Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Laughter - the key to a warm heart

The key to a warm heart

Who can resist this fun family filled with lovable characters?

On the coffee table this week for the millionth time (laugh) is the red wicker basket filled with our secret weapon when laughter becomes necessary, or simply desirable at any given time of the day.

This is our "Family Circle" collection of books, the ones we gathered over many years by shopping at book stores and thrift outlets. We rotated new ones to the vehicle, our beachside vacations many years in a row, and bathroom countertops.

I ask you; "Who can resist these sweet characters from this very loving and REAL family?"

I love them...and so does the rest of the gang here.

Happy day to you! Off to grab a coffee and some laughs....

Friday, January 23, 2009

Semester One OVER!!!!

Last upload of Semester One!

Taking a few moments to ensure all completed assignments are uploaded for the end tally of the first semester for schooling here, therefore an extra coffee shop internet experience visit was surely necessary.

And today, the end has come. Success and Celebrations ahead.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

By the light of a silvery moon

By the Light of the Silvery Moon

Our back property under the light of a full moon

When preparing to retire for bed one evening last week, I noticed the glow of the moon as it became a warm blanket illuminated covering shining throughout the room.

Over the course of several evenings it continued to visit, offering a beacon of light throughout the back of our property, even so far as lighting the way along the base of the snowy ground underneath the entire thick cluster of trees growing there.

"It was late one night,

long past my bedtime,

when Pa and I went owling.

There was no wind.

The trees stood still as giant statues.

And the moon was so bright

the sky seemed to shine.

Somewhere behind us a train whistle blew,

long and low, like a sad, sad song."

At one point while laying in my bed basking in its light, I remembered a beloved book from our wonderful experiences long ago while using the FIAR (Five in a Row) curriculum. I thought about "Owl Moon" by; Jane Yolen and felt a sudden impulse to wake the children in the late hours of the night to don our warmest clothing followed by an outdoor walk in the moonlight, to hunt for owls.

We do have both a barred and a snowy owl living on our back property, so it would be fitting to attempt this some time. The actual night I thought of this possibility however, my bed felt so much warmer and cosier than heading outdoors, when our thermometer noted the drop to freezing cold temperatures, much too cold for such an night time adventure.

"We walked on.

I could feel the cold

as if someone's icy hand

was palm-down on my back.

And my nose and the tops of my cheeks

felt cold and hot at the same time.

But I never said a word.

If you go owling you have to be quiet

and make your own heat.

As snow accumulations continue to accelerate from unusual Arctic storms passing over us, the moonlight guided ambience became reminiscent of a beautiful painting one would expect from a winter wonderland somewhere in our big wide world. But this time it was real and in my little corner of the world, right outside my bedroom window at that! It was almost surreal to be able to fall asleep to the light of the moon, tucking me in and offering blessings for each of those exquisite and wonder filled silvery moon nights.

"Then we came to a clearing

in the dark woods.

The moon was high above us.

It seemed to fit exactly,

over the center of the clearing

and the snow below

it was whiter than

the milk in a cereal bowl."

With thoughts of this beloved book still on my mind and in my heart, I know the missed opportunity will grow to haunt me until I actually revel in the fulfillment of the childhood guided temptation offered in the pages of the sweet story.

What a fun walk back in time to the days I sat with little children curled up on either side of me while I read this story for five days in a row, followed by plenty of owl activities.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Am I too early?

Am I too early?

Oh the joy of being a woman and engaging in a freshly brewed cup of coffee, black please. How else does one taste the true flavors from coffee beans around the world if a cup of coffee consists of creams, milks and (gasp!) sugar?

In my little world of ensuring my ritual treats are in fine tune, I almost outdid myself today wondering if I was jumping the gun and way too early in delighting in these fine things, mainly "chocolate" today. Am I just far too bold while staring down the calendar, actually accusing myself here of turning to the next month already and finding a fun day there awaiting the starting gun beginning? Aw shucks and golly gee, please don't say yes. I'm enjoying all of this just way too much today.

Hold fast to your dreams...

Hold fast to your dreams!

Within your heart

Keep on still, secret spot

Where dreams may go,

And sheltered so,

My thrive and grow --

Where doubt and fear are not.

Oh keep a place apart

Within your heart,

For little dreams to go.

By; Louise Driscoll

How about you? (wink) If you are guilty too of taking in fine pleasures by celebrating something far too early, just remember one thing. Soon it will come and go, and then what. Oh heck, just do it now will ya and savor every moment of it when you can.

And please do enjoy!

This and that

Hello again, good afternoon to you!

