Friday’s Fave Five #103

On Fridays (or as you know, sometimes later than Friday) I post FFF to be intentional about recounting blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

Progress! I’m slowly creeping toward posting again on Fridays. Sunday instead of Monday is a tiny step in the right direction.

1. Iron infusions done – My IV iron treatments are done! My body is in the process of resetting and I look forward to greater stamina and improved strength in the future. Good thing they told me it takes up to three months to feel the full effects or I’d be chomping at the bit wanting to see quick results.

By the way, maybe some of you medical experts could clarify whether IV iron treatments are called transfusions or infusions. There seems to be mixed information about this. Even my nurses during treatment interchanged the terms.

2. Grocery savings – The first Tuesday of the month several local grocery stores offer 10 – 15% off your total order. This week I went to the Sobeys at Ellerslie to shop. They offer 15% off and have a large gluten free / organic / natural foods section that I like. On Tuesday I met the manager of that section, a young woman who is a registered dietician and loves to help people with their special diet questions. It was an extra bonus to chat with her in addition to receiving the discount.

3. Visit with a ministry friend – Another area pastor’s wife came for a visit this week. I’ve been so out of the loop the past year and most of my contact with ministry friends has been via electronic media. It was a special blessing to have face to face time with her

4. Dishwasher – We are reminded in Scripture to give thanks in every situation, but often I find my default reaction is complaining like the children of Israel. I have not yet quite figured out the blessing of the situation, but our dishwasher broke this week with a terrible grinding sound and the burning smell of an electrical fire. It already had smaller problem which would cost at least $100 for parts plus the repairman’s cost so we decided to replace instead of repair.

The dishwasher is my number one favorite kitchen appliance, but I have never had one perform without the need to call a service person at least once every two or three years, so I’ve always opted for an extended service contract. And, I do have an extended warranty on my dishwasher which would normally take care of service and parts, but the dishwasher and contract were with Sears which went bankrupt in Canada last year making null and void my contract.

When my DW went kaput right before a week of company and one of the most intense weeks in the year for us and the college, I slipped into panic mode. Prayer and common sense have since prevailed, and I am employing the Japanese style of dishwashing as my sister-in-law calls it – wash dishes under hot running water using a soapy cloth. I have reminded myself that I have someone coming to help me around the house while my guests are here, and I will be chill about dishes being stacked in the sink if I need to rest instead. I am still trying to recover from my unexpected medical journey this past year and fretting over dirty dishes is not worth a setback in my health.

5. Craft area clean up – I usually employ a delightful piling system when working on projects. I have everything spread out on my desk, the floor around my chair, and any reachable nearby surface. My husband calls me messy, but I claim it’s the hallmark of a creative mind. But to keep peace, practice discipline, and salve the twitchy part of me that is the highly sensitive person, I purge, clean and tidy periodically. My wonderful house helper is better at organizing than I am and her recent suggestions for taming my craft space are currently being implemented. It’s already looking neater and I really do enjoy the calmness a tidy space evokes.

Friday’s Fave Five #63


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.



taking off

taking off



hawk and hay

hawk and hay



moon in the mist

moon in the mist

over the rise

over the rise

fix building (16)


fix building (7) - Copy

total abandon

fix building (4)

beyond the fence

fix building (3)

still standing

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.


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 #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!


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 #41


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.



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.


Friday’s Fave Five #39


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

Ladies’ Retreat Our annual Ladies’ Retreat was held last Friday and Saturday based on the theme ‘Rest for Your Souls’ based on Matthew 11:28-30. It was an encouraging time of Bible study and fellowship for ladies from various parts of Alberta.

More herbs and veggies! Update on my herb garden: In addition to peppermint, spearmint, basil, oregano, and chives, I also have lemon verbena (wonderfully fragrant!) rosemary (with you in mind, Emma!) French thyme, summer savory, marjoram, lavender, and what we thought was dill, but ended up being fennel. Not sure how I will use that one since neither Bud nor I am fond of anise.

We also planted (probably overplanted) onions, garlic, Yukon Gold potatoes, one Jenny Linn melon plant, two zucchini plants, one butternut squash plant, and peas and green beans around the edges of the planters. In separate pots we planted three types of kale. Looking forward to my morning smoothies with fresh greens from the garden!

