Take Me Home

Oh we are so very close now. It is amazing how time flies when you are having fun. I was just reading a post on FB from a friend who looks at her last days of her trip to be bittersweet. It is such an interesting word choice and yet so apropos. Soon I am going to be doing the same thing, heading home to my home, but with a bittersweet taste left as I say a ‘so long’ to family and friends here to embrace family and friends there. How does that work? Not that I am a social butterfly by any stretch of the imagination but I have both wonderful family and friends here and there. So the angst of leaving is squashed and squished by the joy of arriving. Is that not a paradoxical quandary to be facing? LOL. You betcha!

It reminds me when travelling anywhere in Canada or going out of country. There is a part of me that has not left home. Many a time travelling and camping through the States or when I was fortunate to travel much later in life to Kenya that my home called to me. It was time to return. As much as I am glad to be where I am and enjoy the blessings bestowed to me here, a call to the heart means it is time to head home.

There, one puts the hat up and nestles down into the sounds of routine at home. I cannot express in any understandable way that feeling when I see the red shore of the island. I have always been struck by the colours of PEI shores and traditions. It takes on this flavour of rich welcome where it calls from the warmth bask of the sun. The red hues of the island’s sand rock and soil with the backdrop of breath taking brilliance of greenery hues in its natures’ interior. It is not more or less than other places in the world but for my heart, it is home.

So waiting patiently, obviously not doing a good job of it, as there is still a ways to go, the trip home draws near. Of course having company to share the journey home with is an opposite feeling for said companion. It will be a home away from home for my daughter which I just experienced in these last few months with her. Thankyou. Grateful to have a pillow for my head to enjoy the fruits of being a Rara, daughter, sister and friend with many in my life here, I now get to return to home and do the same with family and friends there. It is funny how that works.

You do not know what you do not know until it is taken away from you. Not literally taken away, but put on pause in order to do what needs to be done. If nothing else one learns from the wake of Covid, it has emphasized quite categorically that family and friends, human contact and interaction, are needed in ways that you did not know you miss until circumstances happen.

I cannot begin to fathom the pain and turmoil of some of the people on this earth that are in constant fear and suffering. There is no home for them which should be one’s castle. Right? Feeling safe and secure even when things may seem crazy and spin like, you should have a home to rest your weary head. I pray for the circumstances and decision-making of those who have caused such destruction to the very essence of human dignity and life. Why? Oh, Why? Why should one b fighting for a home. It is not right nor just. I pray for the hope of calm and peace to come into the hearts and minds of all people. Please.

So I take this life given and be steadfast in knowing life changes in a blink of an eye. I recall riding in the back of our family car as a child as we travelled to my dad’s homestead to visit his folks for many summers. We would always leave early, around 4 am in the morning, and travel all day, destination ‘down home’. That phrase has stayed with me as long as I remember. Not sure what the draw was entirely but the drive along old number 2 highway, along the river, up to what used to be the old covered bridge, it felt like home. Old worn white siding farmhouse, with its quaint character and charm, had the goods. The happy, the fun, the joy, the food…can’t forget that. But most of all, the love within each nook and cranny, from days gone by with family and friends. I could feel it.

Home. A place that is a reflection of you or hopefully you. A beginning and an end to one’s day for the most part which soaks up the stories, the laughs, the sorrows…and all in between. It is a sanctuary like no other where you can settle in all cozy and warm and just be. You can hang out in pjs, casual wear, or the messy. Who is going to know for goodness sake? Well that depends if you live alone or not. You may not be able to escape for the quiet you may seek if sharing. LOL. You know when you do not want to be known as a mom or a sister or a daughter (ye gents, you can substitute to suit) or an ‘anyone’….I just want one minute for self. Ergo, bathroom…with lock. Hah. It does not matter for locks can be picked. Aahh. But regardless home is where the heart lies open and revealed.

Take me home, country road (or four-lane highway). Blessings.

Let us pray for those whom are in need of prayers and for those who seek home.

I saw it in her face

Do you ever experience a moment that you just want to hold onto forever and ever? One that puts you in a wondrous space, giving you a heartfelt warmth, right down to your very toes. But starting from the top of your head, tingling down, with a happiness so joyful, you stop and wonder if anything can be more special than this moment. Yesterday I was given that. Yesterday I saw it in her face.

Two weeks ago I had a plan with my oldest daughter that we would be coming up to see my mom and bring her a gift…to see face to face her youngest great granddaughter for the very first time. And possibly, hopefully, get a four generation picture of mom, me, my daughter and my granddaughter…mom’s legacy. So with the task in hand that Friday night, I went into the trailer located outside the nursing home for the fifteen minute covid testing routine with some questions in mind. Bombarding the local resident Covid tester, I wanted to make sure that we could all see up mom. I had good news. Of course, better news would be good warm weather on Easter Saturday and we could be outside while mom watched her great granddaughter do her thing….get into mischief as any 2-year old would. LOL.

Well kerplunk! Nah dah going to happen. For the very next day, twelve hours later, on the Villa’s website, only essential caregivers can come in. Talk about bursting ones bubble. Like any type A personality, you go to plan B for back up. So being Alice in Wonderland looking through the looking glass, we will go to the back of home and see mom in her window. She looks out across the field and public sidewalk nearby to see the many birds and squirrels and strolling by people which means she can see us. The happy sad thing for me was on that Friday evening as well, it was going to be the last time I could hug and kiss her (mask kiss), hold her hand in both of mine. Lord, I am going to miss that.

Anyway forward two weeks to yesterday we drove the three hours cross country and straight to the home. Texting my oldest sister, she would be waiting for us at mom’s window so she can direct mom’s eyes to us. Thankfully the sun is out but holy moly Easter Saturday fare, it is nippy outside with the cool breeze and calling for snow. Are you kidding me!! Not having been behind the nursing home, the ground was soggy like they had a big rain. We wore warm coats and hats but not mucking boots nor wellingtons. Come on! Seriously. Oh well, my granddaughter does not care. And wouldn’t you know it, we stood by the window seeing my sister in her bright orangy pumpkin shirt waving away at us. She texted me to say….mom is in the washroom. Which is code for a long wait as she is wheel chair bound and cannot do for herself. Timing.

But a brilliant idea passed between our texts….take mom to the other hallway with the big glass exit doors. Best. Idea. Ever. For I saw it in her face. We walked up the cement stoop, wrapped with steel railings, to a huge double doored entrance. And right before our eyes, mom and my sister watched us. The moment my mom saw both her grand and great granddaughters, I teared up. My throat started to tighten and a smile crossed my face as my mom sat there, staring so unbelievably beautiful. Mom’s eyes spoke volumes, crinkling in mirth and happiness. Her face shone a light so bright, no words needed. My sister sitting beside her, taking all kinds of pictures of my mom’s face, shed her own tears. Old softie. LOL. How could I tell? Because the glass shield was fogging up a bit between her mask and shield. Oh my sister. I know.

