The View From Above

Often in flight, I take a few photographs to capture the airborne moments and the sheer magnificence from above.  There is a certain peace, a zen like calm, bewitching, as I gaze between the layers of cloud and view the vanishing, chaotic world below.  Quietly and peacefully, we climb through endless puffy clouds, some thick with layers, dark and grey, others white and wispy.  Dream like moments, as we fly, suspended between the spaces of earth and heaven.

The highest point of the skyline above me, an inky shade.  An artist’s palette of ombre, from darkest to lightest blue, forms the painting I behold.  Charles Lutyen’s child like cherubs forming posies while lounging on clouds.

Dare to dream? Could innocent cherubs frolic among these clouds, watching the human race below? Beyond the darkest brush stroke of inky sky, are cherubs guarding Paradise, everlasting?

“For official purposes, these children do not exist.”
― Robert Muchamore

How can one not believe in angelic beings, miracles, or a Power beyond, while suspended within such a glorious space? A glimpse of Limbo and the promise of glories even further upwards.

Until we land.  Humanity comes into view.  Passengers pushing past others to alight the plane. People scurrying from one gate to another, others attempting to find their way home.

Still, for a few brief hours, I sat, enchanted within a calm and beautiful space, full of wonder.

In flight~ the most beautiful shade of blue.

In flight~ the most beautiful shade of blue.

A blanket of fluff between us.

A blanket of fluff between us.

A dark patch within the snow white clouds.

A dark patch within the snow white clouds.

It’s Never Too Late

I read the obituary of an acquaintance, gone too soon.  This man was an unsung hero in his community, a man who spent most of a lifetime saving and helping others. Invincible.  His legacy notes stated that he wanted most to be remembered as a good husband and father to his children.  How fortunate the world was to have known him, how fortunate his family to have experienced his enduring love.

This post goes out to all the fathers and mothers, grandparents, siblings, and relatives.  Care more for each other.  It’s never too late to mend the family fences, if that is what you truly want to have happen.

Whether you are 5 or 50, you are always a “child”within the context of the parent.  Second spouses, partners, remember this and choose words and actions carefully.  Show some compassion.

It doesn’t matter the circumstances of the event, events soften and fade from memory.  Children forgive.  They wait for your footsteps to return.  They wait for your hand and they wait for you to tell them eye to eye, face to face~ I will always love you.  Five simple words, yet so often, missing in the moments of greatest need.  Your family needs you even when they pretend that they don’t.  Find them, tell them, show that you care.

What matters are the unanswered questions left hanging, the pauses, the silence.  The waiting for the other to make the first move. The words, “I love you,” spoken, yet, the actions so out of sync.  The beats in a day that are punctuated by the question, Did you love me?

Here’s the catch~ you have to want to reach out, accept accountability, and through your actions show love, or the fence will remain broken.  It is never enough to profess love; you must be willing to show love through actions.  You must be brave and stand up for right. As a father, mother, second partner, you don’t pick who is in or out of your family circle.  Reach out and help the healing process begin.  The circle, broken, can be connected.  Invincible.

When you choose to leave your family home for another relationship, spouse, or just to be free of responsibility, be ready to accept the consequences of your actions.  It may take a lifetime to right the wrong, heal the hurt, forgive the other.  Begin to heal.  Your children matter, always.  Seek them out, send a note, resend it, if need be.  Never stop telling them through your actions and your words, that you love them.

It’s never about the money and the “things,” for when it all shakes out and your time on this earth is over, it will be about your legacy.  Did you love them?  Were you willing to stand up for them?  Did you show love through thoughtful actions?  In the quiet of the night, can family members confidently state, I was loved.

What will your legacy be?  To be able to have stated, He was a good father,  she was a good mother.  Caring actions that create a legacy of love to live on through the hearts and in the minds of your family.  No matter the circumstance.

Your children will take this gift, treasure it, and through their loving actions, the gift will live on throughout the years. Once the seeds are planted, they will grow.

If the fence around your family has fallen, focus from this minute on, toward building it back up.