I hope this beautiful sunny, knee deep snowy day (here anyway) finds you all well and wonderful. For those who have written, I stand guilty as charged for inundating you all with a plethora of recent posts, but to be fair - I did warn you that many would be coming. With that said I really can't offer any (sincere) apologies (LOL) without internet abilities at my fingertips (oh, the saga continues....lol) for continued shorter daily uploads. Instead you can all reap the benefits of my online time with many posts banged out at one time just to keep you so entertained, that is - until the next time. And today is one of those "next times".

As life continues to grab hold of our family, we experience the day to day challenges and attempt to continue finding joy inside of those same crazy things.

For example, we solved a mystery early this morning when our suspicions held true and we capture two wee meadow mice underneath of our kitchen sink in the cupboard. It seems surreal to find we have mice in this brand new home, as in our last two houses. Crazy, just crazy! Our oldest daughter was about the same age as our older one still living at home. She is not impressed, neither are the rest of us, but triumph today came when capturing the cutie little rodents. I know, usually there are more when there are a few, so we wait with baited breath to find their point of entry (likely the ability to get inside with the snow higher than the basement floor top) and deal with this new dilemma. Some folks we know often have mice come to visit and think nothing of it. We abhor it all and give it right back to you who don't mind it. Ick! And why us anyway - are we too friendly wherever we go or what? Grrrrrrrrrr

More crazies...

  • - Finding out more than a foot of snow fell during the night only to find a vehicle looking like this;

Over one foot fell while we slept

  • - Half a double garage filled with unassembled boxes not yet picked up and still more in the house to unpack.
  • - Observing a really fast black mouse scooting up the driveway in search of his familiar hole, gone now due to the snowploughing duties complete by our son who carved out a wider driveway. Stay outside little fellow...stay outside okay?

  • - Online schooling deadlines with this Friday the very last day for our teens to upload their school work because it will be the end of their first semester. And just when they thought a spring break was upon them, yesterday two big boxes arrived with the next round of books for semester two. Can you see me grinning over independent students taking charge of their own education? Our son has already downloaded a pile of work to do offline in between coffee shop sessions. Bravo! Onward ho - to high school graduation formalities this year for this one and his sister is coming up next right behind him. That will make a total of six by next year with only two more younguns to go. (grin, grin, grin)

  • - Waking up in the early morning and looking out the window to see what all the noisy commotion was all about only to find a huge hi-ho machine driving down the road to dig a new hole for a new residence. Yes, we live in the thick of a new construction area – again, so bulldozers and assorted machinery are the norm for a while. But, they aren't that noisy all the time because all of the residential lots available are large acreage parcels so we are far apart.

  • - Realizing hockey playoffs are already here for our older son who was finally able to play recently since his transfer paper work finally arrived. Only four games and an early morning practice during one week's time. Whew....thank you hubby for tending to this and working with daughter in the concession stand for our volunteer time. ( pssst.....did I tell you all what a cushie job it was and how much fun they all had doing that? No, well let me tell you about having breaks, sitting around waiting (hoping) for a customer in between hockey game periods and being popular for making the proclaimed "crispiest and best french fries with gravy ever". Way to go.

  • - Surprised to find almost every single one of our VHS video collection movies were never re-winded. Guess what took two culprits more than four hours to do, even with two machines running at the same? Nasty stuff thus the slogan; Be Kind and Rewind.

  • - Walking through the snow to discover most of us aren't wearing boots high enough because snow trickles down our socks and makes our legs and feet wet for several inches atop of the boot heights. Note to self; higher boots!

Oh please know that I am not trying to be whiny here, just looking for a real good excuse for my next post above. So what do YOU think? Am I too early? (roaring with laughter awaiting your answer....).

Thank you for all your very fun and cheery emails, even from as far as India, New Zealand and Australia. Wow, thank you, thank you everyone. Come for tea or coffee with me deep in cyberspace any time. I'll be waiting with the welcome mat out for you. But first, do check out the next post above...snicker.

Man of the Hour

My Man of the Hour

Yesterday at precisely noon, the world was spellbound watching Barrack Obama become the 44th President of the United States. Obviously with the media blitzing of this man, he became the "Man of the Hour" to the world, but not to me. No sir!

Not my cup of tea to drive into such a huge city

anymore. Give me the country anyday!

At the exact same hour of the day, my husband and I arrived at a medical hospital in the city, and it was time for him check in and proceed with scheduled tests for his hopeful entry into the lung rehabilitation physiotherapy program in this locale.

Waiting and waiting and more waiting...

The pulmonary testing is usually a standard quarterly testing he must participate in to keep tabs on his lung disease.

