Friday, November 08, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Truth

  • Truth: I live in Maine.
  • Truth: While a large chunk of my heart - the chunk belonging to my husband - lives here in Maine with me, other pieces are still back in BC with my family, and in Tanzania with my babies.
  • Truth: Those three pieces might never again be reunited on this earth.
  • Truth: I can't wait for heaven.
My musings on the prompt 'truth' for Five Minute Friday. Join in next week if you feel inspired!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

My first pet, Lumby

My Google Calendar is set up with the birthdays of my family members and friends. Today I got an e-mail reminding me that if this guy were still around, he'd be having a birthday today.

I miss him, and all the cats we've had. Maybe I just miss cats in general. Once in awhile I see a black and white cat playing or stalking something in the field in front of our house. But I don't know him personally. I beginning to think that either I'm going to have to get a cat soon or I'm going to have to try to convince someone I know well to get one.

Anyway, here's to my good old cat, Lumby. Miss you, boy. You were sure a tolerant pet, even as a kitten. :)

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Grace (Part 2)

Continued from yesterday. Read Part 1 here.

I had another grandmother, and still do! While my dad's mother was always Grandma Q to us kids, my mum's mother was simply Grandma. She has been part of my life since day one, part of my special family support system as virtually my second mother. When my mum went back to work in her kindergarten class when I was a few months old, Grandma was there to look after me. In my early years I grew up half at my own house and half at Grandma and Grandpa W's house. Our time together only grew when I turned five and we moved into a house right next to our Adventist school. From our new house it took less than a 10-minute bike ride to get to Grandma and Grandpa's house. My cousin, my siblings, and I biked back and forth all the time.

Grandma and me on my first birthday

Grandma is also a great cook. My personal favourite Grandma foods have always been her homemade buns and pies. Coming into her house on Friday afternoons you would be greeted with the glorious smell of buns baking. I also loved her canned peaches and cherries. I remember helping Grandma with her cooking and baking. Her pantry storage area was downstairs, off the laundry room, while her kitchen was upstairs. Often she would ask me or one of my siblings to run down to the pantry to grab ingredients she needed. I always loved it when she asked me to get flour. I would take the flour container down to the pantry, and pour the flour in using a small cup left in the large flour barrel. When that task was done, I couldn't resist plunging my hands (and arms) deep into the flour, feeling the soft, silky grains between my fingers. (I confessed this to my mum a few years ago and she said I should tell Grandma. Thankfully she found it funny after all these years and said, "Well, I guess it wasn't that bad. None of us ever got sick from it!")

Grandma was always able to make up fun games for us grandkids to play or ideas for us to do. Instead of simply pouring candies into a bowl and giving them to us, she had us run down the porch stairs, stand on the grass looking up at her on the porch, and then would toss Ju-Jubes down to us. In hindsight, this might have been a cunning way to get us out of the house and out from underfoot for a bit, and if it was, it sure worked well! Doing chores at Grandma's house never seemed too tedious as there were stories to listen to while drying dishes or peeling vegetables. And picking fruit from the bushes and trees in the yard was just plain fun, not a chore at all. Grandma often had us race to see how many we could pick before her timer went off.

Not only was Grandma very clever, but she was also amazingly smart. She had been a teacher at various one-room schools back as a young woman in Saskatchewan. Later she did substitute teaching once in awhile when her girls were in school themselves. She helped me through elementary math far better than any of my teachers. When I was learning to add and subtract she got out her old deck of Busy Bee cards and we would play endless games while I was charged with keeping score and adding up the columns of numbers. When fractions and rounding stumped me in grade six, she spent lots of time with me, writing out multitudes of fraction and rounding problems on scrap paper for me to answer while we sat in the car waiting for my siblings' piano lessons to be over and my turn to come. After weeks and months of that, something finally clicked for me and rounding made sense. Soon after fractions also started to come easier for me.

Games were a big priority at Grandma and Grandpa's house. On Sabbath afternoons we played Birds and Animals (by the Review and Herald), Egypt to Canaan, or Life of Christ. On Saturday nights we played Yahtzee or Probe or Wide World while chomping fruit salad and popcorn laden with brewer's yeast. As a treat Revello ice cream bars or Fudgsicles could usually be found in the freezer, and if not, there was always ice cream. In winter Grandma showed me how to warm it up in the microwave for a sweet, warm treat.

