Monday, July 30, 2012


"Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."  Hebrews 13:1,2
"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." I Peter 4:9

I have never felt that I was particularly good at being hospitable.  It goes back to when we were a family of three with Rose as an infant.  After service one Sunday, I invited another young couple to come over and the wife said that they couldn't because they had already made plans.  Shortly afterwards I heard her talking to someone else and asking if they'd like to do something with them.  I actually had the nerve to confront her about that and she responded that she never felt comfortable coming to my place because it was always so messy.

After that, I felt that I could never have anyone over unless my house was spotless - and it never was.  Well, I changed my attitude totally when I moved to Regina four years ago.  I came to the conclusion that the problem was actually hers, not mine, and I didn't need to burden myself with her expectations.  I've tried to have people over regularly and often.  It has also made a huge difference that I haven't had as much clutter here to deal with.

Yesterday, I had around 55 people over for Sunday dinner.  Now to be honest, I didn't do a whole lot to prepare for this; it was kind of an impromptu thing.  When I got home from service, I told Bram to help me put all the leaves in the dining table and to clean off the clutter from the coffee table into a box (and hide the box in my room).  Ruth and I picked up some KFC and I had some hamburger in the fridge that Ruth turned into "Cowboy Food" (an old family recipe - I'll post it later).  I made a large lettuce salad, other people brought various and sundry other items and we all managed.  There was enough food to go around, and even a little leftovers for lunch today.  There wasn't much dessert - sorry about that.  When I have a smaller crowd (20 or fewer) I use real plates, but for a large crowd I pull out the paper plates.  I used real cutlery, though we ran short for the last group but everyone seemed to manage somehow.

This evening I did the final clean up.  I'm still finding the odd paper plate stashed in a strange corner, or a plastic cup here or there.  I went through all three garbage bags because I seem to be short forks (didn't find any), and ran two loads through the dishwasher.  I feel that I have been really blessed by laying those old shackles to rest and opening my house.  I still have difficulty inviting people (but I've found that if I tell one or two outgoing people to invite people over, that also works).  I have been truly blessed in having a home that makes it easy to show hospitality.

Major Life Changes

I have always found it a little curious that what can be a tremendously life-changing event to one individual, or group of individuals, will rate, at most, a minor note in the news.  You hear items on the news such as, "A xx year old woman has been killed in a single vehicle accident," and you know that the family involved will never be the same again.  Or, there will be items that don't even make the news, "Did you hear that so and so had a baby?" - and you know that the family involved will never be the same again.

My extended family has undergone three such major life changes in the past week.  My cousin's daughter died suddenly without warning.  She was only 30 years old.  They think it was likely a heart attack.  The next day, her sister-in-law gave birth to a new baby - their first.  The funeral was on Wednesday; then Saturday another cousin's son was married here in Regina.  Three huge life changing events.

I am only peripherally affected.  I know and love the families involved and have shared in a very minor way in their lives.  The cousin whose daughter died and whose son had a baby, was a close friend of mine.  We shared a birthday, and grew up together - but she's been dead for years now, and I really have only met - not known her children, as we have lived a continent apart.  I'm a near neighbour to the one who was married this weekend.  I taught him (and his new bride) at school, and have lived in close community to his family (at one time, right across the hall).

The one thing that was consistent throughout all three of these major events was the presence of the Lord.  He was there with Deanna as she died, and is still supporting her husband and family as they grieve.  He was there with Dwight and Laura Jean as they rejoice in their new child.  And He was there with Tate and Ashley as we all celebrated their marriage together.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Moving On

I've accepted a position at Regina Public Library and will start August 1.  This must be an answer to prayer because I know I'll really enjoy working there.  I will have two coworkers in the literacy department with me and will work from 8:45 to 5 pm Monday to Friday as well as every third Saturday.  Because there is no parking downtown I'll be taking the bus daily.  I think I'm looking forward to that as well.  I was checking out bus schedules last night and I can get downtown in about 10 min and home in about the same amount of time.  The city provides a discount for their employees for the bus pass, which will also be a bonus.  I don't know anything about pensions and other benefits yet, but one step at a time.

Friday, July 13, 2012


I've done a little bit of part-time work for Ruth this week. She's been sort of swamped and I'm off for the summer.  I've enjoyed it, but am glad that I know I wouldn't be able to do it full-time or regularly.  I'm not cut out for full-time office work.

I had an interview this morning for a new job.  They said they'd let me know Monday.  I think I had a good interview.  This is the job I wrote about earlier.  I know I'd love everything about the job except the salary.  Well, I think I'll just trust in God and if I'm offered it, I'll accept it - but keep my eyes open still.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sunny summer days

We're setting heat records here in Saskatchewan.  My house has no air conditioning, however I haven't found it too uncomfortable.  I open windows at night and get a fan going to get some cooler air in and close everything up tight during the day.  Last night it didn't cool off very much overnight.  My thermostat, which is set in Fahrenheit, said it only cooled down to 74 (23 C); and it's supposed to get up to 34 C (91 F) today.  It does mean that I'm thankful for high ceilings and fans, and that I've adjusted to the sunny south here.  When I first moved south from the NWT, I would have died in these temperatures; now I'm just a little uncomfortable.

