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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Good News Proclaimed...

Glorious Easter Gift
May the Redeemed Rise up in Celebration!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Under His Wings

"He will cover you
with His feathers,
And under His wings
you will find refuge."
                Psalm 91:4
Many thanks to Amy Peterson for capturing this infinitely precious picture of God's unfathomable sheltering Grace. Sweet cygnet sheltered under the protecting wing...

Do they get any sweeter?
Love these babies of spring...
May your weekend be filled with the Beauty of Christ's Gift
May you always find rest under His Sheltering Wings of Grace,
Easter Blessings,
Love to each,

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kindred Spirits

This is Cheryl...

and her cows.
I am smitten already!
Cheryl lives a long, long way from Texas.  In a land of long winter nights, and tall, soaring trees.  She and her husband Glenn own a beef cattle farm in beautiful Ontario.  And that's a really long way from the forever summers of North Texas! But miles shrink instantly thru the magic of email, and I have been happily gifted with their friendship :)
Country at heart, we bond over all things farming.  Like newborn babies in the spring, and spectacular sunsets, and peaceful walks by the creek...skunks in the round bales and animal tracks in the snow.  Oh, and did I mention that Cheryl drives their tractor?
And helps neighbors fix barn doors?
I knew we were kindred spirits...
(p.s. that's Glenn in the bucket!)
Her heart is big, her friendship genuine and her spirit strong.  She is the light of her family and her husband Glenn adores her.    
5 months ago Cheryl was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.
That is how we met.  And in getting to know Cheryl and Glenn, I have constantly been inspired by the way they have handled their journey...
Together.  Determined.  With grit.  And humor.  And infinite Tenderness.
Glenn was the one who shared their success with protein smoothies, and has offered many valuable tips for the pancreatic cancer patient gleaned thru their trial-and-error experiences.  They share these in a generous spirit of paying it forward.  Glenn has said that perhaps if we all share what is working, collectively, we can make this disease a thing of the past... so very true, it is the Passion of my heart! 
So, in that spirit, here are some of Cheryl and Glenn's favorite smoothie recipes and tips for making them delicious, nutritious and irresistible...
*  Glenn uses a probiotic yogurt in Cheryl's smoothies, usually one with fruit-on-the-bottom.
* Cheryl also takes an Align Probiotic capsule every day at the suggestion of her nutritional doctor and feels that it has been helpful for the chemo digestive side effects.
* They use the Beneprotein Protein Powder for her smoothies (it can be found at most pharmacies), he adds one scoop for each smoothie.
* Then he adds either real or frozen fruit.  He keeps small fruit cups on hand for this, they are the perfect size for a smoothie.
* He also uses the syrups made for flavoring sundaes; like raspberry, strawberry, etc. This not only adds needed calories, but also gives great flavor.
*For several days after Cheryl's chemo session (she is on fulfirinox) he serves the smoothies more at room temp (does not use ice in the smoothies), because this chemo makes her extremely sensitive to very cold things (causes pins and needles pain in her fingers).
*Glenn always serves Cheryl her smoothie in a circa 1920 soda fountain glass which she gets a kick out of!
* In addition to the smoothies, Cheryl also tries to add in at least one serving of Mott's Clamato or Garden Cocktail Juice.  This adds additional vitamins plus sodium to help keep her blood pressure up.
* On chemo days, they pack a "lunch" to go for Cheryl.  It includes an Ensure drink, a small individual-sized pudding cup and a Clamato Juice.  It is their "picnic in the chemo room" tip.   They feel that this regimen of Ensure, Pudding, Clamato Juice and Protein Smoothies has helped stabilize her weight and one more good thing...there has been no nausea or throwing up for Cheryl with this plan...gotta love that!
Typical Smoothie for Cheryl
1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
1 fruit on bottom yogurt (peach)
5 peach halves
1/2 cup 35% cream
1 scoop whey protein powder
This smoothie not only tastes delicious, it also packs in approximately 650 calories and 25 grams of protein.  You can substitute your favorite fruit and yogurt for variety. 
As always, we encourage you to talk with your doctor or healthcare pratitioner before adding to or changing your diet.  These smoothies would not be appropriate for anyone on the Ketogenic Diet because of the high sugar content, so please, as always, evaluate these suggestions carefully with your doctor...
I cannot thank Glenn and Cheryl enough for opening up their hearts and sharing part of their journey with us.  It brings me to my knees daily knowing that there are so many struggling hard with this nightmare of a disease.  I am humbled to walk along side...
Glenn shared one other tip that I have saved for last because it is universally profound for everyone fighting a battle today...
"I have found since we began this journey in Nov 2012, that the little things that inspire the soul are really important to the person fighting the battle.  To Cheryl, sunsets and sunrises are gifts of beauty that raise the spirit for the next battle, the next day.  A snow fall here makes everything pure and white, and she loves to look out over the fields to see the fresh little animal tracks that were made during the night.  We have a little red fox that teases our dogs every day, and Cheryl actually gets a kick out of that.  So the first day of her chemo in January, I found a little plush red fox at the gift centre and took it to her.  It is her constant companion now both day and night.  I firmly believe now that one of my jobs, no, one of my privileges as her care giver is to help her find these spirit and soul-lifting things...  Glenn"
My heart tumbles over at the sheer beauty of this servant heart.
May each of us this day find it to Be A Privilege to offer ourselves in the care for another...
Lifting, Nourishing, Loving.
And there will be Smiles from Heaven. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Forget your perfect offering...

"Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering...

