Serenity Sunday:At home

Today is Mothers’ Day. It will be a different Mothers’ Day for all of us wishing to be near the women who have blessed our lives. Today I won’t be taking you on any far away tours but I invite you to enjoy the beauty that I see here at home. And I wish all you who are Mothers, all who nurture life, whether you wear the banner of “Mom” or not, a joyous day filled with beauty and love.

From the moment of sunrise, may you feel the warmth of the sun’s rays
Whether you face the eye of the storm
Or are filled with hope after the storm
may the beauty and blessings of this earth fill you with joy and wellbeing
Until after the sun sets and you lay your body down to rest
I wish you the blessings of peace and contentment

Happy Days are here and now, not in some “after things go back to normal” future. I wish you happiness, joy, peace. and all that is life-giving, all that is good.

Reminiscing and rejoicing about Mom this Mothers’ Day weekend

I was so blessed. We all were, my siblings and I. In the words of Jan Arden’s song, Good Mother:

“I’ve got a good mother
And her voice is what keeps me here”.

Our mother left this plane of existence many, many years ago. Yet, I still hear her voice in my mind, and still feel her blessings in my heart. She had several health issues, including diabetes. At that point in time she was admitted to hospital to learn how to take insulin by injection. Ten days later she was gone. Just a couple of days after she’d been admitted we learned she had cancer. Liver cancer is known as the silent killer (at least it was at the time). She knew long before the diagnosis. At different points she had told me and my sisters her premonition, her deep instinct that her time was limited, that she believed she had cancer. We each struggled with that information; with the idea of her death, which was impossible to accept. Months later we would have no choice. Yet, it is not her death that left the most important imprint, but a lifetime of loving, living, giving, and caring for her family, but also for the community at large.

Mom was wise and insightful; understanding and compassionate. Family meant everything to her. She was devout but not dour. She sang a lot. She laughed a lot, too. She left us an example to follow, which is not easy sometimes. I could write so much more about all her positive attributes, but I think you get the gist of it. So, while I still miss having her in my life in a physical sense, I know she is always nearby, encouraging us as she always did. When I was visiting her in hospital one day she turned to me and said, “You’ll be all right, you know”. I remember answering, “Yes, I know, because I’ve had you”. That answer remains true today. And I will be eternally grateful for her care of me.

This is my Mom. Taken in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada around 1944

Things we take for granted, like clean water

I haven’t been writing much. This past week or so has been grueling with almost daily trips out of town, or returning home. The drive is very pretty but having to do it so often really is tiring. It takes us approximately three and a half hours each way. But I have good news, that situation has finally been resolved and we will not have to travel for dialysis any more. Our local hospital has been able to truck in clean water (we are still under a boil water order that will last into September).

I’ve been hearing a lot of grousing about the boil water order. Yes, it’s a bit of an annoyance. The water is fine for showering, laundry, washing dishes etc. but brushing your teeth, cleaning fruits and vegetables, cooking, etc. etc. must be done with water that has first been boiled. It’s an inconvenience and I totally understand the complaints, but really, it’s not such a big deal. After all, we have running water. We don’t have to carry water in jugs or pails like many do in developing nations. I guess it’s all in your perspective. And, let’s face it, we are pretty spoiled and have become complacent about these things we take for granted, such as clean water from the tap, electricity, natural gas, and all the like that make our lives so much easier. In the midst of a pandemic I’d say it’s the least of our worries.

Where or where is the sunny weather? Spring, I yearn for you

It’s been a bit of a hard day. It’s the 7th of April. Shouldn’t the snow be melted and gone? Or at least well on its way to the never never land of past winters? I am impatiently waiting to see green shoots, to hear birdsong. Fortunately I do hear a few chickadees now and then, those cheerful little birds that never abandon us, no matter how bitter the winter winds may blow. Well, my spirit sank today as I watched a few flurries turn into big, fat flakes of snow falling from a gray and overcast sky. Yuck! Winter is fine but enough is enough already. I am longing for green shoots and new life.

There is new life promising to flower within the coming weeks, however. Last year my daughter gifted me with a hydrangea plant for Mother’s Day. It was so beautiful.

May 2019

I loved it so much I couldn’t bear to throw it out even after its blossoms turned brown and dried out. I nursed it through the fall and through the long winter days. It has rewarded me with new shoots.

April 2020

And so, while winter drags its feet in a long farewell I am reminded that life will be renewed again. Flowers will bloom again. Birds will sing their welcome to spring. I am reminded that even though that season tarries eventually she will make an appearance when she is good and ready. I must just have patience.

