Monday, April 26, 2010


April 26, 2010.

Outside my window...a beautiful spring day. I even had a wee nap out on the swing. Blue skies, warm breeze, no bugs, no worries.
I am thinking...that praying with your spouse is one of the most intimate things you can do.
I am thankful for...the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. The past few sermons have made me think about my prayerlessness. When my husband neglects to pray, he begins to worry. When I neglect to pray, I begin to complain. I was also thinking about some people I know who are not living as Christians, yet have convinced themselves that everything's okay. Everyone has the potential for self-deception. That made me look at my own life. Am I just playing church; doing the right things, saying the right things, while my heart is cold? To me, the worst thing that could ever happen is to one day hear the words, "I never knew you." That's why my husband and I were praying together. I don't want to deceive myself. I want a real, vibrant relationship with my Saviour.
From the daughter and her friend, Sarah made us an amazing dinner today: apricot brie and crackers; salad with romaine, spinach, blackberries, green beans, mozzarella and cranberries, cayenne chicken with avocado and tomato salsa,and creme brule. It was delish!
I am wearing...jeans and a grey top.
I am reading...When Love Blooms by Robin Lee Hatcher.
I am daughter memorizes the words to the song she's singing at a wedding this weekend. I don't know why I get so stressed about these things. She's not.
I am hearing...a man reading the newspaper aloud to his wife, on the train.
Around the house...Sarah's with us for a week and then they're off to her house in Bermuda. My husband and the girls put the swing together. We went shopping for some new suits, shirts and ties for him. Big bucks, yes, but he doesn't often spend money on himself. And he looks mighty fine.
One of my favourite things...having someone else to cook for me.
Some plans for the four nights. It's my birthday on Friday. We're hoping to buy a stove for the backyard for roasting marshmallows and wieners. I also hope to find a new party dress for the wedding we're attending on Saturday. Sunday we're going out with friends from church, between services, for Trinidadian roti. Our Pastor should be back this weekend. He was up north since his 97 year old mother-in-law died. On Monday I have an appointment with a specialist about some concerns I've had that seem to have resolved with some medication. I may keep the appointment anyway.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Boy, if I didn't have a book to write, I would never get my closets organized.


"Suspense is achieved by information control: What you know. What the reader knows. What the characters know."


"As authors we like our protagonists. We are tempted to protect them from trouble. That temptation must be resisted."


Let's face it, your mother and immediate family will love anything you write. -

First Drafts

First drafts are for learning what your novel or story is about.

Solitary Confinement

The writing life is essentially one of solitary confinement–if you can't deal with this you needn't apply.


A writer takes earnest measures to secure his solitude and then finds endless ways to squander it.

Concentrated Sweat

Don't write too much. Concentrate your sweat on one story rather than dissipate it over a dozen.

Time Shrinks

The most interesting thing about writing is the way that it obliterates time.
Three hours seems like three minutes.

Just Do It

Fifteen minutes of work on something is 100 times better than thinking about working on something.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

1 pkg. spinch (I prefer baby spinach)
strawberries (1 pint, hulled and sliced)

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp paprika
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. poppy seeds
3 slices red onion, chopped
sliced blanched almonds

Combine all but first two ingredients. Blend in blender.
Pour over spinach and strawberries just before serving.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Control is an Illusion

April 19, 2010.

