Delivery is everything

Act of kindness, just a touch even

A song keeps bopping in my head today, “You got to try a little kindness, yes show a little kindness, just shine your light…”. Being kind. Last night, I spent some time with my island daughters (as one is back in Ontario) and we got to talking about the kindness of others. My middle daughter had called me up early in the evening saying she is coming over and would I mind if she could cut my lawn. Oh my goodness. Bless her heart. I was humming and hawing about it all day, knowing it needed to be done. Was there a wave of ESP or something. Kick my heels and make me smile. YES. And she did. Thanking her over and over again, she finally said (not shouted or ranted or raved), “STOP thanking me mom. I wanted to”. Which funnily enough, as we kicked back in the living room afterward, led us to a conversation around how people talk to one another.

Whatever happened to being kind to one another? You know when you say something nice to someone and they in turn say something nice to you. Or you hope so. In other words, kill them with kindness. I am not sure ‘kill’ and ‘kindness’ should be in the same sentence. Odd saying but it works. I know I have found myself wishing I could take my foot out of my mouth at times. Have you ever had a time when you wish you could take back something you had said to another person? You know the feeling when you realize (after the fact) that your mouth ran away with the spoon…sort of like verbal diarrhea. And you cannot take it back no matter what. I think of that old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never break (hurt) me.” Well it is not true.

Words have the power, like the pen, to be hurtful or life-giving. I had a recent conversation with my grandson about what we say and how we say it. You know those moments… out of the mouth of babes. Watching something on TV, not always sure what he watches but in this particular instance I thought (after listening to the way the characters are talking to one another) maybe he needs to turn it to something else, or turn it off. But I am not teaching him anything. Soooooo, Rara may share a bit of wisdom (or nag).

I don’t know, it seems to me that there is more of a tendency to have less of a filter in the way we talk or be with another person. I know that saying it how you see things can hurt but REALLY a person can say whatever in a kinder way. Keeping the dignity intact for goodness sake. To me delivery is everything. There is a way of saying things and a way to not make one feel less than dirt beneath one’s feet. I believe and value it whole heartily. I do not want to leave someone feeling less as I know that feeling and it is not life-giving in any way. How you say what you say (how you do what you do) can be sweet as honey or bitter as lemon juice.

How does one curb the tongue? Put the breaks on. Whoa horsey!! I chuckle at myself because boy there are times when someone should have said to me “who peed in your soup today?” I do realize that being kind to others can also mean I can feel vulnerable, taking a risky of looking foolish, to be taken advantage of, but so, okay. Courage. Maybe to be kind is having courage?! As Mother Teresa says “Do It Anyway“.

To me, kindness to others is a simple act. Think about it, just one word or action can turn a frown upside down…the day becomes brighter, palatable, breathable. A moment given to feel moved, protected, noticed, held, loved. I think the wondrous thing about being kind is that it can spread like wildfire unbeknownst to me or you. Like an echo long after. Oh to be the beginning of that echo…

Kindness matters. Blessings.

Let us pray for those in need and for those who struggle with mental well being.

Ready Set! Here I…

You gotta love them.

Go. Well colour me happy. Who would have thought that this day would come? With a clean house and a full larder, my grandson and granddaughter are “coming to town”:…my home down the road. Talk about humbling. To be able to be in their presence, hugging them and spending time with them….thank you Lord. Thank you island community. It is a good day.

I say a prayer for all parents who have been with their children 24/7 with little or no reprieve over the last few months. Children want love attention food entertainment love attention food entertainment…you get the drift. They are like the energizer bunny…don’t quit till their battery runs out. Two speeds – fast and sleep. But love them always. Bless them all. So now I get to spend some time with two of my grandchildren – a 9 yrs (close to 10) and 9 mths old (close to 10). Whew. What an age spread! What to do? What to do?

It’s funny as a Rara (grandmother) to be with them. There is nothing like it. I think back to raising my own three daughters and think, how did I fare? I am not so sure I paid as much attention to the little behaviours of my own as I do with my grandchildren today. Maybe when you are in mother mode, you are more on autopilot, blind leading blind, and alot of hail Mary’s and hope like the dickens they will be okay. Now it seems I have a different sense of awareness and love as I spend time with my grandchildren. Is it being more mature (or seemingly so), seasoned, not so ruffled, lesser distractions, slower even? I see them and delight in their milestones with such wonder and awe. I guess it is easier to be a grandparent because I CAN GIVE THEM BACK. Spoil. Return. Spoil. Return. Good ol’ return policy.

I remember the many summers holidays my folks took us down home to New Brunswick where my dad was grew up. I loved visiting my grandparents on their farm; life was so very different from my own Ontario living. I am not sure how old I was when I became aware of the power of the grandparent versus my folks especially my dad. We got in late from our Ontario drive and I could smell breakfast wafting up the stairwell of the old farmhouse. As we plodded down in our pjs I remember my eyes bugging out when I saw what was on the table. Grandma had cookies and cake in the center of the table amongst toast, bacon, sausage and eggs. Dessert. What? Well let me tell you when grandpa said “dig in” I looked at my dad then grandpa then dad and then my grandma…I had dessert at breakfast. The best breakfast ever. Cake and toast, eggs and cookies. No way. I remembered looking at my dad with a frown on my face (more like what happened to you dad). We rarely got dessert during the week back home never mind at the breakfast table. NOT in my life time. Bestest holiday memory. That is when I knew grandparents beat parents hands down…discipline looks like a fresh made chocolate chip cookie. Woohoo.

