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Showing posts from September, 2010

A Word of Encouragement

By Belinda (but not really)

A call to a friend who has dubbed me her Sanity Committee. Her friend answered the phone and called her from another room saying that it was the Sanitary Committee on the phone. Boy did she get that wrong--although maybe not--I did wash my dishwasher filter yesterday! :)

A few people call me their Sanity Committee (because I'm a type B person with all type A friends!) but I don't actually get called on very often. I'm like a big round red Fire Alarm in a glass cabinet--there for an emergency. And when someone actually wants to break the glass it is scary. I know I don't have anything but God and it's at such a moment that this becomes as clear as a freshly squeegied windshield.

So I listened; hard; and then said, "Can I pray?" And as I prayed, something I'd read this week was playing around the edges of my thoughts. Where did I read it? Was it the great book I'm reading right now, Leading from the Second Chair? I sighed…

The Ultimate Filter

By Belinda

The light on the dishwasher beamed green, the signal that it had a clean load of dishes ready for unloading. In my morning preparations for work every minute counts, so while my cream of wheat (with chopped apricots) heated in the microwave, I opened the door and reached in towards the row of white Corelle cereal bowls.

I noticed a mark on the top of a couple of them, and gave the marks a rub. Maybe I had dripped coffee on my way to the counter, I thought. But as I pulled them out I noticed tiny specks of dried on food residue here and there. Yuck!

From experience I knew exactly what to do--check the filter. Sure enough, as I twisted and unlocked it, and pulled it up from the bottom of the dishwasher, I could see that the fine mesh sides of the cylinder were blocked by food residue. Double yuck!

I turned on the tap and filled the sink with hot soapy water and scrubbed gently to clean away the grease and goop. A quick rinse and it was pristine, ready to ensure that the nex…

The Antidote for Computer Face

On Saturday, my brother Rob on the phone from England, asked me if we'd heard about, "Computer Face." I said "No," and "What is that?"

He explained that it's in the news over in England at the moment, the fact that people who stare at a computer for most of the day (that would include me) develop something called, "Computer Face."

Of course I wanted to know what that meant--my imagination was running rampant--and he said it's frown lines of concentration, and jowls. "Jowls??" I've got little ones forming. Maybe not so little, either! And all this time I thought it was to do with aging and now I find out it's Computer Face.

The antidote, apparently, is to have a mirror on the side of the computer, there to remind you to look up (and fight gravity) and not frown. A mirror on the side of my computer? I would never be able to concentrate on work again, not to mention scaring myself at odd moments. :)

I know of a better anti…

The Bark Park

By Belinda
The thought beckoned like a mirage in the desert throughout a day in the kitchen pie baking. It would be my reward for working hard for several hours--a trip to introduce Molson to a place he had never been and I had only heard of--the dog park in the nearby town of Bradford. By the time I finished baking, the sky was gray and glowering and it was later in the day than I'd intended, but Molson hopped happily into the back seat of my faithful old Honda Civic with his red leash attached--always an omen of good times ahead.

A chill wind with icy drizzle did not deter me. I just hoped I could find the famed park.

I drove north along highway 11, scanning the side of the road for signs as my windshield wipers slapped from side to side and turned down a side street, worried that I'd gone too far. A red van seemed to be following me. I turned off at the nearest intersection intending on turning around, and the van pulled up beside me, the driver inside motioning to me to rol…

Out of the Twilight Zone Part 2

By Belinda

Hey friends, if you've been reading here regularly, you may remember my posts over the past few months  about my suspicions and Paul's certainty, that I had sleep apnea (see Out of the Twilight Zone and To Sleep...Yawn .) Well, I have an update!

On Monday I went to see Dr. Ong at the Sleep Clinic to review the results of the sleep study. My greatest fear was that nothing happened when I spent the night at the clinic. I felt as though I slept well, in spite of waking up on the hour every hour and having more wires and straps covering my body than I had dreamt of. How typical a night sleep was it possible to have under such circumstances? I had such high hopes of dealing with a chronic problem at last, yet I wondered if it had shown up.

