Friday’s Tune: Who You Say I Am

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Have you ever noticed that we wear names and titles like a favourite old shirt? They become a staple in our wardrobe, something we cling to as familiar and comfortable. They are unflattering, maybe even off-putting to others. Maybe even to us. But we can’t quite work up the energy or even the courage, to let them go. We feel naked without them; they have become the fabric of us. Other times we know it’s time to throw them out but we are too uncomfortable to go without. We want to wait until something better comes along, but we’re too timid to look for something better.

I’ve worn a lot of names and titles. Some of them were unflattering. ūüėČ

This week, a worship leader shared that she lost her office admin. job in her home church because of COVID-19. She understood, and was still participating¬† as a volunteer in other areas. Yet she struggled with feelings of anger and hurt, and feelings of guilt for feeling angry and hurt. She was part of things but somehow felt like she was now on the outside. I understood. I still struggle with feelings of anger and hurt after leaving my job too.¬† I’m part of things but often feel like I’m on the outside, no longer valued, simply because I’m not wearing that title any more. Anger, hurt, guilt – it’s all part of the grieving process and one can’t just snap their fingers and be over it. How I wanted so much to share something meaningful with her that would help her.

¬†As I tried to craft a written response, God heard the unformed thoughts of my own heart. He reminded me that my title was never Office Administrator – that was just my job. My title is not Worship Leader, or Ministry Leader, or Blogger, or even Mom. My title is Child of God (John 1:12). Everything else flows out from there. Anything else that was or will be also flows out from there.¬† It’s the only shirt I will ever need to wear.

‚ÄúWho the Son sets free Oh is free indeed I'm a child of God Yes I am!‚ÄĚ (1)

Happy Friday

Lyrics            Youtube
Who You Say I Am © Ben Fielding / Reuben Morgan, Capitol Christian Music Group

Dear Quarantine Diary #8

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Dear Diary – I dreamed last night that I was starting a new dance class and I was really excited about it. I was wearing a pretty red dress and I felt great. My greatest concern though: that people would notice I haven’t shaved my legs in awhile and I look like a grizzly.

I shaved my legs in the morning.

Dear Diary – Since my aunt can’t travel as planned, we decided to bring a little Spain to her for her birthday,¬† including tapas.

For dessert, I baked a Brooklyn Blackout chocolate cake, a 4 layer filled with chocolate pudding. It was invented during WWII by a Brooklyn bakery chain in recognition of the mandatory blackouts to protect the Brooklyn Navy Yard. As always, it was not without difficulty. First, I tried to soften a brown sugar lump by pounding it with a wrench. Little Guy managed to break off the 1/2 cup I needed. Second, I “overwhelmed the solids” as my mother put it. Basically I ended up with goopy lumps of cocoa at the bottom of a pot of warm milk. The cake was tasty but it had tiny flour pebbles which spoiled the look.

We surprised my aunt, and by the time we were done eating, we all needed a siesta.

Dear Diary – I had another recording adventure for Sunday service this week. It started with getting up at 2 a.m. to download the guitar/vocals. The following afternoon, I tried on most of my mother’s wardrobe since it’s too hot for flannel and I haven’t been home since the middle of March and have no cool clothes of my own. I brushed my hair and put on make-up, and piled boxes and DVD cases on the coffee table to set up phone.

As I started to record, something started to rustle outside the window. It sounded big and my first thought was raccoon, having been woken by one two nights earlier.  It turns out it was just Mom. I closed the window and tried again.

It’s harder than you think, to listen to the music with one ear and sing along, knowing everyone in the house can hear you…only you. After several false starts, I got through the first song. I smiled sweetly waiting for the second song to begin, only to realize, with horror, that I couldn’t remember a single word. I tried to fudge it but failed, and I broke down laughing instead.

I was up again at 2 a.m. to upload the finished product.

band

Not the most complimentary angle but it sounded nice!

Dear Diary – For weeks, my Mom has been gently suggesting that we drive to the city and go to Danini’s for chocolate. Today, Dad went to the city to pick up an item at Home Depot and came home, not only with Danini chocolate, but with Tim Horton’s steeped tea black for the ladies, and chocolate milk for the guys. I love my Dad (and not just because he brought me Tim’s).

mnt man

Dear Diary – How did I miss Spring? One day I was comfy in flannel; the next I wanted to strip naked and lie on the concrete basement floor? My snow tires are still on my car and I tripped over Little Guy’s winter boots. Having left home in March, the only clothes in my suitcase are flannel shirts and wool socks. So I raided my mother’s closet for a skirt to go with her baggy t-shirt. It hung below my hips like 1990’s Britney Spears, which was sexy on Britney Spears…in 1990. Especially since she shaved her legs!