The funny sad things is about those times in going to visit my grandparents out east was I cried when I left. According to my folks, each and every time. Why? Do not think it was any one thing but I can say I felt freedom. My grandparents had a 100 acre property, big farm house, old barn, spring water, pantry, cousins next door, huge garden, big porch, house on a hill looking over the river bank, sitting in the cool grass, river below to go swimming in and so on and so on. And every day a table full of food at breakfast and supper time. A grandparent basket full of happiness. So I cried when I left.

So here I am. Do I want my grandchildren to cry when they leave? No. But I do want them to want to return. My parents are now great-grandparents, I am a Rara (grandmother nickname), and now two of my own daughters are moms. For me it is a privilege and honour to be in this role, able to love them as a grandmother. Not the same kind of pressure as being a mom, but still up there. A different kind of love, but still loving them. A different kind of protectiveness, but still protectiveness. They certainly keep me young at least for the first hour and then I start to age quickly. Haha. I’m no spring chick, more like an old hen but boy I feel good. They love unconditionally. And for me …whew! It feels great…like Tony the Tiger G-R-E-A-T.

Now I rest up for the next time (operative word ‘rest’). With memories of precious moments with them this weekend, I watch them leave with a smile. And knowing my middle daughter and partner got a bit of a break, its all good. Safe and sound. You can thank me by not returning too soon. Oops did I say that?? Even though I may tease my daughter (crazy nagging) when she says “see you soon”, my eyes roll (in a loving way mind you) and I respond to her with “yeah yeah yeah”. Until the next time my grandchildren….Ready Set Go! Bless your hearts.

Blessing this day.

Let us pray for all those in need today and to the parents/guardians who need to know they are loved and supported.

You have to love nature

Walking with nature abounding all around.

Nature at its best. I really enjoy living out in the country and never more aware of all the reasons I said yes to moving here than this morning. Waking up to the sounds of birds chirping away while the sun’s rays breath life into my room, what a way to greet the day! It’s not like did not notice nature and its beauty in the city for you find beauty everywhere if you just look for it. But when it comes to nature in its wild undisciplined rural fashion, with no rhyme nor reason in its movement…it just comes out breathtaking. And that is probably why I hesitate about working on creating a garden…I like the au naturale…how nature puts things together, haphazard chaotic beautiful.

And today there seemed to be a buzzing of busyness with animals, high in the sky and low on the ground. I saw five red foxes today on my travels as Maggie May and I headed up along the cliff and passed the woodlot. Three baby cubs or pups, I think they are called, poked their head out around a fallen log…cute little things. But with Maggie May, I do not trust her. She has no sense of preservation…AT ALL. Go big or go home. Anyway, I walked quickly passed them but they were smart as they took a look at us and immediately scampered up the hill back in the woods. They can stay cute at a distance. Of course mama fox was nearby. I did not see her right away as she sat real still, waiting. Not sure what she would do but not waiting around to find out. Clip the leash on Maggie and hasta la vista foxy mama.

Did I not get up the dirt road along the cliff and there in front of me was another fox with a mouth full of…eeww…I think dinner. Maybe mice. Just saw little legs hanging out of its mouth. Yummy…well, each to their own. I think we caught her by surprise. Took off like lightning. Although, It should not be so surprising to see so many foxes considering that the island’s history of harvesting red fox for their furs (not something I like to think about or support) was quite lucrative back in the day (early 1900’s). But thankfully (as far as I am aware of) they just roam the island freely now. In fact they are quite sassy in their sauntering, here there and everywhere, rural or urban, the island is their home.

Maggie May and I continue our jaunt and got to the crest of the cliff where we would turn around to head back, and there is a beautiful bald-headed eagle soaring above our heads. Unfortunately, I was initially preoccupied counting the boats out in the water; I counted 29 boats (well they look more like large dots). That is the most that I have seen at one time. Sorry lobsters. Anyway a sound of whoosh or something like that overhead and I looked up…wow! Just wow! I could almost touch the eagle – crisp white head on a deep black coat covering its wings; I could almost see its eyes. I think of the movie with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds The Proposal…you know where the little white dog and the eagle (I think) tries to swoop down go after the dog. So funny to watch. I immediately got closer to Maggie. No meal for you bird. Haha. Absolutely mighty and true to its grandeur I have to say.

I like to think that I pay attention to what is around me. It is in the details, minute at times, but seeing the gift of nature in all its glory. Gives a lift to the spirit. How does it all work? How does it look so good? Yes, nature can be cruel at times as I think of the little feeties coming out of the foxes mouth. Checks and balances…balance of nature. Yet the purity and the awesomeness of creation…especially in the looking.

