Honest to Goodness

We all need love.

Well, kindness matters. There is a blog site which I signed up for a few months ago called Human Kind: Acts of Kindness. I go on there periodically just to get a kind lift. You know something like a faithlift, not a facelift, or maybe that too because when you smile the face changes. Anyway, today I was taking a boo at it and this one share from a person who posted a video clip from Trending World, the epoch times caught me.

I tell you love and kindness matter. Just a simple act can make your heart leap joyfully as you receive (or give) kindness. It does not take much but boy it can and feel heroic to another. May even domino to the next person. Human beings can have incredibly compassionate hearts and for some reason cross paths are made and in that moment in that instant….woohoo. It may not seem like a big deal but it is to the receiver. Life changing. I am sure we can think of all kinds of examples in own life. A touch, a chat, a look, a smile, a lending hand, a push up the hill, an open door, an arm to carry, a wave, a rescue, a stop to help, a pay it forward, an unexpected moment…the list can go on and on…of a kindness. Someone cares for me, you.

So today I saw a video clip where you hear a man in the background speaking to different children ( primary or junior age). It was noted that these children came from low income families, not that it should matter as I do not think that should be an indicator of kindness. Regardless, it is a warm fuzzy for me. The message brought tears to my eyes as these little people share what they would like special for Christmas. And then he asks them what their mom or dad would like to have. Lots of ideas. I guess there must have been space between interviewing the children because the next time, the children are presented with a wrapped gift of what they wanted…xbox, lego, computer, big trophy case and big barbie house. Oh how times have changed. Sigh. Then, he also gave them a gift that would be for the parent which them mentioned earlier…ring, watch, TV, jewellery etc. The kids held the gifts in their hands, big smiles on their face. Until….he said they had to choose what they want to keep. The reactions and looks were priceless like “are you kidding me? kind of looks.” I chuckled. That would be painful. So precious.

But bless their hearts…each one of them that was shown on the video clip picked their parent. And the words the little loves used to articulate the why…goodness and kindness beautifully spoken. Straight to the heart of the matter. “Sacrifice, deserve, my family, not going to get anything for Christmas.” Children sure can be observant at times. But thankfully, the man indicated they can have both. Well joy to the world. Their reaction was priceless and then asked how did they feel now? Tears. Beautiful tears. And the man got up, opened the door of the room, and the parents of the child interviewed, stood on other side. Of course, tears fell down my face freely.

Kindness. I think I have shared this poem reflection before When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking. It is one I have walked with and continues to ring true in my life again and again. A letter poem that a child wrote to his parent but could be for any adult in their role involving a child. It is the what we do and what we say or the what not we do and what not we say that little (or big) ones see and hear and feel me and you. Delivery to me is everything. So today (yesterday and tomorrow) Kindness matters. It can transform you instantly, like a blink and wink of an eye, from another person’s act of care. I do not think we realize the trail we leave behind when crossing paths with another.

My granddaughter who I take care of has kindness in abundance. She has watched me multiple times here, and in her own home with mom and dad of seeing how things get done. For example, pets being fed. I am grinning because her pet is a brindle mastiff while mine is…not. Schnoodle. Does not matter to her. The other day I found her getting into the pet cupboard at my house, pulling out the treat bag for my dog, and gave her one. And then she went on her day, proceeding to plod along to her play area to do something else. I mean I just gave her a cracker so I guess Maggie should have something too.

Mind you there is another side to my granddaughter as she holds the chewie of my dog in her hand, raising her arm up, so Maggie May cannot get it. Yeah kindness…not so much. And her dog…well little one don’t practice that. But in the next breath, there she goes again as she is eating in her highchair and faithful dog that Maggie May is ( a mooch too), sits and waits patiently at the foot of chair watching every movement of my granddaughter’s hands. When she places her hand over the edge of highchair table, boom swoop got it…toast, fruit, cheese, crackers. I cannot win.

The beautiful thing about kindness as it is not promised. It just is. To share in the act of kindness to another, boy it does not take much. The action is pure of heart or at least I believe that to be the case. Mother Teresa, bless her soul exemplified that “not all of us may not do great things but do small things with great love.”

It changes you as a person when you give yourself over to doing the good. Kindness does not nor should it come with a price tag, a measurement, a hierarchy, a continuum, a weight; it is love. Good old fashion love from the heart. I chuckle when I think of crusty people like Scrooge, where one could say he or she knowing a ‘scrooge’ in their life, would fall over if ever were to be kind. But miracles are everywhere.

And yet, sometimes the needed opportunities to show the face of kindness is ignored which in our human world we often see – homeless, the sick, the lonely, the fragile, the mentally unwell, the forgotten, the poor, the different – the list continues. Life is precious.

Paradoxically, there is that kindness of the heart, where it comes in with over abundance…you’re too kind. Receiver not ready to receive. Those moments are hard to the giver especially during times of loss and pain. The suffering may need the kindness but may not want it. Cannot see or feel it. And it is because all a person wants to do is make things better and feels helpless not being able to help in the hour of need. Its a catch 22.. So what then? Honest to goodness, love and be kind anyway. “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

Have the best day. Blessings.

Let us pray for those who are in need of kindness today.