Could one give a better gift? I think my daughter had a bit of an inkling the importance this moment was for all of us. Especially for my mom. My mom has not met either of her granddaughters to date so this was a hallmark moment to the nth degree. Thank you so much daughter. Of course, the little one cooperated for a hot minute then as any good wee 2-year old would do, off to be distracted. But thankfully for many minutes, she was present to my mom and my mom, bless her soul, she ate her up. That is the only way I would describe it.

Chuckling now as mom fights dementia within but she was quite coherent and determined as my sister held my mom’s hand back. For there on the door was a long steel bar handle which you push to get out. Oh my goodness, mom wanted to open the door and allow us to come in. Or she wanted to escape. Not sure which was on her mind. Hahaha. My sister kept shaking her head and my mom’s face got that stern look she would always give us when unhappy. Nothing has changed in that regard mom. But at the same time as my mom reached out her hand, feeble but eager too, she sought out a touch. I know that to be true.

Oh, those hands of mom’s so withered and worn, held and tended all of us, shakily extended out, seeking her own people. She saw me in the corner of the doorway as I did not want to take away any part of her concentration. Recognizing me still. So grateful that my sister was talking with our mom, relaying what we were saying between the glass. What my mom witnessed was a love between daughters and mothers. Four generations before her. Can it be a more graced moment!

One second gift was watching my dad as he looks at his great granddaughter too for the first time. Hold her. Hug his granddaughter. He watched and observed, finding it amusing as he decided to share that the little one was similar to me. Words like stubborn, too busy, mind of her own, not listening. Hey, not nice. Seeing the family tree extending because of him and mom, I love that he reminds mom each visit (as I know he does) that all the images on her wall started because of her (and dad). And giving witness, we did sit together as four generations, on behalf of mom, together.

So Easter Vigil, where darkness turns to light, happened on this day for me. It takes me to the many years while participating in the Easter Vigil mass where we gather in total darkness. Then a single light burns brightly, cascading a single ray, and then turning sheds its light to another, lighting a way, then to another. Oh it happened yesterday for I saw it in her face. I saw it in his face. And I felt blessed to witness love beautifully expressed. Bless your hearts. Always.

Happy Easter. In this season of renewal and rebirth, may you feel your day, your faith, breathe in new life and your heart made fresh with the hope Easter brings.

Let us pray for those who are in need of prayers this day.

Walking With A Spring

Mom’s garden.

Spring in the air. Spring in one’s step. Springing in the rain. It’s a day filled with promise regardless of the gloomy skies and dampness in the raindrops. I can just see Gene Kelly from the movie Singing in the Rain with his umbrella skipping and sliding in his dancing shoes, piping out the lyrics “I’m singing in the rain” while splish splashing in the puddles. I wonder if he really liked doing that scene? Soggy socks. Socked clothes. LOL. Of course he did. So appropriate for the days of April. Right? April showers bring May flowers ( poem by Thomas Tusser in the 1550’s) one of many proverbial type lessons, it seems to be true. For April comes with unpredictable weather swings at times which as I look ahead over the next few days with single digit, maybe a couple with doubles, of upcoming temperatures and rainy day forecasts. I am good with that. Sure, a little burst here or there from me of “rain rain go away” will come out but hey not today. Bring it on.

Don’t you just love the smell of earthy mud and musky deadened grass emanating from the worn out ground after a long and hard winter’s havoc. Weeping endures for the night but joy comes to the morning. Is that not the way things work in life? A silver lining in life comes in after a dark cloud. For amongst the debris of the last vestiges of winter, lies the treasures of new life. Sprigs of sprouts poke out of the soil giving one a hint to the joy coming soon. The joy of springlike flavour with a renewal to rebirth.

Yes, the renewal takes a bit of a turn as one takes the good with the bad. Meaning the dark and gloomy days which could be quite a few, ever blended with that cool nippy air, comes out to the other side with delightful colour and fragrances. So hold on, for this too shall pass. Why? Well, like any Lenten journey, it leads us into the Eastertide where even in the darkest times, the tide of heart and mind rejoices in the Resurrection of the Lord and the resurrection coming back into our life, a rejuvenated refreshed life. Be it within or all that enlivens around us, there is a kick in one’s step.

A couple of days ago while taking a walk down by the waterfront, I could feel the burst within me that spring has sprung. It was not just one sign but many as I took in its many faces surrounding me. Outwardly, in my hat and mitts and layered look, not spring like fashion by any means, there was a beauty and hint in the barren surface before me. For example, the bay was still frozen and the wind coming in was NOT warm. But I smiled as the bay was in danger mode. I am not warped or evil. LOL. No the frozen ice was in transition, better known as black ice. Black ice being the operative two words for ‘you are walking on thin ice’ – literally. Soon to transform into the rippling wavelets, it is a ying to the yang of starting the spring thaw. Cannot wait! Water is the balm. Yeah?

Despite the droppings of Canada geese leavings (not a fan let me tell you) and having to weave in and around them, I can not help but feel an aura of readiness. It is amazing how the architects of creation have such a wondrous vision of sacredness whether by nature or the work of manual hands. As I look around at the gardens and wood-filled flora so lovingly created and positioned by their designers, I am struck by their empty splendour not yet to be witnessed but so vividly imagined.

Yes, there are still remnants from the previous year which marks the wait time. But that is okay. It is enjoying the beginnings, watching Mother Earth, prepare to dress up in her finery of silken hued lace, fragile and yet, solidly sound. So taking a walk with a good friend, enjoying the camaraderie, I want to nurture the gift of wearing running shoes. LOL. Nah. I want to welcome the bestowal freely given to delight and bask in nature’s handiwork while getting a work out. Let’s face it, unless you are a snow hare on the slopes or a speed skater of swoosh, a work out is necessary come April. Fitbit do your thing. LOL. I do not have one but sweat and achy body tell me what I need to know. Get. Out. Side. And. Walk.

Have you ever looked at the bared trees and bushes recently? I did. They have their own unique character and pleasingness about them, don’t they? The limbs and branches have no rhyme or reason of positioning for the most part, but each in their own way take your breath away with their perfection. Lord that is crazy amazing. Each limb holds life. And very soon that same limb with its family of limbs and branches together, will be burgeoning in its glory; taking up more space too. If you like nature walking in forested areas, you might want to get some good walks in before the hazards of full bloomed woods and forests can be hazardous to your health – like falling on knees from hidden roots, thistles or hidden poky branches catching clothes or the whipped branch on the face. Love it my grandchildren.

Spring…walk and look

Springtime. Oh to walk in your flower, field and fruit. To see the buds upthrust and unfold before one’s very eyes, colourful and breathtaking. How you do what you do is certainly a mystery in many ways. Squishy and mucky you may be at times, its all good. Which reminds me of gardeners right now as I am thinking they are chomping at the bit to get ready for their first dig in the earth, dirt sticking under their finger nails or garden gloves, ready to go. That would not be me so much even though I am going to grow sunflowers again this year. Mine grew last summer!! Wow. No, I am thinking more of my older sister (got the green thumb gene from our mom) who cannot wait to get at her gardens because she loves the soft earth on her hands, feel its energy, create a world of love; you can feel her spirit soar.

