Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I feel as if we opened a book about great ocean voyages
and found ourselves on a great ocean voyage:
sailing through December, around the horn of Christmas
and into the January Sea, and sailing on and on

in a novel without a moral but one in which
all the characters who died in the middle chapters
make the sunsets near the book's end more beautiful.

—And someone is spreading a map upon a table,
and someone is hanging a lantern from the stern,
and someone else says, "I'm only sorry
that I forgot my blue parka; It's turning cold."

Sunset like a burning wagon train
Sunrise like a dish of cantaloupe
Clouds like two armies clashing in the sky;
Icebergs and tropical storms,
That's the kind of thing that happens on our ocean voyage—

And in one of the chapters I was blinded by love
And in another, anger made us sick like swallowed glass
& I lay in my bunk and slept for so long,

I forgot about the ocean,
Which all the time was going by, right there, outside my cabin window.

And the sides of the ship were green as money,
and the water made a sound like memory when we sailed.

Then it was summer. Under the constellation of the swan,
under the constellation of the horse.

At night we consoled ourselves
By discussing the meaning of homesickness.
But there was no home to go home to.
There was no getting around the ocean.
We had to go on finding out the story
by pushing into it—

The sea was no longer a metaphor.
The book was no longer a book.
That was the plot.
That was our marvelous punishment.
                     - Tony Hoagland

As 2010 draws to an end I wish you a peaceful sailing. thankful for your past and looking with confidence to your days ahead.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Heading In The Right Direction

Tomorrow, at some point in the day, the days start to grow longer and then spring cannot be far behind.  We have had a lovely December though.  We had one largish dump of snow and then just rain and little or no frost with a mere dusting last night of the white stuff.

So around here we are already speaking of mixing dirt for the new 'beds' Sherwin has built for me and I am already dreaming of plant catalogs and being able to kneel in the dirt without getting wet and muddy!

But I am getting ahead of myself.  There is still Christmas to enjoy with all our children and three grandchildren who truly make life worthwhile.

"One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life:
that word is love."
- Sophocles

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Angels at Christmas...

Infinite God, to Thee we raise
Our hearts in solemn songs of praise;
By all Thy works on earth adored,
We worship Thee, the common Lord;
The everlasting Father own,
And bow our souls before Thy throne.

They all the choir of angels sings,
The Lord of hosts, the King of kings;
Cherubs proclaim Thy praise aloud,
And Seraphs shout the triune God;
And, "Holy, Holy, Holy," cry,
Thy glory fills both earth and sky.
                   -John Wesley

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And Now It Is Christmas, Officially...

The door is on the latch tonight,
The hearth fire is aglow,
I seem to hear soft passing feet.
The Christ Child in the snow.

My heart is open wide tonight
For stranger, kith or kin.
I would not bar a single door
Where Love might enter in.
-Kate Wiggin

Our Pre-Christmas Reason to Celebrate!!!

Yesterday Sherwin and I went to Butchart Gardens to take in the lights, decorations and pick up a little of that ho ho ho spirit talked about recently on Sweet Tea and Sunshine!

We started out with supper at the Blue Poppy and then when it was just getting dark we ventured out to start the tour through the gardens.  Our first stop was at the big house, so beautifully set off with lights!

But Whoa!!!!!  I am getting into Christmas but I am here to tell you about our pre-Christmas celebration that started 7 years ago today.  When Grandpa and I arrived at the Goerlitz Jr. house all those years ago, there were 3 people there all excited about what was going to happen...very soon.

Here is Maizy as she was 7 years ago today...

Here is a photo of Dad, Mom and Maizy all in anticipation of what will happen next...

Mom and Dad drove to the hospital and Maizy and Grandpa and I followed.  This was a big day for all of us.

When we got to the hospital it was hardly any time at all before all 6 of us were together in a room.  Six, you say?  I thought there were only five of you...aha!!  Lucy was born and then there were SIX!!!

