Connections, Chaos and Fun! Reading to Children in the Zoom Room.

Sometimes I see half a blurry face.  Sometimes I see only feet. Sometimes a dog suddenly appears on the screen.

 

4-year-old Abby and 6-year-old Sadie are two wiggly and giggly sisters.

The girl’s attention span can weave in and out. This is not unusual for children.  Especially when I am reading a book to them in front of a computer screen.

 

I do know they are listening to me because of how they respond.  The questions they ask:  “Where is the guard dog that barks as loudly as a dinosaur’s roar?”  Their faces are now glued to the screen.

 

They sometimes become very still and quiet, engaged in the story.

Their faces will zoom in closer to get a good look at the pictures.

At times they ask me to bring the book closer to the screen.  Especially when they are both trying to find the dragonflies.

 

When A Book Is More Beautiful In Real Life

I opened the box from Amazon and I was thrilled to see the book, “Molly Finds Her Purr” had arrived.  I knew I would like this book since I love Pamela Wight’s writing.  I have been following her popular blog for over a year.  Rough Wighting

Pamela Wight has written a delightful, engaging story about Molly, a lonely, stray cat. This story shares a message of kindness, inclusivity and compassion.  Molly meets some unique, colourful animal characters who help Molly feel accepted.  They create “A Circle of Friendship” and they help Molly find her purr. 

The detailed artwork in this book is exceptional. The vibrant colours help bring this captivating story and the animals to life. 

Detailed illustrations and vibrant colours

Life Is Different Right Now

Cuddling and reading stories used to always go together.  

We are all trying to find new ways to navigate this new life. 

      Our present day Love Language is Connecting. 

Today, this means virtual connections while we are sheltering-in-place.  Letting friends and family know we are thinking about them. 

                Children are adjusting to this new life, too.

 

We Set The Example For Our Children:

  • To be kind.  Respect the boundaries and recommendations to help people stay healthy and safe.  Yet not live in fear.
  • Adult worries do not belong on children’s shoulders. 
  • To model grace under pressure.
  • It is okay to feel sad one moment, and be smiling the next.  
  • To expect change.  Change is a constant in life always.  Especially today.
  • To feel hopeful.  People have adapted, evolved since the beginning of time.  We are still here.
  • To play.  To have fun.  To create.  To find joy in each day.
  • To be grateful.  Always remember how lucky we are.

                   Our children are watching us.  

Love Abby!

 

Reading a book to children in the Zoom room and on a computer screen can be a challenge.

It does make it easier when I am reading an engaging, fun, beautiful book like “Molly Finds Her Purr.”

Of course, I would rather cuddle with Abby and Sadie in person.

For now, I am happy to see feet, half a blurry face, a dog and

                        Especially a Smile.

Love Abby and Sadie!  Their smiles warm my heart.

 

What type of connections are you making with family, friends and children while we are sheltering-in-place? 

 

Postscript:  In future I plan to make one on one reading dates.  There was some bickering on whose turn it was to find the dragonfly on each page.  In the past, they have appreciated the dedicated time and undivided attention. 

Link to Goodreads review:  “Molly Finds Her Purr”

Amazon.ca:  “Molly Finds Her Purr”

Amazon.com“Molly Finds Her Purr”

Zoom reading date with Abby and Sadie photo credits:  Thank you to my daughter and my husband.

 

 

 

When Blogging World Meets Real World

Butchart Gardens
A magical evening at Butchart Gardens.

I was very moved by a recent comment I received on my blog.

I was asked whether “all was well” since I had been silent for more than a month in the blogosphere. 

Life Happens, To All Of Us

There are many reasons we may hit the pause button or stop blogging for a period of time.

  • We may need to be quiet to divert our time and energy to pressing concerns.
  • We may have health complications.
  • We may need to replenish our body and our spirit. 
  • We may not need a specific reason.  Just time for a break.
  • In my personal life?  An unexpected family crisis.  Then Christmas came along.

After all, blogging should be a fun part of our lives.  Not a self-imposed chore with a strict timeline.  

Yet, I respect how many bloggers set different writing goals and parameters.

