Saturday, 19 August 2017


It seems that with everyone away at Junior & Senior Youth Camps things would be a bit quieter around here. HA!
But it has been a good kind of “busyness”. During the first part of the week I was occupied writing a number of prayer letters and putting together some tiny gifts to pop into each envelope and during office hours I was slowly working through the compilation of 21 Team Evaluation packages. Each one included a copy of our 2017 Team Photo, a composite letter to all the Team Members and then a handwritten individual evaluation letter, all of which takes quite a long time, as it is important to pray and ponder over each one.
Monday evening some dear friends, who are also neighbours, came for dinner and the weather was just right to eat on the deck! Another friend was supposed to come Tuesday but due to a household problem we postponed to Wednesday. Meanwhile in every spare moment I was assembling an ever-growing pile of objects to take on my day trip to the Camps!

After much “to-ing and fro-ing” my ride was finalized for Thursday so that day I was up super early, scooting through chores and the Wil Walk in order to be ready for pick-up in the late morning.
We ended up with a full car (excellent conservation of fossil fuel!!) with Chris (a Youth Pastor going to SYC to lead a Workshop), his 13 year old Godson, Ezra, who was coming to see what Camp is all about with the possibility of attending next year, myself, Wil and Sarah (who had just missed her bus and was going to SYC as nurse for the last few days of the week). Sarah was able to take the Metro back into NDG from the bus station so we looped around and picked her up before heading onto the highway for the 2-hour drive to Camp in the Eastern Townships.
Despite a full car (or maybe because of it?) the ride was truly pleasant with everyone sharing in the conversation and with Wil being the perfect gentlemen. He lay in the middle of the back seat with his snout on the armrest between the two front seats. Apart from Chris occasionally elbowing Wil’s snout and waking him up, the trip was pretty peaceful and we arrived at SYC with 10 minutes or so to prepare for our workshops.
The Ninja Stress Balls workshop went really smoothly. I had such a nice group of 7 Campers none of whom complained when, upon arriving at the craft hut we found the table covered with the staff children’s rock painting materials including a HUGE amount of loose glitter!! They all pitched in and cleaned the table and soon were busy making stress/juggling balls! They also ALL stayed to clean up afterwards and as I collected my bags and baskets to hurry over to the Worship Hall for the Liturgical Dance workshop I left them happily juggling outside by the lakefront J
Wil was settled on the blanket I had brought as 2 Campers and 2 Staff, along with our visitor, Ezra, arrived to learn the Liturgical Dance. I had chosen to choreograph, this song, which I wrote about in an earlier post and which I felt fitted very well with the 2017 Camp Theme- “Bigger Than Right”.
Ezra took the role of “sound tech” since he would not be staying until Saturday’s Closing Service and everyone worked hard for an hour or so until the piece had come together nicely. Syndi Belle was entrusted with the dance notation file and agreed to arrange short practice sessions over the next two days, in readiness for Saturday’s presentation. Last year Timothy recorded part of the Closing Service Dance, I wonder if he will do the same today? I do hope so. It is a bit sad to work with the group and then never see the result but since it is a worship offering it is much more important that the Lord sees it and that the congregation is able to be part of the experience. As I write the Service is already over but I was praying this morning that everything went well.
And so after the dance Wil and I packed up again and soon were climbing into the Huyer’s van that they had leant to me so I could drive over and visit JYC.
It was a beautiful late afternoon and the light on the summer fields and hills was so lovely!! The (shortcut!!) drive on mostly dirt roads only takes about 20 minutes and I was soon turning in among the pine trees and slowly driving down the familiar track into Cedar Lodge. I calculated that I have visited that site almost every year for 37 years!!!! EEEK. In the early years Cedar Lodge was the location for Focus Weekend held on Labour Day Weekend, a Retreat for CEGEP and University Students. Focus is no more but JYC has also used Cedar Lodge for about 20 years, ever since both Camps relocated from sites we rented in the Laurentian Mountains North of Montreal.
Wil and I were given a hearty welcome at JYC with hugs for me and lots of pats for Wil. We headed down to the big boardwalk by the main lodge, overlooking the lake and I got to visit with several dear friends on Staff and also with my Godson Tighe and his siblings. Tighe is only 5 years old and thus a Staff child, but his brother and sister are both Campers this year.
As everyone at JYC was getting ready for their special “banquet dinner” Wil and I quickly ate the picnic we had brought and then headed back to SYC. Supper had finished there and an outdoor game was in progress so we sat on the stairs outside the Staff Lounge and Wil snoozed while I knitted and enjoyed the lovely cool evening. Janice soon came out too and it was super to have a little chat with her as next week she heads to Toronto to begin as an IVCF Staff worker at York University. We will all miss her very much but Toronto is at least not quite as far away as Regina, where she interned last year J
Once the game was over Chris, Ezra, Wil and I said our good-byes and hit the highway for home. Chris dropped us off shortly after 10pm, a long but very special day. I was SO thankful to have had the opportunity to enjoy time with  two other Ministries of CTM and to spend a long day welcomed with so much love into their Camp communities.
Sorry this is a very looong Post but so much goodness has been fitted into the last 7 days that I did so want to share it!

