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Friday, May 31, 2013

Skywatch Friday, May 31, 2013

Thursday was another cloudy day but it did stop raining and the sky turned blue in parts. These shots were taken around 6:30 p.m. You can see the bit of blue sky through white clouds.  


Looking north the sky was somewhat heavier with dark cloud but just above the big evergreen tree the sun was trying to shine through the clouds.

I decided to snap some colour garden photos as my garden is no where near ready to share her blossoms. The following photos are all taken at the corners of various streets in the neighbourhood.  Each of these garden plots is planted and lovingly tended by volunteers in the neighbourhood. Each year I get so much enjoyment from these small gardens eked out of corners and tiny spaces.And every year, there are more corner gardens.












I'm linking up with Skywatch Friday today and enclosing the floral shots for added enjoyment.
Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Father's Love Letter

I found this letter at the Lighthouse of Prayer Blog. I meant to share it long ago but time has a way of slipping by.  Perhaps some of my readers will find some comfort in these passages.



My Child...

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2 
 I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31 
 For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27 
In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5 
I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14 
I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13 
And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.  Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 


I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40 
For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26 
He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.  2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me.1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32
Love, Your Dad.... ...Almighty God
 
PERMISSION TO COPY:  The printed version of Father's Love Letter can be copied and used for free distribution providing the following copyright information is displayed... 'Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications Copyright 1999-2008 http://www.fathersloveletter.com/


All photos are taken near Seton Lake, BC and are not for copying. Thank you.

Monday, May 27, 2013

It's a New Week

A visit is like rainwater; you pray for it when it stays away and its a problem when it rains too much. ~ -Hebrew Proverb


It's a new week and wow what do we have? More rain!

This was the picture weather-wise this morning. The sky looked ominous.

Rain  means I don't have to manually water the garden which has only recently been planted. I haven't even completed all my container gardening but the geraniums are looking water logged. They should do fine when the sun comes back.

You could no longer see the mountains by afternoon.
The hostas in the garden and in the containers are growing very quickly.  This is the first year I am growing them. I heard they grow easily and they didn't disappoint.


The tomatoe plants are in their cages. I am growing both regular tomatoes and a variety of smaller tomatoes.

The crows have been up to mischief. They pulled the plastic liner out of my planter box. The crows have also been using the bird bath as their personal spa every day.  They have damaged the bird bath and destroyed the finial though I am not sure exactly how.  Perhaps it was actually cold weather that damaged the finial more than the crows.  But the crows are annoying me.  When they are around the little birds do not stay to play and enjoy themselves.

My garden went in very late so it is no where near the mature gardens I am already seeing on line across the nation. The rain will help establish it. I hope it will grow well this year and I'm looking forward to harvesting tomatoes and peppers for salsa, salads and other meals.

Despite the rains I've got a busy week ahead. I've been contemplating lasik surgery and have had several appointments with different laser surgeons as well as my Dr. of Opthamology.  Based on everything I've learned, I don't think I'll be moving forward on laser surgery given my advancing age. The cost involved at a later stage in life when one may soon have to deal with cataract surgery just doesn't make it practical. My Opthamologist suggested early permanent lenses (to avoid cataract surgery later) and though initially appealing, I really don't like the thought of getting my eyes cut until I have to. The laser surgery option would have been what they call "no touch" and somehow I thought that would be better though I realize there are great risks in that approach also.  Not everyone who goes through laser surgery has a good experience and some people come away with lasting damage.  So for now, I put the decision on hold and have gone ahead with getting my year's supply of contacts and a new pair of glasses. My word, I could not believe the cost of glasses since the last time I ordered a pair a few years ago. Unfortunately my prescription has also gone up which increases the cost also.

