Archive for the ‘Family’ Category
Mother´s day is a special day in many parts of the world although is not celebrated on the same day. Today it is Mother´s Day in Canada and the US and it was Mother´s Day in Spain last Sunday. In the UK, Mothering Sunday, sometimes known as Mother’s Day, is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday. This year it was on March 15. Mother´s day in France is usually the last Sunday in May.
Mother´s Day has always been a special day for me as I was blessed with the gift of a wonderful mother. I am grateful for her everyday and especially on this day.
She taught me so much. Not just how to cook tasty economical meals, sew my own clothes and keep a clean house, but how to be kind to everyone and to value friends and family. She worked hard on the farm when we were growing up; milking the cows, feeding the chickens, collecting eggs, growing a large garden, canning fruits and vegetables for the winter, cooking for large harvesting crews and branding parties, and so much more. She was an amazing cook and won prizes for her baking. Her German fruit kuchen was the best! There was always extra food for welcomed drop in guests. She never left the house without looking well put together when she went to town for church, meetings or shopping. Because she is such a perfect role modal, I think I turned out to be a pretty decent mom myself. At least my kids tell me I am.
She always made us feel loved and still does. Her love wasn´t limited to her own children but to her many nieces and nephews as well. Our house was often full of visiting relatives. She never forgot a birthday and sent hand written notes to those she didn´t see often. Now her love is extended to her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. That love is returned tenfold.
I found a note she sent to me at age seven, when she had my second brother. You can feel the love.
In 2009, I took my daughter and mother to meet my aunt in Sedona, Arizona for a holiday. We made dream catchers. Look how proud she is of hers.
Mom accepts life as it comes and although life hasn´t been easy the last couple of years, she still has that same sweet smile at age 86. During my most recent visit we looked at old pictures and had some great laughs as we reminisced. The staff in the nursing home tell me she is a pleasure to have around and I believe it. She is truly a gift I treasure.
Happy Mother´s Day to everyone who is a mother, step mother, special aunt or good friend to a younger person. It is an important job!
I’ve been away from blogging for a bit as I took a quick trip back to Canada to visit friends and family in two provinces. I managed to see as many people as I could in a short time. There were many lunches, dinners and coffees/teas with good friends, including a fabulous Easter lunch at my former place of employment. I spent Easter weekend with family in Alberta and was treated to snow Easter morning, which I wasn’t prepared for. But watching my great granddaughter hunt for Easter eggs made up for the bad weather.
Here are a few pictures of my visit.
The west coast was so beautiful with all the spring flowers and blossoms
Quite a contrast to my three days in Alberta.
Never mind, it was a good trip and I was so happy I went. I enjoy my new life but miss the special people from Canada.
I’m now over my jet lag and happy to be back in Spain with my hubby as we start moving into our own home. More about that later.
My first birthday in Spain was spent at La Herradura, a lovey authentic Spanish restaurant in a small place called Los Montesinos. I was treated to lunch by hubby and his parents. And a real treat it was as the food was excellent, the service superb and the ambiance amazing. I love places with history. La Herradura, which means The Horseshoe, is steeped in history. Built in 1880, it was originally used as an inn for weary travellers traveling through by train. It was later lived in by farmers, eventually abandoned and left to deteriorate. Restoration began in 1997 and completed in 1999 respecting the age and history of this unique building. It still has the old bread oven, the cribs were horses were kept, and pens for the pigs and chickens. Goats would have been kept in what is now the main restaurant. The place is a mini museum with many nooks and crannies revealing all sorts of interesting items, including tools used on the premises throughout the years.
I couldn´t wait to enter these doors!!
Entertainment is provided some evenings
The restaurant has a warm friendly feeling as if visiting a family home. The food was excellent. We shared a lovely salad full of fresh produce and a round toasted loaf of bread. I had sweet red peppers stuffed with cheese and crab meat on a creamy chive sauce for a starter and Basque hake covered with a yummy ragout of fresh vegetables as a main course. For my birthday dessert I enjoyed a crème caramel cake. Everything was done to perfection, very flavourful and well presented. Our wonderful Spanish hosts were delighted whenever I commented on my pleasure with the food. The rest of the party were happy with their meals as well.
The outside grounds were also interesting.
We have been experiencing a phenomenal fall here on the west coast of Canada. There seems to be no end to the sunshine, and I have been making the most of it. Since I have cut my hours down to half time at work, it means more beach reading time for me!
A fun event every year for me is The Mennonite Fair. I work for Mennonite Central Committee in their Employment Services Division and volunteer at the annual fall fair which is a huge fund raiser for MCC. I love the atmosphere; everyone working hard toward the same goal with such compassion. It is the best example of team work I have ever encountered, and I’m grateful to be part of it.
