Tuesday, December 7, 2010


It seems to me that we who live on the prairies of Western Canada have this 'love/hate' affair with caraganas. I know that years ago many were planted in fields all over these flat lands to stop soil erosion. They did a great job but after awhile they become unruly and dominate the landscape. But we love them! Well, some people don't and I read that those that don't in the Outlook SK area have been removing miles of them much to the chagrin of the general populace.

When we first moved to this part of the world we decided to get rid of these lowly bushes. But for some reason we changed our minds. We have trimmed a few, getting rid of the older growth and where we did make an attempt to 'destroy' we have a nice hedge of fresh growth. Yes, they are tough!

But after the days of fog last week I realized how gorgeous these dry old sticks can really be. I marveled at the beauty and tried to capture some of it. Pictures don't do it justice but I will share a few anyway.

Besides, I am learning a new camera, my early Christmas present!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November 16: Wallace Armstrong

Yes, I realize that today is the 17th but yesterday brought back memories of 15 years ago...

It was a typical Alberta November day; overcast, cool, threat of snow. The JD Salesman ( then the JD Farmer:) ) and I decided to take a drive to the city. His Dad and Mom were there having traveled from small town BC to the Foothills hospital. Dad was having more problems with his heart and this was the closest place for treatment.

We went expecting to have a good visit with both of them as they waited for possible surgery. But when we arrived we found Mom sitting alone. Dad was in surgery that day for bypass surgery. So we visited, met people who were also waiting and Mom comforted and prayed with a lady whose husband was also in surgery. The afternoon became long. I was uneasy. Then the doctor came looking for Olive Armstrong. He told her they were having problems, Dad was not breathing on his own. The strength and calm of my mother-in-law is something I will always remember. The doctor said they would try again. Mom said that he wouldn't want to be an invalid, to have half a life. She said she trusted God for him. There was no drama. Just calm.
I have no idea how long it was until the doctor returned and said "I am sorry. We did all we could."

Mom and her eldest son went to see the shell that was once a husband, a father, a grandfather. I will never forget the loud sob that tore through my husband......

In church the following Sunday we sang the song "My Jesus I Love Thee". Later that day Mom said that the line about "death-dew lies cold on my brow" is true. She saw it. She felt it.

Dad was a kind good man who believed he was a child of God not because of anything he could do but because of the grace of God. He lived his life holding to his beliefs and principles of obedience to God. His generosity touched so many lives and Mom told us that when he said he thought they should give to someone she always agreed having learned that Dad heard God when there was a need that should be met.

He never quite recovered from the grief of the accident that took the life of his oldest daughter and her oldest son ten years earlier. Something died inside and he was never quite the same. And yet, a softness moved in, emotions were acknowledged and hugs were accepted more readily.

To me it was a tribute to a good man when our youngest grandson was named Beck Wallace.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Words of Wisdom

Well, I should qualify that..... Words from Maxine.....

"be who you are and say what you feel, because those that matter, don't mind and those that mind, don't matter".

I am a strong supporter of Maxine-isms ........ hey it IS Monday isn't it!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's a small world

Yes, it's a small world after all and I am not referring to the Disney song!

We were invited to a birthday party this afternoon, the connection being the man's interest in flying. Now pilots have a culture of their own and one of their events is to attend "fly-in breakfasts". This is where the JD Salesman and the honored Birthday gentleman met. So the next time we hosted a breakfast this Birthday gentleman was invited and was a faithful attender there after.

So that sets the stage for the story I wanted to relate.

I went because I am the wife of the pilot. I have met the family that was honoring their Father but only at these breakfasts where I am busy cooking and not really doing much visiting. So I KNEW that I wouldn't know anyone. I would just be there.......

Well, one of the other guests had gone to university with the honored Guest and we discovered he had relatives who had lived in the community the JD Salesman was raised in. Not only that but this man's parents were a couple that my parents used to talk about! The communities involved are spread over Alberta, Valley Center, Delburne, Lousana, Youngstown. When I asked him about his wife I learned that she had been in grade 2 with me oh so long ago! She had only attended my school for one year and I had always wondered what had happened to her.

So, one never knows who one will meet when one attends a birthday party.

All this seems rather boring as I relate it now. But it truly was fun to connect with Sue. And besides, I can't seem to get to sleep tonight so I thought I would ramble a bit.

The wind is starting to blow and the forecast is for possibilities of flurries or rain. I would sooner have sunshine tomorrow. But, hey, it is November and we haven't had any winter yet! I best not complain!

