of the books before writing stories and reviews.  Glancing over my library I see about 20 books on William Carey, over 30 each by or about Amy Carmichael, David Livingstone and Hudson Taylor,  about 10 each on or by John Paton, Isobel Kuhn, Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth, Robert Moffat, Adoniram and Ann Judson, plus hundreds of volumes on other missionaries.  I need to figure out an effective system for writing the kids missionary stories without having to pause for weeks while reading up on one subject.

5. My husband is a southern boy who grew up in South Carolina (strangely, without the accent.)  He loves grits and collard greens, and hoppin’ john, and shrimp, and iced tea,and okra, and other southern culinary delights.  Last week a local grocery store highlighted greens and offered collard greens for sale!  We rarely find them here so I got a bunch and fixed them (had to look up a recipe – my husband thought they tasted great, which isn’t always the case when I try a new recipe!)  We also found yellow grits at our local Bulk Barn and no longer have to wheedle every visiting family member into bring us grits when they come for a visit!

Friday’s Fave Five

Welcome to Friday’s Fave Five, hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story, in which we can share five of our favorite things from the last week, a wonderful exercise in looking for and appreciating the good things God blesses us with. Click on the button to learn more, then go to Susanne’s to read others’ faves and link up your own.

I’m trying to begin using this feature on Fridays.  Thanks Barbara H for the idea and thanks Susanne for starting it!  

1.  I am very grateful that the days are getting longer.  Many of us from ‘the true North, strong and free’ suffer from various degrees of seasonal affective disorder – SAD – in December and January.  Not only are we enjoying a few more minutes of sunlight each day, but we have been blessed with almost record breaking warm weather the past two weeks.  A nice break in our normally long and snowy winters!

2.  My hip needs to be replaced and I currently have limited mobility.  This fact, coupled with icy sidewalks, means I don’t go out on my own right now.  I am extremely grateful for my family and friends who willingly drive me and offer me an arm for stability when I am out.  Their service is a huge blessing to me.

3.  After my kids were grown I gave them each a box of ornaments from their childhood and began doing themed Christmas trees. Each Christmas I decide on the colors for the next year then keep my eyes open for ornaments and decor at the after Christmas specials.  This year I was so excited to find some lovely bits at 90% off.  My colors for next year?  Green, red, and gold.

4.  My many food intolerances make meal planning a challenge at times.  I try to make a pot of soup each week and use that for my lunches.  As I made my latest pot of chicken vegetable soup, I added some dried herbs harvested from my herb garden.  The aroma was wonderful and made me eager to plan this years’ herb garden.  Thanks to my husband I have lovely raised boxes to plant in.  Now what herbs shall I plant this year? Hmmmm.

5.  When we moved from Calgary almost five years ago we packed and moved almost 8,000 books from my husband’s study and my children’s book and biographical library.  My husband’s theological books and church history volumes are now part of the college library and many of the children’s books have been divvied up among our children.  I’ve just begun reorganizing my almost 1000 missionary biographies and reading (or rereading them) as prep for writing my missionary stories for kids.  It dawned on me the other day that this time of limited mobility is the perfect time for all of this reading.  I have been abundantly blessed by reading about these missionaries!