Sitting at the Dining Table

At Beach House Cape Cottage table

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us remember all whom are in need of prayers.

The month of gratefulness

Looking over from the lookout

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the preciousness of life given and faith lived.

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

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

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

Well Its After the Storm

Day after the storm. You wonder?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us hold those who are experiencing the stormy weather.

Calm Before the Storm

Waiting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Saw the Sign

God’s Creation at its finest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us pray for those in need this day.

I’m free…woohoo

You got this. Go little girl. Go.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Quiet

Good morning to you, September Sunday. A day of rest if you welcome this day as the Lord’s Day. That’s today. Can you hear the silence? Loud silence. There is a stillness right now, a hesitation in the movement of the day before its routine and flow begin once again. Thankfully it is not my breath that I can see as I take in deep breaths and exhale. I am not ready for that one yet. It will come soon enough for sure.

I am outside sitting on my deck and looking out into the early morning dawn. A dawn that is just beginning to break, filtering its way through and up into the empty spaces of the woods, baring a wakefulness. It is like a permission of sorts, allowing the silhouette and outlines of the trees to discard the dark, unveiling the shapes and forms of natural life. Where the woods was once dark in blackness, now taking on clarity and definition. Up and at ’em. Oh don’t you love the moments of quiet before the rooster crows!!

Oh my. I can see the sun’s light coming into my kitchen window right now, casting its glittery shine on part of the screen. Yeah sun, you do not have to remind me that I also see cobwebs and a dirty screen. Sometimes when the light comes in, it uncovers work. Better put that on my ‘honey do’ list today…clean screens and windows. I have to be careful of the windows being too clean (not kidding here) as I have had some birds hitting my window pane (four this summer), knocking themselves out for a bit or worse, not survive (two of them). Not even after, I carefully put them in a box, covered in darkness – I googled it.

So this morning. The only sounds right now are the annoyingly large crows cawing away in the distance. How do I know they are crows? I just do. And who knows where they are at this moment because here just above the harbour area, the echos of sounds reverberate, masking their exact whereabouts. However, soon I will have a clangour of babbling as the birds, not just crows, seem to gravitate to forested areas, creating a symphony of racket amongst the branches high above. Talk about a downer.

Don’t get me wrong I really like birds, especially their beautiful colours and uniqueness. Not saying crows are beautiful mind you, but hey, they are part of God’s creation. Anyway, there is something about the mystery of how birds do birds. Being able to fly. Spreading their wings and up up and away. Or landing on a twig or branch, their body weight cannot be more than what? Or lining up on the overhead hydro wires…I have to chuckle at them. It reminds me of the game Broken Telephone. You know when you whisper in someone’s ear and they tell the next who tell the next and so on. Then they have to say what was said. And get it WRONG. But the most fascinating bird for me is watching a hummingbird…the speed of its wing flaps. Gracefully awesome.

Not sure what kind of day it is going to be but it looks promising. I am glad I cut the lawn yesterday as this is supposed to be a day of rest. I waited until the late afternoon to cut the grass, as the sun’s rays are not as intense and hence, do not dry the grass as fast as before. My lawn mower can be finicky at the best of times. For some reason it works best when I tip it over on its side (not sure if I am supposed to) and scrape the remnants of the cuttings baked to its underneath from last lawn cut, and then put it back upright again. It starts. What is that all about??

So it’s quiet. The pause in the day where most things are shut down, turned off, taking a break. That is the gift of the quiet. Just allowing the day to come in slowly. Have you ever heard of the phrase love comes softly? I think it is a Christian movie about life in pioneer times. But it’s that phrase which speaks to me about something coming softly. Like love, it can catch you off guard but you feel it deep within. Just like allowing the quiet to come in softly. To be still.

Be still. Does not happen alot? I often wonder about Jesus going into the desert to pray. He got it way back when. The breathing space to breath, to standstill. Is this how he felt when he went in the quiet and silence? I feel the calming strength of creation, God’s creation as I sit here in prayerful reflection. Not easy to do when your mind gets caught up in the distraction and noise of life lived.

