Friday, December 09, 2005

COUNTING MY BLESSINGS

This has been a rough week.

Everything has been up in the air, so it has been hard to know just what to do. It was comforting to have Dave and Neti come for a visit. After dinner (unfortunately Miles had to return to work), we sat and read through all of the letters I have received from Gramma over the years. They are a poignant collection of her thoughts. Smatterings of wisdom along with some very sweet, funny ideas - life through her eyes in rural Princeton. She managed to make whatever was around her at the time something to be explored and pondered. We are still waiting to see what any arrangements might be as for a formal rememberance of any kind.

Miles has a full-blown cold. I'm immersed in the tail end of our Church Book. This is a book I volunteered to help with. Some days I don't feel particularly 'Christian' about it, but I must admit, creating it through this difficult time, I think, has kept my mind where it should be. Because we don't have the opportunity to attend any chruch services through the holidays, the words and thoughts in the book have spoken to my heart about what Christmas truly should be. We make a choice to spend the time with our family, rather than attend services at Christmas because our parents, so for us it would be going for ourselves only. We only end up with a few quality days with them in the end so we feel that we should BE JESUS to the family - rather than not be with them to satisfy a desire we have to be around the church family. Though we really miss the church, especially at this most special time, we never regret investing the time into our family. They are wonderful, interesting people and we love them with all our hearts. Mom and Dad make a great effort to build traditions around our tiny family. They are a gift from God to us.

These next few weeks will be filled with all sorts of distractions. Pot-lucks, visits and events but I intend to work very hard in keeping the true meaning in focus. I hope all of you out there have a peace through the next few weeks. Remember, You will never get EVERYTHING done, but if you give it to the Lord, He will enable you to accomplish the things that NEED to get done.

e

Monday, December 05, 2005

REMEMBERING GRAMMA


Gramma passed away yesterday.

She was 98 years old, and she had a full and long life. I will miss her very much.

Gramma often took me to church when I was a child. I can still remember the stained glass windows, the hard wooden pews, the benches for kneeling on to pray. I can remember the cadence of the prayers, the crackling of a candy being unwrapped (why does all candy eaten in church come in crackly paper?), of tissues whispering softly from pockets, of coughs echoing coarsely within the cool walls of the chruch.

There was never a doubt that Gramma believed and honoured God. Now that I have found a new life in Christ it brings me an indescribable peace for me to know that Gramma is now at the feet of Jesus.

Friday, December 02, 2005

OUR 2006 CHRISTMAS CARD


This year's card is out.

Other than a few 'stragglers', I've mailed out my Christmas Cards. I was 'beat to the punch' by Aunt Betty, but I think I would have to send at the end of summer vacation to get a head start on her! I've designed our own card again this year, using Corel Painter IX. I used the conte crayons and airbrushes. The cards printed off very nicely on our little printer - surprisingly nicely in fact. I trimmed them to the circle shape and applied glitter along the snowy branch and finished the card off with a loop of gold thread to make it hang like an ornament.

Because I have been so caught up with all this, I lavished my dearest yesterday with a flower and sliver of decadent mousse cake made at our sweet Odelights bakery. We have a tradition started of sharing Dim Sum for breakfast on Saturdays when we can, at the bakery. It is prepared 'squeeky' fresh and is the best way to start ones day.

The weather is cold, and snow dusts the area off and on, but so far, nothing like what everyone else seems to be suffering.

Have a Wonderful Day out there!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

OUR FIRST SNOWFALL


We had our first snowfall yesterday. It was snowing hard when we awoke, and it came down all day long. Our phones were out too. The phones are still out. We've contacted the phone company, but there is no word on when the lines will be back up again. Miles saw a pole being replaced or repaired a block up from our house, so perhaps thats the reason we have no service. Along with this of course, is the lack of internet...can it get any worse? Thankfully we have an alternate place to connect!

All in all, its not so bad being without phones and internet for a day. With the weather being 'inclement' and no calls, I was able to accomplish miricles within our storage area in the house. I was utterly ruthless, reducing our 'stuff' to 1/2 of its former bulk. I can now find the vacuum and ironing board with relative ease. Really, it was not THAT bad.

Another thing I want to share is the adventure of Mom's vegetables. We visited last weekend, and as Mom does, she made us a huge dinner. We had a great laugh over her vegetables though. She is a fan of the boil in a bag variety and she cooks them in the microwave. We got a kick out of the corn as the bag it's contained in swelled up into a huge bubble of plastic skin. I managed to snap this picture to share with you-all! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


WALMART OFFERS FREE MUSHROOMS Posted by Picasa

STEAMBOAT ROCK

Miles chose to go to Steamboat Rock this past weekend as the place he would like to spend his birthday. We decided to head down on Thursday evening and spend the night camped at Walmart in Omak. Now, of course this is not our idea of high romance, but just getting away with our busy - ness of late was the key here. We could have been in Antartica in our van, the point was being alone and being away.

