Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Is it really me -- Deb MacDonald, writing on her blog?  How is this possible?  I see that I haven't written anything since driving a SMART car home from the Wild West.  What a summer.  A summer of ministry and disconnection from the internet, as we lived between Woodstock, Bristol and Fredericton.  Two trips out west -- three times driving across this vast country we call Canada -- about 10,000 kms traveled there, plus up and down the river valley from June til September.  A whirlwind and a whirlwind fall and here it is November 13, 2013.

Doug still working up river/down river.  Me?  Still the Pastor at Morning Gate Church.  Still a music teacher.  Nomad Ministries still in operation.  Granchildren growing.  Stiill teaching Friday morning Bible study in my home.

Still living -- thank you, God -- just celebrated 5 YEARS, yes, count them!   5 YEARS as a breast cancer survivor, this past Sunday -- November 10, 2013.  On the day of my 5th anniversary, I led worship, preached a sermon, did a funeral, preaching again, went out to celebrate at a local restaurant and watched my beloved Heartland show.  Life and death in one day.  Keeps you real, and keeping your eyes on the upward sky, looking for the return of Someone Special.

Thank you, Someone!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Wild West

We've been away.  On a western adventure yet again.  To Manitoba -- Natalie's new house.  We flew out a couple of weeks ago and reunited with Nat & RCMP man, Aiden (5) and Sarah (2).  Haven't seen them since last September.  Oh what a sweet reunion.  Natalie came to pick us up at the airport, and when I saw her drive towards us, I jumped up and down.

We stayed nine days, and long story short (which I may explain later), we bought a Smart Car, cancelled our air tickets, and set out driving last Saturday morning at 6:30, drove 3376 kilometres through Manitoba, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, into our beloved New Brunswick three days later.  Two people in a Smart Car, traveling half way across Canada. It was wonderful!  If you want to get closer to your husband, try it, you'll like it (maybe not, depends on how you function in small spaces).  An average of 64mpg!  Stopped every 350-400 kms to fuel, due to the small size of the tank.  Amazing amount of leg room, and it felt like we were in a big car, even though we looked like a chihauhua travelin' down the highway.

You never know what we'll do...

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

This is my last week of teaching music until September.  I usually have a music night in June to let the students highlight their talent, but I decided to change course and have a winter show.  The BIG SHEW, like Ed Sullivan used to say -- WINTERLUDE perhaps, a variety show to boost my students' spirits, and the parents and friends who attend.  But it does seem very strange not to having an end of season show, I must say.

I love the kids and their hugs and cards and gifts of appreciation.  They are great encouragers to me, just as I hope I am to them.  I keep saying that it takes a village to raise a child.  This past year, I've been involved in their lives and emotions.  This past month has seen a few tears as well, as they feel the pressure of their busy little lives and school work.  A few tissues have been used in Mrs. Mac's li'l ol' music school.

Next week I will be in my summer mode, and it will be completely different from last year.  I'll keep you tuned in to the next chapter.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

It is COLD!   Jon and Alicia, Afton, Jack, Ivy and Croy are currently canoeing the current of the mighty Restigouche River.  We were supposed to go with them, but backed out this week -- it's too cold for us to sleep outdoors!  And we are a bit older than they...

Happy Anniversary to us -- 35 years on Monday, May 20....1978 was a very good year.  And it's still a good year with Doug MacDonald as my lawful wedded husband.

We're going to hop in our RV tomorrow and go somewhere -- perhaps 35 kms, 35 minutes or 35 places.  And see where we end up.  That's kind of how we like to operate.  The homestead will take care of itself, with the homemakers on board here.

The Southshore Sister has been here for two weeks.  Hard to see her go back to the southshore, but she does have a family.  We're beginning to feel like a dysfunctional family here at Heartland.  We want to make our own reality show.  Wonder if anyone would watch it?

Fiddleheads -- love them -- inundated with them right now.   What a treat this New Brunswick delicacy is (I guess Ontario has them too, but I want to claim them for our own).  Had them tonight with salmon at D's house.  Thanks, D.

Thanks, SS Sister, for all your help, fun and laughter we've had.  Y'all come back soon, ya hear?

Monday, 6 May 2013

Cleaning House

I would love to go through the whole house and clean it today.  But will I?  No.  The idea is good, but I get too distracted with all the things I see to do.  I did clean a couple of windows upstairs, however, and am getting the Southshore Sister's room ready.  She arrives today -- haven't seen her since January.  I'm sure we will be busy beavers cleaning and painting and raking and eating and biking and....We love her visits.