So in gratitude I spread my arms out wide (no one is watching) and spin slowly on my deck in the coolness of the morn. For you Sunday at daybreak, the beginning of the Lord’s Day, are embracing me, wrapping me up in thanksgiving and prayer. Not let me take for granted all that has been given and received. I whisper now Amen.

Blessings today in its quiet.

Let us think of those who are in need of our prayers in their time of need.

Habits and Sayings

Have you ever heard of that phrase? I usually touch my head (kind of a silly superstition) as I make a statement about something or other so that things will work out okay, not just be a fluke. I do not want to jinx it – touch wood. But seriously, it is interesting what sayings or practices come out of me, despite the illogicalness of them. And for some reason, they continue to be said or practiced…just ’cause.

Take for instance this week, I was not paying attention to my cooking and the vegetable stir fry burnt. That’s what you get when you try to multi-task and not be in the same room area. And so the caked burnt vegetables got stuck to my favourite frying pan. Did not look promising. Yet what did I do…I automatically began to put a layer of salt and warm water in the bottom of frying pan to let soak. Why? Well a long time ago, pearly words of wisdom was bestowed upon me by my mom who told me…and it worked. When your mom says try it…you do. And lo and behold, the fry pan is no worse for wear. Burnt offering came off. Salt? Who’d have thought?

Anyway I have been doing staining lately ( as of today, I have four more days left to ‘kill’ during this self-isolation time). It really is a good way to get at projects you keep procrastinating on from your ‘honey do’ list. So taking a risk, I decided I am going to change things up and create a different look for my railing and stairs. Have you heard of gel stain? Not me. When I opened up the can of mahogany stain, I thought I had a stain that went bad. When I dipped the brush into the stain, the brush stood up and stuck in like it was in jello. Ummm. What is going on? Well as I looked at the can, it said gel stain. Gel. What would they think of next? But, amazingly enough, it went on smoothly and easily. I am learning a bit about how to stain versus painting. Way differently I might add. I’m no Property Brothers, that’s for sure.

Of course after you stain, just like in painting, somehow it gets on you. Let me tell you stain is much harder to get off. I thought warm water and soap would work. Then I tried Comet. Yeah I know, I am not a tub or sink. So then, I tried Dawn…because you know it gets out whatever. Nope. I even tried those Mr. Clean scrubby white things which seems to get out most things. Naw. Human skin is different. Did not work? It’s one thing to have a bit of stain but I had a lot on arms and hands. So I finally called my artistic daughter who I know has used and worked with all kinds of art mediums. She said vegetable oil. What?? Well let’s just say after a bit of hard scrubbing, yep it did the trick. Now I have to listen to my daughter too?!

That reminds me of the time my dad telling me this story of how his eye doctor told him to use baby shampoo and those round make-up wipe pads to help with seeing in the sunlight. Just so you know, my dad is not one to mince his words. Anyway to make a long story short, my dad could not go out in the sunlight without his eyes watering and squinting. He had to put on the darkest of dark sun glasses on in order to go out and even then he could barely see. It got so bad he only went out during th evening. So when he went to visit his eye doctor, the doctor said that there was one way that has worked on other eye patients.

Let’s just say it did not go over well. He told dad to take pure Baby Johnson’s shampoo, mix it half and half with water, pour mixture on the eye wipe and rub several times beneath both eyes, three times a day for three weeks, he should see a difference. My dad called him out on it. And he left in a huff. Then he told my mom he would do it and then be able to tell the ‘quack off’. Well…it worked. Dad noticed a difference after the first week. He had gone out in the morning and forgot to put on his sunglasses, and noticed he did not need them so much. Yeah he told the doctor off…with a smile and smirk. Gotcha dad.

