Hot Cereal

One day this week, I hurried into the lunch room between meetings at work to refill my ever present water bottle and to get a quick cup of oatmeal. I noticed a woman whom I had never seen before standing at the microwave where she had just removed a bowl. The bowl contained some kind of hot cereal and beside the oven was a plastic container of milk and another of butter. She stirred the watery cereal for a few moments and put it back into the microwave.

As I stood at the water dispenser waiting for my bottle to fill, the oven beeped and she removed the bowl once again. She picked up her spoon and began to stir the cereal, slowly and deliberately, the hot water mixing with the cereal becoming one. I watched mesmerized as she continued to stir and mix the cereal. She wasn't in a hurry at all.

I was taken back to years gone by when I made hot cereal for my children. There were a variety of different cereals that they enjoyed - rolled oats, cream of wheat, and corn meal to name a few. I remember early mornings standing at the stove stirring in that same easy manner in which this woman now stirred her breakfast. I remember the peaceful mornings with the sun shining in the window when I cooked for my children. Like it was yesterday, I can see the yellow gingham curtains hanging on the window that the table sat next to. I remember what it felt like to stir the cereal as it simmered. the wooden spoon moved back and forth, and in easy figure-eights as my mother had taught me years prior. For just a moment on that one hurried morning I was transported back to another time, and I remembered what it felt like to take it slow in the morning and immerse myself in a simple task.

All too soon, my water bottle was filled. I picked up my little paper packet of oatmeal, ripped it open and poured the sugary oats into a paper cup. Filling the cup with hot water directly from the dispenser I started to stir. To be sure, it was not the easy, mesmerizing stirring that I had watched moments before, but I did slow down a bit that morning and took a moment to remember.

Simple Things

This afternoon I just took a few pictures of things around my house that make me feel happy and content.

The classic blue and white color scheme in my house is pure me!

In my downstairs bathrom I display an assortment of shells that I brought back from Mexico. The little plaque behind the sink says "Life is Better on the beach". I also have some pictures on one of the walls that were taken on our trip to Cozumel last year. Going into this room brings to mind the peace and relaxation I feel when I am on vacation.

I love this little statue of St Francis of Assisi. It sooths and calms and brings to mind a prayer of his that I know:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to Eternal Life.

I bought this tea set in Winchester England. It reminds me of all the wonderful things we saw and did on our trip. For me the whole trip was a dream come true.

My collection of Willow Tree figurines, mostly given to me by my BFF, remind me of her and simpler times.


I love the smell of a hot iron on cotton. It takes me back to when life was lived at a slower pace. When time was spent on a hot summer afternoon ironing shirts. A warm breeze whispering through the curtains making them dance and sway, a distant sound of a lawn mower providing the music to which they move. The whirr of a fan offering promise of respite from the relentless heat. A mother wearing a cotton dress, ironing her husbands cotton shirts, and a child sitting on the floor nearby playing quietly still sleepy from an afternoon nap.

Working on a quilt I am taken back to this gentle quiet time whenever I stand at the ironing board pressing pieces. Breathing in the smell of the hot iron on the fabric calms and grounds me.

When I iron my husband's shirts each the movement of the iron over the fabric presses and seals in my love for him and my contentment with our life.

What a gift it is to be able to be quiet for a while to iron a shirt.

Driving Lessons

I believe that God has lessons for us everywhere if we only have eyes to see them.

Tonight I was driving home from work, and got behind a car that was going 40 on the highway where the speed limit was 60. What I noticed about this vehicle (other than the slow pace at which it crept along) was the dented bumper - obviously the result of a rear ending. As I drove, battling the temptation to be frustrated at this individual, God began to speak to my heart.

The lesson that I learned this afternoon was one of moving forward when the time is right and not resisting the path that has been laid before us. In my life there have been situations that presented opportunities that, while exciting, filled me with fear. What I have learned in my almost fifty years of living is that if, after careful consideration and prayer, the path seems right then one needs to face the fears head-on and move forward. Not taking the path that God has chosen for us may lead to collisions from behind us. We may be rear-ended or side-swiped by other circumstances that He was trying to keep us from having to face.