And then there was the food! I stocked up on German baking to take home and lined up for a feast of vereniki (growing up we called them perogies but they are the same thing and soooo good) All a wonderful reminder of my German – Canadian childhood. I returned home with my many purchases, full and happy.
Next stop, a visit to my daughter on her island in the sun. It takes two ferries and a small boat to get me there but it’s worth it.
My daughter and I attended a excellent talk by Gabriola artist Sheila Norgate called “I never met a blank canvas I didn’t like”. It was enlightening and motivating for both of us. We chatted, barbequed a huge salmon, I watched her water her lovely garden, spent hours on the beach, chatted and ate some more. I always feel so well rested after spending a few days with my daughter on Mudge Island.
I am so lucky to be able to enjoy this sunshine, work for a great organization and spend time with my daughter in such a picturesque setting. How is your September so far?
I recently flew to Medicine Hat, Alberta to visit my mom in the hospital and to see my son and his family. My thirteen year old grandson returned with me to spend a couple of weeks on the west coast. Although his older brother and sisters have spent time with us, it was his very first visit. It’s been fun to watch him experience many firsts. It is his first time away from his parents and his first trip outside of Alberta. You can imagine how excited he was to fly on an airplane for the first time.
Making feathered friends at the Reifel Bird Sanctuary
I delivered him to his aunt’s place which took a two hour ride on a large ferry, a twenty minute ride on a smaller ferry and a ten minute small motor boat ride to get there. For a prairie boy who has never seen the ocean before, this was quite an adventure.
Finding a 1000 piece puzzle at the Book Nook with his aunty
Last report from my daughter is that he went crabbing with his uncle, sampled crab for the first time and loved it! His adventure continues.
Do you remember the first time you went some place without your parents or tried something new?
In honour of Father’s Day I would like to share an article I wrote as a guest blogger on Karen Sanderson’s blog two years ago.
Cowboy Wisdom, By Darlene Foster
My Dad was a cowboy. Not the Hollywood type, but a real cowboy – a man who tended cattle. A hard-working man of integrity, loyalty and determination, he almost always wore his signature cowboy hat and boots, jeans and western shirt. He lived the code of the cowboy where a man’s word was a man’s word and you never broke a promise once made. He believed you should do what has to be done without complaint, take pride in your work and always finish what you start. He was a man of principle; tough but fair. I learned so much from him.
His education included grade seven. Responsibilities on his father’s farm in the spring and fall took him out of school, which put him behind. By the time he turned fifteen he didn’t bother going back to school being so much older than the rest of the class. In spite of his limited schooling, he was the smartest man I have ever known. A curious man, Dad believed in continuous learning. His gift of the gab enabled him to start a conversation with almost anyone and he always came away wiser. “You can learn at least one thing from everyone you meet,” became a lesson I never forgot.
Dad read the newspapers and kept up to date on current events, but his busy schedule didn’t permit him to read much else. At age seventy-five, he finally retired and moved into the city. His love of the outdoors and fresh air, took him on walks to the local library on a regular basis. Once there, he chose about half a dozen books on a subject he had always wanted to learn more about. He took the books home, read them front to back and returned with a new subject in mind. At seventy-five he educated himself and expanded his world. I found this to be most admirable.
There wasn’t much I couldn’t discuss with him. He taught me the art of conversation, negotiation and debate; valuable lessons that have served me well over the years. He served as my confidant, financial advisor, political guru, mentor, and he was my hero. He always had time to listen to my woes and to provide encouraging words. I didn’t make many major decisions without discussing with him first. But he wouldn’t tell me what to do; he just helped me look at all sides of the situation. He encouraged me to be an independent thinker, creative problem solver and not to always look for the easy way. He claimed, “You make your own luck in this world.” I believe that to be true for the most part, but I sure was lucky to get him for a Dad. His confidence in me and my abilities enabled me to reach higher and not give up on my dreams.
Always a perfect gentleman, he could also swear a blue streak if the occasion called for it. Like the time he hit his thumb with a hammer while fixing a piece of farm machinery. He forgot I was in hearing distance.
Life wasn’t always easy for a cowboy but Dad’s amazing sense of humour and positive attitude got him through the tough times. He loved a good practical joke and April Fool’s was his favourite day. I can still see the twinkle in his eyes when he knew he got one over on us. He didn’t mind laughing at himself as well. There were many times he would tell a story and have everyone in stitches. From him, I learned the value of a good laugh and how to look on the bright side. He often said, “It could always be worse.”
A tough cowboy on the surface, he was really a big softy. Dad always found the best in everyone, was a helpful neighbour and a good friend to many. His love for his animals was evident as was his unfailing devotion to his family. A generous, loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather, he made an impact on everyone. When I see traits of him in my children and grandchildren, I am comforted knowing his legacy lives on.
It’s been seven years since we lost Dad. There isn’t a day I don’t think of him, quote him or seek his advice. He was a true cowboy to the last.
Happy Father’s Dad!