Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Apple Answers by Susan L.

  No, it's not about a computer. It's about fruit.
  There's a fable about a character called Johnny Appleseed who wandered the countryside scattering apple seeds from a bag he carried. The fable says that's why there's apple trees growing wild. There's a hint of a folk song about him whispering at the edges of my memory, too. (Now that's going to bug me all day!)
  One of my musings for a long time has been: how do apple trees end up growing along the road or in the middle of a fallow field?
  God is good!
  I've raked up most of the fallen apples from the tree out front. Seems a bit silly now because a large, gray squirrel has taken to grabbing some of the remaining dropped apples. He quickly whisks them away and buries them in a hidden spot. It's a sweet stash for later when food isn't so easily found.
  Aha!! I've found the culprit! That's how apple trees get planted!
  I also drove over the few apples in the lawn with the lawn mower. It chopped them up, speeding up the rate of decomposition. A pair of Mourning Doves poked and pecked among the broken bits. It seems they were after the seeds. Perhaps passing through the digestive tract of birds helps the seeds germinate.
  Aha!! Another tree planting culprit! I bet it's them flying over a field and doing what birds do that help apple trees grow in the middle of nowhere.
  Or a deer. Or a raccoon. Perhaps a skunk might be a part of this tree planting conspiracy.
  So it appears Johnny has help.
  Humans must help, too. More than a few apple cores have been tossed out the window of a car. It probably isn't as successful as Mr. Squirrel burying the cores but maybe, just maybe, there are a few trees growing because of us.
  Most modern apple trees are produced by grafting the desired branches onto crab apple tree trunks so I don't know how easily the seeds germinate or even if they do. The nursery now sells apple trees with five different varieties of apples on one tree! I think most of the roadside apples are older breeds which probably grow from seeds. It's good to know that nature has a hand in preserving these ancient species. Who knows? One day we may need them.
  Most of them are delicious, too. And organic. I've never found a worm in one.
  I heard a teaching on the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge that it wasn't an apple but a pomegranate. I guess when the translation was made, most people would have never seen a pomegranate so wouldn't be able to understand. It makes sense to have substituted an apple.
  I'm thinking too that a pomegranate is nothing but seeds. Did each one represent one facet of good and evil?
  The fruit's juices are red, symbolic of the Blood that would be shed once evil came into God's garden.
  "And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'" Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die."" Gen 3:2-4


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Restless Sleep by Susan L.

 Sleep has become a restless, dream punctured, exercise since getting back from holiday. Some are good dreams but there's been the occasional "Twilight Zone" experience that haunts my waking moments. In one of them, I backed my car over a pastor who was bent over a cooler looking for something. (What?!) Unfortunately, it was one of those crisp dreams full of details. I heard the thump and felt the bump but for some reason kept my foot on the gas. (Another, "what!?") How I knew he was a pastor, I don't know. I especially don't know why the victim of this accident was a pastor!
  Maybe the Lord is trying to tell me I have issues with authority? Noo-o, that's been dealt with. 
  Maybe I shouldn't eat cheese before bed. (A chuckle bubbled up at that insight.)
  I've dreamt a lot about Nova Scotia. Much of my time there was spent intensely focused on the landscapes. At times it felt like my head was going to explode. My artist's eye was in full swing absorbing colour, texture, shadow and shape so much of it is seared into my memory banks. The dreams must be a way of processing the varied beauty found in my travels.
  Maybe I should start hiking again. It's fallen by the wayside as the busy-ness of life has taken over. It might help me sleep better, too.
  I have hiked once since coming back and was blessed with a wonderful appreciation of the area and wildlife that dwell nearby. The variety of birds is astounding even if they are only glimpsed as a flicker of feathers in the trees.
  I've missed driving around exploring and keeping an eye open for things to draw. The trip helped me find my unique, artistic style: a combination of pen and ink sketches overlaid with watercolour washes. It's fun and the results were very pleasing.
  How can I incorporate this pleasure into my daily life?
  By taking the time to do it! (Another chuckle bubbled up at this insight. Duh!)
  Maybe that's what the dreams are about (except the run over pastor. What!?). Maybe they are because I am hungry for making art part of my life. I might even be ready to sort of muse over the possibility of selling my pieces at some future point. How's that for a vague goal? (Chuckle.) Baby steps are still steps.
  Lord, You are the author of my being. You designed me, made me who I am. Help me be bold and confident in the blessed gift of my identity. Help me live according to the calling You have called me to. Help me discern that calling. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen!
  "Let all those who seek You be glad in You; Let such as love Your salvation say continually, "The Lord be magnified!"" Ps 40:16

Monday, 26 September 2016

Into the Swing by Susan L.

