Saturday, May 24

Amazing Grace

On Thursday night, I was visiting my blogging friends and happened upon this video over at My Little Corner of the World. Mari urged her readers to take a few minutes to watch it and I highly recommend it. This is an amazing lesson on Negro Spirituals and something that everyone should know. It's really incredible. Be sure to continue to watch the video until Wintley Phipps begins to talk about the song and tell about the music and what notes are used to write Negro Spirituals. You will be amazed, as I was. Enjoy!

Thank you, Mari for drawing my attention to this incredible information.

To my readers in the US, enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. ~Blessings, Mary~

Friday, May 23

Show and Tell Friday

It's time for Show and Tell Friday. If you would like to participate, drop over to Kelli's at There's No Place Like Home.
This week for Show and Tell Friday I'd like all of my friends and readers to join Meeko and I on the evening walk we took on Thursday.
We left the house and walked across the street into the park. From there we turned east and walked down the trail.
We hadn't gone far until I noticed the most beautiful fragrance being carried along on the breeze. I knew what it was before we rounded the bend. This is what I saw. A beautiful lilac bush. In the above photo, the lilacs look pink.
In this one they look to be more purple. This is their true color and they are beautiful and oh, so fragrant. Though they are in the park I believe my neighbor planted the bush. She plants many plants on the park side of her fence. She likes to beautify the neighborhood.
As we continued on, the sun was beginning to set. You can see a bit of the glow in the top of the tree in this photo. If you look hard, you will be able to see a park bench. Sometimes Meeko and I stop here just to watch the birds.

Here is another area where there is a bench where we stop to view nature. Just beyond is the canal and mallard ducks sometimes congregate here. I was a little disappointed that there were none. I enjoy watching their antics as they splash in the water.

As we made our way toward home, I noticed that one of my neighbors near the trail has planted a new clematis. It is going to be lovely once it takes root. She's even put a little fence around, which looks really cute.

As Meeko and I walked, we were givien the honor of being entertained with the songs of sparrows, robins, cardinals and red-winged blackbirds. I really enjoy getting out into nature during the spring and though there was a chill in the air, it was warmer than it's been for a few days.

What gifts of nature have you enjoyed lately? I'd love to hear what type of birds and other critters can be found in your neighborhood. Enjoy the weekend. ~Blessings, Mary~

To my friends and readers in the US, enjoy the Memorial Day weekend. If you are traveling, use caution on the roads. Stay alert, stay safe!

Please be sure to drop by and check out my Friday Flea Market post. This week I have some vintage sundress patterns and a vintage headvase up for sale.

Thursday, May 22

Thankful Thursday and Wolves in our Area

Today is Thankful Thursday. It is a day when we list the things we are thankful for. If you would like to participate, be sure to stop by Sting My Heart and pay Iris a visit. You can find all the information there.

I am thankful for many things in my life. Here are a few things I am especially thankful for this week.

* Having a roof over my head, food on the table and warmth in the house during the cold, wet spell we are going through at present. Some are not as fortunate.

* For the weather being nice enough on Tuesday that I was able to get out and get some things done in the yard that needed to be done.

* Having a wonderful mother who brought me forget-me-nots, bleeding heart and lily-of-the-valley from her garden. Mine were lost when the contractor did some work for us. I'm so glad to have these beautys back in my yard.

* For having access to free medical care and for my cancer checkup this morning. It's marvelous that I can be checked annually to be sure I remain cancer free. Please pray that the results will continue to be negative as they've been now for 14 years.

It's surprising how much wildlife can be in an area and the people living there have no idea that it exists. We go about our busy lives never knowing what animals live nearby. Yes, we see birds, squirrels and raccoons, but did you ever think about the wildlife that exists in your area that you don't see?

