Saturday, 17 June 2017

17/06/17











Once again my weekly post is going out rather late as today has been spent at our Diocesan Synod.
It has been a very long day as the Synod started at 830am and was not over until 6pm. As Lay Secretary I am not it a position to do things like write blog posts during long PowerPoint presentations since I am sitting at the front so everyone can see me J I hardly even had any time to knit!!
The last thing I need in the coming week is 12 pages of minutes to transcribe but the date of Synod is chosen to fit around the schedules of people with more important roles than the secretary!
Ah well, somehow the extra work will get done. This evening I don’t mind typing a blog post because it makes a nice change from the very formal style of the minutes.
So what happened this week???



We met on Tuesday to try and unravel the complexities of forming 7 Teams out of 15 Team Members. It was just fabulous to have some other minds present to help with this puzzle. Some very good strategies came out of our deliberations and everyone also enjoyed the shrimp fajitas, chocolate cherry cookies and watermelon, we ate for lunch!
Of course later that same day a couple of people we had included pulled their names off the list, but happily Wednesday we gained a fantastic Team LEADER in Joshua and today the application arrived from Elysha who will be a first time Leader this year J
There are 3 more applications pending for Members- 2 boys and 1 girl all of which are supposed to have been submitted by Monday, in time for our final Committee Meeting before the start of Training. There is also a slight chance of picking up one or two members during the Training Day Camp Week (June 24-July2). We still DESPERATELY need one more Leader and even at that it means the Quebec Team will need to be led by former Team Leaders who are now committee members or working at jobs where they can spare us one or two weeks but not a full summer.
It is God’s plan and I know that everyone involved intends to help make it unfold according to His Will for Day Camps.
So this is going to be a bit of a short post as my hands are getting sore after about 10 hours of typing today, but before signing off I thought you might enjoy the recipe for the chocolate cherry cookies we had at our Tuesday Meeting. They are super tasty and not many were  left by the time our meeting ended!

Chocolate Cherry Cookies

8oz. dark chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. Espresso powder
4 Tbsps. butter
½ cup each dried cherries, shredded coconut
 and chopped almonds
½ cup flour
½ tsp. each baking powder and salt
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Melt the 6oz of the chocolate with the butter and espresso powder. and Place in a large bowl and whisk in the eggs, one at a time followed by the vanilla.
In a small bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk into the chocolate mixture. Stir in the cherries, almonds, coconut and the rest of the chocolate chips.
Refrigerate for one hour.
Drop tablespoons of dough into parchment lined baking sheets and bake in a preheated 350º oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheets  so they can firm up.

Makes approx. 3 dozen

Sunday, 11 June 2017

10/06/17





















This post is coming to you a day later than usual since this afternoon and evening I had an unexpected visit from Alana.
Alana is currently co-director of CTM’s Junior Youth Camp (JYC) but she and I go back a lot farther in the world of CTM as at one time she was a Day Camp Team Member then a Leader, Training Leader and (I think for 4 years?) Office Worker and thus my indispensable secretary! For several years she has been teaching school in Misstisini, but this past year while on Sabbatical, has been living a bit closer in Arundel, a small town about 90 minutes north of Montreal. In August she will be returning to the North to teach a grade 3 class. Today she was in town for a JYC Staff meeting and had some items to drop off here; delightfully she ended up staying for the rest of the afternoon and for dinner (Absurdly Addictive Asparagus). 
I don’t know when we were last able to hang out for such an extended visit, so the writing of this post was laid aside as we got caught up on each other’s news and talked about all things CTM!
Now it is close to bedtime and Wil is already giving me “the look” which means- “let’s go out” so I guess with that very long explanation we’ll close off tonight and write the rest tomorrow…

Sunday Morning-

 

Today was supposed to be the Toronto region Kickoff event but I had word late yesterday that Brenda had cancelled it due to a very low registration. She is, however, going to do a couple of Skype talks with the other regional host communities and we will be sharing the video, taken by Randy at the Montreal Kickoff. Lamb was very disappointed, having flown to Toronto with Victoria a couple of weeks ago in order to make a star appearance at the event! Brenda took these photos of Lamb getting to visit her church, so at least some fresh grass has been provided and Lamb will be able to boast about the trip when back with the rest of the flock who are sitting patiently in the supply room ready for the start of Day Camps!!!


