Thursday, March 31, 2011

Historical paper dolls - Natives & Viking

Here are a few more of our historical paper dolls, those featured in our early native and early explorer's group. I'll feature a few each week as we press on with more of our fun paper crafting history lesson reviews.

Below is a Native Inuit;

The first Native Indian Christopher Columbus encountered;

And, another famous Viking; Leif the Lucky...

 Stay tuned for more...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy 85th Birthday!

Sending special birthday greetings, 
love and hugs to my husband's mother today.

Happy 85th Birthday Mom!

We love you! 

Friday, March 25, 2011

12 / 52 weeks

52 weeks of daily life in pictures: trials and celebrations,
the extraordinary and mundane -- 

whatever is unique to the week. 

Join me if you like.

:: Week one out in the big world of career schooling is now complete for this son. My husband and I have been almost giddy with jovial moments, very much enjoying each day's progress, impulsively giving one another high-fives, pleased to proclaim - this week our son became a "man". Child number five is now being launched into the reality of life.

Rising at 5am, he tends to his morning routine and the dogs, then he accompanies his father out the door before 6am at the latest. It worked out perfect for him to be able to carpool, as the classes just happened to be held not only in the same geographical location at my husband's office, but also in the same building. He'll be traveling on his own soon to other locations and will need to drive himself along crazy multi-laned highways and big cities, but for now, all is working out just fine, complete with plenty of proper mentoring from all angles.

Together, the two of them hit the road, and then once arriving, he must wait almost an hour until his formal classroom time begins, preferring to study alone in the hallway to better prepare himself for his daily exams ahead. His place within the class of 15 remaining candidates is intense and requires focus. He is the second youngest among an age span of men up to their late forties. At the end of the day's session, he eats dinner followed by more studying hours and a helpful fatherly review period before dad hits his own pillow.  And then the cycle continues all over again the following day. 

It's been quite exciting to hear the results of each day when he arrives home. He's been very cheery, elated by results of Friday's exam of 100%. Now that this opportunity has sunk in, as per usual, the pressure is on for he knows he must have results on each day/week exam of 92% or higher to remain for one more week, like a reality show, only the stakes are higher. 

Out for an introduction in the field by day two, steel toed boots were required. Always a young man to dare label anyone wearing such boots a "redneck", he wasn't at all sure he'd like them himself, but became pleasantly surprised to find them very comfortable. He's hanging out in the man's world now, and our son is his own self professed "redneck" as he has formally joined the league of using mandatory protective gear (safety vest, safety eye glasses, hat) and steel toed boots.

:: Lent and rice just seem to go together. How to make a mama happy? Tidy up the pantry, refill all the special containers holding the bulk baking and other items, and then come to realize just how much brown rice I have stored in there. 

Rice, rice and more rice will be on the menu for the duration of lent. A favorite is chopping up plenty of celery, onion (any kinds, the more the merrier), garlic, spinach, leftover veggies, whatever and cook until al dente in a frying pan. I mostly steam lightly with a little water to save calories on the fats and when the rice is cooked, I dump it all in the pan with the veggies, stir and serve. We mustn't forget the soy sauce though, love that. 

:: Good nutrition begins with proper selection of fruits and vegetables. This week I took out the fancy high tea three tiered stand, and I decided it would be perfect to place on the counter, adding height to the center of it, and allow for a display of fresh fruit to be in better eyesight. 

It's been a complete temptation and so much more fruit has been consumed around here just for this minor effort of adding a new display to the room. 

(Thank you mom for gifting me with this many years ago now, repurposed for nutritional gain in our family)

:: We've revisited our paper doll making efforts by bringing out our collection of historical timeline figures used for our history lessons on early explorers. 

We've gathered quite a lovely collection of paper doll ideas through the years; scrapbooking with unique ones made to go along with events of photos, the twelve apostles, and more. It's so fun to make them! And, I cannot believe we haven't been doing more of these the past months, as they allow for so much creativity amongst us with this lovely little hobby of paper crafting fun. 

These two are obviously Vikings, but can you tell me "which" historical ones they are? (answer is at the end of this blog post) 

We're into "Canadiana" historical paper doll making now and will feature them along the way as they are completed. Meanwhile, I have a few more to share with you in the weeks to come from our early explorer collection.