  The weekend was a whirlwind of activity. A lot was accomplished but it feels like there is still much to do. Maybe it's because there is! I baulk at it. The mundane, boring stuff seems even more mundane and boring since coming back from Nova Scotia. The lawn got mowed but the gardens are waiting to be dead headed. The Black-eyed Susan's are looking rather forlorn as are a number of other perennials. No, it's not that it's boring, it's a bit overwhelming.
  My elderly uncle is going through some health issues so I am helping him clean out the house in case he needs to move into somewhere with daily care. He's already done a lot of purging but there's lots of little things he didn't know what to do with so my car is full. There's a couple of things I'd like to keep so this means going through my own stuff and getting rid of what isn't needed to make some room.
  It was hard clearing the walls at his place. Most of the pictures and trinkets had been gathered by my beloved aunt who has been gone for several years. I guess it must be extra hard on my uncle, too, to need to think about giving up the home he's lived in for a long time. Facing the loss of his independence must be tough as well. Even though he's in his nineties, he's still sharp as a whip.
  Because of this, and I am not sure how much help he will need over the next little while, I decided to forgo playing the piano for worship team. It involves learning a whole lot and needing time to practice. The idea already causes enough anxiety. To be unprepared would only compound the challenges. To be honest, I don't know if I will ever play. It took a long time for me to play the flute and sing without having to fight off an imminent panic attack. They didn't always happen but their presence was just beneath the surface. Only time will tell. I'll trust in the Lord to let me know when and if I am to take on this new role.
  I am glad Art Therapy starts on Thursday. Between the trip down east and what's going on here I need a place and space to process the emotions simmering behind the scenes. I know there's grief in there and grief can be complicated. I am thankful the Lord has balanced this with many joyful memories. That, too, may find itself expressed in the art. Lord, I'll trust in You to guide the art. Let it be a prayer to You. Help me hear Your take on things. In Jesus' name I pray.
  "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him." 1 Jn 3:1

Friday, 23 September 2016

Dartmouth, Halifax and Home by Susan L

  In all of my travels around mainland Nova Scotia, I was never much more that two hours from Halifax. My last day had plenty of time to fill so I decided to check out the neighbourhood where I had lived from age five to eleven. The GPS lady lead me through an unrecognizable neighbourhood to the house my dad built forty-six years ago.
  Only one of the illicitly gotten birch trees was still standing. The house had been painted cream and green instead of it's original white with black shutters. Or maybe the shutters were yellow...I'm not quite sure about that.
  Yes, the hill is smaller although it is a long, slow slope that would be tough riding a bike up for anyone.
  After cruising around the neighbourhood where the memories of childhood bubbled up, I headed for my old school. Brookhouse Elementary. It, too, stirred many a memory. It hadn't changed except for the security. I'd wondered about taking a tour of the school and had to be buzzed in the front door. No tour because the kids were present. Different times for sure.
  I headed for the Micmac Mall and on the way there crossed the bridge where a family of ducks had held up traffic for a long time as a momma duck tried to get her three wayward children across the road. That memory is as clear as a bell and made me smile.
  When the mall had first opened with fifty stores it was massive! It's even bigger and has the same stores as every other shopping mall.
  After dropping off the car, I was treated to a Nova Scotia fish fry except there wasn't any fried fish because the host had been told to cut back on the amount of food. Well, there was enough lobster, muscles, shrimp, bacon wrapped scallops, pasta and potato salad to feed a small army. The sea food had been picked up that morning right off the boat and was the best I'd ever eaten!
  The next morning, my daughter, her fiancĂ©e and I went to downtown Halifax to ride the Harbour Hopper tour. It's a Vietnam war era amphibious vehicle so the tour consisted of driving around town and a short sail along the harbour front.
  There's a lot of construction downtown. New buildings are being built, old ones are being restored. It's a wonderful juxtaposition of old and new. I tried to remember which building my dad had worked in but, like the hill, the one I thought it might have been looked a whole lot smaller. Or maybe it's because there's been many changes to the downtown since I'd last been there.
  We did a bit of shopping then returned home for the afternoon before heading out to the Eastern Shore for a haddock and chips meal. There was a boardwalk near the restaurant so we went for a walk and waited for the sun to go down. It was the perfect end to a perfect holiday.

