Showing posts from February, 2013

Port Soiree

By Belinda  It got a brief mention in  The Secret Adventures of Susan's Scottish Scarf :  Port Soiree  in  Schomberg . When I wrote about it then, I mentioned the artsy ambiance and tasty food. Although Susan and I decided to share a slice of apple pie for dessert, instead of serving it on one plate with two forks, the host, Alvaro, presented us with two plates, with our mini slices of pie, beautifully presented, each with a swirl of caramel sauce. Susan had joked with him that the pie would not be as good as mine. Alvaro said, "Oh, you make pie?" And after we ate every crumb of the scrumptious pie and proclaimed in ecstasy over its perfection and the tangy cranberries hidden among the slices of apples, he said, "But not as good as yours?"   "Oh, better than mine," I had to admit! I regretted then that I hadn't taken my camera along, but today when I went there with another friend, Joanne, I remembered. And here, so that you too can know ab
By Belinda In the countdown to my trip to England, I will land there 6 weeks from today! One of the things I decided to do was have copies made  for Rob  of some of the old family photos I have--and while I was doing it for him, I made extra copies for other family members.  They were ready today and after picking them up I gave Brenda her set of 32, 8 x 10 photos. As we sat at the kitchen table looking at them together, I realized that I will have to number them and make a chart to go with them, explaining who it is that is on each of the photos as Brenda did not of course recognize the faces, some of them in photos taken 90 or more years ago. But there was one that she picked up and said, "Mom, who is this?" as she stared at it,"Those are my cheekbones, and my jawline." It was a photo of her great grandmother; my father's mother, Lucy Cater; taken in about 1920, that she was looking at. I had never noticed the striking resemblance before. Brenda


By Belinda Hawaiian and pepperoni pizza; miniature red velvet and white velvet cakes and  Sinbad Turtle Shells --we were celebrating Tippy's 15th birthday.  As we devoured slices of George's pizza from the  Bond Head Restaurant , Brenda regaled us with Tippy's birth story and we all remembered the day she entered the world at 6lb 9 oz, and looking a lot like her great, great grandmother, my own Omie Schipper, from Holland. The girls talked about the new high school they'll be attending in the fall, and Tori said that she already knows which university she wants to attend--the  University of Guelph ,  Ontario Veterinary College .  They were on their way out of the kitchen to go back downstairs to their apartment when Tori noticed something in the glass part of the coffee grinder hanging on the wall. She slid out the square glass "coffee grind catcher" and cried, "Aaah! Spider!" and put it down on the floor where she and Brenda both gazed d

What Really Matters

By Belinda I drive snow covered roads under the blanket of night. Up hill and down; a roller coaster country road slicing through fields waiting, hushed and cold, for spring. Light twinkles from distant windows; from farmhouses dotted in the dark fields.  The village I call home is a cluster of light in the darkness and I think that fifty years from now, most of us; and a hundred years from now, certainly all of  us; will be gone. And this land, this village will be inhabited by people completely different, just as one hundred years ago it was also so. It makes me think of what really matters. It isn't houses, furniture or any of the stuff we sweat our lives away to buy or dust and tidy! The only thing that really matters is the way our lives touch the lives of others in the endless chain of connection that forms the river of life. Do we touch lives at all? Because that matters. Do we touch with kindness and gentleness, humour and grace?  Is our touch infused with the

"Good" Bye Remembered

By Belinda Here in Canada this is Family Day weekend. Last year it was just a couple of weeks after we left England after what we did not then know was our last visit with Mum. On Family Day I called Mum and Rob, not realizing that it was to be my last conversation with Mum. We rarely know those "lasts" but we can look back and see how God in his graciousness was giving us gifts in those moments.  Of course I have been thinking a lot about this time last year, especially this weekend. I am thanking God for the gift that Mum was to my life and to many who have read so much about her here, and have had my posts resonate with your own memories of loved ones. As I remember her, I will be sharing a few posts from last year that I hope will bless you too, to read again. This one was posted on January 27, 2012. I hope that you, as I, can see God's fingerprints on our lives in it: It was Saturday evening and Mum was tucked up cozily in bed. Our friends, Eileen, Chris and
By Belinda I'm sorry that the story of Mum's stroke and how that impacted all of us, has taken so long to share! I am almost finished. Tonight I am rereading words I wrote on February 25th, 2004, on a plane flying home to Canada, reflecting on the month I had spent in England and all that it had meant to us. Here is some of what I wrote: It was so hard to leave dear Mum this morning, but I feel so grateful for having had four precious weeks with her and for all that God enabled me to accomplish.   So many supports have been put in place: Her feet are taken care of; hairdressing appointments arranged; supplies ordered; vision checks scheduled; care givers organized (well "organized" sounds too militant--but what I mean is that they know Mum a little better than they have done without me;) and--so wonderful--Mum has been out with people--her friends--to the Sycamore Club. It was so different leaving Mum this time. I found myself caressing her and kissing her s