Walking with spring, savouring the riches soon, even in the rain and puddles, as Mother Nature bestows her gifts. Stop. Look. Listen. Enjoy. Yes sister, I am going to take a walk with you and enjoy spring in your gardens with ou . Blessings

Let us pray for those who are in need of prayers and may the days of spring be Spring in their lives.

Food Glorious Food

Kelly’s Oreo cake. Delectable

Oliver, you young little lad who wanted more. How dare you want more….porridge or gruel, maybe? Yes, it was out of hunger more than likely instead of the smorgasbord given to many today. BTW – I like porridge. Anyway, I remember the movie Oliver Twist as we did its play version at my elementary school when I was in grade 8. I think I was in the choir, no stand and deliver for me. Oh my, I loved the songs and dancing – Who Will Buy? I’D Do Anything? Where is Love?. Interesting how the brain works. I can see Tommy McFarland (how or why on earth I remember that name!!! He was in my class in grade 8 and had lead role Oliver) walking up slowly from back of our gym to the front, holding out his empty bowl, and lifts it up to that horrible Mr Bumble, and says “please sir I want some more”. He reminded me so much of Mark Lester in the first Oliver Twist with blond hair, blue eyes and raggedy in character costume. Hmmm. It was a really good movie but that scene popped out of my head today.

I realize it is Lenten season where many Christians reveal the “no-go foods” for forty days. Hard so hard. NOT. Okay, maybe a little if you are a foodie of foods and like your specific kind of foods….sweets and carbs or fried and oily. That about covers the lot. Oops I forgot the liquid fare. But do you ever get those cravings where your tongue goes “thuh thuh thuh” with its tip, clicking on rooftop, just behind your front teeth, trying to push and rattle the old brain cells for a specific flavour and taste. Your facial expression do some acrobatic moves as you sift and sniff the aromas and tastes of your previous archived food belt of food fare and then all at once…Eureka!!

Well lately it has been fish and not chicken surprisingly. Anyone who knows me well would find that hilarious for fish or any seafoods are not my friends of daily bread. Maybe it is the Friday or Saturday night traumas of rainbow trout or fresh salmon as the main entree. Dad being a fisherman and thinking what a great meal it would be. Read your kids dad. Fish stick from Highliner all the way. Thanks mom; always looking after me. LOL. Thank the Lord my dad liked to make dollar fries with the fishy fish of fish, let me tell you. The fishy taste is way too strong for my tender plain palette. No thanks. And seafood! Well, here I move to an island where the seafood platter is a main staple for islanders or ‘away’ visitors….not me.

But there are two fish that I really enjoy eating…halibut and haddock with a light batter and not too greasy oily. Smack my lips together and rub my tummy kind of yummy. So where to go? Apparently you do not search in Barrie on a Monday. Snooze you lose. So, Google comes up with Best Fish and Chips and shows Captain George, Fancy’s, Danny’s and The Halibut House. Maybe a few others but those are the top four. Having had them all, I can say for me Captain George you win my vote with your delicious battered halibut and coleslaw and fries (quasi yes). When you put price and taste together, they come out on top. But hey Ontario (sorry), PEI wins my taste buds on fish. Not that I go out much but heaven help me, the few I have had…absolutely my vote. Head to north side of island to Sou’West or Island Stone Pub or Go Fish. Yep. Although my sister said her son went to the one on south side of island, near PEI National Park on Wharf road, Richard’s PEI, and has really good fish and chips and also lobster roll (for the lobster lovers, not me BTW). Road trip when I get back.

As for fries, it is one of my food weaknesses. Thankfully and most gratefully, I am very very particular about my french fries. I do not do fries too much but when I do, I am pernickety. And surprisingly, the fries in Shelbourne ON at the ‘train’ are by far my favourite choice. Homemade, perfectly cooked, golden and wedge ribbed has the flavour of delish. Not even on the island of PEI, where they grow and harvest potatoes of all kinds and types, have I moved my opinion. Close in some like the crispy Costco fries or Da Mamas in Summerside, but not quite. I had no idea that there was so much to know about potato types until my one of two first face to face ‘dates’ from my online dating experience. He owned his own potato farm which was strictly for potato chips and fries. Did you know that you should avoid eating dark coloured fries; stick with golden coloured? Something to do with too much starch and sugar built up when they are dark.

Now the sweet palette which is the Lenten go to for many especially around chocolate. It is funny how things that are not quite good for you, taste or feel great. Temptation. What is good for you? My younger sister including my older sister and brother, all got the cooking and baking gene. Mom missed me. Haha. I am not a big sweet eating person but last year I had a real issue craving chocolate; I could not get enough of it. It was like I became a chocolate addict or fiend. Not only chocolate but desserts. Just a taste. Humph. Well when Oliver Twist wanted more, it was my mantra so to speak. I have no idea why but I just hungered for sweets. It did and does not help when my younger sister would make scrumptious mouth watering desserts and bring out to me. I mean look at the oreo cheese cake she did yesterday for her colleagues and family. Glad I am not at home, sister of mine.

So the little tongue movement click trying to discern what to eat, what do I feel like eating, can get one into trouble. Date squares, chocolate chip cookies, cheesecake, bits/bites kitkat/caramel/aero bars, peanut butter marshmallow bar, and lemon crunch cheesecake cups. Ridiculous. Not that I was a pig but I felt like gobbler gourmand. I have to laugh as I think of the loopy cravings of pregnant women. No I am not pregnant. Totally impossible. Geez. But it feels like that at times for the urge within. In all three pregnancies of mine, it was chocolate milk and tuna fish sandwiches only which had to be on soft whole wheat. Um um yum. How is that for crazy! Maybe not. To this day, I like refrigerated tuna with mayo, pickles, pepper, and avocado (a new addition). Hey I guess that is another fish I like. Oops.

Close your mouth Karen. Sunset Grill

Still in all, the cravings come and go. Right now I feel like chicken wings or egg salad sandwich in a lettuce wrap; dry rub pepper and olive oil baked wing after lunch of paprika mayo pepper egg blend, nix the bun, and wrap it in water. It is soooo good. Lunch and supper on the brain. What is on the menu tonight? Breakfast. Cravings aside, breakfast is home. It is like that moment when Jesus on the shore, greeting the disciples coming in from a morning of fishing, with an open invitation to come eat with him (John 21:9-12). Cravings to be filled and fulfilled…with fish and bread. I hope that is not a message for me. To enjoy fish and seafood a bit more. Yikes!! Sorry, Lord.

Food glorious food at the table, breaking bread together, chatting and eating with those you love and find comfort in. PB & J here I come. Hold on Lenten promise. Blessings this day.

Let us pray for those who are in need of our prayers today. And for those who are hungry and need daily bread. Amen

Foodie friend quotes:

The secret ingredient is always cheese.

Don’t go bacon my heart.

First we eat. Then we do everything else.

There is no we in fries.

I’m on a seafood diet. I see food and eat it.

Food is the ingredient that binds us together.

Friends buy you food. Best friends eat your food.

Keep your friends close and your food closer.

We are best friends forever except at the dinner table.