Dear Diary – I will always be a home body but once in awhile, I like to go places. Today I went home…to the city. This evening Hubby asked me which kind of chips I’d like. I said “surprise me”. I should have known better. He started to unzip his shorts. Yes, I was surprised!

I shouldn’t have left him on his own for so many weeks. It may take months to socialize him again. I’m glad I brought wine.

 

 

 

 

CFFC: Man-Made


Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.
– Frank Gehry

Amazing what you can find in a simple 20 minute walk!

Ah, to build, to build!
That is the noblest art of all the arts.
Painting and sculpture are but images,
Are merely shadows cast by outward things
On stone or canvas, having in themselves
No separate existence. Architecture,
Existing in itself, and not in seeming
A something it is not, surpasses them
As substance shadow.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Happy Wednesday!

This is my post for Cee Neuner’s Fun Foto Challenge: Man-made

Nectar of the Gods

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Our top secret formula is automatically color-corrected, scent-adjusted and bubble-contoured into this soothing sweet syrup with its distinctive golden glow you know as…honey!

Busy bees collect nectar from different flowers. Nectar is broken down into simple sugars stored inside the honeycomb.¬† The honeycomb design and¬† fanning from the bees’ wings causes evaporation, creating sweet liquid honey. Wax made by the bees seals the honey in each cell.

Beekeepers harvest honey by removing the wax seal and extracting the honey, which is strained and stored in jars, ready for things like “lad-dee-da human tea-time snack garnishments” (Barry B. Benson, The Bee Movie).¬†

Honey’s color and flavor varies based on the nectar collected by the bees.

honey

High quality honey contains antioxidants, which helps reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and some types of cancer. It may help reduce blood pressure and triglycerides, as well as improve cholesterol . Honey may also promote eye health and topical honey treatments promote healing for burns and abrasions. Honey will help suppress coughs in children Buckwheat honey is one of the best types (& my personal favourite)!

High quality honey is better because lower quality may add syrups, increasing the sugar content. And while it may be a healthier option for sweetening your tea time treats,  it still contains sugar and should be consumed in moderation. Nutritionally, 1 tablespoon of honey (21 grams) contains 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar, including fructose, glucose, maltose and sucrose.

honey tea

When adding honey to your tea, starts with 1 teaspoon of honey, which is slightly sweeter than sugar. Stir well and add more honey if necessary. When baking, substitute honey for granulated sugar in recipes by substituting honey for up to half of the sugar in the recipe and reduce any liquid called for by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used. Finally, reduce the oven temperature by 25¬įF to prevent overbrowning.

A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside. A.A. Milne

Happy Monday!

Resources: www.honey.com

Friday’s Tune: Joy

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I’ve thought a long time about sharing this song. In fact, it was among the first to come to mind when I first decided to run Friday’s Tunes. But I’ve hesitated. Not because it’s a terrible song. I mean, what it’s about is right in the title: Joy. Something we all need. I hesitated because this song has become intertwined with memories which bring me both joy and sorrow, the loss of my grandmother. I think about her a lot. I know my Mom misses he terribly too, so I worried that sharing this song and the story behind it would hurt her and I wouldn’t be there to try to ease her pain. I never want to hurt her.

But this song just keeps coming back.

I missed Mom’s call the morning my grandmother died. I was in the shower. I’m so thankful God made me notice the flashing light on the answering machine. I called home immediately but she wasn’t there, so I spoke to my Dad and reluctantly went on with the day. I dropped Little Guy at school and headed to work.

Grandma’s death wasn’t unexpected. She had broken her hip 2 weeks before in a fall. Her heart was failing. It was a release for her from a body that betrayed her joyful spirit. I knew she wouldn’t want us to be sad. She was ready, even though we would never be.

I needed to be near God, to climb in¬† His lap and rest, and I knew I could do that through music. Something whispered “this one” as I rifled through the stack of cd cases.¬† I popped it in and joyful music filled the car. It fit.

I couldn’t sing . That doesn’t happen very often, But¬† I listened and phrases caught in my heart and nearly took my breath away:

“we’re choosing celebration”

“we cast aside our shadows, trust you with our sorrows”

“Though I’m broken, I am running into Your arms of love”

And I could see her, my grandmother young and free, dressed in a white summer dress, running with abandon.  No longer bound by a broken and frail body, but one that was whole. And to whom was she running? Full-tilt into the arms of Jesus. How could I be sad? She belonged there.

“But I miss her”, I blurted out loud to my empty car.