:: It's been an interesting week of school, and somehow the sun drew everyone into this room during this time of day for sunshine and an increase in Vitamin D exposure. :) 

THIS is what homeschooling is all about folks, it's all about a lifestyle of learning, which instinctively occurs and happens wherever, however, and whenever, much to the comfort of everyone present. This was such a natural setting for a time, and then it was time to head back to the table again.

:: There's something about living in Ontario that I find unusual. Most of the people we meet here do not appreciate eating fish! Oh sure, their favorites are tilapia and sole, two of the most bland and flavorless fish around. Most have no interest in trying "real fish" - REAL fish (smiling), those of ocean fish like salmon and tuna. Lucky for me though, but sad that it has to be that way, most often grocery stores have to purge their stocks for lack of sales, and happily instead, they seem to end up in my pantry!

Last week, all these cans were purchased "for a song", ridiculous pricing that would send any fish lover or westcoaster running to their grocery store once news of the sale was whispered in their ear. And at the end of the day, every westcoaster planted in Ontario is left to boast of the unbelievable winning results of their shopping day. Yep, folks, crazy deals await those who love their REAL fish, which is just perfect timing for adding into our lenten meals.
:: This friend of our older ones, better friend to our daughter at present (smile), rose to the challenge this week when this mother gave him credit for sharing his vehicle with his father for work purposes when his own broke down and landed in the mechanic shop. Both these kids had a day off work (unusual for them) and wanted to "hang out" together, so I suggested without wheels nothing would be possible, and (big meany that I was that day with many serious commitments this week), I wasn't playing taxi for them because I would be busy teaching the younguns. 

So, I challenged him to come up with a solution to spend the afternoon with our daughter, all good fun of course. It all sounded good for him to take up my challenge, except the weather has to be conducive to this type of outing. Imagine really pulling this off by using the last bit of gasoline available in their snow blower jerry can, and actually showing up with a big smile on his face when he saw me looking totally amazed at his arrival in our driveway. 

A bit of a safety freak, I was pleased he was too, happy to know our daughter was in good hands and would have a blast this day on the trails surrounding our area. 

:: It happened! The price at the gas pumps hit an all time high in the east of 1.20 / liter. That doesn't sound like much if you're paying per gallon, but in Canada, we pay per liter. Here's why this seems so ridiculous to me. Just under five years ago, we were only paying 69.9/liter at the pumps, almost doubled from then to now. Crazy! 

I snapped the photo in secret above of my hubby at the pump, after offering to gas up because it wasn't so bitter cold out this day. In fact, it has been fairly mild for most of the week until the chill returned two days ago. Our kids liked this photo too, but they said it looks as though I was "creeping" on him, the teen saying of the year no doubt.

:: A bit of laughter can make any day brighter, specially this day shortly before having the blood oxygen gas testing performed by this RT inserting a needle in his wrist. I happened to catch this shot with my iphone camera, and I''m really fond of it for what it represents; always looking at the bright side when everything seems overwhelming. Smile everyone! It brings about a great outlook on life itself. 

Other things of interest this week;

 :: After much denial, I headed to my optometrist appointment, knowing full well I was going blind, at least my reading glasses were in dire need of a new prescription. The writing was just getting too small for my sight, and I was beginning to squint using funny nose muscles. New glasses are on order. 

:: The sun has been glorious and so very welcomed all week long! In a fit of impulse, I filled my bucket with hot water and a generous splash of vinegar, grabbed my window washing tools and began cleaning, one window at a time. I can't believe the results, all are now so sparkly clean, unless one looks too closely to note the outside window panes are also in need of cleaning. Nevertheless, bring on spring and allow it to knock the socks off us through our window viewing. 

:: After this week's chiropractic visit, I now feel as though my lower back has more mobility and is less in need of a lube and oil. Those joints were feeling mighty creaky this past few weeks, specially now that this ole body of mine is back into circuit training at Curves. 

I might also add, I became deeply humbled after accepting an invitation to go early morning "mall walking" with a group of older women from my Newcomers group. When I say early morning, I mean EARLY. I felt shame later on, as I had been guilty of judging them by their age, thinking them a slower moving bunch (they looked it all the times I've seen them) and also thinking a lovely light stroll socializing with this group of women would be just what the doctor ordered to distract my week. 

No one warned me! No one told me they are "power walkers", you know, the ones with their elbows flying up to their ears, soaring through hallways and byways of the largest indoor mall around these parts. Oh and no one told me they were all avid cross country skiers all winter long, hikers in fair weather, and not just a bunch of 60 and 70 something older women attempting to keep in shape! Yes, no one warned me I would feel such a dire need to shape up after just one hour's "slow" mall walk with them. No wonder they all gather for a coffee together  before leaving to get on with their day afterward. 