My husband is on the road all night, every night. This spring he has seen large groups of deer in urban centers across southern Ontario. On Monday night he saw something that many of us will never witness. As he took the ramp to gain entrance to the 403 highway, he saw that a deer had been hit and killed. That in itself is unusual, as the police usually have the carcasses taken away immediately. What was very unique about the experience is that a large wolf was feeding off the kill. From his description of a wolf that was larger than our Alaskan malamute, Meeko and with about the same coloring lets me know that what he saw was a Timber Wolf.

A timber wolf is also known as a gray wolf. These animals usually mate for life. They can weigh up to 175 lbs and be as long as 6 feet from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. Not something you would want to meet up with unsuspectingly. They vary in color from white, to pale gray, to black and some are multiple colors. They have between 4 to six cubs born in the spring of the year after a 63 day gestation period. They are pack animals and packs can range from as little as two wolves to as many as 30. An average pack is usually about 4 to 6 animals. An alpha male and female are the leaders of the pack.

Hubby knows that he was witness to a very rare sight when he saw the wolf feeding off the deer kill. I wish I had been there to see it. I have only seen a wolf in it's natural habitat once in my entire life and it was running down the side of the road. A spectacular sight and one I will never forget.

Take time to contemplate what animals might live behind the scenes in your region. I would love to hear about them and also about your sightings of anything unusual.
Have a wonderful Thursday. ~Blessings, Mary~

Wednesday, May 21

The House of Love

Light shimmers in the windows
From the candles on the sills
Flowers fill the yard with fragrance
At the house upon the hill.

Twilight drops a purple veil
Through the early morning haze
I stand down in the valley
And at the house do gaze.

Its shutters hang at angles
The roof needs some repair
But the essence of that house
Is love beyond compare.

I hear the children's laughter
Ringing through the halls.
Excitement, giggles, joy,
Seem to echo off the walls.

I dream of happier times
Of those days of long ago
Back to childhood dreams
A place I'd love to go.

Grandma cooking in the kitchen
Mother hanging up the clothes
The oil lamps at night
And reading by their glow.

Grandpa throwing down the hay
Dad shoveling the coal
The fragrances and sights
Are a blessing to my soul.

Though all of that is now long past
I go back to visit there
For my mind holds all the memories
Of those who truly cared.

My childhood was a blessing
Thanks to God above
I'll forever savor memories
Of the house built out of love.

Copyright © by Mary M. Alward
All Rights Reserved

Original Art by Marty Bell

Graphics by Dreamwork Designs

Tuesday, May 20

May is Sexual Abuse Prevention Month in Ontario

May is Sexual Abuse Prevention Month in Ontario and I would like to draw your attention to female predators.

When we think of sexual abuse of children, we almost always think of the predator as being male. It's true that 75% of those who sexually abuse children are men, but keep in mind that the other 25% are women ranging in age from teens to the elderly.

Often sexual abuse by a female is not reported to police because of a lack of public awareness. Of the children who do report sexual abuse by a woman, 86% are accused of lying about the incident.

Now this brings me to last night's airing of W5. This show sends investigative reports out to get the low-down on all types of issues. Last night's show was about two students who were sexually abused by their teachers.

The girl was just 12 years old when her female teacher started inviting her to her house. For two years the teacher befriended the girl and didn't make a move on her. However, after she had gained the girl's trust, she coaxed her to join the school basketball team. Then she told the girl that she might as well stay over in her trailer so her parents didn't have to pick her up when practice was done. The girl and her parents fell for it.

For years this young girl was sexually molested by the teacher. She became sullen and withdrawn and instead of asking her what was wrong, her parents went to this teacher and asked her to help them. The girl finally came out and told her parents what was going on and the mother told her that is she was a lesbian she was no daughter of hers. The girl then tried to committ suicide. When it all was said and done, the girl's parents were told to get her out of town by the principal of the school. The girl has gone through years of hell and you won't believe this... the teacher was still teaching in that school ten years later.

After ten years - almost to the day of her suicide attempt - the girl was contacted by the authorities and asked if she was sexually abused by this woman. She went to court and testified. The teacher was given two years in prison. She was out in less than a year.

