Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another evening...

We even had the "red and black" group....:-)

Food was plenty and so was the fellowship....

Masa singing in his native tongue - Lingala....

Fiona following in mother, Janet's footsteps on piano.....

The Vandersluys family...

Family Advent Program

The food line.....

Emily and Cory - our hosts for the Family Advent Program
Such a very full day. Such a very blessed day.
We were reminded once again, as we begin today with the first Sunday of the season of Advent, how important it is to refocus our lives and wait in expectation.....yes, in a world of instant gratification, we have a season to do some serious waiting. Do we wait impatiently in those long lines of consumer buying sprees? Do we wait for the elderly lady walking in front of us in the mall? Our (my) tendency is to rush by everyone who isn't in the same fast lane as I am. And those line-ups in stores? They drive me to distraction and sometimes even further.
So, if I have a season that tells me to wait, I think I shall go there.
Waiting. Pondering. Slowing.
If I am to meet the Christ of Christmas, I shall have to do those three things.
Anyway, the day was full and good and it was a time to feel and see the importance of the Body of Christ, once again. It is a Body that nurtures and encourages and cares and loves.
The pictures tell it all.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's been a good day.....

Gee, it's not even 6 p.m. and we managed to feed some less fortunate folks for part of the day and I started a few Christmas cards, finished the Advent Service bulletin for tomorrow and got my Holiday Apple Muffins baked for Christmas day's dessert - 60 of those little babies.....well, 59 stuck to the pan so hey, we had to try them out..... (the white sauce to pour over them will be prepared the day before).
Husband is really good at helping - getting out the pans, washing up dishes and the like. We make a pretty good team.
So, it's been a busy day but a good day. Feeding folks that don't have much to begin with, gives me a reality check and I am full of wonder at how very blessed I am to have so much.
Help me God, to not be so far away from those in need that I can't see their need.

Friday, November 28, 2008


There are all kinds of preparations going on these days. Our friend's daughter, Amy Fullerton will marry Ryan Wehner in Minnesota on January 3. Amy's dad was pastor here 20+ years ago (her mom was a minister too!) and we have managed to keep in touch over the many years they've been gone. Amy was around 6 or 7 when they left P.A. and look at her now. All beautiful and grown up and wearing one honkin' big, beautiful ring to signify her engagement to Ryan. No doubt they will be preparing for their upcoming marriage and all that that entails.

Our house too, is in the preparation mode. Christmas decoration boxes from under the basement stairs are making their way to the dining room/kitchen/living room to be carefully set out in their rightful place. Husband is on standby to do the reaching/pounding/moving when I need him.
The first Advent candle will be lit on Sunday. A different purple candle will be lit for the next three Sundays the last one is a pink candle and Christmas morning a large white one will be lit in the centre of the Advent wreath.
Now to prepare the bulletin for Sunday's Family Advent Program. That is something I really look forward to every year. Children sing, adults sing, others play instruments and still others read poems and stories. Everyone sings carols and some read Scripture verses....verses that remind us once again, of the prophecies of long ago......telling of a King that would come to save us from our sins. It all makes for a wonderful evening as we begin our preparations for the Christmas Season and the time of waiting and preparing for the coming of the King of Kings into the world.
God, prepare my heart to receive you this Christmas season.............

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My leg.

It just got very sore and swollen in the middle of the night before last.......right under the knee at the front. Doctor asked me if I got a kick from Ken in the night.....and I said not that I could recall because if I did recall, he may have been at the doctor too!! He laughed.

Got it checked out with ultra sound. No clot. They won't have to amputate, nor will it fall off. I won't have to go to the Advent Program in a wheelchair and I can now go about my business knowing I'm not in line for a clot-induced stroke any time soon. Whoopeeeee........... It's only a bursae or however you spell the confounded thing....a little tiny fluid sack that protects bones, muscles and tendons. I'll take Ibuprofen and it'll be all smooth sailing from here on. So it turned out to be a hospital/doctor day. Yuk...

