Welcome to my Blog!

Welcome to my blog! Of course if we were visiting in person, I'd have the teapot out and we could sit and chat.
I'm honored you stopped by to listen to my thoughts and ponderings - and if you have a minute sometime, let me know you dropped by!

You can also find me on Facebook at Grace Notes, Thoughts and Prayers.

I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Thoughts; what I Want!

   Just woke up from a nap.  This is not usual for me, but there is something about a Sunday afternoon that invites rest.  And the body is grateful.

  Of course, the fact that I had trouble sleeping last night might have had something to do with it.  I have wrestled with insomnia off and on, and I know I am not alone.  It is ironic that our adult children with babies live with sleep deprivation, and here I lie awake.  Is it sympathy?  Or too much on my mind?  Or perhaps just this stage of life?

  As common as it is, I am never happy about it at night, struggling to settle my mind and body and drift to sleep.  But sometimes the thoughts and prayers that accompany those night hours are worth the wakefulness.

  Last night I decided to go over Psalm 23 in my mind.  I love the Shepherd's Psalm.  I often use the image in my work, that lovely picture of Jesus the Shepherd, holding us, caring for us, guiding us home.

  But last night I was struck... and stuck - on the second line.  "I shall not want".

  And I realized I live in a society riddled with want.  I want.

  I want to be comfortable.  I want to be healthy.  I want my family to be happy, and things to go well with them.

  I want peace in the world, in MY world.

  And then we could get going about material possessions, and after the emptying of my mom's possessions, and going through mine, it has struck me afresh how much stuff we have.  She managed it well, but it has caused me to review my own stuff as I add precious belongings to my own.  I wonder how to value them.

  We are a society that craves stuff.  It was not lost on me how ironic it was that the Mission, where we tried to donate many items lately,  were so overflowing with people's stuff they had to turn us away. And Christmas is coming.  We need to make space... for more stuff!!

  "I shall not want".  My wants get in the way of rest. In the way of Trust.   Resting with the Shepherd.  Focusing on what is important.  To think like a sheep, following the Shepherd, living a simple life, knowing I can trust in his care.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Saturday Morning in October

  Eight o'clock on a Saturday morning.

  I step outside on my deck and the thermometer reads 0 degrees.  Fog clings to the hills, promising sunshine later, and the mist hangs over the colored hillside, this beautiful view I call my own.

 I step into the garden, my little patch, where the kale still thrives on October 19.  It is quiet in the garden and I pick the baby kale, bright green, fresh for my morning drink.  It is a gift.

  I hear a crow call... loud, then distant as it flies into the mist.

  I spy a spiders web hanging from the roof of my deck, perfect.  No spider, so I try to capture it, catching it on paper.  God's art, through his creation.  Beautiful.

  A busy day ahead... a day of travel, a day of remembering, a day of celebration.

  And I am glad for the gifts of the morning.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Falling

We sat there on the bench, in the park.

Under the maple tree.  It is one of our favorite parks in Vernon, just a little neighborhood park, and we think we will take our grandchildren there one day and play boccie.

So we sat, in the sun, on a lovely Sunday afternoon, and just watched the leaves fall.



Silence our companion, mesmerized by the falling, the gently floating, the colorful leaves...

Which one would be next?  I stared upwards, enjoying the dancing of the tree, this slow dance of fall, with the gentle release of leaves, one by one.

 I knew it could be another story in a storm, a gale wind could take them all in a howling swirling sweep.

 But this day was a gift, in the sun, just enjoying.


And I thought... Sometimes we have to fall... before we can truly live.

There are always lessons in nature... God does it so well.

And as we watched, and listened, I again realized that in the letting go... we are truly free.  We hang on to life, to our dreams, to our so called entitlements so very fiercely... and inevitably we fall.  We are not in control.

This faith, this God I trust, teaches that in our weaknesses lie the strength.  In letting go, we live more fully.  In surrender, we are free.



Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thanksgiving

It really should be an all year post...
Being thankful that is.
Living in North America we
can be thankful in Canada in October
and reminded again by our American friends
in November.

Sometimes thankful is the telling
the expressing
the letting know.
Gratitude cannot be held in solitude.
No, it has to spill out to others
These expressions of thanks.

