Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Come, Holy Spirit...

This evening, our youngest daughter will be confirmed. Julia is an amazing amalgamation of a little girl/tomboy who wants to remain small, and a young woman who knows her own mind and wants to do her own thing. She still likes a bedtime cuddle, but she also insists upon her privacy and her space, especially when it comes to her room. She's on the verge of leaving childhood for adolescence, and tonight she will grab onto her faith for herself in the midst of family and friends.

Come, Holy Spirit,
continue to bless the child in your child
as she goes through transformations too amazing
for a mother's heart to imagine, let alone comprehend.
As she grows in knowledge, make her wise in its use for herself and others.
Give her understanding, strength and courage
as she becomes who You intend her to be.
Help her to live with a deep sense of gratitude, wonder and awe
at all the gifts and blessings You give.
Stay with her, help her, and fashion her into your love
as she stretches toward adulthood.
Please deepen her relationship with you,
fill her with your creativity in life's trials,
and guide her in all her ways.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Simple Suggestion # 123... Use rags

Here's an easy one that came to me when I was at a friend's house last week. The kids were playing in the basement, and a glass of water got spilled on the laminate. Said kids came running upstairs and grabbed a few paper towels. They came back a second time for more paper towels. The third time they took the entire roll. And I wondered how much water was in that glass. I also thought about our trees, and about this:

In our broom closet we have an old drawer from a piece of IKEA furniture that fell apart, and it has become our rag box. In it are scraps from holey old cotton t-shirts, chunks of frayed towels, bits of thin flannel sheets, and other odds and sods that work a lot better than paper towels for wiping up messes, dusting furniture or washing the car. We've banished paper towels from our house, and don't hesitate to toss out these rags if they get into "unwashable" messes. Unlike paper towels, they are usually reused many times before heading to our city's amazing Waste Management Centre, where they are composted (cotton composts well given the right conditions).

Paper towels are really an unnecessary convenience, and they use too many trees. Why not use a rag rather than consume the resources required to make paper towels, energy included? It makes a simple sort of sense.

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Seeing on a Sunday

This birthday week, my daughter wrote a lovely blog entry with 10 special things about her mom that made the tears roll down my cheeks. One of the things she named was that I am "passionate about things that other people take for granted," and I thought that a very perceptive comment. For some reason, I've been blessed with an extra sensory ability to appreciate the ordinary... so Dietrich Ludwig's video below really resonates with me. There is so much beauty all around us, if we just remember to look for it. May you see more than your share today!

Video from KarmaTube

Friday, May 25, 2012

Simple Suggestion #122... Learn to like dandelions

My neighbour, Olga, and I were complaining to each other yesterday... in a good natured way. You see, we live facing onto a lovely area park that is full of dandelions. Since the City decided to stop using herbicides in its parks, you could say that dandelions have pretty much taken over the park... and of course, with the prevailing westerly winds, their seeds are also taking over our yards.

So Olga and I find ourselves out in our yards together, digging up the dandelions, and wishing we knew about making good dandelion wine. We shrug our shoulders and say, what can you do? while knowing that we're really very fortunate to live across the street from such a lovely green space when so many on our planet live in cities so crowded it's hard to find nature at all.

I remember too well the days of weed bars and Killex... and I'm so glad that our society is wising up when it comes to using poisonous chemicals to "improve" our environment by eradicating pesky weeds. But at the same time, there are lots of things I'd rather be doing than digging up those tenacious dandelions and tossing them in the trash. They're almost impossible to compost unless you have a really hot compost pile that kills even dandelion roots, leaves and seeds... as well as beneficial composting bacteria.

So here's an idea from Ron Berezan, the Urban Farmer who used to live in my city. He suggests that rather than tossing those dandys into the garbage for the City to deal with, put them in a container full of water. Leave them in there until they drown (read, turn mushy and soft and sink to the bottom) and drain the liquid, which by then is an excellent compost tea. The mushy stuff can then be composted. Keep in mind that it's important to keep a lid on things -- to keep mosquito populations down and to contain the "fragrance" of the process.

Of course, if you don't like digging, and this method of composting dandelions seems too onerous to you, perhaps the best thing is to learn to like dandelions! Or dandelion salad...

