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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cranial Sacral Therapy

Hello friends,

I hope this week is treating you fine.  I am still nursing the knee and doing a lot of knitting. I'm making up a big stash of dishcloths and washcloths so I can use up my knitting cotton and make a bit of room.  It's all part of my big decluttering project which I thought I pretty much finished. But in this first month of the new year as I've been doing a lot of sitting and trying to re-arrange just a few things brought from mom's place, I realize there is still more to do as far as decluttering is concerned.  I've identified a lot more things that can "go" and I think I've found a few more workable storage solutions to get rid of clutter in the living room and kitchen.  But more about that later.

For now I have a question. I want to know if any of you have experience with cranial sacral therapy (CST)?

I've actually done some research on it and began taking a couple of treatments with some local students of this therapy. I did see that there is some controversy over CST as regards it's efficacy and whether there is a scientific basis for its teachings. Those that debunk CST also say that it doesn't help with all the symptoms (listed below) but that it does help with lower back pain and knee pain. I am willing to try it because  I have knee pain and it might help with that but also, despite what I've read, I believe in the body's ability to heal itself if assisted (proper nutrition, exercise, supplements and complementary therapies, like acupuncture).  Where I draw the line is with regards to therapies that have a greater "spiritual" element to them like reiki. Though I am sure it helps some people, I do not wish to try it myself.  So whenever I want to undertake a new to me therapy, I try to investigate it first.

I did find some help on line about CST on line but found it very hard to understand what the therapist actually does. I know some Registered Massage Therapists and Chiropractors also practise CST so I thought it sounds a little more mainstream.  Osteopaths also seem to practise it but I've never been to an osteopath before and frankly I have no idea what they do though I've since researched them also.  There seems to be a lot of people on line who are demonstrating CST but are also into "spiritual practises" and energy based therapies.  I'm not comfortable with this and my discomfort might have led me to say "no" to trying the therapy.  But I went ahead with a session before Christmas based on my preliminary research of local therapists who trained at the Upledger Institute.  The website for the institute describes CST as follows:

CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system - comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.

Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams, or about the weight of a nickel, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.

By complementing the body's natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, including:

  • Migraine Headaches
  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain
  • Motor-Coordination Impairments
  • Colic
  • Autism
  • Central Nervous System Disorders
  • Orthopedic Problems
  • Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Scoliosis
  • Infantile Disorders
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Emotional Difficulties
  • Stress and Tension-Related Problems
  • Fibromyalgia and other Connective-Tissue Disorders
  • Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
  • Neurovascular or Immune Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Post-Surgical Dysfunction
  • (Source: Upledger Institute International) 
     
So far my experience has been positive. I initially went for the therapy to help with fatigue and generalized body pain as well as knee pain, but after Christmas I missed two appointments due to the considerable pain I was, and am experiencing in my knees.  I managed to re-start therapy again earlier this week.  I hope to go more often but it is difficult to get a consistent therapy.  The clinics only run once a week, and sometimes less.  The benefit of the student clinic is it is much cheaper than seeing a osteopath or a CST therapist which can be very expensive if you need longer term therapy.


The most positive benefit I've discovered so far is the deep relaxation that comes from the therapy. I think it is when we are able to relax the body deeply on a regular basis that the body can help to heal itself.  I find it difficult to relax on a regular basis and really let the body rest and the CST sessions helps me with that.


Students are providing the CST treatments to me and some have more skill than others.  Even at this stage it is easy to tell which students will be good practitioners and which ones will only be so-so.

Now that I've experienced what the CST is,  I'm thinking about seeing an osteopath who also practises CST and other techniques.  Someone who can actually help with the knee pain as well as other body pain because I don't want to take pain killers.  In fact, I haven't even told my family physician about my problems and it's clear I cannot continue to function with a severely restricted lifestyle over the longer term.  At least that is not the way I want to live and I'm hoping there is yet a way to get some long term relief.  I've been doing some research and found a few recommended  practitioners that I can easily get to on transit.  I am trying to make sure that whoever I see has had some good testimonials and recommendations for treating pain similar to what I'm experiencing though I realize not everyone responds in the same way to the same treatments.

By the way, as I was researching on line about the different therapies, I came across some very interesting  information about what seems like a miracle cure for people who experience debilitating pain. It is something called perispinal etanercept. Like all things that sound too good to be true (see youtube videos for testimonials), it probably is too good to be true. Anyway, something for me to file away and do more research about another day.

This is already a long post with no nice pictures to break it up. Since it is still cloudy and gray here, I'm sending you this song ("You Are the Sunshine of My Life, by Stevie Wonder).







