Tuesday, 30 July 2013


This weekend my niece is getting married. She is a beautiful, amazing and intelligent girl ( well she's a woman but she will always be a girl to me ) and she is walking down the isle on Saturday to begin a new life with the man she loves. Because I live so far away, and we are on an extremely fixed income, I can not attend her very special day, and as very difficult that this may be, she knows that I am there in thought and spirit as she embarks on this new and special chapter of her life and how very much I love her.

It astounds me how fast life goes. I remember when she was just little, and I used to babysit her and her brother while my sister and her husband were at work. She was such an adorable little girl with long dark hair and a rascal smile, and to this day that smile is infectious, as is her laughter. When she starts laughing, you can't help but join right in. And to think that on Saturday, she will be saying her vows, and facing a life with her new husband. It really seems like only yesterday she was carving her initials in to her Mom and Dad's antique bureau while I was supposed to be watching her. And when I caught her, and my heart was beating a hundred miles an hour, thinking that her Dad would probably find countless ways to murder me and do away with the body, she gave me that glowing, what did I do smile.

So as an Auntie, what advice would I give to her on Saturday before she faces that walk down the isle to her new love? Well, this is what I would tell her......

Love like there is no tomorrow. We only have today, and its better to love with all your heart than to hold anything back.

Be yourself. Have your own thoughts, opinions and convictions. If he loves you, he will admire this in you. He will never want to hold you back from being everything you can be and more.

Trust. This can be a hard one. But trust is the foundation to every relationship. Unless there is a reason not to, trust will see you through.

Let yourself be loved. Let him be your soul mate, your best friend, your lover and your caregiver. Never feel guilty for these things. You feel that way for him, he feels the same for you.

Love yourself. No one can love you unconditionally until you love yourself. Remind yourself that he chose you because of how amazing you are. Remember that you are an intelligent, beautiful, funny and gracious woman who has so much warmth and an amazing heart. Remember this about yourself always.

Don't let others bring you down. Unfortunately in life, there will always be those that try and hurt those that they feel are better than they. Keep these people far away. Negativity only breeds negativity. Surround yourself with only those that bring positivity and joy in to your lives, and that are truly happy for you and your success every step of the way. These are the same people that will also be there when the chips are down.

Be one another's best friend.

Don't go to bed angry.

Always share your feelings. Never keep something inside. It will only fester and grow. Getting it out in the open allows for discussion. Sure you may not agree with one another, but at least you will know where the other stands.

Don't keep secrets.

Don't try to control one another. It only breeds resentment. Marriage is a partnership. You want the best for one another. Controlling someone only undermines the bond of two.

Hold hands, and kiss each other good morning and good night every single day.

And most importantly, always remember your Auntie is here for you. No matter what time, or where you are,  I am here for you always and may God bless you on your beautiful day.

Monday, 29 July 2013


Well the blueberries are in full swing. Huge, amazing and the only thing in my garden right now that is worth mentioning. It has been a somewhat wet and humid summer. Days filled with high temperatures, humid conditions and nothing resembling the perfect growing medium. That said, the beans, Brussels sprouts and carrots are doing amazing....who knows what will work and what won't.

Blueberries have to be one of my favorites though. These days, I wander out in the morning and pick some to put in my cereal, or to make muffins, or a pie. Even though everything else is going sideways, as gardening goes sometimes, the tried and true shine through and give one hope. Life isn't always perfect, and neither is gardening. It's a good lesson. We always think things will go our way, or life will be perfect, and then it throws us a curve ball. And the only thing we can do is deal with it. Accept it and move on, and enjoy whatever is out there. It may not be exactly what we wanted, but sometimes it turns out even better.

Friday, 26 July 2013


Unfortunately my parents live on the opposite side of this big country of Canada. They live on the West Coast and I live on the East. It is a 6.5 hour flight and a 3.5 hour drive to come and visit. But each year they make the long journey to come see their daughter and son and grand kids ( not son in-law, my Mom and Dad have made it very clear my husband is considered no less than their flesh and blood son  ) Now it is no fault of theirs that we live so far apart, I'm the one that moved away, but I miss them so much everyday. It's funny in life how sometimes you don't appreciate what you have until its gone. I mean, I've always appreciated them, they are wonderful parents, but not having them around on a day to day basis is far more difficult than I anticipated it to be. That said, I talk to my Mom everyday on the phone without fail, and there is always something new to talk about. ( I talk to my sister every day too, but that's another story for another blog ) Gosh its a wonder I get anything done in a day.