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Look here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A L'Arche Birthday

Today is my birthday and a work day... but I was happy to go to work, because people at L'Arche can be counted on to celebrate any and every occasion. When I arrived, one of my favourite assistants had left a beautiful Northern Lights postcard on my desk. She appeared a little later to give me a hug. And Thomas overheard. "Your birthday?! Happy Birthday!" he said, and gave me a hug. A little while later, he gave me another hug when I reminded him of my birthday. The next time I saw him, I said, "It's my birthday, Thomas!" and he said, "I hugged you this morning." No fooling him!

I've been missing so many L'Arche events and activities because of my dizziness lately that I've been feeling a bit like an outsider. But today, I realized that even though I'm not there as much as I'd like, I'm still part of the family. I'm not sure how they managed, but the L'Arche community pulled a birthday cake out of thin air before I had to catch my bus home... and twenty people with and without disabilities sang for me and gave me a card. We all got a piece of cake, and I haven't stopped smiling since because of all the hugs from my L'Arche family. Sandy just wordlessly came and put her head against my shoulder.

Any excuse to party is a good one! My birthday included. Happy Birthday to me!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The beauty in a rainy day

I'm a happy woman this morning. After a wonderful, long, family-oriented weekend, my husband and I managed to finish planting our garden, and for two days, the rain will come down, or at least that's what the meteorologists have promised.

It's a grey day with a nice solid drizzle, so I put on my favourite boots

and searched out the old IKEA ladybug umbrella 
that my girls won't use because it's not cool anymore, 
and I went for a walk in the rain.

As you can see, my street is gorgeous at the moment.
The ornamental crabapple and chokecherry trees are in bloom

and everything is green and clean.
But all the beauty isn't just for the eye.
I wish I could somehow convey the fragrance of the rain,
the sound of it dropping through the leaves, and
the voice of a robin singing the rain's praises
atop a tree nearby, his song
echoing down the street.
You'll just have to imagine it all,
unless you can walk down
your own rainy street.

One thing is sure:
Winnie-the-Pooh, found on the sidewalk last week
and set on our fencepost,
won't be getting much of a tan today.

Have a beautiful day, rainy or not!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Mom, why can't women be priests?"

It's a question I've faced time and time again. I have three daughters. Girls who, I'm happy to say, think before they swallow the party line. Girls who reject the response, "because that's how it's always been," if it doesn't make sense.

And honestly, I've never had a good answer for this question, because I also happen to be a woman who thinks for herself and doesn't swallow the party line of my Catholic faith when the party line is archaic and makes no spiritual sense.

I might end up in a lot of hot water for this moodling, but here goes, anyway. I can't help what I think. It's just what I think, and no one has to agree with what I think. I'm just being honest here, so don't shoot me, for honesty's sake.

Yes, Jesus was a man. But if he had been a woman (and yes, that's a bizarre thought, I admit it), would we only have women priests? I somehow doubt it. Women aren't so territorial. We believe in sharing roles. I suspect Jesus did, too, as much as, or maybe even more than his society allowed. And in our society, I suspect he'd be okay with women answering God's call to the priesthood in the same way as men who have sincerely discerned their vocation do. I can't believe that God would only choose men. God doesn't play favourites, though human history does.

Yes, Jesus' disciples were men. But there were also women who followed him, and women who took leadership roles in the early Christian community. Unfortunately, they get pretty short shrift in scripture, but keep in mind that history is always recorded and laws made by the "winners." As a result, I suspect that a good chunk of the feminine portion of Christian history was eradicated by the people who had all the power in those days, though I have read the unobliterated portions of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. What I liked about Mary's Gospel was that it empowered men and women equally, rather than placing all emphasis on the succession of Peter. But of course, her version of scripture was too mystical to make it into the Bible. If it had, though, I suspect the priesthood would be a healthier place because it would be inclusive, rather than an exclusive club for men.

Yes, Jesus' disciples were mostly men, but as my youngest daughter pointed out to Father at her confirmation retreat recently, it was the women who stood by Jesus at the cross. Father, to his credit, agreed, and also pointed out that the men who followed Jesus were in hiding while the women were at the tomb meeting the Risen Jesus. Father said that women played an important role in Jesus' life, and that they should also be honoured and respected in the church today. That appeased my girl somewhat... but not enough.

