Tag Archives: encouragement

April 7, 2017

I won’t be able to think of brilliant titles every day or so, so sometimes, the date will have to do!

Health! It’s been wet, chilly and today there is snow on the ground.  While I enjoyed two walks on Wednesday, yesterday I stayed indoors all day.  Not a great choice and one I need to change.  Today the wind is blowing and I know my coat is not built for this challenge.  On the plus side, I am enjoying my daughters tomato soup (from scratch) full of healthy vegetables, including a whole head of garlic (not just a clove or two!)

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Wisdom:  Somehow this moved to the middle part, so I’ll leave it there.  I’m learning to see my life as a process that I move into.  Still working through Designing Your Life.  I’m reminded that life is flowing, changing, and navigating it is a process.  I will never be done with it.

Personal Finances: They are depleting!  I need to start my employment search now.  One of the challenges is the needs of my family.  They need to be considered when I’m applying and interviewing.  I suspect online teaching and being a substitute, or something totally different will be the end result.  We are working hard to eliminate waste in the kitchen – and garbage.

 

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Filed under Becoming Wiser, GREEN: Money matters that matter., RED: Losing weight, gaining fitness, strength and new cooking ideas, Uncategorized

Dramatic Changes!

 

These pictures were taken on a  hike in October 2015.  The sky is blue, the scenery is beautiful and I am in China – Miyun to be exact, just north east of Beijing.

After years of “talking about it” and lots of time spent loving my two grand-daughters, I left my home of 28 years and my homeland of 56 years and came to China to teach English.    I know many people didn’t believe I would ever leave my family behind, especially as grand baby #3 was due to arrive in October, but the end of August saw me bidding farewell to my daughter, son-in-law and three precious little people, knowing it would be a long time before I could hug the newest little fellow.

Although I had planned to combine my three blogs into this one blog, that hasn’t materialized.  My health journey, which has drastically changed since leaving Canada, will be recorded at One Year, One Week, One Pound .

Here I will try to share with you some of the things I am learning about money and money management as I live outside of our country.  I haven’t thought much about taxes, but I’m sure some will have to be paid.  There are also other considerations that I hadn’t thought of, but may be helpful to others considering the “ex-pat” scene for a season of life.

In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful 2016, God’s richest blessing, and joy on the journey!

 

 

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Filed under GREEN: Money matters that matter., Uncategorized

Babette’s Feast – Finally

I’ve made three Babette blankets of various sizes – and I’m working on the final panel of a fourth – but last night I was finally able to watch the movie.  I remember it being recommended to me many years ago – possibly more than 10 years ago even – but getting the movie from the library and actually having time to watch it?  That combination has been long in coming.  And of course it goes off the radar for a while and then comes back on.

However, I have at last been able to sit and enjoy the movie – while at the same time enjoying my own feast of sorts – sushi, red globe grapes and chocolate mint ice cream.  Quite delicious, but certainly not what the villagers enjoyed!
So, was it worth the wait?  Were there lessons to be learned from this movie?  I certainly think so!

babette 2

First of all, good things – really good things – take work, time, resources (in this case a lot of money) and patient practice.  Babette was an amazing cook who worked from the view that cooking was not just something to do, but something to do well.  She saw it as ART, not housework.  Yesterday my daughter made an omelette and she added a sprig of kale and a mushroom to the middle to make it look nice for the picture.  That’s the extra  mile that makes the mundane beautiful.  That is all over not just this meal, but every meal that Babette cooks.

 

 

Secondly –  you may have to go away to find the ingredients that make up the ART that is your life.  I’m reminded of the woman in Proverbs 31 who scours the market place.  My Pinterest board is evidence of my scouring and searching for things of beauty that may possibly add joy to my life!

babette 1

And because a good essay or sermon always has three points, I need to make one too.  While Babette was busy in the kitchen, paying attention to all these details, making everything “just right”  her guests had no clue as to what they were being offered.  Thank goodness the General came to help them discover the truth.

The people of that village had chosen to close their minds and to deny the sensation of taste that was offered them.  They deliberately turned the conversation towards the mundane, rather than fully enjoy the good things that Babette had prepared.  This is, I think, the point of the story.  I can choose, deliberately and completely, to ignore the abundance of good things that God in His grace has provided for me.  By pre-judging, I deny myself the possibility of a good friend, a new turn of thought and an opportunity to grow and learn.  I deny myself a fuller, broader, more experienced life.

 

 

All of my Babette blankets have been made with “stash” yarn – the stuff I have on hand.  I wonder, what it would be like if I deliberately sought out the colours that make my heart sing and one day, made a blanket that is truly a “Babette” feast for the eyes and the body.

Please take this post as an encouragement to enjoy this film.

Marcia

(Still learning to fully live!)

