Hibernation

IMG_6761January is often the most hated month. The let down after the busy days of Christmas holidays and it’s frantic preparations and the cold weather often lead to depression for some. Myself, I embrace January and wish it could be so much longer.

It is a time for quietness and self reflection. An opportunity to do something for oneself. No yards to tend and no preparations to make. or so you think. Sometimes I would really like to be just left alone.

That statement puts me in a conundrum. I am split between the selfish wish for solitude and the compelling need to help others. Throughout my life I have always been the one people seek out for advise and leadership. I blame my Mother for instilling a strong sense of duty and the ability to figure out how to do most anything. I don’t really think I am that smart but I can figure things out if I want to. A skill sadly lacking these days for many. You would think people would just Google it!

I look longingly at those retirees that just show up to take part in events that are organized for them. Church, coffee parties, pickle ball or whatever. Endless time to go to art classes of coffee dates with friends. So you say why don’t you. Firstly someone has to organize those things and that seems to often fall on people like me. Oh ask her, she’s good at that stuff or the why can’t there be stuff to do? She has the skills, she has done it for years. Don’t get me wrong, I like to do some of that stuff and take satisfaction from doing a job well. I also have an extreme sense of duty to my small rural community. I have fought for it most of my life.

There are just times I would like to just do stuff I like and want to do without all the other stuff getting in the way. I wish I could just be oblivious to everyone’s needs some days. Just not show up, or not follow through. Say I’ll do something and just forget about it. There are lots of those people around but thanks to Mom, not me. OK now I am just feeling sorry for myself.

So here is the Resolution for this year. Spend more time on me. Nurture my spirit. Paint, write, garden and yes blog a bit more. Learn how to be more accountable to me. And say no to doing stuff I don’t want to do. Oh and I need to organize my time better. Retirement can get very relaxing. Have a great 2016 everyone.

Advertisements

Crazy Christmas Grandma

Counting down the hours to see all my kids tomorrow. Shopping and gifts are done. The last few days have been filled with baking and visits with friends. One of those visits inspired me to revisit my blog and dust off the writing part of my brain. Thanks K. at My 3 Little Kittens. Here is that recipe you liked.

Brown Sugar Fudge

3 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup light cream or evaporated milk

2 tbsp corn syrup

Cook in a sauce pan until soft ball stage (236F)

Beat in

1 1/2 tbsp butter

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Beat until smooth and starts to thicken. Pour into a greased pie plate. Cool and cut.

For those who knew my Mom this was a signature recipe. She was a nurse and when working nights she was often talked into making a batch if it was quiet.

I love to bake for my family and friends. Three batches of buns went out the door in the last few days. Home made gifts are the best and it is fun to share time and talents with others.

The last month has been spent sewing for the grandkids. Tents and doll clothes were the projects this year. Can’t wait to see how they are received.

   
   
Also when the extended family gets together it is always fun to do something fun to make the event special. It is doubly great if you can include the grand daughter in the craft. Our project this year was table favours, much like crackers but custom. We built boxes, glittered the heck out of them and filled them with tissue paper hats, fortunes, mustashes and chocolates. It honestly looked like a glitter bomb went off in the craft room. It was a fun afternoon of making memories. This is how they came together. I have a great template that helps make boxes.

   
    
 
Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas. Try to find a minute to relax. I’m cooking for twenty five. Piece of cake.

Death of My Church

I hear on the news that the Anglican Church may not survive and the sad thing is as a 56 year old Anglican I agree. It makes me so angry because they just can’t see what’s wrong, they are so narrow they just don’t get it and it will cost them the church which is a shame because it is a good denomination founded on the right thing. So why am I so riled up.?

Well the first thing I did after hearing the news I turned to my daily readings in Forward Day by Day. Feeling lazy I was just going to read the Gospel but when I finished I felt such a need to spend a minute in the Psalms. The daily reading was Psalm 78 and it smacked me in the face. Psalm 78:5-8 “ He established a decree in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children; that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children, so they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; And that they should not be like their ancestors, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.” And I said yes, this is the key, what I have always known and tried to get across but most of us don’t. Our elders and yes, the rest of us have been so busy either forcing our kind of worship on our kids or worse just letting them decide. We are so busy arguing the semantics of same sex unions and other politically correct issues that we have completely missed the point. Really, it is no longer politically correct to say Merry Christmas on a continent founded on Christian values.

I was raised in a very small town Anglican Church. There were 2 of us my age but they still managed to provide Sunday school. My parents were faithful attenders but were very stuck in the tradition of the church. God chose (I say God because I don’t think it was really any conscious decision on my parents part) to give me the opportunity to attend a local United Church camp. It was there I first really met God, up on a windswept hill overlooking the South Saskatchewan River during Vesper services. Oh how I treasure the memories of peace and love that I first felt there. That is a feeling I have fortunately being able to find again many times often at camp.

