Saturday, October 31, 2009

the last post

Well, not exactly. But I may not be posting much during November. On the other hand, I may be here more than usual. It's really hard to say right now how writing a novel (yep, I've registered for NaNoWriMo and will try to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days) will affect posting here at the blog. I may be silenced by exhaustion or so stoked after logging my daily quota of words, the excitement is too much to hold in.  (I'll be tracking daily progress on my NaNo profile.)

In other news - I went shopping yesterday. Yep - braved the mall to fill up our two Boxes of Love (shoeboxes of gifts for orphans in Zambia and due at church tomorrow). Of course after avoiding shopping for a while, I had a list of other stuff to buy as well. Spent probably two hours at Wal-Mart. (I'm such a dithering shopper - choose A, find B, put back A, rethink, put back B and look for C...).

But I did have some fun too. Like buying these dolls. Aren't they cute?

My great-niece is coming to Vancouver for her annual checkup at Children's Hospital next week. We're meeting the family for the afternoon one day - so decided auntie needed to bring a present for her and little sis.

And bought these sweet boots at my favorite shoe store (20% off too).

They're called 'Biker.' I'm not a biker, not even a hiker. But despite the racy name, I think we'll get on. We had a date this morning; first impressions are good.  How about the cool side zippers. Tie them up once, zip forever after. Love it!

Friday, October 30, 2009

jack-o-lantern who's who

It's the season for carving pumpkins, so when my bro-in-law sent me these photos of pumpkins carved by Thunder Bay resident Betty Krebs, I just had to get them for the blog. 

When, in my email asking for permission to post them, I complimented her on her talent, Krebs replied, "I've been carving real pumpkins for 15 years and use subjects from current affairs from whatever happens from Oct. to Oct. I carve purely for fun and I really don't look at it as a talent."

More on Betty Krebs and her pumpkin carving here.


Michael Jackson - Before © Betty Krebs

Michael Jackson - After © 2009 by Betty Krebs

Jordan Staal © 2009 by Betty Krebs

Farrah Fawcett © 2009 by Betty Krebs

Bea Arthur © 2009 by Betty Krebs

Patrick Swayze © 2009 by Betty Krebs

Brett Favre © 2009 by Betty Krebs

Steve Tyler © 2009 by Betty Krebs

Tiger Woods © 2009 by Betty Krebs

John Travolta © 2009 by Betty Krebs

Bob and Jillian (The Biggest Loser trainers) © 2009 by Betty Krebs


I beg to differ. I think Betty Krebs has talent - don't you?

Betty's  husband is obviously talented too. He runs the Vienna Bakery in Thunder Bay. I may have more info on that later. For now drool over these.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Hanging out


This is a peek inside the closet of the Postmaster's House in Powell River, BC. These clothes remind me of the suitcase of dress-ups that were so much fun for the kids when they were little.

Next week: FOOD (Fruit, Vegetables, Cookies, Candy, Meals, Food for Animals, Feast, Hungry,...)

Monday, October 26, 2009

amazing communicator

Ukrainian artist Kseniya Simonova won the 2009 Ukraine's Got Talent award.

Explanation of her drawing: "Kseniya uses a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and 'sand painting' skills to interpret Germany's invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII." (from Fark)

Incredible artist - moving presentation!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

flu sos

We're back from a three-day mission of mercy to help a flu-stricken mommy.

Thankfully this...

is again this.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Smart Car - Yellow Swirl Model

Isn't he cute? He was millimetering across our sidewalk when we left for our walk yesterday morning.

Next Week:  CLOTHS (Colorful, Unusually, Fashionable, Komonos, Sari, Suits,...)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shoefoot's story on film

About 10 months ago I read a fascinating book called Spirit of the Rainforest. It's the story of how the Yanomamo people of South America were introduced to the Gospel. I discovered yesterday that someone has made a movie (called "The Enemy God") of Shoefoot's story. Here's the trailer:

"Guide You" Trailer from Caleb Resources on Vimeo.

More videos about "The Enemy God" movie here. (I think I just discovered one thing that will be on my Christmas wish list!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

5th blogiversary

Today is my fifth Blogiversary - and I still don't know what I'm doing!

Thanks to all who come by this eclectic place which breaks most of the blogging rules by having no theme, no pertinent advice to do useful stuff like help you make money, clean your house, bake up a storm, do a craft, write a better book, or sell the book you've written. It's just my very ordinary life.

