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There has been illness in the house this week.  That doesn’t surprise me.  I’ve been seeing symptoms for a few weeks now.  They didn’t seem that grave to me and weren’t hampering my life too much so I chose to ignore them as best I could and go on.  That way of being came to a halt last Thursday.

On Thursday, we had an awe-inspiring storm here.  It was the sort of storm that made you stand at the window gaping and occasionally mutter, “Wow”.  This is what it looked like out my front window:

The storm started as a low ominous rumbling and then unleashed its fury in a barrage of rain and hail.  Fortunately, our house sits on high ground.  Take a look at what my neighbour’s front yard looked like after about half an hour of this deluge:

Well, that storm proved to be too much for the sickie in the household.  The computer went from limping along to totally comatose.  I tried in vain to resuscitate it but my meager healing skills proved woefully inadequate for its illness.  Off it went to the pro who told me that she had never seen a computer in such bad shape before.  The modem was fried, the computer was heavily infected with spyware and viruses and the operating system needed a total overhaul.  Ouch!  I got a bit of a talking to on how to care for my computer so that this doesn’t happen again.  All this time, I’ve been abusing this quiet member of the household and not even knowing it!

O.K., enough about that.  On to the wedding stuff.  DA and I have picked out our location and date.  Lord willing, we will be wed on October 4th of this year at the Hayloft in Bayshore Village.  For those of you who don’t know what the Hayloft is, it’s a reconstruction of the original barn that used to be the only building for miles around.  It doesn’t look like a barn anymore, although it’s still quite rustic inside.  DA and I hope to be married in the library of the building and then have our reception upstairs in the party room.  I’m quite happy with this.  The setting is really “us”.  It’s low-key, simple and not very expensive.  DA and I are both “book people” so it seems totally fitting to me that we get married in a room lined with books.

As always, I am thinking of how to decorate for the wedding.  I am hoping to haul a rose arbour into the library to create a focal point for our ceremony.  It may sound funny but it totally goes with the feel of the room.  One whole side is lined with windows and the old-time owners used to bring their houseplants to the room so that someone who remained in the village over the winter would care for them.  Those were the days when there were only summer homes there.

I am still also thinking about decorating the tables for the reception.  We will likely have fruit trays as part of our catered meal so I don’t think I want to go with the idea of putting fruit on platters to decorate.  The chairs in the room are dark dusty rose so I am trying to draw my colour scheme from that.  I am thinking of chocolate brown, cream and dark dusty rose/red as colours that would look great in the party room.  The boys are in day camp this week so I have been going to lots of used stores here and there to see what I can find.  This is what I came up with:

And this is what I have put together so far (keep in mind that I am trying to make this nice AND somewhat rustic AND attempting to make it cost next to nothing AND that I had a hard time finding a bare wall to show these up against):

I’ll see what DA’s reaction to these is.  I’m not sure that I’ve really found the look I’m looking for yet.

On a happier note, DA’s mom and I walked by the first house built in Bayshore Village and admired the amazing gardens there.  DA’s mom got brave, knocked on the front door, explained that her son was getting married in October, introduced the homeowner/gardener extraordinaire to me and asked if it would be possible to take wedding photos in his yard.  The kindly owner gave us his permission and his blessing.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this.  This man’s yard will look absolutely stunning in October.  (Apparently, it always looks absolutely stunning.  This guy lives to garden).  Can’t wait to share some wedding photos with you all.  Stay tuned…

What happens when a bag of milk leaks into your refrigerator fruit drawer when you are thinking about planning a wedding on less than the average $30,000?  Well, if you’re me, you start to see fruit in a whole new way.  I washed the milk off of my plums and pears and couldn’t help but notice how pretty they are.  That led to this:

I took a shiny “silver” plate off my bathroom wall, covered it with some greenery snipped from out back and plunked the pears and plums on top.  I then put the whole creation on some white paper towels and sat and looked at it like someone sitting at a table with a centerpiece like this on it.  I was kind of impressed with myself.  Take a look at this shot of my main-level bathroom wall:

I have lots of shiny “silver” plates.  Maybe I could “undress” my bathroom and use seasonal fruit and backyard clippings to make some thrifty wedding centerpieces.  Maybe I should be more thankful for that spilt milk too.

