Relaxation Break - Video of Manderley

I think my voice sounds so Canadian on these videos!  Oh wait - I am Canadian - no wonder!

Here is some video I took when we were at Manderley last week.  It was so peaceful despite the wind you can hear at times.  And even though I refer to it as "our property" in the first video it's not ours just yet.


I am the Distribution Editor for Story Circle Book Reviews which means I have the pleasure of receiving books from publishers, which I then send out to a member of our top-notch review team to read and review.  (By the way if you are looking for something good to read be sure to check out our site!  It's your ultimate source for reviews of books written by, for and about women.) 

I had to smile when I opened the package that was waiting for me when I arrived home today.  Hay Fever: How Chasing a Dream on a Vermont Farm Changed My Life

Do you think it's a sign?!

Through the Eyes of a Child

Oh, to see life through the eyes of a child again!
What causes you to feel a sense of wonder and awe?
What makes you feel the joy of childhood again?

For me it's being with my grandchildren,
playing with my dogs,
watching my garden come alive in spring,
the ferocity of the rainstorm that is currently passing overhead,
the peace of nature when I stood at Manderley,
the expectation of going on a trip (usually to see the grandchildren!),
the love of my husband.

Tell me, won't you, what brings joy to your heart?

Two of Me

My friend Susan Ideus has a post on her blog right now about the dichotomy of the two Susans that, in many ways, parallels my own struggles with the two Lindas in my life at the moment.

If you are perhaps struggling with something similar, why don't you pop over to Susan's Being Me - Beliefs, Blessings & Blunders blog and see if you can relate to what she is saying. 

I know I can.

Manderley - Part 4

As we drive away from the small town after talking with the Realtor, my tears began to fall.  Gerry and I have spent countless hours over the past number of months talking about Manderley.  We came prepared - there is a check tucked inside of Gerry's wallet meant to accompany the offer to purchase, but despite our love of this land there remains one stumbling block that prevents us from writing the offer on this afternoon.

Though we are not shutting the door on Manderley completely, I grieve for the momentary loss and for the Linda who surfaced on the land.  We will spend a few days with our children and grandchildren before heading home.  As we travel across the prairie Gerry notices that we are both looking at every farm house we pass and comments on it.  We smile at each other.  We are both grieving in our own way.

The quest will continue and those discussions will come in time, but just now I sit quietly in the passenger seat of our Ford Escape and drink in the prairie with my eyes.  In the distance, if I look hard enough and wish strongly enough, I can catch a glimpse of Linda standing in the middle of a wheat field.  She feels no stress, her body carries no pain, and she is content.


We arrive home after a long and tiring day on the road; and this morning I wake to the familiar pain in my neck and shoulder.  I throw open the bedroom window and hear birds, reminiscent of that morning at Manderley, yet a weak comparison to the prairie choir that sang for us near the marsh.  A plane flying overhead and the distant drone of Sunday at the race track assaults the morning quiet.

Last night I dreamed I was at Manderley again; tomorrow I will head back to my office.  Today, I wonder what lies ahead.

Manderley - Part 3

We stand at the edge of the marsh together, then Gerry suggests a walk toward the high point on the land a short distance away.  Together we step across the stubble left from last years's crop of canola.  Foolishly, I've worn sandals and the short sharp remnants of the canola leave scratches on my legs. Tangible memories of Manderley that I will carry back home when we leave.

As I stand on this little hill and look in all directions I realize that I feel like myself in a way that I had forgotten.  There is a Linda I barely know anymore. 

The eclectic selection of music we've been listening to on our road trip includes a song co-written by Canadian performer Michael Buble called Home.  The music and the lyrics tug at my soul; I too want to go home.  One line in particular speaks of a place I have been often lately.  "And I feel just like I'm living someone else's life."

The pain in my shoulder and arm that I've been dealing has disappeared since we arrived on the prairie.  I felt the stress begin to fall from my body a few days ago when we drove out of the Rocky Mountains and the prairie appeared.  Somehow, my body instinctively knew to breathe deeper.

We walk; we talk; we drive slowly back toward the town and our appointed time to meet with the Realtor.  We're already late but it's okay. 

Manderley - Part 2

We are honored the next morning to go to the home in town where the couple who own Manderley now live.  They welcome us into our home and talking with them feels like talking with old friends.  Gerry has brought questions about Manderley, and we spend a pleasant hour talking about life on the land with the Husband and Wife. 

Later we all meet at Manderley: Gerry and I, the Realtor, the Husband and Wife, and the Young Man who farms the quarter-section of land that makes up part of Manderley. The Wife and I naturally migrate toward the garden.  She shows me the hot bed where she would normally be starting lettuce at this time of year, I can tell that she will miss life on the farm.  

Gerry, the Realtor, the Husband and the Young Man move toward the quonset and the barn discussing, I assume, the land and the farming equipment stored in the massive silver structure.  I wish I could be with them at the same time as I am with the Wife.  I want to know everything about Manderley.

The Wife tells me about early life on the farm; she points out to me the location of the original house that has long since been torn down.  She tells me of the early years after she had married the Husband and come to live on the farm.  The history is almost palpable as I listen and drink in the prairie with my eyes.

Eventually the men join us and arrangements are made.  Gerry and I will stay at Manderley for a time longer, while everyone else returns to their day.  We want to walk the land; we need to talk and pray.

What Matters Most

Manderley - Part 1

I feel at home when we arrive at Manderley.  Armed with a rough description of where the land is, and our memories of our last visit, Gerry and I set out to see if we can find it again.  We want some time to walk the land alone before we call the realtor.

The last time we were there the land was covered in snow and it was dead quiet.  This time, the snow is all gone and we are delighted to find that there is a marsh behind the garden area. 

