Noticing the Good

“How often do we fail to take-in, or even notice, the good moments of our lives?” -Renate Donnovan

The biggest headlines in the newspaper is usually about bad stuff happening to people, while the good news often takes a back seat, later in the paper. There have been instances though where a successful transplant or quadruplets overcoming the odds to survive a known problem for children in multiple birth situations make the front pages, at least in part.

I’m currently following a 30-Day Possibility Challenge with Renate Donnovan, a counselling hypnotist and coach. We’re past the half-way mark now. Each day has had a new challenge, concerning some different aspect of our lives and how we process it. Sometimes it’s as simple as doing something we like to do and enjoying the moments. That day I did some sewing on a project that I’d been looking forward to, something for my older granddaughters. Another day we thought about times when we were taking on responsibility that belonged to another. And we were to just focus on the area of responsibility that belonged to us.

Today’s challenge is about noticing “the good moments in our lives and really take them in and be aware.” So we’re focusing on something positive.

And then she asked, “So, what would have to happen for it to be possible for me to just receive and take-in the beauty around me?”

The answer to this could be simply to rethink how we process all the stimuli that comes to us in a day, over the radio waves, in the newspaper and from people around us. It doesn’t mean we shut out the entire world and all its trouble to focus on these questions, but making some time to ponder the questions and acting on them. It can mean that we allow for healing moments. It may mean acknowledging God here, too, in the beauty around us.

Today I will take some time to stand in my garden, acknowledging the beauty of creation, the simple but beautiful blooms in my yard and those around me. I will also take in the beauty of a baby’s reaction to another’s smiles, for today I will see my youngest granddaughter who’s learning about the world around her through her senses of taste, touch, sight. I’ll enjoy watching her.

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July 1, 2015 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

Updates from my garden

It`s rainy today but my flowers in the beds around my yard still brighten the place. Here`s a peek at what`s growing strong.

 

DSCF8947carnations in variegated pink and white

 

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gaillardia and coral bells

 

DSCF9015Daisies finally opened. I`ve always loved daisies since I was a little girl when we picked them along the lane

 

DSCF8928Lobelia in my window box planter

 

DSCF9017Black-eyed susan

June 28, 2015 at 9:41 pm Leave a comment

Piece by Piece

This past week while I was at Write Canada in Toronto, I posted my latest blog piece for Canadian Writers Who are Christian. It was a busy several days on faculty, both teaching and learning. Here’s my piece:

I’ve always admired the craftsmanship that goes into quilting, especially those quilts that look like works of art. Like the quilts auctioned off at the Mennonite Relief sale each spring. My style, up to the last quilt project, has always been hand stitching around the design elements of a fabric panel. My eldest daughter asked if I would sew a quilt for their new baby’s crib. She wanted a fairly simple design that wouldn’t take me endless hours to complete, but with colours that match the baby’s room. One day before Christmas, we went to the Creative Sisters Quilt Studio in Kitchener. A young woman named Jemcah helped us find suitable fabrics. We had a lot of fun playing with the fat quarters, arranging the colours and patterns. To read more of this post, go here. DSCF8629 The completed quilt on baby’s bed

June 17, 2015 at 9:57 pm Leave a comment

Garden is growing

DSCF8920My husband and I were out in the garden tonight. We lifted the netting on our raised beds so I could weed around our growing plants.  Here are the tomatoes and a few of the basil plants. Our grandchildren like the tiny tomatoes and so so we.

 

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Beans and more basil and one other herb.  Carrots on the right are still really tiny.

My husband was trimming around the box. You can see the top of his cap.

 

 

DSCF8926My favourite lettuce–romaine. I never did take to leaf lettuce though my mother grew lots of it.

 

DSCF8921I got the weeding done and we put the netting down around the box again to keep birds and small critters out. See the zucchini in the foreground? That’s new this year.

 

DSCF8923 Man hard at work yet, trimming. He mowed yesterday then we got talking with our neighbour about driveways and drainage and such and never did get all the trimming done, so that was his job tonight. I might also mention that for those new to my blog, my husband built these beds.

 

DSCF8937Ending with a pic of gaillardia this evening. More flowers another day.

How is your garden coming along?

