The Joy of God's Provision: Frienship!

I feel so, so blessed, to begin a new era!  Today I met up with someone I first met when I was 13 or so, but never really had the chance to get to know.  We've both had some crazy life stuff happen since then, and as we had found each other on facebook a while back, and just recently noticed how amazingly alike we are, we decided to meet again.  For me, it seems orchestrated by God.

I have been listening to the Chronicles of Narnia on radio plays by Focus on the Family, and because of that, I had the thought that I should read Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, as I've begun it before, but never read it through.  God told me that now was the time.  The next morning as I checked facebook briefly, and glanced over the previously mentioned friends' wall, I noticed that she and her other new friend had begun a book club; a Christ centred book club, and what took me by great surprise is that the book they had chosen to study first, was, you guessed it: Mere Christianity.

God is an amazing orchestrator!  So before the book club met today, my friend and I got together for tea, and spent an hour talking about life, and music, Christ, our faith, our love of nature, our past difficulties in relationships and so-called friendships, and discovered just how much we share in common.  So much!  I feel like I've known this girl for years already, and we've met, really, just once.

Oh Lord, you know my thoughts, you have planned my life, you have foreseen its events! Thank you for your mercy and lovingkindness!

Jeremiah 29:11 

For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

What a wonder and a joy!

In His Life,

Here's the progress on the tulip piece. I got happily carried away designing rather fanciful tulips. I had some applique patterns by the Piece o'Cake gals for the tulip shapes which I used and blended together.

After much deliberating and auditioning, I made a decision about the "tree" trunk and leaves. Green seemed to be right. I chose a gorgeous piece of Artfabrik fabric to use for the background which I think will work. Except for the hand-marbled fabric, all the fabric I'm using is hand dyed by Laura Wasilowski of Artfabrik! I laid out all the elements on a big pad of newsprint just to see how it all would look. I think I've got a balanced and unified design.

My next task will be to do some careful fusing of the leaves and trunk. Using a Teflon type pressing sheet is nifty. I'll be fusing those pieces to the sheet so that I have one big unit of trunk and leaves. The Teflon sheet will allow me to peel that unit off and then place it on the background fabric for a final fusing in place. Last will come the fusing of the flowers. I say hooray for paper backed fusible web to make this sort of applique painless and quick. Fusible web is a man made fiber that will melt when heated. When placed between two pieces of fabric, the melting action of the web causes it to fuse the fabrics together.

Then I'll be faced with some lovely decisions about adding threads and embellishments and finally how I will handle the actual quilting of the three layers together. The top, the batting (wadding) and the backing!

Do Not Worry!

Matthew 6:25-34 (NASB)

 For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  

And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!

Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Well goodnight and see you soon.
We will be on our way in a few hours from now. On our way to the Brickworks and Wychwood. Finally make it back to Wychwood's market. Here's to hoping the rain holds off till the afternoon.
Happy Halloween!!!!

Aha!  New shiny background!  Yes, shiny background.  But don't get too attached to it, who knows when I'll decide for some reason I hate it dislike it very much.  Never know.  But in any case, I'm thinking I ought to share on here when I have some sort of something to share, because while no one might read it today, surely God will, and perhaps one day someone will come prancing along to my blog, enjoy it, and read back over the multitudes of pages that are bound to spring from my hands.  Yes, that's it.  Now, enough of that...

Today was long.  And this morning, in particular, very stressful.  It's this work thing again, and really, I don't want to bore you with the details of the whole thing, but I don't really like it very much, to say the least.  Or I could use those nice little crossed-out letters again, but I won't.  So I spent the morning writing out emergency procedures for everything from a nosebleed to a chipped tooth to an unconscious cervical-spinal victim in deep water with no breathing or pulse.  Yep.

Funny thing is that later I was looking at those pages and trying to figure out why they looked as if they'd been wet.  Funny that, with all my crying and all.  So I leaned on my Mummy and sobbed out my heart, (I'm sure it's getting to seem a little old now, sad to say.) and then clung to my Daddy and sobbed my heart out, and then was impatient with them both several times, and continued to feel desperation and despair.  Because really, some yucky stuff has gone on.

Thing is, when it came to the thing I was worried about that occured today, it wasn't really all that bad.  At least, aside from smashing my fingers with the spine board and having to have my boss hold my fingers above my heart and apply ice.  Otherwise, it wasn't terrible.  Can't say as I enjoyed every minute, mind you, but still.

You know what though?  I think that its' not being all that bad has something to do with the fact that my Mum and Dad and two of my Mum's friends were praying for me.  Excuse me, let me correct that; I'm certain beyond all doubt that it did.  Our God is great.

So two things I learned (or re-learned?  Hmm, sometimes it takes me a long time to really learn things.) today:

1.) Prayer really works.  God answers prayer.  Woohoo!!!
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
2.) My parents put up with my whining, (sin) and continued to love me, and prayed for me, and were there for me, and held me up... and so did my God.  He cares for us no matter what we do.  Whether it's as meanial as whining, or as big as anything else terrible you could dream up.  Thank you Lord!!!

Psalm 86:5

For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.

I love you Lord!