The marsh and the trees nearby are alive with the sounds of birds, frogs, and ducks.  The quiet of the winter is a distant memory but the sounds of nature equally feed a part of my soul that has been hungering for something more than city life. 

The garden still bears subtle evidence of last year's harvest.  It waits -the promise of spring planting and a new bounty of produce ahead.

The weathered outbuildings still stand proud and speak of past generations; past years of toil on this land we are calling Manderley.  There is history here; we look forward to meeting the older couple who have retired from farming this land and moved into town.

I look out across the prairie to the trees that mark the edge of the property and I am reminded once again of something Gerry had said.  This is not property we are considering purchasing; this is land.  And more, for us it is a lifestyle.

The pace of city life has lost it's charm for me; things that once seemed to define success no longer seem important.  I am restless and feel a call toward home. 

The night before, I underlined a passage in a book by Sharon Butala called The Perfection of the Morning.  The book is a memoir of her own return to the Saskatchewan prairie.  "What I could remember about that natural world from which our family had been separated by so little was a combination of smells, the feel of the air, a sense of the presence of Nature as a living entity all around me.  All of that had been deeply imprinted in me, but more in the blood and bone and muscles - an instinctive memory - than a precise memory of events or people.  I remembered it with my body, or maybe I remembered it with another sense for which we have no name but is no less real for that."  (highlight mine).

Having walked the property we return to our vehicle.  I stand for a moment before climbing into the passenger seat and breathe deeply, feeding my soul. 

We set off across the dusty road toward town.

We're Off!

We're about to begin another road trip!  It makes me feel sad when we are getting ready to go somewhere and the girls aren't coming. The way they look at us with their beautiful big eyes, I am sure they sense we're leaving them behind. I know that they'll be well taken care of and have lots of fun with their pal Lisa though!

This time tomorrow I plan to have a granddaughter on my lap, and I'm looking forward to snuggling my grandson a short time later.  We're blessed.

We're heading off to Manderley on Sunday morning.  Stay tuned for pictures and perhaps much more!

Sure Signs of Spring

I took some pictures around the yard yesterday afternoon; spring is everywhere!

The Lamb's Ears are filling in nicely.                      

My hostas are doing well.

The wisteria is soon going to be filled with beautiful sweet-smelling blossoms!

Lots of color in the front yard (and I'm old...and momentarily forget the name of this one!)

And a sure sign of's time for husbands everywhere to begin the annual lawn competition. 

Gentlemen....start your mowers!


I was talking with someone the other day about retirement.  She made a comment about not knowing what she would do with herself after she retired and, for a moment, I felt like one of those cartoon characters doing a double-take.  Wha-a-a-t?

There are so many things on my "someday" list, things I try to fit in when I have time now, that I will enjoy having time for in the years to come.

There are quilts to be made.

There are books to read.

There are books to write!

There are grandchildren to enjoy.

There are flowers to plant.

There are flowers to smell.

There are plots of vegetables and herbs to tend.

There are photos I need to put in albums.

There are grandchildren to enjoy.

There is knitting to do.

There are recipes to try.

There are trips to take.

There are long walks and long talks with my husband to enjoy.

There are grandchildren to enjoy.

There are lazy summer afternoons spent doing nothing more than dozing in a lawn swing.

There are cozy winter evenings spent snuggled under a quilt with a dog on my lap and a book in my hand.

Did I mention that there are grandchildren to enjoy?

What is on your "someday" list that you are looking forward to?

The Story

Recently I was speaking with someone about the memoir I am working on and she spoke six words that I cannot get out of my mind.

"The story is in your body."

The fact that those words play over and over again in my mind tell me that there is something there I need to pay attention to.  What does it mean? 

Is the story in my twisted back, still bent from scoliosis despite surgery when I was younger?

Is it in the deep and intense pain I felt first in my upper arms, then throughout my body, for which there has never been lasting relief?

Perhaps it is in my heart; perhaps it is in the virtual body of my emotions.  Is it tucked beneath stifled feelings or forgotten dreams?

Do the relentless hot flashes that keep me awake at night hold the key to the story?

Is the story hidden within the deepening wrinkles on my face, or in my sagging eyelids, or perhaps in the dark circles beneath my eyes?

Maybe the story is in all of these things; it could be in none of these things. The one thing I know for sure is that it is only in telling it that I will find out. 

So, I write.

Honor the Past

This is a picture of the house I grew up in.  In fact, that's me with my mom sitting on the front step.

Looking at this picture evokes warm memories of my childhood.  I played Barbie's on those front steps with my friends; we spent endless hot summer evenings playing tag in that front yard. 

Behind that large picture window is a living room with hardwood floors that were polished to a golden sheen by Mom.  That window on the other side is where Mom and Dad's bedroom is. 

The basement windows? Well the one under the picture window is where the basement kitchen was.  Yes, we had a kitchen in the basement.  When Dad built the house he thought he might have renters downstairs at some point but we never did so that basement kitchen was used for Mom's sewing room. The other basement window was for a room we called the rumpus room.  You don't hear that term very often any more; it was really just a play room.

Fast-forward fifty years.  Here is the way that house looks today.  Appealing? Comfy? Homey? I hope that whoever lives there now finds it to be so.

I wish they would cut down those trees that have been left to take over the front.  It doesn't look cared-for any longer, and that makes me sad when I think of the years and effort that Mom and Dad put into making that house our home.

My plea to anyone who lives in an older home is to honor those who were there before you.  Remember that the house, no matter how run down it may be today, was once a source of pride for the original home owners and they worked hard to take care of it. 

We honor the past by caring for the present.