Piano.

When I was about 8 years old, our Grandpa gave us a piano. Our mom arranged for us to have lessons and did what parents do; not only allowing, but actively encouraging us to practice!

When I was 16, I decided it was a good time to quit. It was actually a terrible time to quit; just before an exam, but I wouldn’t be reasoned with.

Naturally, as an adult I have suffered plenty of well-deserved regret for that rash decision. Arranging the time and money for continuing piano lessons as a busy parent is rather more demanding than just showing up and practicing was when my parents paid and supported. C’est la vie, Leah!

This winter my dear husband brought our old piano out to the garage where he took it apart and sanded it down, then refinished it with Danish Oil. In the cold dark evenings after two hours of commuting to and from his busy job as a high school principal. Who knew what a glorious colour the wood really was under the original dark varnish?!

It’s so beautiful, and I’m so grateful.

By Christmas is was back in the house, re-acclimatized, and had recovered under the expert hands of the piano tuner.

It’s such a joy to me to play it and hear our children play it too.

#husband #love #piano #music #home

Sight for sore eyes.

I put my sourdough starter somewhere warm for a while today so it would be ready to make bread with it after I’d fed it again this morning.

Eventually I made my way back into the kitchen (from the totally absorbing- if not highly entertaining task of doing business tax preparation at the living room desk)… and this is what I found:

In short, it was ready to roll!

So I mixed up some dough, like so:

Now it’s resting calmly in the fridge for the night, having developed into lovely loaves.

Tomorrow, or maybe the next day, I’ll get back to it and pop it into the oven.

Why does this make me so happy?

#sourdough #starter #bread #homemade #happy

Photographs.

This is definitely not a unique idea… I believe it was James M. Barrie who said, “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.” And I’ll add, God gave us the technology of photography so that we might see those June roses blooming in December!

Ed Sheeran’s beautiful music video, Photograph, is only one example of our cultural appreciation of these magical images. Sometimes a photo allows me to travel to far away places I have yet to see in person; sometimes it allows me the adventure of time travel…

This afternoon one of my sweet sisters sent me a link to a huffingtonpost.ca photo essay; “Long-Lost Images Show What Hasn’t Changed About Motherhood In 50 Years” and it didn’t take me very many minutes to choose a few favourites. These pictures were first published half a century ago; that really is what makes it so special. Many of the moments captured in these precious images look very familiar to me as a mother.

I find it incredible (not being of an especially tech-savvy bent myself) that we can seize a moment and store and share what we saw, especially online. It’s a permanent reminder of what was beautiful or touching to us. And I feel it’s a very powerful way to relate to others; showing you a photo is a way of letting you see through my eyes, even if only for a split second.

Here are a few photographs I snapped a picture of this afternoon of my own babies. They’re all candid, from when each of my little loves was about 10 months old. I have them displayed at eye level here on my desk in the living room, so I see them all the time. It’s like preserving fruit in a clear glass bottle, don’t you think?

#edsheeran #huffingtonpost #photographs #memories

My mentor…

Kari. I met her when I was fourteen years old; our families became friends through church shortly after she and her family emigrated from Europe. She and my mother connected really well and I became close with her oldest child, who was about my age.

It wasn’t until later that I realized how much I liked her. As many teenagers do, I gravitated to the parent of a close friend and soon came to treasure the time I spent with her.

As a young wife and mother I thought of her often and was constantly inspired by her down-to-earth, gentle example. I wanted to be as nurturing with my children as I’d seen her be with hers.

She and my own dear mother are still close friends, and so are Kari and I. My life is forever blessed because she made time to connect with someone else’s teenager.

I wonder how many of us become a bit (or more than a bit, as the case may be) rebellious in our youth… and how many caring and understanding adults ever realize the enormous impact of their kindness toward their children’s friends. Or their friend’s children.

I hope the teens in my life know and feel my love and support. It’s such a tricky time for so many kids; I want to help others along as this dear friend has helped me.

#blessed #grateful #friends #family

Houseplants.

As much as I enjoyed going out for a walk in the sun for the children to play in the snow today, the fact is this: I spend most of my time in the house.

Every day, and especially in the middle of winter, I appreciate the gift of potted plants. It’s a little thing that makes a big difference to the way it feels to be indoors.

It’s a bit like hanging pictures of loved ones on the walls; it’s a bit of joy that I wouldn’t otherwise get to experience.

How much else in life is like houseplants! How often we can hold on to a little piece of something sweet and lovely in a time or place it wouldn’t occur naturally…

Chinese restaurants in western Canada. BBC television programs in my Apple TV. Hand-drawn pictures from my dayhome children who are now off to school. Bach piano music in a book on the piano. Australian cook Donna Hay’s recipes in my kitchen. Henry Sambono’s incredible Australian Aboriginal art on my son’s bedroom wall. A souvenir Going-To-The-Sun Road sign in the family room. My parents’ voices on the telephone. Seafood in Alberta. And yes, an ornamental (fig) tree in my living room.

#transplants #donnahay #henrysambono #bbc #appletv #bach #goingtothesunroad #children

Homecoming!

Sunday our son Jack spoke in church, sharing experiences he had on his mission that helped him and other people come closer to Christ. It was heartwarming for me to see and hear the growth in his spirit. I love how he loves God and His children; and I believe in the words of our dear prophet Thomas S Monson,

“The future is as bright as your faith.”

What really added to the joy of that day was having a few people who had also served in the same mission travel to be with him (and us)…

I love them for loving him, especially when he was so far from home. Surely this is how God our Heavenly Father feels; He wants us to love one another.

#christian #lds #mormon #faith #mission

Farkle.

I tried a new game for the first time this weekend. It’s a bit like Yahtzee (for others of you who have come this far in life without playing Farkle)… but played with six dice, not five. Any old piece of paper will do for a scoresheet. Excellent accompanied by hot chocolate and lots of candlelight, as I discovered.

Once my turn came around I could keep rolling the dice to add points, as long as I could add points with least one die from each roll. If I rolled without making any points, I lost all the points I’d accumulated in that turn. Yuck.

I’ll admit that at one point I heard faint strains of Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler song somewhere in my mind. Thank Heaven we don’t gamble! A game is just a game; a social way to pass a little time and use our heads a bit while having a laugh together.

However, I do think there are some real similarities between Farkle and Real Life.

In both cases it’s impossible to predict the future, but often necessary to use my best guess to decide what to do next. Should I hold on to what I’ve got, or risk losing that in an attempt to make a further gain…?

In both Farkle and Real Life, the first hurdle is just getting into the game. (The game requires five hundred points while living in this world demands that we survive birth and childhood.)

Also in both Real Life and this little game, it’s wisest to consider the source of advice and possible or likely motives of advisors before blindly trusting and following it. Farkle allows one player to piggyback on the points gained by another; this could influence advice given. It could. Or someone could just try to help another player who is new to the game, as was the case for me in my first foray into playing.

#family #friends #hygge #lifelessons