Simple Gifts


        I am grabbing a few moments before catching my bus to Church, just to get a running start on this week’s Post.

        All of the weeks prior to the start of Day Camps seem to ratchet up into such high gear that I can only look back on them in a blur, so I’m trying to slow down here and hit the “replay” button to reflect on the past few days.This has been a week overflowing with gifts.and because of all my thoughts on the topic of giving and receiving, I have been reminded of one of my favourite Shaker Hymns-“Simple Gifts”

So often we do whiz through the days and weeks, never slowing down to examine the richness of daily life and the “simple gifts” we so often take for granted.
       Gift 1………
          As mentioned in our extra Post, we were overjoyed to hear of 3 Young People from St. Paul’s Edmonton who have decided to join up!… I guess I could say that was the first “gift” of the Week, and one for which we are all profoundly thankful!
     Gift 2……
           Monday I had a very good meeting and visit with Jillian and Janice. They are both coming back on Team for the 4th year (!) and I am MOST thankful for that gift because we really need a balance of “newbies” and “pros”.
       After lunch ( Gazpacho, blue corn chips, melon and cookies) we talked about other possible Team Members  (yes, we still need 4-6 MORE, including TWO LEADERS, please pray).

Then, as they were  leaving, Jillian drew something out of her bag and hurriedly thrust it at me before fleeing out the door!

        If you read last Sunday’s Post you will know that I mentioned how I was trying to hold onto the Hope given to us by the Prophet Isaiah- Chapter 40: 37. Jillian had painted me this lovely representation of the verse. It now has a special place on the living room wall unit. The promise of the verse is extremely special but her gift to me says so much too. I was so touched that she would take the time to make me something so lovely. Thank you, again, Jillian!
Gift 4.…..
       Was a gift I gave on Friday. Arnee ( our Manual typist/editor) came to pick up the gift from the Day Camp Committee. I chose it at Dix Milles Villages, which is a wonderful store, full of beautiful things made by people (mostly women) in developing countries and sold to benefit cooperatives, using environmentally- friendly materials and employing Fair Trade practices. Do check out their Website.
      These stores are organised through the Mennonite Central Committee, they also welcome volunteers to help in the shops.
    Arnee was very pleased with the Bamboo Wind Chime I had chosen for her.
and she brought ME a gift too!!Gift 5….. 

This beautiful tuberous begonia which is just right in my blue, yellow and white summery Kitchen!

And so I come to the final gift of the week.
Gift 6….Yesterday was the wedding of our longtime Crosstalk Ministries Office Worker, Guylaine, to Matthew.
Victoria and Timothy arrived with William and  baby Alexander Anthony, on Friday evening and yesterday we all drove together to the wedding.
             There were a lot of CTM people ( particularly from our Senior Youth Camp), on hand and the celebrant was the Rev. Chris Belle, who, for several years ,Directed SYC.
             The Service proved a bit long for William so he and I headed over to the  park across the street from the Church where he had a super time on the swings!
Victoria and Timothy drove me home after the ceremony and I looked after William while they headed back, with Baby A for the reception.

  I thought the the Patchwork Tea Cosy I made for Guylaine and Mathew was the final Gift of the week- 

( Sunday Evening)

Gift 7…..
             But,today, at church, I realized that a most precious gift is this Community in which I live and move. Having no “real” relations, I rely so much on the Community of Crosstalk Ministries to be my Family.

Baby Alexander Anthony

As Christians we often see our fellow Church Members as our Family and for so many years, the people of St, Matthew’s did fill that role in my life but now, since St. Matthew’s has gone, I realise, more than ever, how privileged I am to be a part of the Community of Crosstalk Ministries. 

         Truly, as John Donne wrote, “no man is an island” and for all of us, particularly those without relations, Christian community is a safe haven from which we can confidently travel out as missionaries to a world which needs to hear the Good News of God’s Love.
       Although the next few weeks will be jam-packed (and soooooo stressful), I do trust that, besides training, and cooking and emailing and fielding a gazillion phone calls I will be able to hold onto some of the quiet, simple “richness” and impart those “gifts” of  Peace,  Fellowship and Encouragement to our Team Members so that they will feel empowered  to head out in their small Teams, confident that they are being “held up” by this Community of Faith……     And so, as a new week begins and I can look back on this past week as one which was very rich in gift-giving and gift-receiving. I think the Lord placed me in that week as a little island of solace  in the current tidal wave of Day Camps!!!!
When Arnee joined me for Lunch on Friday I served “Summer Brunch Custard” with sliced fresh Peaches and Iced Mint  Tea, she asked for the recipe, so here you go, Arnee!

Summer Brunch Custard

In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup sugar with 2 Tbsps. water. Bring to a boil and cook, shaking the pan from time to time until the sugar caramelises. Pour into a shallow glass baking dish, swirling to coat. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 325F. In a medium saucepan heat 2 1/2 cups milk, just until scalded.
In a large bowl, combine 3 eggs, 3 egg yolks, 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1tsp. vanilla.Beat together until foamy. SLOWLY drizzle in the hot milk while whisking.
Pour the mixture, through a fine strainer, into the balking dish. place the dish in a metal pan and fill the pan half way up with water.
Bake for 45-50 mins. or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool to room temp. and then chill in the refrigerator.
To serve, invert the dish into a large shallow bowl and surround with fresh berries and/or sliced peaches.
Serves 2-4.
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