Monday, June 28, 2010

interesting thoughts...

...It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power... thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through Christ Jesus. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. -- 1 Corinthians 15

Fame is a four-letter word. And like tape, or zoom, or face, or pain, or love, or life, what ultimately matters is what we do with it. -- Fred Rogers

The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it. -- Lou Holtz

Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things, on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your own weakness. -- Mother Teresa

Yesterday is gone; tomorrow has not come. We have only today. Let us begin. -- Mother Teresa

“Isn't it odd how much fatter a book gets when you've read it several times?” Mo had said. “As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells... and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower... both strange and familiar.” -- Inkspell (Cornelia Funke)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

June 24th

June 24th, 2010

This morning I woke up to thunder. Then, it started pouring. I am beginning to think this wet will never stop! The other day, I was talking to a friend via phone and, in my innocence, said that I didn't think there were mosquitoes in this neck of the woods, because in all the time I had been here, I hadn't seen one. The next day was warm and... guess what? Lol. We're being eaten alive. Fr. Banga has some bug spray but I hesitate to use it as it's not supposed to be good to breathe. I'll live. :-P

And now the sun shines. I can't believe how quickly it goes from being sunny out to pouring buckets to being sunny again. Last night, it rained very hard... hailed a bit, too. It was a little interesting because, firstly, Fr. Banga had to go shut the van windows. When the rain let up just a bit, he held a board over his head and went out. But he abandoned the board on the way in and just as he did, it decided to rain sheets. I've never seen him move so fast. Lol! Then, the wind changed and water started coming in at the end of the hall. The doors was open because Hannah had painted the one corner again and we wanted it to dry. However, the water wasn't helping anything dry so Fr. Banga bade me shut them. The doors open out and they had been blocked open so the wind wouldn't close them. Imagine how wet I got. Soaked. To the skin. In 5 seconds. Lol!

Last Saturday, we got a phone call from Peter and Gabi. They're picking us up on Saturday morning to spend the weekend in Regina. I am happy. :-) :-) :-)

Sunday the 20th: After church, we went to Michele's house. Talk about fun. :-) :-) We had a glorious jam with her and Emily Klatt. And while we were having fun, Will was doing a computer job for Fr. Banga that would have been a nightmare if it hadn't been for him. Thank God for computer people. :-) After the “party” at Michele's, we picked up Sister Lucille and went to supper at Al and Loretta's (remember the story of the bull and the “badge”). I think it was the humidity and the heat and the fact that we'd played so hard at Michele's... the jam with Al was the deadest jam I've ever played in my entire life. I couldn't keep my eyes open. Lol! :-P

Monday the 21st: Painted Mess Hall floor (dark gray) in morning; ate quick lunch; went to Moosomin for our dentist/orthodontist appointment. Anyone seen Gettysburg? I picked it up for $5 at The Bargain Shop. Haven't watched it yet.

Fr. Banga put the heat pump for the pool out into the lake. I'm not positive how it works but using the concept of geo-thermal, they heat the pool with this pump. John came as well as another friend of Fr. Banga's... whose name also is David. Except this David got the string bean gene. ;-) They got in the boat together and it was hysterical watching them. We laughed so hard. But both Davids are clowns and they encouraged the fun.

Our teeth are moving. The first two days were spent on pain killer, as usual. We ate yogurt and Fettuccine with white sauce. Hehe. But they're doing better now. Last night, I actually didn't take painkiller and I slept like a log.

Sorry... the pictures are backwards! Here the pump is being dumped out of the boat. Fr. Banga...

Dear John! He doesn't wear his teeth unless he's eating because he claims he can't get enough oxygen while wearing them. Lol. I'm so glad to have all of my own teeth. I need all the oxygen I can get. :D

Lydia with the cable. Hannah and John with the pipe.

