Monday, November 29, 2010

C.S. Lewis Birthday Party etc. (#174 to 180 of 1000 gifts)

Today (November 29th) is the anniversary of C. S. Lewis's birthday. In honour of the Christian bard, I quote from one of my favourite books of his: The Screwtape Letters: Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil. How's this for a bit of upside-down advice:

"My Dear Wormwood,
You mentioned casually in your last letter that the patient has continued to attend one church, and one only, since he was converted, and that he is not wholly pleased with it. May I ask what you are about? Why have I no report on the causes of his fidelity to the parish church? Do you realize that unless it is due to indifference it is a very bad thing? Surely know that if a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that "suits" him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches..." p. 81

(This birthday celebration is  sponsored by "Into the Wardrobe — a C. S. Lewis Website" with a party on Facebook.)


And on to naming this weeks' gifts:

Lavender - from roadside to sachets, a labour of love (Can't you just smell it!)

174. Our lavender project (all about raising money to fund reconstructive surgery for girls and young women in Uganda who have been facially disfigured by rebel soldiers-- project #5 on this page) is into the final sale phase. A big hug to my sis who is helping by selling them at the library where she works!

175. Alpha - two weeks from done. A big sigh of relief from this kitchen coordinator.

176. Ballroom dance classes — also only two weeks left and another big sigh of relief from the klutzy Mennonite girl who never learned to dance in her youth when it would have been a lot easier to etch those neural pathways between brain and feet.

177. My poetry group in Abbotsford. Our potluck last Wednesday night was fun — and tasty.

178. Last week's snow — beautiful!

179. I'm also thankful it's gone, along with the brutally cold weather. I love our normal winter days of cool, not cold temps (5-10C), with lots of humidity (so my hair doesn't go totally limp and straight).

180. Mini-mandarin oranges. These have to be the cutest fruits imaginable and so sweet!

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

holy experience


Violet Nesdoly / poems

Friday, November 26, 2010

book review: Make Love, Make War by Brian Doerksen

Churches have been singing Brian Doerksen’s worship music for several decades now. In his book Make Love, Make War: NOW is the Time to Worship, released in 2009, Doerksen explains his philosophy of and passion for worship, tells the stories behind some of his songs, and gives songwriters artistic encouragement and technical tips.

Doerksen is no stranger to the Christian evangelical worship scene. Since he published his first song in 1989 (he tells that story in Chapter 3) songs have continued to flow from his heart, to his guitar, to his pen. His choruses, contemporary worship songs and laments have been sung in church services, home groups, gatherings, rallies and conferences around the world. He has been part of dozens of recording projects and he continues to write music with his web site abuzz with offerings of new CDs and DVDs.

Make Love, Make War consists of twelve chapters in which he tells the story of twelve songs. Each chapter begins with the song lyrics. Within the chapter he weaves together the story of how the song came to be written with what was happening in his life (including family, church, personal, and spiritual life) at the time. He devotes large parts of many of the chapters to the theology that grounds the song, quoting lots of scripture.

The chapters end with a section called “Songwriting Tips” where he offers suggestions to songwriters on a variety of topics, like where to find ideas, ways to make the songs musically interesting and integrated with the lyrics, and how to write effective, memorable lyrics. (I was struck by how similar his description of writing song lyrics is to my experience of writing poetry.)

His writing style is warm, conversational, and often casual – the smooth prose you’d expect, with here and there a phrase, sentence or paragraph that gives the reader a sense of his personality. Here, for example, is his little tangent about the expression “rose-colored glasses”:

It seems to me like someone slipped us some rose-colored glasses so that we don’t see things as they truly are. Let me say something about that expression. I wonder if the first person who used the phrase “rose colored glasses” ever came anywhere near actually growing roses. If you grow roses, as I do, you know this is not an easy task—it’s a battle. Roses are full of thorns, and so the beautiful blooms and fragrance from a rose come at a great price – often the blood and sweat of the gardener! and what color do you see when you look through those glasses? I am guessing they are inferring a pale shade of red…but roses come in every color (except black!).” p. 113.

He explains the scriptural basis of his songs using strong, customary Christian words, not with the studied avoidance of “christianese” seen so often these days.

What sticks with me most about this book is the heart of the man – a heart that is consistent with the kind of person who would write the songs he has written. He is a man who studies, knows and loves his Bible, his family, his church and, most of all, his God. His family situation as the parent of two special needs children has, it seems to me, kept him grounded and, in turn, contributed to the spiritual depth, honesty, and relatability of his lyrics.

