Sunday, April 29, 2012

Take 5 With Kathy

TAKE 5 with Kathy

will resume

Sunday, May 13

See you then!
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ladies Retreat ~ Gift bag

Over the past few months, it has been my pleasure to be involved in the planning stages of our church's Ladies Retreat.  This year it was held at the Old Orchard Inn, in the Annapolis Valley.  My responsibilities were gift bags, table centerpieces, and holding a workshop on decorating that included a craft.  

Today I am sharing with you our gift bag.  Watch for more posts on this retreat. 


As the ladies came into the dining room on the Friday evening, there was a "gift bag" for them at their table place.  On the table, there were beautiful bead bracelets scattered for the ladies to choose one as well.


The Committee decided we would like to use teacups as the "bag" part of the gift.  After checking at some thrift stores, I concluded that they were too expensive when you were buying one for lots of ladies.  You know that saying, "Where there is a will, there is a way."  I went on Facebook and asked my friends to check their cupboards and closets as they were doing their spring cleaning.  I told them I would gladly take any teacups and saucers off their hands, if they no longer had a use for them.  My friends were so supportive, and we gathered enough to use for the gift bags and a couple other ideas. (more later) 

Purple was our theme color, so I filled the teacup with some purple Easter grass.  Tucked in the grass was a tea light, a teabag, and that item that every woman can't do without...chocolate!!  My mom helped me complete them with the cellophane and purple bow!  

A great idea for a ladies retreat, a teacher's gift, mother's day or any time a pretty little thank you is appropriate! 

Photos courtesy of Nicole Payzant Photography.


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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Quality control..."

Two weeks ago my husband and I purchased new light fixtures for our kitchen. Ever since we moved into this home over five years ago, I’ve disliked very much (to put it mildly) the track lighting that was there. Why we didn’t replace it when we renovated the entire kitchen floor to ceiling (well, almost), I don’t understand. Maybe we just didn’t want to go to the extra expense. Nevertheless, I had put up with them long enough! Perhaps watching too many home renovation shows had made me long for those lovely pendant lights. There always seems to be something else to make the house a little more perfect.

After they sat in the boxes on the floor for a week, I decided last Saturday we had better put them together – you know, just in case something was wrong and we had to return them. I began laying out all the pieces on the dining room table and picked up the instructions. Hmmmmm…..lack of instructions was more like it! They were scant at best, but between them and the picture on the box, I began to make some sense of how to assemble the fixtures. Funny, my husband is the electrical engineer, but I was the one trying to figure out how they went together! He began helping, but quickly became frustrated because certain parts were just not fitting well.

“Lack of quality control,” he kept muttering, “With all the modern technology you’d think they could make all the shades and frames the same! There’s no precision, no quality control!”

We finally had one light fixture totally assembled and armed with the knowledge of how to do it, minus the instruction sheet, we began the second one. Same problem!

“You’d think for the money we paid for these, they could get it right!” we complained to each other. Of course, we don’t expect perfection, but sliding those semi-circular glass shades into their frames was a lot trickier than we anticipated and took every ounce of patience we could muster.

At last, we began to screw the base onto the extension rod – the final step. We were almost done! But alas, they wouldn’t fit together properly; there was a gap of about one quarter of-an-inch. When we tried to tighten it, a section came apart! “Now what do we do?!!” we both exclaimed. We were both so tired and frustrated after an already busy week, we had looked forward to just getting them installed.

So, back to the store I went with the almost assembled light fixture. Thankfully, the lighting guy opened up another box and just exchanged the two defective parts. I guess he could sense we would not be too excited about putting a third one together from scratch.

As you can see from the picture, the lights are now installed, thanks to the assistance of our son, and we are very pleased with the results. Our kitchen finally looks complete and well, almost perfect.

All this reminded me of a couple Bible verses about perfection. As Paul concluded his first letter to the Corinthians he exhorted them to, “Aim for perfection.” [i] Jesus instructs us to, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”[ii]

Of course, God is the only one who is perfect in every way. In Psalm 18:30-32 we read, “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.”

Then I found a verse I hadn’t taken notice of in the same way before. It says, “To all (earthly, human) perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless.[iii]

I’m so glad I know and serve the One God who is perfect in every way! I’m thankful He has provided His perfect Word to guide me in becoming more like Him every day as I learn His truths and seek to live by them. He is the One who takes all the pieces of my life and fits them together with perfect precision. And since He is the One who designed and created me, He doesn’t need any instruction sheet!

Until next Sunday,


[i] I Corinthians 13:11
[ii] Matthew 5:48
[iii] Psalm 119:96

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Friday, April 20, 2012


Celebrate our Earth!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My husband's ancestral farm in Nova Scotia.