Right now I am sitting outside writing my ponderings (a bit chilly with the wind mind you) and I see a bluejay. The vibrant colour of shades of bluey whitish hues of blue…brilliant and sharp. Like how does that happen?!? The colours separated so perfectly on its body from what I can see; give the physical characteristic feature of the blue jay that defines the blue of the jay. Right. Is not that unbelievable!! Then it blows its beauty by attacking the poor little mother robin as she tries to pull a worm out of the earth…are you kidding me! Oh, Mother nature…haphazard, chaotic, beautiful…you continually jostle the moment.

Blessings this day and all of creation. Grateful and thankful that I can enjoy it.

Let us pray for those in need, to the leaders leading us with safety and health in mind, and for gifts of nature that we may be stewards to all.

Opening A New Door

Door to pantry…never know what you’ll find

I have always been struck by doors that I have passed through in my life. Glass, wooden, steel, metal, screen, sliding, framed, batten, keyless, revolving, windowless…you name it, I have been through it. Even one with bars…not what you think. Just to clarify, I visited an old jailhouse turned museum in Goderich many many moons ago. Regardless of the location, doors open and close in unexpected ways. Sometimes they open without effort and other times you almost have to kick it in; then closing them, well that can take longer like when the winter seeps into the doorframe causing warpness in the opening…almost two hands to close it. Still others, you have to slam the door shut, shaking the very walls of the building. And of course you have doors that are sleek and smooth, opening and closing without a stir…perfectly set and ready to be used.

I find doors have a certain beauty to them. They can give character and charm to a room or building. In my home I have a different door for every room and entry in and out of my home. Its like each door picked has a bit of a story which of course if doors could talk…what a tale they could tell. One door that I really like is the door to my pantry as it has a frosted glass insert with the word pantry on it coupled with a design image to enhance its look. My dad, bless his heart, built the pantry for me. I always wanted to have one and I found these two doors at a local shop MoneysWorth; the doors spoke to me. So I bought them both and lo and behold, creative dad, he used not one, but both doors – one door became THE door to open and close, while the other door became part of a wall to pantry, solid and secured. Possibility.

There is a certain stir in the heart, trepidation maybe, when opening and entering through a new door. For doors if you think about it, keep things a part, separate, divided. You never know what is behind it and so when you reach for the door knob or handle, you tentatively push or pull to open it, peering in before walking across the threshold. It is like opening yourself up to the world, seeking or hoping, that what is beyond is good. Almost like a negotiation of sorts before crossing. Think of the doors weathered and worn, beat up even, and you hesitate for a moment or two because it does not look so inviting. You wonder how the door got to be the way it is and still functioning. But it has served for many years and continues to despite its wear and tear. You almost want to press your hand on it, drawing comfort from its years of purpose.

Other doors allow for an unbelievable openness, as light comes in providing a glimpse of what is in store. Then I think of the poor window cleaner as they scrub away the finger or hand prints mashed against the pane, skewing a bit a clear view of whats beyond inside. And once you enter, you receive something in some way. It is then that the door you entered may be a keeper, visiting it again, or it will be closed no matter what.

Doors have become more of a metaphor in my life. Some doors are wide open, new beginnings, a way out, or an invitation to enter. Hope. Joy, While other doors are shut tight, no key to be found. Closing down what might not be life-giving. A sign on the door “do not disturb”. I think about my daughter having a red sign with white lettering “Enter at your own risk”. N’er truer a word. Unfortunately, rattling the key chain can hammer at the door some days which makes me think I need to either open that door fully and face whatever finally or take plaster and seal it off. Yet, do I really want to have that? What makes one ready to face the music? What is the worst that can happen?

But as I reflect upon my own life, I seem to have doors that are more slightly ajar, not ready to be opened fully or closed tightly. I wonder why that is? So I find myself leaning toward the age old adage from Matthew 7:7 in Bible “ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened to you.” Basically do not be afraid. Is it not true, when one door closes, another door opens?

Maybe I should be looking at my closed door(s) in a different way, doors closed in front of me and doors closed because of me. How to look at the door in both ways, allowing the opportunity or accepting the closure? In other words, I face a choice. What to do, what to do? The nature of the door comes to mind, and its’ caretaker may well shape my choice – steel metal wood glass keyless keyed – all come into play.

Why thinking of doors today? For the past three months there have been many kinds of doors closed that have taken the wind out of my sails so to speak. I mean literally intellectually physically emotionally spiritually. Just shut down without regard; not intentionally or without compassion but for safeguarding, protection, safety. Whatever the reason…doors closed. So for me, I have come to point, spending time in contemplating my own way of lived life and pondering my own and others’ doors before me. So I believe that the caretaker of doors opening to me (and all of us) is being removed slowly. It is an invitation to go forward into change slowly.

Here I stand at the threshold of a new door.

Blessings today.

Let us pray for those in need and all those who seek and they shall find.

