Thursday, July 28, 2011

Celebrating Canada {A Canadian Alphabet}

This is twice now that I've fallen asleep in the middle of a blog post! Oops! I think my body is telling me I'm past the age of pulling all-nighters or even just late nights.

A Canadian Alphabet
Written by Mike Ulmer
Adapted by Sue Fountin and Tracey Unger

J is for justice, brought by horse to the west by the mounted Police in their fiery red vests. They are known as the Mounties, and they are respected worldwide for the depths of their courage and their Musical Ride.


I am Sir Sam Steele of the Northwest Mounted Police. Yes, it is sir, because King George V knighted me for my service to the British Empire. My adventures are stranger than fiction. When Fenian raiders attacked Canada from the United States, I was there. When Louis Riel and the Metis rebelled in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, I was there. I protected the railroad workers in Alberta and British Columbia and kept order in the Klondike. I fought in the Boer War, and at the age of 65, I marched off to World War I. Wherever trouble appeared in Canada in my lifetime, I was there to uphold the law.

K is for Klondike and the hunger for gold that drew thousands of miners to the northerly cold. The men made the journey by mule, foot, and teams to pan for their fortunes in the cold river stream. The first bright flakes of gold turned up in sluices and pans along the Thompson and Fraser Rivers in the 1850's in what was to soon become the colony of British Columbia. Few struck it rich, buy many stayed to become farmers. Years later in the late 1890's, gold fever would strike again in the Klondike River Valley of the Yukon country. Gold was reportedly "lying think between the flaky slabs of rock like cheese in a sandwich". It took over half a year for news to get out, but then an estimated 100,000 people from the United States, Europe, and Australia headed for Rabbit Creek--now renamed Bonanza Creek. 

L is for Louisbourg and the garrison that stands as evidence of France's colonizing of the land. The first people arrived there in 1713 and soon a village appeared. The city itself had an excellent harbor and at one time it was the third busiest seaport in North America, after Boston and Philadelphia. To guard the St. Lawrence, the French planned a great fortress for Cape Breton Island at Louisbourg. The French were 25 years in building this fortress, the Gibraltar of New France and the largest fort ever built in the New World. The best military engineers of the time designed the huge stone fortifications, three kilometers of wall nine meters high. The Royal Navy cannons were able to fire from the low hills surrounding Louisbourg into the fort, but it took seven weeks of bombardment before the fortress surrendered in 1758.


Did you know that in 1759, one year after the defeat of Louisbourg, General James Wolfe defeated the Marquis de Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham near Quebec City, both men dying in battle? The victorious English planned to make all of New France, or Quebec, British. In spite of the removal of the Acadians in 1755 and the defeat of the French forces four years later, the French population in Quebec continued to grow and the British were having problems with colonies south of Quebec so the Quebec Act of 1774 allowed the French to keep their language, customs, and laws.

M is for maple, our national leaf and the sugar and silver that thrive in the East. Canada produces 85% of the world's maple syrup. Quebec produces 93% of Canada's maple syrup. Maple syrup contains more nutrients--such as calcium, thiamine, and riboflavin--than refined sugar, but we eat it for the taste. Maple trees thrive out west too. The Manitoba Maple bears its home in its name. Canada has other famous trees too, like the big leaf Douglas Fir, west of the plains.

N is for Northern, the great Northern Lights. Those beautiful visions  that light up out night. Aurora Borealis is their scientific name, and the show they present is never the same.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Every time I close my eyes, I see produce. Some products I recognize--like onions, tomatoes, and zucchini. But, rutabaga, bittermelon, and Chinese eggplant? I wonder who on earth would buy these strange looking vegetables, but since they are sold in the store, people must want them.

The conveyor belt moves the produce at a pretty fast pace. My fingers punch in 62, help. I am immediately sent to the fruits. Ooops. I meant to hit 61. Now what would the funny, roundish, flat, waxy thing be under? Maybe roots? Or, how about Chinese....maybe cooking? But, how am I supposed to find something if I don't even know what it is?

