Closed For Now

Hello, dear Readers.

I appreciate all the LIKES and all my followers and apologize for not posting on this site as I originally intended. Alas, for the time being my story fountain has run dry.

At this point, considering my current struggle with leukemia and the slow downhill slide my health seems to be taking, I’ve decided to go back to one blog for my poetry and fiction. I don’t want to shut this site down completely — who knows what the future may hold? But until further notice this blog and my poetry blog, http://swallowinthewind.wordpress.com, will be inactive.

All my prose and poems — except for haiku — will be posted on my main blog, http://christinegoodnough.com.

For the time being I plan to continue posting haiku occasionally on http://treetophaiku as well.

A Dip in the Pity-Puddle

Spring took a big step backward yesterday; the temperature dropped to -20 C last night and is supposed to go down to -24 tonight. (That’s -8 and -11 F) and stay cool all weekend.

A black bird crossed my path this afternoon – not a raven but a genuine blackbird. We took a trip to Outlook and saw Canada geese as well; a few of them were sitting on an ice floe in the river. It’s still pretty cold for the poor birds!

The Lord spoke to me about self-pity a few mornings ago. I was feeling really bad for the way a certain situation had turned out, something I’d gotten involved in on behalf of a friend. I’d had a talk with someone, hoping to explain my friend’s problem, but my listener had reacted negatively and later tongue-lashed my friend.

Of course I felt quite upset when I heard this from my friend. Instead of helping matters I seemingly had made them worse. The next morning I sat mulling this over, feeling blue, despairing of any improvement in the situation. Then the Lord asked me in a gentle way, “How much of your feeling here is actually self-pity?”

OUCH!

But I opened my mind to that question and could see that, yeah, some of my feelings really do stem from a well disguised self-pity. Then a strange thing happened: as I admitted it, that “blue cloud” lifted and the whole thing didn’t look half as bad.

When Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” He was serious. It really does!

“Even our tears need washing in the blood of Christ before they can be acceptable.”

I was talking to my friend again this morning, encouraging her to pray about the issues that are troubling her. I feel that God is the only one who can really help her and she agreed with that, but she can’t bring herself to believe in, or talk to, Someone she can’t see. That’s a tough one! Or is it?

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”  Matthew 7:7-8

(Part of this was posted simultaneously on “Inspirational Thoughts.”)

Clear A Forest One Tree at a Time

One Dollar Per Member Per Month

When the mission work of our church began to spread in Haiti and small congregations became established, It was decided that each member should give a tithe of $1 per month toward the expenses of the Church as a whole. Money to pay the expenses of a general conference would come out of this as well as other administrative costs.

So everyone tithed their dollar a month and things went fairly smoothly, but you know how we people are. Eventually this subject came up at a yearly conference and some members questioned how they were going to pay this $12 per member per year. Many Haitians had very limited opportunities to earn; it was all some could do to eat every day and a $12 yearly “conference tithe” seemed impossible.

The issue was debated back and forth until one elderly brother rose to his feet and addressed the group. “I guess I don’t know what you people are talking about,” he began. “I don’t remember that we ever decided on a $12 per member per year tithe.”

Members looked at him in surprise. “Of course this was our decision.”

“No,” he countered. “Our decision was ONE DOLLAR per member PER MONTH. If you leave it until the year end and then try to come up with $12 each in your household, it will be a serious hardship. It will be a lot easier if each one just pays the one dollar per month. That’s not an unmanageable sum, is it?”

And they all agreed. That wasn’t such an unmanageable sum after all.

Being an avid procrastinator, I’ve always been inclined to wait until the day before something is needed, then got at it full steam, even work into the wee hours of tomorrow to get it ready. So I’ve been trying to keep in mind this brother’s advice. Projects are a lot easier to accomplish when you take them in small chunks.

Small bites, that’s the ticket. Marla Cilley, a.k.a. “The FlyLady” is right: you can do anything — any household task, no matter how tedious — for fifteen minutes. And fifteen minutes a day can make a big difference, plus the task becomes a habit in time and a person doesn’t get so far behind.

