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/

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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 #60

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. Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians and Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans! (Yes, I have dual citizenship) It’s a tremendous blessing to be part of two amazing countries.

2. Weather We had some pretty intense thunderstorms yesterday afternoon which produced a tornado warning for some locations south of us. These pictures are from last week’s storm.

In the valley

In the valley

Storm's a' brewin'

Storm’s a’ brewin’

Impending storm

Impending storm

Have you ever been in a tornado? I clearly remember one childhood 4th of July when one passed over us while we were waiting for fireworks at a park next to my grandparents’ apartment complex on Mentor Ave. The air was unusually still and thick with humidity, the clouds low and dark with a greenish hue to the skies. I recall thinking how it all felt so weird and surreal, and that the setting somehow made me uneasy. My parents made us climb down off the wall between the apartments and the park and we all headed inside to wait. I can’t remember if there was a warning sounded (the old civil defense warning siren, maybe?) but all six of us climbed into the bathtub at my grandparents’ place and stood there waiting. The thing I remember most is the rushing sound like a train passing by, somehow eerie and exciting at the same time. My memory fades from there. I seem to recall that no one was actually hurt and that the tornado passed over but did not touch down. Anyway, yesterday’s storm and tornado warning on this long weekend brought those memories back.

3. Mobility Some days I have great mobility with no pain, and other days I have great pain with almost no mobility. I am extremely grateful for the ability to move around at all. Just a few generations ago I would have been the crippled granny in her rocking chair by the fire. “Back in the day” congenital conditions like my hip dysplasia would have consigned me to a mostly immobile life. Today, thanks to two hip replacements, I do have mobility. Such a blessing!

4. Gardening My peas are growing like crazy, the herbs are doing well, mature kale and baby kale burgeoning, and tiny zucchini are popping out. I planted some yellow crookneck squash from seed and have some healthy looking plants coming up. I don’t know why, but yellow crookneck are hard to find here. They are our favorite variety of squash so I’m hoping they will do well. I also planted some heirloom carrots which are supposed to produce individual carrots that are yellow, purple, white, or deep orange. My beans are off to a slow start. I’ll keep you posted.

Garden peas

Garden peas

5. Drive – by photography I am learning more and more about my camera and editing programs, but I have one really bad habit I think I need to break. When I see something interesting I want to photograph it, but time constraints do not allow me to stop for Every. Single. Thing. I want to shoot. Hence I have fallen into the habit of drive-by photography. My husband drives and I have my camera poised, set, and ready. If I see something I think would make a great picture, I roll down the window and take burst shots as we fly by at 100 kms/hr. This defies every rule of good photography, and honestly, does not often produce a good image, but occasionally I capture an photograph that looks really good and appeals to my artistic eye. So do I abandon my drive-by habit and the opportunity to catch a good shot, or continue my whacky habit in the hopes that one of the 30+ bursts captures what I am seeing? I cannot decide.

Here are the last pictures from our anniversary trip a couple of weeks ago.

Summer days

Summer days

Alone on the prairie

Alone on the prairie

Beauty on the highway

Beauty on the highway

Alberta countryside

Alberta countryside

Alberta skies

Alberta skies

Distant mountains

Distant mountains

Mountains beyond

Mountains beyond

Mount Rundle

Mount Rundle

Snowy peaks

Snowy peaks

Edge of promise

Edge of promise

Peaceful

Peaceful

Thompson ground squirrel

Thompson ground squirrel

 

 

Friday’s Fave Five #45

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.

I’ve missed several weeks of posting FFF. We have traveled some for ministry, but the main reason I have missed so many weeks is because my husband is now taking a day off each week, and this semester it is Fridays. I am blessed because he likes including me in his plans. I guess I need to prepare my FF’s on Thursdays, or post on Saturdays when he is back to work. Not a great start on that adjustment! (Today he is at a men’s retreat so I have time to do this post on Friday!)

Part of the importance of this Friday post is focusing on the daily blessings God gives us. Sometime I get so busy, or so preoccupied, or even so discouraged about something that blessings fade into the background. I’m learning through my photography that what you focus on can change the whole outcome of the picture. Just the slightest adjustment in the focus can alter what is seen from a beautiful shot to one that is blurry and unattractive. It is good for someone like me, who possesses an artistic streak of melancholy, to regularly adjust my focus to the good and positive in my life. Just kind of thinking out loud here.

1.  Fellowship Last month several pastors’ wives from Alberta traveled to Red Deer for a time of prayer, fellowship, and encouragement. The drive down and back with a dear ministry friend, the focus of the fellowship, and time after we got home with my friend’s children were all blessings of the day.

2.  Wonderful weather The weather has been amazingly mild for October in central Alberta. I have harvested most of my herbs and dried them, but am holding out on bringing in the rest of the kale and my hearty spearmint and peppermint. If we get really cold temps, or cold days with hard frosts in the evenings, I’ll pull in the rest of the garden. It’s just nice that we have had fresh greens so far into the autumn.