I really enjoyed that coffee, continually wiping my sweaty brow the entire time I sat sipping it, catching my breath and really marveling over this "humbling" outing. I've been out twice now, but recently been informed since it's warming up a bit more, they are heading outdoors but wish to begin before the sun rises.Did I mention they were power walkers AND hikers? I think I've found my very own group of "Jillians" folks! :)

Moral of the story; Never judge a woman by her age or her looks!  (LOL)

Last but never least...

:: My hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed our date night last night. 

We were able to get out alone for a much needed reprieve from a tough week, and use another "Wagjag" coupon to try out a new sushi place, agreeing it the best one to date. Not feeling a hurry to return home, we took our time, and eventually headed home somewhere around 10pm. While traveling along the main highway, a red light blinked on the dashboard and a noisy siren sound came from the vehicle. We had no idea what was happening. 

In the glare of the red lighting, there was a typed message signalling what the problem was. My husband couldn't read it without his glasses, I couldn't see it from the passenger side. As suddenly as it appeared and alerted us, all the electrical ceased, lights out too, all while traveling in the center lane. Luckily a turn off was ahead, and luckily the highway wasn't as busy as usual, so we were safe to move over and take that turn before stopping the vehicle on the roadside. 

Thankful for the safe experience, we soon realized the noise was an indication that the alternator was blown. Instead of happening anywhere else, it happened here. We were safe. All was okay. 

I placed the call to AAA for a tow truck, called our son to come help drive us home once the vehicle was delivered to our mechanic's location for the night, and then it hit me! It was COLD and the operator claimed it could take up to 45 minutes for the truck to arrive. That might be nothing to most folks. I knew by the end of that timing I would be frozen but fine, but having respiratory issues,  my hubby would  not be able to handle the frigid temperatures which were continuing to plummet to -15C through the night. Before completing the conversation with the AAA operator, I thought to ask the woman to place a rush on the tow truck and explained why, which was a great thing for me to do after realizing how quick my thinking kicked into place.

Once the truck arrived, my husband was able to hop into it to keep warm inside. Our son arrived to pick me up for travel to meet the tow at the mechanic shop, pick up hubby and continue on working our way home. Like a guardian angel watching over us, the tow truck operator saw how small our son's truck was and informed us to just go ahead, he would take my hubby home instead when he was finished with the vehicle. And he sure kept my hubby safe and warm inside the truck, never allowing him to get out and assist in any way.

Luckily, there ended up being no fallout from all things possible or emergent in that unexpected scenario. Whew...

There were two solid reminders to us after this experience; 

  • 1) - I love our CAA (AAA) membership so much whenever something like this happens to us, always a lifesaver and well worth every penny of it's yearly fee, especially when towing is involved! And when we've encountered service beyond the call of duty, I am sure to type up a special thank you note to their manager, thanking them for hiring the cream of the crop, mentioning all the extra little bits that never went unnoticed or unappreciated. This guy is getting a letter sent off on his behalf...for sure. 
  • 2) - From now on, we are upping the safety mode in our vehicles even higher than they already are, but after last night, absolutely thinking outside of the box now for my hubby. This is one rare time he never had his grip bag of arctic clothing in the vehicle, and his jacket had been warm enough earlier in the day, but not while waiting for the truck. I'll be placing the gear back in there, a blanket, an emergency foil blanket, thermal socks, and other such things to assist with possible future scenarios. In summer, we will switch up modes, to assure if something happened while on the road in high humidity, we will be required to have items in the vehicle to assist with those weather conditions. And he absolutely must carry medication on himself at all times.

One never stops falling into a learning curve, and I am very thankful for ours and that it didn't have far greater dangers for breathing issues in the chill of the night. SO GRATEFUL for how the night ended, near midnight once all was complete and final.

Head on over to Barbara's to check out the invitation to join the;
52 week photography link-up party.

Answers to the historical names of the Viking paper dolls are; 
** Eric the Red, and Gudrid the Viking woman

When our Lenten journey intensifies...

It's coming up to week three of the Lenten season, and I've been pondering how uncanny it is that the myriad of intensified medical everything for my hubby, always - just happens (!) to fall in early Lent.

