Saturday, May 22, 2010

Thankfulness, Gratitude, etc. etc.…

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie

Today I am thankful for the time I had futzing about Big Town yesterday. I took the time to find a delightful little bakery that had been recommended to me some time ago.

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” Ozick

Today I am thankful for all seven of my children who cheer me as we all journey along. They all are so encouraging.

“Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Charles Dickens

Today I am thankful for my husband who knows how to keep me on track.

“He who is not grateful for the things he has, would not be happy with what he wishes he had.” Mary Jess

Today I am thankful for working internet for the first time since the second week in January. Since we returned home we have been using 3G sticks which has required me to be vigilant about connecting and disconnecting all the time. Now I can lazily watch the emails roll in and out and my igoogle page renew itself so nicely. Hallelujah!

“There are only two kinds of people in the world - there are those who wake up in the morning and say, ‘Good morning, Lord’ and, there are those who wake up in the morning and say, ‘Good Lord, its morning’.”

Today I am thankful for the watchful care of angels whose presence I feel every day. It is not usually I who picks up loads of gravel and containers of fuel to haul home. The trip went along smoothly without a hitch and I even made it on the 4:10 ferry which was only 35 minutes late…happy, happy to be home.

“Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to count up past mercies.” Charles E. Jefferson

Today I am thankful for the kindness of strangers who speak to me on my blog. Even though some things seem ho-hum and last minute to me apparently I have touched a few lives and they respond.

“I remember those happy days and often wish I could speak into the ears of the dead the gratitude which was due to them in life and so ill-returned.” Gwyn Thomas

Today I am thankful for the seeds spouting out of the earth in my garden; for the gorgeous tomato plants I bought yesterday. There are blossoms on some of them already!!!

“Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet.” Irish Proverb

Today I am thankful for the beautiful pink hibiscus I found in town yesterday. The plant needs a little care and pruning but the blossoms are outstanding. Sort of like me…body needs a little pruning but…

“The most important component of happiness by far - there isn't a close second - is gratitude.” Dennis Prager

Wishing you all a beautiful weekend, full of joy and delight.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

Woke up this morning to wind and rain and decided I had a choice to make. I could pull up the soft covers and hide from the clouds or get out and put my day in order. On days like this I have to remind myself that I can make the choices that will make my time what I want it to be.

So, here I am to share with you thirteen favorite pieces of advice and inspiration to move your day along too.  
1. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. –Theodore Roosevelt
2. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy. –Joseph Campbell
3. In a moving world re-adaptation is the price of longevity. –George Santayana
4. Arrange whatever pieces come your way. –Virginia Woolf
5. Full maturity is achieved by realizing that you have choices to make.
-Angela Barron McBride
6. The first thing I do in the morning is to make my bed and while I am making up my bed I am making up my mind as to what kind of a day I am going to have. –Robert Frost
7. Although perfectionists believe their goal is excellence, they are really just looking for security.
8. Only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes.
-Dietrich Bonheoffer
9. No problem is so formidable that you can't walk away from it.
-Charles Schulz
10. Be at peace with yourself. If you are not a peace with yourself, you are at peace with nothing.
11. If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. –Albert Einstein
12. You cannot keep trouble from coming, but you needn’t give it a chair.
13. When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. -John Heider

Wishing for you, on this delightful Thursday, sunshine at the end of your day.
There are others who like to share on Thursday with their thirteen.  Click here to see.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thursday Thirteen, Friday Thankfulness and Sabbath Hallelujah!!

Some may call me confused while others will appreciate my ability to bring 3 days into one! After all, I have been accused of being ‘an efficiency expert’.

“I try to take one day at a time -- but sometimes several days attack me at once.”            -Jennifer Unlimited

Actually this week has been wild with activity and a certain lack of organization but I was able to accomplish so much… except for my computer work. So when I woke this morning I thought why not kill three birds with one ‘stone’ and bring my world all together in one.

There are at the very least 13 reasons for thankfulness today:
1. It is Sabbath! This is my prayer…

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
So shall I constant be,
And live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

2. Sisters
To my sisters I must say ‘thank you’. This week two of my sisters had birthdays. As we have all grown older the four of us have discovered our similarities and have decided that they bind us together with much better glue than our differences. We can look at each other, accept the oddities and grant respect and support to each other. At least I am hoping they see it that way too!

"Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of. You know whatever you do, they'll still be there." ~Amy Li

"Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply..." ~Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814

3.  Panchito

We take each day for granted going along at our merry pace thinking of others at a distance hoping that all is going just fine with them. This morning I was notified that our little friend, Panchito, passed away this week and will be buried today at Villa Juarez, Sonora, Mexico. My heart is very heavy.
We met Panchito some years ago when we began our winter habit of working with an orphanage in northern Mexico. He came to the orphanage as a wee child with no sight and paralyzed from the waist down. He was taken into the hearts of Robert and Annette Mason who got him the best possible care, driving him to Loma Linda University a number of times for check-ups and surgeries and therapies over the years.
His story is one of a beginning with severe tragedy but ending with a heart filled with the love of Jesus.
This is a thank you for all the orphans we came to love over the years who are sorrowful as they lay to rest their little friend. We miss them and love them dearly. They have all taught us some basic truths about life. God bless and keep them in His hands.

4. Sunlight
Heavenly sunshine…it is so good to feel the warmth of heaven’s light on our backs as we work in the garden…so good!
“The most beautiful thing under the sun is being under the sun.” –Christa Wolf
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.” -Helen Keller

5. Water

This week I had a reminder of the blessing of water, water for drinking, water for bathing and water for my gardens…all easily accessible and pure and clean.

“Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody.” -Mark Twain

6. Electricity

Every day on an island with electricity should not be taken for granted or treated lightly. We are so dependent on the electrics available to us here and actually are in awe of the whole phenomenon. Maybe we should be looking into some alternative energy sources but in the meantime we are very thankful of electricity.

7.  Friends and Family

So thankful to you all who cheer me with your words on emails or phone calls which warm my heart. Even when the connections are brief it is so good to ‘hear’ your voices. In the past I have taken for granted the availability of my family and friends…island life kicks that out of you.
“Relationships thrive when one person feels the other's needs are as important as their own.” -Anon

8. Flowers

Take a close look at the intricacy of those flowers on your table or outdoors or wherever. The flowers at every turn this time of year are a feast for my eyes. If you don’t have flowers close by right now you are totally deprived (or highly allergic?) but I wish for you all huge bundles of flowers!

9. Eyesight

I am reminded again of the blessing of eyesight with the passing of Panchito from our lives and also because this week I finally got a pair of eyeglasses again to help me with my aging eyes. The fact that they don’t work for my computer, cello or street signs (the reasons I went to the eye guy in the first place) are beside the point. I am just so thankful that I can see!!! Speaking of the eye guy, he is also the one who after examining my eyes and hearing my pleas for help told me that I had ‘very high visual expectations’!!! Imagine that, but…

10. Smell/Allergies

This week I have been inundated with the smells of a huge bunch of daffodils, my lilac trees and my herb garden…oh heavenly smells. Which also brings me to the subject of allergies; they have shown up with a vengeance!!!  Allergies teach me to treasure good health...

11. Computer

What did we do before the invention of the computer? Thanks to our children they started us out years ago with our first computer. They had already left home but it was important to be able to talk with them. They had both spent time in the lands of far away going to college here and there and it was tough to pay those phone bills so when our son decided he would spend some time in Korea we knew it was time. When I told my mother-in-law that I had just that morning spoken with said son in Korea and he had written right back she shook her head and said, tsk, tsk, it must be of the devil!

12. Creativity

Thankfulness abounds in this area of life. I am thankful for the people I know or see who are always coming up with something new in the world of ideas, writing, art, gardens, architecture or wherever. I suspect I was born with an extra dose of ‘aesthetic genes’ that give me a super high when an inspiration hits me.  And I have learned to pause and look around me.

13. Laughter

There is nothing so healing as a good laugh.  My favorite laughs are the ones that are so extreme that you just have to lay your head down on the table to get back any type of control!  Your jaws ache and your sides are sore...sweet bliss.

“One should take care not to grow too wise for so great a pleasure as laughter.”
Joseph Addison

Now, do have a lovely weekend and may you feel refreshed and ready for a new week come Monday morning.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


M is for the million things she gave me

O is that she’s only growing old

T is for the tears she shed to save me

H is for her heart as pure as gold

E is for her eyes with love light shining

R means right and right she’ll always be

Put them all together they spell Mother, the word that means the world to me!

That little song was popular when I was a girl and I just now realized why we were so encouraged to sing it…don’t you love that last line? The culture of today would not include that sentence in a song…hence the differences in generations.

But I digress…a few days ago one sister asked the other three to write out words of appreciation about our mother and I have over the years put a lot of thought into this but my mind went blank when put up against the wall.