The technician nonchalantly asked my husband if he would mind a few medical students to watch the first half of the standard pulmonary testing, the one where the door remained open and I was somewhat surprised to hear him answer he was fine with that. Five mature women eventually came into the room with their teacher and between them and the technician, all were females.

Medical students loved being present to watch and thanked my hubby over and over again for allowing them in. What a fun bunch they were!

What a hoot we all had but truly, for his affirmation to include them into this highly private testing, he became my "Man of the Hour" this day, and not only mine, but all the women greatly appreciated him for the viewing and note taking ability they gained from the experience. No doubt they've witnessed others in the lung disease departments but none had been privy to watch this test yet.

Getting ready for the tougher tests...

Each new city seems to have varying equipment and this hospital proved to have yet again, something new to him. They all work the same of course but the general proceedings included a few extra tests he'd not had in this same glass enclosure.

Once the rounded door is closed, he needs to have perfect concentration in the latter part of the assignments. The whole procedure here lasted for over an hour. A very long, long hour at that, totally exhausting to be sure!

As for me, I try to attend all my hubby's medical testing sessions, if only to be a quiet cheerleader in the background, extra ears to hear and document his case studies (like seeing the xrays again, hmmmm) and being ever-ready to jump off my chair to catch him in the event my hubby sees way too many stars from lack of oxygen during these tests and suddenly begins to fall. THAT has happened and I don't want it to happen again!

What a guy! Love that man!

Off to have a chest xray came next, followed by an interview with the head Respiralogist of the lung physiotherapy program. Alot of waiting around took place.

The doctor's assistant came in the patient room first to detail information and began a new file for my hubby. He was a young man, so warm and caring. With as much detail as possible plus cross referencing with doctor and physio referral letters in hand, finally he went to collect the main doctor.

What has proved to be the most excruciating, vulnerable and emotional time of waiting to get into the medical field in our new locale, yesterday proved to be a very successful and wonderful experience for both my hubby and myself. Both doctors suggested writing letters to expedite my husband meeting the other doctors, one in our more local city, another in this same larger city, the surgeon and transplant team also. What comes of this whole thing only God knows, however one thing I do know for sure; having worked in a medical field office myself, doctors do NOT usually volunteer to write letters, believe me. But these two did!

And together we both rejoiced all the way home later on knowing my hubby was also accepted into the lung physio program hands down. The only thing we need to pray on is the timing because when we walked further to meet the physiotherapist, she forewarned us there is a huge waiting list into the program, so likely not until July or August. That was a starting point, however people do cancel and we are hoping one occurs very shortly so my hubby can begin to work on gaining more strength again.

Neighborhood Arena = Free Hockey Fun!

Neighborhood Ice Arena

Saying the National Anthem before play? (smile)

Last week some of the children and a visiting friend discovered a treasure trove near to our home. It was a friendly neighborhood arena and honestly, it was so much better than even I had ever envisioned when I had heard about its existence.

The country "General Store" across the street features an arena schedule listing either skating only or hockey times by the hour, seven days each week. My eyes almost bugged out when I realized this wasn't any ordinary ice arena, nope, no hokey thing at all. In fact it was surrounded by boards and its size was that of an official ice skating arena. Man was it big!

The sign said it was open, and the door ajar welcoming skaters or hockey players alike. Two hockey nets were already in place and the brick building adjacent to it all offered benches to skate and suit up, washrooms, heat for the frigid air breaks and a sound system for playing favourite music through the loud speakers on its outer rooftop.

As far as we knew this was a free venue offered to neighboring families, completely manned by volunteers. One could tell it had been recently snow ploughed and shortly before we left a man arrived to re-plough the walkways and turn on the night lights surrounding the arena.

Having a blast and hockey nets are even included!

Inside the building another arena schedule was hung on the bulletin board with a note requesting all participating families please donate 20.00 for the year per family. (What a steal!) The minimal fee would be suffice to pay for the gasoline used for the snowplough and assorted expenses if necessary for this pleasure.

When we arrived the temperature was hovering around -10c and the wind had just picked up speed. Being the mother that I am I worried about everyone becoming too cold, so I opted to sit in my vehicle and watch, ready at any moment's notice when they had had their fill. The younger children wore their snow clothing but the older boys worked out so hard playing hockey against one another, they soon layered down in a hurry. If I had known the beforehand the building would be heated, I could've waited in there but I had my fresh cup of hot coffee along and some pleasure reading.

Soon daylight began to darken and early evening fell. Time to wrap it up everyone and get home for dinner....

Dinner called with our guest in tow. He came on his own but first bought himself a GST to ensure a safe and timely passage. What a guy!