To my great relief, the data collected from the mess of wires, showed that I stopped breathing 23 times on the night of the study, even though only for periods of 11-12 seconds. This, the doctor said, put me in the category of having …

Disengaged - The Sequel

Fridays with Susan...

I read Belinda's post of yesterday as the daylight dwindled in a campground somewhere between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie and if you read the comment I left yesterday in response, you will know that it struck a deep chord.  It was the last night of nearly a week's much anticipated and desperately needed vacation.

We left home a week ago today and then Canada the next morning, crossing over into Michigan on the Bluewater Bridge which spans the St. Clair River and connects Sarnia, Ontario with Port Huron, Michigan.  Later that day we attended a wedding in Indiana which was a gift, pure and simple.  We witnessed the joining of two hearts and the blending of two families in a celebration which was refreshing in its simplicity and joyously rich in its celebratory abandon.  I felt the reservoirs, long since dried and cracking begin to fill even then.  We left the reception between dinner and the dancing to go back to the hotel and exchange our wedding finery f…

Disengaged

Exhausted: out of every kind of energy: emotional; spiritual; physical. Downhearted, and down on "me;" I felt useless on many levels.

I felt as though I needed to draw a tight curtain around myself, and retreat--and I did. In the room where I most often spend intentional time with God, which has been a guest bedroom since August 12th, I spent an hour with God's Word, and my journal last night.

Just stopping, I realised how very tired I felt. I knew that the next thing on my agenda would be bed. By 10.30, beneath the covers, I sank into my pillow with gratitude that a whole night of sleep lay ahead. I slept for a solid 9 hours. Apparently there was a severe thunderstorm last night, but I didn't hear a thing. 36,000 Ontarians woke up without power this morning, but I got a bit of mine back. And I took a morning of vacation time to continue the restoration process.

I enjoyed our company of the last month and a half, but during that time, and the run up of preparing for the…

A Small Detail to Add

Re. my recent post For Those So Moved in which I shared Dave's idea of readers sending in a cheque for $10 to encourage the pastor in India I wrote about: I omitted to say who to make the cheque out to. If you make it out to me: Belinda Burston, I will deposit the cheques and exchange for British pounds sterling, announce the total collected before I leave for England on October 19th and give the money to Uncle John, who will get a money order through Western Union.

I know that little or much, it will be a blessing. I imagine that it will be multiplied in effectiveness in India.

Tables Turn

By Belinda

My kids would probably say they ate plainly as children. Not exactly a deprived childhood, but the cereal in the cupboard was stuff like Cornflakes; Weetabix: Oatmeal--oh, and Puffed Wheat (basically air, I know!) I was a Meanie Mom who refused to buy sugared cereal. They loved my friend Irene, who would buy them Coco Pops!

Except for festive occasions, we ate lots of casseroles and home made food.

They had parents who balanced out the scales in opposite directions: Paul, who until recently kept the salt industry afloat single handedly, and who would happily live on hamburgers and fries, peanut butter on toast (white bread of course,) or large bowls of Cornflakes and Weetabix crunched together and sprinkled liberally with sugar; and me who loved nuts; seeds; yogurt; brown bread or Ryvita, and vegetables. I admit, I had my unhealthy addictions, but I naturally love healthy food.

Brenda discovered a few years ago that she was gluten intolerant and radically changed what she …

For Those So Moved

Note by Belinda

On Sunday I posted the story of a pastor in India, who is following God in a walk of faith that I can only begin to imagine; see,Faithful Followers

My dear friend and faithful reader, Dave , commented, "Maybe each of your readers could send ten dollars to your Uncle John to send along to the pastor, is that possible?"

I asked Uncle John, whose last day here was today, and he thought about it. He said that he thought he could send money to the pastor via Western Union.

Dave again wrote, "Let us know, it would be a privelege to assist the bird in the window ..." :)

So, dear readers, this is not a charitable organization and there will be no tax deductible receipts, but on simple trust, and only if God lays it on your heart to bless this pastor in India, who has to remain nameless, I am going to England on October 19th and I will get the funds to Uncle John who will send it via Western Union.

