Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Story of the Candy Cane

The candy maker created the cane
As a reminder of the Saviour who came.
He used hard candy to symbolize
The Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ.
He made it white to signify
Christ's purity and sinless life.
He fashioned the candy the shape of a staff,
For the Good Shepherd, who died on our behalf.
A wide stripe represents Christ's blood,
Shed on the cross for the sins of the world.
Then he added three thin stripes
To depict the suffering of Jesus Christ.
The candy cane gives to all
An important message to recall. 
Remember that Jesus is the reason
We celebrate the Christmas season.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Work In Progress

  I love trees, shrubs and flowers. I also love landscaping. I especially like to draw out plans and decide where everything will go...the pergola here, perennial garden there, and the boardwalk pathway making it's way through the garden. I can picture in my mind exactly how I want it to look, and I can fill a Pinterest page with pictures and ideas pretty quick too! I also enjoy the work that must be done to get everything into place...wheeling the dirt around in the wheel barrow, shoveling, raking, planting. Even moving the pallets around to make the board walk wasn't bad. 
  But then comes the part I'm not so good at. Actually, I'm beyond terrible at maintaining the garden. It's hard to believe I came from parents who planted and cared for a huge perennial garden into their eighties! My parents' garden was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen; plants evenly spaced, always kept weeded, neatly groomed paths.....

  I loved their garden, but clearly I did not inherit their green thumbs...or their desire for perfection! This year we had such a late spring. Of course the weeds always grow faster than the perennials, and often it's hard to tell the difference. Besides the late start, there were other activities and tasks that took priority. Now, here we are nearing the end of August, and what was supposed to be a beautifully landscaped yard has become a crazy, wild jungle, with many unfinished projects!

  I can't help but compare my gardening to my homeschooling. I start out the season with well laid out plans.... Even though we lean more to the unschooling end of the spectrum, I still like to have some idea of what the coming year will look like, and so does the Dept. of Education! So I search through our bookshelves, and video collection, and find resources that I think the kids will be able to use and enjoy. I write out my plans for each child, and the subjects they will cover. I type up a colorful schedule for each one to follow...mostly for computer time to avoid fighting over whose turn it is! And we're all set for September to arrive.

  Some years, we get off to a good start, everyone working away on the program I've devised. But then the enthusiasm wanes, and the plans fizzle out. Other years, like the year we built out house, we didn't even think about school until the end of fall. Some people might suggest that we should perhaps consider sending our kids to public school, where they can get a more structured education; where they will be required to complete whatever course of study is set out for them, and honestly, I've had moments when I wondered if they were right!

  Then I look at my back yard. Yes, It's a bit of a mess; the goldenrod has taken over the perennial garden, and the pallet path is not quite finished...and I realize, it's okay. It's still a work in progress...not quite what I envisioned, but beautiful non the less.

But in one part of the yard, the tomatoes are thriving.......

......and you know what? So are my kids. I have a seven year old who can read and spell better than many adults. I have a twelve year old who reads more books than I can count, and is becoming a very talented cartoonist. And I have a fifteen year old who is a natural leader, enthusiastic in everything he does; whether it's sports, acting, singing, or hanging out with the mentors in his life. I can't take credit for any of my children's talents and skills anymore than I can claim responsibility for the beautiful wild flowers springing up in our yard! Given some space, the resources they require, and the freedom to grow in their own direction, and in their own time, (and in God's) they flourish.

 And I'll let you in on a secret....as much as I loved my parents garden, my dream has always been to have a wild garden filled with beautiful prairie flowers and grasses growing freely....each one unique, and beautiful in it's own way.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Where I Am From

I wrote this many years ago, and thought I'd repost it today.

I am from the prairies, from the crocus and the cowslips, and the pussy willows in springtime. I am from walking barefoot on hot sandy roads. I am from swimming in Jackson’s lake, dugouts and swamps in the summer; from climbing trees, and swinging from ropes tied around branches.

I am from skating on ponds, and playing in the snow after dark in the winter; building snow forts and making homemade snow shoes from spruce bows; from sliding down hills with cardboard for a sled.
I am from walking with my brothers around a four mile country block, and walking along the railway tracks collecting shiny stones; from exploring the Collie Hills and old vacant houses.
I am from a one room school house; from playing games in the basement in winter, and playing Johnny Can’t Cross the River and Pump, Pump, Pull Away in the spring and fall. I am from practicing for the Christmas Concert at Arizona Hall, and going to Field day in Austin.

I am from Spruce Woods Park, the Assiniboine River, and the Carberry Desert.

I am from strawberry fields and picking cucumbers; from bouquets of glads for the farmer’s market, and from strolling through Mom and Dad’s garden.