After looking it up under several codes, I finally just asked my trainer what it was. If you know what it is, you receive the million dollar prize! Or, just a pat on the back; recognition that you are super smart, or you cook really exotic things.

My brain has been reading numbers all day. 4011 is bananas. There's 4050, 4287, 4289, and 4052.....unfortunately, I have not yet memorized the produce that belongs to those codes!

Maybe it will all get sorted out in my dreams.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

It Is Well

Another beloved hymn of mine:

It Is Well with My Soul

This hymn was writ­ten af­ter two ma­jor trau­mas in Spaf­ford’s life. The first was the great Chi­ca­go Fire of Oc­to­ber 1871, which ru­ined him fi­nan­cial­ly (he had been a weal­thy bus­i­ness­man). Short­ly af­ter, while cross­ing the At­lan­tic, all four of Spaf­ford’s daugh­ters died in a col­li­sion with an­o­ther ship. Spaf­ford’s wife Anna sur­vived and sent him the now fa­mous tel­e­gram, “Saved alone.” Sev­er­al weeks lat­er, as Spaf­ford’s own ship passed near the spot where his daugh­ters died, the Ho­ly Spir­it in­spired these words. They speak to the eter­nal hope that all be­liev­ers have, no mat­ter what pain and grief be­fall them on earth.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Week Review

90 degrees out. Fahrenheit, of course for my American friends. It is 32 degrees Celsius, but with the humidity, it feels like 100 ! I don't know if this is usual, or unusual. My first summer in WI was unseasonably cold. I remember having to wear my sweatshirt many days! My second summer was pretty hot, I guess, but I don't remember it being unbearable. These last couple days? "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" "dashing through the snow" and making snowmen and having snowball fights. I'm reminded why the summer season is not number one on my list :)

As a side note, the kid's bedroom houses our A/C unit, but it doesn't do much for the rest of the house. We have several fans, but they seem to push the hot air around in a listless manner. Thus my eager welcoming of cooler, frosty days is explained :)

Anyway, aside from the overpowering heat, the kids and I managed to have a good week while our parents have been gone. We {or maybe I should say I} did not really have the energy or desire to go out and also I had not planned on any outings for this week so I picked up some books from the library for them to read. My siblings are avid readers, though so the books didn't take up very much of their time. I made up a schedule of chores for them to do in the mornings, and after lunch the four youngest would take a nap and the older kids got some free time. In the evenings when the weather cooled down, we would spend some time out in our backyard--at least until the bugs drove us back in.

All in all, it was a very good, very busy week {hence the sporadic blogging :( }. Stepping in and taking the role of a parent, even just for a week, was very enlightening to me and makes me realize just how much I have to learn before I have a family of my own. At the same time, I can't wait to have a family of my own :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Celebrating Canada {A Canadian Alphabet}

H is for hockey, that game that we play from summer's last whisper to snow's melting away. We like to play rough--we can show you our scars--it's something we care for, it'll always be ours.

"Did you know?"soliloquy

Hockey isn't our only national game. Did you know that in 1891, James Naismith, a Canadian physical education teacher, invented the game of basketball for an indoor winter sport to keep his football players in shape? He used a soccer ball and a peach basket and had a few problems retrieving the ball until he replaced the basket with a rim and net.

I is for islands with no borders of land, like Montreal, Vancouver and, of course Newfoundland. In Victoria, in Baffin and so many more, you'll find the roar of the water by the quiet of the shore.

PEI--Confederate Bridge connecting Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

Building on Vancouver Island.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wonderful Peace ~ Dino Kartsonakis ~ Lyrics

I have loved this song since I first heard it on cassette tape years ago. I love the words as well as the melody--I was really excited to hear, "Number 288 in our hymnal--Wonderful Peace" tonight during our song service.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Oh So Quick

**Like I mentioned earlier this week...I got a job! Changing careers from teaching to ringing up groceries I think is going to take some adjustment, but I am thankful the Lord provided me with a job so soon after I applied. More on that later.