Is the timing a blessing (try to suck it up - after all it's Lent), or a possible reminder of the cross?

It is one of those times when the calendar does not fail to remind us of the fragility of LIFE in itself, and of the undesired but ordained cross many have no alternative than to carry theirs all year long. 

It is a time when deep scarring emotion often tends to resurface, a reflection of another time when our Lord suffered hardships all the way to Calvary. 

The season of lent for some unusual reason, always seems to be a more intense time when I feel my soul droop a few notches, and my heart tends to yearn for a few more heartbeats of added strength. My mind is ravenous with reminder whispers and then that is when I want to beg for an understanding, a purity of sincere wisdom to answer the never ending natural question of;

"How come Lord? How come?"

I want to know how come for so many things, something personally would be why we are constantly attacked emotionally and spiritually by well meaning folks who haunt our days with their well intended litanies of big pharma and medical virtues and moralities, the shoulds and the should nots, the rules and the legalism, the judgements so quickly rendered and passed by even verbally opinionated strangers - when all we want is to "attempt" is get on with life and try to cope with a rare diagnosis and a crappy prognosis gifted many years ago now on our journey forward as a married couple. So very much of it is "emotion without substance"!

This is when we also seem to hear the returned sweetest of whispers of; "Why not you?", and we as mere mortals, we can only try to understand just what that is supposed to mean.

It is during intensive medical weeks such as this present one when the darnedest things manage to suddenly appear, and the strangest timing quickly squeezes us into a paralyzing stronghold, in the attempt to suck the life right out of our precious days in lent. 

And it is here we are reminded that ...we're ONLY heading in to week 3!

I know that all one can really continue to do is to pray and offer everything up. And we do. And we try to rise above for continued "pay it forward" reaching out to others who are in the same type of medical position, to encourage folks forward in their own tough prognosis', to maintain positive attitudes, to use our time wisely and to always remember gratitude trumps the toughest of days. 

Yes, gratitude! 

It is the strangest thing though because even though I am a super positive person at the toughest of times, and know that for me personally, it is a natural action to accelerate the ushering in of a grateful spirit as my best defense during hard times, it is in weeks like this one in lent when I often find myself instinctively praying harder, in prayer longer, purposely and repeatedly begging our Lord to please hold my hubby's hand, please hold my hand, keep us strong in the face of the surreal moments, and please allow us to walk this road to Calvary with you, honored to do so through our own struggles. Help us to keep our chins up high, to be willing and able to offer up everything for the good of our prayer intentions, and not even daring to miss such a single opportunity to do so. 

Especially during this present Lenten season! 

In all the gentle reminders this week on the topic of the absolute fragility of life, tears wanted to spill over yesterday while sitting in the Pulmonary Function area's waiting room when noticing the petite, young, long-blond-haired teenage girl in my midst, struggling to breathe, after returning from her pulmonary tests, and then observing as her father and mother expressed their deepest love for her, assisting with her every movement and the handling of her bulky heavy oxygen tank. 

Around me, I saw nothing but reminders of poor suffering souls, ultimately and automatically thanking my Lord and my God for all that is good in our lives, no matter what the road ahead may offer to us as a couple, and as a family. 

Like a light bulb dawning moment, I realized this is where we also belonged, right here in this same waiting room like the rest there at that moment. For like them, we too are God's children and he has most definitely created us for a purpose, one we may not know intimate details of for now, but trusting that there is a greater plan than we can even imagine, once all is revealed to us in the future. 

Jesus, I trust in Thee! 

It was also while sitting and taking my place in that same waiting room when I began to feel my strength growing weak, and became in the rare position where I had to fend off a bit of despair. Mostly, I began to pray as I always do to pass the anxious time of awaiting the return of my hubby from his exhausting tests. My prayer was specific and intentional. I prayed for something good, something to offer a bit of hope, anything really as a sign all would be okay for now. That was it. Nothing grand or extreme, just a simple sign of something hopeful. Usually I don't ask for anything, but this day more than any other day, for some reason I just really desired to throw out this selfish request. 

When my hubby returned to me, silently I picked up my things and in sync as usual, we both began to walk as we normally do, towards the elevators for the descent to the cafeteria floor for lunch, having a bite to eat, and waiting until the next appointment time with his surgeon. 

Once down the hallway a bit from the waiting room, he turned to me and announced for some reason he was able to do a bit better in his "six minute walking pulmonary test" than the last time, claiming this small unusual victory to himself, and yet I knew, while stunned, it was an answer to prayer for me. 

