Name it Gratitude

Posted by Cheryl on Aug 27, 2011 in Main Categories

When little niece and nephew, were here this summer, I explained to them that my car’s name is Grace. “Why do you name your car?” they asked? Not sure but that’s her name. They totally got into it and they even had a few conversations with Gracie while they were visiting. That week, I also introduced them to my brand new bicycle whose name is Arabella. Then, on the last morning they were at my home in Kitchener, we were out loading suitcases into Grace at sunrise, and they got to see and meet the neighbourhood cardinal, Godfrey. Godfrey is a skinny little male cardinal who perches in the same spot outside my house every single morning and announces daybreak with the most incredible song! His passionate warbling makes me smile, and sometimes I even say out loud, “Thank you, Godfrey!” And to whoever or whatever might be listening to my thoughts, I follow up with, “Thank you for another day.”

I name things. I name cars, bikes, houses, birds, trees, plants, stuff. I invest them with character and personality, it just happens. I’m sitting in my living room right now looking at this incredible Norwich Pine plant that was an unexpected housewarming gift, generously left for me by the previous tenants; long, luscious, elegant fronds extended just so – the moment I saw her, I knew her name was Isadora (you know, like dancer, Isadora Duncan, of course). Let me assure you I know a lot of real, live, human people! Family, friends, neighbours, colleagues. It’s not for lack of people – it’s compelled by something else.

The kids made me stop and think for awhile on their question; why the hell DO I go around naming stuff? Am I kooky? Quirky? Lonely? Bored? I remember that I’ve done it for a lot of my life; at ten, my new, green bicycle was definitely, Josephine. Now that I’m really conscious of it, it has set me to wondering what it’s all about. And here’s what I’ve come up with. I’m pretty sure it’s not a pull for attention, or me just trying to be ‘a character’. No. I’m almost positive, it’s because I feel a deep sense of gratitude for these things in my life. They are a bit like an unexpected bonus in my day to day. I have done without often enough and I have survived my share of dark times, so I know that I could get along without these little perks. But I’m grateful that I don’t have to. I appreciate them so much and view them as gifts. I sort of respond to them, well, as friends. I’m grateful to know them in my life.

And, for me, gratitude has a different feeling than thankfulness. Thanks, probably from deep-seated childhood training, has an entitlement about it, a social obligation –it’s clearly what you’re supposed to feel and express. Gratitude comes from a deeper place for me. It’s a sentiment that feels so genuine and it wells up unbidden from some place in my heart that has learned to notice the little things that matter – the things that add to the colour and flavour of my relationships and life. And for me, that sense of gratitude probably takes many forms, but one is the spontaneous christening of things that I don’t want to take for granted – so I name them. That impulsive act of bestowing a name on something, welcomes it. Honours it as a blessing.

Skinny, red-feathered Godfrey is singing away, perched high up in Frances. That’s the tall fir tree standing guard in the front yard, giving shade and shelter to me and my family and my home. Thank you, Godfrey. And, to whatever spirit may be listening, thank you for another day.


Mix Well; Repeat.

Posted by Cheryl on Aug 14, 2011 in Main Categories

Recipe for summer vacation to remember; carefully choose one five year old boy and one six year old girl (preferably still attached to their mother); any type of these will probably do but try to get your personal favourites because it makes all the difference to the end result. Assemble and fold into a small car. On high speed, cure add a thousand to fifteen hundred kilometers (or more, ampoule to taste), sift in four or five well-aged towns, then carefully add at least a hundred relatives of various sizes and flavours. Once all is assembled, simply drive until all is thoroughly combined – then let rest, covered with special blankets. Repeat.

Take care not to over stir the ingredients. They’re best left to blend on their own in a hot, humid environment (some in Ontario call this ‘summer’). For best results, tend to the main items in the recipe, the little boy and girl, as they require special attention to keep them from turning sour during the process. Experiment with different specialty items in order to enhance their natural sweetness; mints and candies are old standards but may end up scattered throughout, markers can be effective however you must watch for them turning into lipstick. Some are certain that sleep will nicely do the trick but it is, in fact, completely optional. Lengthy songs and silly riddles are usually your best bet. At times the boy and girl ingredients may separate, like oil and water, but with some time, a few choice words, and a trip through a drive-through window, this usually dissipates.

If, like me, this is your first time trying such a recipe in quite awhile, you will undoubtedly be surprised by how quickly the technique comes back to you. Prepare for singing a song about ducks, sweating while kicking a ball, cursing under your breath, followed by laughing behind your hand. Notice the reintroduction of car seats, colouring books, lego people, Barbie dolls, story books, and bubble wands. Your senses will become attuned again to the daily repetition, over and over again, of certain phrases. Such as the spicy, “She started it!” Or the often over-used, “ Are we there yet?” But also, the simply delicious, “I love you.”



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