Wordy Wednesday: Perfect Blend

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I changed it from Wordless Wednesday to Wordy Wednesday because Hubby pointed out that I always add a quote…or a saga to my photos. I can’t help it – I love words!

But words are things, and a small drop of ink, Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. – Lord Byron

Sometimes I want to communicate why I chose a picture from the hoards taking up space on my hard drive. Sometimes I love the way a quote married with a photo brings another layer to one or the other, or even both. Marriages are supposed to have layers of depth and intimacy, colour and texture, kind of like a photograph. And when I see two together that are a perfect blend, I smile.

Today signals the start another 9 week session of our Ladies’ Outreach ministry at the church, where I am both card & stamping teacher, master of ceremonies, Chair of the committee, and this week, speaker. A lot of hats for one little person. I start it feeling tired and I end it feeling tired, but when I imagine not being there, my heart aches. I love the creativity, and the laughter and fellowship of these women. I love these women! We are different ages and stages; we come from different backgrounds and different places of brokenness, but none of it matters. I see God working in them and through them, and I trust that He is working in and through me too. Fun, Food & Fellowship!

Creativity is intelligence having fun. – Albert Einstein

watercolour scrapbook

Happy Wednesday!

10 Minute Monday: The Maker of Noses

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It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since Hubby & I started discussing the possibility of a move north, and by north, I mean, north to “cottage country” – where winter brings serious snows and summer brings, well, tourists. I’m not sure which I would dislike more.

Hubby had a job opportunity. Over the years, Hubby has had a number of job opportunities in Canada and the U.S., but convincing me was always the biggest obstacle. I didn’t want to move away far away from my parents (and now, my oldest son), I didn’t want to uproot our kids (both are shy and make friends slowly), I liked my job, my ministry, my 2 friends… I prayed about it too, but it never really felt “right”. Until this time. This time I sincerely wanted my words and my life to match. If I say I will trust God and go or do whatever or wherever He calls me, then I needed to be willing to do it. When I wavered or felt overwhelmed, I’d sing: “But the Father of hearts and the Maker of noses
And the Giver of dreams He’s the one I have chosen, and I will follow Him”.

So we prayed, and we talked, and Hubby went for his second meeting…up north.

And a part of me actually got a little excited. There are advantages and disadvantages to living in “cottage country”. While the commute to see family was further, it also meant realizing a dream to move out of the city. There were options as to which town or village we settled in. One had 2 rivers running through it, with plenty of hiking and biking trails with lush, tall evergreens and rugged gray rocks. There would be plenty of opportunities for fresh air and beautiful scenery to shoot year round. We could afford a bit bigger and much nicer home (I found a gorgeous all-season chalet nestled in the pines right on a lake – and it was in our price range…but sadly, not close enough to Hubby’s work). I might be unemployed for awhile, freeing me to pursue writing or photography, or something wonderful and not yet known. And yes, I could be free of bad drivers and cellphone addicts! At least in theory.

Last Summer, we “vacationed” there for 2 nights. We drove around, shopped at Wal-Mart (can you believe I only packed one outfit for a 2 day excursion?) and dined at Tim Horton’s. We did one big “tourist attraction” and nearly died of heat exhaustion. The “locals” were normal people, going about their normal days. It certainly wasn’t the idyllic scene I had envisioned, but there was potential, and I did my best to keep my heart and mind open to it.

But I still didn’t really know what to do, and as it turned out, I didn’t have to do anything. The company never contacted us again and we settled back into our “normal” lives. But I feel stronger somehow, as if I survived a test. And while I may have listened to the advice of those in our little “world”, I am happy with the choice I made…to simply rust the Maker of noses.

 

When I finally ask the world, they give me this advice
Say boy you just follow your heart, but my heart just led me into my chest
They said follow your nose; The direction changed every time I go and turn my head
They said boy you just follow your dreams, but my dreams were only misty notions
But the Father of hearts and the Maker of noses
And the Giver of dreams  – He’s the one I have chosen
And I will follow Him.
Rich Mullins, The Maker of Noses

***

This has been a “10 Minute Monday” post (where I write about whatever I want for a minimum 10 minutes, no editing – mayhem, memories, maudlin mumblings, or  “mwa ha ha” moments.