A few weeks ago I abandoned my “Devotional Thoughts for Women” blog but I haven’t felt at peace with that decision. I still feel like I need a place to share small inspirations and personal news of the day – lest I forget. So I’m going to try doing this blog again, setting aside ten minutes a day to share something cheerful there and hoping my readers will find inspiration in these thoughts, quotes, scriptures, and stories, too.

The address is christinegoodnough.wordpress.com

This morning I posted the above story on that site — and shared this news of the day:

I cooked at Silverwood Villa yesterday and invited our children & grandchildren, Jay & Ruby W and their son and daughter, plus Chris B and her daughter. A good time was had by all.

Earlier in the week it was stormy, lots of fresh snow; a few days ago it was -25 at 9 am. Now the past few days have been above freezing and the snow – we have a lot! – is softening, sliding off roofs. Ah, spring!

Our daughter told us she’d seen a robin in their yard this morning. Amazing! Spring only arrived yesterday and already the robins are here.

We live not far from a train track and I watched a train went by this morning. It was a relatively short one, three engines pulling 88 cars (hopper cars for grain and oil tankers.) The engineer must go slowly on the crossroad by our place as the track isn’t the best. I saw a school bus come up to that crossing right when the first cars were going through and the bus had to wait…and wait… Wonder what the students were doing as they all waited for the train to pass?

Yesterday was ‘Different’

These past two days have been unusual ones for us here. Yesterday morning we on the road to Saskatoon shortly after 6 am, as I was to be at the St. Paul’s Hospital Admitting by 7:15 am for a tympanoplasty.

I had tubes put in my ear drums twenty-some years ago, back in Ontario, so I wouldn’t suffer so much from fluid buildup and ear infections. The tubes remained in place for years until one by one they fell out, leaving little holes. The left eardrum was patched about eight years ago, now my ENT specialist deemed it wise to patch the right one as well. He planned to snip a bit of skin from the back of my ear and tack it over the hole.

As we were headed toward Delisle a snowy owl flew across the road ahead of the car. In the dim light it gives one a start to see this big white thing go flapping across your path!

We were just in time to meet morning shift workers en route to the potash mine, too. Between Delisle and Saskatoon there are two big potash mines; if you happen to pass by at the right time you get to see just how man people work at them. Between 6:30, when we got to the second mine’s turn-off, and 6:45 we passed a solid stream of headlights coming our way, for several miles.

Bob dropped me off at the hospital and had lots of time to do his shopping and whatever else, as my surgery was scheduled for 10:15 and didn’t happen until 10:45 am. Since it involved a general anesthetic I was out for several hours, waking a few times just enough to let the folks in Recovery know I would make it yet.

I did get up around 2pm and had a very belated breakfast. By 3pm the nurse said the doctor would be around to see me and then I could go, so I called Bob. He got there before 3:30 and we waited…and waited…and waited.

By 5 pm the nurses decided to page the doctor, just in case he forgot—and learned that he was at home already. The nurses explained that he’d had an emergency to deal with in the afternoon; after that he did forget all about me and just went home. So he told them that, yes, I could go home, too.

The doctor had packed some padding into my outer ear canal to hold the patch in place and I had to stop and pick up pain medication, so we had some supper as well. By the time we’d left the hospital I was feeling a headache-earache-jaw ache combo that made me think he’d sliced about 1/3 off the side of my head – all because of one little patch of skin. Had good reason to think of the apostle Paul’s words about when one member of the body suffers, all the members suffer with it!

While I was safe in the hospital the north wind was growing stronger, so by the time we got on our westward way home it was a force to be reckoned with–especially where the highway went up in the air over the train tracks. There we really felt the wind give us a sideways push! Even though there was no fresh snow, the wind was blasting what snow there was across our path in white-outs wherever there were open fields beside us.

