Spring Flowers

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Each year as winter draws to a close, I eagerly anticipate the arrival of spring flowers; first the snowdrops and crocus, then lilac and primroses, followed by lily of the valley and more.  The icing on the cake is always the sighting of the first robin.  All these bring me joy, because the cold of winter does not thrill me at all.DSC01765 (100x75)

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I always need to curb my desire to begin sowing seeds.  I visualize how I want my garden to look and begin to plan each step.  More and more, I am planting pollinator species.  It saddens me that we are losing bee and Monarch butterfly species.  I now plant with their needs in mind.

Of course late snowstorms often bring my dreaming to a halt, nevertheless, the creative gardener in me cannot be stopped for long.

I love the fresh crisp air; the sounds of birds returning from their winter migration, and the pull of the great outdoors.  To me there is nothing quite like it.  Nature coming back  to life again, after a long cold sleep.

To those of you that do not have the gift of a garden, here are a few pictures of flowers in my garden.

Enjoy.

Patricia

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Good Grief People. (Death. The uninvited intruder).

Good Grief People, a deeply moving collection of stories and poems written by Glynis M. Belec; Barbara Heagy; Alan Anderson; Donna Mann; Ruth Smith Meyer and Carolyn Wilker.

DEATH!  The uninvited intruder that robs us of joy in life.

It interrupts your life and slows your plans and goals.  (Donna Mann, page 92 in the book)

This is a book that could claim to be a comforter to all who lose a loved one.  It is that and more.  It is like a comforting hug; an understanding friend.  Within the many experiences I feel there will be at least one with which you can relate, if you have experienced a death in your family, or social circle.

They are stories that could help you deal with the deep trauma of grief, and not be trapped by it.

When we come to accept that death is a part of life.  We can’t escape it, but we can overcome the pain of grief.

Ruth M Belec says it well on page 72. Grief!  We don’t get over it.  Rather, it becomes part of us.  We slowly develop a new normal.

This a profoundly true.  One day at a time, you do what needs to be done.  The hardest part is just getting out of bed, when you would prefer to curl up in a ball and die too.

Death not only robs you of a loved one; it steals your identity.  Suddenly, you are no longer a parent, son, daughter, friend.  Life becomes empty: an empty chair at the table.  Birthdays, anniversaries and special holidays are tinged with sadness.  There are a multitude of new ‘firsts’ as you attempt to regain a normalcy in life.

Barbara Heagy writes, ‘I have learned that grief doesn’t come in nice tidy stages.  It has a twisting path that goes ina and out of healing and new growth, and back into emotional outbursts, anger, and panic.  I may think I am doing just fine and then something will happen that makes me realize I really am not as fine as I thought. (Page 139)

Altogether, a down-to-earth look at, and sharing of death, and the ensuing grief.

Easy to read when you feel you can begin to look at the outside world of life again.

May be purchased on Amazon.ca

https://www.amazon.ca/review/RX9BZWZ729K9V

 

Surviving ‘Uncle Hitler’ – Book Review

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Surviving ‘Uncle Hitler’  Journey of a German Girl written by Dorothea Wollin Null is a thoroughly engrossing account of the life of six year old Dorothea, caught up in the atrocities of  war in Europe.

Under the brutal Hitler regime the German people were hoodwinked into thinking the bombing of German has been unprovoked.  They believed their country was innocent of evil activities and was being led by a leader of esteem.  This was before television reporters could investigate to reveal the truth.

When her family lost their home they began a long, dangerous journey seeking shelter wherever they could.  This journey took them through the Hitler reign, the Russian occupation and so much more.

The strength they needed was beyond their ability.  Their Christian faith sustained them through extreme conditions lasting for decades.

Dorothea’s account is beautifully compelling and sad.  War is especially cruel to children who have no real concept of why people are suddenly so cruel and lacking compassion toward neighbours who are in trouble.

Emotions are turned upside down and surviving to hold their family together became the mainstay of her parents and siblings.

Finally landing in America, her story will hold your attention from beginning to end.

I can relate to much of what she recalls having survived bomb attacks through the German blitz on England and being relocated out of London during second world war in England.  None of what I experienced compares with the trials Dorothea and her family endured.  This honest critique from the memories of a little girl is definitely a must-read.

Highly recommended for all.

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this publication in exchange for an honest review.

https://www.amazon.ca/review/RJ6BAD1KSB755

Merry Christmas – Read on…….

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Looking for some reading material over the Christmas break?