June 17, 2015 at 1:29 am Leave a comment

Garden is growing

That rain we had for an entire weekend really gave the gardens a boost. Seeds sprouted and plants grew taller.

The basil seedlings left over after I put in my raised garden were pretty small so I cut the bottoms out of plastic pots and put them over top to protect them from small animals. This basil plant is growing. Time to take off the pot.

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zucchini plant is definitely growing

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and the tomatoes too …

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The herb pot by the front door is showing signs of filling out too

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the portulaca is beginning to open as is the dianthus beside it.

I called last evening to let my grandchildren know that the seeds are sprouting and we have little plants above the ground.

And there’s even signs of the carrot tops coming too. By next post those will all be larger and easier to photograph.

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Planter box is filling out too.

Until next post, happy gardening.

June 9, 2015 at 1:12 pm Leave a comment

More than we desired

This morning I looked out the window into a fresh new day and saw the evidence of all the rain on the weekend. Roofs washed clean, the grass already looking greener and the plants standing up tall. And the sun is shining.

The clouds had been large on Friday evening as my granddaughters and I planted the vegetable plants and seeds in our garden, but even then the sun shone through and around those clouds. We had a few reminders that rain was on its way. Farmers needed the rain for their newly planted grain and corn, and we needed it in the city too, for our parks, lawns and gardens were dry and brown.

I was at the garden centre on Saturday morning when the clouds broke loose. I’d collected my plants in a cart and was paying for them when the rain suddenly came down. We looked out and there it was, the rain that would make our gardens grow and the flowers bloom. I felt more than heard the collective sigh of relief from all the gardeners in that place. About then I spied two ladies from our Maranatha sister congregation, hurrying by under the tent and caught their attention. The joy in their faces was exactly what I felt. They too are gardeners; they too know the necessity of water.

I heard it said on the radio this weekend that we can live longer without food than we can without water, the very thing that makes up so much of our bodies. Deprive them of water and we suffer.

Back to the rain. There was a slight break in the downpour, so I dashed to the car, pushing the buggy full of plants, and deposited the plants in the trunk. The rain wasn’t letting up and that was a good thing, even if I was getting a bit wet as I returned the cart.

With the air conditioning still on in the car, my slightly damp clothing made me feel chilly, so I turned the air off and started the car, got the windshield wipers going. Slap, slop, slap. The rain was pouring harder again. I carefully backed out of my spot and on to another store in the same large shopping area. It was cool in there too, but I wasn’t going to complain and mentioned to another shopper how much we needed what was coming down. Thank you, Lord, for the rain.

If the sky was any indication, there was plenty more to come. And it happened, all through the rest of that day, the night, and into Sunday. A good day for napping, reading, and calling a friend on the telephone.

It was early evening when it seemed safe to venture out on a walk, without getting a soaking. More rain than we desired? To some it might seem so, for it would change plans that people had for recreation for picnics, boating and being outdoors. On my walk I saw several people walking their dogs, who also seemed happy to be out of doors.

On my return, I checked my newly planted garden. Instead of spotty places where my granddaughters watered the new plants on Friday evening, the soil was now uniformly wet, and the plants were standing up taller, as though they were saying thank you. In my Sunday afternoon phone call to a friend, she said she heard the grass singing. I chuckled at the analogy, for if grass could sing, it would truly be celebrating.

There was something more to that thought— more than we desired. If it happens with rain, when it comes as we need it, then keeps on coming past the point of where we say “enough already,” what about our blessings from God? When we’ve gotten what we asked for and there’s still more coming, do we still say “enough already” or “Thank you, God,” like we mean it?

My daughter sent a photo from their trailer last evening, with the bright rainbow against a darkening sky. What a sight to behold! If we had a rainbow, I missed it. A rainbow feels like a blessing after the storm.

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Indeed I learned from friends on Facebook that there had been wind damage in some areas. One had a tree laying in her backyard that stood tall just moments before. Wind is a mighty thing and so can water be, when mixed together. And people have troubles. We see it in the news and around us. We hear calls for prayer, and trouble is often part of our lives too.

Sunshine and the rainbow after the rain is a welcome sight; it gives us a breather. It may be when we see our blessings more clearly too. Thank you, Lord. If the grass can sing, so can we.