Butchart Gardens

The First Post I Read in 2020

I read Shelley’s recent candid post  Quaint Revival   on why and how she continues to blog.  She brought up the concept of clicks as “fly-by clicker types” and other categories of superficial followers. Not a new topic in the blogosphere.

Shelley’s wisdom helped me reflect on the blogging friends I have made and the reasons I blog.

Are they Real People who treat me like a Real Person?  Do they  actually read my stories?  Do they read my comments on their site?  

My Aha Moment

Just like in Real Life, I prefer to hang out with Real People who genuinely share and care.  Blogging friends who truly make a difference.

You impact the Real World in more ways than you may realize.

Five Ways The Blogging World Entered My Real World This Past Month

1.   Thank you, Donna and Richard, for a fun lunch date.  Retirement Reflections    We are long past the introductory Blind Date  (Link)  stage when we met last Spring.  It feels as if we have been friends for a very long time.  It was also a real treat to meet your son and his girlfriend visiting from overseas.  We look forward to many more future get-togethers.

It feels as if we have been friends for a very long time.

 

2.   Thank you, Annika,  Annika Perry  for writing a beautiful children’s book.  I received “Oskar’s Quest” just in time for my granddaughter, Abby’s fourth birthday.  A beautifully illustrated book sharing a message of courage, kindness and friendship.  Abby loves to follow along and she is already reading (memorized) part of the book, especially the sound effects.

 

 

3.    I met Joanne Tracey on her blog  andanyways.com   Joanne’s book, “Happy Ever After” was a finalist in the 2019 Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year (Ruby) Awards. I can see why Joanne won this honour.  “Happy Ever After” is an engaging and compelling story about the nuances and challenges of relationships, marriage and happiness. Suspense, too.  I am almost finished reading this book and I still have no idea how the story will end.   

 

 

4.   Thank you, Yvette,  priorhouse blog  for your inspiration on my title for this post.  I have always remembered a sentence on your blog that resonated with me.  “Don’t you love it when blog world meets the real world?”

5.   Thank you, Suzanne,  Picture Retirement  for commenting on my “radio silence”  and “hoping all was well.”  You entered my Real World and you touched my heart.  

An evening stroll at Butchart Gardens.

I Appreciate The Blogging Community and The Friends I Have Made

  • I learn something new from every post I read.
  • I have the opportunity to vicariously experience parts of our planet through your adventures.
  • I see the world through your lens.
  • I am informed and I am entertained.
  • I learn lessons when you share your vulnerabilities.    
  • I appreciate when you share your wisdom.

Most of all, thank you for your Humanity. You make a difference.

Especially, when you touch someone’s heart.

   

Have you ever been emotionally moved by a comment on your blog?

Have you ever hit the “pause” button and taken a break from blogging?

I Was Tempted To Lie To My Husband

Aukland Zoo, New Zealand

 

Not a good thing.

Especially two weeks before our wedding anniversary.

Is there ever a good time to lie?

It is actually an act of omission.  Something I did not want to tell him.

Is this still considered a lie?

 

It Started Last Sunday

I had booked a massage.  A real treat.

Before the massage, I took off my wedding ring and I placed it in my wallet. 

An hour of bliss followed. 

On the way home I stopped at Discovery Coffee to buy coffee beans.  They have the best coffee in Victoria and it is worth the drive to pick up the beans.

                       A perfect end to my week.              

Frenchman Lake, Yukon, 2011

Monday Morning   

I realized I was not wearing my wedding ring.

I was quite certain I had placed it in my wallet. 

I checked my wallet. No luck. 

I did have spa brain yesterday, so I might be wrong.

I completely emptied my purse.  No luck.

I phoned the Spa to see whether anyone had turned in a wedding ring, a simple gold band.  Nothing.  

I phoned Discovery Coffee.  They checked the back desk where lost and found items are placed.  Nada.    

 

Darn.  I Feel Sick To My Stomach.

It is just a ring.  A material object. 

I am actually surprised I haven’t lost it before now. 

I take it off before every yoga class, sometimes placing it on the towel next to me.  I used to take it off before running when I used to run.  My fingers swell and I am not in the mood to have anything cut off.