Thankfulness holds no bounds
Each breath, each day
Rich variety of food
Never-ending beauty of the earth
Shelter, Warmth
All are gifts
We often take for granted.

Today a bald eagle soared above our home
I watched in fascination
He was large and graceful and strong
And reminded me of promises past
That I am grateful for.

A deer bounded past
Nearly out of sight
As we went for our walk.
Graceful too, totally free
Enjoying the meadow as we were.
Another gift, just for today.

New life, beautiful new life
Blessing our family this year
And as we say our goodbyes,
We have also said our hellos
in the boundaries of this life
 as we know it
But also hanging on to the
eternity of forever.
Thankful.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

auf Wie·der·seh·en

Auf Wiedersehen.

This beautiful German phrase reminds me of my childhood.

 My childhood was rich with the sound of the German language, spoken by my grandparents, and my parents as well.   It is a lovely language; poetic, full of expression. Sometimes I am so very sorry I lost my ability to speak in this mother tongue, the birth language of my parents and part of my heritage.

  I grew up with phrases like:

 Gesundheit   (Bless you!), the sneeze variety! ... literally meaning good health!
 Sehr goot!  pronounced zeah-goot, meaning Very good!

and lots of Mennonite food with German and Eastern German origins such as

 Roll Kuchen, (dough to be fried and eaten with watermelon)
 Wareneki, prounouncing that W as a V (perogies stuffed with cottage cheese as I remember),
 Pluma Mous (and the visions I have as a child of this delicious cold fruit soup was always of mice... and yet that didn't stop me from enjoying it!!), literally meaning Plum Soup, usually made with all variety of dried fruits.
 Zwieback  literally meaning two buns in one... I remember my grandmother making these for every Sunday.  A handful of dough expertly rounded and placed on the pan, with a baby piece of dough stuck on top.  We loved it!!

  I recently found a recipe of my grandmothers... her famous bun recipe, and it had chicken fat in it!  Nothing wasted back then, and I'm thinking the chickens lived in healthier times as well.  It might be hard to duplicate that recipe in 2013.

 When I was in my thirties I got into the habit of muttering Das ist Schrecklich!  

 Don't you love the sound of that rolling off your tongue?  Literally meaning It's terrible, it became a fond form of expressing frustration.  Really!

  The other day, while at the cemetery, my dad pointed out a gravestone, near my mother's grave site, and the inscription read "Auf Widersehen".  It means "until we meet again!"

  And I've been thinking about how beautiful that is, how expressive, so filled with hope.  So much better than "good-bye".

   So, Auf Widersehen, for now... until I write next time, or our paths cross.  It is good we can borrow words from others and enjoy their beauty.

  Oh and yes, here for fun is my grandmother's recipe for buns... which she made into Zwieback on many occasion:

Grandmother's Buns:
1 T. Yeast
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. sugar
1 cup milk
3/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup chicken fat
2 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 scant T. salt
Enough flour to make a soft dough


Dissolve 1 pkg. yeast (1 T) in 1/2 cup water to which 1 tsp. sugar has been added. Meanwhile heat 1 cup milk, melt 3/4 cup margarine and 1/4 cup chicken fat in the hot milk. Add 2 cups water to cool it to lukewarm.
Then add 1/3 cup sugar (more or less to taste), 2 beaten eggs, and 1 scant T. salt. Add enough flour to make a soft batter, beat until smooth. Knead to a soft elastic dough. Let rise for 2 hours, then put on pans. Let rise another two hours (or less). Bake at 375 degrees for 15-17 minutes.



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October

October
Calendars turning
Seasons turning
Leaves turning
Falling.

Autumn.
Mom loved autumn.

Are there seasons in heaven?
Or does time stand still?
Moments held
I wonder?

Outside,
In the world I know
The leaves fall.
The wind blows.












Grief too, has seasons.
She is there.
I am here.
The distance deafening.

I turn the pages of the calendar
And she is not there.

I pick up the phone
The conversation is silent.

And yet
The sun goes up
I live
My breath reminding me of
Calender days
Waiting to be filled.

Memories crowd my mind
Reminders of yesterday
Giving strength for today
Courage for tomorrow.

The song I sing comes to mind
He gives
He takes away
My heart will choose to say
Blessed be Your name.

(song by Matt Redman).