Monday, January 3, 2022

But ...

But we weren't done with our lives yet ...


We hadn't really settled in to this new house yet
There were new neighbours yet to meet
and walks in the park and visits to the local coffee shops to do
But,
I'll continue to walk as much as I can. It heals and calms!



And some years to help the kids with the farming
Watching the grandchildren grow up on the farm
But,
how do we do this all without his expertise?


And maybe one more trip - to England, that was cancelled in Spring of 2020
But,
His voided passport was delivered to my door on Christmas Eve!


We had even thought that a year of Voluntary Service might be in the works?
But,
Could it still be a possibility for me?


There were dreams of travelling across our beautiful country
in our little house on wheels.
More camping trips with dear friends.
But,
The camper will now be loved by the new owners as much as we did!


Gently slowing down to enjoy our retirement years
Staying up late to read or watch a movie and then sleeping in.
But,
the movies just aren't the same when you watch them alone.


Using our new place in the city as a gathering place.
Extending the table to friends and family.
Oh, the possibilities ...
But,
who knows what the future holds?

But - here I am, having just completed my 70th trip around the sun as of today,
feeling blessed and humbled by all the good wishes from so many loved ones,
a crisp winter birthday walk around the river with sisters-in-law,
mountains of text, facebook, calls, and iMessages,
still able to enjoy the good things in life,
holding on to good health during this pandemic, 
and intentionally feeling all the feels of this momentous day.


It's time to shift gears - find my rhythm - read my Bible
and, be thankful for all the blessings that have been bestowed on me.


But - - - never to forget a life that was well lived and shared with me!





A 70th Birthday to Remember!!
So many gifts and cards - and, a cake with blue icing!



Till next time ... no more buts about it!


















 

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Life Goes On

In spite of it all - Life goes on...
The new and uncharted chapter has begun

Christmas awaits
One month has passed
Still doing one day at a time - but without him!

Some decorating and a bit of baking has occurred



Mom's China Cabinet has some new decor and meaning in it's new home



A gifted "Vigil" will forever tug at my heart.
Thank you to my dear sister-in-law - Marilyn,
the kindest, most thoughtful person you could ever meet!




An overflowing keepsake box of love
I weep as I read the beautiful words of sympathy and encouragement.
Thank you each and every one for taking the time to 
write and send these love notes.
There are no words that describe my deep gratitude.
I will treasure these forever!




And then came the shock of the "home" farm barn fire
Within minutes it had burned to the ground
No one was hurt and the dairy herd had been sold 3 weeks prior
The house and sheds were saved.
Thankful and sad ...
This was where the farmer grew up - just down the road from our farm
and where Jim's brother Paul and Charlene live.




An unexpected find was this print.
Was I directed to this store by the Divine?
It is exactly what we had looked for and hoped to find one day.
Our honeymoon, the red canoe, Northern Ontario, one oar ...




I am busy ... which is good for now.
There is much to do and new routines to establish.
I know that we will all get through this painful period of grief
but how, I am not at all sure.

My joy comes in the small packages called grandchildren.
They and their parents, whom I could not do this without, sustain me.

May the blessings of Christmas reach you all, dear readers.
Stay well.

Be still and know the Reason for the Season.

"For unto us a child is born"
Isaiah 9:6



Till next time ... life will continue to go on.



Sunday, November 21, 2021

Broken Hearts

Morning has broken,
and so have our hearts ...





The hardest post I've ever done - right here.







 

Early Sunday morning,
One painful and surreal week ago!
19 years to the day that my mother passed away,
Held by Becky and Patrick,
Standing on holy ground beside his bed,
5:15 a.m.
Funeral arrangements being made by 1:15 p.m.
Struggling to stay present and focused.
Barely breathing ...

A full day making arrangements, pulling pictures, selecting songs, breathing...
Reflections on a blessed and well lived life,
Leaning hard on a very capable daughter and son-in-law.

A blur of visitations - private family night,
Many tears and deep sorrow,
Numbness,
Beautiful flowers everywhere.

Full day of public viewing and visitation,
Masked faces,
An act of kindness by a cousin providing a venue for our evening meal
arranged by cousins and friends.

Private pre-service burial,
Nephews as pallbearers,
Surrounded by a loving and caring family,
Deep and meaningful embraces graveside,
Unbearable grief.
 
Celebration of Life Service ... so beautiful, so meaningful!
Church Family, Relatives and Friends surround,
Readings by nieces,
Tribute by a loving brother,
A poem written by a dear friend,
Compassionate message by Pastor Julie,
Music led by an amazing Sister-In-Law and friends,
Grandchildren, Family, and Congregation sitting six feet apart, 
Covid restrictions and Social Distancing making things strained and strange,
Ushered outside for some socializing.
Still Breathing ...

A calendar suddenly empty!
Is this even real?






Till next time ... whatever will we do without Popa???  Love you for ever and ever. Till we meet again!

Merciful Lord, give us the strength
       we need to get through this emptiness and pain.
Tears and sorrow overwhelming us all.
Breathing ...
One day at a time ...



Morning photo taken of the farm by a thoughtful neighbour, Michelle Martin


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Morning Light

 



During these past months, I have never felt so disoriented or sad.
Even tho so many dear ones are praying for us and giving us so much support,
it still just feels so very heavy.
And yet the morning light breaks through each day.




We do feel those prayers but the lumps in our throat just keep getting harder.
The tears flow unexpectedly and sometimes not at all.
And yet the morning light breaks through each day.




The frequent trips to emerg are becoming too familiar.
I find myself numb and hardly even
able to speak or to seek God's face for guidance or for strength.
And yet the morning light breaks through each day.