Wearing Masks

Hidden in masks

I have come to have a whole new appreciation of masks and wearing them. On the hand, we have the fun masks touting the trick or treating tradition of Halloween which is coming up next week. Can you believe it!! October comes in and then it goes out. The little ones (and big ones more and more) come out to get a bag full of yummy (no candy kisses) wearing signature fancied costumes of the year, ranging from going all out (full makeup, unrecognizably dress to the nines regale) to a single mask. Bewitching! But by the end of the night of traipsing up and down the street and around the corner block, knocking on door to door, heralding “trick or treat”, the costume kind of takes a turn, wearing out its excitement, and the perky masks now find themselves hanging from the chin or off the ear. Temporal in nature, the masks are a delight.

Then I turn to the masks of another kind, the ones of precaution. Everywhere you look now you can find masks being sold. It’s like a smorgasbord of taste where the need for difference has become marketable. Granted the actual mask is required, safety first. But now masks are the rage. From plain, disposable, blue/white masks worn for emergencies to take your pick – colour/print/character/adult/child/clear/ multiple-single use/breathable/licensed/full/partial and on and on and on. You can almost devise a checklist of sorts and voila! there you have it. A couple of months ago it was very difficult to find any kind of mask, never mind variety and flavour of the month.

Whatever it may look like, masks have taken on a whole new life. For instance, I watch my grandson get of his school bus, and I look inside to see the bus driver waving away, she is wearing hers too. Everyday he comes into the house, has to put the mask in wash along with his school clothes and wash his hands before anything else. Way to go young man! Then I go into the different stores and a sea of masks meets you from little people to big people. It is just like I said, the variety of masks one finds is eye-popping. But also encouraging too. Funnily though, those who do not wear a mask stick out like a sore thumb. I get a bit of an uncomfortableness in me when that occurs, as the store already gave the directive, even has masks available for free, to respond to the instructions from the public health advisory. And here a person chooses not to. I pray for the safety of others.

Mind you it is not easy to wear a mask all the time. And wearing masks are not asked to be worn in every store either. So what do you do when you live in a shoe. The world in which we live in now requires us to pause and take stock. I am so grateful that many are doing their part. Change is not easy. But come on, how difficult can it be. I always find the anecdotes from my sister who has been an essential worker since the beginning of the pandemic, to tell the tales of people coming and going at her work. Well lets just say some masks cover part of their face…chin or lower mouth…forgot the memo obviously. Or the big one, where the practice of covering up the cough or sneeze, you know two of the spreaders, well she smirks a bit (or steams) when it happens right before her. God bless the plastic shields. Yep. And because you know masks reveal the eyes…oh my if only eyes could talk. They do, let me tell you. Chuckle. It’s all good, sister.

Have you ever noticed people’s eyes? I love eyes and now you can pay attention to them which is kind of interesting. Eyes really do have a language of own especially coupled with movement of eyebrows. Take a look the next time when out and look at people’s eyes. Not everyone is comfortable looking straight into the heart and soul of another for the eyes tell a different story. And I know there are certain cultures that do not allow one to look you in the eyes. But they can express so much. I think of teachers (me being formerly one) in particular as they develop this look. Yep, good times.

I think masks provide a good way to hide too. Not just literally but sometimes I think people put a face on, an invisible mask of sorts. In other words, not being the authentic self. So for them, wearing a real mask can maybe let down guard down and just be…themselves. Does that make sense? Invisible masks are like shields and fronts to weather the need or want to put up, to hide what is really going on within them. Why would you not want to be you with others or self for that matter? Maybe it is a deep-seeded need to appear to be something more or less, to detract from facing whatever. I even would go so far as to say that the mask has been worn for such a long time that the person does not even know it. Do people even realize that masks slip? Some pondering to do.

Oh well, let the masks do what they are intended to do….protect.

Be safe. Blessings,

Let us pray for those who are in need of strength and courage this day.

Grab the Cozies

Cozy up.

Well I am not saying it is happening where I snore but it is happening in some other parts of the country. You got it. Snow. White flaky puffy flakes coming down and covering the grounds. I remember teaching up in northern Ontario many moons ago and the snow fell in early October. Surprised then and still surprised. Moving to the warmer climes, like PEI, I hope the sea that surrounds us keeps it a bay. For just a bit longer like you know until maybe DECEMBER. Mother Nature did you hear me!?

My dad tells this story about one of his employees saying he was going south for the holiday. Dad was holding a Christmas shingding for his people and casually asked what they were doing over the holiday. This one guy says going south. So expecting, you know, like Florida or some warmer climate place, dad asked where. The guy said, he was going to Bayfield. Now why funny. So if familiar with western Ontario along Lake Huron I always smile at this story. For we all lived in Goderich, this man included. Bayfield is 15 minutes west of Goderich. The man said the weather was warmer down there. And you know what my folks moved to the Bayfield area many years later in retirement and lo and behold the man was right. Goderich must be on a snow or crazy weather belt. Because too many times my folks got caught up in weather in Goderich but a few minutes later, sun and shine, as they got closer to home. Interesting.

Oh well weather is weather, just not white snowy kind of weather. It has been just gorgeous for the most part with a bit of a bite in the air. That is okay. And sunshine, sky blue days…lovely. Snuggly and cozy clothes wrapped around me and off I go to play with my granddaughter.