Yesterday was mostly catch up on Office and other work with a bit of sewing time as I finished up the Birthday gifts for my eldest Godson, William, who will turn 8 (EIGHT!!!) next Thursday. The Huyers will be breaking their journey here tonight as they travel from Camp back to Ottawa so Victoria will be tucking my gifts into her luggage to give him on the big day!
Well before I head off to do some baking for a small tea party happening here tomorrow, I thought I would share the recipe for the main course I served my friends last Monday Evening.
So here goes….

Soba Noodle Salad

12 oz. Soba Noodles (I used both plain and Green Tea Noodles)
4 boneless Chicken Thighs
1 cup chicken stock
1 garlic scape (or clove), minced
1 tsp. powdered ginger
2 Tbsps. each Tamari soy sauce& rice vinegar
3 Tbsps. olive oil
2 tsps. sesame oil
2 medium carrots, julienned
8 oz. fresh green beans, trimmed and halved
4 cups finely shredded green cabbage

Place the chicken thighs, stock, garlic and ginger in a shallow pan, cover, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool, then shred. Reserve the cooking liquid in a small bowl or measuring cup.
Cook the noodles, adding the carrots and beans during the last 2 minutes of cooking time, drain well and cool to room temperature. Place the shredded cabbage in a large salad bowl, add the noodles, vegetables and chicken and toss gently.

To the reserved cooking liquid add the soya sauce, oils and rice vinegar. Whisk well and pour over the salad. Toss again and serve at room temperature. Serves 4-6.

Saturday, 12 August 2017


It has been a pretty zooy week around here, culminating, last evening, in the dinner for JYC and SYC Staff before they all left to drive down to Cedar Lodge for the Pre Camp happening today. After the Commissioning Service this afternoon the SYC Staff will move over to Camp Livingstone and both Staffs will gear up for the arrival of the Campers, tomorrow.
But let’s recap the week-
Last Sunday approx. 25 SYC Staff (and 3 small Staff children) descended on the house for a full day of training. I was the official cook and served breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack to the hungry crowd in between their times of worship and workshops; meanwhile attempting to avoid various important Lego structures, small wooden cars, stuffed animals etc.! Over lunchtime Jessica nobly joined me for a couple of hours, which was a huge help, especially with all the washing up. 

Monday my attention turned to preparing for the Team Leaders Evaluation Meeting (TLEM). This annual event took place Tuesday afternoon starting at 3pm, with dinner @ 6 followed by a DC Committee meeting that ended around 8.

There were 14 of us for dinner that night and we said good-bye to Sarah, who is stepping down from the committee, and welcomed 2 returning members- Christopher and Janice. Unfortunately Mikaela, who is also stepping down, was unable to join us as she was working that evening.

Wednesday I finished up a ton of outstanding office work, made a big batch of dog food and got through a bunch of other chores before welcoming Amudha, who came in the late afternoon to avail herself of some of my artist’s supplies needed for a SYC Game she had been tasked with creating. Amudha is a former Team Member and now on staff at SYC, about to start university! We enjoyed a Chinese meal of Ma Po Tofu followed by my new fave- ORGANIC, homemade BUBBLE TEA!!!! (I use coconut milk, mango orange jelly “bubbles”, extra mango juice, Jasmine Tea and whipped cream, YUM J

Thursday preparations began in earnest for last night’s giant dinner (there were over 30 people including 7 small children, EEK!!!).
After first getting the lawns mowed, I began thawing the huge containers of Vegetable Curry, which Jessica and I had cooked and frozen last week, made vat of fruited iced Darjeeling Tea and also thawed the Naan Bread.
In the evening I  set up the whole dining room for this mega-meal.