The e-book versions of  A Stolen Childhood and Hidden in the Shadows can be purchased at a discount of 25% from December 25, 2017 until January 01, 2018.

 

Hidden in the Shadows  Coupon code NY37H

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/708253

A Stolen Childhood Coupon code AR24T

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/308936

Thank you to all who have supported my efforts in the past.

Wishing everyone a blessed and happy Christmas as you celebrate Jesus’ birthday.

Patricia

Changing Vista

Just a passing thought………

This year seems to have passed so quickly.  Does anyone else feel that way?

Spring and summer have been and gone in the blink of an eye, and now, we are experiencing snowfalls and squalls.

I am not a lover of the Canadian winter weather.  Ice and snow, I do not consider a Pat-friendly combination.  The reason for this is that I have been a recipient of broken bones due to icy pavements.

However, the beautiful vistas around me, and above me, are always a delight, despite the weather.

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In springtime I love watching the snow melt; birds returning and new greenery appearing.

The summertime is lush; green and colorful with trees and flowers in bloom wherever my eyes rest.  Border (1)

 

 

The skies and cloud formations also take on different characteristics with the changing air masses and humidity, icy blasts or sultry southern airflows.  I can become hooked on watching the skies.  My computer contains hundreds of photographs – all of which are unique.

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Now though, I look outside on this cold blustery day and see only bare branches, empty flower beds, and frozen water on the birdbaths.  Sigh!

I find it hard to acclimatize to cold temperatures.  I am obviously living in the wrong earth zone, because cold is what Canada dishes out at this time of year.

Truth is that I do love the country, and it’s freedom and peace and magnificent natural spaces.  We live in a quiet neighbourhood; have great neighbours too.

While the vistas change with the weather and the seasons, I accept that my (attitudinal) vistas must do the same.

God’s beauty is all around us to enjoy – if we take the time to stop and do that.

Hope you can manage to do just that.

Meantime, take care and watch your step out in the frigid conditions of this land.  Not long before spring returns!

Patricia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hung Out to Dry

Long ago, discipline on British sailing ships was harsh. Punishment could involve the lash, cat-o-nine-tails, even keel hauling. A victim was tied to a rope and pulled – invariably drawing him under the vessel. If he survived he was suspended from the yardarm, left hanging, or hung-out-to-dry for a predetermined length of time. Not a welcome fate. (https://superbeefy.com website)

Is this how you feel? Abandoned?  Dejected?  Worthless?

Watching the comings and goings of birds in my garden, I noticed two grackles battling with what appeared to be a twig.  They were having a tug of war with the object in their beaks.  Only when they relaxed for a moment and dropped the ‘twig’ did I realize it was alive:  It was a worm, that they were warring over.

As it fell from their beaks, it landed on a branch below them, wriggling but unable to propel itself back to safer ground.  It was literally hanging there, an upside down U, and in great danger.

As it hung there the grackles both moved in to regain their quarry.  The worm fell again.  This time it was out of my sight, but its fight for survival continued.  I fear it must have lost the battle.  It was either gobbled down the throat, or throats of the birds, or perhaps they gave up and left it hanging there; where it would slowly die, unable to return to the comfort of its home.

We can feel that way occasionally.  When day-to-day events leave us unable to cope.  We long for our comfort zone; long for relief.  Often there is none forthcoming.  We become helpless in the struggle to survive, whether it be relational, financial or work-related.  Just like the worm we can feel powerless.  We are hung-out-to-dry, with no energy or escape available to us.

If only we could have stayed in our familiar territory, we’d be much safer.  It is often too late when we realize our choices have compromised our moral, ethical, and personal standards.

That hapless worm had no hope of survival, but we do have another option. God.

There are many promises in the Bible to aid us in our daily lives.  Here are some reassurances to that might give you comfort, and strength to carry on.

Matthew 11:28  Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  (NKJV)

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me.  (NKJV)

If, at this point, God is not your thing, reach out to a trusted organization for help.  There are many resources available to you – but you have to ask.  That can be hard, because to a certain extent, you are admitting failure and we all like to think we know what is best for us.  Social services or a good church can be great places to seek (safe) help.

Don’t know a good church?  Visit different ones; attend Sunday services until you find one that you feel comfortable in.  Then you can reach out to the pastor and share your concerns, and benefit from their counsel.

Sharing your challenges with someone can be cathartic; can be a life-changer: A life saver.

Just Never Give Up!  You are more valuable than you think.

