Friday, August 16, 2019

Friday's Fave Five #546

1.  Emergency Meeting.   But not the kind you suppose.  It actually goes back to last week but I had forgotten all about it.  But I just have to list it as a fave because it's so neat.   Turns out my daughter is not just a "twin" but a "triplet".  Let me explain.   When we took Tamara to emergency last week to check the ankle injury we got a nice surprise.  After we passed the triage desk and moved into the wait area the girl who had been behind us in line came over to us.  She apologized for overhearing a few things one of which was my daughter's birthdate.  When she heard it she just had to come over.  My daughter was born Christmas Day, 1994.  Well turns out so was this girl!  So she came to ask what hospital.  Turns out it was the same one as us.  What an amazing coincidence.  To meet someone born on Christmas is rare.  To meet someone born that day and the same year is even rarer.  But to meet another baby grown up and quite by chance that shared your hospital corridor, well that's just on another level, especially when apparently there was only 3 babies born that day.    I was so happy she had come over and said something.  The lovely lady who was my roommate also had a Christmas Day baby and we have kept touch all these years.  The girls grew up celebrating their birthdays together for many, many years until they moved to China to be missionaries and they always called themselves "twins".  So now it was fun to find out they were "triplets".  It was a lovely coincidence to brighten up where we actually were.

2.  New Mani.  I have to say I feel thoroughly spoiled and hope the day does not come soon when Tamara will no longer be doing esthetician work.  This past year I've actually had nice nails when normally they are not so nice  horrible.  I will enjoy them while I can.  Thanks Tamara!  I'll put up a picture when my mail server decides to quit messing with me.

3.  Fresh seasonal produce.  The fresh peppers are in from B.C. and we have been enjoying them.  We make a Hungarian dish called lesco, a pepper stew, and it calls for mild yellow Hungarian peppers.  This is the basic recipe.  We also add sliced Kolbassa or Ukrainian sausage and a hot Hungarian pepper.  Yes, it can be made from regular sweet bell peppers too but it's just not the same.  Depending on the region of Hungary that your heritage is from some add an egg stirred in at the end of cooking too.  We serve it with rice or just yummy fresh bread for dipping.

We also enjoyed Taber corn this week.  It was especially tasty knowing that it was our first and last tasting of the season.  Just into it's second week of the season the farms were hard hit with a wicked storm that saw Hurricane force wind and hail level the crops.  I don't know what it is about Taber corn but it's amazing and makes it the corn capital of Canada.

4.  Back into the reading groove.  I don't know why but this year my favorite hobby has been in a bit of a slump.  I'm reading much less and much slower than is normal for me.  But it seems over the last couple of months I've started to get my mojo back and have been devouring books once again.  Maybe I just needed to have a good run with some great books to get me going again.

5.  Anti-biotics.  No I don't like to take them for every little thing and we are very careful to take them only as instructed and for the length of time we are instructed but I am thankful for them when we do need them to get rid on a infection.

What are the things you are most grateful for this week?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Thing We Keep by Sally Hepworth ~ Book Review

Anna Forster is only 38 years old when she notices signs of forgetfulness occurring way too often in her life.  Watching her mom suffer through the same diagnosis she knows what's coming.  Soon she quits her beloved career as a paramedic not wanting the forgetfulness to manifest itself in an emergency.  But when her sweet nephew is injured as a result of a lapse in her memory, Anna gives in to her brother and allows him to take her to an assisted living facility called Rosiland House.  With only a dozen residents, it's more home like than institutional, but at her age it's still hard thinking she will be living with all seniors.  But when she gets there she meets another person her own age also with early onset dementia.  In an impossible future, the two find friendship and love...much to the dismay of her family.  As her brother fights to keep them apart, Anna finds empathy with the new cook and cleaner hired by the home.  Eve Bennett has taken the less than ideal job at the Rosiland House putting her chef's career on hold so that she can keep her daughter in the school where she has found friends.  Recently widowed and betrayed Eve is moved by the relationship that Luke and Anna share.  But she must decide if her job is worth the risk of helping them keep their relationship.

This story is very different from the well known "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova but in it's own way is also a very insightful and touching look into early onset Alzheimer's.  While those of us who have never lived through a loved one diagnosed with this horrible disease and will never really know exactly what the heartbreak is like, this story gave us another layer of it that Still Alice started.  It takes a peek into life inside an assisted living facility and explores  the emotional bonds that young sufferers might face and how they and their families and caretakers cope.  It also explores the implications, pros and cons of decisions made by facilities and family and the loss of control of one's own life.   It's a bittersweet love story that is eye-opening and made me think what I would have done in both the family's and the cook's viewpoint.