The wind apparently broke previous records Saskatoon, with gusts up to 115 kmph (or 69 mph.) It blew out a big office window downtown and blowing over a cell phone tower, among other things. But the temperature was warmer, thankfully, only 7.5̊  C. (45.5̊ F)

When we crossed the railway tracks just west of our little corner of the world, an owl flew up. I thought maybe it was the snowy owl again, but Bob said it was too grey. Must have been the Grand Duke himself. (Great-horned owl.) As we drove in the yard we saw some white stuff rippling in the wind and realized it was weatherproofing plastic that had blown off our garage and caught on the caragana bushes. (We need to put proper siding on our garage one of these days.)

In the evening I checked out my 49 new e-mails and generally puttered. Got a phone call from the forgetful-but-apologetic doctor. Then I slept awhile, went to bed after midnight, then got up at 3am this morning and started the laundry. (Overdose of sleep yesterday, I guess.) At 4am it was only -2̊ C and the cats were wanting to be outdoors—for about ten minutes or so each time.

This morning I was doing some more online genealogical research and learned that three of my great-grandfather’s brothers married Margarets. Can you imagine what family gatherings that would give? I noticed in the marriage records that a John Vance married a Mary Smith. I sure hope that wasn’t Gr-Grampa’s oldest brother, seeing as Gr-Grandma was a Mary Smith, too. No wonder family tree roots are so hard to untangle!

I’ve been thinking about my blog(s) for a long time and wondering how to sort out all the things I like to write. “According to the experts,” a blog should have one principal topic and this one has so many! That’s why I started the blog for poetry and a separate one for haiku. My cousin has the Family Tree research taken care of in Vance-Turner Connect. Maybe I should start one just for fiction stories and writing tips, too?

I’ve been contemplating doing one letter a week just for personal news, for the folks that know us and our church group here – and could do this on another blog rather than posting it all here. What do you think?

As you know I’ve been posting a royal mix—writing tips, fiction, devotional articles, personal stories, poetry—on here, but perhaps some readers don’t care for that at all? Do you enjoy, or dislike, this mixture? I’d appreciate hearing your opinions on what would make my blogs more appealing to you as readers.

And by the way, a BIG WELCOME to all my new readers. Hope you will find some of these articles inspiring and thought-provoking.

Cold Enough Here!

We all had a chuckle in church this morning as Jay Bullock, a visiting brother from Avera, (near Augusta) Georgia, got up with some opening thoughts to our service. He said that as he’d gotten off the plane and stepped outside the coolness of the air felt very refreshing–for a few seconds until he felt the real bite behind it.

I checked the local weather condition at 7am this morning: It was -34 C in the city with a wind chill factor of -51. In Georgia that would translate to -28 F with a bitter wind that feels just like -60. Somewhat colder than those folks are used to feeling. Neither the garage door opener or the command start want to work at this temp.

The temperature is supposed to inch up to -31 (-28 F) today. That should thaw our noses. On the way home from church my husband was wishing some of that “global warming” would waft down again. We’ve concluded that God is having the last word regarding this latest theory of man; ever since folks got all fired up about global warming the weather has been very –no, extremely– uncooperative in proving it valid. We’ve hit some record lows and seen some record floods in the past ten years.

Brother Jay came to pay his last respects at the funeral of our brother Dave Fehr tomorrow. Dave passed away suddenly of a heart attack Tuesday, just a few hours before the new year chimes rang. They’d returned from a trip and he had gone outside to shovel some snow from in front of the garage so he could put their van inside, but then collapsed on the doorstep, which is where his wife found him a few minutes later.

There’s to be a family service (mainly a sharing of memories) tonight at the church, then a funeral tomorrow afternoon at a large church in Warman. The family is expecting a huge crowd, as Dave was married and widowed twice before, had twelve children –eleven surviving him– numerous grands & great-grands and other relatives. He farmed in the Warman area most of his life.

The suddenness of his death has hit us all, some like us who are in his age bracket feel it more. He was 77 and in reasonably good health; the doctor told him a few weeks ago that his heart was very good. Now, without warning , it stopped. This shows us the need to be prepared. He didn’t join the rest of us in welcoming in the new year, rather he has been welcomed Home.

Here’s a little verse to encourage everyone. Do what you can today to make the world brighter; tomorrow may never come.

No regretting! Save your fretting,
no sense wasting yet more time.
Try today to live the right way;
leave a trail of blessings behind.

