Monday, August 25, 2014

macro monday

I am working on improving my ability to take pictures up close and personal, so today I am joining the Macro Monday challenge. 

I found this little guy hanging on the deck of the chalet we rented in Newfoundland. I loved his colours, his furry little head and his big black eyes. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

ties that bind

“Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love."

Craig Claiborne

When I was growing up one of my favorite memories was coming home after school to the smell of fresh baked bread. My Mom would usually make sure there was a warm loaf ready for slicing into the moment I arrived. I would slather it with butter which would quickly melt into the warm, soft bread. I felt deeply loved and nourished after a long day at school. 
My mother baked thousands of loaves of bread over her lifetime, and they nourished both our bodies and our souls. Her love was overflowing with each bite we took. 

As I watched her making bread with my girls this summer, I couldn't stop looking at her hands. I thought about how much those hands had accomplished in her almost 87 years on this Earth. I thought about how much love and nourishment they deliver. I thought about the babies she loved, all the food she prepared and the comfort I found with each touch she delivered. Love resides inside of her hands. Love overflows from them in everything that she does. 

I watched as her hands now gently guided the hands of my children to create delicious loaves of  bread. How laughter and joy filled the room as they worked together to create rich memories that were also deeply rooted in love. I quietly smiled as I watched them together. I knew my children were experiencing the love that I felt throughout my whole life. 

I smiled because I know that these moments are the ties that bind.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

a hike

One of the things I love most about being in Newfoundland, besides hanging out with my family, is the rugged natural beauty that resides there. I have visited many beautiful places in my life, but for us nothing compares to Newfoundland's beauty, probably because it is more than just a place, it's "home."

We were lucky enough to spend an afternoon hiking across beautiful Great Burin Island. The hike definitely got us up close and personal with the rugged beauty of Newfoundland. In order to get to Great Burin, we had to go by boat. One of my father-in-law's friends kindly gave us a lift there in his fishing boat. He dropped us off on one side of the island and picked us up on the other side. 

Great Burin has a special charm because many years ago it was a small, bustling fishing village, but it is my understanding that the government relocated all the families to the Burin area. Today the island is peppered with a few summer cabins, but most of the year it lies silent. The day we visited we were alone, and I loved that. It was kind of fun to know we had the place all to ourselves. 

When I was a little girl, I remember spending a warm Sunday afternoon exploring a small part of this island. My uncle Sam took us there in his fishing boat. I didn't remember a lot about my visit there, but I did remember some of the cement structures that remained from the homes of the families who once lived there.

As a little girl, it felt like a magical place. At the time, I surely didn't appreciate the natural beauty that surrounded me, probably because it was part of my normal. As an adult who rarely gets to see the ocean or the rugged shores of my childhood I soaked up every single moment, both with my heart and my camera.

Our hike across the island took us about 45 minutes. 

One of the things that struck me as we hiked was the silence that seemed to rest there. The only sounds were those of nature and our voices. When our voices fell quiet, and the breeze stirred only the faintest of sounds floated through the air.  The quiet seeped through my body, and it felt very nurturing to my soul.

The entire was walk was beautiful. We saw the ocean from many different angles. We jumped over puddles, balanced on rocks and paused and took in many of the breathtaking sites. When we popped out of the forest, a beautiful meadow stretched before us, and it appeared as if it was reaching into the heavens. 

We climbed the meadow and discovered we had reached the end of our hike. The end brought with it gorgeous views of the ocean and I recognized it as the place my uncle had brought me to many years before. The structures were still standing exactly as I remembered and they seemed to whisper part of the story of the people that once called this place home. 

Our hike across the beautiful island ended with many visual surprises, and we were grateful we could now spend time exploring the shoreline.

We explored, searched for shells and sat on the beach and let the ocean breeze kiss our faces. 

That sunny afternoon had been a feast for our senses, and it was with a deep gratitude for our short visit there that we stepped aboard our boat and headed back to Burin.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

embracing change

When we decided, we would spend our summer holidays in Newfoundland this year I knew it would be very different from all the summers we had returned there in the past. Since this was my first trip back home after we had sold our childhood home. In order to embrace change in a  positive way, we decided to rent a Heritage Home in Burin for a few days.  Our instincts proved us right, and we had a magical three days.

The home we rented was a 150-year-old refurbished home that had breathtaking views of the ocean. It is extremely quiet and peaceful. Whatever window we looked through we were met with the most outstanding beauty. I refused to close the blinds until it was dark, because I couldn't bear to miss a single moment of the scenery. 

