Monday, August 30, 2010

a day at the fair (#66-71 of 1000 gifts)

How quickly the week flies by. It's Monday again and time for a review of the past week's gifts.

66. A special Thursday-night dinner with hubby at the Bedford House Restaurant in Fort Langley. We topped off the evening with a walk.

67. Cool end-of-summer weather made a perfect day at the fair on Saturday.

68. We were joined by little people. You see the fair from a whole new angle when you're pushing a stroller.

  • The first item on the agenda was to find the "animal experience" (the new name for petting zoo).

He wasn't so sure about the squealing, squirming piglet.
But the placid brown cow was one of his favorites of the day.

  • We got great seats for the logger show. But "seat" took on a whole new meaning when one of our party (daughter Sonia) got picked to be part of the show. For being such a game participant (plus winning the round with her professional logger partner) she got to take home the little wooden chair that he had carved with his chain saw in the first act.

  • We caught a glimpse of the next Olympic bobsled team.

  • We ate the great PNE food.

  • And as you can see, the Superdogs were a great hit with these two.

69. We now get to play grandma and grandpa for the whole week!

70. Playdough (I'm planning to make some later tonight. I know it's going to save the day when mommy goes out tomorrow to get new glasses and I get to babysit the two-year-old.

71. Am loving my laptop more all the time and getting to know it really well,  especially since my office has now become the nursery.


f you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here

holy experience

Friday, August 27, 2010

wise words from a writing mentor

I recently received a rare gift — the book The Voice of a Writer: Honoring the Life of Katie Funk Wiebe. I took a course from Ms. Wiebe many years ago, when a writing life for myself was only a daydream. Thus I read this book about and by her with great interest.

It is a collection of essays on Wiebe's contribution (to especially the Mennonite Brethren denomination) as a writer, teacher, and person. Pieces by writing and teaching colleagues, Mennonite historians as well as one of her children give us a multi-faceted picture of this woman, teacher, writer, and thinker. Between the essays of others are her own writings, picked from the multitude of articles she wrote over her 30 years as a columnist for Christian Leader and Mennonite Brethren Herald.

The book gave me valuable insights on what it meant to be a writer when that career choice was one Christian women, especially Mennonite women, rarely made.  But not that much has changed. For many of the issues Wiebe struggled with in the 60s, 70s and 80s are still ones we grapple with today -- even though the medium of delivery is changing. As I read her columns I think what a great blogger she would have made. Here from the book are a few snippets of her writerly wisdom:

"...writing is often an exercise in self-revelation...the more personal the writing, the more universal." p. 10

"Writing is a form of giving oneself away, of standing in the public square without clothes." p. 70

"As I clarified an issue for myself, I helped the fog to lift in others. That column became a journal of my life and concerns. In it I can trace my interests, ups and downs, periods of growth and stagnation. Grappling with a problem in my own life by putting it into words helped me find myself. I am grateful I had the opportunity to write this column for thirty years. It taught me the discipline of the deadline, the joy of creating with words, and especially the stewardship of ideas and words." p. 124

"Write, keep on writing, write about what you know. Write and the inspiration will come." p. 185

Title: The Voice of a Writer: Honoring the Life of Katie Funk Wiebe
Author: Doug Heidebrecht and Valerie G. Rempel, Editors
Publisher: Kindred Productions, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-894791-22-9

(This post first appeared on the Inscribe Writers Online blog August 11, 2010.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The Red Hat Society's Float - Langley Parade, 2010


Next Week: TECHNOLOGY (Machines, Gears, Engines, Mobile Phones, Laptops, Wires, Toy, Robots,...)

Monday, August 23, 2010

ant edition (1000 gifts #55-65)

Today I was the ant, preparing for winter. I have just finished finding room in the freezer for close to 20 lbs. each of peaches and nectarines. And with that little item I resume my list of 1000 gifts:

55. I love the summer fruit!

56. I love spending a day in the kitchen, especially when I have a tidy row of boxed ready-to-freeze items to show for it.

57. A few days ago it was blueberries. They were on the ripe side so I decided as well as freezing them whole, to make a little jam. When I discovered I was out of Certo, I googled "blueberry jam no pectin" and came across the simplest recipe (6 cups blueberries, 3 cups sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice).  It took a bit of boiling and stirring but my jam set nicely.

58. On Saturday I went to a writer's event in Vancouver sponsored by The Word Guild. From it I have some helpful handouts to help me evaluate my career direction for the future.

