Saturday, February 3, 2018

JANUARY - THE BIRTHDAY MONTH


With the New Year's family retreat at Gardom Lake over, there were lazy days at home to curl up with a book and forget about the dust bunnies gathering in the corners of my house. There were days too cold and streets too icy to venture out on walks outdoors so we took to doing laps in the mall followed by a Tim's coffee or hot chocolate treat. 
And,  there were birthdays to celebrate! A daughter-in law, two sweet grandchildren, and my very own. With a family of 20, birthdays come often and often in clumps.



What a fun breakfast date with these two cousins, Lauren who celebrated her 4th and Cole his 9th. There was constant chatter, gifts to open, cards to draw for each other, food of course, and then a visit to the toy store and the pet shop. Just looking!!!



"The first fact about the celebration of birthdays is it is a good way of affirming defiantly, and even flamboyantly, that it is a good thing to be alive. "

G.K. Chesterton 
"Our Birthday " 1935
















"Short, cold days, low clouds, dreary days. When the sun does appear and the windows of heaven turn blue, if only for a few hours on random days, I will celebrate colour, and sit at my kitchen window with the dazzling sun refracting through the dull branches of my 'Gratitude Tree' and allow my soul to be refreshed. I will keep flowers in my home - apricots, pinks, exotic tropicals - opening to the light which is incrementally seeping back into the emptied cup of the sky. A river of joy runs deep in my soul even when my happiness and well-being are a little foggy."
These are words that I penned in my journal the last week of my 60's.  I was struggling with the thought of turning 70.

One day the snow came down like huge feathers, and in the moment I captured the first photo being quite puzzled with the selfie stamp. Well, I learned something new about the camera app on my phone which may prove to be fun.

I got mail,  FB greetings and personal, paper mail in the mailbox, which is rare and usually seems to come for me in January. Beautiful birthday cards with sweet wishes, and then this one which caught me off guard in the gloom of the pending big 70, but since it was from my oldest sister I read on and grew to cherish the words of encouragement and wisdom she shared:
"Winter - 70 seems to be the doorway into the season of life called winter.
Winter is a season of rest, reflection and remembrance ... a season of gratefulness for accomplishments and appreciation for friends and family.
Walk through the door with Joy and Confidence."
Elvera

My sister Edie submitted "Sister Time" and photo to 'More of Our Canada 'magazine and it was published!!
Four sisters sharing very special times together over the years since our mother passed in 1998.
And so colour  -  lots of colour came into my home in January through the cards, magazine, and flowers in apricot, yellow, pink and purple hues, and lovely gifts to pamper myself in this winter season. 














Original paintings from a sister, a daughter ( even the envelope is a keeper) and grandchildren ( so fun too have the cards interpreted with their sweet voices)
An original poem from 9 year old Avery: ( so appropriate as I had just bought 8 used books at Pandosy Books that morning, and then the gift of two beautiful books from her parents, the ultimate bookworms!

"BOOKS
So many pages
So many words
The smell of thick leather and coffee with buns
the sound of the bell
and the cash register."
                    Avery







Books to cherish and my first aromatherapy mister, all to relax me and enrich my senses.




A beautiful stained glass feather gift catches more light as it is reflected in a mirror.


A surprise dinner with my family, planned by Wally. I was surrounded all day by family and friends who continue to fill my heart with joy. I was loved on and pampered ALL day.
Thank you all!

A special guest at my party was this Trudy doll, a throw back of me, the Trudy of the 70's.
Her dress was made with retro fabric from a sundress I wore way back then!
She will always be welcome in any corner of my house and  has already danced through the living room with little Lauren.
'Trudy' is a unique custom doll  by daughter Shelley, creator of Shellbell Dolls





So I have stepped with confidence into this new season of 'winter '

I can walk with confidence because God has been with me through my lifetime and 
He will carry me along this journey.

"How blessed all those in whom you live, whose lives become roads you travel. They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks, discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain! God - travelled, these roads curve up the mountain and at last turn - Zion!   God in full view." 
from Psalm 84  



" Your remarkable life is happening right here, right now."
Frederick Buechner








Friday, January 5, 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018


With Christmas joys wrapped up into warm memories it was time to ring in the New Year. Time to escape the busy city, to drive that all familiar hour and a half, and enter the silence of winter at Gardom Lake Bible Camp. 