We had dinner at our favorite place there - Ranchos Chico's, a wonderful authentic Mexican restaurant. The service and food are second to none.

When we finally pulled into "our spot" at Walmart, it was getting dark. Lo and behold, we could see some unusual white growths in the tiny soil area in front of our van. (We always try to get a tree and some foliage for that 'camping' feel) We immediately recognized the growths to be Shaggy Mane Mushrooms, and fine specimens at that! We picked them and took them camping with us. The first fire we had we sauteed them in butter and garlic and had a feast. Nice of Walmart to provide us with food "to go"!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

IRON WHILE THE STRIKE IS HOT

Miles is on strike.

We are not overjoyed by this fact. Its a rude and harsh disruption - but neccesary at times. So we make the best of things. He's working 3 hours a day to earn the $50 dollars a day that will have to feed and clothe us. At least we are able to catch up on other things that have been on the back burner for a bit. The downside is the weather is lousy, the upside that students and supporters and fellow staff bring hot coffee and donut offerings. Hopefully this will not last for long, but we are not holding our breath.

SYNC OR SWIM

I finally learned to 'sync' with the computer. I had to upload over 1100 photos to a nifty little toy called a Zen by Creative. I set an entire morning aside for the challenge and pushed on ahead, resolving not to leave my chair till the job was done. It turned out to be not so hard, after a few glitches and hidden hurdles I managed to figure it all out. Who writes these instructions, anyways? There always seems to be bits of key information you have to 'dig' for...But after its all said and done there is something very powerful and rewarding about learning a new skill. It amazes me how quickly it becomes familiar. So, I even ended up downloading and syncing The Italian Movie to the machine so our friend might enjoy it in an airport waiting for a flight. Then I ventured furthere and added some of their favorite music. Of course I would love to have one of these little things... Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 03, 2005

OUR BROTHER IS GETTING MARRIED!

We received a call the night before last....duh, it took me long enough to post it here....DAVE AND NETI ARE GETTING MARRIED! They will tie the knot at an undisclosed place on an undisclosed day, but look here at an undisclosed date in the future to find out how it all went. We feel so blessed to welcome Neti to our family (brave girl!). We love you both so much and wish you all the happiness on your special day.

ADDICTED TO GRAPHICS!

Ok, it's severe. Yesterday Miles offered to go out and get a video for me. I opted instead to watch the video "Photoshop Down and Dirty Tricks 2" When I said this, MIles gave me a sly little grin and a playful elbow in the ribs. I can remember when I used to watch him on the computer and it was all greek to me. Now, its a good thing we both have our own computers or it might cause some marital issues....well, never that, but it would challenge us.

Today my friend came over. She arrived the same moment the courier showed up with the parcel that contained her new Zen! We sorted through her 800+ photographs. I've got them all scanned and adjusted, now we need to resize them before uploading them into her nifty little machine. She's pretty excited about it. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 30, 2005

MY LATEST PAINTING

SCANNING, SCANNING 601, 602, 603...

I've scanned over 600 photographs in the past 2 days. Now before you might think this is a valiant effort I am making to preserve our huge picture collection, think again! I am actually doing this for a friend! I've convinced her to take her scads and scads and scads of pictures and have me scan them and upload them into a nifty little machine that I pointed her towards. Its called a Personal Media Center, and its put out by Creative. Go have a peek if you wish. Just hop over to www.cnet.com and type in Creative Zen and look around. You will see it there, and if you click on it you can actually have a person show it to you in a video review. How cool is that?

I'm expecting the PMC to arrive this week, can't wait to play with it, even if its not my own. My friend will be taking it with her on her extended vacation to Hawaii (while we all freeze in our socks!) and then Italy, her homeland. How it makes my heart smile to know that because of my efforts she will be able to share her life's photos with her Italian relatives on her new little toy.

Sigh!Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 26, 2005

WORKING OUT ..... OF HOME ..... WORKING OUT?

I've started going to the gym with my husband. I'm eating my words of earlier on in my blog, that I avoided the gym. First off, I broke the handle on the eliptical trainer, then, I sheared off an entire spike that was an essential part of the mechanism....and with a great clang I found myself stalled. So I gave in and went to the gym. And I actually enjoyed it. Could be the nice little mp3 player Miles bought me for my birthday... Anyways, I have been really into sit-ups lately. I built up over a few weeks before Miles got to do some with me. He was blown away, I could do 120! But I have to share this, when he does his, he tucks his feet underneath the loveseat at home, and I sit on it so it does not move. Now as soon as he gets going, I burst into laughter. I don't know why, and I seem unable to control it. And the harder I try to control it the harder it is. Of course it makes him laugh and well, have you ever attempted a sit up while laughing? Since then, we've had to do our sit ups at the gym. Must be the atmosphere there..we get right serious. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

BIRTHDAY BLAB

Another birthday.

