Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Did God Answer My Prayer?

I couldn’t have captured a better parking spot if I’d prayed for one. The spot was on the end of a row, practically at the Zellers’ front entrance—any closer and it would have been marked ‘handicap’.

Mission accomplished, on my way out of the store, back to my red dirt-streaked van, I passed a hobbling woman. She had a cane. As I hurried past pressing the unlock button on my key, I silently prayed, “Lord, heal her.” I was reaching for the van’s door handle  when the woman with the cane caught up to me, “This isn’t yours.”

“Whoops. I have one just like it.”

“That’s okay. I’ve done that myself. Once I thought my husband was picking me up from work and got in with a total stranger.”

“Your dirt streaks are even similar to mine.”

“Red vans, they’re a dime a dozen.”

“I paid a dime for mine, too.”

We laughed. 

“I recognize mine by the doo-dad on the mirror.”

I looked at the Christmas decoration hanging from the mirror and then down at her cane, “Well, Merry Christmas and I pray your leg gets better.”

Then she told me about her knee operations and that her legs would never be completely well.

“Jesus can heal you. May I pray for you right now?”

“Sure.”

I bent down to touch her leg, “Lord heal these knees…in Jesus name.”

She got into her dirty red van, and filled with joy I headed over to the next row where mine was parked.

I believe God is healing her.

I want to hear about it. I should have given her my phone number.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunday Morning Confusion

At our end, it was all arranged. On Sunday Marty and I would be taking separate vehicles to church. He had to be there early to practise for a skit for the Christmas program and I would come later after picking up our friend “A” along with three friends she’d invited.

Ring, Ring, Riiiiinnnngg

“Hi, this is ‘B’. Could you pick me up today? My usual ride, ‘C’ is picking up ‘A’ and three friends.”

“I talked to ‘A’ last evening and I’m picking her up,” I said.

We decided ‘B’  would phone ‘C’ and I would phone ‘A’.

“No” ‘A’ said. “‘C’ is picking up my two of my friends. I’m coming with you.”

Ring, Ring, Riiiiinnnnngg.

“Hi this is ‘B’. ‘C’ is going 2 hours early. May I come with you?”

“Sure.”

Ring, Ring, Ring.

“Hello, this is ‘D’. ‘B’ phoned me and mentioned you are picking her up at 3:30. You can’t pick her up 3:30.
We have to practise the skit at 3:30.”

“I’m not in the skit.”

Ring, Ring, Riiiiinnnnggg.

“AAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhggggggggggggggggG”

“Why is mom screaming like a banshee?”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gender Confusion

I was slouched on the couch engrossed in a Bryce Courtney novel when the phone rang.

“It’s somebody Devankoep,” said my daughter handing me the portable phone displaying the unfamiliar name.

I pressed the talk button “Hello.”

“Hello, this is Tilly Devankoep. I’m calling from the Women’s Guild at the school. We need servers for Friday evening. Is your wife there?”

“I’m it.”

“Oh you like serving too?”

“No, I’m the the wife. I’m a woman.”

“Okay. Could you help us out Friday?”

Monday, November 22, 2010

Looking Forward to a Bird-Filled Winter

This is our first go at maintaining a bird-feeder out on the deck. We've already attracted enough birds to empty the feeder in a day. There are sparrows, chickadees, cardinals and blue jays as well as a bunch of birds I don't recognize as yet.

I'll be using my "Birds of North America" field guide.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gender Expression and Gender Identity

There is a bill before parliament right now (bill C-389) that wants to make it a criminal act to discriminate against anyone on the grounds of gender identity or gender expression. If you translate this into real life, having separate washrooms for men and women could be construed as discrimination.

The way I see it, a man is a man and a woman is a woman. The plumbing says it all. We don’t need gender identity imbedded into the Charter of Rights.

Personally I’m not ready to share a washroom with a bunch of men standing at urinals. And I’m sure they don’t want to share that space with me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cancerous Thoughts

When you have something physically wrong with you, what is your first thought?

I have a friend who espouses that in this day and age, when we find an unfamiliar spot on our skin or feel a pain, our question becomes, “Is this cancer?”

I didn’t believe her, but now since she presented her theory, every time I suffer any kind of pain, "Is this cancer?" does float across my mind.

There was a spot on my leg. It grew as the months passed. I went to the doctor. She gave me cream for nummular eczema. Is that all?

