A Good Home, Canadian Women, Wonderful Women

Wonderful Women

I know some wonderful women whose names you’ve likely never heard.

They aren’t famous.  But each has done something special to help others in her community.

Blog Photo -- Mr and Mrs. Claus - Eddie Grant Photo
Photo thanks to Eddie Grant

Raphaelita Walker was the wonderful Mrs. Claus, a role she performed at the Jamaican Canadian Association in Toronto every Christmas for more than 40 years. (Her husband Gifford was Santa Claus.)

The children loved her. Adults loved her. Being Mrs. Claus was just one of Raph’s contributions to her community.

Raph celebrated her 90th birthday in December. She died on Valentine’s Day. 

Thank you, dear Raph, for all you’ve done, for so many.

~~

The other women are members of my church community.

Book Photo At Launch with Jane

Jane Carson, a retired teacher, musician and painter, has attended St. Thomas’ church for decades. She’s done much to help families here and abroad – particularly families with small children. But Jane’s most quiet ongoing ‘ministry’ is sending cards and letters to people who she thinks need to be cheered up. Thank you, Jane.

Blog Photo - Olive Ormiston who knits prayer shawls

Olive Ormiston makes prayer shawls. She’s one of the main knitters at St. Thomas’ Anglican. They create the shawls for those going through a tough time: personal or family illness, bereavement, and other times that test one’s soul. 

Every shawl is blessed by St. Thomas’ Anglican’s priest, Canon Claire Wade. Claire herself is a woman of wisdom and great strength.

Blog Photo - Canon Claire blesses prayer Shawl
Photo by Hamlin Grange

Joanne Schuetzl helps to distribute the shawls. Having survived some scary health challenges herself, Joanne keeps an eye out for others in the community who may need a prayer shawl, and gently approaches them.

Blog Photo - Cynthia and Joanne
Joanne and Cynthia at Wedding

Hooray for these women and other stars in our communities!

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A Good Home, Blessings, Memoir-Writing, Writers, Writing, Writing workshops

MIXED BLESSINGS

It’s November, the month when many writers write.

Not me.

I’m not working on the next book, not writing my blog, not even journal-ing every day.

~~

In typical Cynthia fashion, I had a good stretch of days some weeks ago and was so thankful for it, I tried to do too much.

Ignored the warning signs. Committed other rampant acts of mindless-ness.

The bad pain came, then the flu. And throughout it all, the bloody nightmares whenever I slept long enough.

But pushing myself, as my therapist and journals remind me, is how I’ve come this far.

And I’m pushing again.

~~

Twice a week now, I lead very small groups of individuals who are writing their memoirs.

None is a professional or even an experienced writer. But they are bright, interesting, mature people.

Some of their stories are painful to write, I know. But what a joy for me to help them develop as writers.

They’re changing in front of my eyes — and theirs. Blooming.  

~~

At first, I wondered how they’d see me.

It’s obvious I have difficulty walking – sometimes it’s very bad. But I decided to reveal — on the very first day — some of the stuff others don’t immediately see. That I sometimes stutter or speak strangely. That I might struggle to cross-reference or absorb new information and that if voices/sounds come at me from more than one source, it affects me.

Just as well I did.

I’ve come up against my limits repeatedly – and so markedly, twice, that I later went to the washroom and cried.

Then there’s the tiny paycheque.  I earned more money in my early 20’s!

So why am I smiling?

This activity has given me a purpose outside the home. I spend 2 hours, twice a week, with a group of individuals whom I like, respect and marvel at. I can see their progress each week and it delights me. The stories they tell — even the painful ones –are a balm to my soul. 

~~

Blessed am I to have such students.

And blessed am I to have readers who notice when my blogging patterns are ‘off’, and ask why.

Thank you.

 

A Good Home, Bloggers, Book lovers, Book Reviews, Canadian Authors

Oh… Thank you!

Of course I’m anxious. Wouldn’t you be?

The book I ran away from, repeatedly, is finally published.  And now I wait.

Except, several bloggers have done a lot to make the waiting easier. Some sent me wonderful email reviews as they read An Honest House:  “I’ve reached (this) part now and I’m loving it!” Or: “I stayed awake till 2 in the morning, reading!” And so on.

That’s a new experience for me, and I appreciate it.

Blog Photo - Sally Cronin2

Then,  Sally Cronin, a European blogger who has done much to help authors and other bloggers around the world, kindly highlighted An Honest House.  

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/new-book-fanfare-an-honest-house-by-cynthia-reyes

And, from Gibraltar, Katherine, the sharp-eyed editor and tough book reviewer  who previewed the book before it went to print, published her review last weekend. Finally, I found out what she thought of the finished product. (I was anxious.)

https://roughseasinthemed.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/homes-and-gardens/

Am I thankful?

You bet.

 

A Good Home, Clematis, Courage, Friendship

Life Changes

Blog Photo - Blue-Pink clems

I’m praying for two women I’ve never met in person.

They are in my blogging community. One in Southern Africa, one in the United States. Each was bereaved recently.  

I’m also praying for a blogger and his beloved wife in England. She has been undergoing cancer treatments.

Some people may be surprised that we care so much when another blogger hurts. But we do, especially when someone has a health scare or experiences a loss. 

 

Blog Photo - Garden rain cu of lavender blue clematis

Through blogging, we get to know each other’s stories. We read about each other’s lives, families, dreams, disappointments, and triumphs.

We rejoice over the good times: a daughter passes her exams; a parent’s health improves; a husband gets a better job.

So why wouldn’t we also hope and/or pray that a blogger – or a spouse – will triumph over a serious illness? 

Blog Photo - BLue clems and Salvia

Why wouldn’t we feel a terrible sadness when the husband of a blogger-friend dies suddenly?

Bloggers know that life changes when we least expect it. That the challenge is to learn, accept, adapt. Which is so easy to say, and so hard to do. 

Blog Photo - Blue clematis2

 

There is such pain in the world.

But also, such hope. Such kindness.

And such courage.

We see that every day in each other’s blog posts.

And we know that, sometimes, just taking the next step is an act of courage.

Dedicated to the persons mentioned in this post, and to all who currently feel buffeted by life’s strong winds. All these flowers are for you.

Blog Photo - Pink Clematis

Photos by Hamlin Grange