Friday, February 12, 2016

Skywarch Under the Big Tree




I walk by this tree every now and then whenever I go to the Sky Train Station.  The Station is also a major bus transfer point.

The Greyhound Bus Station and the Amtrak Train to Seattle are just steps away from this tree.

I love the graceful branches and arch of this old tree.

It was such a beautiful day which only added to my enjoyment of the tree and the luscious green grass (though too bad about the litter).

I'm joining with Skywatch Friday today. 

 Have a blessed weekend.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Good Fences #1


Back fence at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Fence at the Waterfront


Joining this  'new to me" meme here.



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sad Goodbyes


Florence 1943-2016

We little knew that morning
God was to call your name.
In life we loved you dearly,
in death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you,
You did not go alone.
For part of us went with you
The day God called you home.
You left us beautiful memories,
Your love is still our guide,
And though we cannot see you,
You are always at our side.
Our family chain is broken,
and nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us one by one,
The chain will link again

~~~~

Today my aunt was laid to rest.
She was a very stoic woman who had a lot of strength. She was in great pain on a constant basis but would never complain or let on that she was not well.
She lived her life her way and that is what is important.
Her husband passed many years ago after being ill for a very long time.
She leaves behind 2 sons and 2 daughters and several grandchildren and great-children.  

Sadly, another family member passed today too.

My cousin Patrick and nephew to my auntie, Florence and to my mom.

He had heart trouble and several heart attacks over the years. 
He had another heart attack today after they laid my auntie to rest.

I don't know for sure but I think it was the stress of the long journey (for him about 1000 km one way).

 Patrick was a loving and sensitive person who became closer to my mom and would visit her in the care home after losing his own mother. 

Sad, sad day for his wife and young son left behind.  
It  was only a few short years ago that their other son passed unexpectedly..
They say a parent never gets over the demise of their child.  A child dying before a parent is out of the order of things.
 
~~~~


In a post a short while ago I was writing how important it is to give thanks for every good thing and to enjoy the beauty that is here all around us while we can..
If we are exceptionally busy we should pause and remember to  give thanks.  Embrace all that is good and lovely.
Always remember to tell your loved ones that they are loved.  We just never know how long we will have with them on this earth.

 Prayers abound for the immediate loved ones who will find it difficult in the weeks and months to follow.
 
Much love
and
May God watch over you and your loved ones and keep you safe
♥♥♥.

2 Corinthians  (TLB)
       
 Now we look forward with confidence to our heavenly bodies, realizing that every moment we spend in these earthly bodies is time spent away from our eternal home in heaven with Jesus. We know these things are true by believing, not by seeing. And we are not afraid but are quite content to die, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So our aim is to please him always in everything we do, whether we are here in this body or away from this body and with him in heaven

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Kunghei Fatchoy

'Happiness and prosperity!'  
Kunghei fatchoy /gong-hey faa-chwhy (Cantonese)

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar, so the date changes from year to year.

The festivities usually start the day before the New Year and continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year.

I did my celebrating today as I was invited to join a group of seniors to celebrate Chinese New Year 2016. I had a very nice time and wanted to share the photos.

First I was greeted at the door with a name tag and someone offered to check my coat.  One inside, I was given a choice of two gifts. I chose a small calendar because I liked the red packaging.

Some of the Decorations
 
I have always loved red paper lanterns. Actually I like all paper lanterns but red stands out.


Our smiling servers


Food

Upper right and clockwise: fried rice, rice noodles, spareribs, sweet & sour spareribs, tofu and veggie

 Dessert

Warm sesame seed balls with red bean paste...so delicious. We also had an orange and some candy.

Appreciative diners


Entertainment Program

The entertainment program was very full. I was quite tired and had to leave at the last performance when the seniors did their sword dance (you'll see them below in the double ring dance).

Violinist playing a modern, electric violin & our MC who teaches drama to many of the performers.

A beautiful couple who sang a romantic song.

A group of limber seniors doing a double ring dance. They also did a sword dance but I didn't get photos.
A young champion on the left and her younger sister.

This young woman is champion Guzheng musician in both Canada and China. She also has impressive showmanship.
 
A Spoken Word group. The woman in black is reciting in English after the Chinese version done by the group.

These two ladies did a very nice Indian dance.

I think this is called a handkerchief dance.  The woman also performed the Indian dance above in purple costume.
This group of women performed several times in beautiful costumes (different costume for each dance).

Here is the same group of women in another costume.