Anyhoo…..speaking of cozy clothes, I am thinking of my mom right now. A happy sad smile on my face thinking of her and the talent she has shared with all of us in the family over the years. She has been a sewer since I was a baby. She sewed our clothes…you name it…dresses, pants, tops, pjs, shorts. In latter years, she got into sewing crazy looking printed fuzzy kind of pj pants. But for me and my sisters, she would make nighties. I have one on now…a blue one with printed snow figures on it. I wear it regularly. And more so now as she slips away from the world she knew it to be. Sadly, an era of her sewing has come to a close. But ever so thankfully it seems my younger sister will be carrying on tradition in her way.

This blue nightie is love, a wrapping around me. You certainly do not get this quality from the shelf or off the rack. Kind of like the Eddie Bauer end of nightie land. Plenty of years left. You would think I was speaking of a vehicle for heaven sakes. Nah. Just love. I smile as I think of the new song by Taylor Swifts that she sings… Cardigan. I love the nostalgia of the song.

I think we all of have favourite cozies. Especially when you have a long week and just want to kick back, tramp around in something comfortable. And for me that is cozy clothes. Don’t you find autumn to have the perfect weather to get out the sweaters and jackets, maybe even a hoodie. Put it on and feel oh so warm, while breathing in the crisp air, but still okay weather to enjoy yourself without freezing. Not feeling like a weighted blanket that you are carrying on your back. And in the backdrop of the outdoors, the fall colours are just a brimming with vibrancy against whatever you are wearing.

My cozy jacket for outdoors is my red and black plaid one. You know the hunting kind of look or bush jacket, I call it. I think I have about three, two more light weight, Marks style and then a bigger one. I almost curl myself into my one particular bush jacket as I go outside. It is a go to, never fail, outdoor wear of cozy. Yep.

I have to laugh because two years ago I was walking along the cliff, new to the walk actually, during the fall months. Well hunting season must have arrived because bang bang I hear shots just over next to the woods across the farmer’s field. But WAY to close for my liking. And I am in clear view with my red/black bush jacket. Lets just say the coziness lost its appeal as Maggie May and I high tailed it out of target range. I was not supper!! Hehehe.

Along with my nightie affair, I top it off with reading socks. Have you ever worn them? Chapters or Indigo or Coles, whatever you want to call the store, has these great reading socks. I love them. They are colourful double knitted or doubled fuzzy material made like a long tube, usually with some kind of bobble to accent it. But when you put them on, feet and calves are in heaven. Sometimes the floor can get drafty a bit but when you put on these socks…cozy is what cozy does…snug as a bug in a rug kind of homey warm feeling.

So white stuff, do your thing. Just not close to this home. Just saying. Oops probably said it too loudly. Blessings.

Let us think of those in need of our prayers this day.

Sleeping with Bread?! Life-giving

Let us give thanks

Oddily, and quite appropriately for this weekend, I was doing a bit of fall cleaning, shuffling around boxes and such when I unearthed a book that I received many moons ago Sleeping With Bread (1995) by Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn. I smile as I remember that day when I got this copy. It was on a retreat with other people I worked with. I think the retreat theme was on gratitude and led by a wonderful and gentle woman, Joan, who certainly knew how to bring to the heart and soul, a life-giving experience. I recall that she had next to her prayer table, a wicker basket wrapped in a beautiful cloth where the books were nestled in; just like a loaf of fresh bread. So I find myself reading the front cover of the book , saying in essence, that the book is about holding what gives you life. Love that.

Just in framing this pondering…these are my own musings and personal perspectives of the book and intent as it spoke/speaks to me. So here goes. Not everyone likes to read books that are kind of a warm fuzzy as I like to call them. You know the kind of book, the ones that hold stories and life lessons, moves the heart or mind, inspiring or prompting you to reflect, hopefully feel something more. In this keeper, it is about a process, called the examen, in which basically it is asking you to be open to examining self around two main questions: for what am I most grateful? for what am I least grateful? Interesting that the authors guide you by thinking on questions of a spectrum nature. Half full half empty. Well is not that a fine how do you do? So, Happy Thanksgiving… what am I most grateful for? Oh let me count the many.

Not surface gratefulness but deep life level thinking with questions crafted in a certain way to get at the heart and mind of being grateful, and then finding yourself possibly opening oneself to share. And as the authors of the book describe it, it is an examen. The book contains stories and examples of a personal nature, as each of them are quite different in discernment, and sharing. But also connecting with other stories from other people around world to bring a bit more clarity to own search. For me, the examen seems to be a way of reflecting and then sharing with others, what I like to call a life-giving nugget, to nourish the soul. Of course not everyone likes to share about self of own thoughts (especially the ‘not’ part of questions) which is entirely okay. Nor do some people like the warm fuzzy. I get it. So don’t do the warm fuzzy but maybe do the warmth thinking. Personally, I think it can be freeing at times. Allowing one to let go really and just…bleat belt shout holler murmur whisper… and then share, giving one’s bread away so to speak.

That is a key thought. Each of us, even when we do not think so, have something to give, life-giving even. No one is a blank slate and for sure have life experiences that have shaped to be who you are at this moment. Knowing one can be a down Betty (not being unkind to any people named Betty) or a frown or a half empty cup to others, one can also reach in and pull out the warm bread to give others. Why bread?