Food may be essential for fuel for the body. But good food is fuel for the soul.

Most people eat to live. I live to eat.

I try to avoid things that make me fat…mirrors, photographs and scales.

Donut kill my vibe.

A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.

Waiting

Waiting for spectacular.

I do not know about you, but how is waiting in your life? Right now it is a Yes. Yes. Yes? Oh my. I sound like a Cocomelon song with JJ and his vegetables. (FYI: Children’ show for little ones). Anyway, It is about time. Spring has sprung, the grass is here, what a world we live in!! I can see the curbs. I can see the dirt in the garden. Oh yes, I can also see lots of work too – weeding, raking, sweeping, picking, dump run; and Maggie May’s leavings on the lawn!! What? Man, was I lazy. Yikes. The hidden treasures just below the layers of blankets of snow. Nah. It is all good. So yes yes yes. Spring is here. Oh Happy Day. Now I just have to get Mother Nature to do her thing. Maybe she can recognize that it is spring beyond the calendar date. Get bloomin’….please.

Waiting. It seems one is constantly waiting for something or someone, don’t you find? Yes, I have been waiting for the first signs of spring like so many other people. Thankfully it is Lent so slowing down and pausing has helped me. Reflecting on the stuff piled up in life that needs to be sifted and sorted and discarded even. Reminding me that seasons come and go and winter has almost run its course. Plus along my Lenten journey this year, I really paid attention to waiting as part and parcel of one’s life, a good thing actually. Is that not true?. Yes, the time in waiting can either get your heart pumping furiously or frustratingly, depending on your mood or circumstance. It can also be fruitful and joyous, taking me out of the spin of the day and take stock of the present.

I think back to those many nights having to wait for my daughters as they finished up work. You learn to bring a book or puzzle, just in case of any delays. LOL. Plenty of those days. Or know you can have what I call a ‘bathroom’ moment where you can be by yourself for a hot minute, uninterrupted. Haha. Thankfully locks are pretty secure. LOL. One can even engage in an entertaining text thread or call someone in the privacy of your vehicle like talking to a sister or a friend without little big ears.

But there was one kind of waiting I did mind, a BIG pet peeve for me. Have you ever had someone say “just 5 more minutes”. Well that was my morning routine during most of the high school years with girls. Ugh. And I mean that it was a daily occurrence coming out of my daughter’s bedroom, lingering in the air like a red cape to a bull. No Ole. Those mornings when I tried to get my youngest daughter out of bed especially to get ready for whatever (probably school), I felt the heebie jeebies coming on. I still get shivers to this day when I hear that phrase. It was a nightmare let me tell you. Been there done that and NOT going to do it again. LOL. She does that sometimes on a visit. NOT FUNNY.

But then you have the exciting times, preparing for celebrations or upcoming dates. A happy dance kind of waiting because last week the big 2 finally came. Woohoo!! It is so hard to believe!! Just two short years ago, the day before all crazy broke out with the pandemic in Ontario, my youngest granddaughter was born. I remember the events of her birth, coming into this world. It was an unsettling time for my daughter as she had one of her final visits with her doctor. The doctor inquired about me, the mom, and how did I arrive to my daughter’s place. If I flew, I would be asked to leave, not be able to be near mom and newborn. Her doctor took a proactive stance saying if she did not deliver in next couple of days then she was going to be induced. Covid 19 was unknown and the hospital was on the alert. Good call. Even though I drove and got there in time for the birth, I could not go in. But okay. Regardless, worth the wait.

So last week, watching my granddaughter enjoy East Side Mario’s spaghetti with sauce all over her face and then fussing because she was done so of course it was time to go….no waiting for her. Eat and run. Literally. Aaaahhh. High chairs do not cut it. Toys and colouring do not cut it either. Disney music on youtube on the cell does not work. Let’s just say she has a set of lungs and makes her feelings known. Cannot wait until she can use her words fully. There is that ‘wait’ word again. No I do not want her to grow up too fast. Okay mommy and daddy just finish your meal while me and little girl go outside and walk. LOL. Waiting is not an option in a little one’s world.

I think waiting is a good thing and probably good for us. It can bring a sweetness to when the waiting is finally over. Maybe it is taking for granted that what we hope to happen, does happen, surprise even in its fruition, and then do we dwell and reap the beauty of the gift given from all that waiting. In a few weeks time, I will be heading back to my home, having been here in Ontario for a few months, babysitting my youngest granddaughter, as accessibility to caregiving is not great. Even though, I have lived most of my life in Ontario and enjoyed the many blessings given, I feel at home on the island. I am not sure what the draw is but I am thinking it goes back to my childhood and the yearly summer trip to the Maritimes. I loved it out there at that time and now as an adult, making that decision, it calls to something deeper in me. Grateful beyond measure. But unlike my dog, waiting with such patience….I can’t wait to cross the bridge and see the red shore. LOL.

I think there is a line from Lemony Snicket movie that says, “If we wait until we are ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” That may be true. But I think our personality can get in the way. Can we enjoy the time in the wait? That is my thought for the day. I have to laugh because I looked at some funny things about waiting. For example, when you are waiting in line with one item and the person in front of you wants to get lottery tickets and has old lottery tickets to be checked. That would be that line over there. Not nice.

So in the meantime while waiting, you might try not to waste time looking at the time because it will go only as fast as the time needed for the wait to come. In the words of Joyce Meyerpatience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting“. Blessings this day.

Let us pray for those we need our prayers today and for those who have to wait for whatever, for it is worthy of the wait.

Waiting can be a pain sometimes but its all good.

A car front of you at a green light – 50 seconds.

Parents to quiet down their loud baby. Goodness how we do forget.

Waiting for your food at a restaurant. This is where my hangriness comes from

Waiting for your food at restaurant. Hangry comes a knocking.

Waiting at doctors office or emergency.

Waiting for significant other to get ready.

Being stuck on customer service. I hang up.

I really wish people would know the rules of a roundabout…go around.

When somebody cuts you and then says, “This is my friend,” like it makes everything okay. YOU STILL CUT ME!

When the person in front of you has been in line for 10 minutes but waits until they get to the register to figure out what they want off the menu.

When your mom tells you to wait in line while she grabs one last thing and then disappears from the face of the Earth.

When you’re at a rest station waiting to use the woman’s bathroom and the line is moving an inch an hour and the only thing to do is watch the men’s line move a hundred million times faster than yours.

To the Flea Market I Go

Sometimes it is good to experience a ‘blast from the past’ for a few moments especially when you find yourself wandering down aisle after aisle in artifacts and articles of nostalgia. A few weeks ago, I went to visit the 400 Flea Market (needed to DO something anything else LOL) in Cookstown ON and perused the unbelievable array of yesterday, today and even tomorrow items in the antique section of the flea market. As much as I like the flea market side of things with the new and improved or retro hip hop et al surrounded in the aura of a potent aroma wafting its scrumptious smells of varied cultural fare to the nose, I seemed to be drawn to the vintage side of the building that day. Antiques.

