Yesterday when doing business at our bank and mentioning about my father’s death, our advisor expressed her condolences and something about making memories. She said,”You’re still making memories.” That’s so true. We’ve got many.
If all the photos that we collected over the years were put into a slide show, it would go on quite awhile. Indeed, the one made for our father’s 90th birthday in January by my sister Kim was quite lengthy, but Dad enjoyed every minute of it on that day, soon after and even while he was in hospice.
I’m glad we recorded all we did on camera film and then digital. We have serious, proud and funny moments, for Dad was a kind fun-loving guy. And so today, I’ll share some from my collection which is considerably smaller, but still special.
The Tavistock Fall Fair when Dad drove the restored tractor in the parade
Mom and Dad’s wedding day
Member of the Nith Valley Singers for about 10 years (left, in front row)
Dancing with my father at my daughter Adrienne’s wedding
Joining in the fun at our granddaughter’s birthday
Dad walking with one of his great grandsons though the bush lot, as he did with us each spring
Dad and Mom, this past winter, saying goodbye, after a visit with granddaughter and her small one
There are many so more, some at community events where Dad was active, beyond his own family and farm acreage, including the Tavistock Agricultural Society, the church we attended, and extended family gatherings. Too many to number. A life well lived, and a husband (for my mother), father, grandfather and great grandfather well loved.
When the snow recedes and the flowers come up and bloom, that’s the thing I like best about spring. A couple of times, I thought spring had finally made it, then we had more snow and ice in our northern hemisphere. Overall, the plants held up, even if a few blooms didn’t make it.
Ice-coated flower stems
Although I don’t have a crocus bulb or snowdrop in my flower beds, I do have narcissus, paper white hyacinth and grape hyacinth. The narcissus are done now, but those little grape hyacinths are still blooming, sprinkled all over the garden, wherever they choose to grow. I took a bunch of those out, but left some here and there because I like them.
And then the flowers really began to bloom—grape hyacinth springing up between the purple phlox
the spring-pink blossoms on the uva ursi arctostaphylus
then the multi-hued tulips I love
and for the visual effect of many put together… and some trimming that still had to be done on old growth
tulips next to the thyme
a bright bunch of those colourful tulips
My front garden with a marker where new bulbs will sprout next spring. Bulbs from the pots of flowers given to my father when he was in hospice that he wanted us to plant in our gardens to remember him. And we will, of course.
There’s a good part of my garden. It’s a work in progress, and of course there are more beds and they too will change over the seasons. More for another day.
photos by C. Wilker
Could it be two weeks already since our women’s retreat. I look at my planner and it most surely is. Last year our retreat was cancelled when the church camp was closed for the winter and until May. Our retreat, originally Mount Zion Lutheran Women’s retreat, is always held in late April and has been held at Camp Edgewood at Eden Mills, ON, for many years. This year we were in for a treat because we were at Stone House at Hidden Acres near Shakespeare, Ontario.
We ate, gathered and learned in this building, and the accommodations were good too. We had time to explore the camp in free time as well, so we weren’t indoors all the time.
Our theme for the weekend was “Seeing God in Surprising Places.” We arrived early evening on the Friday, unpacked our gear and food contributions, dug out our Bibles for worship and greeted each other. It had been two years since our last gathering so it was good to see each and catch up on what’s happened in others’ lives. Among them were two newcomers to the group, and they came with musical instruments.
Friday evening’s questions for pondering included these questions:
What’s the dream/project or vision you feel called to in this time of your life?
What is one tangible part where you can start where you are?
In small groups we talked about seeing God not only in church, but also in the community and where we’re asked to serve.
A really interesting question that we carried with us in our conversations for the weekend:
Where do you see assigned seating?
In the world there is assigned seating, but in the kingdom of God, there is not.
Saturday morning, we gathered again for discussion and worship. And we changed our seating arrangement often that weekend.
As women, we are called upon for many roles. We’re often wives, mothers, sisters, care givers. Add in work commitments and we may be business owners, employees, and in my case, a writer too. We often have many identities. We talked about identities that we carry around.
Some of the questions we were asked included: Which ones need to shrink? And which ones need to grow?
Pastor Anne kept adding on layers of questions for us to discuss in our small groups: When does one identity fight for prominence (my own words) over another?
Pastor Anne Anderson, our spiritual director for the weekend, handed out nesting Russian dolls for us to open until we reached the smallest one. The last one was indeed very tiny.
Most dolls of this sort that I’ve seen before were similar to this one, where all the dolls are modelled after women and they get tinier and tinier as we open up one layer after another. I had never seen the kind that housed different characters within.
One question on Saturday morning for us to ponder on our own:
If Jesus could talk with you personally today, what is the message he would give you?
Consider that question any time and come up with your own answer.
We followed the discussion about identities with an activity.
some of our results
After lunch we did a craft directed by Helen Weber. Here’s one example of our journal and jar with journal topics.
We ate, we laughed, sometimes cried as we shared things in our lives, knowing that what we said in confidence in the group stayed there. We enjoyed each other’s company. During spare time, we went outdoors for a walk and enjoyed nature.
One of the other buildings at camp
A new person to the group. We sat on the swings and chatted. We both love to take photographs.
And some of the time we just sat and visited.
Here are a few questions that we contemplated that you can too:
Where do you encounter God?
How do we celebrate who we are? And how do we live that out in a diverse society?
It took a long time for me to understand about seasons going out or coming in like a “lamb” and “lion.” Is it for real?
If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb.
Sandi Duncan, managing editor of the Farmer’s Almanac explores this saying. She asks if there’s any truth to the saying and states, “Weather sayings are as colorful as our imagination. ” She closes by declaring that the saying is “more of a rhyme rather than a true weather predictor.” Then she offers a few more of those sayings to consider. You can explore it further in her short article..
Pondering what happens, I think about the metaphor. It might come in like a lamb, that is gently. That it just slips in or out without any fuss. Or does it have to “roar in” like an angry beast, that is like a lion, and make people take notice. That may be the case for this winter that’s been rather unusual and at times quite dramatic.
This week we had an ice storm, one in which the rain and freezing rain coated branches of trees, driveways, and all the little flower buds. Yesterday as we drove across town to our family Easter gathering, we noticed ice-coated branches lying on the ground under their equally ice-laden trees. Deejays on the radio declared that hydro crews were concerned about power interruptions once the ice on the lines starts to break off. Indeed, the ice falling from the lines nearby startled me when I was out taking pictures and some people were without power for hours, including members of our own family who came to our house to warm up and have breakfast.
In spite of the dreary skies and broken branches, the freezing rain left behind some rather interesting sights in my garden and other places once the sun came out.
last season’s stems of gaillardia
a crystallized arc of bearberry
frozen daffodil stems
It even froze the water coming out of the downspout mid-pour
This may well be the last of winter, now that one hint of spring has already shown itself. I’m hearing and feeling that we’re ready for spring to come to stay.
Photos © by C. Wilker, unless otherwise noted.
Although winter seemed to have left us, we’re still in February and in that month we can have anything from thaw to heaps of snow. The snow started falling last evening, following up the rain we had during the afternoon, and so it was no surprise this morning to see a thicker covering of snow on the roofs, the cars that sit outside as well as on the ground and filling in the crooks of the trees.
blanket over my garden
little caps on the sedum blooms of last summer
Garbage morning, can you tell? And we know which way the snow came from.
I like how the snow clumps on the ends of the branches
I think some small animal was up earlier than me.
Snow fills in some of the spaces on this chicken wire where my morning glories climb in summer.
All photos, unless otherwise noted are copyright of C. R. Wilker