Sunday, December 9, 2012

an 'unlikely' group of people

A gentleman asked us, the JD Salesman and I if we would lead a 'care group'.  That was 11 years ago.  We really had no idea what we were in for but having spent a year in such a group at Clark and Wanda's house we knew the value of such.

Things have changed, people have come and gone for various reasons but over the last 3 or 4 years the same group has come together every other week for a couple of hours.  There are 2 widows, one who still is raising children on her own. A number of years ago now we grieved as one of our seniors became sick in December and died in March.  Her husband still comes.  Then there is the brilliant retired teacher married to the gentle violinist.  They have been married for over 25 years after their first spouses died.  A single retired counsellor who came back to Alberta to be near family joined us four years ago.  An alcoholic  who has been clean for close to 30 years and his wife round out the group.  Ten. Ten vastly varied backgrounds, personalities, occupations, families, representing six different churches.  Ten people with histories of pain, of being misunderstood, of misunderstanding.

  We are actually an unlikely group who would probably have never 'chosen' each other as friends.  But 'somehow' we have come together, we care about each other, we care for each other.  We come together, read some verses from a book of the Bible and then we sit back, wait, listen, talk, think, share thoughts and after an hour or more we are awed by what God, through the Holy Spirit has shown us.  Sometimes it is a simple thought, sometimes it causes a stir, a change in thinking.  But we learn together, we grow together, we respect each other, we accept each other no matter how differently we might think.

Maybe this is what church is really all about.  Maybe this is 'church'.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I look out the window....

I look out the window and see the snow piled where the flowers were blooming, where the grandkids were running barefoot on a treasure hunt.  I look out the window and see ice on the sidewalk where the rain poured down the spout into a pail that would water the pots of pansies.  I look out the window and see snow covering the last row of potatoes that I did not dig before we went away.   I look out the window and I am thankful for:
-a bag of potatoes that are safe and dry in the garage, enough to last until Christmas
-natural gas that fuels the furnace
-electricity to light the dark evening
-enough $$$$ to pay the gas and electrical bills
-there has been no tornado, earthquake, flood or any other 'natural disaster'
-our house is more than we need, warm and cozy
-the JD Salesman will come home with heart-warming stories
-more than adequate food
-friends who call, Facebook, email and come to care group
-siblings and in-laws who love us
-three 'kids' with amazing spouses and kids of their own
-homes and food for these families
-reliable vehicles to drive on the icy roads
-good roads that are kept relatively clear for driving

Where does the list end?  Does it have an end?  I doubt it.... I don't enjoy cold or winter but today I choose to be thankful for the many, MANY 'gifts' that I have.
I choose to thank God.

Friday, September 14, 2012

more of the journey...

Prayer continues to be a puzzle to me....

It would seem as though prayer has always been a part of life.  I remember the list of names my Dad prayed for each morning, the Bauchs, Fawleys, Malsburys, Carlsons, Friesens all faceless names in unknown countries as far as I was concerned.  That was followed by all of us as a family reciting the "Lord's Prayer" together.  Then there were my own petitions as I knelt beside my bed in that icy upstairs bedroom.  Mostly I remember trying to recall all the bad things I needed to confess.  I had no concept of God's total forgiveness of sin because of Jesus' death.

In the last few years I recall a friend asking if there was power in prayer.  "Of course," I thought, that is what I had heard all my life.   "No," replied Murray.  "The God we pray to has power but our words don't have power."  That set me back to thinking!

I have been told there are certain words I should not use when I pray, that I should pray a 'certain' way. I have been left feeling fearful and guilty about prayer more than once by people who have formulas and patterns that 'work'.  These 'formulas' are encouraged to bring great miracles for all to see.  Truthfully, some of the greatest 'miracles' that I have seen personally are the ones that have happened inside when I pray "help" or "I can't do this. Please do it through me".

So what do I believe now, today....

I believe I have a lot to learn.

There is much talk these days of 'relationship' with God.  It would seem to me that 'relationship' does not follow a 'formula', that each 'relationship' we have with those around us is different.  So I learn to talk to God, learn to listen to God in a way that is unique for 'us'.  I am not saying we can't learn from each other but I am also different from everyone else so I can not relate to God like everyone else.