Some of you may remember my short experiment with vegan eating some time ago. I did enjoy the food but didn't enjoy all the preparation involved. It seemed like all I ever did was buy veggies, wash veggies and chop veggies.  But now it is summer again and in summer I love to eat salads and fruits. I've ordered a book on vegan eating from my local used bookstore.  I only ordered in on Saturday evening and they already called today to say it is in so I hope to pick it up tomorrow.  I can't wait to read and learn  more about vegan eating and to see what recipes I might learn to enjoy.

I've also been busy with a lot of business concerning an upcoming move for my mother. She will be moving into a brand new facility in the not too distant future so there is a lot involved with that. She is excited and I am excited for her.  Though she has only been in her current home for just over 3 years, it really is time for her to move on to hopefully greener pastures. I think that the new place is going to be very different for so many reasons not the least of which is the style and material of the building.  The building where she lives now is quite old and is a sprawling one level building.  The design of the new residence is a multi-story building and has been designed with the landscape in mind.  The design has a lot of natural elements like wood, stone, natural rocks and natural colours. I don't have a photo yet but I've included an architectural drawing.



Besides having a different and brand new, pleasant space, there will also be some nice changes to her services.  Mom will continue to have the usual benefits of a doctor, podiatrist, hair dresser, launderer, meals etc. but she will also have access to a dentist and dry cleaning service which she currently does not have. I only wish that the developer would have incorporated a guest suite or two for visiting family members.  It costs a lot of money to visit on a regular basis and stay in a hotel.  (A day after posting this artist's sketch, I got some photos of the new facility.  The photo below is the front of the building and it looks a lot like the artist's sketch.  However it doesn't have stones on all the exterior walls, only in the center where the entrance is. I have now seen a number of photos from various angles of the building and the structure looks quite enormous. It isn't quite completed but should be soon and most of the parking areas are paved and some of the landscaping and planting of flowers is now complete).



My mini e-reader that I mentioned here, arrived last week and I've set it up to sync with my computer and also put some e-books on hold at the library. It looks like I'll have a wait for the e-books I want but that is okay. Once they are available it will be a simple process of downloading them rather than making a trip to the library to pick them up. Fantastic service!  I was so excited about this that I finally made some efforts to read e-books that I'd previously downloaded once I synced them to my mini-reader. So far I'm reading Tess of the D'ubervilles which I enjoy a lot but haven't made enough time to finish reading it.  I'm also enjoying The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I'm amazed at the genius and creative mind of Mark Twain. I read this book way back in grade 7 but appreciate it in a different way now. If I have time and energy when I'm finished I may have a comment or two about the book, or I may just want to keep reading.  Now that I've got several books on my mini-reader, I'm finding it easier to read a few pages here and there.  When I am on a roll with my reading, I don't like to stop. Is anyone else like that?

Many other things are happening in my world.  Most of it good but just too busy these days.  Too much to get into but just wanted to touch bases with you all. I wish all of you a very wonderful week ahead!

I'm linking up with Our World Tuesday today.



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Crisis near Kisumu

Hello dear friends,

It has been a long time since I've written about Kenya so I hope you will be touched by these photos and brief report.


It has been raining a lot in Kenya and for a rather long time. Different issues have arisen here and there in the country, primarily flooding and destruction. My friend, Jonah has been in Kisumu, north west of where he lives. There is has been volunteering to try and help some of the flood victims. (Click on photos to enlarge).

(All photos belong to the Kenya Missions of Hope)











The workers had to use  boats to reach out to the people in the far flung islands created by the floods.


Please pray for the rains to stop in Kenya.




The people are praying for help and for the rains to stop.

If you would like to make a contribution to help them, you can send donation of your choice to kerichojoy[at]gmail[dot]com

If you would pray for the people that would be so encouraging also. Thank you so much. Click on the link to join others for Our World Tuesday.

 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Kobo Quote

The average person reads fewer than 100 books in their lifetime.

