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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

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.

I stepped away from writing for several months for personal reasons. Today I want to resume the FFF and share some blessings from the past few weeks.

1. One of our daughters was married on February 27. It was a beautiful wedding with a peacock colours theme. We love our new son-in-law and are enjoying getting to better know his wonderful family. (Thanks, Nicole VandeKamp for this picture of the entire wedding party!)

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2. Our son, who lives and teaches in China, was able to come for the month of February (during the Chinese New Year break) and stay with us to help prepare for the wedding. His wife stayed behind for some intensive language study, but the kids got to come with their dad. Normally the whole family stays with us for a few weeks every summer so it was a special treat to have them with us in winter. Though we had unusually warm weather this entire winter, there was still some snow for the kids to enjoy. They loved playing in the snow!

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3. As wonderful and joyous as weddings are, wedding planning, preparation, and participation are exhausting! This past week we were able to get away for a few days to our friend’s cabin a couple of hours south of us. It’s in the middle of a large farming area where just about all that’s available nearby is peace and quiet. Exactly what we needed! My dear husband sacrificed some of his time to drive me around so I could get some photos of rural Alberta.

01 Mountain view near Sundre - Copy

02 Mountain view near Sundre 3-16

05 Torrington area fence 2

06 Torrington area fence line

10 Torrington 3-16

09 Torrington abandon

12 Near Three Hills

08 Near Olds 2 (2)

07 Torrington community hall

11 West of Torrington

04 Torrington ice fog 3-1603 Near Olds 2

14 Torrington sunset 3-7-16 2

13 Torrington sunset 3-7-16

15 Torrington sunset 3-8-16

4. Because of my arthritis and fibromyalgia, ice is my enemy. Winters in central Alberta tend to be very icy. We have thoroughly enjoyed extraordinarily warm weather this winter, reminiscent of the welcomed Chinooks we so appreciated while living in Calgary. Today it’s 10 C (about 50 F) and ice everywhere is melting furiously. Yay to banished ice!

5. Our youngest daughter has completed her current phase of education and returned to us last month after her studies in China. It’s fun to have her home for a while. We are looking forward to seeing how God leads and provides for her and for each of our other children in future days.

It seems too early, but I have been reminded that we need to turn our clocks ahead this Saturday night. I don’t want to be late for church!!

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fff winter button

Thanks to Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story we use Fridays to recount at least five blessings from the week.  Check out Suzanne’s blog to find out how you can join in too!

1.  Divine protection  The past couple of weeks God granted special safety to several members of our family.

Our youngest daughter, Emma, was at the Bund, a waterfront section of downtown Shanghai, on New Year’s Eve when over thirty people were trampled to death and dozens more injured.

Another two daughters, Laura and Anna, flew home January 2 from their holiday trip to Scotland. For some weird reason, the last leg of their flight from Calgary to Edmonton, required a 15 hour layover. Calgary is three hours away by car so Sarah, the remaining daughter, drove down to fetch them. That day a winter storm hit and Sarah witnessed multiple collisions and spin-outs on the QE2, the large highway between Alberta’s two major cities. After picking up her sisters from the airport, conditions worsened and they witnessed several more accidents. The girls pulled off at a Motel 6 and enjoyed a safe and restful evening before returning home the next day.

Just this morning on my way to physio, an older gentleman almost pulled his van into my car as I was preparing to park. I truly believe that God spares us from many more dangerous situations than we realize.

2. A few days away My husband has been longing to get away for a few days, but it just hadn’t worked out on several levels. A colleague in ministry and his wife own a property with two beautiful log cabins on it. They live in the larger one and use the second one as a guest house for family and friends. We were invited to spend some time there and enjoyed a quiet couple of days on the prairies.

Sunset on the prairies Cabin on the prairies

 

 

3. Longer days! December and January with their short days and cold, gloomy weather can be really tough on the body. Many of us suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the winter due to the lack of sunshine. This December was amazing with above average temperatures and mostly sunny days. Thus far January has been very cold, but that is bearable when the sun is shining, which it has much of the time. Psychologically it helps to know that we have passed the winter solstice and that the days are getting longer. Yay!!

4. New clothes Since my six week post-op check-up I have been able to get out and resume many of my regular activities. Preparing for the first day back to church I put on one of my skirts and it slowly slid down. One small yank and it fell to the floor. Same with skirt two. It’s fun to get rid of the old clothes and pick up new ones (at least new to me) on my continuing weight loss journey.

