Monday, January 24, 2022

70 is a Big Number!

How can it possibly be that I have reached 'threescore and ten' years so quickly? It seems like only yesterday that I was 40 and now my children are all in their 40's. Where have the years gone?  My birthday was almost a week ago...but when you reach this age the celebrations are not a one-day affair.  I'm still celebrating!  Why not? 

We spent one night at Whistler...and soaked in the outdoor hot pools at Scandinave Spa.  So beautiful in every season!  Maybe it was appropriate to commemorate this birthday there, surrounded by I now find myself in the 'winter of my life'. 

Last night I celebrated the occasion with our family.  They gave me a gift that will go on giving...even when I am at that age when memories start to fade.  

They filled a jar with little notes...their memories of me as their mom and their Grammy.  I came home and read them all!  Some were SO funny.  Some were very touching. Some I had all but forgotten already. All are precious memories!  You never know what they will remember about you!  I will never regret time spent with my children and grandchildren. 

Turning seventy is a good excuse to reflect on life. I decided this milestone birthday was a good time to make a list of 'life lessons learned'.  Here are my 70 thoughts at 70...

  1. Every day is a gift.
  2. Getting older is a privilege. Enjoy the age you are at, and don’t wish to be any other age.
  3. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  4. Laugh often.
  5. Have fun.
  6. Keep trying new things…even if they scare me.
  7. Hard work never hurt anyone. 
  8. Be persistent.  Don’t give up!
  9. Take time to stop and smell the roses. And the lilacs. And the peonies.  And the hydrangeas.
  10. You don’t have to agree with someone to love them.
  11. Family is the most important.  Make time for them.
  12. Family brings the greatest joy (and the greatest heartbreak). 
  13. Parenting is not over when the kids leave home. You love them for always.
  14. I made many mistakes as a parent. There is no redo!
  15. Kids grow up too soon! 
  16. Get the stories from your parents and grandparents…because, before you know it, it is too late. 
  17. Grandchildren are one of life’s greatest blessings.
  18. Seeing things through a grandchild’s eyes helps me rediscover the beauty around me.  
  19. Nothing is better than a hug and ‘I love you’ from a grandchild. 
  20. Be better…not bitter. Be quick to forgive and forget. 
  21. Don’t let your age stop you from doing what you can still do! 
  22. Be positive. 
  23. Joy comes from inside out.
  24. Be thankful! It’s hard to be bitter when you count your blessings.
  25. Express your thanks / write thank-you notes. Appreciation is always welcome. 
  26. Keep moving.  If you don’t have your health, the rest doesn’t really matter. Eat well, sleep well, exercise.
  27. Be kind.
  28. Don’t make decisions when you are angry. Wait a day or two. 
  29. Words have power. Think before you speak. It’s hard to unsay what you’ve said and or take back what you’ve written.
  30. Keep a journal of some sort.  Photo books and/or a blog help bring back the memories.
  31. Everything seems worse at night. Things will feel better in the morning.
  32. Apologies are often needed.  
  33. Friends are important at every stage of life.  I can’t imagine life without friends.
  34. If you don’t have time and energy, say no. 
  35. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
  36. Read the Bible.  Read it through from cover to cover.
  37. Memorize scripture.  It will always be there when you need it. 
  38. Pray.  Prayer changes things.  (The circumstances or me).
  39. Bad things will happen. Look for the good within the bad and focus on that.
  40. Life is not fair.  Accept that.
  41. Stuff weighs us down. It all needs to get looked after. In the end, you will never wish you had bought more things.
  42. Never quit creating…sew, paint, knit, bake, cook, whatever.
  43. Make your bed first thing in the morning. It feels good.
  44. Get outside. It is healing. 
  45. Gardening is rewarding.
  46. Music makes life sweeter. Sing.
  47. When the job looks too big, start with a small part. 
  48. Travel!!!  See as much as you can. Its a wonderful world!
  49. Home always looks better after being away.
  50. Curiosity is a good thing.
  51. Life is about change.  Accept it. 
  52. I should have quit colouring my hair long before I did.
  53. Two are better than one!  Marriage is a wonderful thing. I’m appreciating that more and more as the years go by.
  54. It won’t always rain!
  55. Sunshine on my skin feels great.  Especially during those grey winter months!
  56. Flowers make everything more beautiful.
  57. Food matters. Conversation is always better around the table.
  58. One cup of coffee is never enough!
  59. Farming is the best way of life…and sometimes the worst!  I could write a book about that one.
  60. Don’t spend what you don’t have.
  61. Look after things and they serve you well. If it breaks fix it.
  62. Never quit playing…games, puzzles, ping pong, tennis, pickleball, whatever.
  63. It’s important to gather with other believers. That really ‘hit home’ during the pandemic.
  64. Remember that nothing is impossible for God.
  65. God’s plan is greater than my plan.
  66. We have this moment today.
  67. Celebrate life – the milestones, the anniversaries and seasonal occasions and just the ordinary.
  68. This world is not my home. I’m just passing through.
  69. The best is still to come.
  70. And my final thought…whatever is ahead for me on this journey, I want to end well. 