It was a lovely day.  Here is our first introduction to the new daughter of Shelby and Kim...Lucy Ann Goerlitz!

We were all so happy we laughed and cried with delight.  What a day.  Oh happy day!  The nurse had to do important stuff like take a print of Lucy's feet...

While Maizy and I scrunched into the corner we talked quietly so Mom and Lucy could sleep. Grandpa was there too but we didn't get a picture of him that day...he was the photographer. 

Mom was pretty sleepy but she and Dad phoned Tibi and Lee to give them the good news.

We have so many happy memories of that time.  And for the past seven years we have watched Lucy grow into a lovely young girl.  We have had such great times together.  Lucy loves the hot tub...

Lucy loves Grandpa's tractor and one day will drive it all by herself.

It has been a lot of fun to watch you grow Lucy.  

So we are here, dear Lucy, to wish you a happy, happy day! 
We both love you.
We wish you an exciting new year.
Love and hugs, Grandma and Grandpa

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Thought

"Storms of rain or snow are a cordial outpouring of Nature's love."  -John Muir

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."
-Albert Camus

"Perhaps I am a bear, or some hibernating animal underneath,
for the instinct to be half asleep all winter is so strong in me.
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"There's a certain Slant of light, Winter Afternoons--
That oppresses, like the Heft Of Cathedral Tunes-- "
-Emily Dickinson
"Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind,
As man's ingratitude."
-William Shakespeare

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mid-Week Christmasy Moment

"Christmas is the celebration of the keeping of a promise."

This little tree topping angel has been in our family from the first Christmas after Sherwin and I were married so you know that little angel is over 44 years old.  Every year I have on my list to find a new tree topper but so far nothing has been found so this sweet little angel continues to grace the top of the tree.  Sherwin is somewhat setimentally attached to that first ornament bought together so it probably will be with us until we no longer need a Christmas tree.

How many of you had a monkey doll when you were a kid?  My mother's mother made them and gave them to us for gifts.  Good memories of Grandma Bechthold and sitting around her bed all those years ago.

"What is Christmas?
It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present,
hope for the future."         
       -Agnes M. Pharo
Wishing you all peace in your hearts as you prepare for the loveliest of holidays. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Moment on Monday

"The Lord is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works.
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him." 
Psalms 145:17,18,19

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stopping in the Woods on a Sunshiny Day...

Today was a most heavenly day with blue sky, sunshine and ending with more rain to wash more snow away.  We went out trudging through the woods and I could not help but think of Mr. Frost and his poem about woods/snow/evening/pony etc.

We started out in the woods...

We headed off to Merryman Drive...

From there I had to see if I could find a pony to fill out the poem as I was constructing it in my head...

And his little burro companion...

All of our island glowed in the winter light today...

Frozen crabapples dripping in the sun...

Found some teardrops on the leaves...

Passed by a neighbor's barn...the island is so small everyone is a neighbor...

And across the way were glorious rosehips...

Home again...

The woods were lovely
The pony came over to chat
The world was bright and glorious
The miles have been walked
And now its time for sleep!

Stay tuned for further updates from the Listography Book...the next topic is to list my closest friends.  Since that topic is one of great interest to me I have been asking myself questions before I share that page with you.  What constitutes a friend?  What is the difference between a friend and an acquaintance?  What can I do to be a better friend?  In what way have I been responsible for damaging friendships?  Lots to think about...I would take any input on the subject.  It is one to be handled with care and love.

Wishing you all a bright new week.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordy Wednesday

Here's an alphabet meme that's been rambling around the interwebnets that I just received from my daughter on her blog and promptly made my own.  This is what happens when the snow is falling and I cannot go out and weed!