It is only a physical item.  It is not as if anything serious has happened, especially to anyone I love.

Physical items can be replaced.

Then why do I feel sick to my stomach?

 

Forty-one Years Ago

This ring was given to me as a symbol of commitment and a promise we made to each other.

Forty-one years ago it was a shiny, simple, smooth gold band.

Forty-one years later this ring shows some wear and tear.  Not unlike all marriages.

            This ring means even more to me now.

It represents a friendship and a life we have built together.

It is symbolic of our enduring love for each other.

 

I Do Not Want To Tell My Husband

I am disappointed and upset.  I will likely start crying.

He may not even notice the missing ring.

I could replace the ring with a similar looking gold band.

My husband would say the right things to make me feel better.  He always does. 

He has been my best friend for over forty-one years.  I have always been able to count on him.

 

Thursday Morning

I phone the Spa and Discovery Coffee again.

       A last-ditch effort to find the ring.

Nothing was turned in at the Spa.

A friendly voice answers at Discovery Coffee.  Yes, they have found the ring!”  

Happy tears.

 

Am I Using Up My Good Luck Quota?

I often think of luck as a finite amount of good in my life.

I am allocated a limited quantity of good luck in my lifetime.  I do not want to waste it. 

I recently wrote about finding the Ruby Red Slippers  link here   Now my ring shows up.  These are two small examples of something good going my way.

                   What are the chances? 

I would rather save the good luck for the most important parts of my life, the people in my life.  My loved ones. 

I realize life doesn’t work this way.

We play the cards we are dealt, good and bad.

I am grateful for the hand I have been dealt for most of my life.

Jokulsarlon Glacier, Iceland

Do I Tell My husband? 

Lying is not a good thing.  

Yet, we are also not perfect.  I am sure the both of us have kept silent at times or told white lies to spare feelings. 

We believe in communication in our marriage.  Even on difficult subjects. 

After all these years, I could not hide anything from my husband.  We know each other too well.

Communication is often non-verbal.  

Aukland Zoo, New Zealand

Lost Or Found

I was not aware how much this ring meant to me, until I lost it.

         A good reminder for a great deal in life.

I also do not need an object to remind me of our respect and love for each other.  For us, love is a verb.  We show up for each other every day.

I was planning to tell my husband about the ring, lost or found.

When he opens his inbox today and reads this story. 

                      Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart.

Thank you for the forty-one years we have shared together.  I look forward to many more.

 

 

 

November 24, 1978

 

Have you ever lost a special item?  Are there times when not telling the truth is a good thing?

 

Postscript:   Last night I read a beautiful true story, on Jill Weatherholt’s blog about   A 94-year-old couple who had been married for 75 years.      Jill added this quote from Richard Bach. “True love stories never have endings.”

A few hours later I read Pamela Wight’s beautiful, poignant story on her blog, Roughwighting.  The  Once to Now  feels like a brief moment in time.  Where did the time go?

 

Related Links:

Sliding Doors. Do You Ever Wonder How Your Life Would Be Different Now If You Had Taken The Other Door.

40th Anniversary, You Know He Is A Keeper

Do You Believe A Person’s Energy Can Be Attached To An Object?

Where Are The Ruby Red Slippers?

 

Do You Have Different Friends For Different Seasons?

 

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Holland Creek Trail, Ladysmith, British Columbia

 

What happens when The Widow Badass, Retirement Reflections and Behind the Scenery meet up?

You guessed it!  A whole lot of shenanigans!

I am sharing your word, Joanne .  Thank you for sharing your friend.

 

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Two Beautiful Ladies on a carpet of leaves

We Have Three Types Of Friends In Life

  • Friends for a Reason. 

  • Friends for a Season.

  • And Friends for a Lifetime.

 

 

The Reason

Deb  The Widow Badass Blog  was visiting The Island.  Donna Retirement Reflections Blog  plus Deb and I met at “The Old Town Bakery” in Ladysmith thanks to Donna’s recommendation.

I know only a few things about Ladysmith.

  • Pamela Anderson was born and raised here.
  • The Christmas Festival of Lights is a huge event.  
  • It is worth stopping at The Old Town Bakery, voted as having “The best cinnamon buns on the island.” 