The second night we were there the fog rolled in after dinner and that brought with it another form of beauty. We literally watched the fog creep over the ocean and then climb the hills until we were surrounded by a complete blanket of white haze. 

The scenic views, the clean cozy cottage, the ocean and being together as a family was good for our souls. It also allowed us to transition into a new way of spending time home in Newfoundland. I also think it was therapeutic for my mom to join us here. I know it was hard for her to have us arrive and not be in her home to welcome us with good food and a cozy place to stay. When we settled into the cottage, I could feel us all relaxing into a new way of visiting together. We laughed, cooked meals and enjoyed each others company exactly as we had done on every other visit we had made to Newfoundland, except we did inside different walls. It felt right. 

I smile when I think that inside a 150-year-old home we were sprouting new traditions and beginnings as a family. I can't help but wonder about the family who moved into their new home 150 years prior to our visit and how they were probably embracing change, too. I believe embracing change makes life's path so much easier, for we all know change is inevitable and helps us grow stronger. 

Here's to the blessings of change and the lessons we learn because of it. 

Friday, August 8, 2014


We spent the evening by the sea savouring some delicious fish and chips. It's not something we indulge in very often, but we can't visit Newfoundland without treating ourselves. It was worth every bite.

Miss C is not a fan of eating fish, but hanging out by the ocean searching for rocks and shells is where it's at for her. I love just sitting back and watching her scour the shore. She takes her search very seriously.

She pops by periodically to share her treasures with me, but she doesn't stop long for fear she might miss the perfect shell. I adore these moments, perhaps because I know someday soon she will lose her interest in the rock and shell hunt, at least for a while. So as I watch her happily lost in her search I savour every single moment.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

the missed shot

While vacationing in Newfoundland, we went bird and whale watching in Bay Bulls. It was a beautiful day, and the ocean was abnormally calm. 

We set sail at 9:30 am and it only felt like minutes before we started spotting whales.

The whales come to the shores of Newfoundland to feed on the rich abundance of Caplin. It's like a 24-hour buffet, and the whales spend their time here stocking up for their winter back in the Caribbean. To have been in the presence of these beautiful creatures was surreal. My heart was so full and happy.

We stood on the boat and waited for them to appear from their morning breakfast. They swim down close to the bottom of the ocean to feed and then glide up to the surface for air. It didn't take long before we saw their beautiful backs gliding through the water. 

It was a real treat when they would lift their tails out of the water as if to say hello. 

We watched these amazing creatures in their natural habitats for a long time, but the boat tour was only two hours, and it was time to head off to check out the puffins and some of the other birds at the natural bird sanctuary nearby.

As the boat turned and headed toward the birds, I stood at the back of the boat soaking in all that I had witnessed. I let my camera rest, and I got ready to relax into the gorgeous scenery that surrounded me. 

As I stood in awe of the rugged beauty and the magnificent whales, without warning one of the whales leaped out of the water. This massive creature flew into the air and gently slid back beneath the surface. Excitement filled the boat and again without warning the whale jumped a second time. I missed both shots with my camera. I'd be lying if I didn't admit to a pang of disappointment, it would have been an outstanding picture, but the truth is sometimes life is better witnessed with our heart than with our cameras. It truly was a beautiful sight and although that moment will not be in my photo books, it will live within me. 

I am completely intrigued by nature and watching a whale jump effortlessly out of the ocean feels completely miraculous to me. How could such a massive creature project itself out of the water? I guess we if we follow our instincts, we can achieve what at first glance might seem to be impossible. A good lesson to bring home with me.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” 
~ Pablo Picasso ~

Miss C has always loved to draw. When she was about 18 months old, we took her to the pumpkin patch, and a few days later she painted an orange pumpkin with a trail of green leaves. I was surprised by how perfectly she had painted it at such a young age. Thankfully her love of drawing didn't end there, and she still spends plenty of her free time lost in her artwork.  I love it when she disappears into her room, and a little while later arrives at my side holding one of her drawings. I have many of her creations framed in the house.

Today we decided to set up the art supplies on the deck table and enjoy the warm summer sun while we painted. I joined her, because I love to sit next to her and lose myself with a paintbrush. I am no Picasso, but it is so relaxing to paint just for the fun of it.
It was fun to witness a baby tiger slip from her imagination and boldly appear on the blank piece of paper.

The jungle soon appeared.

Once the picture was created, it was then time to splash on a little colour.

For many years, I didn't hold a paintbrush, but thankfully spending quality time with my children has helped me to rekindle this creative outlet.  I hope that Miss C's love of art will not stay framed in her childhood but will follow her through her entire life. I truly believe being creative is important to our well-beings.