Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Tree by Susan L.

  Around five thirty last night a horrendous crash shook the house. It momentarily drowned out the howling wind that was rumbling overhead like constant thunder. I knew exactly what it was. The dead tree in my front yard, all forty five feet of it, had come crashing down.
  I went flying out to see if the road was blocked, wary of the wind and wary of the other big tree in the front that was swaying dangerously back and forth. The pavement was littered with chunks of branch and bark, blown outwards from the force of the impact. The main trunk had fallen sideways along the shoulder narrowly missing the small, green phone box that houses the connections for everyone who lives in my little community.
  My neighbours came out as well and we began to clear the road. Or should I say, they cleared the road with snow shovels while I kept an eye out for cars. It was quitting time for many so the traffic was constant. A couple of people didn't even see us even though I was waving my coat frantically to get them to slow down. They went flying by, tossing up debris in their wake. A couple of people hit their brakes only when they realized there was something on the road. They hadn't seen any of us.
  I am relieved the tree is down. I am relieved it fell away from the houses. I am extremely grateful no one got hurt by the tree or by a car. Thank You, Lord for answered prayers.
  What amazes me is no one stopped even when there was still a lot of good sized tree litter on the road. The majority only slowed down and drove over it despite the people (us) who were trying to clear things up. Nobody was willing to stop and wait for the ten minutes or so that it took to clear the roadway. Or maybe it was fifteen because we had to wait for the steady stream of cars to pass. I know everyone was anxious to get home after a long day but seriously, is a ten minute delay going to change things that much?
  Which leads into one of my favorite ponderings. God often puts things in our way to slow us down. A truck, a school bus, or red light after red light can be very frustrating especially when we are in a hurry (when aren't we?). The one thing we don't know is what He has protected us from. Maybe, had we been going as fast as we wanted, we could have been involved in a car accident. Maybe we wouldn't even be here to have supper with our family. Maybe we might have ended up in a wheelchair. The maybees are limitless.
  I try to be thankful when things derail my schedule because I'll never know the might have been.
  "You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance, they drop on the pastures of the wilderness and the little hills rejoice on every side." Ps 65:11-12

Monday, 24 November 2014

Winds by Susan L.

    It's a rather gray day out there, mild, but dismal looking. The wind is howling around the treetops making them dance and sway. I'm watching the scrawny dead tree in the front yard shudder beneath the gusts. It's only a matter of time until it comes crashing down. I wish the town had come and taken it down like they said they would. I suppose it will take yet another phone call to get them to see it through.
  Come January, I'll begin my campaign to do something about getting the speed limit changed. It's even more important to get it done soon because, over the next five years or so, 3000 new homes will be built in the village just north of me. That means way more traffic on my road. Getting the speed limit reduced would hopefully encourage people to take a different route. There are options.
  It wouldn't hurt to do some research by driving around and seeing where lower speeds are posted and why.
  My concerns are legitimate. There's two narrow bridges that although two cars can squeak past each other most of the time drivers treat them as one lane. It's an unspoken rule to stop and take turns to cross. There's often people fishing from the one that crosses the river a couple houses down from me. Cars park on the roadside to access the conservation area across the road which means there are also pedestrians.
  The current speed limit is 80 km. Cars fly by all the time doing way more than that. I'd be very happy to see it changed to 60 like it often is where there is a cluster of houses. Or if that's not an option, the second best would be to see our strip of road posted as a community safety zone where speed fines are doubled.
  Years ago, I spearheaded a community movement to restrict the size of an intensive agricultural operation run by one of the largest cattle farmers in North America. (He was not pleased or used to being challenged.) The neighbouring 3000 head operation and corn mill was seeking to expand. What began as concerns about smell, lights, traffic and noise soon evolved into very real health, safety and environmental concerns. It took a couple of years for the township to do their research.
  My role was to represent the community in talks with the various government ministries involved. It helped that I was a small scale farmer. In the end, the township instituted bi-laws concerning scale and location specifications for these massive types of operations. Many of the neighbouring townships utilized this information to amend their own bi-laws.
  The town approached me a couple of years after this stating that the farmer wanted to build a commodity shed to house his tractors and other equipment. I mentioned that cattle were commodities too. Both the town and I were familiar with the slippery business methods of this particular big time farmer. The permit wasn't granted.
  Sometimes the little guy's voice is heard. Sometimes there are things worth fighting for.
  "But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One. Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper." Jer 20:11

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Clean Up by Susan L.

  A little bit of housework, a little bit of laundry, a little bit of cooking made the day fly past. There's servings of chili in the freezer and a pot of soup stock in the fridge waiting to be made into Beef Barley soup. I stopped by the butcher to get soup bones and ended up with an entire thigh for a fraction of the price they charge for bones at the grocery store. Thanks go to my co-worker for teaching me how to make awesome stock. Roasting the bones first makes the stock flavour more intense. It made the house smell pretty good too with its comforting aroma. Soup somehow suits a gray November day and warms the heart.
  My folks are coming for a visit today. It'll be nice to see them. It's been a while. So the major dilemma of the day is about what to serve them for lunch. Bacon and eggs or soup are my options. My step dad said either would be fine but he is fond of eggs.
  He left the decision up to me. Oh dear.
  And I am laughing at myself over how agonizing this decision is. It's only lunch!
  How about a cup of soup to start? Yup. I can have it ready just in case and serve up the eggs for the main course. Now this is getting fancy! A three course lunch!
  Now, what to do about desert...Baked apples with pecans and maple syrup. I'm drooling at the thought. I could very easily skip the main course and go right to desert!
  So there we are.
  There's much to be done before they get here so that's it for today.
  "Jesus said to them, "Come and breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?"--knowing it was the Lord." Jn 21:12