Not wanting to appear overconfident or anything (wink), naturally I couldn't hold back and broke out in one great big grin, nodding my head graciously when understanding the message, and then I proceeded to have one grateful wee personal chat with God, that I would take that as the sign to the prayer request I had uttered earlier.

"I'll take it Lord, yes, I'll take that"...

Unbeknown to my husband, I began to share with him what I had struggled with while spending time in the waiting room and the sign I felt I had just been blessed with through his words. Surprised, I caught myself almost beginning to cry as we continued to walk along, finding it a tough thing to fully digest and verbalize at that second. It was super emotional for me, a happy teary moment which very obviously rose up from the deepest depths of my anxious heart's tender timing. Shucks, even if I had spilled a few tears over the brim of my eyes downward over the contour of my cheeks, I cannot express how truly cherished, relieved and blessed I felt at that moment.  

Onward ho. 

All would be fine this least I had hoped and felt confident about that.

I wondered why I felt that sting of hurt yet again when having to sit in the transplant waiting room, after making our way up from the cafeteria to the twelfth floor for the surgeon appointment. 

I tried to be jolly while joking around about the how ridiculous it was to have so many dusty fake plants decorating the waiting room when many respiralogy cases were awaiting their appointments and dust is their enemy. 

No tears, only smiles began to visit when realizing we were wrapped in the love and prayers of my dear ones all across the country by now, but admittedly, a few wet heart lurched threatening tears surfaced one time when noticing the young teenage girl again with her parents on that same transplant wing as us, knowing what that meant for her to be there. She had cystic fibrosis and was in the transplant area, such a young life and suffering soul. Here was this young beautiful girl, bubbly and perky after she had endured a grueling pulmonary function testing that my hubby told me about because they were in the same room together performing their tests, and he said she really struggled with hers.

My soul cried out in my weakest moments because my hubby and I;

Unfortunately we needed to be there, and it has been a long road of trying to feel this is anything but a new "normal" for us, but now this is it, as good as it gets, our new normal for sure. Truth is, it usually feels just fine. 

Funny thing though, the breadth and depth of it somehow always seems to intensify during lent.

I have no trouble ever believing there is in place already a greater plan for us, which is why I can so quickly continue to rise up from any emotional ashes, from the depths of despair when times such as yesterday leave me experiencing that unexpected momentary weakness. Thankfully it never lasts long, and it is still easy to smile, still second nature to find joy and laugh, and to move onward.

I am thankful the tears welling up in my eyes didn't overflow, even though a good cry may have actually made me feel so much better. 

I am thankful I managed to get a grip and try to be as strong as I was hoping for, not for anything in particular, just for everything in general.

I guess others knew I would need a tougher fortress wrapped around me, a stronghold because it was a surprise when the surgeon wasn't pleased when my husband mentioned what a great time we had snowmobiling. That was a bit upsetting, but how did we know not to? Okay, we both felt a little chastised, then assured him all was great and well that day, and have zip zero regrets for having done that as a family. Nope, not at all.

It seems we continue to be uninformed in the ways of the dos and don'ts...but then, all came to pass once more when we left the examination room with another appointment card in hand to repeat all of this down the road in a few months, and the surgeon's words kept ringing in our ears; 

"I still don't understand the nature of your disease or why you continue to experience severe and traumatic breathing episodes."  

Confidence never seems to rise to an all time high after hearing such statements, grateful for the honesty though as the journey continues, always attempting to just keep on managing and coping, while living with a respiratory disease so rare, there is little in medical literature or journals for even the most well revered surgeon in all of North America (!), so he could (if only) offer his patient more wisdom for solving the traumatic fallout from sudden respiratory difficulties. 

For this very reason, the medical puzzle is never fully able to become resolved, resulting in frustration to everyone surrounded by, and in the loop of this unusual diagnosis. (And, that my friends is one thing that I know for sure!)

Interesting readings from "In Conversation";

** ...while we carry out as perfectly as we can (with all our mistakes and limitations) the tasks allotted to us by our situation and duties, our soul longs to escape. It is drawn towards God like iron drawn by a magnet. One begins to love Jesus in a more effective way, with the sweet and gentle surprise of his encounter. 
 ~ J. Escriva, Friends of God, 296

**...there is no suffering, however cruel or violent it may be, which is not made bearable or even reduced to nothing by love..
 ~ St. Augustine, Sermon 70

...Cheerfulness, maintained even in the midst of difficulties, is the clearest sign that the love of God informs all our actions.

