Lent 1

         This week I’m starting my post on Friday as a friend from church is coming over tomorrow morning to learn how to block a sweater so a chunk of my day will be occupied with a knitting tutorial! She is staying for the customary Saturday lunch so I’ve already pre-ordered extra chocolatines😊.
        The last few days we’ve had a fair amount of snow so some portion of each afternoon has been spent shovelling and although it is lovely and sunny now, another 5cms is expected tonight besides which the temperature has been falling off. The high today being -13C and the “HIGH” tomorrow is a frigid -20C.
       Computer trials have continued all week with, unfortunately, little progress so using the printer and sending email attachments are still both rather tricky. We received another application from a church in Saskatchewan so we will certainly have one Team assigned exclusively to that province, and I heard yesterday that we will be going back to one of our favourite churches in Edmonton so it will behoove us to look for some more Alberta locations. There is the possibility of some new connections with at least one Filipino Baptist church in Alberta so I shall be following up on that.
     Church Supply lists have been sent to all the churches that have already applied and great progress is being made on the Signposts Manual with daily emails from Arnee sending revisions of some chapters and loads of questions about others!!
      The Retreat Week Menus are virtually completed and at our meeting next Monday we are going to take a detailed look at the Retreat Schedule. There are quite a number of key roles to be filled plus we need to come up with a list of possible evening speakers, always a challenge but so important as evening worship is a big highlight of the week.I have also completed the Team Medallions, “Yield” signs to link with the 2016 “SIGNPOSTS” Theme!
       With the start of Lent work has begun on my first dozen Pysanky and next Wednesday evening a friend is coming over with their boarder, a student from China, who is very interested to try her hand at this craft. Since the young woman is studying fashion design I think she will have the sort of skills necessary to successfully wield a kistka.
      This Wednesday was the Ash Wednesday evening Service at St. Stephen’s. The phone rang at 830 that morning with our Pastor, Nick, was calling to ask if I could produce some ashes for the Imposition. Not wanting to fill my kitchen with acrid smoke I set up a small electric burner on the deck snipped some dried Palms and placed them in my special “ash-burning wok” and set it up just outside the back door. Huddled in my parka and mittens I’m sure I made a puzzling sight for any passerby as I tended a flaming wok amidst a light fall of snow! Actually it was quite a magical moment where faith really meshed seamlessly with daily life in a powerful way and the need to produce ashes for an ancient rite of penitence coalesced with a snowy February noontide in the 21st century.

       The small evening Gathering was very special too and brought the activities of the day to a rightful close as Nick took those ashes and made the sign of the cross on our foreheads.
 Yesterday afternoon I began crafting a series is anchor-shaped appliqués, which need to be attached to some preaching scarves for Diocesan Layreaders. I shall need to experiment with satin stitch on the new sewing machine in order to complete them, quite a challenge!
Last evening a young couple from the world of CTM came for dinner. We enjoyed roasted root vegetables with Parmesan bread followed by individual apple tarts with homemade Chai ice cream.              After dinner we sat around a cosy fire before they set out, well bundled up, for a long walk home.
    The Parmesan Loaf was especially tasty and would be delicious with lots of winter meals so I thought I would include it as this week’s recipe.
Whole-wheat Parmesan Loaves (makes 2)

  • 2 Tbsps. dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 cups each whole-wheat and unbleached flour
  • ½ cup butter or oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsps. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. onion flakes
  • 2 tsps. salt
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water; mix in all the other ingredients with enough additional flour to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a tea towel and set in a warm place to rise for an hour. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured board and divide in half. Divide each half into thirds and roll each piece into a 15” long rope. Braid three ropes together to form each loaf, being careful to tuck the ends in securely. Place well apart on the baking sheet and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 minutes or until golden.  Cool on racks. Freezes well.

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