Monday, 14 August 2017

Stick to the boat

The Lord didn't promise everyday would be good...
but there is something good in everyday.

In a discussion via messenger with my cousin recently she ended our chat with a saying that our uncle frequently quoted.  I responded back to her that that just might be the beginnings of a blog soon.  So in essence my cousin is the inspiration.  Given the struggles that my cousin and  her extended family is currently facing daily it is a good mantra to remind everyone to look for the good in each day.

Yesterday the gospel of Matthew had another beautiful passage to reflect on.  Each year as the cycle of readings come around I try to find something fresh to say about the story or to find a new perspective from which to look at the story.  Matthew tells many stories, harsh, witty, poignant. Yesterday's was the story of Peter's attempt to walk on water.  In the past I have reflected on the walking on the water, the words of Jesus "do not be afraid," but yesterday I reflected that Jesus did not ask Peter to get out of the boat and attempt to go it alone.  When he made the attempt to go it alone with out the support of his fellow disciples he began to sink.  We are called to step out in faith but not to step out of the boat!

Whether like Peter the group around us is it a motley band of searchers, a community of faith, family and friends this passage reminds us that it is this supportive group that helps keep us afloat so that we are able to weather the storms of life.  More importantly the passage also reminds us that despite the perils that we endure Jesus comes to us in the storms and helps bring about calm if we are willing to receive the hand that he extends to help.

So there will definitely be storms in life, we will sometimes find ourselves challenged, shaken to the very core of our being and yet we are reminded that we do not journey alone we have a community that helps keep us from sinking and we have Jesus who will help bring calm in the chaos.  And while we may not always have good days we will always have moments and memories from each day that are good.

It is a huge danger to pretend that awful things do not happen. But you need enough hope to keep going. I am trying to make hope.
Flowers grow out of darkness.
Corita Kent

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Enjoy the simple things


The setting sun

One of the things I have been noticing lately are the encouraging words of enjoying the simple things in life.  These are simple words but convey a wealth of meaning.  Life is often busy and as a result we often overlook the simple things, the beauty around us and the joy that we can find in the ordinary.

This evening I was pestered by my two furry beasts to go for a walk.

 It is pretty much a daily event once it cools down (28 C is too hot for these guys but the evening is much nicer). So about 8pm the runners go on and we are off.  With the reminder to enjoy the simple things  the walk was pleasant and pleasurable.  We saw bunnies zipping along, geese marching off like little soldiers, ducks paddling, lots of other people and pets walking.  We avoided water sprinklers, much to Gandalf's dismay and Copper's delight.  The setting sun was also spectacular.   The prairies never disappoint when it come to a spectacular sunset with the endless sky and flatter than flat plains. With the setting sun and a drop of  three degrees in the temperature we had a lovely walk in the area and enjoyed the scenery.

Today at church the reading was familiar, the feeding of the five thousand.  Rather than focus on the miracle of the abundance I focused on the interruption of the private time that Jesus was seeking and how in the interruptions the ministry of presence and listening is experienced as well as moments of grace, blessing and opportunity.  Busy lives mean we often do not like to be interrupted and want  to stick to the schedule and yet when we pause, allow the interruption we experience some of the best moments of ministry, of presence that we can ever hope to enjoy and that interruption sometime includes the joy of the beauty around nature and in the people we encounter.

So enjoy the simple things that life has to offer, allow the interruptions to enrich you in a multitude of ways and know that you are both a blessing and blessed because of the richness of the experience.


Duck and squawking geese at the man-made neighbourhood pond


"The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own' or 'real life'. The truth is of course that what  one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life -- the life God is sending one day by day. "   C. S. Lewis

Monday, 24 July 2017

Travel close to home

This year we are not venturing far from home during the summer.  That means adventures closer so we are exploring a bit of Manitoba.  DH figures google is not a friend as once again it was asked what are the top ten things to do in Manitoba. Some suggestions are not very feasible for us, others not of great interest and others of great interest.  Today we headed out on the first of many adventures (I hope)!  The alarm sounded at 6:10 am, breakfast, lots of coffee and a stop at the gas station at 8am and we thought we were off.  While DH was in the gas bar paying I was googling driving directions and made a discovery...we were going to have to go across the border and since we were not prepared to do that we headed back home and reconsidered the day.

Walking back in the door after about 15 minutes we were greeted by enthusiastic dogs and a second look at the dreaded list!  The decision was made we would go to the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Steinbach a mere hour away.  The site was fabulous, it was like taking a step back in time as we wandered through the site, enjoyed the sunshine and local delicacies.

Our tour today took us through a pictorial history first and then we got to go out and wander the replicated village.  There were Semlin homes that provided temporary refuge for the families when they first arrived in Canada.  It was very "Little House on the Prairie" in appearance and the living space was very small.

We enjoyed a tour of the village church

As you entered the  old general store there was a price list of all the items that the local general store carried

And the shelves were still well stocked

The Blatz Carriage was an expensive item costing approximately $500.  It was not easily afforded

The printer place where local newspapers were published

The Blacksmith shop was well kitted out and owned (with approval) by  a non-Mennonite person who was given permission to operate it in the community

A re-purposed wheelbarrow, look closely and you can see the wheel under the beautiful array of flowers

Local Artisans had lovely wares for sale at the General Store, I only bought the freshly ground flour that was made right on site at the mill which was much further along and after we had stopped to enjoy a traditional lunch at the eatery.

Our meandering finally took us to the mill where fresh ground flour was being bagged

 Inside the mill the grinder was just finished for the day

Where the ground flour is stored until bagged

The view looking out over the prairies from the second deck of the mill

Looking up at the paddles of the mill

Then on for a look at the old antique cars

 Looking out from the storage for transportation this was the view of the mill, quite impressive!

This old buggy reminded us of the buggy in Murdock Mysteries

Lunch, I had dug in before remembering that I should take a picture!  Perogies filled with cheese, farmer sausage, coleslaw, homemade bread and veggie soup finished with a rhubarb dessert.  This is apparently a traditional lunch!

After eating our fill we meandered along the walk way and enjoyed this picturesque mural that stood in front of a refurbished locomotive

We meandered along to the public school (which was one room) the writing on the chalk board was not an unfamiliar sight as examples of how to form letters were are the top

Just look at the writing...I felt like it was grade three all over again!

 And I loved this poem!!

The Vegetable Garden

The Summer Kitchen

Another Mill, much smaller than the one at the end of the village

The Outdoor oven

 The bed in the "master" bedroom

The Pantry

The Kitchen

One of the many views

Thatched Roof was quite impressive

Shutters on the Mennonite Church

The church inside

This rooster was strutting his stuff!

Wagons were scattered around the grounds

The Private school offered teacher accommodations, below is the kitchen which is really a multi-purpose room for laundry and ironing etc.  This was attached directly to the school with a corridor separating the class room from the accommodations

The bedroom/Office of the teacher accommodations

The Class room, again one room boy and girls were separated  on opposite sides of the room and entered the school by separate doors

And the final piece...a piece of the Berlin Wall.

The experience of the museum was a great way to spend the day, enjoying the history, learning of the early beginnings of the settlement of the prairies and the many struggles of the early settlers.

Traditional quilting was also taking place as three local ladies worked on a quilt that dates back to the 1930's.  They had no idea where it had come from or its story as it just got dropped off without an explanation or note.

This particular quilt was called Grandmothers Flower garden

The quilters hard at work, everything on this quilt is done by hand...there are a lot of little pieces!

One of the ladies made this wall hanging, repurposing antique lace

This sampler hung on the door, another beautiful piece of work