Thursday, August 18, 2016

Goodbye Brain

Before I begin, I love all of my sisters.  There is one though, with whom I share a brain, and it is the eve of her departure.  I am a bit sad to say the least.  I would feel sad if any of my sisters were leaving and they were the last to leave, but I am particularly sad for this departure...this year.  It signifies the beginning of the end.  The end of another magical, mystical, summer at the shore.  The end of long nights spend playing cards, watching the Olympics...or trash TV, doing the dishes after a delicious meal or just hanging together.  It is the end of having someone who "gets me" around whenever I need/want.  There aren't many people who just get you... look around.  She is the other half of my brain..the end of my sentence, the yin to my yang and since we live apart most of the year, being together for a month has been awesome!

Tonight we met on the beach, after her hellish day of cleaning, packing and detaching.  The clouds were perfect, the breeze was cool and sweet and the sun was setting.  She is a beach person and this was her last hurrah!  We then high tailed it to the farmhouse to take in the rest of the sunset.  It was bitter sweet.  I noticed how far the sun has moved on the horizon and it reminded me that the end is near.  Before I know it, I will be the one having that hellish day/week of cleaning and packing and disengaging and there will be no sisters to say goodbye to me and no one will miss me the way I will miss her when she leaves.  It will just be the end.  So, goodbye Brain!  It has been another great summer!  Thanks for the memories!
It just won't be the same....

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Martha or Mary?

 Martha had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’ And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken from her’ ” (Luke 10:39-42).

I realize this reading has deeper, more spiritual meanings but as a woman, wife and mother I revert to the simplest translation.... Martha is doing all the work and Mary is having all the fun.  I want to be Mary but find myself in the role of Martha many times.  It is a gift to be able to host gracefully, without stress or resentment and still be able to enjoy the "good part".  The trick is balancing both.

Afternoon lobster feast, enjoying the good part!
Every summer I am reminded of this story about Martha and Mary.  With a large family and so many friends and relatives around for the summer there is always the challenge to balance being a good host and enjoying the guests.  I tell myself I will not worry about doing "all the work", instead I will focus more on the people around me.  Every summer I inevitably have a Martha moment.  This feeling usually comes after a long day or longer night and is the result of too little sleep brought on by too much socializing.  I'm my own worst enemy.

We are lucky here because the communal nature of this place spreads the work load.  There are definitely times when the hosting duties fall heavily on one person or one family but there are also times when it is spread around and everyone has a chance to entertain and be entertained.  It is one of the things about this place that makes it so special.  Everyone is willing to pitch in and help with the hosting duties allowing everyone to enjoy good conversation and time together.

All the Marys and Marthas....Mikes and Jims of the shore.
It is easy on the host when everyone helps out.
There is never a problem enjoying the "good part" either!
I think of the lessons our children learn by being part of this dynamic.  They learn to share their fruits and pitch in by helping with the cooking, serving and cleaning because that is what everyone around them does.  They learn to sit and talk to people in a social setting.  They learn to take their turn being a guest and being a host.  We all want to sit and enjoy like Mary but there is no meal without Martha.  Both roles are important and valuable.  Balance is the key.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Simple Pleasures

July snuck by with only one blog post.  It's hard to sit at a computer and put together coherent thoughts if you don't first sit down at a computer.  These are the weeks that are made for family, friends and outdoor fun. While the world around us seems to have lost it's collective mind, here at Amherst Shore, Nova Scotia the days have been filled with simple pleasures and perfect weather.  It's no wonder I haven't spent time wracking my brain to come up with a great summer blog post.  I've been busy living a great summer.

No politics please, we are busy living a great summer!
One evening, back in July, I sat on our deck waiting for TJ to drive back from the airport and thought to myself how perfect it has been to be here, away from the television filled with bad news, controversy and politics. I've always said being here is like taking a giant step back in time to a simpler life.  Spotty Internet connections and cottages without televisions allow us to disconnect and just live.  How long has it been since you just lived?  I sat on the deck waiting and made a mental list of all the simple pleasures here that help bring us all back to life!

I look over the pictures I've taken so far this summer, relatively fewer than in past years, and they are photos of people playing games, the beach, sunsets, the natural beauty that surrounds us here and the smiling people we love.
Who needs/wants to sit at the computer with this outside?
The bird feeder outside my window is full of finches and a line of hungry customers waiting their turn.  There is a little squirrel who eats his evening chestnuts on our steps every day and seems totally unafraid of humans.  The hummingbirds helicopter back and forth to the feeder on the window like giant bugs.  There is the sound of cars on the nearby road, far away enough to not ruin the peace but close enough to let us know we are not alone.  These are the sights and sounds that surround me as I make my mental list.
get in line!

snacking on chestnuts
Simple pleasures are all around us here, from hanging sheets on a clothesline to dry in the breeze to picking fresh strawberries at the U-pick up the road.  Making a least at our house, involves first going out into the garden and harvesting the lettuce, washing it, tearing it and putting it in the crisper early enough in the day to be crisp by dinner time.  I take pleasure in watching the fields along the road change colors over the summer from bright green to dark green to light yellow to deep gold by the end of the summer letting me know the days of summer are coming to a close.  There is nothing more peaceful than sitting in the sun room with the windows open and the breeze blowing through the curtains and dozing off on the sofa while reading a book.  Simple pleasures of the shore.

The things we do with other people are simpler up here.  Most days begin with exercise either on the front lawn or on the road walking, biking, boot camping (not me but I've heard it exists) or inside doing yoga.  There is no trip to the gym and no fancy equipment.  Later, we all migrate to the beach to visit, walk on the sandbars, watch the kids play, and swim (again,not me, unless you call wading up to my knees swimming).  There have been days that we all want nothing more than to stay on the beach until night because it is so pleasant and peaceful.  Dinner can wait...right!?

There is also the annual bonfire and hot dog roast when we really do get to stay on the beach until night and no one really has to worry about dinner.  This year the evening was about as perfect as they get with clear skies, sandbars out and bugs non existent...which never happens.  There is nothing better than a hot dog roasted over an open fire sprinkled with the tiniest bit of sand!  Simple pleasures!
I love it when my husband cooks dinner!
One of the nicest afternoons recently was spent on the front lawn of a cottage playing bingo and celebrating 50 years of the Koolaid Kids at Amherst Shore.  This group of kids raises money every summer for charities benefiting other kids in the area.  While the kids at the beach are on their vacation they meet every Tuesday morning and have held various fundraisers over the years like walk-a-thons, the ever profitable bottle drive at the end of the summer (because we drink a lot!), kid auctions, selling liquid refreshment during our annual games weekend, and this year the lovely bingo coffee house afternoon complete with 50 years of trivia, fresh baked treats, and a giant koolaid pitcher shaped cake to celebrate 50 years of kids helping kids.  It was simple (except for the planners I'm sure) and enjoyed by all! 

"I-21".....what you say in an American bar!  "O-67"  the koolaid kids began in 1967!
Great job Koolaid Kids!

I've swept the floor, cleaned the table and countertops, emptied the dishwasher, picked and cleaned lettuce, made lunch, cleaned out the refrigerator, planned dinner and changed into my bathing suit while I have been working on this post...all the while determined to finish.  No wonder I haven't posted anything in a month!  Enjoy living your summer life!

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