I have, in the past, made lists of ‘things my mother taught me’ and ‘what I learned as a child’ but all of a sudden they seemed inadequate and outdated.  Under the heading, 'things my Mother taught me' would be:
     ladies wear skirts
     ladies don't swear
     ladies don't chew gum

But today, looking back, I have to say my Mother is one of the strongest women I have known. She has withstood adversities with grace and calm and the longer she has lived the more grace she displays. My husband, in particular, has been very impressed with her patience and care she gave to my father, her husband. (He watches for these things.)

Looking back into the memory bank of childhood I can see my mother standing in the front of the church singing. She was wearing a dress with a square neckline and I was sitting in a pew near the front on the left hand of the church. She stood straight and tall and had the gift of song. Her fondness for the old time hymns has passed on to all four of her daughters.

There is a memory I have of her standing at the kitchen sink in the old farm house fixing sandwiches for Father and me and for some reason he and I are sitting on the floor over near the cook stove (one of those big black bruisers fueled with wood). The sandwiches were made of her heavenly homemade bread and garlic!!!! With fresh butter those sandwiches were unbelievably delightful.

My Mother could grow a mean garden. Two vegetable (like who had time or space for anything else?) gardens that I remember to be luxuriously green and abundant, were in southern Alberta. My sisters and mother will know what I mean when I say the Drausd house and the Ruchke house. Looking out the back door of either house, to my child’s eye, was this glorious jungle of green and I can see Mother out there harvesting her green beans, beets, peas and all manner of good food.

Just recently I remembered one of my happiest times as a kid. My Mother kept a big trunk where she stashed away what we called hand-me-downs, clothes that other people gave us or that my older sisters had out grown that were carefully put away for the next sister to own. Well, I remember that once in a while, maybe twice a year, Mother would open this trunk, usually on a Sunday morning, and we would try on clothes and parade around and decide what fit whom. The anticipation of looking into that box of clothes was such a thrill.

Probably Mother has been the hardest worker I have personally met. She was a wife, mother, seamstress, keeper of the house and garden, full time teacher, church worker, community participant and hostess and more. These words do seem inadequate though unless we remember that there were no easy short cuts in her world, no state-of-the-art appliances, no wrinkle free fabrics, no nannies, no delivery services; she did it all.

Mother is living by herself today; she has no husband to care for anymore. Mother no longer sings out loud except when she is alone. Mother doesn’t bake bread anymore but surely wishes she could; I cannot eat garlic in that dosage anymore anyway! And Mother no longer has a stash of hand-me-downs to go through in a big trunk. But she still dispenses love and care to all who come through her door.

There are a few people in everyone’s life who inspire you so that when they enter the room you feel you should stand up to greet them. My Mother is one of those people I would honor.

Five on Friday

“Live your life so that the fear of death can never enter your heart. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light. Give thanks for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. And if perchance you see no reason for giving thanks, rest assured the fault is in yourself.” - Ascribed to Chief Tecumseh

Another week is coming to a close and it seems a good time to sit back and say thankyou.

Tonight I am thankful for my beautiful new begonias. There is a marvelous spot for them right at the front entry so we delight in the blooms coming and going…

Tonight I am thankful for the blue skies we have seen this week. So clear and so welcome! Brings to mind this favorite ...

Blue skies
Smilin’ at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see.

Blue birds
Singin’ a song
Nothing but blue birds
All day long.

Blue days
All of them gone
Nothing but blue skies
From now on.

Tonight I am thankful for my walks here on the island. The silence is heavy and even though we have lived here for 8 years the walks never grow old. There is always a treasure around the corner.

Tonight I am thankful for Time…each day is precious, and I value all the ideas that come to me to fill each day. Truly I could use 48 hours each day and still not come to a wall of boredom.

“The days come and go like muffled and veiled figures sent from a distant friendly party, but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

And tonight I am thankful for my cousin, Jeanne. She and I went our separate ways after high school leading busy lives with husbands, children and what not. Now we have time and closer proximity so we can see one another and catch up for all the missed years. She has a soft and gentle nature that is a good influence.

“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see.” – John Burroughs

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday 13 -Israeli Cuisine

Happy Thursday 13!…Recently I was searching for a recipe for Challah (Jewish Sabbath Bread) and online found wonderful resources and further information about the bread and its history. There was a site that listed some traditional foods used in Israeli cuisine and since I have a great fondness for all these foods and the Jewish culture I was intrigued. Here is a list of Thirteen of the foods used in Israeli cuisine…all wholesome, real foods. Enjoy!!!