A – Age: 64
B – Bed size: King, soft marshmallowy King!!
C – Chore you hate: the chore that needs to be done when I have something else in mind.
D – Dog’s name: Scruffie...He is is Mexico City, last I heard, and I am here in Canada, but he is still my dog!
E – Essential start your day item: My Sudoku book so I can do my one puzzle I allow myself per day before heading to my office.
F – Favorite color: Pink, pink...glorious pink...not icy pink but warm pink. Which leads me to red, orange and gold colors which lead me over to the blue, green and purple. I love more color than you would first guess if you looked at my black, white and grey closet.
G – Gold or Silver: Silver mostly but would take a little gold if it was offered to me!
H – Height: 5' 7"
I – Instruments you play: A very small amount of piano and a very small amount of cello which I am once again starting to practice!
J – Job title: Shirlocky Holmes because I am the finder of all lost ‘stuff’.
K – Kid(s): Alan, Shelby, Sherilee, Kim, Seth, Maizy and Lucy Ann who are all very dear to me.
L – Living arrangements: with my husband on a hilltop on an island. What could be better than that?
M – Mom’s name: Opal Ruth
N – Nicknames: None because I am not very polite to those who call me nicknames that are unacceptable to my tender soul.
O – Overnight hospital stay other than birth: lots of nights (7 weeks) recovering from a car accident when I was a teenager.
P – Pet peeve(s): People who hardly know me making up an agenda they are sure I am going to want to adopt as my own!
Q – Quote from a movie: Sherilee just put in the following : "You have bewitched me, body and soul." -Mr. Darcy and I had to have it as my own. Mr. Darcy saying anything is hard to beat.
R – Right or left handed: Right
S – Siblings: 3 Sisters
T – Time you wake up: pretty much when I feel like it which usually is somewhere between 6 and 7 am.
U – Underwear? Yes, which I resolve to buy only wild colors instead of white or nude...let’s live a little!
V – Vegetable you dislike: Cannot think of one that I wouldn’t eat.
W – Ways you run late: Me run late? I never used to until I decided to join the late people instead of always being the one to push, push, push. No more hurry, worry or sorry...I’m retired.
X – X-rays you’ve had: my ankle, yet again. Tired of the pain. Previously? Lots!
Y – Yummy food you make: My favorite would be the Challah I make but if it is food I pretty much like it. The soup cooking on the stove yesterday morning smelled heavenly!
Z – Zodiac Sign: Scorpio

Please play along, in the comments or on your own blog. Thanks!
I would love to hear what your lists say...humour me!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

End of the Week Thankful Time

In the last 24+ hours our world has become magical...Christmas just oozing out of everywhere!  I keep threatening to put up my Christmas tree and since my family in the south will be having Thanksgiving this coming week it seems like the time is becoming more and more appropriate.

First of all I want to say Thank You for bringing my week to a close in such a peaceful, cleansing fashion. 

Yesterday we celebrated Sherwin's birthday!!!  I am particularly thankful that his health and zeal for life have returned.  What a blessing he is!  For him I am truly thankful.

I am thankful for good neighbors who are encouraging and fun.  Sherwin found this mask down at Lucas' and couldn't help but ham it up for us!

We dropped down to our friends on our pre-lunch walk this morning.  Richard and Noreen have great ideas and projects on the go all the time too so we have lots to talk about and advice flies back and forth when we visit.  Here Richard is examining the snow at his front door.

We are hoping that this snowfall will be our one and only 'dump' of the cannot blame a girl for wishful thinking. 

Icicles belong on the prairie...

As the end of the day came so quickly, as it does this time of year, I looked out and was thankful for where we live and all the blessings that we enjoy. 

Snow makes whiteness where it falls,
The bushes look like popcorn balls.
The places where I always play,
Look like somewhere else today.
                                                               -Mary Louise Allen
Wishing you all a lovely new week filled with all the necessary blessings we so often take for granted.  Tonight, what are you particularly thankful for?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Moment of Thankfulness at Week's End

Last week for my thankfulness list I turned to my new Listography book, thinking what a great source of reasons to be thankful. husband has pointed out that I probably did not do enough research to make such a broad sweeping statement...there are some lists here that you are better off not knowing about me.