How many have you read?
(Kobo quote)

I've read far more than 100 books but not nearly as many books as I'd like to read. That is one of the reasons I now set reading goals every year.  Though my goals are modest in comparison to other readers I find that goals do help me focus and remind me that I need to pick up and read a new book every now and then.  I've also found that reading goals have helped get me into a rhythm and practice of reading and so I've easily met and surpassed my goals both last year and this year.  I can either increase my reading goals or have time for other goals. I like to try and have a balance. Reading goals are also helping me focus more on  Bible studies and other studies.

Many people say that they read a lot more on their e-readers. I have a device that I can read books on but I still read paper books. I don't yet get the same enjoyment from reading on a device but that may change.

Some things I do like about an e-reader is that you can download lots of free books onto it. The other nice thing is you can have many books going at the same time and dog ear the pages. I don't like putting dog ears on paper books so I usually use a book mark or a piece of paper. Often they fall out and I lose my place. Sometimes it takes me awhile to find my place again, lol. Do you have that problem too? I also like the fact that if you go on vacation you can take an e-reader along and it holds far more books than you can carry or read on a holiday.

My e-reader only holds a charge for perhaps just over 2 weeks. I often forget to turn the wi-fi off and so that takes a lot of power. It is actually much more than an -reader. I can check email, play games, take photos and videos, check the news, etc. I have many books on their now but seldom use it for reading.

I've just ordered a mini-reader and I'm waiting for it to come it. It holds a charge for up to a month. That is long enough for most holidays. It also allows me to borrow books from the library. I can do that now with Adobe Digital Edition but I haven't set it up to sync with all my "gadgets".  With my new mini reader it will already be set up to allow me to borrow books.  I  think this is going to be a great feature and I've been adding books to my library "read later" list so I am reader to borrow them when the mini reader arrives.

I bought the mini reader at $20. off the regular price and they are giving me 5 free books($15.00 value) though not exactly books in my favourite genre. I cancelled a book order from Amazon which has been on back order for some time. I found out I can borrow the book I cancelled from the library on my e-reader. Altogether these savings  have virtually paid for my mini-reader and I haven't even started using it yet.

I purchased a black case to go around this mini-reader which is small enough to fit into a man's shirt pocket. It also has different size fonts so you can enlarge to your heart's content.


If you have a mini-reader I'd love to hear how you are enjoying it.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Skywatch Friday - May 17, 2013

Hello friends,

I am on the mend and have a follow up visit with the doctor next week to make sure all is well. In the meantime, I've been very busy going for walks every day and running some errands.

The weather here has been very unsettled since about Saturday when it was pouring rain. Since then we have had pleasant days though not usually too hot or sunny. On Monday it was time to vote for our provincial government representatives.

This was the best day weather-wise all week.

I have no idea what kind of trees these are but I love the red blooms on them. As you can see, the sky was  very clear and the day was sunny and warm.  After voting, I went out for a nice Thai meal of green curry chicken.
 
See all the clouds in the sky on Tuesday. I had gone out for a late walk and no sooner made it to this park when it started to rain. Sadly there was no shelter there from the rain and I had to move on. It didn't rain as badly as the sky portends.


In other news, my small patio garden has been tilled and fertilizer and top soil added several times. This weekend, some plants will finally go into the soil.  I also have to do the container garden and purchased these starter plants.

I love geraniums for container gardening.

Happy Skywatch Friday and may you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Blessings and Changing My Reader

My blogging friend, Crystal Mary in Australia has a new book out. Please listen to Crystal's vibrant voice in this short youtube "trailer" she made to promote her book. You might know someone who would like this book and be blessed by it for Mother's Day or an upcoming birthday.




In other news, I've decided to transfer the blogs I follow from Google Reader to Bloglovin so I won't lose any of you that I read faithfully. You can follow me that way too.  See the widget to the right of my blog. I'm still mulling over blog platform options. Stay tuned.

