Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A birthday and a reunion....

Shannon decided that it would be good for all of us to gather together...my brother and his whole family and me and my whole family.  We actually pulled it off...no planning, no fuss, no muss.  It just so happened that everyone was "home" this Christmas so we traveled today out to Tisdale.  All five of us in Shannon's little VW.  Cozy:)

It was the first time we have all been together, complete with grand-children, in 23 years!  There was a time of getting to know each other especially after that long a time. My parents would have been very happy about all of this!  They were in my thoughts so many times today and it was all very nostalgic.

Ken had his 67th birthday today, too.  AND we found out that our friends Eric and Michelle had a baby girl today!  We won't forget THAT baby's birthday!

Here's our entire family.  One snap.  That's all it took (other than the first time when Matt couldn't get back to the group in time).  I figured at least one person would have been looking down, away, eyes closed or something...but no, the first picture and all was good!
A fine-looking lot we turned out to be, too!

Monday, December 26, 2011

In the midst of the calm...

I'm reading a book....and doing some serious thinking too.  The book is a gift from son. 

Well, we're eating leftovers too and watching a bit of telly and listening to some good guitar music.

Tomorrow another birthday...Ken's birthday!  We will celebrate the early part of it by going out to Tisdale to visit my brother and his family.  Should be fun.  I don't think we've all been together in over 15 years or more!

The fam
Sorry for the picture mess ups!  I need to get this fixed!

Well, enjoy your quiet time these days.  I surely am....

Friday, December 23, 2011


I've been getting many gifts lately.  My friend Tracy, gave me an angelic soap figurine scented with 'candy cane'. I received a bouquet of roses for my birthday from my supervisor, Penny and the big boss, Bob.  Three co-workers sang me the birthday song, my co-worker gave me a humungous box of truffles PLUS a quart of her infamous home-made dill pickles.  My children gave me two jars of Body Shop body butter, Kris Kringle popped into my Santa stocking at work $20 worth of gift certificates.  Another co-worker gave me vanilla scented bath salts for Christmas, one fellow gave us Belgian chocolates, another a huge box of truffles, Managers gave us truffles too.....and another co-worker made me a beautiful black, white and silver scarf (who thanked me for being her mom all these years!).  My Secret Santa plied me with delicious sweets each morning and ended up giving me a beautifully hand-crafted Intarsia box with a butterfly on the lid!

Ya, the list just goes on and on.  I feel as though Christmas has already happened:)

Makes one feel a bit special....:)  not to mention thankful for having such faithful friendships.

Today it was Matthew's birthday...28th birthday!  We went for breakfast together and had a rib/shrimp/lobster home cooked supper for him complete with lemon and whipped cream cake for dessert.  Pa and I stayed home while the youngins' went to "Mission Impossible".  Sitting through that would have been a mission impossible in itself!

And tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  Another round of good, family fun and eating and talking and eating some more....with several cups of tea in between.  Candle Light service at 7:30 PM at church...Gateway Covenant, if you want to join us...15th and 15th East.

Think it's almost time for bed.  Jellied salad prep in the morning!

Jesus....where are you??????  Please don't get lost in all the packages!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Elroy, stop that!!!"

Elroy was a sturdy little fir with long, bushy branches that stretched out onto the path that lead past him and into the forest beyond.  Other fir and pine had to watch out for him because in his naughty moments he would spit out huge clumps of needles should they enter his space. It didn't appear to take too much effort on his part either.  He was always thinking up ways to amuse himself...and others....but others most often didn't find his little tricks all that funny.

"Elroy, stop that!", his mother would shout sternly to him.  Elroy couldn't help himself.  He simply had to have some fun, standing there all day.  He liked to stretch.  It felt good.  Often he would stretch out so far that folks walking past would trip and fall over his lower limbs and while getting up from their fall would say all manner of words that Elroy had never heard before.  Mumbling, they would smell the aroma of fir gum which had attached itself to their pant legs and coats all the while attempting to remain somewhat dignified. 

Now and then people with big machines would come into the plantation with snippers and pruners and saws and clippers, attacking his friends's branches with abandon.  Not his though!  He wondered if it would hurt much to have his branches pruned but no one ever complained about the procedure so he figured when it came time for them to do his branches, it would all be good.  Maybe it tickled!  He would wait and see....

"Elroy, stand up straight!  You know you won't grow to be tall and strong if you don't keep your trunk straight!"