 There are special events for Chinese New Year going on all month in my city.
 There are performances and exhibits at the  Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Pavilion  in Chinatown.
The Lion Dance is performed in different locations around Vancouver though I haven't seen one for a few years.
The Lion Dance will be the culmination of many of the activities and be held in Chinatown on Sunday.



 There are so many activities to choose from.

I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Are you planning to celebrate Chinese New Year where you live?

Kunghei Fatchoy!

Monday, February 8, 2016

My World Today

Another week is here.

Today was a provincial holiday called "Family Day". The day is intended to enable families to spend time together and bond. The holiday was first enacted in Alberta and slowly over time other provinces have followed suit. I think it is only a matter of time before the holiday becomes a national one. It has already grown from a provincial holiday for one province to a provincial holiday for 6 provinces.

It was a beautiful day today but I stayed in and made some nice soup and bannock bread. I didn't think to get photos but the food was good.

Today I did a bit of Spring cleaning though it isn't Spring yet. I've got so many small and large chores that need doing so am getting a bit of a head start. I washed one of the furniture covers for the outside patio and tidied a few things outside that were an eyesore for long. I also emptied and trashed a lot of dried goods that seem to have provided sustenance for bugs and washed out two of my (lower)  kitchen cabinets.

I've never, ever had bugs in my dried goods before.  Now that they have started it seems I can't get rid of them. There are two types.  The first are tiny little black bugs that seem to like red lentils best (and brown rice).  The second type lay a lot of eggs and once hatched they look like small moths.  I first noticed the problem in some gluten free flour I'd purchased and thrown out long ago but I guess the eggs had spread.  Whenever I think I've gotten rid of the bugs, I find more.

It has been a real nuisance and a waste of money. The little black critters even get into airtight containers. They are so tiny that they just crawl under the lids. I'm hopeful I got rid of them all now but somehow I think I might find a few more. Mostly everything they might be interested in has been trashed so I hope that  means I've gotten rid of everything they like to eat.

I've been reading a few good books.

I'm still working on Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This book by a Nigerian author now living in USA is about a young Nigerian woman who moves to the USA. It begins with the woman getting her hair braided in a salon and flashes back to her family life and love life in Nigeria to set the backdrop of how she get to America. I'm just at the part where she is about to return to Nigeria and reunite with her first love. I'm enjoying the book very much and is the second novel I've read by this author. The first one I read was, Half a Yellow Sun.



Snow in May is a delightful little book of short stories set in the bleak landscape of Siberia, Russia.  Personally, I don't really enjoy short stories. I prefer the fully developed story line that a longer book can provide. But the cover of this book appealed to me. It was only when I got it home that I discovered it wasn't a novel.

The setting for all the short stories is Magadan, an isolated fishing and mining town in northern Russia.  It once was a transit center for prisoners sent to Stalin's labor camps. The young author, Kseniya Melnik, is also from Magadan and immigrated to Alaska at age fifteen. She earned an MFA from New York University and now lives in Texas.

The third book I'm reading is Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee.  I'm still in early stages of the book.  The protagonist, Jean Louise Finch, "Scout" has returned to Maycomb, Alabama from New York City to visit her aging father Atticus.  Atticus is a long-time lawyer in Maycomb and some of you may remember him from the American classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, also written by Harper Lee. This is only her second novel and it is rumoured that she actually wrote it first but it was never published until summer of 2015.  I am enjoying it so far despite some of the negative reviews it received. I was on the library's wait list for 7 months to get this book and I'll have to finish it and return it on time as there is still a significant waiting list of hopeful readers.



Tomorrow I'll be joining some elderly folks for a celebration of Chinese New Year.  There will be singing, dancing and some foods that are eaten especially at Chinese New Year. It should be interesting and I'm looking forward to it.

I leave you now with a few shots I took today. We were fortunate to have a wonderful, sunny day and I believe tomorrow will be much the same. After that we expect heavy rains for the rest of the week.


Much of the new snow that had fallen on the mountains last Friday has melted.




This is my world this Tuesday. 
I'm joining Lady Fi and others for Our World Tuesday.
Enjoy the rest of your week.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Wildlife in the Rockies

These photos are taken from a trip through the Rocky Mountain range between the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.

The purple line on the map below gives you some idea of the route taken.

I have been through the Rocky Mountains several times but this was the first time through the mountains using the town of Rocky Mountain House as the way to get there. (I usually go through Jasper and Banff).