I have read in the Bible about having faith like a grain of mustard, about telling mulberry bush to be moved into the sea.  I have also been left feeling guilt, not even having faith as tiny as a mustard seed, I mean, come on Karin!!!  Recently when I read that I was honest enough to say (quietly :) ), "that is so ridiculous. Why would I tell a tree to be moved into a sea".  What I 'heard' in my mind was: "Exactly!"  And then a flood of thoughts.... it only takes a tiny bit of faith in a great God to believe in the things that others might think are ridiculous, to act on a belief that I am convinced that God has given me whether others agree or not. (note: I am not saying I should 'do' anything that is illegal or immoral!  Those are not the kinds of 'things' I am talking about and those are not the kinds of things God would ask of me).

And so, I continue to learn to believe that God wants me to tell Him what I want, to believe that He knows what is best and good, to trust Him to sort through what I say, to understand my thoughts.  I continue to pray, though sometimes it is just a jumble of thoughts.  I think that is what a 'relationship' is all about.

I am most happy to be challenged about this, to hear what others have to say.  I think we all learn as we talk and respect each others 'learning'.

Friday, August 31, 2012


A number of years ago I was encouraged to be Facebook member.  Although my 'skills' were (and still are) very limited computer-wise, I was in!  For about a month!  I did not know what all the terminology meant.  I did not know what was 'etiquette'. (is there such?).  I started hearing horror stories regarding privacy invasion.  So, I just quit!

I resisted the encouragements, the scorn of those well-versed in all the ins and outs of Facebook.  I admit to developing a snobbery of my own. "No, I am not on Facebook"probably was said with some satisfaction and weird pride!

Then it dawned on me that I was actually missing out on some local happenings and sometimes events. Good friends recognized my archaic attitudes and would usually phone me but that is hardly fair of me to expect.  I 'lurked' on a family members account but that did not keep me in touch with my community.  I 'heard' of the great photos posted and sometimes would have them forward by friends.

But a couple of weeks ago I relented and tried to set up an account only to find my 'old' account sitting in 'inactive'.  So, there I was, here I am.  On FaceBook......

I am still cautious.  I don't do much posting.  I have become brave enough to add a few comments once in awhile.  But I have discovered some amazing photography, learned of new babies, the health problems of a friend.  I also discovered that I can waste, yes, waste a whole lot of time!  But hopefully I will get a grip, gain some balance, let go of fears and just enjoy the 'good' that is there.

It has taken me goodness knows how many years to become comfortable in the blogging world!  I suspect Facebook will be a way off life for me about the time it becomes obsolete!  

Thursday, August 23, 2012


 Our grandchildren are basically 'city / small- town' kids so there are wonders of country life that are not experienced on a regular basis.
On the last morning of the recent family get-together we did one last Gator exploration of the pasture.  Lo and behold!  A treasure!  A picked-over-by-coyotes carcass of a yearling steer!  It could have been a gold-mine as far as these young'uns were concerned as they loaded the back of the Gators with stinking bones!
All well and good until it came time for the departure for their civilized homes! "You are not taking those with you!"  "But Grandma said I could!"  oops!
The parents relented as a very dry white one was chosen and enclosed in a large garbage bag......

The next young lady's choice was not nearly as dry and the odour was not quite as pleasant!  But the Papa agreed to allow the 'treasure' to travel to the city with the agreement that these would be 'outside toys'.  These were encased in more than one 'odour guard' garbage bag!              

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

of pixies, fairies, leprechauns...

At one time, long ago(!), my most favorist  thing to do was read.  In the midst of all the stories to be read there were some of great imagination.  I don't think I ever truly believed in fairies, pixies or leprechauns but oh, it was such fun to imagine!  I know I imagined and imagined!.  While cutting grass the other morning I came across this toadstool of all toadstools.  A perfect place for pixies, fairies and leprechauns to sing, dance and share the bit of sunshine together............

Thursday, June 28, 2012

water,water everywhere....