 I'd be interested in your thoughts and experiences if any with cranial sacral therapy or osteopathy.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sky & Yarn

After weeks and weeks of rain, gray skies and even snow, the skies parted and shed a little light and colour. These sky photos were taken several days ago.

It started raining heavily again yesterday.  It was also cold and windy last night on my way home from a spa treatment. Rather than stop for coffee which I often do when I go out, I came directly home preferring to warm up in the comfort of my own home.





Today the temperature was quite warm. I even left my patio doors open for a long time and let in some much needed fresh air. I haven't done that for awhile!  I  remember well how (before) I never could go a day without letting in the fresh air. However, these days I can't handle the chill and mostly keep the doors and windows closed.

After being cooped up so much this month, I managed to make it to my knitting group tonight. It is a group of ladies that get together and chit chat and have tea while they work on knitting and crochet projects. I signed up long ago and finally made it for my first session today.  The ladies were very friendly and I hope to join up with them again soon.


The lime green project in the foreground is mine. I'm making a pair of matching dishcloths.  Since I've been using knitted dishcloths, I would find it hard to go back to using cloth ones. The other women around the table are working on baby blankets, fingerless gloves, a neck wrap/scarf, socks and toques (warm winter hat). If I'm around these ladies for awhile I will no doubt be inspired to create many things besides dishcloths...but I really like knitting dishcloths, lol. It is very relaxing and satisfying since you can see a finished, useful project in a short amount of time.


Tomorrow  I attend my writing group.

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend.

For more sky photos click here and join the fun!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Yummy Berry Smoothie

It is late night and I feel thirsty and in need of a sweet drink. I indulged yesterday in something not good for me so today I had to make up for it.

I decided to make a wonderful, refreshing, tasty and healthy drink that is also filling.

Ingredients

  • 8 to 10 medium size strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of frozen berries or 4-6 crushed ice cubes
  • 2 tsp. of ground flax seeds
Method

Wash and chop or quarter the strawberries.  Add strawberries, plain yogurt, milk, vanilla extract, frozen berries or ice cubes and flax seeds to the blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with a fresh strawberry or other berries.

You can omit the vanilla extract and flax seeds if you like. The extract is for added flavour and the flax seeds are for health benefits. This seed is filled with B vitamins, Omega 3 EFAs (good for fighting inflammation) and fiber (good for lowering cholesterol, blood sugar and for promoting regularity).

I add ground flax seeds to my oatmeal and to my smoothies which I don't make very often.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Inauguration 2013

 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people —  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior… ~ 1 Timothy 2:1-3


Lovely to see so many people at the Obama inauguration in Washington today.

Of course I wasn't there myself. This image is from the AP Photo Credit: Rob Carr-PoolGetty Images


I pray a better time ahead for the American Nation. I pray the same for the people around the world. May God bless, protect and inspire the leaders of the free world and speak to those leaders who do not currently rule under a democracy.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Simple Friday

The pleasantest things in the world are pleasant thoughts: and the great art of life is to have as many of them as possible.~ Montaigne


I don't think I wrote on my blog that both knees started bothering me this week. Fortunately when I awoke on Friday the pain in my right knee had gone away and the pain in the left knee was considerably reduced. I am still not back to "normal" but I am much better. I am hoping and praying for complete recovery soon as I already know the healing process is cyclical; at least where my knees are concerned. In any case, I was very grateful today!

I stayed up very late last night (early Friday morning) and finished reading "Appetite for Life", a biography of Julia Child. I would have finished sooner but the last two days have been rather busy with lots of phone calls and interruptions.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. What most impressed me was just what a tremendous work horse, Mrs. Child was. She worked tirelessly to bring the joy of French cooking and good food to Americans.  She also worked until  near the end of her life:  keeping constantly busy with writing, cooking, and making cooking television shows as well as her charitable and other educational interests.  Another thing that impressed me was her devotion to her husband;  in fact, their devotion to one another really touched me. Julia Child and her husband Paul were fully devoted to one another and they supported one another throughout every stage of their lives.  It was also surprising to me just how much moving around Julia did before and after her marriage and how many different jobs she had before she become a French cook. She lived in many different places in California, Massachusetts, India, China, France and Norway.  When she married, she and her husband had several homes on both coasts in USA.  They also had a home in France where they spent as much time as possible. They travelled a lot and socialized a lot throughout their marriage.  Julia's non-stop energy for work and socializing was noted by all around her.  All in all, she led a fascinating life.

