Friday, 31 July 2015

Family Time by Susan L.

  I enjoyed myself immensely the last few days. It was so nice to spend some quality time with my son and his family. They live on the edge of Lake Huron. The size of the lake is hard to wrap your head around: you can't see the other side. Massive freighters ply their trade up and down the lake and along the broad, deep St. Claire River. The boat horns reminded me of when I was younger and we lived in Nova Scotia. On foggy days, the lighthouse boomed it's warning.
  They call the area where my son lives the Bluewater District. In some places, both lake and river are a deep tropical turquoise. In others a dark navy and there's a thousand shades of blue in between.
  We went to the beach a couple of times. The first one was near the mouth of the river where, once in the cool water (a long, slow process), the river's current pulled at your legs. The beach was littered with rounded stones and fossilized shells and corals. I came home with a bag of stones carefully gathered by my granddaughter and I. (She kept the fossils.) The second beach we went to was a bit further up the coast in a sheltered cove. The sandy beach stretched for miles. The water was shallow and warm. We had to wade out a couple hundred feet to find deeper water. The pockets of cooler water felt almost sub-arctic!
  I was glad I went down because we had a blast of humid heat making temperatures feel well over forty-five degrees Celsius at times. Being near the water, being able to dunk yourself in the cool freshness made it more bearable.
  There were many favorite moments, jewels to be kept near to the heart. One was walking with my three year old grand-daughter's hand held in mine as we chatted merrily about anything and everything. Another was reading a story to my grandson and discussing what we were going to do when they come camping at my place. The last was simply being there with them.
  I am looking forward to their coming up for a visit.
  "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Mat 6:21
 

Monday, 27 July 2015

Quick Post by Susan L.

  Its funny how we need a reason to take a break from our, and I hesitate to use the word obligations... How about tasks? I've an opportunity to spend some time with my son, his partner and my grandchildren. Blog posting will be set aside for a few days.
  I did want to share though about my friend, the one I wrote about a couple of days ago or so; the one who had planned the bike trip across the US with me. She called to say hi, that she had been fondly remembering how we had planned the trip. She hadn't read my post.
  Coincidence? There's no such thing.
  There are connections beyond the phone line, the tablet, the computer. How many times have you called someone and they've said, "I was just thinking about you!"
  I remember flying somewhere at night. The lights below were the only evidence there was anything down there. Some were connected by rows of lights, others were all by themselves, joined together by invisible power lines. I remember thinking that those lights are representative of Christians, that even though our lights shine individually, they are all connected.
  Meanwhile, I've earthly connections to enjoy and delight in.
  Lord, let my light shine!
  "For He Himself is our peace, who had made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation." Eph 2:14
 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Building Excitement by Susan L.

  The annual meteor shower is taking place August 12-14. I saw a forerunner the other night. A beautiful, big shooting star that took my breath away.
   It's nice to sit in the back yard, eyes skyward, watching the streaks of light soar through the sky. Most are tiny blips of light while others, like the one the other night, light up the heavens. Apparently there is to be no moon so the show should be spectacular. I might even find a spot up the road that is more in the open because the sky is rather limited amongst the trees.  Hopefully it isn't cloudy those days.
  The early morning is when it is supposed to be the best but getting up early isn't one of my strong points. Whatever I see at night will be good enough for me. I know they are just chunks of rock and ice hitting our atmosphere. Who else but God would have arranged for nature to have fireworks?
  It would be great to plan a camping trip around the shower. It would have to be somewhere further north where there isn't as much light pollution. Not that I am in town but the lights from Alliston brighten the Eastern sky just enough to hamper optimal viewing. The meteors are still visible, just not as bright.
  I am not sure of  falling-star-wish-making policy, if they need to be made during the brief seconds that the star is in sight or if it's okay to wish on them after they have vanished...and I smile. It's a child's playful fantasy perhaps begun when mankind didn't know what they were and used wishes to dispel the fear of these unusual nocturnal sightings. I never remember to wish anyways because of giving thanks that a shooting star has been seen; that it has delighted the part of me that is still capable of being filled with awe and wonder. Then the realization that I can still feel awe and wonder births more gratitude.
  Besides, in Christ, wishes can be made anywhere, anytime as prayer. Meteors or birthday candles are not required.
  "Then God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good." Gen 1:16-18
 
 

Friday, 24 July 2015

Into the Swing by Susan L.

