Archive | April 2017

18 Years…

What does that span of time make you think of? Perhaps the length of a marriage, the first years of life from kid to adult, your total years of education – grades 1 through university. A long lived friendship. This week it marks the end of the time spent with a very unique and memorable cat for a very dear friend. IMG_0016

Ludere was a lion in a pussy cat body. He was totally and utterly committed to the woman in his life. So much so that you were always aware that Karyn was HIS human, he only occasionally deigned to allow other lessor beings to touch the cloud like fluff that was his amazing coat of white fur. Quickly followed up by a decisive swipe of a well armed paw.

In fact, that was pretty much a game between Ludere (otherwise known as Dere, or hell cat, or he who should not have back turned on, oh or pretty white fluffy danger kitty) and Ken.  Dere would lay down with his soft underbelly exposed, all sweet and fluffy, allow for a minute or 5 (always random) of lovely petting only to, without ANY warning, lash out claws extended. To add in some more fun, this would sometimes be combined with a little bit of “friendly” gnawing on the extended hand. 

My personal experience with Dere and petting were always with the supervision of Karyn. Usually with her distracting him with her affection so I could sneak in a quick pass over his back. I swear he could count hands, because that was always followed up with an intense stare and the knowledge that he could get me if he wanted… but he didn’t, not right now… but that was his choice, not mine. 

Ludere has been a fixture in all of our lives for as long as we have known Karyn. He is the stuff of legends, has been for years – like when he almost literally scared the pee out of our friend Sean. Or his relaxation (be it momentarily) around Esther – something that did have to be seen to be believed. 

Dere has been a fascination for our kids since the first time they were CAREFULLY introduced to him with the warning to – not touch the pretty kitty, just look. They have followed him around from a distance, tossed toys… from a distance… put food in his dish… from a distance… I sense a pattern! But, this has not decreased their fascination or love for him. Every FaceTime Trinity has had with Karyn has included a wish to see and or hear about him. Pictures have been drawn of the majestic white kitty, stories have been repeated about his intense stare and – that time I got to pet him while Aunty Karyn held him (down, possibly… not that they noticed that part). Dere is family. Like a cranky but beloved uncle that you just want to be around, but possibly does not want you around, because he REALLY doesn’t like kids (or is it people, well anyone but Karyn – really – we are merely tolerated and lucky to be in his presence).

So now, 18 years after Karyn brought home her adorable and slightly belligerent ball of fluff, we are saying good bye. Ludere will never be forgotten, his lengthy life has been full of anecdotes and adventure. He was a cat of action, except when he wasn’t (after all, cat = sleep a lot). He was a one lady man. He was amazingly photogenic, though I personally feel 90% of those photos perfectly capture his wish to take over the world by force and remove all excess humans – but only if someone were to do the work for him, because he IS a cat after all. 

Ludere leaves behind his beloved human – Karyn, his cohabiting kitten – Loki, and an extended family of admirers including his god daughter by proxy – Trinity. I think we will be talking of his feline exploits for years to come. Thank you Karyn for bringing home that tiny kitten with a huge personality way back in college. IMG_0017

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Welcome Grandma, Down from the Great White North…

But just for a week. Which I can tell you, her dog Gypsy did not approve of. I heard tell of a minor hunger strike when cookies were snitched from meals but the actual dog chow left untouched! It was a lovely week full of a good balance of activity and rest.20170404_134102

Grandma started off smart – she hooked the kids on some puzzle game apps so they could all play together. Always a good plan, especially since they were FREE. Couple that with watching dog rescue videos together and much time was spent in quiet enjoyment.IMG_20170404_152623_521

20170407_112120We took Grandma to the YMCA twice this visit. Once to watch Trinity and Emanuel in karate and meet their Sensei.IMG_20170413_222319_460

The other time to come for our Sunday night swim. Mommy got in her exercise class, and the rest got quality pool time with Grandma letting Daddy off the hook!IMG_20170409_182842_996

20170409_18390720170409_193406Our big field trip was to the Mill City Museum. A family favourite and fun for Grandma to see some Minnesota history first hand. She and Ken took the twins up in the big elevator that walks you through the history of the mill as well as its partial destruction.20170407_130947

