Posts filed under ‘family’

The Shedding Christmas Tree

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My granddaughters, aged 4 & 6, each made one of these for their tree a few weeks ago when we were doing a craft. I made one along with them.

 

Pets shed their fur, people lose hair upon combing it, and trees eventually lose needles when they’re brought indoors too. But our tree is not a real one and it’s shedding too. Pretty badly, I might say.

We take our tree out of its storage box each December, assemble the poles that are never really hidden and put them in the stand, then stage the branches according to colour sequence from top to bottom. Then at the end of the season, sometime in early January, I take it apart and put the branches and all back in the box.

All of this came after a year or two of having a real tree and then needing to put them all out of the curb each January with all the others. That was before they were collected for environmental purposes, at least that I knew of. I worried about all those trees cut down for a short season indoors and decided to do something different. And so we bought our first artificial tree.

Once the pieces are out of the box and on the tree, we, rather I, spread out the compacted branches and then put on the lights. By the time I have done this, the living room carpet is full of those fibres that are meant to resemble needles on a pine tree. I complained about the fall-out last year when I put the tree up, and this week I said, “At the end of this season, this tree goes out.” Next year, it means we get a new one.

It was a White Rose special, a moderately priced tree, and for a lot of years it served us well. By the time we get the lights on and all the decorations, it’s passable, apart from the spindly topmost pointed branch that always leans when I put on my hand crafted angel, though it’s not very heavy. She looks like she’s had one too many celebrations. Unless you compare our tree to a real tree or one of those with hinged branches—much fuller branches—with the lights already on them, it doesn’t look too bad.

Usually my husband hauls out the boxes—tree and decorations—and hands over the rest of the job to me. When I’m done assembling and decorating, he vacuums the room because every year it sheds. This time I gave him the job of sorting out the lights since he had wrapped them carefully and completed the job on each bundle with tape as he does with all electrical cords, in a neat and orderly fashion.

By the time I returned home from an errand, he not only had the lights sorted, but he had assembled the three strings of green lights and put them on the tree, after a fashion. He said, on my return, “You can rearrange the lights how you like them.” I did some rearranging, but he’d done not such a bad job of it himself. And the bonus, he had the lights turned on. That was to check that all the lights worked, he said.

 

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This ball was a gift from my friend, Amanda, last year. Love it!

 

This morning I began to decorate the tree, putting on my myriad collection of ornaments, snowmen, Santas, angels, pewter ornaments, some of those coming from various parts of the world. In previous years our children helped decorate the tree, but they have homes of their own and have their own ornaments—some collected throughout childhood. Last year it was my granddaughters, Evy and Ana, then 3, 5 years old, who helped me with the finishing touches. This year the lower ornaments on the tree are ones a baby can take off and hold without the fear of breaking.

 

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one of my Nova Scotia ornaments

 

I’ll put on Christmas music while I decorate—this year a collection by Michael Cavan Kelly—and remember the Salvation Army brass ensemble that played at the grocery store last evening. Then we’ll move the tree into its place, wrap the tree skirt around it and my husband will vacuum again, because as sure as the tree needs to be decorated, more of those green fibres will be on the carpet and on my socks and all through the house. After that, and only then, I turn off the rest of the lights, and sit back and admire my work.

 

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our tree, all decorated

 

I’ve already begun my shopping, in fact, I have a good chunk done. And this weekend I’ll finish writing the last of my Christmas cards and get them in the mail. What we all do for a holiday such as Christmas! And only then will I get out the white stone crèche and figures and arrange it somewhere out of reach of our eight-month-old grandchild, who’s seeing Christmas for the first time.

And that’s our preparation for Christmas, besides preparing our hearts for the Saviour we will celebrate.

May your hearts be filled with joy and peace this holy season and may health, healing of relationships and love of family and friends be yours this Christmas.

 

 

 

All  photos on this blog are my own unless otherwise mentioned.

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December 10, 2015 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Giving Thanks

This evening I contributed to Canadian Writers Who Are Christian, as I do once a month. Today, because it’s Thanksgiving weekend, I wrote about giving thanks. Not just for a vast array of things, but for those who produce food for us to eat.

After our opening hymn, “We plough the fields and scatter,” this morning, our pastor asked the children what they are thankful for. One said “family” and his little sister said the same thing. And that’s okay, because those things are important too.
When Pastor Claudine mentioned farmers and harvest, it occurred to me that city children do not have the same understanding of harvest that I would have had as a child, or even children growing up on a farm today. City kids don’t see the crops growing, as I did, unless their parents take them to see family in the country. They don’t see wheat in the field being cut, threshed and loaded into a barn for later use. They wouldn’t see all the time and energy or even understand how much the sunshine and rain affect the crops or see the worry in parents’ eyes when too much rain flattens a good stand of grain or hail beats down the corn.

Read more here

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Dad riding the old restored tractor in the Tavistock Fair parade

 

 

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garden earlier in the summer

October 12, 2015 at 1:31 am Leave a comment

Back to holidays–Lang Pioneer Village

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This year when we toured Lang Pioneer Village, we were there with our daughter and her two young children. Seen and experienced from an almost-4 to a nearly-6 year-old’s perspective, we would understandably travel through the village at a different pace than we did a year ago.

We started our tour with the animal pen next to the Milburn House, where pigs were snuffling in their pen and coming to see who was looking in at them.

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Next we went to the Hastie Carpenter Shop where the volunteer said they made things of wood, and especially wheels for the buggies and wagons. Then the tinsmith shop to see what was there.