The Ultimate Bell Tower...
The Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Precarious, yet standing still,
Breath-taking in person, and
Beckoning with challenge.
Dare to climb her stairs, tilting all crazy!
Such power the old stones evoke,
centuries of hands have worn them to a sheen.
Legs ache and lungs burn,
circling ever higher,
the reward is sweet beyond belief!
An impromptu aria sung by a fellow traveler
accompanied by the circle of bells...
in the pouring rain no less!
On the way down,
a moment of quiet,
a reflection of sorts,
how something so crooked, so defective,
so flawed and imperfect,
can charm the soul so utterly...
"Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in."
                                          ~ Leonard Cohen

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Coons and Blooms


It took 4 days, but the masked raider is in the bag (err...trap).  I may not be the fastest trapper in the west, but I am patient!  I think he's giving me the evil eye...

Not a happy boy!  I don't think he appreciated the scenic ride down to Deep Creek.   Now he's giving Sami, my niece, the evil eye!
Sami is quite the city girl and had a blast documenting her rural adventures for her family and friends!   She took pics by the hundreds and then videod the coon release!  If only I knew how to upload videos!  It's kinda like we're on National Geographic or something!  I found myself narrating the whole, on second thought, I am now glad I don't know how to upload videos... don't even try to imagine it.  Just happy that Mr. Coon has a new home and no one (meaning me) was injured in the very, very, dangerous release manuever!
And then, to make the day even better, look what surprised us out under the oak trees...
Spring has been sneaking up on us!
I've just been too busy perfecting my trapping skills to notice...
Fair Iris heralding the Spring parade,
you offer the sweetest worship this Sunday hallowed.
And this my prayer for you, dear ones,
May your worship be graced always
by the simple and utter loveliness
of all He has created just for you...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Brute and the Beauty

It must have been some kind of ruckus...

And I slept straight thru it!  Who or Whatever trashed the feed room last night sure was riled up!

This is the sight that greeted me this morning when I got out to feed...

Feed room door cracked wide, Pitchfork wedged tight, and Hay bales tossed like toys.  Not even Emma-cat was sure about going in!  I have to admit I wasn't too sure myself . . . so, I grabbed the pitchfork from under the door and crept in over the hay.
Breath held, fork at the ready, I cautiously looked around.
Nothing moved.
I thought that was a good sign.  (ok, honest truth, knees wobbled with relief.)  I have no idea what I would have done if there had been a badger or a bear in there!  Because, in hind sight, it must have been something big to heave the hay bales up in front of the door.  Each bale weighs about 40-45 lbs.  Not an easy feat...unless you're a badger or a bear.
But something sure had a field day with the feed bin...
As a matter of fact, those look suspiciously like grubby, little raccoon paw prints all over the bin!  Ah-ha!  I do believe that Katie's friendly little coon came back for a visit.  And got mighty ticked off that the food was all locked up for the night!
And were the goats any help?
Hello?!  Not a peep from any of you?
You're just gonna let that masked raider mess with your feed and hay?
Kinda Mom.... He was scary and throwing hay bales around and all....
The Brute!  Happy Goat Herder to the rescue:
First we clean up the feed room and then...
One Live Animal Trap coming right up!
Of course, you never know how well that's going to work.  We've had mishaps in the past.  Ok, then, if you must know, I am not the best trapper in the west... But before I could even sneeze this time, thank you very much, Mr P came strutting over to check it out...
Seriously?  Like we don't feed you enough?
There is no telling what will greet me in the morning.  Is that the truth or what?
And just when I was grumbling about all the extra work, and just who has the time for setting up traps, and trying to find a bandage for my pinched finger (not the best trap setter-upper either), I walked past the big Photinia bush at the corner of the shed and stopped dead in my tracks:
He was as big as my hand.
Wings spread out to catch the warmth of sunshine.
My breath stilled into soundless wonder.
What Beauty so early this March spring, 
To arrive on the heels of the Brute's temper tantrum in the feed room.
My grumbling evaporated in the unexpected awe of the moment,
my heart slowing to the beat of his wings in symmetry,
gently gifting me with His artless Grace.
And that is the truth.  We each will meet the Brute and the Beauty as we go about our days.  Sometimes the Brute will make our lives difficult, miserable, and filled with fear.   It is his nature.  But never forget, Beauty is there just waiting.  Waiting for the moment we turn to see.  To be awed by the gift.  To still our hearts before His.  To be filled with a peace that routs fear.
No matter how the Brute has sought to ruin us, there will always be eternal power in the Beauty that ever seeks us out, offering His Love gift to each one of us.
Leaning into Beauty, Always,

Sunday, March 10, 2013

When the Door is Closing...

"Sometimes we stare so long
at a door that is closing,
that we see too late
the one that is open."
                    ~ Alexander Graham Bell
When cancer closes doors that we ache to walk through,
May our heart's eye be blessed to see
the doors of Grace that He has opened wide for us...
Praying for Beauty to Touch you Sweetly this Day,
 Always, Jane

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

No One Fights Alone

It is a sentiment that speaks to my heart deep and sure.  On this cancer journey, it is my prayer that No One Ever Has to Fight Alone.

And that is the mantra for Choose Hope's newest design...

No One Fights Alone® Buttons

No One Fights Alone® Wristband
Check here for their whole selection of items, plus so much more...
Choose Hope is a company founded by 3 women who personally know the cancer road and have chosen to make a difference in the journey.   When mom was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, we purchased their purple "Say It, Fight It, Cure It" wristbands and wore them as warriors banded together in the fight.  A little thing, but a constant visual reminder to all of us that mom was in the fight for her life, and a signal of our vow that she would never have to fight alone
Say It, Fight It, Cure It Wristband - (Adult) Pancreatic Cancer (Purple)
I don't endorse companies very often, but Choose Hope struck a tender chord in their compassionate, sometimes humorous, and always generous response to the cancer journey.  I love their corporate charity in giving to cancer research and the undeniable hope and inspiration they spread! 
Graced to Choose Hope in the Fight...