The Meaning of Family

English Alice

The previous story began with “Grace” and her granddaughter “Lily” discussing the family ancestry.  We were introduced to the character of Grace, her parents, and grandmother, Alice.  Part One is filed under the heading, The Story.  Please note that this is a “draft.”  Enjoy!

 

English Alice

Grace’s grandmother, Alice was a reserved woman, set apart from others, by her own choosing.  Underneath an aloof facade were secrets kept close to the heart. We didn’t speak much about family, Lily.  It just wasn’t done, wasn’t considered polite for the time.  As Alice would comment, “One never airs one’s dirty linen.”  Private matters were kept private though Grace always sat silently, listening for the hints of dirty linen.  However, one did not ask for more information, wishing now, that she had asked Alice to share about herself, wondering was she happy once upon a time? A picture tucked behind glass, inside a pocket watch portrays a young Alice, reluctant smile, head turned toward a man, Charles, her grandfather.

A book of poetry, carefully chosen and scrapped from editions of the Vancouver Sun, suggests a profound sadness clung to Alice’s soul.  There were hints of disappointment and loss. Why did Alice refuse to visit the family home? Certainly, never a public woman, Alice remained secluded, not understandable by everyone in the family.  Excepting Alice’s sisters.  The sisters formed a coven wreath that encircled her.  What happened between Alice and her son, my father? The slightest trace of a wince visible upon her face whenever his name was mentioned.  “He’s not my son,” were Alice’s crisp words.  What do you mean?  Grace mused, for she would never ask, what do you mean by that comment? Later, curiosity and unanswered questions, leading to a search of ancestry records for snippets of information.  Bits and bobs, as Alice would say. Sleuthing the past for understanding and missing pieces.  What did she hope to find? Some of the people, events, and moments, remembered, especially the lowered voices when her name was spoken.

The family had a point. Who shuns family, particularly a grandchild?  For Grace’s initial visits with her grandmother ended when she was seven.  What happened, Lily asked? I have no clue!  They just ended. Perhaps she lost track of time.  We always say, later.  We never do. That is, until many years later when one afternoon in early winter, I accidentally crossed paths with my grandmother in a local shopping mall.

Grace recalled that afternoon in the mall, until Lily’s questioning brought her back to the present conversation.  “Why was Alice called English Alice,” Lily questioned.

My mother named my grandmother, English Alice or Alice from England.   I believe it was in jest as my mother found Alice to be unusual, a simple woman who longed to be posh, a woman who put on airs.  Alice clung to the image of a fine lady, hair tossed in the fashionable style of the day. Marcel waves, a proper dress, gloves, hat, adorned with jewelry fit for a high tea. Alice presented well, on the surface.  Although born in the north of England, my grandmother spoke Queen’s English, the latter which she used effectively, the tight, quick sounds of her words, used to make an arrow sharp point.  Alice had a voice that was pure musicality to the ears. There was a pleasant pitch, variations of length, quiet endings to a phrase.  As a child, Grace loved to sit at the table and listen to her grandmother’s speech.

Alice Sophia    

It was early autumn when Grace’s grandmother, Alice, was born. The pleasant land was awash with orange and bright green from the trees and their turning leaves.  Baptized, Alice Sophia Weston, October 3, 1894, the wee daughter of Joseph Hair Weston, a local cabinetmaker and Emma Weston, registered on the birth document as, “housewife.” Emma was Joseph’s second wife, Alice her only child.  Alice was the youngest of five Weston girls, beginning with the eldest, the beautiful Priscilla, then, Mary or Molly, as known to her sisters.  There was Jane, also know as Jenny or Geordie, Ellen, and the maverick, Elizabeth, who would marry four times. The family lived in a simple, terraced home located at 32 Bond Court, Newcastle on Tyne, England, fashioned in the polite design of the Victorian era.

Newcastle on Tyne, the city where my grandmother lived, is a metropolitan borough, located in North East England.  In Alice’s time, it was a bustling borough.  Trade centered around wool, coal mining, lumber and ship building. The town of Newcastle on Tyne owed its name to a castle built in 1080 and the borough’s location to the fast flowing Tyne River. The proud residents felt it to be the best looking city due to its neoclassical style of architecture or Tyneside Classical as was often referred to.  It was a style derived from classical Greek and Roman architecture with its symmetrical form and Doric columns.  Of all the boroughs in England, Newcastle on Tyne was a lovely, picturesque, almost fairy tale like borough for the Weston sisters to reside within.