 

Outside of the Fife cabin (shown above) was  a guide using a single spindle to get her yarn ready for knitting. A fire was going in the pit nearby where she would cook her meal or dye her yarn. We looked inside the cabin. It was quite dark compared to other buildings. The bed was a box on the floor with blankets in it and a fireplace at the end for warmth and cooking. The girls were interested to see how things looked there.
We crossed the road to the Fitzpatrick House where the guide told us about the family gathering in the main room. They would eat there and sit around the table for it was the only heated space in the house. We trudged up the narrow winding steps,  holding on to the handrail, to the upstairs to see where the family slept. Here they had beds and a quilt rack was set against a wall showing a project the mother might be working on. The beds were much different than the girls were used to and I wondered what they were thinking about it.

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See the dried herbs hanging above the fireplace. Those were often the medicines that the parents used to treat illness because the doctor lived a long distance away.

 

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On to the Register where the two young men told us about what they do. They showed us how they printed things, including newspaper, for the businesses in the village. It took a lot longer than with our computers and fast printing presses.

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It would take a long time to produce a newspaper with these pieces of equipment

 

We stopped at the Keene Hotel where a guide told us a little bit about the family who lived there and provided meals and a bed for travellers. We took our own tour of the building, but I did get to say hello to Sophie who gave us our tour last year and served tea and cookies. I thought we might come back for tea and cookies this time, but we didn’t.

 

On to the Menie General Store. It’s a bit like our stores that sell all kinds of things under one roof.

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The girls were interested in the toys on the counter and the little books.

 

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Here’s their Papa talking to one of the guides in the store.

 

DSCF9103Ana thought the lady’s blouse was pretty. Or was it the necklace and the hat she was commenting on? Anyway, there were many pretty things there for a lady or little girl at the time.

 

DSCF9105People gathered outside the Fitzpatrick  house, and we stopped along the way to see what was happening. There was a young woman doing laundry. She invited the girls to give it a try on the washboard. Ana wanted to try it so the guide helped her push up her sleeves so they wouldn’t get wet, and then showed her how to put the soap on the board first…

DSCF9107and then get both hands working on scrubbing a piece of clothing so it would be nice and clean. Different than Mommy and Daddy’s washing machine.

On our way to the car for our picnic lunch they stopped off to see the pigs again and then the Centennial commemoration rock out front.

 

I was impressed with how the guides geared their talks to include our youngsters. Thank you, all.

 

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Off to get our picnic lunch. Taking a break until tomorrow when we’ll continue our tour of the village

August 5, 2015 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

One step at a time–Carolyn R. Wilker

Writers soon learn that getting to publication takes many steps, and that it’s one step at a time. In early days of writing, there’s so much to absorb—show, don’t tell; use active voice, good grammar and correct spelling; transitions from one scene or thought to another. To a new writer it may seem overwhelming. And yet, in time and with much practice, even the newer writer gradually gets those separate elements together. With the help of an editor, the prose or poetry comes out looking polished. Read more here at The Word Guild Authors blog.

 

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February 11, 2015 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

Thanks Giving–Canadian Writers Who Are Christian

Today I posted over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian.

When was the last time you were told to give thanks? Could you do it when you’re going through some challenging times?

I’ve struggled with this countless times, because, being human, I can always think of the negative and struggle to find the positive. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, I read, “Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances.” I struggle with that, even when there’s good stuff happening in the middle of overwhelming tension, and I anticipate and await the outcome or the next big thing, just as in our recent experience.

Read more here.

Carolyn Wilker is a member of  The Editors’ Association of Canada,The Word Guild, Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship, The Baden Storytellers’ Guild and Toastmasters International. http://www.carolynwilker.ca

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image002Once Upon a Sandbox

October 11, 2014 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

Anchor in Grief

Today I blogged over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian on grief, remembering a friend, and reflecting on that grief.

Carolyn Wilker-photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently I marked the date of my friend’s birthday, September 2nd, though she died eight months ago. I posted one of my favourite photos of her on my Facebook page.

Her own Facebook page is still up and there was a reminder of her birthday— which I could never forget. And her voice is still on their home answering machine. It wrings at the heart. It’s hard when a friend dies. This was a friend I’ve known since early childhood.

On my Facebook page that day, I received many virtual hugs from others who have known grief too, and those were much appreciated. Yet not all reactions to grief are similar.

Some say, “Keep busy.” Others say, “Move on,” as if the loss were trivial. And while I know that one must keep putting one foot in front of another, I recognize that grief is something that one has to deal with. Grief is hard work. I’ve seen friends struggle with the death of a baby and another who is grieving the death of her husband who was just as much a friend. I will offer a hug and a listening ear, knowing this is a difficult time and a grief I do not know. Read more here.

 

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September 11, 2014 at 3:38 pm Leave a comment

Canadian Writers Who Are Christian–Sandwiched

Today I posted over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian, about being part of the Sandwich Generation.

 

“If God sends us on stony paths, he provides strong shoes.” –Corrie Ten Boom

We’re at that stage in our family with aging parents on one side—we’re all aging every day—and younger family with grandchildren on the other side. We’ve known, in retrospect, that this could happen one day and now we’re there, but we don’t always know what to do with it.

With two parents needing our support, our attention and energies are spread to their maximum, and that comes apart from a career as a freelance editor and writer, and a husband at home with some special needs of his own.

Carol Abaya, an expert in elder care, writes that there is no rehearsal for parent care, rather parenting one’s parents. “Becoming a parent to an aging parent presents extraordinary challenges.” Apparently it was Abaya who coined the term “sandwich generation” but also “club sandwich generation.”

Go here to read more.

 

And while you’re there, read the posts of Peter Black, Glynis Belec, Heidi McLaughlin. You’ll surely find some story that resonates or entertains.

 

The Sandwich Generation looks a little like this

 

sandwich

 

 

or like a Dagwood sandwich, with the caregivers in the middle.

 

Back to the Canadian Canoe Museum another day.

August 21, 2014 at 1:07 am Leave a comment

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