MANY OF US ARE STARTING TO FEEL THAT EIGHT MONTHS OF ISOLATION IS TOO HARD. WE ARE ‘OVER’ IT AND JUST WANT TO GET BACK TO NORMAL.
OUR NUMBERS FOR THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS HAVE SPIKED ACROSS MUCH OF CANADA INCLUDING MY OWN PROVINCE OF ALBERTA AND CITY OF EDMONTON. SO WE’RE NOT DONE YET. NOT EVEN CLOSE.
TODAY, I AM ABOUT TO VENTURE OUR QUITE A BIT : TO CHURCH, TO BREAKFAST AT OUR FAVOURITE PLACE,’HAP’S’,AND FOR THE FIRST TIME TO A FRIEND’S HOME….IN HER HOME.
AND YET THINGS ARE NOT THE SAME IN ANY WAY.
IT TOOK MONTHS FOR OUR CHURCHES TO REOPEN AND IT TOOK MONTHS FOR ME TO HAVE THE COURAGE TO RETURN. AND STILL IT MAKES ME SAD TO SEE THE CHURCH ROPED OFF FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING AND MASKS EVERYWHERE I LOOK. THE SENSE OF COMMUNITY IS SOMEWHAT LOST.
WE GO TO OUR LITTLE RESTAURANT ONCE A WEEK NOW IN THE MORNING WHEN NO ONE IS THERE. IN THE PAST, YOU COULDN’T FIND A TIME OF DAY WHEN THE PLACE WASN’T JUST HOPPING AND A LINE UP OUTSIDE.
AND FOR MY VISIT WITH MY FRIEND, CATHY,TODAY WE WILL WEAR MASKS AND SIT APART. IT CAN BREAK MY HEART TO THINK ABOUT OUR FIRST CHRISTMAS WITHOUT OUR ENTIRE FAMILY HOME FOR THE FIRST TIME ….SO I TRY NOT TO THINK ABOUT IT.
I WILL THINK ABOUT THE ‘POSTER’ I FOUND (UP ABOVE). SOMEDAY WE WILL GATHER AGAIN AND WE WILL ACTUALLY HUG…NOT A VIRTUAL HUG, NOT AN ELBOW BUMP, BUT A REAL HUG! AND WE WILL HAVE MADE IT THROUGH THIS PANDEMIC. IT MIGHT BE OUR NEW NORMAL TO HAVE FOREVER CHANGES. BUT MY HOPE IS THAT NO ONE IS MISSING THAT I LOVE.
THE PANDEMIC HAS ANOTHER POSITIVE GOING FOR IT : I KEEP FINDING COOL PLACES TO VISIT IN MY OWN ‘BACKYARD’ !
THE CLIFFORD E. LEE NATURE SANCTUARY IS ONLY A 30 MINUTE DRIVE FROM OUR HOME BUT I JUST DISCOVERED IT THIS WEEK AFTER LIVING HERE FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS!
ALTHOUGH IT WAS OVERCAST IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE WARMEST DAY OF THE WEEK SO WE TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE WARMTH AND HEADED OUT ,COFFEES AND CAMERAS IN HAND. (WELL, JUST THE CAMERAS IN MY HAND.)
THE BOARDWALK TOOK US THROUGH WETLANDS THAT ARE NOW MOSTLY ‘ICE’LANDS . THE ASPENS AND BIRCH LOOKED SO PRETTY COMING OUT OF THE ICE AND THE CHICADEES WERE EVERYWHERE.
THEY WERE OBVIOUSLY USED TO PEOPLE FEEDING THEM BECAUSE THEY SWOOPED AND SWERVED OVERHEAD, JUST WAITING FOR YOU TO PUT OUT YOUR HAND FOR THEIR LANDING STRIP.