Lake St. George is a tiny body of water but she sure is pretty to stroll alongside.  This is what I feasted my eyes on last night as I exercised my way along:

Across the road from Lake St. George is a golf course.  There was a dreamy fog blanketing the course last night through the trees.  These pictures really don’t capture the ethereal that I saw but they still give some idea of the postcard I call home.

When I first moved to this house, I was all excited to have main-floor laundry facilities.  The previous owners took their washer and dryer with them.  That had me pretty excited too.  It meant that I could buy these:

This is the first time that I have had a matching washer and dryer and even modern front-loaders to boot!  My enthusiasm dampened a bit when the new models didn’t quite fit in the kitchen alcove where they were slotted to go.  The bi-fold doors that used to hide the laundry centre had to come off.  That meant that my laundry centre would be front and center for everyone who came into my kitchen to see.

I wasn’t too thrilled with that idea so I put up cheap curtains to cover the less than beautiful alcove with it’s dilapidated shelves and very holey walls.  It looked like this:

Actually, it usually looked worse.  There was a lot of stuff piled on those shelves.  I tried putting all the stuff in blue Ikea bins that I had but it really didn’t improve the look of this spot at all.  My best tactic was to close the curtains and pretend that it really wasn’t all that bad.  From this picture, you can’t see all the holes in the wall.  Take a look at these close-ups:

Well, that room had me singing the blues every time I did laundry (which seems like every day in the summer!)  Take a look at what a little paint and sprucing up did to this area:

This is what it looked like about 15 minutes after these photos:

I can live with that.  I’m not singing the blues anymore looking at my laundry facility.  Who can feel down with all that sunny yellow and that placard reminding you to “Give thanks for simple blessings”?  Not this country mama.

The first time I came to visit DA, he introduced me to his church.  I had heard a lot about it from him on the phone and was thrilled to find that it was as great as he had described it.  Right from the get-go I could see the boys and I getting involved in this church.

That was months ago and I have never regretted my decision.  This church has a heart for the unchurched.  It desires to reach people in our community that haven’t grown up with the Word of God.  Its goal is to invest in people and therefore the church has not purchased land or started a building program.  We meet in a movie theatre.  This is a venue that is easy to find for people from the community and for most doesn’t hold the negative stigma associated with church buildings.  People come because they are curious.  It takes a lot of volunteers each Sunday to transform the building from a movie theatre to inviting environments that people can meet God in.  I have enjoyed volunteering.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know the people who are working to make this church what it is: a church for the unchurched.

Early on, I decided to get involved in a community group – a small collection of people that get together regularly to discuss the Sunday ministry, study the Bible, pray for, support and encourage one another, serve the disadvantged in our area and “do life” together in an effort to grow in Christ.  I have gotten to know quite well the pastor that heads up our little motley crew and have asked him to marry DA and I.  He has agreed.  Now all we need is a wedding venue.

There are many, many adorable, little, country churches around here that DA and I would love to rent for our wedding.  The trouble is that you can’t rent these buildings, or at least not easily.  To get the building, you have to use the denominational leader attached to the building and do things the way the denomination wants them done.  Most of the historic, quaint churches that interest us are of older denominational affiliations.  They have rules and regulations set in stone that are like the laws of the Medes and the Persians.  I understand that but am still disappointed by it.  So is DA.  He loves old buildings with history to them and would like nothing better than to get married in one.  Alas, it seems that we will have to broaden our view of viable venues for this wedding.

Today we looked at a barn as a possibility.  That’s not a typo.  DA’s brother knows someone who runs a B&B that has an ancient barn on his property.  His own children wanted to be married in the barn so they spruced it up and had some weddings there.  The children’s friends liked the idea and some of them inquired about using the barn for their weddings.  The idea spread and now this family has a second source of income renting out this barn for special occasions.  DA was not so sold on the idea.  The barn is very, very rustic and I’m not sure how I would set it up for a wedding. 

Tomorrow, we drive further out to visit DA’s cousin who is visiting from BC.  There is an octagonal church out there that is apparently owned and operated by the cottagers in the area.  I have seen a picture of it on the internet and totally love it.   I am hoping that it will be possible to rent it, use our own pastor and have a Christian wedding there to the glory of God. 

This whole search has been harder than I anticipated.  I guess anything worth doing takes some doing!  If tomorrow’s idea doesn’t pan out, I just may put a want ad in the paper!

