Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Conversation...

The folks from Gateway held a "Conversation" today for two hours..which included a brunch, of course!  We're Covenanters after all.  It's one of the things we do best - EAT!

But the conversation was specific in a sense.  We needed to talk about where we are as a church and where we perhaps are heading.  Now those of you who work for the government know that this kind of task can be daunting and usually is.  No different for a church body.  We did a lot of thinking.  We talked a great deal.  We listened to each other.  We took notes. We had room to disagree, too.

It gave us much food for thought and gave the Vitality Committee a great deal to go on with regard to leading our church into a healthy, missional group of people.

We reiterated what we have come to already know....that Gateway is a group of people, directed by God's Spirit, who genuinely care for the church building and in the community. We care.  We love.  We act that care and love out in deeds.

So, what are some things that we don't know about ourselves.  I don't think we know or realize exactly how much of an impact we are having on our neighborhood...our children, our city.  We simply go about doing the things that are required of us.  Sometimes we are fearful.  Other times we feel totally inadequate...but we go anyway.  We do....anyway.  God's Spirit enables us as we do...and go.

The next steps of course will be the refining of what we are already doing.  Getting better at it.  Perhaps branching out into other avenues of the same ministry....all we need are willing hearts and hands and the jobs will be done....the Kingdom of God kinds of jobs like loving our neighbors, meeting their needs and those of their families.  It's hard work but is all worth it in the end...the end, of course, being the end of our lives as we know them.  But there will be folks to take up these challenges when we are no longer around.  They may be totally different kinds of challenges...they probably will be.  After all, Gateway is not the same church as it was when it began in 1947, or as it was in 1974 or in the year 2000.  We are a changing, growing, living entity where people come and go, where people are changed in the midst of that coming and going and where people can come into the presence of the living God.

It's all good...but ya....hard work....really, really hard work.  Loving takes lots of energy and time and so we continue on as a group of loving and caring individuals who allow themselves to be daily changed into the likeness of God.  As one gal put it today, if our hearts are turned towards God and our desire is to serve Him, good things will happen. (paraphrase)  And I totally agree!!!

Here we are, hard at work, talking and listening....

 There was food left over....imagine!!!!

 Some of us had naps:)
 Grandmas looked after babies.

 Some played "hide and seek".
 The adults did a lot of thinking...the kids just had fun.

New granddaughters were a part of the "Conversation" too!

So, you get an idea of what transpired for two hours today.  I think we are better people for having been a part of this conversation.  It was a place too, where new folks were heard and their opinions were validated.  That in itself, is worth gathering together!

I thank God for today.....

Thursday, May 23, 2013

An evening in May...

A friend of ours will be moving into our apartment complex.  She will face the river on the main floor and will have some fantastic views out her patio doors!!!  Thought I'd send her a few shots so she'd realize what a great place she will be moving into.  It was a sky on fire....complete with reflections!

And to think she will have a new scene every single night!  No need for TV, books, or anything.  Watching that could be a full time job!

Sleep well everyone.  As for me....everything aches.  Must be a change in the weather coming:)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Victoria!!!

Yes, this weekend we celebrate the late Queen Victoria's Birthday.  Not that many of us actually remember her in any way...except us here in Prince Albert, our city being named after the Queen's husband.  She loved Albert so...and mourned his death until the day she herself died.  A beautiful love story, I'm told.

So, as we celebrate the birthday, we also celebrated Pentecost Sunday...the day the Spirit of God came to earth in weird and wonderful ways.  Folks were all speaking various languages and everyone could be understood!  The Spirit settled upon folks like tongues of fire, the Bible story tells us.  It would have been cool to see...and hear!!!  In church  about seven or eight folks stood up and read that story from the Bible...all at the same their native language!!!  Talk about cool!  I had never before in all my sixty-five years of living, heard that many languages being spoken all at once.  It was weird AND wonderful.  So it gave us a small glimpse of what it may have been like in Bible times on the day of Pentecost when that happened.  God's Spirit, living and it is today.

Since I had a mean headache most of last night, I got up at around 5 AM to get a bit of ice and take a pill.  Didn't get back to sleep and just stayed up since I needed to be at church anyway at 8:30 for worship practice before church began.  Needless to say, I had a nap this afternoon.  I NEVER nap in the afternoon!!!  Today I did.  Two solid hours.  Conked.

