Honest to Goodness

This is going to date me, really date me…do you remember the kind of goofy man, Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors), from the Andy Griffith Show. He had a favourite saying…surprise, surprise, surprise. And also golly… Don’t you just love how you jog your memory which jogs another memory? Well, anyway, what are some surprises in your lives these days. Unusually mild weather for one. December is here!! Advent and Christmas drawing near. Last month of year that ends 2020, thankfully, hopefully, with a promise of good things to come?!? Reds and greens become Christmas adornments, not pandemic stages. Maybe a slim slight small tiny bit of hankering for days of old, like turn back clock to fall 2019 for example. Just a daydream…aahh. And the forecast for today, snowfall or rain or green grass…eeny meenie miney mo. You just never know where the wind takes you.

Honest to goodness on-line dating is crazy, big surprise…not as I am realizing. Little update. You know I guess I expect people (men) to be honest and well….not so much. No wonder I have read quite a few of the profiles from different men and they talk about wanting certain things…no drama, no baggage, no lying, no cheating, no photo no go, no whatever. They must have been doing it for awhile. They reveal very little of themselves. I get it. So far I have learned to (and not too well mind you)….Say little. Reveal little. Go slow. Need to see and talk to them either, by phone, and then eventually video chat in some way. Are they real? When someone does not want to talk on phone because they do not want you to hear their voice…what do they mean? Are you kidding me!!! Or not able to video chat because where they are working it has poor reception or not allowed? Really? Or better yet, meet them after video chat. “Can’t yet” is the going rate (oops phrase). I have not got to the stage of seeing or meeting someone. Pandemic is excuse. Good. Now I am thinking, if I video, then decide to meet, I will take someone with me so that I can make a quick exit. (Just kidding). NOT. And for heaven’s sake, talk with a friend or family member once you begin just to get another take on the person. For I have learned that I just cannot be fully open but open. Not fully sharing but sharing. Not fully saying too much but say a little much. Get the idea. Not be myself. Gotcha.

So today I had to block. It is not a respectful way to end things. But it seems to be a way to do scams. Thankfully I shared a ‘red flag’ story with my daughter who kindly said, “MOM”. Oops I am in trouble. Of course, she is gentle with me but gives a slight shake of her head and lets me know that I need to talk with my daughters or sister. She called her sister and well, that’s the name of that tune. So block. A fine how do you do. So now what? Do I chalk it up to whatever. No. But how to approach without getting roped in to being made to feel wonderful and then wham….thank you mame!! LOL. It is kind of funny because wanting to get to know someone should be joyous and fun and feel good inside. Like Christmas. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love love love Christmas time. A season of joy and love and faith and hope, wrapped up in a present to be unwrapped slowly over December (or for me it begins in November).

Oh well, c’est la vie!! I am grateful for my girls and their support for they just know what to say. Everyone needs a cheerleader. So off I go to put things on pause. What is that phrase…if you fall off the horse, you have to get back on again. Are the bumps and bruises part of the deal of love? Yep. I guess. I watched this light romance movie on Netflix the other day, Love Guaranteed. This man went on real dates, face to face, with a 1000 women, and did not find his love match even though the on-line site said he would be guaranteed love. At least he got to meet them face to face. That is like a lot of breakfast, lunch and dinners. Oh my. So I guess I should not feel so badly really. I certainly have a ways to go. As my girls keep reminding me, it will come when you least expect it.

I also think my daughter said it well as she reminded me that it is not a checklist. Life is to be lived and things come to us in own time. I may be ready which is so new to me to begin with but just because I made up my mind, it is not a job. LOL. Check check check. It is not my daily list or honey do list (don’t have a honey but lots to dos’, check check check. It is not a ‘gotta git er done’. Check check check. Yep. So make it fun. Enjoy the process. I believe I said that initially. Oh love, love come softly. LOL. It’s all good.

Enough of the up date. So back to surprises. I am really hoping that Christmas will be joyously surprising for people regardless of how they celebrate it…remotely or together if they are blessed. Just love going around the neighbourhood and be pleasantly delighted to see Christmas lights aglow. Woohoo. It is really interesting how creative families and friends can be when they have to be. If nothing else the pandemic has forced us, I mean it in the kindest way, to take stock of what and who we are all about. As for Christmas dinner or parties, I know that there will be those who will not listen, do the big gatherings, and others will not, but regardless let it be an astonishing time. I am recalling my brother-in-law sharing own family traditions and his mom being adamant to have the family gather including Christmas this year. But circumstances led to her realization that maybe not…it is hard to break old and make new traditions. I mean my most treasured moments and sense of completeness comes when my family are all at my dining table.