We had Jack visiting all weekend, and we bought Playmobil, biked, cooked a Tomato Spice Cake (Jack thought this would taste 'terrible,' but he was pleasantly surprised), played chess (he put me in checkmate), and several other fun things.  What a sweet little boy.

Now to get back to cleaning

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Past Few Days

This has already been quite a week, and it is only Tuesday.  It started on Saturday, where Doug and I worked at Camp Shiktehawk in Bristol.  Doug worked in the maintenance shed all day, and I cooked and baked my little heart out in the camp kitchen (and washed pots and pans galore).   From 6:30 a.m. to 7 pm.  Were we wiped?   You bet.   And then had to drive home that night, as I had to sing and preach the next morning at Morning Gate.  By the grace of God I was able to preach and sing, I'll tell you.  About undergoing trials and tests, and asking God for wisdom.

We hoped to have some much needed rest in our deck chairs, but alas, it started again.  The sewer pipes backed up and we called the City, who told us to not use the water or the toilets -- in both houses.   This was a bit difficult, as Dad, who has Alzheimer's, was a bit confused, to say the least.   Doug got the RV ready, and it became our 'outhouse' for the next 24 hours.    The test began for us.  Could we manage 24 hours without water and toilet facilities?

Monday morning, the City of Fredericton arrived -- with backhoe, dump truck, coiled things, and many men (of course).  They deliberated for a long time -- 'have to take the pine tree down;' 'you'll have to pay for this;' etc.  I told them, 'No I wouldn't,' and that I was praying about it.   And put out the word to Mom and Doris, too.

After a long day of digging, power outages, and the pine tree roots being cut off, they solved the problem and fixed three breaks in the line.  The pine tree did NOT come down, and we get to gaze upon its beauty for another 100 years, and we were not served with a bill from the City, as it was on the city property line.  Praise be to God, who granted them wisdom and heard our prayers.

This day, Tuesday, found me at the church once again for a funeral, playing the piano at length for Muriel Ashfield's funeral.  She was 93+, and a longtime member of our congregation.  And a great woman of God.  She is now with Jesus, probably whipping up a batch of cookies or brown bread, or quilting.  God bless you, Muriel.  Loved your smile....

I'm a bit tired.. Don't know why

Thursday, 18 April 2013


I've had many 'firsts' in my life -- first love, first marriage, first baby, first diagnosis of cancer, first other things, but this past Monday, I experienced a new 'first.'  I 'officiated' at my first funeral service -- of Gary Richard McMullen, age only 65, who died suddenly of a heart attack.  I never thought as I walked down the aisle and sat on the platform, that I would find myself helping to conduct a funeral service for our friend, Gary.  I have sung many times at funerals (which I did on Monday as well), but never preached at a funeral before.  God was with me -- He filled my mouth with the Good News about Jesus.  Many times in my life I have given the gospel message, but never like this.  I didn't think I would be able to do it, but I lived what the Bible says:  "With God, all things are possible."

Doug had a 'first' as well.  He gave a short eulogy, and his cell phone went off in the middle of it.  It was very funny, and appreciated by all, as he was talking about always being able to get Gary on the cell phone.  Then the phone rings.  Perhaps Gary was trying to get Doug on the phone.   And Gary did work for NBTel for many years.

Rest in peace with Jesus, Gary....May God's love be with your beloved wife, Jeannie, and your beautiful family.  Til we see you again...

Saturday, 13 April 2013

When you can't sleep at night, get up.   Stop lying in bed, tossing and turning, convincing yourself that you are almost asleep.  Why waste your time doing this?  Go to the kitchen, toast an English muffin, eat some cheese and peanut butter, a couple of Calcium and Vitamin D tabs, and a small glass of tonic water for the legs on your body that just will NOT settle down with the rest of your limbs.   Play Scrabble with Ann or Don P. out west who is in a different time zone than you are.  Start working on the book you've been planning to write your whole life.  Why, you should be able to have it completed by morning!  Look around the room.  What else could you do?  Rearrange cupboards?  clean out drawers?  Bake a cake?  Endless possibilities.

Sleep, where are you?  Come to Mama!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Some days, I have the most interesting of experiences.  It started Friday morning, where a wild and wonderful group of women showed up at the house.  We dissected Genesis 10.  Yes, Genesis 10.  A genealogy of sorts.  To get excited about a genealogy, like I do, is a rare thing, I think.  I don't really think they shared my passion, and told me that their heads were swimming.  Sort of like when you try to explain that your brother's second cousin once removed on your maternal aunt's side, or something like that.