His book is full of good advice, not only for songwriters, but for Christians in general. My favorite quote from the book is a songwriting tip from Chapter 3:

“Let God bring you forward – don’t promote yourself and your own songs. This is a really challenging area. You could move through seasons when it is time to be bold and share what God has given you. But don’t start there. Start in a place of hiddenness and service. God knows what you have written, and He is fully able to call it forward at the right time and in the right place.” p. 83.

If anything this book has made me appreciate the songs on the many Doerksen albums we own, more than ever. Make Love, Make War would be a great gift for song writers, worship leaders, and indeed any people that know, sing, and love Doerksen’s songs – and that’s a lot of people these days!

Book Details:

Title: Make Love, Make War: NOW is the Time to Worship
Author: Brian Doerksen
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition, (August 1, 2009) paperback, 224 pages, (August 1, 2009)
ISBN: 1434766829

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Maple keys in the snow


Next Week: BROWN (Animals, Soil, Coffee Beans, Trustees, Furniture,...)

Monday, November 22, 2010

first snow (#164-173 of 1000 gifts)

164. Snow — the first one is so beautiful.

165. Our cozy house.

166. A cute little Christmas tree I found and bought — pre-lit (on sale too!).

167. A Christmas wreath for the front door — too many to choose from at Michael's and all beautiful.

168. Cold crisp walks — not only the walks but how good I feel when I get back into the warm (like going for a cold morning swim).

169. Free stuff (I'm reading Gina Holmes' Crossing Oceans courtesy a free Amazon Kindle download, on my free Kindle app for ipod touch).

170. The birds that live in the pine tree in the back garden (chickadees, sparrows, finches). Watching them dart about, here, there, never still for 2 minutes... they make me happy.

172. Winter's contrasts.

173. Visits from the boy... making him sandwiches (I'll never tire of being a mom).

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

holy experience


Violet Nesdoly / poems

Sunday, November 21, 2010

wind chill

Just in case you're wondering how wind chill works...

(This is a repost from January 2008.)

If you live somewhere in Canada, the northern US, or anywhere there are frigid temperatures you're probably aware of something called wind chill. This is the colder temperature the weatherman will give when he tells you how cold it feels versus the actual thermometer reading.

The idea of wind chill has interested me ever since I heard about it as a kid. And so in keeping with the blogland focus on weather this January (thanks to Rebecca Writes, who lives in the Yukon, where wind chill is a big deal), I thought I'd check it out for myself. Here are some things I discovered.

A layer of warm air up to several millimeters thick surrounds human skin. In exposed skin wind thins that layer. The stronger the wind, the thinner the insulating layer of warmth guarding the skin.

We humans don't sense the temperature of the air, but the temperature of our skin. When the wind robs our skin of its layer of insulation it feels closer to the temperature of the air. That's why exposed skin feels colder on a windy day than a calm one and we experience the phenomenon called wind chill.

Wind chill is calculated by a complicated formula. It takes into consideration engineering correlations of wind speed and heat transfer rate, and used to be expressed in 1000 - 3000+ watts per square meter. But how cold is 1500 watts per square meter? In order to make the wind chill number meaningful, scientists found a way to convert it into an equivalent temperature.

Thus you'll hear your weatherman say something like, "Bundle up. It's -10 but the wind chill factor will make it feel more like -21" This simply means that your face when exposed to the 40 km/hr wind that is predicted along with the -10C temperature will feel like it would on a day when the temperature is -21C with no wind.

Well, not exactly no wind. The lowest measure on an anemometer is a wind of 5 km/hr and also factored into the calculation is the assumption that you are walking (into the wind) at 3 km. per hour.

Some wind chill facts:

*Wind chill doesn't affect objects to make them freeze. If, for example, the wind chill factor is -4C (25F), water will not freeze if the air temperature is 2C (35F).

*Wind chill controversies: Should the method for calculating wind chill be based on:
- whole body cooling while naked
- or whole body cooling while wearing appropriate clothing
- or on cooling of the most exposed skin, such as the face?

*The coldest wind chill in Canada was at Pelly Bay Nunavut, January 13, 1975 when 56 km/hr winds made the temperature of -51C feel like -92C (3,357 watts per square meter).

*Wind chill impacts life in many ways, as in deciding what to wear when going outdoors and whether kids get to play outside at recess.

