Darlene Foster's Blog

Darlene:

Some great tips on how to stay creative. How about trying a new flavour of ice cream!! Thanks Susie

Originally posted on living your best:

In my last post, I mentioned that even the happiest of people will have their off-days as they feel unmotivated, uninspired, or are emotionally unavailable. Another area you can shut down in is creativity – the inability to create new ideas, ways to have fun, or problem solve.

Whether you’re a stay home parent or working professional, it’s important to stimulate your mind on a daily basis so you can grow and stay engaged. Sometimes, this may mean stepping away from electronic gadgets or changing up the daily routine. As your creative juices begin to flow back, your mind will be open to new ideas and find creative solutions to problems. You’ll also notice an extra pep in your step and a lighthearted joy in your days. Here are 12 simple ways on how to stay creative:

©2015 Susie Lee

creativity

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Today I have the pleasure of being a guest on Jan Moore´s blog, Work on Your Own Terms, where I talk about my decision to move to Spain.

Following the Dream, by Darlene Foster

I met Darlene on Gabriola Island when she was visiting her daughter, just before she and her husband moved from Canada to Spain. I’ll let Darlene tell you about her new lifestyle in her own words. Her travels inspire the children’s books she writes. See how happy they look in Spain. She just might convince you to follow your own dreams.

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“I’ve got to follow that dream wherever that dream may lead.” Elvis Presley

“Why Spain?” was the question asked of me often when I made the decision to move to another country. “Why not?” was often my answer.

I could have said, because of the warm, sunny weather, the fabulous Mediterranean food, the medieval markets, the rich history, the castles, the fiestas, the warm and friendly locals, the laid back life style etc. The truth is, I wasn´t really sure. I just knew I wanted to try living in another country, preferably a warm country.

Click here to read the rest of the article:   http://workonyourownterms.com/followingthedream/

FIferrydock

 

 

My children and grandchildren still have them; but there are not many my age that are still in possession of their tonsils. For some reason, they were removed when we were children. I was about twelve years old when my younger brother had to have his tonsils surgically removed, so the doctor suggested we all have it done. Did we get a family discount?

I remembered overhearing a story about a child who bled to death during his tonsillectomy. So when it was my turn, I was convinced I would have the same sad fate and was very frightened. Coming out of the anaesthetic, I saw a blurry image of my mother bending over me touching my wrist. I guess she had the same concern.

Having survived the operation, I did what any aspiring writer would do; wrote a letter to my aunt who was my age, and my best friend. She had undergone the same operation a few months earlier. She has, amazingly, found the letter I had written to her. (I love that our family saves things like this.)

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I no longer have readable penmanship. However, I still have terrible spelling and use the word lucky a lot.

Do you still have your tonsils? Do you remember having them removed?

Tonsiles, Darlene

 

 

A metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect, thus highlighting the similarities between the two. (the dictionary definition) I remember learning about metaphors in school. I love them! We are advised, however, to use them sparingly in our writing as many of them are considered clichés. I once submitted a story to an anthology call out. To my delight, my story was chosen. The editor asked me to make a few changes including removing some of the numerous metaphors and similes. I thought I was being so clever, but once I removed a good chunk of them or reworded them, I realized the story read much better. By using metaphors in my rough draft though, I developed some great ideas.

In a newsletter sent out by Jan Moore she writes about how metaphors can be useful, not just in writing. She mentions that Creative people use metaphors automatically. It’s our natural mode of communication. I certainly agree with her on that point. I often get strange looks from my non writing friends and family when I use metaphors in my speech.

Jan Moore has written a book called Work on Your Own Terms:  Change Your Mind and Change Your Life in Midlife and Beyond which is worth checking out. Written by a former career counselor , Jan writes about how you can create meaningful work that nourishes the soul and sets you free, at any age.

Work On Your Own Terms

Jan also goes on to say: Metaphors can be powerful guides for living. Writers and artists use them and so can you. Playing with metaphors can help generate new ideas. Here are a few to play with:

  1. If your day was a colour, what colour would you paint it?
  2. If an obstacle was a mountain, how would you climb it?
  3. If two paths diverge in a wood, would you take the one less traveled?
  4. If a project was a baby, how would you nurture it?
  5. If your life was a song, what would you be singing?

What would your answers be to these questions? Put your answers in the comments if you wish. I would love to read them. 

From one of my favourite authors who passed away last year at age 92:

Words. Words. I play with words, hoping that some combination, even a chance combination, will say what I want.
…Doris Lessing

Doris lessing 20060312 (jha).jpg

photo from Wikipedia

I shared information about my mother´s mother´s family (Hoffman) so I think it only fair I  share something of my mother´s father´s side of the family (Mehrer). Both families were German immigrant farmers from South Russia and came to Canada at the beginning of the 20th century to help populate and develop the prairie provinces.

Great-grandparents Andreas and Katerina Mehrer and family

Great-grandparents Andreas and Katharina Mehrer and their children

While in Calgary last month I stopped in to visit my grandfather’s only living sister, Meta, and her husband Lex. They  still live in their own home and put out a garden every year. At 91, Great Aunt Meta is in great shape and shared a wonderful story about her parents, my great grandparents, when they first settled on the homestead in southern Alberta.

As told to me by Meta (Mehrer) Davis

April 1912
Father was out turning sod, when he had some trouble with the horses. He called to Mother, who came across the road, leaving the little ones in the house, thinking she would only be a few minutes. It took a long time before she returned – to an empty house. Panic-stricken she rushed out, calling the little ones but all that greeted her was silence. After searching the yard she returned to the house wondering what she could say to their father.
In the Kitchen, on one of the walls there were six large hooks on which to hang heavy garments. On one of these hooks hung the long, black wool coat that Dad had brought from Europe. A long bench sat underneath. As she entered the kitchen she noticed a slight movement of the coat. She pulled it to one side and there sat four little people, sleeping and perspiring. John holding the baby and a little girl on each side of him.
He explained to his mother that she was gone so long that he decided to keep them safe in case someone came to take them away.

