You can’t wait for inspiration

“You can’t wait for inspiration; you have to go after it with a club.” -Jack London

My heart almost always longs to write. Lying on my bed on a depressive day, picking out the ballerina slipper in the swirls of the flowered wallpaper border on my wall, I wish I could write about what it’s like to live like this.

(Does anyone still have wallpaper borders? And what I mean by the ballerina shoe is not that my wallpaper border has them pictured in it–but the way the flowers are designed, I can pick out a cute shoe about every 12 inches. I used to find the same face over and over in the tiles of our bathroom walls when I was a little girl.)

I want to write about Andre’s droll comments on a school morning, shading a watercolour flower, the books I’m reading about writing, the niggling fear when I feel better that I’m headed for a manic episode.

But I’m always waiting for the perfect moment, the coming together of random thoughts, and something beautiful and harmonious to happen. It never does. “No one hates himself more than a writer who isn’t writing.” -Laura Oliver-

I’m not saying I’m a writer. But I’m a wannabe. Does that count?

(True to form, I will spend half of my blog post whining about wishing to write but seldom doing it. It’s ludicrous.)

It helps to dash off a quick Instagram post. But a lot of you who read here aren’t on other social media. I journal every day too. But it’s the sharing it with others that makes writing most meaningful to me.

These quiet days at home are teaching me new things. I feel like I’m learning to know my children and Dan better. It’s so uncanny to go to bed on Saturday night and know that there’s no church the next day. No nursing home singing. No Bible study. And no school schedule.

Like usual, I try to stay faaaaaaaar away from the politics and debates surrounding this whole virus thing. I long for peace, health, and kindness like all of us do.

I’ve been painting cards.

We went on a walk in the cold this afternoon. Here’s a snowflake on Tori’s dress.

I’ve had a week of good emotional health after long, dull weeks of flatness. I’m so very grateful! I don’t know why there’s been a change, but I’m thanking Jesus.

Well.  My inspiration fled as soon as I had a good, uninterrupted time to write.  Here’s some C.S. Lewis that our deacon put into an email he sent out to people from church this morning.

CS Lewis, “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948) – In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb.”How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
 In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors – anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of a painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
 This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible things – praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts – not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
Sending love from our house to yours.

❤️Belize, part 2❤️

After breakfast at Miss Mary’s house, we went to the place near Carmelita where you get on a river boat and go to Lamanai, the Mayan ruins.

We had Collin as our guide and he was just great.

Liesl was transfixed with water lilies.

Sadly, we didn’t see any crocodiles. But we did see lots of neat birds. And the ruins did not disappoint.

It was a good day. In the evening we went to Rose and Felipe’s for supper. She made the most delicious fried chicken. And then there was peanut butter and lemon cream pie for dessert.

John and Mary Beth Rhodes were also guests at the Rhaburn’s that evening.

On Sunday morning it was so sweet to walk to church and see everyone. Dan preached and then we went to Carlos and Shawlenie’s for such a good lunch of recado pork. The children had fun playing games and then swimming in their little pool.

I didn’t mention that on Friday night we moved over to Carmelita to Junior and Raquel’s house. Junior was gone to the states and Raquel and her children moved over to her in-laws and gave us their house. We felt so incredibly indebted, but it was simply lovely to have our own space. And Raquel insisted on doing our laundry and keeping the fridge full of tea and lime juice. I tried to protest. But since I know Raquel as a very determined person who doesn’t say things she doesn’t mean, I finally quit and we just soaked in the TLC. Which also involved us using her vehicle a few times. Such kindness.

On Sunday afternoon we had a luscious nap after lunch and then went walking again. We visited Mr. Nevin and Mrs. Wanda, who have a lovely yard.

We also visited Victoria Sho and her girls. But I forgot to get any pictures there. 😞

Then we went to Nic and Jon Stutzman’s for supper. Liesl had become fast friends with their Leah at the reunion, so the girls were anxious to be together.

Leah and Liesl
Friends ❤️
We stopped by Mr. Tony and Mrs. Dorothy’s house on our way home from Jon and Nic’s. Dan stayed and played a few rounds of Feech with some of the guys. It’s a Belizean game with dominos.

