changing it up

In this season of change, however, I have learned much about the consistency of God.

He never changes.
He never forgets.
He never leaves.


So when change comes–as it inevitably will–fear not.  He just might be about to make a roadway in your wilderness, a river in a desert you didn’t realize you were inhabiting.
“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.”  –Isaiah 43:19 (NASB).

I didn’t write that, Regina Franklin did, in her blog (where she’s talking about moving to a new home, etc.). Which I “just happened” to come across this morning. :)

You see, continuing on the theme from yesterday’s post (which was written so poorly btw, that I’ve gone back to edit it–including adding a verse that says where to start), this morning I’ve been “spring cleaning” my devotional/Bible reading.

You Version is great, but I’ve been looking for a creative devotional that just goes on and on, and doesn’t have an end date. I need something a little more than just reading scripture, to help keep me focused, yet I kind of wanted a little more than just a study/commentary. In fact, I am doing both those things, but they are in a format that doesn’t have to be done every day (though I read them most days):

  • I do use You Version to read over the New Testament very slowly, only going on to the next verses when it “feels right”;
  • I use to read the Old Testament with a commentary, again only reading as much as I can take in at the time.

There were some email devotionals arriving in my inbox daily, but somehow they weren’t really “hitting home”, as much as they meant a lot to me at one time. So, more unsubscribing. What I went looking for was Daily Bread–you know how that’s been around for ages and ages, and I’m sure if you don’t read it, you know someone who does! However, it kind of looked to me like it’s more “for old folks”–large print, subject matter, etc. And at my age–approaching “old folks”–I avoid that category like the plague!

What I found was a ministry that is actually part of the same one that Daily Bread comes from: “Our Daily Journey”. One of the first things that grabbed my attention, is that they use Reftagger, which is what we use on our own websites: it means you can hover your mouse over scripture references and the words pop up for you to read, then you can click to read more if you want to (for example: Galatians 6:10). Love that!

They also have quite a few different bloggers, who seem quite professional (like Regina Franklin). Among other things that look good. So, we’ll see!

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When good things are bad…

Giving up something good can be soooo freeing. It’s the good things that are hardest to decide about, and there are an awful lot of good things to do! Even in each “good” category–for example, donations to charities–there seem to be hundreds of thousands of choices.

My particular decision yesterday, was about the millions of good things to read, on the internet. Just as I drink my coffee in the morning and look at my computer, there are enough choices. People laugh at me for doing this, but I actually have a list: YouVersion and email devotional first, then other email, Facebook, news, etc. The list helps to keep me focused–there’s even a line for stopping for prayer. The Facebook line is only for the notifications; the newsfeed, with all it’s extra “shared” things, is only for when there’s nothing better to do, or if I have just a few minutes, or need something quick & uplifting.

But for extra reading, there are all kinds of wonderful Christian newsletters, and fantastic blogs, etc. For years and years, I’ve been receiving the daily Breakpoint email, which keeps me up to date on the Christian response to the political scene. Most of those years, I’ve only had time to read them about once a month. I kept telling myself they’re really good, and it doesn’t take long to go through a bunch of them in one sitting.

Trouble is, on that day when I’d finally get around to reading them, it was kind of late to share a particular one, if I wanted to (and trickier to do, when it’s so many days later). I’ve always appreciated how Breakpoint educates me on how to debate with people… HA! I NEVER remember the points I’m supposed to, when the opportunity actually arises. Another point to consider, is that it’s based on the States, while there IS a Canadian version (by that I mean Focus on the Family); which comes less often (vs every day), so would be easier to keep up with.

Soooo…. it was hard to actually delete all those Breakpoint emails I was behind on, and unsubscribe, but I did it!

To continue this “spring cleaning”, I then went to Facebook and unchecked a few “receive notifications” from certain excellent ministries, and checked the ones that are more appropriate for where we are now.

Next decision: sign up for some volunteer work at The Met. Hopefully it will be a little easier to choose between all the good things to do there!

“So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)

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to do

The word for last week is “vaccine”, since I had three of them: flu shot, tetanus, and got talked into paying for the shingles vaccine. This week there is hardly anything happening out of the regular schedule, except for hazardous waste collection on Sunday, and letting the doctor tell us all off about something or other on Thursday (cholesterol? sugar?)

Soon there will be Christmas baking to get done for the freezer, and missionary company for a week. Our Small Group meets once a week, which is a good thing when you can never see anyone you know at the Sunday service. That’s mega-church for you! Of course, we need to get more involved as well. For me, you know that means doing something in the kids’ department. The Wednesday morning ladies’ group needed someone to help with their kids, so I might do that.

I try not to think about the Toronto things I miss, but a couple of them do pop up. Like having our church so close that I could go to something, and come back and get the guys later; and like our sweet Chinese friends. But perhaps we had to trade that close-ness for having these wonderful walking trails right behind our home. I just had to get out in the rain the other day, to take photos of the fabulous trees in their fall glory.

