April 2012


This is the clay animation the boys created yesterday, using my Canon Powershot and iMovie.

Xachy Attacky and The Scotsman

And here is the artist, hard at work this morning!

I’m pretty sure this one has something to do with zombies. ‘Cause when you are ten and doing clay animation, there are just going to have to be zombies involved.

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In Janelle’s post last week she suggested I might want to write about, “what colours my world”. So I have been pondering this question for the past week.

As I look out my study window I notice signs of spring but it is still rather drab out there. A bit of snow, a yard that needs to be raked, trees that need to be pruned and flower beds that need to be prepared. But soon the apple tree will blossom, the shrubs will display their beauty, the grass will turn green and boxes of flowers will arrive from the green houses. My world is coloured by anticipation. Anticipation of spring but also anticipation of what lies ahead, what doors God will open, how I will grow as a person and of enjoying the journey with the one I love.

I look around my study and see books – some are old friends, some I have read more than once – some I haven’t read. Some support tradition, some provide fresh ideas and some are just for fun. And I am reminded that there are things about tradition and new ideas and fun that colour my world. There is also a Murphy bed on one wall and I think about the people who sleep there when they come to visit. Children, grandkids or friends, and I know the people we love and share with colour my world. Right now the clutter is: an air mattress that needs to be put away, a suitcase from a sleepover in Sherwood Park last week and artificial flowers that are either coming or going to the displays Shirley does so beautifully. My world is coloured by the places we go, the people who visit and a wife who provides a pleasant setting in which to live and entertain guests.

Last week we visited a friend in Edmonton who has terminal cancer (I haven’t used that word to describe him previously because I have been praying for his healing).  He is confined to bed and breathes with the help of an oxygen machine. When we were there an adult daughter was curled up on the bed beside him reading him a book, the smells of dinner cooking came from the kitchen, there was pleasant conversation, smiles and hugs, and I was reminded of love, family, faith and lives well-lived.  And most of all, I think, those are things that color my world.

He comes into the house, the small, torn body in his hands. Two are dead, he says, and the mom took off with the other one. Poor momma cat, her babies only hours old.

We aren’t sure who to blame? The dog? The other cat? But the new babe in his hands is so hurt and he wants me to do something. We find a little box and we put in a heated bottle and a towel and the sad little body.

It’s pretty bad, I say, trying to prepare him. And it is. But we try. Because how do you just leave a life, no matter how hopeless, crying on the ground.

He tries to feed it some baby goat formula with a little medicine dropper that I hunt up from the back of the kitchen cupboard. And we cover it and place the box on the ledge of the sunny kitchen window. And I know, as he goes out in search of the mother cat and her other baby, that he’s saying a prayer for this little life.

And he gathers the other tiny bodies from the ground before his little brother sees, and the baby in our kitchen window dies, and we mourn the small tragedies.

It’s the way of it, says his dad. There’s killing and sadness and death and that’s the way of the world. We just do our best.

So the boys fix the cat’s house on the deck with a fresh towel and some sweet smelling food, and the momma returns with the small bundle of calico in her mouth. And it’s not perfect, or right, but it’s good.

 

 

I was busy. I’d been fighting a headache. I almost cancelled but instead, I went late. And of course, I was glad I did.

I missed the supper (the leftovers looked delicious!). I also missed the discussion of the Happiness Project chapter for the month. Truthfully, I hadn’t read it. Life has been a little, as Carter says, redonkulous, and the Happiness Project got sidelined this month.

I did manage to read the other two books. Two books! Are we an ambitious group, or what?! Both were books by Mitch Albom: tuesdays with Morrie, and have a little faith. I’ve actually read both of these before. But I enjoyed the rereads very much.

There are many things that are similar in these books. As per his style, Albom is drawing on his relationships with other — older and wiser — men for his material. He is telling us how these men – how his relationships with these men, how spending time with and observing and having conversations with these men – ultimately changed him.

Both of these little books are bursting with wisdom. Although most of the book club women said they enjoyed tuesdays with Morrie more, I couldn’t pick a favourite.