Autumn in all it's glory!

Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

Bald Headed Eagle soaring in the Annapolis Valley, NS

"To the LORD your God belong the heavens,
even the highest heavens,
 the earth and everything in it." 
Deuteronomy 10:14

Photos courtesy of Nicole Payzant Photography

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

She Preaches...

When I lived out West - far away from my family - my friends became like family. And one friend introduced me to a female preacher named Beth Moore.
If you haven't heard of her, or sat under her teaching, there is never a time like the present.
God, in His grace, gives us different people throughout the course of our lives, who speak into our lives like no one else does.
Sometimes it is our spouse.
Sometimes a trusted friend.
Sometimes it is a counsellor.
Sometimes an author.
And, sometimes a preacher.
Who is that person(s) for you?
Beth Moore is my all time favorite preacher. She speaks into my life, my spiritual and my emotional life, like none other. What a gift.
I'm currently working through her study "James: Mercy Triumphs" (Lifeway Press, Nashville, TN, 2011.)
In the viewer guide, session #3 Beth causes the reader to consider the distance and the difference between JOY and ANGUISH.
These next five points are all hers, not at all mine:
1) Anguish and joy can co-exist. James 1:2
2) Anguish and joy can trade places. Isaiah 61:1-3
3) The source of anguish can morph into joy. John 16:20
4) Mental anguish can be like the mind in labor. Psalm 55:1-4
5) Anguish is meant to lead to a birth. John 16:20-22
When is the last time we've felt anguish? Perhaps yesterday? Perhaps today? Perhaps right this minute? Or, perhaps... tomorrow...
And, an even better question is: what is God getting ready to birth out of our anguish?
I don't know about you - but I kinda like the thought of being able to give birth ;o)
PS: thanks for preaching, Beth
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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Faithful to the Call..."

In my garden
I love spring – I always have since I was a young girl. I can hardly wait to see the crocuses push up through their blanket of mulch, or snow!  I love poking around in my garden beds searching for those first signs of new growth – like the sedum buds I uncovered a couple weeks ago, or the chives which seem to grow an inch-a-day, or the tender new buds forming on my forsythia bush and Japanese maples. New life is exciting to experience! My nephew just became a new father on Easter Sunday to a whopping 9lb.14oz. baby boy!

But probably my most favourite thing about springtime is listening for the cheery singing of the birds in my yard. Nothing brings a quick smile to my face quite like awakening to the warbling of the first robin or the delightful trill of a song sparrow. Is there anyone else out there who shares my enthusiasm? Do bird calls just fill your heart with joy as they do mine?

This fellow appeared on February 7!
In order to become skilled at recognizing the various bird calls, you have to first of all study about them. I like to read books about birds, listen to bird sounds on the internet or watch nature DVD’s. Then I practice listening by taking what I’ve learned out into my backyard, a park, the beach, or the forest. I watch the birds and listen to what calls they make and why. I’ve learned to identify, for example, the difference between the song of a robin and its warning call. Of course, I’m pretty much an amateur, but I enjoy this hobby. I admire those who are much more committed to this pursuit than me and those who actually make it their life’s work.

In its simplest form, learning about the calls of our feathered friends just helps us to be more appreciative of our Creator God and the diversity with which He has created the thousands of bird species.

There is another call in life that we must learn to identify. It takes years of learning, observing, and fine-tuning our ear to become skillful at recognizing and following this call. It is the call that comes from God’s heart. In many of Paul’s letters to churches and individuals, he often mentioned the calling of God. It refers to the invitation of God to two types of people.

First of all, God calls sinners to repentance and forgiveness. It is the desire of God’s heart that all come to Him, recognizing their inability to pay the price to secure their salvation. That’s why He sent Jesus Christ, His Son, to take the punishment we all deserve. Romans 4:25 says, “He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God.” (NLT)

Secondly, God calls those who have received Him as Saviour to live in holiness. We read in I Thessalonians 4:7, “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” He also calls us to hope. While we live in this present life on earth we are assured of God’s presence with us through His Spirit which indwells us and gives us daily guidance and strength to please Him. We also live with our eyes focused on the promise of actually one day being in the presence of God and spending eternity with Him. This is the future inheritance we look forward to. We enjoy a common hope as believers that even though we come from many different backgrounds, we will all stand together before the throne of God and worship Him in unity. We are also called by God to live in peace with one another and to serve each other in the spirit of love which comes from His heart.

Trying to do all that God has called us to be and do is a very daunting task! But He doesn’t leave us to do it alone. When God calls you, He gives you whatever you need to fulfill that call. He promises to be with you, to go with you, to never leave you or forsake you! He also promises to strengthen you, hold your hand, and help you.