In His Life,


7 Vegetable Quinoa Pasta

Last year I was trolling around a very small health food store that I found on some random adventure, and came across a vegan cookbook from the 1960s. I'd never seen anything like it. No pictures, just pages of blocky black text and a plastic spiral spine. I am kicking myself now for putting it back on the shelf because there is something cool about experimenting with an old cookbook, especially in the case of veganism. This cookbook was made back in the day...WAY back, before things like soy cheese, veggie ground round and Amy's frozen dinners were even a twinkle in our forevegans' eyes. These people were keeping it REAL: meat-free, dairy-free goodness in the form of loads and loads of whole grains and fresh produce. Don't get me wrong...there's not much I love more than Thursday Taco Nights at our place, but I think it's important to give a nod to our vegan ancestors now and again and acknowledge their fight and how it paved the way for us modern vegans. So that we may enjoy our Thursday Taco Night without having to make our own ground round...finding the Yves variety right in our very own standard issue grocer (not even a specialty store - I bet they never imagined such a thing!).

This recipe is hardly going way back to the grassroots of veganism like that strange little cookbook I found a year ago, but it is from a cookbook that is prior to the new Skinny Bitch and beyond vegan generation. Published in the 1990s, this book is called CalciYum and it focuses on calcium-rich dairy-free meals (duh). Interestingly, it does not use the term "vegan" once throughout the entire book, although all meals are free of meat, eggs, dairy, honey and other animal products.

Calcium is to vegans what protein is to vegetarians - I know when people find out I'm vegan the words "but what about osteoporosis?!" get thrown around quite a bit. Never mind that newer research shows osteoporosis is more related to how the body ABSORBS calcium and the role vitamin D has in aiding this absorption, rather than the sheer quantity of calcium consumed within one's diet...not to mention the research showing the highest rates of osteoporosis among citizens living in cultures that consume the MOST dairy. AND studies have shown that calcium obtained from vegetable sources is more easily absorbed by the human body than is calcium combined with animal protein (what you find in dairy). I think I have ranted about this before? You'll have to excuse me; it's a bit of a touchy subject.

Veganism can ensure you get enough calcium; you just have to do it properly. This cookbook really helps with meal planning. Before the authors even give you any recipes there is a thorough guide to stocking a calcium-rich vegan refrigerator. Spoiler alert: It involves dark, leafy greens and veggies. A lot of them.

This tomato sauce takes advantage of one such leafy green: Bok Choy! It further features broccoli, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, green beans and onion.

Now, I'm aware that there are a lot of picky eaters out there. Especially those of you, bless your hearts, raising children while having the tv constantly telling them that McDonald's is the motherland. I don't normally condone the blending and "hiding" of vegetables because I think children should learn to love them (I honestly believe if it wasn't for our pesky society the child-based aversion to veggies we have come to know would be strongly limited, although I know nothing about children or parenting so you can just file that under Mary Propaganda). However, I understand resorting to kitchen trickery when there is a cranky child screaming in your ear about not LIKING bok choy (do kids even know what bok choy is?). This here is the recipe for you during those moments of desperation because all the veggies are blended into oblivion. If they are still fussy about the green bits poking out here and there, just drown it out with more tomato sauce. They'll just assume it's Chef Boyardee.

Speaking of which, just be thankful that you didn't have to raise me. When I was 7, we went on a trip to Europe and my mom had to pack a suitcase full of Chef Boyardee because she knew I would throw a hissy fit at dinner time and refuse to eat everything presented to me in a foreign country. Brat, much?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009!

So this is my Peek Into Your Day!

YLCF Blog Carnival

I woke up this morning around 8:00, groggy, and certainly not in the mood to get up and get going.  I did get up though.  :-)  First thing I did was make myself some hot chocolate, as has been my routine of late, and brought it to the living room to join my family in our quiet time.  I sat and read a fair bit in Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.  What marvelous and edifying book!

Afterwards, I headed to my room to make my bed, tidy up the surfaces, and change into daytime attire.  During that time I listened to part of a Focus on the Family recording of a radio play done of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which was a lot of fun.  I eventually pulled myself away and helped my Mum get breakfast out, which I ate with her since my Dad had already headed out to get his hair trimmed.

Breakfast over and the kitchen tidy, I began to work on studying some first aid procedures for lifeguarding as we have an extra simulation session on Thursday that I have to be prepared for.  At about 10:15, I made my way to the piano, and worked there for approximately an hour.  Played on the computer for 20 minutes or so, and then more piano.  Then lunch!  I decided to study a little more for my lifeguarding, and then proceeded, once again to the piano.  There might have been a couple breaks doing silly things in there, I can't quite remember.  Around 1:30 I started to stress, as I knew I'd be at work in an hour and work has been slightly trying lately, but I prayed about it and pulled myself together.  I got my food together for my break at work, and played piano until I left for work at 2:10.

Arriving at the swimming pool at 2:20, I signed in, and changed into my uniform and started working on my lesson plans for teaching later in the day.  Feeling a bit emotionally worn and worried about having to do extra training with my boss.  Fortunately she came and told me that I would just be doing maintenance or something for that first hour.  So I basically just sat and worked on my lesson plans, and shadow guarded for 15 minutes.  I can explain the whole shadow thing at a later time, but suffice to say that I freeze in emergency simulations (though not in the real thing) and so the people who test us are unsure of my capability in procedures and want me to just shadow someone else guarding instead of being the only one on deck.  Ah well.  This too will pass.

