Sunday, July 31, 2011

Take 5 with Kathy - "Who Am I?"

Recently, I attended a baby shower for my cousin’s daughter. As we gushed over every lovely gift she unwrapped, I’m sure we all imagined her baby dressed in each adorable outfit. Who will he look like? What personality will he have? Who will he grow up to be?

Identity – it’s something we grapple with throughout our lives. From the baby who first learns his name, to a child who grasps the concept of family belonging, to the teenager struggling to balance fitting in with the crowd and discovering her own individuality, to a busy mom placing her child’s needs ahead of her own, to the conscientious businesswoman striving to succeed, to the widow adjusting to life without her soul-mate, we all often ask, “Who am I, anyway?”

Moses asked this question when God told him to lead the people out of slavery. “Who am I,” Moses replied, “that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). I can imagine his thoughts, “Don’t you remember how badly I failed before, God? I’m now only an eighty-year-old shepherd! I have nothing left to give. I’m useless and unworthy.

Sound familiar? It rang true with me about six months ago and although I’m only in my early fifties, I was beginning to wonder whether God was going to use me again. I felt alone, confused, and lacked fulfillment. I repeatedly cried out to God, “Who am I now and what purpose do I have?”

Then He sent two wonderful, Spirit-filled women who whispered to me, “Kathy, it’s not what you do for God that identifies you. It’s knowing who you are in Christ and being who He intended you to be that matters most.” I’d been spending my whole life doing rewarding ministry for God and my identity had become rooted in it. Increasingly, I’ve been discovering afresh that when I am secure in the knowledge of who God created me to be and how I am amazingly blessed because I am His child, that what I do for Him is a natural outflow of this reality.

I find it comforting to note God’s response to Moses’ insecurity, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that I have sent you…” (Exodus 3:12) When you and I struggle with our insecurities and feel lost in our present circumstances, God is right there to remind us, “I am with you. I am your God. I am walking through this with you. I will never ask you to do anything for which I have not prepared you.”

This gave me courage two weeks ago to accept a new ministry challenge for this fall. It’s something I never envisioned for myself, but God has unique ways of shaping our heart’s desires to align with His. And do you know what? I’m not afraid. In fact, I’m getting excited! Now, that is truly a sign that God is at work in me!


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Thursday, July 28, 2011


For years I have had a chive plant in my garden, as do many people. I have always wanted to dry the leaves and use them through the winter. So this year was finally the year...

I waited until the blossoms faded, and cut it down to about 1"-2" high.

I brought the leaves inside and proceeded to separate the leaves from the flower stocks.

I then picked out all the nice fresh green leaves. As you can see I have placed them on racks in preparation for drying. About this time I thought it might be a good idea to read up a bit on this process. So after googling "drying chives" I came to the realization that drying the leaves removes the flavor. It was suggested several times that the easiest way was to chop them up, put them in an airtight container, and put them in your fridge freezer. This way they are close at hand and you can take out just the amount you need.

I proceeded to chop them up as directed and place in an air tight container.

It is important not to get any water in the container with your chopped chives. They would freeze into a clump, and not enable you to take out small quantities.

Using chives:
-when using chives in your cooking, always add just as you are serving. Cooking removes the wonderful onion flavor, and beautiful green color.
-sprinkle on soups
-chop and add to salads
-garnish quiche, and any egg dish
-garnish baked, mashed, roasted, and scalloped potatoes
-crumble the flowers and sprinkle on salads
-use a chive leaf to tie up bundles of vegetables

Tasty Tuesdays
Delicious Dishes
Tuesday's Tasty Tidbits
Good Life Wednesday
Wow Us Wednesday
Cottage Flora Thursday
On The Menu Monday
Savory Sunday
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What's in a word?

Hummmmmm... let's see.

