Family of Techies

At a recent family gathering, whilst I was putting the finishing touches on a Celebratory Feast to honor my husband’s 64th birthday, I turned away from the task at hand and looked up. Though most of the family were in the kitchen with me, there was an eerie kind of quiet and so I looked to see what had captivated their interest. Since I have a lot of grandchildren and therefore many “Kodak moments” I always have my camera close at hand. This is what I saw in that moment frozen forever in my mind’s eye.  Need I say more?

 

 

 

and a few minutes later……

 

We are a family of Blackberries

A Day in the Life of a Puppy Mom

Ben & Jerry (all grown up now)

A Day in the Life of a Puppy Mom

Let me take a moment of your time as you read this note from me

And picture this scene out of my own personal kind of reality

I sit here and compose a message to you and you and him

And listen to the sounds of a soft snoring musical kind of hymn

My small and so adorable Pugs are curled up here at my feet

With not a care in the world except when do we next get to eat

*****

My day is quieter than some, I’ll gladly admit

Cuz so far just once I had to clean a load of their sweet little shit

They run about here and there outside to do what they must

But come right back in to leave a dump amongst all my household dust

Having Puppies at my age shows one sure thing, I can say

I must have been fair crazy to give in once more to a pleading, begging Ray

*****

“They’ll be so sweet and cuddly, Helen my dear”, he verbally airs

Before discovering I am so very allergic to just their type of ‘hair’

He chides me if I complain as though they were begot from his very loins

And I tell everyone I’ll sell them for a dollar and a couple of copper coins

Ah Gee I kind of love the guys in spite of all the itching and work

I can’t be seen to be an unnatural unloving animal hater kind of jerk

*****

So once more I implore the little guys to poop & pee out on the grass

And hope against all odds that I won’t have to endure another  smelly ass

But Ray will come home and greet them with effusive joy and love.

I stand by for a peck on my cheek and “Hey! What’s for tonight’s Grub?”

But I still have some humor to get me through another puppy day

As I kneel at my bedside at night, please no more shitty messes, I earnestly pray!

My Mansion

“In my father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you: for I am going away to prepare a place for you…” John 14: 2

Just what is a mansion? Yesterday one of my son in law’s young cousins who had seen his and my daughter’s home for the first time, asked me, “Did you build that house for them?” I smiled and said that though I didn’t actually build it, my husband and I had helped. Her big expressive eyes lit up and she said with wonderment, “It’s a mansion!”
Thinking about it later, I said to myself, ‘It is indeed a mansion to so many people” It all depends on what one has right here, right now. Then I thought of the words of Jesus in John 14:2 (I’ll admit it, I had to look it up in the concordance but I know the scripture well.)
When my dear mother died, one of the first things I thought about afterwards was picturing her standing before the Lord and Him saying to her, “Well done my good and faithful servant. Come and see the place I have prepared for you.” Knowing my humble mother, I pictured her looking at her place and shaking her head saying, “Dear I don’t need all that. Just a place to put my feet up and have a nice cup of tea will do”

Several years later, I began to dream about my eternal home. If I were an artist I could sketch it for you. I don’t mean to sound demanding because whatever home He has for me is just what I want but the Bible also tells us that He knows the desires of our hearts. He knows better than we do what we would like. So I like to dream about it. First of all, I am very blessed to have a lovely home here on this earth. And God knows I appreciate His many blessings. But I am still dreaming of the forever and ever. It is fitting that I should since it is for eternity.

My “mansion” will probably look like this. A small garden style home sits right beside a trickling brook. It is white with blue trim and the doors open wide to the gardens surrounding it. I can see that the doors remain open all the time. The windows are thrown open and a soft breeze rustles the curtains. There is a small patio outside the home and I sit there among the scented flowers many afternoons listening to the water of the brook and watching all my family and friends walk by. Now and then someone stops in to chat and we have tea and share our stories of how God brought us home to Him. We laugh and talk and sing and pray. Oftentimes we just sit and listen to the angels singing God’s praises close by. We feel the heavenly breeze across our faces and smell the blossoms on the trees overhead. We walk then together to talk with Jesus; we bow before the throne of the God of the universe and we wait with joyful anticipation till our many loved ones join us there one day. We share and laugh and feel safe and secure. We are HOME and we rejoice.

 

My First Embarrassing Moment….???