I think the thing, if I had to boil it down to a single take-away message, that has meant the most to me at this time and stage of my life, is the idea of creating your own culture. This is a Morrie-ism, but I think it is part of the story in have a little faith as well. And maybe I’m not understanding the message the way Morrie (or Mitch) intended, but for some reason, this little statement has stuck with me and tickled my thoughts ever since I reread the books.

Create your own culture. This is part of Morrie’s advice to Mitch when they are discussing how to be happy. And I think he is bang on. Choosing for myself how I will live, what I will make important in my life, where and how I will spend my time, what things/people/activities I will ascribe value to … these have been the meditations of my heart lately.

It’s why, when my husband recently lost his job, I asked him these questions:

What will we learn from this experience? Because the greatest tragedy in this situation would be for us to learn nothing. And,

What do you really want to do? Not, what do you think you should do, or what might be easiest, or what might make the most money … but what will make the best life?

We are working on the answers to those questions. I’m certain our lives will be different going forward than they were in the past.

Creating our own culture. It’s actually pretty dang exciting!

Well, for one thing, the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We’re teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own. Most people can’t do it. They’re more unhappy than me — even in my current condition.

tuesdays with Morrie

The first thing you will see if you walk into our house is footwear. We have more shoes, boots, sandals, runners than you can shake a stick at. A whole wall in our mudroom is dedicated to shoe shelving. So you’d think, wouldn’t you, that the boys would be well shod?

Yes, that’s what you would think. But then, you might not know my youngest. This is the child who would rather be barefoot than anything. And if he must wear shoes, then let them at least be slip ons. Whatever he can throw his feet into and get out the door the fastest is the footwear of choice.

This is the boy who consistently loses his shoes, or at least one shoe in the pair. One summer I was so frustrated when all I could find for him were three singles of different colours, that I said he could just wear those because I wasn’t buying him any more shoes to lose! Trouble was, he was fine with it. That entire summer he wore a combination of one orange croc, one black croc, and one batman sandal.

But now, at ten years of age, his feet are the same size as mine. And these are the shoes the lazy boy wore outside to do his chores the other morning.

Yes, this is my son.

I love the random texts he sends throughout the day. He isn’t very good at it. No punctuation and his own text language. Sometimes it takes me a while to figure it out. But I still love getting them. The luv u baby and the yur the best and the life is good isnt it and the on my way home whts fr supr and how r bby goats … I love it. I love being able to stay in touch through these little snippets of conversation. Connection.

I love the sounds, drifting around the house, of the boys and their friends. Belting out that classic rock, all off-key and loving every minute of it. And the sweet music of their muffled conversation, all gangly arms and legs stretched out on the floor and hanging over the sides of the couches and chairs. The giggles and the teasing and it’s all good-natured and really really beautiful to hear. Connection.

And Carter and his little friends, in and out with the building of the fort and the snacks and the bug farms and the sword fighting. Childhood at its best. Friends and running and shouting and, you know, those connections. ‘Cause it’s hard to have a sword fight by yourself.

And I treasure the moments, the beauty, of the sharing. Sharing lives and space and food and time and conversation. Learning from each other what it means to be human. Because to be human is to be connected. I mean, I guess you could live without relationships, but the colour of life, the flavour, would be all black and white and tasteless. This rubbing against each other, touching each other, bumping into and bouncing off each other — this is the dance of humanity.

And when you’ve bumped and jostled and touched someone for a long time, for a life time, you can read the texts and know the whole story.

luv u baby — Thanks for getting up and making me breakfast before I left. Now I’m starting my day feeling loved and cared about.

yur the best — Whew, thanks for taking care of that banking thing. Now I don’t have to worry about it while I’m working all day.

life is good isnt it — Things have been a little crazy and uncertain but I’m realizing that God will take care of everything.

on my way home whts fr supr — It’s been a long day and I’m really tired and I’m looking forward to walking into the house and smelling something yummy.

how r bby goats — Tell me everything that’s happening. How many babies were born today? Are they nursing okay? Are they boys or girls? I sure wish I was there. Send some pictures to my phone so I can see what’s going on.

And I text him back. Love you too. Thanks. Yes, we are very blessed. Leftovers. The goats are good. Pictures on the way.

The story of a day in text message. It’s a beautiful dance.