I made some ham and lentil soup on Friday evening.  You might say I was inspired by Julia Child, but I've always loved a hot bowl of hearty soup on a winter's evening.  Yesterday was also grocery shopping day so I had all kinds of veggies to use (onions, carrots, celery, potatoes) and left over ham from the ham roast made the day before.  I also had a bit of bannock bread (whole wheat and white)  left over from the day before to round out the meal. I never got round to eating the strawberries for dessert and saved them instead for a late night snack.

Photo from my archives.

I did a lot of  window shopping (the internet version). I made myself tired looking for boutis work, flannel sheets, and pendleton blankets. I  think I better give that a rest for awhile since I don't plan on buying any of these items anytime soon. I also spent time sourcing some very large containers for dry goods storage. I don't have a pantry and my kitchen has very limited storage so I need to find storage containers that will sit in the corner of my kitchen and store some of my food. I think I may have found just the thing. These are actually storage containers for pet food but they are air tight and will work just as well for dried goods.  The bonus is they cost a lot less than similar items sold for (restaurant) food storage. I also looked at other types of bins but I like these ones on wheels with tight closing lids.




A purchase I made a few weeks ago arrived last week and I haven't taken it out of the box yet. I need to finish moving things around so I can it up and try it out (more about that later).  Instead I spent some time dealing with purchasing the new Word 2013 Suite and having it installed on my PC. Later I will have it installed in my laptop too.

I gave some time to my calendar and planned to attend my writer's group.  However the session for tomorrow is fully subscribed so I'll have to wait for next week or the week after.  Much later, I spent time viewing parts of a 'new to me' documentary called the Up series I believe it is the last in a series of

documentary films produced by Granada Television that have followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, when they were seven years old. The documentary has had seven episodes spanning 49 years and the documentary has been broadcast on both ITV and BBC.

The children were selected to represent the range of socio-economic backgrounds in Britain at that time, with the explicit assumption that each child's social class predetermines their future. Every seven years, the director, Michael Apted, films new material from as many of the fourteen as he can get to participate. The purpose is also stated at the beginning of "7 Up," as, "Why do we bring these children together? Because we want to get a glimpse of England in the year 2000. The union leader and the business executive of the year 2000 are now 7 years old. (Source: Wikipedia)

Part 1 of the series can be found  here if you are interested and youtube also has several parts to this series available on line if you don't mind watching on line. I didn't get to watch all the parts so I will continue another day as it is quite engaging.

I found it very interesting having a peek into what life was like in 1964 for these British children from all walks of life and  was quite impressed with them  The documentaries begin to document these children starting from age seven and then every seven years thereafter until they reach age 56.  At age seven they seemed so mature. I don't think seven year olds today are quite so mature but perhaps I just haven't spent enough time around this age group to really know.  I do know that youngsters of today are exposed to far more than the youngsters of old, so perhaps they are more mature or as mature, but in different ways. One of the things that surprised me about the 7 year olds in the documentaries is how many of them had boyfriends or girlfriends and spoke so freely about having these young relationships.

I read a blog post today asking what the readers have done to save money today as part of frugal living. I always make an effort to live frugally and stretch my funds as far as they will go but I had to think about my answer for today's savings.  I saved elastic bands from the produce purchased yesterday, made coffee and drank it at home, made home made soup and ate home made bannock bread.  Lastly, I guess I saved the cost of a movie ticket since I am not going to the "56 Up" documentary which is playing in town. Instead I am watching all the free parts on line.  On my brain is the question of how much the new appliances I got after Christmas will save in my power bill.  The appliances are all energy efficient so if they save me money it will likely be evident over the course of the year.  Any savings through the new appliances will be offset by my heavy use of the electric heating this winter.  With the sore knees I could not tolerate the usual cold.  Still, I am curious and will be watching the power bills.

I hope you are keeping warm if you are having a cold winter. For those of you suffering from high temperatures like in Australia, I hope you are managing to keep cool and hydrated.

Happy weekend to each of you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Doing What I Can

“Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from what you can do.”
~ John Wooden


How are you my friends?

I'm doing okay. My left knee is still a bit sore and believe it or not my right knee started acting up too. But overall I am walking much better than a week ago. I've decided to use a cane now and then too just so I don't over stress my joints when I have to walk a bit further. I'm just so thankful that I can still move around and that there have been improvements. I guess I should have gone to the doctor but really what can they do for me besides give me painkillers? I will try to schedule an appointment for next week and get it looked at as well as deal with my blood sugar test results. I really did not have the energy this week to deal with the doctor, testing for sugars and leg and all of the things that come with it....so I wait awhile.




