Sculpting

The best openings are the one’s we carve for ourselves.

We spent New Year’s Eve reminiscing about eighteen years of togetherness. Stayed up past midnight, and talked about our future. Hope coloured our words.

Sculpting has been on my mind – not literally, but in the sense of chipping away at the outer facade to invite emergence.

Ric has shed fifty pounds of excess weight, and I am now joining him in that quest. We are entering this new decade with renewed vigour. There is much we still yearn to sample.

I’m lining up my tools, examining the material before me: changes lie ahead. Bit by bit, I will ply my craft, shed the excess, intuit the contours of this life I’m co-creating.

Emergence takes time, commitment, and a willingness to be open.

(Image taken from The Grand Trunk trestle. This town we have settled in stirs my impulse towards the creative. So grateful to be here. Hope it inspires you as much as it did me. I will be back Monday with a new weekly challenge.)

Grateful for Openings

“I bought a turkey roll and frozen stuffing,” Ric announced after a recent grocery shop.

I might have raised an eyebrow.

“Thought we could have it on Christmas day.”

“We’re going to visit Mom on Christmas day,” I reminded him. “At the nursing home.”

As a blended family, Ric and I surrendered Christmas day a long time ago. As long as Ric’s Mom was alive, we’d pick her up and spend the day at a casino, usually ending up with a tuna sandwich in the restaurant. After she passed, Ric and I went alone. Then we started going south, avoiding the day altogether. But when Ric gets something in his head….

So turkey went into the oven as we headed out the door for the forty-minute drive.

What are you doing for dinner? A text from my younger sister.

Ric’s cooking here if you want to come.

They never come. My family of origin doesn’t do holidays anymore. It’s just the way it is.

We’d love to come if it’s not too much work.

We visited Mom, and our eldest daughter showed up with two of our granddaughters. We exchanged gifts and ate goodies, and then moved on to visit my older sister – also in the nursing home. More gifts passed hands.

I texted D as we headed home. Fog had set in. She was worried about it.

Back at home, Ric busied himself with prepping the rest of the meal, and I rested. At five, the doorbell rang. There was my younger sister and her husband bearing gifts.

I can’t remember a Christmas dinner tasting so good. Maybe it was the conversation, or just the sheer joy of sharing it with family.

It’s never too late, I realize, to start new traditions.

Tonight my heart is filled with gratitude, and I am hopeful.

(Thursdays are currently dedicated to gratitude. Image from personal collection.)

Pausing to Revel

Remnants of wrapping paper peek out from under the sofa. Leftover goodies tempt from the countertop. In the aftermath of our family gathering, I pause to enjoy the peace, processing the sweetness of the day.

So many precious moments:

“Grandma, can we have another present?” Three-year-old August, so enthralled with the magic of the day.

“Mom, this soup is the best yet!” So heartwarming to be able to cook for loved ones and witness their enjoyment.

“Who wants to help Grandma?” Three eager faces gathering around.

My heart is full and I am exhausted.

This is the advantage of this stage of life: the ability to imbibe in the pause.

(Thursdays I write about the things that fill me with gratitude. My challenge this week is “pause“. Image from personal collection.)

"It's the Best!"

“Wait till I tell my Mom I’m having hot chocolate for dinner! Do you have marshmallows, too?” she’d excitedly asked the waitress.

“No marshmallows, but we have whip cream.”

“Oh yum!”

Children are so easy to please. I’d been in emergency all day, but didn’t want to cancel plans, so Ric picked her up from school and we three went to a local diner for early supper.

Able to read her own menu now, her eyes lit up at the sight of her favourite beverage. No vegetables touched her plate that night, a sin her mother is sure to scold me about, but in light of the day I’d had, I just wanted to soak in her joy.

Afterwards, we drove around to see the Christmas lights and then home for some television, a snuggle, and bed. All pretty low key.

“Staying at Grandma’s is so so fun!” she told her sister when they came to pick her up the next morning. “You get treats, and to stay up late.”

Don’t worry Mom, she didn’t even finish the hot chocolate.

As for me – my cup was overflowing.

(Thursdays I dedicate to celebrating the blessings in my life, which often translates to sharing Grandma stories. Can’t help it. They are the best, through my eyes.)

Beauty To Be Found

The seasonal cold hit our house this week, and not wishing to share it, I locked myself in with mugs of lemon and honey.

An ice storm blasted Sunday, so we were happy to stay put. Ice and compromised balance do not blend well. Then, before the ice could melt, it snowed. Another good day to stay indoors.

On the third day, after some much needed sleep, I decided that my lungs could use fresh air, so I snuck out early armed with camera.

Signs of the ice storm were still visible.

Our rural landscape transformed into a misty monochrome dream. I drove with the windows down, inhaling the crisp air, listening for birdsong. Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers, and Blue Jays flit between the barren trees and tall pines. Too quick for my lens, but the company lifted my spirits.

Stopping on a bridge, I captured this wintry scene, marvelling at the clarity of reflection on the frigid water’s surface.

I’ve been dreading the onset of winter months, something we have avoided for the past three years. Now that I have discovered the pleasure of photography, I am looking forward to the discovery that lies ahead.

Beauty really is to be found in all moments. I am grateful for that.

A Blessed Thaw

Recent activity coupled with the onset of a cold, has my body begging for more rest, but the sun is shining and a sudden mild spell has melted the snow, and my camera is begging.

Ric, whose man cold surpasses mine, hunkers in with a box of Kleenex and his flannel pjs. I’m on my own.

I take my walker and head for the trestle bridge. Judging by the loud chorus of geese, they are also enjoying the day.

A young man and his toddler pass me on the path. He’s loaded down with binoculars and fancy camera equipment.

I raise my lens to capture a chickadee and he chirps: “Just a chickadee. We spotted a fox sparrow, and now I’m on the hunt for a Snow Goose.”

Suddenly, I’m feeling very amateur, but he means well. They move along quickly, and I carry on at my snail’s pace. By the time I reach the bridge, they have stopped again, the young man very excited.

“Do you see it?” He points at a field, across the river, where hoards of geese gather and hands me his binoculars.

A snow goose. I am only able to capture this grainy image.

They move on and I snap a few pictures and head back, pleased with myself that I’ve made the effort.

Now home to rest.

(Thursdays is my day of gratitude.)

Inked Blessings

It began simply enough; I just wanted to draw a simple Christmas tree, but the lines went a little crazy and well…you can see the result. The pen had a mind of its own, so I decided to let it talk.

Trees with character started to emerge, and began to haunt my dreams.

Christmas trees will have to wait….I am otherwise occupied.