"OK, Mother." as Elroy pushed himself up high and made all kinds of sounds as his branches would squeek and slide silently up into the twinkling night sky above them.  His mother said many good and helpful things, things that would make him a stronger and better fir, so he listened intently and followed her wishes.

And Elroy grew.  The other trees around admired him.  He stretched every single day.  He grew taller than any of his brothers and sisters and his mother was proud of what he had become, a fun-loving, caring fir tree.

One night on the dark, cold plantation, he felt a chill, something he couldn't quite explain but it was something that ran through his branches, all the way to his upstretched leader.  He wanted to ask his mother what this extraordinary feeling was all about, but he didn't want to wake her.  Elroy took good care of her and each night she huddled and slept peacefully under his strong trunk.  And as she slept, he looked up to find an unusual light in the dark sky....a light so bright that he wondered what it could be.  Elroy had heard songs being sung about a special heavenly kind of light but he figured this couldn't be that kind of light....but he wondered nevertheless.  He hadn't seen one quite that bright before. And then before he could spit another needle, he heard it.  It sounded like a bunch of folks singing.  Limbs stretched up and over all the other trees in the field.  He needed to see what was going on but nothing was visible in his line of site, at least. Nothing at all.  The music continued on....he could hear the words...."Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, good will to all people!"  The melodic voices blended and joined into one as Elroy rested and finally slept in a heavenly peace.

Was it a dream?  Elroy was awakened suddenly to the buzz of trucks and saws and many people hovering around him.  The sound he heard in the night was not at all like the sound he heard now.  It must have been a dream, he reasoned.  A beautiful dream too, he thought to himself.

Now he was being pruned and trimmed and he could hear his mother silently weeping beside him as the saws and snippers whirred and clipped.  She told him that this was his very special time and was being prepared for what he was destined to be.  His trunk shook...his limbs quivered....he was beginning to topple over but was caught up in a net.  "Motherrrrrrrrrrr", Elroy called out before he was wrapped and  hauled onto a truck that awaited him.  "Don't worry, Elroy.  This is what you have been waiting for, all these many years!"  She would remember Elroy's branches as a young fir, their softness, their sweet aroma and the gentleness of her dear fir son snuggling into her branches as a tiny seedling.  Mother knew where Elroy was going.  She had heard stories about a place that was being prepared for him, a place where he would wear beautiful garments, where he would be a prince, of sorts.  She also knew that when it was her time to leave the plantation, there would be a place for her as well.  She would be there too, with her son and she was excited to know that this would not be the last time she would see him.

Elroy arrived.  Many people cared for him and took great pains to see that he had enough water to satisfy his great thirst.  Then came his robes...all golden and beautifully adorned with red on his top branches.  It was a nice place, a heavenly place and he knew this was what his mother had been speaking to him about...a place of peace, and rest and beauty.

What was that???  Music!  It was the same music he had heard as a fir on the plantation that dark, starry night.  It was louder this time...much louder, and even more beautiful.  A light shone too.  At first he didn't really know what the light was.......but then, he knew. 

He knew the light was for him and the words being sung were for him...it was a party...ALL FOR HIM.

Elroy was happy.  He saw things that he had never before seen and heard music that he had never before heard.  It was hard to take it all in...but the party continued...and the words that were sung spoke about heaven and rest and this beautifully perfect place.  He would enjoy it all. And the chill that he had once felt back on the plantation on that dark, starry night swept over him again and again and it was very good.  Here, there was no darkness, only the warmth of the Light.

Elroy had reached his resting place and would wait patiently for his mother, and siblings and friends who would eventually join him.  But for now, he would simply sit, all adorned, and watch the Light and listen to the songs....songs about a Baby being born and about angels and shepherds and joy and peace.  It was a day of true celebration.

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned."  Isaiah 9:2

May your Christmas, like Elroy's,  be filled with the Light of God and the blessings of peace on earth, good will to all!!

In memory of Elroy Linton... (Twila, my friend's dad)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Another week has almost slipped by and I'm reeling from the pace of it all.

After a day of "Ugly Christmas Sweaters" at work, and a doctor's appointment in the afternoon where I find I have Achilles tendonitis in my left foot, then supper and an evening of croissant baking with Brittney (watching "White Christmas" and drinking peppermint tea and eating cherry cake while croissants are rising), I find I am at a loss for words as to just how tired my body is.