My address is Box 144, Bond Head, ON L0G 1B0, Canada

I will…

Time Flies

By Belinda

Sunday: glorious; blue skies and sunshine and just a hint of fall crispness in the air. The house full of the delicious aromas of an autumn feast: turkey; stuffing; squash; corn; peas; mashed potatoes; cranberry sauce; apple pies. The table loaded bountifully for a big family dinner; fourteen of us, aged from four to eighty one.

Six year old William begged for a visit to the park after dinner. Now, there are only so many visits to the park in a lifetime and I would never turn one down lightly, but I said that we'd see, "after dinner."  Fourteen around the table is no light feat after all.

By the end of the meal, I confess, that had William forgotten, I would not have reminded him.  I felt like it was time for a nap. But I knew that it was only a matter of time before he would return! Sure enough, "after dinner," when the dishes were just about done; like a tax collector chasing down an overdue payment, he showed up, with expectant eyes that I wouldn&…

Faithful Followers

By Belinda

He's 81, but for the past decade he has traveled tirelessly: to Kazakhstan; Turkey; India; Kenya; Nigeria and Tanzania--several of these countries he has visited repeatedly. He has gone whenever and wherever the call came to preach or teach.

In between missions trips and being at home in Worcester, England,  Paul's Uncle John comes here, to our home in Canada, to rest and be spoiled a little. When he arrived with Paul's cousin Stephen, two weeks ago, we noticed that his latest trip had taken a toll. He looks more frail, and it's hard to imagine that a few months ago he was traveling across India by train at night, and preaching in stifling heat by day, on a schedule that I would have found exhausting.

Shortly after arriving home from India this time, he fell ill with an unidentified illness which has only just been pegged as Dengue fever, the result of a mosquito bite.

On Friday evening, our friend Jamie came over and had dinner, and afterwards we all just sat …

My Kids According to Facebook

Fridays with Susan...

It's Friday, and like Sophia in the movie "The Colour Purple",  "Ah'm back!"

Face book is a great way to stay connected with the generation behind us.  I love being continually surprised by finding snippets, however brief, of my children's lives and the opportunity to peek into the very windows of their souls every time I make my daily check into Face book. 

Our oldest, Dan, is a die hard shunner of Face book.  That tells you something about him already.  Handsome and single, he's an I.T. guy, but not even close to a "geek".  (That would be my other son.) You won't find him updating his status.  He's much more likely to be playing his guitar and fixes, builds and upgrades all our computers - for free - and just because he loves to do it!  

The rest are all Face-bookers and as I was scrolling through some of their comments today, I thought it might be fun to introduce each one to you by sharing some quotes.  I'…

The Passion to Write

By Belinda

I had watched the evening fading fast from my kitchen window, while making a macaroni and cheese casserole for Friday's supper. It was almost dark when Molson and I left the house, me for a walk and he for a sniff. If our walk was interval training, it would be intervals of walking punctuated by standing still. But he gives me the impression that he reads the village by nose like I read a great book with my eyes. Dragging him away from an intense sniff would be like turning a page at a critical point in a story. Can't do it.

While we walked beneath a canopy of stars and I craned my neck, trying not to topple over backwards looking at them, I thought about the writers group meeting last night.

From all directions we converged on Bonnie's house: Claire, fresh in from Montreal where she has been for 11 weeks, caring for a sick daughter; Bonnie just back from Cuba; Melody and Marilyn from Alliston; Brenda, Veena and Julie from Innisfil; Sue and Vi from Schomberg; M…

Searching for Christmas

By Belinda
(I wrote this for our writers group meeting last night, as we are putting together an anthology of Christmas stories. )

August was hot and steamy. Sweat trickled and tickled down spines and hair clung droopily to heads. I explained to some English guests with a craving for bracing “fresh air,” that flinging open the windows would not help at all. After a few days here they believed me.