Most people I know groan when they talk about getting on in age. There seems to be this negative aura about it all. Oh, I know, its not good that our bodies and minds are slowly wasting, that we are not physically able as we once were, but there is something good about ageing. Like fruit, I believe that we develop some unique qualities. Some of these qualities are wisdom, hindsight, patience and confidence. It could be compared to having breakfast or supper. At breakfast it matters how it goes - its the start of your day...what happens then can affect your entire day. At supper, you've had your day - good or bad, now you can relax, learn from what happened.

Miles spoiled me rotten. Ice Cream Cake and de-alcoholized champagne for breakfast, and on over the entire weekend. Dinners - dinners out at our (was...) chinese restaurant. (it somehow has now developed a definate 'feedlot' atmosphere, and dinners in (steak, prawns, chocolate mousse cake - no expense spared). The dinners in lovingly prepared at his own hands while not allowing me to rise from my princess seat.

Gifts. Dear me, there were the gifts. A snappy little MP3 player, headphones and two CD's I had been drooling over. I made short work of the headphones by snipping through the cord in two places while trying to un-encase them from the plastic tomb they come packaged in. Why do they put industrial strength plastic on them? Godzilla could not crush them.

And if this were not enough to recieve, there was the two nights at a cozy cabin, 'away from it all' Just me, my stunningly handsome and talented husband, a fireplace. But I've already said too much....

I can't wait to see what birthday # 48 will bring.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

CRITICISM/CRITIQUE

The sermon at our church this morning was called "The Test" and its essense was knowing if you know if you would pass a test that would convict you to be a Christian. What it all boiled down to is that if you are Christian it would be very visible in the way that you "love your brother". Not like, LOVE. Lets just say at this time we can all use some polishing...

While I listened the words 'critique' and 'criticism' began to work in my thoughts. I made a list of my own thoughts on the two words and here is what I came up with:

CRITIQUE:
is asked for
is our honest opinion
suggests
is given to help someone
is two sided (you consider the other persons feelings)
causes us to examine ourselves in evaluation
is given in love

CRITICISM
is given without being asked for
is our personal opinion
is not backed up with evidence
is one-sided
nit picks
is given without love

Websters dictionary claims the words have about the same meaning, though it too says that criticism is the act of critique USUALLY UNFAFORABLY.

Use the power of your toungue and the (asked for) blessing of your opinion to honestly help, not hinder your brother or sister.

Amen Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 10, 2005

SHUTTING KATRINA OFF

I can "shut Katrina off"

It has been almost two weeks since this catastrophe overwhelmed New Orleans. With avid fascination we watched as the storm was predicted and we, along with the rest of the world, tracked its progress toward the Florida Coast. As we don't have extreme weather where we live, we are fascinated by this phenonmenon.

Even after the storm hit, and passed, in that first day after, I don't believe anyone really had a clear picture of what damage Katrina would ultimately leave in her wake. Like a poorly filmed disaster movie, Katrina fulfilled tragic scenarios on fronts that even talented authors could not come up with. Besides all of the physical destruction, the human element was what really set this incident apart. We've become so sheltered in our affluent society that when people began to crack under the emotional stress created in the wake of this disaster, we had to all face the 'what if' question for ourselves. I don't think anyone would have believed the way people took advantage of this crisis to justify bad behaviour. But desperation does weird things to normal people.

Equally disheartening is the blaming and finger pointing. Yes, there should have been better preperations provided for these people, but I cannot believe that ANYONE knowingly ignored the
seriousness of what could happen...but does anyone ever look at one of those sensational movies and think "what if that happened to us?" Because thats what Katrina played out like in the end. If you saw that in a movie, you would think that "thats just a movie, can't happen in real life!" And besides, thats the past now, its time we all moved on to what to do so that this does not happen again in the future.

Katrina has given me the gift to treasure each moment more closely. None of us can know what could befall us tomorrow.

For all the awfulness that Katrina imposed in our lives, she also left a gift. Watching people from all over the world pour out their generosity to the victims has touched me so deeply. Individuals from small children selling lemonade, to entire countries (some even enemies of the US) giving of themselves. How can that not move one's heart? I think we all have to acknowledge that no one is an island, and if something were to befall us that our global community is there to support us.

Another uplifting thought is seeing some of the poor, because there were a lot of people who lived below the poverty line in the affected area, now have a chance at a better life, through relocation.

