Tag Archives: Food

Arrival in Joburg – Days 3,4,5

It’s Tuesday morning. I have three days to catch up. Our flight Friday night was excellent. I know that because neither Tom nor I slept at all. This time Tom had an aisle seat, praise God, and I was right next to him. We read, watched movies. I wrote up Day 2.

We chose to be the last off the plane. It meant we had lots of time to gather our stuff and hobble down the skinny aisle. Waiting for us as we stepped off was not one wheelchair, but two. I gladly appropriated the second one and collapsed into it for a long ride. Our wheelchair angels kindly stopped for a bathroom break along the way.

Luggage came through quickly. With our baggage in hand, they wheeled us to Dave and Joanne. After big hugs all around and a Canadian money tip for our angels, (all we had at the moment. They gave us huge smiles.  Probably was more than usual when exchanged for African Rand), we loaded into the car and drove to Dave’s. The weather of course was lovely – warm and sunny. We sat and talked on their patio for about an hour, then sank into bed. I slept two hours, Tom a little more.

Once awake, Dave made us a delicious supper. This is a vegetarian household. One of the blessings in that is both Dave and Joanne are excellent cooks. We managed to stay awake until ten.

Sunday morning was great. We started with Dave’s hearty breakfast.

Back home we had searched out on Google, the closest church. Dave and Joanne were busy that morning so Dave summoned an Uber driver to ferry us to All Saints Anglican Church. As you can see from the pictures, the architecture is a little different from home and quite beautiful. Inside everything was familiar except for the rows of clear glass picture windows that looked out on their parklike grounds. Being at Sunday worship grounded us. Anastasia, their new priest is a gracious and an excellent speaker. The highlight came at the end of the service. Anastasia invited one of the more senior members of the congregation to lead us in an African praise and blessing. The people’s voices came alive as they sang.

After church, we were welcomed, loved and fed, coffee, tea  and sandwiches. At one point, I looked out the window of the spacious reception area and spied a special visitor. A spectacular peacock had come to worship.

We didn’t have to call Uber to get home, because one of the congregation offered us a ride.  We were invited back  for our second Sunday. As always happens back home,Tom was told he was needed to help with the singing.  We will see what is on the agenda. A lot will happen between now and then.

We slept Sunday afternoon and enjoyed one of my favorite meals. Jo laid out a huge wooden tray filled with cheeses and sauces and crackers and bread and fruit and …..  We watched a little tennis with her while we ate.

Jenna stopped studying long enough to join us for supper. She is in the midst of her final exams. She’s in the International Baccalaureat program and a top student. Already she’s been awarded a scholarship to come to Queen’s in Kingston next year and study Kinesiology. We are delighted to have her back in Canada.

Monday was a quiet day. Jet lag had set in,V in earnest. We slept til ten, had a slow yoghurt breakfast. In the afternoon, Tom and I walked to a strip mall to the bank machine to fill our pockets with South African Rand. Problem: Back home in Canada I had been given the names of two banks that would accept our debit card. Neither bank was represented in the four machines available. We walked back to Dave’s. A Google search revealed the friendly Scotia Bank representative had given us the names of one bank in Senegal and one in Australia. Google told us to use Absa bank in Johannesburg. By this time, Dave was home from school and drove me back to the mall. My hip has been doing a lot of complaining.

The driver, Victor, for the next day’s excursion, arrived to check out Dave’s car and get his instructions. Victor is the father of a colleague of Dave and Joanne, a Phys. Ed instructor at the International School. He is also a retired driver for government celebrities coming to South Africa.crazy tourists. We will be in good, experienced hands.

That finished, Jenna, Jo and I slipped away to shop for a grad dress for Jenna. Of course, I had a grand time with that. It’s always a pleasure to take one of my granddaughters shopping. Once the dress was chosen and purchased, we relaxed at a restaurant for supper. I had crushed sweet potato and pine nuts on a delicious tangy white sauce and vegetarian falafels with avocado dip. Totally yummy.