After this strange study, I hopped in the XTerra (since Doug stole my Honda for his daily trips to Woodstock), and met Carolyn (a.k.a. Jackie Kennedy Onassis) down in Lower St. Mary's.  I followed her car to Maquapit Lake, where we encountered another bunch of women in spring hats (although one woman donned a bunny hat).  Jackie Kennedy Onassis appeared for a few minutes and had several accents while speaking.  I touted the health benefits of tea, and the various types of tea, going on and on like Forest Gump and his discourse on shrimp.  After some tea type games, prizes, a tea sniffing competition to see if these hat-clod women could guess what was in the tea, I made tea with Alberta, the hostess.   Coconut Calypso white tea, Toffee Crunch rooibos (my fav), Earl Grey de la Creme (Nat's fav), Mint Julep, and Hot Yoga (a wellness tea, another fav of mine).  The women brought their tea cups and sampled the teas, deciding which was their favorite. After some snacks and Carolyn making tea sales, the party was over. A great time was had by all.  Yes, sometimes I am in the tea business -- me and Carolyn, a.k.a. Jackie.

I headed home to meet Doug -- we had planned a dinner date. But alas, due to the national ringette championship in town, we could find no place to rest ourselves other than at the old standard restaurant, Frank's Finer Diner.  Only to come home at night planning to watch The Bible, and fall asleep in the chair early.  To bed only to get up and write a sermon until 1:30.  What a day.

Today we head for Saint John to celebrate with Cheryl -- she is 50.  Let all the bells ring out.  My life is certainly full.  Love life, enjoy life, enjoy others.  Celebrate!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

What a day -- I taught music from 11:30 AM to 6:30 PM.  It's hard to keep your momentum and excitement for all the students, but I think I managed to do so.  Then we went to Morning Gate, where I taught another 1 1/2 hours in Bible study.

And you would think one so tired might go to bed, but this one loves to watch these singing shows (Doug does, too), so she stays up late.

Another long day tomorrow.  I have a sore throat now, and for the past couple of days something strange has been happening with my lip.  I never get coldsores, but perhaps I have one.  Oh well, that's nothing, considering what I have gone through.  Thank you, Lord, for health!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Camp T

Wow.  What a great weekend at Camp T -- Women's Retreat.   A bunch of wild and wonderful women, of all ages.  40+  Too busy to get a head count.  My theme was:  "I am Woman, Hear Me Roar."  Lots of laughter, singing, skits, prayer, relationship building, spa things on Saturday afternoon, even scarf dyeing and Carolyn had a tea party for about 15 women.   I am a bit exhausted -- still.  I think it's because I come home from a weekend of no sleep and don't actually have a day off to rest.  I get right back into teaching, teaching, and more teaching, and all the other things I do.  My own fault.

Why am I so driven?  I do relax when I can, and am crocheting eight inch squares late at night.  I think Granny is spying on me from the garden house.  She can't sleep, so she spies on me.  Actually, I spy on her, too.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Friday we took off for Woodstock.  Again.  It was Doug's 4th trip last week and by the time yesterday finished, he had made five trips up river.  Should we live there?  Perhaps the Southshore Sister could move up early and retire in Hartland, and we'll move the whole shooting match up to potato country, where I'm really from.

Doug went to work at Big Dog Equipment.  or should I say Big Doug Equipment?  He has immersed himself in truck parts and computer software.  I have immersed myself in teaching music and preparing sermons.  Of course, we have lots to talk about, and as we travel, we dream about chalets and land and vacationing.   What a time in our life -- up and down the river valley, taking care of parents, trying to be with our grandchildren and still working full time and then some.  I'm still the interim pastor at Morning Gate Church, until I'm moved out -- by God or the people.  LOL   I love what I'm doing.  I am blessed. I can't believe that we have such a rich life.

