Saturday, November 7, 2009

Imagination

I have had the chance to visit all of our children/grandchildren in their homes in the last month. Grandpa was there for visits with two of the three families.   I guess one of the many advantages of being a Grandma is having the time to just observe, I don't have to worry about all the concerns that come with being the parent.  

One thing that brings such enjoyment is the imagination of all the "Seven".  It is such fun!  They all have their own stories, pictures and thoughts.

One to share:  I was holding Jae and Beck, telling them stories about themselves and then about the three little pigs.  Jae hopped off my knee, started into a tale of her own, climbed back up, put her hands together and opened them, palms up with the command "Read it".

My response was for her to read the "story".  She was still insistent that this was up to me so....
I still have some imagination too so  I told her the words were to small.  That seemed to satisfy and off she went to do something else.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you."  Frederick Buechner  "Telling the Truth"

I thought about  trying to say something about this quote and realized how feeble it would sound.
I guess I do want to say it affected my mind, my heart and reminded me once again how relationships are so incredibly important both with family and friends.  

God has given me so many, many amazing relationships and I am humbly thankful........

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A sunrise and thoughts

I watched an amazing sunrise the other morning.  I am sure I don't need to mention that the days are certainly getting shorter, the sun rises rather late compared to a couple of months ago!  But that is not the point .....
I watched the clouds, the colors, how they continually changed, moved and were more and more magnificent.  Then this ball of gold started peeking over the horizon.  It was awesome!  My thought was how can I possibly take it all in, how can I enjoy this to the full.  I knew there was no way to really capture the moment.
Now my next thoughts are rather corny I know but I thought, this is how I sometimes feel about my grandkids.  They are changing, they are magnificent, they are moving  and growing.  How can I possibly enjoy them to the fullest extent?  
And sometimes I get so "desperate" about making the most of my time with them that I don't enjoy the moment, don't appreciate the moment.
Seems to me I am continually learning about living in the moment, enjoying the moment.
And so the journey continues.....

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thinking....

Somehow I grew up being suspicious.  Suspicious of other denominations of churches, "other" political parties, other nationalities.  The church we went to was a small, non-denominational mish-mash of believers but..... somehow I "knew" that "we" had the corner on "truth".  As an adult when I voted a protest vote for a party other than the "right" one I remember a sense of guilt as though I had somehow "sinned"!  My parents were immigrants from Denmark so they did not pass on a superiority about nationalities and yet.......

Where this all came from I am not sure.  I don't remember my parents telling me what to believe and telling me who was right or wrong.  I keep mulling all this over in my mind, wondering where this kind of belief system comes from and I wonder if it is from not thinking.

When I don't think for myself, just believe what I hear, what I am told , what the "experts" say then I get swallowed up in all sorts of half truths and untruths.  I do think my parents felt a sense of inferiority because of their lack of education in this country and then relied on the knowledge of the "experts", didn't allow themselves to question. That included all sorts of people: doctors, our school teachers, the "right" preachers who followed the "truth".  But as I look back, my Mom was a bit of a rebel inside.  That side didn't show itself very often but I heard hints of it here and there and an thankful for her understanding as I grew up.

Move ahead to life as a parent.  I read so many books, tried to follow the advice of "experts".  It depressed me!  I couldn't measure up!  One of the last books I read on parenting was something like "A Mother's Heart".  That was when it began to dawn on me that maybe that was the key to parenting, from the life within me.  I asked God one time (never expecting an answer!!) "why did you make me a mother?"  In my mind I did get an answer, one I will never forget..... "that is the only way you will learn to depend on me".  That was probably a baby step in heading towards believing that I actually could depend on God, that I didn't have to just "try harder".

As the parenting progressed and these kids began to ask questions for themselves I think I started to allow myself to think too. (sometimes I wonder if I learned more from my kids than they learned from me!)  But it is probably only in the last ten years or so that I have really allowed myself to question and then live with the possibility of either no answers or answers that don't fit all that I thought I believed.  

I started reading a book a couple of years ago and put it down because it certainly did not fit with the theology I was taught.  Somehow I was afraid to keep reading.  I read it this spring and realized again how narrow I can be.  I also realized that I have limited God in so, so many ways.  Did I really think I would somehow be "damned" for reading a book?  Where is my faith anyway?  In someone's opinion or in God?  Sometimes I get so discouraged with myself and my brain and my faith and my attitudes and........