Tuesday the 22nd : Gave the Mess Hall floor another coat of paint. Prayed that it sticks. We had tried to paint a corner of the floor a couple weeks ago and even walking on it, the paint would come off. I had visions of a gray floor with red peaking through at intervals... anyways, I prayed. Really hard. Lol. If there is anything I dislike, it's having to re-do a job.

After the painting was complete, we worked in Music Room #2 with the chesterfields. Fr. Banga and Hannah screwed the stands onto the bottoms of the chesterfields and I sorted screws. Lydia painted the green on the front of the stage and hauled garbage. After I finished with the sorting of the screws, I gave the front of the stage a second white coat of paint. We did about 10 other odd jobs that aren't horribly big but make such a difference when they're all done. :-)

Wednesday the 23rd: I had been dreading painting the mural. Lydia and Hannah did all the “inside” colors but it needed a black outline to be completed. I am no artist. I wasn't sure if I could do it well enough because if the paintbrush slips just a little, well... anyways. But I began at it right away. My idea is to try to get the worst over with as soon as possible. :-P It went ok. I'll try to post some pictures with this blog entry so you can see what we did with it. I am not entirely pleased with the finished product... mainly because of Jesus' facial features. Blah. (again, I am so not an artist! :-P) Fr. Banga said that it looks like someone gave Jesus a black eye. ::snort:: But it's ok. I feel such a sense of relief to have that done. :-)

Lydia cut all of the grass. Hannah did a million and one odd jobs. Fr. Banga fixed stuff that only he could fix. Life is ok. :-)

Working on the mural...

The finished product.

June 26th: We're in Regina at Peter and Gabi's... having a wonderful time. :) The fellowship is so refreshing. I feel like I'm resting. :) Talk to ya'll later.

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 9th

June 9th, 2010

So, the past few days have been crazily busy. And when I was resting, I only wanted to do just that. Lol! Today was spent cleaning the pool. We got it done in 5 ½ hours! It is such a relief to be finished with that job because it had been looming over our ('our' includes Fr. Banga, as well) heads since the day we arrived at camp. It wasn't as bad as they've had it in some years. The algae was only a skim that the acid could eat away in a few minutes. Still, cleaning the pool was probably the hardest job we've done so far.

Al H. came to help. It was a good thing, too. Fr. Banga needed his experience and we needed the extra set of hands. The girls had great fun tossing the dozens of frogs that had congregated in the pool over the fence. The acid killed them whenever they came in contact with it so we tried to get them out as soon as we could. There were also some salamanders that the girls showed Fr. Banga, much to his discomfort. He keeps saying, “They stuck them right in my face! Why did God make lizards anyhow? They're so ugly!” Lol!!

The water had gotten under the pool and had made wrinkles in the rubber surround. Fr. Banga helped us some with straightening but afterwards it was us girls. We finally got it down and it went pretty fast. But by the time we were finished, I was so tired and glad that when Lydia asked, “Anybody crying yet?” I almost said yes. ;-) I've never worked on anything so frustrating.

We tried to pump most of of the water out of the pool but since the pool hadn't been cleaned yet this year, there was a lot of sand/dirt/leaves/dead mice/etc that plugged up the hose ending. We ended up dipping it out by five gallon bucketfuls and using a shop-vac.

The best part of the job? Getting to use the pressure-washer. :-) The very last wash, Fr. Banga told me I could do it. I think he'd seen me eying him and Al H. when they were using it. :-) Hehe. I was surprised at the pressure... It kept trying to get away from me. :-)

Saturday the 5th, Fr. Banga took us to the family farm in Stockholm, where we spent the day. His brother and family live there. They gave Lydia two horses that they were just going to send to the auction. We called the family and they came down to pick them up. It actually worked out quite well... they had just sold one of Dad's horses, so he was in the mood. :-) Ellie came with her fiddle so we had a bit of a concert later on in the evening. I hadn't realized how much we missed her... and her fiddle. ;-)

June 15th, 2010

I cleaned windows for 5 hours today. It was so good to hear Fr. Banga say, at 3 pm, we'd done enough work for the day! :-) Hannah cut wood. Lydia did all around odd jobs.