AT ONE POINT I CALLED TERRY ‘ST. FRANCIS’ BECAUSE HE HAD SO MANY BIRDS AND SQUIRRELS FOLLOWING HIM DOWN THE BOARDWALK. HA HA. IT WAS MY FIRST DAY WEARING A WINTER COAT AND I WASN’T TOO HOT. BUT THE WALK WAS WONDERFUL AND AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THE PHOTOS IT WAS GORGEOUS THERE.
THESE PHOTOS ARE HALF FROM MY GOOGLE PHONE AND HALF FROM MY GOOD CAMERA. IF YOU GO YOU MIGHT WANT TO BRING YOUR CAMERA. AND DON’T FORGET YOUR WARM DRINK!
I HAVE ATTEMPTED TO MAKE SOURDOUGH BREAD ONCE BEFORE. IT DIDN’T RISE BUT IT WAS DELICIOUS .
THIS PAST SUMMER I RECEIVED A SUPER THOUGHTFUL GIFT FROM OUR SON AND HIS WIFE IN VANCOUVER : A BRAND NEW DUTCH OVEN! (I WAS SOON INFORMED THAT I ALREADY OWNED ONE ….I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST AN OLD, HEAVY POT..HA!) BUT I WAS EXCITED BECAUSE NOW I COULD MAKE TWO LOAVES AT ONCE.
LIFE GOT IN THE WAY OF BAKING BREAD FOR AWHILE (NO-BREAD DIETS, ETC.) BUT FINALLY I DECIDED THE TIME WAS RIGHT TO TRY AGAIN. MY DAUGHTER RE-ACTIVATED HER ‘STARTER’, SHARED SOME WITH ME, AND GOT ME STARTED ON ‘FEEDING’ THIS THING FOR A WEEK.
SHE SAID TO FEED IT WHEN IT TRIPLED IN SIZE AND IT DIDN’T REALLY DO THAT. SO I FED IT WHEN IT DOUBLED IN SIZE.
YESTERDAY, EMILY ACTUALLY CAME OVER AND GUIDED ME THOUGH THE ENTIRE GETTING READY TO BAKE PROCESS AND I STARTED THIS AT 8 AM. SHE ARRIVED AT 1 PM AND WE FINALLY FINISHED PREPPING TO BAKE AT ABOUT 7:30 PM. WHAT A LONG DAY OF WORKING ON THESE 2 LOAVES BUT WE HAD FUN TOGETHER AND CONTINUED TO WORK ON OUR PAINTINGS IN BETWEEN TIMES.
THIS MORNING I WOKE UP, PREPPED THE OVEN FOR AN HOUR, AND THEN COOKED AS PER INSTRUCTIONS UNTIL 11 A.M..
ALTHOUGH THE BREADS LOOK NICE : THEY DID NOT RISE AGAIN ! UGH! I’M JINXED.
EMILY SAYS WE WILL TRY AGAIN SOON . IN THE MEANTIME I WILL ENJOY THESE DENSE BREADS WITH SOUPS OR STEWS.
ONE OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO WHEN WE (USED TO)TRAVEL IS TO VISIT A CEMETERY.
I LOVE THE HISTORY. I LOVE THE FEEL OF THE LARGE TREES, BEAUTIFUL GROUNDS, AND PEACEFUL LOCATIONS. I LOVE THE ANCIENT STONES ; THEIR SHAPES, SIZES, AND STORIES.
AND I ESPECIALLY LOVE THESE PLACES IN THE AUTUMN. LAST YEAR WHILST ON TOUR WE VISITED A FEW GORGEOUS CEMETERIES ESPECIALLY IN EASTERN CANADA WHERE ONE HAS THE PLEASURE OF EXPERIENCING THOSE VIVID REDS.
LIKE MANY OF YOU I HAVE ALWAYS ENJOYED THE FALL AND IT IS MY FAVOURITE OF ALL THE SEASONS. WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME HOW TO TAKE A FEW OF MY SPECIAL LEAVES AND PRESS THEM WITHIN THE PAGES OF A BOOK. MONTHS LATER I WOULD FIND THESE LARGE, RED OR YELLOW MAPLE OR OAK LEAVES DRIED OUT BUT PERFECTLY FLAT AND INTACT BETWEEN THE ‘LEAVES’ OF A PRECIOUS NOVEL .