How about this word - work.
Work: activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something: a: sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result b: the labor, task, or duty that is one's accustomed means of livelihood c: a specific task, duty, function, or assignment often being a part or phase of some larger activity

Or - responsibility.
Responsibility: the quality or state of being responsible: as a : moral, legal, or mental accountability b: reliability, trustworthiness

How about this one - rest.
Rest: repose, sleep; specifically : a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities
2) a: freedom from activity or labor b: a state of motionlessness or inactivity c: the repose of death,
3) a place for resting or lodging,
4) peace of mind or spirit

Or, my personal favorite for the next little while - vacation.
Vacation: a respite or a time of respite from something : intermission

2) a: a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended b: a period of exemption from work granted to an employee

3) a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation, 4) an act or an instance of vacating.

What's in a word - a whole big bunch of stuff!


PS. Thanks to Merriam Webster for the definitions!

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Faith's Foundation . . .

This past week I’ve been working on my dress for my son’s wedding…yes, I’ve left it rather late! Sewing has always been a passion of mine – from my wedding dress to bridesmaid’s dresses, children’s and Barbie clothes, curtains, placemats, etc. But, sewing a fancy dress of satiny material and lace I have not done for twenty five years and I’m not a size 10 anymore! Relying on past experience didn’t prepare me for exasperating pattern alterations and then undoing mistakes because of a miscalculation or two…or three. It’s been rather bitter-sweet. However, it’s finally coming together and I’m quite pleased with the result. Let’s hope it looks as nice on me as it does on the hanger!

No doubt you’ve occasionally found yourself second-guessing your ability or expertise. Maybe, like me, you’ve not done something for so long that you even doubt your competency or skills. It takes time to rebuild confidence. Sometimes we need personal affirmation such as I have received from a few precious women lately. They have seen in me what I could not see in myself. This blog is one result of that! I thank God for their words of wisdom and encouragement.

Moses discovered himself in such a place as he was shepherding one day. But unlike other monotonous, sweltering days, his attention was suddenly captivated by a bush with flames shooting from within. What amazed him more was that it never burned up! It’s probable to assume that Moses had seen other bushes burn under the blistering desert sun, but this was a “strange sight” to him (Exodus 3:1-3). He just had to investigate this phenomenon! To further bewilder him, the bush abruptly called him by name, “Moses, Moses!” I can’t even imagine what my reaction might have been, however Moses simply answered, “Here I am.” Did he know who spoke to him in that moment? It’s not clear, but what is certain was God’s unmistakable confirmation, “Do not come any closer…Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground…I am the God of Abraham…Isaac…Jacob.” (3:5-6). Instantly, Moses realized he was in the presence of the Holy and Almighty God. He hid his face in reverent fear.

I’m wondering if you’ve ever experienced a moment with God like that. His desire, though He is perfect and has power over the entire universe, is to have a personal, intimate relationship with you and me. A favorite verse of mine is, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1b)

Moses may not have known every sheep by name, but Jesus assures us He knows every one of His flock by name (John 10:3,14). I’m praying that you know Jesus in this loving, personal way. God was the foundation of Moses’ faith and He is my foundation. He longs to be a strong and sure foundation for your faith too!


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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gimme a V. . . V

Gimme a O L U N T E E R!!
I have opportunity to work closely with many volunteers.
Volunteers are priceless.
Do any of you work with volunteers?
What is it about volunteers that amazes you?
Ohhhh, what is it about volunteers that amazes me? I'm so glad you asked.
They give.
They dream.
They serve.
They multiply hours.
They influence.
They represent potential.
They grow.
They learn.
They take ownership.
They create opportunity.
Hip hip horray for all the THEY's in your sphere.
Say it loud enough so THEY are sure to hear.
1Corinthians 12: 17-18
If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Birthdays are such milestones.

For some people, birthdays mean the same as what New Years Day means for others. You know, the beginning, fresh start, a brand new chapter, out with the old (well, all depending on what magic birthday # it is!) and in with the new (again, it all depends).

Summer time seems to be wedding season. no denying that. However, it also seems to be birthday season! Hummmmm, let's count back 9 months from July and August and see where that takes us... right into November and December. Two apparently busy months (wink wink).