 

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Filed under Becoming Wiser, WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature

“There’s no Win in Comparison”

My church, Hope for Life, here in Calgary is listening to a series of sermons by Andy Stanley.  The theme of these talks is comparison.  And I have to say that I do a lot ofimages (1) this.  When I think back on thoughts I had as I compared my single, single parenting, under the poverty line, overweight, house-cleaning, home-schooling, “survival-jobbing” life to those of others, I always felt “less than” .

emma

This is not to say that my life was awful – because it wasn’t.  It was great (for the most part – as most everyone’s life is) and we had lots of fun.  Looking back on it, there’s not much I’d change – except the envy part.  That I do regret.  I know that when envy creeps into my relationships, they don’t thrive.  They falter.  And I’ve been blessed with many special friends,  that have enriched my life in so many ways.

What I’m learning now, and trying to practice daily – is the art of looking in at myself and UP to my heavenly Abba who simply loves me. And has a plan for my life that isn’t the plan He has for anyone else.  Envy and comparsion lead me down the path of discouragement, when I so want to be encouraged and to encourage others.  I also want to move forward in my life, instead of hanging back because I might not be good enough.images

That’s where God is speaking to me just now, and maybe someone else is feeling the same way.  So here’s a link to “The Comparison Trap” and I hope it helps.  (I”ll also need it for future reference when I stumble into old thinking.

His mercies are new every morning, afternoon and evening – every moment of my day.

Marcia

 

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Filed under Becoming Wiser, WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature

A Toast to Payday!

About a year ago I had almost $3800 in debt.  Of course it was in my line of credit – which has a lower interest rate than a credit card.  None the less, it was a debt and I owed it.   Mom, if you are reading this – no comments.  I know that’s hard to do because I have a daughter too, and I make too many comments to her.  Just saying that I know what’s on the tip of your tongue.

To be honest, I’ve been working on the debt issue for several years – especially motivated by Dave Ramsey and his Debt Snowball and the blog, Get Rich Slowly – and I finally managed to get rid of the whole kit and kaboodle this summer.  I’d been steadily whittling away at the sum, paying a chunk every pay cheque, observing the total diminishing, as did the amount of interest I was paying on the debt.  It felt good.  Finally, this summer I had to make another work adjustment at Co-op and they paid out my vacation pay!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was a huge chunk of change and enough to bring the figure under $400.  By September it was done.

Now in theory the amount of money I was no longer feeding to my debt account should have gone into a savings account.  I mean, after all, the next savings step is 3 – 6 months of expenses, right?  Well, let me tell you that it didn’t and probably for many people doesn’t go quite as planned.  There’s a sense of freedom and release when everything is in the black – and somehow saving gets forgotten – or at least it did by me.   And then this picture started making the rounds on Facebook:

52-week-savings-planIt’s pretty basic and it’s been shared by several blogs, but I got this image from Survival Mom.  Several of my friends posted it, and I sure hope they follow through.  There is a lot less stress when you have savings – even when you are in debt.  However, I wanted to crank up my savings rate just a little, so about two weeks ago I opened another savings account.  (I bank with President’s Choice so this is pretty easy to set up online).  And because I am fortunate not to have any debts at the moment, no young children at home, and no major expenses in the future, I am starting at the top of the chart and staying there.  $52 per paycheque gets transferred to my “pay yourself first” fund and because I usually have a payday every Friday, I can do this every week.

I am sure that many people want to save more money than they are currently saving.  Starting small and working your way up is a great way to start.  Maybe I should even start adding a dollar a week in the new year.  Just thinking of saving $100 per week is a little scary for me at the moment- I need to think about that.  On the other hand we could just keep increasing that dollar a week or paycheque until it was just too hard and stay at that number for a while.

I’ve set a goal of saving $5000 this year – and flying to Toronto twice.  I’ll keep  you posted.

I wonder if I could add a savings thermometer to this blog!

Have a wonderful day!  And a Happy New Year!

Marcia

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Filed under GREEN: Money matters that matter.

Small Things….

Today I posted on my Facebook that I could use something stronger than a sherry right about now – and I could.  It’s been a tough day.  I feel like I’ve been stabbed in the back, and it hurts.  We’ll leave that there, except to say that there was one small thing I should have done (and forgot to do)  and now things are kind of messy and I’m drinking sherry – which feels very nice, Victorian and Miss Marple-ish all at the same time.  I so enjoy Miss Marple and her sherry!

Shortly after I posted that and responded to a comment that I felt was a bit uncaring, I realized that I was making the same mistake twice – and that was this:

Doing the RIGHT thing.

In this case, the real right thing to do is to pray.  The real right thing to do is to move forward as best you can without making things worse (and in my experience, most things stronger than sherry do make things worse – at least for me.)