The idea of bread for the authors’ of this particular book came from their discovery from “the image of WWII orphan children sleeping with bread to reassure them that they would eat tomorrow as they did today. Many of them survived the concentration camps only because other prisoners had given them their own last piece of bread to these children.”(p.44) Sleeping with bread. I get it. A hope for the next day, holding on. Can you imagine? If nothing else I believe that there is in each of us an empowering moment of knowing we can choose one’s own way to do the good.

Bread. Fresh bread. Warm. I can taste it, smell it. Right now I am thinking of the aroma of fresh baking from Mary’s Bakery nearby, especially their bread…just coming out of the oven. Yum yum yum. Weakness here. My mom used to make her own bread (among many other things), loaves upon loaves. BEST DAY dinner…soup and sandwiches, crust included. Sandwich franchises – eat your heart out. Yep, no comparison yah’ll. Even frozen then thawed…umumum…mom’s bread tasted divine. Fresh-out-of-the-oven, melts-in-your-mouth kind of taste, so not going to give it back. Thanks mom.

To receive the bread but also to pass it along. The whole notion of bread and life. Hmmm As a person of faith, bread becomes the Bread of Life for me. Sustaining and nourishing for a life time. How to be nourished? Bread certainly does both, literally and metaphorically, fill you up. Unless of course you are on the no- bread-kind of diet…that’s for another time. Maybe one has to look at a closer inspection, maybe the ingredients. I look at the questions these three authors of the book began with and also brought to mind others reframed (p.7):

When did I give and receive the most love today? When did I give and receive the lest love today?

When did I feel most alive today? When did I most feel life draining out of me?

When today did I have the greatest sense of belonging to myself, others, God and the universe? When did I have the least sense of belonging?

When was I happiest today? When was I saddest today?

What was today’s high point? What was today’s low point?

But in all this, I think the message for me is to look at both life questions and give gratitude and value to both. Because it is in the opening up of ourselves. Will the answers be life-giving? I chuckle and shake my head. Not always. At the end of the day, it is up to me to respond and decide as it will be up to you. Give the time to put in the ingredients to make ‘fresh bread’. Just saying.

So on this Thanksgiving day as you and I gather around the dining table to break bread, social distancing in place or some facsimile there of (no holding hands for grace this year my friends), let us think of all that we have this day. Blessings.

Let us give thanks.

Sitting at the Dining Table

At Beach House Cape Cottage table

It’s funny that today I find myself thinking about tables, mainly eating tables. Not sure why. Maybe because I am sitting at my own dining table this evening working away. All the leaves are in it, extended to its full size, making an elongated oval shape. Love it. Running my hand over the honey-coloured wood grain, I feel the wear and tear in the wood; the many nicks, dents and grooves from many years of use and abuse. (I do not want to think what might be still under the table, like old gum, feared vegetables or boogies, smushed in – ewhy) For me, I love that big table feeling which makes no sense as it is only me right now. But you never know when somebody knocks at your door. It kind of reminds me of my grandparents farm house table, long and sturdy, made for large gatherings. Hospitality, New Brunswick style feeling, down home country kitchen table. They were great for that. Always room for another at the table.

I wonder how many tables I have sat at over the years. I mean it has to be thousands and thousands. Right? Or maybe not. Because in my childhood, I would have sat at the same silver rimmed, formica hard top, with the little swirly designs imprinted kitchen table. How could I recall the detail? I guess when you sat at it for the first 12 years of your life, in some way, it’s ingrained. As would be the next table when we moved, A dark brown oval wood table with high back wooden chairs that suited your bottom. Oh so comfortable. I think 10 more years (minus when I left to university). Then the table became the cafeteria bench fold up seat table. Don’t stay too long. And then my recall of eating tables become a blur until my dining table now.

It always surprises me when visiting other people’s homes what the table looks and feels like. Tables have their own personality, don’t you find? Brings a personality and expectation really. I think of my grandmother’s old dining table, on my mom’s side, passed down to her and now my sister has it. Not sure if it was made out of cherry wood or walnut as it is quite dark in colour. But long, rectangular and solid. I think the legs had wheels. Try to lift it too. Heavy. And when it was ready for the full family, it would extend and extend. When sitting at grandmas table, always a formal feeling of fine dining, manners plus plus. But with my sister, the table changed its personality. Cuisine extraordinaire and “good bread, good meat, good God, let’s eat”. Yep.

I know the dining table, whatever you want to call it, holds many a tale to be sure. Can you imagine if tables could talk. What a story they would tell! You know like ‘how if only walls could talk’ adage. I mean look at the dents and scratches to boot. Oh I can think of many a time over the years, the table would turn into a ‘no eat sit down’ kind of place where you get some news (good or not so good) or maybe it was the timeout spot where you had to think about what you did or someone did (and for the life of you, you cannot remember) or maybe one of those long long sit down lectures (life lessons parents coin but I still call them lectures; oh I do not miss those times dad). I think my mantra was back then or maybe still is, just shoot me now or something like that.