The constant flow of people coming in and out of this bakery and my taste buds agree with all of the praise. 

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The Season

Autumn.

A beautiful, peaceful time of year with changing colours and cooler temperatures.

Perfect for going on a hike and exploring The Holland Creek Trail in Ladysmith.  Another great recommendation from Donna.  Donna shares more detailed information and beautiful photos here

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect for spending time with these two amazing women. 

That evening, at home, my husband asked me about my day and my new friends.

 Searching for words, I told him,  “Donna and Deb are More.”

            “They are More interesting, More witty, More kind and caring, and More beautiful inside and out than you may imagine reading their blogs.  We had a lot of fun!”

 

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Walking into a Fairy Tale

Friends For A Lifetime

Most of us have made more than one Friend in our lifetime:

  • The going to the movies Friend.
  • The work Friend.
  • The foodie Friend.
  • The fearless adventurer Friend.
  • The pour your heart out and share your soul Friend.  
  • The very wise Friend.
  • And more recently, the Blogging Friend.

 

If we are fortunate, we will have Friends for a Lifetime.  Priceless.

 

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The Salmon Whisperer
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Pretty in the Rain

The Autumn of my life

I am truly grateful for all of my Friends.  

You have enriched my life beyond measure.

I cherish our precious time together.  An irreplaceable gift.

We share hobbies.  We share stories.  We share a part of ourselves.

                  

                      Our life becomes More.   We become More.

 

Do you have long term friends?  Have you recently made new friends? 

 

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Obligatory Selfie of three goofy (oops, intelligent) women

Have you heard about “The Little Town That Did?”

Do you ever read about a place that piques your interest and you hope to see it in person one day?

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My Photo Malahat Lookout(August, 2019)painnt app – Mercury

I used to read a little magazine called “Reader’s Digest” from cover to cover as a young girl.  After I moved away from home my Father bought me a subscription to this magazine.  “Reader’s Digest” was my pop culture, my humour, my miscellaneous trivia, and it contained an abundance of interesting, informative articles.

One of the articles in this magazine in the 1980’s was about a town that had recreated itself on Vancouver Island.  At that time we were living in Northern British Columbia. 

I always remembered this story and I was hoping to one day visit 

                  Chemainus, “The Little Town That Did.”

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Chemainus is in the District of North Cowichan, on the east coast of Vancouver Island. 

Lumber used to be the primary industry in this town. The lumber mill operated off and on for 120 years until the mill closed down in the early 1980’s.

As part of a revitalization project, local and international artists were commissioned to create 

                 Giant Murals on the downtown business walls showcasing the history and the culture of Chemainus. 

And like “The Little Engine That Could” written by Watty Piper, Chemainus became known as “The Little Town That Did.”

 

28 Years Ago

When we moved to “The Island” in 1991 we began exploring many areas near our home.   10 Reasons Why You Should Not Live On The Island   We camped in Strathcona Provincial Park and at Long Beach our first summer. 

We also drove to the picturesque town of Chemainus.  Many times.

We often had visitors and Chemainus did not disappoint.  It was the perfect place to explore on foot with family and friends of all ages.

 

Now, 28 years later

It occurred to me how I haven’t spent much time exploring Chemainus for many years. 

I go to Chemainus at least twice a year to see the live theatre shows with family and friends.  The performances are always excellent!  In the month of August we saw “The Magician’s Nephew” and “Mamma Mia.” 

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We drive directly to the theatre to watch the productions and then we drive home.

This year, we decided to spend the day in Chemainus.

                We decided to become a tourist again.

Chemainus has interesting galleries, boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants,  ice cream parlours and  

                 Forty-plus World Famous Giant Murals.

     

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10 Takeaways When Planning a Visit to Chemainus

1.  Leave early.

2.  Bring a camera and good walking shoes.

3.  Stop at scenic lookouts on the drive through the mountain pass called the Malahat.

 

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4.  Plan on visiting a show at the unique, intimate Chemainus Theatre.  Book early!  The shows are usually sold out well in advance.