  "Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, "The kingdom of God has come near to you."" Lk 10:8-9

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Bay of Fundy by Susan L.

 I arrived at the motel around supper time after stopping for a stretch in Annapolis Royal. Grand Pre, where I was staying, is a land of dykes and farmland thirty meters below the ocean. It's recognized as an important historical sight.
  The heavens opened the moment I drove up. I raced to the office only to find it was closed! Doing my panic thing, I asked another new guest if there was a phone in their room so I could call the owner. He smiled and informed me that there was a list taped to the office door with names and rooms, the rooms were open, the key on the table. The owner would connect in the morning.
  It was aptly called the Beach Breeze Motel. The wind howled that night, rocking the building so hard the bed shook!! I was glad I was tucked in safe and warm! Dawn came bright, sunny and a bit cooler. Other than that, it was a blessedly quiet area. Human noise didn't reach the isolated site of the motel.
  Early the next morning, I headed to Blomidon Provincial Park about an hour away. The Cape Breton guide had suggested doing the Jhodrey trail, accessible from a parking lot just outside the main gates. Once again taking the back roads let me come across one of the Bay's iconic sights: fishing boats on the ground waiting for the tide to come in.
  I packed a lunch for the hike, gathered my art supplies and eagerly went to the trail entrance. There were two signs. One had a long list of what to do in the eventuality of running into coyotes and a phone number to call if they are unusually aggressive. The other suggested that hikers wear orange when the park was closed because of hunters. Gulp. The park was closed for the season. Then I read that the trail went from thirty feet above sea level to over 3800 feet.
  There weren't very many people there that early. The climbing trail had some treacherous footing like these tree root steps. The signs made me nervous since I was all alone up there. A slip or a fall could be disastrous so, feeling wise, I turned around and went to a place where there was a picnic table to have an early lunch and do some sketching.
  After visiting Scot's Bay, a small fishing village with a cobblestone beach and by going back to the hotel a different way, I came across "The Lookout" that I'd seen signs for. It provided a tremendous view without having to do the hard slogging of the trail.
  This area is decidedly picturesque. The endless tidal flats that stretch for miles contrasts with the rich agriculture. It's a winery district as well as being able to grow apples and other produce.
  As the sun set, I walked the beach that stretched for miles. Not just in either direction but out towards the water as well. It was hard to see exactly where it was being so far out and coloured red by the silt it carried to the sea. Only a few patches of sea grass and algae confirmed I wasn't walking a Martian landscape!
  I walked out quite a ways but the heavy clay soon coated my hiking boots. There were also billions of mud snails that were hard to avoid stepping on. After that, I simply walked the sandy beach, taking pictures of the setting sun, before heading in for the night.
  Final stop, Dartmouth and Halifax.
  "But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. So the men marveled, saying, "Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" Mat 8:26-27

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Kejimkujik National Park by Susan L.