Speaking of photos, that’s something else that has to be gotten to, SOON. There’s about 1,000 in my Pending folder–from wedding, to moving photos, to all the ones I couldn’t resist downloading from Facebook (family photos), to all the recent fall & thanksgiving ones–oh MY, I’m so far behind!! But now that ALL the moving jobs are totally done, hopefully I’ll have time for that.

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no complaining

The “to do” list when we were first moving in felt quite different than the one we have now. Then, it was huge, but there wasn’t that “have to get it done” feeling, because we knew it would take awhile; however, we really wanted to do get it done. Now, it’s just a huge long list of small stuff. Back to normal.

The Fall jobs are almost all done, except for Raking, which we will be doing daily, as long as it’s not wet or windy. Today we have to vote. In November we’re looking forward to billeting a missionary for The Met’s missions conference, and having a couple of ladies for lunch on the Sunday.

Today or tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll get some Pumpkin Pudding made.

Speaking of voting though, that’s another way that Toronto and Ottawa are opposites (besides lakes vs rivers, millions vs thousands, etc.): we actually have quite a good mayor already in place. :P

“Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner.” (James 5:9)

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rainy day “fun”

Yesterday was just one of those days.

  • First of all, I just couldn’t decide which parking spot to take at Walmart… back in here? No, gotta have the back hatch on the outside in rain like this… can’t fit here… this one’s just too far away… Must have wasted at least 20 minutes!
  • Then I felt like something sweet & comforting to help me get groceries, so ordered coffee and hot apple pie at Mc’D’s. They didn’t have any hot apple pie. So I canceled my order.
  • Then I had trouble finding the right things, in the pharmacy section.
  • By then it was over-busy in the grocery section.
  • After groceries, I felt I deserved something sweet and comforting, so I went through the drive-thru at Tim’s and ordered coffee and pumpkin spice muffin. When I drove up to the window, they told me they were out of pumpkin spice muffins. “Would you like blueberry? Or fruit & fibre is pretty good…?” I canceled my order.
  • Had trouble finding the right things even at Shopper’s Drug Mart.
  • Even the Independant was a little busy by now. And I was hungry!

After lunch I finally realized that being very tired was part of my problem, even though I hadn’t realized that I’d had any kind of troubled sleep during the night. Last night I took a sleeping pill, and this morning I’m still tired!

This is all because I laughed at Sam yesterday. So now you can laugh at me!

I think it also has to do with this running I’m doing. I’m now up to the point of walk for only 1 minute, and run for 4 minutes, EIGHT TIMES!! Man, it’s been hard lately, this time around–but I just have to do it.

I’m looking forward to making apple sauce today though!

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One Hot Tub Night Missed

Yesterday was our outdoor Fall Work Day, which we’d assumed would be on a sunny, crisply cool-weather day. HA! I ended up putting SHORTS on for heaven’s sake!

We did get quite a bit done:

  • all 3 of us had our annual doctor check-up first of all,
  • emptied and refilled the hot tub (the cool water would have been nice to climb into, if it hadn’t been so late by the time it was full again),
  • pruned away a few more branches, as well as the weed tree,
  • put away the rest of the chairs and tables that go in the shed for the winter,
  • scrubbed all parts of the greasy-greasy bbq,
  • put away a couple more things from the garage so that we can park there for the winter,
  • swept the leaves off the deck.

Emptying the hot tub was probably the most fun, once we got down to the point where we had to get out buckets. Rej was stationed at the tub, eventually leaning in so far that he was almost standing on his head. (I guess that’s why he kept saying “we’re getting a pump next time”.) He would pass the bucket to Sam who would pass it to me, who would take it to the drainage at the back. When the water got even lower, I climbed in, since I was the one in bare feet. I passed the bucket to Sam, who would sometimes throw it in a circle so that it splashed mostly on himself, and one time he tried throwing it by simply hanging on to the handle–quite something to see, how one can throw a bucket and keep all the water inside! :D

Anyway, the only Fall thing left to do, I think, will be Raking. And more Raking!

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Eating and Talking: Priceless!

I’m quite sure that wherever you celebrated Thanksgiving Dinner, it included great food, probably a walk to enjoy the Colours, and maybe even a bonfire to sit and chat around. But, did YOU gather around a long line of dining tables, card tables, picnic tables, to eat outside?

We left it until the last minute to decide, knowing that 24 people inside would be very, well, close. Noisy. Confusing. Sure we could have picked up everything (my parent’s roasted turkey, my Mom’s wonderful turkey gravy, my brother’s scrumptious mashed potatoes, my other brother & his wife’s to-die-for French Canadian meat pies, our own bbq’d Thanksgiving Carrots, and Mom’s delicious apple and pumpkin pies–my sister’s hot chocolate recipe was already enjoyed before dinner), and come to our place, but that’s over a half hour away. Still, planning dinner early that way perhaps allows that option. As long as it doesn’t rain and doesn’t get too cold though–it was quite wonderful eating outside!