Honestly, for most of my life, I didn't even think about why women weren't priests. The priests in my life have all been good men without exception, several of whom I count as very dear friends. But in the last few years, questions from my daughters and various conversations and encounters with holy women, some with M. Div behind their names, have made me question why it is that the priesthood is only reserved to men. I can't just swallow it now.

The whole argument about priests acting "in persona Christi" -- in the person of Christ -- just doesn't demand maleness in my mind anymore. I have a woman friend who is an Anglican bishop. I know too many Christ-like Catholic women (some of whom are more priestly than some of the priests I've met). And the argument about the Church being the Bride of Christ, and therefore requiring a male counterpart in the priestly role is becoming for me, more and more, a semantic distraction from the real issue: that God made men and women equal, and as equals, we should be able to serve God as equals, even in the priesthood. Wouldn't it make sense that our theologically and sacramentally educated women pastoral assistants could be pastors, too? They often do everything except what's reserved to the priest, and are as educated as a priest... which again begs the question, why should ordination and sacramental ministry just be reserved to Catholic men?

Oh yeah, because Jesus and his disciples were men, and because it's always been that way. Sigh.

Men have been given most of the roles in the church -- from pope on down to deacon -- by default, as men were dominant in the time of Christ. And yes, men are still dominant in many world cultures, but things are changing. Even so, thus far, women are only allowed to be Sisters (nuns), and as such, aren't allowed to preside at eucharist or offer absolution (though a few Sisters have heard my own confessions on more than one occasion). They can't preside at most sacramental celebrations without a special dispensation from a bishop.

And women in the church seem to be valued only if they've taken some sort of vow... so where does that leave single laywomen? And men, if they're not priests or the fathers of good Catholic families, seem to be seen as somehow incomplete by those promoting vocations. Something is wrong with this picture, this over-emphasis on vowed vocations. Yes, we need ordained and consecrated people, but it's too easy to get the feeling that they are the only important ones in the Church's thinking, and this hurts those who aren't called to the priesthood, religious life or marriage. The vocation of "single lay person" is too often ignored and is certainly not celebrated or acknowledged by the Church very often. And recent changes in the Roman Missal would indicate that the Church would rather not allow lay people near the altar at all. Heaven knows we can't usurp the priest's privileged role as presider, even if it's just to do the dishes after communion!

There was a time when lay Catholics (meaning not priests or religious) were a rather uneducated bunch of sheep who blindly followed our "shepherds," but those days are long gone. Since the second Vatican Council in the 1960s, lay people have taken a deeper interest in becoming priests, prophets and holy royalty in our own right, and have learned to think for ourselves about Church teachings. The Church encouraged this for the past 50 years, opening its theological schools to lay people, but now it seems to be re-thinking that decision, preferring "sheep" to educated parishioners who think and question and perhaps even challenge the way things have always been.

Unfortunately, the Church's reversals are pushing spiritually educated people to the margins. For better or worse, social change has come among many of the people of God, and as Cesar Chavez says, "Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore."

What I am seeing, more and more, is that dedicated lay Catholics, people who have taken courses in theology and worked as pastoral assistants and taught catechism and run youth groups, people who love Jesus and the people of God, these same people are very aware of the Church's attempt to return to pre-Vatican values. But because they are educated lay people, they value themselves and their faith to the point that they can no longer be humiliated or oppressed by an institution that seems to want them to return to their old ways of being sheep, swallowing what they're told without thinking for themselves. Educated Catholics know that God loves and accepts them whether they toe the party line or not.

So more and more of them are simply walking away. I count at least a dozen in my own devout Catholic extended family. And who can blame them? I'm tempted myself at times, especially when I run into people who insist that the Church is always right no matter what, and that I'm too prideful if I can't agree with the Vatican's point of view on any given topic. I'm sorry, but I have come to believe that God loves me and accepts me no matter what, and I have a hard time imagining that He and She will refuse me entrance to heaven if I happen to disagree with the Church's stance on women's ordination or some other contentious issue that I have thought through carefully.