How does the weather relate to my title? It doesn't but it is waaaay past my bedtime...... and I don't think I can take responsibility for what I might type after 10 p.m.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I am rather pleased to announce our son's accomplishment. After rejections from various publishers and then much 'blood, sweat and probably tears', Kurt has his first book in publication.

Because of my ineptness with computers I don't know that I have the best picture of it for you but such as it is.....

publisher's website is where you can learn more about it.

Yes, we are pleased and proud.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sunrise in October

Looking back I realize I focus a fair bit on sunrises and the changing seasons! Oh well, maybe I am easily entertained as I get older!

But from our 'vantage point' I do see number of sunrises and these do mark the changing seasons. In the midst of winter, when there is the least amount of sunshine I am usually 'on with the day' when the sun comes up. In June, on the longest day I am not about to observe the rising sun! I am blissfully ignorant of the hour of dawn! But in the spring and fall I am often having my coffee and toast as I sit in my chair watching the sky. And these days it is spectacular without a doubt.

Sometimes I think about the earth turning, wondering how many times it has gone around one whole revolution. I think about the fact that there are no bearings or axles or gears to wear out. I realize the earth is probably 'wearing out' but the fact that it never changes course, never speeds up or slows down really intrigues me. Maybe I am just easily awed!

The sunrises also make me wish I was a painter, an artist. I look at the layers of color, the blend of colors, the random scattering of clouds that constantly change shape and color. I take pictures sometime but even that doesn't really tell the story. Actually, a sunrise is just one of those things one has to experience and observe to get the full impact I think!

So, as your busy day starts, take a few minutes to just watch the sky and be enthralled with the beauty before and as the sun peaks over the horizon. You won't be sorry and it just might remind you of the wonder of life.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thankful for life

Last week was a week of tragedy, of grief. Two funerals to attend, two young men, both 21. Circumstances hugely different, both in life and in death. But at Thanksgiving I saw in a fresh way how thankful I am for life, for the ability to get up each morning, to experience what each day holds. Some days are pretty daily, regular, ordinary. In fact, that is life.

I don't have much else to say but I will share a picture that in its simplicity reminds me to be thankful for life.

Credit for the photography goes to the Father of these two!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Mom

Today, October 3 is my Mom's birthday. I don't always remember so I am not sure why it dawned on me today. It was 25 years ago last May that she died and today I miss her. Not the gut wrenching sorrow that came when she died but I just miss her.

I was only 34 when she died and I feel as though I didn't really "know" her. I was too busy being a Mom myself, lived far enough away to not see her that often and never knew that I was not getting to know her.

She came to Canada from Denmark, in her early 20's, to marry her high school sweetheart. That 'sweetheart' had changed or else she had changed and she knew right away she would not marry him. I wonder now what went through her mind when she recognized that she would not be getting married and here she was alone in a new country! I will never know....

She worked for the Ostergard family in Dalum for a number of years before meeting Dad at the Danish-Canadian club in Calgary. She never talked a lot about those years but when she did it was with such positive, happy memories. Mom was not always a positive person so it must have been a good experience! We are told that she was known for her horse riding abilities in the hills around Wayne and Dalum. I wonder, I wonder...... I will never know.....


I am the daughter of a farmer. In our 'other life' the JD salesman and I were farmers. Well, I was the farmer's wife! I didn't do a lot of actual farming especially in the years of babies and toddlers. But later I did get to run the combine a few times and would move machinery when called upon. I made huge mistakes, plugged the combine, closed the wrong gate when moving cows late one hot summer evening, got the pick-up stuck in the huge puddle..... etc.

Back to the main point: farmers.

I think I understand a little of what they deal with, weather: machinery, CWB, price of cattle, fertilizer prices, spray prices, weather, falling grain prices, did I mention weather???? But it is interesting how different farmers deal with all these things.

After one especially dry winter the snow was falling. The JD salesman pointed this out to a farmer who was complaining about the lack of snow. "Yes, it is snowing," he said "but it is such a dry snow." Oh my!!!!

This has been an especially challenging year, weather-wise, for the farmers in Alberta. But some choose to see the glass half full. Like the one who told the Salesman the other day that the wheat is only feed grade but the good thing is there is twice as much of it! After ANOTHER shower went through the other day a young farmer said ''Maybe tomorrow .......'' with a big grin.

I think it is the same in whatever 'profession' one is involved, even mothering.... how will I choose to view the obstacles that are in the way.