My driving lesson today was to be brave! Move forward! Keep the pace!

Thank you, God.

Summer Memories

It's over 90 degrees this afternoon and I am loving it! Of course, I probably love it more because I have the luxury of an air conditioned home and an air conditioned vehicle to drive! But right now I am sitting on my lawn swing enjoying the heat and drinking some iced tea. I can hear a lawn mower in the distance and children laughing. I thought I would share some of my own memories of summers past that I remember fondly - in no particular order....

1. When the bookmobile would come to our neighbourhood. I would spent so much time lookinjg at the selection of books that they brought....carefully selecting...then changing my mind until I found just the right choice for my allotted three books.

2. Barbecues in our back yard and the smell of the briquettes when my dad would drop them in a galvanized bucket of water when we were finished roasting the last marshmallow.

3. Our typical summer evening supper - potato salad, cold cuts, jello, cheese, and bread.

4. Getting two new pair of "baby doll" pajamas to replace the winter flannels.

5. Sitting outside with library books while Laurinda and Michael played in the turtle pool.

6. Getting up at three o'clock in the morning to leave on vacation. My Dad liked to drive in the early, coolest part of the day. No air conditioning in the car back then!

7. Shelling peas with my Mom and Aunt....and eating more than went into the bowl.

8. Going to Elgin Park to play in the wading pool and being told not to get my hair wet. I have since realized that I was probably told that as a safety precaution...but at the time it made no sense to me....and it bugged me because my friends were allowed to get their hair wet.

9. Going to the Kentucky Friend Chicken for milkshakes.

10. Watching "Gone With The Wind" with Laurinda downstairs in the coolest place in the house.

11. Going to see "Forest Gump" with Michael.

12. August 11, 2006 - Laurinda and Gord's wedding day.

13. August 6, 2005 - Brandon and Nicole's wedding day.

14. Sleeping in the top bunk of the trailer with my sister where I'm sure that the temperature topped 110 degrees!

15. Hauling endless jugs of water for parents to fill the water cooler.

Summer is such a magical time in so many ways....I wonder if in six months I'll be able to make a similar list about winters for thought!

So that's it for now.....I have a good book sitting here just calling my name.

Until later.....

Anticipating Home

Last year we moved from the city where we had lived for about 30 years. It has been adjustment in many, many ways and there have been lonely times - it's not easy to build new relationships.

A few months ago I had an opportunity to drive back to the city where we used to live. As I was nearing the city I felt the anticipation begin to build within me. Seeing the first sign indicating that it was only a few more miles to city center filled me with an overwhelming sense of "I'm home!". I saw people that I loved and who I miss very much. I was filled with peace and acceptance and a sense of belonging. I felt able to relax and let go because I was home. I hadn't realized how much I missed it until I was actually there.

It got me thinking about heaven and the anticipation I feel about arriving at my eternal home. I can only imagine the joy and peace I will experience when I arrive. Sometimes I imagine seeing those who are there waiting for me even now, family members that I have never even met, others who have gone on before me who I look forward to seeing again. I imagine the sense of acceptance and love that I know will surround me. Most of all I think about the joy I will feel when I see the face of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

The first line of the book called The Road Less Travelled my M. Scott Peck sums up life on planet earth very well. It says "Life is difficult". I could go on and on about that statement and that book, but really when I first read it and came to accept that truth it changed the way I viewed my life. Life is difficult and that's just a fact. As long as we're here on this earth we will have struggles.

Don't get me wrong, my life is filled with blessings that are too many for me to count! There are times when I feel very lonely, afraid and sad as we all do. When I remember that all of this is temporary and that the is another home where I ultimately belong, there stirs within me such a sense of longing.

I recall that sense of peace when I arrived home a few months ago, and remember that one day I will arrive at my eternal home. Surely the joy, peace, and acceptance will be infinitely more than I felt at arriving back at my old home!

