Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Snapshot Muse # 27 - Simple Gifts

It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon as I went for a walk with my sister, cousin and nephews, Jakobi and Terrance. Of course one can never walk long distances, or get any where fast with two little boys along. There are just too many things to explore and be in awe of. Yes, things you would otherwise miss - like that seagull soaring in the sunshine, waaaay up there. And those 'tires that don't have a tractor'. I love seeing the world through the eyes of little children - everything is magical and pretty and, and, and... 

A reminder, for sure, of the importance of  'stopping to smell the roses' and to notice the simple things, that often go unnoticed.

On our walk we came across this magical place; two rows of stately poplars creating a gorgeous golden path, perfect for running and kicking up leaves, tumbling down and rolling in them. Or just lying still and marveling at the branches, leaves and sky above. A little boy's paradise.

The best song I could think of for this post is, Simple Gifts:

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Dr. Eva Olsson - Holocaust Survivor - Inspiring Speaker

We had a very inspiring speaker at our school today. She's a 90 year old who travels extensively sharing her story in schools, colleges, universities, churches...wherever people are interested in listening to her message.

 Dr. Eva Olson's message in a nutshell: "It's OK to be different, but never OK to be indifferent - the bystander is as guilty as the perpetrator. During the Holocaust there were many bystanders. We're all human beings, created by God. I do not judge people. I leave that to God. We need to show respect towards each other. If we teach our children that at home, that's what they will bring to school."

Dr. Eva Olsson has had to endure a lot in her life. After surviving the Holocaust, she moved to Sweden. It's there she met and married Rude Olsson. Eva and her sister, Fradel were the only ones in their family to survive the Nazi regime, but when Eva married a Swede, her sister disowned her. Fradel now lives in Israel. Early in their married life, Rude and Eva moved to Ontario, Canada, where she still resides. She has one son, and three grandchildren. When Rude was in his thirties, he died, after being hit by a drunk driver. Which means she has been a widow for 50 years. Today Eva shares her story of survival with courage and passion, and with no trace of bitterness, but a heart full of love for all human beings, especially children.

"I cannot live in the past, but I must live with it. Perhaps by writing and speaking about my story I will pass on to the next generation the importance of creating a legacy of caring, compassion and character. I'm going to keep speaking as long as I can. Then I can honestly say to the millions of people whose voices were cruelly silenced by the Nazis, "You have not been forgotten." Dr. Eva Olsson

If you ever get the chance to listen to Dr. Eva Olsson, I highly recommend you do so. 

Dr. Eva Olsson has a number of books and audio and video CD's, some of which can be found on Amazon:


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Autumn Art

After a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, I felt like working on something colourful. So, I decided to try finger painting (the first time this year) with my kindergarten class - two boys. Needless to say, they had a lot of fun dabbing red and yellow leaves on their tree... yes, some got on the table as well, but thankfully none on their clothes. Of course, we had drawn and coloured the bare tree beforehand. We all agreed, they turned out very nice and that they needed to be displayed in our classroom wall.

I love the way this one is leaning, as some trees tend to.

And our strong and tall one... no leaning here.

Well done, Josiah and Ezra!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Then Sings My Soul...


      Here in Canada we're celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. At our Sunday service today we were reminded that in order to reach our 'promised Land' we need to always have a grateful heart. Indeed, there's so much to be thankful for.

“All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe,” is the passage our minister read from Deuteronomy 8:1. “Just as the Lord commanded the children of Israel to observe the Festival of Harvest, we too, should not come empty handed. We need to honor God, acknowledge our dependence on Him, and praise Him for his rich blessings, both the spiritual and the material.” To this our minister added. “Today people are grumbling as well, just like the children of Israel. And this sin cost them the Promised Land. Is that the path we want to follow? With all the blessings we enjoy daily, homes, food, clothes, bountiful harvest... it seems we always want more. We forget, that when we fill our heart with gratitude, there is no room for grumbling.” 