Joseph Weston had wished for a son, however his wish was not to be.  He had hoped for an heir to teach the fine art of wood craftsmanship necessary to attain exquisite pieces of furniture.  Instead, fate provided him with five daughters to support.  Joseph’s carpentry skills were highly regarded in the town and people of means, sought his time and exquisite furnishings. Wood working was a lucrative craft that allowed Joseph to provide a satisfactory standard of living for his tender wife and sweet daughters.  Still, overworked and exhausted, the volume of work left little time in a day to spend with his family.  That was unfortunate, as fate would have it that Joseph would have precious little time to spend with his youngest daughter, Alice.

Emma, an amiable woman, with a gentle sweet nature, enjoyed her chatty, curious daughters and taught them well.  Daily lessons involved rituals of etiquette, hand sewing, singing, elocution, and handwriting.  Alice was a stellar student and at the age of six, patiently learned to read and write at her eldest sister Pricilla’s side. In her heart, Emma worried, as there was something peculiar about the serious one they fondly called, Wee Alice.  The child appeared withdrawn, uncomfortable outside the gardens of their home, avoiding the gazes of friendly neighbors, at times, refusing to speak.  Alice was too day dreamy, too lost in herself, thought Emma. Perhaps, it is due to the fact that she is the youngest, Emma mused.

The truth was that Alice was a sensitive, serious soul, often lost within herself and uncomfortable in social situations.  The young child would find herself gazing through the windows to view the world beyond, imagining the castle in the borough, climbing the stone steps from the riverside to the castle door.  Alice wanted to visit it one day, live in it.  For Alice was becoming used to a royal touch and felt superior to the common standing of her present situation.

Afternoons were spent walking along Benwell Lane to the gardens of Adelaide Terrace. “Hurry up, wee Alice!  Keep up.” The gardens were a delight to the senses and in the spring and summer; the sisters played amongst the flowers, and sought shelter under the magnificent maple trees.  There, in the gardens of Adelaide Terrace, Alice and her sisters would explore the park grounds and study the language of flowers, a pastime that Alice eagerly looked forward to each day. “Tell me again, Mama.  What is the language of roses?”  “Love wee Alice.  Roses speak the language of love!”  Alice would always choose the prettiest, the reddest of scarlet rose to pick for her mother. When sad, wee Alice would gather up branches of dead leaves and hand them to her mother.

Always protective, Emma would encircle the child in her arms and hold her close to comfort.  It was a comfort, as Alice, possessed an overly anxious disposition, was easily frightened and worried while outside, beyond the safety of the walls of home, feigning illness and displaying a gloomy nature when life did not go as planned. Used to the company and protective nature of her older half sisters, the overly dependent and dreamy Alice did not venture forth without the security of the sisters by her side. Alice came to rely on this sisterhood of support.

Theirs was a contented life, and Emma felt fortunate to have food stores in the pantry and an allowance to run the household in a satisfactory fashion.  Little did Emma know that a bitter wind was blowing and a chill would descend upon the household at 32 Bond Court. That is, until December 1,1903, when frost sealed the date of her beloved Joseph’s death.  At that moment, life changed for the sisters and their mother.  Alice was frightened and fretted over her distraught mother.  Alice learned that the heart is a fragile beating organ and a piece of her heart stopped beating for a brief second, momentarily frozen, enough to form the beginnings of a scar that would thicken over time.  For now Alice knew the beginnings of heartbreak.

The sister’s education plans were put on hold as Emma sought employment to ensure that the necessities such as food, and a roof, remained over the family’s heads.  It was not easy and expectations would be lowered.  No longer could the sisters wander the lane, frivolously explore the language of flowers, or entertain any thought of finishing school.  Priscilla was placed in charge of the younger sisters’ daily care.  Fortunately, a lonely widower, Mr. Alistair Edwards, of 5 Adelaide Lane, was in need of a housekeeper.  Ever resourceful, Emma would struggle to make ends meet on a meager salary, working as a domestic servant for Mr. Edwards and his son, William.