I did have a wonderful surprise recently which has been delightful to me. I had an unexpected message from a person who I had not heard from, felt I lost touch with forever actually, since just after university. We were the best of friends which was an unbelievable joy to be a part of. But for many reasons, we lost touch. Then a few weeks ago, out of the blue I might add, her name came up across my Facebook page to friend me. It was the most loveliest of aha surprises for sure. And so wow….lost now found.

I think that is a true gift and surprising blessing when you have a friend or friends in your life. Whether the person (s) is in your family or outside your family, you develop a wonderful relationship that gives you joy and warm feeling inside. In this case, getting to know her all over again but with so much more to share. But it also a wondrous reminder to me of the beauty and awe of friends; in that with some you can take up where you left off, even if you had not seen or heard from them for years. It is like you just picked up and have not missed a beat. Beautiful to experience but more importantly counting my blessings.

Funnily, I am humbled because other people I have not heard from have come in as well…former colleagues turned friends over the years. Lost touch or life happens. Now all of a sudden…just lovely lovely lovely. Grateful. It goes back to the wonderful feeling in a surprising way that people want to stay in touch. I smile from ear to ear when I think of the different friends that I have had and still have and know them to be a privilege to have them in my life and still want to. I must be doing something right. LOL. Bless their hearts.

For me, I think it is me asking if I am open to surprises. Amazing things can happen as I have found out. So surprise, surprise, surprise, however they come. Blessings.

Let us pray for those in need today.

PS. One surprise which made my eyes pop….my dad said do you know there are white squirrels. Well let me tell you I took a picture as you can see. Now that is a surprise.

Life continues to be precious

There is so much in life that one can be grateful for. And then there are times when you wish you can change things but they are out of your control. I am feeling a little bit unsettled as I think of my parents these days. My mom as you may know is in a nursing home or villa which has now been shut down from any outside visitations. Now it is back to the virtual visits on Facetime. Thank the Lord for small mercies. It is hard enough that she can only get one visit per week with my dad (now because of pandemic spiking), that is done like toast. Trying to make light of something that does not seem to have a happy ending for a long long time.

Got to visit mom on Face Time on Saturday and she started to cry. She cried because she cannot be with her family. To be in her own home. To see her husband. To see her children. To be around things familiar. No one wants to see their mom cry. And worse, I began to cry and I could not swallow back my tears, I just could not. Whew. But then, I think of my dad sharing his last face to mask visit with her as he was describing his visit with her from across a table inside the villa. Mom had opened her arms wide to get a hug…telling dad to “take me home”. There is my dad telling his wife of 63 years, “not now honey”. He will not hug her either because he wants to be able to come back to visit. Now with cases going crazy around Covid, it plays with the heart and mind. How to get one’s head around something that one cannot take the bull by the horns and control the uncontrollable??? Grrrrr. I know…it is for the best.

But two weeks ago my dad experienced some health issues that he did not expect. A healthy man in his 80’s does not bode well with health issues. Let me tell you. So unhealthy health and loss come to greet him. Not easy to watch him struggle with things out of his control. And dad likes to be on top of things always. Losing his wife to something that is cruel to the human mind. Losing his partner and not being able to do what he hoped to do along with her. Experiencing health issues which is not in his purview. Slow down. Not in his vocabulary. But does he take whatever sitting down. No, not my dad. The day after he got home, there he is bringing up the finished laundry, going up and down the stairs for whatever reason, and doing dad. Then the next day, going out in the cold to get his visit in with his wife, worrying she will not see him and him see her. I mean dad does “LISTEN” mean anything to you. Nope. The philosophy of life of my dad is a wonder and have no idea what goes on in his mind. No sense dwelling on it but maybe a wake up call. Yeah. Nope. And worry…he worries about so many things.

Life is precious. It is a mantra of mine; one that I am not sure how many times I say in a week or month but it seems to spill out too often. Not quite often but too often. When does one realize the preciousness of life we are given. I keep coming back to the song The Dance by Garth Brooks. Not sure why but maybe the reality of how life comes to us. What would we do differently? And then I think it is really important to be all that we can be and embrace the life given now, Today. In the moment. For the moment can be snatched in a blink of an eye.