I actually could mention several hundred incidents here but I shall only share one of the earliest ones I have experienced. It’s great to be able to laugh now…

When I was 16 or 17 I became a Cheerleader. This was an amazing accomplishment especially considering my cousin Robert was one of the judges of the audition and he would far rather choose the hotter girls than me,  thinking maybe they might date him. I got on the squad by the skin of my little pearly whites. I didn’t care. I was in! YES!  A big Basketball game was coming up the following week and we were thrilled to be going away with the team. We practiced like crazy and had some nice routines down. But when we looked at our skinny white legs in our little cheerleading outfits, we were horrified. Now you have to understand these legs hadn’t seen the sun in a few months and they were WHITE as snow. So a brilliant idea came to us. We would paint our legs with “Quick Tan” the night before the trip and we’d be all nice and brown for the performance. Giggling like the school girls we were, we did this together at my house and made sure every one of us was evenly covered. We checked and rechecked and finally the girls left and we all went off to bed.  It was to be an early start in the morning. I slept beautifully but had to rush to get out the door so a quick glance showed that I was nice and tanned and we were off. When we got to the town of Pugwash, we ran into the gym to get changed and ready to cheer. The team was warming up at one end of the court and we ran out the begin our little show at the other. Suddenly I saw that everyone in the stands was snickering and gradually the laughing got worse and worse. I felt so bad for my friend who they were OOPS, NOT  gesturing to her …..yup, I saw it was me!!! I looked down and right smack above my knee and slightly on the inside of my right leg was a HUGE WHITE hand print. I was horrified. You see I liked to sleep on my side with my legs tucked up and one hand resting comfortably between and above my knees. The whole place was in an uproar including our own team. I could have DIED but know what? I just shook my booty a little more and yelled a lot louder.

Cheerleading in the 1960's

 

How Do You See Yourself?

In this world, it is a well accepted fact, in my opinion, that people are way too focused on “looks”  From the time one is little, it is evident that the cuter kid, the prettiest little angel, the wide-eyed innocent child, the curly-headed little darlin’……they do command more attention. Or I should say, we tend to pay more attention to those little ones. A winning smile; a dimpled cheek, a twinkling eye, and we are caught by our heartstrings.  At some point most of us have figured out that perhaps, just maybe, we aren’t the most glamorous person on the block.  We admit defeat before contemplating entering a beauty contest but hopefully for the most part, we are satisfied with how we are put together. I know we all would like to change something about ourselves in the physical sense (I won’t even begin to address our inner selves at this time) but stop and think about it. How do you see yourself? I am willing to bet that most of us look into a mirror and actually see all our faults first.  We are familiar with who we are and so not shocked by who looks back at us, but think about it. Who would YOU like to look like? REALLY! I mean, say you could choose…… For me I have thought about this long and hard. Ok, so not very long and actually not very hard but I think I am reasonable in whose looks I would snatch. I mean, poor sight, she would never want ME but I would take her looks tomorrow. (Tonight I shall have to email photos of the new me to all my family abroad and to get the grandchildren on board with loving this new me….hey I would NEVER change my family; just my looks!) If I could choose anyone on this earth, I would be most careful not to choose a drop-dead gorgeous babe. First of all, I could NOT stand the attention! Secondly I would have to fight off a multitude of male advances and believe me, it’s been MANY years since I’ve had to fight off anyone’s advances except for a rather dashing husband. (ahem) No, I would not want that.  I have a person in mind and she is not terribly unlike me now. OK OK so I exaggerate slightly…. but she is what I think with all the right surgeries I could maybe look like???? with lots of money and the best plastic surgeons anyway. You see she has blue eyes like mine so I wouldn’t have to wear contact lenses. No way could I do that. And her skin colouring is similar to mine or what mine would be like if I had “taken care of myself”  Since I have never met her in person, I believe she may be taller than I am but that’s ok too because I don’t do high heels anymore so the new me (she) would have to wear flats. Am I making sense? Well it makes total sense to me and that’s all that really matters here. I would also not want to be immediately recognized as a celebrity and I read once that she said (of course she IS a celebrity)…anyway she said that without her makeup no one recognizes her. That suits me well.  That way I could carry on in a certain manner when I am shining and beautiful and then when I have embarrassed myself to no end the night before, the next day no one would know me. Whew Oh, I also want to be around the age I am now so no young thing for me…..

