Friday, November 11, 2011

Five-Minute Friday: Unexpected

Joining up with Lisa-Jo and many, many others to write for Five Minutes...  Here are the instructions lifted directly from her blog, The Gypsy Mama:

On Fridays around these parts we stop, drop, and write.
For fun, for love of the sound of words, for play, for delight, for joy and celebration at the art of communication.
For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.
Won’t you join us?

    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 2. Link back here and invite others to join in. 3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:



Unexpected is driving down the street in the "South" and seeing as if for the first time a tree that takes your breath away.  

 A tree that you have inside of you, metaphorically. 

A tree that speaks to who you are (if a tree can do that?).  

 A tree that a few short weeks ago looked very  different, and I frankly didn't notice. 

Now everyday, I make a point to drive past it, even on the days that I don't have to drive past it when Super-Beautiful does not need to go to school. 

(The view from behind Super-Beautiful's school...)

I drive past because I don't want to miss its beauty.  

I don't want to miss its symbolism.  

I don't want to miss this taste of home, the true north strong and free, right down the street from me here in Central Virginia, my current home and I give thanks each time I see it because God is amazing.  No one ever said maples couldn't grow in Virginia, but seeing this one in all its glory was unexpected.

I'm so blessed and thankful that I can see this for the short time it has left in its glorious splendor.



Remembrance Day: In Flanders Field - Choral Performance

This is a performance done by Queen's University Choral Ensemble in Kingston, Ontario, last November. 

The poem was written by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae on May 3, 1915.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mail Call Monday - 11/7/11

Mail Call Button

It's Monday!  I received one letter last week.  One very precious letter from a very precious child.

The letter was from Katherine in Nicaragua!
In the past, Nicaragua has not had a reciprocal letter writing program, so that means that the children write regular letters (3-4 times a year) but don't necessarily immediately (once a month) reply to every letter they receive.  During my advocate training we were told that Compassion is working to implement reciprocal programs in all countries in the future.  I'm so glad!

Here is Katherine's letter (written on Oct. 12 and received by me on Nov. 3... fastest one so far):

Hello dear and esteemed sponsor Jennifer! 

May God shower rich and abundant blessings on you and your whole family.  Thanks to my Lord, I'm in very good health.  I'm very happy because you have sent me letters which I read and really liked!  I've received all your letters.  I'm going to answer your questions.  I have no hens at my house, but some neighbors have hens at their houses.  I'm doing very well at school.  I want to pass my school year and pass to another grade.  I feel that this year is passing by very fast and I feel that I'm growing.  I'm attending the [Compassion] project.  Everyday, we are taught new things and the most important thing is that they don't stop teaching about the word of God.  I want to tell you that we'll celebrate the anniversary of the project.  It has a lot of years of functioning and there are new children who were just admitted.  I'm very happy to write to you and that you'll receive this letter.  I'm always praying for you.  Thank you for always caring about me.  I love you so much and I want that you pray for me.  May my God bless you!  Do you like animals?


What a sweet girl she is!  I love receiving her letters.  She drew a lovely picture for us with the caption "I give you my heart"  and then quoted Genesis 1:1... In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth... which just happened to be one of Super-Beautiful's verses at AWANA this past week ;-)  Coincidence?  I think not!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Photo: Tania

I have a new photo of Tania!  I have to admit that it caused me some consternation initially.  It showed up in the "my sponsorship" area of my Compassion account and for a while it only showed up on one page...  only when I clicked on "view all" did this new photo appear.  When I clicked on Tania's specific page it still had the old photo:

Then on Friday, this new photo was appearing on all the pages.  My initial and gut reaction to the new photo was that it was a mistake and it wasn't her... I even contacted Compassion about it.  Then I started to second guess myself.  I dug out the profile they had sent to me that had this photo in the blue hoodie, a photo that Tania sent me after receiving birthday money and purchasing new pants and compared them to the new photo:

You, and I, have to remember that there is at least two years time between the taking of these photos.  In the first one, she has more eye makeup on and that changes the look of her eyes.  Having the 2nd photo that she sent to me (haven't been able to figure out how to get my scanner to send the image to the computer yet... working on that) was very helpful... it really was a transition picture and although it wasn't taken head on like these two it did help me to conclude that, yes, this is indeed Tania!  Nose, eyebrows, pose... it all adds up!  I love her school uniform!  I am so proud of this hard working young lady.

This is an experience that I am able to share with other sponsors and advocates.  Sometimes we don't expect changes as we look so long and hard at that one (or two) pictures that we have of our sponsor children that when a new photo comes it can be a shock that lots of changes have happened!  She's an older child, so I can only imagine the changes in very young children between their photos.