And my friends who have walked away from the Church, some of whom call themselves "recovering Catholics?" Well, they may not be willing to listen to "the party line" at Mass on a Sunday morning anymore, but most of them continue in a deep relationship with Jesus, which can be seen in the way they interact with their brothers and sisters on a daily basis outside of the Church. Instead of meditating on "holy mysteries" (which I sometimes think is Vatican-speak for "we've made up an implausible explanation, but because we're in charge, you have to believe it or you're endangering your soul's hope of heaven), my friends are simply following Jesus' greatest commandments -- "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength, and love your neighbour as you love yourself," but apart from any institution.

I could go on and on, but I already have. So I'll end with last week, when my eldest daughter googled "why can't women be priests?" and came up with the following commentary from a blog somewhere. The line in red angered her beyond speech:
The Church was not given the authority to ordain women and thus can't ordain women.  It's not a matter of won't ordain or cultural traditions. Women are held in such high esteem by God that they have not been chosen to serve Him in a servant's capacity like a priest.... Women were not meant to be the sacrifice...if that were so, God would have had an only begotten daughter... He was not afraid to break cultural norms, that argument is ridiculous.... It is up to us to serve God in the roles He intended. Let it be done unto us as He wills.
It's an anonymous comment, but if I could, I would be tempted to ask its writer the following questions: How do we know that Jesus and God would still insist on a male only priesthood in 2012? And if women are held in such high esteem that they are not chosen to be priests, what does that say about men who are? If Jesus wasn't afraid to break cultural norms, why has the Church ignored women all these years? And who is to say what God intends? Human beings and human institutions? Form an institution, and everything seems to get a lot more complicated than it was orginally intended to be. Including the most recent translation of liturgical prayer, but I've already ranted on that.

I know it will take a lot of adjustment for the people of God in the Catholic church if the priesthood is opened equally to all believers. But I also deeply believe the Church would be a much healthier place if it wasn't running on so much testosterone. The Church has always managed to cope with growing pains of various kinds. Of course, it may take a few lifetimes for things to change... unless the Holy Spirit jumps in, as She and He did with Vatican II.

All I can say to my angry and speechless daughter is, "I know, my girl, I know. Let's pray that the institutional Church soon educates itself and others about how to respect women as equals rather than inventing all sorts of semantically silly reasons that they're not fit to serve. Let's pray that the hierarchy gives thinking people of God some credit, and soon. If clerical gender roles were switched, and only women could serve God in the priestly role, you can bet men would be clamouring for justice the way women are now. But in the meantime, let's keep our eyes on Jesus and try not to let frustrations like this get in the way of our relationship with him."

Of course, this is only my opinion. God bless us all. Come, Holy Spirit!

(Click here for "Mom, why can't women be priests?" Part II.)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A prayer-full gift

Three weeks ago, the postman came to my door with a package. I was expecting some books, but he handed me a soft parcel. I opened it, and was deeply, deeply touched.

Inside was a beautiful, soft, handmade purple prayer shawl from my dearest friend. She knows all too well how I've been struggling with unexplained dizziness for the past seven months, and her church has had a prayer shawl ministry for the past five years in which she participates. So Cathy went looking for some soft but weighty yarn that spoke to her of me, took it to a meeting of the prayer shawl group, and she and the other women prayed together over their yarn and needles for the people for whom they would be knitting.

Cathy took her yarn home and prayed even more as she knit 3 and purled 3 (the number 3 has all sorts of holy connotations)... on airplanes, during car trips, and at home. She fastened on tassels, and took the completed shawl to one more meeting, where she and the other women passed around the shawls and prayed for their recipients one more time. And then Cathy mailed it to me. It took only two days to arrive, which must be a record for Canada Post.

I took the package to my room and was, admittedly, a weepy mess for the half hour it took me to read through the package's contents. My friend's prayer-full gift brings tears to my cheeks again as I type this, my shawl around my shoulders. This has been a sort of difficult illness for someone who has always been healthy as a horse, and used to living life at a certain pace. I constantly feel like I've had one glass of wine too many, a bit too unsteady to drive or empty the dishwasher. Shopping and other activities can be difficult, as I tire quickly in visually stimulating places, and often end up nauseous. The good news is that I'm awaiting an MRI and have an appointment for assessment at the local Vestibular Rehabilitation Clinic tomorrow, so there's hope. But it may also be that I'm simply a middle-aged person with Juvenile Diabetes, and I'll just be a dizzy dame for the rest of my days. My doctor was almost as unhappy as I was when she said so. We're all praying that she's wrong!