Fortunately I shadowed a very kind guard who has been through this a few times as well, and he gave me some good advice and encouragement I really needed.  I appreciated that a lot.  Then I went back and completed my lesson plans for the day and got my towel and wetsuit and such ready for teaching.

At 3:30 I went out to teach swimming, and taught 3 lessons and 13 children in the next hour and a half.  Those three classes are insane!  After that session of teaching, I have an hour-long break, and for the past week or so my Mum has been coming to visit me on my break for reasons I won't go into.  It was lovely!  We drank tea in the car and chatted about the lessons I'd just taught, plus, she brought my freshly baked cookies!  Always a treat.

Then I went back and shadowed for a half hour.  I honestly can't remember what I actually did that half hour, as I'd already changed into my dry suit and shorts under my guard uniform, before.  Perhaps I read through emergency protocol or something.  Oh!  I did maintenance!  Cleaned windows and so on.

At 6:30 I had one more hour of lessons, 2 classes, 6 kids.  Now these classes are beyond sweet and adorable and wonderful!  So much fun!  Totally fabulous way to end my work day.  Sat in the hot tub a bit, warmed up, rinsed the pool off of me and cleaned up to come home.

At home, I practiced piano for another half hour, making my total piano practice for the day 3 hours, and then I made some more hot chocolate and watched an episode of "Hogan's Heroes" with my parents.  Now I'm here, writing this!

...I do believe it's bed time, or perhaps time for reading Philipians and/or more of Mere Christianity, or maybe listening to more Narnia!  :-)


PS. I'll be doing more 'Peeks Into My Day' even after the YLCF carnival is over, so be sure to check back.  Hopefully I can do them when I'm less groggy as well, and on more interesting days!  :-)
Halloween is just around the corner so with that in mind, I am going to share with you something so bone chillingly scary that you may not  be able to sleep tonight.  Reader beware. Are you ready for it?
I am slowly turning into my husband. It's true.  The change was imperceptible at first but with the recent change in our family circumstances (becoming empty-nesters) it has become very evident indeed.
I have often joked over the years that my husband suffers from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) mixed with AR (Anal Retentiveness).  He likes things neat and organized, cupboard doors shut, and things put away. Clutter drives him crazy.
I on the other hand, never worried much about those types of things.  I liked things to be clean and tidy too but with five kids in the house,  I wouldn't get bent of shape when they weren't.  Let's put it this way, I had no trouble sleeping at night knowing that if I opened my closet door it would take major effort to get it closed again.
But now, I've started making shopping lists and actually taking them to the store and following them, a couple of weeks ago, I purchased a label maker, and I've even started organizing closets... yes... closets... those places that most people will never see. Scary my friends, very scary.

My new toy.

DVD closet arranged alphabetically

                                               Even the shelves got labeled.

Frost on the rooftops,
Sun in the sky,
I've started a quilt,
Oh my, oh my!

Out came my patterns, and templates and some lovely hand dyed fabrics and I've finally got an idea to play around with. I've invented a tulip tree. Oversized blooms and fanciful leaves on a graceful trunk is what seems to be coming along. I've just had a little fusing session -- ironing the paper backed adhesive stuff onto some fabric. Feels so good to do. I was inspired by my "Haitian Drumbeat" quilt to come up with a similar idea, but with bright spring colors. I think my leaves are going to be blue and I haven't decided about the trunk and background fabrics yet. After some domestic engineering and a nip out to the grocery shop, I'll be cutting shapes out later. Hooray that my "new" hands are happy with all this busy handwork stuff!

This week, Paul is taking a course Monday-Saturday and so he is in classes all day and doing coursework at night. It also means he has to pack a lunch everyday, something neither of us are particularly fond of doing. Back in his omni factory/construction-worker days he would buy loads of lunchmeat and Jos Louis and call it a day. While there IS such thing as vegan lunchmeat and it tastes quite decent, it isn't exactly cheap and probably not the best for you. Most of them have preservatives and are often highly processed and further, we generally try and limit our soy intake to edamame and tofu/tempeh (rather than isolated proteins) so these are not an everyday item in our house. Instead, we cooked up a vegan gluten roast like we did for Thanksgiving, thinly sliced it, et voila - homemade soy-free vegan deli slices!

If you remember grade school like I do, a sandwich hardly constitutes a packed lunch. Back in the day, it was all about snacks and treats at recess! While I doubt there is recess in real estate education, who says midday treats are only for kids.

While I rarely make cookies for just the two of us, I decided to make a batch of Maple Walnut cookies a la Isa Chandra Moskowitz (via Vegan with a Vengeance and recipe posted at this blog) because I was excited at the prospect of maple extract (seriously, I did not know this existed until I saw her recipe). Besides, as an eternal university student, no one understands better than I do that a little sugar rush goes a long way while pouring over the books.

While they were meant to be all for Paul and his scholarly adventures, I couldn't resist trying one (or three) over a mug full of piping hot apple cider (seasoned with pumpkin pie spice) on a particularly gloomy October night. The rest are for him - I swear!

Turns out his packed lunch wasn't so bad after all, although he mentioned that out of a class of 35 it was only him and another student who bring their lunches from home. Everyone else went and got fast food. 6 days of fast food...ew? I sure hope those folks apologize to their colons and their bank accounts.