I sincerely thank all readers who have shared this blogging journey with me by coming by regularly or once in a while! (And an even bigger thanks if you've left a comment - we do comments!)☺

Saturday, October 17, 2009

thankful #3

  • They celebrate special days with you.
  • They see you when you're at your worst and your best; you can be yourself with them.
  • They're there for you when tragedy strikes, holding things together.
  • They're storehouses of shared memories...

I could go on, but I'm sure by now you've guessed that I'm referring to

my family

Family is a God thing. I'm very thankful for my family.

Our family is spread out over many miles. It's always a treat to get together. This summer some of us met at the wedding of our niece to experience more good times and make more family memories (often involving food, it seems)!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cleaning House (part 1)

I blogged here today.

Thursday, October 15, 2009




Next week: SIMPLE (Minimalist, Simple Things, Simple Composition, Pure,...)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

book review:Kabul 24

Title: Kabul 24
Authors: Henry O. Arnold and Ben Pearson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, September 2009, Paperback, 320 pages.
ISBN-10: 1595550224
ISBN-13: 978-1595550224

Authors Henry O. Arnold and Ben Pearson crawl behind the eyes and into the minds and hearts of the eight European, American, and Australian missionaries the Taliban held captive in Kabul for 105 days in 2001. The result is a story to which readers are willing hostages for the entire suspense-filled ride.

The nightmare begins on August 3rd, the day Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer, two Kabul Shelter Now International workers, bring over the Jesus DVD for an Afghan family to watch. They do this after the family has expressed an interest in Christianity and asked to see the video.

That afternoon, not realizing they have been set up, both girls are ambushed by Taliban soldiers while in their taxis. By the next day eight Kabul SNI workers (two men and six women) along with sixteen Afghan Christians who also work for SNI are in prison while others have fled the country.

Their imprisonment is described in chilling detail. We do get to know each of the players a little, but the story is told mainly through the perspective of Georg Taubmann, a German who takes responsibility for the others. (Though there are 24 hostages, the story is mainly about the eight foreign missionaries; the 16 Afghans are imprisoned separately.)

Arnold’s and Pearson’s storytelling is masterful. Though we know at the outset that the hostages will eventually be freed, we are kept on edge of our seats as the eight are shuffled from one prison to the next by captors who are jittery and unpredictable with Kalishnikovs always at the ready. Things go from bad to worse after the 9-11 attack when western bombing of Afghanistan begins. The events of the eventual liberation at the end of the story are the most nail-biting of all.

In addition to being a gripping read, the book is also inspirational. The characters of these men and women come to light as they deal with their captors and each other, day in and day out, under conditions that range from extreme boredom to life-and-death danger.

Both the men and the women (who were held in different parts of the prison though eventually allowed some interaction) set up routines which include Bible-reading, sharing their thoughts and feelings, worship, and prayer.

This focus on the spiritual aspect of the situation changes the cast of even the most discouraging developments. Witness, for example, the reaction of the eight after 9-11 when Afghanistan is under foreign attack and all other westerners have left the city:

“Could their situation be any worse? How would God help them now? Who was there to turn to now? They could look at the situation before them and believe what they felt … the knife stab of abandonment. On the other hand, they could choose to believe that they just might be in the center of God’s will.
Perhaps there was a purpose in all of this. Perhaps this was not desertion. Perhaps God had designed this exact place and time for them, that no one else could see His mystifying purpose through to the end but these eight.
Being unable to depart the city meant they would be in the center of the storm and could pray for a country they loved, pray for a people they loved, pray for a work they performed that had brought so much good to so many people. No one else was better qualified to utter such passionate prayers on behalf of a nation and her people. To be present in a ‘fiery furnace’ when there seemed to be little hope of survival might just be ground zero of God’s infinite purpose for these eight people.” p. 113

The book shows how God gives strength to get through the hardest situation, not ahead of time but just at the time it is needed. And sometimes, when there is no way out or through, miracles happen. It reminds us too that not all of the enemies are the same. Some Taliban members are sympathetic and help the eight.

This riveting story will leave you hugging your flag and thanking God for the freedoms of a democratic country.  But it will also show you that God can work in places that are the opposite of free. For all that and more, Kabul24 is a book not to miss!

Kabul24 is also a movie directed by Michael W. Smith and is set to release in November 2009.  View Kabul24 trailers.

I received this book as a gift from Thomas Nelson for review purposes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

happy thanksgiving!

Wishing everyone a happy Canadian thanksgiving. 
We have so much to be thankful for!

 Our grandson feeding the llama at the Kamloops petting zoo.

Friday, October 09, 2009

thankful #2

The evidence is in the archives - how this blog changed after May 2006. It's because in that month my hubby gifted me with the next item on my thankful list:

 my digital camera

I have never enjoyed a birthday gift more!

