Monday, 31 October 2011

Grace Notes - Counting the Gifts 509 - 525

O LORD that lends me life
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.
~ William Shakespeare

" . . . neither filthiness nor foolish talking,, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather, giving of thanks."  Ephesians 5:4

Continuing on, counting the gifts to 1000 and beyond . . .

509.  Suns slanted rays through lacy curtains

510.  Learning something new . . . how to make a blog button
511.  "You shall hear the small as well as the great"  Deuteronomy 1:17
512.  The ways He speaks and weaves things together
513.  A room full of "knees" at pre-op group session  . . . all precious in Your sight

514.  Kindness and compassion of health-care workers
515.  A finished project . . . one more off the list
516.  This post that caused my heart to soar . . . such beautiful truth
517.  Weary travellers home safe and sound
518.  Building up strength

519.  A visit with my sister, Martha  . . . a chance to play her piano,  O joy!
520.  An old photo of  Mom turned up
Mama and brother and sister and their spouses took this cruise in 1981.  

521.  Dinner prepared by my nephew, Chef Ian . . . lamb, spaghetti squash, dilled carrots, crispy new potatoes, creamed spinach and . . . 
522.  . . . dessert prepared by niece Katie, French Cake (Oliver helped)
523.  Time with Pippa, my great-niece . . . such a happy, peaceful baby

524.  Family historians
525.  Cranberry pumpkin cookies warm from the oven

Joining the symphony of praise @

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday Photo Challenge 5

I so enjoy reveal day for this photo challenge, hosted by the lovely Ashley at Ramblings and Photos.   Check her site for all the details.

This was a much harder go this week than I have previously had. With my knee surgery looming in just 10 days, I've been feeling quite overwhelmed with appointments and preparations for the recovery time. I managed to find all my shots in my home . . . (the trees were found on my external hard-drive in my archived photos).

1. Macro
Oriental Poppy seed pods

2.  Found Texture
My daughter's cat Zack comes to visit and really seems to like the texture of the rattan seats in my kitchen.  He is a Ragdoll/American Shorthair cross.

3. Home
This little miss is who I share my home with . . . I usually find Gracie parked on my computer chair when I come home.  She is a Ragdoll/Himalayan cross.

4.  Cover
I have a number of vintage magazines . . . this one is from 1931 and sold for a whopping 10 cents.  The cover and contents are in excellent condition. 

The cover of this April 1907 issue of the Woman's Home Companion is showing some wear and tear but it is over one hundred years old.   It also sold for  10 cents.

5.  The Tree
I just can't choose so there are two here also.  When I lived up north in Prince George, this lovely tree in Fort George Park was a perennial favourite . . . The Tree I always wanted to check on.  

And this is "The Tree"  that calls me every autumn in my current location.   Its fall wardrobe is stunning to behold in all its golden glory.  I just wish I could take the tennis court out of the way.

The clues for the next week are:
1. Food
2. Purple
3. In Disguise
4. Shapes
5. Photographer's Choice

Be sure to spend some time wandering through the other entries linking at Ramblings & Photos.  You will be impressed!

Friday, 28 October 2011

5 Minute Friday - "Relevant"

5 Minute Friday is all about writing, free and fast . . . letting the words spill onto the page without backtracking and editing to perfection.  Lisa Jo, the Gypsy Mama is the host of this Challenge and has given us "Relevant" as the prompt for this week's edition.  All the details are posted at her site.  We would love you to play along . . . 

Ready . . . GO!

The Bible, Holy Writ, Scriptures, The Message, Ancient Words, Sacred Pages

All references to the Word of God.

Its relevancy questioned by many, mostly by those who don’t read it.
How can words penned thousands of years ago be relevant in today's society?
Times have changed so dramatically, it is argued and the practices and principles are deemed obsolete.

But I would argue  . . . “Not so”
Have you never needed wisdom . . . Proverbs is full of it.
Comfort?  . . .  embrace the Psalms.
The early books of the Pentateuch tell the stories of people who struggled with issues just as we do . . . lying, stealing, jealousy, fear, compromise, selfishness and more.
If we approach His Word with open hearts, we will find it absolutely relevant as He speaks directly to our need.