Serenity Sunday: Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Revisiting Banff National Park, if only through my photographs and memories. These were taken in May 2016 when we were evacuated from Fort McMurray due to the wildfires. There was a lot of stress at the time as we didn’t know if the house we lived in was still standing or when we might be able to go home. Banff was a much needed break. I remember how beautiful the mountains were and how comforted I was just taking in the views. It truly was balm for my soul.

We stayed in the small town of Canmore, which is actually inside of Banff National Park
This is a view from our hotel window
It was a very cool and overcast day, not the best weather for taking photos
The mountain peaks were still snow-capped and there was a fair amount of fog
a small stream flowing down the mountain side
The buildings in the town proper are quite beautiful

taken from downtown Banff, which is, of course, encircled by mountains
I was wishing the sun would come out, but even on a cold, foggy day the Rockies are amazing
Rivers run through the park rushing over the land in rapids and cascades
taken from the opposite direction – so beautiful there
taken from the car as we drove into the park
You may be able to make out the hawk flying out of the fog. I took this from the car so it’s not great quality but I was trying to capture the hawk…..
I would have liked to hike up into the mountains, sadly I was unable to take the opportunity at that time
Craggy peaks, covered in snow

I am not a professional photographer, but I hope you enjoyed this little trip in the Rockies with me. If you ever get the chance to visit Banff you will not be disappointed. My photos hardly do justice to this national treasure. I am so grateful I was able to see the mountains and hope to return one day soon.

Can we just give our heads a shake?

Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, keep that computer going, rawhide! Okay, so you may or may not get the reference. Rawhide was an American western television show that aired once a week from 1959 to 1965 and starred Clint Eastwood and Eric Fleming. Yes, I know, I am telling my age. I really don’t care about that. As I started writing this post (which has nothing to do with the t.v. show) that theme music played in my mind and so I had to inform you so you know where my brain is at. Sort of.

My brain is doing its best to pick sense out of a news story I read this morning. As self isolation has us all going a bit batty, I thought I’d share a couple of observations. Yes, these are stressful times. For sure. No question, whatsoever. And we are seeing the very best and the very worst of humanity. This post addresses both, but just a little bit – no long soliloquies here.

So, first the bad news. (I promise I will finish with the good stuff.) The story that really bothered me was one about how a cluster of positive coronavirus tests started with people gathering for a funeral. It was early days and governments were scrambling to put protocols and regulations in place to deal with the pandemic. Apparently at this funeral there was an individual who would later test positive for the virus. Let me stress here this individual did not attend the funeral with any sense or knowledge they were sick. Okay then, damage done. Of course, it spread, like it has anywhere there’s been social gatherings including an infected person. I needed to get that out there first and foremost. Where the story went from there is truly disturbing.

The story went on to say that the bereaved were then taunted and bullied online for bringing the virus to the area. And, by the way, it was not any of the bereaved who were infected but a friend or relative that attended. The person who had died did not have the virus but had died of other causes. A person who was in relationship with the deceased received notice from the local grocery store that they would not be allowed to shop there.  And on and on it went listing the many people, including the funeral director, who were ostracized, singled out, and victims of needless emotional and mental abuse. As a friend of mine would say, “Give your heads a shake, people”.

People who are already grieving and emotionally vulnerable should never have to deal with such ugliness. But we are only human. Some react to fear with anger and hatred, others with loving kindness.

The good news is I have read far more stories focusing on the loving kindness, empathy, and compassion humanity is also capable of. Like people jumping in cars to drive by their local hospitals with horns blaring as a salute to the medical staff. Like a twenty-four-year-old American now living in Canada lauding and praising Canadians for their kindness and consideration of one another. Like the quick response of community-minded people organizing help for senior citizens and home bound vulnerable people who cannot get out for groceries and necessities like medication. Like children drawing hopeful messages on sidewalk with chalk. Like Jon Bonn Jovi washing dishes in one of his restaurants he runs for the homeless. Rich and poor alike, people have reached out to help one another through this. We each have a choice as to how we will respond. I am grateful that the good far outnumbers the bad in all of this. Yes, self isolation can drive you batty, if you let it. But it doesn’t have to. We do have a choice how we respond. May our choices be positive and life-affirming. May we come out the other side of this able to face ourselves in the mirror. Be safe. Be healthy. Be blessed and please, be a blessing for others.

Feline Friday: Fotos only

Posing for the professional – just kidding. Photo by my daughter, Anastacia Hopkins
My favorite toys are strings – any strings, any colors Photo by Anastacia Hopkins
This is my chair, hooman Photo by Anastacia Hopkins
What’cha eating hooman? Photo by Anastacia Hopkins
I’se hiding. I’se scared. Photo by Anastacia Hopkins
I’se self-isolating in my hidey spot. Photo by Anastacia Hopkins
My box – all the boxes mine, mine, mine. Photo by Anastacia Hopkins