**...he who loves either does not feel the difficulty or he loves the very difficulty itself.. The works of those who love are never distressing.
 ~ St. Augustine, De bono viduitatis, 21, 26

Happy Weekending Everyone! 

May you be blessed with abundant graces during lent, always with a joyful heart, many moments to break out in beautiful smiles, special loved ones to hug and hold, a few cleansing tears if necessary, and an abundance of gratitude for all things given unto you.

We're headed outdoors today as the sun shines its brightest rays in several brilliant shades of golden hues. Perhaps we will walk up the road in the hunt of a very large porcupine who made its way along our road last night and had all the neighbors peering from their windows, or stepping on onto the roadway to capture the moment. How exciting that was!  How big he was as he waddled about! 


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

11 / 52 weeks

A little late to the plate, but it's here...

52 weeks of daily life in pictures: trials and celebrations,
the extraordinary and mundane -- 

whatever is unique to the week. 

Join me if you like.

** Ahhhhh, it's always so good to sit across from my hubby and watch him delight in another one of his kitchen foodie creations! His skills continue to grow in MY kitchen. (grinning) Here he is attempting to peel a frozen banana. :)

Conversing while dinner is being prepared, is a good thing for a married couple.

** It's only been 16 years since this "rainy day portrait" was sketched of us in charcoal. This was one thing I was able to recover from the archives of my scrapbooking shelves while the big room switch happened, the very portrait that meant the world to us, and yet, it was rolled up and just resting there.....still! No more! 

Everything has a story, that I know for sure. The story on this sketch of us as a couple occurred during our "honeymoon", eighteen years after standing on the altar. Yes, with six children at home, my husband gave me a present to remember, time away from his busy work schedule, a whole THREE days you know (wink) that would include travel to and from Hawaii in that time frame, to the beautiful island of Maui. 

I'm not sure which initial shock was more difficult to overcome; having a ticket for two in my hand as a lovely surprise, or knowing all we would have was three days in total. It rained the second day after arriving, and instead of being a real lousy moment, we were surprised the hotel we were staying at offered all of their patrons activities to make up for the weather. Not only did we have a bubbly and interesting artist sketch us together, we had a photographer snap us together, and then I was able to make my very own fresh floral lei to wear, for one more HALF day before returning home again. 

Word to the wise, always hit Hawaii for a longer period of time. 

** And the Pony Pals Club were at it again, this time crafting up an array of photo frames to hold their personal portraits inside of horse riding. I think the painting below summarizes these horse crazy gals' idea of fun...

St. Patrick's Day

** It was good to FEAST during LENT, oh yes it really was. St. Patrick's day somehow this year became a warm sentiment, and not just for acknowledging St. Patrick, which of course is also dear to my heart. 

It was a pivotal moment for me personally, remembering it was only four years ago on March 17th, when we flew to the west coast to reunite with our children and grandchildren, and to also celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary with the gift of family and friends, all present for one most memorable evening to remember.

There were so many things to bring some emotion to my day, such happy memories to be blessed with so many wonderful people in our lives. 

 Thank you everyone for making this special time for us.

How great it was to review our album of events from that timing, and to see once more - so many beautiful faces. I pray for those we've lost since then, timely to be able to celebrate life and love with them near for such an occasion for sure. 


** It was quite a surprise to find my memory card full and battery dead on my camera. And then, once recharged, I found things like this awaiting me, like sunshine on a summer's day! 

There they were, two happy girls, one wearing a beret, the other a 1980's ponytail. Sweetie pies both!

** Lent; A time for comfort foods, simple soups and less bulk.

** I know the preference is to grind the coffee beans fresh for every new pot, however with children preparing the coffee pot for dad's morning departure, it only makes sense to have someone grind an entire container when necessary instead. It's so much more convenient too to have it already ground at 5am when someone forgets to get dad's coffee ready.)

** An upload, a coffee, and a mommy moment loading photos onto flickr. 

** Hair cuts were in order for two of our younger children. But this one only wanted a trim because she's still growing her hair long, so one day when it reaches the maximum length possible, it will all be cut off for cancer wig making. 

** Still thrilled about our snowmobiling experience in Ontario's winter wonderland, loaded all the photos and video clips up and now working to get on with the video production - to come.

