Saturday, July 17, 2010

God Bless the Little Old Church Lady

Everyone knows them.

Tight curls, usually a blueish hue to their perm. Some of them sit in the back row of the sanctuary while others march to the front row every Sunday.

They never miss a meeting.

When you hear the phrase "pot-blessing" from the platform you immediately think of them and pray like you never have before that they will attend. You truly enjoy their company but you have taken a shining to their usual date to such functions, Mr. Apple Pie.

During prayer time their eyes are usually shut the longest.

During the worship portion of the service they stand like troopers mouthing something reminiscent to the latest worship songs with the hymnal spread open wide.

If you get a look at their bible it puts you to shame and makes you chuckle because it looks like they are carrying a dog's chew toy.

While the minister reads the prayer list from the pulpit they scribble like mad in their little journals the names and circumstances so that it is certain that these requests get prayed for.

God Bless the Little Old Church Lady.

In our store we sell religious greeting cards. My days are not complete unless I have had my regulars come through my door and make a direct march toward the card section. Most of these people are little, white topped, curly mopped, widowed women who are looking for the perfect sentiment written in between the cover of a card. Most of the time I have to get off my chair to see them because the counter is a little bit too high. They peruse the card racks, reading many, choosing only the special one that will brighten someones day. We chat a little about the weather, they tell me about the next church function and what they will be contributing. They purchase their card and usually head off with a "God Bless".

Too cute.

This morning my door swung open. I heard the steps of someone. From behind the bookshelves popped a white top. She greeted me with a big smile and "Hello Dear". As she made her way around the counter she told me she was not here to purchase anything today but to talk. She grabbed me with those tiny little arms and gave me a mighty squeeze. With tears in her eyes she said with the utmost sincerity, "I have been praying for you".

Her words did not shock me. She is the Little Old Church Lady, of course she has been praying for me, that's what she does. I sometimes think that they get a commission from God that comes from our tithes because of their faithfulness in prayer.

We continued to chat and she told me how she loved me and my husband and has been praying for us and will continue to pray as long as we need it. She held my hand and squeezed it every few minutes as she spoke with love. She shared with me her own personal victories and told me how God was watching over us in love. She quoted scripture and smiled with assurance in the words that she spoke. Her certainty twanged at my heart and I knew in that moment that God was watching over me.

As she was walking toward the door to leave, we continued to talk. She repeated that she would be praying. She told me that our names were written in the sacred prayer journal that she keeps on her night table and it was #1 on the list. How I attained the #1 spot is unknown to me but I wont bock at it. As she was about to depart, she looked me deep in the eyes and said, "Leah I love you, and if nothing I said today meant anything I hope that my dropping by was an encouragement and that you would know that I am 1 of many who are thinking of you and praying. God has a plan and he knew you before you were born. Just trust."

With that she opened the door and she was gone.

My heart smiled today.

The faithfulness of this woman is astounding. She did not have to listen to that little voice inside that told her that I was her mission for today. Yet she did. I didn't get the chance to tell her that not only was everything that she had done and said an encouragement but that it was also a sign from God. This was His way of telling me that when I lie there in the early mornings crying out to Him he hears me. He hears me and the little old church lady.

All I could say to her was "thank you" and "you made my heart smile today".

God Bless the Little Old Church Lady.

LJ


Where Do I Drop Off My Resume?

Last night crawling into bed I wrapped my weary body in my luxurious buttery textured blanket, breathing deeply, taking in the scents of the recently cleansed fabric and I thought to myself,

"Where do I hand in my resume to get this job?"

The thinking to myself was actually me verbalizing this to my husband and what I meant was someone has to smell fabrics, and curl up in them to determine softness & comfort. Someone has to smell detergents to know whether the scent is pleasing to the senses. How do they name scents like ocean mist and spring rain? Someone has to come up with this stuff. I can come up with creative alluring names like sea-side breeze or fresh cut grass.

So why not me?

In my head I imagine that someone out there, somewhere as a job gets to curl up in a king sized beds smelling blankets and feeling their textures and plushness to know whether the consumer would fall in love with the product and it would quickly become their "must have" or whether it would end up on the clearance rack in a specialty 3rd's store.

So why not me?

I wouldn't know where to even begin looking for this job. If I had of known that this was a career option in high school I would have spent more time in bed and less time racking my brains trying to solve difficult algebraic equations such as 5/(y-3) = 1 + (y+7)/(2y-6) (side note, there is no solution). My guidance counselor never opened my eyes to this type of career path. I wish she had of, cause at this point I could have used the education in scent identification and could have done my research on what feels good and what people are looking for in their bedding & blankets. Too late I suppose.