I've been sick for some time and more so over the last weekend and continuing to now. I've asked a few dear souls to pray for me.  I feel that those prayers really helped me because suddenly on Tuesday, things changed.  Matters came to a head on Tuesday after really suffering on Sunday and Monday and I began to feel a little better since then.  Today I finally managed to get to the doctor and am now on a course of antibiotics. I hope it can arrest the infection(s) very soon. I feel very blessed because I know things could have been much worse and I am not out of the woods yet.  More tests are being done in the coming months.  When I was at the doctor's office she asked me why I didn't call the emergency after hours service. I hadn't even thought of it. That's what happens when there is too much infection in the body. You cannot think straight. I've seen it happen with my mother many times and she would even refuse to go to the hospital when in that state.

My mom has also been quite sick and struggling for at least one month with a bad cough and infection.  I've been worried about her because of her compromised immune system.  I asked a few people to pray, I called the prayer line too.  For the last 5 days I prayed that the doctor would reach out to examine her and prescribe her medication, or that somehow a new doctor could take over her case (that would need to be a miracle).

I was just at the point of pressing the matter very soon with someone who could do something to make sure mother was getting medical help and lo and behold, this morning the doctor arrived to see her before she was even out of bed. He soon prescribed antibiotics. I know that God was in this answer because of the inattention of the last month or more. I give praises to God for responding to the prayers.  Thank you to those too who have stood with me in prayer.  Your sacrifice and intercession are noted by God but you also need to  know how MUCH you bless me by this faithful act of friendship.  I also continue to pray for those of you who have asked for a healing or financial touch. God really does answer prayer and we of the faith are to be burden bearers for one another.  Thank you so much and  Praise His Name. xx

This Sunday is Mother's Day.  I am blessed to still have my mother here on earth and hope she is with us for years to come.  Since I just had a visit with her two weeks ago and can't travel right now,  I am sending flowers.  If your mother is still alive, I hope you are able to give her and call and spend a few moments of the day with her if you don't live in her city.

Happy weekend to all!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Renovations

I've been making good progress on my goals this year.  Some of the obvious progress has been on my hobbies (reading, crafts and more recently the garden) but I've also made progress on my spiritual goals, home and family, health & lifestyle and financial goals. It's been hard work but I've managed to pay off two debts and make a very modest increase to my savings and my giving to the mission field. I've only been able to do the latter by eliminating debt. I hope to be able to continue in this vein in the coming years by continuing to do careful shopping, watch my spending and not incur new debts. It is a challenge.  I have some huge financial goals to reach before I hit the magic age of 65.

One big goal I had for this year is to cost out some modest renovations.  This week I will have a renovator come in for a consultation and let me know how much it would cost to attend to the large and small projects I have. The renovator is also an architect and so he can do drawings in addition to the actual work. He came recommended by a woman from my women's group.  His rates are incredibly reasonable because he works alone and as a bit of a hobby after his day job.  I've seen some of his prior work in photos and will try to speak to some of his past clients too.


After the fire a few years ago, all the interior walls of the condo had to be torn down and reconstructed and the insulation replaced. New carpeting had to be laid also.


I've been living in my place now for several years and the cabinetry, tiles and fixtures in many of the living areas are looking rather old and tired. I'm spurred on by the local downturn in the real estate market.  If you want to appeal to today's buyer and make sure your property is highly saleable, then you really need to make upgrades that are more in keeping with the fresh, modern look that most of the buyers are after.

This is what renovations looked like a few years ago.  The main bathroom was the only room that got a major overhaul  (new light fixtures, new tub tiles and flooring tiles) but I don't have a current photo. I don't like the tile flooring we selected so may change this and a few smaller things.

I also want to make the changes for my own sake.  I have never liked the finishing that many condos are made with, such as stock white kitchen cabinetry that are made of some kind of pressed board, marble surround fireplaces, laminate counter tops and tile floors (which are cold and very hard on the feet).  One of my bathrooms was updated after the fire several years ago but the master bathroom was not. It will be a chance to find out what kinds of less expensive changes I can make to give it new life.