Once again, the chilling winds of winter would return, this time for Emma, and paid servitude would be short lived.  In 1909, six years after the death of her beloved husband, sweet Emma Weston, would pass over, leaving her grieving daughters to fend entirely for them selves.  Young Alice had dealt with prior heartache upon her father’s death, however the death of her mother, changed Alice’s heart. A bigger piece of it hardened to the gentle whisperings of life.

Alice began to realize that one must be careful with one’s heart, protect it, learn to switch it off so as not to feel too deeply for another. On. Off. Done.  Still, humans aren’t as simple as light switches and the emotional part of Alice’s soul continued to feel the loss of love.  The scar thickened.

___________________

By 1911, out of necessity, the Weston sisters were all employed throughout the borough of Newcastle.  Mary worked as a waitress, Priscilla and Elizabeth, as domestic servants, Ellen, a box maker at the Bullman Paper Factory, Jenny and Alice, as box packers for the same factory.  Jenny and Alice had the monotonous job of packing postcards for sale into the cardboard boxes. Alice, now seventeen, studied the whimsical drawings on the postcards and smiled as she read the quips and quotes beneath.  Occasionally, she would tuck a postcard into her dress pocket.  Once home, Alice would pin the postcard to the wall.  Gazing at the cards, Alice would wonder and dream, traveling to the sights depicted, imagining the stories told.

Every morning, on the walk to the factory, Alice would gaze into the millinery shop window admiring the trimmings on display.  Where would she go to, what would she do, wearing a hat so fine? Alice knew that she wanted more than the monotony of packing boxes of Bullman postcards, in fact she felt entitled to more. These seeds of change crept into Alice’s mind and lodged there, where they slowly took root, forcing Alice to look for and plan an escape from a place where possibilities and dreams could never come true.

Every Sunday, Alice and her sisters would walk along the shaded Benwell Lane until it became Adelaide Terrace, headed to Saint John’s Cemetery.  Evergreen trees lined the cobblestone path and the cottage gardens brightly bloomed. Lily of the Valley and crocuses were glorious in the awakening spring soil and in the quiet of winter the red holly berries were resplendent against the dark green variegated leaves. The seasons rolled out an ever-changing landscape to delight the sisters’ senses.

To Alice, it was always winter now.  Once the sisters rounded the Terrace bend, the parsonage would come into view.  It was here that the sisters would pass through the wrought iron gate at the entrance and follow the winding path to their parent’s grave.  It was located at the end of a tree lined lane, where, to the right of a small lily pond, a humble row of wooden crosses stood tall against the weathering changes brought about by time and the elements. Joseph and Emma were buried together.  Two wooden crosses stood side by side and a small bouquet of red roses lay beneath.

The sisters would gather round the cross forming a united circle of hands.   Priscilla, always fashionable in a hat adorned with silk flowers, would lead the sisters in prayer, her whispered breath, “Our Father who art in Heaven.”  The words of the familiar prayer gripping Alice, “lead us not into temptation,” for Alice held a secret. Alice was being led into temptation, dreaming a plan to leave her sisters far behind in the borough of Newcastle on Tyne.

Alice knew that Priscilla would sob and hysterics would ensue.  The amassing postcards would be her link to the sisters, after all, she could write them letters. Shy and fearful wee Alice, had decided that she had grown up and would bravely leave 32 Bond Street, having had nearly enough of the box packing industry. The problem was when and how.  Sensing change in her future, Alice steeled herself for the possibilities that it would bring.

The five Weston sisters continued to work and share their pay, managing to keep their beloved home at 32 Bond Court. It is inevitable that time brings change and once again, it brought changes to Bond Court.  Elizabeth was the first sister to separate from the sisterhood, having found a suitor and married, leaving the number of Weston girls in the home to four.  Priscilla, who continued to work as a domestic servant for Mr. Alistair Edwards, fell in love with William, his son.  It was decided that they would marry. Molly, Jenny, Ellen and Alice continued to manage the house, however, it was becoming difficult to make ends meet within the middle class standards of the community.