5.  Walk into a delightful candy store.  It is a fun, colourful and sweet place to visit.  You will learn how many of the decorations and trim were hand painted.  

 

6.  Make sure to leave room for an ice cream cone.  The girls had strawberry cheesecake and cotton candy flavours.  I had a double which included three flavours.  Mine was blackberry, peanut butter chocolate and green tea (don’t judge me…….I love ice cream!)

 

7.  Enjoy the visit with children and adults young at heart.

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Sadie having fun with “Old-Timers on a Bench” (painnt app)

8.  Visit Chemainus with a dear friend.  The extra hours together, priceless!

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A dear friend of mine for over 50 years

9.  Plan to spend time strolling along the streets looking at the murals and learning about the history of Chemainus.  Pictures do not do the murals justice.   Enjoy the extensive artwork and read the stories describing the murals.

Chemainus is now a world famous tourist destination showcasing forty-plus giant murals with new murals being added.  An Outdoor Art Gallery. 

 

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10.  Drumroll please:

              Become a tourist again.   I am glad I did!

 

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Sources:

I had fun playing with painnt app (free) on a few photos.  A fun suggestion from Terri Webster Schrandt who is an amazing photographer with a very interesting blog site   Second Wind Leisure Perspectives 

Further information on Chemainus:  Chemainus     Mural Town    Weekly Wanders

North Cowichan

 

 

 

10 Reasons Why You Should NOT Live On “The Island”

 

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Botanical Beach

1.  You will waste your precious time spending hours walking on beaches and checking out tidal pools.

 

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Botanical Beach

2.  You will have to put up with fresh, clean air and a constant breeze.

3.  People are very neighbourly and approachable here.  Expect a friendly wave with the obligatory friendly wave in return. You will have to constantly say “hi,” a tiresome custom.

4.  You will have to tolerate views of lakes and the ocean as far as the eye can see.    

 

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Cowichan Lake – photo credit Alisha (my daughter)

 

5.  Camping outdoors on “The Island” will mean almost no bugs.  You will not have the pleasure of swatting, swelling, investing in bug repellent and Afterbite.

 

 

 

 

6.  You will have to get accustomed to the colour green.  Moss, ferns and diverse, spectacular trees are found in our forests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.  You will take too many photos and have the challenge of selecting only a few favourite ones.  One of the pictures below is an often photographed little bonsai conifer growing out of an old mossy stump.

This Fairy Lake tree became famous when Adam Gibb’s photo was selected as one of the 100 winning images from 48,000 global submissions for Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012.  Adam Gibb’s photo     

        

 

 

 

8.  Hiking with friends will consume a great deal of your time.  You will never run out of places to explore.  Decisions.  Decisions.  

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9.  You will want to avoid the Malahat at the end of a long weekend in the Summer.  Taking the  Pacific Marine Circle Route   home will add stress to your day.

You will have to drive an extra hour through a beautiful rain forest, gaze at stunning scenery and endure minimal traffic. 

The extra one hour drive may turn into four hours because you will want to stop and explore the beautiful sites along this route. You may possibly include a leisurely lunch in the picturesque town of Port Renfrew.  

An entirely wasted day! (in Paradise)

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10.  And most importantly, why you should NOT live on “The Island?” 

                                       Will you be able to keep “Vancouver Island” our little secret?

                                               I think not.  Especially when you call it “home.”

 

Dedicated to:  All the visitors that come to “The Island” each year.  The people that make “The Island” their home.  And to Deb,  Widow Badass Blog  who has discovered  our little secret.”

                          

Please Join Me At SMARTLiving365 “Ten Things We Should Have Known Before We Started Blogging”

I love Kathy Gottberg’s sentence on how the “Ten Things We Should Have Known Before We Started Blogging” “….offer a glimpse into our personalities and how we approach both our blogs AND the world around us.”  This past year I was surprised to learn how blogging is actually a team sport.  I greatly appreciate all of the interesting, kind, supportive members of the team from all parts of the Globe. 

I am especially grateful for the privilege of meeting these amazing ladies.  I know you will appreciate the candor, insights and gems found in this post.

What things would you add to the list?

via Ten Things We Should Have Known Before We Started Blogging