Costa Rica Update March 21/17

Hola! Exactly 5 weeks tomorrow and I will be on my way to Nicoya, Costa Rica.  The team members are on a closed Facebook group, meeting, sharing ideas, praying about the trip, and getting very excited.  There are young singles, couples, older singles (like me) and even families coming on the trip.  There are lots of tips about what to pack and how to pack, as well as ideas of crafts to bring to make with the children we meet.

There are several songs we need to learn in Spanish and we’ve been pointed to an amazing online program called Duolingo.  (It can also be downloaded to an iPhone or iPad.)  I’m spending about an hour a day practicing Central American Spanish so that I will be able to communicate at least a little with the people we meet while we’re there.  Please pray for my ability to learn enough Spanish — I keep getting the feminine and masculine words mixed up and it’s teaching me verb conjugation which is at times confusing.  The other thing is, these songs we’re learning? there’s choreography to them — we have to learn the tune, the Spanish words and dance at the same time!  I’d be so happy just to be able to sing the words and understand what I’m singing.

Please also pray that I will raise enough funds.  Our funding needs to be in place by April 4th which is coming up fast.  This is an opportunity to be a part of something HUGE that makes a real difference in the lives of these children and their families.  Please also pray for the whole team, that we will “gel” and work well together.  Thank you to everyone who has come be, commented, or clicked to my fundraising page which has more information about the trip.  It is very encouraging.

Posted in mission trip, retirement, travel | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Costa Rica Update March 14/17

Prayers have been answered and Operation Christmas Child – Costa Rica now has enough volunteers to make it a “go”!  The transportation is all in place and excitement is rising.  The volunteers have received their orientation packages and before long our T-shirts will be in the mail with our flight tickets to follow.

Our itinerary tells us we will be flying into Liberia, Costa Rica, and from there moving into the Nicoya Peninsula which is in the north-west of the country.  In addition to the shoeboxes collected last December, we will be distributing wheel chairs and Toms shoes which I hadn’t realized before.  We will also be attending/assisting with several graduations of children from The Greatest Journey program.

I have only a little bit of Spanish so I’m trying to brush up on it and learn the correct Spanish for Costa Rica.  There is still so much to do.  I am so thankful for those who have contributed to my mission page, Operation Meet the Children, and am praying that I will have reached my goal by the deadline of April 5th.  I’m also looking forward to the team Conference Call a couple of weeks before we head off.  If you are praying for this mission team, please be specific:  great team work, health, and meeting our financial goals.  Thank you for your prayer support.

Posted in mission trip, organization | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Costa Rica Here I Come

Well, I’m dusting off my dig hat and unpacking my Tilley vest but this time it’s not an archaeological dig I’m going to — it’s a mission to Costa Rica with Operation Christmas Child.  This is a mission that brings gifts of hygiene products, school supplies and toys to children in 13 developing nations where, for most of the children, it’s the first time they’ve ever received a gift.  In 2016, over 11.5 million shoe boxes were collected (more than 660,000 from Canadians) and large numbers of volunteers have been sorting them out to be delivered to villages in Central America, Africa, and Eastern Europe.  The logistics of such an undertaking boggles my mind.

Now, more volunteers are needed to help deliver these boxes to the children and I have been accepted to travel to Costa Rica as part of the team that will be meeting the children and seeing first hand how lives are impacted by these amazing gifts from Canadians who care. This is so exciting for me and is what I hope will be the first of many such trips.  I will need to raise $3500.00 (CD) in the next month and I’m more than halfway there but would appreciate any support my readers would like to contribute.  Operation Christmas Child is part of the Samaritan’s Purse Canada, part of the Billy Graham ministries, Franklin Graham, CEO.  This is NOT a political operation — it is a mission of mercy.  If you want to learn more about Operation Christmas Child, here is a video you can watch:

If you would like to contribute to my fund-raising, here is the link and all contributions will be tax-receipted.  I call my page Operation Meet the Children because I want to see their faces when they open their boxes and use their gifts.

Thank you for considering sponsoring me, please pray for the mission, and look back here for updates and posts about the trip which is from April 19th to 26th.

Posted in mission trip, retirement, travel | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Final Farewell

Hey Dad,

2016-04-02 15.28.35Today, in addition to being Father’s Day, would have been your 102nd birthday.  You almost made it.  This week while I’ve been down in the Hamilton area, I thought about what we’d have done if you’d still been here — things you always enjoyed no matter how limited your mobility and stamina became.

IMG_0731-LSo my first stop was the harbour where we used to go for family picnics, brunches at Williams’ Café, watching the boats (especially the sailboats) coming and going, splurging on ice cream, and taking the trolley ride out to Princess Point and back.  It was a gorgeous day.  The thermostat hit 35°C but there was a lovely breeze and it was actually extremely pleasant in the shade.  There were at least a dozen sailboats on the bay and the Harbour Tour boat was offering a special Father’s Day cruise.  I took the 90 minute trolley ride again like we did two years ago, took some pictures, and enjoyed the beautiful summer day (although it isn’t officially summer for about another 24 hours).  I loved seeing the sculpture again where we got this great photo of you kidding around.

