Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Do not ask your children

to strive for extraordinary lives.

Such striving may seem admirable,

but it is a way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder

and the marvel of an ordinary life.

Show them the joy of tasting

tomatoes, apples and pears.

Show them how to cry

when pets and people die.

Show them the infinite pleasure

in the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.

 – by William Martin


This Wedding!

This was a Wedding!!

This is the wedding that I was happily involved in helping organize since the day my daughter was proposed to by her high school prom date.

Jenn and Chris at Trafalgar Castle

This is the wedding that, if you knew the stories of this lovely girl and boy, you would truly be amazed that they found each other again, and even more amazed that they would fall in love and have the joy of being together as husband and wife.

This is the wedding that my 7-year-old granddaughter had waited for, with bated breath, to welcome her stepfather who loves her by choice, without reserve. A better father you’ll never find.

This is the wedding where the choices of the wedding dress, food, wine and music were secondary to the welcoming of friends and family to come together in celebrating their happiness together. It was about the day, but more about the whispering of vows in the hushed chapel and later in the evening celebrating their joy with memorable speeches, great food and endless music until the wee hours of the morning.

It was the wedding that poured rain the entire weekend. It was a relentless, unforgiving kind of rain that came down upon us mercilessly. It rained all day, all night. Ah, but I lie… the skies held their breath for a few outdoor photos we managed to snap in minutes before sending us back inside.  And as we all have heard, rain on one’s wedding day is good luck and I guess it’s true as it rained on my wedding day 37 years ago.

This was a wedding of firsts.  My brother was asked to be the master of ceremonies, a job he’s never held before, and with endless enthusiasm, weeks of interviewing families and speech writing, he was perfect!! Our son, who is a quiet reserved guy, came to the mike and gave a speech from his heart, without rehearsal or hesitation. He spoke of his love for his sister and niece, and welcomed his new brother-in-law into the family. He was a natural speaker, who knew!? He was perfect.

Jenn, Chris and Mackenzie do the toast!

It was a first also for us when we watched with tears and smiles the father and granddaughter walk down the aisle, arms linked on either side of the bride, and they were speechless. It was a wedding where (as far as I know) everything went without issue…. nothing lost, broken or unscheduled.  Well, maybe one thing but it was fixed by the wonderful master of ceremonies!

This was a wedding to meet new family members, make new friends and overjoyed to welcome long time friends to the celebrations. It was day and night of fun, smiles, happiness and more importantly, love.

This wedding was more than simply a day or a date on the calendar, more than a memory of the event.  It was a perfect day and a happy ending love!

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Blessed By A Stranger!


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Last Thursday was a warm, perfect kind of summer day and I was on my way to meet coworkers for lunch at an outdoor patio. We’ve all been busy or on vacation so this was a perfect way to unwind, reconnect and get ready for the fall work that will bombard us again for many months to come.  I was looking forward to the afternoon – it was going to be fun and I was grinning like a kid getting ready for a beach trip. There was a nice breeze, the kind that you only get in the summer, billowing gently through the open windows in my car. I had my favourite music playing in the background and was waiting for the advanced light to turn green for me.

Then out of nowhere I sneezed, not once, but three times.  Now I’m not a loud sneezer mind you, but I can surely be heard in another room, so I’m definitely not one of those “I’ll keep it a secret sneeze” people.  I sometimes have a “pretend sneeze” where I think it’s coming, it changes its mind and then comes out like a whisper, but for the most part, they’re a big cachoou!!

“Bless you!” Surprised, I turned down my radio, searched around for the voice and flowerpotclipartlooked over to the car on my right.  The driver had his windows down, his head leaning out a bit and was calling over to me with a big smile on his face.

“Bless you!” he calls out again.  I smiled and said “Thanks, that’s very kind of you.”

“Well, now you can pass it on, and maybe I’ll win the lottery, or we both will.” he laughed. “I don’t need much, I’m not greedy, just a bit to pay my bills or maybe take a trip somewhere.  We’re here on vacation from Newfoundland, and we love it here in the summer.  I don’t want anything really, I just wanted to bless you. I hope you have a good day!”

“You as well” I said, “And thank you again, no one has ever blessed me while sitting in my car at a stop light before. Have a wonderful holiday!”

My light finally turned green, and as I’m making my turn, I was able to hear him say “Now there’s a lovely lady.”

I could say something along the same line …”Now there’s a lovely gentleman!”