My garden is thriving.  I've moved everything from my back deck (which is always in full shade, thanks to the 18 full-grown elms in the back yard) to my front yard, which is generally sunny, but does have some shade.  I've got everything in planters.  I think that long term, I'd like to put a raised garden in the front yard, but for now, the planters work.  My mom pointed out that they're killing the grass, but you can't see the grass there, because they're under the planters, so I don't think that's a real problem.

They're working on the street in front of my house.  They've been working on the back alley behind my house all month.  Yesterday they tore out all of the asphalt in front.  The back alley used to be paved but is now sand.  What this means is that I can't park at my house if I want to be able to use the car.  I've been parking at the school parking lot across the street.  Good thing the school is out for the summer.  It also means that I have to drive my garbage to the dumpsters, a block and a half away.  Whenever anyone comes to visit, I send my garbage home with them.

I haven't used my back yard hardly at all this year.  It's becoming overgrown with volunteer chokecherry bushes and grass, etc.  I think I'm going to have to pay someone to clean it up for me, because my nephew borrowed my weed whacker and broke it.  I've moved my barbecue to my front driveway and cook there when I want to cook outside.  In many ways, that works better because it's easier see and hear what's happening there and we tend to use the living room (by the front door) more often than the family room (by the back door).

Friday, July 6, 2012

New recipes again

I had some chicken breasts in my fridge that needed to be cooked before they turned slimy, so I invited Walt and Ruth for supper and then experimented a little.  Had a really good meal, here's the menu:

Lemon Chicken
Freshly steamed swiss chard (from my garden)
Asian Bean Sprout Salad (a new salad recipe)
Fresh green salad with a raspberry vinaigrette

Cherry ice cream for dessert.  (Ruth had a sugar-free ice cream sandwich).

The lemon chicken was very nice.  Here's what I did:

Lemon Chicken
Thinly slice one lemon and place in a bowl with
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 TLB minced garlic
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Add 3 chicken breasts sliced into bite-sized portions and marinate for 1/2 hour or longer, then cook.

The Bean Sprout Salad Recipe is quite spicy (because of the cayenne, but it's very nice).

Bean Sprout Salad

1 pound (or more) Mung Bean Sprouts
1 cup cucumber - peeled and sliced
1/2 + cup carrot - grated
1+ cup sweet peppers chopped
Any other vegetables you want to add


3 TLB tahini or crunchy peanut butter (or combination of the two)
2 TLB soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (or less)
1 tsp. sugar
1 TLB toasted sesame oil
2 TLB corn, sunflower or vegetable oil
1 TLB ginger - minced
1 TLB garlic - minced
2 TLB green onion - minced
1 tsp. hot mustard (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)

Mix all vegetables and sprouts in a bowl.
Mix all dressing ingredients together and pour over sprouts + vegetable mix.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

I interviewed for a position last week, but haven't heard anything since.  (No news is generally bad news when it comes to job hunting.)  I texted one of the people who was in the interview to find out if she knows anything about a decision being made.

There's another job posted with Regina Public Library right now that looks like it's been written for me.  It's very similar to the literacy position I had in Yellowknife with Aurora College - and I know I could do it, and do it well.  I'd enjoy it.  The catch is the salary is only about 60% of what I would make as a teacher on the grid - and is considerably less than I made as a teacher at Western (when I made 80% of the grid).  I'd make about $1,000 a month (gross) less.  However, on the other hand, I'd enjoy the job, and I'd like to think I'd have a good chance of getting the position.  On the other hand, if I was working full-time - it would limit me from any other job options where I could make a fair bit more.  Is a job with a substantial pay cut still a good thing?  I have to apply before Monday.  So I have to make up my mind before then.

Then, there's another position (part-time) available through another community college (not SIAST) here in Regina.  It's also quite similar to another job I had in Yellowknife.  Again, I know I'd enjoy the work, and could do it.  However, it's only a part-time position.  Do I apply?

Decisions, decisions.  I think the answer is to seek input and advice from others, and to pray about it a lot.  So... I'm looking for comments and advice here.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Canada Day Salad

We just tried this salad - and it's essentially red and white; so would have been good for Canada Day.

Watermelon Salad

1 (2 kg) seedless watermelon
1 thinly sliced red onion
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

¼ cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
½ cup oil
2 TLB chopped fresh mint
6 whole mint sprigs

Peel and cut the flesh from the melon into bite-sized pieces.  Peel and slice the onion into rings. Combine the watermelon, onion and feta in a large bowl.
Combine the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Add the chopped mint.  Pour over the watermelon mixture and gently toss until everything is coated.  Garnish with mint sprigs.