But then I smile because I know my daughters make fun of me but by far one of my most favourite traditions is sitting at the dining table. I did not say dining room but where people gather in one spot, breaking bread together. Kitchen nook, kitchen table, breakfast bar, grand dining, wherever, just to sit a spell with those you love and eat together. Ah the good old days. Who would have thought?!? It is such a novel idea these days I know since to conjure up miracles of orchestrating schedules and commitments and distractions in whatever is going on in the lives of family and/or friends, and then plan to sit at the same table to eat, all at the same time. Well let me say, it is so so hard. Too hard. But when it happens, oh when it happens, I am very grateful.

This takes me back to a time, a treasured memory from childhood when our green top full size ping pong table downstairs in the family room became the finest dining experience – familyfest. The best of the best. Can you imagine the ambiance…net and paddles replaced with table cloth and cutlery?! Whoever came up with the idea, probably my mom, but the sport table transformed into family fine dining, allowing all of the family and cousins to come together to laugh, to share, to eat, to be merry. Joyful bliss. It did not matter what was underneath as we sat in anticipation for the bounty prepared. Oh the gathering

Breaking bread together. Don’t you jut love it! You never know what may happen at the table…usually eating preferably, and could be a celebration of birthdays or holidays or good news or not so good news. Connecting. Bonding. Being. A good old fashion chin wag with good eats. To look at one another in the eyes, sharing of whatever news, the nuances of different personalities coming to the fore, and being present. I mean I do not need all the nitty gritty but come on, to be close and personal, to love and be loved. Know you are safe gathered around the table for just a moment. And yes to sit with you.

Thanksgiving is drawing near and gathering at the table (hopefully, in some way). Blessings this day.

Let us remember all whom are in need of prayers.

The month of gratefulness

Looking over from the lookout

Oh October you have come in in such a beautiful way….sunny blue skies, warmer breezes, and brilliant colours of autumn. Woohoo. Lovely. And the breeze today, well let me tell you – Kenmore, Maytag, Amana, LT, Samsung – the breeze (not febreeze) is the best dryer on the market!! Eat your heart out or at least for a bit longer anyway. I LOVE autumn and October is THE month, dedicated to thanksgiving. Absolutely, uncategorically, each month should be all about gratefulness and thankfulness and gratitude and all the thanking in between. Yes, but October shines a bright light on being grateful.

Not really knowing what the dining table looks like this year for many families across the province or country or world, for that matter, it will be a time to pause in one’s step and offer up thanksgiving. At least I hope so. I know I have heard many a comment about getting 2020 out of the way. Yet, there is much to be grateful for if we just give a thought or two for the life we have been given.

I sit in my family/living room right now, looking out my window, to see the offering of joy. The joy of a warmer breeze (which will change very quickly) blowing in, giving a breathe of real fresh air. Take it in. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Thankfully and with all do respect to farmers, no I do not smell the wondrous aroma of cow dung, nor want it to come at this point, but will be here soon. So grateful today.

I chuckle as I remember living in a little town outside of London, ON and the turkey farm was housed just down the street from me. Yep. Everyday, rain or shine, sleet or snow, wind or no breeze, the potent smell coming from the turkey barns wafting in my nostrils…well I do not miss it and hey, I am grateful to have moved. Thanks mom and dad. And yet regardless of the smell, the turkey farm brought to the table the delight of harvest and deliciousness on Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas. Gobble gobble.

I see also the colours of autumn splendour, the delights of creating a symphony of tones and hues, giving off a resounding silence of brilliance and vividness; fine tuning its finery across the landscape, God’s paintbrush of Creation. Oh my. How can I not be thankful. Seriously, the four seasons rock. Now I am smiling because this morning on my walk with my 14 month old granddaughter, going up my laneway, she brought to mind autumn thanksgiving. Like my dog who sniffs everything (no my granddaughter does not sniff, or not yet anyway), but she touches everything and spots things that I do see. Her sense of wonder and awe has me stop so she can pick up the fallen yellow and red leaves on the ground. The funny thing is she tries to put the leaf back on the tree. Can you believe it? So grateful for the moment.

Yesterday I sat up at French River Lookout for the first time. Contemplating life. I mean I live in the area but I have not considered stopping and sitting there; just to be. If you go by it, you will see before you a hill and valley and the sea, a little nest of homes and harbour, a picturesque view that ever was. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder for sure. Anyway I did sit on the picnic table and looked over the way, finding a small section of my own home, across the way, up and over the hill nestled nicely in the woods. To be inspired in poetry, one could get lost in the bounty of a hitched breath…how did I get to be here? Oh that is my gratefulness coming out of me.

It is too easy to get caught up in the leaving off of being grateful when distractions abound. Too many to count. And yet a glimmer, a smattering and nudge, coming into the heart, to awaken in me, gratefully, that it is all good. No and yes. No all things are not good and yes it is all good. I remember a former principal, God rest his soul, told me one time that all things that happen to us are good. I of course looked at him because I was talking to him about something that was not good AT ALL in my mind. But as he spoke, he gave me a life lesson. Yes even in the negative, even in the suffering, there is a reason for it to happen. But take from the experience, whatever it is, and find what you want to keep, ask if anything that happened can be of some value, and then let the rest go. And that life lesson, I have carried with me, albeit at times begrudgingly, has been a Godsend.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. No that’s not it. How do I be thankful thee? Let me count the ways.