I burned the roof of my mouth and a blister developed. My mother had mouth cancer which started with blisters in the mouth. Even though I knew my blister developed after burning my mouth with very hot soup, cancerous thoughts attacked me.

My question: Is the fear of cancer a carcinogen?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Where is My Head?

I started preparing supper later than usual because I spent more time than I planned writing.

That’s why I had to cook and stir the pudding while I was cutting the meat and vegetables for the pepper steak.

That’s why I burned the pudding. 

I forgot to take my homemade tomato sauce out of the freezer until I needed it for the recipe. That’s why my pepper steak took longer to cook than usual. I also forgot to cook the noodles until everything else was ready.

That’s why we didn’t sit down to eat until 6:30, an hour later than usual.

“I don’t know where my head is,” I remarked to my husband as I wrestled myself into the present.

“Your heart isn’t in your cooking,” he observed. He doesn’t like eating later than usual.

The truth is my head and my heart were both in writer’s world.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Is It A Wasted Day When…?

  • You have writer’s block so you spend the morning of your writing day cleaning your kitchen appliances instead of writing?
  • Your appliances are gleaming and you still have writer’s block?
  • Your husband looks at your appliances and only notices the spot you forgot to gleam?
  • You try to have your daughter’s camera fixed, but Black’s (where you bought it) won’t send it in because their computer is down and they won’t let you leave the camera there because the paper you have to sign isn’t available because the computer is down?
  • You go to Old Navy for socks for yourself and end up with men’s socks because they only have anklets and big fuzzy warm socks and men’s socks and you don’t want to go to another store just for socks?
  • You go to three different places looking for picture frames and none of these place have frames in the size or style you want?
  • You go back to Black’s and their computer is still down?
  • … you go home with something to write about?

Monday, November 8, 2010

We Were Hoping for a Toboggan Hill

ants&glasses 002 We’re losing the soccer fields across the road. We’re getting four improved ball diamonds a parking lot and a new playground.

And on the other side of the park, instead of a school, we’ll have a row of homes. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Should We Take Our Cat to Church?

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On Sunday I came home from church to find my glasses case—which I had left in perfectly good condition on my dresser beside my bed—on the floor at the top of the stairs battered and chewed.

 

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why Believer’s Children Go to Church (or Don’t)

Do you know the main reason children of believers continue to go to church after they have left the family home?

According to Professor John Bowen’s research based on 333 interviews of young people who grew up Christian it’s not because of the church or the people.
 
The main reason children of believers go to church is because they have a relationship with God.

The main reason children of believers, who don’t go to church, don’t go to church is because of the church (not because they have given up on God).

Professor John Bowen, Associate Professor of Evangelism at Wycliffe College (University of Toronto) and Director of the Wycliffe College Institute of Evangelism, has written a book called, “Growing up Christian: Why Young People Stay in Church, Leave Church and (Sometimes) Come Back to Church.

My conclusion: let’s always meet God at church.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ants Before the Storm

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According to my plumber when ants invade the home, you know there is a storming coming.

These ants came to my house.

I spent a week feeding them ant killer.

A storm came.

They disappeared.

Conclusions:

1) Ant killer works.

2) Plumbers know things.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Worshipping the Worship

We had the most awesome time at church on Sunday evening. A troop of First Nations musicians took over the platform at church. This wasn’t a performance—simply three hours of pure worship, genuine let’s get together and worship.

Chairs were set out in three rows around the room. The centre of the sanctuary became the dance floor. We danced to the drumbeat. We danced with flags and enthusiasm and love for God and with each other.

Three hours flew by.

But, there was something wrong—there was something wrong with me. I was worshipping the worship. I was so busy doing this, I hardly took time to connect with God.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Apple Cake Recipe

This cake is too good not to share. It’s a recipe by Corrie De Boer from my old Timothy Christian School of Owen Sound Cookbook which is falling apart.

4 cups chopped apples
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup walnuts
1 cup raisins
1 cup chocolate chips

Beat eggs, pour over apples. Sift dry ingredients, add oil and mix well. Stir in apples and eggs. Add nuts, raisins and chocolate chips. Batter will be very thick. Use 9 by 13 pan. Bake 1 hour at 325.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recipe for Granola Raisin Cookies

Okay Tami, here is the recipe for the cookies mentioned in my previous post.