Anyways, my Mom and Dad are the best parents a girl could ask for. They have been a wonderful example of how a parent should be and I have never felt less than their number one priority. They have four children, and they love each and every one of us immensely. I always know, that no matter what happens in my life, good or bad, they are there for me. Not once have they ever turned away.

I have been reminiscing a lot lately about growing up, my teenage years and all that my parents have done for me. Truly I wouldn't be where I am, or who I am, without them. And I also know that not every one is as lucky as I have been to have the gift of parents that I've been given. And my way of showing my appreciation for the life they have given me, is to try and be as good a parent to my kids as they have been to me.

When I look back to when I was young I realize now, as a parent myself, how much energy they invested in to their family. They both worked, and yet every night there was a warm, home cooked meal on the table. My father was home every night and every weekend. He never went out with the boys, he never took time to himself, we were his priority. My Mom was the same. If she wasn't working, she was home. There were no girls weekends away, or girls night out. She was present 100 percent of the time. To me then, I didn't think this was that big of a deal. I thought every one's life was like that. My friends parents were that way so it didn't really cross my mind that other peoples lives were different. But in my home, family is what was most important. Nothing else mattered. And even though in the beginning it was a struggle to make ends meet, they worked hard, and always made sure we were well dressed, fed and most importantly loved.

Now when I look at myself as a Mom, I realize I am following the example they have given me. And when I see my siblings, it is the same for them. Their kids are their number one, and everything else comes second. Someone once asked me if I didn't feel like I was sacrificing my own happiness for my kids. I was dumbfounded. Sacrifice? My kids are my joy, my happiness. I love being a Mom. And I know my husband loves being a Dad. And I hope that one day, when my kids grow up, move out, or move away, I will continue to have the relationship with them that I have today. I hope that the way they remember me is the way I remember my parents.

My Mom and Dad have been there for me every step of the way. They made sure when I became a young Mom that I still got an education. They took care of my husband and I in every way they could, even sacrificing their own time so I could go to college, while they took care of our baby. They gave me a wonderful, safe loving environment to grow up in. We had a feeling of family, and we are a strong unit as a family even today. Sure we all have our fights. We have sibling rivalry, and we can see the world differently at times. But when it counts, we come together, strong and fast.

I don't know what made me write this today. Maybe it's my appreciation that we still all have one another, for how long we don't know. But I know that when I talk to my Mom today, I'm going to thank her for all she's done for me. I'm going to thank my Dad for every day he walked to the bus and commuted an hour to and from the city to put food on the table. I'm going to thank them for all they've done to make me not only the woman I am today, but how they helped shape a family. My family. I love you Mom and Dad, with every piece of my heart. See you in a couple months.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


So the other morning I was going about my usual routine in the yard which begins with feeding and letting the chickens out for the day. Now that my veggie garden is established, and there are no little sprouts to eat, they are once again free to roam.

On my way to the coop I spotted a very delightful sight. A duck. And not just any duck. My duck. I had to contain myself so as not to scare him/her away, but I slowly made my way over. The duck stood there patiently waiting, as if to say, "what the heck took you so long, I've been waiting for my breakfast!" So I went in to the barn and threw out some seed and then went back to retrieve my camera from the house, terrified the entire time it would fly away again. But when I returned the duck was still there, eating up a storm.

When he finished eating, he waddled on down to the pond for a swim and a drink as if he never left. I couldn't believe it. And he has been back every day. He eats, swims, waddles around with the chickens for awhile and then takes off again to where ever he must go. I'm glad he remembered us. I'm glad he has come back to pay us a visit. And I'm so glad he is still alive. I hope he goes and tells all his duck friends to come on over to our place. The feed is good, the pond is full and there are other feathered friends to visit with. Mr or Mrs Duck? You are always welcome at our place.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


Today I'm going to visit with someone who is quickly becoming very dear to me. He is a gentleman in the community that was born in 1920. He grew up when Yarmouth still had dirt roads, the train still came to town, and Yarmouth was prosperous. He has seen many changes through out his 93 years, and it has become a joy to sit and listen to all the things he has to tell me. Because I am bound by confidentiality I can't tell you his real name, but lets call him Ernie.