Saturday morning I was sitting in the bleachers watching Jack and Afton play chess at the local chess tournament.  And trying to keep Croy and Ivy amused, while Alicia scooted out to the Sugar Bush to set up the Teddy Bear Picnic for Ivy's 5th birthday party.  Croy was highly amused with my reading glasses and amused those around as well.  What a cutie.  After a few cups of spilled coffee, it was finally time to load 7 children (we picked up a few more during our stay at the chess tournament) and head out to the Sugar Bush.  The boys had a boil on, and the maple sap spa was in full swing.  Try putting your face in the steam from the sap.   Oh, 'tis wonderful.  Alicia did a great job on the birthday party, complete with Teddy Bears on blankets, balloons, hidden things, beehive, sweets, cake, the Maple Man (Jon), and I sang "Teddy Bear picnic" song to the kids.  And sang 1-50 about 50 times to put Croy and Oliver to sleep in the hammock, nestled in the maple trees.  They slept for a couple of hours, and I relished in the fact that I am blessed.

Doug and I made it back later that evening, tired and chilled.   After church in the morning, we grabbed Granny & Jed and headed back to Coldstream (wherever that is), to Uncle Floyd's 80th birthday party at the Womens' Institute hall.  It was a complete surprise to him.  Of course, I got to see a lot of relatives, including the funeral director, the Pirate, Pippin and Uncle Earl, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and Nurse Amy.  We had a great time and a few laughs.   Then it was home again.

Doug left early this morning for Woodstock -- again.  To work at Big Dog.  Should we move up?  Brenda?  Natalie?  What do you think?   Jon?  Just kidding.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

As in the Days of Noah

Yesterday it rained so hard and for so long that we had major flooding -- in the yard, and POURING in our basement walls.  Like a waterfall in one section.  I ruined my shoes wandering around in ankle deep cold water, moving things, and then I started carting things upstairs to give away, loading up the truck with stuff.  And the dumpster.  Nothing like a flood of water to make one declutter.

Doug developed a hose system with a sump pump in a lawnchair in one of the major lakes in the yard (about 2 feet deep), and pumped it out onto the street, where it filtered into the storm sewers.  Our whole house was surrounded by water.  I thought I lived on an island for a day.

We were both pretty worn out by the time the day ended.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

We had a great time in Blaine Maine in an A-Frame.  A few days of rest, relaxation, and researching my geneology.  Yes, part of me is Irish -- Jane Page, born in 1799 in Ireland, come to Canada in the 1800's.  Spent quite a time researching the family.  I let out a shout when I found her birthdate the other morning -- "Yes, Doug, I KNEW I was Irish!"

We went around the mountain -- Mars Hill that is.  Doug loves windmills and there are about 26 of them around that mountain.  The snow was too crusty to cross country or snowshoe, so we didn't do much of it in Maine.  But on Friday, back in New Brunswick, I snowshoed in the Tracy Mills Baptist church cemetery and the Methodist Pioneer Cemetery, looking for ancestors.  Doug and I traveled around the old country, looking for ancestors.  I found a few, and a couple of distant cousins.

We made it to Bristol and snowshoed to the top of the Crabbe road beside Jim Brown's place.  Thought I was going to have a heart spell of some sort.  About 2 kms up hill.  We made it out into the expansive field/hill and found a tree in the middle of that field, put our coats down for protection from the snow and had a beautiful picnic.  I tried to have a sleep on my coat, with my snowshoes on.  You should have seen me -- all twisted up.  But it was beautiful.  What a snowshoe -- looking over at Mars Hill (where we had just been for four days), Moose Mountain and far off into the distance our beloved Mt Katahdin.

A great rest and back to church today, well rested.  Ready to start work tomorrow -- students -- COME ON IN!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Saturday in the city

You know, if you need a vacation, create one.  Even in your own hometown.  We took Granny & Jed on a mini-adventure around Freddytown.  I enjoyed it -- I hope they did...
Here's what we did:

1.  had a tour of the new YMCA
2. Grant Harvey centre -- Dad & Doug watched hockey while Mom and I walked around the walking track quite a few times and talked
3.  Tried to go to the Regent mall but it was too busy
4.  Sat in traffic
5.  Went to DQ and I stood in line forever and treated mom & dad to ice cream
6.  Northside Market, where Mom bought a huge bird feeder.  I bought apples.  Doug had to take apart the bird feeder to get it home, part of it sticking out the window