  I've been finding it difficult to get back into the routine of writing every morning. It feels like I don't want to intrude on the peace and serenity the camping trip filled me with by delving too deeply into matters of the soul.
  Thoughts of getting away again fill my daydreams. Things like hiking the Bruce Trail from end to end with nothing but a backpack tantalize my imagination. It would take quite a while. I think it's over a thousand kilometers long. Not that I am in any kind of physical shape to tackle such a big hike but the thoughts are there.
  It reminds me of when I was in my early teens. My friend and I dreamed about riding our bikes across the US. We poured over maps, carefully selecting our route and marking it down. We avoided the roads in red before we discovered they were marked that way because they were particularly scenic. We spent hours organizing what we would need, making lists, making new lists. Neither of us had a clue about bicycle repairs. It never even entered the discussion that they might break down!
  It didn't happen. She moved away but the dream would rise up and tease me when, as a young mom, I was bogged down with laundry and dirty diapers.
  That almost sounds like a regret. It's not really. It's more like a sadness for dreams broken and friends lost. I am thankful I had my children when I was younger. There are so many opportunities lurking around the corner. Who knows, maybe the Bruce Trail is doable.
  God is good! Amen!
  "For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor 5:7
 
 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Respectfully by Susan L.

  There's a rather non-descript, tiny, brown bird (possible a wren) that has built its nest in the birdhouse attached to the clothesline post. The birdhouse is too small for Starlings whose invasion is devastating the smaller songbird population. The mister has a beautiful, sweet song that graces the yard morning and evening much to my delight.
  The annual tradition of a frog in the pond has been upheld. This time it's a huge green frog barely noticeable amongst the lily pads. There's a tree frog somewhere in the towering ash tree that bridges the property line between me and my neighbour. For a small frog, they have a big voice.
  There are a couple of things bothering me about when we were away. There was a family with several young children camping next door to us. The kids took great pleasure in scampering through the underbrush and smashing the huge mushrooms growing in the deep bed of pine needles beneath the trees. The destruction grieved me terribly. There's a whole life cycle built around these mushrooms.
  I know they were just mushrooms but what is behind it is much bigger. Sadly, these children have not been taught to appreciate the wonders of nature or how to respect the core reasons for having a conservation area. The question is, who let them down? Me, for not speaking up because the damage had already been done? Their parents? Grandparents? Teachers?
  The other issue was whenever we went hiking, I usually picked up a piece of trash left on the path to dispose of it in the appropriate place. Seriously? I'll settle for a "Grrrr!"
  Lord, help me not judge. Forgive us for how we are neglecting and damaging this planet. Forgive us for not teaching our children the value of all Your creations big and small. In Jesus' name I pray.
  "Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" Ps 107:31
 
 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Missed by Susan L.

  Already I miss the great outdoors. The fresh air, the aroma of pine forests, the feel of a needle carpet beneath my bare feet but mostly I miss looking out on the water.  For hours I did nothing but study the way the water moved, the way the light performed a ballet on its surface, how it changed under the wind's whimsical caress. I feasted on the mirror like reflections, filing them away for future paintings. Nothing mattered, nothing needed to be done, it was just me and the water.
  "Be still and know that I am God." Ps 46:10
  There's not enough of that in this busy, chore listed, run and never catch up world.
   I've been thinking about getting myself a portable easel and some better quality paints. Spending Sunday afternoons with paint and brush, being in the moment, would be like a mini vacation; a true day of rest. Even if brush never touches canvas, it's about being still and truly seeing what God has made, it's about setting aside the to-do's. Winter will give plenty of opportunity to paint in the warmth of the house. Memory and photographs will provide plenty of reference and will help fill the long dark hours.
  God looked at what He had created and saw that it was good. My own silent immersion in this world He created is a celebration of His wonders. It's a heart-speak gratitude offering. No words necessary.
  "Bless the Lord, all His works, in all places of His dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!" Ps 103:22
 
 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

More on Algonquin by Susan L.