In my garden
“May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” (I Thessalonians 5:23-24)

Until next Sunday,

P.S. I had the joy and privilege of presenting an expanded version of the above to our women's group last Wednesday morning. We had a fun time trying to identify twenty bird calls I had recorded - there were some pretty attentive bird enthusiasts there!

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Just after sunrise..."

Point Pleasant Park, Halifax
This past week, I enjoyed attending our church’s drama production, “This Very Night: The Story Continues” as well as our Good Friday service. Both were very moving portrayals of the events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ and His resurrection. It was especially meaningful to see much of what I had written in last week’s post come “alive”. I became so wrapped up in everything I almost felt at times that I could have been there as I experienced emotions ranging from deep sorrow to rapturous joy. I remarked to one of the crew members mid-week, as he was removing part of the set, that although I really enjoy the Christmas production, I feel the Easter component is even more significant as it is the foundation of our Christian faith. At the Good Friday service, the theme was “At the Foot of the Cross” and there were several actors who performed monologues of characters who had actually witnessed Christ’s crucifixion – the disciple John, Mary the mother of Jesus, the Roman centurion who proclaimed, “Surely this was the Son of God!”[i], the thief who was crucified with Jesus and came to faith in Christ just before he died, Joseph of Arimathea who asked Pilate if he could bury Jesus in his own tomb, Simon who was forced to carry Jesus’ cross when He could bear it no longer – as they reflected on their thoughts, emotions, and responses while watching Christ crucified, it really made me think, “What might I have done had I really been there?”

As I wrote last week, there were many women present at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. They had to wait until the Sabbath was completed before they could return to the tomb with spices to anoint Jesus’ body. Mark’s account says, “Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’”[ii] This would have been of deep concern to them as they would not be strong enough to do it themselves (Mark states that the stone was very large). I wonder why they didn’t ask some of the men to accompany them for this purpose? Where had all Jesus’ disciples disappeared to anyhow? Were they too afraid to be seen or were they so distraught and disillusioned over the death of their Messiah that they couldn’t bear to go near the tomb?

We know from the Scriptures that the women were also afraid and filled with grief. Their fear and bewilderment was only magnified when they saw that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. Mary Magdalene went running to Peter and John crying, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him!”[iii] Some of the other women dared to look into the tomb and discovered Jesus’ body was gone. Their confusion left them trembling.

This Very Night: The Story Continues
As if they weren’t afraid enough, suddenly angels in clothes that gleamed like lightning appeared to them. Although the four gospel accounts vary slightly in how many angels appeared and to whom, they all agree that the women were terrified. In each case, the angels were quick to reassure the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him. Now I have told you.”[iv] Luke adds, “Then they remembered His words”.[v]

Can you imagine with me as these women replayed some of Jesus’ words over in their minds? - “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day He will be raised to life.”[vi]; “But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”[vii]; “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live…”[viii]; “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”[ix]

Filled with fear, excitement, and joy, the women quickly ran to tell the disciples the good news. I think it’s rather typical that the men didn’t immediately believe the word of the women – they had to go and see for themselves! But, I think it’s really special that Jesus chose women to be the first to hear and see that He was indeed alive. He has chosen us to tell the good news of His resurrection and His saving grace. As I go this morning to celebrate with my church family, I will rejoice that I serve a living Saviour!

A Blessed Easter to all,


[i] Mark 15:39
[ii] Mark 15:2-3
[iii]John 20:2
[iv] Matthew 28:5-7
[v] Luke 24:8
[vi] Matthew 17:22
[vii] Luke 22:69
[viii] John 11:25
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Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Tablescape


When I begin a tablescape, I never have a picture in my mind of the completed project.  I decide on each element as I go.  As I started this table, the only item I knew I wanted to use was my Indian Saree as a table runner.  My sister, Lisa, brought it to me from India last winter.  The color is perfect for Easter. 


A Saree fabric is 5-7 metres long.  I have folded this over several times.  It is so very beautiful!


The Saree is so elegant that I needed "Easter baskets" that were the same.  Teacups were the perfect choice.


Each "Easter basket" holds a chocolate treat nestled in Easter grass.


Three pots of spring bulb flowers are tucked into a basket and then the tops of the pots are hidden with some excelsior.  Natural looking eggs (read plastic) are tucked in around the flowers.  The little cross was made by our son, many years ago in Sunday School.


Doesn't a lily just say Easter to you?  Me too!


This is Peter!


On the cross reads, "Jesus said, It is finished".
  John 19:30 


However, the cross is not the end of the story.   Praise God for an empty tomb.

