Crieff Hills Community

In 1950 Col MacLean (yes, of MacLean’s magazine fame) left 250 acres of land near Pulinch, Ontario to the Presbyterian Church in Canada.  It has been and is a blessing to our denomination and is rich in history.

(For more information or if interested see here)

Currently it serves as A place apart … to come together, a peace and beauty filled retreat from our busy world, it is a destination for a variety of groups and individuals for meetings, visioning, building community, meditation and study.

My first opportunity to visit Crieff was for the Guidance Conference required by the denomination for people entering ordained ministry.

This fall I returned, as a member of the Pension and Benefit Committee of the PCC.  We gathered on a Sunday evening for fellowship and dinner followed by a meeting.  The committee stayed overnight in Lodge accommodations, either St. Matthew or St. Mark. 

Even though the work load is quite heavy mentally, the time spent there was lovely, restful and had all the elements of a retreat.

Once the ‘business’ was concluded, I confess the temptation to remain was strong.  Life is rather crazy at the moment, I could use a break from it all.

Dining Hall, Office and kitchen located in original school-house.










1 Corinthians 14:26
What then, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.

A growing movement inspired by 14-year-old Malala Yousufzia. Education is the key to solving so many problems in this world.


Last Monday, my friend Olivia and I decided to launch this idea called #GIRLWITHABOOK. At the time we were venting to each other about how horrified and utterly disgusted we were by the Taliban’s sick attempt at killing Malala Yousafzai on her school bus, and we wanted to do something about it. We wanted to do something for Malala, and at the same time stick it to the Taliban. So Olivia says to me “Let’s get people to post pictures of themselves with books! A favorite book, a random book, a school book, you name it. And we’ll post it on facebook, twitter, etc. to show Malala our support.” My reaction: THIS IS AWESOME.

The Taliban showed what they are most afraid: A GIRL WITH A BOOK.

So that’s exactly what we did. We created a Facebook page, Pinterest board, Twitter account and a tumblr. It sounds…

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Four to Go

The church quilting group is working on quilts to be donated to a woman and children centre in Grande Prairie.  I finished binding my contribution last night.

Taking a picture of the finished quilt really makes the large floral fabric obvious.  It doesn’t seem to jump out so much in the actual quilt.

This pattern is called ‘Trip Around the World.’  Four inch strips were sewn together and then into a tube, cut into four-inch strips perpendicularly, opened at each subsequent block and then sewn back together to create the pattern.  It was fairly easy and sewed up really quick.

Now on to a project I promised someone over a year ago.


Omar the Saluki

My sister’s Saluki was resting at the Farm one morning.  I had to bring out the camera for a little shoot.






Such a good boy, willing to let us pose him in almost any position.

He’s rather skinny, most likely from moving into a new home.  Rest assured he’s filled out quite abit since living at the Farm.

Reminds me of the Pompeii Dog


Nothing Personal But You Asked

Hubby offered to cook fajitas for dinner last night.  I offered to pick up the necessary groceries.  Work finished for the day, I went to the local major grocery chain for peppers, mushrooms, onions, wraps, and sour cream.

Standing in line at the checkout, not the self checkout, one with another person scanning bar codes and bagging my groceries (save that for another rant), I confess to eavesdropping on the conversation between the cashier and the older gentleman ahead of me.

C – “Would you like to donate to breast cancer?”  Awkward pause.

OG – “Yeah, sure.”

C – “How much?”

OG – “Ummmm …”

C – “A dollar … two … five?”

OG (very quietly) – “A dollar.”

The transaction completes and the cashier begins scanning my grocery items.  She takes my airmiles and membership card.  The inevitable question.

C – “Would you like to donate to breast cancer?”

Me – “Do you issue a tax reciept?”  Blank stare.  “If I were to donate $20 to the Canadian Cancer Society, I would get a tax receipt.  I’d be happy to donate $20 to Fight for the Cure.  Will you give me a tax receipt.”

C – “We’re not a charity.”

Me – “Exactly.  But (this company) gets a tax credit for donating MY money to Fight for the Cure.  Why should I subsidize your employer’s tax break?”

C – “I don’t know nothing about that.”

Me – “I didn’t think you would.  Its nothing personal, but you asked.  I’m just explaining why I’m not donating to breast cancer, here.”

Lady in Line Behind Me – “And neither am I.”

you are with me still

this morning, I reached into the dishwasher

grasped the smooth handle of my favourite mug

clay from the hands of the Mistress

formed into a vessel that holds memories

sadness, pours into me,

hotter than the waiting coffee

Lord, I miss Her!

alma mater

mine, hers and Hers

this –  Her gift to me –  to celebrate the journey

the end and the beginning

alpha and omega


striving, thriving, surviving

my graduation, penultimate to theirs

a year passes and we gather again

to encourage, reorientate, reclaim the promise

of what and who we are called to be

another year


Less that two years Your priest, Lord?

mute incredulity


You heal the cancer – remission

in thanksgiving and wonder She hears You

says yes


was it?

tears stream as voices slosh here to there and back again over cellular waves

we did not know, we were not told

of deadly returned, cellular multiplication

liver hosts, breasts long sacrificed to hope

we did not know, unaware

we wallow in guilt

the third rants

“I know you have a good reason, God!”

begging, threatening, “tell me what it is!”


dark coffee spills and fills a vessel still holding the past

leaves fall beyond the kitchen window fast

turns a season

thanksgiving approaches


for Her life


for death

no reason


I suspect it was missed

in a moment noisy

the still, small voice

“Spring comes, She is fully alive in Me.”

Romans 8:38-39   38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 64:8
But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

*it would have been enough for us

I haven’t read Lord of the Flies, Catch-22, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, Catcher in the Rye, etc. in quite awhile. Maybe it is time to rummage through the book boxes.

The eNotes Blog

Banned Books Week is currently celebrating its 36th anniversary! This year’s theme, “Banning Books Silences Stories,” is a reminder that everyone needs to speak out against the tide of censorship.

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Did you know that some of the best works of all time, and very often the ones you’ll have studied in school, have at one time or another been censored from the public? Did you know that the practice of censorship in literature still goes on today?

Yup, somewhere out there, a blinkered individual could actually be pondering at this very moment the dangers of a mind raised on an “occultist” story like Bridge to Terabithia, while someone of the same mindset argues that the bildungsroman The Perks of Being a Wallflower is “unsuited to a teenage audience.” Seriously.

And it’s not all Sex, by Madonna, Gossip Girl and l8r, g8r that are considered poised to corrupt our…

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The Royal Colour

I have a love affair with purple.  In the three years I have lived in this place I have endeavoured to convert most of the plants in the flower garden to shades of mauve to the very darkest of purples that kiss the edge of black.

I was most pleased with the sweet peas this year.

The Delphinium was a good choice too.











The yarrow is a pleasing colour, but it is so invasive.  I ripped up a clump of if a couple of weeks ago.  Already the persistent missed roots are re-establishing themselves.

For fun, here is one of the top searches for ‘purple poems.’

“Purple Cow” is the name of a well-known poem by Gelett Burgess, written in 1895:

The original “Purple Cow,” from 1895

I never saw a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you anyhow
I’d rather see than be one

Acts 16:14
One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.