Long Weekend - and a new casserole recipe

Because it's a long weekend, Ruth and I ended up making salads on Monday instead of Saturday.  Saturday I was attending a wedding and Ruth and Walter went with my parents to Calgary for David and Shirley's 50th anniversary.

Because it always goes faster if I cook the legumes and grains first, I put green lentils, split yellow chickpeas and brown rice to cook before we had even decided what we were going to cook.  These are fairly staple ingredients for us; we always try to do at least one recipe with a grain, and one with a pulse crop - and they take awhile to cook, so it's good to have them started ahead of time.

My dad had read something to us about rinsing any fruit or vegetable that is prone to mold in a wash made from one part vinegar to ten parts water, so we're trying that as well.  We had purchased fresh blueberries, some mini cucumbers, grape tomatoes, purple grapes and red onions - all of which can be prone to mold.  In fact, several of the red onions (we buy them in 10 kg sacks) had already started molding, so we'll have to see how this works.

We also tried a new casserole.  After we had made our Lentil and Brown Rice salad, we still had leftover lentils and brown rice - and we hadn't used the chickpeas at all.  So I searched for a recipe that involved all three of those ingredients.  Here's what I found:

Lentil, Chick Pea And Rice Casserole

2 TLB Garlic; minced
1/2 cup green lentils; washed
3 cups Vegetable stock; or water
2 TLB olive oil
1 cup Rice, uncooked
salt and pepper; to taste
1/4 cup Chopped fresh parsley
1 19-oz can chickpeas (or two cups)
2 TLB Fresh dill; chopped
1 Onion; chopped
1 cup Feta cheese; crumbled
1 1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese; grated

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cook until fragrant and tender, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in rice and lentils; cook 2 minutes. Add chick peas and vegetable stock or water. Bring to boil. Lower heat, cover and cook gently for 20-25 minutes or until rice and lentils are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley, dill, feta and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese. Place in a 2 1/2 liter ovenproof casserole or baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheddar. If serving immedaitely, broil until cheese bubbles and is light brown. If making ahead, and reheating, bake in 375 F. oven for 20-25 minutes until hot. Makes 4-6 servings.

Now, to be honest - we already had the lentils, etc. cooked, so we didn't cook them in the frying pan with the liquid it called for, we just dumped in the cooked equivalent - so two cups cooked rice instead of 1 cup uncooked; 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils instead of 1/2 cup uncooked.  I also didn't have any dill on hand.   This was so good - that Ruth and I were scraping out the dutch oven after we filled the casserole dish - just so we could eat the scrapings.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Over and done with?

Grad on Thursday was lovely.  It was everything it always is, with good-bye speeches, and awards, etc.  Then there was Friday.  The last official day of work was Friday.  We had over 125 shelves of books to pack Friday - and we got them packed.  The air conditioning was non-existent in the library - and it started at 25 and the temperature went up from there.  It was a long hot day, and bitter sweet. By the end of the day I was totally exhausted.  We were supposed to bring our computers to the front office so they could be decommissioned, and  I had absolutely no strength to do it.  I had made plans for us to go out for supper as I knew Ruth was as busy at her office as I was in the library.  After supper, Dad and I took Joe over to the four-plex so that he could finish up some of the work that had to be done there.  Then up by Home Depot to get some supplies needed to finish up.  By that time my hip had gone out of joint and I could hardly walk.  I collapsed into bed by 9 pm and was so tired I couldn't sleep.

Saturday was Angela's wedding.  It was very nice to have an excuse to not go back to school, as there's still cleaning up and finishing up to be done there.  I was still so sore from Friday that I had to think about it before I sat down as both sitting and getting up again hurt.  The wedding was very nice, but I left by about 8 pm and went back to bed, exhausted again.  I've been hosting Tara K all weekend - she flew in for the wedding, and it's also been very nice to touch base with her and find out how she's doing.

This morning Tara and I went to service early so that we could get the communion trays ready.  It's a good thing we had lots of visitors as many of our regulars were away for the long weekend.  After service, Tara and I went home and made lunch, then went over to the Lieutenant Governor's grounds for the afternoon garden party and levee, in honour of Canada Day and HRH's Diamond Jubilee.  We took a tour of Government House (very cool), sat on our lawn chairs in the shade and listened to Connie Kaldor and Regina Riot Dixieland band, ate complimentary popcorn and sugar cookies (with HRH's coat of arms on them), and had a nice relaxing time.  It's now two days since I did such a massive job packing books (Friday) and I can sit down and stand without wincing but am still a little tired and sore.

I'm thankful that it's a long weekend and that I don't have to go back to work Monday.  Actually, I guess, that because I don't have a job anymore, I don't have to go back to work at all.  I know the Lord will provide, and I'm anxious to know where and how He will be providing for me.