At this stage of life, I am job hunting. We are closing our retail location in our small town and even though I will continue running our book business through a local camp Joy Bible Camp (plug), book tables & special ordering from our home I will probably have to find something else to supplement.

If you know where I can apply for the position of "Official Scent Namer" or "Comfort & Relaxation Determiner" for fabrics, bedding, furniture or other such lounge/recreation positions put in a good word for me.

LJ










Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sunny Wednesday Evening

Last night my family spent some quality time together.

It was wonderful.

A beautiful lakeside picnic and then fun in the water. My husband and I floated in our inflatable chairs and the Ti-man splashed around in his bug floaty.

Our friends came too. We splashed, we played, we laughed.

It was the story book ending to a hot and sunny day.

Enjoying relationships and making each other smile.

I loved my Wednesday evening.

LJ


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Emotional Eater's Recipe Share Time - Potato Smashers


For me food is comfort. I usually drift to sweets, mostly chocolate in a time of crisis but sometimes I just can't resist the fantasticness of the creamy potato, wrapped with love in sour cream, cheese, onions & bacon.

Growing up we used to have this dish as a treat but as I have grown I have re-vamped the smasher to beat Montana's restaurants version.

The recipe....

Potatoes
Sour Cream
Cheese
Onion
Bacon
Butter

Boil the potatoes until the are cooked. The same as you would to mash. While they are cooking, fry or bake your bacon. Do not cook it too crispy because it has too cook in the potato mixture. If the bacon is overcooked you will have crunchy, burnt pieces in your potatoes instead of the amazing melting sensation of perfectly cooked bacon. When your potatoes are cooked and mashed add a dollop of butter, one tub of sour cream and a chopped onion to the mix. Stir it up really good!!! Grate enough cheese to ensure constipation for at least one full day. Add 3/4 of the cheese to the mix, and stir. Sprinkle the top of your mixture with your bacon, cut it up first... much better. Then top with the rest of your cheese. Stick it in the oven until the cheese melts on top. Take it out and consume.

This celebration of the potato makes a lovely meal with meatballs, grilled chicken, fish or all by itself.

Not only is it a quick fix for the blues but it is also a great dish to make family meals just a little different.

Enjoy!

LJ

Butter Tart Season - CLOSED


On my life journey I have discovered a power I hold. I know others who have held this sacred power before but I have never heard of the impact such as mine.

My power - baking Butter Tarts.

I have officially become the Tart Officer for my social group. I have people who want to poach tarts when they are not in season. That's just not cool with me.

I could hand out fines, or slap hands but I think I will let it go. I enjoy this power I have. I like watching men turn into children unable to control their desire for the tasty, runny, perfect consistency of the pastry that I have found the secret to creating.

I do not make these delectable treats on demand. I make them when the feeling hits. When the air has the right smell, when I feel the perfect balance of happy and crazy, when my taste buds scream indulgence and my brain steps up and says "too many calories".

One time when my husband asked me to bake my perfectly runny, but slightly jelled tart filling with the perfectly thick flaky pastry, I declined.

My response, "Butter Tart Season is Closed".

I'll give you the inside scoop. There is no season. The season is not a specific time of year, for a certain period of time. You can't buy tags, there is no draw you enter. It's when the feeling hits me.

So be patient. You never know when the season will open up again. It may be for a day, it may be for weeks on end. You will just have to wait for that feeling.

LJ

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

16 Months Reflection


Yesterday Ti-James turned 16 months old. I have never really understood the month by month counting of age but hey, I'm in 'cause I love birthdays!

We don't celebrate these milestones but I usually take some time to reflect on the growth and the change of my sweet little Ti-man.

16 months in and I don't know where it has gone. No matter where we have used up that time I am thankful that we have made it this far. I honestly never believed I would be able to care for a child and keep them alive this long. I am so under educated when it comes to parenting, children, babies, diapers, breast feeding, everything motherly.

I remember the moment they laid my new baby on my chest. I waited for tears to flow and that motherly instinct to come. I think I am still waiting. In that moment nothing happened. I actually remember looking at this gooey alien type baby thing that some Dr. I met literally 30 seconds before pulled out of my under business and I just wanted to scream "take it off of me" but I knew better.

Over a year has passed and I still have moments of detached feelings. I still fall into that thinking "who's child is this" but for the most part it has sunk in that he is mine. And honestly I wouldn't have it any other way.

Now he is fun. He can do stuff. He doesn't just puck on himself, drool and sit like a boneless blob. He walks, he runs, he talks, he sings, he enjoys music, he has favourite things. He knows when things smell bad, he knows when he has done something wrong, he feels emotion, he knows how to comfort and express his thoughts and feelings. He is finally human.

