I’ve been thinking about what an incredible gift it is to be alive.
Our bodies are such intricate creations that if just one tiny cell is off in some way we can be out of whack and possibly even ill. The master Creator has given us these bodies and also given us free will!
We can worry or we can trust. We can gossip or we can spread goodness. We can frown or allow our faces to do one simple act of kindness….our smile! This in turn might cause another to smile. We are actually quite powerful.
Anger can be our primary response to life or we could communicate through prayer or with encouragement.
I love the last part of the ‘balance sheet’ the most :
Life ends when we stop dreaming. Hope ends when we stop believing. Love ends when we stop caring. And friendship ends when we stop sharing.
So I share this sweet reminder with you today. Let’s recheck our ‘balance sheets’ and make sure that no matter what 2021 throws at us we will use our bodies for good!
My pool is closed. Not the big, public pool (which was closed down long ago)but my friend’s condo pool that she shared with me. So now I have to find a plan B to stay healthy.
I decided to get outside on the(hopefully) cleared sidewalks and try another winter walk as the sun was smiling and the breezes whispered,”Come out to play”.
And the sidewalks were fairly dry but every road junction was extremely icy. I don’t think it is wise for me to walk in my snowy neighbourhood right now but I took my time and many lovely things caught my eye.
We still have the paintings from the young Glenora School children encircling the school on the wire fence. These are such a pop of bright colour against the tarnished snow and they bring everyone joy who has the good fortune to walk or drive by.
Mountain Ash berries hang on for dear life like the Christmas lights that hug the trees and bushes. Footprints tell the stories of the many walkers and their dogs who get out daily for their fresh air exercize.
I passed so many pretty porches adorned with fresh pine boughs,scarlet Adirondack chairs or jolly, plump wreaths.
The sun was low and the shadows were long. If one walks in the River Valley you can find incredible Inuksuks that someone sculpted for our pleasure.
There is so much grace to be found in the winter. This is my first winter that I’ll be home for the entire six months or so of it. It’s not my favourite season. But if you bundle up, and are able to look around (without slipping) there is a loveliness in every alley, beauty in every wrinkled berry, and a quiet allure in this waiting time.
And after a nice walk it feels so good to make a hot cup of tea and get back to that great book!
What a speech Pope Francis gave in yesterday’s homily!
“You can have flaws, be anxious, and even be angry, but do not forget that your life is the greatest enterprise in the world.
Only you can stop it from going bust. Many appreciate you, admire you and love you. Remember that to be happy is not to have a sky without a storm, a road without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments. To be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the stage of fear, love in discord. It is not only to enjoy the smile, but also to reflect on the sadness. It is not only to celebrate the successes, but to learn lessons from the failures. It is not only to feel happy with the applause, but to be happy in anonymity.
Being happy is not a fatality of destiny, but an achievement for those who can travel within themselves. To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become your destiny’s author. It is to cross deserts, yet to be able to find an oasis in the depths of our soul. It is to thank God for every morning, for the miracle of life. Being happy is not being afraid of your own feelings. It’s to be able to talk about you. It is having the courage to hear a “no”. It is confidence in the face of criticism, even when unjustified.
It is to kiss your children, pamper your parents, to live poetic moments with friends, even when they hurt us. To be happy is to let live the creature that lives in each of us, free, joyful and simple. It is to have maturity to be able to say: “I made mistakes”. It is to have the courage to say “I am sorry”. It is to have the sensitivity to say, “I need you”. It is to have the ability to say “I love you”.
May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness … That in spring may it be a lover of joy. In winter a lover of wisdom. And when you make a mistake, start all over again. For only then will you be in love with life. You will find that to be happy is not to have a perfect life. But use the tears to irrigate tolerance. Use your losses to train patience. Use your mistakes to sculptor serenity. Use pain to plaster pleasure. Use obstacles to open windows of intelligence. Never give up …. Never give up on people who love you. Never give up on happiness, for life is an incredible show.”
It is dark in the morning now. And it gets dark so early here in the evening. The news is mostly dark too.
Despite all of our shiny new resolutions our broken world can feel overwhelmingly daunting. Some of us thought the pandemic might be over by last May. Now here we are 11 months into it and just a glimmer of hope erases some of the darkness in our own broken spirits with the arrival of vaccines.
Yesterday was not only the first day of 2021 but it was a feast day in my church called The Solemnity of Mary.
Mary was a young girl who was visited by an angel . Let that sink in. How afraid would we be?
Then she is asked if she will take on the mission of becoming the mother of God. No pressure!
In Luke 1 :26-38 we read in the bible…..
Six months after Elizabeth had become pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee. The angel went to a virgin promised in marriage to a descendant of David named Joseph. The virgin’s name was Mary.When the angel entered her home, he greeted her and said, “You are favored by the Lord! The Lord is with you.”She was startled by what the angel said and tried to figure out what this greeting meant.The angel told her,“Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God. You will become pregnant, give birth to a son, and name him Jesus. He will be a great man and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. Your son will be king of Jacob’s people forever, and his kingdom will never end.”Mary asked the angel, “How can this be? I’m a virgin.”The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come to you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy child developing inside you will be called the Son of God.“Elizabeth, your relative, is six months pregnant with a son in her old age. People said she couldn’t have a child. But nothing is impossible for God.”Mary answered, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’ve said happen to me.”
Mary did not push back and say, ” No thanks.This is too weird. I don’t want this responsibility.” Her “Yes” to the request from God brought her much darkness and heartache. But it brought us a Mother who understands our fears and concerns. A mother who we can count on and lean on too. She is also known as the Queen of Peace.