Ernie was a child of 8. His mother died when he was very young, and he has no memory of her. His father was left to raise all 8 children alone in a small community outside of Yarmouth. His first car was a Model A Ford, and as he proudly states, he paid $75 bucks for it!

Ernie got married very young as folks did then, and worked extremely hard his entire life. He lives in the same house his wife grew up in, and as he always tells me, he never owed anybody anything. I ask him his reflections on the life he has had. About the way things were, how they are now, and what he thinks about our generation today. He feels that in todays time, people are living beyond their means. They borrow money for things they want today, instead of the old fashioned way of saving up until you can afford it. He thinks we are a generation trapped on a wheel, always chasing to pay the debt to the bank. He shakes his head as he tells me this.

Ernie also loves to tell me about his wife, and shows me his wedding photo, two young people in Black and White staring out in to the world and the life ahead. He will pull out his wedding ring, worn and thin by time, which doesn't fit on his arthritic fingers any more. But as he unwraps it slowly from the tissue, he lovingly runs his finger over it before showing me. Proud of his years of marriage to the woman he loves. She's in a home now and doesn't recognize her surroundings most days.  Ernie misses her, and when she remembers, she misses Ernie.

You see the thing with Ernie is that everyone is gone now. All his siblings and their spouses have died. Their children have grown and moved away, and Ernie has no one of his own. He is all alone. Each day he gets up in the morning and faces the long day ahead with no one to visit with, no one to talk to, and unable to go out. The nurse will come a few times a week, the cleaning lady, and me, the volunteer.

Once a week I go visit Ernie and sit and chat awhile. Sure he tells me the same stories every week, and shows me the same pictures. He may even tell me the same story the same day. But when I show up, and I see him sitting in his chair waiting for me, my heart breaks. When I have to leave him, and drive away to my own life, full of activity and kids and husband, I cry every time.

The loneliness and isolation that exists for so many of our seniors out there is heart wrenching. They have no families, they have no one. They aren't sick enough to be put in to a home ( not that this is any better at times ) so they live in a world of extreme loneliness. Ernie tells me this all the time. He says his days are so very long. He doesn't enjoy today's television shows, and reading isn't an option. So there are no distractions.

And the thing is, Ernie isn't an isolated case. In fact, when I first signed up to volunteer, they told me their list is so long, that many people pass away before they even get a volunteer to visit.

I guess the reason I'm writing this today is not only to share my feelings with you about my Ernie, but in hopes that if you have even a spare hour in your week, to consider using it to visit with someone that needs it. You don't have to do much but listen. They just want to talk and have human contact. Something to look forward to in their day. I guarantee you, the rewards are ten fold.

And I'm not saying I'm some great amazing person that takes the time to be with others. Some times I don't even feel like going. But once I'm there, and visiting, and see his smile and his eyes light up telling me a story about taking the Model A Ford up the line and bouncing through the pot holes, his girl by his side, I feel happy inside. I settle in to the rocking chair, against the afghan his wife crocheted years ago and take it all in. Because you see, I need Ernie as much as he needs me. I get to go out and leave my problems and responsibilities for a little while, and take a trip back in time. And to me, its worth every moment.

Sunday, 21 July 2013


Well I am finally home again from our week at the cottage. It was wonderful. I can't say how amazing it was to have all my kids join us for this vacation. It doesn't happen often anymore. Children grow up and have their own lives and responsibilities. But this time everything came together and we were able to enjoy one another. At the cottage there were no interruptions or distractions. There was no internet, radio or television, only each other. The water was our playground. Board games and cards our entertainment. Fishing derby's were the game of the day, and canoeing to the island in the lake an adventure.