Of course yesterday was manic, right from the get-go.
In the morning I squeezed in office work and helped the JYC Directors by printing and collating some of their Cabin Devotions and by noon Mark (Co-Director of SYC) had arrived and starting unloading SYC supplies into the garage. Alana (JYC Co-Director) dropped by in the early afternoon with a last minute staff member who needed to fill out a police check and once that was done Wil and I squeezed in his walk before Janice and Matthew arrived for a quick (Bubble Tea J) visit!  Right after Camp Janice is moving to Toronto to serve at York University as an IVCF Staff Worker , so this was the only chance to have a little visit with her and her boyfriend as they will be leaving by train on the Tuesday after Camp.
Of course as we were attempting to visit other staff members started to arrive, laden with their gear and by 545pm Mark declared that we should begin serving dinner.
Thankfully the predicted thunderstorm held off so almost everyone chose to eat outside on the main deck. They all seemed to enjoy the curry, Naan, iced tea and dessert of homemade orange/lime ice cream!

Of course there were mountains of dishes but Joanne (the SYC Pre-camp Worship Leader) immediately jumped in and started helping me, as did several others, while the rest of the staff packed cars and vans with luggage and supplies.  In the house other willing helpers put away the clean dishes, put furniture back in place, and made sure that all small people visited the “facilities” before the long drive ahead!
By 730pm as I was sweeping the deck and bringing cushions inside before the impending storm, they had formed a big circle at the foot of the driveway for final notices and prayers for a safe journey.
Soon they were waving goodbye and shouting their thanks to me as the got into the vehicles, suddenly all was quiet again J
I’m sure the neighbours were mystified by the whole event, but then they can rarely figure out what goes on around here anyway J
And so today I’m laundering all the dinner napkins and preparing to write 14 prayer letters, which will be part of the very large pile of items I shall be taking when I visit both Camps next Thursday.
I had thought the next few days with everyone away would be fairly quiet. HA!! All sorts of things are going to be happening, but that story can wait for the next post!

Well before I head off to make 14 notecards, everyone has asked for last night's  veggie curry recipe. It is an old one out of my Mum’s handwritten cookbook.  I like to serve it with Naan rather than rice.

Indonesian Vegetable Curry

½ cup canola oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cans pineapple chunks, or one small fresh pineapple, cubed
1 can plum tomatoes, diced
2 medium onions, sliced
4 small zucchini, in ¼” slices
1 large red pepper, diced
1½ lbs. sweet potatoes, in 1” cubes
1tsp.each chilli powder & ground coriander
½ tsp. each ground cardamom, fenugreek, and turmeric
3 Tbsps. water
1¼ cups vegetable stock
2 medium bananas, sliced
½ cup coconut milk

Sauté the onions, garlic, zucchini, sweet potato and red pepper in the oil for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and pineapple and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the aromatics with the water to make a smooth paste then stir into the pot. Add the veg. stock, bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are just cooked. Stir in the sliced bananas and coconut milk and warm through.

Serves 6

Saturday, 5 August 2017


As I write this post we are nearing the finish line for Day Camps 2017!
3 of our 7 Teams will be arriving back in Montreal today. The first one, coming from CFB Bagotville will arrive by bus at 345pm and two other Teams are returning by plane, touching down around 6:15pm.
After that Team 3 is coming in on a red-eye flight, tomorrow morning at 705am, then two Teams from the Toronto area will return by bus at 945pm. Finally the last Team, from Calgary, arrives Monday evening at 640pm!!!
And so, for the last time this summer I give you…

Postcards from Week 4

Team 1-

Mae Anne, Aaron and Bryce have spent this week far to the northeast of Montreal at CFB Bagotville. It has been a small Day Camp with, I believe, no more than a maximum of 11 Campers. This is just as well, since they only had a couple of helpers. Also, one of the children only spoke French or Spanish, which was a bit of a challenge! They held a Friday Closing and are now on the long bus ride home.


Chelsea and Kelvin’s last Camp was at Wasaga Beach, outside Toronto, they had over 20 campers, with quite a big group of Scramblers, ably handled by Chelsea who “loves Scramblers” YAY!! One of our crafts this summer is sand candles and Chelsea really wished they could make them on the beach, but sadly they take a while to “set” and there was no way to protect them from high tide or predators so candles on the beach will need to wait for another year!