Around the house, I've been contemplating how to move things around. It seems a never ending job around here. I'm making room for mom's medical lift chair and walker (with a seat and basket) to be delivered by my brother. He has had to go out of town and get these items as they have no storage room where mom lives and she doesn't use these mobility aids anymore. In fact she hasn't for the last two years. It turns out I might need these items myself and if I had to purchase these items (again) it would cost me quite a pretty penny.  So I've decided to keep them here at  my home in case I do need them.  I'm also returning the stove I bought a few weeks ago and getting the exact same model as a replacement. There was a minor flaw on the stove top but it was in a very noticeable place so I'm getting a replacement which will be delivered Thursday.

My creative juices are flowing but I'm not entirely up to making anything.  Instead I've been admiring a lot of handcraft on line.  In particular, I've been admiring the Boutis work of the French.  Boutis is a Proven├žal word meaning 'stuffing', describing how two layers of fabric are quilted together with stuffing sandwiched between sections of the design, creating a raised effect.

I've long admired Boutis and once I even asked a long distant relation to pick one up for me. She did in fact search for a quilt for me when she went to Paris, France.  However I was quite disappointed when I got it and found it had a tag on it stating "Made in India"!   I could have purchased a similar quilt here in town and in a more appropriate size (French beds are a bit narrower). Nonetheless I did appreciate all the effort my relative went through to search for and find me a quilt.  She also had to get her Parisien friends to visit the vendor from time to time as the quilt had to be ordered.  Then her friends brought it in their carry on luggage when they paid a visit to Canada.  That quilt really made the rounds!!.  I enjoyed my quilt for about 10-12 years but I gave it to the goodwill last year.  I don't plan on buying another one soon  But I would like to make a Boutis for myself one day.

Boutis Quilt Ideas

Photo Credit:  Satin Moon
Photo credit: J. McEwan's  Etsy shop
Photo credit: Japan Lovely Etsy Shop

I've got so many lovely projects to work on right now so boutis making won't be happening anytime soon. But it is so nice to dream.

Pendleton Blankets 

I've also been dreaming about this cream, gray and light blue Pendleton blanket.  Some day I might have one for my bedroom.

Photo of the blanket alone.


Blanket dressing the bed.
A throw blanket like the one above, in shades of cream, khaki and black, might work for my front room. It gets very chilly here from about November to about February.  A throw blanket is a must.

I love Pendleton blankets and own two already. They are quite expensive but I've noticed the prices have remained almost the same since I bought myself  one some 20+ years ago. As far as blankets go the price is actually no more expensive than other quilts and comforters and what's more the Pendleton blankets are great heirloom pieces. I use my Pendleton blanket in the bedroom but I'd like another for those extra cold days. I inherited another one from my mother but use it for decor rather than as a cover because of it's lighter overall colour.  Some of my long time readers might remember the one I purchased for my nephew's baby.

This week I've also  been enjoying reading my two books (see my last post if interested in the books) but it seems like I haven't done anything. I have in fact been dealing with a lot of little things related to the university procedures, my medical appointments, various business related to my condo and follow up matters concerning my new appliances.  Also this week I need to get some grooming done.  Earlier this week, I put some henna in my hair and my nails are really overdue for a nail treatment so I have an appointment tomorrow. I'm so pleased I could get in as I only just called today. Usually the nail technician is so busy I can't get in when I want. God is with me on this.  You might be laughing about now.  But I really rely on my pedicures to treat an on-going ingrown nail problem.   I've noticed that after 10 months of going to this young woman and having her do my pedicures, my ingrown problem has improved a lot. This means I have far less pain than I used to have when she does my nails. Halleluia!!! You would not believe just how painful it has been every time I go and get my nails done. Most people equate getting nails done with a time of relaxing and pampering.  But trust me, it hurts a lot when the nails are embedded in your skin and the technician has to do minor surgery without anesthetic.  True, with the price of such things, it is a luxury though and I feel very blessed to be able to get this done on a regular basis as part of my health regime. Diabetics needs to look after their feet.

Well I've rambled long and I want to get the dinner made and more reading done. I hope you all have a lovely rest of your week. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Reading Week

It's been cold over here. Since Thursday until today, we've had mostly clear skies,sunshine and a decided chill in the air.  It is always colder here when it isn't raining. Last night I felt the deep chill despite having the central heating on. When I woke up this morning, there was a sprinkling of snow on the ground. Enough to cause a lot of havoc on our streets because at a certain dewpoint (in this case zero degrees) we get fog cover and icy streets. The city workers weren't ready for the snow fall this morning for some reason but they should be ready now.  The meteorologist says this weather is expected to continue for a few days.

In other news I've been slowly making my way through two books "Where White Mean Fear to Tread", the autobiography of Russell Means and "Appetite for Life", the biography of Julia Childs.