The other significant event as a teenager of about thirteen was a chance opportunity to attend a youth retreat weekend in the neighboring town of Rosetown. I often wonder who it was that thought that that little church could host that weekend and was kind enough to invite the two of us from Outlook but it really changed my life. It wasn’t the Saturday sessions, or the people who billeted me (I remember being terrified to stay with strangers) but it was the Sunday folk mass they did with guitars. It was such a revelation to me that church could be fun and not so boring, the music current and so great that it sustained me for many years and set me up to be an advocate for change in my church and for the youth. Believe me it has been a long and uphill struggle.

Fortunately as I raised my three children I attended a Church that was blessed with some very Charismatic priests and some open minded people. Some. We still had the people who didn’t like any new music, still fought to reinstate the old prayer book and didn’t think you should have much of a say in the running of the church unless you were older. Oh it was OK for the kids to have a Sunday school pageant or sing a little song but not fully participate. There were some of us that fought that.  Personally I realized that even though we were trying, I knew my kids needed more. First they needed a peer group they could share their faith with so they attended whatever youth group that was being run that year and they were able to learn from, share and gain an appreciation for other denominations. They went every year to camp and YC in Edmonton as well as attending youth events in Calgary and they made friends around the province, and yes that meant two to three hours on the road each way. They came to church every Sunday. We made a priority of Sundays so they never had activities that happened on Sunday and so yes, horror of horror, no hockey. We never asked them if they wanted to go to camp, they just went and they so loved it. In fact they have all worked many summers at camp as councillors, each one has given up summer jobs to work a full summer and our youngest attended college for Youth Leadership and now lives and works full time as a Camp director in BC at a Camp and Retreat Centre that sees 1200 kids each summer. Oh yes, I have spent eight years at camp as counsellor and director as well and I waited until my kids were big to do it so it is not too late to make a difference. And believe me those kids I have had the pleasure to work with have made a difference in my life.

So let’s get back to what I see as the solution to the problem. If you have stuck with me this far you will know I clearly see the youth as key. I actually talked once to a lady at a Calgary church who told me they would support camp but they had no children at her church. That really made me sad to know there was no one at that church that had children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews or even friends or neighbors with kids. How very sad to live in a childless world. OK, your right there must have been some children but the point is she saw no responsibility to any of them. My question is why was her church not sponsoring the cost of camp to some child? Or not helping support the cost of hiring a youth minister to attract kids to her church. Maybe she was one of those old biddies that didn’t like the “New” music or the book of alternative services, so caught up in keeping things the same she couldn’t see her church dying around her. I think it is so sad that people who have served in the Anglican Church for 80 years have to be buried at another church because theirs has folded. It happened to my Mom.

Look around people at some of these churches that are growing. Go spend a Sunday with them and get caught up in the worship. Stop finding fault and listen to what is being said. Maybe they are “just” churches of the “Word”, yes us Anglicans can get rather pompous thinking it has to be a liturgical service to be fully “Holy”, but these are people who take their faith just as seriously as us. And they support their youth, they find the money to hire youth leaders and send kids to camp. They don’t ask their kids if they want to attend camp, they send them, they encourage it from the pulpit and they make it a great place to go. They have college and young couples’s bible studies and floor hockey drop in at their churches. Kids are desperately looking for something to make their lives meaningful and we are so busy worrying about how they feel and making them popular we are being negligent in our responsibilities as Christian parents and leaders. It is time to set aside our comfortable ways of doing things and to start making sacrifices for our children. The Anglican Church is dying because it has ceased to care about and be relevant to our kids. Oh we talk a good talk, set up task forces and the odd conference but what has your parish church done lately to really further the kingdom. What have you done to keep your youth at your church?

I once went to a youth gathering and was told by a youth leader that they didn’t send kids to the Diocesan Camp because too many Essentials people worked the camp and they were afraid of what the kids were learning. If you don’t see what’s wrong with that then you need to think a little longer.  In Alberta there is no physical Camp that the Anglican Church owns. The Calgary Camp died not because of funds but because not enough Anglicans thought it was important enough to support by sending their kids. I ran eight Alpha Courses and saw many people find Jesus. Did they come to our Anglican Church? No because there were just too many politics going on in the greater church. Sadly my little church also closed because it was just too hard to fight the losing battle. I currently attend an Evangelical church where they have young people. Sometime if I ever live near a city I will seek out that loud Worship band that I fell in love with so many years ago and I will really know I’ve come home.