Once my reno guy comes over, he will draw up some plans and cost estimates.  I will then know what I can actually move forward with in the coming months and what might have to wait until next year.  I will try to remember to take before and after photos as I think things are going to look very different. I'm excited although it will be a bit of a challenge to "sandwich" the renovations in between travels and visitors.

In preparation for my consultation, I'm decluttering once again. I'm finally getting rid of a lot of fabric I inherited. After holding onto it for 2 1/2 years I know I won't likely be using it. Actually some of the fabric I bought myself quite a long while ago and I no longer  wish to make whatever it was I had in mind. I've also got more books to offload and yarns and crochet thread to someone who can make use of them. Slowly and bit by bit I'm getting through the clutter but still have more to get rid of especially in the crafting department. In this area, I like to sort carefully because it is expensive to replace everything and sometimes hard to find certain things.  The decluttering never really stops as one is always buying something.  But slowly, I am retraining myself not to spend what I don't need to and eventually I'm hoping to get to the point of a more streamlined household.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Skyward and Inward

Well we had quite an interesting day weather wise today.  I'm sorry I didn't have my camera at the ready to show the different moods of the day but I was bored with cloudy skies, lol

Today started off sunny and bright but by mid-afternoon was extremely cloudy. I'm glad the sky was cloudy as it allowed me to do some work to finish my project (see below). Tonight the sky turned beautiful again and we are expecting a fabulous weekend ahead.  Some of my garden has been fertilized now but the other half still needs to be done. Hopefully that is my weekend project as next week will be busy with other things.




I've been going on about making my niece a quilt for some time. I've never worked with a printed panel before and I thought it would be easy. But this panel was not the typical quilt panel with printed blocks.  It was one long continuous scene from the Wizard of Oz. My niece absolutely loves the Wizard of Oz.


Anyhoo, I wasn't quite sure what to with it. I thought I would simply do some hand stitch quilting around the different characters but nixed that idea. Then I thought I would stitch some lines around lines on the panel, like along the yellow brick road. I nixed that idea also. Then I thought, I will simply hold the quilt together with some old fashioned yarn ties. I did do that but found that the fabric I selected for backing kept puckering up and was very difficult to keep smooth. This proved to be a bit problematic throughout the finishing of the quilt. I think it would be far easier to use adhesive spray for quilting but it is somewhat of a luxury item. I don't buy it because I don't make so many quilts but perhaps in future I will treat myself.  In the end, I decided to do a little stipling along the yellow brick road (top and bottom of the panel only). It is my first attempt and it breaks all the rules, lol. But my niece won't care a bit. All she cares about is Dorothy in her red sparkly shoes, the yellow brick road and the wicked witch.



All the fabrics and batting in the quilt are new.  However I did recycle a chambray denim skirt and used it to make the binding for the quilt. It was a newer skirt I bought in the thrift store but never wore. I'm glad I could put it to good use.  The binding picks up the blue in Dorothy dress quite nicely.




Now that I've figured out how to use my walking foot (the fact that the long piece that has to rest on the top of the bolt that tightens the needle had me confused) and my free motion foot, I can practice on more quilts or sample pieces.

I found I really didn't like working with a quilt panel. I prefer pieced quilts and that is what I will make next like the one I made for mom at Christmas. Ever since then my nephew has been asking for one too so I've been thinking about the fabrics to use.

On a blog related matter, I understand that the Google reader service will soon be discontinued.  I currently follow a lot of blogs using this service and  I hope I can still find them afterward.  But if you don't see me visiting your blog in a long while, please do leave me a comment so I can find you again! I'm not sure whether I will use BlogLovin and/or migrate my blog to another blog platform altogether.  There are pros and cons of migrating. I had been considering the move to Word Press for awhile but someone I follow said she was leaving there over copyright issues concerning her photos. I'm not sure where she has moved to yet and somehow I'm not sure that things will be any different on a different platform.

I'm linking up with Skywatch Friday. Thank you so much for visiting me. Have a wonderful weekend!

Sky Watch Friday

African Music & Happenings