**This is my parent's 30th year of marriage. Their anniversary was in January, and my Dad had planned on a family trip back home, to Eritrea. Unfortunately, things did not work out and the trip got put on the back burner. However, details were ironed out for them to go to Calgary, Alberta; a province west of us.

Ted, Tesfay, and I are going to be caretakers, and since we all work, I'm sure there will be some juggling of responsibilities. Of course, I keep reminding my Mum that I took care of the kids way before I was Shammah and Ermias's age when her and Dad would go grocery shopping. I remember the all day events that would take them to Toronto, and I would watch the kids. If Erm does need to watch the kids at all, it would only be for a couple hours and four at the most. No big deal.....not to my Mum though. I don't know how much R&R she's going to get since I know her thoughts will be with us, her children. And besides, how bad can a week be?

Anyway, I need to drive them to the airport in the morning. I am so thankful that London has an airport and we don't need to go all the way to Toronto--two hours away. Their flight leaves at 7 and they will arrive around 9 {there is a time change}.

**Today we celebrated my niece's birthday. She will turn two on Sunday. Rochelle is such a character and I just love her to pieces.

It was also time to take pictures. An exorbitant amount. But, I suppose that it has been a while since we got a whole group family picture....come to think of it, I don't know that we have any from my baby brother Little D to my Dad. Some pictures are so cute...others blurred and fit only for deleting...while still others, although not perfect, will remind us of the oh-so-hot day that we sweated glistened through our- first in a long, long time family picture.


Dad & Mum

The Big Boys--Tesfay, Yemane, and Tedros

Playing "Hot Potato" with Marc

Me and my kid Brothers

Us four "foreigners"......

We also got one of the Canada born babies, but it is on the other camera and I'll upload when I get  a chance.

Well, I better get to sleep if I want to coherent when I drive in the morning!

Good night, y'all!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

And We're Back!... Celebrating Canada { A Canadian Alphabet}

F is a man who in one summer proved he could do with one leg what few could manage with two. Terry Fox never finished his cancer crusade; now we all do the running and remember his name.

The new loonie now remembers his work.

G is for grain and the valleys of wheat that ripple through the prairies in the dry, summer heat. Our western-grown bounty is a gift to the globe, for the bread of the world comes from see that we sow.

May we remember too, to sow the seed of the Gospel as God gives us strength and boldness that God may reap a harvest of souls as our farmers reap their grain.


I was really excited to post last night because I got a job--yay!!--and my brother Erm found my script {it wasn't lost forever as he said} that I was using for my "Celebrating Canada" series.

As it was, I had no connection to the internet. Zilch. Nada.  It worked fine in the early evening, but when I got around to posting around 10, this little blurb popped up that said I had "troubleshooting" problems. The only thing I can figure out is maybe my brother unhooked something? when he was fiddling around with the wires.

Anyway, right now I'm sitting outside of Starbucks, thankful for their WiFi :) and hopefully tonight things will be back to normal at my house...maybe :/

Anyhow, thanks for your patience...and understanding....and love....and...I'll stop now :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Silent Night

For song of the week, I bring you a Christmas song. It's such a shame that we don't sing Christmas carols all year long, but then I suppose it would not be as special and become mundane when the Christmas season actually rolls around. Still, once in a while wouldn't be bad, right? :)

Enjoy one of my favorites!

Silent night, holy night

All is calm, all is bright

Round yon virgin Mother and Child

Holy Infant so tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace

Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!

Shepherds quake at the sight

Glories stream from heaven afar

Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!

Christ, the Saviour is born

Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night

Son of God, love's pure light

Radiant beams from Thy holy face

With the dawn of redeeming grace

Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth "

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Canada Day Fireworks

Friday July 1, 2011 is the first night I saw "professional" fireworks {for Canada Day} start to finish. Dave, Theresa, Carolyn and I went right after Family Camp was over so we wouldn't be late to watch the display over the Thames in London.