Shannon came over for our Victoria Day BBQ...just the three of us.  We had hot dogs and hamburgers and smokies.  She brought a potato dill best I've ever kidding!!!  We also cooked some corn on the cob...sweet and juicy!  And the grand finale...her Upside Down Berry Pie...a la mode!!!!  Just figured out the caloric intake in my supper...around oh.....eleven thousand or there abouts but who's counting:(  If we keep this up, our boat will sink this summer!!!

Anyway, here's a picture run down of our day......

Once again, Tracy Anderson, church decorator, adorned our sanctuary with "tongues of fire" to
represent Pentecost Sunday.  Beautiful!

 Haley and her mom, Aileen.

 The Congo influence....beautiful!
 Visiting after church.
 Greeting new friends.

Elikia and her daddy, Eric...all dressed in their Congo attire.

 Then came the BBQ!

 Potato Dill Salad!

 Various condiments including avocado and old cheese.

 The Upside Down Berry Pie...strawberries, raspberries, black and blue berries
topped with heart cut-outs, sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with berry juice. Tangy!

 The creator admiring her creation.

And of course, this past week the apartment changed looks.  Spare bedroom was occupied by one tree planter son and it always looks like a forest in kidding!  So good to have him home one day a week for three weeks.  Then back again to plant more in Ontario.  A great way to change the planet AND make some good cash!

Hope your weekend was in some form of celebrating too.  Happy Victoria Day!!!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

My man...

Friday last, husband had this eyelid surgery.  As a result of his Bell's Palsy on both sides of his face over the past few years, his eyelids have drooped considerably and so the ophthalmologist suggested an "eye lift":)

Surgery went well.  In at 10...out by noon!

But, as in any live tissue that has been cut and sutured, there is swelling and bruising....a GREAT DEAL of swelling and bruising.

The first night saw us in the ER.  He blew his nose...hard.  POP!  A clot gave way on his right eye suture and out poured the blood.  So, I'm in the shower, you know, the regular evening routine around 10:30 and I hear,  "I think we need to go to the hospital"...WE need to go to the hospital.  At first I'm thinking heart attack or some other wretched thing.  Fling back the shower curtain to find husband sitting on the toilet seat with many kleenexes all bundled up and pressed to his eye.  Ahhhhh...that's it.

Well, there's blood on the floor, blood on the counter, blood inside the toilet, blood in the bedroom....

I asked what happened..."I blew my nose", says he.

"Blew your nose????  Hard, I imagine!!!!!", says I.  I figured there would be plenty of time for a stern lecture once we got the bleeding stopped at the hospital.

Jumping from the shower, I flung on something, not sure what, grabbed keys, grabbed husband and out the door we ran.  I kept up with a few short, curt commands on our way to the hospital....don't take the kleenex from your eye....keep pressure on it.....don't blow your nose, again.....try to keep your head back, not forward....blah...blah....blah....I think he was getting the message!  Poor fellow.....:(

Arrive at ER.  Only two people ahead of us!!!  That was nothing short of a miracle...a Friday P.A.  I had visions of sitting in a long line of inebriated/drugged folks, all taking their turn for a stomach pump. Nope.  Just some grandparents bringing in their teenage grandson with a cracked ankle from skate boarding and another fellow with some kind of ailment.  But the shape husband appeared to be in, he would have fit in just fine with the usual Friday night crowd, we figured.

Then it was Ken's turn to see the doctor.  In he went...without me.  Male nurse asked him what happened, as he sat back a bit, looking at this 285 lb. fierce looking fellow with two black and swollen eyes with blood dripping down.  Ken explained he had undergone eye surgery.  Nurse asked if they did the surgery because he had been in a fight!  Oh my.  Ken said, no, that he had just had eyelid surgery.  Perhaps it was a good thing I hadn't gone in with him or that nurse would first have thought he had a very mean momma for a wife!

All my life I have wanted to dish out that old saying to someone and really mean it... you know the one...."You should see the other guy!!!"  But alas, I wasn't there with husband to express those words.  It would have been great fun, I think!

He was determined yesterday to take us girls out for a Mother's Day brunch...and he did.  I suggested that since it was a food related event and all, that perhaps sun glasses while he ate would make sense.  We wanted to be sensitive to the customers, after all!  Yesterday was quite gruesome actually.  He could have been made out to be a major car crash victim with eyes like the ones he displayed.