Beautiful day to wake up to

Lobster launch…blessings fishermen

Good morning Sunday. Rise and shine. From the first peek of the morning dawn , I awakened to the day feeling a spring in my step as I went for my walk with Maggie May. So many things to be thankful for this day. Have you ever had one of those days where everything around you feels and smells of goodness. Not a cloud in the sky as the sun spreads its warmth and light up and down over and under across the water, fields and landscape as I walked. The beach was so quiet with the waves gently lapping along the shoreline. Tide low allowing me for a much easier walk in rocky section of beach, more of sand available to walk on. Lots of crabs tipped over from the seagulls feasting on them. Balance of nature alive and well. Perfect day to be reflect on my week… and what a week it was!!!

I thank the Lord for the graced moments given to me. My week was filled with unexpectedness. I got a wondrous surprise on Tuesday afternoon; my daughter and children stayed over. THEY STAYED OVER. Are you kidding me? The island has had such progress in no new cases of COVID-19 (none for 21 days). They opened up our homes, allowing family or other households in…up to five people. Well, bless my soul, my daughter strolls up my the deck walkway, holding out my 9 month old granddaughter to me. Tears in my eyes, I reach out and carefully take my granddaughter in my arms with shock. Literally. Then my grandson ran up to me squeezing me so tightly. No words. Just no words to capture my feelings inside. My heart bursted with love and gratefulness. My daughter has been a real advocate and stickler to the restrictions and so for her to do this…. oh happy day. Cautiously and carefully I hold baby girl in my arms, smelling her hair and rubbing her back. The beauty of a hug and human contact. You can’t beat it. Let’s play.

Then on Friday morn, a beautiful sunny day once again, I took my walk and surprisingly greeted with a view of cars and trucks lined up along the road each side down near the beach. I forgot for a second that it was the official launch for lobster season on the north and south shore of the island. Tradition and culture a sight to behold even in times of challenge. People had trekked down to the beach where the boats would set out….waving and celebrating the beginning of the season. Long awaited day to be sure. Blessings for a good season.

The waters were a bit crazy as the lobster boats took their place in line, the deck of boats laden with lobster traps, stacked high and wide, ready to be sent out to do their thing…lobster for dinner. You couldn’t even see the wake of the boats as they wrestled the crest of the waves from the harbour mouth. But never truer the skill and wisdom of the captain, to navigate the bow and find the right path. Sun arising, meeting the time honoured tradition with hope in its light. I’m sure if I was close enough to catch the faces of all, smiles wide and set for their big day ahead. Ahoy, mates. Lobsters…better watch out.

Later on that day, getting in my truck, I passed the little harbour down at the bottom of hill from my home. What a sight to see! Bustling with activity. More trucks than residence in the community, lined up at the wharf and along the roadside. More traps being lined and stacked up, ready for the returning boats, to load them up once again, and repeat the journey. I really felt alive and joyous for these fishermen and I am sure they were up real early… tasting the sea awaiting them.

As I left the harbour and turned on to route 20 I couldn’t help but feel hope. Like things aligned for this day. I mean lets’ face it, Mother Nature can really be crazy wicked at times but not today. Driving down the road, looking across the fields to the open sea, I see the lobster boats dotted along the deep blue waters; very few white caps to be seen. I opened my window wide, put my hand out, reaching with outstretched fingers as the cool warmth connected me to the energy flowing from my finger tips to the wind refreshing my face. I think the cobwebs untangled and were freed inside of me. Oh it felt good.

Then yesterday I had my granddaughter with me and we sat on the swing. It was heaven as she sat in front of me, held in my arms, her little head turning this way and that. She touched the wooden swing gently with her tiny fingers, just touching the wood. Everything was discovery. Oh I love her. After we got up, I walked around the yard with her in my arms, introducing her to my world and hopefully see the beauty as she ‘talks’ her language and me talking my language of what she sees. Nothing better than being a Rara. Thank you little bairn.

And today waking up to the sun, Maggie May and I just took off. Didn’t even brush my teeth (eew), I just needed to get outside for some reason. I almost found myself galloping (not really, just thought it) down the road towards the beach and cliffs. A feeling of electricity filling me up, like a new lot on life. Does that make sense? For whatever reason my eyes paid attention to my surroundings. My favorite blue herons nestled tightly on the branches overlooking the marsh down near the beach. I love those birds. And all of a sudden, I notice green. Green sprouts in the ditches, little sprigs of whatever wild flora are everywhere, and little buds on the limbs of branches. I guess life sprung up while I was sleeping.

Blessings to this beautiful day.

Let us pray for those in need and to God’s creation alive and in our care.

No moms, there is no manual!

Its not easy…being mom

This is probably something that I will talk about over and over again. Motherhood. Celebrating Mothers Day and all the blessings last weekend, oh my heart beats loudly as I think about being a mother. Listening to my two daughters with their own children now, experiencing with them, the hills and valleys of this beautiful journey called motherhood. Hard work…absolutely. Easy….not in this lifetime. Regret…never. Hopeful…to the moon and back. What to do when you live in a shoe?

