Three Score and a Day Ago


Three Score and a Day Ago my parents were married.  Ten years ago, on their 50th wedding anniversary, it snowed, quite alot.

Five years ago, I managed to get home to celebrate with them.  Dad, even though he still had some physical challenges from his first stroke, marked the day by enjoying one of his most favourite things in the world.  Along with his youngest daughter he burned the grass along the edges of the farm in preparation for the greening of spring.

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Today is Friday, typically a day off.  I putter on Fridays, the only thing I schedule is walking the dog, which I do every morning, and cook dinner.  The rest is puttering, laundry, dishes, quilting.  I catch up on the programs recorded on the DVR, usually it is The Big Bang Theory.  I’m feeling a little blue, the anniversary of my parent’s nuptials heightens how much I miss my dad who died September five years ago.  This was Chuck Lorre’s reflection #589.

Recently I was scrolling through the contacts list in my cell phone, when I came across an entry of a casual acquaintance who had died.  This was a very nice person, someone I enjoyed spending time with.  There was no real reason we didn’t become closer friends.  Just the usual excuses, busy lives, and tossed-off promises of lunches and dinners that would never come to pass.  Anyway, here was all this person’s contact information – email, phone numbers, etc.  Was I supposed to delete it?  I couldn’t think of a reason not to, but pressing the delete button seemed disrespectful, almost irreverent.  To die is one thing, to be deleted is quite another.  Instead, I took a deep breath and called the number.  It went to voicemail (thank God).  I then left a rambling message about how I wished we’d gotten to know each other better, and that I was sorry I didn’t follow up on one of our many threatened lunch dates.  It was a silly thing to do, but when I hung up I felt a small bit of closure.  The my phone rang.  I looked down and saw his name in the caller ID.  I froze.  The room started to spin.  My heart was pounding in my ears.  I took a deep breath, forced myself to press the accept button and put the phone to my ear.  It was his son.  He was confused as to why I’d called his late father.  I promised to explain it over lunch.  Date, TBD.

I have contacts in my phone like that.  Both of my very best friends from seminary.  I can’t bring myself to delete them.  Both deceased, one from cancer, the other a fall (?).  Coincidentally, it is (was) the latter’s birthday today.  My heart is breaking with love displaced to a realm beyond my knowing.

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Psalm 78:39
He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.

Up is Not the Only Way


DSC_0736 DSC_0738I love the way trees look, their textured trunks, canopies of leaves, and the tenacious hold they have on the earth.  These are Manitoba Maples, aptly named.  I think the first one would be an ideal place to stage a family portrait.

I often wonder what they have seen, the history that has been absorbed through their roots, the stories they might tell if they could.

Leviticus 23:40  On the first day you shall take the fruit of majestic trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.

Baby, It’s HOT outside!


It feels like it has been an above normal temperature summer.  The last three or four days have been above 30C with extremely high humidity.  As hot days typically do, they bring severe thunderstorms at the close of day.

Yesterday we were at a family member’s cottage on Lake Winnipeg near Gimli.  There was enough of a breeze to make being outside tolerable, and it always seems cooler to be near the water.  On the return trip a cold air ridge came in and provided some glorious opportunities for pictures.

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Job 37:4  After it his voice roars; he thunders with his majestic voice and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard.

First of Three, So Far


DSC_0672 DSC_0674 Previously I mentioned we have received hail three times already this summer.  As a result the hostas are a mess, the basement and the roof have leaked.  The leaking stuff has been repaired, the drain in the driveway was unclogged and the roof has been reshingled.  The hostas, sorry to report, have not managed to repair themselves.DSC_0675 DSC_0670

Psalm 105:32   He gave them hail for rain, and lightning that flashed through their land.

It’s Growing Well


DSC_0710December we took possession of our new house in our new community.  Winter seemed to take a long time to break as I waited in anticipation of what would spring up in the flower beds.  I knew there would be purple cone flowers, other than that, it was all a mystery.  Spring arrived and I gave all the beds some housekeeping.  There appeared to be some hostas, irises, day lilies.  Daily I watched to see what was to be.