I have completed the chapters devoted to Russell Meanses' early life and work history and am now in the early days of his involvement with the American Indian Movement (AIM), the sacrifices made by his family and and some of the personal angst he suffered in his early days of involvement with AIM.

I have completed the chapters devoted to Julia's Child's early life, her early work history in India and China, and marriage to Paul Child. I am now at the part where Julia has finished her training at the Cordon Bleu Institute in Paris and is writing her book on French cooking.

These two books couldn't be more different but they are very fascinating since both of these individuals contributed to the contemporary history of the United States.Initially I didn't like the style of either of these books but I got into them as I delved deeper into the books.

Both of the accomplished individuals in these books are now deceased and I  wanted to learn more about them and their huge contributions to today's society. Mr. Means came from an impoverished background, of rough living, drugs and moving from job to job; whereas Julie McWilliams came from a very privileged background.

I didn't plan to read both of these large-ish books at the same time but I'm glad it turned out that way for it helps me to compare and contrast how each of these larger than life individuals developed and became what they became. I found it very striking what each had gone through in their early lives and how they both reached a pivotal turning point in the direction of their respective lives when they reached their early 30s.  For Mr. Means this meant becoming highly active in the AIM movement and for Mrs. Child, this meant, getting married and moving to France to begin her culinary training and career.

I still have a lot to read and am taking my time. If you get a chance I would highly recommend you pick up one or both of these books.

In other news I've been spending some time studying Cree, dealing with things around the house and for my mom. I also have a whole lot of errands and appointments this month; many of which I've had to cancel or postpone due to the leg problem. If the weather ever improves I should feel better all around but I'm glad to make even a little progress. At least the weather is a good excuse for staying indoors and reading a good book.

I hope all of you are enjoying your January.

Blessings.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Journey Home - Part 3

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. 
 Ralph Waldo Emerson


I returned home from my Christmas travels on December 27, 2012. Part 1 of my journey photos can be viewed here.  Part 2 can be viewed here. This is the last installment of this series.  I hope you enjoyed the peek into the scenery around these parts.


We are at Herrling Island just before you get to the City of Chilliwack.
 
I think I was just taking photo of the traffic sign and the red barn to the right of the photo.

Chilliwack is a farming community and in this photo you see row upon row of greenhouses.
A photo for my international readers so you can see what is on the side of the road. I think KFC is now in many countries including Kenya. It is a fried chicken fast food outlet.
 
A scene from the freeway toward one of the many suburbs outside Vancouver. I think this is part of Port Coquitlam.
We are fast approaching the new Port Mann Bridge. You can see it in the distance to the right of the photo.

We are on the new Port Mann Bridge which has only been open about a month and cost 3.4 Billion dollars or thereabouts. It has already been closed to traffic twice due to the bad weather we've been having. They need to find solutions to the problems that have arisen thus far. It's atrocious that the bridge cost that much and can't help move the traffic in bad weather, especially when drivers have to pay a toll fee on top of it all!

A close up view. You can see the posts are designed to join right above the cars below. This was problematic after a snow fall when icy snow bombed cars below causing numerous accidents and bridge closure just before Christmas.
After we crossed the 2nd Narrows Bridge to the north we travelled west on the Upper Levels Hwy. (Trans-Canada Hwy. to Taylor Way and then south to Future Shop at Park Royal Mall). You can take this highway to the Sea to Sky Highway which takes you to the beautiful ski town of Whistler where many locals and celebrities go skiing.
We ended our long journey with a several hour shopping expedition at the Future Shop looking for appliances. It was a busy store that day and my leg was very sore. I was not in the mood for shopping. Thank goodness my brother and nephew were there to do the "legwork".

I was glad to finally get home to Vancouver that day!
This is my submission to Skywatch Friday. You can see the sky was very gray in the last hours of our journey. If you look at Parts 1 and 2, you will see we had a variety of skies that day.
Happy Skywatch Friday! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kenyan Update

Hello friends,

From time to time I've blogged about Kipngeno  and his need for sponsorship to attend medical school. Kipngeno is a very bright high school graduate from the highlands of Kenya.  Though it was a huge struggle financially with not knowing where his funds were coming from, he managed to finish first year medical studies and sustain his desire to continue medical studies.

My efforts to find him a sponsor have gone in vain but I am thanking God because now Kipngeno has finally received a loan from his government to pay for his tuition.  Praise God!!

Kipngeno still needs some modest support to pay for transport from his home to his university each new term and to pay for his room and board.  The costs are a lot less than in America and if you are able to help at all it would be gratefully appreciated.

