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Archive for the ‘Glimpses’ Category

Goodbye Grandpa

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On March 6th—the day after Melanie’s birthday and two days before Joel’s—my grandpa passed away. Nothing can prepare you for that moment suspended in time, that moment of loss that changes your life.

Most painful was being separate from my mom, my grandma, my brother, my sister. My heart yearned to be with them as they remembered Grandpa together and shed tears together.

Tonight, what really hit me, is that I’ll never see him again in this life. There is a hole left in my heart that can never be filled. Grandpa was special.

Grandpa was gentle. One of the deepest memories I have of Grandpa was of him as a shepherd. As far back as I can remember, my grandparents had sheep. The sheep would sometimes graze on a neighbour’s property up the hill and across the road.

I remember walking with him as he led the sheep down the lane. The shadows were long as the sun sank below the treeline. Any other time the sheep would run away from me, but they trusted Grandpa and they meekly followed him home. Sheep have always reminded me of Grandpa. They’ve always made me feel peaceful.

Grandpa was young at heart. I can hear his laughter now! Grandpa loved to tease and we loved to hate it. He had a song for each one of us grandchildren when we were little. Mine was “Rachel Dawn what’s that diaper you have on” sung to the tune of Delta Dawn.

“Grandpa!” I’d yell and then I’d stomp to show my disapproval. Grandpa’s eyes would twinkle, and his laugh would make me laugh too.

Grandpa was devoted. Grandpa was always there for his family and friends. Twice a year, while their health permitted it, my grandparents would make the two-day journey to see us. Nothing made Grandpa happier than being put to work. He grabbed a hammer and banged the trusses of our house together in the hot sun. He helped to wire our house, or he’d grab a shovel and work the garden.

Grandpa was a great teacher. My love of learning came from my Grandpa. It was his gift to me. When I struggled with math, he showed me the joy of numbers. He knew the balance of showing by example and encouraging. He lovingly tended his garden and taught my brother and me to grow massive pumpkins by nicking the vine and placing it in sugar water. In a moment I’m back there—the black, moist earth. The lush, green vines.

The memory that keeps coming back to me is one of walking with my grandpa. I loved to go with him when I was small.

“You walk so fast, Grandpa,” I said.

He chuckled. “One day you’ll walk faster than me.”

I couldn’t imagine that day. My feet crunched, crunched in the gravel as I took two steps for every one that he took. Maybe if I took big steps like Grandpa, I’ll be able to walk as fast as him, I thought. I stretched my legs and took great strides and we laughed together.

I’ll spend the rest of my life doing that—trying to walk like Grandpa did.

Grandpa

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O Canada

Happy Canada Day!

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I sat down with a photo album this morning to look for a picture for this week’s “glimpse.” It is the very first album I made and shows my marriage and pregnancy and my new little baby. Looking at the pictures vividly brought back the emotions of that time—my wonder, joy, fear.

What an intense time of discovery! It made me remember how hard those first years can be. I wanted to be a good mom more than anything, so I read every book on parenting that I could get my hands on. The “experts” disagreed on almost all points, and the more I read the more I doubted my ability to be the mother I longed to be.

Many people say that things get a lot easier with the third baby, but my third baby came with a twin brother! So my first six years as a mom were difficult, but as I look through the pictures I realize how sweet they were too.

Here is a picture taken during the first year of being a new mom. Has it really been thirteen years?

Blessings!

❤ Rachel

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I was walking on the driveway this week when I noticed the sweetest little footprints pressed into the snow. It dawned on me that those tracks would be gone in a day, and it was a reminder that my children are growing so fast. I stopped to take a picture of the little boot track and resolved in my heart to enjoy this time while they are all with me.

Two of my children celebrate their birthdays this week—another reminder of the passage of time. It is stunning to contemplate how different my life will be in 10 years. Melanie and Myra will be 22 and 24; they will likely be moved out and might even be married with children of their own. Ethan and Owen will be almost 20 and probably on their own too. In ten years I will quite likely only have two children at home. It is sobering to realize how much my life will change in just a few short years.

I am thankful for these reminders from God to treasure these moments. I always forget how precious these years are as I get caught up in the daily struggle. May this little boot track remind us that life is short and that the childhood years are even shorter. Let’s cherish this time.

Love,

Rachel

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The Artist

Joel paintingThe last art project that I told you about ended up on the wall, but this one was safely on paper.

The big kids all did an art project while Joel was in bed, and I had a little paint left over when he got up from his nap. I gave the little guy some Q-tips and a sheet of paper and he intently got to work on his masterpiece. I think I might get this one framed. Seriously!

I’m obviously biased (and a ridiculously proud momma), but it seemed possible that others might be awed by this too. 😉

I hope that you all have an amazing week end. Hugs! ~Rachel

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P.S. I invited my good friend Christine to share a guest post on Cherishing the Moment, and that’s going to be published on Monday. I’m so excited!

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A few years ago, I went through a period of extreme forgetfulness. I was probably getting far too little sleep at the time, and it was taking it’s toll!

First, I left my wallet on the bananas while grocery shopping and didn’t realize it until I went to pay 20 minutes later. Thankfully, some wonderful person found my wallet and dropped it off at the customer service counter. (Thank you whoever you are!)

Another time I left my credit card at the till at Staples and had to go and talk to the store manager to get that back. A few days later I left my bank card in the bank machine!

So you can understand my husband’s concern. “Don’t forget anything, okay?” he said, stressing the word anything. I did my grocery shopping and mentally went over everything that I had to remember while standing at the till. I remembered my coupons. Check. I put my credit card back in my wallet. Check. I put my wallet in my purse. Check.

I walked out of the store confident that I had remembered everything. “Where are the groceries?” my husband asked when I got back to the van. Yep, I had forgotten to bring the cart out.

That was a few years ago, but that experience has caused me to mistrust my memory!

On Tuesday, I was headed to town to go skating with my children and my friend Miriam. I couldn’t help a little boasting. “Yesterday, I took the boys in for their FSA testing and I was actually the first parent there and I didn’t forget anything!” Miriam really did seem impressed. (She knows me.)

A verse popped into my mind. “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall,” I said with some nervous laughter.

“We’ll probably get to the rink and realize that you forgot something,” Miriam laughed back.

“At least we have all the kids,” I said, doing a quick head count in the mirror.

“The stroller!” I exclaimed. I had forgotten it and Joel, who is not yet two, would be difficult to deal with on the ice without my stroller.

But it all turned out perfect when Barb—another dear friend—showed up with her super duper stroller that can fit two toddlers and a baby  in a car seat!

Here is a picture that Miriam took of me pushing the three little ones. Joel, has the helmet on. He’s sitting by Barb’s little girl, and behind them is Barb’s baby all covered and sleeping snugly in his car seat.

God is so good to me. I never cease to be amazed at how he works everything out for good…even my forgetfulness. 🙂

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photo 1“Oh…my…goodness! Rachel, you better come see this!” I ran up the stairs to see what had alarmed my husband. As I entered my son’s room, I was stunned to see a four foot wide mural above his bed. I had been the brilliant mom who gave him crayons and a colouring book for quiet time.

I confess…I laughed. It was beautiful, imaginative. Maybe Michelangelo’s magnificent frescoes start out with wall art when he was four. 🙂

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