Anyhow, back to birthdays.

In the past few weeks there have been 6 birthdays amongst my family, friends and colleagues.
You know how when you are out driving, or walking, later in the evening and people have their indoor house lights on AND they have left their curtains wide open so that you and I can peek in on their decorating skills?

Well, that's kinda what I'd like to be able to do on people's birthdays. I'd like to take a magic wand and peek into their new year, into what plans, dreams, and hopes they trusting for over the next 12 months.

Cause, wouldn't it be fun to help make as many "happy" birthday wishes come true as we could?

Have a great day everyone.
And if today is your birthday - I'm on my way!

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Take 5 with Kathy - "Faith Tested"

As I sat today looking at the fading blossoms of my beautiful rhododendron, it reminded me of when I transplanted it four years ago. We had just moved and as I contemplated its sickly-looking condition, I seriously thought it was ready for the compost bin!

“Let’s try moving it to the backyard under the shade of the trees,” I suggested to my much less enthusiastic husband. So we uprooted it, pruned it, gave it a new location, added some bone meal, and you should see it now! That poor plant had been tested to its limits, neglected, and crowded. But, when given a chance to rest, draw on fresh nutrients, and put down deep roots in a new environment, it stood the test and became more productive than ever before.

Isn’t that just like our lives? Sometimes we face a period of testing or go through a dry spell when we feel we have lost our joy, effectiveness, or zeal. Whatever the cause, it can seem an awfully long and agonizing time.

When Moses fled into the Midian desert, he must have felt God could no longer use him. He’d really blown the whole leadership thing! We know very little about this hidden time in his life except that he got married, had two sons, and tended his father-in-law’s sheep. He had spent most of his first forty years in the lap of luxury, and the next forty in a lonely, dusty wasteland. (Exodus 2:15-22 and Acts 7:29)

But, I believe that’s exactly where God needed Moses to be so He could prepare him for the role He had originally chosen this man to fulfill. God had transplanted Moses to a place where He could test his faith and loyalty. As we will see later, God also humbled Moses to the point where he could again become an effective leader.

Are you facing a test or dry spell in your life today? Perhaps you’re wondering, like I have, if you will ever know joy and peace again. In mid-June I commented to my pastor that I was craving the “abundant life” he had been speaking about in his last sermon series (based on John 10:10 and Romans 8).

“But, Kathy,” he said, “You are living that abundant life! Just because you don’t feel joy right now doesn’t mean you aren’t living what God has promised you. The abundant life often involves suffering, especially when you are seeking to walk more closely with Christ. He has not abandoned you and He will not leave you in the desert forever.”

What a difference this perspective is making in my life! So, take heart, my friend! God does see and care for you; He will never fail you, give up on you, leave you helpless or without support, forsake you, let you down, or relax His hold on you (see Hebrews 13:5b, Amplified Version)


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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Adirondack Time

Friday night will begin two weeks of vacation for our family. This is the time you wait for, all year long. You pray for fine weather, a healthy family, and a "Walton's Moment" vacation. You know how sometimes when you are all together as a family, and the kids all get along, and everyone is happy, laughing and having a great time? (Aww come on, I know you can remember at least one time!! ;)) Well, we have always called those our "Walton's Moments". You can't plan them...they just happen right out of the blue, when you are least expecting it. We have named these happy times after the TV show, The Walton's.

As well as fine weather, a healthy family, and some great "Walton's Moments", I am also praying for some Adirondack time! This will happen right on our back deck, in our new chairs!! These chairs are manufactured using high density polyethylene from recycled milk jugs and cartons. They have added UV protection to keep the color from fading. Come on, try one out. They are very comfy. Perfect for a nap!

I made some "Perfect Lemonade", and bought some beautiful ripe, sweet strawberries at the Masstown Market today. Have a seat, and relax. The sailboats are having a great time tonight!

Tanya's Lemonade


  • 1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)


1 Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.

2 While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4 to 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice.

3 Add the juice and the sugar water to a pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes. If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it.