The walk happened while the carrots were cooking and hot chocolate was warming up in the slow cooker, and sitting around the fire afterwards was the perfect place to dish out the pie. I finally solved my yearly dilemma about which pie to have: giving up the whipped cream means I can allow myself BOTH!

The BEST thing of all, was the chit-chat. I’m not very good at “mingling” at a party, but when everyone there is Family, and all my Family is there (just a couple of husbands missing, and one nephew & family)–it makes me feel like a social butterfly! I enjoyed a conversation with every one of them. Not something you could say for example, with how a wedding might go. For me anyway.

And now some Christmas plans have been discussed, and I’ve scheduled more planning (you have to plan to plan, haha!), and we’re ready to get into it. Busy week this week, with doctor and dentist check-ups.

OH, and I finally tried the dill pickles that we made a little while ago–MMMMMM, love love love!! So nice when new recipes succeed!

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T is for Turkey and for Thank you

Not long ago, there was this thing going around on Facebook where people had to list 5 things they were thankful for, every day for a week. I quite enjoyed reading people’s lists; including some who usually don’t “talk” that much, who gave wonderful descriptions with each of them. I wonder if anyone got tired of having to do that, or if one could get tired of it supposing they had to do it every-every day. Maybe it would be easy enough if you only had to think about it.

That exercise is precisely what a counselor will suggest to you, if you ever have the need of seeing a counselor. Because even if things seem to be going wrong all around you, there are still things to be thankful for, if you look hard enough.

Another aspect of thankfulness is being thankful TO someone. How often do you appreciate what someone has done, but forget to thank them? I heard on the radio how someone is trying to get people to “thank a farmer”, even providing a phone number to call. Fitting of course, for harvest time, and also because so many farmers seem to be “giving up” these days.

From Farming to Technology: what I’m thankful for these days, is all this new lighting. The bulbs over my kitchen sink were not very bright before, so now, every time I turn them on, I’ve been exclaiming how much I love the new LEDs! And we love how Ottawa hydro is promoting them with big savings & coupons, and how the CFLs are now brighter and better (they turn on right away, without a flicker), and how the long-term savings are HUGE:

SaveOnEnergy Coupons(This would be the cost if you left the light turned on 24/7 for a whole year.)

One more thing I’m thankful for, is the fact that God’s Family is God’s Family, wherever you go–we enjoyed meeting our new small group last night.

“You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” (James 3:18)

Including the dignity of saying thank you? The hard work of cooking Thanksgiving Dinner? The honour of accepting the invitation?


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being Honest & Open

There are a couple of things about myself that really get me down sometimes: my seeming inability (or should I say “unwillingness”) to get into face-to-face discussions with non-Christ followers about their need for Christ; and my “inability” (again, more like lack of willpower) to lose weight. And in the darkness of an early morning, after stepping on the scales, one could succumb to being downright depressed! One of the “evil” suggestions that enters one’s brain? Maybe I just don’t really have faith.

Then I open a message from my high school BFF, in which she reminds me how I first attracted her to God way back then, because she’d see me in the hallways of school and think “wow she doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her reading her Bible”. Yes, that was a long time ago, but it’s still something to hold onto!

And the weight thing… maybe I should just gain a bunch of pounds, so that I can especially minister to people who are overweight. You know, in order to identify with them properly.

Just kidding!


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Throwing lights in the garbage

What is the first word that comes to your mind, when you think of this passing week? Mine: pickles.

That was the Big Different Thing that we did this week, back on Tuesday. We made sweet cucumber relish, dill pickles, and a small recipe of sweet pickles. Rej says they’re all good, but then he loves ALL food (except raisins, lemon, alfredo sauce, dates, Black Forest Cake…)! We had bbq sausage last night just so I could try the relish, and it was pretty good.

In the next few days we’re going to be winterizing some things. Maybe that’ll bring summer back again. We’re still enjoying the hot tub of course. And we’ve already begun the tv-watching. Rej & I are into Downtown Abby; because, you know, we have to keep up on things.

Speaking of that, this morning we realized that our original plan about changing the light bulbs in this place (“replace them when they burn out”), would be just stupid. Why spend $50 odd dollars on hydro vs $3? We did bring a bunch of CFLs with us from Toronto, so we’ll get those in right away–and into the garbage go the still-working incandescents. However, there are quite a few dimmable lights in the house, and the expense for these new dimmable LEDs still seems way out there.

LEDs are definitely the cheapest for hydro though, so maybe we can replace some of the others with them–just a few of the non-dimmable lights, that we use a lot. A lot of our dimmables are halogen, so at least that’s not quite as bad. Except for the halogen pole lamp that we have: that has to go, and soon! Apparently they heat up so much that they spoil any hydro savings. So I get to shop for something new. :) (Unless the one Dad found is good.) Oh, and that will go for the incandescent outdoor Christmas lights we have as well. Another thing for the garbage, even if they still work!


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