Joy

God spoke over me. Even though I hurt, He was present. He was constant. The song of my heart. My Joy.

Lyrics               Youtube Video

Copyright: Rend Collective © 2014 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

 

Dear Quarantine Diary #7

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Dear diary – Another looong day waiting  to see if UPS lied to me about my package.  Paul had called my cell around 9 a.m. promising it would arrive. By  4 p.m., I couldn’t sit by the window any longer, so I went for a walk down the road to the bridge.

A watched pot never boils.  Apparently the UPS truck can’t come when you’re watching either.

As I crested the hill on my afternoon plod, the scene before me evolved into slow motion:  a man in brown shorts, jogging across the road to a white van idling on the side of the road…across from my folks’. My Dad stands on the front sidewalk, and my Mom, ravishing in red plaid flannel, is smiling and walking across the lawn in the direction toward the bridge.  I started to run, the music swelling – “the hills are alive…with the sound of music…”. Mom waved the white envelope over her head, the sun catching the light behind her head in a halo. I waved back, both arms in the air, while the music continued to swell.

giphy

O glorious day! My faith in humanity is restored! And I got my package!

Dear diary- I finally couldn’t stand the wisps of yellow at my temple so I touched up my hair. It took an exorbitant amount of time and a small amount of crying. Mostly because I’m still trying to unfreeze my shoulder. I managed the hair, but lately, I can’t always quite wrangle the bra. It’s a daily exercise in contortion-ism. So is shaving my armpits. Also, I missed half the yellow wisp.  I would try again, but since I can’t get my arm up high enough to brush and/or put up my hair, maybe nobody will notice.

Dear diary – I decided to give the whole “improving myself” during this season of quarantine,  another shot! My aunt passed on a book teaching drawing using the right-brain. After reading the science behind the theory, in order to have a baseline for progress, I was supposed to draw 4 things: a person, a face, a chair, and my own hand. I was to copy everything except the drawing of a person. I ended up with a hand holding a pencil without a pencil, a dangerous-looking chair, a face that is half-dad and half-David Suzuki, and Cinderella in drag.

I have such a long way to go…

Dear diary – Mom and I decided to take a chance, and “shop” at Wal-Mart. She needed vitamins and I needed to work on overcoming my ever-increasing agoraphobia. So we scraped the mud off our boots because we were going to town! I even brushed my hair and put on real pants (as opposed to leggings)!

As Mom pulled into a parking space, the woman in the car next to us shrugged her shoulders at us with her arms raised. We didn’t know her. We hadn’t cut her off. Mom immediately wondered what her problem was. There was only a short line for the garden centre, but the front of the store was barricaded. We were standing there, trying to figure out what was going on when a lady yelled over, “the garden centre is open but the store is closed”. Of course it was closed – it was a holiday!

What to do when you’re all gussied up with nowhere to go? Walk the perimeter of the plaza parking lot and laugh at the steady stream of cars circling the parking lot as they try to figure out if the store is open. Sit in the car and laugh at the other stupid people who parked their cars, wandered to the store entrance, and stared stupidly, before wandering back to their car, and leaving. Drive through town and admire people’s front lawns. And finally, amble down the walkway by the river.

By the time we got home, we were tuckered out and ready for ice cream.

Life is like an ice cream cone, you have to lick it one day at a time. – Charles Shultz

Dear diary – I played a game of Monopoly with Little Guy and for the first time, I was the race car! After the first few turns, Little Guy had landed on Free Parking once and he owned most of the board, including Boardwalk, Park Place and ALL the railroads. Meanwhile, I was almost bankrupt and had gone to prison twice.

In a row.

It went downhill from there.

I hate Monopoly.

Monopoly

 

Tea & Cookie…

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A balanced life is tea in one hand and a cookie in the other.

Tea and cookie

My Quick & Easy Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 cup butter (or margarine)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • Optional: lemon zest, lime zest, cinnamon or chai spices, etc.

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter, gradually adding icing sugar. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add it to the butter/icing mixture. Roll out the dough on a floured surface, and cut into shapes as desired. Bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly brown.

Baking_ed

Happy Monday!

Friday’s Tune: Until the Whole World Hears

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It had been an awesome night of worship. I sat with Hubby on one side and Big Guy on the other in a massive church auditorium on a Saturday evening in 2009. Even though we were attending a concert, large screens on either side of the platform had displayed the words to every song so all could sing along, a massive choir from different denominations, different backgrounds.

The lights dimmed as lead singer, Mark Hall, closed the evening in prayer. But before the crowd started to bid the band farewell, he lifted his hands and started to sing “oh– oh– sing until the whole world hears”. We all joined in. I closed my eyes and just let the sound¬† of a thousand voices surround me. It was an emotional experience, and I’ve never forgotten it.

