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Showing posts from December, 2014

A Glimpse of a Girl

Once upon a time in England, lived a quiet, shy girl, who loved nothing more than to lose herself in the pages of a book. She also loved to draw, write and take photographs. When she was 12 she started 5 years of Domestic Science classes at school, in which she discovered a passion for cooking. She loved English, art and history and singing hymns. When not reading or drawing, she was always busy sewing, knitting or doing embroidery.

The year she turned 12 her parents gave her a five year diary for Christmas. It only lasted her for four years because once she turned 16 she couldn't fit everything she wanted to say into the small space available.

In 1963 her father made his two children a heavy wooden sled, (which English children call a "sledge.") It was painted maroon, and because he also nailed aluminum strips to the wooden runners, it ran as swift as the wind! That winter the girl developed chilblains--painful itchy patches on the backs of her heels, from prolonged time …

A Life of Celebration

I've been busy baking many pies this week, so instead of writing something new, I am sharing a post from the archives--first published 5 years ago as part of a series of posts about the time in our lives when our children were growing up and we were house parents to a group of 12 men with disabilities. This is about our Christmases then...


Brenda and I sipped our Saturday morning coffee recently, sitting back in comfortable armchairs in the sunshine that streamed through the windows of our spacious back room. She was thinking back to her childhood and the impact it had on her, her ten years of growing up at Maplewood Lodge.

She said, "I was always surrounded by adults who listened to me and made me feel as if what I had to say was actually interesting."

"And we celebrated everything!"

Yes, we did celebrate. We celebrated St. Patrick's day by giving prizes to the person who wore the greatest number of green items of clothing or we had Irish stew and mashed potat…

Traditions Held Dear

Did you know that the word "tradition" comes from the Latin "tradere"; to transmit, or give for safekeeping? Thank you Wikepedia for that information! 

This, of all times of the year is bound up in tradition. Who can't look back on their childhood and remember, not just that there were Christmases, but the particular way in which it was done; the little rituals that you could count on?

When our children were growing up, they knew that they would have one gift on their bed, along with a Christmas stocking when they woke up on Christmas morning. I think we hoped (vainly) that this would buy us a few more minutes in bed! 

As new families form they make their own traditions based on thier values. One young mom with two preschoolers has begun a tradition of sharing their family Christmas with friends who would otherwise be alone. How true to the spirit of Christmas to shift the focus from giving things, to giving the gift of welcome. 

And sometimes we hold onto traditio…