Not much of a vacation, but a little outing, I guess.  But you know?  Just getting out of the house on a drab spring-like day is often enough to lift your spirits.  Try it you'll like it.  It then continued on for us:
 7. Doug was on the phone to Aliant once again for about 45 minutes, this time about his Mother's phone line, which no one can call in.  We have now spent DAYS this past year talking to Aliant.  Every month there is something we have to call Aliant about.  Why is the phone company so difficult to talk to???  (PUN intended)
8. Worked on my paperwork in my office -- yay...Doug on his computer.  (reminds me of Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap or something like that)
9.  To Wendy's for a bite to eat and met up with a couple of friends...
10.  To Canadian Tire.  Bought snowshoes for Doug and a thermarest for Sally (Deb), for our trip to Blaine Maine, and 35th anniversary trip in May to canoe the Restigouche River (gotta plan ahead)...
11.  Home to work in the office again and prepare for Sunday.   Doug on computer once again.  He is working, by the way...not on social media...
12. Watched a movie rented from Aliant -- I'm sure we'll have to call them next month when this appears on the bill.  My father was a telephone man for 40 years.  I doubt he experienced difficulty with the phone like we do today.  Doug's mother still has no phone connection

All in all, a mini-vacation/work Saturday.  Relaxing nonetheless.  Looking forward to this week, as I am really going to try and go on vacation.  Looking forward to an A-Frame in Blaine Maine.  (On the plains and I hope it doesn't rain).

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Snow Go Away?

I do love snow days.  I love the feeling of being sheltered inside the warm house.  I had a few brave parents brave the snow, sleet, hail and rain and trek here for their music lessons.  

I am getting weary and need a winter get away.  Wanted to go to Florida with the grandkids, but not enough time, energy and money to make it happen.  Nor the will for such a short time.  So, I'll settle for a chalet in the woods.  Perhaps Mars Hill area.  Perhaps Blaine, Maine.  As long as it doesn't rain in Blaine, Maine, I think that's the place for a winter get-away to get my batteries recharged.  I do have rechargeable batteries.

He makes the snow fall from heaven.  Might as well enjoy it.  We live in Canada.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Preparing for an afternoon tea -- will it be high tea or low tea?
Today's error -- trying to make a bank deposit in the bank machine without actually putting anything in the envelope!  So I made another deposit with the cheque inside.  Had to go in and tell them what I had done, and got to relay my washing machine story.  Honestly.

Tonight -- GREASE at The Playhouse = Leo Hayes musical production.  Had a few students in the play.  They did an awesome job.  Charlotte Pyke stole the show, in my opinion, and her mother said to me:  "Be prepared to see a Charlotte you've never seen before!"  She was right and she was fabulous, darling.  Her mother said she is a composite of all the people who have influenced Charlotte, and that I am one of them.  I had my picture taken with this fabulous singer, dancer and actress.  (And piano player).  And her sister, Grace was in the play as a dancer/actor as well.  Adam Moore, Abby Evans and Samantha Evans were amazing in their roles in acting and dancing.  A great night and a trip to Dairy Queen afterwards with S & J, D & K -- it was so busy that we went through the drive thru for our treats and ate inside the restaurant.  Now that's innovative thinking.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Two Things

1.  You know you are distracted when you put laundry soap in the washer, let it fill with HOT water, put cover down, and go clear to the SPIN cycle before you discover that there are absolutely NO clothes in the washer!  Never did this before in my life...a first, but hopefully the last time I will waste water and time.

2.  You know you are still young when you go to the indoor pool and swim 16 laps in the pool, doing all the strokes you learned as a teenager.  So, on this Valentine's Day, I have a renewed love for swimming.  It made me feel SO great this afternoon, full of energy, so much so that I made two batches of muffins and BBQ chicken wings and ate a wing like a cavewoman.  Now, knowing me you would know this is very strange, given my non-propensity for meat and my dainty-like tendencies while eating same.

Two things of many that happened today.  Many people in the house again tonight -- great time.

PS:  Doug sent me an email of a Costa Rican frog with the caption, "Happy Valentine's Day, my Beauty...perhaps we could go there to see one of these."  Now THAT's the first time I ever got such a romantic Valentine's card from my hubby.  A frog....

Carolyn's Poem

I had the ladies write poems at the Greenhill Lake retreat.   Here is Carolyn's poem.  Enjoy!

by Carolyn Carr

I am a flower in a garden
That the Gardener comes to trim
To make me more beautiful
So that I'll bring joy to Him.

He trains all my branches
To stand up straight and tall
By placing things around me
To always break my fall.

The winds they come, the rain it falls
But I am standing strong.
If it wasn't for the Gardener,
I wouldn't stand for long.

There was a day not long ago
When the storms came raging in
That I was nearly broken
And my roots were wearing thin.

But the Gardener came by again
And with His tender touch,
Repaired this little flower
That He loved so very much.

Today, I stand with blooms so bright
And wonder at His love.
That He would take the time with me
To prepare me for heaven above.