The beds were quite the mess.  I wasn’t holding out too much hope, they appeared to have been neglected for a few years.  I told myself not to be too surprised if the plants took a year to re-establish themselves.  The bearded and flag irises did poorly.  Less than a half dozen blossoms on four bunches.  The one nearest the house was mush.  I had to removed a number of rotted tubers.  I expect to transplant it later in the season.

There was an abundance of hostas, they were late in the southern most bed which is quite shaded.  I’m going to have to thin them out.  All of them bloomed, beautifully.

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The cone flowers began blooming this week.  They are fabulous!  One of my favourites, mainly because of the colour, of course!  There should be more than enough for some bouquets soon.
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I didn’t plant too many annuals this year.  We got a couple of hanging  baskets for the veranda.  There were pair of tall pillar planters on either side of the bench that I filled with cala lilies, pansies and petunias in shades of purple.  The pansies are struggling a little, DSC_0706but those in the front flower bed are doing well.
The day lilies posed the greatest concern for me.  They, like the hostas, dominate the beds.  My fear was the colour they would eventually display.  The fear was realized when they bloomed orange last week.  I know orange is a good contrast for purple, but it is not part of my preferred palate.  They have redeemed themselves, the blossoms are glorious.  DSC_0704
I will be thinning them out, quite a lot.  There are a number of people volunteering to take the discards.  I have a fabulous white one as a replacement and some more bearded irises.  Plus I want room for spring bulbs, tulips, alliums, grape hyacinths, and narcissus.
The flowers have done very well, inspite of at least three heavy hail storms that punched holes in the hostas and beat down the pansies and impatients.  Still, the weather has been warm and there has been lots of rain. Perfect for a riotous display of colour. So grateful for the glory of flowers.  Praise God for the beauty of the earth.
Deuteronomy 32:2   May my teaching drop like the rain, my speech condense like the dew; like gentle rain on grass, like showers on new growth.

Epitaph


DSC_0476When the days have run their course
and the only words left,
to sum up a life returned to the source
of all life,
is carved in stone.
Rest in peace …
or with greater eloquence
“If I take the wings of the morning and
dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea”*
to mark the place of eternal sleep.
Words which fingers traced in granite
pale along side the soft passage
of indented prints through concrete not yet
set
by living creature’s remembered tread
in distant past.
Inevitably the tenth attempt had led
to the final milk scented breath
and, as all blessed with earthly life,
encountered God beyond the veil of death.
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*Charles and Anne Lindbergh – from Psalm 139:9

I Survived!


2015 arrived and I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had not quilted since June, 2014. Six months!  No fabric!  No cutting mats!  No sewing machine!

December 4th we moved into our ‘new’ home.  A 1947 character bungalow, big windows, hardwood floors, big back and front yards.  The kitchen is updated but the bathroom upstairs NEEDS renovating.

Once everything had been moved in and we had unpacked most of the necessities, I started searching through fabric boxes for something to work on.  I really don’t have the room to get at UFO’s at this time, so I started a new project, of course!  I have always wanted to do a postage stamp quilt and one of the first boxes I opened was a box of 2″ squares and strips.  Decision made!

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Mark 8:19
When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” They said to him, “Twelve.”

Lazy Labour Day


DSC_0420It is a holiday in Manitoba.  All the government offices, banks, shopping centres, car dealerships and almost all the grocery stores are closed.  All day!  After a day of persistent rain, the day dawned cool, with sun and few clouds.  Glorious 1st of September.  Hubby and I headed out late this morning.  We headed north to Lockport and had a World Famous Hotdog at Skinners.  The hot dog was okay, the ambiance was fun – sodas in the bottle, 50’s diner decor, antiques, a good variety of hard ice cream (blue licorice), jukeboxes, candy from my childhood at the counter and hand made fries.

After we drove down to the locks and the north end of Duff’s DitchDSC_0427There were a flotilla of boats on the water trying for catfish.  We watch one quartet haul in a large one, take their trophy picture and release it back into the turbulence.