That was Sunday. We had now been in Belize a full week. None of us were ready to go home, but had to face the fact that time was winding down.

On Monday morning we had an early morning ride to Belize City with Mr. Tim. We caught the water taxi and headed out to Caye Caulker.

Oh my. The sights, smells, and sounds of the Caribbean. I didn’t get good pictures that day. Not that any of my phone pics are actually good anyway….😩😜

We chartered a boat on the caye to take us out snorkeling. I didn’t snorkel this time, but everyone else did. The coral and sea life is amazing. You even swim with sharks. On this boat, we met a sweet couple from Costa Rica who are travelling from Costa Rica to Alaska and taking two years at it. They have a little yellow Volkswagen bus and have quite a few followers on Instagram. Look up Kaladeviaje if you’re interested in their trip.

That evening after getting back to Carmelita, we went to visit Dave and Kris Martin for a bit. Our children spent the night with two of theirs. Liesl had a sleepover with her friend Leah and came marching into the house we stayed in the next morning saying, “Sorry, Dad. I’m not leaving Belize! I’m just not going.”

Tuesday was fun. We just spent it around Carmelita. We visited Mrs. Juana and Mrs. Dorcas Yoder and my friend Francisca, who gave me a purse she embroidered and to the girls she gave bracelets. 

Andrea made us a wonderful lunch and then she, Raquel, and I went to Orangewalk and did a little bit of fabric shopping.

The girls got their hair cornrowed by Wendy.

That evening we went to Tim and Rhoda’s, where Dan helped them a bit with their cattle and we had barbeque like old times, along with beans and tortillas and other yummy things.

Mr. Virgil and Mrs. Martha were there, along with Richard and Emily.

Wednesday was the day to go home. Jeff and Vi Carpenter had us for breakfast and it was mighty fine. It was chicken, refried beans, tortillas and fry jacks, and eggs. We also had fresh fruit. Their family is fun to be with.

Raquel took us to the airport and I tried not to cry when we said goodbye.

In Houston, waiting on our flight to Denver.

It was warm for February and sunny the first day we were home.

And that concludes our trip to Belize. I have seldom written something so factual and not cared about the fact that a lot of it means little to you if you don’t know the people I talk about. But so be it this time.

I’ve been telling people that it was a trip that pretty much met our expectations in every way. My highlight was just being with friends again. The children loved the cayes and new friendships. And Dan liked all of it.

I’m sorry that we missed seeing a few people in the village who weren’t home when we stopped by.

All in all, it was a very satisfying time. I hope we can go again soon.

❤️Belize, part 1❤️

The other day Tori was looking through my pictures from Belize and she said, “Mom, you need to blog about this!” I am hesitant for several reasons. It might not be interesting to a lot of you unless you know the people down there. And I’m afraid that I will just gush. And not everyone is privileged to take a trip like that. But I think I will write about it for my own sake and you can read along if you wish.

15 years ago we made the decision to come home after living for two years in Belize. We couldn’t make such a big decision on our own, so we asked for a public lot to decide. We loved Belize and Alberta equally and the call to leadership felt so similar from both places. The lot fell to return to Alberta, so here we are.

We hadn’t been back for nine years, so it felt like this visit was long overdue.

Day 1: Left home at 6:00 AM so that we could visit the ice castles in Edmonton before boarding the plane for Calgary.

Overnighted in Calgary.

Said goodbye to the frozen world on Sunday morning, February 9. We got up at 2:30 that morning.

Flying is so different than it used to be with small ones. But now we have so many OPINIONS to deal with. 😜😂

We had an uneventful flights both there and back. I am always amazed at the miles you can travel without a glitch. So grateful to God for protection.

First sights of Belize

It was wondrous to step off the plane and feel the WARMTH.

Rose and Felipe Rhaburn’s boys, Kenton and Jared met us at the airport , along with Junior and Raquel Lanza’s AJ. They’re all these tall, handsome young men and they were just little guys when we saw them last. We crowded into their big white truck and three of the boys climbed into the back. Kenton drove like crazy, but seemed very capable. We’d forgotten about speed bumps. And it was beautiful to see palm trees and bougainvillea and multicoloured cement houses with pretty porches and wash on the lines in the hot breeze. I told the girls that I’d always longed for a little mint green house in Belize. And Natalia said to Dan, “Why did you ever leave?” We passed people selling coconut water and green plums and bananas at the speed bumps.