I know I’ve experience many random acts of kindness, but some are so subtle you don’t see or feel them. I absolutely loved this one – the man made my good day turn into a great day simply by doing something so unexpected and fun at the same time.  I passed it on the same day, but I’m not telling how I did it.

I hope I’ve inspired you, now go be your own random act of kindness!



Return of the Robin, or not?


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Will Spring EVER get here?! And exactly how do we know it’s actually arrived?

For most of us, stepping out the door waiting for that warmer blast of air to grace our face, or listening to weather reports promising warmer weather don’t often work for us. It’s not always reliable. Most of us here in the southern Ontario region, however, say that the return of spring is only when we notice that the Robins have returned.

But actually, the Robins never really left. They just change their behavior in the winter so we don’t notice them as much.image robin

Robins eat worms, but they also eat lots of other things, too like insects, grubs, and even snails. We tend to notice them around our gardens because they hunt for these things on the ground. But they also eat fruit, which they search for in trees and shrubs, which is not where we’re used to seeing them.

When winter comes, the worms and insects aren’t as available to them, so during the cold months their diet consists mostly of fruit.

You may not see them in your garden, so you think they’ve gone away, but they are year round residents in our area. During the winter months Robins gather together into huge flocks, sometimes numbering hundreds or even thousands of birds.

And they fly around in these flocks in search of fruit. When they find it, the whole flock will descend and strip every berry from the trees and shrubs that they find, often in a single afternoon.

Plan now to add fruiting and berrying native shrubs and trees to your garden so you can welcome the Robin to your winter home next year.

Good choices include: American Holly (Ilex opaca), Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), Cranberry Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum), and Winterberry (Ilex verticillata).

Source courtesy of Birds and Blooms

The Best Stove Top Popcorn


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I love popcorn. Just ask my family, who has the same affliction as I do. Nothing, I mean nothing, can satisfy a craving better than hot popped corn in a big bowl and then gulping it down, handfuls at a time.

It started innocently enough. When we were young my parents would pile us kids into the back seat of the car along with big bags of popped popcorn, and away we’d go to the drive in movie theatre. We were happy there, three kids in the back seat watching movie after movie, eating our popcorn and gulping our pop (a treat for those nights). It couldn’t get any better than that. When we got older, there was Saturday Hockey Night in Canada and while watching the game, there we’d all be with big bowls of hot buttery popcorn and cheering on our team – it was family night, it was hockey and popcorn.


So I’m sharing what I think to be the best way to make popcorn. Popping kernels on the stove top might not be new, but it might be new to those who grew up with the microwave popcorn. Sure, I made the microwave popcorn for more years than I care to admit to. But I finally remembered how my parents made it, and rediscovered the stove top method.

This is amazingly the best. The wonderful smell, the sound of the kernels in the pan, the spattering of oil … hmm.  For the purist moments, I leave it plain. Other times I might lather it with seasoning, add some sugar in the pot for a kettle version or drizzle it with delicious honey butter. I’ve discovered recipes that are so good, that when you drizzle white melted chocolate and add some sprinkles, it takes on a whole new world of flavour and taste. Who knew chocolate and popcorn could work together! Since rediscovering this way of making popcorn, I’ve vowed to never go back to the microwave stuff again.

This version is easy, takes only 3 ingredients, I can make as much as I like, costs me pennies and if that’s not enough to entice you, the smell alone will drive you crazy!

Stove Top Popcorn
(courtesy of

Yields about 2-3 servings

3 tablespoons coconut oil */**
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1/2 teaspoon popcorn salt, more or less to taste

In a large 8-quart pot, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add 3-4 popcorn kernels, cover, and continue heating until they have popped. This is how you know the oil is hot enough to begin the popping process. Add the rest of the popcorn kernels, cover, and remove from heat. Swirl the pot around to evenly distribute the oil around the kernels. During this wait period, all of the popcorn kernels reach the same temperature, which allows them to pop at more or less the same time.

In approximately 30 seconds, return the pot to the heat. Cover to avoid spattering oil, but keep the lid slightly askew to allow the steam to escape; this will result in crisper popcorn. Soon after, the kernels should begin popping. Every so often, completely cover the pot and shake it lightly to prevent the kernels from burning. In 2-3 minutes, the popcorn should be completely popped.

Immediately transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle on the salt, toss, and serve hot.

*Any oil with a high smoking point will do, such as peanut, grapeseed, or vegetable oil. Use whatever you have in the cupboard.