AS I GREW OLDER AND I WAS BLESSED TO RECEIVE FLOWERS FROM MY BELOVED I WOULD TAKE AND DRY THEM IN MY BOOKS. AFTER WE HAD BEEN MARRIED SEVERAL YEARS I TOOK ALL OF THESE PRESSED MEMORIES , PLACED THEM ON A LACE BACKGROUND, AND FRAMED THEM WHERE THEY HUNG FOR MANY YEARS IN OUR BEDROOM.
NOW THAT I AM IN THE AUTUMN OF MY LIFE I CAN STILL APPRECIATE THE SPLENDOUR OF AUTUMN ALTHOUGH I CAN’T WALK AS FAR. I CAN CONJURE UP THE MEMORY OF FOLKS BURNING THEIR LEAVES AND THAT WONDERFUL (ALTHOUGH NOT ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY) AROMA AS I SKIPPED ALONG THE SIDEWALKS DURING DUSK ON A HALLOWE’EN EVENING WITH MY FRIENDS AND SIBLINGS.
I THINK OF THE WAY THE LEAVES SOUND AS THEY CRACKLE UNDER MY FEET AND I LOVINGLY REMEMBER THE JOY ON THE FACES OF MY OWN CHILDREN AS THEY JUMPED IN THE HUGE PILES OF LEAVES THAT WE’D JUST RAKED UP. HA HA.
PERHAPS IF YOU ARE BATTLING SADNESS DURING THIS PANDEMIC TIME ONE OF THE MOST UPLIFTING THINGS YOU CAN DO IS TO TAKE A WALK AND BREATHE IN THE SIGHTS AND SMELLS OF AUTUMN. REALLY LOOK AROUND AND SEE THE BEAUTY AROUND US .
AND MAYBE PICK UP A PRETTY LEAF OR TWO AND PRESS IT IN A BOOK FOR LATER. COVID : THIS TOO SHALL PASS . BUT WE CAN KEEP SOME OF OUR MEMORIES OF AUTUMN ALIVE DURING THIS LONG WINTER BY OPENING A GOOD BOOK ….AND FINDING A REMINDER OF BEAUTIFUL DAYS GONE PAST.
LEADING UP TO THANKSGIVING I THOUGHT I WOULD DO A FEW ‘ACTS OF KINDNESS’. I SAW THAT A WOMAN ON FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE WAS SELLING HOMEMADE PUMPKIN PIES SO I DECIDED TO BUY SEVERAL TO SUPPORT HER. IT WAS SORT OF A ‘WIN’ ‘WIN’ ‘WIN’ AS I INTENDED TO GIVE SOME OF THE WHOLE PIES AWAY TO SINGLE FRIENDS WHO MIGHT NOT HAVE THE CHANCE TO HAVE A NICE THANKSGIVING DESSERT.
THEN I ALSO WOULD NOT HAVE TO BAKE A PIE FOR MY OWN DINNER. CLEVER!
WE DELIVERED THE PIES TO A COUPLE OF FRIENDS AND I MENTIONED THAT I PURCHASED THE HOMEMADE PIES BUT THEY WERE GIFTED WITH LOVE. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN.
THANKSGIVING MONDAY TERRY MADE A CLASSIC, YUMMY THANKSGIVING TURKEY DINNER AND WE ENJOYED THE COMPANY OF THE 2 COUPLES IN OUR ‘BUBBLE’.