After the hour’s drive back to Carmelita, we got to Rose and Felipe’s, where they gave us popcorn and lime juice and the evening breezes were blowing through the open windows and doors and their tall, graceful girls were making pizza bread for evening supper company. My friend Raquel says that Rose doesn’t have to go anywhere because all the people come to her because she and Felipe are so hospitable.

I went next door and hugged my dear friend Raquel because I couldn’t wait till the next day to see her.

After a bit, Robert Dale Byler from Missouri came and picked us up and took us the 20 minutes to San Antonio, where the famous Mr. Tim and Mrs. Rhoda Miller live. They had invited us to stay with them and we were so honoured. In Belize the title of respect is Mr. and Miss in front of a first name. I love it. And for a married lady you write it Mrs., but say it Miss.

(One of the purposes of our trip was to go to a reunion for all the people who have served under the Bethel fellowship mission in Orangewalk, Belize. So I will mention people who don’t live there anymore and you will see pictures of non-Belizeans.)

Out at Tim and Rhoda’s we had a glad reunion and went around the farm looking at puppies and trees and cows and plants.

Ryan and Ramona (Tim’s daughter and husband who live in San Antonio in a cute little house) came for supper that evening and so did Mahlon and Gina Zehr. That was wonderful because Gina was a VSer when we lived down there and I don’t think we’d seen each other since, though we faithfully send each other Christmas pictures and she has the dearest little family.

On Monday morning we were up with the sun and birds. Mrs. Rhoda made us wonderful coffee and we took a little walk in the village and basked in the warm sunshine. I could just hug that morning sun. It gets hot and mean sometimes. But to wake up to warmth every morning is just an incredible experience.

That day a group of us ladies went to Shipyard, which is a community of very traditional Mennonites who still drive horse and buggy. We went fabric shopping and some of us got a massage from a gentle little Mennonite lady. The fabric cost around five dollars a yard Belize, which is $2.50 in US money. And the 20 minute massage I had was $10 Belize. But I gave more. Because….!!!!

Shipyard shopping crew. Abby is missing from picture.

After shopping we went to Carmelita, where we did a bit of helping out with setting up for the reunion the next day. Then our family went visiting.

Pedro showing Dan his cilantro.
Sacaria and me
Chabelita and Mrs. Delores
Nicodemus is Chabelita’s man in the background there. This morning he called on Facebook audio
to see how Mista Dan and me are doing. 😊
Around Junior and Raquel’s table. Andrea and Jeff from Idaho are living in Belize for the winter. Luckies!!!

That evening we went to Junior and Raquel’s for curry chicken. And she had fried plantain too, which was SO GOOD. The company was even better.

The next two days were busy spent reunioning. The good pictures I share here are taken by Davy Steinhauer, who is one of the teachers at the beautiful new school in Carmelita where the reunion was held. Good food and fun memory sharing characterized those days. Natalia washed lots of dishes and Andre and Liesl played their hearts out. Bryant got slightly bored but was a good sport.

Timeline of all the voluntary service workers

I could share a lot more pictures of those days, but I don’t know where to start and stop. We watched old picture slides from years ago. The youth and children sang in the evening service at the Carmelita church. That was delightful. The church was packed out, with people standing outside.

We went for tacos one morning.

The children had a blast on the back of the truck in the cool night air.

The reunion was Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday was dentist day. We all got our teeth cleaned and some got cavities filled, all for a fraction of the cost of what it would be in Canada.

Thursday evening we went to Davy and Crystal Steinhauer’s for supper. They have the cutest little family and we had fun comparing notes about life in the mission house.

Uno with Tasha, Zoe, and Paris. Crystal in the background with Piper.

On Friday we drove to Banana Bank, where Dan’s aunt and uncle, John and Betsy Troyer from up here at Fort St. John, are administrators for 6 weeks each winter at Trades for Life. It is a six week program for teaching young men mechanics, plumbing, computer skills, etc.

