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Welcome to my blog! Of course if we were visiting in person, I'd have the teapot out and we could sit and chat.
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

The blackberries didn't get the memo

  We were out in the garden yesterday doing last bits of clean up.  It was cold and blustery and I had witnessed a few snow flakes the day before.

  And then I saw the blackberries.  Apparently, they didn't get the memo.  Not only was there fresh ripe fruit, but they are loaded...this in spite of a couple of frosts, lots of cold nights, and certainly a whole lot of neglect.

  So I brought in a branch.  They don't ripen like a tomato, but I thought they were rather lovely.  And needed some warmth.

 
 We enjoyed the ripe ones for breakfast.  On October 25th.  Not bad!!

  Reminds me of some people I know.  Two especially in our close family circle who are fighting cancer.  Who are taking chemotherapy.  It doesn't really matter what season it is.  They are both determined, and giving up isn't part of their vocabulary.

  Yes, there are seasons of life.  I know that all so well.  But I see the parallel.. While there is life to live, it is lived with determination.  With zest.  My mom is one of those people.  This week she is helping an "elderly" lady move.  She cooked us dinner last night, just because it was her turn.  She determines not only to live, but to live fully, in spite of personal storms, bleak forecasts and often a tired body that isn't always cooperating.

  So I look at my blackberries and I think about mom.  Today is a gift.  There are blackberries on the vine.  There is a life to live...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

JOY

  This post is a memo to self.  Practice Joy!

  Life can get serious.  A wise friend told me years ago.."You are a burden bearer - you will need to find places to play, to live joyfully".  Her words echo to me now and then when life gets heavy, or perhaps it would be more correct to say, when I let life overwhelm me and I forget.

  I don't think I'm alone in this struggle.  Lately when I look at the challenges in my own life, people I deeply care about who are sick, a large family and circle of friends we love and want to stay connected with, meaningful work that takes time and energy, and the challenges of school... all can make a "heavy" life.  How do I lighten the load?

  Some of it is choice, and there are other things that I have no control of.  It hit me the other day that I needed to practice more "living in the moment"... just taking the task or moment at hand, and letting everything else go.  To turn off the mind that wants to race to the "to do" list, or the "what if" pile... and just enjoy this moment.  I am convinced that we spend so much of our time analyzing and regretting the past and planning and fretting about an unknown future, that we forget to really live.  To breathe.  

  So I did.  Just take a deep breath.  Feels good....

  "This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!"  I've heard those words so many times and it would be a good practice to recall them daily.  Today is good because I'm alive.  I am breathing.  I have family to love.  I have food to eat, and shelter over my head.  I live in a beautiful place.  

  The old proverb, translated, says it well:  "A joyful heart helps healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones".  Proverbs 17:22 CEB  

   One of the places I play and find joy is at my local Art Center.  As I create bits of pottery, I find joy in the creation, and in a place of creativity.  But here too, I can get serious.  As I concentrated on putting on handles the other day, someone encouraged me to lighten up.  Enjoy the moment!  Relax the intensity, I thought... it's just a handle!  (And they snapped my picture to prove it... thanks, Laurel!)



 So I'm reminded again to live well... to laugh often.  To gather pleasure in the moments.  This is not to deny suffering or pain in myself, or others.  But to balance life with joy.  Joy that is a gift from God, a gift I receive with gladness today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Last Fruits

   I visited my garden today.  It has been neglected of late.  My laundry pile, a full e-mail box, and the odd cob-web all speak of a busy season.  But I thought I'd see if there was any surprises... and there was!

  I came in the house with three beautiful zuchinnis and a lovely bowl of big blackberries.  I picked a few leeks that refused to grow tall and will pretend they are onion greens.  They are simmering on the stove with a pot of rice.  Not bad for October 16.  There are still kale and swiss chard and a few green tomatoes... and I said to myself - I really need a date with my garden.

  These last fruits are lovely gifts.  They brought me a lot of pleasure today.  And it got me to thinking...  we often think about the first fruits.  About good beginnings.  The biblical custom of bring first fruits was in gratefulness to God for the coming harvest.

  But what about the last fruits?  When I see my garden ebbing, the sunflowers which brought so much sunshine to my yard now broken and sagging, the vines withered and yellowed, I feel sad.  It is the end of a season.

  But end of seasons are part of life.  We live in a culture where we worship new, and young, and unblemished.  We discard anything old and broken; we are a replacement society, and have forgotten how to repair and mend and take care of.

We are afraid of growing old.  In worshiping the young, we forget to honor the old.  And our elders can be intimidated by this brash way of thinking.  It is hard to keep up with the internet and Facebook and twitter, and just this past week we finally figured out how to play music in the car on our i-pod.  Welcome to the 21st century - about 12 years late!! Our ever-changing language can be foreign to our elders - with i-this and e-that, and my grandchildren will soon be far more knowledgeable with technology than myself.  I know it is true.

  So do we see the last fruits?  The wisdom garnered, the years of learning, the gifts that are there, sometimes hidden, but we just need to look.  Do we treasure our elders, embrace our own aging, and value what is truly important?  The relationships that last, the moments we share, the conversations, the hugs?

  For those are the true treasures - the last fruits.  And when I taste the sweetness of those blackberries I will think on these things.

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pulsating with Life

   I haven't blogged for a while.  Life happens!  This time of year it always seems to come to a head... extra preserving, garden clean-up, little trips to family before the snow flies... I've started a new course, and it calls my name.  If I get behind I'll be in trouble.

  And I've been spending a little extra time with two of our grandsons.  Delightful, really.  Today was filled with blowing bubbles, examining rocks, watching Grandpa paint, helping Grandma cut up apples.  We made alphabet soup.  We read lots of books, and had a wagon ride.  A busy, happy day.

  In the midst of it all, I went over to inspect my neighbours house.  I am really not the inspecting kind; and I envy those who seem to have show-room homes, with everything in it's place and no dust to be found.  Not me... usually there is some art in progress, books in the middle of being read (we love books), and just signs of living everywhere.  I try to keep up, but I sometimes wonder if dust and cobwebs lurk when I'm least expecting them, and make a daily appearance just to make me look bad...

  So you might wonder why I was inspecting this immaculate house.  The owners are away, and I had been asked to inspect it after the tenants left... so this has been happening this week, and I inspected a very clean house (thanks in part to some cleaning ladies I had recommended!), and I said to my neighbour.. I feel funny doing this when my house is so, well... lived in.

  And she looked at me, and said, "But your house is always pulsating with life!"

  It was a good perspective.  I looked at my house with new eyes.  It was filled with the giggles of my grandsons, and cheerios on the floor, and the smell of turkey soup.  People live here!  Our thanksgiving dinner was rich with produce and turkey and more importantly family and love.  Our friend has come to stay for a couple of months and evenings are often filled with cups of tea and rich conversations.  Pumpkins and home-grown squash tumble on the front steps and you will be greeted by a chalk drawing on the side-walk, compliments of little E and me.

  And I know I'm late... but I have a lot to be thankful for.