I was walking out the the doctors office yesterday and captured the roof line of the Ukranian Catholic church in P.A. Beautiful.

I think I'll bring up the Christmas decorations tonight and work on that a bit on my day off tomorrow.

Enjoy your evening.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Days AND evenings these days are becoming full.

Tonight is a women's supper and music practice afterwards.

Not much time in between to give you an update on here for today.

Guess this will have to suffice.

Oh, and don't forget to have faith, share, be patient, be kind......and love yourself.

All good stuff for me to remember these days.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Signs of winter...

With the snow of the season having found it's way to the ground or plopped upon buildings and trees and light standards or sitting primly upon wrought-iron seats, other hints of winter show themselves around the city too.
They're b-a-a-a-a-ck.
"cuhlwerp" "gulwarp" "bulaworlp".
Dang. I wished I knew what they were saying. Their sound is so unusual, so gutteral and yet a sound that says "Ya' wan' a clean-up goin' on fer ya now.....ya' calld' da'rite guy....see? I do da' odd and da' bad kina' t'ings....ya know? Ya wanna' mak'a mess all ovr' da' place.....I'm here ta' eat everyting' ya' can trow at me, see???"
And they do.
They cruise. They soar. They fly. They hop and jump. They even kind of skip. They're acrobatics and garbage pickers. They're smart and wily. They're survivors and clowns.
Ya, "they're so........Raven".:-)
Another indicator of a changing season of course is our river. The North Saskatchewan River.
The reflections of trees and bridges and lights will soon be no more....replaced by the harsh and barren snow-covered ice. I don't miss the river reflections until of course, I can't take reflective pictures any more. That day is soon upon us. The open water of the river is narrowing quickly and with the next cold snap will have closed the gap for another long, frozen five months.
So there is snow, ravens and ice.
I suppose there are other signs of winter my fingers being constantly blue, my skin pealing off in layers, not being able to wear thongs (I SAY THONGS.....NOT FLIP-FLOPS......THONGS for the feet came first, so I'm stickin' with THONGS......even if it conjurs up unsavory thoughts for you!!!).....gee, I got a little testy over that one, eh???? Anyway, as I was saying, no more thongs, or wide-open windows or sunsets at 10 p.m., or fragrant outdoor aromas of blossoms and fresh-cut grass. We're talking now of high heat bills, shoveling, seeing your breath, plugging in vehicles, scraping windows, idling cars until your gas money has run out and being cold....just plain cold.
I love winter.

Monday, November 24, 2008

When death happens.

Loretta and friends....

Food....more than we needed......

Marian, Win, Margaret, Mildred, Clara,
Birdie and Joan....more of my friends....

Dave and Phil in the friends and co-workers.....
I've spoken quite a bit about death lately. I suppose because when we are stinging from the effects of death, it is a ready source for discussion.
Today was another tribute to a friend and member of our church community - Vern Hunt. I always liked to think of Vern as a gentle giant. He was a man of compassion, of gentleness and laughter. He was a family man and was adored by his wife, children and grandchildren, as was evidenced today at his funeral. When a part of our community dies, we gather together, those who are left, to be hospitable and welcome the guests who come to our church by feeding them.
Nearly 400 people attended. All were fed and so much left over. Our community is good at helping, I think. And we enjoy being together to get the job done. It's not only a time of tears but it becomes a time to enjoy one another's company while doing that.
I am one of the most fortunate people on earth, because of the people I have to love and care for and who, in turn, love and care for me. Some of those folks are pictured above.
Note, we even get the men into action. But it wouldn't be a first for Dave and Phil to offer their help with kitchen duties. They look quite at home, don't you think? Other men, husband included, worked hard in the parking lot getting everyone parked properly, a most difficult job......and a most thankless one. It's kind of like leading sheep except sometimes these sheep have minds of their own.
So, when people die within our community, we get together as one. We do what needs to be done and we do it willingly.....because we love. Not regular pat-on-the-back kind of love. It's a God-love, a love that says we're here for you and we stand beside you. When you cry, we will cry with you. When you need food, we will provide for you. When you think you can't make it through the day, we will come and encourage you and remind you that there is so much more than this life here on earth.
Death came today.....and community happened. Praise be to God for his faithfulness.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Noah's Ark....