They showed us all around the place and we were so happy to see them and were impressed with their work and vision. Then we drove together in the Orangewalk mission van out to Spanish Lookout, which is another Mennonite colony, very progressive. There the van started to give us trouble. We ate lunch at Western Dairies.

The van gave us a lot of trouble on the way home. It was a stellar experience for all of us. Could write much more about that.

On Saturday we got up for an 8 o’clock breakfast at Miss Mary’s house. Mary is from our church, but has served in Belize for more than 20 years. She made us such a good meal and we loved our stay at her tiny, comfortable little place.

I think it’s time to wrap this up so you don’t get too bored. I’ll finish later.

Walking the wall

Jan. 12, 2020 -old draft that I resurrected:

It’s been a quiet Sunday afternoon at our house. I took a nap and Dan played “Pit” with the children. They are currently on various devices and he is out putting out some bales for shelter for his heifers.

I took a walk in the -24 C sunshine.  While I was walking, Andrew and Lorne, two friends from church, stopped by and said hello as they drove by.  “Are you brewing up a blog post, Luci?” asked Andrew. (I think those were his words, anyway.) “It’s been a while since I read something you wrote.”

I was honored.  But I said, “I don’t feel much like writing right now.”

Then I came in and had some tea and thought about drawing.  But I have a difficult picture to do and I just don’t seem to have the strength to tackle it.

I actually HAVE been feeling like writing (so that was kind of a lie, Andrew…sorry!) and I’ve been scribbling all manner of thoughts down in my orange notebook.  Many of my thoughts come while lying on my bed.

Because yeah.  I’ve had that kind of a week again.  But as I told someone through tears after church this morning, I feel like such a broken record.  Luci is depressed again.  What’s new?

I imagine people saying behind my back that they think I do it for attention.  Or that I’m lazy.  Because I worry that I’m both: attention-seeking and lazy. But then I know that I am neither.

Jan 29, Wednesday morning.

Well that was a cheery beginning to a blog post.  I long to write humorous and wise things like Dorcas Smucker.  Or godly things like so many of the renowned bloggers out there.  Or pithy, practical posts like Dorcas Peight.  Or things that challenge our Mennonite minds like Rosina Schmucker.

But here I am and I’m still feeling kind of stuck in this fog of depression.  I keep telling people lately that it’s neither wildly good or terribly bad right now.  I see the beauty of the world and the people in it–and God Himself.  But as I wrote for our family letter, the Peachey Post, this is the line I walk:

“It feels like I’m walking on a high, narrow wall of sanity.  Sometimes it widens for a bit and I can relax and enjoy the scenery.  Other times it’s so narrow that it cuts into my feet and makes them bleed.  Anxiety and fear and overthinking nearly overtake me and I feel desperately like I’m going to fall.  When I feel like that, I often go lie down and try to forget everything by sleeping.  And surprisingly, I often do sleep.  I try to get up and walk the wall again, but then I wonder why I’m even bothering.  I have no motivation or purpose.  But still I must walk. Make another meal.  Get out in the fresh air yet again.  Prepare for company.  Clean the toilet.”

Drawing and painting helps.  Though I don’t invite people over as often as I used to, having company helps me.  We clean the house and I make food and it takes the focus off of myself.

A lot of my angst lately comes from the confusion and clutter of my house.  I’m almost ready to hire a Marie Condo.  I have so many things that don’t spark joy.  You probably wouldn’t think it’s that bad if you walked through our door right now.  As one of my kids put it, “Your house might be cluttered, Mom.  But at least it’s clean.”  (Well…thanks.) I’m sure lots of you can relate and many of you can’t.

The last time I saw my psychiatrist, I weepingly told him that I don’t really want more medications because they don’t seem to be doing a lot of good anyway.  He suggested sitting under a SAD light.  I already had one from previous bouts with depression, but I had never used it consistently.  But I have been getting up early and sitting by it for my morning prayer/reading time.  I think it might be doing some good. I’ve also tried all manner of natural supplements, which I’ve probably already told you.

I’ve been helping my sister sew some dresses for the girls and me for our Belize trip, which is less than two weeks away. I can’t believe it! We are all so excited.

