August 29, 2013

Worn


My heart is thin today. Thin from doctors appointments, uncomfortable procedures, and the pure emotional exhaustion of hope gained and hope lost. From feeling like I was in such a good place with all this, with other people having kids, and then falling far back into the ache. From wondering if I should buy that expensive fertility monitor, or keep taking temperatures, and what vitamins are good and what food is bad and is anything good anymore? My body falls apart and hope like glass shatters on hard floors of reality. I can't do this, this thing that seems easy for others, or happens 'accidentally'. I can't carry a baby.

I can help with the kids program at church, I can teach, I can love my friend's kids, but I can't fill these gaping places in my heart that were meant for my children. Why does God plant desires and so long deny them?

In the kitchen, I dig at old roots from my survivor plants. Plants that lived through a month of drought in my classroom after the fire. They show me that life can come from what looks like death, and isn't that what God has been trying to teach these past months? A dirt crusted spoon carefully lifts rhizomes and divides, transplanting new life from old, and I want so badly to apply this to my heart but all I feel is hurt.

The arms of Jesus are deep and wide, and through these struggles I praise the only one who has conquered death. He has won. I will live His victory in my life, I just don't know what that looks like in relation to our family. If it will grow, if it won't. Years have passed and I have tried valiantly to bloom where I've been planted, yet no matter how much time passes there is this hole I can not ignore, that I can not close. It is meant for them, these fictional members of our family that I hold in my heart but wonder if we will ever meet.


When the only answer is that you have no answer, may you find that Jesus is all you need. I want to be strong enough to fight for it, but today all I can do is rest in it, hurting heart and all. Where hope fails and dreams fade, may He be the one thing that holds it all together.

Let me see redemption win, let me know this struggle ends, that you can mend a heart that's frail and torn. I want to know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life, and all that's dead inside can be reborn.

August 27, 2013

Elk Island National Park


Just down the road from my parent's place you will find Elk Island National Park, the perfect place for a picnic on a beautiful summer day. My brother and sister-in-law were up visiting this past week, escaping the muggy Texas heat to soak up some Alberta sunshine. This 1930's cookhouse overlooking the lake was our spot for lunch.


The park was established in 1906 as a game reserve and hosts herds of elk, plains and wood bison, moose, deer and a wide variety of birds. It is the one place left in Alberta where herds of bison roam protected, and not for farming purposes. The near extinction of bison herds in the late 1800's is one of the greatest tragedies in Alberta's history, as it had a devastating effect on the way of life that kept many people sustained and content for hundreds of years. These animals were driven down into Montana, grass fires were lit along the border to keep them from coming back, yet a herd was bought back a decade later and brought into the park. Makes sense? Nope. Why can't people just get along... On a brighter note, the herd in Elk Island today is highly regarded in conservation circles for it's genetic purity, and some bison from Elk Island were introduced back into Montana in March of last year.


We were lucky enough to have a little herd cross the road as we cruised by, and I was glad to have my telephoto lens handy as I did not want to get too close. You could tell the bison had been rooting around in the underbrush as they were all full of burrs. Calves from last year seemed the most curious, and new calves followed carefully behind their mamas. 


The original warden's house still stands today and the park also hosts a golf course and campsites. The area surrounding the park is a Dark Sky Preserve, and we have plans to head out one fall evening to star gaze. So many adventures open up when you decide to be a tourist right where you live!


August 23, 2013

While the sun shines...



Although we have enjoyed some sizzling warm days this past week, evenings are cool and with the hay coming in at Mom and Dad's, there is definitely a fall tinge in the air. Being a small hobby-ish farm, there are no air conditioned cabs or automatic baling machines cruising the fields. Here we do things vintage style, with machines that can quickly earn or lose your affection depending on the amount of malfunctions they dole out. Thankfully things were in working order last night and dad managed to get a couple passes around the field before dew set in.


I love the smell of hay when it is cut and drying and I enjoy spending time out in the fields. It is a little more enjoyable now, as compared to days gone by when our baler was a bit smaller and spit out square things we had to stack. That was work! But I have fond memories of working together as a family, whether out picking rocks or pulling roots from a newly plowed field, painting fence, pulling beans, or stacking and hauling bales in the old Ford truck, it was all good.


"And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work... Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
2 Corinthians 9:8,10,11


Have a wonderful weekend!


August 15, 2013

Midsummer





Gardens are growing and bees are buzzing out on the farm, it is certainly mid-summer. This is the best and busiest time for vegetable patches and we have already harvested bags of tasty new carrots, raspberries, kale, and swiss chard. A large pot has simmered away as I steam these tastes of summer, and freeze them up to be enjoyed for months to come.



There have been moments these past few weeks that I would like to bottle up and save forever; warm evening walks down gravel roads, supper on the deck at my grandparent's place, driving through town with the top down on the Jeep, buying lemonade from cute kids who chirp 'have a great day!', a starlit bonfire listening to wind in the trees, and sun drenched, sweaty afternoons pulling carrots. 

Ah, sweet summer. Please go on forever. 

Yours truly and sincerely,



August 10, 2013

Another Man's Treasure : Vintage Pyrex Nesting Bowls


The thrill of yard sale-ing is in the thrill of the hunt, you just never know what you are going to find. When we set out one grey Friday afternoon, I had no idea these were waiting to be found. A primary coloured set of mixing bowls from Canadian Tire were frequently used in my previous kitchen and they were my favourite, so naturally the bright colours of this nicely nested set of bowls caught my eye. Then the shape caught my eye and when I turned a bowl over, my hunch was confirmed - I had just discovered a set of vintage Pyrex.

I was slightly baffled by the five dollar price tag and asked, just to be certain, that the five dollar tag was for the whole set. It was. Luckily Neal and I were the only ones in the yard, because I may have just bowled someone over in my excitement to pay for and secure these pretty bowls. This was *almost* me:


{I refrained from re-enacting the above, but I did let out a squeal when our car turned the corner}

Once safely home, I set about fact hunting, and it looks like the blue, red and yellow bowls (401, 402 and 404 from the 400 series) were produced later than the green 403. The green bowl is slightly thicker, shows a little more wear, and has a concave, footed bottom, one sign of an older 1940's era piece. An additional yellow 402 was included in the set, and after a bit more hunting, I discovered that this bowl is likely from an all yellow nesting set produced  in 1957.

Do you have any Pyrex in your cupboard? If you do, you might like to take a look at this Pattern Guide, and read up a little on Pyrex over at Corelle Corner. I find certain patterns sentimental, as they have been well used in my mom and grandmother's kitchens for years. Do you have a favourite pattern? Do share! I think I may have found a new hobby...


August 6, 2013

An 1840's Fur Trade Wedding ~ Fort Edmonton Park










In a glimmer of serendipity, Neal and I were able to take in 'Weddings Through Time' during our recent anniversary trip to Fort Edmonton. This mock fur trade wedding was my favourite. If I could live in any period of history, I would choose to live during the early 1800's in Alberta. Living during the years of the fur trade and exploration would have been thrilling. Bison would roam open plains in their natural habitat, and I could canoe down the North Saskatchewan and not see any power lines. I have a rather romantical vision of living out in nature, rallying against residential schools and the unfair division of land and resources and fighting the evil liquor traders. Oh, you could be quite the activist having the fore-knowlege of present day history! Sometimes I yearn for a simpler time. Yet I know life was not that simple, even then, so I am thankful for a park that allows us to step back in time and learn from the past.