The Liberal Arts: An Education in Cattle Raiding


So grateful for my liberal arts education. More history please!

Reflection and Choice

Cuchulain in Battle

A few days ago, I was trying to convince the freshmen and sophomores in my Western-Civilization survey to sign up for my upper-level class in the fall. The upper-level class will cover the history of Late Antiquity, roughly the years 250 to 750. We’ll talk about the fall of Rome, the rise of the church, and the formation of the medieval kingdoms of Europe. It’s going to be awesome.

In order to pique their interest, I told the class that we would be reading the Táin Bó Cúailnge. The book recounts an epic cattle raid in Ireland. That’s right, a cattle raid. I like to think of the Táin as the Iliad of the north. The queen of Connacht steals the Brown Bull of Cooley (he’s an exceptionally fine bull), and the men of Ulster have to get him back. It’s epic; it’s heroic, it’s awesome.

I was passionately…

View original post 473 more words

Advertisements

Springtime Traditions


DSC_0967Treasured childhood memories for spring is the burning of grass around the edges of the fields and out buildings.  It was an event that we looked forward to with high anticipation.  Dad taught us all the ‘safety’ procedures for burning – starting a line of fire downwind, carrying a shovel, waiting until the wind died down and knowing there would be a heavy dew that night.  We would put on our oldest spring jackets, our Ukrainian ballet slippersindex and out we headed with dad in the lead.  He would start the fire and we would pull up hanks of long grass, twist it, touch it to the fire and then drag it long the edges of the fields to extend the burn line.  If the fire got too close to buildings or ran the risk of escaping, we would stomp out the fire.  That was much more exciting than using our shovels.  Just after dark we would return to the house, covered in soot and smelling of smoke, circles of fire on fields of black imprinted in our vision.  It was great.

April 26th was my parents’ 55th wedding anniversary.  Dad is 18 years older than my mom, and turned 91 this last December.  He had a minor stroke a year ago and has slowed down quite a bit.  My sister got the burning permit for spring refuse.  After dinner she walked the saluki and made the comment that the wind had died down and she was going to burn the ridge along the old garden.  I haven’t seen my father move that fast in over a year!  He was in his glory.  Ribs for dinner and grass burning after, the perfect anniversary.

DSC_0953

Hearts for Baby


DSC_0944 My holidays are going splendidly!  The grand-daughter’s quilt was finished well in advance.  Great grandma (my mom) loves it, my son and his girlfriend think it should be hung on the wall.  Completely their choice.  I was really pleased with the quilting, towards the end.  It took a little time to get in the ‘groove’.  The idea was to emulate the swirls in the border/binding.  It worked, eventually.  It is not entirely uniform throughout the entire surface.  I am not ripping it out, thank you very much, in spite of my anal retentive attitude toward ‘perfection.’

DSC_0941DSC_0939I bet you can’t even tell, unless you click on the picture to enlarge.  (Made you look!)

 

 

 

 

Exodus 35:29     All the Israelite men and women whose hearts made them willing to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done, brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord.

WIP Wednesday – Weekend


DSC_0910Holidays!  It’s an event packed weekend.  My parents are celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary.  My brother is turning 47 on the same day.  And Sunday my first grandbaby-daughter is being baptised into the family of God.

Today my two sisters, my parents and I traveled to visit my brother who lives 2 hours away from the Farm.  The day was filled with laughter, strange movie references “These are not the ‘droids you are looking for!”, stories that might have sounded like a kidnapping to someone evesdropping, “You are not listening to me.  I have the pizza.”, and twenty questions on the trip home that started conversations about food, bucket lists, places we’d been and a few tales out of school about school.  Nana, sisters M and N played Wii Dance Off 4 with nephews GR and Y. Even dad had a pretty good day.  Naturally we had to stop at Morden’s Chocolates for Russian Mints, Mixed Nut Brittle, bags of ‘seconds’ and Almond Crunch Clusters (I should have bought some of the latter…).

Pictured above is the quilt I am racing to finish by Sunday for my grand-daughter.  I am half done the binding as I type.  Cute, isn’t it?  Just like my A.A.E.P!

Scrappy Gift


DSC_0905Originally, this quilt was destined for the women’s shelter in a neighbouring city.  All winter a colleague and “Sister” in ministry was living in the local RC rectory because her apartment was damaged in a fire.  April 1st she returned to her home and I gave her this quilt as a “welcome back” gift.  It is simply quilted, with parallel lines of stitching at varying widths.  Quick and effective.
DSC_0907DSC_0908

Luke 8:39

“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

When it Rains, it Pours


It’s not raining at the moment, it’s snowing.  Grrrrr.  It is not pouring in a meteorological sense but a time management one.

