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



Thompson ground squirrel

Thompson ground squirrel



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.

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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’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 #26


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. As I continue healing from my hip replacement surgery I am thankful for increasing mobility. Sunday I was able to go to church.  How wonderful it was to fellowship with my church family again!

2. I have had a longstanding prayer request regarding a relationship conflict in my family. God has graciously worked in parties to resolve issues and strengthen the relationship. I am so grateful for this!

3. Monday I see the surgeon for my six week post-operative appointment. I am hoping he will give me the all clear to drive again and send me on to the next stage – physiotherapy – to strengthen the leg and continue to increase my mobility.

4. Monday evening my daughters, who live nearby, will be here for family night when we will work together to decorate the Christmas tree. My husband and I abandoned the real tree for an artificial one several years ago. The fake tree is up and ready. My oldest daughter has dubbed me decorating dictator and the kids will be my minions!

5. My family will tell you that I love good deals.  Last week I was able to find exceptionally good deals on some card making tools that I was interested in.  Some of the items were 90% off retail.  Now that’s a deal!

Friday Fave Five #25


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

I haven’t posted FFF in over a month because my surgery date got moved up a month from November 21 to October 24.  I had a lot of pre-surgery prep to take care of in less than two weeks, but by God’s grace, and with the help of others, it all got done. As of today I am 4 weeks postsurgical and I have a new hip!! God answered a prayer that I would be able to have the surgery before the snow stuck and that’s exactly what happened!

I am exceedingly grateful for all of my church family and friends in the area who have volunteered to help me with physio and household duties these first weeks.  Not only has their help been invaluable, but their fellowship has lifted my spirits.

One must follow certain rules to successfully maneuver through the waters of post-surgery hip replacement. The invisible line of a 90⁰ angle cannot be broken or the patient runs a very real risk of undoing the surgery.  No bending down to pick up something you drop, no twisting, and no crossing the leg inward past the center line of your body.  There’s a very particular way one must get into and out of bed, and special toilet seats, shower seats and cushions must be used when sitting.  No more than 50% of the patient’s weight is to be put on the replacement side so crutches or a walker are used these first weeks.  Oh, and getting into and out of a car also has very particular mechanics!  I am so, so grateful that all of these things are available and that I do not have to be the old granny in the rocking chair by the fireplace for the rest of my life.  Imagine that!  A new, working hip!!

I had this same surgery on the other hip 8 years ago. It did not go smoothly at first.  Right after I got back to my room I threw up on my dear husband.  When that got me up to move around a few hours after surgery I was so weak and dizzy I almost passed out.   I lost so much blood that I had to have transfusions, and my incision would not stop draining so had to stay in hospital for 11 days.

This time was completely different.  I was in hospital for three days and did not need a transfusion nor did I get sick to my stomach.  In-hospital physio went well and I felt prepared and ready to go home when the time came.  So thankful!!

The morning after surgery I woke up to the most beautiful sunrise.  I called it my get well gift from the Lord.  Here are a few shots from that morning. These are in the order I saw them as the beautiful colors unfolded outside my window.

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Finally, I am grateful beyond words for the wonderful support of my husband and daughters who have lovingly assisted me with every detail of living these past few weeks and for my church family who have supplied meals and other help as I recover.  I am blessed and grateful for the many expressions of love from so many.

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

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!

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?



Friday’s Fave Five #17

FFF spring


Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story hosts this weekly exercise in recounting a few blessings from the previous week.  It has encouraged and blessed my soul to participate!

1.  WCBF Ladies Retreat – We had wonderful fellowship and great physical and spiritual food at the ladies retreat.  It was a very encouraging time away.

 2.  Changed plans – My husband has been on vacation this week.  We were planning to go away, but Saturday night my leg (the side that needs hip replacement) went into severe and extremely painful spasms so that I could not even walk without someone helping me.  My dear husband set aside his longed-for time away to be with me and help me.  Though not what we had originally planned, we have been having a restful and enjoyable stay-cation at home.                                                                                           Bud and Deb 1985 ish

3.  Anniversary – Sunday I will have been married to this wonderful man for 35 years.  We were both young, idealistic, and immature when we married, but God has taught us and strengthened our love for each other and for Him over these 35 years.  I am so blessed!! (This pic was taken after we had been married about 6 years.  Don’t you love the glasses?)