Then you find yourself thinking, how did I leave the person that I was with, be it family or friends or mere acquaintances, today or yesterday. And how about tomorrow. How does one imprint in one’s heart and mind to go about your day knowing that life is but a ripple in the water. But while the ripple moves outward, how many ripples can one make in their day or lifetime?

No one knows but God, or another higher power in belief system within, of where your life will go. Life is already invaluable, an exquisite reminder of the worthiness of breathing and living fully. A gift to be treasured. A dance not to be missed. Not only mine but my neighbours…you. What does it take to remind us of the wonder and awe and delight of life given?

And so dance….”I could have missed the pain. But I’d have had to miss the dance.”

Let us pray for those who are in need of our thoughts and kindness and hope today.

Do you remember?

For some reason I have been caught up in nostalgia. Driving my truck the other day, I was listening to this banter between two radio personalities from some station…not sure which one…and they were talking about do you remember? The one radio host began their talk by recalling shopping at Zellers, an old department store, of all things. You know the one; it was a general discount department store that could be found in every mid to city sized community in and across Canada. It had a restaurant attached called the Skillet, with its grab food behind the glass experience. And Zeddy the bear advertising their slogan “the lowest price is the law”. Okay why do I remember that. I thought Zellers was long gone!! Apparently there are still two left somewhere in the States. Anyway the store is not being resurrected – no. It was a woman sending in a commentary about missing the good old Zellers. I smile because I’m remembering Zellers and Kmart too. Those two stores were my go to stores when my daughters were little girls, many moons ago. If one store did not have it, the other store would and vice versa. And it was cheap to shop. Ahh…the good ole days. Wasn’t there a Towers too?!

Which led me to thinking about Sears and Eaton’s. They were the bomb of department stores. Certainly not like a Saks or Bloomingdales or Maceys. Watch too many movies. Anyway in little old Canada, Sears and Eatons just had everything…everything out of my reach, that is. But boy, that was okay because both stores just made you feel happy (or at least the ones that I went into). Walking around each store, looking at the way they displayed things, create an impression of style and flash. Caught my attention. Although I never partook as my girls would attest to. They are so better at fashion sense and style.

And Christmas season. Whew!! Both stores went to town. They had the best displays bar none for Christmas. The smells of the scented pine cones and peppermint comes to mind. And colour. Latest and greatest fashion sense in home decor of Christmas delight. But the big attraction for me was and will always be the trees. They came in all sizes and kinds with joyous splendour in decorations. Oh my goodness. It felt like I was in the final scene of the movie Miracle on 34th Street, where the couple and little girl walked into this beautiful cottage mansion type home and went into the living/familyroom. Do you remember that scene? Well let me tell you the room was decked out with the finest images of tradition and modern and rustic Christmas warmth; so inviting. And every year, Sears would have that huge Christmas catalogue that I could not wait to get my hands on. It used to come and be dropped off on our doorstep and then they changed it, you had to go in to get one. But I would spend hours just looking at the catalogue, getting ideas for Christmas. It was well worn for sure. And funnily the girls when older loved to look at it too. I would even find little check marks or initials of things they would like to have. Good plan girls. Sneaky.

Then I think back to all kinds of stores that used to be in towns and communities in my neck of the woods during my childhood and early adult years, common fixtures of any downtown such as Woolco, Woolworths, Woodwords, Bi-way, Radio Shack , White Rose, A & P, Marks and Spencer or Consumers Distributing. They probably date me too. LOL. Which reminds me of recent ones that are no longer like Future Shop or Blockbuster (oh I miss the bagged movie popcorn) or HMV or Sam the Record Man (great music deals). I thought a movie rental store would be forever. Oh I miss going through the movie aisles with the girls. How things have changed? Here today, gone tomorrow.

But now I feel badly because today, there are some stores and businesses in this pandemic time of our lives that will be gone before they even had a chance to really take off. Not alot of memories will be attached to them to recall do you remember. What stores or businesses are going to be able to ride the wave, the after affect of the pandemic, and come out on the other side? Buy local is the mantra of the day from all areas of communication: social media, ads, radio announcements, newspapers, television, neon signs…you name it BUY LOCAL. Yep.