   While I’m now waiting to be joined by two or three others at our little house church, it is good time to think about the week just past.
By last Thursday my stress level had gotten quite out of hand and it seemed as if I had hit rock bottom. Then Friday, as I read the Vespers Office, God placed a verse there just for me-
"Oh tarry and await the Lord's pleasure; be strong, and he shall comfort your heart; wait patiently for the Lord." Psalm 27:18
As I read those words I felt an infilling of strength and was able to sleep so much more peacefully that night. Yesterday, after morning chores, Wil walk, errands and cat feeding I headed outside for a couple of hours of hard work in the garden. Gardening always involves long times of prayer and yesterday was no different. As is my habit I began by giving thanks for the Team Members we do have but then, instead of starting to whine and plead with the Lord about the impossibility of executing His plan without enough people I heard Him say quite clearly- “ but this is my plan”.
Whoa… really? It was as if a switch had been flipped on in my head and I suddenly realized that He has provided these Team Members and it is not my job to plead for more but to find a way to use them. If He chooses to send more, then they will be added to “the plan” but right now THIS is the plan. Maybe I don’t understand why there are so few Team Members, but He does and that should be enough for me.

So I have turned over a fresh page and with HIS guidance, we are going to make this work!!
We are now at either 14 or 15 Team Members. One of our excellent experienced girls has just found out she needs to go to summer school but I’m praying that she might possibly be allowed to do her course on-line as Kelvin did two years ago when a similar issue occurred. The greatest concern is the lack of those of Leadership age, as we simply must have 7 Leaders and currently have only 4. Even if we decide to have the Quebec Team with shared leadership coming from former Team Leaders who might be able to give a week or two but not the whole summer, we would still need to find 2 more full time Leaders……..

Another break there for church to happen, followed by lunch, some garden work, Wil Walk and now it is late afternoon! So this had better be a “wrap”.
Over the week there wasn’t much space for other activities but I did manage to make Tighe’s Birthday Crown. It’s hard to believe he is turning 5 this time and will be starting school this fall! In my studio I have a lovely photo of his grandfather baptising him @ St. Stephen’s and it always makes me smile. His birthday is the last week in June aka Training Day Camps Week so it is especially important to have the gift completed well ahead of that busy week.
In the garden along with the gorgeous early summer flowers- Irises of many types, poppies, dwarf French Lilac etc. it is also the season of the horrible Maple “keys” which fall in their gazillions from the 3 big old Norway Maples on the property. Each afternoon, if the weather was fine, I conducted a 2-hour battle with them, laboriously sweeping them off the lawns, driveway and paths and picking them individually out of the flowerbeds. UGH! However, as mentioned earlier, it does provide for many hours of prayer time and hymn/praise song singing!!
Well it is already time to think about dinner; my goodness! this weekend has seemed so short. So before I go and cook some salmon for a Panzanella it is time for a recipe. I do wish I had thought to take a photo of the gluten-free baguettes and Nectarine/Lavender Crostini which I baked last Wednesday for a small catering order, but never mind, the Crostini looked so pretty I’m sure I’ll be making another as nectarines become more plentiful over the summer!
So instead I thought I would share a dinner salad I enjoyed one evening.
 If you like food photography you can always check out more of my exclusively food-related photos on  Instagram. # Tray for One!

