Monday, 30 September 2013

What Millie Learned in September 2013

Posts like these seem especially appropriate in September with the start of another school year. For me, this month has been full of lessons as well as lesson planning, sore throats from talking so much, and brain bursting loads of new information.

So, from the classroom:

1. Manitoba maples are also called ash-leaf maples and some people say you can get sap from them. Maybe we should tap the ones in our back yard.

2. It is a great feeling of accomplishment when your students envy your lunch. Apparently boiled eggs, cheese, and crackers are special.

3. Homeschooled kids don't understand a buddy system. Come to think of it, I was homeschooled and, therefore, probably don't really understand it either.

4. It is apparently very difficult for a three year old and a four year old to understand the concept of breathing in and out, as pertaining to singing. They also are unable to stand still and sing at the same time. In their words, "I want to dance and sing."

5. An ant colony has a queen. New queens grow wings and fly away to form new colonies.

6. The cave paintings at Lascaux, France were discovered by two boys and their dog in 1940.

7. Little boys - I'm not sure what I've learned about little boys. Just that they are a lovely mix of quirky manliness and heart melting love, predictable grossness and genuine humour; and I'm thankful for the few that I know.

And from life...

8. Dear people come in the most surprising ways into your life. When my pastor left our church over a year ago, I thought nothing good could come of it. But, God sent a big man with a bigger heart, another with a mild voice, and many more. Out pulpit was filled and so were our hearts. Maybe God's way is best after all. Why did I ever doubt?

9. This world where God has made us strangers is now a scary and confusing place. God gives us good things like school curriculum, food, drink, marriage, and pretty clothes. But all these things eventually pass away, and what will last is his grace, mercy, and the faith he has given us to trust him completely.

10. There is room in God's plan for repentance and mistakes, because God is bigger than our sin and through broken-ness is the path to praising Christ.

11. Through fear, anger, bitterness, worry, panic, frustration, anxiety, hate...God is there. He is there in the ungracious place to offer grace and to bring his errant child home. In him there is repentance, renewal, and remembrance.

12. Teachers fail, mothers fail, children disappoint, and sometimes nature walks yield nothing but burdocks in sweaters. I'm learning that it's really okay. God is greater.

Grace be with you all.

- Millie

Monday, 23 September 2013

On Being Gluten-Free

On August 19th, I stopped eating gluten. I decided I'd try it for a month to see if a gluten-free diet would fix some of the health issues I was experiencing. I must admit I was a little loath to do so, as being gluten-free is considered quite trendy, and my rebellious heart doesn't go in for anything that might be associated with urban coffee shops and hipster glasses. But, at the same time, I understand the state of flour in the modern world and know it can sometimes do some pretty groovy things to one's insides.

So, I went gluten-free. I thought it would probably be pretty hard, because, in the words of my nephew, "I love gluten." But, though I did have a few slip ups where I just totally forgot about my diet and started eating crackers and other such glutinous products to beat the band, surprisingly, it wasn't too bad. Here are some of the things that saved me.

1. Gluten-free oats, which were turned into granola bars. I would wrap them individually and keep them in the freezer. I hate to tell you how many of those I ate. Just suffice to say, I'm a little tired of granola bars, now.

2. A sister who didn't mind experimenting with gluten-free pizza dough, pie crust, and thickening stews with corn starch instead of flour. Thanks, Liv!

3. These brownies:

4. I don't have a great sweet tooth, so I didn't mind passing up cakes and the like, if I had to. Bread was actually the hardest to give up.

5. I have masochistic tendencies and took a secret delight in occasionally sternly renouncing hamburgers and subsisting on green salad for supper, as well as just learning to sometimes be hungry.

6. Our family doesn't do a whole lot of going out to eat, either at restaurants or at other people's houses. So, the moments of awkward, "ummm...I can't eat that" were few and far between.

On September 19th, I celebrated by eating shortbread cookies for breakfast. Being gluten-free didn't seem to make much difference in my health, but I did lose around seven pounds and had an interesting experience, to boot!

- Millie

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Photo Challenge Week 35, 36 & 37


...will have a place like this in their yard.

The Weather Today.... telling me it is finally Fall.
...are saying, goodbye summer. You were lovely.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


It’s been quiet around on here – a little pocket of silence. Maybe it means busy in Real Life. Or maybe and most truthfully, it would seem my mind has been a blank for the last few weeks. Not that I have nothing to say (good grief) – but maybe whatever I’m saying sounds mostly like a broken record.

But here’s something –

I was talking to someone the other day about beauty in the hidden places. Because, after all, if something is not hung in an art gallery, sung at Carnegie Hall, been pinned with a blue ribbon, been eaten by royalty, been featured in a magazine…is it art, some how less valuable?

Or does beauty and the lovely things find themselves pouring most lavish from the everyday corners of our lives. Like God’s grace. No less stingy to the least of these.

And isn’t it true? “It is possible for people to live quietly amazing lives, you know.”

And it is possible for people to make quietly amazing art.

So I’m asking you. How do you make art, beauty and pictures of grace in your life? And how do you plan to do it today?



Monday, 2 September 2013

What Liv Learned in August...

Before I begin, may I just say; “WHERE has this month gone?!”

Ok. What I learned in August.

1.      I learned that a taxi is not as scary as I have thought all my life. They even smell pretty good.

2.      I learned that poutine is not as soggy as I have thought all my life. It even tastes pretty good. (A lot good, actually.)

3.      I learned that being a talker is not a virtue under any circumstances. Oh man – it just isn’t.

4.      I learned that a birthday can be a very lovely thing. And friends and kin folk are even lovelier.

5.      I learned that folk dancing may be a lost art – but it really should come back, because you will never laugh so hard as when there is music going and people are swinging their partners.

6.      I learned that hospitality is hard and funny, but always worth it. And I think it will always be the best way to say, “I like you.”

7.      I learned that in a pinch you can put anything on a pizza and pretend it is gourmet. I do not promise that it will taste good.

8.      I learned that flea markets – oh blissful flea markets – are perhaps the most awkward (and fun) way to spend a Saturday. But if you end up with a broken bookcase and a quilt with a hole in it…well, then you’re doing fine.

9.      I learned that there are a lot of different kinds of pickles. Quite a variety now live in our cupboard.

10.  I learned that sadness and the twenty different emotions we feel a day are not only real, but a gift from God to good purpose. That sorrow is big – but hope is bigger – and can guide us through circumstances to realize that loving God is more important than any other thing we may want.

I didn’t know that I needed to learn this, these last few days of August, until I read two books in quick succession.
 I would particularly recommend the first. (Don’t be turned off by the subtitle. I am not depressed, but the Biblical premise of this book applies to every person with mood swings. ie. Everywomanonearth.)


11.  And last, but not least, I learned that those sleepovers at Grammy’s (remember when we would dance to Beach Boy records in the basement?) clearly had more of an impact than I thought. I recently rediscovered the group and recognized every song! This could be because every song sounds the same, but still…the subconscious is scary.

What is weirder is when it gets mixed up.  When Kokomo came on I had to stop and check who was playing.

I totally thought that was a song off our childhood Geography Songs cassette.

Oh well.

Savour these last days of summer, guys! (We can agree it is still totally summer, right?)