It was now 1918 and William Edwards had heard of CPR land available to homestead in Canada.  Shortly after, William and Priscilla left England, to claim land in the barren, desolate town of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  Elizabeth would remarry three times within eight years, losing each husband to disease, finally returning to 32 Bond Street, with a child.  The sisters were aging, the town’s people referred to them as, The Weston Spinsters.  Once again, Alice found herself planning her leave from Newcastle.  To Alice, the home at 32 Bond Court had never brought the same comfort since her mother’s death and with Priscilla, in Canada, the remaining sisters had not been able to sustain satisfactory income, housekeeping, and companionship. What were the sisters to do?

One day, a Bullman postcard arrived for Alice.  It read,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Dearest Alice,

     My heart is breaking as I miss you so, dear, wee sister.  What were we thinking to leave England?  William is busy establishing a shop in the town.  We were unprepared for the circumstances we find ourselves in.  The town is undeveloped; I cannot shop as we did in Newcastle.  I keep a garden, however, it must provide for us over the long, harsh and never ending cold winter.  I am alone with a young child, as our properties are far and between one another.  There is no help to be had. I cannot bear this life without my sisters close at hand.  You must come to me.  There are many farmers looking for wives.  You, Jenny, and Molly would be appropriate choices. Elizabeth can find lodging as a domestic.

     Please consider my request.  We shall make room.  My heart breaks for you, dear Alice. It is time for you to leave Newcastle.

Yours,

Priscilla

x

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was decided that the sisters would sell 32 Bond Court and leave Newcastle, England for life in Canada.  Jenny, Molly, Ellen and Alice walked their final steps along Adelaide Terrace to Saint John’s Cemetery, pausing to pray over their parent’s gravesite.  It was a bittersweet moment for Alice, for in her heart she knew she would never return to England.  The winds blew and Alice felt the feather light touch of winter’s chill caress her cheek.  Alice adjusted her collar higher, turned her back on the two crosses, and walked away, never to return.

The sisters, Jenny, Molly, Ellen, and Alice, set sail from Liverpool, England on October 3, 1919 aboard the SS Minnedosa, a steam ocean liner built to withstand the rough autumn seas encountered on the journey across the Atlantic.  Seasick and heartsick, emotionally, the sister’s hearts were still in England. Alice telegraphed to Priscilla,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

October 5, 1919

 

My Dearest Sister,

     We are finding the sailing difficult.  The seas are rough and we are all ill, experiencing seasickness effects.  We long to disembark and set foot on solid ground!  The Captain invited us to join him for dinner this evening.  None of us had appetites however we enjoyed the banter and prestige of being seated at the Captain’s table.  Such a gentleman.

     Sister, we are half way to the end of our ocean journey!  We look forward to disembarking in Canada and beginning the final journey to you.

Yours,

Alice

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Weston sisters arrived in Quebec, Canada, on October 10, 1919. The immigration document states that they were to be handed over to the care of their brother-in-law, William Edwards. Alice was relieved to disembark the ship and stand on solid ground although she swore that the ground continued to move and sway for many days after. The CP Railroad transported the sisters through the hills and valleys, finally depositing them in the tiny prairie town of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  The sisters were ill prepared for the cold, harsh winter nights that were to follow.  Alice shivered as she pulled the thin covers over her body.  There was a foreboding feeling in the frigid air, a warning that Alice took seriously to heart.  Alice knew that she needed to leave Moose Jaw and once again began to plan an escape.

“Grandma, wouldn’t it be hard to leave your parents behind?  Grace felt a tightening in her chest.  Lily continued,  “Even though Alice’s mom and dad are dead! Still it must have been difficult for Alice to leave them alone in the cemetery.” Grace felt the chill of winter upon her skin and resolved to turn up the thermostat. Perhaps I am coming down with something, Grace mused although she knew this wasn’t the reason for her discomfort.  I imagine it was heart wrenching, Grace replied.

Grace recalled that sad day when life punched back.  It was exactly noon when the car pulled away from the curb.  It was not really a surprise as Grace noted furniture disappearing from the basement bedroom, boxes leaving the house during the dark of night, bits and pieces of a life packed up or tossed.