So this gift, this shawl, has been an almost constant companion to me since it came. It's like a warm hug, a blessed reminder that I am loved and held, not only in Cathy's prayers, but in the prayers of many others, too, who don't hesitate to let me know that they are praying for me, and have put my name on all sorts of prayer lists. Perhaps it's because of Cathy's shawl and Rebecca's oil and Claire's painting and everyone else's prayers that my spirits are mostly good and I'm still functioning, albeit more slowly than usual.

If you're a knitter, or know someone who might be interested in starting a prayer shawl ministry, Susan Jorgenson and Susan Izard wrote a book all about it called Knitting into the Mystery: A Guide to the Shawl Knitting Ministry (Morehouse Publishing 2003, ISBN 0-8192-1976-3). I'm not a knitter, but this experience tempts me to become one! A simple thank you doesn't begin to cover it, Cathy! And thanks to my readers for your prayers, too. Thanks to God's goodness and your prayers, I am (mostly) well.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Simple Suggestion #121... Put up a wasp scarer

They're back. Yes, those yellow and black plagues that take the pleasure out of barbecues, picnics, and sometimes even compost piles. I'm referring to wasps, of course. I noticed one buzzing around my composter this morning and was reminded immediately of last summer...

We were about to leave on holidays when I noticed the critters going under my new birthday present, our three bin composter. So my wonderful husband got geared up, took some chemicals known as a wasp bomb that we had left over from previous years, and out he went to wage war, successfully, he thought. Then off we went on vacation that very day.

About halfway through our holidays, I thought to call home and ask my dad if the wasps had left... and if they hadn't, would he be so kind as to call an exterminator? He did, and fortunately, the exterminator's fee of $50 included a guarantee -- because when we got home at the beginning of August, the wasps were still acting as if they owned that composter. Mr. exterminator paid us one more visit, nice young man, and that was that.

I don't want to go through that rigamarole again this year... so today I went out and put up a half dozen of my famous wasp scarers (read: brown paper lunchbags, a package of 100 is less than $5) in strategic spots around the yard. (I forgot to last year, and you know what happened!)

Wasps are territorial, so they won't nest if there's another nest nearby. They also aren't too good at determining whether a brown paper bag is a nest or not. So you don't have to buy one of those fancy wasp deterrents that use more resources than a paper bag even though they really are glorified bags with fancy wire frames and cost about $13 (I know, they are much prettier than my paper bags). In the picture above, you can see that I've situated one of my wasp scarers on this side of my composter wall. There's one on the other side, too, because that's where our trash cans sit, and I don't want wasps bothering my garbage guys, either. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure... and what's even better is this is a chemical free way to keep the wasps away and save the bees. It's all about living simply, so that others (wasps in particular) can simply live... ELSEWHERE!

Go ahead, try it! Another simple idea that works.

P.S. See the other 100+ Simple Suggestions here.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Days past

When my daughters were small, I started a file of stories of the sweet and funny things they said and did because I didn't want to be one of those moms who can't remember her tots once they're all grown up. And my girls are grown up now -- the youngest is twelve... so my little "Growing Up With My Girls" story file is one of my dearest treasures. I try to remember to add to it regularly, but see that it's been about six months since I've written a word there. Not that it needs a lot more words... it's already reached almost 165,000.

For this Mother's Day, I decided to revisit my kids when they were younger... and to share some sweet Mother's Days from my past. The formatting gets a little wonky, but I'm sure family and friends will remember these little girls fondly... as I do. And of course we still love them now that they're grown up!