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3. Renovations Because of a bad leak in our guest bathroom we are having to renovate that room. When our renovator pulled down the wall around the tub, he found less damage behind the walls than expected. That was certainly a blessing! My decorating daughter has helped me pick out paint, flooring, etc. Sadly, I do not possess the ability to imagine what something will look like. I love those apps that let you put your selections together and show you what new paint, or new furniture etc. will look like. But I have something better than an app…a daughter who has an eye for design!

4. Travels It was a great blessing to travel to South Carolina last week. We met with our mission board, reported to our sending church, and spent time with family. Although there was flooding in South Carolina the week prior, the weather last week was beautiful. Overall I traveled better this time than in July, for which I am very grateful.

5. Gratitude “In everything give thanks.” Do you ever stumble over this biblical command as I do? This week one daughter lost her job and another was in a 5-car collision. “Give thanks.” I am back to the focus again. What am I going to focus on? I will focus on the fact that my daughter is able to work, is actively searching for work, and wants to work. Maybe what we think of as a setback is an opportunity for God to provide something amazing for her. I am thankful that my other daughter was not seriously injured in this collision and has a car she can still use. Perspective. Focus. Gratitude.

 

Friday’s Fave Five #44

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. Family time The past few weeks have been full of family time adventures. Our son and his family have returned to China and my husband is back to teaching as well as preaching. Fall is definitely in the air here and soon I will have to harvest my herbs and pull out the rest of the garden. Summers here tend to be short, but seem even shorter when you have to travel during part of it.

8-28-15 Canmore (298) c in a kids ride Sarah

2. Meeting important people Our second daughter is in a serious relationship with a godly young man. I had the joy of meeting Tim’s mother last Saturday and my husband and I will meet both of his parents tonight.

3. Gardening lessons Bud and I have learned some more things about gardening this summer. Things like don’t plant all your potatoes and onions in a 10 square foot planter and throw in a butternut squash and a Jenny Linn melon then edge it with green beans. You master gardeners scoff at our ignorance, but hey, we’re novices and won’t make the same mistake twice. Bud pulled the potatoes and onions at the end of July (all small because *ahem* they were so crowded), moved the beans to pots, and transplanted a zucchini to share space with the butternut and melon. Voila! The butternut and zucchini thrived, but it was too late for the melons for this year.

IMG_0570 IMG_0572 - Copy

4. Continuing health journey I head back to the surgeon in a few weeks for a one year check up on my hip replacement. The knee they said would have to be replaced next has been acting up since our trip this summer so we’ll see what they say about that. I may be the bionic woman before it’s all over! The airport scanners certainly think I’m something out of the ordinary, and flag me for a pat down every time. My overall ‘listen to your body’ plan is working well, though I have found it challenging to maintain equilibrium in my plan to manage fibromyalgia with our ‘new normal’ schedule these past few months.

5. God overall Spiritually these past few months have been a valley time for me. God is so kind, gentle, and patient, and has taught me to know His peace and comfort even when life’s circumstances inflict sorrow and pain. But I have also been the recipient of many joys and blessings over these past months. Our sovereign and loving God often intersperses joy with sorrow while weaving the tapestry of our lives. The result, by God’s grace, is conformity to the image of His Son.

6.  Taking pictures My husband and daughters have indulged me in my mania for taking pictures of broken down abandoned farm buildings. I love experimenting with light and shadow and learning what trying different settings will produce in my pictures.

beyond the barn 9-11-15 (1)

 

(Ok, so I can’t count and actually have 6 things this week. I’ve missed quite a few Fridays this summer so today’s is a bonus offer: 6 for the price of 5!)

Friday Fave Five #19

FFF tulipsI’ve missed a couple of Fridays but wanted to make sure to post today.  Thanks to Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story several of us have taken up the offer to post five blessings from the previous week.

1. Family arriving!  I am very excited that our family from China begins arriving starting tonight.  Our son will be teaching a block course at the college starting on Monday and is due to land here in the wee hours of the morning.  Our daughter follows on Monday, and our daughter-in-law and grandchildren will come at the end of the month after spending time with her family.

2.  Wonderful warm weather The weather has been warm, with long days and lots of sunshine and my raised garden has taken off.  New this year for me is a yellow zucchini plant, which is growing so fast it looks like it is taking over the garden!  The tiny yellow squash are developing nicely.  DSC09277DSC09276

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  New ministry website Several colleagues and I have launched a website aimed at encouraging women in ministry.  If you’d like to check it out it’s http://www.picturesofsilver.wordpress.com.

4. Improved health  God has granted me good health the past few weeks.  It’s hard not to think there is an association between the warmer weather and relief from fibromyalgia and arthritis symptoms.  I’ve also been very careful to avoid any known food intolerances which likely factors in to improved health.  Plus, now that my thyroid issues have evened out I’m losing weight again.  Yipee!!

5. Waiting for surgery On of the prerequisites for hip replacement surgery is to be all caught up with dental cleaning and repair.  I’ve visited the dentist several times over the past two weeks and am good to go.  Now I’m waiting for a specific surgery date.

Happy Fourth to my American friends and family!