Note: It was not uncommon for children to be abducted in Europe in the 1800s and John had heard these stories. Their ages at the time Baby (Frieda) one year old, Martha 2 ½ years, Beth 4 years and John 5 ½ years.

It was my dear grandfather, John, who protected his siblings all those years ago. He is the gentleman sitting on the far left in the family picture. Aunt Meta is standing beside him. He married my grandmother, had six children, thirty-two grandchildren and many great grandchildren. I remember him as a kind and caring man, always making sure his family was safe.

I also had the opportunity to visit my grandfather´s only surviving brother, Great Uncle Paul. (He is the little boy between the great grandparents in the family picture above). He is 86 years old, the same age as Mom. He also lives in the same care home as my mom so she gets to see him often. He, along with his brother, Great Uncle Andrew, farmed the original homestead, until fairly recently. He also had many interesting stories to tell me.

Mom and her Uncle Paul

Mom and her Uncle Paul

Great Uncle Paul with a team of horses

Great Uncle Paul with a team of horses

The barn on the homestead painted by Great Aunt Hilda

The barn on the homestead, painted by Great Aunt Hilda

I wrote about the 100 year celebration of the Mehrer family here  if you wish to learn more about this side of the family.

It was so wonderful to spend time with my grandfather´s siblings and hear stories about him and the family. I just wish I had spent more time with him when he was with us, as Grandpa loved to share stories.

Do you have any old timers in the family that enjoy sharing stories of the past?

It´s been a year since we launched Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone. To celebrate I am a guest on the fabulous blog site Mother Daughter Book Reviews

Guest Post: Amanda in Alberta | Darlene Foster.

Book Description:

Amanda has travelled to some interesting places like the United Arab Emirates, Spain and England. She has always enjoyed herself, in spite of the dangerous situations she has found herself in. This time her BFF, Leah from England, is coming to visit her in Alberta. Will she be able to find enough fun things for them to do? After all it is only Alberta, her home province in Canada.

Read more about the book, a great review and a message from me here. Pop over to the site, make a comment and share if you wish, to help me celebrate.

Thanks so much for the support all of you have given me and Amanda over the past few years. 

Amanda in Alberta is born!

Amanda in Alberta is born!

Faithful supporters at the book launch July 2014

Faithful supporters at the book launch July 2014

 

My biggest fan and official photographer

My biggest fan and official photographer

11071564_10153267314708936_3092559696858088784_n[1] (2) A couple of posts ago I showed this picture of my great grandparents, Henry and Katharina Hoffman taken when they arrived in Canada in 1909. They came from South Russia with three children, had one on the way to the homestead in Alberta (my grandmother) and had seven more once settled. 11659330_398384047028968_6797137594108185426_n This picture was taken much later with the surviving children. My grandmother is standing, third from the right. 11659330_398384040362302_2468084364640730572_n This picture of Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather Hoffman at their 50th Anniversary, in 1954, shows all the children and their spouses. My grandparents are the second couple on the right. The only one still with us is Great Uncle Tony, married to my grandmother´s sister Ann. (First couple on the left) The descendants of these brave, hardworking people have been meeting every five years for the past 30 years at The Hoffman Reunion. The reunions are organized by a different family group each time. This year the reunion was organized by the Raymond Becker family, descendants of Great Aunt Lindina, one of the little girls on the original picture. It is a lot of work and they did a great job. I am so glad I crossed the Atlantic to attend.

Descendants of Henry and Katherine Hoffman at the 2015 reunion

Descendants of Henry and Katharina Hoffman at the 2015 reunion

It was so great to see all my many cousins, aunts and uncles.  We ate fabulous German food, caught up on news, reminisced, played cards and board games, looked at old pictures, shared hugs and ate some more. Being together was all that mattered.  Family pictures were taken and loved ones no longer with us fondly remembered.  I brought my 14 year old  grandson and my 8 year old great granddaughter, who had a fabulous time. I was able to take mom out of the nursing home for a couple of hours to attend. At 86 she was almost the oldest person there. 136 attended this reunion; out of over 250 descendants spread all over the world, that is a good turn out. The youngest was 11 days old, the oldest 91.

My great granddaughter with my cousin´s granddaughter. We think they are 5th cousins

My great granddaughter with my cousin´s granddaughter, 5th cousins.

Mom with her brother and sister

Mom with her brother and sister

Great Uncle tony at 91 with some of his family

My Great Uncle Tony, at 91, with some of his family

A popular event, after the German meal and Hoffman Olympics, is the silent auction.  Family members donate items and others bid on them to raise funds for the next reunion in five years.  The bidding is fierce as everyone vies for cherished items such as hand knitted afghans, homemade wine, jams, pickles and many other treasures.  There is much friendly competition, no one gets hurt and most leave with something to take home.

Hoffman Olympics sack race

Hoffman Olympics sack race

Emma making a home run at the baseball game

Emma making a home run at the baseball game

Fun and games

Fun and games

You can see my great granddaughter had a lot of fun and met many relatives she didn’t´t know she had.

Lining up to eat (again)

Lining up to eat (again)

Everyone takes turns cooking

Everyone takes turns cooking

Memories

Memories

Every time I attend these events, I feel so blessed to belong to such a large loving family that stays in touch with each other, no matter where we live.

Some of my grandmother´s family

Some of my grandmother´s family

Sharing fond memories with cousins

Sharing fond memories with cousins

Someone made a special cake Note: not all the pictures were taken by me. Some were taken by cousins!

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