The past 3 days or so I haven't been feeling quite normal... my energy has been down. I finally realized that it might be the Pine-Sol cleaner we've been using. So I'm going to stay away from it and watch my energy sky-rocket again. Lol.

I'm so tired tonight. But I had a good day. We watched “Charlie's Ghost” this evening. Definitely a kid's film but it was hilarious. The guy that played Coronado's Ghost was a real ham and some of the things he did had us holding our sides. Very fun. :-)

John has been here more lately... there has been a lot of things he needed to fix... for instance, one of the valves in the main washrooms was leaking. Fr. Banga had to go to Carlyle for a meeting so I ended up being a helper (I hope, anyway!) to John. All the while I'm fetching wrenches, clamps, etc, etc, he kept a running commentary of what he was doing to fix the problem (I enjoyed this) and when he finished, he stood and said, “Now we turn on the water. I'm positive I did a fabulous job, but I want to make sure.”

John makes the sun shine brighter. :-)

I'm so tired. Lol! My brain just isn't working properly for writing. :-P :-)

Please pray that God will be glorified through us. And pray that if it's God's will, I'll feel 110% again. I am learning, once again, about trust.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

June 17th & 20th

Note: Thank you to all who leave comments on my posts. :-) I keep meaning to reply but I have very little time to be on the internet so it's hard to accomplish everything I wish to. But rest assured I do read what you write and it brightens my day. :-)

June 17th, 2010

It's an awesome feeling when a room full of conversing people falls so silent you could hear a pin drop. That's what happened this evening at the Knights of Columbus Supper. When we began the song Wayfaring Stranger, everyone was talking. I actually prefer that because any mistake I/we make is undercover. Lol! And Wayfaring Stranger is such a lovely lilting song that I forgot all about our audience and just enjoyed the melody and words. For those not aware of this, I assure you that there is an entire existence to be found in music. :-) But suddenly, the silence was so loud that it got into my head.

There are different kinds of audiences, mostly depending on how well your performance is. Hehe. Usually, I prefer noise because noise is often appreciative: clapping, laughing, humming, singing, etc, etc. Silence for us usually means that the audience is being polite. ;-) And I hate polite audiences. :-P But tonight was different. This silence was anything but politeness. The music had broken through all barriers and touched their souls. It was like they had forgotten to breathe. It was awesome. Almost frightening to have had a hand in that serious of an effect on human beings.

I do not say this in arrogance. I hope I have not come across that way. But it was such a neat experience that I wanted to share it. Sincerely, it was mostly the song. I've heard it played/sung many times and it never fails to make me silent... As my brother would say, that's quite a feat. :-)

Today was a musical day. Two days ago, Fr. Banga informed us that Jo King would pick us up on Thursday (today) to go play at the Home in Carlyle. We all kind of looked at each other and said, “Um... that means we need to get a program together. Now.” Lol! We had known that Jo was going to get us scheduled to sing there so we should have gotten ready a week or so ago. But being lazy and half witted, we put it off until last minute. As usual. :-P But it came together in about 10 minutes and yesterday, we practiced 2/3 of it. This morning I was up at six, putting the last of it together (I had to handwrite a lot of the song words out because we only had one copy) and we practiced until right before Jo arrived.

Boy! It was so good to see her again. She is so jolly. And she's talkative so I never feel like I'm talking too much around her. :-) :-) Jo is a wonderful musician and singer. Her mother was a musician and ran a Pig 'n Whistle show for 20 years, so Jo grew up performing with her friends. You can imagine the talent. But that aside, she is a lovely person. I feel privileged to think of her as a friend.

