Welcome to my Blog!

Welcome to my blog! Of course if we were visiting in person, I'd have the teapot out and we could sit and chat.
I'm honored you stopped by to listen to my thoughts and ponderings - and if you have a minute sometime, let me know you dropped by!

You can also find me on Facebook at Grace Notes, Thoughts and Prayers.

I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Heart Aches - living with Tragedy.

  It has been a week of tragedy on Canadian soil... in our country's capital, and in our own little city.

  Tears, heartache, unbelief... all part of the fabric of living and breathing, and carrying on.  This weekend, as I watched Canadians in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto sing the Canadian anthem at 3 hockey games simultaneously, soldiers at attention; tears came to my eyes... we mourn collectively, we cry for those families who have lost so much.

  One second can change a persons life.

  We thought about that this week, as my work-place mourned the instant loss of a colleague, a care-giver.  A night gone wrong, and lives affected... forever.

  Not even two years ago, my hubby and I vacationed in S. Carolina, visiting our new grandson.  We traveled one evening in our rental car between our hotel and our children's home, down a country road... and out of the corner of our eye a car flew in front of us... crossing the street we were on, blowing a stop-sign, at a great rate of speed.  One second difference, we surely would have been broad-sided.

  We took a deep breath, and thought about the close call... and carried on.

  And I've thought about that this week... our lives could have changed forever... and affected those whom we love...and yet we were spared.

  And yet others are not.  Why?

  Vibrant, young, talented, so much to give.

  Although saying good-bye is hard, so very hard, at any age, it is when the young are taken, suddenly, tragically, senselessly... and there are simply no words.

   We humans like to make sense of things, to make it better, we long to take away the pain.  And this week as I've carried pain in my chest and ached for those I care about, and longed to soothe and comfort, there is such a helpless feeling... because this simply cannot be fixed.

  Last week I was impacted by a different story... I received a call.  A man was dying, very alone.  So I said I would go.  Not half an hour later, I checked my e-mail... an e-mail forwarded from my church.  A person, overseas, had contacted my church via e-mail, picking my church from the internet from a long list of churches... but there it was.  And my church contacted me.  A request to visit a relative who was all alone... would someone go?

  And yes, it was the very same man.

  So I went, and I was very moved... because I was able to express that God loved him very much, that I had received not one, but two messages to visit him...and so we shared those moments together, holy, God-ordained.  And days later, he was gone.

  And it made me think again... in this world of trouble... does God care?  I believe he does.  He doesn't take away the trouble, I don't believe He causes the trouble... but He very much is present with us... if we just pay attention.

  And I believe it is OK to cry and ponder and ask the questions... and some events are beyond understanding.  Sometimes there is just no words.  And as we hold space for one another, gently, listening and caring, we enter into the mystery of God's presence... and we don't need to understand the whole picture.  Sometimes it is good to just wrap ourselves up in the comfort of his love.

 
 

 

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Great Clothing Exchange

  Today is the day.

  You know the one... that one that contains the task that most sensible folk probably have already accomplished... the turning over the seasons of the clothing and closets.

  I am calling it the great late clothing exchange... because I feel very late..

  So on this drizzly Monday in October, it has come to this.  The packing of summer and unpacking of the winter apparel...not to admit that I have snuck into the clothing bins a number of occasions in the last month or so... to find that cozy sweater or long pair of pants.

  But I wasn't ready to relinquish the capris... still in my drawers, waiting for the last burst of warmth.

  And the hose... now that is another story all together, probably not suitable for blogs that could be read, but it is always a sad season when the stockings make their reappearance... a loss of freedom of sorts!

  And the sandals in the front closet lie strewn with the loafers and running shoes, a bigger pile embracing the change of seasons.  I have not been able to put away the sandals.  Nor have I been able to look at the boots.  They are firmly in the dark, and will only come out in desperate need.

  You might guess... I am not a winter person.  And you would be right.  I have always hoped that I could live happily in four seasons... Spring (my favourite), Summer, Autumn... and Hibernation.

  Although in my sorting duties today, I cheerfully marked one pile... southern holiday.  This sort of thing gives one hope, that there are dreams and  glimmers of warmth that might bring cheer to a Canadian winter.

  And of course if my Prairie friends should happen to read this, I feel somewhat wimpish.  The coldest it gets here is a few degrees around freezing... a hovering back and forth over many long months... and we are known for long gray skies and celebrate the winter sun whenever we see it.

  And taking my tea break in the midst of this larger task, I'm always drawn back to how much I HAVE.  Too much, I know, and I will have a pile for charity at the end of the day...

  I remember visiting  Peru, almost 30 years ago, and making acquaintances there with some of the locals.  One thing that always stayed with me was one particular lady who wore the same dress... day after day...always clean and presentable but it became obvious it was her only dress.  And yet she and others I met were generous to a fault... ready to share a meal, or send some token back with me to Canada.  That humbled me, and I have never forgotten it.