A Peek Into Your Day

YLCF Blog Carnival

I'm going to participate in this! The Young Ladies Christian Fellowship is putting on a 'Peek Into Your Day' event this week, and I've decided that it would be fun to share about my day. You can check out the details here, and participate yourself, if you like!  I'll probably post about today or tomorrow, not sure yet.  :-) It's always fun to read what someone has done in the course of an ordinary day in their life.  :-)

Take care, and note that the post below is new as well, as I just posted it a couple minutes ago!
Camille recently posted on her blog about a song by Steve Green called "I Will Go", and so I looked it up!  Here is the song on youtube.  Amazing message, and totally worth the listen.  :-)

I love the wool shop in Bowmanville. She has the best selection of sock wool and for very reasonable prices. We were in Bowmanville this weekend (well a day really) to see Belinda and Stefan's new house in Scarborough. Luckily, we made good time and I was able to get to Soper Creek Yarn before she closed.
The burgundy wool is 100% alpaca, I'm making Grandma some bed socks, since her feet are always cold. The purple variegated wool is a merino/nylon blend, I think these are for me. The blue variegated is a merino/alpaca/nylon blend, I think I'll make these for Grandma for her birthday. The sherbet colour wool Ella picked out. It is so soft. The brown is 100% alpaca from our local alpaca people it's a 3-ply. I've used it before and it's wonderful. This skein is to make myself some felted mittens. I'll post them when they are done (might be a while). On the trip I started some tights for Ella, I'm up to the knees. I'll show you them when they are done too.

Saturday, Uncle Stefan and Auntie Belinda took us to the Ontario Science Centre. Boy, I must be getting old or else I've been in the country too long. The crowd was too much and too busy. I could have left an hour or so before we finally escaped. We did NOT go see the "Body Works" exhibit. That just grosses me out and I didn't think it was suitable for Ella. Ella had a fabulous time.

Back from Bowmanville. Running behind today. Forgot to take the pork roast out, so I will have to find something else to make for supper today.



Russian Brisket -Cooking Jewish

Vermont Corn Chowder -Heirloom Cooking

roast pork


shepherd's pie -Cooking

French toast

leftover roast pork

wiener dogs -one of Ella's favourite lunches

shepherd's pie


souvlaki and bread machine pitas -Cooking

Head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie for more great ideas.


So here I am.  Life is good right now, but I'm going through a few struggles, especially in the workplace, and it isn't always easy.  I'm finding more and more that I must rely on God for my strength, and to find my peace in Him.  I cannot do it alone.  I also find myself trying to do it alone.  And honestly, I sometimes don't know why, because it's so much harder!  I suppose it is pride.  Nasty thing, that.

As I write this I want you, the reader, to know, that I'm not writing this with the specific intent to give you some great insite or anything like that.  I'm just thinking and praying as I go here.  It's almost more for me, really.  It's good to know that someone is reading my thoughts.  Makes me think through them more.

In any case, I'm finding myself in this position of dependance.  Honestly?  It's kind of hard!  The thing is that the more I learn that dependance upon Christ, the easier, and the better, it gets.  He wants to work through me.  Strange concept, isn't it?

I don't know why my heart and mind connect these two topics up, but perhaps we'll find the answer:  I keep thinking about true love between a man and woman under the bonds of Christ.  That excites me, because I have never experienced that, or, for that matter, really witnessed it blossoming first hand.  I've just read all the books.  I'm looking forward to that, but I'm honestly rather confused as to how God plans to bring it about for me.  I'm not looking yet, and I know I won't be ready for marriage for some time, but I do think about these things, especially considering the fact that I can add "Have an ex-boyfriend" to my list of current things in my life.

I suppose that does lead us back to dependency on Christ.  I must depend on Him for that (hopefully) eventual love I will find; that it will be the right man, at the right time, in the right place, under Christ, and with the blessing of my family.  I certainly can't expect to pick the right guy out myself!

Dependance.  The word gives the image of a little baby or a frail elderly person, doesn't it?  But are either any less people than you or I?  Of course not!  And if they depended on you, would you think any less of them?  No!  And, by His grace and mercy bestowed upon us at the cross, neither does our loving heavenly Father.

Isaiah 50:10

Who is among you that fears the LORD,That obeys the voice of His servant,That walks in darkness and has no light?Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

In Love,

For the most part, we don't eat much of the prepackaged/canned food varieties for breakfast and dinner. Lunch, however, is kind of tricky because it needs to be fast and easy on most days. I suppose I don't have much to complain about because for the most part we are both able to be at home for lunch and thus don't have to worry about finding something portable that requires very little maintenance before eating (I am the queen of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the days I can't come home for lunch). Although we can eat at home, I find myself seriously lacking creativity when it comes to lunch. I generally prefer to slave away in the kitchen during the latter half of the day and so there are many a can of soup that are warmed up in our microwave during the noon hour Monday-Friday.