Sometimes I just can't wait.......


Today I saw two things that brought fear into my heart.

This morning when I came out of Starbucks I saw four Canada geese flying in what looked to me like a southerly direction.

This afternoon when I turned into our community I saw yellow leaves on the ground in the children's play area.

Now I know it's only the beginning of August, and I am a bit directionally challenged so the geese could really have been flying in any direction, and it was a bit breezy this afternoon so the leaves were probably just dead leaves that had fallen in the wind. It did make me think about the dreaded fall and winter though.

No....I'm not ready for summer to end!! I am enjoying the warm (not HOT like back in Kamloops!) weather so much. It's such a treat to go and sit outside after a long day's work and enjoy the sunshine. My body was CRAVING the sunshine after the long, dark, and wet winter. But....alas....summer will end one day. Hopefully not too soon though.

So it got me thinking about what is there to look forward to about fall and winter. Here are a few things I came up with.

1. In baby will be having a baby!
2. I will spend more time in my sewing room
3. Sipping a latte in Starbucks when the rain is falling outside
4. We will eat more comfort food like soups and stews and turkey
5. More inside time = more reading time
6. We will take Maya to doggy school
7. Shopping for new fall clothes
8. The beach in Mexico
9. A new season of Survivor
10. Winter storms
11. No arctic winds....just rain...rain...and more rain
12. And finally...the anticipation of seeing spring come upon us once more!

Okay, that's a start. Those things will be wonderful in their time. But please....not too soon!!

Letters....and something I've always wanted.....

When my Dad was alive, I used to receive letters from him regularly even though he only lived two hours away. I'm sure I received a couple of letters from him every week. Sadly, I haven't saved any of them. They were full of news....his thoughts....general rambling about not much of anything...but a window to his thoughts. I wish I still had some of them.

I remember one of the last, if not the last, one I received from him. He said "Three things that I have always wanted but will probably never have are a horse, a dog, and a trained falcon". I was thinking about that list today. My dad was only 65 when he died. Not in the best health, to be sure. A trained falcon was probably out of the question at that point, as was a horse. But a dog?! Not at all! I knew he had a dog (Mac) as a young boy. For a time we had a dog when I was young. I wish he could have had his own dog after my sister and I left home. A dog just for him again.

So, got me thinking. Are there three things that I have always wanted? Hmmm..... I couldn't think of three, but I did come up with one. I have always, for as long as I can remember, wanted to own my own bookstore. Likely that will never happen. I came close a couple of years ago to purchasing a used book store, but it didn't work out for a variety of reasons...all the right reasons at the time.

But the back of my mind....I wish I could have a bookstore.

Starting out....

So here goes.....I've been thinking about blogging for a while now. Came across a site called Every Woman's Voice a while ago which led me to some blogs that women were doing and I decided to give it a shot.....who knows...might be fun.....

So...what should the theme's what I'm thinking now.

In less than six months I'll be 50. (!) One would think that by now I would have learned some things in this life....I hope that's the case.

My own mom died at age 55. I find myself thinking of her so often as I draw nearer to that age myself. She was so young. There are so many things I wish I knew about her that I don' many conversations I wish we could have had. I wish she could have seen Laurinda and Michael as adults. I wish she could have seen the twists and paths my own life has taken, and seen the person I turned out to be as an adult. I was barely 25 when she died....still in that very self-centered phase of life and so the questions didn't occur to me then as they do now.

So my thought at this that I can share some of myself in this blog. For those who may care to read.....

So...why the title of The Velvet Room? It was one of my favourite books as a child. Really I don't remember everything that the book was about, but I remember the description of the velvet room and how it drew me in. Introspective and introverted as a child (not much has changed!) it comforted me and allowed me to escape for a while.

Check it out. The Velvet Room by Zilpha Snyder and see if it doesn't captivate you as well. I am going to go through the box of kids books in my attic and see if I can find it to reread as well.