“Ancient Words, ever true
Changing me and changing you
We have come with open hearts
O, let the Ancient Words impart”

1st photo source: Uploaded by user via Andrea on Pinterest

Monday, 24 October 2011

Grace Notes - Counting the Gifts 496-508

A person however learned and qualified in his life's work, in whom gratitude is absent, is devoid of that beauty of character which makes personality fragrant. 
~ Hazrat Inayat Khan

I will give Thee thanks in the great congregation: 
 I will praise Thee among much people.
Psalm 35:18

Grateful this week for these gifts:

496.  one brave little cherry tomato clinging to the vine in mid-October

497.  hope for the future
498.  the One who is able to keep me from stumbling (Jude 24)
499.  pomegranate season
500.  pressing on . . . halfway to 1000 gifts listed
501.  moments spent enjoying a ladybug

502.  tackling a difficult cleanup . . . slow & steady
503.  first haircut in almost a year
504.  going natural . . . loving my gray hair
505.  reading a captivating series of books
506.  cobwebs in the misty morning

507.  all creatures great and small
508.  my special tonic that shut down the sniffles and sneezes I woke up with

Linking with the grateful ones at . . . 

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday Photo Challenge 4

Sunday, fun day . . . time to reveal my interpretations of this week's clues and join the others that play along.  Ashley Sisk at Ramblings & Photos is the hostess with mostest.

1. Words
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."  John 14:27
Found while shopping with my daughter in one of her favourite spots to treasure hunt . . . HomeSense.

2.  Under
Shot taken while standing under this beautiful tree dressed in vivid autumn colours.

3. Orange

This lovely little fellow volunteered from the far side of the yard, perhaps a seed dropped by a bird into a crack in the concrete patio.  Such a cheery face to greet me unexpectedly one morning after the rain.

And here's my 'something learned' for this week.
Calendula officinalus, commonly called "pot marigold". The name Calendula stems from the Latin kalendae, meaning first day of the month, presumably because pot marigolds are in bloom at the start of most months of the year. Calendula has been used traditionally as both a culinary and medicinal herb. The petals are edible and can be used fresh in salads or dried and used to color cheese or as a replacement for saffron. (Source: Wikipedia) 

4. Fly

Last week I used the bottom of my windchimes for my circle shot, this week it's the top.

5. Look on the bright side
The right side is the bright side of this leaf-strewn sidewalk.

This one is just for fun . . . for the hubbies.

If your wife insists you come shopping with her . . . look on the bright side . . . you can always find a comfy chair and take a nap.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Five Minute Friday "Beyond"


Most Fridays, I try to link up with the Gypsy Mama for this fun writing challenge. 
Write for just 5 minutes on the provided prompt . . . this week "Beyond".
It should be just writing, no editing or backtracking.
Then link up with the others at Lisa-Jo's and share some love (comments)

Nearly 250 years ago, my paternal ancestors left Switzerland for Germany in an attempt to flee religious persecution.  These Anabaptist forebears eventually fled Germany for the same reason.  Faced with uncertainty they chose to look beyond the continent of Europe and found themselves in America in it's infancy. Many hardships they faced in order to make a new life where they could worship freely their creator, their God.

One hundred years ago, my maternal great-grandparents left Arkansas with their little daughters, heading for Canada.  Her family had been settled there for 5 genereations already. And yet there was something beyond the Ozarks that beckoned them, calling them to come.
My 3X great-grandparents, David Benjamin & Freelove Taylor, Searcy County Arkansas

Eventually these two families joined to become my family.  A family I dearly love.  But I have been called to another family, beyond the natural, beyond the earthly.  Called to the kingdom of love, where my true Father looked beyond my sin, my failures and saw treasure . . . something worth acquiring at great cost.

When I was beyond hope . . . helpless and in despair, He came and rescued me.
Gave me life and love and hope for a future beyond my wildest dreams.


Monday, 17 October 2011

Grace Notes - Counting the Gifts 474-495

For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.  2 Corinthians 4:15

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, so I am jumping right in . . .

474.  a place to call home . . .
475.  and a heavenly home
476.  a day to focus on family and thanksgiving
477.  choosing a birthday card
478.  Happy Birthday to my daughter-in-law
479.  little one at church practicing being thankful . . . "Thank you for wearing your hair in a bun"

480.  Erin & Leah . . . sisters who prayed for me at church
481.  turkey with trimmings
482.  left-overs
483.  grace for a very trying day
484.  decaf toffee nut latte surprise

485.  planting bulbs with my girl

486.  firm bananas

487.  sunny fall days

488.  the Virginia Creeper I wanted to buy but kept hesitating, went from $20 --> $12 --> $8.  Yay!

489.  to everything there is a season
490.  new shoes that don't pinch (70% off ) . . . such gracious provision
491.  a new blog to follow . . . my daughter's
492.  emails from Ontario
493.  violets blooming non-stop

494.  my sweet Mama . . . what a treasure she was
495.  bird watching of the feline kind . . . good thing she's an indoor cat

Linking with the grateful ones in this community:

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Remembering Mama

18 December 1934 -  16 October 1984

It's been a long time . . . 27 years.
I was 27 . . . you've been gone half my life.
Oh, how I have missed you. 
Even now the tears well up as a wave of emotion rises, threatening to pull me under.