   Because I was further south along the eastern shore than originally planned, I took a different route to get across the province. Even so, it was still only a couple hours to get from Bridgewater to the Bay of Fundy. To be honest, the previous day's drive and stops had been enough of genteel and brightly coloured civilization. The trees and mountains of Cape Breton had filled me with a hunger for the natural world.
  So I decided to stop at Keji, as the locals call it, for a hike since it was now on the route across. Before getting there, the road cut through a massive area of charred forest, so fresh, it still smelled of charcoal. Nova Scotia, like Ontario, had an unusually dry summer so everything was tinder dry. The fire had happened only days before I arrived in the area.
  Because I only had time to sample the park, I asked the woman at the entrance kiosk which was the nicest trail. She suggested I do the "Hardwoods and Hemlocks" trail after stopping by to check out the waterfall near the entrance. The waterfall was beautiful albeit small due to the drought. My timing meant there was a tour bus full of passengers checking out the scenery as well. I didn't stay long before heading for the trail entrance.
  The trail was deep inside the park. I startled a doe walking up the gravel road. She startled me as she slipped into the woods. She immediately started grazing so I was able to watch her for a few moments. Deer are so beautiful and she seemed extra dainty after seeing the moose in Cape Breton.
  The loop trail was fairly easy rolling hills and about five K long. The boardwalk was built to protect the Hemlock tree roots. It was so refreshing to be away from any sound of civilization. The library quiet, with the exception of a few twittering birds, was refreshing.
  There was a section of towering white pines. The information plaque said that even though they were big, they were second growth and only about eighty years old. The pines could live to more than three times that age.
  Like the ancient woods of Cape Breton, there was little to no undergrowth only this time it was caused by the acidic nature of Hemlocks. They poison the soil so no other tree can grow where they are. Eventually, they take over nearby mixed forests as their branches spread and their offspring move in.
  It was a lovely hike. No sign of bears even though they are in the park. I'd been assured that they were more scared of me.
  The deer had moved off but a family of beautiful white and gray birds flitted along side the road. They would be a new addition to my life, bird watching list only I didn't know what they were.
  There were picnic tables along the main park road offering views of the river. I made a sandwich, and munched some carrot and celery sticks dipped in hummus before pulling out to continue my trip west.
  I decided to stop at the visitor centre before leaving the park to purchase a park badge. It's something I've been doing for each park visited when they are available. It was important for me to identify the birds I'd seen as well while their appearance was fresh in my mind. Turns out they were Gray Jays. A shy bird but a stealthy campsite pilferer. It seems I was "lucky" to have seen them.
  Pulling into the parking lot, a ranger and several people were scouring the area. A nest of baby snapping turtles had just hatched but they had to cross the parking lot to get to the water. A few had already been killed by cars pulling in so they were desperate to save as many as they could.
  While I was inside, the ranger came in with this little fellow. She patiently waited for me to run to the car to get my camera. The woman at the check out put down the toonie to give some idea of how tiny he was. After the monster snapper I'd seen earlier this summer, it's hard to believe this little one will reach that size!
  The couple of hours spent in the park was a refreshing break and full of sights I would not have otherwise seen. I'd gladly revisit it to do some camping and visit some of the other trails.
  Next stop: the Bay of Fundy.
  "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Ps 4:8

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

East Coast by Susan L.