I suppose before he was 16 months he would have been categorized as human but now finally, he appears to me as one of us.

Some days I miss the tiny baby who curled up on my chest and slept. I miss the warmth of his tiny baby body on my skin. I miss the small puppy like chirps and squeaks. I miss setting him down in one spot and coming back to find him still there. Although part of me misses those moments that create sweet memories, I don't desire to go back there.

I love my rough, tough, rambunctious boy.

I love watching him run from one end of the house to the other.

I love hearing him singing to himself in the morning. Knowing that he is playing with his toys and entertaining himself.

I love watching his imagination work. I can't wait to hear of the adventures he goes on.

I like my toddler. As much as I miss that snuggly little babe, nothing can replace hearing "love you Momma".

Happy 16th month & 1 day Ti-James.

Love
Momma

Ti-James Living the Dream

Ti-James.

One cool dude. A hipster.

Rocking out to hip-hop, reggae, pop, heavy metal & country music.

Dancing is something he can get down with. He usually rocks out his bob and weave with occasional butt drop.

Veggie tales are a must, when he doesn't have a book to read.

Football, hockey are his games.

Most of all he loves to rock a head band in the back seat. Sparkle-y white, with complimentary red sun glasses. All of course to accentuate his Bieber hair style.

Life's not too hard at 16 months. He is just rocking what he likes, living the dream.

Life is Like a Bunch of Paint in the Face

Stuff Happens for a Reason

This is such a common phrase. Not really one I want to hear but one that has become the chant of my life.

My vuvuzela.

I don't know why "stuff" has to happen but it does. Life. It is made up of the happenings of everyday, every week, month, year, all captured in one life to create a story to be passed on for generations.

Stories are a lot more fun to read than to create. Maybe that is a false statement but in the grand scheme of life as a story, I would say being the protagonist is fun maybe 42% of the time.

It seems like everyday there is a new challenge, new information, new battles. Sometimes we have breaks and live lush lives and others we fight our way to the next sun rise.

Right now I feel like I am being pelted with stuff. It's like paint balling. I find myself on this course. There are some clear cut paths ahead, some shelters, some places of safety but mostly what is in front of me is unknown. It's dark, it's uneven ground. I can feel eyes starring holes in my head, penetrating my brain. My problem is I can't place those eyes. I don't know where they are. As I walk through the brush and the trees, being extra cautious I wait in anticipation for something. What I don't know, but something. Then out of no where I am ambushed. Stuff appears from everywhere. Colourful balls of paint fly, making contact with my body, my face, splattering my mask so I can't see. I throw my arms up in surrender yelling at the top of my lungs "HIT! HIT!" My cries for mercy do me no good. The paint continues to fly. When all the ammo is gone and the enemy lets me get up off the ground I am resemblant of Joseph's Technicolor coat. Splats of green & pink, yellow & blue. An art piece.

Unfortunately in life that art piece is a representation of pain and suffering. The colours are betrayal, rejection, sadness, disappointment, uncertainty, insecurity and failure.

Why this happens. I guess it makes us stronger. It's just so hard sometimes. I am having one of those times right now. I feel like I am lying on the ground yelling "HIT!" and stuff keeps hitting me. I'm a rainbow of pain but it just doesn't stop.

That's life right now.

LJ

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Emotional Eater's Recipe Share Time -Yummy Nachos


Life has been hectic lately. People I don't even know have told me how busy my life has been the last few months. How they know I am not too sure, probably nursing home gossip groups. I blame them for all the dirt, my Grandma always knows the biz.

Anyhoo... When things get tough I eat. It's totally my vice. I love food, it loves me so we spend time together.

Last night after a very hot, very crazy busy day we saddled up to the table to partake in some tasty nachos. They were delicious.

Here's how some lonely chips, tasty veggies, beef and spices became my dinner.

Brown 1lb of lean ground beef (or if it's a bad day medium ground beef, more grease)
with
1 onion chopped
1 clove of garlic, pressed
salt & pepper to your liking

While that browns and sizzles, fill a cookie tray with your favourite tortilla chips. On a good day I would use whole wheat, 50% less salted chips but last night we used Good Ol' Fashioned Restaurant style tortilla chips. So salty.

When the beef mixtures is brown spread it on top of the chips. Then chop tomatoes and green peppers to your likeness. No measurements. Whatever looks good. Sprinkle these ingredients on top.

Add green olives, black would be good as well.

Top with as much cheese as you would like. Experiment. Mix cheeses.

Throw it all in the oven for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and then it's time to feel happy!

Consume this tasty dish with sour cream and the salsa of your choice. I like mild just because I don't enjoy heat.

And that's it. That is the tale of my dinner. It made me feel better. It was lovely and it inspired some family time. Bon appetit!