We returned home to pack and get to bed early. Departure this morning was 5:30 a.m.

Angels, I didn’t mention our angels. Well, Dave, Jo and Jenna are certainly filling that role. It felt as if we attended a church full of angels on Sunday, especially the generous woman who drove us home. In some ways, Tom and I were visiting angels there as well. I did bring a couple of my books as gifts.

This morning we’re driving into the sunrise. The grasses covering the land alongside the highway are dipped in gold. This 3 day adventure to Lesotho and into the Drakensberg mountains to hear the Drakensberg boys choir has begun. The air is misty. The moon is nearly full. We are truly blessed.

That’s it for this morning.

What Is the Best Diet?


As adults in Canada, many of us try fad food diets because we are wanting to be thin, or thinner. Almost always our excess weight returns as soon as we stop the diet. My daughter, a child psychologist, at our local hospital, works with teens who struggle with childhood obesity. She is adamant that we need to develop a healthy life style rather than find the best diet

Her message is not new. We need a lifestyle that involves exercise we enjoy, healthy and varied food we like and that is easy to prepare, and allows indulging in dessert occasionally, and is finished with sufficient rest. This is a lifestyle that can become ours forever.

Jesus’ teaching followed the same path. He too talked about lifestyle. The religious laws had their place but he condensed them to four principles. Love God, love others, love yourself, and be grateful. In whatever you do, whether eating, working, playing, resting, always remember that:

  • you love God. Prayer, worship and study are on your diet and exercise list because you want to be the person God would have you be,
  • you love others. Compassion, honesty, acceptance are the diet and exercise that will enable you to care for others.
  • you love yourself. Daily you feed yourself the chants, “I am God’s precious child. God lives within me. I will care for my body, prioritize my time so there is space for rest and fun. My diet will include forgiveness for myself and others.
  • You are grateful. Spice your food, your exercise, your rest, with gratitude. Giving thanks always and in all things brings joy to life.

Jesus said, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy-laden (with life) and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Food For Your Soul



Sometimes I get down on myself. All I can see are my faults, mistakes I have made. What is the point in doing the things I need to do to care for myself? I know that “eating healthy” will improve my health. I will feel better if I have some exercise every day. One essential action for me every day is to spend the first hour of my day in prayer, inspirational reading and journal writing. Without that hour, I quickly begin to feel like a zombie. It’s so easy to let that go. Other people’s needs ride high in my mind. The phone rings. There are jobs to do. Since the first week of August, we have been travelling. For me, travel means excursions, people and exhaustion. I don’t want to wake up early. I don’t want to take the time, so my morning prayer time disappears.

On Monday, even though we were still away, and I wanedt to spend every possible precious moment with family, I returned to my morning meditation time. This morning as I sat down to journal, I felt my heart begin to lift. “Thank you,” my soul said. “I can be at home in you, wherever we are.” Once again, I have accepted who I am.

I picked up a book titled Psalms Down-Under by Joy Cowley. In it, she talks of showing hospitality to ourselves. She reminds us that we welcome others easily, but forget to welcome the person we call “ourselves.” I’d love to include this meditation in my blog. It is truly beautiful and carries my message, loud and clear. But the soul that lives within me said, “Check the copyright information.” When I did, I found that “no part of this book can be quoted without permission.” Honoring my soul within, I suggest you check Amazon and buy the book. It’s wonderful food for your soul.

May God bless your day today and always.

Moments of Joy Aug. 7

New Friends
New Friends

Breakfast on the deck, brilliant sunshine, just the two of us, feeling relaxed and pretty well ready to travel. We’ve had lots of these breakfasts this summer. Today was especially sweet because we knew that the odds were, it might not be warm enough for early morning breakfasts when we return home.

As we left the driveway, I called Connie to say one last goodbye to the family, even though we said goodbye yesterday. I couldn’t hear her. God was nudging me. I had forgotten my hearing aids. I didn’t want to spend the holiday struggling to hear. Tom reacted: “Five blocks from home is the best time to realize you’ve forgotten something.” With that, he turned around and drove home. We lost only five minutes. I was truly grateful for God’s reminder and Tom’s ability to be patient: a moment of Joy.