I gave it an 8.5/10

Friday, August 09, 2019

Friday's Fave Five #545

Welcome to a hot and toasty Friday's Fave Five.  Won't you join us as we find blessings in our everydays from the last week and share five of our favorites?   It's not a competition, it's not to compare.  It's an exercise in intentionally being aware of the good things in our lives, those gifts from God whether they be big or small, obvious or a little more hidden and an exercise in becoming grateful for what we have been given.  Guidelines are linked in the sidebar if you are new.

1.  Fresh tomatoes.  The fresh tomatoes have been coming around and they are tasty.  This is the first year in many that I have not planted tomato plants and yet we still seem to be blessed with a nice amount for eating.  We've been enoying them in salads, sandwiches and just as a quick bite of goodness.  I love fresh tomatoes.

2.  Night Out with friends.  This summer was a staycation for us and one of the fun things we did was have a night out with good friends of ours.  We went to the movies  & saw Yesterday (which was enjoyable except for way too many instances of using the Lord's name in vain).   Then we went out for supper to a local brewhouse restaurant that none of us had been too before.  It was a fun evening, spent in great company.

3.  Air conditioning.  We switched out our dinosaur of an ac unit a couple summers ago and boy is this new one so much more efficient and cheaper to run.  So grateful for it this week as it's been a hot week here and then evenings haven't cooled down much.  It also has allowed us to keep our windows closed through the night which is most appreciated when some young people don't get that other people have to work and are playing basketball at the nets across the street sometimes until 1:30 in the morning!  

4.  Mother/Daughter movie date.  Tamara and I decided to go and see Toy Story 4 on Monday afternoon and am so glad we did.  I love the Toy Story franchise.  Though I must admit I was wary at first thinking they might be pushing it with continuing on with the story, they did a good job with the 4th in the series.  We really enjoyed it and had quite a few good laughs throughout.  We haven't done a Mother/Daughter thing in a long, long time and it was wonderful getting to spend that time with her doing something fun.

5.  Just a sprain.  Monday morning found me in emergency with Tamara to find out if her ankle injury was just a sprain or something more serious.  She'd been hiking the day before and lost her footing and heard her ankle snap.  It was quite swollen and bruised.  Unfortunately because it was a long weekend, no clinics were open and we'd don't have urgent care type clinics here which left only the emergency department.  Which was not an appealing option but what could we do?  But we were in and out in less than 45 minutes (a miracle in these parts) and that was with an xray and everything.  It was just a sprain.  Grateful for the super quick experience and that it was not something worse.  

What were you grateful for this week?

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Bay of Secrets by Rosanna Ley ~ Book Review

Spain of 1939 just came out of a civil war which saw a military dictator take over power from a democratically elected government.  The country is treading in fear as anyone who sympathizes with the Republicans are under suspicion and could be arrested.  Julia and her family live in poverty and fear.  In order to survive and to keep the three girls safe, plans are made.  Seventeen year old Julia is to be given to a convent in Barcelona to become a nun and one of her sisters is to marry a much older man who can take care of her.  Julia is devastated but obediently goes along with her father's wishes.  Once she becomes a nun she takes an assignment to work at a maternity clinic in Barcelona led by Dr. Lopez.   As a nun, Sister Julia quietly does what she is told, never outwardly questioning authority, but inside she is grieved at the way things are handled at the clinic.

In England in 2011, Ruby Rae is trying to get over the sudden death of her beloved parents.  After months of avoiding it, she has finally found the courage to go and deal with their home.  With the help of her friend, she starts to pack up her parent's belongings in order to sell the family home.  But when she finds a box in her mom's closet, it's contents reveal a secret her parents kept that will change Ruby's life forever.

I found this book at a Little Library in town and it looked very interesting.  It was described on the cover as "a must-have summer read" and a "gorgeous dream of a holiday read".  So I grabbed it and I'm really glad I did.  The story follows three women:  Sister Julia, Ruby and Vivien (Ruby's Mom) and also a young artist named Andres.  At first glance, it would seem that it would be way too many stories to follow and I admit it was a little bit hard to get into but once it hooked me I couldn't put it down.  It is evident the author has done her research well into historical facts and built a lovely though heartbreaking story around them. Each timeline is an interesting story in itself and the author wove them together so well.  Her descriptions of Spain, the Spanish Canary Islands and England are beautiful.  The characters are so well written, I empathized with them all as they worked through their situations and all the emotions it involved.  It's a story of love, courage, forgiveness and finding one's self.   I found writing this review hard as this is one story where you cannot give too much away, even naming the historical event, would give spoilers.  This book is why I love well written historical fiction.  It taught me about a piece of history I knew absolutely nothing about going in and made it interesting enough that I had to look it up after I finished the story.

Small warning of some language by one of the characters in case you are sensitive to that.