So here I am an Anglican without an Anglican home ranting at anyone who will listen. I am getting older but my passion for change in my church has not changed, time is just getting short for us all. It is time to quit talking and looking for agreement and to start doing something. Start living boldly for Christ and start doing something.  Anything. What are you doing to further the Kingdom ?

 

Vancouver, Post Canucks

I might as well weigh in on this sad day post loss of the Stanley Cup. Where do these people come from that think it is OK to riot and destroy property in the name of sports or for that matter anything? It amazes me that people go around causing trouble for others in the name of some misguided passion. It was only a game and in the greater scope of importance it really doesn’t matter. Get over it. I really don’t think it was true fans causing the trouble, although liquor can cause a miss guided sense of following with out thinking. It seems to me that Vancouver has its fair share of people that think it is important to protest and cause trouble whenever, where ever. In spite of what they may think they do not represent most of the people and I think they should be prosecuted for civil disobedience when necessary, especially when they think it OK to wreck stuff and endanger others. Maybe if our laws were toughened up people would start using their heads. Good for Boston for leaving town as quickly as possible. Seems your fans were more deserving of this win.

Election 2

I can hardly stand it anymore. Pretty happy we only have a few more days to listen to the ads. You would think they could come up with a little  more of what they will do instead of slamming the other parties. I don’t know why I am surprised though. The opposition leaders never planned on working for Canadians after the last election. They have done their darnedest to undermine any work that could be done. Forcing an election when no one wanted another one on a contempt of Parliament vote none the less. “Let them who are with out sin throw the first stone.” I guess the opposition parties have never done anything remotely suspect. After the last election each one of the leaders pledged to work together with the other parties, who knew that meant they would form a Coalition to try to have their way when they couldn’t win the right by election. I find it a bit frightening that the Liberals and NDP are so willing to pander to The Block who make no bones about wanting separation for Quebec.  As a westerner I get a bit tired of the everyone worrying about the eastern vote and either ignoring or slamming the west. It is the oil from Alberta that have been paying for the East for years. The Block could care less about us. The NDP are all about spending all our money on Social programs to the detriment of business which actually employs us and fuels the economy. The Liberals are just plain scary with no real leadership and not to mention their track record was suspect and they really don’t care about the west. The Green Party means well but they really aren’t contenders. And then there are the Conservatives that have also done a few suspect things but I do believe they have the best interest of the whole country at heart and at least they live it the real world. You can’t go promising the moon when there is no money in the bank. I feel a whole lot safer voting for someone who is trying to get the debt under control ( a debt that they inherited from the last guys). It is wonderful to expect all the new and shinny kinds of health care, factories that emit only water from their stacks, politicians that never make mistakes for take advantage of their positions but folks, I live in the real world. Hasn’t happened and it’s not going to happen in my lifetime. The best we can hope for in the election that nobody but Michela Ignatief and Jack Layton wanted would be a majority Government. But with all the regional differences and lack of real direction we will undoubtedly see another minority. The opposition will continue to sabotage the work that needs to get done and we will have yet again another costly election in a year or two. If we spent the money we have spent on elections on social programs, the environment or paying down the debt we would be farther ahead. Maybe we just need to reform the way we do business and do away with parties and actually let the elected officials represent the people who elected them. Of course that would still give the east the balance of power as they have so many more people. Maybe Giles Duceppe has the right idea.

Remember to vote.

And Go Canucks.

Easter

Well it really Good Friday today but we wouldn’t have Easter without Good Friday would we. Went to church this morning as was a bit surprised to find that two other churches had arranged to worship with us. I love a small town because that meant there would be more of my friends there to share and remember with. I occurred to me that this would have been more of what Jesus would have wished for us. Coming together to remember his amazing sacrifice for us not as a church that worried about our differences but acknowledging the reason we all call ourselves Christians. Maybe it wasn’t the way I traditionally have worshiped on Good Friday but you know the communion was the same, Jesus was the same and the sacrifice he made for us all was still the most important thing. Have a Blessed Easter. Hallelujah, Christ has risen.

Book Club

I belong to a book club. It happened by chance one day a little over a year ago on face book.  Someone mentioned they belonged to one and almost instantly a new one was formed with 7 random people varying in ages and stations in life. What a blessing it has become. We meet every 4 to 6 weeks and take turns hosting and picking books to read. The selections are as eclectic as the girls who choose them and I am so glad to have read books I may never have picked up, much less heard of. We get together and share our thoughts and discuss the books often sharing a glass of wine and a few munchies. Last week we had such fun together and it is wonderful to see our friendships growing. It was such a welcome break from this dreary winter and it gave us all such a lift. Last weeks book, 127 Hours by Arron Ralston. Next month it’s Ami McKay’s The Birth House. Read along with us.