  So I often shop at Bargain Bins and have made a deal with myself... I will not buy anything not on sale.  And yet... as much as I love to "look good", I really have too much... and as I sort and exchange and clean, it is very, very good for me to remember that.




Saturday, October 18, 2014

Today was a Gift

  We just came in from sitting outdoors... I without a jacket, warm enough on this October day.  Amazing for the 18th, a real gift.

  Sitting with tea and reflecting with my hubby...

  We had started the day with a borscht project.  I think this is almost spiritual for my hubby... tastes and smells from his childhood, the fresh autumn produce spelling fragrance and nourishment in a pot.  Working together, chopping, shredding, stirring...

  We always have this little "discussion"... how much cream, how much butter... authenticity as the Russians made it, or heart-friendly as I lean to... and we usually come up with some compromise.

  Onions and garlic, carrots and beets sauteed in butter and olive oil... you can catch the smells... and then the profusion of cabbage and tomato and potatoes... and don't forget the generous helping of dill...

  Speaking of dill, we found some today... growing as weeds in the rocks of our back yard, looking quite healthy in spite of the time of year.  It will find it's way into the soup...

  The rest of the garden calls me to work this time of year... tired, dying leaves, grape vines gone wild (how did that happen), tomato plants withering, shedding their green fruit that refuses to ripen.  Sunflowers, so recently vibrant, bowing their heavy heads and saying it is time...

  I have not got to the dahlias yet... I know I need to store them for winter, as my mother did for many winters.  I planted them, to remember her, and want to continue that tradition.  Part of my fall and spring chores to come.

  We picked a pile of green tomatoes, and I'm wondering... do I have energy for green tomato relish?  Or do I just feed the compost pile... I've ripened some between newspaper and that works well for some.

  I'm always a little melancholy this time of year.  I think the dark creeping into the early hours of the day and invading my evenings, and last night the chill and dark of a cold October rain... hard to see, closing us in.

  So today is a gift... a warm, sunny day to pull plants, and sort tools, and make soup.  To share soup with a friend, lovely.

  And life is rich, like the dirt, the soil that feeds us, and the miracle of plants that grow, and give, and then die...to be reborn for a new year.

 


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Guilt

  Guilt is a powerful emotion.

  For some of us, it can determine our actions, affect our moods.

  There are two kinds of guilt of course... there are lots of things for which I need to say I'm sorry for...and it is said, confession is good for the soul.

  The churches I've been brought up in got away from confession, other than in our private prayers.  But it is a good thing, I think, to be part of a public confession, to join with others in that prayerful state where we come to God and say, we're sorry...

  And of course the private prayers are good too... and I find myself often praying... I'm sorry!  I messed up!  But I try to live by grace, with the knowledge that I have a Heavenly father who is loving and forgiving.

  But there is another kind of guilt that we often bear, one that is self-inflicted most often.

  I journalled about it this morning; these thoughts on my mind:

Guilt sings a song
Clamoring for attention.
The "shoulds" sound their chorus
Demanding.

And what song do I listen to?
Can I change the tune in my head?

Do I hear the sweet whisper
   of sacred love
           and affection?
Which comes from stillness?
   To be....
     To know...

For worth does not come
 from the doing

  And the shoulds will
     Always sound their cry.

Until I silence them.
With songs of peace and joy.

  False guilt - imposed expectations by ourselves or others - can take their toll.

  I sat at a doctors office this morning and heard the familiar... decrease the stress.
  Most of us need to hear it, but the question is often... how?

  And it brought me back to the demands I place on myself.  What I think I should be doing.
Feeling guilty for resting... and so on.

  This time of year I'm always a little "September-worn".  The Mennonite in me which preserves and freezes and cans and takes advantage of the harvest.  The yard calls. The dust builds.   Phone calls to make, people to see.  Things I love to do, really.

  And life can shift into high gear... the necessary meetings... too many on my calendar.  Appointments here and there... all important.  Time with family... precious, always.

  Today I had my house cleaned... and reminded myself not to feel guilty!!  What a lovely treat, and grateful for the clean.

  Like the clutter, I consciously choose to put any false guilt on a shelf... and realize again that life will always be somewhat messy.  But I can choose to sing a song of gratitude.  Instead of guilt.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ode to October



The early morning October sun
Shone brilliantly

Into my dust
Which danced
And whispered guilt

But I turned away.

I rather held on to fleeting sunbeams
Cooled down by October skies

And savoured the brilliance of a deep blue sky
Punctured by clouds

And dust
And spiders webs glinting in the sun
And leaves gathering,
Broken on my lawn

Call me to action

Yet, I want to
Stop
And savour

Life always calls
Work never done
Yet this moment

I cherish.