 

Throwback Thursday: March Break, 1992

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Woo hoo! It’s March Break! And I have spent the first half of it sleeping all day and lying on the couch…sick! The only beach I am spending time on is in Minecraft. I can hardly contain my excitement.

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 * * *

March Break 1992.

I was a full time college student, and an unemployed single parent. I also didn’t have a student loan to foolishly waste on vacations. So while my fellow students were jetting off to exotic places to participate in “Girls with Low Self-Esteem” videos  over March Break, I was stuck at home listening to Bryan Adams croon his undying devotion to his lady love. I longed for love and adventure…or just something exciting to do besides go out for shamrock shakes at McDonald’s. I dreaded returning to crazy stories and beach photos after class.

So I posed for my own “beach” photo!

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“high-tech” polaroid!

Instead of silky sand and balmy breezes, I braved frigid temperatures and frosty snowbanks in my strapless suit. [NB: I believe there are less than 5 bathing suit shots in existence].

The neighbours thought I was nuts!

But after graduation, while my colleagues struggled to replay their loans, I was starting the next phase in my own adventures  – debt-free!

22 Tips to Test Telemarketers

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Most of friends and family have gotten the message – if the answering machine picks up, just start talking. If we’re home, we’ll answer. (which means, we occasionally get a vm that goes like this: “hey guys, it’s me…[pause]…hello?…[longer pause]…hello? Are you not home or you just avoiding me?”).  We don’t have call display so this has become our passive-aggressive way to avoid tireless telemarketers.

They are a tenacious bunch, calling at odd hours or meal times. That stony silence when you first pick it up until a tiny voice asks “how are you today, ma’am?”  Um..I was great until you interrupted my dinner AND called me Ma’am! Do I sound like a Ma’am!?!

Usually, if I was dumb enough to answer in the first place, I hang up before they can start talking. Only once, did they call right back…for the next 5 days at 6 p.m. precisely just to swear at me and hang up. Talk about tenacious!

But in the event that my reflexes are slow that day and I do get a live person, I’ve compiled a list of 22 tips to test telemarketers. Maybe they’ll get the message!

  • keep repeating “what?”
  • ask personal questions like, “does my voice make my butt look fat?”
  • put them on hold, and don’t come back
  • stay silent and see who hangs up first
  • keep interrupting them (especially if they’re determined to stay on script)
  • ask dumb questions – they may be unrelated to the product/service being promoted
  • ask them what they’re wearing
  • try out a new accent…or two…or three…
  • break out your cheesiest pick up lines

           Joey

  • interrupt them and try to sell them something instead
  • ask them to marry you
  • pretend to be your voicemail box, even if they catch on
  • say you’d like to join/donate/buy, but…and then “spin a yarn” like a hurtin’ country song!
  • speak only in ig-pay atin-lay
  • play along – keep them on the line as long as possible
  • practice that new language you’ve been learning
  • feign multiple personalities
  • tell them you have to check with your leader, Megatron
  • scream and then apologize for not using your indoor voice
  • phrase everything in the form of a question
  • interrupt them to explain your terms and fees for listening

And last but not least, take a hint from Jerry Seinfeld (Season 4, Episode 3):

Telemarketer: Hi, would you be interested in switching over to TMI long distance service?

Jerry: Oh, gee, I can’t talk right now. Why don’t you give me your home number and I’ll call you later?

Telemarketer: Uh, well I’m sorry, we’re not allowed to do that.

Jerry: Oh, I guess you don’t want people calling you at home.

Telemarketer: No.

Jerry: Well, now you know how I feel.

(Jerry hangs up)

I had a friend who had to work as a telemarketer. She hated her job as much as people hated hearing from her. So try a little humour  -and always…

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Happy Weekend!

p.s. Sometime I’ll share my sure-fire way to avoid slimy sales reps soliciting at my front door!

