Words To Live By:

"The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you finish the work."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Celebration Of Life

This weekend offered a spectrum of choices in the celebration of life.  My great-uncle, Frank Weening, passed away suddenly on Thursday in his 78th year and while I have not maintained a close relationship  with many of my extended relatives, he was still much beloved and will be missed by many.   My heart is saddened on behalf of his children, many of whom I've become good Facebook friends with, and of course, for his wife, Auntie Rita, and siblings, especially my Pake.   While it is necessary and normal to mourn, I'm always struck by the laughter that often can be heard at the visitations and memorial services of those who cherished life, family, faith.    What a wonder that in the midst of such great sorrow, we can look back and remember all the good and know that above all we love and are loved.   That not only do we say goodbye and mourn, but we celebrate happier times and a life well-lived.

I was touched by many of the Facebook statuses and messages I read over the last few days regarding Uncle Frank.   It served to remind me of how my family finds itself anchored in faith.   It also reminds me that we touch many lives- that our reach extends further than we know and as such should strive to walk in kindness and love.   These reflections also spurned my Facebook status today:  "All I want is to know I lived life to the fullest, never missed an opportunity to laugh, and have loved greatly and without abandon. Let it be said that I've treasured and cared for that which is important: my faith, my family, my friends."   A sentiment I've voiced before, no doubt, but perhaps spoken a different way.

In another aspect of life's celebratory moments, Sunday we ventured to Centreville with the kids to spend the day with the Weening boys in lieu of a birthday party for Knightley (just 3) and Hawksley (1 on Thursday).   Kaleb, Justin & Knightley had a blast starting off with the ferry to the island.  It was busy but not too bad and they are all at the perfect age to enjoy the rides - lots of laughter and smiles all around.  Mommy forgot her camera but Uncle James had his always at the ready and hopefully will share the captured moments with me!   Happy birthdays to my sweetest Weening nephews - we love you boys sooooo much!

On a side note, tonight is t-ball night which means we rush to get dinner served and everyone out the door on time.   I got a jump start on dinner prep.   I have tons of recipes clipped from various sources (mostly magazines) and found some inspiration.  I baked some yummy Tex-Mex Cheese Biscuits, recipe courtesy of the milk calendar.  My only variation was to grab some fresh basil from the garden, finely chop and mixed it in before adding the milk.   I also have an Old-Fashioned Pear Crisp in the oven, receipe from Chatelaine, to be reheated and served for dessert.  Now what to do with for the entree?   I'm thinking peppery maple chicken, corn on the cob and a side salad.  For me, yummy food is definitely one of life's little pleasures!  If I have to eat, I might as well make sure it tastes good!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Lovin'

We are indeed blessed.  We live in an amazing country.  We have a roof over our heads, food on the table, 2 beautiful boys, the joys of family and friends.   It is at once incredibly easy to count our blessings and impossibly difficult to number them all.

Every season I'm struck anew with a wonder at the beauty and bounty surrounding us.   Summer brings with it it's own particular set of blessings to count and enjoy.  Some of the simplicities - small things that bring me pleasure, are:

* My gardens - I don't really have a green thumb but I love to pretend I do.  I'm always amazed when I can pull produce from the garden and glow with pride because somehow I managed not to kill it!   This summer, once again, my beans are thriving, my zucchini is an overwhelming jungle, my basil is fresh and fragrant, the cucumbers survived and the rest are hanging in there.

As for my perennial beds, my lilies (always a favourite) are indulgent with blooms - a deep pinkish purple and a striking contrast of white.  Beautiful!   Unfortunately, I think this may be the year that my hibisicus has not resurrected itself and I lost my huge chive plant.   I blame it on the dog.

* Reading in the sun.   Nothing quite so relaxing as finding a quiet spot and hopefully a nice breeze to curl up with a good book and work on that tan.  Yes, I know the dangers of sun exposure but no, I will not give up my tan.  Life is too short to worry about all the things that could go wrong - the sun can just join the list of thing that are bad for me in excess but I cannot live without.

* Patio nights with friends.  Whether in the backyard or a local restaurant, it's always fun to dress up, get in some good conversation, lots of laughs and enjoy a nice frosty drink with the girls.  Conversation runs from the ironic to mundane, silly to serious with everything in between.  For all of us busy moms, these nights are a must-have sanity saver - reminding us that our whatever role we're filling at any particular moment, it is not the sum of us - it is only a part of the whole, beautiful, wonderful, strong woman we are.

* Watching the boys in the sprinkler.  It makes me giggle everytime.   They love water play and some days I'm hard pressed not to join them myselves.   Fortunately for us, Durham region is loaded with splash pads too - so they will make (and have made) for some excellent sunny-day adventures that are easy on the wallet. 

* Picking fresh fruit and hitting the local farmer's market.  Ontario has some great produce.  Our area in particular has some great berry farms (yummy blueberries!), a few good orchards and all that goes with it.   It's another great way to spend a summer afternoon - and the best part is enjoying the bounty once we get it home.   Fresh, baked or even on the 'que, fresh produce is a hit at our home!    Here's a great guide to in-season produce Ontario-wide:  http://www.foodland.gov.on.ca/english/availability.html

* Road trips, day trips or lazy days at the cottage.  I know they're not the same, but for as long as I can remember one or the other or all of the above have been part of the summer experience.  Kevin's family has a cottage on Sturgeon Lake - a little rocky for swimming, but with water shoes the boys don't mind and they're quite content to go fishing.  I'd like to fit in a few more road trips as they get older too - we have so much to discover all within a couple hours' drive.   Day trips are always exciting - Wasaga, Niagara, how fun!

Here are some pictures from the cottage on the weekend and snapshots of my blooms at the end of June.  Oh, and if you know what to do with my over-abundance of basil or zucchini, please share!  I'm good for pesto and zucchini bread but need to add some variety to my recipe book.