Category Archives: Uncategorized

Christmas Update 2011

Hello Everyone:  Here is the link to my Christmas newsletter.  Merry Christmas!

Prayer Update Dec 11

 

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Prayer Letter Update

God has been working a lot of things out in my life recently.  Here’s an update as to what has been going on.Prayer Update June 11

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Fun in a Winter Wonderland

It has slowly dawned on me over the past few years, that there are people out there who truly seem to hate winter weather.  This was so completely foreign to me that I’ve ended up spending time reflecting on this and trying to figure it out.  Perhaps I am mistaken, but it seems to me that a vast number (if not all) of these people who profess to hate winter, are actually those who hibernate indoors as much as possible from October to May.

Now, I guess if you truly hate something you do try to avoid it, but I have a suspicion that the very reason that winter-dislikers have such animosity toward the season is exactly because they don’t get out to enjoy it!

Way too many people seem to lose that childlike wonder at snow and cold temperatures as they choose to replace the fun of winter with winter drudgery.  If my only outdoor experiences in the winter revolved around snow shovelling, driving in snow and running to and from house, car and work in clothing unfit for the weather I would likely find myself hating winter too.

Remember back, if you will, to the childhood joys of winter.  Remember snow days and weekends filled with snow angels, snowmen, sledding, snowshoeing, games of tag, ice skating on a frozen pond, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, the sunlight sparkling off the snow as you ran through fresh, unmarked powder or the wonder of feeling snowflakes melt on your tongue as they fell?

I think it is long past time for many of us to get outside (yes, in the winter) and have some fun!  Put down the shovels and car scrapers and salt.  Bundle yourself up and go out to play.

A bit impediment to winter fun is feeling cold, so make sure you have the right gear.  There are many outdoors stores that would be happy to help you find the right things or even how to properly layer the items you already have to ensure that you stay warm and dry whatever your activity.  Most people’s’ experience of feeling cold during the winter is related to being inappropriately dressed (or from not moving around enough while outside).  Trust me when I say that while I may feel a little cool for the first 10 min or so outside, by the time I get active, I am opening my coat and taking off layers as I get too hot!

Equipment does not have to be expensive or elaborate.  Simply walking in the winter (especially with others to chat with) can be a great way to get started.  If you had a favourite childhood winter activity, check out local used sports stores or outdoor stores to get you ready to jump back into it.

For those of you out there who are moaning and complaining about the weather from October through May, you’re absolutely right.  The adult tendency to make snow and cold only about drudgery and work is no fun at all.  Maybe, however,  it’s time to get up, get dressed warmly and get outside to play!  What better way to stay healthy, be active, remember great moments from our past and have some fun!

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Filed under January 2011, Uncategorized

The Passage of Time

There’s nothing that makes you stop and realize how quickly time passes as watching little ones grow.  My newest niece was born 29 days ago and already she looks and acts like a completely different person than she did in those early days.  My experience with other kids reminds me that before I know it, these early days with her will be only a memory and something chronicled in pictures.

On the other hand, this week I had the great blessing of having friends over for dinner.  Since they are currently living overseas, I have not had a chance to see them in person in more than 4 years, yet we were able to pick up our conversations as though it was just days ago that we had spoken.

The past month has been a busy one as a result of some of these events.  Somehow, even though I no longer head back to school in the Fall (nor have kids I’m sending off) the return to the busy Fall rush always catches me by surprise.  Personally, I wish the lazy days of summer happened to coincide with the beautiful weather of the Fall.  I am taking a week off in October to take advantage of my favourite season and to get a bit of a break.

I hope you all are feeling refreshed and energized as we enjoy these crisp, gorgeous Fall weather.  I’m certainly trying to see the blessing in everyday and trying to avoid getting caught up in the rush of the season (not to mention, trying to get lots of time in with the little people in my life who change oh, so quickly).

Psalm 145

A psalm of praise. Of David.

1 [a] I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.

2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.

3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.

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Vote Ontario Fresh

It’s been years since I did any canning/preserving but I’d been thinking of reviving the tradition for a while and this weekend I set out to make some salsa.  It actually was less work than I remembered and the salsa is so, so much better than the store-bought variety.  I’ve already been into it myself and gave a jar away to my neighbours.

While only some of the fresh veggies came from my own garden (I didn’t have enough for the 3 batches I made), they were all fresh Ontario produce and I’m excited to be able to store some of this freshness for the winter ahead.

My success with this project has encouraged me and excited me to try some new endeavours in canning (as I mentioned, I have done salsa before, although not in years).  I’m determined to try to can peaches and pears this summer/fall especially as I realized that the canned ones I usually buy from the grocery store are imported from South Africa!  How truly ridiculous is it that we live a region that grows some of the best peaches and pears in the world and our grocery stores are importing them from the opposite side of the globe!

I recently watched the documentary “Food, Inc.” (which I would highly recommend) which has caused me to reflect again on my eating habits and the increasing complexity of where our food comes from.  It seems like we are in the process of forever losing the days when farmers and individuals produced food for themselves and their communities.  Instead we have allowed ourselves to embark upon a food production system that more closely resembles and industrial plant.