Let us call on our Mother Mary when we feel broken. I try and draw closer to Our Lady through the Rosary but you can whisper a tiny prayer to her and she will buoy you up. She can teach us how to see The Light and how to let the light shine through us!
Jesus says on the cross, “Behold your Mother.” As we all jump into the frenzy of the new year and start attempting to bring our resolutions to fruition, let us call on the aid of our Mother Mary to give us the strength to draw closer to her Son every day this year.(Catholics comehome.org)
Let us ‘love intentionally’ this year. I hope we DO lose weight. I hope we DO cut back on the drinking or any number of New Year’s resolutions. But I also hope that we will try and ‘be the light’ for those that we love and those that need our love.
Ralph Waldo Emerson could have been speaking about last year. Let us leave our anxieties behind. Our mistakes and ‘old nonsense’ too. For we have the proverbial clean slate ahead of us and we can move forward with hope.
The pandemic will still be here and we will still be required to keep each other safe by distancing and wearing masks. There will still be disasters, wars, and terrible attrocities….just as there always have been.
But we can choose love. We can choose to try and be the best versions of ourselves. Of course we will make new mistakes but we can ask for forgiveness and try try again.
Every single day is a gift. We have the chance to look at the beauty in our neighbourhoods and in our neighbours instead of finding fault. We can lighten up and find humour in more situations…it really does help one get through even the toughest of times.
Who can we help this year? Who can we call ? Who needs our resources or our time…or both? Let’s make a small,positive difference in our tiny worlds this year so we can look back on 2021 with pride and more good memories than bad ones.
Every day has its “hopes and invitations” so let us not waste a moment of it.
The last day of 2020. Oh, how we will miss it so. NOT!
2020 has been tough.On all of us.Yes, there have been some really great things come out of it …. like more family time, social distancing friend times, new ways to communicate…like ‘Zoom’ , and more time to get to those pesky household jobs we’ve been wanting to do for years…like clean out our garages!
But as we all know, the job losses, separation anxiety from those we love, need for hugs, the feelings of anger/or fear, and of course the illness itself have been terrible.
Thinking back to New Year’s Eves past I have had the pleasure of many different kinds of celebrations. We’ve been to giant neighbourhood parties, massive ballroom dance nights, stay at home-games nights, murder mystery evenings, and one of my all time faves : the years we would get together with our actor friends and have themed New Year’s Eves. I am remembering our “South Pacific” night,”Under the Sea” night, and “Italian themed” evening to name a few.
The last couple of New Year’s have been some of my best yet because we either got to spend the whole evening babysitting our lovely grandsons or with our son,Darren, and his beautiful wife, Jenny. We booked the (latter)evenings in at the local “Mayfield Dinner Theatre” and were wined, dined, and entertained for hours by the incredibly talented,large cast of ‘tripple threats’. The buffet was wonderful, the conversations just the best,and we even had hats and noise-makers at our table.
But, as we all know, gone are the days of the big crowds or any crowd for that matter. So this year I will ring in the new year once again with my best friend, my husband, Terry. We will cuddle up in our jammies to watch the comedian, Ron James, on good ole’ Zoom and then return to Zoom later for a games night with our table partners ( D & J) from last year.
So: what will the New Year hold? Will the vaccines come to us sooner rather than later? Will our families stay healthy…in all ways? Will we have learned a thing or two about kindness? About reaching out to others in need? I hope so . I pray so.
Will we remember that we are not alone and that God really is aware of our heartaches and worries? You know,looking back, I really must say despite the annus horribilis I really did have a great year. I feel blessed to have travelled (Hawaii, Vancouver) before the pandemic hit, I feel soooo happy that our sons and their families visited us this past summer. I feel so much gratitude for my ‘pool friends’ who wanted to meet up every week (and we still DO!) despite the fact that we weren’t allowed into the actual pool anymore. I found that Zoom connected me visually with my best friends in the world (every single Sunday!) instead of once a year. I saw more of my city and surrounding area than I ever even knew existed as Terry and I headed out for weekly picnics summer, fall, and even winter! I’ve enjoyed my artistic adventures and had time to do them. I’ve written enough songs for another brand new album and enjoyed having more quiet time to connect with God and pray for all those in my life. (And that will never change.)
And most of all, I feel blessed to live with a man who takes true care of me. He does the groceries so only one of us has to take a chance. He comforts me when I’m blue and holds me up when I feel I can’t take another step. He makes me laugh every single day. He helps me with cooking and cleaning and for Advent he read to me every night leading up to Christmas. He showered me with Christmas gifts that he purchased from my family so I wouldn’t feel so apart from them all. And I wear his love like a soft mantle. It covers me but strengthens me .Warms me and dries my tears. Terry.
2021 is still a mystery at this point. But I have hope. I hope that we will get to the end of the year and look back and say, “You know, it was a pretty good year!”
Peace, love, and good health I send to you and those whom you love.
Before the lockdown I had the pleasure of painting with my husband,Terry, and our daughter,Emily, in our home art studio.
Emily, like all of our children, is a multi-talented artist and once upon a time the two of us took oil painting classes at “Pro’s” Art Studio and had a blast. I have been nervous to try oil again after all this time but Emily decided that she was going to do an original oil painting as a Christmas gift for her boyfriend’s mum.
As the months went by I took photos of several of the advancements of her work and then when she had to move the whole set up to her own home due to Covid I asked her to keep sending me photos of her developing painting. Emily says she put at least 100 hours into this beautiful work.