Although I must say the booth in the flea market with the lego characters drew me in as my grandson loves mini characters. Try standing in front of hundreds of little figurines and thinking, what ones does he not have? Only clue I have is that they have to be on the evil looking side. Even bending forwards, my eyes needed some work because most seemed to have that look.

I had to stop a time or two in front of some sections of the antique building because I was shocked to realize that not only my past was there, front and center, but also my own daughters who are in their late 20’s and early 30’s. Seriously!!! I guess the age range for artifact and historical interest has been shortened. Haha. Talk about humbling. There is nothing like seeing your first barbie doll, Skipper, that you played with, loved and coddled, now on display in the Antique part of the flea market. What makes it antique? Is that a woohoo I made it feeling 🙂 or is it a woohoo boohoo feeling, I made it (: . Not sure at this point.

I did enjoy going down memory lane though as I found myself smiling and chuckling, sometimes frowning too, as I went back and forth, criss-crossing then and back stepping to view the cordoned off or small enclosed areas filled to the brim with overflowing stuff. Stuff I would puzzle about. Stuff that I would do an aha too. Stuff is the operative word and an appropriate term to use because what was displayed would be described for me, in most cases, as ‘odds and sods’, while to others a whole different perspective. Nevertheless, there were all kinds of neat and intriguing things that I could confidently say that I have no idea what they were used for but had a purpose at some point, in some place, by someone. It’s all a mystery.

It did surprise me though of the number of areas dedicated to old magazines. I mean it is old paper that has a short life span. Right? Yes, I realize that magazines seem to be considered collectibles especially for avid fiends of comic books. Yes. But, why? That is my question. LOL. Well I should not say that because I found I was looking at some old Archie, Little Lulu ( I forgot about her) and The Detective comics copies that I once had. Huh!! But knowing the restrictions from Covid and no ‘touchy touchy’, I kind of glanced at only the visible titles of said ‘antique’ magazines. It does make sense the newsie stuff, back in the day, would peek the interest of an audience. Probably a particular year or memorable event that would be captured in say Life or The Saturday Evening Post or Housekeeping or even Cosmopolitan. For me, I would probably look for undiscovered tidbits on the Black Donnelly’s of Lucan or the sinking of the Titanic.

I also noticed a section with VHSs tapes. Do you remember those? They came out in late 70s I think. Did not hear of them really until I was teaching in the early 80’s and purchased first video recorder system, Betamax. Crazily Betamax did not last long at all for it was quickly ousted by its competitor, the VHS player. Who would have thunk? Anyway, there were some old TV mystery/crime series amongst the tapes in VHS format which struck a cord. I love mystery and crime.

It got me to thinking as I was doing a final crossword in the last of my eight booklets that I received as gifts for Christmas this past year. Yikes! FYI2ME. Big reminder to start scouring the shelves of the dollar stores around town, whatever the specific Dollar ???? name brand stores are called. They seem to carry the large print for folks like me, eyes slowly giving in to wear and tear over years of usage. So one of the clues came up, “Raymond Burr show back in the late 60’s to early 70’s”. It was 8 letters. I remembered him in a role as Perry Mason but did not fit clue. But for the life of me I could not jostle the old gray matter even after putting in letters from other words and their clues. So peeking at the back…Ironside. Ah ha. I smiled. He was Perry Mason before Ironside. Takes me back.

Do you remember Columbo, cigar smoking wrinkled trench coat worn detective? I loved him. What a character!! He reminded me of the tortoise and the hare story, Columbo being the tortoise, slow and dogged but so sure in his method of getting to the end. Or the opposite in crime and mystery…. Get Smart. LOL. Honestly why I ever watched that one? Ridiculous. So then I looked up that time period from the 60’s to 80’s, and realized I watched quite a few mystery shows back in the day, my days anyway, such as Dragnet, Murder She Wrote (still watch it as its mom’s favourite), The Man from UNCLE (I guess I liked the accents), Hawaii-Five O (“book ’em Dano”), Mission Impossible (theme song rocks), The Mod Squad (groovy glasses), Barnaby Jones (old Beverly Hillbilly Jed), Charle’s Angels (loved the trio- still do), CHIPs (Erik Estrada – beautiful smile), Hart to Hart (got to love that couple), Kojak (lollipop man), Magnum PI (great radio voice), Miami Vice (beach classy threads never got dirty), Quincy ME (best bedside manner), and Scooby Doo, Where Are You?

I love those mystery and detective type shows but if they are too suspenseful, I run. Literally. My siblings and my daughters too have laughed at me a few times over the years because of my inexplicable behaviour. For the life of me I have a hard time controlling it. Especially if the plot line is around injustice of humanity. I will be watching and then when it gets to the good part, the unknown or scary like part, I pace. I head to another part of the house, needing to do something. There is something in the unknown that gets inside me and won’t let me sit. Sometimes I can I finish the show and there are other times not so much; I have to ask what happens. Then I can rewatch it later on. I know weird but there it is. So going to a cinema, well that is another story. LOL.

How did I go from a trip to the flea market to the deep thinking of nuances of crime and mystery? Amazing how the mind works. But seriously, walking through the aisles of history, past and present, it was fun. Enlightening. I wish I had my folks and grandparents with me because I think they would have made the up and down trek come to life. They would have taken the mystery out of the mystery of stuff. Haha.

So what have I learned about a visit to the flea/antique market? Count me in. I am not so old and I am not antique, thank you very much girls. I may be in the age range of vintage or classic. Definitely a collectible. NOT ME. Geez. I am talking about the stuff. Not me!! So don’t be offended too much when your own kids say, “what is that thing do?” LOL.

I smile for the antique of life. Blessings.

Let us pray for those whom are in need of prayers today. May peace and justice to come into the hearts of those who lead.

PS A little old humour .

If you can’t vote, you’ve also never licked a postage stamp.

I’m not old, I’m vintage.

I decided I’m not old, I’m 25 plus shipping and handling.

At least your not as old as you will be next year.

Most people don’t think I am as old as I am until they hear me stand up.

If you have not grown up by the age of 50, you do not have to.

You are in mint condition for a vintage model. Happy Birthday.

Tizzying, calm the waters

Joyce Rupp wrote this poem a while back called A Prayer to be Free of the Tizzies (2000). In it, she talks to God acknowledging that it is not God but her, human extraordinaire (how I see her), that causes the tizzies within, the ‘wild worrying’ and the ‘needless scurrying’ actioning regularly in our daily lives. Calm the waters. Get thoughts under control. Hold your horses. ‘Whoa Silver’ kind of stop and calm the heck down. For worrying does not do anything but take up way too much real estate in the mind and matter. Be calm. Well, easier said than done.

The thing is that some things, small or large, can tick you off. And it seems no matter what you try to do it becomes a niggle, an irritant that festers. Similar to when someone mentions the word lice, YIKES, and you start to get that phantom feeling of having to scratch your head at something that is NOT there. I think it is the mere knowledge of knowing. LOL. While at other times, the tizzy is that helplessness in feeling that you cannot do a thing about it. Your head space becomes a mind field of ‘what ifs’ and ‘whys’ ping ponging back and forth. Grappling with an issue that generally is trivial by nature but becomes bigger as you stew and fret.