Some days I feel your loss so acutely, long for your presence so powerfully.
Many days I needed your ear, your experience, your wisdom.

The day I watched my husband walk down the road clutching two bags of belongings.
 Away from our home, our children . . . away from me. 
My entire being ached for your arms that day.
And you knew how it felt.

The day your first grandchild stood by the sea in San Diego.
Exchanged vows of love and commitment with his dream girl. 
You would have been so proud.

Your first granddaughter,
 who loved to snuggle and ask "you wanna talk about it",
would still love to talk about anything with you. 
It makes me sad that her memories of you have faded away to faint shadows. 
 It makes her sad too.

And believe me,
you would have been the first one I called when MY first grandchild was born
. . . and the four more that came along after her.
Oh, Mama, they are so precious, so beautiful, so funny. 
You would love them so much . . . and I know they would adore you.

 Ever present in my memory,
so many little things make me think of you and smile . . .
ice cream sundaes from Dairy Queen, popcorn,
the World Series, the Carol Burnett Show,
cribbage and canasta,
hollyhocks, dahlias, tulips and cosmos
fried mushrooms, homemade chow mein
banana bread, French cake and apple crisp.

And your funny little sayings . . . fiddlesticks, horsefeathers.
"sweating like a chicken packing fence posts".

I am so thankful that you are no longer in pain,
that your body is whole and your tears have been wiped away.
But I sure do miss you.

Your love and laughter and values have shaped my life.
You trained me up in the way I should go and though I wandered for a while
I have returned to the faith that you nurtured me in from a babe.

One day, some day, we shall be together again.
I will not be leaning on a cane . . . I will run to you
and hug you long and hard.

The earliest picture I have ever seen of my mom and her sisters . . . taken in 1940.   
Left to right, Agnes Grace (5 ), Jacqueline Della (2) and Lorraine Blanche (7)

 At age 16, Mom and her friend Jill, were off to play tennis . . . love the saddle shoes!

Graduation from business school . . . Mom is 2nd from left.

 Mom was one of the thousands of subjects of renowned street photographer Foncie Pulice.  This was taken on Granville Street in Vancouver, BC when she was in her late teens.  A classic beauty!

Ray Wallace Olsen and Agnes Grace Hawkenson
united in marriage in April of 1954. 
It was his 22nd birthday and she was 19.

And then there were three . . . Kari Jane arrived in July of 1955.  Mom is 20.

My dad, Ray Olsen with big sister Kari, Mom with me, and Mom's sister, Auntie Lorraine.
 Cradled in my mama's arms,  just days old.
They are bringing me home from the hospital. Doesn't she look radiant?

 This is the only picture I have of just me and Mom. The book she is reading me is "The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes".  This is where my love of the Word began . . . sitting on my Mama's lap.

Left to right -  Me (Andrea Dawn), Mom with Mark Leroy (L) and Martha  Lorraine (R), Kari Jane and Dallas Birk.
  This photo is the favourite of all of her children.  She has just turned 25, just given birth to twins Mark and Martha. Kari, the oldest is 4 and 1/2, I am not yet 3 (almost but not yet) and Dallas is 16 months.  That means three in diapers . . .  yikes!

Mom is just turned 27 here and is one busy lady.  Five kids under six means non-stop laundry and lots of cooking.  Dessert was saved for Sunday's and one of our favourites  was Mom's French Cake.  Below I have posted a scanned image of her handwritten recipe that my sister has . . . this is seriously yummy stuff and a must-have on the Christmas goodies list.

The new grandma on her 42nd birthday.  
My son, David, was her first grandchild, followed by my daughter Shannon, my niece Katherine and nephews Eric, Jonathon and Brian.  Jon and Brian were born after she died and Katherine and Eric were under a year old at the time of her passing.  Aimee, Eric's older half-sister, called her grandma as well.  How she loved her grandchildren and how I wish they all could have known her better . . . longer.

 This portrait of Mom was painted by her friend in 1982.

This is the last picture I took of my dear Mama . . . snuggling on the couch with my daughter Shannon. Within a few weeks of this photo being taken, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and a few short weeks more she was welcomed home in heaven.

Agnes Grace Olsen was laid to rest in the Burquitlam Cemetery, Coquitlam, BC, October 20, 1984

The following poem was written by her mother, my grandmother, Blanche Guldager about seven years before her death.


Agnes  . . . means purity
I did not know or think of this
When I named you
But you were pink and brown
With skin of purest ivory
And I loved you with joy and pride and wonder
As I love you still.
Your hurt is mine
Your joy is mine
You know full well as you're a mother too.
Still your soul is above and beyond
And totally unique
Your own and God's -  to rare to share
Save with the Omnipotent.