I got into the habit of taking late evening walks with Molson, our golden retriever. Normally he bolts from the house like an arrow from a bow, but even he moved slowly on those sweltering August evenings, with the fields surrounding our village buzzing and humming with the rhythmic pulse of insect life, and the intoxicating scent of summer blooms hanging in the still air.

With my senses drenched in summer, I had Christmas on my mind one night late in August. I pondered the next third of the year and wondered how to get it right. Maybe if I started now, I thought, this year I might find the Ch…

Canadian Authors Who Are Christian: Chief Joseph Brant: Canadian Hero

Canadian Authors Who Are Christian: Chief Joseph Brant: Canadian Hero

Yesterday I read the fascinating story of Chief Joseph Brant, written by the Rev. Ed Hird, and posted on the website, Canadian Authors Who Are Christian.

Because like me, many readers of Whatever He Says are interested in history, I refer you today to that story as well worth reading.

Second Fiddle

By Belinda

I knew on Friday night at the Studio Tour, that I would go back some time this weekend, and so, on Sunday afternoon after church, I stopped at the bank for some cash, and went back to the Bond Head Community Hall, where I was recognized at every table as the lady who had been there on Friday night with Molson. Eyes softened and brightened at the memory of his friendly visit and gentle inquiries were made as to how he was.

But Christmas shopping was on my mind on this occasion, and I spent a happy and unhurried hour, browsing the tables and chatting with the gifted artisans.

This is George A. Burt of Bond Head. His work is on display in the National Gallery in Ottawa, right next to Group of Seven paintings.

Each piece is uniquely crafted into a work of art and George burns his name and address on the bottom on each one with a wood burning tool, letter by letter.

His work was in demand all over the world a few years ago when it became known widely. He could not keep up with…

Studio Tour

By Belinda

You can never know what adventures await in the village of Bond Head!

Yesterday evening, Molson and I set out for our walk, and we were on our way home when I noticed a sign outside a garage with a group of people inside, that said, Studio Tour.

I was curious, but carried on down the road, too shy to walk up the driveway and see what was going on. There's nothing wrong with being shy, except when you let it control you, so I went back. And I'm so glad I did. Inside were two people I had met before while out on a walk, Ana Calusic and Martin Grossi; and two of their friends. And Ana and Martin's "children" Bacchi and Mocha, were there, the tiniest and most adorable little dogs. Molson did not quite know what to make of these little friends.
Bacchi and Mocha scampered around Molson with high energy, while he stood by calmly. They let him have a drink out of their water bowl, which was, for him like having a drink from a thimble.

I discovered that Ana…

Saffroned

By Belinda

Fridays with Susan will have to wait, please be patient dear readers, she will be back!

This week has been....well, it has been over the top around her house. Along with completely reorganizing her home, and a very busy time at work, Susan helped birth her 11th grandchild. It was a long hard labour, but in the end, Abby and Ben held little Logan in their arms and knew that they would never, ever, stop loving this child. Everything changed in that moment, forever.

So, it's me again tonight, tapping away in the wee hours, and thinking of the gold drenched saffron day that God blessed us with.

And I think of the dear friend who sat opposite me as I led the cell group study tonight and who fell sound asleep in her wing backed chair. Her only concern was whether she had snored.

"I felt like I landed on a soft cloud tonight at your place," she said.

Sometimes we need a soft cloud to land on, a place of utter relaxation; still waters; a place for restoring of a soul…

Now

By Belinda

Now...is fragrant with the scent of baking apple crisp; is gaudy in its colour palette of impossibly overdone mustard yellow; and red and green apple skins against creamy white, crisp flesh.

God seems to be in creative overdrive right now. Our corner of the world looks as though a manic artist daubed splodges of ochre here and there, while saying, "Take that, and that, and how do you like THAT?!"

And the riotous frenzy of fall colours has yet to get started.

Our apple trees outdid themselves this year and are heavy with fruit, as were our pear and plum trees last month. And I am possessed of a sense of solemn duty to use what God gives and to waste as little as possible.