Sadly, I don’t always think of the right or appropriate thing right away.  (Are there too many “right”s in this sentence or does it make sense?)  Maybe that’s true of most of us – the easy fix so that we can be on our way to the next thing on our list.  Well, that’s what got me into this situation in the first place.  I know (now, and well after the fact) that I should have done something else.

In the meantime – I suddenly have a gift of time that I wasn’t expecting to have, time that I can use to begin doing more of the right things.  For me that doesn’t include another bottle of sherry, or something stronger.  It does include spending some quiet time alone with my God and seeking His will in all of this.

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It’s funny how one small thing can become something much bigger.  The thing WAS made right and I moved on.  Someone else read the situation differently and life changes drastically.  However, at this moment I will use this time wisely and I will trust in my God that He will work things to His glory.  I will also strive to remember to do the right thing instead of the easy thing.   (That always seems to be my downfall)

I hope this post can be an encouragment to someone who is also in a difficult place.

Have a good one!  The Scrabble picture comes from this blog: http://inspiredness.wordpress.com/ which is also encouraging.

Marcia

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Filed under WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature

Happy Birthday #54!

Birthday Greeting 1910http://treasures-n-textures.blogspot.ca/2010/04/vintage-birthday-wishes.html

This is the site where I found this lovely card and it quite suits the mood I’m in at the moment.  It’s been a lovely day for the most part, although I did a  lot more walking than I had intended.  But that’s a story for another day.  Thankfully, it was a sunny day, and I had time to do some thinking.

I turned 54 today.  I had to think about that a bit – I guess part of the aging process is that you forget how old you are!  I just seem to forget that I’m getting older.  The days go by, most of them fairly similar in tone.  Work gets done, bills get paid, a few books get read, something gets knitted on…. and so it goes, all in all a fairly mundane kind of life!  With a cruise thrown in for the fun of it – and I guess lychee martinis aren’t that mundane either!  Delicious though, one at a time.

As I was walking, I reflected a bit on the progress I was making in my life, dividing it into the 5 colours that I’ve chosen to represent it – and that’s what I thought I’d share while the last minutes of this delightful day wind down.  I also have to finish this lovely glass of wine!

WHITE:  I always feel that my relationship with my God is not all it could be.  I’m not consistent in so many of the things I want to do – reading, studying, praying, contemplating, meditating.  Something always seems to get in the way of that.  Mostly Facebook, I suppose, but I love the community I share there – and sometimes someone shares something that speaks to my soul and makes me think about my own relationships with people and creation.  I guess I’m just wishing it would be more than it is – and that comes with time – not just time as it passes, but time being active and aware – mindful time.  Something to strive for in the coming years.

BLUE:  My creative pursuits are not the priority they once were.  I find I can go for a few days without yarn in my hands, but I do enjoy the glass jars full of yarn.  I still haven’t written a  pattern for something, but I have been playing with dishclothes and making those “easy squares” more interesting.  And I finished the shawl that I’d been working on for 5 years.  My goal over the next while is to finish more projects than I start – and that will be tought!

GREEN:  Green is my money management – both earning and saving/spending.  Most of the last year and a half was spent saving for a cruise.  I’ve written a bit about that – but the reality was that I came away with no debt – and wonderful memories that I was able to share with my mom, aunts and cousins.  I still have one smallish kind of debt – my line of credit.  This was sitting at around $5000 last year, and even with the cruise, that’s diminished to just over $3000.  I’m planning to be debt free by age 55!  And earning more money!

Which brings me to YELLOW:  I’ve spent the last 5 years busily becoming qualified to teach ESL.  Last year I completed the CERTSEL program at the University of Saskatchewan.  I volunteered at the YMCA, subbed at the Y and this week I started teaching a regular class at the Y.  I am so excited.  While I had planned to be teaching overseas somewhere in September, family keeps me in Calgary for a while longer!  But it is exciting to be moving forward and gaining experience.  (And I have to start preparing for a Masters in TESL in a few years – money and experience)

Finally there is the RED.  Most of my ramblings on my blogs have been about the RED side of life – my health.  I’m still taking the blood pressure medications.  I still weigh over 200 pounds. I still struggle with eating late at night.  And…believe it or not…I still struggle with going to the gym.  It’s even worse lately, and the only positive thing is my commitment to moving at least 5 minutes every day.  That I can do – even if I can’t make it across the street to the gym!

So there you have it!  A bit of a review and a bit of goal setting for the future.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all facets of life moved forward at the same pace?

But it is bedtime, and my wineglass is almost empty.  If it’s your birthday when you read this – have a good one and I hope it inspires you to make some plans for the next year.  If it’s not – have a happy un-birthday kind of day and make some plans anyways!

Goodnight, rest well, and may God bless and keep you!

Marcia

 

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Filed under BLUE: did I do that?, GREEN: Money matters that matter., RED: Losing weight, gaining fitness, strength and new cooking ideas, WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature, YELLOW: Moving into my Life's Calling