I really and truly hate microwaves (I am wildly suspicious even though I know very little about them..something just doesn't seem right about how nuclear things get after only 60 seconds) but I can't seem to shake mine in that tricky noon-to-1pm timeslot of the day. I am also not keen on the prepackaged foods (organic or not) so I've recently taken to making large amounts of soup on weekends that can warm up easily in the microwave during the week, here at home or at work. They are just as convenient as the canned variety. Maybe even more convenient. I happen to be the proud owner of a very ancient can opener and subsequently ALWAYS seem to be cutting myself on the metal edges of the can that it doesn't like to process. As an added bonus, homemade soups are more fresh and I know exactly what goes into them.

This week I decided to try this Autumn Harvest Soup from Nava Atlas' Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons because butternut squash was on sale and I already had all of the other ingredients. It is almost like a chili rather than a soup or stew, as there isn't all that much liquid. I really liked it, because it is hearty, filling and nutrient-rich with the beans and various vegetables but it is not at all heavy, which is great if you have to follow it up with a few more hours of work before the day is done and the couch calls your name.

It's a great way to celebrate the harvest...would definitely be a good light-but-filling meal to serve the kidlets next weekend, before they head out into the night to play tricks and get treats and subsequently gorge themselves with candies well into the night (good luck on Sunday, parent readers!).

In your hands

Check this out.

Won't be down to the city tomorrow

Sorry but we won't be down to the markets tomorrow. We had a few things come up and we will need to attend to them.
I hope everyone stays warm. I hate to say it but winter feels like it just around the corner.
I typed in the description of the Secretarial College too fast. Wait a cotton pickin' minute! " ... excited about the opportunity of a career?" Shorthand and typing and being well mannered and having a good presentation and decorum? Decorum Schmorum! Now what sort of a career is that? Secretarial I suppose. But how demeaning by today's standards. I know I had jobs where my appearance (mini skirts and high heels and beehive hairdo) were a big plus. My aptitude for shaking a mean martini and making good coffee was highly prized. My posh British public schoolgirl accent was a huge advantage. The latter part of my Decorum was especially appreciated in the States where my first job was as one of the two secretaries for the eight writers of the Red Skelton Hour variety show in good old Hollywood, CA. But that's a whole 'nother post some day...

I did a 9-month course at Queen's Secretarial College in London in 1961. I left with a Certificate which states that I completed the course and achieved a speed of 120 words per minute in shorthand and 53 words per minute in typing. The certificate also states that I reached a "Standard of Competence" in Bookkeeping. I can't say that Bookkeeping stayed with me very well, and I would say that now I could be considered fairly incompetent in that subject.

Here's what I found when I gooogled for information: "Founded in 1924, Queen's Secretarial College was established to meet the new needs of young women excited by the opportunity of a career... technical skills included shorthand and typing, but these were mixed with the requirements for correct social skills, including good manners, good presentation and decorum..."

I don't remember being coached about those last four social skills in that paragraph. I do remember sitting at a typewriter similar to the old ones in the pictures. We had metal contraptions, rather like tents, that were put over the keys with enough room to put our hands in underneath without being able to see the keys. We did endless drills for each finger's job and often rhythmic music would be played at ever increasing speeds so that we would learn to type at an even rate, never favoring one finger's work above another!

As to the learning of Pitman's shorthand. A whole new set of heiroglyphics to conquer. The consonants in Pitman's shorthand are: pee, bee, tee, dee, chay, jay, kay, gay, eff, vee, ith, thee, es, zee, ish, zhee, em, en, ing, el, ar, ray, way, yay, and hay. All these sounds were represented by either a thick or thin stroke of a special fountain pen. Lots of tests were given in that subject too to get us up to a decent speed. I have to confess that I didn't use the Pitman's shorthand in many jobs. Now and then, for a brain teaser, I try to write the squiggles to see how much I did retain.

And now we have computers. I'm showing you my latest computer keyboard. It's ergonomic and adjustable. Now we don't type, we keyboard. Yes, I have keyboarding skills and think that I probably type at more than 53 words a minute these days.

A footnote: My parents said that if I took a secretarial course I would never be without skills for a job in any field anywhere in the world. They were right.

I don't think we will have fresh for tomorrows markets. We will be at Wychwood Market again and Brickworks but only with smoked.

See you then. Hopefully you will have better weather in the city than here.

Beautiful world

Isn't the world a beautiful place.
These have got to be the most visually stimulating part of our evening meal tonight.
Perhaps fate is telling me to add green to my jelly fish.

A couple months ago I blogged about some difficulty I was having with Vegan Planet and finding recipes that we liked enough to make second time. After the blog was posted I received an email from Robin Robertson, the author of Vegan Planet, encouraging me to continue trying samples from the book.

I decided to give these sweet potato enchiladas a try the other night, because I really didn't like the way things ended between me and Vegan Planet. It felt like a bad breakup, really. Me, the demanding icequeen refusing to see how hard it was trying to make me happy, offering me the world in the form of SO many diverse options and me turning up my nose and looking the other way. I'm like that character in pretty much every romantic comedy that everyone throws their popcorn at.

Since enchiladas are in my Top 3 foods of all time and I also happen to have an obsession with sweet potatoes, I figured this would be a no-miss meal.

Instead of using regular chilis I used chipotles in adobo. Instead of using salsa I just coated the bottom of the pan and the top of the enchiladas with freshly diced onions, garlic and tomatoes (and a couple more chipotles - if you haven't noticed yet, we like things SPICY!). I know a lot of vegan versions use soy cheese as well, but I opted out on that too and I think next time I will sprinkle some avocado on top in the last couple minutes of baking, because avocado is always a good idea.