Grace resolved that she would not show emotion or tears and even managed to graciously smile, masterful at the art of concealing emotion, tidying up the unpleasant bits, all the while screaming behind the mask of the face she wore.  Then, just as quickly, Grace quickly turned her back, breaking down, tears flowing.  It happens quickly; a punch of heartbreak and one is left changed, the heart, a bit scarred, the body, a little more cautious, and distant.  Bits and pieces of life’s memories packed away deep inside, suddenly exploding from the soul.  One can’t catch all of the bits, blown away forever, the secrets, the neglect, and pretence, are all that remain.  Life looks and feels different as you piece the salvaged bits back together, hoping to rediscover the beauty.

This wasn’t the first time that Grace had briefly turned her back on another to protect herself, hide the falling tears.  Perhaps, Alice and I are more alike than different, Grace thought.  “Be careful,” whispered the winter wind. Alice shared something in common with her granddaughter, Grace.  Two women, both knowing heartbreak, both inclined to show a quiet indifference in its presence, to hide their pain behind a mask with a reluctant smile.  Pretence.  Both frozen in time, waiting.  For what, you ask?  For the other to step forth.

Lily’s voice brought Grace’s awareness to the moment, “What happened in early winter?” Perhaps, you would say, an act of hope occurred.  A chance for renewed hope presented itself or was it a chance encounter on that fateful winter afternoon in a mall? Perhaps there is a pre determined plan sent forth from the heart of the universe upon our birth, a blue print, with a map of events to follow.

Frozen Moments

Evergreens lightly dusted with frost. Branches silhouetted against a pale blue sky.   Chimney smoke.  Winter white clouds.  Raw, chill.  A warm oven.  Oatmeal muffins and black coffee. Silence.  Where are you?

WordPress Daily Post~ I Was Here

Daily Prompt~ I Was Here

The opportunity to gift a letter to the future inhabitants of a newly discovered planet.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/prompt-here/#like-62812

To You,

“But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

As you stand on the surface of this newfound world, I ask you to pause and consider my words.  It has taken a lifetime to find them, for that is the nature of the beast.  One must live a lifetime or in the case of the inhabitants of Earth, millions of life times to discover the truth. Which is very simply, love.

Your curiosity will lead you to create.  Carefully, approach the precious landscape, respecting and protecting all that you discover.  Once destroyed, it cannot easily be rebuilt. Accept your fellow man.  Forget about boundaries to designate my land from yours.  Didn’t we learn?  Wars are fought over invisible and man-made lines. Be respectful and share what resources you have with those in need.  One world.

Build your schools and welcome your children through the doors. Promote literacy and encourage problem-solving strategies. Educate them against hatred and cruelty toward another. Watch them at play, you will learn from their innocent wisdom. Be observant to suffering and offer support to ease the struggle.  Cherish your brilliant, your creative, your everyday, for it these individuals that will lead.  Write your mission statement around social responsibility. We cry the same tears; we feel the same pain.  One world.

Cherish your elderly and those vulnerable to life.  Keep them safe and ease their struggles and pain.  They are your elders and your wounded, deserving of compassion.  Spare no expense to bring some comfort, hope and joy into their grayed world.  Humanity.

My world forgot as it spun on an axis of greed.  It is not too late for you, though.  You are fortunate to have a chance, an opportunity to create a world of beauty, promise, and hope, a world that promotes peace.  Are you ready to take on this responsibility?  It is not about you, it is simply about love for another.

Sincerely,

Me

Imperfect Beauty

Imperfect Beauty

It is important, this deep and personal need to create simple, beautiful spaces. Whether it is, cuttings gathered from nature, vignettes, gathered bits and pieces, sparkle and shine, or a simple lit candle shining brightly in the dark.  Our spaces comfort through their serenity, simplicity, and simple beauty. A book close at hand, a blanket to snug beneath, and a mug of hot tea or coffee to round off the bliss.  Why do we choose to nest the way we do, our individual styles often different?  Our homes tell our stories.  Look and listen.