If memory serves me correctly we were travelling in the month was May.  We ran into snow in a few parts of the mountains. We also saw a bit of wildlife. 






Joining in with Eileen at Saturday's Critters.

If you missed my Skywatch post you can see it by clicking here.
Thank you for visiting and have a lovely weekend. xx


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Beauty in Twinkle at Twilight

I am blessed. 

 This week, I was admiring all the twinkling lights and freshly fallen snow on the mountains. 



So I stopped to take a few photos.   


As I did, many stopped to admire the beauty too and acknowledged me by smiling and saying some wonderful words about the beauty before us.  I was glad to pause and commune with others in gratitude for the beauty that is here.



For when we live in a place of such beauty we should never neglect to give gratitude. 
When we see moments of beauty we should always pause even ever so briefly and drink it in.


Today I say "Happy Birthday" to my beautiful (late) sister who was born on this day.
We miss her still and have the hope that one day we will reunite.
Today I also bid adieu to an auntie who I will not see again on this earth.
Rest well in God's arms until we meet again.
Today I give thanks that the Pokot man and my friend Jonah have both had surgery and come out of it.
Now I pray for their full recovery.
Time on earth is in God's hands alone. 
Let us give thanks for every breath we take.

~~~~~

In beauty I walk 
With beauty before me I walk 
With beauty behind me I walk 
With beauty above me I walk 
With beauty around me I walk 
It has become beauty again 
It has become beauty again 
It has become beauty again 
It has become beauty again 

(From the Navajo Way Prayer and Blessing)


 

Joining in with Skywatch Friday

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Can you Help? & Update on Baby Fidelis


Hello friends,

The man in the photo is from Pokot country in Kenya and his name is John. He is the one that had 3 snake bites just before my friend Jonah got bit. Both of them are suffering from complications after initially healing well. I hesitated to put this man's photo up because this tribe of people doesn't like to have their photos taken. (I remember it wasn't so many decades ago when my people also did not want their images captured on film.  These days we take a lot of photos).  Anyway I know that it is difficult for people to feel connected to someone to help them if they don't know what they look like so I decided to post and hope for the best.


My friend Jonah has been on medication over the past week or so to try and reduce his lung size. He is likely going to have surgery on February 4th as the medication is not working to reduce his lungs. Doctors from Germany are at the Eldoret hospital.  There will be 4 doctors performing and assisting in the procedure on Jonah. His brother has ho travel from Kericho to Eldoret to sign the necessary release or waiver forms.  I'm still praying that this surgical procedure will not need to be done because it is very serious business.  But if it does go ahead, I pray for the very best result and a quick healing time.



The Pokot man above is also now suffering COPD as a consequence of the snake bites.  He needs more financial help to get the proper medical attention. It would be ideal if he can get help at the same time Jonah does so that they can both benefit from the assistance of the foreign doctors. I just wish I knew more about the surgery as what I've read isn't very encouraging. I am having to trust in God that ALL will go well and that these two men will be safe.

If you  can help the Pokot man, please contact me soonest.  You can either use the contact form to the top right of this blog or by send me email.  Click here.  Prayers are also much appreciated.  God bless.

 Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


~~~

In a spirit of rejoicing, Baby Fidelis and her mother made it home safely to Kenya on February 2, 2016.

Here they are being greeted at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after the long journey home from Canada.


Thanks be to God and to all those who prayed for and helped this dear baby. 

She will need to undergo more surgeries in future but for now she is at home with family.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Finished Garments & Update on Snake Bite Victims

Happy Sunday friends,

I showed you the material I was working with last week for purposes of making dresses for my mom and two nightgowns (one for mom, one for me).  Now I'll show you the end products.

The first dress is a palm leaf print in shades of fuchsia and purple.  Originally I made it with a round neckline. But after trying it on I thought it would be uncomfortable for mom as I cut the dress a little too small. The width also seemed slightly too small.  So I ended up adding side inserts to make the dress fuller and decided to turn the neckline into a v-neck for greater comfort.  (I've mentioned before that I don't work with patterns. That always makes working on the necklines and sleeves a bit fiddly and I end up making a  lot of adjustments to make it all work.)


The second dress is a dark navy colour with slight striations of white or gray. The dress looks a bit "blah" but the material is very comfortable.  Mom doesn't like "blah" so I've decided to add a decorative design around the neckline in a coordinating shade of light blue for extra interest. The navy fabric had better stretch than the fuchsia and purple dress so I didn't need to add inserts.