Serve with ice, sliced lemons.

Yield: Serves 6.

See you on Sunday for "Take 5 with Kathy"

I'm joining:
Tablescape Thursday
Sherry's Open House Party
Home Sweet Home
Inspiration Friday
Show and Tell Friday
On the Menu Monday
Show off your Cottage Monday

Making the World Cuter Monday
Good Life Wednesday
Wow Us Wednesday
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Take 5 with Kathy - "Faith Shaken"

March 11, 2011 - Japan was shaken by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami. We all remember the pictures, the horror, the devastation, the staggering loss of lives. The faith of the Japanese people, who are well accustomed to frequent tremors, was severely shaken and they became fearful and uncertain of the future. As days and weeks passed, people around the world began to feel a measure of anxiety and doubt.

Perhaps your world and mine have not been rocked on this scale, but we all experience times when our faith in something or someone takes a direct hit. It may have been your faith in God, or in the systems and people that manage your health care, education, career, social welfare, or public safety.

The past three years have been such a season for me as I have had to deal simultaneously with various illnesses, surgeries, rehabilitation, and God closing the door on the ministry I had poured my life into for thirty-four years. Only recently have I begun to realize some of the valuable lessons I have learned in the midst of suffering. It's like putting the pieces of a puzzle together - only as more fit into place does the bigger picture become clearer.

Moses faced a faith-shaking experience after he decided to leave the comforts and perks of palace life and return to his own people. With all the confidence, respect, and authority he had become known for among the Egyptians, he expected the Jews to instantly recognize those qualities and adopt him as their rescuer from slavery. You can read about it in Exodus 2:11-15 and Acts 7:23-29.

But Moses assumed too much and instead of depending on the very God he had been raised to believe in, he rested on his own credentials. Big mistake! Plus, he took matters into his own hands and rather than gaining the trust of his people he lost it. And how did Moses react? He fled into the desert fearing the wrath of the Pharoah he had served. No doubt he wondered how things could go downhill so fast! His faith and confidence had received a challenging blow.

When you find your faith shaken, take comfort in these verses that I have returned to many times.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man (woman) may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers them from them all." - Psalm 34:18-19 (New International Version)

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Nod to the Nations

I can hardly believe that we are one week into July already. I'm not entirely sure where June went. We had our second high school graduate this year. So June was filled with exams, prom, and grad. We also opened up the trailer, and hubby and I have celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary! Phewf!!

This post is as close to a table scape as I have done since Father's Day. For those of you who know me well, it will shock you to know that we headed to the trailer on July 1 and I did not even do a Canada Day table scape!! I am known to be quite a patriotic Canadian. So I promise to do better next year!

After our daughters graduation, we went out for Chinese food, and then back to our house for cupcakes! Her school color is blue, so I pulled out a small embroidered card table tablecloth that I picked up at the thrift store. I put a picture of our daughter on a plate stand, and some little gold star candles in front of it. When we returned from the graduation ceremonies, her boyfriend stuck her grad hat on top of her pic to make it look like she is wearing it!!

I love these cute little grad cupcakes that my sister, Lisa, ordered for the occasion. Too cute!

This week, I decided a change was in order. I left the tablecloth, but as a nod to Canada Day and Independence Day, I filled my rustic tool box with some red, white, and blue transferware.
(Better late, than never...right?)

O say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?


With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.


Saturday Night Special
Seasonal Sunday
Sunday Showcase Party
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fun, and Relationships...