Christopher, Miriam and Mercy Jade completed their mission in the city of Prince Albert, this time at St. George’s Church. Ten years ago, one of our first Teams to serve in the Diocese of Saskatchewan held a Day Camp at this church, albeit under a different Priest. I’m not sure of their final head count but when Christopher and I spoke early in the week I think they had about 16 Campers. They were all happily billeted with a retired couple from the UK who reminded Christopher of Mrs Philmore. J
"We arrived safely in Prince Albert and attended church at St. George's. We are all billetted with the same older couple, the first this summer to resemble Mrs. Philmore's family much (they're British). Everything is very suitable. The church is very excited to have us; we've set up and things seem quite organized. We expect maybe 15 children tomorrow, possibly more."

Team 4-

Joshua and Lauren have completed their journey in the town of Dysart, Sask. St. Cuthbert’s Church has hosted Day Camps for the past 4 or 5 years and Rev. Warren is very keen and actively involved. They had a big group of close to 40 children and Joshua was pretty tired the last time we spoke. I told him it was okay to tell me he was tired but that I knew he would still appear enthusiastic with the Campers! He is a seasoned “trooper” and I know he will give his all right to the end.

Team 5-

Emmanuel, Elysha and Miguel have completed their mission in the (new to us) community of Kenaston. They held a Closing Gathering Thursday evening, followed by a wiener roast. Emmanuel called me quite late to report that it had gone super well and that lots of people had shouted “AMEN!” after the liturgical dance, drowning out the few who clapped. YAY! A victory for “worship through dance” over “performance art” Ha! They arrive home this evening, on the same flight as Team 4 J

Team 6-

Annie and Donna will be the last Team to return although they also held a Friday Closing. This decision was due to the Holiday Weekend, which confusingly occurs on the first weekend in August in every other province EXCEPT Quebec! The Rector at Grace Anglican polled the Campers’ parents and decided that they could get the best turnout by holding a Closing Gathering yesterday. Annie reports that it went “really well” with a reasonable number of families in attendance. This was a small Camp as it was a late addition to our schedule but we were SO grateful that the Parish opened its doors to the Team, as they would have otherwise had to be disbanded a week early.

Team 7-

Brian, Maynard and KC will be travelling back with on a MegaBus along with Team 2m arriving tomorrow evening. They seem to have had a good week in Barrie with over 25 Campers. The Parish Priest lives on a sheep farm. We are all hoping the Lamb gets to meet a real life flock!!

And so ends Day Camps 2017. This coming Tuesday all the Team Leaders will gather for the annual Team Leaders Evaluation Meeting. This is a very important opportunity for the sharing of many stories that seldom make their way into the pages of the written evaluation forms. After closing with a time of prayer, I will distribute the “Golden Chicken” Awards and then everyone stays for supper, after which the Day Camp committee holds a brief wrap-up meeting. Although this event is quite a marathon, it is also a precious time, as this group of leaders meets together for the last time. So much amazing ministry has taken place over the past six weeks, so much for which to give Thanks, so many adventures and challenges! Sitting there in the circle we surely can see that together, by God’s Grace, we have managed to achieve something beautiful and something far greater than the sum of our individual parts.

Back here at home base, I am gearing up for tomorrow’s SYC Staff Training Meeting. 22 Staff will be arriving around 9 am for a daylong event during which I will be serving breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack J. Most of this past week has been occupied with a ton of cooking and baking, interspersed, of course, with gazillions of texts, calls and emails!! The Golden Chickens were completed and wrapped and I even managed to get the samples made for my SYC workshop, happening about 10 days from now.

Well before I head off to split 3 dozen Bagels for tomorrow’s breakfast, we still need to end  with a recipe. There have been some simple dinners this week after long days of cooking for others. 
One night I enjoyed some smorgasbord sandwiches they make great deck or picnic fare J

Salmon Dill Sandwiches

1 tin wild organic salmon
½ a round loaf of Swedish rye bread, thinly sliced
1 Boston lettuce
¼ cup butter
2 Tbsps. finely chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsps. cider vinegar
2 tsps. Capers, well drained
½ tsp. black pepper

Mash the salmon, discarding any skin and bones. Add the butter, dill, vinegar and pepper and work together with a fork, to form a rough pate texture.
Lightly butter the slices of rye bread and top each slice with a whole lettuce leaf.  Mound a portion of the salmon mixture in the lettuce cups. Garnish each sandwich with a few capers.

Serves 2.