Anniversary Monday was our 36th anniversary and Bud took me to a nice restaurant for dinner that night. He had arranged for a beautiful bouquet of flowers and some white chocolate to be waiting at the table. The restaurant, Blue Rare, easily accommodated my gluten-free and food sensitivity requirements and presented us with a complementary slice of in-house made caramel pecan cheesecake for dessert. When we got back home we found another beautiful bouquet of flowers left by our daughters. A lovely evening!


Flowers from my sweetie


Flowers from our daughters

Fab family doctor Once again my family doctor has been an incredible blessing to me as I continue my health journey. A meeting with a new health care professional left me feeling somewhat bullied and quite perplexed. When my doctor learned of this she told me she was going to speak to this person to advocate on my behalf because she was my partner in my health journey and wants me to have continued success.

Fun café In our small town we have a quaint and quirky café called the Crepe and Shake. The owner has converted her garage into a kitchen, offers outdoor only seating, and makes the best French-style crepes (we live in a French-themed village) around. She grows what foods she can on her property and sources as much of it locally as possible. This place is gluten-free friendly, kid and family friendly, and is a favorite warm weather place to eat. For lunch one day last week a friend and I split a salted caramel milkshake and each had a savory crepe. Mmmmm!

Friday’s fave Five #37

FFF tulips

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

1. Black raspberries I enjoy black raspberries. We grew some in my yard in Ohio when I was a kid but have not found a place that sells just fresh or frozen black raspberries here in Edmonton. Blackberries, yes. Red raspberries, yes, even occasionally yellow raspberries. But not black raspberries. I bought several bags of frozen organic berries a local store had put on clearance a few weeks ago. When I opened the first one the other day I was delighted to find black raspberries in the mix. I carefully picked out several and savored each bite. Ah the memories!

2. Whack the eggs A friend was sharing a recipe she had created for gluten free bread. She listed all of the ingredients then gave the directions. One of the first things she wrote to do was ‘whack the egg.’ I just about choked with laughter! Ok, it was bedtime, I was tired, and she had just texted me the recipe, but it really struck me as funny. I kept chuckling as I drifted off to sleep. Whisk, whack, what’s the difference?

3. BBQ My brother-in-law is up here teaching a seminary course at our Bible college. Today he took us out for lunch at a new (to me) BBQ place called Fired Up BBQ. It advertises itself as gluten-free friendly. The portions were large, the food is freshly prepared each day, and they offer many gluten-free sides to go with the BBQ. The prices were reasonable, everything was delicious (we all shared tastes of the meats we had ordered) and nothing made me sick because of hidden gluten. I hope we can go back again soon!

4. Travel and vacation We are going to have to travel some this summer for ministry. The best part? Looks like we will be able to spend some time with my husband’s sister and her husband while we are away. We were married in a double wedding 36 years ago. Some years we get to vacation together in celebration of our shared anniversary. And that is always something to look forward to.

5. Green tea latte surprise A green tea latte at a discounted price because of the kindness of a young friend. That was an unexpected blessing today!

Friday’s Fave Five #18

FFF spring


On Fridays we stop to be thankful for a few blessings from the previous week.  Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story hosts this little exercise in thankfulness and it has blessed my soul to participate.  Following are a few highlights from my very busy week.

1.  Hip replacement, here we come! On Monday I was finally able to see the orthopedic surgeon who will be doing my hip replacement surgery.  I am now officially in line for a hip replacement.  The standard wait time here in Alberta after seeing the surgeon is 4 – 6 months.  We have asked to be put on a cancellation list so could be called in earlier if someone else drops out.  I am praying that I can have this done before winter weather arrives.

2.  The herb garden is prospering. My little herb garden is doing well.  A surprise this year is some of the herbs wintered overHerb Garden 2 and have come back up from last year.  This is especially amazing since my herb garden is in a ‘raised bed’ built off the rail of the deck so the cold winter elements totally surround the box.  I thought the thyme had returned, but further growth shows it is the summer savory that made it through the winter.

3.  Fragrant lilacs We purchased this house in February when the entire yard was snowed in.  Lilac 6A surprise that first spring was the beautiful dark pinky-purple lilacs in the back yard.  Since dark purple is my favorite color I delight each spring at these fragrant and beautiful blossoms.

4.  New website Our new website has launched.  Designed  to minister to women in ministry, our goal is to encourage those who labor as pastor’s wives, missionaries, Christian school teachers etc.  We’ve had it up for about a month now and are generating good interest and feedback.