DESSERT TIME CAME AROUND AND I WENT TO CUT INTO THE PUMPKIN PIE(MY FAVOURITE!) AND I NOTICED THAT IT WAS KIND OF WET. WEIRD. I BROUGHT MY PIECE OF PIE TO THE TABLE AFTER THE GUESTS HAD SERVED THEMSELVES (OF EITHER THE PIE OR THE CHERRY CHEESECAKE THAT MY SISTER BROUGHT) AND TOOK A BIG BITE. OH MAN. IT TOOK EVERYTHING I HAD NOT TO SPIT IT OUT ONTO MY SISTER’S FACE ACROSS FROM ME. EEEEWWWW! IT WAS BAR NONE THE WORST TASTING PIE I HAVE EVER TASTED.AND THE CRUST WAS UNCOOKED. (WE ALSO PURCHASED PIES FOR OUR GUESTS THAT NIGHT WHO AFTER A GOOD LAUGH DECIDED MAYBE NOT TO TAKE THEIR’S HOME. (THOSE 2 PIE CRUSTS WERE BURNT).
YOU CAN IMAGINE THE THOUGHTS THAT IMMEDIATELY ROLLED AROUND IN MY HEAD…. “I GAVE THESE AWAY!” “DON’T EAT IT!” “I HAVE TO CALL MY FRIENDS AND APOLOGIZE” .
WELL, WE ALL HAD A GOOD LAUGH ABOUT IT AND I’M STILL HAPPY WE SUPPORTED THAT WOMAN. BUT TODAY I COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE SO I BAKED MY OWN PUMPKIN PIES. I’LL PUT ONE AWAY FOR CHRISTMAS AND THE OTHER WILL BE SHARED WITH OUR ‘BUBBLE’ . THIS TIME I HOPE FOR A BETTER RESPONSE….FROM ALL OF US! HA HA.
AS I WAS BAKING EARLY THIS MORNING I WAS THINKING ABOUT FINDING TIME TODAY TO ‘GET IN’ MY PRAYERS.
HERE IS SOMETHING YOU MIGHT ENJOY……
Have you ever noticed how in the scriptures men are always going up into the mountains to commune with the Lord?
Yet in the scriptures we hardly ever hear of women going to the mountains. But we know why — right?
Because the women were too busy keeping life going; they couldn’t abandon babies, meals, homes, fires, gardens, and a thousand responsibilities to make the climb into the mountains!
I was talking to a friend the other day, saying that as modern woman I feel like I’m never “free” enough from my responsibilities, never in a quiet enough, or holy enough spot to have the type of communion I want with God.
Her response floored me, “That is why God comes to women. Men have to climb the mountain to meet God, but God comes to women where ever they are.”
I have been pondering on her words for weeks and have searched my scriptures to see that what she said is true. God does in deed come to women where they are, when they are doing their ordinary, everyday work.
He meets them at the wells where they draw water for their families, in their homes, in their kitchens, in their gardens.
He comes to them as they sit beside sickbeds, as they give birth, care for the elderly, and perform necessary mourning and burial rites.
Even at the empty tomb, Mary was the first to witness Christ’s resurrection, She was there because she was doing the womanly chore of properly preparing Christ’s body for burial.
In these seemingly mundane and ordinary tasks, these women of the scriptures found themselves face to face with divinity.
So if — like me — you ever start to bemoan the fact that you don’t have as much time to spend in the mountains with God as you would like. Remember, God comes to women. He knows where we are and the burdens we carry. He sees us, and if we open our eyes and our hearts we will see Him, even in the most ordinary places and in the most ordinary things.
He lives. And he’s using a time such as this to speak to women around the world.
WHAT WOULD I DO WITHOUT MY BEST FRIENDS? IF ONE GOOD THING HAS COME OUT OF COVID IT IS THE ABILITY TO “ZOOM” EVERY WEEK WITH MY ‘BESTIES’.
WE NOW LIVE IN FOUR DIFFERENT CITIES IN CANADA : EDMONTON, CALGARY, TECUMSEH, AND WATERLOO BUT WE HAVE KNOWN EACH OTHER SINCE HIGH SCHOOL.
DO YOU HAVE A BEST FRIEND?
ROSEMARY PASSED THE FOLLOWING ON TO US AND I THINK IT SAYS A LOT ABOUT HOW TO BE A FRIEND….
The Friend Who Cares By Henry Nouwen
When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not-knowing, not-curing, not-healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is the friend who cares.