It all began as a normal church day. One thing that was different. I was scheduled to 'supervise' the play time downstairs.
The Vanderkids were there with me. Madeline, Luke and Olivia.
We began the hour by acting out the story of "The Three Little Pigs". Some played and acted, some didn't. That was fine.
Then we started the story of "Noah's Ark". I was one of Noah's kids and Madeline said that when you're a kid, you get bossed around. I was OK with that, as I knew when push came to shove, I was still the adult in the Ark.
The first attempt at an Ark was a little boat, chosen amongst the many toys. But how can you put two of everything in a little boat. We graduated to the large hamper but again when there are several animals of every description, they simply wouldn't all fit. Madeline decided that, hey, why can't the whole room be the Ark. Great idea. She's a thinker, that girl! So, all the animals were put to bed while Madeline, (Mrs. Noah), made everyone dinner. Quite good actually. And we had to save some for all the animals too, or they'd starve.
Well, it was a "rained for forty days and forty nights" story so obviously water had to enter the picture at some point. Water was poured for the dishes. Water was poured for the drinks. Water was poured to pour on the table. Water was poured......get the picture?
In steps Noah's child-turned-supervising-adult. NO MORE WATER ALREADY!!!
Mr. Noah got green and orange happy face sticker measles......and the child....(that's me) got them too.
The Ark got pretty active at one point and I was ready to flee the scene.....then I remembered I was the adult supervisor here. I perservered.
The cookies, which had been brought into the Ark before the rains began, with the assistance of one of the animals in the Ark, pushed the cookies off the freezer and down the back, at which time Mr. Noah looked carefully behind to see where they had gone. Much to his delight he not only found the Ark's food source, but also his new cars (brought to the play room a few weeks previously). It was quite a celebratory moment with much exclaiming and laughter..........until Mr. Noah realized the cars were so near and yet so far. He managed to get the cookies out though but alas, they were too covered in dust bunnies for consumption.......much to the Noah Family's disappointment.
The morning hour progressed from one moment to the next and the end was in sight.
Twelve noon! Class dismissed.
I remember why young people have children and not older ones. They take your energy and gobble it up like a dust-bunny-covered cookie.
Here's to Marc and Dixie. May God give them energy to live life with the beautiful "Noah" family!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Advent is coming......

Since I'm responsible for gathering together various people to share their gifts for next Sunday's Family Advent Service, I've been looking through the Covenant Hymnal. I'm looking for Advent hymns and readings to make the service come alive. Music is the key.
People will be practicing their numbers......songs, readings, instrumentals, etc. It's all quite exciting as we prepare for the big day next Sunday afternoon starting at 3:30 p.m.
And if you're reading this and you're saying to yourself, "I have always wanted to sing at an Advent program, but no one has asked me!!!"..........well, consider yourself asked. Now all you have to do is tell me what you're going to sing and you'll be written into the bulletin. Don't be shy. Those gifts of yours need to be spread around a bit. A fellow even did his juggling act one year! It was his gift after all!
We're going to be having a "Finger Food Supper" following the program for only $7./person. Not bad at all. And Loan Wolf (that's Loan Shark's cousin:-) will be catering - so you had better pay up, or else. hee hee ha ha ha ha Oh, I guess that should be Lone Wolf. We need to advertise properly!
So, next Sunday, November 30, is the beginning of the Advent Season. The beginning of preparations within us, to meet the Christ of Christmas.
Let's not get hopelessly lost in the pine cones and ribbons and cards and presents and baking and decorating and parties and..........ya.................

Friday, November 21, 2008

A few wrinkles....