The next two garments are nightgowns. The first one is a knit jersey in shades of "pinky" purple and gray.  I've never worked with it before and found it challenging to sew without everything puckering. It took some time to figure out what to do with the neckline. In the end I added a little bodice and neck backing (I copied one of my nightgowns). I don't have a serger so can't get that "neat and tidy" look. But none of my sewing is perfect anyway.  These days I'm okay with that.

When working with knits I've discovered one should sew with a stretch stitch or a small zig zag. I'm still learning my "newish" machine and it's functions.  I can never find my sewing machine manual so I used the small zig zag stitch because I knew how to set that one, lol.  After trying and failing to eliminate the puckering, I used my walking foot (which I purchased for quilting) to help feed the material (top and bottom) evening under the needle.  That helped a lot and I must try to remember this for next time.


The last night gown in shades of light gray and white, is for me. I'm  not sure what kind of fabric it is but it is very lightweight and perfect for hot, muggy summer days. I cut it a bit full but because the fabric doesn't stretch much.  It isn't baggy once on. 
I have enough fabric left to make a camisole and sleep shorts.
First I'll try using  the nightgown and see if it breaths before I make anything else out of the fabric.

 

I still have to modify the dress I showed in my last post (see photo below).
If I can find just the right fabric for a slip I might make one before I pay mom a visit. 
She is getting anxious for another visit soon.

To be modified.

Proverbs 31: 19-20
19  She layeth her hands to the spindle,
And her hands hold the distaff.
20  She stretcheth out her hand to the  poor;
Yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I mentioned in my last post that Jonah of Missions of Hope, Kenya and a man from Pokot country in Kenya were both doing well post-snake bite.

In fact Jonah was released to go home though he had to return to the hospital a week later for check up.
The Pokot man was doing well after the graft surgery on his leg and ready for release about the time Jonah returned for his check-up.

That was about a week ago.

Now both of them are in hospital. 
Jonah was examined very thoroughly and underwent extensive testings of blood, urine and x-rays to examine organs and bones.
He had been having problems breathing and the tests established that his lungs are enlarged.  He is also experiencing joint pain.  The heart and lung specialist is considering surgery.
In the meantime he is on medication.

The Pokot man has regressed and is doing poorly.
He didn't have funds so was unable to undergo extensive examination or testing.

As of Friday the man has been thoroughly assessed.  The Eldoret doctors are waiting results and consultation with  doctors in Nairobi.

I've read on line that snake bite treatment is one of the most expensive things to treat in the USA once you are bitten by a poisonous snake as these men were.
The treatment and recovery period can be anywhere from a week to many months.
The health care in Kenya is also expensive.

Please keep both of these men in prayer.

We are grateful their lives were spared but now we pray for a quick(er) recovery
so they can get back to normal and have the stress behind them.

God bless.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A New Week Begins

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

I had plans to do a lot of sewing but I ended up not doing so much. Instead I was rather busy getting caught up with laundry, sweeping and washing floors, doing dishes, grocery shopping and vegetable preparation. Whenever I can, I like to wash all my vegetables and dry them before storing so they are ready to use during the week.  This helps ensure that I actually use the vegetables as sometimes I get lazy and don't feel like doing the prep when I'm actually making dinner. There are always so many vegetables that I have to soak (I use vinegar in water), rinse, dry and store so I do it in stages. Sunday night I did the green peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cilantro and kale. The other vegetables I don't mind doing as needed; like celery, carrots, etc.

Last night's dinner was stir fried vegetables with thin strips of beef and noodles. It was very good. I made a lot of it so there were left overs for lunch today.

Dinner tonight is nachos.  I cooked up the ground beef last night and washed the green peppers, tomatoes and lettuce. Tonight I just have to chop up the onions and tomatoes for salsa and wash the avocados for the guacamole. I don't eat this stuff very often anymore.  When I was much younger I had it every weekend.  Nowadays I might have it once a year or even less but it is a nice change.  I discovered I was out of cheddar cheese so had to buy some of that today to top the nachos.  I usually always have this on hand but suddenly it was gone.  I do like mozzarella on my nachos too but I am saving the mozzarella for home made pizza in the not too distant future. The pizza has been on my mind since before Christmas, lol.

I started a book called Americanah by an author I've read once before. Her name is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I really enjoy her style of writing. If I can make good progress on the book this week I may join several people on Friday for a discussion over dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant I've been wanting to try. I will only go if I've had time to read the book.  I  like what I've read so far.