No gadget limited to vacations this! My camera has become an (almost) constant companion. I truck it along on all my walks, slip it into the back pocket of my purse before I go to church, and always have it handy at family do's.

I think I was meant for the photography life. At least that's what a career analysis told me when, well into adulthood and disillusioned by yet another dead-end career choice,  a high school counselor who was also my cousin gave me one of her tests.  My likes and dislikes were most comparable to those of reporters and photographers i.e. a photo-journalist.

These days my journalism is mostly of the flora and fauna. Like these deer, seen one morning in front of the graffiti under the 206th Street bridge.

(click on any photo to enlarge)

Or these traps, exposed by the dew.

Or these lovely waxy juniper berries that have suddenly appeared all over the hedge just outside our front door.

Mine is not one of your name-drop cameras ("Oh, I use a Canon 5D Mark II"). Maybe someday. But so far, my 5 megapixel Panasonic DMC-TZ1 with 10x optical zoom and optical image stabilization has done me very well. The controls are intuitive and easy to use and the rechargeable battery truly does have an extended life.

My only regret is that I haven't learned to do more with it. So far I've let its little computer brain set the f-stops - venturing only as far as figuring out how to do a couple of things, like activate the timer - here's the camera's self-portrait as proof:

... and take night photos - this 8-second-exposure, malt-hued scene of last year's Christmas lights was taken without a tripod.

But I do have thousands of photos and no cumbersome albums (after '06, that is). I could flee my burning house with the record our family's recent life and my passions in a wallet of megapixel-filled disks tucked under my arm. You gotta love that!

What gadgets are you thankful for?

Thursday, October 08, 2009


 (Click on photo to enlarge)

Marigolds - Butchart Garden

On our visit to Butchart Garden in July, I was impressed with the multitude of interesting flowerbed color combinations. Wouldn't the above make a beautiful design for wrapping paper?


Next week: BEAUTY (Sunset, Nature, People, Houses, Eyes,...)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

thankful #1

As so often happens these days, an important holiday has sneaked up on me and -- eek! I don't feel ready. This time it's Thanksgiving. In Canada the official day of thanksgiving is Monday, October 12th.

It's not that I'm not physically ready. I did make my Thanksgiving dinner list and hubby, our family's official grocery shopper, has most of the items tucked away in the pantry or freezer. But I don't feel mentally and spiritually ready. Because it seems to me that Thanksgiving should be more than merely a day on the calendar when we give ourselves permission to bulk up on the fat of the land.

And so, in the last few days I have put my mind on the track of thankfulness and made a list of things for which I'm thankful. In the remainder of October and into November (U.S. Thanksgiving is November 26th so thankfulness will still be thick in the air) I will share some of these items on promptings and so tune my heart and hopefully yours, to give thanks. Thank whom? Well, everyone to whom thanks is due, but most especially, thank God who "richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment."

I'll start today with the first item that came to mind.

I am thankful for the country of which I am a citizen - Canada.

Perhaps I feel so consciously thankful for Canada at the moment because I've just finished reading Kabul 24. This book tells the story of the eight hostages captured in Kabul Afghanistan by the Taliban in 2001 and held hostage for 105 days.

I contrast life in my country with conditions in countries like Afghanistan and can only give thanks for democracy, the freedom to get an education, a cultural climate where women are respected, where civility and helping one's neighbor are the norm, and where peace, safety and tranquility are (mostly) the order of the day. Here, in a climate of religious tolerance, I can worship freely and openly according to my convictions.

To my shame I do my share of muttering and complaining about many things Canadian. But when it comes down to it - I'm supremely thankful to have been born a Canadian and to have lived my whole life as a Canadian citizen.

What about you? What is your number one item of thanks?

Monday, October 05, 2009

the newest Beatle

Prime Minister Harper performs at the National Arts Centre Gala on Saturday. Here's CTV's take on it. What do you think?

Saturday, October 03, 2009

book review: The Best of Wilfred Grenfell - William Pope editor

Title: The Best of Wilfred Grenfell
Author: Wilfred Grenfell, edited by William Pope
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing, May 2006, Paperback, 179 pages 
ISBN-10: 1551095815 
ISBN-13: 978-1551095813

“’To believe is to do,’ Wilfred Grenfell said, and his 40 years as a medical missionary along the rugged Labrador coast amply illustrated his words. He was a prolific writer, fundraiser and traveler but it was his faith that empowered his life and gave it meaning; it enabled him to accomplish great tasks to the amazement of others and made him a legend even during his lifetime.”