I AM SO BLESSED TO HAVE THESE CARING FRIENDS IN MY LIFE.
DID YOU KNOW THAT ALTHOUGH 70 PERCENT OF THE WORLD IS COVERED BY WATER, LESS THAN ONE PERCENT OF IT IS DRINKABLE BY HUMANS?
ONE OF MY FAVOURITE STORIES IS ABOUT THE SAMARITAN WOMAN WHO MET JESUS AT A WELL. IT IS SAID THAT ‘NO RESPECTABLE RABBI WOULD SET FOOT IN SAMARIA’. BUT JESUS WAS TIRED AND SAT DOWN AT ‘JACOB’S WELL’ FOR A REST. READING ON….
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
HE SAID THAT THOSE WHO DRINK OF IT “WILL NEVER THIRST” . JESUS MEANT THAT HE WAS THE LIVING WATER AND THAT THOSE WHO RECEIVE HIM WILL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. HE ALSO SAID THAT THE LIVING WATER THAT REFRESHES US SHOULD BE USED TO REFRESH OTHERS TOO.
WE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO FLY TO A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY RIGHT NOW TO BUILD A WELL FOR THE THIRSTY. BUT LET’S REFRESH OTHERS WITH OUR KIND SPIRITS AND OUR WORDS OF LOVE.
LET’S BE ‘LIVING WATER’ FOR OUR FAMILY, OUR FRIENDS, AND THOSE WE MEET AT WORK OR ON THE STREETS. PEOPLE ARE THIRSTY FOR GOODNESS RIGHT NOW. ‘WATER’ WE WAITING FOR?
I HAVE HAD A TENDENCY TO FEEL SORRY FOR MYSELF LATELY.
THESE LAST COUPLE MONTHS HAVE BEEN PAINFUL AND NOT JUST BECAUSE OF COVID. GOING OFF MEDICATION FOR ARTHRITIS HAS BEEN A BITTER PILL TO SWALLOW (TO USE A MEDICAL ANALOGY) WHILE WE TRY TO FIGURE OUT STOMACH ISSUES.
BUT TODAY I AM FEELING SO VERY GRATEFUL FOR ALL I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO COME THROUGH PHYSICALLY. HOW BLESSED AM I?
I HAD MY FIRST HIP OPERATION WHEN I WAS TWO (HIP DYSPLASIA) AND NOTHING REALLY HELD ME BACK AFTER THAT. I LEARNED TO WALK. I BECAME A DANCER AND PERFORMED IN MANY MUSICALS AND THEATRE, TELEVISION AND MOVIE PRODUCTIONS. I TOOK JAZZ, BALLET AND TAP IN UNIVERSITY AND BALLROOM DANCING LATER IN LIFE WITH TERRY TOO.
I SPENT 7 YEARS IN A WHEELCHAIR WHEN MY ARTHRITIS GOT REALLY BAD BUT TERRY (AND MY CHILDREN AND FRIENDS) JOINED TOGETHER TO MAKE SURE THAT THE LITTLE ONES LEARNED TO CARE FOR THEMSELVES AND EACH OTHER AND THAT WE STILL DID MANY FUN THINGS AS A FAMILY. (THE PHOTO ABOVE IS OF THE CHILDREN AND I IN DRUMHELLER, ALBERTA).
AND ALTHOUGH I HAVE HAD DIFFERENT OPERATIONS TO IMPROVE MOBILITY (BOTH HIPS REPLACED AND REBUILDING MY LEFT FOOT AND ANKLE FOR A COUPLE OF EXAMPLES) I AM THRILLED THAT AFTER WALKING WITH A CANE FOR OVER 35 YEARS I AM FINALLY FINALLY CANE FREE!
OUR ‘SPIRITLINE’ TOUR ACROSS CANADA …LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME…WAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF MY LIFE.
SO COVID OR NO, I CAN WALK AND TODAY I AM REMEMBERING THIS SIMPLE BLESSING.