Israeli Cuisine:

1. Figs…a food to be eaten slowly with closed eyes, delight in the heart and a slow murmuring in the voice. We love them fresh or dried in this house.

2. Couscous...we enjoyed a Couscous Salad this past week.  Yummy!

3. Wheat…a staple of my childhood.

A few Fridays ago I made two loaves of Challah... a treat that we have enjoyed over the past few years. There seems something special about a dish cooked with a specific holiday or celebration in mind.

One of my very favorite memories of Challah was the Friday night on our winter cruise this past February when we met with the Jewish congregation on the ship to start the Sabbath. After they read and chanted and sang together in Hebrew mostly, they broke the loaf into at least one piece for everyone and served it with Kosher wine, standing around, visiting and enjoying the company of other Sabbath believers. Even as we saw some of the folk later in the dining room they would smile, lightly bow their heads and say Shabat Shalom!

4. Barley...a wonderful addition to a hearty soup.

5. Dates...either you love them, or not...


6. Pomegranates...we enjoy the seeds tossed in a salad, lovely at the Christmas season.

7. Olives...another love them or leave them food!

8. Grapes...a perfect dessert.

9. Oranges...what would breakfast be without an orange.

10. Avocadoes...replace butter in our sandwiches.

11. Fish...supposed to be good for our hearts.

12. Falafels...

Falafel Wraps

Take a large tomato, spinach or whole grain wrap
Layer in finely chopped carrots, beets, lettuce, onion, sprouts, cucumber and radish (or whatever strikes your fancy)
Cover with a slice of cheddar cheese and falafels (either one long one or small ones in a row)
Roll up wrap and eat with relish (as in delight)!

13. excellent way to eat chick peas.

Is there a trip to Israel in my future? At the very least I can see a theme weekend in our food and maybe even movies…I am sure there are many other foods used but these were listed and it really struck a note in my heart!

Go have a terrific Thursday! 

To see other Thursday 13 participants click here.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Week

So looking forward to the week ahead – a new year, a new month or a new week are great times for starting new ‘stuff’. Each new day is great with me. And since I have a weakness for lists I always have an abundance of things to look towards.

Looking forward to…planting the lilacs, snowdrops, lavender and poppies already purchased and then heading off to town to work off the list of new treasures for the gardens around here.

Looking forward to…cleaning out the rest of my office in preparation for the beginnings of the ‘great renovation of 2010’. Some years ago my daughter-in-law, Kim, gave me a book “A Room Of Her Own” and it has been an inspiration to me to make a nest for myself in one corner or another. Actually, it will only be a few minor changes but it will be lots of work with some new lighting, new wall color and a lovely new floor. Am so looking forward to setting up house in there again. In the meantime I am moving the entire room into our little moving trailer…handy, no?

Looking forward to…cooking! I must try some new recipes to warm my honey’s heart! I am in the hunt for a good falafel recipe and will try my hand at a batch of naan. Desserts are not supposed to be on my horizon but maybe we will have to slip in a little bit of something. Found a recipe for Rhubarb Ricotta Muffins that look marvelous…

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup creamy ricotta
½ cup grapeseed oil
2 large eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cups chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)*
turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a separate large bowl, blend together brown sugar, ricotta cheese, oil,
eggs and vanilla. Add flour to brown sugar mix and blend just until incorporated. Stir in rhubarb and spoon into a greased muffin tin. Sprinkle tops with turbinado sugar.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until tops are golden brown and a tester in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin.

*if I was to use frozen rhubarb I would dust the rhubarb with flour before adding to the recipe…otherwise they may get too juicy!

Looking forward to…Isaiah. Isaiah, you say? For a number of years I have been paraphrasing sections of the Bible and enjoying it immensely. By paraphrasing I mean that I use my English with no desire to change the intention of the original author. It ends up being a very meaningful way to worship. Now Isaiah has long stretches of some stiff experiences for the tribe of Judah but every once in a while a marvelous nugget comes to the surface; and it is a great way to start my day.

Looking forward to…reading good books, listening to some new music and of course, clearing my mind with a few Sudoku puzzles.

“Do not let time pass without accomplishing something. Otherwise you will regret it when your hair turns gray.” - Yui Fei

“If you are too busy to laugh, you are entirely too busy.” -Anon

“Each day of life is a precious gift from God.” -Anon