We were very, very pleased with the results, which tasted even better the following morning for breakfast. Using the chopped onions, garlic and tomatoes in lieu of salsa gave the enchiladas a really fresh taste (although I'm sure it's great with the salsa as well). The fresh veggies coupled with the sweet potatoes gave an earthy harvest feel to a southwestern staple that you most likely don't associate with the farm.

Be forewarned, this meal definitely falls into "messy but marvelous" category, as we (and our placemats) were covered in sweet potato, black beans and chopped veggies before the meal was done. That's half the fun, though.. it means the meal is too good to eat carefully.

And so, the drought is over - I officially retract my previous statement about Vegan Planet. We will be making this one again!

A 'New' Era!

And so, here I am again, begining this blog with a conjunction, just to be out of the box.  :-)  This is Sheila Christine.  It's really me, flesh and blood, same hair, same face, same fingers typing this blog post, the girl that wrote for a year and a bit on Always Exploring, and before that for who knows how long on An Instrument in Christ's Hands.  Yep, it's Sheila, but I'm a renewed Sheila!  I am so excited to embark once again on this amazing journey of faith!

A little background on the story... I have grown up in a wonderful, loving, supportive, caring Christian home.  I am an only child, and have been homeschooled, but I have had many friends along the way.  When I was five years old, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, and I'm so glad I did!  He's never let me go, even during the darkest moments.  I grew in Christ for many years, and desired to serve him better and better each day.  As the end of the year in which I called myself fifteen years old came around, my faith seemed dry, and my relationship with Jesus very shallow.  I began exploring.  This lead me down many unfortunate rabbit trails.  I didn't have many friends at the time, and the people who did influence my life, other than my parents, were not followers of the Saviour.  I was swayed.  I delved into all sorts of 'spirituality', and for a year and a half I drifted in the wilderness. 

Looking back on it now, the Holy Spirit was constantly whispering in my ear, loving, gentle, and persistant.  I didn't listen.  I didn't want to listen.  And then, over the past six months or so, it became quietly obvious to me that I wanted to listen, but I had come to the point where I almost didn't know how.  I wanted to follow the Lord better, but I was afraid to go back, and honestly, my pride got the better of me. 

I have had many good times over the past year and a half, but I've also spent far too long in the wilderness; technically in Christ, but not following Him or letting him work through me.  Finally, it came to the point where I came to the end of myself.  I realized I could no longer attempt to be something special apart from Christ.  I knew I had to turn my life around.  I cried.  I wept.  And then I did something very hard.  I cut myself off from all that had swept me away into the ever-rushing current of worldliness.  I must learn, once again, with God's help, to swim upstream, and to let Him work through me, for the better.  I am now never alone.  In fact, I never was, but I tried to be.

Those of you who know me, know that I am a musician.  I sing, I play flute, and I am a pianist, and when I play the piano, I am creating music, letting it flow from the instrument, which on its own could not make a sound at all.  That is the picture of Christ working through me.  I am an Instrument, in His hands!

Sheila Christine
We see it all the time, a little gap toothed grin from the cutest little girl I know but as soon as the camera comes out, it disappears.  The only trick we know is to hang her upside down by one leg.  It works like a charm and ensures a happy face but there is always a fear in the back of my mind that someone is going to place a call to  CAS (child welfare services).

I pulled the camera out the other day and again the smile disappeared and was replaced with the usual indifferent look.

Then all of a sudden... voila....a real honest to goodness smile.


Look what happens when a jelly fish wraps its tentacles around a saucer.
The 'ink' of the 'jelly fish' leaves dendritic 'poison' marks in the glaze.
Rather like the bruising one gets when a jelly fish wraps its tentacles around a pregnant womans leg... but we wont go into that now.
And just because the colours look nice together here are some purple potatoes.


Hello readers!  Anything before this post is from my previous blogs.   From here until the next notice post, all the posts are from my 'Always Exploring', blog and after the next notice, they will be from my original 'Instrument in Christ's Hands' blog.  :-)

Just so you know!
In Christ,

I had a spell of making creatures in 2006- they were my version of dolls... but deep sea dolls, strangely enough, because now I find myself researching if Paverpol would be any good at improving the rigidity of this creature so that it can stand up! And Paverpol is most frequently used to give durability and rigidity to outdoor doll-like sculptures.

I know this looks very similar to things I have done before... it is.. the difference is that it is about 600% bigger and now I want to make a scary well-stitched installation of these - a veritable forest of these... standing on their heads by the way - feet up... keep you posted.

