Friday’s Fave Five #75

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

We had the joy of traveling to China to visit our son and his family for Christmas. This is my first FFF in a month so my blessings this week are compiled from the past few weeks. I’m writing specifically about our Shanghai experiences on my blog, PurpleGrandma.com, so check them out if you are interested in my Impressions of Shanghai series.

Good trip Because of my health issues, traveling can sometimes cause problems. Our trip to China produced only minor issues, both concerning mobility and food sensitivities. I was treated like royalty by family and the wonderful people we met along the way.

Family For me the highlight of our trip was spending time with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. It was a joy to meet the newest member of the family and spend some granny time with him.

New friends Meeting and spending time with the team of teachers my son works with was fabulous. What a wonderful group of dedicated teachers these folks all are!

Cultural experiences Visiting and spending time in a new culture was so interesting! I enjoyed observing and taking pictures of life in Shanghai. Next time I won’t be so skittish about the possibility of being pickpocketed and will carry my camera with me everywhere.

No place like home This week we had some bitterly cold temperatures. A well-insulated warm house is a great blessing on these winter days.

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Newest member of the family

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At Shanghai Disney

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Fruit on a stick

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East meets west – Chinese and English signs

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The Bund

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Family, teachers, and students at Christmas

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A perfectly normal family Christmas picture

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Friday’s Fave Five #45

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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 #43

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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. Lots of travel! We have been traveling a great deal during July and August. Some of this has been in the States to visit churches that have partnered with us in ministry for almost thirty years. It was a great blessing to spend time with people from each congregation.

2. Surrogate grandma One of the benefits of being ‘of a certain age’ is that you can act as a surrogate grandmother to kids whose biological grandparents live far away. When we told God we would serve Him wherever He wanted us, it ended up being far from either of our families. Many people became aunties, uncles, and grandparents to our kids in their growing up days. In July I got to be Grandma to Madison and her brothers. Loved every minute of it!

3. A dying wish granted Our schedule has been so intense and busy we talked about moving our Calgary meeting from July to September, but we felt compelled to keep the July date. Just before we left to drive down, we learned a former church member was in hospice and would soon be with the Lord. He very much wanted to see my husband so that their relationship would be in perfect harmony before this dear brother went to be with the Lord. Many hugs were shared and many tears shed at that short but powerful meeting. Three days later this brother went to be with the Lord. God is sovereign and granted the dying wish of one of His own. We are humbled and blessed by His leading!

4. Goodbye old tree We had to take down a big, old tree from the back yard because it was diseased. *sniff* I love those old trees, the shade they provide, and the bit of privacy they offer. Now most of the back yard is open and sunny and…..as my husband reminds me, we have new possibilities for the space. Guess it does all depend on how you look at things!

5. Children and grandchildren Our own grandchildren (along with my son and his wife!) arrived for their annual visit from their home in Shanghai, China. What wonderful times we have been experiencing together! We try to make it to the Canadian Rockies during their visits. Though this summer smoke from forest fires has cast a hazy fog over the beautiful scenery, we have thoroughly enjoyed visiting familiar and favorite venues and introducing these places to our grandchildren.

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Friday’s Fave Five #41

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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.

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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!