Gardom Lake, where the snow covered landscape of winter quietly sings its song of 
Peace on Earth






Gardom Lake lies frozen in time far below the lodge, all cozy with a blazing wood fire.


The lodge roof drips silently with long shards of ice.
Inside the lodge our family with some of the extended Peters clan warmed up with hot chocolate, coffee, and then mountains of delicious food consumed over five meals and non-stop snacking in between. Shepherds pie, lasagna, a soup buffet and yummy breakfasts served with love.


Good conversations in the kitchen while preparing meals,

Coffee cups made novel soup bowls when there were 5 temping soups to savour.
And of course after each meal the dish pit became a good learning experience for the youngest generation.

There were so many people in the hustle and bustle of our retreat that I could only capture some of them in my photos. What I have is just a snapshot into our 48 hours.




Loads of fun on the infamous sledding hill 


And more fun shaking trees with raining snow.


Three sister in laws returning from this magical walk took a moment to become like their children creating snow angels. And then as all modern mothers do, 
they had to take 'selfies'


Between snowsuits drying out for another round of snow fun there was time for puzzles, games, visiting, reading, snacking, napping, ping pong, and a lot of noisy children chasing up and down stairs and running down a long hallway. So much laughter till the wee hours of the morning and then before the sandman had completed his night rounds it was time to open those sleepy eyes for another day of more food and snow fun.



The ice cream party. 



And all to soon it was time to round up scattered toques and mittens, tidy up the lodge, cram everything back into our vehicles and say our goodbyes with lots of hugs.









Some very happy moments for me as we were leaving the camp was to stop and capture these breathtaking winter wonderland photos.












The New Year opens most beautifully to me with all my dear ones in good health, & each busy & happy in their own peculiar way.
 ~Anna Alcott Pratt, January 1861, quoted from louisamayalcott.org



Sunday, December 31, 2017

ALL OF DECEMBER 2017


December:  A month that was so full of joy, so busy, so satisfying in experiences, and so rich in my own spiritual journey.

It was also the month with the least daylight, gloomy days with cloud inversions in our valley, lots of snow for someone else to shovel, too much delicious food with its ramifications to the body, and saddest of all, the news of the murder of a mother and her two beautiful children in our own city together with all the other acts of hate and violence around the globe which hardly resounded with "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all Men."

December with the celebration of Advent and Christmas was a call to action;  a time to show small kindnesses, to sing in a small choral group at 12 care homes, a seniors drop in centre and Hospice. There was quality time to appreciate and love on family like there may not be a tomorrow, and to celebrate with a church community the truth of "Joy to the World, the Lord has Come."


To kick off December I treated myself to a coconut latte and a butter tart.


Winter art went up.


Advent is my favourite spiritual season when I surround myself with poetry and prose to be enriched with the theme of God's incarnation. Enjoyed a new devotional book by Henri Nouwen and a daily on line multimedia  devotional created by Biola University .


Baking is a tradition with dozens of cookies for our church's 27 annual Living Nativity. Then there were Zwiebach and Pfeffernuesse and a huge pot of Plumi Moos to prepare for the family.



Decorations went up for the first week of December

Several old ornaments on the tree.



Kyla and Avery came over to create 21 place cards for the family dinner.

Boxing Day is our family day starting with yummy baked oatmeal at Ray and Melody's house and a game called 'Family'
Mark had to put in a shift at work so we dropped by for a hot chocolate and to say Hi. He joined us after 3.

Then on to Karl and Lisa's house where a warm wood fire was blazing, 
cousin gifts opened and a few carols sung.







Look a like dolls for cousins are a surprise each year, but almost expected from our talented Shellbell doll creator. 



Cousins still enjoy drawing names for their gift exchange.


A reminder of the Reason for the Season
Lots of love for a resident Santa
Fazl socks to remind us of our friends in India


The Dinner table set at our house, or I should say three tables set for 21.

A short nap before the doorbell announces the arrival of the tribe.



Lots of yummy food 





A rare moment to gather ten wonderful grandchildren around us.



And that was Christmas and then the snow fell softly 

And on this last day of 2017
 a fun time making popcorn balls with Kaden for our New Years celebration
at Gardom Lake starting tomorrow.


A walk in our neighbourhood forest at the end of the year


The frozen creek in darkness lies
like covers closing on pages of the year,
Look beyond to brighter skies
of opportunity, adventure
as chapters in a New Year will arrive.