*Frostbite comes as a result of skin freezing. Symptoms: swelling, redness, tingling, burning --> white and waxy skin --> infection and loss of extremities.

*Hypothermia happens when body temperature falls below 35C (normal is 37C). Symptoms: drowsiness, bad coordination, weakness.

*This wind calculation chart also gives frostbite risk. (The chart is from Environment Canada.)

*If you know the temperature and wind speed, you can calculate the wind chill where you live. (This is an English system calculator. For those using metric - here are links to conversion tables: Km. to miles & celsius to fahrenheit).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Antique wall at Sophie's Cosmic Cafe - 2095 West 4th, Vancouver, BC


Next Week: WEATHER (Snow, Sun, Cloudy, Rain, Lightening, Rainbow, Tornado,...)

Monday, November 15, 2010

my placid life (#156-163 of 1000 gifts)

Things seem to be piling up in my life. It's one of those seasons when all the things I'm involved in seem to come due at once. I was feeling a little overwhelmed until, on Saturday, I met the woman who is leaving today to visit her son in Uganda and has agreed to take some documents to my nephew's family, thus we drove them over.

She was in the middle of packing, still had a couple of papers to finish for a course she was taking at her church, and had had to take charge at a church woman's event when the speaker failed to show the night before. She and her husband are responsible for their church's Christmas shoeboxes, so donations and unassembled boxes were in piles near the door. She was making plans for people to look in on her husband while she was away as he recently had a heart attack. One of her daughters was in labour as we met Saturday morning. And in everyday life when she's not traveling, she works full-time. By comparison, my situation is a placid bore, and I love it! That's my #156 of 1000 gifts this week.

157. My son took me out for a date last week. We grabbed a coffee at Wendell's, went for a walk along the river and then browsed a Fort Langley antique shop. Sweet!

Those were different times!

158. Meeting with old friends. On Thursday was the funeral of a friend from our former church. It was quite overwhelmingly wonderful to see so many old friends and connect again over those few hours.

159. My bic pens. They're cheap and reliable and I love it that they run out! Indeed, it gives me a good feeling to actually throw a used-up pen in the garbage because I've written out all the ink. (I'm hopelessly old fashioned, but with some kinds of writing I have to do the first drafts by hand before I enlist the computer.)

160. Naps. Short midday naps are highly underrated and grossly under-used.

161. The fireplace. Ours is gas, but it still creates a cozy ambiance.

162. Quesadillas at a local eatery. The Chicken Q's on Saturday at ABC were particularly tasty!

163. This song by Andrew Peterson. Awww...

Hat-tip: Sonia (thanks!)

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

holy experience

Thursday, November 11, 2010

we remember

Today is the day we pause and remember the soldiers who have fought and fallen in war. It's no longer just old soldiers we think of -- the ones who fought in World Wars I, II, and the Korean War -- but also young men and women killed recently in Afghanistan (152 since 2002). We ache for their grieving families.

Jack Popjes was a boy of seven when Canadian soldiers freed his village in Holland: His story - "The Day Canadian Soldiers Freed My Country"  begins:

"I squirmed and squeezed my thin seven-year-old body through the jostling crowd until I conquered a spot on the curb. The bright sunshine warmed my face, arms and bare knees as I squinted into the light. I clutched my little paper flag, the Dutch red, white and blue, ready to wave, ready to shout and ready to sing a welcome to our rescuers. It was Tuesday, May 8, 1945." Read entire...

 I put together a slide show to commemorate Remembrance Day. It includes photos from celebrations we have attended, as well as murals and cenotaphs in places we have visited.

This poem snippet (also painted on one of the murals) speaks poignantly of the memories of these heroes:
"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them"
From "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon

(hover mouse over bottom of photo to view the caption and to pause scrolling)


Autumn on the Bedford Channel, Fort Langley, B.C.


Next Week: TIME (Hourglass, Clock, Sundial, Calendar, Wristwatch, Old, Young, Aging,...)

Monday, November 08, 2010

november beach weather (#148-155 of 1000 gifts)

Our beautiful fall weather continues. Someone predicted, earlier this fall, that we were in for the roughest winter in years. If this is it, I'll take it!

My list of 1000 gifts continues with

148. My country Canada. After hearing some of the stories during the Restore Tour performance on Thursday night at church (these were teens and younger kids who were terrorized by and escaped from the Lord's Liberation Army in Northern Uganda), I so thank God for my peaceful country with its sane leaders.