So by now you must be itching to know the new me.  I would LOVE to look just like Diane Sawyer. I love her smile; I love her hair; I love how it may feel to be just like her.

The new re-invented me? I wish....

What about you?

Entertaining my Grandson

Mmmm, tastes good.

I have 4 grandsons and 3 granddaughters and now happily have 2 step grandsons and a step granddaughter. A lot of the fun of being a grandmother is having them visit. As a rule, we aren’t huge into co-parenting. So many of our friends have thrown themselves relentlessly into co-parenting. That is, they give up their freedom and help to raise their grandchildren. We prefer to enjoy our darlings so we have occasional visits. Last evening we had the pleasure of a visit from our youngest grandchild. Isai will be three years old in a couple of weeks and is very smart for his age. He already knows just what show he likes to see on television he knows which books are to be read to him; he knows what dinner he will enjoy; makes lots of intelligent decisions and continues to amaze us. For example the other day, he did not want to watch Smurfs on TV. He was not interested in one of my favorites, the Flintstones and so for the first time in my 62 years I found myself watching intently Nascar racing. He had his favorite driver picked out and was partial to the Green Race car. He made me choose between a lovely blue one and another bright red one. I wasn’t allowed to root for both. I had to name a  favorite. And so, when in doubt, I always choose blue. Now I entitled this post Entertaining my Grandson but I suspect you will have gathered that it is he who entertains and amuses his Poppa and I. Last night we put him into our large bed to watch a DVD for a bit and then go to sleep. He curled up with his blue puppy, his spongebob blanket and holding onto the case for the dvd Cars (surprise surprise) We did pray together first and he finished his prayer by thanking God for fast cars. Before I left the room, he invited me to “Lay beside me for a while Grandma and cuddle me.” He did not have to ask twice. Isai, like each of our grandchildren, is the light of our lives. They teach us to be loving beyond what one can even express. They teach us to laugh harder. They teach us to become semi-professional photographers. They take our hearts and make them swell with pride. They hold our hands with their small fingers and the joy threatens to overcome us. They appreciate every line on our faces. They show us how to find enthusiasm in every little moment of our days. They play out command performances in their recitation of their day at school. They bring us to our knees in thanksgiving. They make us rise above any ache or pain that could threaten our playing ball with them. They are God’s richest Blessings and we are overwhelmed.

A Sister’s Love

I am the 7th child of 11. I am the 2nd daughter of 4. Growing up in small town Canada, life was pretty darn great. Our home was filled with laughter and music and was always very very noisy. I never got tired of the noise. In fact, I recall being able to sleep the most soundly on Friday and Saturday nights. On Fridays, I fell asleep to the background voices of play by play reports of Hockey Night in Canada and the excited shouts of my older sister and many brothers were music to my ears. On Saturdays, friends and family gathered at our place and as I  reluctantly crept up to bed those nights, I nonetheless held onto the pictures of those laughing people downstairs and smiled at the promise of one day being old enough to be a part of those festivities.

I loved and still love all my dear siblings but I will admit it here, I had a special love for my big sister. Maureen is almost 5 years older than me and she still insists that my birth was an answer to her prayers all those years ago. At last, another girl in a family gone crazy with males. 🙂

My sister Maureen with our Dad

Let me share with you the story of that love she held for me. Let me bring you back to my first year at school. Those days we called it Primary; today it is usually referred to as kindergarten. Primary that year was held in a building about 200 yards from the main school. Though it wasn’t far from home, I was still too young to walk home after school alone. So Maureen had the responsibility of walking me home each day. Another classmate of mine also had an older sister in Maureen’s class and since we were let out some time before the older grades, we were permitted to walk to the big school building to wait for our sisters. Often Maureen’s teacher, a nun, would see us in the hallway waiting and several times, she invited us in to stand before the class and wait. I was terribly shy and pretty well everyone was terrified of most teachers, especially this one. She was a ‘holy terror’ (forgive the pun).  On this one day, she called us into the classroom. All was hushed and quiet and she made us announce ourselves and point out each of our sisters. Susan (my fellow classmate) and her sister Anne were the daughters of a University professor. Maureen and I were two out of a large family and while our dad was a very respected business man, we were considered by this infamous nun to be less than.  So we stated our names in nervous little voices and then looked out at the sea of faces holding onto the eyes of our sisters for comfort. That nun then proceeded to ridicule me and my family and to praise the other little girl. She said I was dirty, made the children snicker at my clothes and even pointed out that I had a runny nose. She said that I was poor  and homely and not smart at all and then raved about the beauty of Susan. Inside I actually did not care about what she was saying. I was staring at my big sister who by now had tears streaming down her face. I saw the wounded look in Maureen’s brown eyes and the feeling of helplessness as she witnessed this injustice. The whole tirade went on for what seemed like an hour though it was probably no more than 5 or 10 minutes. I was shaking with eagerness to escape but I stayed there to show my big sister that I would not cry and that I would be brave. We have always been close and in my opinion this is the day that the deep bond was cemented for a lifetime. After class was dismissed, Maureen quickly collected her things and rushed to take my hand. She held onto to me so tight all the way home that I knew I was still safe and greatly loved.