I’m recalling this conversation I head about a month ago between a cashier and customer which had caught my attention. They were talking about buying local and saying that as Christmas draws near, you better get things now; very little will be accessible or available come Christmas time. The cashier thought that the products people want may not be available as it is so difficult to get things from the makers of items. Layoffs and such, companies working at half capacity. Just think of the paper towel, toilet paper and disinfectant frenzy not too long ago. Could not get the items for love nor money? So many people have turned to on-line shopping like Amazon and Prime, purchasing items on-line rather than shopping local. Just go to your local post office and see the names of the side of the boxes from the stacked boxes lining the walls. I guess being cooped up in your home or dwelling for periods of time, the alternative would be to shop safely…click click click purchase…delivered. It is absolutely amazing how pervasive the pandemic has become, taking roots into the practices and behaviours of our way of living.

Anyway it has been kind of interesting going back to those remembered places. Not sure why I remembered many of them but it seemed like I would think of one thing which led me to another and then to another. LOL. It reminds me of the movie Slumdog Millionaire where the young man, after answering the questions correctly again and again, had arrived at each answer because of his lived experience with each particular question given to him. Holding onto memories…connect connect connect. Like the W stores…thought of Woolco which led to Woolworths and so on. You tell two friends and they tell two friends and so on…. LOL.

Keeping nostalgia alive. Blessings to this day.

Let us keep those in our thoughts and hearts with prayer today.

Like or Wink…really!!!

Wink or text or smile or email

Holy lightening, Batman but on-line dating is not what I thought it would be like. It is not a thing of beauty or maybe I am in another stratosphere of thinking. I know I live on the island and the choices will be limited but come on, I did not think there would be such limited choices. Don’t get me wrong there are a few men available but the age they want for example…under 59 or maybe between 30 to 99. No, that is no-go for me. Not even close. So then I extend my ‘search’ (like I am shopping) into the bubble because hey the pandemic allows that. Well there are a lot more choices and so I put out a ‘like’ or even send a ‘message’ if the profile moves me. No takers. Is it me? Probably. Absolutely. Or maybe I could be easy on myself and say it is the pandemic, they do not want to travel, they do not want to pay the almost $50.00 toll, they do not like distance, do not like islanders or do not like my message. LOL. I am kind.

Then I go back to my initial thought…it is me. Because usually when you make click on ‘like’ or ‘send a message’, the viewed person views you…me in this case. Coffee, tea or me. Nope. LOL. I have to say I have had quite a few chuckles by the wit of some men as I read their profiles or the directness of what they do NOT want in a woman. I can read in between the lines…past drama extraordinaire. The thing is that we all have drama once in awhile. Goodness deal with it.

However, I am enjoying myself regardless because heaven knows some men need to work on their game (profile) and pictures of themselves. Like what were they thinking!! At least take whatever out of your mouth or maybe wake up when you are taking your picture or for goodness sake, find a picture that does not come out of an old photo album? The grainy look is not in. But the big one for me, PUT UP A PHOTO at least. There must be an app checklist to help people in choosing a good photo: smile, look at the camera, eyes open, no nose close up, brush your hair, don’t looked scared, make sure cell phone is not in mirror when doing selfie, not be the face of an animal or child, face front not back of head, bring self closer not sit on motorbike in back forty, don’t have female beside you (although could be daughter), and for goodness sake look like you at least want to do this.

Do not even get me started on the hundreds who do not even put a picture of themselves at all. What is up with that? My hand is getting tired of clicking ‘pass’ or ‘delete’ instead of ‘like’. I am learning now that I have to narrow the search field to only show those profiles with a photo. And narrow becomes the new operative word. Why? Why are you not showing a photo? I mean okay someone in the community may find out you want to date. Does that matter? But what I have come to realize since I have made two major ‘my bad’ decisions about interested men in me (floored me right off the bat let me tell you); that some put photos that may not be of themselves. Or they have a similar photos but go under a different name or handle. What??!!

Three weeks ago my daughters rescued me from being caught up in a quick moving date to relationship scenario. One minute you are getting to know the person and six days later, they are professing feelings of love. Can you have love at first sight? Yes I believe that can happen. But on a virtual dating app, without having met them face to face or at least video chat or FaceTime, not so much as I am thinking out loud.