So to you farmers and farmerettes out there..... happy harvest. See the good, enjoy the good and view life in the fullest way possible!

By the way, we are thankful to not be farming any more. It was great when we were in it, a great life to raise a family. We want other people to keep farming but we are getting too old for the pressures and the time involved.

Now what will I say about JD salesmen in a few years.......

This really has been a random post!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Does God make sense?

Recently the sister of a friend was killed in a head-on collision on a highway near her home. She was 50 and she and her husband home schooled their 3 boys. Beyond tragic....

A friend mentioned that it was one of those situations that are talked about in the book "When God Doesn't Make Sense". I think I understand the author's point but I ask, does God ever make sense?

I believe God created a perfect world, perfect and indescribably beautiful. Then he made people with free wills and we see the 'rest of the story'. There is greed that hurts people and greed that is making many places in the world very ugly. Tell me, does God make sense?

Then God asks/tells/sends his son out of heaven into this world as a human being to live like a pauper and die like a criminal. Does that make sense to you?

Quite honestly, I don't want God to make sense to my small minded thinking. No, that is wrong, I often wish God made sense to me but that is when I want to be in control. But then how could he be God? If I trust God, believe that he is good, that he is love, that he loves me then he doesn't have to make sense to me. I simply need to trust. I don't have to figure out what "it or IT" is all about.

Okay, now I admit it. God does not make sense but most of the time I know he loves he and some of the time I actually believe it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rainy-day FALL beauty

Autumn or Fall

So, is this time of the year autumn or is it fall? This is my blog so I will tell you what I think!

Autumn is something that happens in New England or in Ontario and Quebec. It is this romantic, Martha Stewart kind of season with the 'cooler' days, the gently falling leaves that are every wonderful color that we could imagine. It is the season of carefully planned decorating inside and out with pumpkins, corn stocks, sheaves of grain. It is wonderful aromas of cooking apples, pumpkins and acorns. Autumn just slides into the preparations for the holiday season of Thanksgiving and Christmas with a gentle sprinkling of snow to accentuate the wonder of the season.

In Alberta the bottom FALLs out of summer and we are preparing for the onslaught of winter. We haven't had any days that could be classed as warm, we go from cold to colder to coldest. The leaves are whipped from the trees in winds that take your breath away and many times there is no chance for enjoying color because they are frozen and turn black or brown in early September. The lack of sunshine, well, it tends to make me grumpy and tired. We expect snow at any time and the rain helps make the farmers sad and grumpy too. Then there are the memories that still make me teary, the memories of taking the adult children to college two provinces away. It broke my heart every time it happened.

Okay, I am over reacting. Yes, fall is not my favorite season of the year. But this year I have resolved to see the beauty. And yes, this year the colors are amazing! Even the grasses along the side of the road are red, yellow, orange and healthy brown. I am looking for things to be thankful for and the list is very long.

So..... it is fall for me but this year I choose to see the good.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Part of the journey....

On impulse or was it because it cost only $1 I picked up a novel at a garage sale. "Catherine Wheels" by Lief Peterson is a better read than I was expecting.

Last night as I was reading this popped out at me: ".... if we insist on understanding everything, we'll never get it. We need to simply do our best to live into it, and accept that we may never know what it all means."

I realize I may be reading into this something the author never intended but it fits what I have been thinking about a whole lot over a long time. I think I am learning that I don't have the answers for a whole load of questions but instead of making up answers or feeling guilty that I can't come up with the answers I am learning to leave it, learning to' live into it'. Ignoring and pretending 'it' doesn't exist is as troublesome as making up an answer that is no answer but in learning to 'live into it' I am finding answers, maybe not to the original question but answers. Sometimes it is acceptance, sometimes a different way of thinking, sometimes more questions but there is a learning and a growing, a trust in the goodness of God and a goodness in people.

