Monday, May 28, 2007

spring beauty

bleeding hearts from our garden. such beautifully interesting flowers, delicately suspended from tender vines - like fairy lanterns.
their leaves look lovely in the sunlight, shades of soothing green.

i was charmed by this saggy barn, so ramshackle and weathered. . .

this is the only covered bridge remaining in Ontario -West Montrose, heart of Mennonite farm country. Horse-drawn buggies are driven by calico dress/pinafored women & wide-brim hatted/suspendered men; giving you a nostalgically time-warped feeling.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Niagara Falls

Well, we finally got there. James has been wanting to see the falls in the worst way, so it was time! Stopped off in Welland to see the locks. A huge ship was going through when we got there - freighter, full of iron ore. Didn't get photos of the ship because we'd already done the 'going crazy taking pictures' a couple of years ago. This trip was all about the falls.
Getting through "Niagara-Vegas" was a bit traumatizing. . bumper to bumper, crawling through the gaudy, neon streets was a necessary evil. Lindsay, Rob and I were talking about the chaotic feel of this tourist trap. . . wax museums, criminal museums, fast food joints, junk souvenir stands, amusement rides. . . ugh. . Normally we wouldn't go this way to see the water. . . but the alternate entrance (which also happens to be a bridge to the U.S.) was a no go. . . back up forever.

Here are some pictures of us with Lindsay and the grandkiddies! We had LOTS of fun in spite of the coolness of the air and the intermittent drizzle. The kids were quite thrilled by the majesty of that huge, jade-green river and the thundering water fall emptying into the wide, watery pathway of the Niagara Gorge. Of course there were a few urgent 'i have to pee' moments!!! involving trees and ditches. The ride home was LONG and tedious. . . the 'back way' wasn't so lovely, just endless kilometers of cows, vineyards and nondescript houses. We were all hungry and a bit testy - 2 small kids, a pregnant woman, a sick with a sinus and chest infection woman and a longsuffering man -- recipe for disaster? Could have been, but it got to be almost hilarious and wel had some good laughs. Especially when James, who had his heart set on eating at "Montana's Cookhouse", had become worried that we would never find one . Acre after acre of farmland and tiny towns only served to heighten his restaurant anxiety. His desperation reached its peak when his mother suggested that perhaps we could eat somewhere else *i.e. Wendy's*. He wailed: "But I want fine service! I want special and relaxing service!" We laughed so hard! What a precocious kid. Erica kept mimicking "Fine service, fine service. . . " Hilarious!!! They were really so good though. . . little sweethearts!! We finally did end up at his precious Montana's. We had to leave Green Acres and get back onto the express route. I don't think i was ever so happy to see urban sprawl? Not that farmland isn't beautiful, but on an overcast day, in a van-full of moody, tired, hungry travelers, the appreciation of nature was lost on us. Pulling into the restaurant parking lot was such a relief! The kids (and the adults) wolfed down their food and enjoyed the fine service!!! ha ha! Its amazing how the mood shifts when everyone has had a proper meal. The rest of the way home was nicely peaceful - we had left the monotonous dullness of "Poo-land" *James!* and we occupied ourselves with reviewing digital pics, talking, reminiscing about our fun day! Well, that was another family trip completed. Safe, sound, had a great day, what more could you ask for? And now to plan the next outing!!!

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

how can i explain?

i don't know how to start. . . so much to say, too much. I feel more than i can see and touch, i hear more than my ears receive, i think past my superficial thoughts - i feel what waits beyond and i know that my life is lived in the shadow of more than i can understand. There is a longing i feel when i'm not preoccupied with myself, with others, with busy work. . with life. Its always there -- i'm just not always aware. When i am, i find it hard to describe. All the similes and analogies seem to have flaws, limitations. "God has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
There, that says it better.

Brian Houston is one of my favourite songwriters. "You Are Mystical" is a wonderful song. My mind goes to this one often. . . especially when i feel so 'unfinished'. The first line of the song has come to mind a surprising number of times. It helps me to understand that its okay if i don't understand. "You are mystical and deep, you take your rest but you never sleep. . ."
The second line comforts me. "You watch me like a mother does, every scar and every tear and fall." The chorus shows the mystery of God, and paradoxically the answer for my questions. "For you're everywhere, in every place, in every time and every space
and every breath that i take, you lend. You're the only one who satisfies, the only one who makes my life make sense." I love and embrace this longing and mystery. I am learning how faith works. "What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see." (Hebrews 11) I am learning to love this restlessness, because its been 'planted in my heart' to keep my spirit alive.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Maternal thoughts

First of all, my very best heartfelt wishes to all of you out there. . . mothers, motherly, nurturing women.