But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for He is risen, as He said."  Matthew 28:5,6

Wishing you a most blessed Easter celebration with those you love.  Happy Easter!

Photos courtesy of Nicole Payzant Photography.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

A 24 karat Kids Table


This table was done as inspiration for all you moms who will be setting tables for the children in your gathering this Easter.  They like to feel special too, and can relate much more to decor that is on their level.  


I found a great tutorial  HERE  for these cute little "Carrot Napkin Bundles".  Your 24k kids would love to help make these.  A little jelly bean treat is included at each place setting, to enjoy after their meal is finished.



Resurrection Eggs!  A fabulous hands-on way to bring the Easter story to life for your children and grandchildren.  I purchased this set when our children were small.  If you would like to make your own set, there are directions HERE.


Have a close look at that last egg in the carton.  My dear friends, it is empty.  Our Saviour conquered death.  He lives!!! 

THIS is Easter!



Spring has arrived, and Easter week is here.  However if you look carefully, you can see that the flurries are still coming down in NS.

Please come back tomorrow to have a peek at the table for the grown ups!! ;)

Photos courtesy of Nicole Payzant Photography.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Many women were there..."

As I prepare, with Christian believers across our world, to celebrate Easter this week I am especially mindful of the centrality of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to our faith. Without His sacrificial gift of Himself, taking the place that we deserve because of our inability to provide for our own salvation from sin, our faith is meaningless and empty. The apostle Paul wrote about it in I Corinthians 15:3-4, a passage we often read during our observance of communion, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” Further he says in verses 14 and 17, “…if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”

A few days ago I was challenged through something I read to go beyond the familiar and traditional aspects of this season and focus on something that would awaken a fresh appreciation for my beliefs. So, since my recent entries have centred around women, I decided to take a closer look at the women who are profiled in this very poignant story.

Kutna Hora, Czech Republic
The writers of all four Gospels take great care to mention the many women who were there during Christ’s crucifixion. Matthew 27:55-56 says, “Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for His needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.” - the disciples James and John. Mark 15:40-41 adds the name Salome – although it is uncertain who she was, some commentators suggest she may have been the mother of Zebedee’s sons. John 19:25-27 records that near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. We also know from Luke 23:27-29 that another group of women that Jesus addressed as “Daughters of Jerusalem” followed Him as He carried the cross toward Golgotha. They were mourning and wailing for Him, grief-stricken that the One they had followed so devotedly was being treated so brutally and was about to die.

I wonder why some of them were following “from a distance”? I couldn’t find any clear answer, but perhaps they were afraid of the possible repercussions from their association with Jesus, the One the Jews wanted crucified because He claimed to be the Son of God and a king. Maybe they just did not want to get too close in witnessing such a gruesome and horrible death. If I had been there, I would have found it too heartbreaking to watch the excruciating suffering of the One I dearly loved and had devoted myself to following as His disciple.

Why did these four writers make certain we knew there were many women there? In those days and culture, as still exists in many ethnic and religious circles today, women were considered unworthy to be present and participate in many events and practices. Their voice and opinions were not as highly respected, if even heard, as men. Their roles were clearly defined, certain laws restricted women’s activity, they were separated from the men during prayer and worship, they were to dress in certain ways, and were to be quiet in the presence of men. I am not criticizing cultures, ethnic groups, and religious groups for observing various practices that they follow with respect to women. However, I believe these four disciples of Christ were pointing out, as Jesus Himself often did in His ministry to women, that God considers women to be of great value and worth. We are His special creation whom He designed in His image with the capability, through His Son, Jesus Christ, to have a unique and meaningful relationship with Him.

Salt carving in mine, Krakow, Poland
He chose the virgin Mary to become the mother of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Mary Magdalene, out of whom Jesus had cast seven demons, became a significant disciple of His and was the first to see the resurrected Christ. She and some other women were the ones who prepared spices and perfumes to anoint the body of Jesus after His death – a women’s job, but a very special and honourable one. Later, in the book of Acts, we discover that many of these same women were present in prayer – with the men! – as they awaited the promised Holy Spirit. Throughout the writings of Paul, he specifically names women who opened their homes for prayer and were instrumental in helping establish the early Christian churches and serving them.

With Christ’s death and resurrection, a new age of grace had been ushered in. No longer are there to be any dividing distinctions that would restrict anyone from finding salvation in Christ alone and serving Him with their gifts, abilities and personal uniqueness. I'm so glad, as a woman, that God sees me as worthy to be called His daughter and that I can serve Him with gratitude and love because of what He has done for me through Jesus Christ. Praise His name!

Until next Sunday,


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