  We took advantage of the numerous trails accessible from the road, picking one trail to hike per day. The first hike, an easy and fairly flat was a boardwalk that is wheelchair accessible. It meandered through wetlands and woods. The following two were a bit more strenuous and involved a good bit of up and down. In some places, the park had installed stairs which helped with the steeper climbs.
  The "ups" were worth it. Standing on the edge of a granite bluff, peering over the treetops below, was awe inspiring. There were trees as far as the eye could see and in some places no sign of human influence. No power lines, cell towers, or houses intruded on the masses of green. There were times even the sound of the highway running across the park disappeared.
  The pines that gripped the edge of the cliffs were twisted from the wind. The roots ran over the granite like a web searching for the tiniest crack. The trees were utterly determined to find the weak spots in the rock where perhaps a few tastes of soil lay tucked in its depths. In some places the ground sounded hollow beneath our feet especially where pine needles lay in a thick mat over the granite.
  One of the hikes led us through a couple of beaver created habitats. One pond had been abandoned to the grasses, the dam no longer holding back the water. The other was in full use with a meticulously maintained dam. The engineering abilities of these animal are amazing. Except for man, they are the only animal that has a massive impact on the environment. Although, in the case of a beaver pond, the habitat created is beneficial to many aquatic creatures.
  Last spring I'd picked up an ash branch that was ideal for hiking. I'd left it to dry in the basement and over the course of the winter, stripped the bark off. I'd never used a walking stick while hiking. I was surprised to find out what a difference it made. Not that it supports any weight, it just stabilizes and assists balance. Which is great when the trail is lined with boulder steps and jutting tree roots.
  The one thing about Algonquin that mesmerized me was the quality of the light. I spent hours just looking, breathing in the fresh air and the visual beauty that was everywhere. There's something soft, almost ethereal, to the sunlight as it caresses the trees. Even at the height of day, when the rays are their strongest it was almost like seeing the trees feasting on its life giving light. I can fully understand why the Group of Seven painted so many pictures from within the park. It is truly a special place.
  "I will meditate on the glorious splendour of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works." Ps 145:5
 
 

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Algonquin Park by Susan L.

  Our campsite overlooked Mew Lake. It's one of half a dozen campgrounds within the huge park accessible by road. There are sites only available to canoeists. One day, I'd like to do that: paddle into the interior but for now I am more than content to pitch a tent and stay on one site. Having a view of the water kept me entertained for hours as I watched the surface change from hour to hour, moment to moment as the wind rose and fell. Sometimes it was like a mirror, reflecting the massive pines at its edge. Other times it was choppy with glistening sparks of light dancing over its surface.

  A loon came and settled on the lake the first night. Its haunting cry stirs an emotional response to a memory of the days when we were more connected to the land. We saw a moose grazing at the edge of a beaver pond. A beaver was close enough to hear his teeth munching a lunch of water lilies, undisturbed by a human audience.
  A chipmunk scared me into laughter the first morning. One minute I was sitting peacefully enjoying my morning coffee, the next, I felt something land on my lap. I don't know who jumped higher: me, the seasoned camper, or the chipmunk. Starting the day with a laugh was the best! A few peanuts made up for it and he allowed me hold the camera inches from his face as he perched on my hand.
  That night, just as I was about to fall asleep, H spoke, "Sue! What are you doing?!"
  "Wha? Huh?" There was a brief rustling noise.
  "There's a racoon in the tent!" The surprise and shock in her voice apparent. With a brave, "Shoo!" she convinced the coon there was nothing inside to eat. He quietly left through the zippers he'd skillfully opened to get inside in the first place! The two of us collapse into laughter. A perfect end to the day. (H used a clip to fasten the zippers together so the critter couldn't get back in again.)
  A nightly chorus of frogs, a ruffed grouse, black ducks, a marsh lemming (kind of like a mouse), a baby painted turtle, a bigger one, songbirds, butterflies and dragonflies, wildflowers, water lilies, blueberries, ferns, tiny, brilliant mushrooms and massive trees, the world around us teemed with life. Some seen, some only heard. All of it greatly enjoyed.
  "Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good." Gen 1:31
 
 

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Rest and Regroup by Susan L.