  While waiting for the driver from the car rental company I decided to get a GPS for the next five days of travel. Renting one cost about the same as a vehicle upgrade so that's what I did. Smart move. There aren't many straight roads in Nova Scotia so it's easy to get turned around. It made travelling some of the back roads and visiting non-touristy areas much more relaxing because I knew she could get me home no matter where home was for the night. Only once did she tell me to turn onto a road that was two muddy ruts with a lump of grass in the middle. A U-turn got me out of that easily and she quickly figured out another route.
  After getting some food for the road trip and ice for the cooler at a nearby grocery store, off I went on the coast road to Peggy's Cove. Upside, it was beautiful. Downside, it was terribly busy with busloads of people coming to visit this iconic tourist destination. I didn't stay long but did try and paint a picture while being serenaded by a bag piper.
  At the turn off to Peggy's Cove, there was a boggy marshland. The Cape Breton guide told me it's where Pitcher Plants are. These bulbous plants hold water that drowns any unfortunate insect that might fall in. It's how they survive the brackish, poor quality growing environment. Seeing these are a first for me.
  I keyed in the motel where I planned to stay two nights. Setting the GPS to avoid highways was the easiest way to find the slow road. The east coast is very developed but the homes and small fishing villages are quaint. It's made me tempted to paint my house purple with green trim but somehow it wouldn't fit in south-central Ontario. Apparently, the houses are painted brightly so fishermen can find them in the fog.
  With frequent stops at small sandy beaches along the way, I eventually reached the motel where I planned to spend the night. The village of Chester had a lovely pub/eatery right on the water. Pan fried haddock and chips were my first sea food meal of the trip. It was delicious. Sitting out on the outdoor deck gave me a lovely view and an opportunity to sketch a traditional dory after updating my journal.
  The moment you pull out pen and notebook, service gets really good!
  It was early but I was tired so I decided to go back to the motel and relax. Perhaps cheap accommodation wasn't the way to go. Around 9:30 and even though I'd checked the room, there was the horrible discovery that the bed had company. Minutes later, the car was reloaded, the money for the room refunded and I scrambled to find somewhere else to stay. Bed bugs are becoming a huge issue around the world. The smart way to travel is never put your baggage on the floor or bed to avoid picking up unwanted hitch hikers which is what I had done. Whew!
  First I selected the directions to a B&B. I didn't even go in. The parking lot was full and it looked to be far outside my price range. I pulled into a gas station to see if anyone knew of a local hotel. The man standing at the cash knew there was a franchise hotel beside Lawton's Drug store. Keying that into the GPS resulted in four of them coming up. It's a franchise, too. But, I did find a Comfort Inn under "Hotel". It was beside a Lawton's so it turned out I ended up exactly where the man meant to send me.
  It was after ten thirty PM when I arrived in Bridgewater, thankful to find a room. There was the distinct aroma of insect spray beneath the fresh scent of cleaning products. Very reassuring.
  Lunenburg was beautiful. The architecture stunning.
  If I had known the Bluenose II offered a sail around the bay, I would have booked it. Unfortunately, those tickets needed to be bought well in advance. I had to be content to watch her sail out of the harbour. A beautiful boat!
  When she came back a couple of hours later, I did some sketches of her.
  Four hours was enough of town. The concierge at the hotel had suggested visiting "The Ovens". They are caves at sea level which boom when the waves try and find a way out. The seas were quiet but still, one of them rumbled loud enough to feel it in the chest.
  The colours in the shale cliffs were stunning but even more stunning was seeing the Bluenose II sail past. I was truly blessed to see her in all her glory on the element she was meant for: the sea.
  "The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore." Ps 121"8


Monday, 19 September 2016

Cape Breton by Susan L.

  Ah, Cape Breton. The land of breathtaking views, ancient forests, water and stone. I fell in love with it all over again.
  The tour was amazing. Four days to explore this wonderful land. Four tourists, one guide. Having a guide who was more than willing to take us to out-of-the-way places meant far more than just experiencing the Cabot Trail. Hiking meant the opportunity to get up close and personal with the wildlife that roams these mountains.
  Trees, not much taller than me, were twisted and gnarled by the harsh elements. I don't know if trees can hold wisdom but it felt like these trees, old before I was born, were wise. The ground felt like holy ground, that we were interlopers in a sanctuary of the ages. Mystical and magical are the only words I can think of that come close to how it felt to be there yet, even those are inadequate.
  This bull moose was one of the highlights of the entire trip. He was only about twenty feet from the trail. His antlers were easily five or six feet across. Once he'd had enough of posing for the camera, he turned, tucking his head into the shelter of a small pine. If we hadn't known he was there, it would have been easy to miss him.
  I am thankful the RV idea fell through. Our driver often had to put the van into second gear driving down some rather hairy-scary, winding hills. It was great to be a bobble headed passenger and not have to worry about careening off a cliff.
  I have no idea how often I said, "Wow!"
  There were a couple of places I remembered as vividly as if it were yesterday. This is the Mackenzie River valley. The last time I stood there, it was the scarred landscape of a forest fire. The skeletons of burnt trees still stood. Tiny seedlings were just beginning to grow. Those small trees now cover the hills with green velvet as though the fire never happened. But then, it's been over forty years since I last stood there.
    White Point, where fifty foot cliffs battle the ocean. It's a place that has resided only in dreams until I stood, once again, on its windswept, barren cliff top. It brought me to tears as I remembered running down the hill to take my grandmother's hand. There's a few graves there. I remember her explaining about the unknown sailor, whose headless, nameless body was laid to rest in this beautiful, yet savage place.
  Then there was the macro, the miniature jewels of God's creations. A tiny frog, delicious wild blueberries, a rainbow of mushroom varieties, the fresh, musky scent of a nearby bear. Okay, that's not so macro but was close enough for our guide to get out her bear banger and encourage us to keep making noise. Singing the Teddy Bear Picnic had us laughing on the trail. It may have been a somewhat nervous laughter but laughter all the same.
  There was only one trail I wasn't able to complete. It was the first day, hot and humid enough for one of my fellow travellers to comment that it felt like there was "no air in the air". I was also tired from the previous day's travelling. I could feel potential heat stroke moving in so it seemed prudent to leave the almost vertical trail to those younger than I
. The slow walk down the mountain to the van gave me an opportunity to take photos of one of my favorite subjects: mushrooms.
   I learned a lot about myself this trip. I am much more of an eco tourist, preferring nature to the hustle and bustle of cities. Sketching helped keep me from being overwhelmed by the pace of the tour. By supper time, visual overload had become an issue so Disappearing into painting one of the pen and ink sketches I'd done earlier in the day helped dispel it.  
  I feel blessed to have revisited the places of my childhood. Making new memories was extra special, too.
  There are more hiking trails in the Cape Breton Highlands national park I hope to set my feet upon some day.
  "Then God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, an let the dry land appear"; and it was so. And god called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called seas. And God saw that it was good." Gen 1:9-10