If you don’t see me interacting much on Facebook lately, it is because I have come to realize that it’s better if I don’t spend much time there at all.  I get tied up in knots over the arguments and the politics.  And I am weary of all the shares instead of the personal stories.  I thought of just deactivating my account, but I use it for a family page we have there–and I also like to link my blog on Facebook.  And you know I like to post there as well, as you see that I have been doing frequently lately.  But I like Instagram so much better.  It’s much more gentle to the senses.

Having said that, I admire people who stand up for what they believe and aren’t ashamed of it.  But right now I feel overly sensitive and it’s just better if I stay away.

Bear with me as I post a few drawings for those who are not on Facebook or Instagram.img_7798img_7799img_77615f2a1c99-a80f-49ed-aa04-36fe537348e6img_7685img_7686

Well, this post feels self-centered and I’m sorry.  Some of you have asked how I’m doing, so now you know.

I LOVE this, posted on Instagram this morning by my friend Lisa.

“We are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are we free to abandon it.”img_7800

Love you and thanks again for reading here.  I’m always amazed and honored that you do.

 

Random traveling thoughts

It’s a cloudless Alberta day and we’re heading to the southern part of the province to visit my mom, sister, and our son Alec. The sun is bright in my face and I don’t mind a bit. I soak up the vitamin D that’s available these days.

I look in the mirror and my hair looks especially grey in the bright sunlight. Bummer. Growing older gracefully is a challenge for me. I’ve put on a lot of pounds in the past year too. I want to blame it on medication, but it might partly be that I’m 45. We hope to go to Belize in February and some of our friends down there won’t be afraid to tell us if we’re fatter and greyer than when they last saw us. 😩😂 But I have always appreciated honesty. It’s just hard to know when to fight these things and when to accept them.

We just passed Onaway and Villeneuve. Town names fascinate me. Peace River. BayTree. Fox Creek. Moose Jaw. Red Deer. And other more interesting ones yet. I wonder about their origins.

I’m fighting to just stay on top mentally, so I have a hard time with big goals for 2020. But Liesl gave me a pretty planner for Christmas and I will feel bad for her if I don’t use it. So that’s one of my goals. And then there’s the Belize trip to look forward to. I can’t wait to feel that warm sun and walk the village streets to visit friends and maybe spend a day at the cayes.

What is your dream vacation? A Belize trip is pretty high on my list. So I feel very fortunate! But I’d also love to see Italy and Switzerland. Or visit friends in Chile. And some winter I’d love to take a motor home and tour the southern states and come back to BayTree when the spring mud is gone.

We had a lovely Christmas. And I’m happy to spend part of vacation with family from further away.

Please entertain me. Answer one or all of the following questions:

1. Tell me interesting town names close to you.

2. What is true beauty to you?

3. What is your dream vacation?

4. What do you look forward to in 2020?

If you answer them all and I know you well enough (even if it’s just online), I’ll reply with something I appreciate about you. ❤️

Happy New Year!

December

I sit in the little (now grey because it has new siding!) church with the fading brown carpet. It’s Sunday school time and we’re discussing sharing good tidings of great joy. The sun shines on my face from the south windows and I bask in it. But only briefly. It is gone again soon. The days are so short right now, with the sun just having risen on our way to church at 9:45, and setting again at 4:30. As my friend Laura put it in her Christmas letter: “The sun rises in the deep southeastern sky and makes a small arc over the southern sky before setting in the deep southwestern sky.”

But the dawn and dusk are very long on either side of those times I cite.

I walk in the fierce cold. I wonder again why we live here. But then I don’t.

In the long evenings I draw. We play Phase 10 and Take One.

Each year I like to skate at least a time or two. It’s sunny and Sunday and I take Liesl and a friend to the community rink at the post office/convenience store where the rink is built.

We go caroling in the evening and try to keep our time short at each place because it’s -20 and people stand with their doors open. Some bundle up and come outside to listen.

Bryant has been gone for almost two months working at his aunt and uncle’s bulk foods store in Wisconsin. He comes home and brings cheese and meat and cards and gifts and chocolate covered pretzels and almonds and special salsas and homemade snack mix from aunt Michele and cheese curds and recipe ingredients for a chicken casserole he liked from aunt Monica. And that is not all. And though we already felt blessed and fortunate, we feel it even more now.