Thus editor William Pope sums up the life of Sir Wilfred Grenfell. It opens the introduction to The Best of Wilfred Grenfell, a collection of eleven short pieces by this British medical doctor and missionary to Labrador and Newfoundland from 1892 to 1934.

Grenfell was born in Parkgate England in 1865. Though his father was a clergyman, Grenfell had no religious leanings until one evening when he was 20. Returning from a sick call (he was already training to be a doctor) he happened upon a large tent where Dwight Moody was holding meetings. He sat down to listen and as a result of the message that night he decided to commit himself to Christ. That decision changed the course of his life. He eventually became involved in the North Sea Mission to Fishermen but when he heard of the need for medical services along the Labrador coast, he volunteered to work there.

Along the rugged coastlines of Newfoundland and Labrador he traveled by boat, kayak, canoe or dog sled to wherever he was needed. He loved Labrador’s majestic beauty and considered the cold, primitive conditions, and rugged landscape a challenge and adventure. During his 40+ years of work he attended to the medical needs the people by traveling to them and building village hospitals. His efforts soon branched into other areas such as establishing schools, orphanages, and doing whatever he could to improve the life of the people.  

From the hundreds of articles and 33 books he wrote, the eleven pieces collected here give us a taste of his range. The stories, authored from 1909 to 1932, are not in date order. The collection begins with adventure stories like Grenfell’s horrendous experience of drifting out to sea with his dogs on an ice pan. Other incidents involving Grenfell and local characters include tales of storms at sea, a starving trapper and a fisherman guilty of insurance fraud. Reflective essays on marriage, the importance of stewarding one’s body and his manifesto of faith “What Christ Means To Me” conclude the book.

Grenfell is a wonderful storyteller. He writes with a natural sense of timing and incredible detail and specificity, speaking of oilskins, komatiks, pan, sish and slob ice with the ease and familiarity we talk of jackets, cars, and road conditions. In many places he writes conversations in dialect, giving the tales extra color and realism. Though his English in some pieces may seem complex, his archaic style reminds us that these writings are up to 100 years old. Even the bits of clay prose are worth the slog, however, for Grenfell was a remarkable man with important things to say. 

He downplays his own role in many of these incidents but the way the people respond to him show that he was loved and trusted as a leader and example in the community. Grenfell comes across as an idealist, but one who believed in working, not just dreaming. He articulates his moral and spiritual ideals especially clearly in the essays about marriage, the human body and what Christ means to him. Note these quotables from that selection:

“Christ has become to me to mean more and more doing something, anything well.” p. 156

“God’s challenge to us is only to do whatever we can. Christ’s religion is as natural as the flowers in spring, and relates to the everyday things around us.” p. 156

“A lesson much needed and one which true loved calls for, is always to be optimistic. Never again will I be pessimistic because I cannot see the Christ bringing in His Kingdom in my way. If my boy promises me that he will not smoke, and I find a used pipe in his coat pocket, I do not say anything, I just trust him.” p. 158

Black and white photo reproductions showing Grenfell in his various roles are sprinkled throughout the text. There is a map of the area where he worked and a list of his publications at the back of the book.

This collection is a treasure for many reasons. It accounts rare early 1900s stories of life on the Labrador and Newfoundland coasts.  It provides history from one of Canada’s little-known mission fields. But most of all, it introduces us to a pioneer hero whose example in character and lived-out faith are needed as much today as ever.

More on Grenfell:

Many of the local projects that Dr. Grenfell established continue:

October 21, 1940 Time Magazine article commemorating the life and death of Wilfred Grenfell

Friday, October 02, 2009

spy on the hummingbirds

Watch a mother hummingbird incubate eggs, hatch then feed her young and eventually persuade them to leave the nest. The video quality is good and the peaceful classical music background (Mozart) makes for a lovely almost-nine-minute interlude.

I found discovered this via twitter and the very informative blog of New England Birdhouse (Bill Askenberg).

Thursday, October 01, 2009


(Click on photos to enlarge)

 "West Coast Roots" by Lynn Kingham
Part of the Eagles in the City project. 
This eagle stands on the walk that circles the Victoria, BC Inner Harbor.


Next week: GOLDEN (Gold-colored, Gold Plated, Yellow, Sun Flowers, Jewellery, Blonde, First-rate, Special,...)


More eagles from the "Eagles in the City" project:

Eagles In the City is a Lions Club project (similar to the previous Orcas in the City and Spirit Bears in the City projects). In the spring of 2010 all the fiberglass eagles will be auctioned off to raise funds for kids with disabilities. 

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