LJ

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ti The Boat Man & The Family Fun Day


This has been a big week for the wee man. His first boating experience ever and then his first day out on the water with his family. That's a pretty big deal for a little man.

We were thrilled to find out this week that Ti loves boating. I think his favourite part was the driving but he did enjoy the ride as well.

Last week a good friend of ours took my husband and the Ti-man out on his boat. I wasn't there of course, I had to work. (I'm smiling inside.) Word on the street says that Ti-James had a wonderful boating experience and wanted to be in motion at all times. This news in not breaking nor shocking.

Yesterday we had a family fun-in-the-sun day. We spent our afternoon on the water with friends and family. This was the first time that my husband, myself and Ti had a whole afternoon of family time together, no work involved, both parents present. It was amazing!

My parents recently and by recently I mean, yesterday got a pontoon boat. The Ol' Party Barge. We climbed aboard and we cruised the wee lake, circling our own wake and enjoying the company of good people.

Ti-James climbed aboard sporting his over-sized life jacket, ready for the second voyage of his life. While standing the life jacket fit like a glove, but when Ti-James sat down he became Chubby Cheeks. Poor little guy, but he looked so cute. Using the ill fitting life jacket to his advantage, he was able to hit on pretty girls (married ones at that) and even managed to hold the hand of the lovely Irish gal on board.

Our ride came to an end and into the water we went. Ti-James in his floating ladybug and his daddy floated up to the aqua bar. It was a good day.

Later on in our day my parents boarded the boat for another lap of the lake. Ti-James saw his Nan and Papa cruise by and started yelling, "Papa, Papa". After that he was determined he was going to get out of the fairly cold water and spend the rest of his day on the boat. We passed him up to his Nan and off they went.

Mommy and Daddy had some time to relax.

Nan and Papa picked up Great Grandma & Grandpa and they all got to see a small circle of the lake because they let Ti drive.

Our fun-in-the-sun day came to an end at the lake. We all packed up and went to my parents for a generational BBQ. Great Grandma & Grandpa, Nan & Papa, Uncle B-Rad, my husband, myself and Ti had a traditional Fraser family BBQ, cold beans and all.

What a good day! Now I can't wait for the weekends.

LJ

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thank You Tourists

(This happened on Saturday.)

I am having one of those days. You know the type of day I mean, right. One of those days, when someone asks the question, "how are you" and you respond with "oh, I am having one of those days." The universal statement for
"not so great" without having to admit our perceived failure because we are tired, grumpy or completely disinterested in life at that moment.

So I am having one of those days.

I wonder why I am having one of those days and then I am rudely reminded by my aching thigh muscles and sore ankles from my ridiculously long walk my mouth inspired yesterday. Two women who love to talk shouldn't walk together. Enough said.

After sitting here in my retail location for far too long, experiencing early onset rigor mortis, I had to take a break. I had to get out. Everyone was telling me about this beautiful day we are having in Bancroft. Being an extremely selfish person, I didn't want to live this day through others, I wanted to experience it myself.

I went for a walk down the busy street.
OH THE BEAUTY. Having to weave in and out of people. Hearing a buzz of voices and car noises. Seeing people crossing the street. The ding of shoppe bells opening and closing as I walked by.

The air felt light and free. The town was humming with life. Summer had officially arrived.

I say all of this with excitement and I know some think differently. Maybe it is because my lively-hood depends on the "out of towners" or tourists. My business comes from these people who do not set up residence in our little town but visit in the warm, cottage-y season.

Even though they don't live here, they help me live here.

I love the summers in our town. Granted the driving situation is a little hairy at times. Things get backed up pretty easily in these dainty streets. Lines grow longer, waiting tests our patiences. It's the time of year when knowing back and side streets is like having super human powers. It stretches us.
It's nice to be stretched.

Walking down the street I chuckled to myself. The irony of the summer situation. The city comes to us and we want it to go away but when Bancroft becomes sleepy the rest of the year we want to hit the city. Something in that concept made me shake my head, and I believe I physically shook my head while walking down the street.

All I have to say as a retail owner, and someone who has worked in the customer service industry, please appreciate the tourists. Let's welcome them. That doesn't mean we have to deal with the rudeness and the inflated sense of entitlement that drives in on a Friday afternoon.
With the good there is always the bad.

Let's embrace the busy months of summer. If they drive you that crazy find a lake front or a beach and park yourself there. Enjoy the beauty of your area and hide from the busy streets. Just remember, the business that pulls in Friday and leaves Sunday helps this town immensely.


LJ

Not sure what happened to the font but I can't change the size. Size of font has nothing to do with tone or expression, just my inability to use blogger.