May 6, 1999
Christina and Suzanna both won a coloring contest at the Bay on the weekend.  I suspect they were the only two entrants.  So, today we are going to go pick up the prizes -sidewalk chalk for Suzanna and a bubble maker for Christina.  We also have $19.40 in Canadian Tire money, and the girls want to spend it on stuff they can use to "help" me in the garden.  It looks as if it will be a fine day, and I should get out there and dig the grass clumps out of the garden patches.  Our sidewalks will be covered with chalk by the end of the day, any bets?
Lee took the girls shopping for my mother's day gift last night.  When I asked Suzanna about her prize for the coloring contest this morning, she said, Oh, Mommy's necklace in the bottom of our dresser.  Never trust a two-year-old with a secret.  I'm pretending I don't know anything!

May 14, 1999
Overheard as my children played Doctor:
Patient Suzanna:  Help me, Doctor!
Doctor Christina:  What happened?
Patient Suzanna:  I bonked myself on the sidewalk.
Doctor Christina:  Ooooo whoooo, I'm sure glad I'm not you!
Here's a bandaid.
Patient Suzanna:  Thank you, Doctor.
Doctor Christina:  Do you feel better now?
Patient Suzanna:  Not really.
This has been my week to see doctors -- driver's medical, etc., and even my children get in on the act.  I'm glad my doctors don't have Christina's bedside manner...

May 14, 2000
Two-month-old Julia gave me a mother's day gift last night.  I was just holding her in one arm, doing something, and she fell asleep, and in her sleep, she laughed!  Twice!  I've never heard her laugh while awake yet -- what in her dreams could be so funny?  It's a mystery...
The Poisonwood Bible has so much in it, but here’s a small taste of something that really struck me.  The speaker is talking about how a mother loves her lastborn child:  "But the last one: the baby who trails her scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after -- oh, that's love by a different name.  She is the babe you hold in your arms for an hour after she's gone to sleep.  If you put her down in the crib, she might wake up changed and fly away.  So instead you rock by the window, drinking light from her skin, breathing her exhaled dreams.  Your heart bays to the double crescent moons of closed lashes on her cheeks.  She's the one you can't put down."
The only thing is that I felt that way about each one of my girls, but with Julia, I guess it's a little more poignant or something.  I took a nap with her sleeping on my chest this afternoon, thinking how it won't be long and I'll be missing moments like that.
May 7, 2002
Suzanna is getting excited about Mother's Day, and has no idea how to keep secrets. The kindergarten class will be having a Mother's Day tea on Friday, and she's often singing her mother's day song, then clapping her hand over her mouth and announcing, Oops, I'm not supposed to sing that! Julia recently discovered the fun of pouring water out of the bathtub. I hope I've cured her of that! 

May 10, 2002
The girls are getting excited for their dad to come home from Poland.  Julia often asks, “Daddy sleeping now?” or “Daddy eating supper now,” as if she understands time zones, mostly because she hears me give the other two those sorts of updates whenever they ask.
Today was the kindergarten Mother’s Day tea.  Suzanna was so sweet, and so excited to do something special for me.  I love being a mom to my girls.  My eyes kept filling this afternoon when she was singing her little songs or giving me her present and a cute card.  We can fight with each other and drive each other up walls, but we do love each other most of the time!
Julia was singing O Canada yesterday in the car, all by herself, “O Canada, gaa-aa-aarde fow dee!” over and over again.  Then she launched into “we will, we will wock you, tschhh!”  I almost laughed out loud!
Christina is loving having her own bedroom.  We were worried that she would hate to be alone in a room, but she’s adjusted so well, and falls asleep so quickly.  She also loves being in a bed where we can sit on the edge and talk with her for a few minutes at the end of the day.  I love that, too.  Precious time.

May 12, 2006
Today I went to a lovely Kindergarten Mother's Day Strawberry tea -- Julia singing songs for me and getting me a piece of strawberry short cake and giving me her present (a picture she made). Lovely to have some special Mom and daughter time. Not so teary at this tea as I was with the other two. Maybe I'm ready for all my kids to grow up where when Christina and Suzanna were that age, I wasn't. More likely it's that I'm still struggling with vertigo.

May 11, 2009
This was the busiest Mother's Day weekend yet, but it was all good. The girls all had places to go on Saturday that had me driving all over the place. Confirmation retreat for Suzanna, swimming lessons for Christina, birthday party Julia was to attend, and movie and dinner for Suzanna with a friend. Had Mother’s Day supper at L & J’s, but had to cut it a bit short because Lee and I had tickets to see Joanna Macy. When we got home at nine thirty, I found a lovely letter from Christina on my pillow, the best Mother’s Day gift of all. Suzanna has promised me some new art for my wall, and Julia gave me two plants, a spider plant and a nasturtium she planted at the birthday party. Sweet children!