My hands certainly didn't look like that 41+ years ago when husband offered the engagement ring to me. They were soft, supple, no age spots and certainly no wrinkles.
The diamond looks the same though. It will never change....well, I suppose it could change over the next thousand years but that hand will be long gone back into ye old dust from whence it came, by then.
It's a sobering thought, don't you think?
A co-worker and I were talking "wrinkles" the other day. We were both complaining a bit about how we have changed since we were young and what each other was doing to try and keep age at bay. We talked about anti-wrinkle creams and how I could get rid of liver spots and how she could get rid of her eye creases and me, my laugh lines.
We figured we aught to be lying on our backs as we sleep so gravity could smoothe out those lines because when we lie on our sides our faces scrunch up and "presto"....face lines over night, deeper than the Little Red River after it overflows it's banks.
I thought too, maybe it would help if I didn't laugh and smile so much. Dang. Why am I such a happy person anyway. But then I came to the conclusion that I'd rather be a happy old lady with wrinkles than an old lady that is afraid to smile for fear she may start to "look" her age.
My thinkin' is that I shall be proud to wear my lines and wrinkles because afterall, God has given me a life to live, and live it I have, which includes the good the bad and the ugly, and at the end of this life, whenever that may be, I hopefully will be able to say I was a person that was able to maybe make a few other people smile too...........with some lines to prove it.
Wrinkles.............I may look like a prune...........but I'm a happy prune. Oh....ya......
Long live "L'Oreal Advanced RevitaLift"!!!!!
(This has been a non-paid, non-political announcement)
We'll save "the joys of gaining weight after pregnancy, during menopause & any time after 50" for another enjoyable night.
Don't forget to sleep on your backs..........if you haven't gained so much weight that you can' me.............sigh..............

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I took time....

Yes, tonight I was actually home. I saw this program on PBS "Live from Lincoln Centre in New York - Gil Shaham, Violinist....."....and I watched and listened and was amazed at this man's ability and talent. Such a gift.
A little bit of a bio about this fellow, if you didn't know already:
"Mr. Shaham was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1971. He moved with his parents to Israel where at the age of 7 he began violin studies with Samuel Bernstein of the Rubin Academy of Music and granted annual scholarships by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. In 1981, while studying with Haim Taub in Jerusalem, he made debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic. That same year he began his studies with Dorothy DeLay and Jens Ellerman at Aspen. In 1982, after taking first prize in Israel’s Claremont Competition, he became a scholarship student at Juilliard, where he has worked with Ms. DeLay and Hyo Kang. He has also studied at Columbia University.
Gil Shaham was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990. He plays the 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius. He lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony and their two children. "
Now that's what I call an evening of classic entertainment......and I could have been baking or cleaning or any number of really fun things. It's good to relax once in a while, to take time out and enjoy other people's gifts.:-)
Speaking of which, I'll have to get busy and start to buy that is...............34 days 'til Christmas.................:-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I took a picture.....

One side of the glass wall, out in the shivering cold, covered in a blanket of fresh snow stood what once was a lovely green shrub just a few short months ago.
And lo and behold, on the other side of the glass wall stood a beautiful flowering Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon - in North America) looking lush and red, as if it were flaunting it's ability to languish in the warmth of the Forest Centre foyer. Can't you just see it tapping on the window to it's friend on the other side of the glass.....yooohooooo........too bad you can't be inside here with me, Sweetie.
Sometimes they just look much too lovely for their own good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Money, honey.....

Yep, it's a dark day in the Kent home.

Got my biannual notice of where my pension wise.....and it's being swallowed up faster than the economic downturn can go south.

But who and what do I depend on? Nope, not my money, that's for sure. If I did, I'd be in more trouble than being chased up a tree by a rabid monkey.

I'll put my money on God..........not that I'm a betting person at all.....but I believe he provides me with whatever I need......not want........need.

So, I should be good to go.