The loon's song on the lake was a backdrop to my leisurely reading on the porch in the shade as the breeze flowed through the treetops above. The sparkle of sun on the lake below would beckon my lazy form in to the water for a refreshing swim and then I would be back again to the comfort of the porch and a good read.

The cottage, its simplicity, its beauty, the lake, the water, the loons, all worked their magic. The quiet interrupted only by bird song, wind and the low rumble of thunder in the distance after the heat of the day were the perfect combination to quiet my soul.

Its seems that returning to a more simple way of life has many rewards. The fewer things we have, the less work there is to do. Coming to a cottage in the woods gave us a much needed escape from life and responsibility. We didn't know what was going on in the world. What new atrocities and tragedies have affected others and makes us feel helpless in its wake. I was not in tune with anything other than the sunrise, sunset, water, heat and nourishment. Nothing else seemed to matter and we existed in our own cocoon. There was hardly anyone around and even though, across the lake I could see some houses and a roadway with an occasional car passing, it felt like that belonged in a different world, separated somehow from our own oasis.

When our time had ended and we packed up the car to go, I felt healed and rejuvenated. Happy to return home to the real world, our bonds with each other stronger, more memories made, and a promise to make it all happen again.


Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Well this is just a short post to say I'll be offline for a whole week. Yikes, I don't know how that's going to go, but we are staying in a little cabin on a lake that has no internet. We are very lucky to have someone take care of our house for the entire 7 days, including the chickens, so we are able to go as an entire family of 5 for the first time in a very very long time. When you have a 20 year old, they tend to want to do things on their own, so I am so excited and happy to have all my kids together, on a vacation, all under one roof. It's what makes Mom's happy. I'm so excited to do some fun cooking and grilling and have a few gin and tonics on the deck. When we take time off, we really get in to food and cooking and I can't wait to try a few new recipes that I have gotten from a great blog I follow called Foodie in WV.

So without further ado, I bid you farewell for a week.  Stay safe everyone and when I come back I'm sure I will have a lot of new photos and ideas to share. I am taking my laptop so I can continue to write, I just won't be able to post anything. So please don't forget about me, because I really appreciate all of you that have taken the time in your day to visit me here.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013


So it is no secret that I love to read books. I have devoured them since the time I learned to read. When my classmates in Grade One were still in to the picture books, I was on to the novels. And nothing has changed.  I enjoy almost all kinds of books too, from your simple summer beach reads I call them, to travel, thrillers or books that make you reach deep down inside. To me there is nothing more satisfying than curling up with a good read, letting the world fade away and to be able to disappear in to another place. Whether it be to another time, another country or another life, reading takes you places in your mind that you would otherwise never go. It is the ultimate great escape.

Now reading isn't a cheap past time by any means. Books, especially hard covers are a little pricey, so I do try to opt for the used book stores if I can. And I have also tried reading online with my Blackberry Tablet. It's not the same as a real book by any means, but it does allow me to purchase a new book as soon as I am done the last one.

So being the avid reader I am, I had automatically assumed my children would follow suit. They always had access to a full shelf of books to choose from. I read to them when they were young, and I still encourage them to read as often as I can. But turning my children in to readers has proven difficult. The distractions of internet, TV, movies and Video games has prevailed. Even though I time limit these things, reading just doesn't seem to have caught on and I have come to the conclusion that it isn't something you can force on anyone.

At first I felt like somewhat of a failure as a parent. Family members or friends would want to buy them books for Christmas, and I felt too ashamed to tell them they would never be read. I did try to say it once and was met with a disapproving silence, followed by a few sentences of how that couldn't be, I'm just choosing the wrong books, which of course only made me feel worse and I never mentioned it again. And then the books would arrive and on the shelf they would go, collecting dust. I even caught my kids lying to people, saying they had read them because they had caught on to my feelings of failure as a parent and wanted to please me. Not a fine moment.