I mean I trust people for goodness sake. I think the best of others, not thinking I am being played. Well, let me tell you it is so easy. You get caught up in the compliments and since it has been a coons age since I have dated, you kind of feel flattered, maybe giddy like a teenager. And I am not used to being called attractive or beautiful. I think my favourite saying was to both men “you need to get your glasses cleaned and eyes checked.” Then crash boom bang…I talk to my daughters and sister to share because I feel flustered and they said STOP. BLOCK. Do not collect $200.00. Yep. I am wondering if my daughters are correct and i was catfished. Never heard of it. Look it up…dumbdeedeedumb…me. Using a pictures of an existing person, real, but not wanting to send selfie or do video chat or talk on phone. Red alert. Mayday.

Well did I not learn my lesson? Nope. Got caught again a week ago only this time this one had a very different approach. When a person says they are from Toronto, it is a big city. I mean I do come and go from PEI to Ontario. Maybe??? Men…you cannot find one match from Toronto (3 million people and growing) instead you are okay to say in your profile that you would be okay to relocate for love!! Seriously?! But then as the talking and chatting get going, you learn the man is not even in the SAME area code…but a ZIP code in middle of the USA for heavens sake. Are you kidding me? But silly me, Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and get practicing how to talk to a man. Grow up Karen.

But each day the chats get more and more around feelings and the real Mccoy kind of thinking. But my logic kind of kicks in and I ask if we can video chat. Does not seem to work. So I say send me a selfie and he does. Well lo and behold, I was still going on the dating sites (because this is what I am supposed to do right now, right? Just explore and meet and chat to men??) and what do I find. The same selfie ends up on that same dating site I met him on earlier but now under a new name with different information. BLOCK. BLOCK. BLOCK. (It is kind of childish to block as I am discovering in myself…just tell the truth. Boy I dislike hurting another person).

I am not sure how many do on-line dating and I only have two sites I am using but I am going to get rid of the one. It is not intuitive and constantly seems to find searches that bring in men from all across Canada and USA. Well why would I do that? There was one man who I could tell really wanted to give ‘me’ a go. Do I have sucker on my forehead? He was from Texas. TEXAS. I blocked him because he was pleading at the end. I had to go and reread my profile narrative to see if I should change it.

Which brings me to rethinking. I am beginning to realize that there are some very lonely (not making fun here) men who really want to find someone and will fabricate reality and say things you want to hear. They could be true and may feel that way but is it what you want to hear that it comes down to in me? So Coles notes version on How to date On-line? My daughters say “mom just go have some fun, talk with different men, find out about them, just do not reveal too much but enough but not explicit and no names or no cell number or no Skype name or video chat hangout or yes maybe video chat but wait a bit”. Okay. So what you are saying daughters in other words is have fun, but not. Got it.

I have to say though that it is hopeful. There are some really decent men just trying to find a soulmate, a person they can spend their life with. No all of them are, Karen!! That is not too much to ask? Well it can be, if you do not put something about yourself down so that a person can get a sense of you. I did not realize they have canned comments for on-line dating available ( I sound like I am reading report card comments) which I did not realize until I felt I read the same line multiple times. How is that possible men? I mean really, you cannot think for yourself. It is not like you do not have life experiences? What are you looking for? What do you want or don’t want.?

What I do realize about myself in all of this is that it is humbling. I do not want to make a checklist for the man, feeling like I am in a store so to speak. I would hope it is more authentic when getting to know the other person. Honesty, truth, just be yourself.But what you put into it, is what you get out of it. One man said he felt it to be too impersonal. I guess it can be. But the biggest thing of what I have learned about who I am….I am more of a Cesna then a Boeing 747. LOL.

Anyway stay tuned. Blessings.

Let us pray for those whom are in need of prayers today.

November a month of….

November sun light

Oh my the rain is pelting down today as I sit here thinking of all kinds of things. I can hear the wind whipping the rain against the window panes, love that sound. Nice and cozy inside while the weather has its way outside. All is good. Today, the first Monday morning of November. Whew! It has been quite a journey thus far with the year that all of us have had. And I mean ALL of us. Yet, November is also a month set aside to hold memories brought out to honour or to celebrate or to cherish or to be grateful for those dearly departed…All Souls Day, All Saints Day, Remembrance Day…people ever present in one’s mind no matter how much time has passed.

It is surprising how life unfolds, not knowing what is in store for you. Some things are wondrous while others…not so much. Losing someone, no matter how or why the circumstance, it is hard and difficult. But in all of that, no matter what, it is not an event; it is a long lasting remembrance even with time providing the balm to lessen pain and to heal. Not easy to do but life does go on despite what one feels inside. Have you ever noticed that? Life continues regardless of our circumstance. Right before your eyes, activity everywhere because life does not stop. The morning will come, the day will take on a life of its own, and the evening will end the day. As night comes morning, life goes on.