Monday, November 17, 2008


My Family....Dale, Mom and Dad

I was listening to a Christmas radio station at work today with all Christmas music. Some songs I really loved, others I wonder how they got to be in the "Christmas" category at all and still others brought back a flood of emotions and memories.
When I hear "O, Holy Night", I remember our friend Shelley Fullerton (Chamberlain) singing this song one Christmas Eve at our candle light service. She has a trained operatic voice and did the number great justice. It was a holy moment and one I will always remember. "......fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices, O night divine, O night when Christ was born......."
Then there was "Now Shine a Thousand Candles Bright"....with Rev. Wendell Anderson directing our church choir as we sang the words softly and crisply and tenderly......"To every dark and anguished heart, send down your ray divine, and may the light of God's own love like Christmas candles shine." I think he must be directing some kind of choir in heaven now, too.....
When I hear "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" sung by Gene Autry, I think of when I was very small and still had the magic and wonder of Christmas in my whole being (ya, even more than I do today!!!). Mom would sing along with me when it came on the radio. ".......and if you ever saw it, you would even say it glowed........"
There was another song too that tugs at my heart. I enjoyed it when I was young too, but it didn't have much meaning until I was much older............ "I'll Be Home for Christmas". I enjoyed it when I was younger because I didn't have to think about someone I love NOT being home for Christmas.
But there was a Sunday in December of 1974 back in the old house on 6th street, with the "record player" playing Glenn Campbell's rendition of "I'll be home for Christmas".......if only in my dreams"..........and my dear mother lying on the living room couch trying to sing along with the record but only sobs came from her throat and a river of tears was washing over her face. She was wanting her son to come home for Christmas but he would never be coming home again....he had died 10 weeks before. I remember the song too, with each year that a member of my family would never be coming home for Christmas......a brother, a mom....a dad.....and now an aunt.
Christmas music. I love it.....but sometimes it's just not that easy to listen to.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A prayer for my friends....

It was 11 years ago this weekend that Pastor Randall showed up in our sanctuary to check things out to see and get a sense if this was where God was calling him to be and to leave Winnipeg. Turns out, it was. He ministered in love to us here for over ten years. It was better than we could possibly have imagined.
God once again called him.....this time to Wetaskiwin.
So, once again we search. There is a process to this searching out and seeking a new pastor for Gateway. It comes with hard work, dedication and a total reliance on God for his direction.
A Committee with people willing to involve themselves in this has been set. I will make it a priority to pray for them daily. Their responsibility is huge but with God leading them, it becomes a matter of having eyes to see and ears to hear.
I will pray for my friends - Dixie, Charlotte, Molly, Phil, Linea, Sharon, Virginia and Eric. May God give them a sense of clarity, and purpose and may the Holy Spirit direct them in all wisdom as they seek out the pastor of God's choosing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


"Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content." ~ I Timothy 6:6-8

Sometimes it's difficult being content. I want. I desire. I think others "owe" me something and when I don't get it, well, I become discontented.

Why is it not enough to enjoy the things that the day provides.

Why do I go searching and yearning for things that don't satisfy......and getting on a crabby face in the process.

May God forgive me for not appreciating the many blessings that come from the hand of God.

Paul was right when he wrote that letter to Timothy.......I come into the world with nothing and I leave the same way...........with why not enjoy all I have been given - between birth and death?

If I don't, there's a pretty honkin' big sack full of probability, I'll turn out bitter....and I sure don't want that now, do I!

Friday, November 14, 2008

If we hadn't bought buns...

Ya, if we hadn't decided to have left over pork on buns for supper and gone to the Co-op right after work, I never would have capatured the glow of a November sunset in Prince Albert.

We were headed home the usual way when the conversation began with:

"What should we have for supper?" asked husband.

"I don't know. I'm not very hungry since we had a big lunch at dinner time!", I responded.

"What about left-over pork on some buns?", he inquired.

"Sounds good to me.", says I.

"I'll just stop at Co-op first then and run in.", says the man.