Until the Whole World Sings

Keep singing…

Lyrics        Youtube Video
Copyright: Bernie Herms / Jason Mcarthur / Mark Hall / Roger Glidewell © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Capitol Christian Music Group

 

Dear Quarantine Diary #6 –

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Dear diary – On Friday, the Canadian Snowbirds passed by. My aunt called from the city to let us know they were on the way. I was getting dressed, so I rushed from my room while throwing on some leggings (realizing too late that the front window curtains were open). I threw on my winter coat too, so I could watch them fly by from the back porch. Dad, who works at a flying club, had his radio with him so we heard when they had passed the airport.¬† Between their more southerly route and the cloud cover, only Dad caught a glimpse of their trail disappearing behind our neighbours’ roof. But we heard them! Meanwhile Little Guy had stumbled from his bedroom to an empty house and he thought he’d been missed in the rapture.

That afternoon we went for a nature walk with my aunt. It started to snow. Mom denied it. She kept calling it pollen.¬† By dinner time, the deck and chairs were covered thickly with styrofoam snow pollen balls. The snow pollen was so thick by bedtime, we couldn’t see across the fields.

Dear diary – Everything was still covered with snow pollen so I put on my day jammies and settled on the couch for the day! It was the safest place to be. Dad is feeding his own sourdough starter and he baked bread and buns today. Sometimes there’s a territorial clash in the kitchen with Mom.

Dear diary – The bodies are piling up and I’m tired of disposing of the corpses. Sometimes I’ve found the living hiding among the dead in a desperate attempt to survive the massacre. They crouch among the garbage, among the shadows, hiding in cracks and crevices. I feel like a sniper, this kind of hunting requiring patience and stamina, body tense as I wait… Mom wintered her plants in the dining room and the ants appeared as soon as the sun grew warmer. Some might call me ‚Äúheartless‚ÄĚ. What can I say? War is hell! And I don’t share chocolate cake with anyone. You want a piece of me, punk?!

Dear diary – Little Guy brought me toaster strudel and tea “in bed” for Mother’s Day. Why the ” “? Because he crashed through the bedroom door with a chip on his shoulder the size of a dump truck, dropped the meal on the night stand and cleared out like he was being chased by a mom looking for a big hug! It’s the thought that counts! Breakfast in bed is nice in theory, but sitting in a dark room, alone, isn’t much fun. So Mom brought her tea and cheerios in and sat at the other end. Much better! We watched my home church service online (and the Brady Bunch worship team I was in). I made homemade lasagna, and spent the evening watching Alfred Hitchcock movies. Happy Mother’s Day!

Dear Diary – I humiliated myself publicly again, on Youtube, but it was for the kids! And really, who am I trying to impress? Different members of our church have been recording stories for kids, and it was my turn. I revived an old character, my nerdy girl, Ima Victor! It would have been better with Captain Gary!

img_0592¬†I recorded in the bathtub and Little Guy provided the special effects. I wonder if this story will make a big splash…

Dear diary – They lied. And then they lied again and again, and again. First, they said my first package would arrive Tuesday, then Monday, then Tuesday, then Wednesday…by Wednesday afternoon, the online tracker just said “delivery delayed”.¬† Meanwhile, my second package, which shipped 2 days after the first, was scheduled to arrive Wednesday. I have been sitting in the front window, staring at the road, watching for that brown delivery van. Thank goodness for my emergency chocolate bar!

After multiple attempts, I finally joined the cue on the UPS “hotline”. They told me it would be a 20-25 minutes wait. They lied. At minute 35, the phone started to die and I had to sprint to the bedroom for another. At minute 51, my Dad’s birthday dinner started and I was still tied to the phone listening to obnoxiously perky muzak with no definable tune and no end. I’m sure they were hoping I’d give up but I’m tenacious.

I waited 65 minutes before I got a live person. I explained my situation and my frustration carefully and calmly, recognizing that the poor girl on the other end really had no means with which to remedy¬† situation. I didn’t rip into her when she suggested I look up my delivery details online, which was one of the reasons I called in the first place. But when I said the packages were my birthday presents, her tone changed. I could tell she felt bad that my delivery had been changed 5 times, so she sent an email to the “powers that be” with my cell #. It’s supposed to arrive today.

I’m not holding my breath.

Every day that … truck comes through here delivering important things to important people. Someday it’s going to stop here, and when that day comes, then we – and by we, I mean me – will be important. – Robert K. Bowfinger