I think one needs to remember that. What do we know of the story of others? Not a blank slate to be sure. Whatever has taken place, the memory exists. Sometimes a person can compartmentalize, putting a lock on the door, so to speak, while others carry whatever with them. Triggered by what, who knows, but the memory is not gone just held differently. Hopefully, there is a promise of life to live in that. But regardless, it is the awareness that all may not be well.

I am not sure what the stats are but November can be a month that brings drastic change to the rhythm and flow of living life. Such as the daylight hours are shortened, darker comes in and grabs a chunk of the day on either end, morning or evening, compressing the day light. Even with the clock going back an hour (I wonder why we continue that tradition? Just a question), it is still darker. Somehow I do not think that is good for keeping a healthy well being. And for sure as lightening with this current situation, we have a pandemic heightening the claustrophobic closing nature, with more limitations. Not good.

Of course November is a closing down month too, putting away and preparing for the blanket season…winter. Not saying it too loudly because here on the island we already had snow. Keep the fluffy white stuff at bay thank you very much. The day’s not only shorter but getting colder and colder while the landscape begins to lose its brilliant lustre of colour, replaced with a palette of more browns and greys with a pale like autumn blend. And the wind has a bite in it that kind of goes right to the shivery goose bump, can’t get warm, stage.

For some reason, maybe because I opened myself up and started to fill a change within me (on-line dating – yep still interesting), I am looking and remembering this particular November day. For today marks the anniversary of the death of my husband who took his life, leaving a family to navigate. Here I say aloud. Family and close friends know but now I want it down on paper to give witness to his death. Fourteen years later, so much has changed; thankfully and gratefully. At the time, not so much. I certainly have grown and learned as has my girls. Proud of them. So prayers go out to those who have lost a significant person to a decision that only is between themselves and God.

So I extend a thank you to the “Movember” men changing the face of men’s health as they grow (if they can) a moustache or some kind of facial hair. Not making fun. I have a feeling that many men like to do it because they do not want to shave (just saying). LOL. But seriously the importance of raising awareness of men’s health issues which include taking one’s life, battling mental well being as well as fighting cancer. Some things that go on are not visible always.

Here’s to you November, a month of remembering, and being full of hope. I shouldn’t say it is all bad. Even though there is more darkness in the sky, less sunlight, less nature activity, just less. But, I was looking up November reflections and thinking what could one say. And so

“Spring is brown; summer, green; autumn, yellow; winter, white; November, gray.” —Henry David Thoreau

“I have come to regard November as the older, harder man’s October. I appreciate the early darkness and cooler temperatures…It is a month for a quieter, slightly more subdued celebration of summer’s death as winter tightens its grip.” —Henry Rollins

“In November, the smell of food is different. It is an orange smell. A squash and pumpkin smell. It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning … Food is better in November than any other time of the year.” —Cynthia Rylant

“November is usually such a disagreeable month . . . as if the year had suddenly found out that she was growing old and could do nothing but weep and fret over it.” —L.M. Montgomery

It’s all good. You go November. Blessings this day.

Let us think of those who need our thoughts and prayers as we hold them in our hearts.

Dipping toes in pool

Jump, well here we go

So this is a new pondering for me and as my daughter encouraged me to, why don’t you blog about it mom. A human heart can only take so much. But here we go. So I have put myself out there to do on-line dating, dipping toes in the pool!!! LOL. Can you believe it! Can I believe it! Those who know me will either fall down in shock or smile or say good for you or not sure. I’m not sure what they would say for it has been a very long time, 14 years to be exact, in being in any kind of relationship. Not sure what this means but life is to be lived. Or that is what I’ve been told. Although, I have to say on-line dating puts the definition of the word “interesting” in a whole new light.

I look around me at the many people I have come to know and walk with in my life, very wonderful women and men, who have put a face on relationships that bring joy to my heart. They talk about their partner, funny and serious, but I can feel the love. I have not paid much attention to this gift for me until very recently, maybe the last couple of years since moving here. Is it even possible? 60 and counting? But the beautiful expressions of love for one another, even in the valleys and dales, or tsunamis and celebrations, of sharing a life with another, it is what I get to see or at least feel when I am these people…family and friends. Thank you. And that gives me hope. I realize that relationships are not all beds of roses (I can personally attest to that) , more like ‘bite your tongue’ or ‘roll the eyes’ or ‘patience is a virtue’ or whatever…but still they want to be together and have found away through their thick and thin of life.