Through the years Grandma has always been a huge source of inspiration. When my family moved to Alberta when I was eight and a half, Grandma told me to write her letters, and when I did, she praised my writing abilities. High on Grandma's praise, I decided to become an author and penned quite a few novellas on small pads of paper, sending them to Grandma as presents. She kept them all, and when she showed them to me years later and gave them back we both had a few laughs at my ridiculous plots. :) I think it's safe to say that Grandma kick-started my love of writing, which might have otherwise subsided once I moved from Language Arts to English classes during elementary school.

Gram and me at Bryn's wedding in September

As sad as I am that I never got to know my Grandma Q very well, I am thrilled that I have been able to form strong and positive bonds with my Grandma. And I am so glad for the hospitality and grace both my grandmothers modeled for me. I am definitely the person I am today because of their positive influences. I love you both so much, Grandma and Grandma Q!

My musings on the prompt 'grace' for Five Minute Friday. Join in next week if you feel inspired!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Grace (Part 1)

"She's beauty and she's grace."

Remember that scene from Miss Congeniality? The one near the end when miss United States is crowned, and while chaos insues, the announcer keeps repeating the Miss United States lines:
From sea to shining sea like lady liberty
She reigns over all she sees
She is beauty and she is grace
She is queen of 50 states
She is elagance and taste
She is miss United States
Funny movie aside, beauty pageants have never played a role in my life and I've never really been too influenced by the media's portrayal of women. I attribute some of that to very little TV viewing as a child and teen. But I attribute most of it to the women I've had in my life. Strong, confident (or so it always seemed to me) women who exuded beauty from the inside out. My mother, my two grandmothers, women from my church, and a few exceptional women teachers in both school and music. The two women I want to mention in this post, though, are my grandmothers. I am blessed to have called two wonderful, gracious ladies Grandma.

Me, Mum, and Grandma Q after church

My Grandma Q was a wonderful homemaker and an excellent cook. Her house was homey and always smelled amazing. While us kids didn't always enjoy going to Grandma and Grandpa Q's church (there were never many kids at that church), we did enjoy walking across the street to their house after church for our Sabbath dinner. I will always remember the amazing gluten that often graced Grandma Q's table. I have never ever tasted better gluten. Another perk to going to G&G Q's house was the little glass bowls of treats that conveniently lived on the dining room table, the living room coffee table, and on a small bookshelf leading down the main hallway. Peanuts and chocolate chips or licorice mixes lived inside, and us grandkids often took little walks around the house to check out the little dishes (usually several times before the meal as well as quite a few after).

Grandma Q was also a creative lady who had one daughter followed by four sons. She had to be creative with a bunch like that, eh? :) Well, in reality I'm not sure how creative she was able to be while her children were young, but when I was in the picture, she certainly was. She quickly turned old clothes into patchwork quilts and gave them away to family members who could use them. If my older or younger sisters or I needed a slip for Sabbath, she would get busy sewing. Nightgowns and doll dresses and knitted slippers came our way from Grandma Q's capable hands. And when I went through my wanna-be Laura Ingalls Wilder stage, she bought pretty blue material and a bonnet pattern and sewed both me and my younger sister "Laura bonnets." I was thrilled and wore mine all over the place for quite a few months!

Grandma Q also painted. I didn't know until I was older that she hadn't always painted; she taught herself to paint when she was in her 60s. Her sewing room might as well have been called her painting studio. Paintings of gorgeous nature settings - she only did scenery paintings - hung from the walls, with tall mountains, rolling hills, running rivers, and straight, green pine trees bursting from the frames. She gave each of her children and grandchildren a special painting, and mine hangs proudly on the wall of my apartment after traveling across the continent with me more than a year ago. On my bed lies a special quilt Grandma Q made and gave to my parents years ago; as I was packing my things to bring eastward I found it unused and forgotten in my parents' garage. My dad let me adopt it and bring it with me, and I am so glad. I love it to death! The pink and white quilt features hand-painted pictures of the 12 provincial flowers (Nunavut wasn't a territory when Grandma Q made it) as well as maple leaves and a few other types of flowers.

Grandma Q's hand-painted quilt on my bed.

Every time I see it I am reminded of Grandma Q. Two days before my little sister's fifth birthday, my Grandma Q had a sudden stroke. She was in the ICU for a day or so, but wasn't able to recover. I so wish I had known her longer, had been able to make more memories with her and create special bonds with her. But I thank God that I was able to know her for eight years of my life. And I look forward to seeing her again in heaven. Seeing her again has always been part of my incentive to go there, and I can't wait to meet her again and get to know her better in that perfect place.

Read Part Two here.

My musings on the prompt 'grace' for Five Minute Friday. Join in next week if you feel inspired!