Kipngeno on the far right with his classmate in the middle and Jonah on the far left.

Please send any donations to me and I will send them on to him in Kenya. It costs about $300 total for Term 1 (room and board, travel).  I don't expect any one person will be able to cover the full amount but if you can help at all, any amount you can send would be a huge help. Somehow with God's help, and a little help from others here and there, Kipngeno will get through another year of medical studies. Kenya is in dire need of doctors and medical professionals. If you are new to this story and this need and you would like to help Kipngeno through the longer term I would love to hear from you!

In other matters, Jonah's mother is still in hospital in Eldoret. She was released and went home to the village but was readmitted to Moi University Hospital in Eldoret before Christmas. She is suffering from some kind of vascular,  blood and paralysis issues.  Doctors believe it is caused by decades of bending over to cook and do the work that village women do.  Doctors would like her to be transferred to hospital in Nairobi for further treatment and surgery.  Your prayers for her and all the associated needs would be most welcome.

Thank you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Moving Forward

But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.
2 Chronicles 15:7


This is an encouraging word from the Bible. It encourages me to be diligent in all things and to keep moving forward despite the challenges that come and go and some that drag on longer than I'd like.  The verse is a promise to me (and to all who believe) that eventually (perhaps sooner, perhaps later), my efforts will be rewarded.

The process of goal setting, which I started a few years ago, and the process of reflecting on progress at the end of each year, helps me to see what it is I am moving forward to each year, and whether my efforts are being rewarded with all my goals, not just the spiritual ones though those are very important too.

Of course other things may arise which impacts on what I am doing at any given time. New things may take priority, like the Swahili class I enrolled in in 2012.  I had not planned on taking the course in a formal way, and that is okay because I simply adjusted my priorities to fit in new ones. Anything I do not achieve in a given year can simply be carried forward to another year, and other things can be dropped if they no longer fit my needs. What is important to me is that I keep in mind the things I have been wanting to do for a long time and make space in my life now that I have the freedom of more time. When I was working I never had much time for doing anything that I really wanted to do. My hours of work were excruciating and demanding. Family needs took up the rest of my time. Now I am retired but I have health challenges that take up a lot of my time.  Even so I am blessed with more time for doing some of the things I want to do and I don't want to waste it.

Helping in the mission field is a huge part of my life. I was helping Jonah at Missions of Hope in Kenya but he is taking a break from his volunteer efforts at present and for the foreseeable future.  I will continue helping him and others whenever I can.   Jonah is not currently working on missions as a volunteer while he contemplates and acts on the next important phase of his life but we have not lost contact. Later, I hope to be able to undertake some projects of my own in Kenyan villages and I have done that several times before, often with Jonah's help. If you are new to my blog you can read about some of that work here. You can either read the posts backwards or scroll down and start from the beginning.


Image Credit: AANISCHAAUKAMIKW Cree Cultural Institute


Monday night I started my new language class. I think I will enjoy it a lot. I don't intend to say too much about it as I'm sure that will not be so interesting to most of you. I will simply say that I am studying the Cree language, and in particular, the Plains Cree dialect which is spoken in the western provinces and northern territory of Canada (which you can see in map above).  The map suggests that the Plains dialect ends at the BC/Alberta border (the two westernmost provinces) but there are actual Cree speaking communities in northwestern BC as well.  They have been established in that part of the province for a very long time.

This was the scene as I got off the bus at the university at 6:20 p.m. Jan7, 2013. It is very dark but at least it wasn't raining as was earlier in the day. This bus "loop" did not exist when I was a student many years ago but that tall building directly ahead in the photo is where I lived for a year in my 2nd year on campus. Oh the memories!


I actually spoke Cree as my first language but my parents started me speaking English when I was only about 3 years old so I didn't get much of a grounding in the language.  When I started university I tried very hard on my own to practice the language.  I had some success, however there weren't a lot of opportunities to practice. My mother did not remember to speak to me in the language even though I reminded her many times.  Speaking to her children in English was a habit hard to break.  Now I will be studying the language formally. My nephew and I will be enrolled in the same class and it will be fun to see how we both get on with the language. He was a huge help to me tonight finding the building and escorting me from and to the bus stop as well as carrying my bag and coffee.  We both plan on practicing what we learn with my mom over the phone. It will be special and nice.  In fact, right after class, my nephew called his grandma and said some words to her in Cree, including words that I don't even remember and which we did not learn in the class.  I was quite impressed. I do also intend to get back to studying Swahili as soon as I am able. 

What about you dear reader?  What are your special goals for 2013?