The program went well. The only thing I found was my fingers kept sticking to the keys of the piano. I think I maybe perspired or something. Strange. Anyway, it was lovely otherwise. :-) The reaction was nice, too. Jo told us one lady had tears in her eyes... making people cry that way always makes me feel nice. ;-) Oh! There was a little old man (no this is not the beginning of a song!) who wanted to see us a bit closer so he looked at Hannah and the banjo... then Lydia and her guitar... but when he came to me, my hair was hanging down over my shoulder, so he lifted it gently and peered into my face (this was all during the middle of a song ;-)). If anyone else had done it, I would have been a little put off but this man was like a very polite child. I was fine with it. When the workers came up, fluttering a bit, he said, “I wanted to see who was playing the piano.”

Afterwards, Jo took us shopping and we found a number of lovely little gifts for certain peoples of our lives and then, she took us out to A&W for dinner. I hadn't been out to a fast food restaurant in a couple years, anyways, so that was a wonderful treat. :-) I did NOT have Root Beer. It's my favorite soda but I'm trying to lie low on the sugar. I did eat a little Belgium milk chocolate later on in the afternoon, however. Just a little. ::smile::

After we came home, Fr. Banga had us do a little work. But it started sprinkling so he told me that all I had to do was sweep the leaves up in the outdoor chapel and that was all. I went and snitched a broom, shovel and wheelbarrow (Fr. Banga asked me if I had a license to drive it ;-)) and had most of the leaves out of the chapel when suddenly, the light shifted and it started to pour. And I mean, really, really pour. I've only seen it rain that hard once before in my life. Hannah and I waited around for a while, glad to be under a roof, but it didn't stop. Finally, it let up a bit and we decided to make a run for it. As Fr. Banga says, we're not that sweet. ;-)

The weather forecast is two additional inches of rain for tonight with warnings for tornado and high winds.

Mater: “I'm as happy as a tornader in a trailer park!” (Cars)

I think I've posted this verse before, but it has been brought to my attention once again... “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.” (2 Corinthians 1:24) I think of all the years that I tried to assert dominion over what others believed... judging, anxious, arrogant. Why is it that some verses skipped my notice so completely? I suppose because my eyes were closed. What ye seek ye shall find. It's a promise and it doesn't just apply to when you seek the good things God wants for us. I have been thinking... seeking Truth and God's will and trusting in His love... you just can't go wrong.

Yesterday, all the district priest and the Dean came for a deanery meeting. Sometimes it seems strange to be around so many celibate people. Don't take that wrong. Lol. Just keep in mind my background; conservative Baptists frown on celibacy and catholicism in general. Anyways, there were ages ranging from 94 to late 20's. Three of the priests were two years from India. They all arrived in their collars and black suits and straight backs. I think they felt a little shy at first but the crowd was so jolly that they soon relaxed. Fr. Banga isn't sure how well they are going to do here because it is very difficult to understand them in a small crowd... let alone from the pulpit. But I think he finds it a relief to see someone younger coming in to replace some of the older priests.

I would be curious to hear the spiritual view of those priests from India. Who is God to them? Is it only religion? Is it only a way to come to a richer country? Or have they experienced something personal with God?

Again, it is so easy to get tangled up with the titles and collars and symbols and forget about the person bearing them.

June 20th, 2010

It's almost the longest day of the year. Imagine that. :-)

So. The sun is shining. Imagine that! On the 17th, Carlyle got 5 inches of rain in one night. That's not taking into consideration what they got earlier that day. At Kenosee, we didn't get quite that much but even with our 2 or 3 inches less, we were still jumping creeks and considering fetching a canoe for getting around in. :-P So I am very thankful for the sun. :-)

We actually haven't got anything to worry about here. Many towns in SK and in the states have it so bad. Maple Creek was one of those especially hard hit. They had to evacuate everyone from the hospital. People lost everything. They were showing pictures and video footage of the devastation.

