Friday, December 17, 2010

{this moment}

"A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stay awake

Reason one million and one why I shouldn't worry about the items on the house list that stay undone longer than I would like.

These beautiful little visitors have appeared just outside our large playroom picture window, perfect for tea sipping and gazing on quiet mornings with my littlest two. Claire's pudgy little finger points and her eyes get big. Even Max notices them, swinging his arms, trying to aim his new grabbing abilities at these flittering little creatures. 

Why does this make me think of my unnecessary stress? The bushes the little birds are enjoying so much are supposed to be lawn by now. When we moved in last year this part of our lawn was turned into a moat surrounding our house while we replaced crumbly old stone basement walls. A moving in/reno winter, busy career spring and a pregnant summer followed, then a fall with a newborn and still no raking and seeding was accomplished to turn the pile of dirt back into lawn. This item on the list has drove me crazy. 

And now these little birds bring me peace. Little birds who wouldn't be here if not for the undone 'to-do'. 

There's a song they've been singing at church throughout Advent that's stayed with me lately. "Stay awake, be ready, you do not know the hour that the Lord is coming."

These little moments are the Lord coming. You have to be awake to notice them. The little voices talking to you in the middle of the bustle. The small bits of beauty surrounding us. All gifts.

I love this conversation between Shug and Celie in The Color Purple. It changed my view on religion and my spirituality. God doesn't have to be a he, or a puppetteer above us. God is in us, surrounding us, flowing between us, embodied in nature.
"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.
What it do when it pissed off? I ast.
Oh, it make something else. People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living can see it always trying to please us back. ...Everything want to be loved. Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk? ...Whenever you trying to pray, and man plop himself on the other end of it, tell him to get lost, say Shug. Conjure up flowers, wind, water, a big rock."
Or conjure up birds. And sweet little people.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Pre-Christmas bustle. Laundry, housecleaning, travel preparations. Should we empty the recyclables before we leave so they don't stink?

Be awake. Be ready. You do not know the hour when the Lord is coming. One more candle lit.

How many sleeps is that left?

Gift lists double-checked. Cards delivered.

A playdate this morning. Deep breath, slow down, enjoy, listen.

The rythym. The breath in, the breath out. The activity to the calm moment.

From home to away, or is it away to Home?

Little girl twirling in her pretty red dress. Little men trying to put up with their mama, protesting trying on their dress clothes. "Just for a second, I need to see if they fit!".

New Years plans. Will attendance be good for the gallery gala?

Dad wants to work on the heating this week. Oh. Is there enough room to work in the basement? You should organize the tools.

Sewing slings. One for a gift. A pretty one for me. Will I have time to do one for Claire? Oh yeah, I wanted to make her some hairbands didn't I.

Did I buy our Christmas Carol tickets? Hmmm. I'm looking forward to that. We should go to the AGNS while we're in town. The kids would like that. Maybe I could talk to their programming coordinator too. Hmmm.

You cut the old Christmas card this way. Then fold that way. Ta da! A gift box!

Can I babysit that morning? Yeah, I can do that. Oh, the cat puked.

Want to get together that evening? Yes. That will be really nice. We'll relax. Talk. Listen. Enjoy.

Steven and Chris had this really nice gift idea. I should do that. Do I have large mason jars? Oh, I should write the boys teachers to tell them they won't be here those days. When is the last meeting for Beavers again?

Whirling, twirling mommy.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tell me a story.

Usually I identify as a very un-romantic person. Quite practical. I don't understand people's poor opinion of presents that are practical. I love them. One year, when we were particularily broke and new homeowners, I was genuinely hoping for a pile of mulch from my husband for my birthday. I really was hoping to overhaul my gardens. Jewellery and a cute bear girl I am not.

But I'm a sucker for a good story. A history. The life behind a thing.

It's exactly what I love about old houses. The energy the house holds. The lives that lived there. The cycle that continues, with me only as a small part.

What made me think of this tonight? I'm addressing Christmas cards.

I've had this address book for my whole adulthood. Since I've been old enough to need to and organized enough to write down people's addresses anyway. I was thinking this year that I really should type everyone's address into a label template and save myself the effort next year.

But as I work through my address book, it tells me a story. Not just the good story either, the whole story is there.

The story of where I've been and who I've met. Friends I've lost touch with but remember fondly are there, with their old address, where I know they no longer live. I wonder where they are now? Old boyfriends are crossed out. Some warrant the white-out. Businesses I used before moving are listed. Reminding me of that stage in my life, where I was, what I was doing. The chiropractor in downtown Halifax, where I was treating old soccer injuries. I was single, just me to think about, had no idea what the next ten years would bring. I played indoor soccer once in a while at another university, I wonder where those girls are now. I would walk into the chiropractor loaded down with all of my gear, a university student who traversed the city by foot, my art folio hanging off my backpack, my paper roll sticking out, taking forever to unravel my scarf and layers and wet boots just to sit down for my appointment.

It also tells the story of the changes in my loved ones lives. Some movers and shakers have several addresses crossed out, new ones added, some needing arrows to more space somewhere else on the page. There's new last names, one poor wife is crossed out entirely, her new replacement penciled in. One friend married another friend, her name under B, now says 'See H'. Babies are written in, with their birthdate beside. My grandmother's address still reads Grammie and Grampie.

Troy is in there. With the phone number he gave me one night. Oglivie Towers, where a year later we would find ourselves moving in a block down the street from, waiting for the impending birth of our new baby boy.

How can you replace this?

Design question

So I have these shelves in my entryway.

The entry and front living room aren't receiving the same 'gut it' treatment as the rest of the house, merely some un-wallpapering, paint, new floors, and lighting. I've changed my 'tear them out' opinion on these shelves, to let's just spruce them up with paint. But I can't decide exactly how to spruce them up.

Paint them entirely white like the trim? Paint them the wall color or just a shade different than the wall color? Paint them white with the back painted the new wall color? Or leave the shelves wood and paint just the back. Although either of the last two sound like a lot of edging. 

The wall color, by the way, is Benjamin Moore's Thousand Islands, a neutral light brown a couple shades lighter than the Wild Mushrooms going up in the living room beside it. I know, beige is boring, but these rooms open up into three other spaces so neutral was important.

What would you do with these shelves?
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