20170407_13183120170407_13243220170407_135035IMG_20170407_135840_62920170407_14142220170407_13384720170407_132037Grandma asked to go to two specific places to eat – Culver’s, which we went to the night she came. She had never been, we simply could not let that stand!IMG_20170404_182631_533

The second place was a brunch with adults only to Perkin’s. This was followed up by a lovely stash of bakery goods purchased by Grandma that came home for the kids to enjoy. We snuck over to Joann’s while we were out. Good food AND good shopping (with coupons of course).

It was a decadent brownie.

It was a decadent brownie.

Grandma also COOKED a couple times – we got to taste her delicious homemade spaghetti sauce. With meat in it! AND she made taco soup. A new one for all of us, but one that everyone but the girls (no surprise) enjoyed. It was beyond delicious. So of course, I must share the recipe! HERE20170406_130918

Mine is without crunched up nacho chips.

Mine is without crunched up nacho chips.

She came bearing gifts… Canadian snacks… well lots of Canadian things. Including a colouring book for the 150th birthday. She also brought us some Gypsy puppies to add to our teddy collection. We had some small tokens for her.IMG_20170404_155142_971

My early birthday gift to mom, a pin.

My early birthday gift to mom, a pin.

We had hair braiding parties.IMG_20170410_220135

And Grandma spent special quality time with all the kids. It was so lovely for them to have one on one (though the twins opted to go together) time with Grandma and fully get her hooked on Caribou coffee.

Mix in a couple nippy spring walks to the park and Grandma got a taste of early spring in Minnesota.20170405_104230

We also pulled out movies and popcorn to make sure we had some quality cinema time. Kubo was well enjoyed.IMG_20170405_010349_384

Grandma took special care braiding up Emanuel’s hair. It was nice to have a week of no hair in the eyes. Though friends said it was very… basketball player! IMG_20170405_210629_766

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Since Easter was right around the corner we also did some egg decorating.IMG_20170409_145459_677

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Ken and I snuck away for some quality YMCA time… well he sat, and I went to class.IMG_20170407_180036_180

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It was a terrific visit. Sit back and enjoy the excessive, but happy images! Thanks for the visit Grandma!20170410_125226

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Divine Grace Experienced…

It was requested that parishioners write up their own experience of the Grace of God for a book for Lent. I agreed to do so and wanted to share my own experience here as well. Of course first I defined God’s Grace (like a good student)… I used the Wiki definition found HERE. The portion I used:

Grace in Christianity is the free and unmerited favour of God as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowing of blessings. Common Christian teaching is that grace is unmerited mercy (favor) that God gave to humanity by sending his son to die on a cross, thus delivering eternal salvation.

Now, I can’t say for certain it is the Grace of God that led me to the conclusions and actions below… but it is an experience I still hold as something akin to a release in order to receive.

The grace of God is defined as the free and unmerited favour of God. I have never felt that grace as much and as clearly as I did when we finally decided to move to Minnesota from Alberta, Canada. God’s grace is not what we deserve, but a reflection of what we need, what will help us to become a more whole person. It is this gift that myself and my husband fought so hard against.

For months we fought tooth and nail to stay in Canada with the friends, family and familiarity of life in my birth country. It was not until we released our wants and listened to the direction of God that we began our big move. When we let go, the grace of God allowed us to transition. With this grace the process which usually takes many months was completed in 2 weeks. Passports, packing, goodbyes and the journey were all seamlessly and successfully accomplished.

Without this laying of our worries and path at God’s feet we would not have been where we needed to to help my husband survive his worst bout of depression to date; not been nearby when others needed our help. Rather by the grace of God we were where we needed to be when we needed to be. This gift has enabled us to have a fuller life and is a blessing.

This is what I have given to my church to share, and now given to you to also have a read. I think that no matter what we like to put some sort of reason or structure to chaos. Reason to the unknown, reality to the unreal. All I can say is, right now, I am here where I seem to need to be. Who knows what the future brings. DSCN1565[1]