It seems long ago since we lived on that farm in the middle of this picture.  I don't recall ever seeing water like this!  There was a down-pour ( I think that is putting it mildly) the other night.  The JD Salesman took a  flight over the countryside yesterday and with his phone, took a few pictures.     
 South of Youngstown is a reservoir, a recreational area, which is over flowing its banks.  I know of one family who was evacuated for fear the dam would not hold.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A tea party (coffee too!)

 pretty cool box for tea!  handmade by the 'man of the home'
yes, there was tea but also coffee...

and food, all kinds of fine food!

dainty sandwiches

plenty of sweets

delicious scones

Thank you, Friend, for the party!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


The JD Salesman was "gifted" with a relic John Deere bicycle in the back of his pickup sometime last winter. (yes, it does say John Deere in obscure printing!).  It sat in our shop, waiting for someone to rescue it, make something useful.  This is what has transpired!  Now the question is will the plants survive the wind and will I remember to water !  Ask me later........

Thursday, May 24, 2012

and last but not least.....

 We have the privilege of having these two live close enough to come and visit once in awhile.

So much for which to be thankful ......

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Anna Magda (Berntsen) Thomsen

October 3, 1908, Anna Magda was born in Silkeborg, Denmark.  At the age of 8 Anna (known as Magda) and her four siblings, the oldest about 10 and the youngest about 2, were left with their father when their mother went to a tuberculosis sanatorium.  Madga's mother died about a year later.  Grandma, who was in her 70's came and helped care for the family until Magda was about 18 when her father re-married.

Sometime in May, 1928 Magda arrived at the train station in Wayne Alberta.  There to meet her with horse and buggy was a man named Karl.  Karl was employed on the farm of Peter and Marie Ostergaard and was also the high school sweetheart of Magda.  When Karl realized that the Ostergaards were looking for a girl to help with the housework, he wrote to Magda and sent her the money to immigrate to Canada.  Soon Magda realized that Karl was not the man she wanted to marry but he was the one who had paid for her to come to Canada, he was her 'sponsor'.  The dear Ostergaard family who had accepted Magda as one of the family paid Karl and took responsibility for her.  Shortly after that they laid Karl off and he vanished from her life!  Well, I understand she and her husband did meet him once years later.

Magda married Hans Thomsen on April 30, 1932.  Her life was anything but easy right from the beginning.  Mind you, life in the 30's was not easy for anyone I don't think!  Magda gave birth to her first child, a son, Eric Jens, in February 1933.  Shortly after that Magda spent 10 months in the TB sanatorium in Calgary.

Magda gave birth to four more children and I am her baby.  Eric was 17 when I was born so raising children stretched over many long years.  She had her first grandchild when her youngest child was 6 years old!

Today, May 22 marks 27 years since Mum died.  For many years she would talk of friends who had cancer and how they suffered.  It seemed to me that she greatly feared that disease.  In January 1985 she was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrigs disease.  Although there may not have been a lot of physical pain the loss of speech, being unable to swallow caused such suffering.  She chose to stay at home and deal with life as it came.

Unlike most victims of ALS, Mum was able to walk and she did just that the evening before she died.  My sister tells of how she walked around the garden whacking at the weeks with her cane, reminding my Dad of what he should be doing!

That day in May I left the Farmer (now JD Salesman) with three young kids and went to visit my parents. Our oldest sister had come from Ontario and the middle sister had come a month earlier from Thailand at Dad's request.  Dad and Chris had gone to the little country church for prayer meeting.  Martha and I sat in the yard, visiting and then prayed, asking God to take our Mum to heaven.  He did.

After the reality had settled in I remember leaving the house and walking into the nearby field where I screamed at God.  I was so angry that my Mum had died.  It was years later that I came to realize how anger us just a part of grieving, it is normal and no, God did not turn away from me, reject me, get angry back!  I know He understood.

Mum loved flowers.  She loved birds.  One of her favourites is the house wren.  The other day when I heard that noisy little bird for the first time this spring I thought of Mum.

I still miss her.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

and three more.....

 Manitoba means two families, six grandchildren, many memories....

the sparkle in these eyes reflects the mischief that is brewing...

energy to spare!  His Dad tells me the soccer shoes are being put to good use!
she faithfully waters the bean plant she has been growing since winter!  Pretty in pink, right?

Friday, May 18, 2012

annual Manitoba visit

 is it really three weeks ago that I took a flight to Manitoba?  oh my! how the time flies....
While I was there I took in the annual dance recital of these three grand daughters.  And yes, I shed some tears of joy and pride.

They all did a great job!