As he drove, we listened to Ben Heppner’s “Backstage,” on CBC Radio Two. The theme of the show was flying. How much more appropriate could that be? As I drank my tea, the music caressed my ears. I am not always able to share Tom’s taste in classical music. Mr. Heppner notwithstanding, I find opera difficult. His music and stories brought the joy of flight into my soul. I gave thanks to God and to Tom and to Ben Heppner for his choice of theme.

At the airport, we unloaded the car and waved goodbye to Tom’s brother Bob. Turned out Tom had stopped at the opposite end of departures from KLM airlines. No problem, one free cart and we were fine. As we waited at the KLM desk to check luggage, we met a lovely couple, also toting Scenic Cruise backpacks, who had travelled far and wide for over forty years. Our conversation was lively and fun as we got to know one another. Together, we faced the challenge of getting our computerised baggage tags. In time, we all enjoyed success as the machine eventually spit out our essential adhesive printouts. Fastening them onto our luggage required more conversation. An hour later, our bags checked in, it was already two o’clock. We were hungry. Together, we breezed through security and headed for the food court restaurants. Sometimes, age has its advantages. We had hoped to meet some friendly people on the cruise ship. This couple felt like God’s special blessing. We enjoyed our time together waiting. They are leaving tomorrow on a seven day cruise, so we will not have the opportunity to build on this new friendship. I did share my card. We may connect again over my books.

The airplane blessed us yet again. The couple beside us also had Scenic backpacks. Once again, their ship will leave Amsterdam tomorrow. For the length of the flight, we shared our struggles with movie technology, our supper-time, and some general conversation. Already, this trip is full of great people.

Today offered one more joyful moment: supper on the plane. I took a picture. Roast beef on rice or vegetarian pasta with a warm roll, chocolate cake, wine and tea. It was delicious, and included in our ticket. Wow, it’s been a long time since I have experienced meals provided on the plane. Think I’ll fly KLM more often.

If today is an example of the joy available on this trip, we have lots to anticipate. God is good to us.


Guardian Angels Doing Their Jobs.

September 4,  Day 6

Tom's Breakfast
Tom’s Breakfast

I have to begin tonight with breakfast this morning. It was absolutely fabulous for a hotel included breakfast. We ate in the dining room decorated to match the hotel’s era with comfortable Edwardian chairs and lovely matching cream and wine table cloths. A cheerful friendly waitress, Ryell,  greeted us. We chose to sit at a table that caught the morning sunshine and faced the sparkling blue harbor. Ryell brought us water and coffee, while we filled our plates at the buffet. Here is a picture is of Tom’s meal.

Both our souls and our tummys were nourished. When we checked out we reserved the room for our return journey.

Our first stop was Trinity United Church. Rev. Randy, as well as his secretary welcomed us. We learned about the innovative cluster ministry with fully streamed Sunday worship that has been developed by Cambrian Presbytery. The home of Presbytery office is right there at Trinity. We sold copies of Dipping Your Toes as well as Spectacular Stella and A Child Speaks. I promised to make sure that Pat Gilmore from National sends more for the book display at their Presbytery meeting in September.

We left Thunder Bay feeling good, good about a beautiful city and its friendly people.  The drive to Kenora was only 5 hours including stops, a short run. When we arrived in town, we had lost the paper with the name of the hotel that we booked last night. All we could find was the confirmation number. We stopped at a Comfort Inn and offered the reservation number. No it wasn’t one of theirs. We asked for the telephone exchange and then searched back through the recents on the cell phone. We found the number and discovered we were booked into the Days Inn hotel. Sometimes cell phones are extremely helpful. A landline wouldn’t have kept that record for us.