Outside my window...a beautiful Spring day. Sunny, high teens.
I am thinking...the eruption this week of the Icelandic volcano with the unpronounceable name, confirms the fact that control of our circumstances is just an illusion. I have relatives on vacation in Finland. They were supposed to fly home today, but they're "ashed" in. Two hundred million dollars a day in lost revenue, thousands inconvenienced, but thankfully, no lives lost. I once saw a program about a plane that flew into the ash from a volcano, not knowing what was happening. It clogged up and shut down the engines, and the plane dropped about 12,000 feet before it cleared and restarted. Scary. I'm sure the airlines don't want to risk a plane crash, or even damage to their planes, which could have repercussions later on. I heard the ash cloud is now headed towards Canada. Hopefully, it has dissipated somewhat. My eldest daughter is going to Bermuda in early May and my youngest and I are flying in mid-May. We have trip cancellation insurance, but I hope our trips aren't cancelled.
I am thankful for...the good weekend we had. On Friday night, we took the College and Careers group to Missionfest. Although it wasn't the greatest venue and we had only a few hours, so we could only walk through the Exhibit Hall, we had fun. We also found a few ministry opportunities, one in particular that appealed to my husband. It's called Water Ambassadors. He works for Water Supply and always wanted to use his training in some way. This group uses very simple technology to provide clean drinking water, from a $50 hand held purifier for one family to a well for a whole village. It's something to consider for a short term missions trip, or to raise funds for it as a project. See this picture of me holding a python? Not what I was expecting to do, but then I was the first brave one, then the other women, then the men were shamed into trying it, some wrapped it around their necks. Show offs! Then we went to church to check out the new ping pong table the youth were setting up. Since it was our weekend to clean, we decided to do it then, so we didn't have to return the following morning. Saturday we shopped, cleaned, napped and then went to a 60th birthday party for one of our deacons. It was a great party. Sunday was a lazy bbq and nap kind of day between church services. Our Pastor was away so our two seminary students preached. It's good to see them improve on the gifts they've been given. They both have their own unique styles, which is as it should be.
From the kitchen..rice, meat egg rolls, and crudites.
I am jeans, a cream tank top, a beige cardigan and a beige faux leather jacket.
I am reading...Elementary, my dear Watkins by Mindy Starns Clark. It's chick-lit.
I am hoping...My youngest daughter gets through this week at school. This school is heavy on the academics and some weeks are just ridiculous. She does homework all evening, every day. I know it'll help her cope at university, but sometimes she's overwhelmed. I'm quite sure I wouldn't have been able to handle a workload like that when I was in high school. I was too lazy.
I am hearing...some guy tapping out a rhythm behind me. Kind of annoying, I'd rather hear quiet on the train.
Around the house...My eldest finishes her second year of university tomorrow. We'll be picking her up, along with her goldfish. The backyard swing arrived, but my husband hasn't had time to assemble it yet. I'm working tonight, Wednesday and Thursday. I like having a night off mid-week. It breaks it up.
One of my favourite books. I save up my airmiles and exchange them for a Chapters gift card, which equals free books. Way to feed my addiction, eh? Nobody gets hurt.
Some plans for the above. I have a special date planned for my husband Friday night, then the usual errands/chores on Saturday. We're going to another birthday party on Saturday night. Life's about these moments, isn't it? Oh, and I joined the acfw this week. It's the American Christian Fiction Writers group. Now I feel like I have peers who "get" me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Death and Taxes

April 12, 2010

Outside my window...a sunny spring day; the kind of day that makes me feel happy.
I am thinking...such sad news this week when the Polish President, his wife, the heads of all four branches of the military, and many other leaders, were killed when their plane crashed. Such a loss for their country. I thought of the same scenario back a few years ago when Chretien was the Prime Minister here, and he went to China on a trade mission. He flew on the same plane with all ten Premiers. I remember thinking if the plane went down, we would be without the entire leadership of our country. Not too smart.
I am thankful for...a busy life. Sure, I complain sometimes, but overall, we are healthy and happy and we have many ways to serve and work and play. For example, this past weekend, I went to the Inspiring Women Conference at Toronto Baptist Seminary. Ruth Edwards spoke on "Will Someone Please Explain the Old Testament?" It was very helpful. We also went outside at lunch to Allen Gardens and took some pictures. Today, I ran errands, went to the dentist, and picked up our plane tickets to San Diego! Thirty days!
From the kitchen...ham, carrots, beans and cauliflower. Trying to trim up a bit in the month before we go, so I'm cutting down on carbs.
I am wearing...jeans, my SUOMI shirt, a cardigan and my windbreaker.
I am reading...Adrenaline by John B. Olson; a thriller.
I am hoping...God keeps working on my Mom's heart. On Sunday morning our Pastor preached on Reconciliation. It was beautiful. As she was leaving just before the Lord's Supper, as she always does, she hugged my husband. He said she seemed moved by what she heard. It could be she's under conviction. That's a big deal, when for years she never seemed to have a spiritual thought. For her to recognize that there is a problem between her and God is a big change. Lord, soften her hard heart!
I am hearing...conversations on the train.
Around the house...we had another contractor come by. He took measurements and heard what we wanted. He'll make some drawings and get back to us. The painter finished in one day; it looks good. I ordered a swing with a canopy for the backyard. It'll arrive in a few weeks, and then my husband will have to assemble it. The swing is really for my mom, who doesn't like direct sunlight, unlike me. I also get nauseous on swings. My eldest has one week left of her second year of university. She'll be home a bit and then she'll do two courses over two months, to lighten her load in the fall. She'll work as a counselour at summer camp, again. My youngest is working hard, especially on Mock Trials for law class. She has to cross-examine a witness tomorrow. She bought her prom dress. It's royal blue and has a strap on one shoulder. She needs to find shoes now.
One of my favourite things..not having to worry about doing the taxes. My husband e-files them. I sooooooooo appreciate that. Funny, but I forgot that on my list of 101 things I loved about him. Make that 102. I really do love that guy. He's a keeper.
Some plans for the three nights, go to Missionfest on Friday night with the College and Careers group. I used to go most of Friday and Saturday, and took in the free classes, but we're too busy. Hopefully, we'll get some more ideas for either local ministry for the C&C's or a short term missions trip. Saturday, we're cleaning the church, and in the evening we're going to a friend's party. Sunday, church. Then start all over again.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Weekend

April 7, 2010.