  I will be taking a break for a few days. Algonquin Park beckons. It'll be a wonderful opportunity for some quiet discussions with my Lord about all the things that have been stirred up over the last few days. It's time to go hunting for more truths, to put chase to the unGodly core beliefs that continue to rob me of my joy.
  Thankfully a friend will be coming to cat sit so Pumpkin won't get too lonely. He hasn't had much loving over the last couple of days. There simply wasn't the energy.
  The anger has passed and in its place is a hollowness, a familiar but unwanted hopelessness that frightens me. The Black River is swirling around my feet, the waters rising. It's time to crawl into God's life raft where it's safe.
  So, here I am, Lord. Your will be done.
  "For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah." Ps 61:3-4
 
 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Anger Residue by Susan L.

  Injustice is a good word. Unfair, unwarranted, undeserved are others. Sad is in there, too. Regret, and an overwhelming sense of loneliness. There's a wish that somehow things could have, should have turned out better, different.
  Loss is a big part of it as well. Not that things were great, they were far from it. To the point of being toxic. I guess this is because another Norman Rockwell fantasy went down the toilet. I use him because of his idyllic illustrations of domestic, perfect middle class lives. Pure fantasy that the majority of us could never live up to.
  In a way they are a cruel mockery of the reality of life, of marriage, of family.
  And I can feel the taste of unwanted bitterness and jealousy seeping into my mouth like biting on tinfoil. Forgive me, Lord, in my heart I know I am blessed by Your grace. It's just that this little ole human is in a bit of a funk...
  You've got me out of them before.
  I could use some help to shed these death shrouds that somehow have returned to my shoulders. I really don't want to wear them anymore. I am tired of the past grabbing and dragging me back into things that are no longer relevant. The joys of PTSD...like walking around with a loaded gun pointed at the heart and mind.
  More than anything I want to be free, I just don't know the way...
  Yes, I do. Forgive, forgive, forgive and keep forgiving. The mouth has the power to change the heart. So I will. Again and again until none of this matters any more.
  "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth and the life." Jn 14:6
 

Friday, 10 July 2015

Understanding by Susan L.

  Anger is a secondary emotion, a symptom of something much bigger beneath the surface. It's kind of like an iceberg, at least that's how I felt after I took the time to think about my over-reaction to the lawn mower incident. God is ever faithful. He led me into truth.
   Getting my hands covered in greasy oil was a huge trigger. Even the cloying, chemical smell of it took me into the past. I've mentioned before it was my job to get the haying equipment ready. That involved greasing all the moving parts as well as hooking up and re-fuelling the tractor. (Done by climbing up on the tire with a huge gas can to pour it in the tank.) Even if my ex was home, it still fell on my shoulders because...because I accepted it...because he didn't have a clue about where the grease had to go. He never asked or cared to find out. He had me.
  Tears are pricking at my eyes.
  The summer of his infidelity, the starter went on the old tractor. He left me with a screwdriver to start it by touching some electrical part on the motor. It can be dangerous. Part of the anger is also directed at my ex-brother-in-law who lived with us for the last two years of my marriage. A mechanic by trade, changing the starter wouldn't have been that difficult. Both men failed to provide a safe machine before they left for overseas. It wasn't an important enough issue.
  I feel sorry for the woman I was, so trapped in doing what was asked no matter what it was; who was a timid mouse afraid of her own shadow. My heart goes out to the woman who put on a brave and happy face to the world. It's no wonder I was severely depressed.
 There's anger because I deserved better. There's anger because (yes this is stereotyping) it was me out there on Wednesday struggling with a rusty bolt...There's anger because I am alone.
  As I said, the tip of the iceberg. There's anger because of the injustice; because of the men who failed to treat me with the care I deserved. There's anger because I didn't feel I deserved anything better.
  And an internal rusty bolt has come loose.
  It's about time. The lawn mower explosion has opened a dialog of deeper honesty with my God. Yes, the good Christian thing is to forgive. Right now, this opening up of anger and grief is still too raw. This is new territory. I trust in time I will be able to fully forgive everything with God's grace to help me.
  "In those days and in that time," says the Lord, "The children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together; with continual weeping they shall come, and seek the Lord their God." Jer 50:4
 
 

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Attitude Adjustment by Susan L.