It works like this.  The beauty and creativity that my mother possessed now passed along to me.  “Always look at an item with fresh eyes, see the beauty in the broken, repurpose a piece,” are her wise words.  Fill your spaces with only that which inspires you or tells a meaningful story.  Sometimes, our stories are sad.  For that reason, I choose to feather my nest with that which makes me smile, the pretty, the broken, the chipped, evidence of love and beauty. Imperfect is beautiful.

The hunt to discover an object of beauty is compelling and sourcing the area for an affordable price point is addicting, an alluring drug to the soul. No apologies, I seek beautiful store-bought and found items. Through writing, decorating, planting and doing, my heart heals. Comfort and joy await those who enter through the door.  Spaces are pretty, soft, unusual, old, and consciously created, staged for effect, purposely creating a careful lived in shabbiness of chic.

A promise to myself, many years ago, that when I became a mother or grandmother, I would be the best that I could be.  When they forgot, I remembered. My family would know love; there would never be a question or a doubt.  No one left, forgotten, dismissed, omitted.  Always, forgiven, always loved. I would have wished as much as a child and now as an adult, those wishing words sent forth on the chilly winter winds. Some can’t hear them, though. Perhaps, you will catch the whisperings in the silent spaces beneath the twinkling stars.

This holiday season I have left many of the Christmas decorations tucked away within the storage space. It will be a simple celebration.  There will be fewer family gathered round the table.  The children are grown and are beginning and continuing their own holiday traditions. In time they will appreciate that it isn’t about them, it is about others.  Love is always about others.

On display, there is a wooden Santa, a symbol of love and generosity.  A tinsel tree adorned with glass birds to sparkle in the winter’s light, a reminder that spring will surely come and there will be new beginnings.  The light will shine a little brighter.  Treats, decadent, rich and chocolate, sit in a glass bowl, delights for the soul.  Offerings.  Mini white lights fill the glass vases and miniature evergreen trees adorn a table.  A glittery box houses a miniature nativity, the Christmas Story. There is a boxwood wreath to grace the front door.  All is calm.

There is an undeniable presence of generosity, compassion, and kindness that gently fills the air.  If only the generous Christmas spirit could stay throughout the year. Note the hope that tenderly rises after the storm has passed. If only these heart-felt beats would live on and on. It is possible.  Love one another. We share this amazing world.  Stand for peace and harmony. Forget self, reach out and offer a hand.  Forgive.  Celebrate family and remember, love is always about others.

I wish you love and happiness.  Forgive another, start the journey to heal, reach out a hand in friendship, and surround your world with love and joy. Thank you for sharing your posts, stories, blogs, re blogs, tweets, “likes,” comments, and writing support.  All is bright!

Snow baby

Snow baby

 

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

x   ~ Grace

Layers

My mother slowly exits the car and pauses, looking back at me, through the open window.  I ask, “Would you do this mom, if you were me?”  There is a pause of seconds, although for a few brief moments, I am  sensing that she won’t approve.   I still need my mother’s approval.  As a child, craving approval.  Her approval. My mother’s eyes look toward the grey, clouded skies. Turning to face me she says, “I don’t know.  I am old now. I don’t have the energy.  I had to let it go.  Do it, though.  You have my blessing.” I note my mother’s blue eyes are layered, bluing, greying, mistier now.  Some days, I feel as if she is lost, far away, somewhere within their depth.

We all get lost, searching through a foggy veil, for pieces that we may not find.  What we discover is dirtier, shabbier, thinned out, for that’s what time does to its precious bits, forming discreet layers of love’s evidence.  The tears, dust, and deceit, tucked between the pieces of laughter and love.  Collect the tattered bits to preserve them, before we forget. Their structure, beautiful and raw. Evolving over time, the evidence of love.

My mother’s approval comforts me.  It is in part, for her, that I keep trying to right the wrong, validate, earnestly reminding her of the beauty that surrounds.  She is giving up, I sense that. Stay strong, I whisper to the wind. We will find our way, mom. Behold the beauty within the bits. 

You

Some days I can feel you standing behind me.  I know it is you as I hear your heart beating. The rhythm of my heart beat matches yours and for a moment, we are as one.  I feel your presence.  Please come back; this time you will stay.