4. Loving family and friends – Once again my family(especially Sarah) and my church family have blessed us and loved us this past week when I could do very little for myself.  My heartfelt thanks to each of you who have prayed and provided over this past week.

5.  Green landscapes – It has rained all week (Yay! No snow!!) and today dawned sunny and warm.  Everything has greened up this week.  Today I am mobile enough to plant my raised bed herb garden.

“Count your blessings, name them one by one,  count your blessings, see what God has done!”


Friday’s Fave Five #14

FFF tulips

On Fridays we stop to recount some of the many blessings from the past week.  This exercise, sponsored by Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story, helps us to focus on positive things from our week.

These have been a couple of intense weeks for our family as my husband was occupied with the end of the college semester then cloistered to finish dissertation writing, surgery for a daughter, a spring thaw induced leak in our basement guest bedroom, another daughter making decisions regarding future schooling, working to research and resolve unexpected tax issues… know, LIFE!

In the midst of all this there have been some large and small blessings.

1.  Bright, colourful flowers….Some lovely tulips and daffodils purchased at the grocery store brightened the kitchen table and reminded us that spring is soon upon us.  We don’t plant outdoors until late May – the Victoria Day weekend – because we all know that it can still occasionally snow in May (and is forecast to do just that this coming Sunday!)

2.  Appointment!…My appointment with the orthopedic surgeon is set for June 9!!  Hopefully I’ll have a replaced hip before the snow flies again in the fall.

3. God in the midst of uncertain times...I am blessed and calmed to remember that God is our anchor in the midst of uncertain outcomes

4.  Deep purple amethysts…About 15 years ago I bought an amethyst ring and a local department store.  It was 70% off, my ring size, and the loveliest shade of deep purple.  Though I had never been much of a jewelry person before, I loved that simple pretty purple ring and wore it all of the time.  A couple of months ago the now-thinned sterling silver band broke, and though I may get that amethyst reset some day, I decided to order a replacement ring off etsy.  It arrived this week and is very lovely and fits perfectly. 20140502_145320

5. Those who help…I am grateful for the students and friends who are helping us with the basement leak.  Tonight Jon is coming over to cut up the carpet and take it out.  Earlier in the week he stopped by and pulled back the damp carpet.  Underneath the carpet and pad was standing water.  Best case scenario: it leaked in around the window. Worst case:  a crack in the foundation.  I’m glad for friends who are willing to help us figure out problems like this that are beyond my experience and expertise.

Hope you have some exceptional blessings this week.

Friday’s Fave Five #13

FFF tulips

On Fridays we take time to look back over the blessings of the week, sponsored by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.

I need to lose weight.  Anyone who knows me knows this has been a struggle for most of my adulthood.  It will help my hip replacement (and knee replacement) and my general health.  I’ve lost 20 lbs over the last year and a half but lately have gotten stuck.  I’ve begun seeing a dietitian, a wonderful young woman who is helping me to learn to be more deliberate in making food choices.  When I have a fibromyalgia flare I either do not want to eat at all or I eat whatever.  The dietitian has me keeping a food diary and trying to help me identify my poor food choice triggers.  I’m very grateful for this help.

My middle daughter drove me downtown Edmonton so I could renew our Canadian passports.  If my passport had not fallen in love with a water bottle and become saturated in good old H2O, the process would have been simpler and I could have renewed at a passport office nearby. I am not fond of driving downtown anywhere.  The one-way streets, traffic direction lanes that change depending on the time of day, and steep, curving hills all bamboozle me. My daughter drives this route almost every day for work and cheerfully chauffeured me to the passport office and back home again.  Thanks, Sarah!

My kitchen herbs are growing and not dying!  I suppose it helps that I am actually remembering to water them.

I stopped at a grocery store near my doctor’s office and unexpectedly found yellow crook necked squash.  For some reason this favorite squash of ours is really hard to find here. I sautéed some onions, sliced up the squash, added some gluten-free chicken bouillon and voila! a yummy side dish.

Today is Good Friday.  I am blessed and humbled to remember the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross.  The third verse of Horatio Spafford’s hymn, It Is Well with My Soul, is a favorite of mine and I have been meditating on it today.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Have a blessed Easter!