  The car got taken to the garage yesterday because it had developed a rather growly muffler. In a rare opportunity of choice, one of the options was a third of the cost of the other. Muffler repairs can be expensive so I opted for the cheaper fix. Pleased with what had taken place, pleased that my mechanic isn't out for all he can get, I left for work.
  After work, I came home and began to mow the lawn. There's a metal survey spike sticking up out of a small ditch designed to take water away from the driveway. I know it's there. The lawn's been mowed a hundred times around it. This time, the mower blade hit it. A rattle, a crash and there was no way of avoiding the fact that something had broken. The machine began to vibrate ferociously.
  Unplugging the machine and flipping it over, the damage was obvious. The blade had been bent up enough to shatter a plastic guard between the blade and the motor. This is the beginning of realizing I need an attitude adjustment. It gets worse.
  Trying to get the blade off to remove the broken part was an exercise in rage. It's been a while since I'd lost my temper like that. Rusty bolts don't co-operate at the best of times.
  It wasn't until after that I realized this could have been an exercise in gratitude. Sometimes I'm a bit slow on the uptake. First of all, the broken piece could have done someone some damage. It didn't. Secondly, I knew what to do in order to loosen a rusty bolt because it's something that's been done many times before. (Thank You, Lord for the farm experiences.) Thirdly, there was a can of penetrating machine oil in the basement to soak the stubborn nut with. Fourthly, I was able to get the whole mechanism apart once the oil had enough time to do its job. Rushing it only caused more frustration. Last of all, the entire front yard had been already cut. The back will have to wait until I get the parts, including a new blade.
  Which ties into the car. Thank You, Lord, for Your provision.
  Lord, help me see the blessings in the trials. Help me lose the negative attitude. Help me turn my words into prayer instead of angry expressions. In Jesus' name I pray.
  "Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious." 1 Pet 2:1-3

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Fires by Susan L.

  My thoughts and prayers go out to the brave souls who are trying to get control of the numerous, huge wildfires in Saskatchewan. It seems as soon as they get one under control, another two break out. There's so many, well over a hundred fires, it is making the sky hazy here in Ontario. Saskatchewan is a long way away. It's a bit hard to wrap your head around.
  It's a big province. It takes time to get the people to the fires' locations. I doubt there are roads. Most of them would have to be flown in via helicopter. It means the flames have the time to grab a bigger hold on the tinder dry forests before crews can get to them.
  Rain is desperately needed to help the firefighters and volunteers who are all working hard to save hundreds of homes looking to be swallowed by flames. Alberta, Ontario, Newfoundland and the US have sent firefighting crews to help. Individual volunteers are pouring in from all over.
  The Canadian military has provided a thousand (or more) servicemen and women. They are getting a crash course on firefighting: a mere day's training before being sent out. Their role isn't to tackle the big firestorms but to assist in making sure all hotspots, the smouldering ruins, are out. It's an important job. A hotspot could relight a defeated fire.
  It's hot, hard and dangerous work. Heat induced swirling winds can cause the flames to change direction in a heartbeat. There's been one fatality, a firefighter paid the ultimate price. Lord, be with the family to comfort them I pray. May there be no more lives lost.
  They've brought in the air artillery to help. Helicopters with big buckets and water bombers drop thousands of litres of water in precise locations to help those on the ground. I pray their flights are successful.
  Lord, be with the people of Saskatchewan. Keep their homes safe. Watch over the animals, domestic and wild that they may escape the flames. Most of all, watch over those who tackle the raging flames. May victory come quickly. In Jesus' name I pray.
  "And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also will you partake of the consolation." 2 Cor 1:7
 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Decisions by Susan L.