So, we shall end on that note...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Monday, December 19, 2011


Not only is Advent a time of preparation, it is a time of waiting.


Always waiting....

In long line-ups as we finish our shopping....

In traffic as people hurry and scurry to their next "Scheduled Christmas Event"....

And we wait for the celebration, the birthday celebration.

We'll be celebrating the birthday of a man named Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah.  The One the prophets spoke of in the annals of history.  He was coming into this ordinary, messed up, chaotic world to show folks how living should be done.  Unfortunately, we have not paid too much attention to this Messiah.  We don't seem to be able to catch his rhythm of life....the "doing to others as you would have others do to you", the "putting others first" bit, the "giving up of our selfish selves to be of service to others" kind of thing.  He has shown us how to do it but we just don't seem to catch it.

Oh, sometimes we manage to give a halfhearted attempt at doing good and we really catch on to what Jesus was telling us, but then our tongues get in the way.  We talk about this one and that one, we become unforgiving, we spit out curses like venom and expect to have good results of our "doing good".

Wrong.  Won't happen.  I've tried....and dang, I fail every time.

There is something that goes deeper, much deeper into the very core of our soul that God offers to us.  It's from another realm, another dimension I think.  It is the world of Spirit...unseen, alive and life changing.  How it works is a mystery to me...but it involves making conscious choices, of looking beyond ourselves, of taking up with a Messiah who is looking for radicals to change this world into something more useful and beautiful and, shall we say, more environmentally friendly.  We are the ones left here to care for it all, are we not???

Anyway, getting back to the waiting thing....we're waiting in our house too.

Waiting for Brittney's exams to be finished Tuesday so she can come over and make croissants with me.  Waiting for Matt to arrive home on Thursday to stay for a month or so.  Waiting for Shannon to have some time off to join in whatever we will do as a family, over the holidays.  And so we just wait...

Wait for promises to be fulfilled in the coming of Jesus, the Christ.

We did some waiting last week too at Kid's Klub.  We waited on tables for 70 helpers, children and their parents. It appears everyone had a good time, too!  Dave got all spiffed up and waited on everyone, serving turkey and dressing and helping in the kitchen.  He's a good influence on people around him.  I liked his tie:)

So, waiting can be a good thing.  Let's try to do it patiently and expectantly....full of hope.  It's how to change the world a bit at a time:)

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm behind....

In most everything right now!!!  People would like to see the pics I took of this event and that event in order that so-and-so can see them.  Pictures are pretty powerful tools, alright!!

Here we go.  First was our Branch Meeting where our very own Forest Service pipers, piped in our Honour Guard.
My friend, Carole, is the only female amongst the group!
Here they are left to right:  Bryan Frazer, Darrell Hanson, Marty Ferguson,
Chris Brown, Carole Stewart and Michael McLaughlan.

Other than the one Scandanavian (Hanson), they sound like a wee bi' o' Scotland, ta me, laddie!

Nite all....perhaps I'll have enough moments in my day tomorrow to share more events!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It all started with a birthday...

The birthday itself was good.  You know, you turn another year older, you look in the mirror and say, "Yep, another year older alright...few more wrinkles, several more bulges, sags, and bags, but overall, I feel good!"

That's how the birthday started out.

We had daughter and granddaughter over for supper and birthday cake with cards and presents opening and the like.  It was a party!!  Small...but a party it was, with the four of us.  The birthday song was sung and candles were blown out for another year.

THEN came the tree decorating.

Have I mentioned previously, over the past years, how much we are in need of a new Christmas tree stand?
No????  Well, if I haven't mentioned it here, I have mentioned it many times to various 'persons'.

I digress....Shannon, Brittney and I began the tedious and fun project of tree decorating.  The lights, the old, tacky gold garland, the many old trinkets and balls and home made creations of bygone days when children made home-made decorations.  All went on the tree.

Just when we were about finished I stood back and began watching, ever-so-slowly the beautifully lit and decorated Christmas tree begin to head north.  I reached out and grabbed the Balsam fir with a firm grip around his trunk.  Husband began his diligent work of attempting to 'fix' the old tree stand with various chunks of wood as leverage around the tree stand.  It wasn't working.  We lifted the tree out of the stand and back into the stand and after 10 minutes or so of trying to get the tree to stand alone we decided it was a futile effort.

Away went husband to the nearest store.

