Wednesday, 12 March 2014

All Manner Of Grace

This is a year in which I have chosen to pay attention to words.  I've been faithfully writing in my 1000 Gifts journal, listing both my gifts for which I am thankful and words/song lyrics/scriptures/thoughts that strike me with deep meaning.  I am somewhere around the #250 mark.  Only 9 1/2 months left to go to complete this challenge, which is, truthfully, sometimes a challenge and more often a joy.
The author of the 1000 Gifts book/concept, Ann Voskamp, often challenges to remember to give thanks for the hard eucharisteo, the gifts that are indeed gifts, but are hard to be thankful for.
And my mind turns to my work.
I find inspiration to write millions of blog posts in my mind about the things I experience at work but confidentiality prevents me from sharing.
.....I wish you could see....
...these moments where grace is lived...... moments, every day, where.....
some moments make you smile
some make you weep
some make you strive to live better
to follow examples of those
that have chosen to live in grace
regardless of
HARD THANKSGIVING = you're not living in moments that you would choose, but you choose to be thankful regardless.  You choose to live well, you choose to learn, you choose to 'hunker down' and make the best of it
Being an RN in long term care - this is my work desk

But this is where the reality is lived

The real moments of my work that impact me the deepest occur...

in that little space between
 a precious soul left in my care
and my heart.

I observe, I participate, I initiate, I respond, I watch, I learn, I dry tears, I cry tears.

Grace - in abundance -
  • in the elders who come to live with us who have no family - who have fallen through the cracks of society with no one to care for them.  Except, now, we get to do that.  And some caregivers are exceptionally good at lavishing love on those who haven't been loved much before.  Grace.
  • in the spouses who have prematurely lost their partner to the grips of dementia or illness but who determine that life isn't over and they boldly and surely walk through our doors into a new way of living, living new moments of grace in new circumstances in peace, to the best of their ability
  • in the elders who have needed to abandon all that they hold dear and familiar by this outrageous move but who do so with courage and grace 
  • in the families that have lived at odds with each other over history gone bad, but are drawn together by the last twilight moments where grace helps all
  • in staff who wear grace like a cloak and serve serve serve, love love love, help help help - and go home and, on many occasions, shed a tear or more because life is hard and moments are sweet and sometimes the sweet hard moments make you cry.

So this is me, at work, celebrating something special with my friend, Emma.
We're celebrating the 30th anniversary of our facility
We're celebrating on this afternoon by playing dress-up with elderly ladies and pearls (for the 30 years) and hats and makeup

We're celebrating grace!
We're celebrating joyful moments!
We're celebrating partnership - and on this day, Emma is mine
because she's awesome!!

And when I go home, I reflect on more words
that are giving ME life
 and grace
...for 2014....
- courtesy Robin Mark -
"In life, in death, whom shall I fear
Closer than breath, I feel You near
Oh hold me in Your strong embrace
Where I find rest within the Year Of Grace"
May GRACE find you where you need it most today.  

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

....In Like A Lion....

....and out like a lamb!!!
This is the wish of everyone who lives in Saskatchewan in regards to winter 2014.
Enough already.
It's been cold, cold, cold.  What was it Saturday morning at 0500?  Somewhere in the -52 to -55 range with the windchill?? 
We're Saskatchewan-ites.  You'd think we'd be hardened to it. 
We took advantage of the cold weekend and
.......stayed home.....
That wasn't too hard - the weekend before we had done some travelling.  We ended our road trip with a day on the slopes of Saskatchewan's best - Table Mountain, by North Battleford.
During the whole trip, we noticed more and more that these boys of ours are able to be rather independent.
The boys - geared up for a day of skiing/snow-boarding

They'd come in every hour .... warm up.....

......and eat......

While we sat in the chalet, watching, er, reading.....
.....and writing and reading and thinking.....
Too bad there wasn't a Starbucks close by.

I did spend a lot of time watching the skiers as they came in and out of the chalet. 
First off, it was nice to be in a setting that was loaded with young people.  They're so vibrant and ready for adventure.
And loud.
Just sayin'.
Then I tried playing a game - "guess if this one is a boy or a girl". 
  • The snow gear is equally colorful for both sexes. 
  • Tall and skinny - could be either one
  • The faces are covered with face guards and goggles, so that's not giving me any clues. 
  • Long hair is flapping out behind this one so MUST be a girl! 
Nope.  Wrong again. 
I soon gave up.

Next, I noticed that most parents there had the same posture - 'sit quietly and read a book' then 'reach in the pocket for cash when the offspring come in through the door so that they can go buy more food'.  Repeat every hour.
It's good.  It's very good.
And, tonight, it is 7:16 and it's still a little bit light out.  Summer is coming.  I promise!
During our weekend 'in' last weekend, I roasted up a turkey.  I wanted to make a soup today with the leftovers and went searching for a "Turkey Chowder".  I found this recipe on Pinterest and it is definitely a "Make Again". 

Turkey and cheese chowder recipe

Serves 6-8


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 cup corn (if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add a bit more later if you desire more heat)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (fresh or dried)
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 10 grates fresh nutmeg
  • 4 cups low-sodium turkey or chicken stock
  • 2 cups milk (or 1 cup cream, 1 cup milk)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3-4 cups leftover shredded turkey (a combination of light and dark meat works best)
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (plus more for garnish if desired)
  • Kosher salt


  1. In a large stockpot, over medium heat, begin melting the butter. Once melted, add onion, celery and a nice pinch of salt and saute about 5-8 minutes, until soft and fragrant.
  2. Add garlic and corn to the pot and saute, stirring often, another 2 minutes. Add cayenne pepper and thyme and stir together well. Add sherry and continue cooking, stirring often, another 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add potato cubes, nutmeg, another pinch of salt and mix well to incorporate all ingredients.
  4. Add stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover pot and turn down heat to a simmer and continue cooking about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
  5. In a separate medium-size bowl or mixing cup, add milk and cornstarch and whisk together well until there are no lumps. Slowly add the milk-cornstarch mixture to the pot, whisking continuously until it's all added.
  6. Turn up the heat to medium and bring the chowder to a light boil/simmer, stirring very often. Turn down heat to a simmer, stir in turkey and cheese and allow the chowder to continue cooking about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the cornstarch is cooked off and the chowder is thickened and hot.