Fr. Banga's cousin Adeline and husband Wayne have arrived. They come help several times every year. As with anyone else Fr. Banga hangs out with, Adeline is wonderfully, hopelessly larger than life. :-) She makes us laugh 100 times a day. She is “5 ft and shrinking”, has a voice you can hear all over camp, can't talk without her glasses (so they say) and is so kind to us. She and Fr. Banga constantly harass each other. :-) Constantly. They've been the best of friends ever since they were old enough to walk... and since their mothers were sisters and their fathers were brothers and they only lived a mile apart while growing up and they're close in age, they know each other quite well.

Conversations are so spicy now. For instance:

Fr. Banga: “I'm always friends with the underdog.”

Naomi: “Ohhh, is that why you're friends with us?”

Fr. Banga: “I'm glad you picked up on that.”

Adeline: ::takes off her glasses::

But she doesn't always take them off voluntarily. Sometimes she will be really on Fr. Banga's case and he'll say abruptly, “Take off your glasses.” Then, they both grin and we'll all be in stitches.

Oh yeah. Life is good. :-)

Well, mostly good.

On the 18th we had a group of school kids come in and they left quite a mess. I suppose it isn't as bad as it could have been but... :-P The worst part was cleaning the bathrooms. There was only one plugged toilet but they were all dirty. I have very little experience unplugging toilets. But I have more now. Lol. I was ½ inch from having a horrible mess. Thank goodness it went when it did. And I'm also thanking goodness for rubber gloves and plungers. :-)

Yesterday, I painted almost all day. People have been donating chesterfields and chairs at Fr. Banga's request and since the room they all go to has problems with mold, Fr. Banga wants them to be set up on stands instead of on their own legs. So Hannah made them, and I painted them. Bright blue. :-)

Well, it's almost time to leave for church so I must sign off. I hope that your summer will be wonderful.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pictures from camp life

Fr. Banga loves his horses

lovely Lutheran church

Friday, June 18, 2010

June 3rd

June 3rd, 2010

I have never experienced anything like it. When we got out of Fr. Banga's car (which, btw, isn't as old as I had thought... it's an '85 Cadillac), every eye was on us. When we entered the building, it was the same story. There was not one person there who was not Native. It was a strange feeling because I've never been that much of a minority! ;-) It was a good feeling, really. I mean, I know I never thought of myself as that. Not only have I never had many Native friends (or others of a different race) but as a Holter, I have always been apart of a large group. There are always enough of us to create a crowd feel.

Fr. Banga was well known to them because he had been generous with his time in regards to the deceased... and I think that we accompanied him earned us some grace. But I believe the people would have been friendly even if we hadn't been with him. They are unlike 'white' people in many ways... and their custom of being friendly to visitors has remained even as they grow more civilized (note that I speak with some sarcasm).

Some mental images from yesterday evening will always be imprinted in my mind: The son of the deceased lifting his crippled mother from her couch to her wheelchair. He was a big man and she almost disappeared in his arms. But he was so very gentle and careful, arms supporting the tiny figure, graying head bent protectively over hers.

The fire-tender bringing in a pan of coals from the fire outside and setting it by the coffin so the smoke rose and hung over the body.

The Elder singing his song. I have never heard the like. Sung first in the Dakota language, then in English; wailing tones that grew sharp and high then slipped into a gentle murmur of grief. I was completely amazed at the quality and range of his voice.

The children. I had not realized what customs and practices the parents have passed onto their children. When the Elder began speaking; when the songs began; when the drums and chant were played, the children came. I have found that most children of the world I am part of are not interested in customs and traditions for the sake of heritage. But even the smallest child looked on and listened until what was important had passed.

Did I condone all that was spoken and done? Did I pray for the man lying there in the casket? Did I sit in my seat feeling I had wasted my time coming? No. But yes, I did enjoy the experience. God brings opportunities into our lives for a purpose. He had something for me there. How much time we waste on judgment when we should be praying and looking for what He wants to show us.

In that room were people of different skin and hair color, with customs different than mine. But we had one thing at least in common: we all have souls that desire God. Some of us, however, haven't realized that we can do more than simply desire Him.