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Break Time by Susan L.

  This will be my last post for a bit. Tomorrow morning will be busy getting the last few items packed. I'm leaving technology behind for the duration. A good old fashioned pen and journal will serve in lieu of blogging. I have a paper map and the ocean to guide myself by. If the water is on the left, I am heading south. It's hard to get lost on what basically amounts to an island. If, and there won't be, car trouble happens, it's Nova Scotia. Someone will stop to rescue a damsel in distress.
  Not so long ago, this is how it was all the time. Even in Ontario.
  Now, when someone stops, it makes the news as a rare, feel good story. What happened to us?
  I am so excited to be putting brush to paper as well. Although, if I am pulled off the road to paint, hopefully potential knights in shining armor won't think it's because I'm experiencing car trouble!
  This excitement has given me an idea about the focus of future solo trips. To wander around and see the sights is okay but painting them really cements the memories of a view.
  Hopefully the tubes of watercolours in my suitcase will pass security. My little, basic, travel watercolour kit has been filled with liquid watercolours and left to dry because I prefer the control of using pucks. Depending on how much painting I do, it might need refilling which is why the wet set is even coming along. There's a few different colours in the set as well.
  Please, go through, I pray!!
  So that's it until September 19.
  Blessings to all.
  "Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well being." 1 Cor 10:24

Monday, 5 September 2016

Two More Sleeps by Susan L.

  Pumpkin knows there's something up. He's been following me around during trips from a variety of points in the house to the guest room where I've laid out what needs to come with me. It seems like an awful lot of stuff. A big suitcase seemed the best bet with a duffle bag inside that will come on the four day bus trip with me. In reality, I'm packing for two trips so I wanted to pack for the bus trip ahead of time rather than arriving at my daughter's and needing to make those decisions there. That would chew up valuable visiting time!
  It's also the time of year when layering clothing is needed. It can be cool in the evenings and lovely during the day. I checked the forecast: it's supposed to be highs of mid twenties dropping to mid teens at night. There's only a chance of rain or thunderstorms on a few of the days. Perfect. But it means bringing everything from shorts and tank tops to hoodies and jeans.
  On a completely different note, I printed off a small map of the world and have highlighted all the countries who have popped in and visited my blog. Blogger has a map but it only keeps track of the top eight or so recent countries. This changes daily. There isn't any personal information, just the geography. I was wondering if my little map is a bit of an ego thing but have realized it's more an exercise of absolute amazement.
  The world is a tiny place now thanks to technology. Time and distance have no meaning. There are people who read today's post whose today is actually tomorrow for me. That's tough to wrap the head around for sure!
  I'd never been much of an enthusiast for travel, being content to stay at home. Travelling usually meant a whole whack of extra work so it put me off of the idea. It also has been an anxiety filled exercise later in life but then, I wasn't as well as I am now. (Thank You, Lord!)
  This trip to Nova Scotia has opened my eyes to the excitement of new adventures and the possibilities for someone travelling alone. As the highlighted marks adorn the map, it is filling me with a hunger to see the places where my readers live.
  Lord? The heart desires, the bank laughs. I give it all to You. In Jesus' name, Amen.
  I even went on a new trail in the park all by myself. Guess what? I didn't get lost!
  "Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God." 2 Cor 9:10-11

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Ahead by Susan L.