"Well, we're on our way home. What about Safeway? It's close.", I mentioned.

"Co-op is just around the corner. It won't take long.", he says.

"Okay then.", I huffily reply.

Off we go to Co-op. In goes husband to get buns for supper. Out husband comes, buns in hand almost 15 minutes later.

"I would have been here sooner but I stopped to talk to Auntie Olga...and she likes to talk!", husband says.

"I wondered where you had gone! Thought perhaps you were looking for 'specific' buns!", I reproached with an ever-so-slight hint of humour.

Off we drive west towards River Street and home.

As we arrive on river street I yell...."STOP THE CAR!!!"

Husband pulls over and stops the car, as I fumble in my purse. (I think he's beginning to be somewhat prepared for these outbursts lately).

"Well, maybe we should go over the bridge!", I exclaim excitedly. (What I really meant was 'maybe we should go over to the other side of the bridge and you could stop there').

Husband thought I meant to go all the way around and drive over the bridge to the north side of it. He would have none of it. I must have been too excited to explain myself properly.

He pulls out from original spot and goes a bit further all the while exclaiming that he didn't really want to drive over the bridge.....while I was trying to explain that that isn't what I really meant and while explaining that, I yell once more, "STOP THE CAR!!!"

He pulls over and stops the car.

By now I have my camera out and at the ready. I'm jumping out of the car but I'm leaning on the open door and snapping. There in front of us was the most beautiful of sunsets which I attempted to capture above. Click. Click. Click.

And now I'm eating my bun with left-over pork and showing you the outcome of an unexpected trip to the Co-op.
God does stuff like that. He gives us detours sometimes. It's up to us to take adavntage of them.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Moonlight shadows....

as seen from our bathroom window at 2:30 a.m.
There is something beautiful about the full moon casting it's eery shadows across the serenity of freshly fallen snow. There really is nothing quite like it. It brings me a sense of peace like no other...........a calmness into my soul that soothes and quiets.
Don't get me wrong folks. I don't sleep with the camera in bed beside me. Nope. Not me.
It's in my purse. I just happen to pass it by on the way to my middle-of-the-night potty break.
When there are pictures to be taken, you just take advantage of each situation as it presents itself.
I do think God made moonlight just for weird people like me............and wolves, of course.
But wolves don't carry cameras..........

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

With the first snow...

a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of......................Santa???? Dress suits????? Looking dorky????????
By the looks of this picture, one would certainly think so.
The young men of the P.A. Raiders hockey team made for a very handsome and picturesque back drop of the fresh snow falling beyond the confines of the Forest Centre foyer.
Red hats???.......the things we do for love...........and the making of Christmas cards!!
I was tempted to throw down my "wish list" to whomever would be fortunate enough to catch it, but I thought better of it......;-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I remember.....

This man, my dad, was willing to give his life when he voluntarily enlisted in the XII Manitoba Dragoons in 1941. He and hundreds of thousands like him, went off to some unknown land, rifle in hand, and fought against tyranny and injustice and evil. We'll just leave it at that.

He left his pregnant wife at home to wait for his return.

Many millions of others did the same.

So today I once again remember this particular sacrifice....the willingness of this one man to give everything up that he loved and cared for so that his children, granddchildren and great grand child could live freely....could go to the school of their choice, could involve themselves in whatever they wished, could read the books that interested them and have freedom to express themselves in any way they wanted.

Son, Matthew & friend, Greg - highschool grad 2001

Brittney and Shannon - both going to school - wherever and whenever they wished.
I thank God today for men and women in the world, who have and will continue to offer their lives for the good of the whole......and not necessarily the Armed Forces. There are people working with humanitarian aid groups, those giving selflessly to help in war-torn countries with food and medical services. I think of the missionaries and volunteers too, working in the Name of Christ, with the homeless, the poor and the marginalized.
So, tonight I shall stay awake for a moment or two and remember the sacrifices that have gone before and those that are happening today.
We are indeed a free people.