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Showing posts from November, 2009

Decorating ~ Tis the Season

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Stockings are set out by the fireplace for those surprise presents Santa always brings. Truthfully, I haven't been a stocking stuffer recipient since childhood. I just like looking at the stockings on the mantle. My little tree has stood in for Christmas tree duty now for several years. I bought it because I thought it would be quicker to decorate each year and also, it saves on buying and throwing away trees. The tree is not so big but it does have full some boughs so it carries quite a lot of decorations. Some years I don't trim the tree in lights at all. Some years, I use multi-coloured lights. Mostly, I like clear lights. I thought I would go for a gold theme this year but when I finished, I saw that the gold bulbs looked too large for my little tree. I removed them and started the decorating anew. Here is the little tree after I added white stars and red sparkling bulbs. Now here is the little tree with the lights on. I usually keep my holiday decor quite simple

A Message of Hope

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I wanted to share with you the exciting project Pastor Jonah has been busily involved in in Kenya. Here is a report he recently sent me and posted on his blog. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Vacation Bible School (VBS) is here again. We have been busy working to prepare the materials for over two months now. Praise God they are ready for distribution! Here is the desk where I've been working at the computer writing these books. Here I am holding the finished product. Hard at working packing the booklets for distribution. We are going to have over 500 teaching centers and over 10,000 kids will be learning about Christ through these booklets. We also hope to reach some rehabilitation boys in VBS in a few weeks with these teachings and the message of hope. Please pray for us as we continue to distribute these books. It is a difficult work and we do hope we will make it. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you want to help Pastor Jonah in the work of s

My Indulgent Weekend

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What do you do when you feel tired all the time? How do you keep your spirits up day after day? I get tired of feeling tired and I don't want to give in to feelings of uselessness or self-pity. That was actually one of the reasons I started this blog last Spring; to help me remember the simple pleasures of life. The big pleasures are more elusive these days and so it helps to focus on small things of joy and to remember that there really is joy in such moments. This weekend with all the rain and my seeming inability to get out to do an important errand, I ended up staying close to home. An internet friend in a far off land told me I should get out to the movies but the rain hindered that. Instead, I rented two movies from a video place a block away and stayed cuddled up with a soft blanket and pillows to eat popcorn, drink soda and watch: He's Just Not Into You with Jennifer Aniston & Ben Affleck ; and Revolutionary Road with Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio .

Downsizing

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Before the fire in the condo building on Mother's Day, I had been contemplating downsizing. Excessive paper, books and stuff coming out of the closets were all making me feel unhappy about my current level of materialism. With my poor health issues, I do not make quick progress on any project so I hadn't begun to get organized when the fire happened. We were in a hotel for several months after the fire while reconstruction went on in the affected units in the building. When I moved back in I was even poorer in health than before the fire so progress in unpacking and downsizing has been very slow. I did manage to get rid of clothes, books and "odds and sods" to the local goodwill; but there is still much to do to get rid of things and satisfactorily downsize. I've decided also that some smaller things can be gifted to friends who will appreciate them. Here are two little packages I'm packing for friends south of the border. Silver earrings for a friend in Ma

Yummy Blueberry Muffins

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The other day you will remember my first try at making Treacle cookies and burning more than half the batch. I thought I could still eat them but they were simply too hard for me and my gums are a little sensitive right now. Torrential rains have been coming down for the past week and over on the large island off the coast, Vancouver Island, hundreds of people have been evacuated. More rain is expected though I think it is supposed to slow down a bit. With weather like we've been having, a person craves hot drinks and comforting snacks so I made these very easy blueberry muffins. The ease of this recipe is just what appealed to me besides my love of berries. Easy is good in my vocabulary with my short attention span and health issues. I can safely tell you that these muffins will be made again soon. They are simply "yummy". BLUEBERRY MUFFINS 1/2 c. oil 1/2 c. sugar 1 egg 1 c. milk 2 c. flour 3 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 1 c. frozen blueberries Blend togeth

Gift to Self

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I've been eagerly awaiting my Christmas gift to myself; a pair of earrings from the talented Jillian at The Noisy Plume. The earrings arrived in yesterday's mail, wonderfully packaged and with a nice little surprise of Zen tea inside. Today I am feeling tired after non-stop cleaning and organizing for the past two days. I can only do a little bit and then I must rest and so what should take a short while stretches into a long period of time. I haven't even had a shower yet but I wanted to show off my earrings (made of green quartz) and say a big "thank you" to Jillian for the thoughtful touches with the parcel. Receiving my parcel, wrapped up all nice and pretty & with such attention to detail, really made my day.