(Lexie is the one on the left of the picture.  She has a "double" who is in her kindergarten class as well as her dance class.  I wasn't the only one who kept getting mixed up!)

Monday, April 23, 2012

ahhhhh spring!

The calendar 'told' us a month ago that spring had arrived but at the end of last week I KNEW it had truly come to be.  The robins have been hanging around for a number of days but when the meadowlark took up his position on a fence post and announced his arrival, when the JD Salesman walked the prairie finding a bouquet of the finest for me, I took a deep breath and knew spring is here!      

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

If you love me.....

"If you love me you will obey what I command." John 14:15

These words have haunted me and left me with a feeling of guilt for so many years.  Have you ever thought of your parents, your friends, your spouse in terms of "If you really loved me you would ______"?  That is how I read this verse and saw it as judgement, a condemnation.  My mind said "You don't love God very much.  You don't obey the commandments, the sermon on the mount, all the 'rules' that seem to apply to Christians."

I have come to see in recent years how frightfully wrong I have been, how I was reading this verse and others like it with a legalistic idea and mindset.

Firstly, I took the word "if" as conditional.  But  love for God is not a measuring stick, a scale to determine how righteous I am.  My love for God is rather puny in comparison with His love.  But I believe that my love, my faith, even if it is the size of a tiny seed comes from God in the first place.  I don't seem to be able to 'muster up' love or faith in my own strength.  Instead of the word "if" maybe "because" explains the verse more clearly.   I am coming to understand the desire, the ability to obey comes because I love God not proof that I love God.

Secondly, I read a translation of the latter part of the verse as:  "follow my teachings."  This was a contrast to what I had believed about the list of do's and don't's with which I had grown up.  I  had actually come to a place twelve or so years ago deciding  there was no way  I could live this 'Christian' life, that I could ever 'be' what I thought people expected from a 'Christian'.  But I was looking at man-made expectations and equating them to God's commandments.

It is so very much a work in process but I am learning (let me emphasis LEARNING) to listen to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, and to obey what I believe God commands, to follow the teachings of Jesus.  When I first thought of 'what I command' as following Jesus' teachings, I also thought, "I can handle that".  Then it hit!  Wait a minute!  I can no more follow Jesus' teachings than I can successfully obey all the 'rules' I once thought I had to keep.  That is why I need a Saviour, why I need the Spirit of God in me to give me the capability to obey.

There is a freedom that comes with looking to God rather than myself or to other people.  Some days seem easier than others: some days, some hours, some minutes.  I guess it is a constant learning process that will only end in heaven some day.

Monday, April 2, 2012

aging process

"Leave behind the chilling thought of wrinkles and the anxiety of an aging-epidermis and instead opt to add an easy-to-apply product..... "  "Discover how a dab of this signature cream makes approaching your exterior wrinkle concerns a simple process..."

This greeted me as I checked my Inbox the other morning.  I had not even looked in the mirror.  I prefer to use the bathroom in the dark first thing in the morning, avoiding  the reflection as I 'take a seat'.  But I am fully aware of the wrinkles and the aging-epidemis.  So I leaned into this advertisement, checking the price of this miracle cream and pondering the wonderful benefits.

Then, wait a minute! What is happening!  What sort of lies am I buying into!  Why should I be chilled at the thought of wrinkles!  What is there about aging epidermis that should give me anxiety!  Give your head a huge shake GRANDMA Karin!  You are in your 6th decade.  There is nothing wrong with aging, with becoming old.  It is natural, a fact of life, reality.

But I realize there is the subtle and sometimes no-so-subtle implication or belief  it is wrong to become old, to accept the changes that come to my body and my mind. I have bought into the belief of beauty belonging only to the young and I should do everything possible to hold on to a 'look', and 'image' that someone, somewhere has decided is perfect.

Today is another day.  I have not totally forgotten the wrinkles and whatever my skin happens to be.  I fret over the middle roll but I am also reminded that it is the inside, the inner me that truly wants change.  My greatest longing is to be at peace within my heart, to rest, genuinely rest in the love of God for me, to trust ALL things working for my good, for the good of family and friends.

Isn't this the heart of Easter?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Three Hills has got talent!

Saturday afternoon my sister, the JD Salesman and I took in the Three Hills Arts Academy's spring musical: "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat".  If you live within driving distance of Three Hills, have any inclination for drama, this is one to see.