Wilderness Wednesday: The Long Beach

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Jenn beach_ed

“I thought of you and how you love this beauty,
And walking up the long beach all alone
I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder
As you and I once heard their monotone.

Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me
The cold and sparkling silver of the sea —
We two will pass through death and ages lengthen
Before you hear that sound again with me.”
Sara Teasdale

WPC: The Road Taken

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For this week’s challenge, show us something that surprised you on “the road taken.”

I was looking for a different photo when I found this again!

Last Spring, I went for a walk (possibly the only one last Spring) and was surprised by a single pink peony waving at me between the slats of a white picket fence. Luckily it was just down the street, so I hightailed it home to grab my camera.

It’s still winter here, though it has been milder than in recent years. The snow has melted, leaving behind a world of grays and browns. I’m looking forward to the return of colour!

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I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles. -Audrey Hepburn

To see more photos, click here.

Please leave a message…

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An conversation 2 weeks ago, prompted me to review Item # 9 in my post, 10 Assumptions About Church Ladies, (which coincidentally was posted on April 1, 2016 – But it was no joke!)

It was a normal Friday afternoon, around 1:30 and I was sitting at my cubicle of purgatory in the epicentre of a circus! Only 1 hour until home time. My preparations for Sunday were complete; both bosses were now out of the office. I was puttering away at my filing, sending last minute emails, and compiling a list of things “to do” the following week. The phone rang, so I answered it in my usual sweet & charming “secretary voice”.

“Good afternoon, ____ Church. Jenn speaking”, I chirped.

“Oh, you are in! I called an hour ago but you didn’t answer the phone”, the disapproving voice snarked.

I immediately began to feel guilty. My mind was racing…what was I doing an hour ago? I apologized and offered a couple of possibilities of my whereabouts, and went on to deal with the reason for the call.

It wasn’t until I was driving home later that I started to get angry. The more I thought about it, the more I ranted inside…and it’s time to let it out…

Dear Caller,

Contrary to popular opinion, I do not spend my days filing my nails, flipping through glossy beauty magazines, or eating bon-bons while watching re-runs of SNL online. Nor am I sitting by the phone anxiously awaiting your call!

There are a number of possible reasons why I was not available to take your call at the exact moment you decided to call me:

  • I’m on the other line (sometimes with stupid people).
  • I’m answering the front door (I have not yet mastered the ability to be in 2 places at once. When I do, you will be the first I call)!
  • I’m in the midst of a conversation with my boss, a ministry leader, a congregation member…or a complete stranger. People wander in and out of my office regularly without an appointment.
  • I’m in a meeting. Sometimes those meetings are scheduled ahead of time; sometimes, they are not.
  • I’m in the bathroom. I cannot “hold it” for 5.5 hours – sorry!
  • I’m grabbing my lunch from the fridge (so I don’t become a Food Werewolf).
  • And sometimes, in all honesty, I don’t want to talk to you.

As it turned out, you didn’t want to speak to me anyway. You wanted to speak to one of the pastors, and had you chosen his extension, you could have spoken directly to him the first time you called, instead of including me in your twisted “love triangle”.

I am a hard-working and conscientious employee with a lot to accomplish in my short work week, so if you need to speak with me and I’m not “available”, try calling again. Or even better, leave me a message!

On a side note, very rarely am I not in. I have suffered with dysentery, crawled through countless winter storms, and crossed a police line so I could be “in”. But not just so I can answer your call!

Thank you for calling. Have a nice weekend. Bye-bye!

annoying-coworker

WPC: A Good Match

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Some things just work together: coffee & donuts, tea & scones, pancakes & maple syrup!

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Last night, we enjoyed Brinner (Breakfast-dinner) with fresh oatmeal pancakes (recipe) and homemade maple syrup (I didn’t make the syrup, but it did come from our family’s woods!) I am not Catholic, but growing up we were also excited for Pancake Tuesday, a tradition I’ve kept going with my own family.