So it was an interesting evening. No, I didn't take the camera. I thought at first I might, then I wondered how I would feel if someone did something similar to me and mine. So you'll have to forgive me (or not!) for refraining out of politeness. :-) There were so many images I wish I could have captured, though. I am hoping there will be other opportunities and I'm also hoping that it will be appropriate to bring a camera.

Someday, I like to visit a Cherokee reservation. I want to experience my heritage. It seems strange sometimes to realize how little I look like my great-grandfather... or even my mom. She has those high cheek bones. But the blood still flows through the veins and, as much of a history/genealogy geek that I am, I am always aware of the vast range of cultures I possess: Irish; Norwegian; German; Scottish; English; Dutch; Finnish; Cherokee Indian.

Today, we spent the morning in the Mother Teresa Centre cleaning. We did much vacuuming... Lydia also cleaned windows. We got finished shortly after dinner. Fr. Banga had to go preach the funeral of the man whose wake we attended yesterday evening but he didn't have to leave until after dinner, which consisted of fried eggs, cheese, bacon and toast. It was soooo good. :-D He then gave us the rest of the day off, telling me to take a good long nap so I wasn't so crabby. Lol! I read instead. Ever heard of “Inkheart”? Well, we found it's sequel, “Inkspell” in the MTC, much to my delight. The author is a genius... a real joy to read. Such wit! Such wisdom.

Fr. Banga arrived home at 5:30 and he was so tired. I guess they spent hours, standing listening to the Elder talk. Part of that was in the rain since it was indeed raining today (in fact, it simply poured! Lydia got the clothes off the line just in time...). Anyways, he came over around 7 and expressed his dissatisfaction over the proceedings. We sympathized and made small talk about Polygamist Mormons and genocides. :-P

I ate far too much chocolate today. Someone please tell me that they've done that once or twice.

My adventure today happened at the Mother Teresa Centre. Lydia and I had just moved all of the beds and were just deciding what jobs we wanted to begin next. Fr. Banga was trying to get the CD player to work and I went over to see what Hannah was doing. She happened to be organizing the videos and books that were on the shelves by the CD player. I picked up one of them and was looking at it when Lydia asked what I was looking at. I held it up and somehow, it slipped out of my hands and flew into Fr. Banga's nearest leg. My sisters dissolved into laughter and I apologized as best as I could. He looked at me. Then he asked, “Is your name Grace?” ::snort:: I told him that they gave my sister that one.

June 4th, 2010

“The cross of Christ is the measure of man's hatred towards God... When man did his worst, God did His best.” [unknown]

Today, we cleaned the Nurses' Centre and MSGR [insert #s]... hours of vacuuming. I find I really enjoy vacuuming when I have a good machine to do it with. :-) This one sucks up everything. The floors I did were all carpet, which can be awful to clean if you don't have the proper equipment. We finished it all around dinnertime, which was roast beef, bread and a lot of other yummy stuff. :-) Fr. Banga said we could have the rest of the day off (he had to go to Regina) but we did a little weeding. It seems awful to have so much time off. Lol! But at the same time, yesterday was a little harder with moving the beds around. Lydia and I both have sore shoulders/arms/backs. Lol.

Tonight, we had pizza. Hmmm. There's nothing better than a good slice of pizza. ;-)

I'm listening to Ray sing his song “Martin Box”. So beautiful. It's about his guitar, which has seen him through years of music and, 'if this old Martin Box could talk...” imagine what stories it could tell? I miss Ray. I am so looking forward to August. :-)

It was pretty cloudy most of the day but towards evening the sun came out. I went down and sat on the dock and took some pictures of the lake. There were very few mosquitoes out and the wind was blowing just a bit... very pleasant. A good place to reflect.

Thoughts From Narnia

I've been reading The Chronicles of Narnia... the author has given me some interesting thoughts. Here is one I'm not sure about. It rings of heathen who have never heard of God but seek truth all their days... similar thoughts have gone through my head but I've never heard it put so.