I’m glad to see a bit of a resurgence towards eating locally grown produce and shopping at farmer’s markets.  I wish the government was doing more to support this sustainable food system rather than the mass-production, mass-marketing of unhealthy, unethical, unsustainable options out there.

While it’s perhaps not manageable for any of us on a food budget to purchase locally food all the time, we can begin to make small changes in the choices we make and the food that we buy and eat.  As the documentary points out, every bite we take is our vote (for the type of food production system we want).  Are you happy with how you’ve been voting?

This weekend I spent considerable time considering the food I eat and choosing to not only eat locally grown produce but to prepare this myself to allow for this to be eaten through the year when it otherwise wouldn’t be available.  As a result, I am more conscious than ever about what that vote stands for, for my own health, for the environment, for the well-being of farmers and for my community.

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Filed under August 2010, Uncategorized

Sharing the Road

This week I went in to a local bicycle shop and picked up a few free “Share the Road” bumper magnets to display on my car and for the cars of my family.  I fully believe that as drivers of motor vehicles we need to be more conscientious and more careful to share the road safely with those driving smaller vehicles (bicycles, electric scooters, etc).  However, my experience is that just as many of the drivers of these bicycles and scooters are endangering their own lives and the lives of those around them by making poor decisions out on the road.

Stijn

The most common thing that I see, is cyclists riding in places they have no right to be – namely sidewalks.  I understand the argument that many raise about the preferred safety of riding on the sidewalk, however, besides being illegal, there are actually more safety concerns with being on the sidewalk.  When you are riding your bike on the sidewalk, no one knows what you are going to do next!  I’ve seen cyclists riding on and off roads and sidewalks leaving pedestrians and drivers alike trying to guess what they will do next.  This puts everyone on the road and sidewalk in danger.  Additionally with riding on the sidewalks, drivers of motor vehicles are much less likely to see you.  That means that if they go to turn into driveways or onto other roadways they are much more likely to hit you.  If you are cycling with children, use appropriate cycling paths and parks until they are confident with road safety rules.

I also frequently see cyclists flagrantly disregarding the rules of the road.  All the laws of the Highway Traffic Act apply to you as you ride your bike.  That means that you must obey all stop signs and lights, ride only in the direction of traffic (no going the wrong way on one-way streets) and must indicate your movements and turns with appropriate hand signals.

The most deadly mistake I see cyclists making is failing to wear a helmet or wearing it incorrectly.  It is still law in Ontario that every person under 18 yrs of age must wear a helmet at all times while riding.  Cyclists over 18 yrs are equally responsible (although not under the law, unfortunately) to protect themselves with proper use of a helmet.  Other safety equipment must include a bell or horn on your bike, and lights used within half and hour of sunrise and sunset.  Your bike must also be equipped with reflectors and it is recommended to wear reflective clothing to make yourself more visible.  You should also save your music-listening for another time and make sure you are fully engaged with your surroundings while out on the road.

I am all for the use of bicycles to improve health and reduce environmental impact and just because they’re a fun way to get around or to get out with the family.  However, I find I am too frequently cringing when I see cyclists out around the community with seemingly little regard for their own safety or that of anyone else, never mind the law violation and risk of fines with their actions.  It is my hope that we will continue to improve the safety of our cyclists by creating and improving bike lanes and pathways around Hamilton but as cyclists we also are fully responsible to the laws of the road and to the safety of ourselves and others as we venture out on our bikes.

If you are unfamiliar with bicycling safety or if you have a new rider in your family, I highly recommend a bicycling safety course such as CAN-BIKE.  Adult and children’s programs are available at the following website:  http://www.ontariocycling.org/web_pages/edu_canbike.php

For more information please visit:

The Ministry of Transportation:  http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/pubs/cycling-guide/index.shtml

Ontario Cycling Association:  http://www.ontariocycling.org/

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Filed under July 2010, Uncategorized

Digging in the Dirt

I spent much of my time over the last week out in the garden.  I was late getting started this year but I can finally relax that my veggies are in and ready to grow.  As much as I appreciate flowers and I enjoy the space in the garden where I’ve managed to create a bit of an oasis in the midst of a busy city around me, my spring itch is always to get the veggies in the ground.

Somehow being out digging around in the dirt becomes therapeutic for me.  Such a simple pleasure of working the soil, laying out the plot, planting the seeds and young plants and yet it always makes me feel more complete somehow.  There’s something about gardening that aligns me with God’s creative power.  Something that reminds me that He has ordained life on this planet to revolved around birth and growth, death and rebirth.  Something about ultimately trusting Him for the growth that will happen over the summer.

Regardless of how much effort and care I put into preparing the ground for the seeds, caring for the young plants, watering and so on, there is nothing in my power that could cause a seed to grow.  Only God in His infinite wisdom could come up with a system that requires so much of my time and energy but that ultimately demands my trust.  Trust in the process that He has established and critical trust in the Creator God.

Gardening reminds me so much of that truth – that my life is about making every effort I can for His glory and then ultimately standing back and trusting Him for the outcome, for the harvest.  Digging around in the dirt always reminds me of who He is and who I am in Him and points me back into right relationship with Him (and a right view of my own efforts).

How great that something seemingly so insignificant can be used by God for His own good purpose.  May you each turn your faces toward God as you get out this spring to muck around in the dirt.

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Filed under May 2010, Uncategorized