Mother's Day weekend 2012
Christina drove us four girls to a green house, and we bought some plants for the garden together. It was lovely to have an afternoon with my young ladies even as I remember the little girls they once were. And last evening, we saw a play in which our eldest played a cranky grandmother quite well. This morning, I had coffee and toast under the pear tree, and this afternoon we'll see the play again. What can I say? Motherhood is the best occupation/vocation ever!!

To all you Moms (and especially my Moms) out there, Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The blogosphere is a funny place

It's been a busy week. The garden, my work at L'Arche and St. Vincent de Paul, and today, laundry, have taken up a lot of time, and I haven't moodled since Monday. But Simple Moodlings has had more hits this week than ever before. The picture below tells why... if you can see what my computer screen is telling me.

It's not a great picture, I know, but it's a shot of Blogger's "dashboard," which gives me all sorts of information about what people are reading here. It shows statistics of how many readers find Simple Moodlings in a day, the search engines that bring them, and how many views my posts are getting. It also says that I'm getting a lot of referrer spam from Russia (lit up in green on the lower right hand corner). What amazes me is the graph... all those spikes mean people have been looking at something... and the list under Posts seems to indicate that even though I've hardly posted anything this week, my Mother's Day Short Story #6 is getting a lot of attention, perhaps because mom appreciation is a fairly universal experience. Well, for me, 185 readers for one post in a week is a lot of attention, since most days there are just barely a handful of readers, period.

Which makes me wonder at the world of blogging. I try to write a little each week for the entertainment of family and friends and a few sort of regular readers that I've noticed from the little Moodlings Map on the right side bar (the towns of readers show up there, so I can sort of guess when I've been visited by a cousin in Halifax and a friend on the BC coast... and I notice when other readers I don't know visit from interesting places like Council Bluffs, Iowa; Neuwied, DE; Paris, FR; Delhi, IN; Dubai, AE; Johannesburg, ZA and lots of other cities and towns I'd love to learn more about). But maybe I've moodled enough that this blog could garner readers for a couple of years without my posting a thing! Not that garnering readers is my goal. I'm just having some fun here, exercising my writing muscles, and making a few friends (who sometimes leave comments, and often don't -- blast that captcha-word-verification-prove-you're-not-a-robot-thingy that discourages internet friendliness).

This past week, I've seen all sorts of interesting places show up on the Moodlings Map. If I could, I'd love to learn a little about the people who come to visit because of a Mother's Day story, and how you plan to honour your moms this weekend. Here, we're having a little barbecue on Sunday night in my back yard under a beautiful, blooming pear tree.

The blogosphere may be a funny place, but at the same time, it's a place where we realize how much we all have in common. Happy Mother's Day to you, and/or to your mom!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Things are shaping up

My farm boy husband amazes me. 
He's the hardest working guy I know.
 Here's a picture of him, back on March 11th, 
getting my tomato planters ready to go.

Two weeks later, he invented a little "greenhouse" 
for the tomato plants I started in our green room.

Below is the finished product.

See those happy tomato plants now? 

On Saturday, before I even got out of bed, the amazing man dropped our daughter off at school for a drama rehearsal and stopped at the hardware store for a load of boards to make me six raised bed planters for our garden. By one o'clock, we had picked up materials for another six raised beds. By four o'clock that afternoon, he and my dad had them put together (Thanks, Dad!), and by nine o'clock last night, they were all set up in the garden. What I thought might take us a week took him only two days! My man moved more dirt and compost around than I can believe. Just two more weeks and our tomato plants will be even happier in their raised bed boxes! 

Strawberries and onions will be living here soon,
and carrots, beets, kale and chard in the boxes to the left.
And, of course, none of this would be possible without
my amazing husband. Thank you, Lee!

Our yard has gone through huge changes since we moved in almost nine years ago. 
In a few weeks I'll post some amazing before and after pics!

International Compost Week

P.S. Happy Compost Awareness Week!!