I came away challenged to be more diligent in practicing an attitude of gratitude. Today, I'm especially grateful for uplifting and worshipful music...like the German version of How Great Thou Art in the video. Watching this brought back some amazing August 2013 memories - my time in Europe! Wouldn't you just love walking this mountain trail? I know, I would. 

What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Snapshot Muse # 26 - God's Colouring Book

I love the vibrant colours of autumn! When I see the wonders of nature, I'm reminded of Chief Dan George's beautiful poem, "My Heart Soars'. At least once every autumn, I grab my camera and head out to capture some of these splendid scenes...'and my heart soars'. Every time.

Yes, that is a pelican among our ducks.

God's Coloring Book - written by Dolly Parton. Performed in this clip by the Primitive Quartet.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Our School's Annual Bag Fever

Park bench made from recycled plastic
It's October, the month when our school has bag fever. To save plastic bags from going to a nuisance ground, where they will lie for ages, or else cling to a fence, bush or tree somewhere, we're collecting them and sending them to a recycling place. This Bag Up Manitoba project is made possible by Take Pride Winnipeg. The company turning plastic bags into park benches, birdhouses and many other beautiful things is Trex. To learn more about this, you can go to some of my previous posts.

In past years, our school has been rewarded with park benches and birdhouses for our efforts. While this isn't the real reason we're involved... It's more about promoting a clean environment. Still, it is a wonderful incentive and keeps our students and their parents, relatives and friends motivated to collect as many bags as possible during the month of October.

If you're in this area, please consider giving your bags to us this month. Let us know, if you have any and we'll arrange to have them picked up. Or you can drop them off at our school. If you need more information, leave me a comment or use the contact form in the side bar.

I'd also like to encourage other schools in Manitoba to take part in this. See Take Pride Winnipeg to learn more.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Blind Descent - Brian Dickinson

 About the Book:

Alone and blind at 29,000 feet!
Former Navy rescue swimmer Brian Dickinson was roughly 1,000 feet from the summit of Mount Everest—also known as “the death zone”—when his Sherpa became ill and had to turn back, leaving Brian with a difficult decision: should he continue to push for the summit, or head back down the mountain? After carefully weighing the options, Brian decided to continue toward the summit—alone. Four hours later, Brian solo summited the highest peak in the world. But the celebration was short-lived. After taking a few pictures, Brian radioed his team to let them know he had summited safely, and got ready to begin his descent. Suddenly, his vision became blurry, his eyes started to burn, and within seconds, he was rendered almost completely blind. All alone at 29,035 feet, low on oxygen, and stricken with snow blindness, Brian was forced to inch his way back down the mountain relying only on his Navy survival training, his gut instinct, and his faith. In Blind Descent, Brian recounts—in fantastic detail—his extraordinary experience on Everest, demonstrating that no matter how dire our circumstances, there is no challenge too big for God.

My Review:

I'm not sure where I first heard about this book, maybe Twitter, but after reading the back cover blurb, I put it on my 'to read' list. Than I saw it again - as a free ebook download on Christianbooks.com... doesn't get much better than this. No sooner on my ereader and I was sitting on the edge of my seat, or maybe hanging on for dear life on the side of a mountain, as it were. I'm not into extreme sports, can't even comprehend why people want to put themselves through stuff like that, but 'alone and blind at 29,000 feet' had me intrigued. I wasn't reading this book for review, but after turning the last page, I felt compelled to share it. From the first pages the author drew me into his true story of conquering Everest and how is faith helped him. As difficult and dangerous as climbing Mount Everest was, it pales in comparison to the way down; blind, alone, running low on oxygen and no contact with anybody, is the most intense. With rescue training and a strong faith in God, Brian ventured down, knowing almost every step could be his last. What tremendous relieve when he was reunited with his friends. They were still way up there, but at least he wasn't alone anymore. I don't think I've ever read a story that had me so emotionally charged. I highly recommend this well-written, tension-packed, have-a-hankie-handy book!