Lazy Labour Day


DSC_0420It is a holiday in Manitoba.  All the government offices, banks, shopping centres, car dealerships and almost all the grocery stores are closed.  All day!  After a day of persistent rain, the day dawned cool, with sun and few clouds.  Glorious 1st of September.  Hubby and I headed out late this morning.  We headed north to Lockport and had a World Famous Hotdog at Skinners.  The hot dog was okay, the ambiance was fun – sodas in the bottle, 50’s diner decor, antiques, a good variety of hard ice cream (blue licorice), jukeboxes, candy from my childhood at the counter and hand made fries.

After we drove down to the locks and the north end of Duff’s DitchDSC_0427There were a flotilla of boats on the water trying for catfish.  We watch one quartet haul in a large one, take their trophy picture and release it back into the turbulence.

The road meanders along Red River to Selkirk.  Beautiful properties, heritage and estate homes, groves of oak trees, fabulous views.  Backtracking west we went to Stonewall to find Knox Presbyterian Church built in 1883.  We speculated on what it might serve as a residence as it will soon be up for sale, the Presbytery having voted to close it at their last meeting.

Knox Presbyterian Church

The skies are so beautiful in Manitoba on a beautiful end of summer day.

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Job 26:7  He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.
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Planning for Christmas


Whaaaa?  Christmas?  I know, pushing the season conjures the urge to roll my eyes and tata the major retailers.  However, when you are a quilter and have a project in mind for Christmas, it’s time to get at it.  Our quilters at the church are creating banners for the sanctuary.  We start tomorrow.  I am in the process of getting a sample done so they will have something to follow.  Here’s a preview.

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Luke 2:1  In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.

 

50 Wynford Drive, Toronto


DSCN0104This weekend I was in Toronto (otherwise known by themselves as the centre of the universe) for a Pension and Benefits meeting at the denomination’s office at 50 Wynford Drive.  They have this lovely quilt hanging beside the door to the Assembly Council office.  There are some inspiring techniques used that I will keep in mind for the future.  The leaves have craft wire down the centres attached with a sewn zigzag stitch.  At the extended end of the wire is a little eye hook that allows the leaf to be sewn to the quilt.

DSCN0103DSCN0105(Sorry the second one is out of focus)

We are currently on our way back home, waiting for our connection in Edmonton.

WIP Wednesday


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I have way too many projects on the go at the moment.  They are contributing, in part to the neglect this blog has received.  I’ve been really busy, but then it is that time of year.  Advent preparations at church, choir practice, budget planning for 2013, thinking about Christmas Eve services at two different churches in two different locations 50 minutes apart, Christmas shopping, baking, etc. etc. etc.

DSC_0759The project displayed is for my son’s girlfriend.  She selected the fabrics and I searched and searched to find a pattern that would incorporated them in a pleasing way.  It wasn’t easy, the fabrics were very similar to each other, lacking in contrast.  I feel I made a good choice, the finished top turned out quite lovely.  Even though I eliminated two rows and two columns from the pattern the finished top is too large for me to attempt quilting with my machine.  Now I am trying to locate a long arm quilter that has an available appointment less than four months from now.

Exodus 35:35
He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer.

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.


I had the privilege of sharing a year of internship with this amazing and brilliant minister at West Point Grey Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, BC. I couldn’t have said it any better. In fact when I was seeking a call one congregation asked what my plan was to grow the congregation was, I asked, “What are your gifts? Its not what I will do, but what you are willing to do.” I didn’t get the call.

Hopping Hadrian's Wall

Whenever a congregation goes looking for a new pastor, the first question on their minds when the committee interviews a new candidate is: Will this pastor grow our church?

I’m going to go ahead and answer that question right now: No, she will not.

No amount of pastoral eloquence, organization, insightfulness, amicability, or charisma will take your congregation back to back to its glory days.

What then can your pastor do?  She can make your board meetings longer with prayer and Bible study.  She can mess with your sense of familiarity by changing the order of worship and the arrangement of the sanctuary.  She can play those strange new songs and forget about your favorite old hymns.  She can keep on playing those crusty old hymns instead of that hot new contemporary praise music.  She can bug you incessantly about more frequent celebration of Communion.  She can ignore your phone…

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Red Pine Row


“To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.”  Hellen Keller

When children reached grade six in Northwestern Ontario, at least when I, and at least two of my younger siblings, you went on a field trip to a recently clear-cut forest and planted pine seedlings.  Typically they were red pines.  We spent the day in pairs, one with a shovel to make a T-shaped hole in the earth.  First the supporting line of the T is made.  Then the top, keeping the shovel in the earth, levering it so the base of the T gapes open.  The second person would then insert the seeding and when the shovel was removed the earth would close up on the roots of the inserted tree.  Easy!  Efficient too, years later I have driven past the area that my class had planted over 40 years ago and the trees are strong and tall.

In subsequent years the students’  ‘payment’ for their efforts at reforestation on behalf of the local pulp and paper mill,  would be up to a dozen seedlings.  My oldest sister planted hers at the lake front property.  My youngest sister’s were planted in a line west of the family home to act as a wind break in winter and shade from the setting sun in summer.

A perfect choice because red pines are self pruning.  Dead branches fall from the trunks, so a walk through a red pine forest is a journey through branchless, straight, gradually greying trunks on a thick carpet of long needles beneath a canopy of wind whispering branches, the air perfumed with a clean pitch smell.  Perfect peace.

The needles grow in pairs. As kids we would carefully remove one and then insert the tip of the remaining needle into the void creating teardrop shapes that could be linked into long chains.  Of course this resulted in competitions of who could create the longest.

We would also collect the barely opened cones and shake out the little seeds, removing the small, wing that enables them to whirl to the ground.  We would chew on them, savouring the piney bite that we claimed was breath freshener, even though it was not the most delicious taste in the world.  Squirrels did, so why not?!

Red pines bring to memory soft sighing of summer breezes, rough bark, sticky new cones and God’s delicate symmetry in old ones.  The latter hold the memories of gold and silver spray paint, highlighting open scales, and placed in church floral arrangements for Advent and Christmas.  Take a deep breath, draw the pine scented memory in, be still, rest in God.

19  I will plant in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
20 that they may see and know,
may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.  Isaiah 41:19-20