The road meanders along Red River to Selkirk.  Beautiful properties, heritage and estate homes, groves of oak trees, fabulous views.  Backtracking west we went to Stonewall to find Knox Presbyterian Church built in 1883.  We speculated on what it might serve as a residence as it will soon be up for sale, the Presbytery having voted to close it at their last meeting.

Knox Presbyterian Church

The skies are so beautiful in Manitoba on a beautiful end of summer day.

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Job 26:7  He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.

A Fist Full of Flowers


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Wild Chickweed and Violets

I’ve always loved flowers.  Always.  Earlier this summer I was reminded of some of my first childhood memories of flowers.  As a very young child I soon learned as my father’s shadow, what flowers were in season.  We would go to the poplar forest as the leaves were just emerging from winter rest, the sun having warmed last autumn’s carpet, coaxing hepaticas to speckle the brown and gray with white, blue and mauve.  Usually that was consistently around Mother’s Day so we would return, fists full of tiny flowers, stems barely crossing the width of a palm.  Mom would find a shot glass to hold the crushed bouquets.  We never picked enough to fill it, our efforts always seemed so diminished by the empty spaces. I learned early that for flowers were best displayed and stayed fresh longer the longer the stems were.

The next offering of spring would be the marsh marigolds, then violets blue and white, followed by lilacs, buttercups, bluebells, wild anemone, something Dad labeled Kentucky Bluegrass, red clover, brown eyed susans, asters and goldenrods.  A bouquet would be barely wilted and I would be bringing Mom another from the fields and the woods.  Before I was taught to know better, I would bring bunches of daisies.  Dad held them in low regard because they were a weed, spoiling the hay harvest.  Plus they stunk, and brought tiny crawly bugs with them into the house that fell and littered any surface the vase holding those sunny faces set off with pure white petals sat on.  He loves me, he loves me not.  I spent hours trying to teach myself the art of daisy chains and consistently unsatisfying attempts at flower crowns to set on my white blond head.

Dad would take us to the spruce forests to search for Calypso Ladyslippers and the blueberry hills for Pink Moccasins and Indian Pipe.  There were excursions into the bog to seek out swamp laurel and pitcher plants.  We observed trout lilies, mayflowers, and never picked wood lilies, or irises.  Dad recalls seeing trilliums blooming just over the crest of the hill, on the east side of the field where we entered the bush to look for hepaticas weeks earlier, but I never managed to locate any on our place.  I enjoyed watching the bees visit the blueberry and raspberry and strawberry and chokecherry blossoms, leaving them alone in anticipation of sweet fruit and berries.  We would beg Dad to guide the boat into the lily pads to collect brilliant white water lilies and butter yellow spatterdock.

I was intoxicated by the scents of twin lilies and lilacs and goldenrods.  I’d search out Canada Thistle and whittle it down with my pocket knife because I had heard once that if you were ever lost in the woods you could survive on its pithy stems.

Flowers are perfect.

Luke 12:27  “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind


Almost two years ago I took my daughter-in-commonlaw to the local quilt store to select fabric.  She chose batiks, not my favourite, and quite dark colours.  It took some searching to find a pattern that I thought would showcase the fabric nicely.  The quilt was completed some time ago, but I held off on posting pictures until I had the opportunity to give it.

DSC_0270The pattern is called ‘Keyhole’.  It basically is a nine patch alternated with a solid square set on point.  I backed it with a caramel flannel.  The Quilty Guilt quilted it.  J*** commented she had forgotten what the fabric was, but was pleased with the finished quilt.  I was pleased that a couple days later she posted the following on her fb page.

“The beautiful quilt B’s mom made for me! I chose the fabrics when I was pregnant with A. and sort of forgot what they looked like. I was also caught off guard by my choice to go completely outside my comfort zone (blue, black, grey, but mostly blue). This turned out beautifully and obviously B. saw my vision because it’s absolutely perfect! :)”

I’m so glad she liked it.

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Isaiah 22:22

I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open.