I was not surprised at the talent which made up this production.  Three Hills is teeming with such!  But it is so very impressive to see it all come together in one huge undertaking.  Having never been part of something of this magnitude I don't know all that is involved but I do have an inkling.

There are the costumes, the choreography, the directing of this huge group of people.  It is difficult enough to memorize a number of songs with varying 'beats' and range but then to sing them to recorded music?  Add some pretty fancy footwork at a fast pace and one's head must be spinning.

I hesitate to mention particular characters because they ALL did a fantastic job.  Please know that I appreciated all of them!  But I must tell you about a couple of them.

Pharaoh:  I will never walk through the dairy section in the local grocery store, meet Dan who is in charge of said section and be able to resist a grin!  I had not idea the Pharaoh, in this production, had an 'Elvis' flair and Dan fit the role, played the part and has an exceptional voice.  Absolutely delightful!

And then there is Judah..... aka Daryl.  What can I say...... who would have known he has a latent country boy side!  Smashing in his wide-brim hat! Line dancing? I would never have suspected this ability.  Alicia, do you foresee ranching in the future for your family?  All joking aside, he was so delightful and his 'Benjamin Calypso' was brilliant and so well done.

Take note of the 'Baker' who also plays one of the 'brothers'.  Would you guess he, excuse me, she, is also the director of this whole affair?

Thank you to those who are committed to going to all this work for our entertainment.  Thank you to  the families who really do sacrifice to have family members involved in hours of practice and performance.  It was great!

Friday, March 23, 2012


I think I have the link to Danielle's blog corrected!

Sorry about the mis-information.  Remember, I am technically challenged..... but eventually/sometimes I 'get it'!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


July, 1972.  I know, that was a very, very looooong time ago!

I was living with my sister and her family.  Her husband was away on business but they were invited to a wedding.  I 'sort of' knew the couple so Chris asked me to go with her.  That evening a young good looking farm boy invited me to check out Drumheller with him.  Turns out that Farmer is now a JD Salesman.  Interesting......

Back to the wedding.... Clint and Janet were the couple who married that day and through the last 40 years we have been in touch with them off and on.  We visited them in BC at Summerland, Wasa, Kamloops, Merritt.  They pastored churches, supervised a denomination, cared for 3 growing children, elderly parents.  They poured their lives into so many, many people.  They were wounded in so many, many situations.  There was a time I wondered if they would ever recover but last spring it was evident that yes, they were being healed and were back into people's lives, Clint as chaplain in the penitentiary near Kamloops,  Janet busy with adult kids and a 'herd' of beloved grand kids.

Then in January they had a phone call that has turned their world 'upside down and inside out' I believe is the way Janet described it.  Danielle, age 34 ( at the time) mother to 3 little people was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I would encourage you to follow her story.

Danielle is a great writer, incredibly honest.  She and her family are willing to share their story with 'the world' which I so admire and respect.

Be encouraged by her.......

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

weather in Churchill

I can not say that I have ever given the weather in Churchill Manitoba much consideration.  I often check with the Families in the southern part of that province as to what is happening there but Churchill?  Nope!

Until now..... for the next 10 days I will be making regular 'trips' to the internet to find out if it is cloudy or snowing in that northern part of the world.

Here is the reason:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

for the joy of quilting

The first quilting class that I can recall was at the Big Stone community hall. ( yes, there is such a place.  yes, there is a big stone near the hall.  Any of the locals would be happy to show it to you.)  There were probably a dozen or so women gathered with their sewing machines, their stacks of fabric and of course lunch and coffee.  Shelli was our instructor.  Shelli is one of those capable, tackle anything, wise women who to this day still helps to keep places like Big Stone functioning well.  (I think I am off track....)

We put together a sampler wall hanging, trying various styles of blocks from a simple nine-patch to a more detailed dresden plate.  I used this as a table topper in A Prairie Chalet until it faded beyond faded!
I took a class in Hanna at Yesterday's Dream (no longer a store) and made a quillow.  Then Pam Job was offering a class at the local school in Youngstown and I made my first 'major' project, a double sized quilt.  I had no clue what I was doing, I just wanted to learn.  For the first time in the 20 or so years that I had had my Singer sewing machine I learned about the various 'feet' and actually put them to use.  Pam was a patient, encourager and I was actually quite pleased with the result, even the free-motion quilting, if I didn't look too closely.  It covers a bed in the spare room of the basement.