For my daughters who are trying to make sense of their lives, giving their all to make things happen. I am grateful

For my mom who is now being cared for in a safe way at the nursing villa while she walks with dementia. Hard not to touch you mom, but know you are okay.

For my dad who got to visit mom, with a mask on, face to face across a table and she remembered him with a smirk. Tears came to my eyes…thankyou for sharing the story dad.

Having three beautiful grandchildren, JAT, each at a different place of growth; but oh to be with them face to face or virtually. Thank goodness for technology and moments captured.

For being able to help others when I can as long as I can.

For the pause that the pandemic has taught me; a lesson of never taking things for granted…ever.

For family for friends and for friendship. Who want to stay in touch, whether often or dropping a note…oh my heart is filled to the brim.

For the preciousness of life given and faith lived.

And for the moment I touch my feet to the floor, for another day. Thank you.

And of course, prayers of thanksgiving….”rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub.” Not sure where my memory of a nice prayer for grace went but there you go.

Let us pray for those in need this day. Blessings.

Well Its After the Storm

Day after the storm. You wonder?

No regrets here. Thankfully prepared and thankfully the storm passed over the island, at least my neck of the woods, in a much more milder way. This province certainly knows how to get us ready which on the one hand causes angst but probably necessary on the other. I think really one can never be fully prepared for anything but be in readiness. The announcements, weather updates, current understandings, school closures, businesses closing early, and past storm experiences all go into a myriad of checking off the survival mode checklist…water -check; foods to eat without cooking (unless you have a barbeque or other source of cooking) – check; candles – check; gas for the generator – check check check; outside items that could ‘fly’ are put away or battened down…you get the picture.

I went into the post office on Thursday, after the Tuesday/Wednesday storm days and had a conversation with the guys there. The one post office person said he was disappointed as he indicated”not even a branch down. Come on. At least something to show.” Nope. Of course we can chuckle and smirk at the commentary because the expectation of the worst based on last year in the wake of Dorian comes to mind. What you know and what happens, well this time are two different things. Once again, thankfully and gratefully, it’s all good.

But surprisingly and wonderfully, the weather has been b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. I mean mildly warm, calm, with a slight breeze. And for the next week the forecast is in low 20’s!!! Really. Well colour me happy for we sailed the stormy day and now on to reds and yellows, not black and grey. It makes for travel and being outside, going for walks, doing the honey do list, and all in between…a hop in one’s step.

Not so for others. And I am not going to pretend to be so blasé about it. Teddy (by the way it is kind of a weird name for a storm – just saying) did its damage and not to take it lightly; no disrespect. It hit and it hit hard no getting around it. The awesomeness and power behind natural disasters, whatever they are, that is the tragedy in the aftermath. One really gets the adage “in the blink of an eye”.

Funny, not in a haha way, but more like how human beings in many respects are so resilient and durable, able to get up the next day and do. Whatever the “do” means. Bounce back because one’s lived life continues despite regardless in the face of what comes in. Is that not extraordinary to think about!!! I think about that very thing many many times over. How does one put one foot in front of the other after the brouhaha and upheaval that comes barrelling in, unexpectedly? Or maybe it is pretending and masking within, to just get through the day. I think of that old action figure character, Gumby, not sure who created it but I have quite often brought the little green being up – be more like Gumby – flexible, adaptable, stretch. Whatever it takes you just do.

But the image of after the storm for me also brings to mind another reality. On top of the storm coming (or not), in whatever form it takes in our lives mother nature or otherwise, there is also this underlying layer of storminess brewing. It has taken a form or shape, albeit invisible in many cases, but nevertheless intense across our province and country. What??? The grappling of the emotional, spiritual, and mental well being of others. Mental health – a household name and living in the walls of our lives. It is real actual non-fictional and it exists, becoming more and more apparent as the months go on (centuries I am thinking but not really acknowledged as it has been in that last few years). Isolation, self-isolation, keeping social distancing and so forth comes at a price especially for those who are fragile in their mental well being state of mind. Then to top it off the loud and clear messages from the forecasts of stormy weather, batten down the hatches to the restrictive nature of Covid-19 on our waking tails each and every day. Meh.

It’s any wonder some people can actually put their feet down on the floor each morning. How I go from this ‘after the storm’ pondering to mental health…not sure. Holy lightning Superman. But you know both are appearing on my mind today because of the fragile preciousness of life, taking the mind and heart for granted. What is one more thing to be on one’ s plate. Yet in a storm, preparing in and outside of ourselves, sometimes the storm cannot be countered. That is my worry, my unsettling….my prayer.

Further thinking on well being. Yes. Just a heads up for now. A hope.

Take each day as it comes. For those who are in need of prayers and kind thoughts today. Blessings.

Let us hold those who are experiencing the stormy weather.

Calm Before the Storm

Waiting

Well, get ready island people, batten down the hatches, as the storm winds are about to hit us tomorrow. That is what the weather people are saying way up there in their weather towers, the powers that be, to let us know that Hurricane Teddy will be leaving a bit of a windy wake. How big??? Not sure. One thing about living on the island, they are very good at helping us get ready. We have Storm Watch FaceBook page and Weather Watch and then the 7 – Day forecast watch with its hourly, weekend, 7 day forecast.