As for my sewing,  I decided to make myself a nightgown before I finish mom's nightgown and dresses. So now I have 3 projects to finish plus one ready made dress to alter. I finished the navy dress late last week. I'm about half finished on the necklines for the other 3 projects so it shouldn't take much longer. I like to work slowly on the necklines because I work without a pattern.  Since I'm working without a pattern and I lack patience where sewing is concerned, my cutting is a bit freehand.  For sewers you will know that freehand cutting can mean wrong "fit" if not careful. So far I'm doing fine. When I started making the clothing for mom I hadn't really planned on making a lot of clothing because sewing is not my favourite thing in the world. I thought the things she requested would be "one off"  projects but I'm now realizing that I will have to continue sewing for her.   It is just easier than trying to find the right ready made clothing. For future projects, I will probably try to cut out a pattern on piece of paper to use for necklines (v-neck and round neck) and for sleeves (set in and dropped shoulders).  This will make future sewing projects go much quicker both in cutting and sewing.

I also spent a lot of time on Saturday getting mail off to my niece for Valentine's Day. She will love the Star Wars calendar I bought her since we went to see the latest Star Wars film over Christmas. Of course, I also sent her some some chocolates in the shape of lipstick and nail polish. She loves nail polish and I think will like the lipstick too though she won't mind eating it at all, lol. 

A Kenyan friend is having a birthday early in the month. It is difficult to send things so far away due to the cost and postage theft is also a problem so I tried to get something nice but not so expensive. I sent a calendar with  photos of my beautiful city and I hope he likes it. I also sent my sponsored boys some picture post cards. One of the young boys I write to told me how much he looks forward to receiving my letters. I've been sponsoring him for just over 5 years and the time has flown by! Since the Fall I've been making a conscious effort to increase the letters and cards I sent to my sponsored boys. There are 3 of them so if I send mail a few times a month that makes for a lot of writing. But it is so very important to these youngsters to know that someone cares about them and prays for them and sends money each month for their needs. If any of you are looking to sponsor children, I would recommend Compassion International. They do a wonderful job of keeping the sponsor involved and informed about everything like the child's development, community information and country information. They provide an updated photo each year along with a letter from the leadership in the community and some community and country information so you know the context within which the child is living and learning. They make sure every child receives a gift at Christmas whether you send funds or not for that purpose.  Of course they encourage you to contribute to the Christmas Fund but they make sure no child is left out. You are also able to make gifts throughout the year to the family and to the child to provide for other things like food and housing needs.

Today I managed to get around to using my Vitamix to make cashew milk! Yeah! I was inspired by Teresa's blog over at Affectioknit  I've been wanting to make the cashew milk for a long time but didn't make it a priority. I needed to find a source of raw organic cashews and also figure out how to do it. Teresa's post showed how easy it is so I got inspired.  

I've looked on line at Nut.Com, Amazon and a local supplier Nut Hut. In the end, I decided to purchase some raw, organic cashews at my local grocers. In fact, I purchased some at two different grocers just to try them out. I just bought a small amount to experiment and made up my first batch today.



My procedure is a little different because I soaked my nuts overnight. I've read several health practitioners say it is necessary to soak nuts because nuts have phytic acid and enzymes inhibitors.  Soaking them reduces the phytic acid and neutralizes enzyme inhibitors. There are other benefits to soaking and you can read more about it on line. Phytates can interfere with your body's absorption of important minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc and lead to bone loss (even whole wheat grains should be soaked for this reason.  You might remember my experiment with soaked grains here.  I haven't made a lot of bread lately due to blood glucose issues but if I make more I will remember to soak the grains).

Here is my procedure:

- 1/2 cup of raw, organic cashews
- cover with water and soak overnight.

In the morning I discarded the water as it looked rather dirty. I put the cashews in the Vitamix blender along with a pinch of Celtic sea salt, a half teaspoon of honey and a cup of water. 

After zapping until smooth it looked like this. I will be using it for coffee and if I find I like it I will be making more to use for cereal in the morning.


The cashew milk/cream. It is surprisingly white though the nuts look more ivory in colour.

Ready for coffee


                               The first cup was great and I found the cashew cream made my coffee less bitter tasting.


I hope to get some outdoor photos to share soon but for now here are two moon shots I snapped on Friday using my phone camera.



I like the first shot where the city street lights bracket the moon.



Unfortunately the phone camera doesn't capture moon detail and it is even hard to get a clear photo at night.

Joining up with Lady Fi and others at Our World Tuesday.
Have a glorious week.

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