So here we go- Pear and Three Cheese Salad

4 Red Bartlett or Bosc Pears, cored and thinly sliced
4 oz. Feta cheese, crumbled
2 oz. Strong Cheddar, diced
2 oz. Brie, diced
8 oz. baby spinach
4 oz. sunflower sprouts
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsps. Red Wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. fresh mint, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Wash the baby spinach and place in a large shallow salad bowl. Top with the pear slices and arrange the three cheeses over the pears, sprinkle with the sprouts. In a small bowl combine the dressing ingredients and whisk thoroughly. Just before serving pour the dressing over the salad,

Serves 2 as a main course accompanied with a baguette.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

03/06/17
















I’m late making a start on this post because I wanted to share with you all about the first Kick-off Event of Day Camps 2017.
The alarm was set for 6am this morning to allow for a few chores, Wil Walk and feeding my friend’s cats before arrive at Isaiah 40 for 815am.
Yesterday afternoon I had dropped off the snack supplies and made a couple of jugs of cold orange infusion but this morning the coffee and tea needed to be started, especially since it was really cold and gloomy outside instead of the usually sunny June day we had expected.
Soon several helpers arrived and I was caught up on the wave of  “organized chaos” that heralds a Day Camps summer! As people began to arrive Randy was still trying to figure out how to set up his camera tripod while Anna was rapidly typing in some song lyrics, as her husband arranged a circle of chairs and her youngest boy was helped a teddy bear to “play” the piano!!  I was scurrying around hanging up crafts samples, running to answer the doorbell and trying to lay out name tags and agendas as Wil was bounding around the hall barking happily.  Ah Day Camps!!
Anna had done a fine job refreshing the morning’s agenda but I think the highlight was watching the newly minted On Fire! Slideshow (the Day 2 Story) that included our amazing newly arranged DayCamp jingle.
Tim Blais had agreed to make a fresh arrangement of this piece, which was originally composed, for us by Erica Phare as part of the new program we launched for the millennium year celebrations and although it is iconic amongst Day Camp aficionados, it was in need of an update.
EVERYONE, young and old LOVES this new version and while listening to it and watching the lovely new slideshow video my eyes filled with tears as I thought of all the people who care about this ministry and give hours of volunteer time to help produce such a wonderful program. 
Surely it is not possible that we will be forced to cancel some Day Camps due to the low number of Team applicants. Surely all this goodness will be shared with hundreds of campers, teens and adults in the 31 host communities who are already busily preparing for Day Camp week.
Anna gave me time to make my plea to everyone for help in finding those missing recruits. I handed out our promotional bookmarks and challenged everyone there to be proactive in encouraging young people in their churches, among family and friends and in their schools to consider applying NOW. There is no time to waste since the next deadline is only 10 days away. On June 13th I will be meeting with the Training Team Leaders and a few of the committee to discuss the allocations for the Training Teams but also to configure the 4 Teams for whom airline tickets need to be purchased.
As of today there just aren’t enough people to form those 4 Teams so a LOT of prayers and a lot of encouraging needs to be done.
Hopefully this morning’s audience was fired up to go and look for more “labourers for the vineyard”!
Not having had any lunch today and having spent over 3 hours this afternoon mowing the lawns, I think it is high time to wrap up this post and to prep some dinner 😊
No time to comment on some of today’s photos, the first clump comes from this morning’s Kick-off and the rest are a mishmash of the week’s  “extra” activities- sewing some summer gifts, garden work and of course feeding the usual troupe of people who pass through these doors.
Which brings me to this week’s recipe- Niçoise Pasta

12 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti
2 cups fresh or frozen green beans, halved
2 tins organic tuna
3 eggs, lightly beaten with salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves minced garlic
4 Tbsps. lemon juice
2 Tbsps. olive oil
¼ cup black olives
2 Tbsps. chopped chives


Cooked the pasta until al dente, adding beans for final 2 minutes, then drain reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Meanwhile heat the oil in a small skillet and sauté the garlic for 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, bring to a boil and remove from heat. Whisk mixture into beaten eggs then whisk in reserved cooking liquid. Place the pasta in a large serving bowl and toss with the egg sauce. Add the olives, tuna, gently fold together and sprinkle with chives. Serves 4