Friday Fave Five #111

Why do I begin this September post with such a wintery picture? We’ve barely crossed the portal from summer into fall and, dear friends, this weekend in central Alberta the thermometer has crawled to just above zero C. While snow is not forecast for our particular area, many places in southern and western Alberta are bracing for an early heavy blast of snow. Alas, my hopes for a prolonged Indian summer have been dashed!

1. Peaceful photography This past week my dear husband drove me around to capture rural autumn photos. Sometimes on these jaunts we grab a beverage before we head out and sometimes it’s just the two of us and my camera. He helps me look for beautiful or unusual scenes or objects in nature to photograph while we spend time together. Sometimes we chat and other times we quietly reflect on the beautiful area we live in.

2. Eye can still see! One thing I have learned to appreciate in a new way is the ability to see. A vision concern that cropped up as I dealt with many health issues after my surgery was the possibility that my retina was detaching. I was experiencing ongoing bright flashes and large, dark floaters in my eyes. My opthamologist was out of town and her office sent me to the ER for evaluation. Thankfully the retina did not detach and I was simply experiencing one of the inevitable symptoms of aging. I have had eye related issues all of my life. I was diagnosed with amblyopia (lazy eye) and severe astigmatism at age 5 so in one way my eyes have never been that great, but this new condition has me straining to see clearly at times. These floaters are interesting to get used to as there is always “stuff” swimming around in my field of vision. It reminds me of the water in a fish bowl. If you feed your fish too much or do not clean the bowl as often as you should, the water became clouded with little bits of debris. Looking through the debris field while driving at night or in a storm requires extra caution and concentration. Thankfully our bodies adjust and I am very, very grateful that I can still see and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.

3. Community choir As my health improves I am working to be less wearied by social interaction. Joining the community choir run by my oldest daughter has been a step toward that. Saturday we joined her children’s choirs for a short performance in our small town. It’s been fun and challenging and I continue to learn much about music.

4. Of shorts and flip flops We Albertans are a hearty lot, and this time of year I am amused by how many folks wear shorts and sandals or flip flops as temperatures drop and snow threatens to fly. These past few days have been cold and rainy. Stalwart pedestrians I drove past were bent over, hoodies shielding their faces, but still wearing shorts and flip flops. I must admit that I do try and wear my sandals until slush and snow make it too uncomfortable to continue, but no shorts for me!

5. Farewell to gardening…until spring This week I harvested my herbs and picked the remaining green beans from our raised garden beds. I dry the herbs and use them in my cooking over the winter so that, in a sense, my garden stays with me throughout the winter. Yes, I know I can grow herbs indoors over the winter, and perhaps someday I will try and do so, but I still seem to kill off most indoor plants so I’m not really inspired to try growing indoor herbs yet.

 

Friday’s Fave Five #64

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 have missed a few weeks now due to some very full Fridays in August. But some exceptional blessings occurred since I last posted so I will include them today.

1. A beautiful new grandson. Our newest grandson, James Perseverance, was born in Shanghai last month. The family is prospering and ready to begin a new semester soon.

The Grandchildren2. A beautiful new car The same day God gave us a new grandson, He also gave us a new car. We have been praying a long time for God to provide this need. Not only is the car new to us, it is brand new, a gift from God through one of His servants. This car is easy for me to get in and out of, a huge answer to prayer with my mobility issues. It is also smarter than we are. Much smarter! For the foreseeable future, date night is spending time together pouring over the car manual trying to learn a thing or two!

3.A beautiful reunion We enjoyed a visit with one of the first deacons from our original church plant in Calgary. God directed his family to New Brunswick long ago but he was here last month to bring his daughter to Foundation Baptist College for the one-year Bible program. It was wonderful to catch up and enjoy sweet fellowship again.

 

20160820_2025314. A beautiful garden Shorter days and significantly cooler weather are harbingers of seasonal change. Folks here seem to think winter will come early. We’ll see. Until that first frost, I am enjoying my garden. The peppermint and spearmint did particularly well this year and have taken over about half of my herb planter. We did successfully grow yellow crook necked squash, and have the promise of more with dozens of blossoms still on the plant….should the weather remain warm. Well, I need to keep an eye on the weather to make sure I bring in all those fragrant herbs at the just the right time to dry and use over the winter.

IMG_23845. A beautiful new place to meet Sunday mornings at our church have been cramped lately. Not only is it tight in the auditorium, we are squeezed out of nursery and Sunday School space as well. We’ve added eight new babies this year and three more due in the early months of next year. A nice problem to have, isn’t it? One of our members is a realtor with many connections in the city. While searching for places for us to rent he was made aware of the Portuguese Cultural Center. After several conversations with the group, this large building was offered to our church for Sunday mornings at a very reasonable rent. Our first service will be held there this Sunday.

Here are some more pictures from this summer

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prairie grasses

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hello, buffalo!

Sunflower and bees

Sunflower and honey

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purple and blue

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canola dream

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peaceful place

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beautiful solitude

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 #38

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.

1. China calling Wednesday night I stepped into my office to turn off my computer. Just as I was ready to shut it down a skype call came through from my son in China. We had been playing skype tag since Mother’s Day when he tried to call. What a treat to be able to see his face and chat with him for a while!

2. New and improved My husband and brother-in-law fixed my herb planter that fell apart at the end of last summer. They changed the design to make it stronger. It looks great! They also worked on a second raised planter for my vegetables. How kind of them to use their skills for this project!

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Hoping this year’s will look as good!

 

3. Fragrant herbs Yesterday my daughter took me to a greenhouse to buy some herbs. Last year I missed out on the peppermint because I waited too long to buy my herbs. So far I have peppermint, spearmint, basil, oregano, and chives.

4. Hello sunshine! Since the weird spring snow a couple of weeks ago we have had beautiful weather. This week we have summery warmth and lots of sunshine. Ahhh!

5. Beautiful papers My doctor has moved into a new office. After my appointment there yesterday I stopped by a nearby stationery and wedding invitation store that is closing its retail site. I found some beautiful papers and envelopes I can use for card making, and all at discount prices!