I am from Sunday supper, roast beef and potatoes; and from fiddle diddles and spice cake, and I am from Sunday drives to tour the gardens at Morden, and climbing Mount Nebo in Miami. I am from Manitoba.
I am from putting one foot in front of the other, and what goes around comes around; I am from befriending the friendless and rooting for the underdog. I am from Gerald and Ede Blair.
That's where I am from. Where are you from?
I came across a blog that had a little picture with the words, "Where are you from?" I clicked on it and found that it was based on a poem, and that many people had written their own version, based on their own life. I loved the one I read, so I decided to write my own.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tree Stump Planter and Pathways

  Our previous yard had huge cottonwood trees, some of which had died and been cut down. When we moved, I decided to take a stump with me. It was in about three pieces, but I knew it would make a great flower planter. I'm sure Brian thought I was crazy for bringing it along, but he still found a way to wire the pieces together for me.
  This first picture also shows my stepping stone path, made from leftover cement, during one of our many pours. Unfortunately, I was too busy making them to take pictures of the process. We had left over sonotubes from the deck support system. Brian cut them up for me to use as forms. I also used pizza boxes, and even garbage bags for some of the stepping stones. They turned out great!
Stump filled with soil/ concrete stepping stones
 This picture shows the finished planter, along with some driftwood around it. In the background, you can see the pallet walkway still needing the gaps filled. The topsoil has been brought up around the edges of the pallet.
Flowers planted in stump
2nd year. Petunias in stump, perennials all around.

Petunias in stump and perennials all around

Perennials all around, walkway behind.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Moms Outside the Box

 For years I've searched unsuccessfully for a group for older moms with young kids. Finally, the other day, another mom posted  on a FB page, her desire to meet other moms in this position. So often, as older moms, with little ones, we really don't fit in anywhere. The 55 plus groups don't really want us bringing our kids along to get togethers, and the younger parents just assume we are grandparents!
  This lady's post just exploded with other moms feeling the same way, so the logical thing was to start our own FB group, where we can speak freely about our own particular issues....such as dealing with toddlers during a hot flash!
  So, if you are an older mom with younger kids, come and check out this new group!

Moms Outside the Box

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Shingles and They're Not On the Roof! REPOSTING

Who would have thought that my most popular blog post would be about shingles?! With so many coming to this post to learn about shingles, I thought I should update the post and add a little more helpful information.
 This is a picture of shingles on my back, taken in the summer of 2012, while we were living in the camper, building our house.  It was very painful, but I saw a doctor  within 72 hours and was given medication to clear it up and also medication for nerve pain. I went away fairly quickly, and I haven't had any problems since. Getting to a doctor within the first 72 hours is very important.

Shingles on my back

   I've also learned that essential oils can aid the healing of shingles. Young Living Thieves oil in particular, but there are others, including oils for pain. I wish I'd had this information back then! 

  To learn more about how you can purchase YL essential oils at wholesale prices, you can contact me through my website:  DB Bolack Young Living   or my other blog: Keystone Essentials.

Original Post from 2009:

Earlier this week, Justin was complaining that his scalp felt raw, and he had some open sores, so I gave him a different shampoo to try. Then he told me he had a lump behind his ear. I also noticed a lump on his neck, which didn't surprise me, because Justin had a sore throat, and usually when he is sick, his glands swell up. He was also complaining that his eye was itching and burning....something that he's also had before. Then another lump appeared behind his ear and another one in his hair.

Finally, late yesterday afternoon, my husband took Justin in to the walkin clinic. Their diagnosis: shingles! A $100.00 medication was prescribed...thankfully we have coverage for most of that! Aside from the sores on Justin's head, I didn't see anything that looked like shingles, so I was a little sceptical. Shingles is caused by the same virus as chicken pox, and you only get it if you had chicken pox in the past, which Justin did at about age 2. Shingles is far more common in older people than 13 year olds!

But this morning, when Justin got up, his eye was glued shut and a rash had developed all around his eye...a rash that definitely looks like chicken pox! Since the doctor had also said Justin should see an eye doctor, I called right away, and they said bring him right in and they'd fit him in. Brian came home from work and took him in. He now has Polysporin drops to hopefully keep the eye from getting infected. The eye doctor said that since he has started the medication for shingles, his eye should be okay, but will probably get worse before it gets better. He goes back next Friday to have his eye checked again. Right now, Justin can barely open his eye, and it makes mine water just looking at him!

Lump behind ear caused by shingles
The shiny white spot is the lump behind his ear. Right above the date you can see the swelling on his neck.

Shingles around eye
I took these pictures this morning.

Shingles around eye
Here's a close up.

Shingles around eye
And this is what he looks like right now.

Shingles is not contagious, but anyone who hasn't had chicken pox before, can get them by being exposed to shingles. I just happen to have three kids and a baby here who have NOT yet had chicken pox. Oh joy!!

* Edited to add Enough is Enough. Yes, the other two boys did get chicken pox, so shingles definitely are contagious for those who have never had chicken pox.