If you agree or disagree, what Scripture can you site for your argument?

“For he [Tash] and I [Aslan] are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted.... Dost thou understand, Child? I [Emeth, whom Aslan was speaking to] I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.” [The Final Battle – C.S. Lewis]

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


June 1st, 2010

Another day spent in the Mess Hall. We painting most of the day and Fr. Banga is very pleased with our progress. There is a base board at the bottom of the walls which we painted a dark gray. The doors are also being painted as well as some cupboards. In an area as large as it is, such tasks take hours of time. But I don't mind. I am beginning to enjoy painting. :-) Even the more frustrating delicate stuff that takes half of forever to get perfect. But it was worth it because our employer was pleased with the finished product.

Nothing incredible happened today, I suppose... well, other than calling home to get a phone # and getting to talk to Mom, Sara, Ruth and Uriah. :-) That was a lot of fun. Uriah told me that it had stopped raining so they were playing outside. Ruth told me that they were playing 'in the horse pen' (which, for those concerned about safety issues, does not have horses in it). ;-) Sara told me that she had been a good girl, had eaten lots for dinner and had an upset stomach. She thinks she might be teething again. Don't roll your eyes at me. I've become quite adept in Baglabber, which is the official title for Baby Talk. Yes, official. I just made it up off the top of my very sleepy head. It's 10:30.

This evening, Fr. Banga came over with the songs he'd copied out of my list and we put 100 copies in their music folders. It's so nice to get that job finished with. :-) Hannah and Fr. Banga went to the laundromat and washed our laundry... but the dryers aren't working here so she ended up hanging the clothes on the line.

So, today was a good day. We had a wonderful snack mid-afternoon... I love it when Fr. Banga calls for a break! Strawberry ice-cream with fresh strawberries. It was heavenly. Andre R. was playing with his orchestra of 100 and between our sugar high and the music and the delightful company (?), we had a wonderful time. :-)

I must apologize for this very immature blog post and take myself to bed. I finished reading “My Cousin Rachel”. Strange story. Very well written, however...

June 2nd, 2010

Today, Fr. Banga scared ten years off my life. I was in the Mother Teresa Centre, dusting, straightening sheets, mattresses, etc. very intent on my work, and stepped out of a room into the hall to go into another room. At that moment, he chose to say, “How's it going?!” I jumped about four inches off the floor and hollered good and loud. Lol! We both couldn't stop chuckling for the next 10 minutes. But he made it all ok by saying it was time for a break... so we went and ate the rest of the strawberry ice-cream, strawberries and chocolate cake. :-) :-) :-)

Today I was instructed to wash windows up at Fr. Banga's Shack. Even though I'm really beginning to enjoy painting, it was so nice to work away from the Mess Hall. :-) Lydia and I spent all morning washing windows and I took up half of my afternoon. I don't know if they have ever been really cleaned before... he said that they haven't been so clean even when they were installed, six years ago. Some of the stuff on them looked that old. Lol! I spent an hour on one window because there was some substance splattered all over it. Finally, I gave up. I got most of it, so I guess that's what counts in this case. ;-)

This evening, Al and Loretta H. came over for supper and jamming. They are a really fun couple. I hadn't known them well before (I had seen them both in the years we've come to music camp)... they are even more jolly than they look. :-) My favorite part of the evening was the music... second to that would be dinner. Fr. Banga served ribs. They were soooo good. And I don't even like spicy. I had seconds. Hehe. That's how good they were. Third in line of favorites was the joke Al told. He told it so well that I actually thought it had happened to them as he said it did. But afterwards he admitted that he had only heard it and used it. But that was fine with me because he told it very well.