Such as: List the Strangest Places You've Had Sex
              List Your Past Lovers
              List People You Wouldn't Mind Having Sex With
              List Your Favorite Sexual Fantasies
Notice the subject matter on these few I would not share...there is a trend there.  But there are lots of pages here that will be fun to share with you.  I am a bit of a 'list nut' so this is easy.

List Your Biggest Fears

1.  Right now my biggest fear seems to be not completing my Sketchbook Project I am doing with the Brooklyn Art Library which has to be submitted by January 15, 2011.  Every day I am working on a sketch for the book and in 30 more days +/- I should be finished and have it in the mail.  Christmas will have to be on hold until I have that under control!
2.  My life will come to an end and I fear that I will have not accomplished what I think should have been done with all the time I have been given.
3.  It doesn't seem to me that I am particularly fearful of earthquakes, flood, tsunamis or the like but I am afraid of not being prepared for them.  Not being prepared for whatever seems to be a biggy.  That is where good list making is important.
4.  Small, tight spaces are mighty fearful to me.  Will not/cannot/do not even watch a movie where small, tight places play a part in the plot of the movie.
5.  If I were to be totally honest I would say I have some self-absorbed fears that are meaningless in the grand scheme of things...fears like being ignored, scorned; fears of people, committees, groups and a strong fear of myself sometimes.  But as I said, in the grand scheme of things, these are just self-absorbed nonsense.

For those who know me well you may have some idea of something I am fearful of that I have not confessed to and that is fine.  Some things are better not aired!

Over the last years I have learned that what I fear at 4:30 in the morning when all is very dark seems to evaporate in the morning light.  I have also learned that the Lord truly is my Shepherd and my Friend.  He has carried me through some mighty choppy waters and He knows best.  He has given me opportunity after opportunity to learn to trust Him.  Over and over I have come to His feet and laid it all down.  I may be a slow learner but I do know I can count on the healing love of God.  

The week has come to an end. 

"To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives – the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections – that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank-you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for."  - Henri Nouwen

Tell me, what is your greatest fear? 
At the end of this week what are you most thankful for?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday - November 11

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard among the guns below.

We are the Dead.  Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
-John McCrae

Lieut.-Col. John McCrae, 1872-1918
He died after 4 years of medical service on the western front
with the first Canadian contingent in France.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Memories

For some years now I have been frequenting antique shops rather regularly and inevitably I turn to their bins and tables covered with old photos and papers.  When I first discovered the treasures there I was amazed at the beauty of the pictures, then I was saddened that they were there.  Did the families involved really want to get rid of these pieces?  Was there no one who cared what happened to these photos?

Needless to say, I purchased one whenever it really appealed.  It seems though, that the prices have gone up on these treasures in the past few longer do they accept a song for a photo.

As you look at this photo what is the story you see this a class photo? is this a father with a large brood of children?  Or does the real story lie with the girl on the upper right with dark bobbed hair and her hand on the chair in front of her? Hmmm....

Not being sure whether I picked this up in Canada, USA or Mexico (yes, Mexico has lovely antique shops and they leave their photos behind there too) I can choose the location without a thought and go from there with my story.

Now if you recognize anyone in this photo and can name them and all of a sudden desire possession, let me know.  Ancestors should be treasured by their own people.

Wishing you all a wonderful new week with high production and low distractions.

Be well.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Friday Night Thankfulness Book

This past weekend I enjoyed my birthday again and yet again.  Something our family does so well is celebrate birthdays!  Our kids both gave me great parties.  And one of the treasures I came home with was this book (Listography - Your Life in Lists) where I can write the statistics of my life. 