'Life is a gift to you.

The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after.
Make it a fantastic one.' ~ Anonymous

Friday, December 31, 2021

December ~ The Finale

As the year comes to a close...
we find ourselves emerging from an extreme cold weather event over here on the west coast. 

Too cold...
but so beautiful in the valley this past week!

Let me go back to the beginning of the month...
and do a quick re-cap.

As December began...
almost every field was a lake in our neighbourhood. 

For some the flood of 2021 will not be forgotten any time soon.

The fields that weren't under water were as green as spring.
Flocks of snow geese arrived to set up camp next door.

With no Christmas gatherings permitted last year...
it was such a treat to start the festive season with an MGCC Christmas party hosted by Herb and Anneliese in their new home.

Good food (of course)...
good friends who had been apart for too long...
stories shared and lots of laughter...
and before we knew it,
the evening had slipped away.
It has been 13 years since we met together for the first time at Christmas. 
These friends are such a gift!

By mid-month the snow arrived...
and it was 'beginning to look a lot like Christmas'.

We attended one of many Christmas Eve services at our church...
with registration required to insure the auditorium was only half full.
Some of the family came for appetizers after.

The Arctic cold front brought a blizzard overnight...
and by morning our front door was not too welcoming.

The front sidewalk was somewhere under that drift.

They came for brunch...
through the back door!

The Christmas morning menu is still the same...
after many decades.

Christmas morning 'Lifesaver' casserole, fresh fruit bowls, croissants.
And a special order or two.

Ranen read the Christmas story.
We opened gifts.
The chaos of yesteryear is gone...
the grands are all growing up far too quickly!

Emme and Spencer organized the 'Saran ball' game this year.
Always so much fun!

It was so nice to spend time with family this Christmas...
though we pushed the limits just a little.

It's been too cold here this past week...
but also SO beautiful!

The Fraser River is freezing over.

We bundled up and went for a drive one afternoon. 

We walked along the river for a bit...

...but not for long!

The geese discovered some open water in Kris and Lina's front yard...
and it is now a bit of a bird sanctuary.

As another year with many challenges comes to an end...
I am reminded that there has also been much to be thankful for.

I thank God for His faithfulness...
 'come what may' He is still in control!

 Sending wishes from my perch to yours...
for a very happy new year!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

November Remembered

Sunshine on leaves.

That was November at its best.
Before the storms rolled in...
one after another.

The travel advisory to the United States was lifted and we returned to our favorite spot in the sun...
 after a few years absence.

good books...
some memorable hikes...
time spent with friends.

We visited the Thousand Palms Oasis...
situated on the San Andreas Fault. 

 We found shade under one the the 1500 palm trees flourish at this spot in the desert...
where water bubbles up along the fault line. 

And just to say we did...
we hiked a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Not all 2,653 miles.
A very small portion!

The sun set on our California reprieve...

...and we arrived home to a welcome mat of red leaves.

We rounded them up...
and then rounded them up again.

The temperatures dipped...
and the snow levels dropped on the hills.

We gathered the family on Remembrance Day...
and all squeezed around one big table.

We also had November birthdays to remember...
three of them.

Micah...our gentle and kind-hearted grandson...turned twelve.

These two who made me a 'grammy'..
celebrated their 20th birthday.
How can that even be?

Love them all dearly...
and pray that God protects and guides them one day at a time.

So thankful that spectators are allowed at sporting events again.
It had been a long time since we had watched Ryder play hockey.
It seems he is playing at a whole new level!
How my dad would have enjoyed watching his great-grandson play hockey.

Beginning mid-month, a parade of devastating rain storms rolled through ...

It is now the end of the month...
and we are still dealing with rains and floods...
road closures and disruptions to supply chains.

BC Highway 1 from Chilliwack to Abbotsford was closed for 10 days.
The day before it re-opened to the general public...
they allowed access to some essential vehicles, including trucks hauling cattle.

I accompanied a load of cattle to the stockyards in Abbotsford...

...and got a front-row seat to view the flooded farms in the Sumas prairie. 

Blueberry fields...

...poultry and dairy barns under water

... and tow trucks that will need towing once the waters recede!

Our local streams and rivers have tree trunks piled high on the banks.
It could be awhile before things are as they should be over here.

The highway re-opened for a few days and closed again on Sunday as another storm arrived with accompanying flooding.  As I publish this, it is still raining and the highway remains closed. We are hopeful that the rains and flooding will soon be over!  

It is advent.
We have hope. 

“You don’t need a reason to Hope — 
you only need the Person of Jesus. 
And He is Coming.”

Wishing you all a wonderful advent season...
as you prepare your hearts and your homes.