149. Friends — to work beside, to do lunch with. I love you Gina, Noel, Marion, Mary, Ardeena, Ruth, Bonnie!

150. My church — the church as a whole. Our associate pastor preached a rousing sermon about the church in a series called "The Big Ones" (so far creation, the Bible, the supernatural, and yesterday the local church). If you're not sold on this institution, which the Bible calls Christ's body and Christ's bride — give a listen.

Blackie's Spit at Crescent Beach, South Surrey, B.C.

151. A November Sunday walk on the beach. It's not beach weather if your definition of that is a temperature compatible with swim suits and sunscreen. But it sure suited us and a whole lot of others.

Sea wall walk on Crescent Beach - South Surrey, B.C.

152. Chorizo Brekkie-Bowls for lunch at a favourite eatery.

153. A wonderful book on worship with stories behind some of the well-known songs of local and internationally renowned worship leader/ songwriter Brian Doerksen. If you haven't read Make Love, Make War: NOW is the Time to Worship you should!

154. Mandarin oranges. They remind me that Christmas is just around the corner.

155. Wonderful surprises - like this poem of mine, published in the December 2010/January 2011 issue of Vogue Patterns Magazine which came in today's mail. (I knew the publication was in the works, but whenever I see something I've written cleverly laid out by some talented artist, it's always a thrill.)  Is this gorgeous or what!

By the way, if you're a sewer, editor Kathy Marrone invites you to be a contributor to this beautiful magazine. In her words:

"Please accept our invitation to be a contributor to this magazine. If you have a technique, project or story you'd like to share with your fellow readers, email me  or write to Kathy Marrone Vogue Patterns Magazine, 120 Broadway, 34th floor, New York, NY 10271

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

holy experience


Violet Nesdoly / poems

Thursday, November 04, 2010

watoto restore tour - powerful evening

We're just back from the Watoto - Restore Tour event at church. What a fabulous evening of colour, song, drama, and dance but most of all, heart-rending stories of forgiveness. It's a fast-paced multi-media evening that's so excellent.

Here is Oklahoma's Own's news video about the event (the tour was in Tulsa on October 17th):

The troupe will be at Evangel in Kelowna tomorrow (Nov. 5), Calgary on Sunday (Nov. 7), and Edmonton on Tuesday (Nov. 9) before they fly off on the UK leg of their tour. If you can, consider attending. You won't be sorry.


Violet Nesdoly / poems

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


 Train set

This intricate train scene was on display this summer in a heritage railway car behind the Fort Langley Heritage Train Station.


Next Week: AUTUMN (Colored Leaves, Harvest, Farmer's Markets, Raking Leaves, Piles of Leaves, Warm Clothes,...)

Violet Nesdoly / poems

Monday, November 01, 2010

winter boots (#141-147 of 1000 gifts)

Yesterday after church while hubby toddled off to the city to go to a football game with son, I took my walk and found myself wandering through the A&N to see if I could find anything in the way of a cozy walking boot. Even though it isn't dreadfully cold here most of the winter, I prefer lined boots to runners for winter walks. (I remember I wrote about finding boots last year. But I eventually had to give them away because they hurt my naughty arthritic toe when I walked any distance at all.)

I combed the boot section forward and back, tried on a pair that looked comfy, but they had about as much support as tennis shoes. So I left the boots and browsed the hats (lots of aeronautic helmets and nordic ones with cute braided ties - not my style, but I wish they were).

On my way out of the store I detoured past the boots many nice styles, you'd think I could find one pair. Lord, if there is a pair of boots for me anywhere this winter, please show me, was my thought-prayer as I turned to leave. And there, right in front of me, was a table of women's lined leather walking boots that I hadn't seen before. They were the exact style of my two-years-expired beloved but leaky old boots. I found my size and they fit like a handshake. (Of course, the true test will be how they feel when I walk any distance. But the price was right - under $20).

This week's collection, on the way to assembling 1000 gifts:

141. - those winter boots.

142. A surprise invite from an out-of-town friend for hubby and me to join her and her husband at a theatre production of "The Skin of Our Teeth" at Trinity Western University. Very fun! (Thanks again, Joyce!).

143. My bathroom shower - so quick to warm up, so easy to adjust.

144. Flannel bedding.

145. Friends who send me recipes for Cranberry Relish. I just made some (the tops are sealing with satisfying POPS as I write this Sunday night).

146. A new month with a new challenge (no NaNoWriMo for me this year).

147. Colourful fall foliage everywhere I look. It's absolutely glorious!

If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community 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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