Now, just under two weeks after Katrina, I can 'turn her off'. I've steeled myself to follow all of the news and interviews and radio shows for the past few weeks. I am emotionally broken to the vicitims. And while I don't want to 'turn Katrina off' I know at this point I need to, to digest and process it all and pray. And while I can do this, many cannot, because their lives are touched directly by Katrina, their lives have been altered and reshaped by her. I pray for you all, that you might rise from this event and become renewed. None of us will ever forget. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

IF THIS IS A BLESSING, WHY AM I BITING MY NAILS?

My Sister got married this summer.

Unfortunately Miles and I could not be there to celebrate with her, but I truly feel like I have the next best thing. She has granted me the blessing of putting a wedding album together. In case you didn't read in my profile, I live to scrap these days. No, I don't mean that Miles and I fight all the time, what I mean is that I 'do' scrapbooking, digital scrapbooking.

I have to admit I'm very nervous about making her wedding album, its so personal! I'm scared it won't be good enough! But on the other hand, I am so honoured. Lucky for me, she is very photogenic and took some great pics to start with.

Look for more in the future!

Posted by Picasa

OUR SISTER'S WEDDING


My Sister's Wedding Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The 'Left Wing' elipitcal machine

I broke my eliptical excersize machine yesterday. Never mind that I did'nt relish getting on the thing in the first place. I procrastinated all day, and only by dangling a virtual carrot in my mind that I would watch Oprah, did I talk myself into a commitment. Of course Oprah was a repeat. Of course it was one of those shallow ones where she entertains famous people.... I really prefer her shows that have some meat to them...the ones where she gives people stuff or actually talks about stuff that we can identify with. When she wants to she can really pull together a show that captivates and informs. I suppose she has to hob-nob a bit tho....

So back to the point of my story...I'm watching Oprah, doing my gerbil-like gyrations on the machine, when the right side handle of the machine begins to bend. When it should return to an upright position, it simply stays in my hand. What a neat little trick for Satan to pull on me! For two cents I would have given up right then and there except I've promised my dearest husband I will try for a 'washboard' tummy for him. To top it off, when he walks in the door, from the gym where he does is own personal torture, he encourages me to quit if I feel so led and he will take me for a walk later. Talk about temptation. But, remember, Oprah is featuring those stick-figure stars....and it actually serves to make me more determined than ever to reach my goal.

Oprah, those last 25 sit-ups were both to spite you and to prepare me in case I get famous and come on your show with Miles...and by the way, don't bother to ask me unless Miles comes too, we are a set!

I MISS MY HUNNY! (ahem, I mean Mr. Derksen)

Today is my first day without Miles. Its his first official day of school. Even though I new this day was arriving, I knew all along that part of my mind was just ignoring that little fact as a protection for my heart. I know this sounds corny to some but he truly is part of me. I find myself turning to talk to him or reaching for the phone, only to come to the painful realization that its not possible in the coming months. Being on my own makes me realize how much I take for granted that we enjoy the luxury of being together so much of the time. I also realize that any experiences treasured, are so because of sharing them with my mate and best friend. After two months of vacation from work, I'm now having to restructure my days so that I will make the most of the scraps of time we will have together. I'm truly lost at this moment...and so I'm making appointments with friends to fill the time up. I'm not ashamed to admit, but I'm like a little kid waiting for Christmas, this waiting for my dearest. Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Teaching Experience

I taught my first watercolor workshop recently. I was so nervous for the entire week before. Its a wonder Miles didn't check into a hotel for the duration. lol. I eventually came up with a painting for my 'students' which would demonstrate various techniques, gathered all the supplies and of course Miles created my handouts. I needn't have worried, the workshop went off without a hitch. Both ladies made wonderful paintings, in their own distinct style. Anybody else for a workshop??
? Posted by Picasa

i THINK my student looks interested.....


Teaching my first watercolour workshop Posted by Picasa

Slippering Around at Steamboat Rock


So, this is me at Steamboat Rock a few falls ago. Miles took this picture as I was headed to the washroom, in my bunny slippers.
Those poor bunnies...I wore them right out eventually, blasted the bottoms. Once we were camping at another place and there was a gopher there who kept popping is sweet little head up to check us out. I took one of my bunny slippers and placed it by his hole and it kept little gopher busy for hours getting irate at the slipper. lol

Day One of My Blog!

Since this is the very first time I've blogged....I'm not sure exactly what to share. Actually, as we speak, my dear husband is frantically starting his blog, right beside me. Yes, its kind of a race. I've thought about blogging for a while now, but nothing has given me that final nudge. See, my sweet husband is light years ahead of me in all realms of computer 'stuff', but I'm up to the challenge. I'm sure the concept of this blog will flesh out to be what useful tool it is capable to be by the time that I really get the drift of how this all works. In the meantime, do bear with me while i post pics and words that really may not have too much to do with each other.

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