This time last year we had a similar call out and man, it was hard on the land. No one, thank the Lord, got hurt but the aftermath damage…shut the island down literally. So hopefully, it is not like it was like last year. But in hindsight, it was not as bad as all of those southern shores along the Atlantic coast and the numerous islands where the Hurricane Dorian category 5 begin. No, the devastation was not the same. However, it is all about perspective and relativism from own personal window of life. Never down play something that impacts anyone. It is what it is to each person experiencing whatever.

The calm before the storm. What is going to take place? Not sure. I mean the sun i out and sunshiny…a beautiful day. But yesterday in the stores, carts were being filled up with water, multiple tins of instant foods, desserts, loaves of bread, and of course junk food and pop. Interesting what people put in their cart. I also noticed there was a bit of a line up for filling up geri cans with gas. I stopped to get some smaller gas cans filled up because they are easier to pick up when filling up my generator. Who knows how big or small the storm will hit but like the motto of Boy Scouts… be prepared or as coast guard’s motto states, Semper Par.

One thing I know may be on many pantry or kitchen shelves is Covered Bridges’ Storm Chips from New Brunswick. It is a blend of many flavours, big bag too. Munchie munchie. It is not like you can stop whatever is coming, just be prepared be ready. Semper Par. And that is the way the island rolls. Right now it does not seem like anything is going to happen.

But is that not like life?? I mean you are going along and things just seem okay. One day things are going just tickety-boo and the next, all “something” breaks out. Or it comes softly in, slowly changing life as you know it. That is the beauty and beast to a lived life on this earth. Which makes it that much more bitter sweet to being comfortable with the unknown.

How does one go about doing that? Letting go and just riding out whatever wave comes in, trusting in a higher power, God for me, and whomever for others. I mean one looks to find answers to questions that do not make sense, that have no tangible acceptable palatable answers really. I think about Covid-19, the onset of my mom’s dementia (or whatever disease out there), the three 17 yr old teenagers this weekend (one survived, one found two days later, and one still not found), Hurricane Teddy’s wake, world poverty and hunger, homelessness, wars, prejudice, out of control fires….endless endless endless… it seems to be.

I think we just want basic things like feeling safe, loved, belonging, hope. Just knowing that whatever is taking place, keep me safe as safe can be till the storm passes by. The storm may be short or long as I have no idea what is going to happen today or tomorrow but I can welcome the day, this picnic should I say, before me.

Let us pray for those who are in need. You know who they are. Blessings.

I Saw the Sign

God’s Creation at its finest

Well here we go. I just put some garbage in the bin outside and as I walked back, I noticed a red and gold colour…on my maple tree!!! Not just one leaf mind you but a few as I looked up and up (and I’ll call Rusty). When did that happen?? A big grin crossed my face and I laughed. Of course life happens (nature included) while you are busy making other plans. So a song popped into my head and I began humming the tune ” I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes I saw the sign.” Not sure who by but there we go. September you are speaking loud and clear as it’s time for a change…you transitioning us slowly (or quickly depending on where one lives) into Fall.

I should have known because when I put my head out to go out this morning, I jumped back in to grab my red and black bush jacket which I keep handy by the door; so easy to slip on and just go. Kind of nippy out this morning which again is all part of the ‘signs’ of fall. Woohoo. Cozy clothes for cozy days inside or out. Don’t you just love that tucking into the warmth of a sweater or jacket kind of feeling. I know that we will be bundling up a bit today with fall wear. Oh fancy!! Not so much. But my granddaughter who will be here soon, she will be wearing her rubbery shoes and warmer jacket as we take the stroller out for our adventure today.

Yesterday as we walked down the lane of my home, she was so so cute. She was carrying her little purse and pink fuzzy unicorn. Then all of a sudden (because I am walking behind her just in case) she squeezes her pink unicorn to her face and gives her a kiss…about 4 or 5 times. My heart just burst with love and joy. Precious. I am almost a puddle of happiness as I watch her test her new found freedom of walking on her own. One little action just sets me off to see the world through her eyes. She spots things that I do not.

But I also wince a bit as her pink little unicorn gets dragged along my lane. It is quite a long one, a red dirt tracked lane, nestled between bush and trees on either side. I do not want to change it however, even though it is a real pain in the spring thaw as the clay gets quite mucky and tires sink into its mire. Still, it is what it is. I like the look of it when Fall really hits as the colours are vibrant and dynamic as you look down to archway of glorious array of majesty. Does that make sense?

Anyway her little arms carried her purse and unicorn all the way down the lane, through the bit of brush, to head onto the family golf course next to my lane. Checking to see if there are any vehicles at the golf course building before we go further, we are good to go. It does not matter anyway for she veers off toward the green. Okay wee one, let us go this way. Nope. This little girl has a mind of her own. Lift, redirect, and off we go…towards the road. And what is coming down it but a huge tractor with whatever kind of raking apparatus on the back of it.

There we go, another sign of fall. A big turbo, big wheeled, tractor thing…no I am not a farmer. I have no idea the different names of parts of farming equipment except to say big…go big or go home. I expect today we will find the fields turned. It always amazes me the perfect parallel lines created by the machinery as they toil the field; the lines go up and down rolling with the hills. Beautiful.