"Shall we return again I queried?"

The smiles should answer the question without words, however the replies were how about returning every day!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ten things I am thankful for...

Ten things I'm thankful for....

1. I am thankful for flowers
– always thankful for them and the beauty they offer. This week I was able to pick up the surprise offering of tulips (already?). The buds were all closed so over the past few days I've enjoyed watching their open up and blossom, offering bits of spring on days when snow is pouring from the skies. So lovely, tulips always remind me of our wedding anniversary when they are rich in bloom, at least they are in the west during those time of year.

2. I am thankful for finding my oven mitts, gloves and pot holders. Now I no longer have to pretend I'm camping while using folded dish towels for everything. Ah, it wasn't so bad. Really. I know, a little bit of winter goes along with the current weather outdoors. Which would you pick, snowman or penguin? Aren't they both so cute!

3. I am thankful for notes from our grandchildren for they bless us often with their sweet offerings. The simple beauty of a little one sending love in the mail makes me want to hold each note tenderly to remind me of them, with love.

4. I am thankful for a new church community where several mothers pulled me aside last weekend to introduce themselves already, so soon in fact. After a brief conversation I was invited to join fellow parish homeschooling families once a month at the church and I've already had a telephone call to attend next Friday with all of them. I was also invited to join ladies of the parish at their once a month mother blessing evenings where they meet for the sole purpose to pray, talk, make crafts, encourage each other, and offer warmth and friendship to one another. I'm in and just waiting a telephone call for the next one and address to the rotated hostess in charge for the month. Blessed is how I'm feeling right now....

5. I am thankful for having my husband home every night again. It was a long haul for us and our family to be apart for most of eight months during his commute to a new job portfolio in another city. It's just sweet to have him near again and not just on weekends.

6. I am thankful for new things to discover, specifically watching skidoos zoom by wherever we go these days. I found out the county/city grooms miles and miles of trails specifically for usage by skidoo operators and there is even a club here where people who own them gather. It is not an uncommon sight to see skidoos parked at gas stations or at restaurants in the area. And it just baffles us every time we pass by a high school to see just how many skidoos are parked outside for alternative transportation modes at this time of year. If it were up to our teens we would have to own one very soon to experience this too while living here. (LOL)

7. I am thankful for hot drinks on a COLD wintry day, complete with popcorn remaining offerings from our camping In weekend before the moving truck arrived here. There is nothing quite as soothing as having a nice hot cuppa after a brisk subzero temperature walk with the dogs each afternoon.

8. I am thankful for children who aren't afraid to pitch in as a family and do their part to assist the unit as a whole. Hard work doesn't hurt anyone and sometimes clearing all the snow truly becomes HARD work around here.

Another three feet fell this past week, so beautiful and gorgeous to those who can appreciate it for what it is and not complain for its presence. One son had to brave the cold and assemble a dog house for a bit of shelter when for them on extra cold days when they want to play outdoors. He had "helpers" who were willing to do more than hold up instructions or give moral support...

9. I am thankful for our gas fireplace which looks and feels like a real wood fireplace. Often family members gather near it to warm up, or stand directly in front of it to rid themselves of a sudden chill from the cool Arctic winds recently experienced here. Never before have we experienced temperatures of -32c where on contact with the outdoor air our nostril hairs freeze and our entire nose feels as though its succumbed to anesthetic internally. There were also a few days of having to scrape the "inside" of the vehicle windows to rid the ice there. Brrrrr......

10. I am thankful for finally being able to hang up and truly appreciate my love for this picture below. My mother bought me this same print many years ago and I wasn't able to afford having it framed. This past mother's day my husband found another of the same print already framed and voila, it was more economical to pick it up for the price sticker asking than to go ahead with the one we had here. Plus, it was the perfect size for hanging in my bedroom at long last.

Being that this is "Prolife Week" in much of North America, I feel this picture is a perfect representation of the beautiful blessing a child is to a mother. Every time we ourselves obtained news of another child on the way for us, I felt nothing else but sincerely blessed and thrilled for yet another chance to bring a child into our family. And having dark hair myself, I like to look at this picture and envision with great fondness my own "mommy moments" of the past in the still of the night with one of my babies tenderly wrapped up in my arms. So what if it may have been a rough night! No one remembers those rough nights anyway, just the smell of a new babe and how much a curled up smile makes our heart sing. It's not until we look back at those precious moments where we can fully appreciate how blessed we are with our full quiver, thankful always for every new babe residing under our rooftop.

"How can anyone say there are too many children?

That is like saying there are too many flowers"

~Mother Teresa