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Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Tuesday or Fat Tuesday) always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday. Traditionally, it was the last chance to use up eggs and lard before beginning Lent, a time of prayer and fasting in preparation for Easter.  The ingredients for pancakes also represent 4 symbols at this time of year: Eggs ~ Creation; Flour ~ The staff of life; Salt ~ Wholesomeness; Milk ~ Purity.

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Little Guy didn’t want a history lesson – he couldn’t wait to dive into his pancakes!

Blood is thicker than water, but maple syrup is thicker than blood so technically pancakes are more important than family. – Anonymous

See more Good Matches click here, or learn more about the history of pancakes!

Happy Wednesday!

10 Minute Monday: Made for Walking

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My boots were made for walking, and that’s just what I did…but not my sassy green boots, or even my black “hooker” boots. No, this past Saturday, I wore comfortable boots and layers of clothing because, along with our Church Jr. Youth Group, I was walking to raise money for a local organization that provides a “hands up” for those in our community. Not only was I raising money for charity, I was walking to be an example to these kids.

‘Do as I say, but not as I do’ is not an effective way of teaching anything.
– John A. Garrity

These kids are part of our future. They are also part of today!

We teach our kids to wait their turn, to make friends, to “play nice” in the sandbox. And even though the sandbox gets larger every year and they meet people who kick sand in their faces, we still expect them to be to consider others.  We tell them they can make a difference in their world by showing mercy and living heart to heart…but so often, we forget to show them the way.

I cannot believe what you say because I see what you do. – anonymous

We are blessed to have amazing youth leaders who give our kids opportunities to serve others. And while I recognize Little Guy’s need for time away from Mom and Dad, this time I felt the need to get involved too. 

I needed to show them that I supported what they are doing…and not just with my pocketbook

I need to show them I care about people too…enough to trade my comfortable couch on a Saturday night, for the frigid streets. 

I wasn’t satisfied with sending them off with someone else, I needed to be there too. 

We had a great time! I took lots of photos. We shared snacks. We went out for ice-cream after it was all over (right about the time it started snowing!) And on Sunday morning, we all wore our blue & yellow hats with pom-pom on top! (and you know how much I love hats!) 

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All the ducks in a row…

Yes, we got cold! Our cheeks turned red and our noses ran. By the time we finished our 5K walk, our bodies were tired (and mine ached in weird places). Our walk didn’t “change the world”, but we may have helped make it better for someone. And maybe these kids’ boots will keep on walking for a lot of years to come …

The most powerful way to change the world is to live our lives in front of our children the way we would like the world to be. -Graham R. White

***

This has been a “10 Minute Monday” post (where I write about whatever I want for a minimum 10 minutes, no editing – mayhem, memories, maudlin mumblings, or  “mwa ha ha” moments.

 

We’ve got an app for that!

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Hubby has the unique ability to make anything sound dirty, and when it comes to bathroom jokes, he’s an expert!

Last night, he was perusing the community recreation guide when he started snickering, and then told me to listen to this…

Want household waste collection schedules and reminders at your fingertips?

WE’VE GOT AN APP FOR THAT!

Download the FREE my-waste app from your favourite App Store!

My-waste provides you with:

  • A waste collection schedule for your my neighbourhood
  • Collection details (accepted items and preparation requirements)
  • Alerts to remind you about holiday collection changes
  • Transfer station locations, hours of operation and fee guide
  • A Reference Guide that explains what to do with most common materials
  • Customer service phone numbers

Never miss another collection day…Find drop-off locations for…hazardous waste…and more!

Kinda paints a picture, doesn’t it…in broad sweeping strokes!

Speaking of pictures, I made a passing comment later in the evening, that maybe I should have included a photo…

Hubby pulled out his iPad and searched for “iPad with poo”… And he found some fabulously feculent photos! Feel free to google that on your own time!

In my defence, I’m not a good enough writer to come up with this kind of crap!

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Happy Weekend!