Don’t say “Tomorrow, no more sorrow
I’ll be cheerful and benign.”
Walk today that friendly way.
What joys along the path you’ll find!

–CEVG

Have a Wonderful New Year

Clock1-2012-5162013(1)Folks all over the world will be watching clocks this evening, looking forward to the arrival of that diapered baby boy we picture as the New Year.

May 2014 bring you success in your endeavors and peace in your heart and homes. But we all know life isn’t always rosy. If the New Year brings you some stormy weather, I hope the sunshine will peek through now and then, enough to give you courage to press on.

long stairs to climbKeep on climbing…
there are fascinating times ahead!

Two days ago I quoted Jesus’ words in Luke 6:45  “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good.”

That’s what I’d like to do for the next two months: while I’m busy with several publishing projects I plan to reblog some items I’ve posted in the past, share some new ones, and also  share with you some inspiring things I’ve read on other blogs.

Twas the Day After Christmas…

…and Mom was back to eating celery sticks.

Hello Everyone,

I hope you had a great Christmas Day yesterday and made some warm memories to add to your collection? We certainly enjoyed our day. Are you still nibbling on Christmas goodies or has self-restraint kicked in again?

We attended a church service in the morning, where we were reminded of God’s love for us and His gift to us. Jesus really is “the reason for the season.” Then we spent the rest of the day together with Ken and Michelle and our four grandchildren. First we feasted, then we gifted, then noshed, related and relaxed.

For me this Christmas day was definitely an encouragement in the writing line. Bob gave me three books:
one tells me how to publish my own e-book (The Global Indie Author by M.A. Demers)
one was about how to edit my own work (Editor-Proof Your Writing by Don McNair)
and one was about how to stay sane while doing all this (Crazy Busy by Kevin Deyoung.)

While we were together, the grandchildren encouraged me even further. They said, “You should write a WHOLE STACK of books!” Now that’s a tall order. And in the afternoon our son-in-law was introducing me to Corel Draw, which he has on his computer and I don’t. To illustrate its capabilities he set up a sample front cover for Silver Morning Song.

With all this encouragement, how can I help but keep on writing? (After I get all these books read.☺)

I’ve been writing about my upcoming book, Silver Morning Song. I was really hoping to announce its arrival this year yet, but it has suffered a serious setback and will take awhile longer to appear. For various reasons I changed my mind about doing it through Friesen Press and hope to publish it myself as an e-book. (Hence the step-by-step instruction manual for Christmas.)

Looking ahead, here are a few projects I have in mind for the winter:
– study these editing and publishing manuals
– prepare and /or publishing my manuscripts (I have four in the works.)
– sew a few things for my granddaughters and myself
– give the house a good cleaning
– work on the new jigsaw puzzles I received as Christmas presents☺

That ought to keep me busy–but hopefully not crazy. What goals are you setting for yourself for the first months of the New Year?

Winter For Sure!

Winter has arrived in our parts in full regalia. Sailing ships of snow clouds arrived yesterday afternoon and have already worn out their welcome. 🙂

We took a short trip this weekend, left Saturday morning and travelled to the south part of the province, then east on the #1 Highway almost to the MB border, where we visited Bob’s cousin south of Moosomin. Sunday morning we drove southeast just into Manitoba and attended church in Sinclair.

We left for home again just after 4pm. En route we got a call from our children saying “It’s snowing here.” Thankfully we made most of the trip without seeing a flake of snow, but when we did encounter it from Kenaston and west, the road was slushy and we had to reduce our speed more and more as we travelled toward Outlook. The north-south highway from Outlook to home was really bad and we had to stop a few places for complete white-outs. If this were March, we’d definitely say it came in like a lion!

So our world is totally white this morning; the city of Saskatoon got a lot of snow and many plans for the day have been cancelled because of icy roads, including our scheduled His Imprint writers meeting.

My cats are not happy. They keep wanting me to open the door so they can look out and see if that awful white stuff has gone away yet. Alas! It’s -6º C (21 Fº) right now and temperatures are expected to stay several degrees below freezing all week. I saw a flock of geese winging southward this morning. They maybe think they stayed too long in these parts.