5.  Gluten free blessings On our two week ‘staycation’ we got to rest a lot, eat out more than usual, and take a few rides in the country.  Tuesday my husband drove me around to a couple of gluten free bakeries in Edmonton.  We stopped at a place where he wanted to eat, a place featuring homemade pies and sandwiches (not gluten-free friendly) and then drove to the other end of town where we located the two gluten free bakeries.  One of them in particular, RioVida, has a lot more that just bread and treats and we came away with some delicious gluten free entrees, treats, and bread to freeze and pull out as needed.  Some gluten free foods taste awful so it was delightful to find a place where the food was safe for me to eat and was also delicious!

What blessings did your week hold for you?



Gluten Free Discoveries in Edmonton

Celiac, gluten allergy, gluten sensitive, or gluten intolerant….

I am not Celiac, at least that is what the tests have shown over the years.  But I am gluten intolerant.  I have been unable to tolerate oats since childhood and blood tests from a year ago showed intolerance to all of the gluten grains.

But my body already told me that.

My mother used to tell me to listen to my body.  Often when you are young and busy you ignore that advice.  I did.

Gluten free to help with fibromyalgia symptoms

I went gluten free in December 2012 in hopes of helping reduce the effects of a very serious flare of fibromyalgia.  To my great surprise I felt remarkably improved in less than a month.  My body had been screaming at me and I couldn’t understand what it was trying to say.

The initial learning curve in going gluten free seemed daunting.  I had to learn what gluten free meant in different contexts.  Certified gluten free means no processing or possible cross contamination with gluten products in a facility.  Some of my Celiac friend are extremely sensitive to even the most minuscule bit of gluten so products like this are safe for them.

I have learned that many processed foods of all sorts contain gluten and the label probably won’t say ‘contains gluten’ but will list ingredients which cause our eyes to glaze over since we have no idea what that ingredient even is. I’ll discuss some of these in future posts. I learned that most candy and some chewing gum contain gluten.  Who knew?

So  no wheat, barley, rye, or oats for me.  Sometimes other words are used for wheat, barley and rye products.  Spelt, tritacale, malt, couscous, bulgur, and farina are a few of them.  I’m continuing to learn about gluten products by reading labels, reading posts, and asking questions. Lots and lots of questions.

I miss writing restaurant reviews

In my pre-gluten free days I used to write restaurant reviews for a website.  It was one of my favorite jobs and I miss it.  My husband loves trying new restaurants. Whenever we go out to eat it is an adventure for me.  Will this place have gluten free options?  Will anything I eat here make me sick because of my food intolerances?  Maybe others in the Edmonton area would like knowing about some of the gf options out there.

So here it is, the first of my observations and experiences with restaurants and gf ingredients.

Cora’s South Edmonton  Cora May 2014

Cora’s on Calgary Trail (near the South Edmonton Common) has a dedicated gluten free toast station.  When you ask, they offer you the option of gluten free toast with your meal.  Very nice and greatly appreciated.

I also learned that their buckwheat pancakes are NOT gluten free because they mix the gluten safe buckwheat flour in with regular flour.  They are open for breakfast and lunch and are known for their fresh fruit sides with many of their breakfast choices.  I had a time limited spring breakfast special with omelet, Granny Smith apple slices and real maple syrup.  It was delicious! And most importantly, it did not make me sick.

Last time I checked the Cora in Leduc and the one in Sherwood Park did not offer a gluten free toast / dedicated toasting station option.

Original Joe’s Sherwood Park

Gluten Free Original Joes 5-31-14The original Joe’s in Sherwood Park had a gluten sensitive menu available.  They offered a gluten free bun with my pulled pork sandwich.  The sweet potato fries and dill dipping sauce were delicious.  Their honey coleslaw was not very flavorful and was unimpressive in my opinion.

Depending on your level of sensitivity to gluten you may or may not be able to have fries or sweet potato fries when you eat out.  Some places dust their fries with a gluten containing coating before frying them. Other places will fry gluten battered food in the same fryer as gluten free food.  Ask, ask, and ask some more.

A few gluten free discoveries

I was in Costco Sherwood Park yesterday and saw these gluten free baking items, Cloud 9 Gluten free baking mix and Sunblest almond flour.  I have not tried either of them but I am grateful that Costco carries gluten free products. Let me know if you have tried either of these and how you liked them.

Sunblest GF flourCloud 9 GF baking mix 6-9-14