  It's nothing life changing or overly important but trying to decide which type of art supplies to take next week up to Algonquin Park. This is almost more important than deciding what clothes to take! Pens and pencils for sure. Watercolours travel better and take up a whole lot less room than acrylics. It's easier to dispose of the water, too. Which I'd need more of if I take the sponges. Those need to be constantly cleaned off. That and when it's warm, the acrylic paint gets gummy and starts to dry out way too quickly. Watercolours only need more water to bring them back to life if they start to dry out.
  I picked up a small tackle box to carry my supplies and this really cool collapsing cup. In a way it's made the decision for me. The acrylic paints won't fit. Perhaps at some point I might invest in a travelling easel that folds into a box along with paint supplies. It's not a priority. Lets see how the desire to paint gets on.
  The painting of the old gray house sits on my drafting table waiting for some finishing touches, some finessing. It took shape Sunday between some housework chores and doing laundry. One thing I need to invest in is a good, fine paintbrush for details. The ones I have tend to lay on too much paint because they are simply too big and because they are cheap, the ends tend to curl making it more difficult to paint a fine line.
  Or perhaps it's because of my need for speed. My hair dryer is now installed beside my drafting table to hurry up the drying process so I can get on with it. Slowing down...now that's a thought! And perhaps it's the next step in my evolution as an artist.
  "For I said in my haste, "I am cut off from before Your eyes"; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried out to You." Ps 31:22
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Quest by Susan L.

  As decided, I took my sketchbook and pens and went for a drive in search of subject matter to paint. The trip ran roughly north and west, zig-zagging along quiet sideroads where the only traffic was a chipmunk running up the road. The roads west become hilly and are blanketed with forest. There weren't as many dilapidated barns as I'd expected but there were a couple with a few missing boards and saggy backed roof lines.
  There's one just around the corner from me. It's in good shape, too although the foundation is surrounded by wild and unkempt brush and grasses. What inspired me was the pond in front, reflecting the image of the building as though it were a mirror. Cattails lined the bank making a home for the frogs who sang to each other.
  The painting is all in the seeing. I spent some time sketching, cementing the image into my mind. It's possible to replace the fine looking building with one less loved.
  The day was hazy, the shadows blurred, the sky was a non-descript gray. I need to spend some time cloud watching. Doesn't that sound like a delightful chore?
  As I was heading home, I came across a tiny old cedar shake house that was slowly sinking back into the land. Long grasses knocked at the door, trees peered in the broken paned windows. A line of fence posts acted as guardians, keeping the bright yellow canola from the field beside the house at bay. The combination of gray shakes with a hint of their once bright red paint against the brilliant gold was breathtaking.
  As I sketched I wondered who had lived there. The windows frames were still mostly white, it had a steel roof with only a hint of rust. This little home had been loved at one point. It would be easy enough to find out who by researching the address in the archives but perhaps some things are better left to the imagination.
  "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men." Eph 4:8

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Much Better by Susan L.

  Prayers must be working. My back is feeling more stiff than sore! What a relief! I just have to be careful not to push it when there's so much work to be done in the garden. I'll let it wait a couple more days though and take it easy. Hopefully by Monday it'll be back where it should be. No pun intended.
  The painting burst has sort of fizzled out. I need to get out and about to find some inspiration. There's so many hidden gems off the beaten path. Travelling the sideroads, its not surprising to come across a bubbling stream or hidden ruin of a house.
  I'd like to do some studies of old barns. There's plenty out there, dotting the landscape. They are the forgotten sentinels of times gone by. A lot of them are falling down or dissolving under the extremes of Ontario weather. Wooden barns are very expensive to maintain and the number of people farming is diminishing at a huge rate as the larger Walmart style corporations with their intensive agricultural operations take over. Small farms are not financially viable any more.
  An old farmer told me once that the old bank barns needed animals in them over the winter to keep them standing. The moisture from their breath and the heat from their bodies helped the stone foundations remain strong and protected from the damaging ability of freezing temperatures. Having the upstairs filled with hay also supported their structure by preventing the winds from howling through.
  A drive around the neighbourhood is what I need to keep me amused today. There's plenty of old barns within a few minutes of my place. It's a lovely day, and the heated seat will be good for the aches.
  "He answered them, 'He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.'" Jn 5:11
 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Going Nowhere by Susan L.