This is my submission for Our World Tuesday. Please join in if you can and read what others are up to.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Simple Woman's Daybook

 



I haven't participated in this meme for awhile. Thanks to Rachel for inspiring me to join in today.

FOR TODAY...Monday 7th January, 2013

Outside my window
...the sky is grey and overcast and wet!

I am thinking...that tonight is the start of my new language class at the university. I really don't want to leave the house due to inclement weather and a bad leg but I will. I'll be "testing" the leg this week and see how it goes.

I am thankful...that even though my leg is not yet 100% and is more sore than yesterday, I can walk better than I did a few days ago.

In the kitchen...Nothing is happening today. I had cold cereal for breakfast and will have some cold chicken and hot soup for lunch.

I am wearing...pajamas. I'm feeling lazy today but I really do need to get dressed.

I am creating...nothing at the moment but am very excited as I have a new sewing machine to work with soon. More about that later.

I am going...to eat, have my shower, fold laundry and get going to the university.

I am wondering...when I will complete all the registration requirements for my new class. I am already a bit behind schedule with the process through no fault of my own. Everything is much different since I last attended university!

I am reading...university websites and trying to register on line. I need technical help but not for the obvious reasons. I've looked for their phone number (hard to find) and sent them an email instead. My alma mater is geared to doing everything on line these days. So far no response but I'm sure (hope) it will be sorted out this week.

I am hoping...My leg holds up to a lot of walking this week. I was also hoping to get some financial assistance with the class but found out this afternoon that won't happen.  I still want to take the class :-)

I am looking forward to...some deliveries in the mail which will help me with acting on two of my longer term goals for the year.  More about this in future posts.

I am learning...to relax, take it easy and more or less "go with the flow".

Around the house...the rooms are relatively clean or "liveable".  The kitchen floor is in need of a wash after the delivery and installation of new appliances, the pots and pans need hand washing and laundry needs folding. I'm listening to old Ed Sullivan shows and old music on KCTS 9. One of my favourite bands, Creedence Clearwater Revival just finished singing "Proud Mary". It's so funny to see the old "hip" clothing they and other groups like The Fifth Dimension are wearing.

I am pondering...my new class and how much home work I might have. Perhaps I should say I am excited about taking my new class but I'm more anxious than excited. I want to do well and at least retain a lot of what I'm taught. Of course everyone would like to do that and the older one gets the harder to retain things.

One of my favourite things...reaching goals and feeling like I'm making progress.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  catching up on my new book "Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means", finishing my old book "East of Eden" and continuing with my Bible readings; completing the administrative requirements for my course, going to the eye doctor and making my appointments for the rest of the month.




The autobiography of Russell Means is a long book (573 pages in hardcover).  Amazon describes it as "
An autobiography of epic scope--the riveting life story of Russell Means, the most revolutionary Indian leader of our century, who burst onto the national scene when he led a 71-day armed takeover of Wounded Knee in 1973. Means brilliantly recounts the tragic quest of Indians to maintain cultural identity in the face of unremitting white assimilation."  Personally the style of writing doesn't fully engage me but I think this is a very important book to read.  It covers important aspects of American history and race relations with Native Americans.  Mr. Means died on October 22, 2012 and  I'm glad he had a chance to write his autobiography before his passing. May he rest in peace.

A peek into my day...getting organized for the week and learning to be a student again.

Click here if you would like to participate in this meme or read other entries in the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Sunday Afternoon

It was a Sunday afternoon, wet and cheerless; and a duller spectacle this earth of ours has not to show than a rainy Sunday in London.

Thomas De Quincey

When I read this quote I thought it was made just for my city on a cold, wet afternoon. It is often like this in winter on a weekend when one would like to get out and see something.  A lot of people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (depression from lack of sunlight over the dark, winter months) as a result and it is easy to see why. I find it helps to get out when you can despite the weather and to also have things that you look forward to doing, whether it be inside or outside (having my list of annual goals really helps me with ensuring I have useful things to do and things I want to do).



However I've been indoors a lot since I returned home from my Christmas visit.  I am nursing my left leg which gave out before Christmas (another knee problem in my good leg). It has been too painful to walk and I'm trying to get well before my new class starts on Monday night (that's tomorrow already!).

I've been praying for myself, getting others to pray for me, putting a heating pad on the knee for hours at a time, rubbing some  liniment on it, doing some light stretching, taking fish oils and generally staying off the leg as much as I can.  Just the other day I added Curamin to my regimen.  I am happy to report that late yesterday and again today I can feel an improvement and I'm cautiously optimistic that if if things continue to improve I will be able to make it to my first class tomorrow night. I plan to study and learn the Cree language, one of the largest of the First Nations languages of Canada.  It doesn't seem to be offered every term so I really want to take advantage of the offering now and will be studying the Plains dialect (spoken in the western provinces and Northern Terrritories).  Originally I was going to carry on with my Swahili language lessons but that will have to wait until the Fall or I will try to make time to study on my own.