Pipe up if you've ever had photo issues/anxiety... I'd love to hear from you.

Six Word Saturday

Joining up for Six Word Saturday today for the first time!

Run, watch, pose, sweet, joy, sunshine!

Thanks to Kayla for making me aware of this!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Five-Minute Friday: Remember

Joining up with Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama, today

On Fridays around these parts we stop, drop, and write.
For fun, for love of the sound of words, for play, for delight, for joy and celebration at the art of communication.
For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.
Won’t you join us?
    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 2. Link back here and invite others to join in. 3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:




This topic makes me think that this would be best talked about next Friday, but I'm happy to remember today and share with you, so that you may observe next week.  Back in Canada, where I'm from, we celebrate Remembrance Day on November 11.  Here in the US it's Veterans Day.  These aren't exactly the same.  I think Memorial Day in May may be closer to Remembrance Day.   

People in Canada (and in other Commonwealth countries, I think) wear red poppies to show that they have not forgotten the lives lost in wars (specifically World War I, World War II, the Korean War and all conflicts since).  November 11 was chosen because that was the day the armistice was signed at the end of World War I.  Two minutes of silence are observed at 11am on the 11th.  There are ceremonies and parades in many towns and cities across Canada.   

I'm trying to remember right now... the details about Remembrance Day and those who lost their lives.





Here is the actual info on Remembrance Day as it is celebrated in Canada (from Wikipedia (click here for full account of Remembrance Day)):


In Canada, Remembrance Day is a public holiday in all provinces and territories except Ontario and Quebec. Veterans Affairs Canada, a federal entity, states that the date is of "remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace"; specifically, the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and all conflicts since then in which members of the Canadian Forces have participated.[6] The department runs a program called Canada Remembers with the mission of helping young and new Canadians, most of whom have never known war, "come to understand and appreciate what those who have served Canada in times of war, armed conflict and peace stand for and what they have sacrificed for their country."[7]
Poppies are laid on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Remembrance Day in Ottawa
The official national ceremonies are held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, presided over by the Governor General of Canada, any members of the Royal Family (such as Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, in 2009),[8] the Prime Minister, and other dignitaries, to the observance of the public. Typically, these events begin with the tolling of the Carillon in the Peace Tower, during which serving members of the Canadian Forces (CF) arrive at Confederation Square, followed by the Ottawa diplomatic corps, ministers of the Crown, special guests, the Royal Canadian Legion (RCL), the viceregal party, and, if present, the royal party. Before the start of the ceremony, four armed sentries and three sentinels (two flag sentinels and one nursing sister) are posted at the foot of the cenotaph.
The Guard of Honour at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Remembrance Day, 2010
The arrival of the Governor General is announced by a trumpeter sounding the "Alert", whereupon the viceroy is met by the Dominion President of the RCL and escorted to a dais to receive the Royal or Viceregal Salute, after which the national anthem, "O Canada", is played. The moment of remembrance begins with the bugling of "Last Post" immediately before 11:00 a.m., at which time the gun salute fires and the bells of the Peace Tower toll the hour. Another gun salute signals the end of the two minutes of silence, and cues the playing of a lament, the bugling of "The Rouse," and the reading of the Act of Remembrance. A flypast of Royal Canadian Air Force craft then occurs at the start of a 21 gun salute, upon the completion of which a choir sings "In Flanders Fields". The various parties then lay their wreaths at the base of the memorial; one wreath is set by the Silver Cross Mother, a recent recipient of the Memorial Cross, on behalf of all mothers who lost children in any of Canada's armed conflicts. The royal and/or viceregal group return to the dais to receive the playing of the Royal Anthem of Canada, "God Save the Queen", prior to the assembled Armed Forces personnel and veterans performing a march past in front of the royal and/or viceregal persons, bringing about the end of the official ceremonies.[9] A tradition of paying more personal tribute to the sacrifice of those who have served and lost their lives in defence of the country has emerged since erection of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the War Memorial in 2000: after the official ceremony the general public place their poppies atop the tomb.
Similar ceremonies take place in provincial capitals across the country, officiated by the relevant lieutenant governor, as well as in other cities, towns, and even hotels or corporate headquarters. Schools will usually hold special assemblies for the first half of the day, or on the school day prior, with various presentations concerning the remembrance of the war dead. The largest indoor ceremony in Canada is usually held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with over 9,000 gathering in Credit Union Centre in 2010;[10] the ceremony participants include old guard (veterans), new guard (currently serving members of the CF), and sea, army, and air cadet units.