3/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

Leave out the 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons vanilla (pure tastes best, but costs more and seems to spill more often)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups granola (harvest crunch)

1 1/2 cups raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, sugars, egg, water and vanilla together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Combine flour, soda and cinnamon. Add to creamed mixture, beating on low speed until blended. Stir in oats and raisins. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto greased baking sheets. Leave mounded for chewy crisp cookies. Bake 12 minutes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Proverbs 31 Woman—eh! Redeemed

My daughter pointed out that most people would give up on making cookies if they didn’t have the main ingredient.

I was set on oatmeal cookies. I didn’t want to go the store. I’d already been there.

So I changed the recipe, used granola instead of oatmeal and left out the white sugar because the honey in the granola would make the cookies sweet enough.

My husband’s comment, “We’re eating these faster than you can bake them.”

See if you can beat that that, Proverbs 31 woman—eh!
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Proverbs 31 Woman, eh?

My husband called me a Proverbs 31 woman as he walked past me. I was heading upstairs with a folded a stack of towels and wash clothes balanced on one arm while casually munching on an apple.

When I reached the top of the stairs I perched the half-eaten apple on the banister post. It immediately rolled off, splatting apple bits on the way down to the front hall where it landed as mush on the just-vacuumed hardwood.

Proverbs 31 woman, eh?

Next, I went out to light the gas barbeque on the deck. It’s thermometer was already registering 400 degrees. How much fuel can a barbeque which has been burning for 24 hours use up? What is that in dollars?

Proverbs 31 women, eh?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nothing Like An Autumn Hike

Rustling leaves

Fallen trees

Crisp air

Balancing flair

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm a Municipal Politics Junkie

After going to 9 mayoral candidate debates, I feel like a political junkie. Why would anyone (other than a candidate) go to that many? I went to pray. I wasn’t the only one. There were a few of us who went to the meetings specifically to pray for truth and righteousness to prevail.

At the final debate I was sitting beside someone who told me that her 82-year-old salt-of-the-earth father surprised her by saying that if Larry Di Ianni and the pot-smoking guy were the only two candidates, he would vote for the pot-smoking guy.

I would certainly consider it.
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Cartoon drawn by editorial cartoonist Graeme MacKay.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our Answer to Prayer is 14 Now

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When Amanda was five she prayed for a baby. We told her not to…but she did anyway…quietly. Fourteen and a half years later, we can honestly say that we’re glad she did.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Plant is a Weed When…

…you don’t appreciate where it’s growing.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Thanks Tillsonburg Christian Reformed Church Ladies Bible Study

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I had a lot of fun speaking at the Tillsonburg CRC Ladies Bible Study kick-off dessert social and they even gave me flowers. How cool is that?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hamilton’s Next Mayor—Our Servant, Our Choice!

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Along with a few others, I have been praying at mayoral debates across the City of Hamilton.

The purpose is to pray throughout the debates for truth, righteousness and justice to prevail in our city.

Personally, I want a mayor who wants the best for our city, someone with a heart for this city—a servant—someone who is not full of himself, but does know what he is doing.

The King’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart. Proverbs 21:1-2 NIV

Let’s give the Lord a humble heart to work with.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thanksgiving at Dundas Peak

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Lots of colour, distant thunder, a slight drizzle and a taste of Korea.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thanksgiving Salad

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Avocado, pear, cranberry, walnut on spinach with vinaigrette…

Thanks Rachel. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

7 Random Household Questions

Why?

1)  Why do I discover one of my two decent hand towels in my husbands greasy cloth bin in the garage when there are two dozen older rattier ones under the bathroom sink?

2)  Why don’t the toothbrushes fit in the toothbrush holder?

3)  Why is my daughter out of shampoo when there are 15 bottles at various levels for full in the girl’s bathroom?

4)  Why hasn’t anyone invented a self-cleaning sink?

5)  Why do the makers of Wii Fit assume I appreciate a balance board that nags about my weight, my family and life in general?

6)  Why do my geraniums do so well?

7)  Why aren’t geraniums my favourite plant?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blinded by the Bomb - Part III

(continued from previous post)

"Well, there's the sink. You can splash water in your eye." She left, quietly closing the door behind her.


I walked over to the sink, eye still stinging and burning and watering. I turned on the tap and splashed water with both hands up into both eyes."

Now my face was dripping wet and both eyes were stinging and burning and closed.

There wasn't a towel. I tried to wipe my face with my paper gown which disintegrated wherever I touched it, except the plastic ribbon which was impossible to undo and took all the strength of this blind Samson to break.