Next i would love to encourage those of you who need encouragement, for any and all reasons you need a boost. If you're a mom and you're busy and frazzled and sometimes feeling a bit like a runaway train in your life, take heart -- you're not alone! (i'm sure you don't need me to tell you that). Breathe, try to pace yourself and enjoy a day of celebration for YOU!!! If you're not a mom and you have had your hope to become one deferred, i hope that your desire will become reality. . and in the meantime i also hope that your maternal instincts are being put to good use --people need them. Maybe being a mom isn't for you, if not, i hope you can celebrate with your own mom, your mom in law, a woman who is like a mom for you, or maybe just feel that collective sisterhood and know your place there.

Some women may find Mother's Day difficult for reasons known only to them. If you're one of those women, i want to wish for you a day in which you can find some peace. For me, mothering is the thing that reminds me of the heart of God --the creative, compassionate, nurturing, loving, forgiving, selfless, protective, powerful heart, who made women to be like those beautiful facets of his being. For me, that gives depth of meaning to a day like this, bursting open the narrower framework of a day for mothers and opening it wide into the expanse of unconditional love, from its source, surrounding and encompassing all of us.

I'd like to share my granddaughter's book with you. . . the story isn't very long and its got a fabulous, affirming message for all mothers, all women, all those who love .

Little Miss Spider popped out of her egg. Swinging down from a thread, she hung on by one leg. Watching brothers and sisters all scooting for cover, she dangled there wondering, 'where is my mother?'. 'Did she squeeze down a hole? or dive underwater? Why won't she come out here and meet her new daughter?"

She decided to climb to the top of a tree. Gazing out on the world, she sobbed, 'Where could Mom be?' A beetle name Betty buzzed by this high perch. 'A child needs a mother. May i please help you search? I don't know for sure, but i'll offer this clue - if i were your mom, i'd be looking for you.'

They flew through the trees spying down from the sky, and asked all the butterflies fluttering by. But none of the insects they happened upon had any idea where her mother had gone. She then asked a small spider - as plump as a pig- 'Have you seen my mom? She's like me, only big.' The sly spider laughed as he gobbled his snack, 'Up there is a mother who's yellow and black.' With a heart full of joy she peered over the straw, but it wasn't her mother that Miss Spider saw. . . it was six hungry hatchlings and a goldfinch who cried, 'Your dinner's here darlings, so open up wide.'

Before she could blink she was whisked out of sight and brave beetle Betty was hugging her tight. In her warm cozy home in the bark of a tree, the kind beetle asked 'Won't you stay here with me?' Then Miss Spider smiled and held Betty fast. ' I looked for my mom and i found you at last!' For finding your mother there's one certain test. You must look for the creature who loves you the best.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

changed my mind!

Yesterday i was in a funny mood, so i wrote about not wanting to do all the every day life things that we all must do. I wrote about my desire to sit around in my yoga pants and eat Nutella from the jar all day. Today's a different day and i don't feel pouty and whiny, so i took my draft version of that sucky baby post and i deleted it. Note to self: Don't post self indulgent tripe!

I've been doing a lot of reading and as usual i juggle several books at a time, just to keep things interesting. Maybe its a bad habit. Maybe its just an eccentricity. I'm still working through Prayer and i've also added in Twinkie, Deconstructed, i'm finishing up Fast Food Nation and Speaking My Mind --all rather heavy readings in their own way, so i'm glad that i've been book juggling as FFN and Twinkie both make me so mad!!! *i need to cool down by switching to something different* Speaking My Mind has that tendency, depending on the chapter, but the current chapter is about quantum physics and science and God, so its mind bending, but in a good way. Prayer, I have really been digging in there with this book and as a result am almost finished. Wow, what a book! Its one of those that when you finish you will feel the need to go through it again.

Being off work really allows for lots of time to read, which is one of the ways in which i've been putting my time to good use.

Well, i see that there may be a down time in another minute or two, so i'd better post!

Talk to you later. . .

Monday, May 07, 2007

parking lot rage?

This afternoon i went out to pick up some things at my local grocery/home store. I parked far away so i would get some extra walk time and as i got to the next row of cars i hear this yelling. I witnessed a man in perhaps his late 30s, screaming at a younger man who sat in his idling car, taking this verbal abuse. Everyone was staring including me. We couldn't seem to help ourselves. At first i thought they'd had a bump with their vehicles, but the positioning was off. I don't really know what happened, maybe young, ball-cap wearing guy had cut the older man off or taken 'his' parking spot? The screamer was clearly in need of some serious anger management. His tirade included snippets like : "GOOD! LET THEM STARE!" and "I DON'T CARE IF THEY ALL HEAR! *we all did* 'I HAVE A KID IN THE CAR HERE!! AND YOU THINK YOU CAN HAVE ANY PARKING SPACE YOU WANT?!!' (at which point i thought: Get a grip man! You're gonna burst a blood vessel!). Not such a great example for his kid. I decided to keep walking and i merged with another group of gawkers who were also store bound. I looked at this one man and we rolled our eyes. I said: "I've heard of road rage, but i guess there's also parking lot rage?" He shook his head in agreement and said: "Its summer now." I think there's something to that. After winter, people get a little hyper and crazy. Girls walk around in giggling clutches, guys drive around the streets like idiots, fast and loud -- rumbling and whining motorcycles increase my hearing loss in yearly increments, people start with the tank tops, shorts and sandals when its still too cold! If full moon craziness is lunacy, what is fair weather craziness called?! . . . summer?! BAH!