Spring arrives on the heels of the baby goats. The grass is greening, trees are budding life at their tips. Tiny but evident. That is spring. Small bits and pieces of colour, drops of paint on a fresh canvas.

Spring is small this year.

It is a crisp morning and we, my husband and I, are doing the day together. We leave the boys with a list and some stew in the pot. As we drive out of the yard, I smile at the goats, stretching into their brand newness, racing around the legs of their mamas. And small seems good.

We stop in town, streets quiet in the morning, and as I sit in the truck waiting for Lyndon, I watch Melodee from the second-hand store with the name I can never remember (something about cats and curiosity), I watch Melodee walk from her store to the post office, her new puppy on its leash and her black and white cat sauntering along a half a block behind. The three of them walk to the post office and back, and passing folk stop and greet and smile at the trio. And the flags at the end of the street wave their maple leaves in the breeze.

I see coveralled men stop their trucks in front of the convenience store and I watch them come out of the store with cups of coffee in gloved hands and bags of chips or chocolate bars for later in the day. And the sun through the window is warm on my face and I smile at my husband when he returns and small seems good.

We drive to our friends’ farm for the auction that has been planned and worked toward for so many months, and we park in their field with the other vehicles and I think of them, with their belongings in the yard and their family with them and I say a prayer of thanks for the nice day and ask for a blessing on their lives. I think of how much they will be missed here, and of how welcomed they will be in their new community with their daughters and their grandchildren and I know that God is good.

At the auction, farmers wander about the machinery or stand in groups, caps on heads, talking about the lack of moisture and when do you think you will be in the field? Lyndon has his eye on some metal roofing that he’d like for the barn, and he goes to check it out. I see him visiting with Glen and then I see him with Miles and pretty soon I’ve lost track of him.

I see the farmer’s wife and I hug her and repeat what everyone is saying, that I am happy it is such a nice day for their sale. I hug her daughter and we comment on the weather. We are happy the sun is shining and it’s not too windy. We comment on the number of people and on the strange feelings the auction brings out in everyone.

I stand with my friend Lorna for a few minutes and we talk about needing to get together soon, to catch up. I stand with sweet Ruby who gives me a hug and asks God to bless me when I leave. I stand for a while with Edith and we talk about her farm and the changes they are making in their operation and we laugh as we discuss ways to help her son find a good wife.

I see Lyndon across the way with Rick and I make my way over to them. We need to go soon, he says, because he has a meeting in the city in a few hours. They won’t get to the roofing before we need to leave so I tell Rick I’ll buy him a hamburger if he’ll bid for us. He laughs and Lyndon and he get in line for lunch and Lyndon tells me later that Rick jumped in and payed for the burgers before Lyndon could get his money out of his pocket. And as we walk away from the sale it makes me smile to know these people and to be part of this community.  And small seems good.

We drive the back way, highway 363, and we notice the number of muskrat huts on the dugouts and Lyndon says maybe next spring I’ll get out and trap muskrats again. And it’s just nice to be out and about on such a beautiful day.

Downtown Regina is busy with construction and Lyndon finally finds a parking spot on Hamilton Street. He walks me to the Cornwall Centre and leaves for his meeting. I sit for a while in the food court, enjoying my chicken and rice and feeling anonymous in the crowd of shoppers, and then Jason surprises me with his sweet smile and sits down at my table. We exchange what are you doing here‘s and I’m happy to see his good face and we visit for a few minutes. I send my love with him, for his beautiful wife. The little encounter leaves me with a smile in my heart, and I’m thankful again for the small treasures.

I wander in and out of shoe stores, hoping to buy some sandals to replace the ones I lost at the beach last year. I settle on a style, and then I see the rainbow of colours I can choose from. I pick up a white pair, and then a black pair, and I think about being practical. But then I choose the Easter-egg blue, because the day has taught me that the small bits and pieces, the little things, they are what colour my life with beauty.

And life, small and colourful, is good.

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world.

Jesus – the sermon on the mount

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Oops, yesterday was Tuesday, and it was my turn to write a My Dad and Me post. We were away all day, so this is my late contribution. Maybe next week, Dad will write about what colours his life? We’ll see on Tuesday, when it will be his turn. I always look forward to reading his words, whatever he decides to write about.

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