5. New stove on the way There comes a time in the life of any appliance to stop repairing and just replace the thing. Last week our oven sizzled and snapped as the heating element burned through. Two of the burners don’t work properly, the bottom storage door is broken, the handle has been repaired several times, and the self clean feature and door lock mechanism stopped working a couple of years ago. I was able to order a new stove at a great price. We have to wait until early next month for delivery, but that’s ok. I’m glad for a microwave and a toaster oven in the meantime.

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FFF tulips

This weekly exercise has forced me to stop and think about the many, many, blessings in my life.  Sadly I find that my mind quickly jumps to problems, injustices, or needs much more quickly than to counting my many blessings.  Thanks, Susanne for hosting FFF!

This past week my constant companion has been the dread pirate…I mean the dreadful cold which has been circulating and pouncing on innocent, unsuspecting victims.  This undesirable creature generously gifted me with the full meal deal – sore throat, coughing, stuffy nose, runny nose, (yes, both, and occasionally at the same time) coughing, blocked ears, painful sinuses, coughing, sneezing, and more coughing.  In light of this I am thankful for…..

1.  Tissues, cough syrup, hot tea, chicken soup and Vaseline (for my Rudolph-imitating nose.)

2.  Books I was able to do some extra reading this week and finished an audio format of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Covert by Rosaria Butterfield. Very compelling read about how God got the attention of a liberal, feminist, lesbian, tenured English professor and drew her to faith in Christ through a Christian couple who demonstrated love, friendship, kindness and wisdom as they interacted with Rosaria and shared the gospel with her.

3. Magnifying glass I am thankful for my magnifying glass which allows these aging eyes to read the small print.  Sure seems to be a lot more small print than there used to be. 🙂

4.  Spring!…Oh yohoo, Spring!…Winter has been like an expected guest who arrived early, overstayed his welcome, and refused to leave when it was time to go. I am grateful that the cold and snow of this past week will soon be gone and gentle spring will bless us with warmth, and growth, and greater mobility.

5.  Christmas cards To all of you who didn’t receive a Christmas card from us this past year:  sorry, I didn’t get any sent out. The good news is that this week I finished making cards for this coming Christmas.  Yay!  Now somebody remind me in November when I can’t find them that I stored them in the craft cabinet.

Maybe you can stop for a minute and thank God for some of the blessings of the past week!

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Welcome to Friday’s Fave Five, hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story, in which we can share five of our favorite things from the last week, a wonderful exercise in looking for and appreciating the good things God blesses us with. Click on the button to learn more, then go to Susanne’s to read others’ faves and link up your own.

1. Is it spring yet?  Because of my limited mobility, this year I find myself REALLY longing for winter to be over.  The ice is enemy to my ability to get around on my own.  But as in all things, we can turn our thoughts, this time to the blessings that accompany wintry weather.  The past week as been full of sunshine!  I am very grateful for the longer days and that it has been warming up to minus eight to ten during the day.  My kitchen is particularly sunny in the afternoon because it faces south.  This is a view from our kitchen garden doors:Sunshine on the snow

Plus the trees and bushes look pretty when the sun shines on the ice and snow!

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2. Mondays are family night.  Our daughters and their roommate come over and we share a meal and talk or watch a favorite BBC program.  Sometimes I make the meal and sometimes they pick up a roasted chicken and a salad from the store on the way home from work. It’s a real blessing to have them living nearby and for the fellowship we enjoy together.

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3. Hangout with our kids in China. Our other two children live in China.  I am extremely grateful for Skype, Hangouts, and other media that allows us to have a weekly face to face chat.  It’s great to be able to talk with our youngest daughter then have our son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren pop into her room and visit with us too.  One of the greatest sacrifice missionaries of old had to face was the possibility of never seeing family again once they left for the field.  We are so blessed to be able to communicate every day if we wish.

Christmas chat from China 1

4. Memories of my mom. As I was cleaning out 2013 files in order to prepare for tax time, I came across the results of old allergy testing I had when I was ten.  I had uncovered it when going through files I had collected from my parents’ home when we sold their house.  Because I had food sensitivity testing last summer I stuck the ancient file in with my current one.  In various places on those test results I saw notations in my mother’s handwriting, and loving memories of my mom flooded my heart and mind.  I was blessed beyond measure to have a godly, loving mother and I look forward to seeing her again in heaven one day.

Janet Zook circa 1950 001

5. Taxes The thing I hate most to do every year is taxes.  Because we are dual citizens we have to file in two countries, and because my husband’s work does not fall into one simple category, we have to keep track of a lot of things for tax time.  Normally it is a very stressful time for me.  However this year I got an early start, did not feel at all stressed by doing it, and am actually almost all done with my part.  This is a big, big blessing to me!

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