Photo by Laura Shaw, by permission

June 1, 2015 at 9:17 pm Leave a comment

Time to Plant the Garden

Friday was the day, like “X marks the spot” on a calendar. The day, rather the evening, that my older two granddaughters would help me plant the garden. We had a conversation weeks ago about what we would plant and my daughter and I planned for an early evening when she could bring them.

They started out with a little picnic at our outdoor table, to eat their supper.  It was hard to sit and eat because they were so excited. I had everything we needed—plants and seeds, shovels. Our rain barrels had a lot of water in them, and the two watering cans were ready.

Like a true farmer’s daughter, I planned for crop rotation even in these two raised beds. And we had added compost that my husband and neighbour had gotten at the landfill site. With that all good stuff mixed in, the plant beds should be ready for growing good things. We’re hoping for rain, because the soil is very dry all around, but we’d like to get the planting done first, if  we can.

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We decided to plant the tomatoes and other veggie plants first. Like busy little beavers, the girls ran back and forth from water barrel to the garden to water what we’d just put in the soil. The older of the two helped set the tomatoes in the ground and together we carefully put the soil around them.

We have tiny tomatoes, zucchini plants and lettuce the girls call “salad.” We planted basil and rosemary plants, and we had basil left over, some of which we planted in another spot. I put the cages on the tomatoes.

One asks, “What’s that?”

“Cages, for the tomatoes.” When they get big and full of tomatoes, so they don’t fall over.”

“Oh,” she says, puzzled. She doesn’t remember this step from last year.

Zucchini was next. We need to leave room for them to spread. Then the cucumber seeds in the back section of the box nearest the cedars. We need to leave room for cucumbers and zucchini to spread.

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Then it was time to plant the seeds for carrots and beans. We made the row with a small shovel and I showed them the small brown carrot seeds. “Tiny, aren’t they?”

“Can I have some?”

“Me too!” the younger one said.

I put some seeds in their hands and showed them how to spread them in the row. They got it, more or less. We’ll have a lot of seeds in some parts of the row.

“We don’t need all the carrot seeds.” And they look at me, puzzled. “We need to save some room for the beans.”

The older of the two spreads soil gently over the carrot seeds, just as I showed her. I praise her and the younger one wants to do it too, so we save a spot for her to try.

“Next, the beans.” They crowd in to look. “See how these are bigger?” And of course they both want to plant. We have a row ready and they each get to have bean seeds to plant. The older and the younger plant their seeds, the older having a  bit more control and putting them in just right. I separate the seeds a bit farther that the younger one has planted and then we’re ready to cover them. They know what to do now and cover the seeds. Then they run to fill the water buckets again, giving the soil a good dousing.

While we’re planting, their Mom and their (grand) Papa are snapping pictures, asking us to say, “Fuzzy pickles” and the girls giggle and smile and we pose, just a little, and call out, “Fuzzy pickles.”

We have some basil left over and we decide with their mom that we can plant some in small pot for them to take along to the trailer when they go this week. They’ll keep it on the deck.

The girls are tired and it’s starting to show. With their Mom’s help, we put the netting over the garden beds and secure it.

“Why are we putting that on?”

“So the bunnies and birds don’t eat the veggies.”

The oldest, coming on 6, comes up with a solution. “You should make a scarecrow.” She has this satisfied look on her face. “Then the birds will go away.”

Her Papa says, “Not all of them. We want to hear them sing.”

“Oh,” and there’s a contemplative look on her face.

We give them hugs and see them off with the promise that they can come and see the garden when they return from their vacation. “Then maybe we’ll see some shoots above the ground,” meaning the seeds are growing. “And you can help water the garden too.”

They’ll remember to do that, along with the pot of basil they’re taking along.

Their Mom said on Facebook afterwards, “The girls had a blast.They are tired too. Evy is very excited to take “her” plant to the trailer.

Tired, just as their grandma, at the end of this day. But it was a good day and now the garden can grow.

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Netting is secured and my husband gave the garden beds a good watering in case it doesn’t rain.

Follow our garden progress. I’ll update as there’s something to share. Hoping for lots of sunshine, enough rain and a bountiful garden this summer.

photos  © L. and C. Wilker

May 30, 2015 at 1:28 pm Leave a comment

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