There were more small projects, baby quilts for each grand child, a couple more bigger ones for family and a special friend. Gradually I would learn the lingo and gather tips and information from class instructors, reading magazines and blogs.

When we moved to this great community I was 5 miles from a fabulous quilt shop with more classes and fabric than I could imagine.  I cautiously dipped my toe into the quilting world, would try something and then pull back.  Then a different class would be offered and once again I would try but would keep doing that old 'comparing' my abilities with others.   These women are amazing!  Alice is an artist as well as a quilter!  These are experts and talk a language that I barely understand sometimes.  I am also the daughter of Magda who made quilts only from old coats, leftover scraps of fabric from serviceable projects.  One never bought new fabric to cut up and sew back together into something that was simply for looking at.  So the cost of fabric would haunt me as well.

I have resisted calling myself a quilter. Jo is a quilter.  Trish is a quilter.  I took one of Jo's classes and she was so helpful and  encouraging. But I was/am still intimidated  by her knowledge and wonderful use of colour.  So, I have just told people I enjoying sewing and working at quilting.

A while back I took my machine for servicing and cleaning.  During my conversation with Al  I said how I didn't really call myself a quilter.  He looked at me and said "Have you ever finished a quilt?" My reply, "Well, yes.....".  "Then you are quilter.  Some people say they are quilters but have never finished a quilt."

I know it sounds foolish but that is what it took to allow myself to be called a quilter.

There is something about creating with fabric that is therapeutic for me.  Oh, yes, I get frustrated, I take out stitches, I redo seams, I cringe when I see some of the colours that I have put together or the corners that don't quite line up but I still love it.  I have a fabric 'stash' and if I see a fabric sale I add to the stash.  The JD Salesman never complains or rolls his eyes when I buy more.  And he raves over some projects and at others he just smiles.

I confessed to a friend the other day that I make quilts and don't really know what I will do with some of them, I don't have a 'home' for them yet.  She encouraged me that this IS therapy for me these cold days and even when it isn't cold, so just enjoy it!

I had a stamp made a while back, one that I hoped to make labels for my projects, one that I think describes the pleasure I have in my muddling with fabric and thread.  Now I must learn to make labels.......

 " for the joy of quilting" .

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Phone call

The caller ID said "Private Caller" and because some friends have such, I chose to answer.
"My name is Dorideknsl fanik kd and  akdiril fldldisnalgn windowl a d  f sls skdkff   ....."
( okay, this is not verbatim but the only words I understood were 'my name is' and the word 'window')  Now please understand that I DO recognize the fact that, at this stage in my life, when people speak quickly I don't always get what they are saying.  Add a strong accent and I am whooped!
"Pardon me?"
This time (duh) it connected that it was something to do with Microsoft Windows.  He was not going to try to sell me a window.
At this point I usually say I am not interested and hang up but I seemed to be in a particularly ornery mood so I pursued the conversation.
"I know everything about your computer and need......"
"You don't know anything about my computer."
"Yes I do.  You are Mrs. Arm (long pause) Mrs. Armstrong, right?"
"Yes, but you don't know anything about my computer."
"Yes I do.  I have all the information that is on your computer.  I have the number."
The number.  What 'number' would he be talking about.  Serial number?  Where would I find that?   Hhhhhmmmm
"What is the number on my computer?"
"It is 888 (another long pause)" but that was all I got.
"What kind of computer do I have?"
"It is a Dell."
"Well, I am looking right at it and it is an Apple."
"Pardon me?"
"I have an Apple.  I am looking right at it."
and at that point there seemed to be a problem because he hung up!

Do people really buy into these schemes?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


We have had a relatively mild winter season in this part of the world.  There has been little snow to contend with, fairly mild temperatures making life easy when traveling even to the post office and for groceries.
Then March came! and now we are having some cold, wind and snow.
As I looked out the window this morning my first reaction was to whine.  Whine about the wind, the snow piling in front of the house, in the driveway.  Then reality hit:  we have a warm cozy house.  So many in the US lost their homes last week, others in Calgary and in hundreds of cities on this continent have never had the privilege of a house that belongs to them, have no shelter in this brief winter spell.
As the years pile up the JD Salesman and I realize that it is so easy to become whiny, complaining, seeing the dark-side of the glass half empty.
How I long to live thankfully, to believe that IN all things God works for my good, to accept clouds, dark days, pain, sorrow as well as sunshine and happy times.
So..... if I need to be reminded of that, don't hesitate doing so......