A rather interesting scene came to mind soon after I got up this morning. This likely came to me because we had a Sunday School lesson involving Jonah and the “great fish” yesterday and I’d be glad if you’d share your thoughts on what I’ve posted.

I thought of Jonah being tossed into the sea (see Jonah Chapter 1) and I noted that he left behind his suitcase. He went into the water with nothing but the clothes on his back; any earthly possessions he may have brought with him from home stayed behind and sailed away with the ship. When he met God in the whale’s belly, he had nothing to contribute to the situation. Or maybe you’d say the only thing he brought along was his unwillingness?

Our congregation is going to have revival meetings soon and we hope to meet the Lord in a cleansing, refining, way. So will I come “empty” to be filled by the Lord or try to bring my baggage? Or maybe hang onto my home-made life preservers? Things like past experiences, accomplishments, noble intentions, acts of charity, etc.

This picture of Jonah going into the sea impressed me that all these other things have to stay behind on the ship when I come into God’s presence seeking restoration. (He is well able to sort them out and take care of them.) I can sing, “I surrender all…” but have I really? Revival meets are a great time for a spiritual reality check.

I’m hoping to touch base soon with my account manager at Friesen Press. I sent my finished manuscript a month ago and haven’t heard a word from them since – so I can tell you all when it will be ready. Maybe it has gone into a l-o-n-g queue? Better get at my next one!

Travelling On

On Saturday we attended the 60th Wedding anniversary of Bob’s cousin Lyle Hanson and his wife Fyrne (née Haraldson.) These folks live in the very southern part of the province, about an hour south of Moose Jaw or about 70 miles north of the US border.

This is an area of many small hills. As I looked around from one of the hilltops and thought of great herds of buffalo roaming through this land centuries ago, I could more easily grasp the significance of the children’s chorus, “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.”

“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” Psalm 50:10

Lyle & Fyrne welcomed a lot of local well-wishers to the Community Hall where they held this Anniversary. After all, sixty is an amazing number, especially the sixty happy years they have had known. And both are in fairly good health, in fact they’re planning to stay living on the farm for as long as good health holds.

We took a little side trip while in the area, driving along the SE end of Old Wives Lake. We saw a few swans in the water and farther along what appeared to be white foam on the shore here and there for a stretch of several miles. But as we got close a bit of white foam took wings and flew off across the field. Nearing the white splashes we saw snow geese, thousands of them, resting beside the lake. It would have been awesome to see them all take off, but we couldn’t drive that close.

Coming down we had driven through another ‘cloud’ of snow geese, birds on both sides of the highway both in the air and on the ground, easily numbering in the thousands – likely on their way to join these ones and continue their journey south. What a sight it must be when they all come to rest along the shores in the South!

Bob also drove me around the area where he lived as a small boy. The town where his uncle once owned an automobile dealership is only a small square of long, dried grass now with only a couple of small sheds and the old school house still standing. Times change; people move on – and hopefully carry some imparted wisdom away from that little building. (Then someone like me comes along and writes a poem or story about what once was and is no more.)

Coming home we saw another phenomenon of (human) nature. There had been a big football game in Regina Saturday afternoon, so by the time we reached Chamberlain, where the road from Moose Jaw reaches the #2 highway between Regina and Saskatoon, Rough Rider fans were streaming back from the game.

We heard the game drew 37,000 spectators, and I’m sure a third of them were on the road back to Saskatoon by the time we reached it. Looked like a solid line of headlights to the south and tail lights to the north. We had to wait a good while for enough of a break in the line that Bob could floor it and make his left turn and get in the flow. Rest stops were full of customers wearing the Rider green & white, triumphant over today’s win.

Like the snow geese, thousands of people were on a journey that day. And we see so many folks making the trip all through life at top speed, hoping to someday reach a place of rest and security where they can put up their feet and relax awhile before passing on.

Makes me wonder: are we finding the joys in our journey? Will we feel at the end the satisfaction of a life well-lived? And where will each of us finally come to rest?