Meanwhile, Brittney and I are left holding the tree, literally, all lit and decorated, while husband does a quick trip to nearest box store to save the day.

Half an hour and four tired arms later, a new tree stand is placed not so gracefully in it's rightful spot.  In goes tree trunk.  Perfect.  New tree stand holding decorated and lit tree and two happy women who can now let go of said tree!

But while husband is off on his stand trek, Brittney and I have loads of fun making crazy, zany and unflattering faces into her blackberry camera.  Much laughter peeled through the living room while Christmas carols played on and our arms began to be numb from the weight....well, a bit of an exaggeration, but it was tiring!

So, that was a memorable moment, shared by a granddaughter and her Gram and Gramps.

Brittney held on while I took pics.  It just got better after that:)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Opposites and splashes of red.....

I'm thinking of my two grown children this night.

One is at a staff party where there will be fun, chatter, great food, smoothe drinks, and most likely a great deal of laughter and frivolity as they celebrate the season together.

The other is a very long way away, sitting alone, no chatter, not much food, just water and entering into a time of deep meditation...a 24 hour meditation marathon.

Both of them making individual choices of where they want to be in life and with whom and how they will go about doing those things.

It's sometimes difficult watching, but I trust their judgment in what they are choosing.  I think both of them have a great deal of maturity in dealing with life so in that, I can relax a bit:)

It's been a day of baking in our place today.  Five fruit cakes (with brandy), four iced cherry almond cakes, three cherry bars, one pineapple square.....and a partridge in a pear tree.....heeheehee

I'm pooped and am off to dream land with visions of sugarplums dancing in my head......


Decorations are going up too...and cleaning...and vacuuming....ya, the list just goes on...and on...and on....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's Christmas Charlie Brown....

And our office has a tree in his honor.  We all like it because of it's imperfections.  I think a tree cut right from the bush has a great deal of character.  It is forced to grow in it's own unique way because of outside variables of which it has no control.

Kind of like us.  We grow up in a particular home, some of which have a good many positive influences and we become self-confident and satisfied with life while other homes give us "side effects" where our imperfections become a real part of us, ones we simply can't hide from the world, but make us who we are nonetheless.  Either way, when we stand in front of the window, dressed up in our finest duds, we are what we are, imperfections and all.

And here is one such tree...

Our friend and co-worker from Creighton, Donna Lundquist, sent all of us a beautiful Christmas bouquet today too.  Simply divine and festive...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....everywhere you go......

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The PAR....TAY.......

Great meal for the most part, super conversation with friends, funny little games, music and watching my boss and his lady friend on the dance floor (far out!!!)  A good time was had by all but with this cold, it exhausted me...
The newest married couple-to-be...Christine and Jeffrey:)

The young folk table!

Now for more parties....:)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thinking random Christmas thoughts....

I'm beginning to panic.  House needs a good cleaning.  I have no baking done to speak of.  A couple of presents have been bought. No tree yet.  Not one decoration is up.  Nothing.  Zero.  Nada.  No thing.  Zip.

Then I get to thinking about all this hoopla.

What am I celebrating?  Why am I celebrating?  Do I need to do all this stuff?

It's a birth that I'm celebrating.  I'm celebrating that birth because I believe the birth of that baby changed the course of history and I am a part of that history...as is everyone else on earth.  There are some things that God has done, I believe, because he has needed to get our attention.  This birth caught the attention of the people of His day too...King Herod, according to historical accounts, feared his kingship would be eventually taken over by this baby they called Jesus, so he had all babies two years of age and younger in Judea, murdered.  That's a pretty reliable account of the importance of the birth of Jesus, I should think.  The stories have been recorded and passed down through the centuries and this Christmas we will again recount that story...the birth of a baby in Bethlehem of Judea....a Baby God thought important enough to be born into a world of darkness.

God is still trying to capture our attention.  Jesus shows us a way of living, of becoming more than we think we can be, of making a choice to change into something better.  Every Christmas we remember that story of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and kings and stables and angels..... and how Jesus came into the world as a light, a way, a path.  We can choose to walk that path...or not.

I think a lit path is much easier to follow than one that takes me into the darkness.

So, in that, I shall put up lights this Christmas as a reminder that we have a Light to follow as we walk through the darkness, a Light that will bring us closer to God.