The Christmas letters and photos are sent and the lights glow softly on this Monday morning when Dan and I are up earlier than we wish we were. We stayed up late talking with Bryant and then the kids kept us awake talking even longer. But it was a happy sound and I didn’t really mind it. Having grown up children is so fun!

Here I am, surrounded by light and love and Jesus. Oh my. It’s not as idyllic as I might be making it sound. There’s already too much screen time and the holidays have just begun. And our month of no gluten or sugar may as well never have happened as the Christmas goodies pile in.

But I want to SHARE the goodness. And there are lots of ways to do that.

I’ve had three months of relatively stable health and that makes me incredibly happy and thankful. Lately I feel like I’m hanging by a thread of sanity, though. I have to work so hard to stay on top of the negative anxious thinking.

Praise music pounds.

Or I sit in quietness and read aloud.

Colossians 1:

I have confident hope of what God has reserved for me in heaven.

I will be strengthened with all His glorious power so I will have the endurance and patience I need.

I will be filled with joy.

I can share in the inheritance.

I live in the light. I have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of his dear son.

I have had my freedom purchased and my sins forgiven.

I am reconciled to Jesus through his death.

I can stand before his presence without a single fault.

Or I take deep breaths.

In with peace. Out with guilt.

In with freedom. Out with bondage.

And so on. And on.

If you have time, read this. It was shared by my friend Laurel on Facebook.

I need to pour my coffee and add maple syrup and cream. There will be laundry. There’s cheeseball to make and something healthy to dream up for supper. There are fading spruce boughs to replace with fresh pine.

Love you all.

Merry Christmas! If it’s not all you wish it would be-or all that someone else’s is-may you still feel the presence of Immanuel. God with us.

Not a lot to say

I’m sitting here in a white hotel bathrobe on a white bed and I feel like a queen.

Dan is off to the last sessions of the western Canadian conference for soil health and grazing here in Edmonton. I had a wonderful soak in the bathtub and was going to work on my Mast family portrait. But I thought I’d write a few words here first. Since I don’t have a lot to say, I guess I will write until I find some words.

At home in BayTree, the children are off to school, Tori is subbing for the younger grade teacher, and the church ladies are together for sewing circle. “Sewing circle ” is simply a Mennonite term for getting together to sew. For our group, that usually means sewing comforters for places in the world where people need warm blankets.

I was actually sad to miss this month’s sewing. it’s been a long time since we were together. But I can’t say I don’t want to be where I am either. 

Last night Dan took me to the banquet at his convention. It is always good to be surrounded by other farmers: Plaid shirts, belt buckles, and some Stetsons. I felt a bit out of my league as the little Mennonite wife, but the roast beef and bean salad and cheesecake were so good. And Dan comes alive in settings like that. He is so passionate about regenerative agriculture.

Earlier in the day, I went secondhand shopping with my friend Angela. We ate sweet little crepes at Cora’s restaurant and had a good talk. (Actually the crepes were big, not little, come to think of it.)

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It’s now nearly 2:00. I’m having a London Fog at Tim Hortons and it’s too sweet. But I will try not to complain. My life is SO GOOD, people. I feel that deeply this week.

My friend Carissa posted this on Instagram today.

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I’ve never liked political discussions, but ever since I’ve struggled through depression and anxiety, I can hardly bear them. So you will see me being very quiet if politics comes up. But I’ve been really challenged lately to pray for world leaders. It’s something I haven’t done much and God says to.

There’s a cute white haired couple nearby who are eating their chili and rolls. They were reading the newspaper too.

I am not a fan of Tim Hortons. But their chili is good.

I painted the faces and cheeks (favourite part) of my Mast family this morning. And I wished for every tired mom the three days of leisure and reflection that I’ve had. I wish I could gift it to each one of you. Now for the long drive home.

I bought most of my Christmas gifts online around the middle of November, but some of them haven’t arrived yet. I’m trying not to stress about it. Our kids are old enough to understand slow mail. But I still pray they come very soon.

It’s snowing. It would be romantic if it didn’t make slippery roads.

Well. I wrote–but I still didn’t come up with something important to say.

I wish you a Christmas filled with peace of heart.