How does one prepare for what's to come.
A large, still unfamiliar new house to rattle around in,
so many loose ends and unfinished plans.
And yet the morning light breaks through each day.




Worry, pain and fear daily and nightly robbing calm and sleep.
And yet the morning light breaks through each day.




I know in my heart of hearts that God has a plan for all of this.

Please Lord, help me to understand and to trust!
To seek the new morning light.
Help me to open your Word daily to read your words of love and hope.






Dear readers - thank you for bearing with me through this lament!
These are my raw and numb feelings.
I know we've been blessed beyond imagination
and I treasure each morning.
Thank you for your precious gift of prayer.
Trusting that the future will be OK.



I will be absent from blogging for some time or perhaps for a very long while.
I know not what lies ahead ...
I want to be fully present during this time!

Farwell for now - love one another, be kind and stay well.



"I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."
Psalm 121:1-2


"In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.."
Psalm 5:3



Until next time ... when things feel lighter and the morning light is brighter!











Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Seeing Red

 In the good sense of the word, RED!


SO MANY TOMATOES!!!!

and, they couldn't be nicer this year ...


I don't remember ever having such nice big tomatoes - these are sitting on top of 
the stewed tomatoes that are in quart jars to show you the size of them.
Becky and I planted them at the farm and it's a bumper crop for sure.

We stewed,

We froze,

We salsa-ed

We relish-ed


Mom's Fruit Relish - click to link to recipe

And, there are still many more tomatoes to preserve - eek!
More salsa?!
I actually never made salsa and never really liked homemade, however,
we found this recipe on-line and it is really quite good.
It includes tomato paste in the recipe and I think this gives it a wonderful layer of flavour.
We followed the recipe - included all the jalapeno seeds and
the only thing I did different was add 1/2 Cup of Sugar and added a bit
of thickening at the very end of the boil (2 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp. of water). 

which is very similar but with some extra special ingredients like cilantro and cumin.

Do you have a favourite salsa recipe?


Some other random reds ...

In front of the famous Stratford Festival Theatre


With my favourite chauffeur












The "classic" red Adirondack chairs
assembled and ready to grace the
fire pit, once it gets put in place.
























A fun day out with our friends
to Goderich.
Always love seeing the beautiful lighthouse there.











My struggling dahlias - need to find a better spot for them next Spring.


Happy zinnias at the farm


Thankful for the drenching rains (tomato wash)



In other news:

A wee bit of decorating has been completed here at the "city" house:



I've been making use of my mom's old crocks in new ways.
By adding some glass circles they make fine patio tables.
Always have loved using the smaller ones for my kitchen counter items. 
I can recall my mother sharpening her knives on these old crocks.




A new "old" cabinet/side board for cookbooks, table cloths, kitchen linens, etc. 
As you can tell, I am having such trouble shaking the old farm house style.
You can move her to the city but you can't take the country out of the farmer's wife, I guess?





A bit of kitchen window treatment - so the neighbours don't need to see
me constantly at the kitchen sink - lol!


Slowly getting things on the walls and actually taking the time to look
at some artwork - stay tuned.


By the way ...
Have you been following Lovella Schellenberg on instagram?
If not - you should!
Check out her instagram account @lovellaschellenberg
Lovella is a co-author of Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog and cookbooks 
and everything she makes is truly awesome and delish.

She has been posting some fun baking tutorials
This peach pie and pie dough one is not to be missed.
I had to make it right away!


Possibly the best peach pie I've ever tasted!


A farm sunset picture as we were driving out the lane.
I posted it on our local TV station Weather Watcher site and it was selected
for the noon hour news picture the next day.





How is everyone out there? 
Is your garden bountiful this year?
Are you able to stay cool during the many heat waves?
Are things beginning to feel a bit more normal with Pandemic restrictions easing somewhat?


We are living in a very uncertain world these days.
It was a very difficult week for me ... I lost my BFF in Canal Flats, BC

Such a very helpless feeling - there really are no words!

She was the funniest and sweetest friend anyone could ever have.
Her motto was always - "sing and dance" "pray but don't worry" and she lived her life to the fullest.
May you rest in peace in God's loving arms dear friend ... Nonie!
Deepest sympathies to your precious family ... you will be sorely missed and loved forever.
My heart is broken!




Till next time, stay safe, stay cool, stay humble and kind.


Monday, July 19, 2021

July Joys

 The joy of sultry lazy summer days ...


Sunning Sully - perfect example!











Sourdough baking

(aka - heating up the kitchen)

















Giving an old chair a new wings ...

Easy fix - slip cover ordered online




Yummy summer salads ....

Directly from my sun dappled raised garden ... borage for the win. 



New to me daylilies ... thank you former owner!






Mom's quilt stands coming in handy ...


And "sew/quilt" it begins ...

Striving for smaller stitches - eek! This project might take me another year?



Time spent with this little farmer ...

tractor fixin'



And then, this happened ...
she turned 6!!!!

Love her SO much.

Pictures by her momma

And these ...






The ultimate joy of finally having a summer family gathering

The traditional summer family gathering at the Freeman Farm pond!
It just isn't summer without this.

Celebrating some special twin 65th birthdays, walks down the lane, and so much delicious food!



These are the best of July's Joys.

Hope you are en"joy"ing this renewed spirit of summer 2021.


Sent to us from their vacation at the cottage ... perfection!



Until next time ... love to all and joyful summer days ahead!




But ...

But we weren't done with our lives yet ... We hadn't really settled in to this new house yet There were new neighbours yet to meet a...