Maybe I should just go spray some weeds and plant some bulbs.

I remember son #1 saying one time that he was thinking so much and his head hurt, not a head ache but it just hurt.  That hasn't happened to me very often but recently I have been having head hurts and I think I understand.  

Then I wonder why on earth would I put these thoughts out there for other people to read?  I may hit delete and then again I may not!  'Cause what does it matter anyway.....


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Conversations

This morning as I was wandering the yard, spraying those pesky weeds, I was thinking about a conversation with someone recently.  She said that people 'visit' about three subjects: people, things and ideas.
Initially my thought had been that I prefer to talk about ideas but the more I mulled this over I realize that is not altogether true.  With friends over supper last night we talked a lot about people.  No, we didn't gossip about lives, we talked about her aging parents, the choices they have to make, about her almost adult children, the adult children, their plans, their careers.  I told her about the wonders of grandchildren, about the events of their lives.
The men also talked about people, the events of the past that have shaped their lives.
We talked about things: gardens, homes, vehicles we have to drive, the men discussed farm machinery.
And in the midst of that we talked about ideas: struggles, joys, ways we learn and grow as people, as parents, as children  of our parents and children of God.
Then I thought of how each of those topics can turn negative and can be harmful to myself and others.  Talk of people can become judgmental and self-righteous.  Talk of things can lead to jealousy, discontent, pride.  Talk about ideas can do the same, make me judgmental, proud, self-righteous, discontent and sometimes angry.  Well, maybe a little anger can be good!  Gets me motivated to action sometimes,
So now that I have made the round with the Round-up and dandelion killer...... I have come to the not-so-profound conclusion that my conversations about anything can be positive or negative.  One level of conversation is not 'better' than another.  But it is so encouraging to participate with someone else when you discover you are 'on the same page'.
Thanks to all those great people with whom I can talk and share ideas about most everything, who will listen to the latest story about the grandkids and will talk about quilting or flowers or cooking or how to avoid cooking........ 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 7

Yesterday I was wondering, 'how did my Mom feel, what was she thinking 59 years ago'?  Today is my birthday and I cannot get my head around the fact that I am one year away from 60!  Yes, there are times when my body tells me I am definitely not 30 or 40 but 60??? And I look at these adults who are our children, at these 7 young people who call me Grandma.  They certainly are evidence of my age..... but still, how did I get to be this old?
This is certainly a reminder of the fact that life is short, that "stuff" and "things" don't matter very much.
So, what shall I do with the rest of the day?  I told Ron I was going to do "whatever I want!"   And I guess that is what is happening.  One sister brought fresh cinnamon buns for breakfast.  The other sister just called for a long visit.  Three grand daughters and their mother called with birthday wishes.  And so the day has begun very well.....
And since it is almost noon and I am still in my housecoat  I think I better hurry up so that I can "do whatever I want" with the rest of the day.  I may just go shopping...... probably won't buy anything, but I can shop anyway.  Women will understand that concept!
Oh, yes,  a beautiful card greeted me this morning along with a birdbath for the yard.  Bless my dear Ron.....

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A movie

I say, "a movie" because the movies I watch are so few and far between.  It is not that I don't enjoy movies but we seldom go to see a movie in a theatre and if we do we usually have to phone one of the kids and ask what to see!  I never get around to checking the TV schedule to find a good movie and when it comes to renting one, well, I rarely bother.
But in my recent trip to visit family our daughter-in-law invited me to watch a movie with her.  The next day I told her I couldn't get it out of my mind, I kept playing it over and over.  So I recommend "After the wedding".  I cannot tell you much about it, actors, producers, etc.  except that it is Danish and maybe that was part of the intrigue for me.  After all my blood is pure Dane.   So there are subtitles which make it a bit harder to follow.  
But the whole story could have turned any which way at any point.  It was totally unpredictable.  It also revealed to me some of my pre-judging of people, my prejudices.  I am thankful for the many methods that reveal more the "me" that needs redemption.
And it gave some good conversation with my 'kids'.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Here they are.....




may long weekend found the Grand Children and the grandchildren altogether in one spot for a time.  
One of the parents shared this photo with us....

How they managed to get them in one spot for that long I am not sure.

Grand Children and Grandchildren

Yes, they are all grand....

Earlier in the month I visited the Edmonton family and last weekend it was the two families in Manitoba.  Ideally it would be great to have them all closer, well, ideally for us!  But then there would be no reason to take a road trip for a few hours or take a flight over Saskatchewan.  So one finds the good things to enjoy.