“Back when I was about seven,” says Al, “Canada Revenue came to our farm to document all of our produce, land, animals, etc. They wanted to charge us income tax on the vegetables we were raising. My Dad was real good about it, though. He said that they could look around the farm all they wanted to, except for one field. The Canadian Revenue guy flipped open his coat and displayed his badge. 'This says I can go wherever I want to!' he said. Dad shrugged and let him have at it. Not too long afterwards, the man came running past us with the bull chasing him, hollering, 'What should I do?!' Dad yelled back, 'Show him your badge!'”

After supper, we played music. It's so nice having a fiddler around. I sure miss having Ellie to play with us. I have realized anew why the fiddle is my favorite instrument! And I am really looking forward to music camp. :-) :-)

It's nice working alone sometimes. There is a lot of time for reflection. And just talking to Jesus. I find that sometimes I get distracted with my interaction with others and forget... not always, but sometimes.

Well, this evening, Fr. Banga is taking us to the wake of a Native who passed away a couple days ago. He's preaching the funeral tomorrow so we'll be on our own. But tonight, we will get to experience a traditional Native wake. I've never been to anything like it before so I'm curious and a little excited. :-) Until tomorrow.

P.S. I got my dresses today. Yay!! Mom sent them via bus. I am pretty happy. ;-)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Excerpt For Thought

These are some excerpts/quotes from the book Fr. Banga lent me. Please don't take them by themselves but do think about them and see if God has anything in them for you. I have been studying the Bible this morning and found some verses that coincide, some of which I included. But again, study and pray before digesting. :-) :-) :-)

The infinite beauty of God is constantly being discovered anew. -- Gregory of Nyssa

O Divine Master,
grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled
as to console,
to be understood
as to understand,
to be loved
as to love.
For it is in giving
that we receive,
it is in pardoning
that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying
that we are born to eternal life.
-- Francis of Assisi

The most devilish temptation facing anyone seeking a spiritual life is not the drama of flamboyant sin conquered but the quiet seduction of self-centered isolation.
We feel the pull of retreating from the world – from other people – of finding a haven of gentle, uninvolved serenity, the ultimate “warm-fuzzy”.
“Excuse me please, while I crawl inside myself and call it holiness.”
God looks like a way of getting away from it all.
But life in God is not an escape route, not life in a cocoon, but an insistent ongoing demand to move outside ourselves, to reverse the direction of our lives from hiding to involvement, to doing for others what we are tempted to reserve for ourselves.
It is not basking in the warm luxury of being understood but reaching out to understand, not so much seeking consolation but reaching out to console, pardoning others, all others, when the soft side of our souls would like to settle for being pardoned. -- taken from John Kirvan's “God Hunger”

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. -- Colossians 3

If indeed we answer the knock [of God], it seems important to us that we carry with us all our defenses. We go dressed for the occasion, we look our Sunday best, we are careful to make clear that we need nothing. We prepare our answers and line them up like ducks in a row.

“We gave a church.”

To be empty-handed is not our style.

But it is what God looks for – a humble acknowledgment that sense and reason are not enough for this journey, not right for this meeting.

It is not the time or place to present resumes of our spiritual achievements. In the end they count for nothing. What we leave behind is what recommends us.

Our task is not to impress the One who knocks but simply to open the door. -- taken from John Kirvan's “God Hunger”

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. -- Philippians 2:13

God gives his gifts where he finds the vessel empty enough to receive them. -- C. S. Lewis

God gives where he finds empty hands. -- St. Augustine

A man whose hands are full of parcels cannot receive a gift. -- C.S. Lewis

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. -- Isaiah 64: 6

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. -- Romans 3: 23 – 24

His truth and his love pervade all things as the light and heat of the sun. -- Thomas Merton

Our lives go on. So if we are to find God it will have to be where we are at any given moment – not just in the bright, glowing times and places when the world is a very special place or in the worst of times when he seems our only and last refuge, but in the ordinary confining, demanding, and rarely dramatic days of our lives. -- taken from John Kirvan's “God Hunger”

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness... for when I am weak, then am I strong. -- 2 Corinthians 12