Last year, when I was in High School (aaaaaahahahahahahaha - just kidding ya). How about this, last century, when I was in High School I remember filling out one of those "discover more about yourself" test thingies we see advertised in women's magazines all the time. It was a "what's most important to you" test. Obviously there was something to it. It struck a cord, left an impression with this extrovert, because years later I still remember the results.
My two "most important to me" things scored as being:
1) having fun
2) being in relationships
Kind of neat actually.
You see, I love to laugh. I love when people make me laugh. I have a specific sense of humor... a Rick Mercer sense of humor - for those Canadians in the crowd.
Sometimes I'm laughing when no one else is or when it isn't at all appropriate. Which, of course makes everything all the more humorous to me and I laugh longer and harder. Like the time my cousin and I got laughing, in church, at the elderly lady who had a mole on the very end of her nose, just dangling there, waiting, begging to be laughed at.
Sometimes I get laughing so hard that I cry, and my voice goes all squeaky. Those times are usually with my silly sisters or with my silly nieces. We share so much history that one joke will lead to another or one memory will lead to another and I start to cry-laugh, and squeak. I love my silly family.
So... yes... FUN!
If it isn't fun for me, it's hardly worth my time.
And, relationships. Well, what can I say other than relationships mean a lot to me and they generally bring a lot of fun with them. Family. Friends. Church family. Friends who are like family. Friends I haven't met yet. Family I haven't met yet. All important to me.
Today, I'm missing a friend. Someone who I have fun with (go figure - a friend that I have fun with).
And, this thought just crossed my mind as I was typing that sentence - what would life be without people in it who you miss? How sad and how lonely that would be.
Who are you?


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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Introducing.. "Take 5 with Kathy"

Take Six has always enjoyed thoughts, perspectives and ideas from different contributors.
So, it is with pleasure that we introduce to you our newest feature...

"Take 5 with Kathy"

Kathy loves the pen and paper. Blogging is a new medium for her - but you will soon believe (like I did) that they, too, are old and dear friend

Please welcome her.


Faith Instilled…

Have you ever felt you’ve become a good friend with someone you have never even met? Perhaps you read a book about their life, heard a speech or song of theirs and felt inspired? Maybe someone told you of that person’s story and on some level you sensed a deep connection, a kindred spirit, a shared heartbeat.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve found that friend in Moses – yep, that same old man who led the Israelites out of Egypt over 3500 hundred years ago. The very one immortalized by movie directors in “The Ten Commandments” and “The Prince of Egypt”.

What, you say, could forge such a relevant kinship between such an ancient man and a modern-day woman? Well, I’d like to invite you to join in my journey and perhaps along the way you will share your insights with me as well.

As I think about Moses’ time of birth, I am struck by the similarities with the present-day situation in Egypt and other North African countries…civil unrest, rioting, tyrannical leadership, fighting, death, destruction, and families being torn apart. Not much has changed from long ago, has it? My heart grieves for them.

What inspires me most about Moses’ early years is the faith that was instilled in the heart of this little boy. Although he was later raised by the Pharaoh’s daughter, highly trained and immersed in Egyptian culture and education, and became an eloquent speaker and well-respected leader, he never forgot his Hebrew roots. They were established in the arms of his parents, particularly his mother.

That is of great encouragement to me as a mom! Our children’s formative years, especially by the age of five, are crucial for ingraining strong values and faith in our loving God. May I encourage you as moms, grandmoms, aunts, and all women who have significant roles in a child’s life to never underestimate the invaluable influence you have in shaping a young life.

When your day is consumed with wiping runny noses (or dirty little behinds), slapping on more sunscreen, trying to get your teen to dress appropriately for the weather, scooping up yet more Cheerios off the floor, reading the same storybook for the hundredth time, mediating an argument before it escalates into a fistfight or hair pulling, monitoring what your children engage in on the internet, or enjoying an ice cream sandwich together on a hot day as you swing lazily on the porch swing…remember, God highly values those moments you spend with your children. They are teachable moments when you can “train them up in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6), keeping in mind their individual tendencies, personality, and strengths. The best part of that verse to me is God’s promise that they will not forget what they have learned (even though they may choose to disregard it for a time).

In those times when I’ve been tempted to berate myself for how I responded to my son (a young man now and soon to be married), I have to place it in my Father’s hands and trust that He will bring the best out of it for my child (Romans 8:28)…not easy for we women to do!

Check out more about Moses’ early upbringing in Exodus 1:1-2:10 and Acts 7:20-22!


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