Today his eyes have been getting progressively better by the hour.  He has faithfully had ice on both eyes every hour or so.  I have "hydrogen peroxide-ed" both eyes, complete with antibiotic ointment over the sutures every 4 hours.  They are beginning to heal up there are black pools of bruising under each eye and in the corners but his eyes are becoming much more visible.  Yay!!!

He decided to continue to wear his sunglasses if we went anywhere in order to not scare children.  He stayed home from church for that very reason:)

But it wouldn't be me, if I didn't have a picture, right?  Another saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words" can be said for this one:

This was taken yesterday.

Today there is much less swelling...and just a blacker shade of black:(

My poor dear.....I pray God will heal sooner than later!  But he hasn't complained one bit, nor has he blown his nose too hard!!!

Perhaps this is one of the "worse" in "for better or for worse".....

Saturday, May 11, 2013


So many types, shapes, colors, backgrounds - but all having a common thread amongst innate desire to nurture.

Some mothers are exceptional nurturers.  They care, lead, encourage, teach, love, sacrifice...all for the sake of another. They have a great support system too, to enable them to do this.  They themselves are cared for.

Some are failures.  Perhaps something inside leaves them empty and the desire to make another happy has long been spent.

Most mothers, I'd suspect, are somewhere in between those two.  They desire to nurture well, they want the best for their charges and they work hard to accomplish that but they find themselves at times all too human.  They miss opportunities.  Sometimes they make poor choices - for themselves and those they care for.  Some are born into poverty. Others don't have the encouragement of another for them to do better at this all-important job.  But on the whole, they bring up pretty fine children and lead them into adulthood.

It's quite a job.  It's a difficult job...sometimes even thankless....infrequently being thanked or recognized for the terrific job they are doing.

So I figured it to be a great opportunity, on the eve of Mother's Day, to say thanks to all the moms everywhere for doing superb jobs!  I salute you!  Most moms do the very best they can, with whatever resources and gifts they've been given.  They work hard to teach and lead by example like the person who nurtured them.

My mom was terrific.  I think she did a pretty fine job rearing the three of us.  She did the very best she could with what she had been given.  I think as we grow up and look back to see how our own mothers raised us, we see things we wished we could change because...well, we see our own parents shortcomings and failures...we see their humanness.  I think it's in that same humanness that we begin to truly appreciate all the things our moms did for us.  We were accepting of all they gave us as children even if those things perhaps were lacking as we see them now through adult eyes.  We had no great expectations other than her unconditional love.

Happy Mother's all who not only gave birth to children, but also to those who have nurtured others children.  It's a day and opportunity worth celebrating.

 Here is the thread of nurturing in my family...from one generation to the next...

 My grandma and grandpa Cantelo and my mom seated on her daddy's left knee.
My grandpa died in the flu epidemic of 1918 not long after this picture was taken
leaving a single mom with two very young daughters.

Me and my mom...1951:)

Our very young family...1984.

Our not-so-young family...2012.

Another generation of nurturers...daughter and her daughter.

I like to think I had a hand in nurturing our lovely granddaughter! 

 Nurturing a son can produce some pretty meaningful hugs later on:)

Nurturing a daughter can make a mother extremely proud of who and what she has become!

Have fun tomorrow honoring, remembering and reminiscing about YOUR mom.  If you're fortunate enough to be right there with thankful.  That is such a gift!  As for me, I will remember my mom with much fondness and thank God for her memory.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dr. Java's...

Went for coffee this morning with Shannon.  We went to Dr. Java's in Victoria Square.

Nice atmosphere.  Loads of sun.  Quiet.  Friends everywhere.  Super service. Friendly staff.  GREAT coffee!

We had a nice time.

Now to rest up a bit for "Kid's Klub"!  Not sure what the menu is today but the kids will be out in full force and bring along their super appetites.  We have our work cut out for us!

Tomorrow Ken begins his physio for his gimpy, arthritic hip and leg.

Friday he gets an "eyelid lift".  He may look like a raccoon for a few days/weeks but at least we shall be able to see his eyes now!  I told him I'd like that surgery too, to get rid of my eyelid wrinkles but I guess I'll simply have to live with them.  Heaven knows I don't need surgery to see MY eyes!!!!!! blink...blink...blink.... A shame I say...he gets free surgery on his little eyes but I would have to pay to get that done on my BIG eyes.  Guess it pays to have "two pee-holes-in-the-snow" Ken calls

On another note, some days I find retirement very strange.  I continue to feel like I should be doing "more" but when I look at my schedule for the week, I'm probably doing "more" than I did before...just with many rests in between:)  At least, that's how I shall view it!  And getting up every day at 8 AM is just fine with me.

