Monday, December 31, 2012

Ten Things I'm Thankful For - mid-autumn rollback

Rolling backwards, as promised... and smiling all the way.
Ten more, always ten in total; Here are another ten random bits of my thankful things, none in particular order or semblance, just things I find motivating for thoughts of gratitude. 

Are you writing yours down, keeping them close to your heart at the very least? With the new year coming, why not start now? 

 - 1 - I'm thankful for trail walking, where peace and serenity fill a soul with humble thoughts, grand steps on beautiful paths, and thoughts of loving family members roll round and round one's head. That's what it's like for me me anyway, while out walking on trails and pathways. How about you? Do take time to get outdoors and delight in the gifts of each season. 

The trail above is on my own property, just steps away from my back door off the kitchen. 

- 2 - I'm thankful for hiking buddies who value spontaneous happen-chances, like the one above when we all walked in with sweaty faces, obvious clothing to indicate our most recent activity together, and the woman graciously welcomed the crowd of we women in anyway. 

Yes folks, this is a very small chocolate factory featuring Belgian chocolate, where the behind the scenes takes place for making and molding the chocolate fancies, and folks can stop by to see a small storefront with items for sale. They say no one rarely knows the treasures in their own local area, and I believe that is so true, mostly because this one is under eight minutes from my home and I would not have known it was even there. 

Take a close look in the first photo above. That is a chocolate wedding cake folks! Yes, indeed, it is! And to the right of it, note the Lucille Ball photo of her one day job at the chocolate factory. We are Lucy fans, so of course that one caught my eye. But then, so did the items in the case below it, and the other assorted molded chocolates behind me. 

 - 3 - I'm thankful for our daughter finally admitting life on an actual horse isn't all that bad after traumatically growing out of the pony she was so attached to. This horse is named "Aussie", and had so much attitude at first, but has grown to love and ride well for our daughter. 

Shockingly, the two have bonded to the point where this horse will almost do anything for our girl. Amazing! 

 - 4 - I'm thankful for fun things in October, like the family at the barn where our daughters' ride when hosting a Halloween horse show. Last year we were away, so we weren't sure what to expect, but this event met with our surprising delights.

Entire families from our barn, as well as many entrants attended, all encouraged to dress up if desired, for the costume event. Our little missy grandbaby was naturally included when she attended with her mommy above. Adorable of course, it was so sweet to see her perform in front of a crowd and take a first place ribbon, all for the fun of it of course. She was the only baby dressed up though, a little stiff competition for all the rest. :) As for her mommy, she was able to participate in her first horse show since baby was born, so great to see her out there, in the saddle again with the others. 

Our older daughter is back into horse showing

At the end of the very, very long day, the final competition loomed ahead. After both daughters placed well all through their event entries, this younger one has become so brave on her designated horse and surprised us greatly by voluntarily entering the competition to jump the highest fences! UGH! My hubby and I were all sweaty palmed, not knowing what to think as each round saw continued entrants disqualified, while those left standing continued to  jump another raised notch on the bars. 

Our younger daughter stunned us all with her bravery, and um, well, this butt shot. Sorry folks, didn't quite expect this huge reach in the climb this day. teehee...

Up, up it went, higher than she has EVER jumped successfully before, and shockingly she was the last person standing at 3ft, 3 inches. My goodness, my heart was in my throat. I almost gasped and begged her to stop (like WHAT are you thinking girl!), while all the other parents either sweated along with us, or kept loving the event enough to assure me all would be well. At day's end, we now know what this horse and rider, both as a team together are capable of. 

Onward to 2013 horse shows then, but maybe I need to turn my back a few times to get all warmed up to these new heights first. 

 - 5 - I'm thankful for creative pumpkin carving efforts, though it's always, always so much easier than it seems before setting the tip of that knife through the outer skin. Isn't it that way for you too? 

We actually had two carving sessions around here, one for the younger two (above), and the other with a few visiting young adults who attempted to carve one pumpkin between the three of them. 


They did a fine job, complete with brother dressing up the final result with sister's boots, and mother's oven mitts. It ended up providing a good laugh.