And enjoy I do!  The hugs, cuddles, the story reading, playing on the swings, watching the dance class as the 3 year-old learns the 'moves?', watching the oldest girls in their first dance recital, listening to the early morning singing of a 2 year-old boy, the mischief in the eyes of those 3 youngest ones..... it is all good!

And then there is the pleasure of conversation with the grand children, all 6 adults.  I am not sure how to find words to express my thankfulness.  And I am so proud of them all.......

By the way, in case I give the wrong impression, none of them are perfect but that doesn't change my love for them and I see them loving me in return in my imperfections as a mom and grandmother.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Teresa of Avila

I don't claim to know anything about Teresa of Avila.  (I could learn something I guess......) but I discovered this poem and because it struck a cord with me, I would like to share it....

LAUGHTER CAME FROM EVERY BRICK  ( Teresa of  Avila)

Just these two words He spoke changed my life,
"Enjoy me."
What a burden I thought I was to carry-- a crucifix, as did He.
Love once said to me,
"I know a song.  Would you like to hear it?"
And laughter came from every brick in the street and from every pore in the sky.
After a night of prayer, He changed my life when He sang,
"Enjoy me."

....... I seem to be reminded at various levels, in different ways to live in the moment, seize the day, enjoy God. 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

musings

We  drove around the country side last night and I am continually surprised at our surroundings.  I guess we live on the "prairie" but somehow, after living in the dry land of eastern Alberta, this seems like amazing topography.  There are coulees and valleys, creeks and sloughs, steep banks, rolling hills.  We watched the geese, the ducks, listened to the meadow lark.  Mind you, we still found banks of snow and it is almost the middle of May!
I really do love living here and am so thankful for not only our "home" but our life.  We mused about "what would it be life for us if we had not moved here 9 years ago"....... and the conclusion was that we have new life in more ways than one.
My response is thankfulness.  I wish I knew how to best express that gratitude.... I am glad God can see my heart.....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"The lights of home"

Dad had been taken by ambulance from the nursing home 15 miles away to the local hospital.  His heart had slowed down, I was told when I arrived.  He was having trouble breathing. "Why don't they just let me go?", he asked me.  "Dad, it is only oxygen that they are giving you.  No "life saving measure, just oxygen so that you will  be more comfortable."
He was transferred to a semi-private room to be observed for a couple of days.  My older brother and I took turns staying with him and it was during one of my stays that he awoke from a nap, lay there quietly and then said, "I had a dream.  I dreamt I saw the light, the lights of home.  But then I realized, no one was there." He was quiet, peaceful with his thoughts.
I never asked him, why didn't I, which "home" he was seeing.
Was he thinking about his home in Denmark, the home he left in his early 20's to come to Canada, to be with Pete his older brother?  Dad never saw his parents again.  By the time he and Mom returned to Denmark forty years late, my grandparents had been dead for many years.  Dad gave me the wallet that his mother had given him before he left Denmark.  His Mom told him to fill it with money in that new country.  The wallet was always flat, very skinny through the years.  Wealth isn't always measured by the thickness of ones' wallet.
Or maybe Dad was thinking of the home where he and Mom had lived when they were first married.  They had a chicken farm on the banks of the Bow River on the then, "out skirts" of Calgary Dad spent many days away from home working for the CPR, part of the crew building the Kicking Horse Pass in the Rocky Mountains with brother Pete.  That left Mom to sell the eggs, driving the Model A up and down the streets of the Mount Royal district.  She told me how she stalled the old car once and had to back down 14th street right into someone's front yard.
There was the home Dad built in the bush, east of Red Deer , in the Hillsdown area.  Having no money for lumber or nails, Dad cut down the trees for the log walls and made dowels out of saskatoon saplings to hold the whole thing together.  On Christmas Eve, that first year living there, a blizzard started, the cold was coming through the cracks in the walls.  So Mom made a paste of flour and water and papered the inside of the house with newspaper.  In the summer she planted morning glories, hops and all kinds of flowers and vines to cover the shabby building, making it beautiful, as only Mom could.
Then there was the home I knew as the youngest of the family.  This one was in the Pine Lake area, the Bellgrove school district.  Now the kids wouldn't have to walk 5 miles to school.  It was only 2 miles across the fields.  This is where Dad became a farmer, he and Mom raising 5 children, planting trees, spruce, pine, elm, maple and apple, a variety of fruit bearing bushes, a big, big garden and so many flowers.  The trees provided shelter for "home", a small 2 story house over a dirt cellar.  It was heated with coal heaters until a number of years after I, the youngest, left home.  Central heating and indoor plumbing made things more comfortable for Dad and Mom.
After Mom died, it was still "home" for Dad until he moved to the Lodge when he was 90.  He cared for his home, his garden, learned to cook, learned to make applesauce.  There was enough applesauce for him to eat it every evening for 9 years!  He made jam in quart sealers instead of  
nice little "jam" jars.  It was a more practical was for his liking.  After that he gave away pails of apples, gallons and gallons of strawberries and raspberries for others to enjoy. He couldn't bear to waste anything.
At 94 Dad moved to the nursing home.  His mind was clear but his body was worn out.  The nursing home never became "home".  He was thankful for the care, loved it when we visited but it was not home.
Twenty days before his 95th birthday, Dad went home.  I know that when he saw the lights this time, they were bright, clear and , I know, "Someone" was there to say "Welcome, so glad you are here."  And Mom may have added, "What took you so long?"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's a-coming, part 2