Treacle Cookies

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Today it looks like this outside. [Northward view from my patio.] Yesterday, we had our first snowfall on the mountains to the north though it was a glorious, sunny day. Today, the black clouds are menacing and it is windy. I decide I want some Treacle cookies with tea, to stay warm and cosy. I haven't said so before but I am not the world's great cook so I really love recipes that are simple and quick. This recipe was simple to put together after I learned that treacle is actually blackstrap molasses or a golden syrup. I opted to use the molasses so my treacle cookies are darker than the ones in the photo at the link above. Also, I'm always busy doing something else rather than fully attending to my cooking and I overdid the first batch of cookies, he he. I will eat them anyway as they are for dunking in my tea. [Cookies from 2 different batches. Ones on the right are overdone.] Here I am in front of the television learning about why you should not feed a raccoo

The Gift

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In the chill of the evening I stopped off at my doctor's office to pay a small bill. A task that has been lingering in the background for some time. I thought it was good to stop and pay the bill while I was in the neighbourhood, rather than mail a cheque. At last, I can strike this errand off of the "to do" list. Outside the office I met up with two trees, one more barren then the other. I take delight in how the tree with bare branches nonetheless looks like it is dressed for an evening out. The moon is in another direction but the street lamp's glowing ember shines through the naked branches, as if to say, "I will give you warmth and light tonight." How romantic! The other tree is still clothed in leaves; arrayed in all her golden splendour. She stands firm against the rough winds and sleeting rain of the past few months, defiant in giving up her leaves for another season. I admire her strength. And me? I stand at my doctor's office ready to

Fire in the Morning

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It is 5:20 a.m. and there is a knock at my door to tell me there is a huge fire down the street. I go outside on the patio and try and get photos. I don't have a good camera for night photos but these will show you just how big the fire is. Swirling, billowing black smoke turns to gray, then shades of crimson. I can hear several sets of sirens for the past 25 minutes but I don't know what is burning. I will have to go out and see or check the news later this morning. I pray no one died or got hurt. 25 minutes later and I find a report on the city's breaking news. There is a 3 alarm fire ripping through several businesses. It is sad. So much waste but I am hopeful no residences were affected and I am hopeful the small business owners had insurance.

In Flander's Fields

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[Caption: Photo from Reuters Pictures, November 4, 2009 - Field of Remembrance, Westminster Abbey ] In Flander's Fields In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved, and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. — Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918) A descendant of Scottish immigrants, Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander McCrae was born in Guelph, Ontario on November 30, 1872. He was a physician and an author, but is best known for "In Flander's Field." During the Second Battle of Ypres in Belgium he served as a surgeon with the Canadian artillery in

Crosses for Missions

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Many of you know that I am deeply involved in missions to poor villagers, mainly to the widows and orphans in Kenya. We operate on very few donations to try and bring relief to the many people in the village who struggle to eke out a living in a country hard pressed by famine and poverty. Pastor Jonah's time is strictly voluntary as is mine. I try and support Pastor Jonah and other village leaders as best I can, including through helping build a web presence for the Missions of Hope. Recently, I was blessed with a donation of hand crafted crosses with a request to sell them and use some of the profits for the mission field. I cannot tell you how happy I am about this blessing because it provides an exciting opportunity to help the mission field in Kenya in time for Christmas. The villagers will be so happy that they can celebrate Christmas like others throughout the world if we can sell enough crosses to help them. At the same time, you, the reader will have a chance to do

Photo of the Day

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The rains stopped for the day and I am happy.