It has been a crazy buzy week!  Three services in three days; a funeral on Friday, Holy Communion at the Presbytery Meeting on Saturday, and Sunday worship today.  The overwhelming workload of Lent/Easter is now behind me and hopefully things can get back to some sort of normalcy.  And holidays are scheduled for the end of the month!  Yahoo.

In the midst of it all, an unexpected honour came my way.  Esther, from ipatch, Made with bits of love! nominated me for the Liebster Award.  I actually had to consider, postpone it for a couple days, tickled by the honour, but realizing I really had no spare moment to attend to it properly.  The thought, “Big deal, you’re to busy to accept an internet award?!” is probably crossing your mind’s electrical impulses at this point.  A bit of explanation, the Liebster award comes with some strings attached, basically it is something of a blogger chain letter without a top of the pyramid, except that it can increase visits to your blog.  It also has a personal revelations component through answering questions asked by the nominator and provide some random facts about myself so that you, dear reader, might know me better.  Then, I’m to nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers, and similarly, ask them to answer my questions upon their acceptance.  I’ve had my liturgical nap, The Amazing Race is on, time to do some multi-tasking!

Esther’s questions

1. What music do you put on when driving?     I rarely listen to music when I drive, usually I listen to CBC radio

2. What colour clothes do you always buy?     I rarely buy clothes.  My sister has a clothing allowance and every six months she purges her closet and hands them up to me.  (I’m tickled over Esther’s proper spelling of ‘colour’) 😉

3.  What sound just “makes your day”?     When my darling say, “Good morning !”

4.  What trip would you like to make whenever you had the chance?     I long to go back to Scotland, baring that I’d settle for the east coast of Canada.

5.  Which artist inspires you?     I am in awe of the work of Quinton Hoover. I would love to try an art quilt in a similar technique.

Here are my nominees, in no particular order.  Well it is in an almost particular order, alphabetical!

JoTokla – an beautiful quilt block journey, some funny picts, and interesting historical posts

A Photographer’s Garden – amazing pictures, one can almost smell the fragrances

basildonkitchens – delicious, in a variety of ways

Blocks: 365 – a year’s journey in beautifully constructed quilt blocks

bloomingreverend – thought provoking theological insights along with great advice on another of my favourite things to do – Gardening

down to earth digs – another of my favourite gardening eplaces (I wish it were spring

lalinsocal – funny and creative

Novascotialocal’s Blog – remember how I answered the 4th question?

The Arts and Crafts Bungalow – because I would like to live in one

thegoodsmeller – because I need someone to live vicariously through

thrumyrunninglens – running and pictures, great combination since it offers someone I exercise vicariously through

My Questions for the Nominees

1.  How many jobs have you had and which did you like the most?

2.  What was your favourite school subject?

3.  What is number 1 on your bucket list?

4.  What do you wish you had more time for?

5.  Do you collect anything and if you do what?

Some Random Facts About Me

I love my husband with all my heart. Magic: The Gathering Elder Land Wurm (Quinton Hoover)  http://www.cardkingdom.com/catalog/item/10103

In case you didn’t figure it out, I’m Canadian.  I used to play Magic the Gathering: with my sons and their friends for entire weekends.  I owned a horse when I was in highschool and would ride with a girlfriend from a neighbouring farm every night after dinner when the weather was fine.  I have been a registered member of Where’s Willy, a Canadian currency tracking site since 2006.  I own hundreds of books and I have read most of them, some more than once (I’m not quite reconciled to my e-reader).  My first pet was a Cocker Spaniel.  Quilting is a new obsession, I had no intentions of it being the main topic of this blog, my first was cross-stitching – started about 30 years ago.  My favourite Canadian author is Thomas King, Green Grass, Running Water is hilarious.

O Spring, where art Thou?


I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”  e. e. cummings*

Thankfully, there is blue sky today, and above freezing temperatures.  Snow still blankets much of the ground.  I am watching a robin rest in the branches of a tree in the neighbours’ yard beyond the window of my office.  He seems confused, tail bobbing in irritated stabs.  He is asking, “Where is spring?  Where are the green, growing, gladdening things that coincide with my arrival?”  Even his song is not the bubbling joy of being alive and announcing the glory of another season.  Rather I hear protest and alarm, as if winter is an intruder into the space of his territory not unlike another male threatening the security of worms and bugs and nest and family.

I, another of God’s creatures, am asking the same questions.  Winter has been soooooooooooooooooooo long this year, snow on the ground early October and here in almost mid April, it stubbornly reflects brightly the sun of lengthening days.  Snow is forecast for the weekend.  AGAIN!??  <sigh>  Well, naturally, as I have to travel north for a meeting that I am not entirely prepared for.  (The photo is LAST year’s spring!)

DSC_0071

*Coincidentially I used this poem in the Easter Sermon