just skimmed through previous posts and noticed my pessimistic anticipation of the coming of winter. Now the mood is different as I see the hope of spring.
FINALLY the temperature is on the plus side of zero, the sun is higher in the sky and more warmth is penetrating through to us, the snow is beginning to melt and yesterday the horned larks were flitting around the rock garden and announcing their return.
Winter has seemed so very long this year in some ways.  In other ways, I can hardly believe March is on the way out.  I have not accomplished all the winter projects that are still piled in the sewing room and in my mind.  I feel as though I have "wasted" a whole lot of time these last months.  Not easy to release this need to "accomplish" and "perform".  On that note, I better move from this spot and actually "do" something.
Spring is coming..........

Monday, March 16, 2009

Confession

Truthfully, the main reason for posting the sunrise picture was to see if I could!  I am so very inept at all this stuff!  So I wondered......
I have a story that I have written about my Dad and wanted to put it into a post.  Do you think I can get it there?  I sat here and pulled and pushed and moved and changed..... all I could manage was a picture.  If I had typed the story from a paper I could have had it done in all the time I spent trying to move it on the computer where I wanted it. My technical source, my son, would help I know but I try not to pester with these petty things.
Ah, well, a picture is worth a thousand words I have heard.  It is just that the picture does not relate to the words I wanted to post!
Maybe another time......

Friday, March 6, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Books

I recently checked a blog about books the author read in 2008.  Hmmmm... guess he isn't my kind of reference point for reading material.  Don't really enjoy hearing someone 'trash' a book like "The Shack" which was meant to be a metaphor (direct quote from Paul Young).  This critic treated it like it was supposed to be theology or that is how it came across to me.....

So what am I reading that I would recommend?  While on a vacation with my best friend I read 
"The Undertaking" by Thomas Lynch.  It is what the title implies, the story of an undertaker.  Many life observations, well, also some death observations.
"Traveling Mercies" by Anne Lamott. This is not your usual "conversion" story but I found it so very honest and real.  I wonder if we could be that honest in church, with other people if some barriers might be broken re: Christian.
"The Sacred Journey" by Fredrick Buechner.  Someone told me that Buechner says his writings are too liberal to be accepted by evangelicals and too conservative to be accepted by liberals.  He is quite scholarly in some of his writings and I get a little lost.  But he has been a professor at huge universities so that might explain some of his writings.  But this book is a autobiography and again, is honest.  I enjoyed the read.
"What is the What" by Dave Eggers.  This is a novel/biography of the Lost Boys from Sudan.  It is a heart breaking story but I am so glad I am reading it.  I have heard bits and pieces about Africa over the years but I have no idea of the lives, the stories, the pain, the cruelty.  I see why people wonder if there is a God, where He might be, why does He allow what happens..... And where is the justice, the governments of the western world?  It hurts to read this but I am glad I am reading it.  This one takes time.....
Thanks to my Middle Son for loaning these books to me.  I enjoy most of his recommendations!
And I am thankful for the time to read.  I have come to realize these last few days that the whole last year has been rather "tough" and that slowly I am seeing the light in the dark places and seeing how much the physical well being affects the rest!
May I continue to learn.......