And so, I left my briefcase self behind at the office this afternoon at 5.00 pm and became another person entirely this evening, up to my elbows in apple peel, flour and cinnamon, while I cooked to the classics. The recipe above is the best recipe ever for apple crisp. I thank my friend Susan Pow…

A Dog's Purpose? (from a 6-year-old).

My friend Ang Catrambone sent me this story by Bev Joerz, and I just had to share it for fellow dog lovers. The list contains much life wisdom.
The story is about an Irish Wolfhound. My dad, once worked as a security guard with an Irish Wolfhound named Vicky. He loved that dog dearly and was broken hearted when she was poisoned. I share this in her memory.
Belinda

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa , and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I fe…

Birth Order Disorders! :)

By Belinda

The estimated time of sunset in Toronto tonight,  according to The Weather Network, was 19.46 hours, so at 19.30 or (or 7.30,) Molson and I left the house in a hurry, as soon as the dinner dishes were in the dishwasher, like teenagers up against a curfew.

The evening sky was a mottled gray, and the pavement wet; suitably sober for the last walk of summer before Back to School.

We retraced our steps of yesterday afternoon, when we had passed that way, bound for the park, with ten more little feet running beside and ahead of us.

As we got within sight of the main highway, 6 year old *William had called out, "Can I push the button?" (for the walking signal to cross the road.)

"Of course," I said.

"I get to push it on the way back," said 9 year old Andrew, staking his claim.
.
What is it about pushing a button that is so exciting for a kid? I don't know, but I know that it is. It can be an elevator button--any button--a kid will love to push it…
Just in case anyone is interested...here is my "thing of wonder, step saver!" (see previous post) :)

Five Children, a Dog and Some Rocks

By Belinda

I got home first after church, ahead of the other twelve, who arrived like homing pigeons soon after: Brenda and Kevin from cottage country; Pete and Sue, four grandchildren and one of their cousins; and Paul, with Uncle John and cousin Stephen, freshly arrived from England just yesterday.

I could hardly wait to use the new kitchen trolley thing that I bought from Solutions, "the organized living store," this week.

It has a stainless steel square top, with bamboo legs below, a drawer and a rack underneath, and a pull out wire basket, and it's on wheels.

There are so many large dinners at our house. I knew when I saw it a month ago at the store opening, how useful it would be.

It came in a box, and I didn't have time until yesterday to assemble it. I got out my tool box and after prying the pieces and screws from the packaging and shrink wrapping, I realized that I would need Paul's pair of hands and muscle power to help.

Together we did a fine job and…

Almost Heaven

By Belinda

He shot through the front door like a child let out at recess; Molson, after too many days without "walkies." For the last few evenings I've been busy making, baking, serving and eating pie! If ever there was a time when a good walk was needed. :)
Tonight I came home determined to "just rest," and crashed with Paul in front of our T.V. to watch detective stories. But Molson's ever hopeful eyes were not to be resisted; not by me.
It was 8.00 pm when we left the house, and the night drawing in already, I chose a different direction than usual; one safer in the dusk, and away from the main road where there is no sidewalk.  
He walked ahead, off the lead, and I followed a path I normally walk past, to the brow of a hill that looks across the fields.

 I stood there, every sense attuned to the wonder surrounding me. This photo of that very spot was taken in May, so the tall fronds of feathery goldenrod aren't there  yet, but tonight I was surrounded by…

An Evening at Bond Head Cell Group

Jen and Howie (with Neena in the background.) This was their FIRST engagement gift. Note the ring that Jen is subtly flashing! Congratulations Jen and Howie!!

 Shelby,  Hope, Brenda (the cross is on the pop bottle, not dangling from her ear as it appears) and our dear Susan.

Jamie.
 Belinda and Ann
 ...Again
Paul managed to avoid the photos and Jane, Barb, Michelle, Tippy and Tori were missing...and Molson (for supper time)  :) (Our Brenda was there but the photo wasn't so great!)