In domestic news, my kitchen is now back to normal. The new dishwasher has been used to wash a load. It is a very quiet operation (so nice). I've also made some porridge on the new stove top. The burners heat virtually immediately. This is such a nice feature as I really dislike waiting for water to boil. The oven was also used to roast a rosemary chicken and came out very nicely crisped on top. I will save some white meat for my lunch or dinner tomorrow. The fridge appears to be working very well. Everything is nicely chilled. So far I'm very happy with all the new appliances. I'm now going to kick back with the heating pad on my leg and read a good book.

I hope you are making good progress on your goals and plans for 2013. We have a whole wonderful year to look forward to and enjoy. See you soon.

Blessings!



Friday, January 4, 2013

Starting the Year With a Bang

The first few days after the holiday are always busy. Busy trying to take down Christmas decor, unpack from travels, reflect on last year's goals and set new ones and generally trying to be organized for the new year.

I'm off to a good start. I've been busily researching courses and workshops in my local neighbourhood and at my Alma Mater which is quite a bit farther. I've re-enrolled as a student at my Alma Mater and I'm possibly taking a course next week.  It will require several evenings of my time each week for the next several months. Next week I'll know more fully whether I will take the class. If I do take it,  my nephew and I will be classmates. This is hilarious as I haven't been to uni. in decades.

Over the holidays, I purchased several appliances and dealt with all my technical needs (television, speakers, laptop and new operating system for my PC).  All appliances are stainless steel and all were purchased at excellent seasonal discounts.

My appliances were delivered today! Yeah!!

Today, I also got rid of the old refrigerator and stove and have put everything (all the frozen food) back in the new freezer before it began to thaw.   The refrigerator is much bigger than the old one so it also takes up more space. It is heaven to have a refrigerator that is nicely organized inside and has lots of space for everything and more!  I'm still tearing the plastic off the new stove so probably won't use it for another day or so.  Tomorrow the new dishwasher will be installed and the old one taken away for recycling.

To add to my happiness, I found out today that I got another 15% off the dishwasher because the store extended it's sales this week.  That meant another trip to the store for the refund but it was well worth it. I shared the refund with my brother who actually caught on to this sale and went himself to obtain the refund for me.

I didn't take the following photos but they show you what the appliances look like.





Once the dishwasher is installed my kitchen will be more or less organized and I can get back to cooking again rather than eating take out.

One of MY commenters (Judy, below) asked about whether I get rebates from my utility company for the new appliances and whether the utility company would take away old appliances for free and give me a discount on bills.

Oh boy, do I wish that were the case!  The utility company does buy back old refrigerators.  Sadly I forgot about the buy back program and instead paid $30 to the retailer to take my old refrigerator away. I guess that means the company made $60, since they will likely take the refrigerator to the utility company themselves for the $30 rebate.

The utility company does pay an energy rebate on certain appliances. You have to check the make and model of your appliance to determine if it is eligible for a rebate.  Then you mail in all the required information and wait a few months.  When I purchased my washer and dryer I found they were eligible for a rebate. It took about 4 months to process but I was pleased to get it.  If I remember correctly the amount of rebate was about $75.  I'm so pleased with the purchase of the HE washer and dryer because they use so little water and power.

One of my other plans/goals for the year is to investigate and "cost out" some modest renos in the kitchen.  This goal has become a little more heightened in priority because of the refrigerator.  It is actually larger in size though characterized as the store as "standard".  Due to the larger size, the baseboards had to be taken out in the "refrigerator closet" to make room for it to slide in. When I re-do the kitchen counter and possibly the kitchen floor, the "closet" walls can be narrowed a bit to make more room for the refrigerator. Right now you can't see where the baseboards have been removed so things will be fine until the remodel work is done.

So all in all the week has been very busy and the new year has gotten off to a busy start.

I hope you are all having an excellent start to your New Year also!

Journey Home ~ Part 2

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. 
 Ralph Waldo Emerson

I returned home from my Christmas travels on December 27, 2012. This is part 2 of the series of photos on the road. Part 1 can be viewed here.  There will be one more installment of photos in this series. I hope you enjoy them.



 









I'm linking up with Skywatch Friday today. Please have a look at all the other marvellous skies around the globe. 

Happy New Year! May you all have a wonderful 2013.

African Music & Happenings