I am blessed to be a part of a church community group.  We get together regularly to open up the Word of God, pray, discuss, support each other and serve those less fortunate than ourselves.  Occasionally, we just get together for the fun of it because we have come to enjoy one another’s company.

This weekend we gave blood together.  The following pictures may look like we are doing otherwise but that’s only because they were snapped in between spraying ourselves with bug spray and getting eaten alive anyways.  When we weren’t slapping and scratching  and saving the environment as we know it by helping mosquitos breed we managed to squeeze in some fun.

D and P started the weekend off fishing with a couple of buds.

Here we are enjoying the pedal boat and the tube.  It was my first time tubing but I hope it won’t be my last.  Our hosts took us for a wild ride all over the lake that had us screaming and at times hanging on for dear life!  We also had a canoe at our disposal and did make use of it.  I just didn’t have my camera handy to photo document it.  Silly me!

The fun didn’t stop when we had a sudden downour.  A bunch of us ran for cover and got a game of “Cheat” going.  Oh happy day – neither of my boys turned out to be the best cheater!

We’re an active and creative group.  We played three games of volleyball with costumes.  It was Tim’s Mighty Warriors vs. Rich’s Dancing Princesses.  I was on the Dancing Princesses team.  We waltzed all over those trash-talking Warriors winning two out of three of the games.  We even managed to do it in style sporting pink and purple tiaras while bumping and smashing our way to victory.

The surprise for the weekend was a trip to a nearby camp where we were challenged to take “the Plunge”.  P stepped up to be the first one to go down and encouraged the rest of us to give it a try.  Lots of fun!

We also did some spiritual things.  We are a Spirit-filled group after all.  One of the group members brought out his guitar and we worshipped the Creator in the midst of His creation and gave voice to the things we were thankful for and shared how the Lord was speaking to us.  We ended the time in prayer knowing that God had brought this group together and that He was doing good things in our midst.  We weren’t there just to help the mosquito population survive.  We were there in His will to be built up together for His purposes.  I am blessed to be part of this group.

In all the excitement of finding a wedding dress I forgot to blog about a very special gift presented to me by my future mother-in-law.  She passed down to me this beautiful charm bracelet that was given to her over 30 years ago when she first became a Christian.  It only has one charm on it but that charm is full of significance.  In the accompanying note, my in-laws wished DA and I that we would be “blessed by the blood of the new covenant, the sword of God’s Word and the riches of His grace”.  Inside the tiny treasure chest is a sword, a cup and coins – all symbols of what they were wishing us.  My mother-in-law never added to the bracelet because she felt that one charm summed up everything.  I agree.  I will look at this gift often, think on its symbolism and treasure it until, Lord willing, I can one day pass it down to a future daughter-in-law to welcome her to the family.

Orillia has only one bridal shop called “Just the Right Cost Bridal & Formal Wear”.  With a name like that, I just had to check it out.  I tried on a few dresses yesterday very hurriedly as the boys were waiting for me in the van.  I asked DA’s mom (my soon to be mother-in-law) to come along with me today for her advice.  We both liked this beautiful dress.  It doesn’t look like much hanging on my living room wall but it’s quite flattering on me.  It needs to be made shorter and could use some minor alterations but I’m amazed that I found something so lovely with so little looking.  (Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m hoping you’ll work your magic to make it fit me just right.)  I’m really starting to feel like a bride-to-be.   Expect a lot more wedding talk on this blog over the next few months!

Originally, I thought that I would try to produce a piece of art to fill the gaping hole above the guest bed.  That was before I went garage saling with my mom and found these cool rusty metal stars.  I bought them with another room in mind but totally like how they look in this room.  P helped me hang them, telling me higher or lower, etc.  Gotta get that boy to help me more often.  I’m quite pleased with how it all turned out.

This is another crazy assortment of pictures.  That’s because D, P and I just did a ten day road trip.  Everyday was packed with some sort of activity.  We ate too much, drove too much and generally went all out enjoying ourselves.  Some of the highlights of the trip were the fireworks on Parliament Hill, a rodeo in Warkworth, P’s 11th birthday party and hanging out at Presqu’ile Beach.  Too bad my new fiance had to work.  The trip was fantastic but I did miss my man!  (Just for the record, he spoiled me and drove two and a half hours to spend some time with us on his day off.  No pics of that; who can think of taking photos when your guy is right there in person?)

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.