Patricia

Death Defied, Life Defined – Review

Death Defied, Life Defined, A Miracle Man’s Memoir by Paul E. Perkins, is a compelling story of Paul’s constant battle against heart failure.

While waiting for a transplant, he shares the trials and tribulations of the accompanying health, and emotional issues involved.

What becomes paramount, when the waiting becomes too much, is the sheer determination to not give up.

Through surgery after surgery, relapse after relapse, he outlines the struggles he valiantly chose to not succumb to. His weary body came close to giving up the fight until the moments when he died.  These out-of-body experiences are described in detail, to the point of making the reader envious of the ‘journeys’ he travelled.  They give credence to other reports of heavenly visits, and of messages of hope that the recipients are charged with sharing on their return to the earthly realm.

He gives dramatic detail of medical teams, family and friends support, all so vital in providing him with the will to continue the painful, harrowing months of waiting for much-needed organ transplants that become his only option to death.

There is much in-depth detail in this story.  Paul gives greater power to his death experiences with the infinitely elaborate accounts of events leading up to each occurrence.  His obvious respect for the medical teams on whose care his very life depended is obvious. 

A book that cannot be ignored.  A story to make you think beyond your own limitations.  A tale of hope, and love, and the deep will to live.

I found it fascinating, captivating, exhausting, as I took on the weariness of his fight to survive.  His overwhelming determination to overcome provided me with much food for thought, and the out-of-body episodes enthralling – I could understand his yearning to just go.

His tremendous fighting spirit left me battle-weary, but hopeful of better things to come, proven as being credible, once again.

Well worth reading.

Patricia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REACHING GOALS

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The little grey squirrel ran through my garden toting a large peanut shell in its mouth.  Inside lay the morsel that the creature had diligently sought.  It had hunted for a while but found what it wanted.  It had achieved its goal.  Food.  An essential, needed to guarantee life.

“Seek and you shall find” the Bible states.  (Matthew 7:7) NIV

Of course, the search that we are directed to make, in this instance, is meant to be for God.  The giver of spiritual life.  Squirrels on the other hand, have a dogged determination to never give up on their own particular goal: To find food, no matter how long it takes.

Sin in our lives can be equally determined. We encounter addictions; wants; temptations and more, ignoring the fact that these seek to destroy rather than to nourish.

Nevertheless, a common denominator is persistence.  Sin will find a weak mind or spirit and possess it.  Whereas the food sought by God’s critter nourishes.

We often cannot tell the difference until it is too late.

We need the mastery, and determination of God’s creatures.  They must achieve their goal.  They must win at all costs – or die.

We too must choose to win, because if we give up and give in to sin, we will die.  Oh, not necessarily physically, but definitely morally and spiritually.

We must remember that sin does not seek to nourish.  Its goal and purpose is to destroy.

What goals do you have today?  I do hope they are uplifting and nourishing, and not destructive.

Philippians 3:14 (NIV)   I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Patricia

Simply Christmas

          I read the most beautiful poem this morning.
          It describes the simplicity of the first Christmas.
          No retail bombardments.
          No mountains of toys and trinkets.
          My thanks to Joel Jongkind for sharing.

 

        There were no trumpets and no feasts
        There were no richly laden beasts
        The night our Lord was born
        There were no warm rooms and no heat
        There were no blankets clean and neat
        The night our Lord was born
        There was a stable and some straw
        There was a manger, crude and raw
        The night our Lord was born
        There were some shepherds and some sheep
        Who heard the angels; could not sleep
        The night our Lord was born
        Make sure you’re present, sure you’re there
        And tell Him clearly that you care
        The night our Lord was born
           – Debora T. Jongkind-Dehart

Christmas DecorationsPatricia

Getting Ready

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Like most people, I am getting ready for Christmas.  To me it is a wonderful time of year. It no longer holds the magic of my childhood memories, but it does bring the promise of time with family. This is one reason it is so precious to me.  Our children and their families are increasingly busy through the year just doing what needs to be done, and we seem to spend less and less time with them.  So this makes Christmas particularly important now.

I am thankful that I have family and friends with whom I can celebrate this special time of year.  So many others have been split asunder by death, or war, or other tragedies.

It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, hence Christmas, and for we who choose to believe in the power and hope of Jesus (Christians) it makes the busyness of Christmas all worthwhile; relevant.

So enjoy each busy moment and anticipate the making of your own new (magic) memories with your family, or social gatherings.

Put up that Christmas tree and remember that Jesus is the reason for the season, and try to savour each moment.

Merry Christmas to you, one and all.

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Patricia