Hey, the sun is peeking through!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The post from yesterday leaves no doubt that the JD Salesman and I left winter in Alberta and took a trip!
What can I say...... it was so, so good! Someone asked me what was the highlight of our 10 days in Mexico. I could say: the warmth, the green, the beautiful flowers, the park-like grounds of the resort, the moonlight walks on the sand, the peaceful hours in the shade by the pool, the hospitable Mexican people who treated us so kindly, the yummy food that I didn't have to prepare, the variety of food to choose from, watching the para-sailor :), meeting our son's in-laws who were at the same resort (Jay commented that nothing happens 'by chance'), sunrise on the beach......
There was so much to enjoy but I would have to say the highlight was spending 24 hours a day for 10 days with the JD Salesman. We laughed, we cried, talked, were quiet together, read, slept, walked, shared meals, drank champagne, and shared bread and wine in the French restaurant remembering Jesus' love for us.
I went through moments of guilt, feeling self-indulgent in all the luxury of the resort. (I don't advise reading a book by Shane Claiborne while on this type of vacation!). Mostly I chose to enjoy every moment and to be thankful for this 'gift'.
And so, when it came time to leave, I cried. I was ready to go home but I wasn't if that makes sense. No, I guess it doesn't make sense but I suspect others will understand.....
One of the really good things about coming home was the JD Salesman still had 5 days before going back to work! And one of those days was spent traveling to visit the Edmonton family and the birthday boy and girl! How sweet it is....
So, yesterday, it was back to work for the Salesman and he was okay with it! Me? well, I will adjust again and plan to get back into the sewing room. So many projects...... (well, in my mind. Who knows what will come of the dreams!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Celebrating 60

the John Deere salesman celebrates his 60th birthday!


and away.........

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

T'was the month after Christmas...

T'was the month after Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring...... except Grandma!

So here we are into the new year. And life is back into a routine of sorts. I am not sure how to best describe Christmas. It would seem to me that it just gets better and better as the years go by. I guess we are establishing some traditions that are just that, traditions. They may not make sense to anyone else but these 'habits' have just become part of how we spend Christmas.

When 16 people spend three and a half days together there are times when the noise level is quite high! Thankfully Grandpa pulled the trampoline into the shop, found the old bike and trike, the scooter. He conscripted help to give the shop a good sweeping/wash down and also built a humongous sand box inside the shop. The seven played for long periods of time in the shop and outside even though there was very little snow with which to create anything! Warmth made it pleasant to be outside.

Parents cooperated even though the clothes were full of sand as well as the hair. I know that more than once these kids endured a vacuuming before being allowed out of the shop! Parents also made meals and helped with clean up every day. We had some great homemade soup, noodles made from scratch with great toppings and the traditional pizza for Christmas Eve supper. Yes, we feasted!

The day that everyone arrived Grandpa took a nasty spill out of the back of the pickup when a strap that he was pulling broke and sent him flying onto the ice beside the truck. Nothing was broken but he is still very sore and it did put a damper on his Christmas.

I saw examples of love and grace within the tribe. I heard 'I'm sorry' more than one time. The one that stood out to me was when the 3 year old came inside and called, "Dad, I broke your snowball maker. I am sorry". The answer: "Did you mean to?" "No". "That's okay". A simple example of God's love. He doesn't rebuke and blame but accepts our regret and pronounces forgiveness and acceptance.

Confession: a good friend told me to wait until after Christmas to clean the house! I listened to her, did a quick vacuum here and there, cleaned the bathrooms (except in our own bathroom) before hand. So, last week I hit the upstairs, then the basement and by Friday night I pronounced it DONE! Okay, the sewing/laundry room will never be 'done' but it feels good to have some corners cleaned out and a bag of goodies for the thrift store!

Now what! The list of things to do is long and time will tell if anything gets accomplished in the month of January.

Happy new year everyone!