I have to chuckle and smile at myself as I think of habits and sayings that come out of me. Sometimes I find myself saying “where did that come from.” Out of the mouths of babes. Or maybe parents? Grandparents? I know that I say or do some things that might strike other people as odd or weird or illogical but hey that is what makes me…me. No rhyme or reason. I remember when I was younger my dad would say ‘when you make a decision, murder the alternatives’. I did not understand it back then but now I understand it and have found myself repeating it to my own daughters. When you let go, let go. Now, at this point in my life, I would have to say my three most common things that I repeat quite often would be “it’s all good”, “love you more”, and “life is precious”.

Life lessons. Blessings today.

Let those who are in need of our prayers be lifted up with gentle and loving hands.

Oh September!! How are you?

Come sit as September comes in

September is one of my favourite months as it comes with its splendid Fall flavours and a bounty of autumn’s palette of hues and shades. Everything that was sharp and crisp now takes on a mellowness including the warmth of the sun. Cool evenings and dewy mornings with a bit of a bite in the air as dawn and dusk befall each day. In the middle, the day, is cuddled in the warmth of the sun, not as intense as early summer, but still with a heat that is cozy and temperate. No extremes thank goodness.

Although I do find that September to November gives new meaning to a windy day. For the breeze of today takes on a new vigour of harshness as we quite often get hit by the remnants of southern hurricanes, trailing up the coastline, taking its gale-like temper out on those in its path. I remember last year; not so nice and certainly lefts its scars on the land for sure. But Mother Nature has its time to remind us of the fragile world we live in. So oh September, what do you have in store for us?

Yet looking out at the beautiful evening tonight, I feel wonder and awe as the sun gives off a gentler glow of light upon my yard and woods surrounding me. It is truly a remarkable feeling and visual to experience. What takes place that nature takes on a different look even though the leaf is still green, the wheat in the field is still pale yellow, the turned soil is still red? Whatever I see, it looks different. And that is why I love the Fall and its cast of colours and flavours.

Although being in self-isolation, I cannot go around as yet to experience the true nature of Falls beginning. Of course I realize that we are still technically in late summer as I believe September 21/22 is the official day of seasons changing. But funnily as I was painting today, I stepped out of my deck to get a bit of fresh air and move away from the paint fumes and what did I see…a leaf falling down upon my deck. In fact three leaves fell, two green but one for goodness sake was yellow. Now what is up with that I ask you. I am not ready to rake thank you very much, nor do I want the season of autumn to rush in too quickly. Nice and slow is good for me.

I can almost smell the fields being toiled. I have heard quite few large machines going down the intersecting roads near me. Not sure if they are tractors or combines but I can almost smell the turned soil of the fields. Don’t you just love the wonderful smells connected to Fall?! For example, I am thinking of the variety of apple orchards and unique tanginess developed here on the island, especially Gala, Cortland, Honey Crisp and Ginger Gold apples. Have you ever heard of them?? Delicious. Scrumptious. T-t-t-t… you know when you put your tongue and tap it repeatedly on the top part of your mouth. You make this sound as if trying to describe the indescribable taste in your mouth. Anyway, each one is certainly tasty when you bite into them. I like when an apple tastes like an apple…you know what I mean?

I think the flavours that become attached to the Fall make sense. I mean in the summer who wants to have a big heavy meal. Yes people do, but really when the weather is a bit cooler, you tend to want to get into more hardy and savoury foods of a more robust culinary experience…the foodie in you. Here on the island there is a wonderful tradition of the Fall Flavours Festival. It is a perfect time to get out and sample the splendour of the island culture and talented chefs specialties which fully supports the local island foods. Even in the midst of the pandemic they are going to continue to embrace the festival which is a good thing. Take your mind off of things…eat, drink and be merry. Is that not what one does? There is nothing like breaking bread together, sitting around the dining table with family and friends.