Sometimes the process is dark and heavy, sometimes it is lonely, sometimes I despair but over time I come to see that IN all things God works for our good.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday morning

It is a cool, well, more than cool but not quite cold Monday. This morning it was raining, gently but raining and that means dreary. It is a perfect day to make stew in the crock pot. Besides that I have agreed that this afternoon I would take my sister and her visiting friend from the US to a coffee/antique spot that I discovered.
The meat was browned, the vegetables cut, the tomato sauce added and now the highlight: beautiful carrots from the garden. I don't plant much garden and after a vicious hailstorm a month ago there wasn't much left except these carrots. They are so long, straight, tender and sweet this year.
On with the coat, garden shoes, gloves and off to the carrots. WELL and again I say WELL! Was I in for a surprise. My wonderful carrots are more than half gone! Who would take my carrots? No, not who, what......
I had been told by Meralee that coyotes dig carrots but I had never seen it until today! They dug them up and ate the whole shu-bang! Some where hidden under the cosmos and the hail beaten tomato plants so we get to enjoy a few. I was more than incensed! but once that wore off I had to chuckle at all the tops strewn around and all the tracks. I am sure the whole extended family enjoyed the feast.
Oh, well, maybe next year we will have another good crop of carrots. But next year I will be prepared and will see to it that we don't have to share with the coyotes!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Vantage point

Living on a hill does bring advantages as well as disadvantages! A negative is experiencing gale force winds that have been known to remove the trampoline over the 4 strand barbed wire fence and into the neighbors caraganna hedge. But a positive is enjoying the amazing clouds, the changing sky, sunrises and sunsets that are beyond description.
Here is a sample of some summer cloud formations.
The first two are of a system that we watched for about 30 minutes, wondering what might happen. Nothing seemed to develop on the ground but Ron was mighty glad he was not in the air at the time.
The last picture was another day, another system that seemed to be building in the north, looked rather nasty but soon moved off to the east.

Can't say that we are storm chasers but we are able to be sky watchers. It is beautiful and amazing, every day another scene to enjoy......
We live in an amazing country.....

Monday, August 23, 2010


Our son and daughter-in-law are instilling a love for reading, love for books into their two children. Wonderful children I might add! Really wonderful..... if you would like to know more about them and their 5 wonderful cousins I would be glad to tell you all about them!

But back to reading.....
Actually a picture tells the story better than my words.

This is how her parents found their four year old in their bed one night last week, sound asleep with the book pressed on her face.

Note the book's title.....

Friday, August 13, 2010

August Family Weekend Memorial!

I did it! I found a way to post a picture! Thanks to #2 son for his tutoring......
Anyway, here is the inukshuk


After six months of silence.....

It isn't that life has not been full, that there has not been lots to comment on but somehow it has never been translated into words on a blog. I have barely any entries in my journal either. I follow a number of blogs and so enjoy them! Maybe that is one reason I don't post, I don't think I have anything interesting to post!

I think one reason for the silence has been a grief , one that affects so many people. How do I deal with it? How do I be honest but not condemning? So silence is sometimes the best way.

But there have also been so many joys to enjoy. The celebration of my 60th birthday with the whole family! I felt so loved, so honored. I celebrated for a couple of weeks with friends and most of all with family!

Then there was the family weekend at Grandma and Grandpa's place! Such a memory building time with a trip to Drumheller and one to Calgary Zoo. The huge inukshuk in the yard stands as a memorial to a great family time.

Now it is time to get ready for a weekend of camping, something we don't do enough! The morning is rainy but the forecast is for sunshine eventually so I shall believe that will happen. Before we know it there will be time for snow shovels and Christmas preparations!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Up cycle

I keep finding these projects I want to try.  Found an article on cloth paper so now I have bags sitting in my sewing room to collect those bits of fabric that I hate to throw out but that are too small to sew anything with.  Then I looked up felting.  Off to the local thrift shop for wool sweaters.  I closed my eyes to the fact that these sweaters are perfectly good to wear and then dumped them into the washer with hot water and an old pair of jeans.  After a day of washing and drying and washing and drying I have felt.  Now, what will I do with this felt?  Good question... but if I put this into print maybe someone will hold me accountable.
I have some ideas and then I wonder "what will I do with these creations?"  "who would want them?"
But I am having fun and I am beginning to believe that maybe I do have some creativity in me.  And part of the 'fun' is using what is available without spending a lot of $$$$$.  I have a daughter-in-law who inspires me and her example of re-cycling and up-cycling encourages me to try new ideas.
But don't ask to see the sewing/laundry room!  What a disaster!  I get an idea, pull out the necessary 'ingredients' then move on to something else without putting anything away....  I must improve in that department........
And then of course there are meals to make, only for two but he does need some food!  Off to the kitchen..........