So here I go trying it out. Why? I want to believe in HEA. I am a closet romantic I have come to realize. I love reading about romance but kept that on the q-t, just for me. At the end of the day, I like to think there is someone out there for everyone, including me, who would like to be spend time getting to know me, be with me, but not change me or adapt me or mold me or control me. Just let me be me. Is that too much to ask? Well we shall see, miracles do happen.

But I am smiling as I think about my first experiences in navigating this on-line dating world. Holy lightning it is funny, chuckling, unsettling, eyes turn to wonder (that’s you KC), and eye opening all at the same time. And to top it off, how does a person not appear to be forward or pushy or acting crazy when you say like, or wink or whatever the prompt is? Ping you got mail. You know the movie? With Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan? Love it.

Anyway, of course naively I think it is free, NOT. But okay. Then they have this deal and that deal, reading between the lines….it is a monthly cost. And if you want to boost your profile, it will be another cost. Is this really worth it? No just stick to the basics. I’m not shopping. Or is that what it is? LOL. I think being out of the loop, not having much experience dating AT ALL, I think for me on-line will be the most comfortable (and the most safest) especially as my daughters have lectured me already of the dos and don’ts. Hahaha.

I’m a big girl, daughters. Well let me say that in this case, maybe they know what they are talking about. It’s all good. I am on two sites, each kind of different, not necessarily intuitive. Flashy. Neony like. Searches of matches are visible and you can narrow by location, photo (read them even if no photo), likes and so on. Then if you want to be a penpal, friendship, casual, serious, even marriage. Once you get in, you immediately see an image or not, handle of profile or not, and a quick all about them. Scroll through.

The handles that men have are interesting – some have own name (maybe not their own I found out), some have letters and numbers, and still others have a sentence ‘dreamforyou’ kind of name. All say something about the person in some way or other. But the biggest thing for me, if I am putting myself out there, at least have the decency to put own face out there and say a little bit about self. I like to see who I am reading about and ‘talking’ to.

As you scroll through the ‘matches’, they provide for you, they are supposed to be based on the input you share on the site (age, hair, eyes, body type, smoke, drink, religion, children, status, likes and so forth, Whew – its like an interview). As I am beginning to realize mystery is alive and well on-line. Many of the men do not post much on themselves. I guess they have their reasons for that. But then when they do not share a photograph or what they are looking for in a woman, well that is another whole kettle of fish. What’s the scoop?? I guess I just trust people to be honest. Or at least put some effort into the task at hand.

I am not sure what happens on the site but I am getting men from all over the world. I am in a BUBBLE!! COVID-19 for goodness sake!!! How is that going to work? Already made a mistake with one person (that is another story). Why would you be even sending a ‘like’, ‘wink’, ‘get to know’ and so forth to a person across the ocean or state or hemisphere even, never mind even across provinces?! Well I guess I should think of Canada. Don’t know. What to do what to do? Like I said it is interesting.

However, there are men who have written some really thoughtful profiles that make you want to give a thumbs up. Bless their heart. Then you look down and the age range…well 60 is not on their radar…up to 59. Nope. I have to be respectful. Or my age is in there…from 30 to 90. Okay. Can’t win. I am not sure how to think about that one.

Really I guess putting my toes into the pool, I have come to realize that having someone to do things with, wanting to be with you, sharing a life with them, maybe finding a soulmater, is worth it. What does that look like? Who knows? But I am smiling in the goodness. (I know girls. It is not a Hallmark or Disney channel. HEA may come or not.) I want to believe that each person deserves a chance, second chances, to feel worthy, to be cared for, want to be around you because of who you are.

Just so you know. Holy moly, this was a bit of a hard one to put on as a pondering. But to all those people I have come to know, I am grateful for the gift you have given me in that you have made me hopeful. On-line dating, who would have thought? A final chuckle for me was when I told my older sister and dad. My sister said woohoo but my dad, he was the funniest. He has been telling me for a long time to find someone so that you are not alone. No was my answer for so long. You kind of tune out your dad who has always had these little mini lessons (LECTURES) of life. I thought he was going to jump through the iPad screen. So I made his day. Hahaha.

For the gift of relationships and love, blessings.

Let us pray for those who are in need of our thoughts and prayers today.

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.