But now suddenly, everything seems to be changing. My son is reading a book he loves, my daughter is reading constantly and I couldn't be happier. Will it last? I hope so, believe me, my fingers are crossed. I would like to think it has been my amazing influence that has made them finally pick up a book, but I acknowledge this is probably not the case. In fact my nagging at them to read probably did more harm than good. But what I have learned from the whole situation is this. I should never be ashamed as a parent about what my children like to do or not do. It is not a measure of their intelligence or future success if they don't want to read books. And it certainly isn't a measure of mine. I haven't done anything wrong as a parent, and they haven't done anything wrong by not enjoying what I had hoped they would enjoy. And what someone else might think or feel shouldn't and now doesn't matter to me anymore. My children are their own person. In every way. I can only lead by example and hope that whatever they choose in life, for their hobbies, their careers, their friends or their future spouse, it will be something that they chose, for themselves, without my influence. It needs to be whatever pleases and makes them feel joy, happiness and fulfillment. And my own insecurities as a parent, and inevitably my own wishes to please other family members or friends and have them think of me as a good parent, was only showing my kids that I was trying to be someone or something I wasn't to please others. Something I never in a million years want them to do.

So whether my kids read, play music, dance, excel at sports or don't do any of these things at all, I am proud of them. Learning by our mistakes as parents are the greatest lessons we can pass on to our kids. Telling them we are in fact not perfect and do make mistakes( I know, big shock ) is as important as letting them know we love them, unconditionally, no matter what, every day.

Sunday, 7 July 2013


It has been extremely hot here in Nova Scotia the last few days. And by hot I mean HOT. It is 32 degrees and the humidity is high, but I can't complain, it's beautiful out. That said, we decided to try and beat the heat by going camping near the ocean. It's always cooler at the ocean right? Wrong! But, it was gorgeous.

We have a favorite spot we love to camp at. Thomas Raddall Provincial Park is about an hour and ten minutes from our house, and it is absolutely lovely. And the fact that it's so close by came in very very handy when upon arrival we discovered not only had we forgotten the tent, but the beds too! No wonder the car was empty. Anyways, after going back, retrieving our supplies and returning, the weekend was amazing and fun. We love the park for it's beautiful white sandy beaches, nature trails and private camp spots. And the night skies are unobstructed by any light so you are treated to incredible star gazing.

One of the things that was so special this trip were the Fireflies that were every where around the campsite as darkness fell. Their flashing lights lit up the bushes as sparks from the campfire rose up in to the night sky where the heavens full of stars twinkled above. There are seldom moments that come along in life that are completely and utterly perfect. And truly, this was one of those times.

When it came time to go to bed, I rolled up the sides of the tent fly to expose the mesh ceiling above. This way, as we snuggled down in to our sleeping bags and drifted off to sleep we could see the sky above us and the stars were the last thing we saw before our eyes closed and sleep took over.

Another amazing trip in Nova Scotia, a province that is unsurpassed in its beautiful coastline, quiet, white sandy beaches, and friendly people.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


After a little bout of very wet weather, summer has returned to us. The pool is full, the sun is hot, and the wash is on the line once more.

We actually had a few days where not only did it rain, but our internet went on the fritz at the same time. It would work, then wouldn't, until it shut down altogether. We were then faced with finding other things to do that didn't require an internet connection. Pretty tough thing around our house as we use it for Movies, TV and writing this blog of course! When the provider told us it would be 10 days before they would be around to fix it, we turned to one another in  horror. Whatever would we do? Well, we did lots of things. We read books, cleaned up, played cards and the kids turned our living room in to a puppet theatre. So all in all, it was a good time. And suddenly for reasons unknown, it has started working again all on its own, and we are back online just as the sun has reappeared once again.

So we are back to outdoor living. I'm sitting in my gazebo in the shade writing on my laptop as the kids splash in the pool. The chickens are drying out in their pen, and the dogs are lounging in the grass in the heat of the sun. The breeze through the trees is heavenly and the air is fresh and clean. I'm sitting next to a bouquet of wildflowers I picked from the edge of the woods, and I feel so content and comfortable.

It truly is amazing to me that when the rain falls, and there are no distractions, all the things we can find to do. What I had thought was going to be many days of bored kids, and internet withdrawals, turned in to creativity and time spent together playing and talking.

I really appreciate summer time with the kids. It is a blessing to be with them. And as fast as summer will go, and life will return to normal in September, I for one am going to savor every moment. It truly is a wonderful life.