Menu Plan Monday -19 October 09

Wow, Taste of the Valley on Saturday was absolutely nuts!!! They figure 7000 people came through. Cobden only has about 1000 total. I have no idea what other vendors were at this year's event. I only left the table once to buy some alpaca wool. Ella and Grandma came by. Good thing, I sent them to get lunch or else would have starved :) Ella doesn't like crowds still, I thought she might have outgrown it. Oh well, she's safer if she's clinging to our hands. We have a girl's trip to Toronto this weekend. I decided to use my GST money to take a quick trip down so we could see Auntie Belinda and Uncle Stefan's new house. Technically it's in Scarborough, but that was swallowed up by Toronto years ago. I will leave Daddy enough suppers, but as usual, I won't hold my breath on what gets eaten.

grocery day

roast chicken

OVFC board meeting and potluck lunch -need to bake something and tempt the "I don't eat sugar" people to eat my 'evil' food -hahahahahahahahahhahaha!

sweet and sour pork in the crock pot

cowboy casserole

hot chicken sandwiches and mashed potatoes

leftover S&S pork -need to make chicken vegetable soup for church luncheon on Saturday


chicken sandwich -will leave made in the fridge as we will try to get away as early as possible

turkey a la king


home sometime today, likely by supper


There are lots of new ideas to see over at I'm an Organizing Junkie

I stumbled upon this recipe while lurking the adorably named It Ain't Meat, Babe blog, just as I happened to have half a can of pumpkin puree slowly going bad in the fridge. The recipe is found here.

As I have mentioned numerous times, I am really not big on the whole breakfast thing and I'm especially not one for a super sweet breakfast. For me, these pancakes make a great dessert or midday snack item throughout the autumn months. They are also a really, really great way to do away with odds and ends of pureed pumpkin that seem to collect in the refrigerator following Thanksgiving.

FYI, they go wonderfully with piping hot apple cider following an afternoon of fallish activity, such as a hike through a brightly coloured forest:

[Paul and Dora; Oct. 16/09]

or an afternoon picking out pumpkins at the pumpkin patch:

[Me and Lisa; Oct 18/09]

We didn't have much of a summer here in southern Ontario and I was worried we wouldn't have much of a fall either (for a couple of days there it felt more like winter than autumn), but the sun is showing her beautiful face yet again, hallelujah! I hope you get a chance to enjoy the fleeting serenity that is fall. Around here there's usually only a couple weeks in between the first changed leaves and the completely bare trees. As you can see by my incessant autumn-themed postings (and the aodrable Halloween background that now spruces up this blog), I am wildly in love with this time of year. I hope you're get the chance to take advantage of it too.


So my husband turns to me today and asks if I wouldn't mind passing on an acquaintance's email to a certain young woman in our church congregation.  I was a little reluctant because I have never met this man and felt like I couldn't vouch for the guy's character even if my husband assured me that he could.
Me:  How old is this guy?
Ian: mmmm.... I'm not sure.
You have to have some sort of idea.
In his thirties maybe?
Oh that really narrows it down. Closer to twenty nine or to forty?
Maybe in the middle?
So, is he good looking?
Um... I don't know.
He looks totally panic stricken at this question. Is he afraid I will think he is gay if he answers yes? It is an offense to their masculinity to even suggest that they notice another man's appearance. Apparently, straight guys are not good judges of other guys looks.  Really?   I don't believe it, not one little bit.  They just won't admit it.
We will finally be able to have enough fish to do Riverdale Market on Tuesday. I was also able to collect some eggs from the whitefish to start caviar.
All is quiet other than fish and smoker.
A beautiful day and enjoying the above freezing temperatures.
The market at the Brickworks was a deep freeze but it was good to see everyone out and about.
I hope to have some pictures tomorrow but must get back to my smoker. It should be ready to shut off in a few minutes time.

Here's a peek at one of the quilts that will appear in the 2011 Gig Harbor Quilt Festival Calendar. The theme for this year's invitational quilt challenge was "Threads of Courage." Sherrie Spangler, the maker of the quilt "Mary Conquers Cancer" said this about her work: "My friend Mary underwent surgery, chemo and radiation treatments for breast cancer about seven years ago. She asked me to walk with her several times a week throughout the treatments, to maintain her strength. It was therapeutic for me also, because we talked a lot and deepened our friendship. The treatments ended just as spring arrived - a new beginning for her. She's been cancer free and embracing life ever since." There were about 25 more themed quilts, all of which were sold to the highest bidder during the live auction.

How about the smashingly decorated pink wellies? They were one of the many terrific silent auction items up for the highest bidder. Oh and as for the cake? This was just one of many amazing desserts that were donated for the event. Each table contributed money for a Dessert Frenzy (over $3000 was raised from that!) and, starting with the folks who had put the most money out, runners from each table rushed to grab a dessert! There was more than enough delicious dessert for the 174 guests who attended the event. Our table scored a very decadent chocolate mousse cake! Yum-Oh!

I salute the ladies of the committee who worked so hard to pull off a super event! I can't wait to hear how much money was raised yesterday for the local breast cancer charities.

Quilts Revisited ...

I'm in a bit of a creative slump with my quilts. I mean the sort of quilts that spring from my imagination rather than from a pattern. So to give myself a sort of kick in the pants, I'm posting images of my most recent original quilt art. I did do lots of postings about the creation of the Rose piece -- check the index on the right. That got me started in blogland, actually. The quilt on the left was inspired by the Burns poem "My Love is like a Red Red Rose" and the one on the right was inspired by a Haitian drum sculpture I bought on a happy whim. Its title is "Haitian Drumbeat."

I am feeling an autumnal leaf motif popping into my head -- but in riotous colors rather than the natural and usual autumnal tones. There's enough of all that fall madness and sadness ablaze in the harbor right now to keep me visually stimulated. But for a quilt to be really fun for me to create, I prefer the colors of fantasy (and my hand dyed fabric stash).