Speaking of real estate, I recently have been in a bit of tizzy, not trivial by any stretch of the imagination, to the awareness of the cost of living and the crazy ridiculous of the real estate market. The price curve is almost vertical in the out of this world phenomena of the increase. Granted some people are doing really well in selling their home and bless their hearts for reaping the benefits of something I find uncomfortable and unjust. How in the world can our young afford the impossible?! Sitting back listening to my friends share the real estate frenzy going on in their neighbourhood, their faces reflecting the unbelievableness to their own home’s value, brings home to me a tizzy. I mean on the one hand those who sell their home for the unprecedented pricing (and within days of the listing going up the market), they are in good shape. Yet, on the other hand, they get the gain with a fantastic walk away but then turn around and buy crazy-priced home. What!!!

Really!!! I feel helpless and fraught with angst because it is so unfair, not realistic in any way, for the young or old alike, to own their own home one day. My dad tells the story of my folks and their purchase to buy their very first home. As I recall they put in three offers (back in early 60’s) which ranged basically from $11,500 to $13,500 for similar three bedroom brick homes each on nice size lots. Unbelievable. And the thing back then was home prices did not surge or skyrocket from year to year.

Anyway, so putting in the bids, one in city, one in suburb and one in a nearby village from city, dad got a call at work from mom on a Monday morning. She said congratulations we got home. Dad thought he got the city one as it was in a more upscale part of the city. He liked that idea. No. Then he said so it was the one with the home next to river in suburb community. No. He said to mom, “you got to be kidding?” Maybe he said it more colourfully. Anyway, he had low balled the village home at $9,900.00 and lo and behold the owner said YES. At that time, Dad made $58.00 a week, and mom made less. He would always shake his head when telling the story, thinking how in the world would he pay for that home in his lifetime. Well, dad, I am saying that same thing now “REALLY, how in the world?” All I can do is pray for common sense.

It is not mine to be in a tizzy over as I ponder the words of the beautiful prayer The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr (1930’s). But it still sits with me. What is the future for our young? Yet then again, I think of the crisis happening across the ocean with Russia and Ukraine. Holy lightening! Taking over another country? Why? Taking a life ( a life who will not have the worry of getting a said home). Why? Social media capturing the chaos of paradox. So, tizzy yes. More of a frenzied tizzy actually. I pray for the loss of lives. I pray for those in positions of power to see their actions to become right and just. I pray for the paradox that we exist in as I sit in front of the nightly news witnessing on the very same screen, the hopelessness of the living to a win celebration of 5-3 Maple Leafs to Washington Capitols. The dark and the light of a paradoxical tizzy. Got to sit a spell for a minute.

The other tizzy which has been percolating for the last two years has been the effects of Covid-19 on people especially the young, shut-ins and those with mental health challenges. What is the new normal? My heart worries as I watch the effects on those in my life. This requires a different pondering…stay tuned. I just pray here for the unknown.

So for now, to bring me to a calm, I want to hover over a level of tizzy that will eventually go away. A silver lining to go hand in hand with a tizzy. Something that requires a less of me. For some reason the last few weeks, winter has really bothered me. Usually I am pretty good about coasting through the winter but I have been on strike. Snow to go. Haha. Winter to go. Yes. February to go. Yes. It is March. Closer to spring. Grateful woohoo. And hey, today came in like a lamb. You know the old wives tale “March comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lion.” Yes a sprinkle of snow on the windshield as I peek out the window…I can handle that. So thankfully this tizzy is short lived.

Where are your manners?

I also should put things into perspective. Humans worry. I think it is in our DNA or i is it RNA?? Not worry, or have a tizzy fit, just maybe take the edge off it. How? No clue. but do not worry about worrying. Pointless. Now if the mind wanders into tizzy mode about how you look today OR you asked a dumb question OR someone will notice that tiny stain on your shirt OR that you had a second cookie OR getting left off of group chat OR someone heard you in the next stall OR forgetting someone’s name OR stumbling when walking OR hurting someone’s feelings (dad no more talking, heard story already, like yesterday) OR leaving stove on (maybe you should check). Don’t. In the words of Erma Bombeck, worrying (tizzy) is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere. Calm the waters.

Living with the tizzy, big or small, breathe then kick some snow. Haha. Blessings.

Let us pray for those whom are in need of prayer and for the tizzy to be calm. Let us pray for the just and right to come to our world leaders. Let us pray for those who suffer, mentally physically socially and spiritually. Amen

No is spelled N O

I wonder how many times in the day a person find themselves saying the word ‘no’? And when it is said, does it mean no with a humph? Or is it with a smile, a chuckle, a surprise, with sarcasm, a ‘no means no’…..what? Does it mean m-a-y-b-e or y-e-s? So many ways no could be interpreted. This small two letter word can pack a powerful message if it is said in the right way indicating no means no and out you must go. It is a sentence all by itself surprisingly enough. Does it need any further explanation? Well apparently.

Unfortunately for me, and most recently, my youngest granddaughter who is almost two (hard to believe), has perfected saying the word ‘no’. Not only saying the word but puts the humph in the word “no no no no”. She is watching way too much Cocomelon. LOL. But seriously, her vocabulary maybe limited but no comes out loud and strong. There is no question she has the science and art of the nuance of the language down pat. Even in the gestures, as her beautiful golden head of hair vigorously shakes back and forth and mouth set firmly saying “NO”. She is not quiet about it. And let me tell you there are no smiles, chuckles, maybes and such. No means no.

I could learn from her. The thing is when I say no which is almost every third word as she goes about her day, she balks. At first you might think she does not hear me. How many times do I need to say to not touch the dog dishes, climb the chair, pull on the gate to go up the stairs (she is strong), keep fingers from pulling the plug, leave your poopie diaper alone, don’t look at the projector light, no going in the shed, go slow, be careful, do not put in mouth. Just NO. But when she says no, her stubborn little body twists and turns and stomps the foot (new recent action). Haha. So cute. So much of an attitude. Have to keep from chuckling loudly. She knows the no for her.

Yet safety and guidance, the never ending internal radar alert system within, takes over the Rara (my grandma handle) vocabulary. I remember a conversation about a year ago, before she was really walking and crawling lots, my daughter noticed that I was saying no to her daughter who was starting to show signs of the red zone kinds of things. You know the kind where babies put anything in mouth. Or begin to crawl towards the upstairs of the stairs. In our chat, my daughter said outright that she was not going to use the word NO too much with her own daughter. Let’s just say my eyebrows went up and out. Yeah. Really!!

So here we are sitting in the living area with all of the toys located around the room as my granddaughter sits on the lap of my own daughter. Little one likes to hold on to the ear lobes for some reason as she sits with those she knows. Maybe it is kind of similar to a security blanket, only the human kind. Ouch. Anyway she pulls on her mommy’s earlobes and my daughter says no in a very loving and gentle way. So trying to remove the wee hands from the earlobes, the babe takes her hands and smacks her mommy on both sides of her face. My heart goes out to my daughter because she truly loves her daughter with every fiber of her being. But the expression on her face was so heartbreakingly sorrowful. I do not think she realizes that babies to toddlers and beyond have the capacity to do heart damage. Unbeknownst to themselves, but nevertheless, sometimes their actions go right to the jugular. So her mommy had to grab the little ones hands and firmly say “NO.” Her look caught my heart strings.