  This is the third try to write a blog today. Maybe it's a good idea to stop trying so hard to come up with something intelligent or witty. Poor sleep isn't conducive to creativity. I pray my back heals soon.
  "'Am I a God near at hand,' says the Lord, 'And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?' says the Lord; 'Do I not fill heaven and earth?' says the Lord." Jer 23:23-24
 
 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Ideas by Susan L.

  I tried starting another painting. It didn't go well so I started again. Nope. Not happy with what was happening. I'm not sure if its because it was on a canvas someone had given me or if I was simply rushing. My thinking is to go for a drive, sketchbook in hand. Painting a picture one of the old bank barns that litter the landscape is the thought. It would help to sketch some, to cement the image into my mind making it easier to paint one that is an amalgamation of several old barns.
  The back needs to be better first. Sitting for any length of time is not a good idea although it is improving. Mind you, the car has seat heaters. The warmth might be healing even if it's hot outside.
  Most of yesterday was spent laying around watching TV. I'd picked up a couple of movies to pass the time. They were a little darker and more violent than my usual preference of animated or superhero movies.
  "Crash" was one in a pack of Academy Award winners. It took place in Los Angeles and told the story of half a dozen people of different races. It was an excellent film that took on the harsh misconceptions of prejudice in a bold manner. Some scenes were disturbing. But that's a good thing because it made me stop and think about how I regard people of different skin colour.
  My ex and I were part of what the real estate people called the "White Tide". We fled the city because of the growing gang violence in the schools, the growing crime rate, and the fact we'd lived there for twenty some odd years and didn't know a soul anymore. We wanted to make a fresh start in the country. And, because we were the minority. We fled because we were afraid. For ourselves and our children.
  It's always the loudest, most negative story that gets broadcast on the news. The gang violence, the person experiencing a psychotic break who gets shot, the man killing his daughter for shaming him..."Crash" helped me realize that the majority of us, no matter our skin colour, only want what's best for our children, to be able to provide for our families, and to live in peace.
  May God make it so.
  "You shall be driven out, everyone headlong, and no one will gather those who wander off; But afterward I will bring back the captives of the people of Ammon," says the Lord." Jer 49:5-6
 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Happy Birthday Canada! by Susan L.

 I live in a great country with many freedoms that are taken for granted. This blog is one. A huge one because I can pretty much say anything without fear of retribution. It could be a rant against the government or our high taxes. The right to free speech is truly the ability to speak freely.
  Women can walk down the street alone, own a car, a home, have their own bank accounts, have a job. There is still some inequality in the workplace but it is getting better thanks to those who speak freely, demanding changes be made.
  We have the power to force the government to address important issues without fear of being arrested. And even if we are because of breaking the law, we still have rights upheld by other laws.
  I can walk into a church and worship the God I adore without fear.
  It's a big country. Heading west, I'd have to drive seven hours just to get out of Ontario! Three days across three provinces of flat would see the western rolling hills of Alberta at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Another two days of climbing and winding up and down would end at the Pacific Ocean.
  It's a two and a half day drive from here to reach the Atlantic. Sea to sea is filled with natural wonders and beauty. The arctic, the granite shores of northern Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and the five Great Lakes, acres and acres of forest, and so much more I've never laid eyes on. Did I mention the country was big?
  We have fresh water to drink although that resource is not inexhaustible. I have my own well and can drink the water right from the ground at the turn of a tap. Food, too, is readily available.
  Our military is for peacekeeping purposes.
  We share the largest unprotected border in the world with the US.
  Oh, Canada! My home and native land. May our leaders guide us well in the sight of God.
  "O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever." Ps 30:12