Blackened Tofu with an Autumn Puree

If you want your home to be overcome with the undeniable smell of Fall, roast a squash.

I worked later than usual last night and so Paul started roasting an orange acorn squash and a couple of yams before I got home. When I got out of my car I thought I smelled something delicious but then I figured I was just hallucinating from exhaustion - because how on earth could I smell it all the way in the garage?!

It turns out I actually could smell it, ever so mildly, because when I opened the door to the house I was hit by the warm fuzzies. Warm, fuzzy, autumny aroma (I seriously, I can't think of a better way to describe it - I used to be an English major and I use "warm" and "fuzzy" to describe SMELLS...oy, my old profs would not be amused).

I found a recipe for autumn puree in Eat, Drink and Be Vegan months ago that I completely forgot about until yesterday, so that is what the lovely roasting fall treats turned into. With a side of very quickly completed blackened tofu, we were in pajamas and eating in front of our favourite tv shows in no time.

And, if roasting squash and potatoes doesn't provide enough of a fall smell for you, I highly recommend an autumn-scented soy candle. My personal favourite is called "vanilla pumpkin":

Soy candles are pretty much the greatest thing ever. Traditional paraffin wax candles are petroleum-based and release several different kinds of known-carcinogens into the environment - not to mention that they often contain beeswax and therefore they are not vegan. Soy candles burn cleanly and naturally and are a far greener choice than the popular paraffin as they are biodegradable and do not rely on non-renewable resources. I highly recommend Muskoka Candle Co., a company not too far from my neck of the woods. Their vanilla pumpkin is to die for - as is their "Muskoka Winter" scent, my favourite for the winter months.
Here's the cover of a calendar I helped to create for our local annual Gig Harbor Quilt Festival. There's going to be a lovely lunch and both silent and live auctions tomorrow where this calendar will be on sale. This calendar features all the quilts that were created and donated for last year's event. The theme for those quilts was "Fishing for a Cure." The theme for this year's quilts is "Threads of Courage." All proceeds from the sale of both quilts and calendars go to local breast cancer charities.

Finally Have High Speed Internet

We finally have high speed internet. Our e-mail has changed.

Andrew is on his way to Dufferin Market but with no fresh fish. The wind has been very unperdictable and changes directions it seems like every 12 hours. Todays winds are east 15 knots and then backing to 15 knots from the northeast for tomorrow. It looks really scary out on the water and I am glad Andrew is in the city selling today and not waiting on shore to go fishing. Andrew usually can't make it out fishing if ther are any whitecaps on the water. You can sort of see them in the pictures. You can really hear the water pounding the shore. I am wondering how his nets are doing and if they will hold up to this blow. Last time this happened two weeks ago the nets were filled with algea and zebra mussels. It took us most of Thanksgiving weekend to pressure wash the nets.

Did any of you get snow over Thanksgiving? We had flurries on Monday. Our boys are excited for that means cross country skiing soon. I am in no mood to talk about snow yet but I guess it is coming.

Our smoke house is coming along. Our roof has been ordered and will be in Friday. It will be a metal roof so that I don't need to get up there and shovel it off in the middle of winter. A friend of ours is working away on it.

Inside of our plant the finishing touches are still happening. We found the knee operated valves for all the hand washing sinks. What a price those came at but what can you do. Now the fun of setting them up considering the difference in height between Andrew and I. The trim for the window, floor and ceilings are all up. The floor has been sloped in the walk in cooler. The finishing touches of painting were done and the electrical was completed. Still some more things like putting a filter between the windows and screens to keep the dust out and setting up the ventilation system. Also our vinyl curtain that will seperate our finishing area and raw area are in and just need to be hung. So we are puttering away and checking things off the list.

We attended the Picnic at the Brickworks. We had a blast. The boys joined us and they had a great time. We all came home tired and very full of wonderful food. We enjoyed the day and glad the cool weather held off for that function.

Hopefully I can get back to updating this more often now. The pictures to load shouldn't take forever now.

Thanks to Larissa McLean - art teacher at Jack James High School for this lovely ATC.
Aliya and I decided that it is a wonderful look into a rock pool of the imagination.

Since I want to share with Larissa I kept going with the bits and pieces I had put together for the seminar and used them to create a fabric, and from this, some abstract works.

Some of the Grade 12 Students (names withheld to protect their privacy - but they are great students) show pride in their work, and below Larissa (see next post) at work too.

Last week I took a couple of files of samples (work developed after a long association with Sian Martin ) over to Jack James High School in NE calgary to do a show and tell and hands on seminar with the Grade 12 Sewing Course students.
The morning went very well with the students well-prepared by their teacher Amanda Elia. By the end of the class (8am-12noon) the students were well into it, having produced some lovely samples using burning tools they had made out of wire, soldering irons and hobby wood-burning tools.
It was a great experience for me to be with these kids and I do hope they take the work further, as they were discussing, using the technique for panels on bags.
I also showed one or two pieces of shibori and sure enough one of the students latched onto that, seeing its potential in one of her outfits (a dress in polka dot fabric), which could be brightened up with a shibori belt. Good for her! I know that shibori is a very exciting method and would provide a lovely theme to another seminar.
Please contact me via email for details of seminars and workshops