It is so hard to raise a child. Nothing like it. What you think you are going to do or say and what you do do or say, well it is a crap shoot on a good day. I think breathing comes to mind. I was thinking of the emojis in text messages and there is this one image with a shark blowing steam from its head. LOL. Yes that about covers it. So the word ‘no’, overused – abused – misused. Yep. No, there is not a manual of Roberts Book of Rules, the governance for protocol and procedure to run the lives of tiny tots. And you can forget about a manual with rules and practices for the older tweenies and teenies and heaven forbid ,the nest leavers returning. Aaaahhhh.

In my little opinion raising three daughters and being with my three grandchildren, I believe that when you say no to a child or for that matter anyone, you want the receiver of the NO to show you mean it. If no means no then NO. It could be with a look…the mom or dad look. Parents have that down pat. So do teachers for that matter. LOL. Short explanations might be good to provide, depending on the age of child. (Don’t be like my dad as he told us to come to the dining table. Those lectures and life lessons of what not to do were so long. Shoot me now, Dad). And for heaven sakes, stand your ground and have consequences in mind. Not that ‘thou shalt do as I say, not as I do’ yucky mumbo jumbo stuff. Nor that ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’. Little ones are people too. Just saying. However, I am not sure how a child learns the nuances of cajoling, buttering up, pleading, or whatever you might want to call it, prompting the curt no and turn it somehow into a worn down yes. Gotcha mom. Yeah, not nice. I can attest to that one and so not proud of my actions. It is exhausting to say no. 🙂

No does not have to be negative all the time. There are so many good reasons for saying no to a child (or a pet, too many LOL). Just know the why of the no. Right? Saying no for the heck of it does not bode well for the heart and mind. You should be good with it. Although it is interesting what people say no about when with child. I have carried the philosophy for the most part for having experiences. Some experiences like being near water or a fire or tree climbing etc will be a no to the no, a child needs to explore and discover some things on their own. Does one want to be frugal with the no? Probably not. But maybe be a bit more creative….turn the no and rephrase. How? Don’t ask.

Note to self….for goodness sake make sure you say YES too. Blessings.

Let us pray for those who are need of our prayers today and the art of more yes then no in life.

PS The humous results of no…maybe…or hiding from the no.

Parents its okay to say “no” to your children. They won’t explode. True story.

I would love to but unfortunately….no.

Please keep making excuses for your children bad behaviour. It really seems to be working out well for you.

The easiest way to shop with your kids is not to.

I asked my mom if I was adopted. She said, ‘Not yet, but we placed an ad.’” —Dana Snow

Currently helping my son search for his chocolate that I ate last night.

90% of parenting is just thinking about when you can lay down again.” —Betsy Farrell

A two-year old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.” —Jerry Seinfeld

When I tell my kids I’ll do something in a minute, what I’m really saying is ‘Please forget.’” —@SarcasticMommy4

I’m just a mom, standing in front of my husband, trying to say something that I can no longer remember cause my kid interrupted us 75 times.” —@LHLodder

Then suddenly you’re a mom declaring ownership over swept dirt on the kitchen floor yelling DON’T YOU DARE WALK THROUGH MY DIRT PILE!” —@LooksLikeTutTut

Can’t find your kids? Don’t worry; sit on the toilet. They’ll find you.” —@MamaJessieC

No winter lasts forever….

Mantra this morning. No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn (Hal Borland) Thank the Lord. I realize that it is a wee bit too early to say spring has sprung. Valentine is a mid point in February which brings us closer. It is raining!! That is a good sign. Right? I can even see a smidge of g-r-a-s-s. Woohoo. Two days ago I woke up to some playful birds flitting and chirping, carrying on in the backyard. It was a sight for sore eyes; or I mean a sound for the quieted ears of winter. It’s a hibernation wakeup!! Yes.

Does nature know way before when the seasons will change? Of course having a day set aside, a real date in time, which I believe to be March 20th this year, holds the anticipative ‘change’. But that fools us just like Wiarton Willy, the groundhog and its shadow on Feb 2nd, that supposedly gives us a ray of hope for an early spring. Let’s face it, March is not necessarily known for its debonair gift of blessed great weather. The old adage of March coming in like a lamb and going out like a lion…well it can come in like a lion and go out like one too. Where in the world do these old wives’ tales come from?! However, my daughter whose birthday is at the end of this month shares with me that winter is closing down. Hmmm

And yet, the little signs of spring keep tickling me. Teasing me. Waving its’ carrot. I felt that hint of the mild and newness. A gentle sweeping coming over me in that old familiar feeling and smell of warmth as I walked out to add two more recycling items to the blue bag. Trying to hurry before the recycling crew came, I just slipped on my boots and went out without a coat and I was not shivering me timbers. No frost on windshields of the cars, snow was not as crunchy underneath, and the dawn…oh the dawn chorus…sun filtering through the haze of early break of day. Early! Woohoo! I welcome the longer days. Another hint of spring??

Last evening after dinner, we popped out for a bit to find some of those elusive treat: cheese popcorn, Bits and Bites and cheese dip/crackers as well as wanting to find an organizer for toys for the never ending mess of play 🙂 of my granddaughter. Yes, treats healthy and specific; need to fill the treat cupboard especially for the little one. Funnily, all three snacks have been hard to come by lately, not sure why. Not a Kellog’s product. So snack attack….road trip….off and hunting.

What I noticed while out close to half past 5 pm, the sun was still heavy in the sky. I mean it was still daylight, no gathering darkness. How do you spell relief? No hat, no mitts. Well, hat still but no mitts for the little one as we got out and started to walk in the parking lot, holding her tiny hands. Upon entering the store, shades and hues of colour and articles assail the eyes as the shelves are lined with displaying the oncoming spring fare and activity. You know the look where one finds a bounty of eye-catching organizers (the ever looming spring cleaning declutter), barbecue utensils (cannot wait for camping and fireside chats), Easter cuisine (look out Lent and hopping bunny), seeds and sod (smell of red dirt), delightful rain gear, and floral. I’ll take it…for now. Just to know that winter does not last forever and spring does not skip its turn.

I realize the last vestiges of winter will bring slush and mud and puddles and car washes on repeat. But alas. So what! Are you kidding me! Sign me up. I am ready for the ungluing of parka-boots-mitts-shovel in hand and say hello to messy spring. You heard me. Messy. Spring. What an oxymoron!! Yes, I want spring to come but it can be messy and unpredictable. On the one hand, there is the sunny clear blue skies, with a few fluffy clouds and then the next day cold biting wind followed by rain. The ground goes from walkable delight to knee deep in mud and muck, even pelts of snow.