2016-06-19 11.02.57After a bite to eat, I took our usual drive — past where the American Can used to be, down Wentworth St. where Mom lived when you started dating, past Uncle Hugh’s, Livingston church, where Hodgson’s Florist used to be, and down Gibson St. where the Hodgsons’ homes used to be right behind the florist shop and greenhouses.  Then I headed down Main St to Maple Ave. past the Stewart’s where they used to have that long double row of evergreens, the Clark’s home, and Neil Webb’s place, then down Park Row past our house.  There were two nice lime green lawn chairs on the porch and the place looked like it was being enjoyed and cared for.

2015-03-10 09.45.33-1Then I drove up Kenilworth past Auntie Bessie and Uncle Davie’s house and up along the Mountain brow where you always loved the view of the city.  I could see all those sailboats I’d been watching while enjoying the harbour atmosphere.  It was a perfect view — no smog, hardly a cloud in the sky, and a clear view all the way to Toronto.  It was a perfect day, Dad.  Sorry I had no-one to share my final drive through Hamilton but I felt like you were there with me.  Miss you, Dad!


Posted in road trip | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven

Last week, an Irish author/blogger I follow named Jean Reinhardt reblogged a lovely piece about outdoor wall murals in Waterford, Ireland.   Originally posted here by Inese M., these are absolutely beautiful photos of wall murals by some very talented people.

It inspired me to share some of the photos I took in Ontario, in Canada’s cottage country: Muskoka.  To be more specific, I took these photos in Huntsville, Ontario just over three years ago.  Huntsville is a small town (less than 20,000) surrounded by the kind of countryside that inspired artist Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven painters who admired his work and created truly Canadian paintings which conveyed our beautiful, rugged environment to the world.

In Huntsville, as well as in eight other locations, there is a walking tour people can take to view more than 90 replicas of magnificent Group of Seven and Tom Thomson paintings reproduced by some of our finest artists.  The murals are being done over a period of 5 years (they were begun in 2012), to culminate in 2017 with the 100th anniversary of Tom Thomson’s death.

The tour begins in front of the Algonquin Theatre where sits a bronze statue of Tom Thomson by local artist Brenda Wainman-Goulet.


Nearby, on the south side of the Huntsville Civic Centre, facing the High Street parking lot, is a reproduction of Thomson’s White Birch Grove.


Just along side the local drugstore is this beautiful stream surrounded by our vibrant fall colours.  It’s called The Red Maple by A.Y. Jackson.


Going along Centre St. S. one comes to “The Canoe” by Tom Thomson.


Moving along Main St., we find J.E.H. MacDonald’s The Tangled Garden.


Further along, we come to a reproduction of Tom Thomson’s Autumn Garland.


And I love this one that’s painted on the outside of some kind of electrical or cable connection box.  Unfortunately, I can’t locate the name of the painting or the artist online and my notes are gone.


Here’s one in progress.


I’m thinking I’ll have to take a trip back to Huntsville to see all the latest additions.  I don’t think I’ll want to wait until 2017 for the celebration.

Posted in Art, photography | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

1000 Places To See Before You Die

Have this on my Bookshelf blog but thought it appropriate to add it here.

Ms M's Bookshelf

Patricia Schultz is a charming and engaging speaker.  Tonight, at the Museum of Nature here in Ottawa, she gave a presentation that highlighted the best, and sometimes, the least known treasures of Europe.

Millenium Wheel Millenium Wheel, London, England

Starting with London, England, Schultz showed stunning pictures as she told personal stories of favourite places from the smallest countries (like the Vatican, Monaco, Malta) to the largest, France.  “Russia,” she said, “is not in Europe, is not in Asia; it’s just Russia,” but she included it in her tour.  She showed a slide of London’s parliament buildings and Big Ben taken from one of the capsules in the Millenium Wheel.  We saw the amazing scenery in Scotland and the Coast Path of Wales which is a national park where you can trek all of the 870 miles of rugged coastline.  We saw a castle in Ireland where you can stay overnight and there…

View original post 375 more words

Posted in retirement | 5 Comments

The Pavement Bookworm

101 Books is the blog of Robert Bruce of Nashville, Tennessee. He is a full time writer and in addition to trying to read the Time Magazine’s 100 greatest novels + Ulysses, he finds really interesting items to share that are book-related. This story about a 24-year-old homeless man in Johannesburg is a prime example of the great items on his site. I think you’ll enjoy reading about “The Pavement Bookworm” and there is a link you can follow if you feel you want to help him out by sending books. Enjoy!

101 Books

This story was making the rounds a few weeks ago and because of my blog vacation I missed it, but it’s too good not to share with you today.

They call him “The Pavement Bookworm.” Philani is a 24-year-old homeless man in Johannesburg.

Instead of holding a sign or begging with a hat, Philani reviews books. He sits on a street corner with a pile of books and offers to review those books to passers-by. If someone thinks the book sounds promising, they can buy it directly from Philani.

By selling the books, he raises money for himself and his homeless friends. He’s doing something to make his life better in a practical way. Now, his story has gone viral. 

View original post 92 more words

Posted in retirement | 2 Comments