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Somewhere in the Bible it talks about the need to become like children.  I had that reminder recently.....
While visiting a family the parents of a 3 year-old told us about her dream.  She told her Mom that she dreamt that God talked to her about not being afraid. She also said that God knew her name. I don't recall all the details about the dream but there were 2 things that I continue to mull over and over.
First, she knew it was God talking to her.  I did a little looking this morning and found verses in John 10 that talk about the sheep knowing the voice of the shepherd.  Way too often I forget or overlook the voice of the Shepherd.  I don't 'hear' a loud audible shout but I know I can hear a quiet, gentle voice in my mind.  Yes, sometimes it is only my own thoughts, but when the words are loving, encouraging, gentle why do I over look them as God.
Second, there seemed to me to be a sense of awe or wonder that God knew her name.  That is a humbling thought for me too.  I get whiney, demanding and overlook the fact that God knows me personally.  He knows my name.  I want to be in awe of that.... to believe that and trust Him.
A little child shall lead them.....
Thank you "Dad and Mom" for telling us about this moment.  I have really benefited from hearing it! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Like my mother....

While I was emptying the dishwasher tonight I pulled out 2 spatulas, and I thought about my Mom.
Mom was more than careful with what she had.  She was so frugal and made do all of her life.  She had one spatula.  By the time I left home I don't think it could be called a spatula any longer. Actually it was always called the "rubber scraper".  But there was only ever one 'rubber scraper' and in time it was actually 'a wooden stick with some rubber around it'. (it was obviously better rubber than we have now on the cheapey rubber spatulas!!)  How could it ever have scrapped anything?  And because it was the only one and used for everything it was discolored and brown.  It was clean.  Mom was very careful with 'clean' but it was an interesting shade of brown.
When we were married we had a rubber scraper.  I don't know if it was a wedding gift or if I bought it but we had one.  After a number of years I came to realize the monetary value of a rubber scraper.  So why the heck did I only have one and why the heck was it just as discolored and worn as my Mom's?  I made a decision to: 1. have more than one rubber scraper and 2. throw them out when the rubber was cracked and broken!
I often wonder what sort of things our Daughter will realize she has been doing/is doing because 'that is the way Mom did it'!  I hope she can smile and do it differently .......

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

a long day

I have no idea why it has seemed like such a long day!  I swear it felt like it was 30 hours long!  Maybe the post-Christmas blues have hit.  Maybe reality has hit.  Maybe ......

I finally finished the basement.  If repair men weren't coming tomorrow to work on the boiler I doubt I would have been that ambitious.  It seems that unless I have myself some incentive I can procrastinate for a very, very, yes, very long time.  The after Christmas laundry has been done for over a week but I don't like making beds for some reason so the clean sheets have been sitting on the beds, waiting.  And then there is the vacuuming.  But now it is decent, even the bathroom.  

I actually accomplished quite a bit today, didn't sit around feeling lonely or bored but it was a long, long day.

And now people are coming for care group.

I wonder what tomorrow will be like.........

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Twenty ten

I understand 'twenty ten' is 'the way' to speak of the new year.  Not quite sure when I started to care about 'the way' of speaking......

As I wrote the Christmas letter in December, I commented on how quickly 2009 had passed. Later I discovered that this was basically the same way I began the letter of 2008!  I hope I come up with a better way to begin a letter at the end of this year.  But it does seem that the older I get the quicker the years go by.

A new year has often found me melancholic and contemplative.  Some times I have been downright depressed.  I still remember and can still feel the night of new year's day 29(?) years ago.  I had suddenly realized that was the year that our first born would begin school.  I began to grieve 8 months before anything happened.  No wonder I found life difficult at times.  I kept carrying burdens that no one, not even God expected me to carry.

I continue to learn to live by faith, to accept the present, to enjoy the moment.  I continue to believe it is a lifetime process and will experience ups and downs in that process.  I was reminded recently that eternal life is knowing God,  knowing Jesus.  (John 17:3 I think!). Eternal life is qualitative and not quantitative.  Well, I realize that there is eternity sometime, somewhere but sometimes I am less sure of what that means too.  More need for faith I think!

And so I wish you eternal life in the coming year.  That sounds rather weird but somehow I think that is exactly what I want for people, not a head full of knowledge but a "knowing" of God and a "knowing" of what it means to be his child.

New year's day, 2010? I don't really recall one contemplative thought!  We went to see "The Blind Side" which did bring some 'thinking'.  We both enjoyed it and for us, to BOTH enjoy and no one sleeping !!!  it was a good movie.  Not profound but a feel-good story based on true life.  After that, we had a meal at the Keg thanks to a gift certificate from friends and were home by 6!  Yikes, we are getting old.