Firstly, I think you come to the conclusion as a mother that there are no books (or websites) that you can go and turn a page to say “aha” – the answer to my child’s cry or hurt or situation. Hints and tips galore. Yes. But that is just what they are…the found generalizations from thousands upon thousands of evidence of raising a child over time which could apply in some way yet not exactly but near enough to get a glimpse of the answer you are seeking. Google it – that’s more like a fret and regret; temporary at best. I got to my go-to ‘mothers’ in my life, practical wisdom, and then to the professionals. Sometimes all you need to hear is reassurance. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Secondly, do what I do, not what I say. Or is it, do what I say, not what I do? Sometimes being a mother, a parent, is surviving in any way possible…just to get through the day or half day. Why not go for broke? Hour of the day. I think there are times things come out of me that I have no idea how they got there. Osmosis maybe? After reading a “Top 10 Momisms” poster shared with me about the things moms’ say (or dads because I have heard them too) to their child(ren), well, where do people come up with these crazy thoughts?

I know….a mom that’s who. Me in particular suffice to say. Oh, if the walls could talk I know I have said a few of these one liners…. “Why? Because I said so, that’s why!”, “I’m going to give you until the count of five!”, “I’m not running a taxi service.” Or “Do you want me to turn the car around.” Or “I’m doing this because I love you.” Or my favourite is “Bob. Sue, Joe. Moe. whatever your name is…” Yeah that last one SHOUTS OUT. And now it is worse because I have grandchildren to add to the alphabet. LOL. The look my girls give me at times as if to say, “do you know who I am?” The jokes on them now; what goes around comes around.

Mom is a 24/7. I think each day is a lesson (at least a hundred a day give or take) wanting to do right by your child and “say what you mean, mean what you say”. If only children could read between the lines, get at what I, mom, am trying to say in a way that gets them to LISTEN. PLEASE for the love of God. For me, delivery is everything. How you say or do, what you say or do, leaves value and dignity not only to the child but you, mom. Just let me reiterate here…there is no MANUAL.

Happily, without knowing it, there is something mothers have crafted to a fine tuned instrument…”the look”. You know when the face, especially the eyes, take on a certain je ne sais quoi and plain speak…you crossed the line. Hopefully it is not a fearful, scary, punishment kind of look…not so good. Being a mother, a parent, is not so easy. It is the best role in the world but no hope really to get it right; slippery slope on a good day. Why do we say or do what we do? Quick answer, going in blindfolded, routing around, feeling your way. Long answer, the beauty of being human. To err is human, to forgive divine.

There is no job description in a posting of being a mother. Certainly not one to capture all that being a mom is and does. So, I think of that Jim Henson’s song by Kermit the Frog from Sesame Street “It’s Not Easy Being Green” and the last verse sung gently. “When green (mom) is all there is to be, It could make you wonder why, But why wonder (why wonder?) I’m green (mom), and it’ll do fine. It’s beautiful and I think it’s what I want to be.”

Blessings to being a mom.

Let us pray for all those in need today and in the hope for healing to all who suffer.

Happy Mothers Day from me to you

Mother and child

I hope it is a Happy Mothers Day for you all today. A wondrous day set aside to celebrate and honour all mothers around the world. Mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, adopted mothers, birth mothers, surrogate mothers, sisters as mothers, aunts as mothers, great grandmothers, great aunts, mentors, mother figures who have come into the role of motherhood to support and nurture in some way. There is nothing like being a mother to celebrate but just so you know it is even better to be a grandmother (or Rara, as I am affectionately called). For when a baby is born, so too is a grandmother. Yep, that’s me!

BUT do you know how valuable and worthy you are in your role as mother? Do you know the influence you have made upon, in word and deed, the life of your child(ren)? Mother bear and lioness come to mind. You have to know you make a difference every day and in every way. You touch intimately the life of your child (young or old) by your very breathing. Yes, YOU, you got the goods. Right from the first moment you held your wee babe in your arms, you became mother. I think of that story by Dr. Suess Are You My Mother? Yes, unequivocally irrevocably yes. Don’t have to search any more, little bird, mamas got you.

Of anyone, a mother knows first hand the gift and challenge of what it means to be a mother, figuring out how this thing called motherhood works as you parent and raise children. There are no rough drafts, dress rehearsals or edits, you don’t get a do over; nope (emphasis on the ‘p’) each day is a go for mama and child. On call 24/7. Oh goodness, there were so many days when I should have stayed in bed. I want to believe that I was patient, gentle, kind, forgiving, encouraging, nurturing, supporting, helpful, caring, protecting, reliable…okay lets not get carried away.

I need to say here that I am so grateful and thankful to those people in my life who have helped me to become a mother and be a mother to this day. What’s that old adage – “give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, you feed him for a life time’ – or something along those lines. There is no way I could have done it on my own even though it felt like it at times. It is kind of funny when you think about it; being a mother does not come with any training manual. And yet, moms (along with dads) are responsible for another human being. HUMAN BEING!! You bet we need to celebrate Mothers Day. You, mothers, are AWESOME.