59. I felt especially pleased when my plans to go and return by public transit worked without a hitch!

60. Yesterday we spent a beautiful afternoon with friends at Lonsdale Quay

61. ...where we found some fun public art.

62. ...and I discovered a wonderful place for an outing with our grand-babies at some future date (imagine a Thomas fan getting his hair cut here!)

63. French onion soup.

64. Hubby found a replacement carafe for our coffeemaker.

65. ...and a new dryer knob (bye-bye pliers).

If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here

holy experience

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


"The Birds" by Myfanwy MacLeod

These two 18 foot tall sparrows (male and female) were installed after the Olympics at the Southeast False Creek Olympic Plaza in the Olympic Village, Vancouver, BC. The exhibit is part of the City’s Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program. Read more about them here

As this piece explains, the size of the birds in relation to their surroundings speaks of the danger of introducing species of wildlife into areas where they aren't native.


Next week: FUN (Festival, Fair, Carnival, Party, Playground, Dancing, Laughing,...)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

home again (1000 gifts #44-54)!

44. We're home! We arrived yesterday afternoon. I love home, even though our townhouse was sauna-hot in yesterday's 30+C temps.

45. I didn't gain any weight — to speak of. That is a miracle, considering all the feasts I've faced and ingested in the last almost three weeks.

46. As a result of vacation events, hubby and I saw all of our siblings and their spouses in the last two weeks.

47. Okanagan fruit. The cherries and peaches we bought at the little West Kelowna roadside stand were incredible. And we came home with a couple of bags of new-crop Sunrise apples!

48. Fans (the ones that move air). When you're in a heat wave with no AC, you fall in love with fans.

49. Our beautiful babies. They're getting cuter with each visit.

50. Raisin bran cereal. I've been eating it practically every morning, with peaches, blueberries, extra raisins. Donald Miller likes it too:
"The cereal. Being the best thing to eat right now. I could go for a a big bowl of Raisin Bran and cold milk...."

"You know," Paul begins, "it's funny. Two weeks ago when we talked about things we wanted or our aspirations, we would have talked about houses or boats or cars. Now that we've been on the road for a while, everything is reduced to a bowl of cereal.... Isn't that beautiful? Cereal. There are people in this world who are killing themselves because they want more and more of nothing. And the only thing you and I want in this world is a bowl of cereal. That just shows you how the things we think are important really aren't important"Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller, page 123

 51. Automatic washers and dryers.

52. The sanctuary of my office.

53. God, who faithfully gave me "Other Food" every morning of my vacation, and provided the solitude and time to get these devo's typed before I started my day.

54. I think we are witnessing a miracle. My brother — the one in palliative care — his system is beginning to work again. Keep praying folks!


If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here

holy experience

Thursday, August 12, 2010

interrupted holiday (1000 gifts #34-43)

The blog has been quiet for several reasons. For one, I'm not at my own desk. For another, there is much to say and I'm a bit overwhelmed.

Our family is in a place we've never been before. My dear bro, whose fight with cancer began three years ago was recently admitted to the Palliative Care Ward of a hospital near his home. (Thus we changed our holiday plans and bypassed a family reunion to be with him.) Daily visits with this beautiful man and his family are both satisfying and wrenching. In the context of this, here are some of the gifts I've received in the past weeks:

34. An impromptu family reunion two weekends ago. When nine siblings manage to find their way to each other on one weekend, it's beyond special.

Family feast cooked up by Anne

35. The peaceful spirit of my ill brother and his family. Their settled faith is an inspiration.

36. The wonderful prairie smells I drink in as we go for walks. (When you've grown up in Saskatchewan, I guess it's no wonder that re-experiencing the sights and smells of a large chunk of your life resonate.)

37. A picnic in the park followed by a golden evening of mini-golf (no matter that I scored lowest of the low. My only hope for jock status is at Scrabble —if that).

38. Mocha fudge ice-cream in a chocolate-dipped waffle cone.

Saskatoon - City of Bridges

39. Beautiful riverside walks in the city of my youth.

40. Mosquito repellent.

41. Getting together with old friends.

42. Safe travel over hundreds of miles.

Word came on Sunday night, just hours after I had composed the above that hubby's father had died. My father-in-law was nearing 90 years and had already left us in many ways.

43. Dad's peaceful passing in his sleep is another gift.

And so now we are with our other family, preparing for Dad's memorial service. I know many gifts will flow from that too. Stay tuned.

If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here

holy experience

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