HALLOWE’EN IS MY FAVOURITE DAY OF THE YEAR. I KNOW. WEIRD. BUT IT IS.
I’M GLAD THAT I DROVE AROUND BEFORE THE SNOW FELL TO TAKE A FEW SHOTS OF THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL ‘SKELLIES’ AROUND OUR TOWN.
WHEN OUR CHILDREN WERE LITTLE I THINK I CAN HONESTLY CLAIM THAT WE HAD THE BEST DECORATED HOUSE IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD. WE WENT ALL OUT WITH THE FULL HOMEMADE GRAVEYARD, GIANT SPIDERS AND COBWEB DRAWING DOWN FROM THE ROOF, FULL SIZE COFFIN, AND SO MUCH MORE.
I THINK MY LOVE OF THE DAY STARTED WHEN I WAS VERY YOUNG BECAUSE I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED WEARING COSTUMES. CANDY WAS FUN BUT NOT THE DRIVER. MY GOAL WAS TO WIN ‘BEST COSTUME’ EVERY YEAR ….AND IF THERE WAS A PARTY I USUALLY DID! IF THERE WASN’T AN EVENT IT DIDN’T MATTER BECAUSE I WOULD DRESS UP TO GIVE OUT CANDY TO THE CHILDREN AT THE DOOR.
THIS IS POSSIBLY WHY I ALSO BECAME AN ACTRESS. LOVE THOSE COSTUMES!!!!
ANYWAY, MY DAUGHTER, EMILY, JUST CALLED AND ASKED ME TO DRESS UP AS “MOIRA ROSE” (FROM SCHITT’S CREEK) AND HER DAD AS “JOHNNY ROSE”. SHE SAYS HALLOWE’EN IS ALSO HER FAVOURITE DAY AND SHE DOESN’T CARE IF IT’S COVID SHE JUST WANTS A PHOTO OF US DRESSED UP LIKE THIS…HA HA HA.
OUR GRANDSONS MIGHT ALSO CARRY THE ‘I LOVE HALLOWE’EN’ GENE . THEY ARE BIG TIME INTO CREATING COSTUMES AND FINDING PUMPKINS TO CARVE THESE DAYS. LOVE MY BOYS!
THIS YEAR WE ARE GOING TO HAVE OUR OWN GIANT SKELLIE HOLDING ONTO OUR BOWL OF TREATS ON THE PORCH. THE TRICK OR TREATERS WILL HAVE TO USE THE HONOUR SYSTEM TO TAKE ONLY ONE BAG OF CHIPS . DANG PANDEMIC.
I THINK IT IS ACTUALLY SUPPOSED TO WARM UP A BIT IN TIME FOR ‘THE BIG DAY’. NO BONES ABOUT IT….I’M ALREADY THINKING ABOUT MY COSTUME.
I SAW PHOTOS THIS MORNING OF THE GREEN GRASSES AND BEAUTIFUL COLOURS IN SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO WHERE A LOT OF MY FAMILY LIVES.
BUT,TRULY, UNLIKE OTHER YEARS I DON’T FEEL TOO UPSET WITH THIS EARLY SNOW BECAUSE WE MADE SUCH AN EFFORT TO GET OUT AND ENJOY OUR LOVELY AUTUMN HERE IN THE WEST.
IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK TO HAVE THE SNOWS HOLD OFF UNTIL AFTER HALLOWE’EN ? OR HOW ABOUT TILL AFTER …..DECEMBER 15TH? HA HA.
AH WELL, THIS INSIDE OF MY HOME HAS TOUCHES OF FALL FINERY IN ALMOST EVERY CORNER AND OUR AUTUMN PAINTINGS CHEER ME IN EVERY ROOM. I THINK I WILL HAVE A WARM ‘CUPPA’ AND SIT BY THE FIRE WITH A GOOD BOOK.
WE MUST LOOK FOR THE POSITIVE IN THIS TIME OF OVERWHELMING NEGATIVE. DON’T YOU AGREE?