Special and gracious. I cannot express enough with words to truly capture all that my mom has given me over the years. To celebrate Mothers Day is a testament to her. Always near by. Best hugs ever. Devotes her life to family to care and well being. More of a doer than a talker, unlike my dad…thank the Lord. Bless her for giving me the best things of her as baker, cook, gardener, guide, sewer, listener, supporter, giver, popcorn maker…unconditionally giving. And when she speaks, it comes with wisdom beyond her years, laying the ground work for me to being a better person. Feisty, humble, honest (a bit too blunt at times), kind-hearted, loyal, forgiving, and stubborn too I might add. Just to keep things real…I know she does not like to be front and center; nor believe her worthy it seems. But to me, for me, in me, you were and are the cream of the crop for moms. So thank you for being mine every day .

And to two of my daughters who are mothers now…oh how proud I am of you. My middle daughter with her two children, 9-yrs old and 9 month old and my oldest just recently gave birth to her first, almost 2 months now. Mothers, both of you!! Woohoo. The love, tenderness, and protectiveness you have for your child(ren) make me weep with heartfelt joy and delight. You are learning that being a mother is a full time vocation – not job, not career – but a calling. The things you say and do with your children you give of yourself fully to them, unconditionally…you want to be a mother. Thank you. Patience is a virtue and you got it in spades. I can chuckle here as I recall old conversations about both of your thoughts on what kind of mother you wanted to be. Now you know. And you are learning quickly that IT IS NOT SO EASY. You may be a daughter, sister, partner, friend, colleague but today you are a mother. Happy Mothers Day.

Thinking of you all, living and passed, and hoping you know that you are loved and cherished in celebration and memory. Happy Mothers Day. Have a blessed week.

A blessing to mothers and grandmothers for Mothers Day. Enjoy.

Let us pray for those in need today and for all mothers giving strength and courage to walk and nurture the path of motherhood.

Blessings to New Mothers

Happy First Mother’s Day

It is Mothers Day weekend and for some women, like yourself, this will be your first ever Mother’s Day day as a new mother. Congratulations. Embrace and enjoy the day. Oh my, what a blessing you have been given. A day to celebrate you…only you. Can you think back to the moment when you found out that you were pregnant? When the doctor confirmed your new status with the lovely words, “congratulations you are pregnant”. What thoughts went through your head and crossed your heart? Delight. Fear. Joy, Trepidation. Giddiness. Scared. Any or all of the above and then some?

Soon afterward, you got to hear the heartbeat for the very first time. Oh that sound. Then the glorious day came…the drinking of a gallon of water so that you could have the ultrasound…pressing on your filled tummy (are you kidding)… the gender to be revealed (or not). Boy. Girl. Confirmed. Leave it? Check up. Then baby shower? Diaper shower? Another check up. Gender reveal shower? Register your baby? Another check up. Thinking of name – yes no maybe so jolly go pepper merry go round of people giving their 25 cents? Baby room? Hospital visit? Another check up. Birthing classes? Advice? from all over, everyone and their mother. Body changing dramatically. Did you think it was going to ever end? Well yeah…baby came… early or late or on time…baby arrives on baby time. And that’s the name of that tune. It is all about baby. Happy Mothers Day, life as you know it just got better.

Oh guppy mama. You are a newbie, born to a new world that you have not yet discovered until now. Holding your new baby in your arms with unbelievable love shining through your eyes as you look at her or him, a preciousness of life. No one knows what it is like to be a mother until you become one; life-changing beyond measure. This fragile tiny being is yours, dependent on you for everything. I have to say now and will say it again and again, there are no set clear instructions here; no chapter 10 p. 121 paragraph 3 page you can turn to. You, baby mama, are it. But you are no alone…just do not google everything. Please and thank you.

This day honours you as you begin to build a relationship that is crazy, intense, maddening, frustrating, unconditional love connection from day one. Respecting your role as you navigate motherhood, you need to know your are valued, worthy, loved. It takes a deal of great courage and strength to be present each and every day to this little one who basically pees, poops, eats, burp, sleeps, cries and repeats. First borns are like you, little mama, only they come first. They are learning to live in this world as you are. Only you do not get to pee, poop, eat, burp, sleep, cry and repeat as much as you would like. Nor do a heck of lot of other things…you know watch a full TV show or have a long bath or coffee with the girlfriend….get the picture. The thing is you do not know what you do not know and baby is totally beautifully unknowingly selfish. It is all about them. Boy things have come full circle. Anyway, you realize you have to figure out how to be a mom while holding baby. Welcome to motherhood.

Recently my oldest daughter had her first baby, a baby girl. She is coming up to two months now. Oh my goodness, how time flies! And being a mother of three daughters myself, I can attest to that; where does the time go? Over the last few weeks, my daughter has shared some thoughts in becoming a mother. I tear up and am most grateful in her celebration and to this day to honour her and others as new mothers. Here’s to your own stories as I share a little snippet of my daughters thoughts with her permission…

Sleeping is so much easier that the first week. LOL…I love her so much and it is so satisfying to get her to settle when she is so upset. I am finding rocking her on the chair helps out….she likes me to walk and sway her. But I have to watch her head moving around.”