I gave this book a 9/10

Friday, August 02, 2019

Friday's Fave Five #544

Welcome to Friday and Friday's Fave Five.  It is a brand new month and a great time to look for favorite blessings from the last week.  Thanks for coming by.  Please join in with us if you haven't already.  Cultivating an outlook that intentionally looks for the good things from God in our ordinary everyday is what we are trying to do.

1.  No kids week!  This is my maintenance week where no kids come to child care but I get things done that are next to impossible with 6 kids here all day.  Things like carpet cleaning, painting, sorting and repairing toys, etc.  Still working but I also get some time to do relaxing things too.  The work week is more relaxed because it's not dictated by the clock which is really nice.

2.  Day trip to Waterton.  On Saturday Hubby and I took a spur of the moment trip to Waterton, one of our favorite day trips.  Spectacular mountain views and a glacier lake with trails and a mountain village are all only and hour and half drive away.  It's always relaxing and mountains are our happy place.  Unfortunately not many trails were open yet still because of the fires from 2 years ago.  We did start to hike one that we enjoy but ended up turning back because of reports from other hikers that a bear was feeding just off the trail up ahead a ways.  The bears are coming farther down to feed as the fire has forced them to source their berries closer to busy trails.  We had the dog with us so didn't want to take a chance on spooking the bear.  So instead we took the dog for a swim in the lake and enjoyed a sit on the water's edge and just soaking up the sunshine and the views.

3.  Shopping trip to Calgary.  Our son came down for the week and so on my daughter's day off we all piled in the car and went on a shopping trip to Calgary.  We had fun just wandering the huge Cross Iron Mills mall.  We picked up some great deals on a few things we needed and on some we totally didn't.  Because we are not taking a long distance holiday this year this was a nice compromise and still makes us feel like we got away somewhere.  I'm so thankful my adult kids still like to hang out and do things like this.  A great supper at one of our favorite spots, The Old Spaghetti Factory, and we headed home tired and full.

4.  More biking.  With the lazier starts to the day we've taken advantage of the beautiful mornings and have gotten several more bike rides in and this time our son was able to join us.  So fun and such great exercise.  And again soaking up the beautiful days we are getting right now.

5.  Good reading time.  With the time off, I've gotten some wonderful reading time in this week.  I've finished two books this week both of which were really good (reviews to come).  That more relaxed start to the day affords some extra time to get in some reading with my morning coffee and then little breaks throughout the day have been really nice to pick up my books.  I get a little work done and then reward myself with a 20 minute to half hour read.  I could really get into this kind of work day but alas it's just for this week but I'll take it.

What have been your favorite blessings from the past week?

Sunday, July 28, 2019

OCC Costa Rica ~ Part 2

Doing up these posts was really difficult in the sense of how does one condense 7 days of ministry, love and happenings from 1400 or so pictures down to small bites that would convey to you what I experienced.  How do I represent Jesus well in these posts?  How to translate all the emotions?  That is the challenge.  I hope I do well and from it give you a sense of the miracle these little shoebox gifts really are to the children who receive them.  

Operation Christmas Child
Costa Rica Team April 2019

In our official group photo, taken on one of our last ministry days.  It was such a great thing to see how God took this huge group of people from varied backgrounds, lives, jobs,  experiences andpersonalities and how they arrived to the point of being there and totally knit our hearts together.  Testimony after testimony of God's saving grace and power were shared over our meals and during our long bus rides.  This team really made a huge effort to get to know one another and didn't just stick to sitting with the same comfortable few people they first connected with.  It was an amazing thing to be a part of.  That is one of the things I miss most since returning home is the camaraderie of a shared vision and goal and the constant natural conversation of how God has moved and is moving in people's lives.

Costa Rica leaders

Operation Christmas Child partners with churches and leaders of the countries that they are going to.  Above left is Carlos Gamboa Umana the National Director for Operation Christmas Child Costa Rica.  He is a pastor full of heart and love for the kids.   The lady beside him is my friend Linda who got us going on this trip.  Next to me is Adilita Porras.  This little lady is a force to be reckoned with.  She works tirelessly ministering to the poor of Costa Rica.  Her ministry, Moviendo Esperanzas (google translated link), is who Samaratin's Purse works with to provide all sorts of services such as health and dental care to the rural poor of Costa Rica along with the Operation Christmas Child ministry.  She is an advocate with government officials for the rural poor and for ministries in the country.   She was amazing at teaching us about her beloved nation and about the people and what God is doing in Costa Rica.  Next to her is our fearless bus driver.  We were very blessed to have a very comfortable tour bus for our mission.  I had totally been trying to prepare myself for riding in some hot, rickety old school bus but we were spoiled with an amazing air conditioned ride.  This man deserves a special medal for patience not only driving the crazy traffic of Costa Rica and getting us everywhere out in the middle of nowhere safe and sound, but for patience as he was constantly being asked to open the bus as we'd forgotten something or other on it.  