Outside my window...rainy and very foggy. April showers bring May flowers.
I am thinking...we had a great Easter weekend. Although I missed our Good Friday service since I worked Thursday night, my husband and I had a great date. On Saturday, we cleaned and shopped, then went to see my brother-in-law's new home, which is just five minutes away. They used to live across the street from us and put their house up for sale soon after we did. They have a beautiful home. Then we ordered a dining room buffet and hutch, which will take two months to be built. It will be stained to match our dining room table, which is Amish. We're starting to find all of our favourite stores and services in our new town, so we don't have to go back to the old familiar places. With both girls home, we took a drive down the street to Rotary Park. I had heard there was a nice waterfront in Ajax. It is still that drab stage of Spring, but the park on Lake Ontario has potential for picnics and stuff. We took goofy pictures. Then me and the girls went for mani-pedis to get ready for spring. We don't often get to do those things together. We found a spa/nail place close to home that is reasonably priced and clean. Then we picked up pizza for dinner and my husband's family came by. Some of them hadn't seen our house yet. Then three of our nieces stayed overnight. They played a board game called Apples to Apples. Until I learned how to play it the following day, it just seemed like they were reading lists and laughing hysterically. Then all five girls went in the hot tub, while we watched a soccer game. On Sunday, our Easter began with a sunrise breakfast at church, followed by great preaching, as usual. Our sanctuary has now been painted but the smell is still strong, so we had to squeeze in downstairs. We almost ran out of chairs, which is kind of a nice problem to have. Then we had a roast beef dinner at home, followed by a great evening service. Our Pastor is preaching through Habakkuk in the evenings. On Monday, I signed up for the Oncology Nursing Conference, held this year in San Diego in May. My youngest daughter will be going with me. We booked our flight and hotel. We paid waaaay too much for the flight, but there are at least 7,000 Oncology nurses trying to arrive in San Diego on a particular day and then leave on a particular day, so it's hard to get what you want. We also have a stopover in Minneapolis. Then I washed some windows and my husband bbq'd some steaks. Yep, lots of eating this weekend. My husband and I watched or tried to watch Sherlock Holmes, but didn't like it so we didn't finish it.
I am thankful for...the opportunity to go to California. At this yearly conference, (this is my third), I can accumulate my required 20 hours of continuing ed. per year in Oncology. I need it to keep my Oncology Nurse designation, without having to write the national exams again. I'm excited because I'll have four nights in California with my daughter. Who knows if we'll have another opportunity like that again? I offered to make it a family trip, but my eldest will be going to Bermuda again (I know, rough life) a week before and my husband is too busy at work, although he desperately needs a vacation. Still, I appreciate his willingness to let us go. We are soooooo excited. San Diego is a big Navy town. There's a submarine base, the aircraft carrier USS Midway to tour, and the Navy SEALs train across the way on Coronado Island. Can you say, Dream Come True? My daughter will probably limit me to one Navy excursion, but just being in that town and seeing the Pacific Ocean! I hope there won't be an earthquakes. 35 days!
From the kitchen...leftovers. Yeah, we do that sometime. It's not so bad when it's leftover steak or roast.
I am wearing...jeans, a dark grey long-sleeved shirt.
I am reading...In Harm's Way, by Irene Hannon. It's a thriller about the FBI. I've read the other two in the series.
I am work will cover 100% of the cost of this conference. They always have in the past, but now they're waffling.
I am hearing...the train. One more stop.
Around the house...the painter arrives Thursday. As long as he doesn't sing or talk on the phone as he paints, I should be able to sleep through it. Another contractor is coming on Friday to give us advice and a quote about the basement reno. Saturday, 14 women from our church are going to a conference called, Will Someone Please Explain The Old Testament? My eldest decided to stay in the house she's renting and take her chances. I hope it's the right decision.
One of my favourite things...being able to travel after all our 'lean' years. I hate flying but I enjoy the trip while I'm there. Did I mention I was excited to go to San Diego?
Some plans for the three nights. Date night Friday, conference Saturday, church on Sunday. It's a good life.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

Lyrics (J.W. Alexander's version, 1830)

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
How pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish, which once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee, Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!

Now from Thy cheeks has vanished their color once so fair;
From Thy red lips is banished the splendor that was there.
Grim death, with cruel rigor, hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor, Thy strength in this sad strife.

My burden in Thy Passion, Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression which brought this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee, wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee; Redeemer, spurn me not!

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

My Shepherd, now receive me; my Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me, O source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me with words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me to heavenly joys above.

Here I will stand beside Thee, from Thee I will not part;
O Savior, do not chide me! When breaks Thy loving heart,
When soul and body languish in death’s cold, cruel grasp,
Then, in Thy deepest anguish, Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.

The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of Life, desiring Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring, I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

My Savior, be Thou near me when death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me, forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish, oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish by virtue of Thine own!

Be Thou my consolation, my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee. Who dieth thus dies well