“Just had a big poop and a bottle. We didn’t get a burp out of her…PS she has a set of lungs. She cried and swatted at me until daddy brought her bottle. She is such a hungry girl….she projectile peed when I changed her LOL. She is the best”

Anytime I gently place her in the play pen she wakes up. Hopefully tonight she will sleep….she spit up one of her bubbas so it took a bit to calm her as she needed to eat again…she is so helpless when those things happen but she has mommy and daddy to protect and her through it.”

She even gave me smiles early this morning when she had changed and feed around 4:30 am. I want to believe they are smiles and not gas….I love being a mom, she is my whole day….I am so excited for the day when she starts to genuinely smile. I will probably cry.

Happy Mothers Day to all the new mothers. You are so blessed this day.

Let us pray for those in need and to all the mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, and all who are new to motherhood (or grandmother hood – best ever let me tell you)

Me garden?!?

Green thumb!!!!

Two of my daughters have been encouraging me (nah, more like nagging – that’s my job girls) to garden. Now I can do many things but gardening…I am not nor do I have a green thumb; more of a “plantus unknownus” thumb. I do not know why they think I can keep a garden going because I can’t for the life of me, even keep the flower gifts or plants given to me ALIVE. I think there must be a gap in the synaptic brain cell that cowers at the mention of plants. My mom, bless her heart, felt that I needed lessons on tending to her gardens in my formative years. What that means in mom language is WEEDING. Oh yeah mom, I know that to be true.

Gardening and me??? It is kind of like oil and water; they do not mix. I can’t even be a bit witty about gardeners to compare myself to for I cannot think of one famous gardener. I had to call google…hey google who are famous gardeners…. Lancelot “Capability” Brown or Kim Wilde or Frederick Olmsted or Edith Wharton to name a few. Honestly, no idea at all. I tend to put gardening right up there with sewing, good cooking, needlepointing, crocheting, auto-self caring, baking…the list is a bit intimidating. That gene pool seemed to miss me.

Mind you, on the other side of the garden, which would be me, I have been and walked in some very beautiful gardens; breathtaking and wondrous to the eye. Butchart Gardens on Victoria Island BC. Unbelievable. You go in during the day and it leaves you speechless and in love; then to return at night…whoa… strolling along the gently lit stone paths is an ambiance of holy sacredness. Architecture supreme. Hop on over to the rose gardens adorning Springbank Gardens in London ON; the fragrance and fragileness overwhelms the senses. But the playfulness of the gardens in the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls ON or Cypress Gardens FL, the toastiness of the space to the colourful array of butterflies amidst the rich and abundant greenery…a tapestry of delight, organized chaos, and humbleness.

I appreciate God’s creation whether it be by the sweat and toil of human hands or God’s, all are wonderfully made. I have been witness to people in my own life whom I refer to as keepers of the garden; be the architect, weaving their love of life and splendour and the impermanence of living things. Good role models. Each walk among their efforts, cutting trimming weeding tending, all that is their care. To be or not to be.

Hail to you, keepers of the garden. Waking up at my grandparents farmhouse many a summer morn (the best summer vacations as a child), I peek out my window seeing my grandfather carrying a weathered tin pail, trekking down his years worn path, to this huge rectangular garden he tended, ready to pick fresh and dewy the fruits and vegetables. I smile when I think back to his scarecrow in middle of garden, next to a battery-operated radio he had on every night. Gosh darn critters. Anyway, I know the filled tin pail soon will be part of our evening table and palate. Tasty delight of fresh carrot and beans; sweet succulent bite of raspberry pie. Hmmm.

Then my mind goes back to my grandmothers city home, where each day she would slip out her back door, clippers in hand, ready to snip the brownish petals or over zealous bushy plants; her garden outlining the periphery of her backyard. Oh to smell the crazy mix of fragrances – could not be duplicated in a bottle – from her banquet of floral and fauna wonder. Humbling.

And with the hereditary making, the gifts of gardening passed on to my folks as I walk along their pebbled stone walkway and periphery of their yard to hear their garden come alive. Created a small haven of bliss. To this day in their new home with my sister and hubby…they were not even in the home two months and they got a knock on door, be in the local newspaper for Best of Home Gardens. What can I say?!

So garden? Me? Well I now know what it takes to be a gardener: dedication, perseverance, commitment, planning, willingness, good memory, like to play in dirt but most of all have LOVE and seeing joy in weeding. Got it. Attitude adjustment – good to go. Oops, I cannot forget a little minor detail LIKE you know it would be good to have soil, shovel, hoe, rake, wheel barrow, seeds, bulbs, plant food, gardening gloves, kneeler (for seasoned knees), weed puller, spade, and some kind of plan. And maybe a little bit of rain, sunshine, shade and good soil would be good too. AND A SENSE OF HUMOUR.

For the record, I am just going to say upfront that nothing ever looks like the front of the seed package and I really do not like weeding. Just saying. So now…well I like sunflowers.

Blessings to creation and all living things.