These ladies were our translators.  They deserve a special shout out as their jobs were non-stop and exhausting.  They translated not only as we were individually trying to talk with children and people but they translated quietly to us the lessons that were being taught to the kids.  Translation is not an easy job I learned as they don't just change words from one language to the next as that doesn't always come across properly.  They must translate ideas and context and their brains are always going one step ahead.  It is a huge job.  The little gal 2nd from the left was only 18 years old.  She and I had a special connection as she was my bus partner from the airport.  The other ladies are all in full time missionary work and I still am in contact with the lady on the right and consider her a friend.  She has been a missionary for about 35 years and is amazingly creative in ministry.  The young lady next to her ministers to street people and prostitutes on the streets of San Jose and the young lady on the left is actually from the States but lives in Costa Rica and works with YWAM all over the world.

 Our first morning was spent in orientation.  They were so good walking us through exactly what was going to happen and what we could expect and what to do if certain situations presented themselves.  They even had us sitting on the floor just as the children would be.  

Ministry material prep

We then got busy sorting the ministry materials that everyone had brought.  We all provided all sorts of fun stuff for the different stations for the kid's parties such as coloring books, stickers, crayons, nail polish supplies, sports equipment such as balls and frisbees, bubbles, tattoos and face painting.  We also made several bags of thesesupplies to gift to the different pastors we would encounter.  This group ended up providing over and beyond and they even had supplies left over to be able to bless other children with after our team had finished our week there.


Every morning we started the day with devotions led my one of our two team leaders.  I learned so much from these ladies and the lessons they brought forth.  If I look upset in this picture it's because for the 1st three mornings I woke up with a headache due to caffiene withdrawl and the advil had not as yet kicked in.  Yes we are in Costa Rica where they have awesome coffee but it took me 3 days to figure out I had to actually ask for another cup and that it was alright to do that.   And they only served it at breakfast.  All other times we were served amazing fresh made juice which was incredible...another thing I really miss. 

Whew.  And that was just the first morning.  Now we were ready to meet some wonderful people of Costa Rica.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Friday's Fave Five #543

Hi everyone.  It's Friday and that, of course, means we take an intentional pause in our week to look back and remember the blessings in our week.  Please join in with us as we share 5 of them.

~protection~  I am so thankful for protection this week.  The circuit board in our dryer caught fire this week and Praise God it stayed in the circuit board and didn't get out and spread anywhere else.  I was sitting outside on the back steps watching the kids play and suddenly smelled this weird smell.  At first I thought something was wrong with hubby's smart car as he had just pulled up in the parking pad in the back.  But then it kind of disappeared, but soon the horrible smell was back again.  It seemed to be coming from under the deck (it is enclosed) which is next to the stairs so I opened the door of the deck and boy, the electrical burning smell that came out of there was strong.  Our dryer vents under there and I was using the dryer so hubby ran downstairs and sure enough the dryer was releasing the smell.  He opened the top and the circuit board was totally fried.  I'm so thankful it was contained to that.  It still smells down there even though all is unplugged.  We made a call to the manufacturer and they will be sending someone to look this weekend.   Hopefully it will be taken care of with no hassle and that includes a true assessment of whether that smell is going to get out of the dryer.  The last think I want is all my clothes ending up smelling like electrical fire.

~biking~ the weather has been so odd this year so far.  Sometimes hot, sometimes windy, sometimes darn cold and/or rainy.  Sunday morning was beautiful!  Warm but not yet hot, no wind.  We decided spur of the moment to take advantage of it and got the bikes out and went for a lovely ride.  We weren't going to be long but it was so gorgeous out there that our little ride turned into an hour and half.  So thankful for the lovely morning and the opportunity to do something together we both love.

~colorful entryway flowers~ with the rain and sunshine my entryway flowers are doing awesome this year.  I just love the color of these gorgeous begonias and I think they make my front steps look so nice.

~supper out~ the past few days at work have been tough.  I won't go into details but these couple of days were mentally exhausting and add to that  2 days where a parent was late and I was done in.  Hubby took notice and kindly told me not to even think of cooking and took me out for dinner last night.  Greek pitas and yummy seasoned fries went down so good and I sure appreciated his thoughtfulness!

~coconut lime mint body lotion~  saw it in a grocery store and on a whim purchased it and so glad I did.  The smell is refreshing and summery and the lotion is pretty good.  Not all my spur of the moment purchases work out so well.

What were your favorite blessings this week?  Have you taken a moment to take notice of them and be grateful?