December’s Words

Your last, whispered words spoken were, “I love you, honey.” It is as if the words floated through the air between us and found their way inside, under my skin, pumped through my blood stream until they found their home.  The four little words tattooed on my heart. Those four little words have a surging, pulsating power of their own.  The power to reassure me when I doubt, the power to comfort when sadness seeps in, and the power that allows me to offer a hand in forgiveness when I find myself in the midst of anger. Questioning. Just words spoken.  Still, words hold such colossal power over our mind.

On the anniversary of your passing, I take comfort in those four little words for I was wandering lost in a forest of uncertainty and doubt.  Frightened and fearful.  To walk away from a loved one, one must reach a grey place.  For there is no joy in this act. Then, one must switch off a piece of heart cell, much like one switches off a light.  Click, done, off.  Only then, is it possible to turn around and walk away.  Well, almost possible for it never gets easier, just possible.  The scar thickens, providing a protective barrier. For this is what happens when hearts break, something penetrates deep inside, thickening and scarring the core of life.  Just words that hold the power to pull us together, reconnect us, healing our brokenness.  Bits and pieces fall away from our shell until I imagine us finally gone.  As you are now, gone from my life.

I love you, dad.  Just four little words sent forth on a winter wind to you.  Catch them,  tattoo them on your heart.

x

Hello, December!

The crisp December chill slaps my cheeks as I pause to take in the scenery outside the door.  There is a reason that I love December so.  It is not for the cold, although it forces my senses to attention, rather, it is the warmth, from the ever-burning fire of December, that captures my heart.

The rains have ceased and the frost of winter has arrived. The earth sparkles and shimmers.  Sunlight from above, kisses the ground below. The sight, breath taking and miraculous. The cold heightens focus, my senses suggesting, take another look. There is beauty in the world.  

A close friend texts, “Where are you?  Join us for coffee.” The mall is busy, yet I seek company.  Somehow, coffee tastes better with friends.  We sit, two generations of women, sharing stories from life.  Their company soothes my weariness and I wish to stay near, savouring the warmth and comfort between sips. What would life be without these friends?  Love and gratitude are sent forth into the universe.

The mall is beginning to fill with people. Young and old shoppers, bustle about.  Strangers to one another. Yet, people pause a moment to smile, hold doors for another, share a comment over the clamouring crowd.  The red suit, a symbol of Christmas, comes into view.  Children stand spell-bound, patiently waiting, in a never-ending line, for a moment, one enchanting moment with, Santa Claus.  The wish to receive that special gift is whispered into Santa’s ear.  A chance that their wishes will come true.  For who does not hear the whispered words of one so innocent to the realities of life.  We never forget this moment.  Did Santa listen?  Hope and love are sent forth into the universe.

Does the magic of the holiday season make us kinder to one another?  Or is it that we remember that moment of youth, when we knew hope and it filled our hearts.  When we whispered our wishes in Santa’s ear and they traveled on the wind to a starlit kingdom far, far away.  Perhaps, human nature wishes for hope and love, and when we lose our way, like a compass, these gifts return to us, setting us right back on course. Forgiveness and compassion are sent forth into the universe.

For these reasons, December is my favourite month.  The twinkling white lights, the allure of gold and silver ornaments, the candle’s light, and the everlasting love that shines forth from mankind.  For a moment in time, stand transfixed by a beautiful world.  The wonder of fairy tale possibilities surround us as the silent snowflakes tumble.

Gently shake the glass snow globe and place it on top of the table.  Watch the snowflakes fall. Remember the good, remember the love.  Pray for peace and show compassion toward one another.

Snow baby

Snow baby

ALMANDYNE

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READ THE STORY AND FIND THE SONG - The story and the song have the same title, but are not necessarily about the same theme, however they are linked in some way and as you read the story you will find the song. (There will also be posts that are poems/quotes and posts that are all about the music.)

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Wear what you love, not what they say you should like.

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Never get lost in the Sauce

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Your sentence here.

Give me a sentence. I'll write you a story.

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I can't eat biscuits, but I have a better idea ...

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Let your passion be directed by reason. Take Action!

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