Many Plots Thicken at Once

By Belinda As I have been hatching my plot to surprise Rob, Mum Burston has been planning a trip to England in April as well. This is quite a big deal, since she is the same age as my mum would have been--87 this year. She is flying over with Paul's brother John, and his wife Wendy. They will spend 3 days with family in Redditch--just 3 miles from  Alvechurc h; then they will travel south to Cornwall and spend a week in  Penzance   before going on to  Southampton  and then to  New York City  by boat. Quite the amazing trip! But it was the 3 days in Redditch that excited me this morning  when Mum B was filling me in on the details after church, because they will be there on April 8th--and I get to Alvechurch on the 6th! Sorry for all the exclamation marks but this is exciting. This afternoon when I got home I picked up the phone to call Rob as we hadn't spoken for a few weeks. I noticed that it was beeping to alert me to a message. It was from Rob, who left it yesterday, w
By Belinda "Aargh, I can't believe I did it again!" Have you ever found those words more frequent flyers on the airline of your life, than you wished? I know I have. I was thinking about that this morning and pretty much complaining to God about it. I mean, how often have I prayed, "Make me more like you?"  "When is he going to take me up on the offer?" I wondered to myself.  Then I realized that the weakness I was frustrated about at that moment, is not really a weakness at all; it's just part of who I am; in my DNA and neither bad nor good.  This morning it was my quick reactions that I was feeling hopeless about; but I also respond quickly in many ways that aren't negative. For instance if you enjoy watching movies in peace and quiet--do not watch them with me. And at concerts I am the first and last to applaud, and may be the first to jump to my feet in a standing ovation. I have conversations in my head all the time, about toning

They Said There's Snow Coming!

By Belinda Granddaughter Tori took this photo of Hazel and Mo Mo! It had to be shared!

Sharing Some More Excitement

  By Belinda We had some great news on Friday. Tippy ( (of chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream fame)  was accepted into the  Secondary Arts Program  at Huron Heights Secondary School this fall. The website describes it as:  A four-year intensive arts program for artistically talented students in York Region.    Tippy had to put together a portfolio and audition for a space. There were 48 applicants for about 20 spaces. Brenda was intensely stressed!!! Tippy had a quiet calm. When I talked to her after she heard the news and asked her about the audition, she said with a smile, "I was pleased with my work." We are so happy for her! And it called for a family celebration with ice cream cake.  Chocolate peanut butter ice cream cake of course!


By Belinda I have a secret to share--so that everyone who follows this blog can anticipate with the same excitement I am experiencing... April 6 is Rob's 60th birthday and after thinking about it for weeks, I committed a week or so ago and booked a flight to England on April 5. I will arrive in Birmingham, with a brief stop over in Amsterdam, at 8.40 a.m. on THE DAY. Rob will have no idea that I'm coming, but everyone else close to us knows already--my nephew John--Chris, Eileen and Nel-Rose, and Auntie May and her family. Rob has no internet--not even a computer--so I am safe in writing this here. John will be at the airport to meet me. Chris, Eileen and Nel-Rose, who live up in the Lake District in Kendal, are going to call Rob and ask if they can visit that day, which will be a normal thing for them to do. This will probably spur a bit of a clean up in Rob's flat to get ready for their visit. I am so excited. I've only done this once before, I think it was fo

The Wisdom of Waiting :)

By Belinda Disasters--well, let's just say they are all relative. Bearing that in mind, we had one at cell group dinner last night. Let me set the stage. It was Thursday, so people began coming upstairs, or in from the chilly February Ontario evening between 6 and 6.30, until 13 people including  4 teenage girls, 5 people in their 60's and others between were setting tables, opening cupboards and getting out condiments, slicing buns, carrying salad and salad dressings and setting out the drinks, while I worried about whether the  Pulled Pork  recipe that I had made for the first time, had turned out right.  The buns lightly toasted were brought to the tables and I called people from couches and conversations to be seated. They came in a flurry that looked like a grand game of musical chairs. The salad circulated, the pork was heaped onto buns and declared just right. I was relieved! Something in my own soul is fed in some inexplicable way when I have placed a meal on a