At first we were standing on the bridge over the river, but Dave made a motion to go closer and Recce being the dutiful wife agreed. I will concede that our front row seats made up for any discomfort of walking in and around seated people...of which there seemed to be thousands, but probably was no more than several hundred. I just looked straight ahead and followed Dave's bobbing head.

Anyway, I was able to get some shots of the fireworks, but I admit I was busier "ooh-ing" and "aah-ing" than getting any pictures! I love fireworks! The whistle scream as it shoots up in the air and the loud KABOOM! as it explodes into a fiery display. Seriously, the ground was shaking and if I wasn't watching fireworks, I would think that cannons and machine guns were going off! So neat!

These ones are from Thursday night at Camp. A couple of the guys got together and put on a mini show for us. Once they got going, it was pretty spectacular.

And then these ones were in downtown London--right by the Thames. One of these Canada Day's, I would love to visit our capital and see the show they put on there.

Our group--we had so much fun. After we watched the fireworks, we went to McD's for a snack and more fellowship. What a great way to spend my Canada Day :) Friends, food, and fireworks!

Friday, July 8, 2011

An Interruption...

We are interrupting this month long series of "Celebrating Canada" to bring you a special broadcast...Quite sad, I must say :(
My darling, sweet, kind, giant, pipsqueak of a brother decided to "air dry" {by dropping it out of my window} my folder after acting like a nincompoop and knocking my glass of water and thereby saturating it. And of course like a responsible teenager, he promptly forgot all about my book and went on his merry little way.

Well, yesterday was garbage day at our house, and some person with character decided to clean up the back yard and put the pink folder into the recycling. And now it is far, far away. I learned all of this only about an hour ago, and although I tried to guilt trip my brother into getting it {before I realized it got recycled} from outside, it was all to no avail. So, for the moment...well, maybe for a couple days while I try to get a new copy of the script, I am without a book and we will not be able to taste a little bit of Canada's history.

Which truly is sad to me. All my life, with the exception of perhaps a year, I have only had/been taught American history...and, I even taught 5th and 6th grade history for student teaching. I had a great time, because I love reading history, and especially that of America. In light of all that though, I have greatly enjoyed being able to go through the alphabet and learn something about Canada...while I only put a little blurb on here, I spend several hours reading about them "behind the scenes". It never is too late to learn history, and especially that of your own country. Little by little, I'm learning what it means to be a Canadian, and the pride that comes with it.
A concept that Pastor JV taught us during college was that you love what you know, and you know what you love. Now he was talking about music at the time, but you can apply that to anything in life...and I'm learning to love Canada :)

Hopefully this weekend I can come up with the script, and share some more about the greatest country on earth...


Good night!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Celebrating Canada {Something to Sing About}

A fun, peppy song about Canada :) I wish there was some way I can show Mrs. T's slide show she put together for this song, but I'm not that technologically smart ;) I also can't seem to find just the music for this so y'all can hear it...but, hopefully the pictures I found will be some compensation.

I have walked on the strand of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland
Lazed on the ridge of the Miramichi

Seen the waves tear and roar on the stone coast of Labrador
Watched them roll back to the Great Northern Sea


From the Vancouver Island to the Alberta Highland

'Cross the Prairies, the lakes to Ontario's towers
From the sound of Mount Royal's chimes, up to the Maritimes
Something to sing about, this land of ours

I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan
Followed the sun to the Vancouver shore

Watched it climb shiny new up the snow peaks of Caribou
Up to the clouds where the wild Rockies soar

I have heard the wild wind sing the places that I have been
Bay Bull and Red Deer and Strait of Bells Isle
Names like Grand Mere and Silverthorne
Moose Jaw and Marrowbone,
Trails of the pioneer, named with a smile

I have wandered my way to the wild wood of Hudson Bay
Treated my toes to Quebec's morning dew

Where the sweet summer breeze kissed the leaves of the maple trees
Sharing this song that I'm sharing with you.

Yes there's something to sing about, tune up a string about
Call out in chorus or quietly hum
Of a land that is still young, with a ballad that's still unsung
Telling the promise of great things to come.

Yes, there's something to sing about--this Land of ours!!