Anyway, i hope young parking lot guy exercises a little more caution and consideration. Parking lots and streets do contain other people. (if inconsideration prompted that episode? i'm not even sure) and i really hope that older, yelling man learns to control his temper - whether or not his tantrum was justified. And they say that women are drama queens? nu-uh.

Friday, May 04, 2007

"bread" book?

There's fluffy white bread - italian loaf, farmhouse white, wonderbread - no appreciable nutrients, devoid of fibre, gluey, unhealthy junk bread. .

Then there's dense, stone-ground, 12 grain loaf - heavy, fibrous, filling, satisfying and vitamin rich.

Books can be just like bread. .

I'm reading a dense, whole-grain book right now on the subject of prayer. Its simply called "Prayer" . The author is Philip Yancey. I like Mr. Yancey's way with words. I like his doubts and questions. I like how he doesn't just blithely join the 'just believe' camp. He pulls up the log and lets all the creatures underneath crawl out and he examines them - not with disgust, but with a desire for honest learning. Ultimately he comes to the faith side. . . exercising it, living it, believing in the language of prayer and in its power. This is no literary wonderbread. It sticks with you. You can't eat too much at once. It takes time to digest. Prayer seems like a simple thing and to everyone it may bring a different association, reaction, opinion. Some aren't interested in prayer. Some think its okay, follow your own path. Some may be active pray-ers who love their relationship with God and maybe others find the notion of communicating with an invisible someone more than a little bizarre.

I'm in a relationship with God. I'm learning how to live. The world isn't always so good at teaching me. I need a better model. . . so, i'm a life-long apprentice. Though there are certain ways to learn about God and know him: Bible reading, praying, listening to 'sermons', reading "Christian" books, its surprising how many other ways there are to learn: talking to people, reading a billboard while you drive, helping others, watching movies, listening to music, working hard at something, experiencing hardship. I have a very creative teacher. Even so, its easy to get used to living a life of 'faith' and before i know it, i think i've learned plenty and i easily become teflon coated. . . valuable lessons slide right off me cuz i think i've already covered that. This is one of the reasons i bought this book. As i plod my way through it i find myself almost overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of my ignorance. I thought i knew so much. Shame on me. Sometimes being an apprentice means eating humble pie over and over and over again!!!

I'll leave you with a quote and with that i'll say goodnight.

" Prayer remains a struggle for me. On the other hand, so does forgiving someone who has wronged me. So does loving my neighbour. So does caring for the needy. I persist in prayer because i am fulfilling God's command and also because i believe i am doing what is best for me, whether or not i feel like it at the time. . . The great English preacher Leslie Weatherhead's experience echoes that of many others: 'I have always found prayer difficult. So often it seems like a fruitless game of hide and seek in which we seek and God hides. I know God is patient with me. Without that patience i should be lost. But frankly i have to be patient with him. With no other friend would i go on seeking with such scant, conscious response. Yet i cannot leave prayer alone for long. My need drives me to him. And I have a feeling that he has his own reasons for hiding himself, and that finally my seeking will prove infinitely worthwhile. . . i long for more satisfaction but I cannot cease from questing. Jesus sometimes found prayer difficult. Some of his most agonized prayers were not answered. But he did not give up his praying. I frankly have little to show for all my prayers, but i cannot give up, for my soul longs for Christ and i know that outside God there is nothing at all but death.'

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

26 years today

Us -- then and now. Wow, its hard to believe that i met this man in 1977, married him in 1981. Its hard to believe that we have adult children. Its even harder to believe that we have grandchildren!! This is my best friend. I knew the week i met him that i would marry him. I didn't tell him at the time *way to scare someone off!* My friends thought i was insane when i shared my intuition at lunch period, first day of school in grade 10!!!! Four years later, 3 months shy of my 19th birthday, we were married. Rob was 1 month away from 20. What were we thinking??!!!! While i wouldn't advise this, there's no disputing the fact that others we know who married much later are now no longer together. We pretty much grew up together and and now we're growing old together?! Bah! Okay, not old. . . we're growing hopefully wiser together!

The stories in all these years. . so many i can't tell them. It would be a novel. So many experiences, trials, joys -- everything together. He knows the real me and i know the real him. When i first met him, he made my heart skip. He still does. Robbie, i know you don't often read this, but if you do, this message is for you: "Happy anniversary. I LOVE YOU!!!Thank you for loving me."

*sigh!* you know what a sucker i am for romance. . . Posted by Picasa