I bless God for ALL my family. I praise Him for the best big sister ever!

By the way, I heard that a few years later that nun was institutionalized for a mental disorder but I wonder how many children she maimed before that happened.

God is the one who gives me the courage to say, over 50 years later;  “Forgive her Lord. Because of You, I do!”

Helen at about 5 or 6 yrs

Two Seasons

I KNOW that God created the heavens and the earth and I KNOW that He made the earth revolve around the sun etc etc etc and therein creating for most of this earth FOUR distinct seasons. Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer.

I am now convinced that for some unknown reason, He has done away with 2 of those wonderful seasons. Here in Bermuda, we have INTENSE summer and WINDY winter. One day it is unbearably hot and humid and the next, it is as though someone unplugged the heater and hooked up an industrial fan!
We recently returned from a lovely holiday in the US and Canada. Apparently they had NO spring this year and in fact, it seemed winter dragged itself into July even. We were happy we chose August and September to RV around those wonderful countries because we hit their summer….yup, all the way to October 1st.  We actually slept with air conditioning there for 99% of the time we were there. The wintry clothes we thought we may need into the “autumn” months stayed stored under our bed. On September 30th, the night before we flew home to Bermuda, we were fanning ourselves. The next day apparently the temperature dropped to 40 degrees! And this morning in many places they were scrapping frost off their windows. Three days ago here, we were sweltering (remind me to never complain about the heat up north again) and then the next day it became winter. Well a Bermuda winter, but still winter. What is the plan here? and do NOT tell me it is Global Warming…..un uh, no way!

Mind you I suspect we may yet have another Hurricane warning yet……just to keep us on our chilly little toes.

 

His Loving Arms

When I say I am a Breast Cancer Survivor, most people congratulate me. Hey, hey, hey……I didn’t do anything really. I mean what could I do? I suppose people imply that I was a fighter but in all honesty, it was not a battle I chose. In fact, I did very little fighting. I was in “getting by one day at a time mode” but more importantly, I was in a “trusting” mode. I completely and totally HAD to put all my trust in God. Oh yes, in fairness, I placed myself in the hands of excellent Doctors and Nurses and a hospital that was second to none. But even these professionals lose patients all the time. For surely even they know that ultimately they are not in control. They must know that there is someone with far more power than all their learned selves who draws a line in the sands of time. I know that Almighty God had a specific plan for me. Indeed I believe He does for every one of us. Whether we acknowledge it or not, well, that is another thing. But I told Jesus the day I was diagnosed, “I want you to use me to touch someone else’s life and hopefully draw them to you, Lord” I meant it from the bottom of my heart then and I meant it through all the months of treatments. I meant it when I was afire with radiation burns; I meant it through horrid chemotherapy treatments. I meant it the first time I had to be hospitalized with pneumonia and even the second time but I was close that night to saying too much. What I did say as my husband was leading my weakened and feverish body out the door was, “Someone HAD better be getting ‘saved’ by all this Lord!” He knew I was about at my limit and He guided me through that bout of suffering. When my pneumonia was starting to get under some sort of control and I awoke in that lonely hospital bed to a mouth full of wretched painful sores (from the chemotherapy) I allowed the tears to flow. That was the last straw or so I thought. Was I brave? Not really. I was surviving. When they found cancer in the second breast, I paused and with tears flowing again, I said to my husband, “Just maybe this IS my time to die…” He turned away before he cried and shook his head. He was not ready to give up. He was fighting for me. He carried my burden bravely. He was there for me every moment of every day. When he couldn’t be physically there, he made sure my daughter was there. When I couldn’t be with my youngest daughter when she began her first year of University abroad, he brought along her Godfather in support. He led the family through this battle in such a way that I feel he deserved a medal of honor. All my children pulled together and supported me and each other. My ten brothers and sisters were in constant prayer. One brother flew over 4000 miles to spend time with me. I was loved and cherished and surrounded by prayer. Friends were on their knees.