And the answer to the question "Do I need all this stuff?"...ie. decorations, trees, food, presents etc. etc.....probably not; but then again, I'm a sucker for parties.  I love to get things all ready for guests and treat them royally!  I love to celebrate with friends and get all spiffed up and let them know they are loved!

I'll do that for Jesus on His birthday too.....let the party begin:)

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, good will toward men."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A missing Sunday...

When I don't get to church to worship and see my friends who are there on a Sunday morning, I feel like I have missed out on an important facet of my life.  Sunday is a day of reflection, of connection, of seeking, of renewing my strength and a time of worshiping God.  Not only that, it was my friend Grace's birthday today!  Dang.  So, that's two important birthdays I missed this weekend.

I just slept off and on all day long for the past two days.  Yikes...I really must be tired.  I could feel myself kind of withdrawing from things, even though I knew I had certain responsibilities, but I just couldn't help myself.  It just happened and I suppose this being sick is the culmination of a very busy past few weeks....I just simply shut down.  Bodies are funny that way....they know things.....;)

Spent some time in prayer for my friends who are sick with cancer, having operations, grieving, disappointed with life, making important decisions....the run-of-the-mill kinds of human events.

I'm off to bed.  Don't think I'll make it to work tomorrow either.  I think I need another day to get these antibiotic pills under control and my breathing back to normal. 

Sleep well, friends.  Another week is upon us and we begin the second week in Advent.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Just breathe....

A cough began at work yesterday mid-afternoon.  Just a cough...cough...cough.....

No runny nose, fever, sore throat, sweating....just a cough....cough.....cough....cough....

Not sure what that was about really, other than it kept up it's pace all through the evening.  Managed to get to bed with a bit of cough....cough....cough....medicine and I slept well - until 1:43 AM!!!!

I kind of scared myself...me with my claustrophobic tendencies and all.  I awoke with a start.  Tried hard to catch my breath and the more I tried the more I panicked.  So, I got up quickly and began walking and taking slow deliberate breaths, trying to get air into my wind pipe.  I was pretty successful in that except I felt it wasn't what it should be.  The air just wasn't going in like it should and my cough turned into a fierce mechanical-sounding bark.  And the more I coughed, the more difficult I found it to breathe.  I new it wouldn't be prudent to drive myself to the emergency room, so I woke up my poor sound asleep man.  Off we went to the hospital at 2:15 AM.  And my day ahead had been planned out beautifully but on the way to the hospital, I knew those plans would not come to fruition.  No breakfast out with husband, no ringing Salvation Army bells at Superstore with husband, no 90th birthday party at Amy's on Second, no shopping, no nothing. 


The ER nurse got me on some oxygen, then some Ventelin, next an X-ray and the doctor gave me some pills and refills for my puffers.  Back home to bed and breathing much better.  We slept until 11:15AM!!!!

I stayed in bed for most of the day and have begun to feel somewhat better.  But I have never had bronchitis come on that fast in my entire life!!!  Ten hours from a tiny cough to almost not breathing .

Thank God for nurses and doctors who care for us!  I appreciate them!!!

Not to mention husbands that take mid-night trips to emergency rooms with their wives...YAY!!!

My man outdid himself today and took over many of my responsibilities....ringing those bells for two hours, getting Communion ready for tomorrow's service, etc. etc. etc.  He's a good man, yes he is!!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Going deeper...

We're financially supporting son a bit as he enters into a Meditation Marathon.  He feels this would be of great value to him as an individual, to go deeper into himself where there are no distractions of "things" or emotions or feelings...to go to a place devoid of all but Spirit.  I'm attempting to understand his perspective and to come to a perspective of my own as he delves into places I have never been.  I believe they are good places, just not ones that I am used to yet, places that challenge my own perspective on life and spirituality and everything in between.

This is not an easy project!

I shall follow him and not set my mind against what he is doing.  I shall support and encourage where I can and then perhaps learn from him some new thoughts that I can grasp and use to better myself and others.

Matt is out to make a difference in this world, one learning experience at a time.  I think what he is doing is more than commendable....it allows me to see some (as in 'many') inadequacies in my own spiritual journey and since we are here on earth to be vessels in God's hands, I need to do this daily....and to encourage others along the way also.

So, his journey is taking him on a Meditation Marathon next weekend.  He has a donation page on Facebook if you wish to support him financially in this endeavor...

It's a great cause...as he searches out life's answers....and most likely finds more questions......

Our prayers go with him....