But beyond the festival is the home cooked meal and baked goodies restaurants that bring out the aroma of the “food to table” way of island. Whether by sea or fields. Unbelievable here. Support local. Absolutely. You hear it everywhere but the proof is in the pudding so to speak… really good and fresh food. When they say homegrown, they mean homegrown.

So September you make me appreciate the joy of the seasons as you leave summer behind to make room for the blessings and bounty of the harvest, land and sea, and the colourful world of natures beauty. Welcome.

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

Thinking of September and what it will bring. Blessings.

Greeting the Day

To be the light of welcome

Not sure why I am thinking this way today but I am. I think I have a terrible way of greeting the day or people or things in some respects. Usually, I just get up and do. I would describe myself as a plugger….I just plug away at things until it gets done. I tend to go right for the purpose without any build up of the person in front of me. You know the whole basic routine of hello > how are you > how is your day going > how are things> and so on. It’s not like I do not acknowledge those around me, I just sort of skip the part of the hospitality of welcome and that you exist part of the conversation. You know what I mean where you have something on your mind and just want to do it. Which in turn, I forget about the nuances of greetings and salutations when I see someone and go right into the purpose. Obviously, taking Etiquette 101 did not work on me so much. Geez, I got to get better at that.

Take for example this morning my sister greets me with a ‘good morning sister’ text. Makes me smile of course. And then proceeds to tell me something about the noise of the fire engine blaring down her road. Wakey wakey for sure. But the operative word is “good morning”. How do I greet her? Well, I just take a quick peek and note how I begin my initial text with her….well it does not begin with “good morning to you too” I can tell you. Yeah, more like the ‘do’ of me. Yikes.

So good morning, welcome, bonjour, jambo, salut…that’s about it. Although I do manage to smile when I meet/greet another person even though I may spoil the encounter by going right into the purpose. However, that does not address the text to others. Did I not just ponder about delivery a few posts ago, going on and on about how delivery is everything. Well it is! So practice what you preach already. Message received.

Which reminds me of a recent conversation with my niece yesterday who by the way will be starting her very first teaching position ever. Fresh off the press teacher. Woohoo. Bless her heart. Anyway, we were talking about how she was going to engage her students as Covid-19 has certainly created an interesting environment to work in. Greetings and meetings. How in the world? You can almost get paranoid by just looking at another person. Here she is in her first year, grappling with the nerves of figuring out the art and science of teaching, never mind the additional consideration of how to greet and meet in welcoming in the students with a mask on of all things. What does even look like for her?

Funnily (but not so funny) enough,I find myself hovering into the shelves at the grocery stores or Walmart as people go by…the wrong way. I mean there are arrows to help us…jut saying. Anyway, greetings and such have taken on a different reality. Take for instance, the whole eye contact with others as the mask hides most of the face. Eyes can be very expressive don’t you find. So the greetings become what??…wink blink nod. Or add the eyebrows to do some wiggling like Groucho Marxs. All conveying welcome??

But, I cannot down play a smile because I may not always be actively engaging the portion of ,y brain to do the traditional social graces expected. Is that not what Saint Teresa of Calcutta reminded us of…”Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” Of course a smile will not be seen behind the mask but as Saint Teresa points out, it can be expressed in the eyes. Have you ever noticed people with kind eyes? There is a warmth that comes out of them…acceptance, grace, hope, gladness, appreciation, respect. Not sure what but you jut feel it.

To make a long story shorter, need to greet before meet. That is my realization for today. Before I do anything else I need to greet the day, person, thing in some way of welcome. Acknowledge being present. I am cringing right now as I am just recalling how I greeted my youngest as she called me last evening; my opening was “why you calling me?” A joking expression in the spirit of love (meaning you have not touched base for awhile with me and I’m kind of letting you know) which upon reflection did not go over very well. As she told me, “well you could have called too.” My bad little one. One day when I grow up.

Well enough about my ahs and flaws. Blessings to you all.

Let us think of those whom need us today, prayers or a hand.