I must describe one night in particular for you. With my blood count so depleted by the ongoing chemotherapy, I had to have injections daily for ten days after each chemotherapy session. The injection itself was extremely painful and just before i plunged the needle into my stomach, I held my breath and prayed. But what was to come was far worse. The medication worked deep within the bone marrow to stimulate white blood cell growth. As a result, all my bones were excruciatingly painful. I could barely walk. I was in constant pain. I could not stand the feel of the sheets touching me. I had to keep anyone from touching me. I was to ward off my precious grandchildren. I hobbled about with a walking stick and grasping onto my husband’s arm for support. One night as I gingerly made my way into bed, I began to softly cry. The pain was close to unbearable. As I lay there trying to get comfortable and ready to try to sleep, I silently cried to the Lord, “Help me please” It was then that Ray crept closer to me and with the most gentle touch ever, he slowly and lovingly gathered me into his loving arms. He held me and loved me and cherished me and I knew it was the touch of the “Master”. I closed my eyes and knew that I was held in His loving arms.

Praise be to God.

I have been cancer free for over ten years now.

Congratulations to Ray Medeiros, my loving husband. And thank you to Jesus Christ my precious Savior!

We’re Singing Mother into Paradise

I wrote this over 16 years ago and decided to share it again in my blog….

I always remember the Twenty-Third Psalm was my parents’ favorite scripture.  Every night they would recite it together as they prayed for their eleven children and later many grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.  After Dad died, Mom continued this tradition.  We always knew we were loved and lovingly prayed for.  It gave us comfort and even encouragement over the years.  Then after Christmas a few years ago, we were called together once again when news came that Mom had another cerebral aneurysm.  Fifteen years before that she had had a successful surgery on two aneurysms and we were told then that there were several more.  She could live two weeks, the surgeon said, or twenty years before another one might burst.  So now, at the age of eighty-two, Mom lay in the hospital in Ottawa as an aneurysm began to slowly leak into her brain.

At first, she could communicate with us and indeed even talk and laugh at times, but as the leak grew worse, she became less and less coherent.  In that hospital room, we prayed with her, sang and read scriptures softly as she lay there.  I had left my husband and four children at home in Bermuda to be with her, but as the days became weeks and Mom was still with us, I had to say my goodbyes and go back home to my family.

Knowing this would probably be the last time I would see my mother, I said my private farewells to her.  By now,  her brain was damaged so much that she could barely utter a word or two.  Mom could no longer form a clear thought, let alone have any sort of conversation.  Indeed, she was slipping into a coma.

It was a cold snowy day in Ottawa, and I was alone with Mom in that hospital room.  I hugged her and thanked her for her wonderful life.  I thanked God for everything He had given us in her, and then I opened her Bible and began to read: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want….”  I finished the Psalm.  She lay there still and unresponsive.  I then felt led to read it aloud to her again, this time saying, “Mom, the Lord is your shepherd; you shall not want. He makes you to lie in green pastures, Mom; He leads you beside the still waters. He restores your soul, Mom…..” I slowly finished and with tears streaming down my cheeks, I turned and started to leave the room.  Before I reached the doorway, I heard a clear strong voice behind me, and I swung around.  Mom was speaking with the voice of a young woman, “The Lord is MY shepherd; I shall not want; He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters; He restores my soul…” I lifted my hands to praise Almighty God as she spoke clearly every word, every phrase with love, tenderness, and strength, finishing with, ” And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

With that last word, she lapsed back into semi-consciousness and never spoke another word. Two days later, the aneurysm burst and the doctors gave her just hours to live….but that mighty woman of God lived for another twelve days as we continued our vigil of thanksgiving, song, and prayer together…..her children lovingly surrounding her.  Always having been a musical family, we “Sang our mother into Paradise…  When she did take her last breath, we were softly  singing, “She is entering His gates with thanksgiving in her heart; she is entering His courts with praise. “