After wrestling out of my disintegrating paper bag and plastic ribbon, and through squinted burning stinging watering eyes, I dressed. By the time I had everything back on, the stinging had stopped and my eyes opened. I could drive home by myself after all.

Moral of the story: Don't blindly follow your doctor's orders.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Blinded by the Bomb - Part II

(continued from previous post)

Dutifully I removed everything and wrapped myself in paper. With some difficulty I tied the short plastic ribbon at the waist—a not-so-gentle reminder to lose weight. The paper came to just above my knees, exposing furry legs.

The doctor came in. She directed me onto the examining table. I apologized for not shaving my legs.

She judged my legs as perfectly acceptable now that summer was over—at least that's what she said. I love my doctor.

After the examination, as she was writing me a prescription for the nummular eczema on my thigh, I absent-mindedly rubbed my left eye before putting my glasses back on.

Instantly my eye began to sting and burn and water and close.

Squinting and tearing, I explained about the tomato sauce and the cherry bomb peppers. The doctor was very interested in my recipe, but enquired, "Didn't you wash your hands?"

"Yes, but..."

(continued)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Blinded by the Bomb

"Be very careful about what you touch," warned Amy when I asked her about the cherry bomb peppers she had brought me along with the bushel of tomatoes, green peppers, and onions for my winter supply of tomato sauce. "Those pepper give off a powerful oil."

I planned to cook up and freeze my sauce that Monday between loads of laundry and my annual physical at the doctor's.

The annual physical was most important, as I hadn't had one for about ten years. I don't know why it's called 'annual.'

So, at 10 o'clock, I stopped cutting up tomatoes and peppers, put the sauce on simmer, and quickly washed my hands before driving over to the doctor's office.

A nurse led me to an examination room, weighed me, took my blood pressure, and told me to take everything off to put on the gown.

"Which gown?" I asked looking around.

"That gown," she pointed to a piece of paper on the examining table.

She left.

(continued)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Of Trees and Nails

A landscape of trees captivated my attention as I walked the grounds at Mount Mary's Retreat Centre during a recent "Power of Words" conference. I could see maple, ash, oak, pine, cedar, and blue spruce along with many varieties I didn't recognize. Big old trees towered over the more recently planted.

Psalm one declares that a person who avoids evil and delights in God's law "is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." Psalm 1:3

I thought about how all these different trees were like the women at the conference, everyone unique.

I asked the Lord, "Which one am I?"

He directed my attention to a white cross off in the distance.

"You mean I'm a dead piece of wood?" Rather disappointing, I thought.

In my spirit I heard, "Yes, and I'm nailed to you."

Later at the conference the speaker spoke of nails as mentioned in Ecclesiates 12:11, "The words of the wise are like goads. Their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd."

Later at the conference, I also had an opportunity to say something. I told a stupid joke, to get a laugh. I could have shared my experience with the Lord, to give wisdom.

Words are indeed powerful. I want mine to be "like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

If Your Name is Misspelled?

If your name is spelled wrong on a volunteer appreciation certificate are you still appreciated?

If your name is not spelled correctly on a diploma have you still graduated?

If your name is misspelled on your birth certificate were you still born?

And, if your name is spelled incorrectly on your driver's license does that mean somebody else is driving your car?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Boat in the Bottom of the Bay

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Big Tub Harbour is in Tobermory, Ontario.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Croquet in the Park

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Our girls are finishing up a friendly game of croquet. Of course, their parents have already finished.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Summer Scenes—Art in the Park

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Artist Julia Veenstra at Oakville’s Art in the Park this past summer

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Get Lost Wasp! Natural Wasp Deterrent

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The “Get Lost Wasp!” stimulates a wasp’s nest with colours and patterns that work successfully on yellowjackets. As wasps are very territorial creatures and an average wasp nest has a 200 foot territorial radius, wasps will instinctively flee an area they find to contain an unfamiliar nest. That’s what the package claims.

Ours isn’t working.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

There’s a Storm Coming

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Rejoice and exult in hope;

be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation;

be constant in prayer.

Romans 12:12

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What Can a Raccoon Do With a Watermelon?

“The raccoons won’t do anything with a watermelon.” I said confidently to my fellow campers as we stashed every other eatable thing into the van before we retired to our tents.

We were a family of seasoned campers. We knew to put away our food and cover our firewood and turn over our shoes should it rain. We could do this camping stuff in the dark—we weren’t even worried about the weak flashlight batteries. Who needs a flashlight?