Maybe it is too soon to be toting the placard “bring on spring”. But there is nothing wrong with seeking out its allusion, welcoming in the beginning stages of thawing and melting. Although transitions can be tough on the mind and body, they can also be an awakening to the stirrings inside. I think of nature’s seasons connecting to the seasons in one’s life. Nothing stands still. Not in nature and certainly not in one’s life unless you feel stuck in a particular season. Which can very well happen.

So when thinking of moving from winter to spring, there is a transitional period of sorts that enters the body, mind and spirit and physical being…inviting a change. A transformation. Yes, I like that way of thinking because it is a slow process. As the ground thaws, it begins to allow for opportunity and resurrection of new and rebirth. A natural order. Does that not reflect the season of life in each of us? A transition, unsettling and provocative, as a natural change occurs within. The temporal nature of seasons of life come to bear fruit within….seeking or adapting to whatever comes. For now, no winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.

Blessings.

Let us pray for those in need of prayers today. Peace.

Oh Be Mine

Early this morning before the sun even showed any signs of the dawn rising, I woke up to the sounds of squeaking and squealing. Having a bit of a phobia around mice from working at a fishing camp during university years, I am very attuned to squeaky like sounds. The sounds seemed to becoming through the wall. No way. So peeking out the window I saw the root of the squeak and squeal….two skunks doing the mumbo jumbo. You know…. getting it on. It was still fairly dark so I could just make out there were two of them. One seemed to be fully black while the other had the characteristic black and white stripe of the mephitidae. And then much to my chagrin, they chased each other around the winter maze that I had cut out in the snow for grandchild. Unfortunately. Yeah, for mating season. Love is in the air. Bleh. Pepé Le Pew and Fleur de stinkerbelle, can’t quite smell the love.

Let the love grow. Be visible. Shine. Speak. For Valentines Day is upon us. A day set aside once a year for love, expressing one’s love, or getting the courage to. Where there is a bit of hope for that special note or message or gift to be found in the mailbox, snail mail or email, showing you are thought of in a most special way. I wonder did Charlie Brown ever get his Valentine just for him? Standing beside the mailbox, waiting with bated breath, to get that elusive but much wanted Be Mine Valentine card, he never left. No matter how many times I have watched A Charlie Brown Valentine over and over and, it does not change….no “Be Mine” card. Nor does Charlie Brown give up; the eternal optimist for ‘maybe this time’.

Oh to bring back the innocence of bygone days in elementary school. Where an afternoon was dedicated to having a Valentine party. Desks pushed back, games galore, music, table full of foods (peanut allergies and non-homemade things not an issue), dancing, and red freshie. A day or two was dedicated earlier to making the classroom shine love with hearts and heart people and shape poetry or limerick about love and kindness. (We could use that these days). Red and pink hues dotting the walls. And then time was given to creating the piece to resistance, the ‘love’ mailbox. A little bit of construction paper, markers/crayons, glue, scissors and maybe even glitter and voila….a plain old shoe box or cereal box or even a brown paper bag …transformed into a vessel of hope. An eternal hope that the mailbox would be filled with cards and oh my, even a sweet candy or two. Do you remember the Sweetheart candies with the little words imprinted of love on them?

I remember going out and getting the Valentine cards with my mom, making sure there was enough to be given out. I would look at the thematic choices carefully because there had to be ‘boy’ ones and ‘girl’ ones and then very special ones. Oh yes one can’t forget those secret crushes. Very interesting to reflect back as I think about how some cards were kind of blah looking while others were more ‘love’ like and then the carefulness of who got what. Goodness sake you do not want to give anyone the wrong idea!! Especially as my mom reminded us kids to always remember how it would feel not to get a card. Thank goodness for class lists. Then the dreaded and anticipated telling part….the opening up the ‘mailbox’. How many cards did I get in the ‘mailbox’? Anticipation. Lunch bag let down. Who likes me? Maybe someone likes me.

It’s those words. Two maybe three simple words somewhere in a note or message or gesture saying I LIKE YOU. Or the more jittery heart pumping out of the park words of I LOVE YOU. Like or love….the four lettered, simple, no nonsense, spine tingling, unexpected word that you want to hear. From someone, anyone. Haha. No not just anyone. THE one. It takes me back to Randy Sageman, my first real crush. The ONE. He sat at the back of the room in my grade 6/7 class while I sat at the front. I’m not sure if he was in grade 6 or 7. Yikes! Is that like a cougar thing? Going for a younger man. Anyway I can still picture him with his dark brown curly hair and big eyes. He like to run and so did I. Cannot even remember if I ever talked to him. Knowing me I probably just beat him in a foot race or some other sport activity and left him in the dust so to speak. Did not have the flirty skills or the giggles that other girls did? But, did I wait at my ‘mailbox’ on Valentines Day, hoping for a Be Mine? Probably.

Being given a Be Mine in whatever way is a beautiful feeling indeed. It might not be in a romantic way but to know you are liked. To know you are loved. Someone takes the time to reveal to you that you are special to them or you to them. Yes, it may not be reciprocated in the way one hopes but it is not about that. It is giving oneself permission and how it unfolds, it unfolds. What is that quote, “it is better to have loved than not at all.” Something like that. Anyway, however you do it, whether with flowers or chocolates or candy or cards. Or for goodness sake, actually saying the words face to face. Today is the day on Valentines Day. A day dedicated to, set aside for, giving attention around, the like or love of one person towards another, you grab it. Allow it to seep in, twirl around, and get the heart pitter-pattering for a hot minute.

In a Letter from apostle Peter (1 Peter 1:22), “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart,” I welcome his sharing of ‘love one another deeply’. A sense of a deeper love of the human heart to another. Is that not what we are asked to do? Love our neighbour with the heart, our heart. Valentines Day, a day full of hearts and hearts everywhere, is the day of hearts full of the promise. Look beyond the chocolates and flowers and candy and cards and poetry. Or the text or twitter or email or snapchat or FB or blog or hashtag or video chat or…. whew, the list is crazy long. And just see what are you are saying on this day…. Be MINE. So Charlie Brown does not have to guess anymore.

In the words of Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, author and lecturer, “Our heart knows what our mind has forgotten – it knows the sacred that is within all that exists, and through a depth of feeling we can once again experience this connection, this belonging.”

Oh be mine, today. Blessings.

Let us pray for those who are need of prayers and for the hope of always feeling the love and like of others.

PS Feel the love. Happy Valentines.

If you love them in the morning with their eyes full of crust; if you love them at night with their hair full of rollers, chances are, you’re in love.” Miles Davis

I was married by a judge. I should’ve asked for a jury.” Groucho Marx

As a man in a relationship, you have two choices: You can be right, or you can be happy.” Ralphie May

Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby—awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess.” Lemony Snicket

Love is an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties.” Jules Renard

Love leaves a message from the heart….

I need to upgrade the power of my glasses because I’m blindly in love with you.

If you were a library book, I would check you out.”

I’m no photographer, but I can picture us together.

Are you from Starbucks because I like you a latte.”

Are you a loan? ‘Cause you’ve got my interest!

Are you tired? ‘Cause you’ve been runnin’ through my mind all day!”