Then I see my neighbour pulling up his lobster boat out of the water. Now THAT is a big fall sign. I noticed a few less boats along the wharf so it looks like lobster season is ending. And when I look at the marsh near the harbour, the reeds are starting to turn into that wondrous autumn gold and amber shade. It is hard to describe except to say it gives off a warm soft gold amber colour. Not sure if that makes sense. I know when I began to paint the inside of my home, I wanted to find autumn rustic cottage colours like golds and blues and reds. Earthy tones.

Anyway I have put a little display in my home of Fall decor…chestnuts, red/yellow/orange fake vines, artificial bright orange pumpkins and gourds, and straw stems with fall flowers. Festive looking. But still placed up high on the shelves so little one fingers do not touch. I mean the house is mainly child-proof until such time that she finds another area that I have not thought of. What is the phrase…many hands make light work. No. Little hands make lots of work..that is the correct adage.

Blessings today. Welcome the gift and presence of the beauty of fall given freely and unexpectedly. I think it is nature at its best, giving me pause to get my full attention to the spectacular display of radiance and awareness. God’s creation abounding everywhere.

Enjoy this day. Let us pray for the bounty of the harvest.

Let us pray for those in need this day.

I’m free…woohoo

You got this. Go little girl. Go.

Oh happy day. Oh happy day. This time last Monday, it was my final day of self-isolation. I started on a Tuesday and so I thought maybe Tuesday but Wednesday for sure but lo and behold…I got the call. You are good to go. So I got in my car as my daughter lives just around the corner, a stones throw away. to just give hug her and the grandkids. But no one home. WHAT? Well it’s all good. For I just saw them the night before, me on the other side of the window, putting my hands on the window pane as I gave a window smooch to my grandson and granddaughter. Of course my grandson would understand but not the little one year old. No. She kept looking at me, then at the window, and then turns to walk to the door. WALKING!!!!

Did I tell you that she has been walking or I should say finger walking since she was 11 months old?!! My granddaughter finally found the courage to let go of the finger for walking and boogey on down. So freedom for me and her. And let me tell you it feels good.

And to see her actually walking up the ramp to the door on Sunday night…I teared up. A Hallmark moment. Such a momentous occasion and I am so happy for her. Her little hands and arms in a grip like motion as she waddles back and forth balancing her body as she carries her tiny frame towards me. Face full of concentration and then pauses, looks up, and a big beautiful eight-teeth wide smile crosses her face. Oh for the life of me…my heart pounds in joy and laughter. I want to scooch her so much but alas I could not.

So now she and I over our self-isolation…me from covid and my granddaughter from her fear of letting go. Now we are off to the races. These past few days as I get to babysit her, life as I know it has changed. No rest for the wicked. Exercise plus plus. Now I follow her. Have not put a dent in the floor yet but I think it may be coming. You forget that little ones have a different lens to look at and so what they see as oh yes…I see as oh no!! Oh well, I said yes so it’s all good.

I am so glad my self-isolation is done. It looks like the Atlantic bubble will be for awhile. I know that I have another trip planned for Ontario again as my youngest has moved to look for employment. There is not much in her field here so I think she has a better chance of getting a job there. But I’ll have to bring her things with me including her four-legged furry cats that she left behind. Not looking forward to the drive as I will have to add another stint of self-isolation again. But I got lots of cleaning, painting and staining done. Certainly not Better Homes and Gardens but it will work for me. That reminds me I need to think of what I’ll be doing for the two weeks of self-isolation.

The hardest part is not getting to leave the property to go for a walk. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and for me, I have beauty to behold. The combination of surf meeting turf, sky meeting both, and the wind and sun’s warmth wrapping me up…oh I missed it. But I am grateful that the island takes Covid-19 seriously. I got a call each day, varying the time, and asking the same questions. Whomever they picked, because it seemed to be a different person each time calling on behalf of public health office, seemed to care. I also felt they were a bit weary. I am sure they had to make many calls a day. So kudos to each of them.

I really did not realize how I take things for granted. I felt a bit uncomfortable asking my daughter – the primary for me during self-isolation – to get me things. If the roles were reversed it would not bother me to do anything for her. I am a giver not a receiver. And my daughter is the same way…she likes to give. So that certainly spoke to me about appreciating the wonderful people supporting me. Thank you.

Freedom. It is an interesting word really. Because in essence one is not really free fully. For example, life is not the same as it was before; living in Covid times freedom comes with parameters and restrictions. Each one of us I believe has a spark of delight to want to get out and spin around, spreading our arms and hands wide, as we look to beat a different drum. Just want to take a step on own without care and concern. You know that feeling to do what you want when you want and how. Oh yes, f-r-e-e-d-o-m. Yep that’s it.

Is that going to happen? Not likely. But it is certainly something to think about freely. I love that part. Funnily now that I have the freedom to do what I want or at least what I can and what I need to do, I also miss the freedom to have the time to just be. Knowing you are not getting visitors…just me myself and I. Isn’t three a crowd?? Oh well. Because you get to do that in self-isolation especially if you are on your own. With a dog and two cats, they really did not interrupt being free…until the smell needed to be taken care of mind you.

In other words, I guess what I am saying is that I appreciate freedom in whatever way it comes in. Blessings.

Let us pray for all those who are in need of our prayers and for those who are given free will, reap the blessings from choice.