Let us pray for those in need today and for the land we are graced with to be cared and tended for as stewards of earth.

Down home cooking, you gotta love it!

There it is..Christmas cake. Yum.

I got a wonderful box of goodies in the mail yesterday which seemed apropos as the snowflake craziness took place ALL day yesterday (your dry sense of humour Mother Nature…well I am not laughing). In the box was nostalgia, taking me back to the warmth and goodness of down home cooking. Christmas cake. Can you believe it? Dark coloured Christmas cake. Mmmmm. Smack my lips. Finger lickin’ good (sorry… that’s KFC tasty line). I have not had this cake since…forever. Years for sure.

My sister, bless her heart, sent it by mail coupled with 2 pair of long woolly reading socks (for me and my youngest daughter who by the way put them on, and me too), tuna for the cats and chewy stick for my dog. Her thoughtfulness so made my day. I l-o-v-e Christmas cake but not the light coloured or fruity looking fruit cake kind …only dark. It was her attempt…nailed it sister…at making it from mom’s old recipe and since she has had time off. Oh happy day. All for me. Not sharing.

Down home cooking. How to describe it? Well for me, it’s my mom. There is nothing like mom’s home cooking (or my dad’s for that matter). I can feel my mouth water as I think of all the tasty meals that filled our table over the years; never went without for sure. Mom made everything taste good or at least for me and could do it on a dime, literally. There are so many images that come to mind that I have attempted to try with my own family but sadly for the most part did/does not quite cut it. In truth, like her hug there is nothing mom’s cooking.

Warm rice pudding; rice so soft (never mushy), creamy rich, filled with raisins and then sprinkled with cinnamon. Swiss steak melting in your mouth after a day of slow cooking…a bit of salt and ketchup to top it off (not an HP or horseradish girl). Tuna casserole, chunks of cooked potatoes with mushroom soup and peas (oh my brother did not like them peas) baked together in the electric fry pan. Popcorn on the stove, fluffy and flavourful with just the right amount oil and salt – NEVER burnt. How mom? I got the same pot, oil, popcorn, brown paper bag for popped corn to shake in and get rid of excess oil even. Is in the wrist? What did you do?

And your fish & chips. Awww the chips (The Good); Grrr the fish (the bad and the ugly). My dad’s dollar fries – thinly sliced real potatoes, circular shaped; then deep fried, laying them flat on a cookie sheet after frying, to salt them. Almost like a potato chip. Delicious. Anyway It’s a good thing dad created dollar fries because we always had fresh fish with it. You can’t have fries without fish. (Oh you can and I do. Just trying to find the best french fries place still). Anyhoo…unfortunately my dad being a dye hard fisherman of the Maitland River – rainbow trout, brown trout, bass, pike (or whatever else he could catch), fish was on the menu. LOTS and LOTS. Eew. Fishy fish taste…not for me. But fish we would have and let’s face it, it was free. Thankfully back then my mom took pity on me and got me fish sticks to eat. Highliner all the way.

Yes, I do realize I live on PEI where seafood is the bomb. Just so you know, I have stepped up from fish sticks to halibut or haddock & chips…Pigeon Coop (closed for good, too bad), Go Fish Eatery, Sout’West, and Island Pub near by. FANTASTIC.

Now for the piece de resistance. Thin crust pizza. Mom and dad’s pizza would beat any pizza I have had over the years. Not a fan of stuffed, thick, fluffy, greasy pizza. Folks had the dough, the toppings, the sauces, the seasonings down to a science…a delicious flavourful, very palatable yummy pizza. Like the varieties you get at any most pizza places…I had it at Mom and Dads Home Pizzeria long before. Who would have thought? Miss them. FYI: Piatto’s on PEI kind of close.

The funny and maybe sad thing is I am not a real big fan of cooking per se. Of course I have cooked many a meal and maybe my family would say “mom you know how”. Yes I know how to cook. That is true. I can make a mean turkey or roast beef dinner with all the trimmings…kind of got that down to a science. Do I love it? Do I see it as cathartic and calming? Bleh. I am no Master Chef, Iron Chef, French Chef wannabe chef material at all. Do not sign me up. My heart races even now when I hear my daughter, ‘what’s for dinner?’

Fortunately I have family and friends who are star quality to down home cooking and have invited me to their table or shared at mine. My girls know that my most special time is after meal is prepared, placed on table, we sit around the dining kitchen table together. Food spread in bounty, we bow our heads in thanksgiving.

So what is the recipe for down home cooking. 2 cups of love, 1-6 hands to prepare, 2 tbsp of comfort, a pinch of humbleness, 3 stalks of togetherness, stir gently with kindness, sprinkle with grace, pour into a baking sheet of daily life, heat for 1 hour with all ills of daily life, allow to sit with aroma of hope, turn onto a plate of cheerfulness, garnish with tears and laughter. Down home cooking…it takes a bit time but nothing like it. Thanks mom and dad (and my sister for a delicious Christmas cake surprise).

Bon appetit. Amen.

Let us pray for those in need today and for those whose hands have prepared this meal.