Once again we have a lovely hotel with a gorgeous swimming pool and a water slide. I lamented that I could no longer climb all those stairs and my ears couldn’t take the underwater pressure. So I looked at the slide and imagined myself flying down. This was not a problem for Tom. We swam, exercised and enjoyed the hot tub. Once dry and dressed again we drove further into town and parked on the main street, intending to check out the restaurants for supper. We were checking the parking meter to see if we still had to pay, when a passerby called over, “Don’t put any money in that. It’s after hours.” We thanked her and then ask for a recommendation to a restaurant. She pointed us to a Greek restaurant that was not too expensive. In Kenora food in general is expensive. Since we drank water and skipped dessert, $42 plus tip paid for dinner. Tea and coffee of course are available at the hotel. The food was delicious. Our waiter helpful, friendly and willing to chat.

Where was God today. Choosing Trinity United Church was one of those God-incidences that some people call co-incidence. In fact, it feels as if a guardian angel travelled with us today, reminding us how to use a cell phone to solve a problem, sending that friendly woman to direct us to a restaurant. And of course every day we pray for safety on the highway. This is a long trip. We definitely need God’s help.

Why Are We So Blessed?

Why Are We So Blessed?

by Janet Stobie

MMMM Delicious!
MMMM Delicious!

Our week visiting friends in Montreal was a culinary delight. We devoured sweet corn drenched in butter. We sliced luscious peaches onto Nancy’s amazing cheesecake. The warm weather invited us to walk each day, giving our bodies the blessing of exercise.

The evening Nancy and Richard received news of the birth of their new granddaughter, our conversation centered around the blessings in our lives. This brought the question, “Why are some of us blessed so extravagantly while others go hungry?

We know that there is enough food produced to feed the world if it were distributed evenly. We know that there is more than enough love available to build a world of peace if we choose to live it. I believe we are blessed to share.

The next day, our daughter called to tell us she had finally found the home of her dreams and at a reasonable price. Excited and happy, she asked, “Am I being greedy to want this?”

My response to her was the same – We are blessed to share.

In the Montreal Gazette, I read a story titled “Gardens of Goodwill.” Last year Susan and Domenic Argento started donating the surplus fresh produce from their garden to the Old Brewery Mission that feeds seven hundred homeless people per day. They put out a collection box so their neighbours could do the same. This year their backyard initiative has grown into a project that involves neighbours, businesses and farms around Montreal. The Argentos not only share their blessings, but they help others do the same.

We can share easily and simply. Whether it’s our time, our money, our things or our caring, the opportunities are as abundant as our blessings. I suggest that this week you open your mind to sharing. Search out your opportunities to use your abundance to fill someone else’s need. Join God’s plan for our world.

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)


Peanut Butter Blessings

Between the ages of two and eight, my middle son David, limited his diet to peanut butter and jam sandwiches plus an apple now and then. Trying to convince David to try anything else meant inciting total war between David and his dad. And when we accepted a dinner invitation, our childless friends were insulted when young David turned up his nose at their delicious roast beef dinner. Totally frustrated, I asked my doctor for methods of varying David’s diet. The doctor replied, “if he eats peanut butter, bread, apples and drinks milk, he’ll be fine. If you’re worried give him a daily vitamin and let it rest.” Grateful, for the peace this philosophy brought to our home, we accepted David’s diet choices. Today, as a vegetarian his diet is still different from mine.
I think sometimes many of us think our way of practicing our faith,  is the only way that a person can live a spiritually healthy life. I believe Jesus offers us much the same message as our doctor. If you believe in God, and live with love and respect for your neighbour and yourself, you are receiving the staples, the bread and peanut butter of faith. Sure, there is lots of variety out there. Whether you kneel, stand, sit, or lie down to pray is not important. Just remember to pray. Whether you gather together with others or worship on your own in the great outdoors, the important thing is to offer God your gratitude and praise for the abundance you enjoy. Worshipping alone may mean you miss out on the support, the learning and the fellowship of church membership but you’ll get by, and you can always take the odd vitamin shot of communal faith at Christmas and Easter.
Rather than trying to argue people into your way of believing, try looking for the staples, the bread and peanut butter of faith that a person does have and give thanks for those blessings.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22: 36-40