It begins with the 'pets I have had over the years' and the book ends with places for me to write down 'my firsts' and 'my lasts'...first kiss, etc., and last thing I lost (that was just the other day) you can see this will be a fun, fun book to fill.

And what a great opportunity to see the thankfulness in all these lists.  No matter what has come behind I know there are reasons to be thankful for it all.

To tell you the truth I just now read the book completely through and there are some lists there that may be a little revealing and some a little intimidating and some I have been wanting to do for a long time.  So here goes...

List the Pets You've Had and Their Names

The first pet I remember was a collie mix by the name of Laddie
when I was a child on the farm in Peoria.  He was the family dog.

The next one was a pony by the name of Junior (now there is an original name!) who just went away (who knows where) after we three girls took him out one evening on our own.  Sheila May was leading him, I was riding and Bobbie was carefully watching.  Junior had other ideas and bucked me off, knocked Sheila May down and ran off.  That was the end of ponies in my life.

(this photo of cousin Brian and I must have been taken before the fateful evening)

There were a variety of pets in Redlands and Peachland
taken care of by the children
and assorted cats over the years that Sherilee 'owned'.

There were Sarah and Tess, two Airedales, on the farm in Westbank.

But I have to say the first pet I have thoroughly enjoyed in my life,
 that I could call my dearest little friend had to be Scruffie.
When I first saw this little dog on my first day at the orphanage
in Mexico, I said, who does that scruffie dog belong to? 
Sherwin says that Scruffie loved me so much because I asked nothing of him.  I loved him with all his matted hair, parasites and bugs under his skin.  I loved him back to health after his fights with the big dogs and I loved him through his mishaps after chasing cars.  I loved the fact that he would sleep under the block machine when I stood hour after hour making blocks. 
Scruffie gave as good as he got.  He was a dear little fellow.

Tell me, who and what was your favorite pet of all time?  And why was that one so precious? 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

You're My Inspiration...

When I have spent time with our children I always, without fail, go home inspired.  All seven of them encourage me to clean off my desk, pull out the projects that have been set aside and follow my heart.  Their lives are an inspiration to me and the little visits I have with each of them just gives me courage and delight in life.  From the oldest to the youngest I see an interest in life that gives me that warm glowy feeling of happiness. 

So I am off to work on a plan...a one year plan, a five year plan and a ten year plan.  This actually had been started before I left home but as I have moved along down the road I have had one little epiphany after another...(epiphany is a good way to say 'Aha moments!!'). 

All this thinking sent me to my quote file:

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.  -Henry Ford

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.  -Eleanor Roosevelt

When Pablo Casals reached 95, a young reporter threw him the following question.  "Mr. Casals, you are 95 and the greatest cellist that ever lived.  Why do you still practise six hours a day?"  Mr. Casals answered, "Because I think I'm making progress."

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do.  Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.  Try to be better than yourself.

The very best advice I have received on this concept:

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that... Don't compare yourself with others."  Galatians 6:4

So, I am wishing you all a blessed new week, full of new thoughts, ideas and plans. 

God bless and keep you all.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Something to Celebrate ...

Some years ago I sat propped up on pillows in the St. Helena Sanitarium and laid my new girl bundle on my knees.  She and I had a long look at one another and thus began the first Mom-Sherilee conversation.

Cameras were not part of my life 42 years ago or I would have lots of pictures to help me remember but I do have good memories in my heart.

The first tree swing in her life...

Entertaining Cousin Greg with her brother, Shelby...

She loves a good thrill and is afraid of nothing...
Sherilee got an early start in the communication business...
She takes her work seriously…

Motherhood came so naturally to her...

And we are so happy to see her happy...

This girl has brought us so much joy and delight. She fills the room with sun and even when clouds threaten she has learned to find the silver somewhere.

And now on the eve of your birthday, Sherilee, your father and I wish you much love, joy and peace.  Happy, Happy Birthday and as you begin a new year we wish you all the blessings you desire. 
Love and hugs, Mama and Pa