Head on over to Barbara's to check out the invitation to join the 52 week photography link-up party.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring is Here!

Or is it? 

I took a walk while wearing my husband's tall Arctic thermal boots yesterday afternoon, and made my way into the back of our boreal forest property, the scene shown above. 

The snow was icy. I never sunk walking over it through the property, not once. Still crisp and very crunchy, I felt like I was walking on an ice pack, and I suppose I was. 

Yesterday was the first day of spring on my calendar. How about yours? 

When viewing and experiencing our property scene, capturing with my trusty camera photos as it appears, I really have to wonder where spring is. 

As I filled a few bird feeders and set them up to invite the birds of spring back again, suddenly a chorus of bird song erupted, and it wasn't the usual woodpecker, crow and raven only noises of late. Oh no! There were many lilting and heavenly birdie songs in the trees, though for some reason I wasn't able to spot one single bird anywhere! They were here though. Yes, they were! 

And then, just as I headed back up to the house, I was blessed by this gift below. 

Buds appeared before me, a sign spring is indeed beginning to draw near.

Happy Spring Everyone!

Funniest thing ever - it snowed last night and there is a dusting of feathery light snow everywhere, especially on rooftops. The snowplow just drove by, I guess he was checking out the roads.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Second Sunday in Lent

For sure, we can take solace in the readings for tomorrow using;
"In Conversation with God; Lenten readings" by; Francis Fernandez

"Often foster the Hope of Heaven,
especially in difficult moments."
"...St. Bede, commenting on today's passage of the Gospel says that Our Lord, in a loving concession allowed Peter, James and John to enjoy for a very short time the contemplation of the happiness that lasts forever, so as to enable them to bear adversity with greater fortitude. 
Man's existence is a journey towards Heaven, our dwelling place. It is a journey which is, at times, harsh and laborious because we often have to go against many enemies both inside an outside of ourselves. But God wants to strengthen us with the hope of Heaven, in a special way at the more difficult moments or when the weakness of our condition makes itself more felt. 
At the time of temptation think of the love that awaits you in heaven: foster the virtue of hope - this is not a lack of generosity. There, all is repose, joy and delight; all serenity and calm, all peace, splendor and light. It is not a light such as we enjoy now, and which, compared with that light is no more than a lamp placed beside the sun... For there is no night, or twilight, heat or cold, or any change in one's being, but a state which as can be understood only by those who are worthy to possess it. There, there is no old age, or sickness, or anything allied to corruption because it is the place and home of immortal glory..."

 "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man those things that God has prepared for those who love him."
~ 1 Corinthians 2:9

... In our home, a whole host of biyearly medical appointments for my husband used to be the norm, now they are required quarterly. 

Over the course of two weeks, three appointments of huge importance are necessary;

  • A visit to the physiotherapy respiralogist for another medical pulmonary assessment, likely finding out when the next resp. bootcamp will be for my hubby to attend. 
  • A visit to the surgeon in the big city for more considerations and assessment into my hubby's ever changing medical condition. 
  • Results of a blood gas oxygen test (think needle into wrist moving through delicate small bones working its way not to a vein, but to a main artery, all while trying not to hit a nerve!) last Friday are being used as medical data to determine where to go with the beginnings of oxygen therapy, mostly nocturnal usage for now, but also a small tank for usage to and from the morning work commute. If athletes have discovered the benefits of using hyperbaric chamber oxygen usage, completely appealing for cell rejuvenation, then this is only all good and wonderful for my hubby too. 

Next month there are more appointments, one at the respiralogist in charge of my hubby's case, and one for the local medical Internist who is the go between doctor from here to the big city in case of anything emergent, optometrist appointment for checking eyes for diagnosis of the initial damage from BAD pharmaceutical drugs, and the usual continued biweekly resp. physiotherapy in between them all. 

Each person's lent is obviously very unique unto themselves, a deep and personal spiritual reflection to be sure, a liturgical season whereby one can observe all forty days from the second we rise up in the morning, until we lay down again by nightfall.

Lent is also a time to often take precious moments to reflect and remember our loved ones and special friends both near and far, those who don't only live their lent during each designated liturgical year season, for they may be in the position where they must walk a very long and difficult road, one requiring full concentration rising from the depths of their being, to gainfully acquire more fortitude in their daily sufferings ... to keep shuffling along one baby step at a time, every single day, all year long. For them, lent never ends....

God Bless You! 

Have a wonderful weekend, make every moment count!