- 6 - I'm thankful for this great book, though not for the faint of heart! It's a true historically accounts of brave men whose only purpose was to travel to the New World, live amongst the Natives, and learn their ways to enable the spreading of the gospel. 

For us, it's great living a short drive away from their proclaimed homes of origin, now more formal holy grounds, where actual saints roamed, and all these life giving Canadian Martyrs once lived. 

It was wonderful to hear of the Canonization of "Blessed to Sainthood" for Kateri Tekawitha this past fall, as she was such a part of their missions throughout geographical North American areas, and how wonderful to be so near to some of her relics resting here.


Celebrations, pilgrimages, special masses, and plenty of happy feasting occurred at the southern end of Georgian Bay in the city of Midland, Ontario, at the Holy Martyrs Shrine. If you're ever in town, and wish to visit this holy ground, feel free to contact me.  I love to visit, and have brought many of my own guests to visit, during our past four years living here.

For those who wish to know a little bit more, here's a link to the REAL MEN and the story of the Martyrs Shrine, and about the Meet each of the Martyrs; Jean de Brébeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Antoine Daniel, Charles Garnier, Noël Chabanel, Isaac Jogues, René Goupil & Jean de Lalande

- 7 - I'm thankful for remnants I came across in my science club lesson box. Evidence of former projects both taught and learned by children of my own and others, made me smile with warm memories of those days gone by. 

Yes, I used to teach a science club, and a nature club, both of whom were filled to capacity with students, and parents who wanted to stay and absorb the learning fun. 

Both of these photos above feature one daughter's seed collection. The assignment for one of the weeks was to find as many types of food seeds as possible, collect/wash and dry them all, label in an envelope, and bring to the next class. 

The children were to "trade seeds" to increase the variety in their own present collections, and then we got to work to make displays as keepsakes. I have so many visual memories of these days, of eager, smiling children and never a lesson without a teacher's dream of too many volunteer parents in attendance. 

These were all so well worth all the effort it took for me to attempt keeping them interesting and fun. I really have a soft spot for these types of groups, maybe some day I'll repeat it all again.  

- 8 - I'm thankful for yet another visit from a "pileated woodpecker" who thinks his territorial nature includes owning our property trees! See the damage he did in just two days above? Well, during the next wind storm shortly later, the top of the tree broke off. Obviously though, we knew the tree top was dying or he wouldn't have paid any attention to the tree in the first place. Such is the way these birds were made I suppose. He's such a large, and interesting bird too, almost a foot long. 

 - 9 - I'm thankful for continued little grandbaby moments that make us smile, and bring much joy into our lives.  Thoughts too of our older nine grandchildren living on the westcoast are always on our mind. How lovely to have such great technology these days to see, hear, and love them from afar.

You know the saying.... You know you're a redneck when? Well, this little gal's daddy is a bit of a redneck, loving motors and engines himself, not able to wait longer to introduce his baby girl to the seat on our lawn tractor. She loved it, and didn't enjoy having to get off! Great laughs ensued from this fun moment.

She sure offers everyone around here plenty of sunshine, always chirping and singing up a storm. If only we knew what she says! Such a part of our lives now, it will be a bittersweet day when she moves out with her mama over the course of this upcoming year. But, no worries, that's all in God's bigger plan for her, so it's all good. 

- 10 -  I'm thankful for glimpses of a season's ending, like when autumn begins to turn to winter, and evidences of dried up leaves signal the end of leaf raking, mowing and bagging. Soon, the leaves will be gone, and snow will replace our grounds with glorious white and brightness. 

So much happens at the end of a season, and I often find it intriguing how human intuition takes over for preparing for the changes ahead. One just becomes accustomed to what must be done, how it is to be executed, and who must partake. It's a family affair around here, surely whenever, and whoever, is around that is. So.many.leaves!  


As suggested, these blogs may be heading back in time for a fair bit of blog postings ahead. Thankful things are always on my mind, and fresh reminders within photo files tend to take me back a season or five anyway. 

Ten things. It's so easy peasy folks. Muster up your thoughts today, juggle and jangle your memory banks, and jot down your own ten things. 

See you again very soon;

"Give me a firm place to stand, 
and I will move the earth."
~ Archimedes