  Most of the outside stuff is finished. The grass got cut last night in lieu of a walk. It takes about an hour and a half which is a bit longer than the time it took me to walk six kilometers. I don't think cutting the grass covers the same distance but pushing the mower sure adds to the workout. It's a heavy beast and the grass was long.
  The apple tree had a surprising amount of apples even with the drought. It's too bad most of them are out of reach. All I can do is wait for them to fall which ruins them as they bounce around the driveway. It seems such a waste to rake them up and toss them in the compost pile.
  They are feeding the birds, though. Blue Jays have been pecking away at them.
  The black squirrel who used to feast on them has vanished. In previous years, he or she was the rake who cleaned up all the fallen apples as well as picking them. I think it might be because a huge gray squirrel seems to have taken over the neighbourhood. There's a pair of aggressive red squirrels, too, who chase anything and everything away except the gray squirrel. It's a mammal battlefield out there.
  I'm glad to be taking a break from all the Triple T's (Thinking Things Through). It's good to let new understandings settle in for a bit. There's been a lot of them in the past little while.
  I had a surprising email the other day. Because a large number of the worship team has gone away to school, we're short musicians. The team leader approached me about playing the piano for Sunday services. (Gulp!) We're going to get together later this month to see if this hybrid organist/pianist can play what is needed. I've never played back up before, only solo so it'll be a huge learning curve. I said to her, the heart is willing, the mind is doing the screaming heebie-jeebies. (Even thinking about it causes a great deal of anxiety.) I'd only just started being comfortable with the flute and vocals to the point I was actually enjoying myself! Imagine that!
  Still, being outside my comfort zone is a good thing because I know that what is outside that zone will soon be inside. It's the getting there that's challenging. All I can do is try. It's all anyone can do. Besides, there's a Helper in my life who will be with me.
  "I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord." Ps 104:33-34

Friday, 2 September 2016

List by Susan L.

  The closer my trip to Nova Scotia gets, the longer the "Honeydew List" grows. I keep waiting for a Honey to show up to do the list of chores but, no such luck. I'm it. There's housework, yard work like grass mowing, the car needs cleaning, and I have to pack. A trip to the grocery store for pet supplies and the drug store to get meds needs to be done...the list is growing!
  I'll be picking up my house-sitter on Tuesday so we can go over any questions. (Remember to gas up the car, fill the windshield washer, and check the air in the tires.)
  Monday, I can go online and do all the boarding pass stuff for the flight. It saves time at the airport.
  I'm still trying to figure out which suitcase to take, which carry-on. Will there be an opportunity to do laundry? A backpack would work to carry my art stuff and lunch stuff when hiking. Which purse? Big or small? Decisions, decisions...
  Okay, that's enough. The overwhelmies are starting to stir. Ugly critters they are and most unwelcome!
  A trip to the hairdresser's after work yesterday took care of a hair cut and getting my bangs coloured. This time they're a burnt orange. They'd been getting close to that colour as the crimson dye washed out anyways. My grand-daughter had gently reached up and touched "the fire" in my hair when I first arrived at my son's last weekend. Now I truly have fire coloured bangs. Yup, fire and ashes. For some reason there seems to be more ashes than the last time I had it cut!
  I haven't done much walking this week with being away and being busy. One more time on the trails before I leave should be sufficient. At least this ole body is in better shape than it had been. The sight seeing hike on the bus tour will probably be much slower anyways with plenty of rest opportunities to enjoy the views.
  A kid at Christmas couldn't be more excited than me right now!
  Thank You, Lord, for Your provision, Your guidance, and the blessing of this trip. Thank You that You will keep me safe in my travels. Thank You that I will have Your company in times when I am travelling alone and in the times I am travelling with strangers. In Jesus' name, AMEN!!
  "In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God." Jn 16:26-27