Looking forward to seeing water,  green grass and leaves now that the snow banks have melted and evaporated.

The view from our apartment building.

Waskesiu River.

Waskesiu Lake peeking through lush, new June leaves.

And there's just something about water that I love...good to live beside a river and get to a lake all summer!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Today was a good day.

At church, we talked about family...what it looks like and why.  We also spoke about the "church family" and what that looks like and why. (I should note that Pastor Seth didn't talk about "family" in his sermon,
per se, but my conversations with many people during the morning did reflect on families, in general).

Our church has been on a journey of finding out who it is and where it is going...kind of like a person who has finished high school and now must venture out into the world to find out where she belongs and who he is in the scheme of things.  I find it fascinating because it shows us that our church history isn't the only thing that is indicative as to who we are now.  Our past is only a very small part of what we have become because the church is always changing into a new least it should be.  So there are tiny fragments of the past that pop up now and then...good AND bad fragments.  It's up to us, of course, what we do with those little snippets of our past.  We can judge, condemn, point fingers, keep our minds where they were 30 years ago...OR we can remember them, thank God that we have moved beyond them and continue on TODAY.
I know of folks that simply love to relive past things...good AND not so good! AND not only old folks either!!! (Truth be told, I'm probably one of those types at one time or another!)

So, as we gather up our past into a big ball and sift out the wheat from the chaff, we can choose to bring only the things that can make us better people..."choose" being the operative word.

I believe God sees the best in us.  Unfortunately, at times we see the worst in each other and ourselves.  Pity.  It could be so much better, so much easier, so much more positive and creative.

I digress.

The family...our Gateway church family...consists of so many varying combinations of people....single moms, widows, married retired couples, working couples with kids, single dads, singles, grandparents and much diversity.  Then we look at our faces....we have First Nations folks, Swedes, Congolese, Poles, Scots, Brits, French, Norwegians, Ukrainians and who knows how many other ethnic  groups.  We look different from one another.  We act differently.  We have different opinions...and express those opinions.


But as we learned today, we are ONE FAMILY.  We need to find a common thread amongst us and use that common thread to encourage one another, to gather ourselves together and go on to better and more productive lifestyles within and outside of our church walls.  Being a family takes a lot of work, too!!!

That is where we are as a church at this moment in history.  We are finding ourselves.  We are finding our way.  We are depending on God and thereby, each other to learn where it is that we need to be and what it is that we need to be doing.

Not saying we aren't doing anything.  We are....and doing it well.  But we have a sense that MORE will be required of us.  We just need to decide if we are willing to go further and become that "more" to the community and each other.

On May 25th, the Vitality Committee of Gateway (of which I am a part) will host a conversation for a few hours to talk together about these very things.  We're wanting Gateway to go forward but we need the church family to decide where they feel this direction will be.  It should be good. We trust in the Spirit to direct us.

Oh....and I want to welcome Spring to our family.  She certainly has brightened things up and has given us a new outlook on life.  I hope she stays around and not go hopping elsewhere.  Perhaps if we all get out our rakes and gardening tools, she'll know we mean business!

Sleep well....but go outside first and enjoy those +20 temps!!!

Friday, May 3, 2013

A hiatus...

Seems like that's what it's been lately from this space.  Not sure.  I just get busy doing stuff and quite frankly, I forget this place still exists!

I suppose life just happens.

River went out.

Fields and roads are flooding.

Daughter had gall bladder surgery.

Brittney's away for the weekend.

Ken's beginning physio next week for his hip.

Had an unexpected coffee with friend, Carman Dodge, this morning.

It rained.

I sat on the deck and ate an apple....but haven't lost weight!

Grass is beginning to grow.

Birds are singing sweetly.

A heat wave is swinging by our way tomorrow.  Yay!

Son is having tons of fun before he comes back to Canada to plant trees.

Life is good.

And daughter made some of her famous brochetta bread for supper.  See....

So, life is pretty darn good, I'd say....especially when you get to eat stuff like that!!!

I'll try not to be so long between posts...:)  Nite...