In the wee hours we woke up to the growls.

They were angry territorial growls. The kind of growls that forced me to imagine I was safe in my sleeping bag beside my brave husband inside the polyester tent. This took all my imagining ability.

The growls finally subsided. I drifted back to sleep. Marty heard smacking…“like an animal eating plastic.” He didn’t wake me.

In the morning this is what was left of our watermelon…
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…scooped out down to the rind.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Same Chapter, Different Text

Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. 
Matthew 7:1

Beware of false prophets, who come to you dressed as sheep, but inside they are devouring wolves. You will fully recognize them by their fruits. Do people pick grapes from thorns, or fig from thistles?
Matthew 7:15-16

How do you implement verses 15 and 16 without running into problems with verse one?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Her Roses in My Vase

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Every year Mrs. Z’s flesh-ripping rosebush produces the most delicate, apricot-orange, aromatic roses.

For many summers I have fed and watered this rosebush. From her cottage up north, Mrs. Z would phone regularly for a bud and bloom count. She would let me have the roses—at least the ones she hadn't promised elsewhere.

This summer Mrs. Z didn't go up to the cottage; she is in a long-term care facility. I still take care of her roses.

During a short dry spell when I went to Mrs. Z's vacant house to water the rosebush, I found it loaded with half a dozen lovely blooms. I arranged them in my favourite simple white vase on my dining room table—an aromatic delight to behold, and only one thorny flesh wound as payment.

When Allison beheld my treasure she asked, “When are you bringing them over to Mrs. Z’s?”

“I’m not, she gave them to me.”

“That’s not what she told me when I visited her. She’s expecting them.”

Of course, what was I thinking?

The next day Allison and I drove the vase of roses out to the long-term care facility where Mrs. Z. lies abed. She was delighted to see us and even more delighted to see the roses which she immediately asked me to trim. "They will last longer if you cut the stems everyday."

I trimmed the stems as I transferred the roses from my favourite white vase into her little brown jug, but Mrs. Z. stopped me. She insisted the roses stay in the white vase—then she could check the water level. (She is rather blind and guessed the white china was clear glass.)

Allison tried to correct this misbelief, but to no avail. According to Mrs. Z. my vase was see-through and lighter to handle than her brown jug. She put out her hands to hold the vase for herself, warning me not to let go.

Of course, I let her have the vase and the roses. It sits in her window, an aromatic delight to behold.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Taking a Hike

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What’s a vacation without a hike? There is nothing quite like trudging through the bogs and muskegs of northern Ontario swatting insects and wondering why the trail markers disappeared, or (after an hour or two) if the end is around the next corner or maybe the next….

Thursday, July 8, 2010

26 Years of Elementary Christian Education

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Last month our baby graduated at Calvin Christian Elementary School. We’ve had at least one child in Christian elementary school for the past 26 years. Some people think 26 tuition-paying years deserves some kind of reward—that’s how I got to be the parent speaker at the graduation ceremony.
Being the speaker was an honour and a pleasure, but the real reward of 26 years of children in Christian elementary school is children who know that God is God and that He created all things.
As parents we were willing to pay for that kind of education for each of our children. My prayer is that the governments in this country will once again value education that recognizes God as God.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Best Way to Enjoy Cottage Life

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Several years ago Mrs. Z. offered to sell us her cottage. Mrs. Z.’s cottage was located on a pristine lake. Mrs. Z’s cottage needed a lot of work. Tearing it down and putting up a tent would be one option.

We thought about the pros and cons of owning a cottage and came up with mostly cons.

1) Weekend traffic

2) Cottage maintenance

3) Same old, same old, year after year

This summer we discovered the joy of cottage life without all the cons. Well, we still had to do the traffic thing (during the G8 even).

For five nights we rented a cottage big enough for our whole family, with a dock on a gorgeous lake with the use of a canoe and a paddleboat, a brand new BBQ, a fully equipped kitchen better than the one at home, a TV for World Cup Soccer, movies and toys galore.

The votes are in. We’ll be doing this again.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Julie the Jewel

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Look what I can do.

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Hang on.

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I’ll fix it.

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With Aunt Inna.

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With Daddy.

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Sleeping.

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Riding

 

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With the cousins.

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A casual drive.

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Resting.

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Sliding.

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Dishes.

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Boating.

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That’s all folks.