Now for the male student. He was 17 years old and in grade 11 when a petite and beautiful young teacher who was married, called him into her classroom and gave him a note saying that she was interested in having a relationship. The young man was flattered at first and he and the teacher spent many hours together during the summer break. It was a small town and the dirty little secret was much talked about.

The situation came to a head when the teacher handed the student another note saying that she was pregnant. The student was horrified. He had no desire to become a father. Everyone in town seemed to agree it was his fault that the relationship took place in the first place. No one would talk to W5 except two elderly gentlemen who thought it was a big joke. However, the male student has suffered the consequences of the sordid love affair and is ostracized in his town because the teacher lost her job, the baby and her life is in shambles. The courts sided with the defence attorney who said that the teacher's life was in chaos and that was punishment enough.

So remember, if a child comes to you and says he/she has been sexually abused by a woman, chances are they're telling the truth. Report it to the police immediately. No child should have to experience sexual abuse. It changes them forever and makes them someone other than who God intended them to be.

Be an advocate for a child. If you suspect that a child is being sexually abused, report it to the proper authorities. ~Blessings, Mary~

Monday, May 19

Important Message for Women

I was watching the news on Saturday night when an important message was broadcast. It seems that researchers at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital have done a study on Vitamin D and breast cancer. The results of the study were released last Thursday by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Researchers found that women who had low blood levels of Vitamin D when diagnosed with breast cancer did not have a good prognosis and were at greater risk for a more serious form of cancer.

Dr. Pamela Goodwin, a clinician scientist at Mount Sinai stated, Women who had low levels of Vitamin D tended to have more aggressive tumors than women who had high levels of Vitamin D. The women who had dificient levels had almost doubled risk of metastasis and dying.

Dr. Goodwin recommends that women who have breast cancer take a Vitamin D supplement that is recommended for optimum bone health - between 600 and 800 IU (International Units) daily.

Dr. Goodwin also specified that women of color have lower levels of Vitamin D in their blood because the pigment in their skin doesn't allow them to absorb as much sunlight. She suggests having your doctor order a simple blood test to determine the level of Vitamin D in your blood. Ideally your Vitamin D blood levels should be between 80 and 120 nanomoles per liter of blood.

A number of studies have been conducted and they suggest Vitamin D may possibly help prevent breast and colorectal cancer, according to Dr. Stephen Chia, an oncologist who practices at British Columbia's Cancer Agency. However, Dr. Chia advises that more research is necessary.

There are few foods that contain Vitamin D. One is egg yolks and in Canada, cereals are fortified with Vitamin D. The best natural source of Vitamin D is sunlight. However, those of us that live in a four season climate do not get enough exposure to sunlight. Therefore we need to take a Vitamin D supplement.

In 2007, the Canadian Cancer Society recommended a daily dose of 1,000 IU of Vitamin D to keep the body in optimum health. Vitamin D can also fight depression from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which causes fatigue and depression.

Ladies, please see your doctor and have him/her order a blood test to see if your Vitamin D levels are what they should be. If not, be sure to take a Vitamin D supplement daily.

Please pass this information on to all the women in your life. We need to continue the fight against breast cancer. ~Blessings, Mary~

Sunday, May 18

Green Thumb Sunday and My New Look

It's Green Thumb Sunday, hosted by Tricia at As the Garden Grows. If you'd like to participate, just click on the link to find out how.

This week I have blooms in my garden for Green Thumb Sunday. A few more of my tulips have bloomed.

I love this peach one. It looks so pretty with its pastel shade. It is in the front of the house along with some purple tulips, but they are still in bud. This one gets a bit more sun and so it blooms earlier.
The red one has a beautiful black center with a touch of yellow to brighten it. It is another favorite of mine.
The English violets above are blooming near the shed in the back of the house. They have spread over the years. I was so afraid they would have been damaged by the contractor who destroyed many of my other flowers and I was delighted when they poked up through the ground.
So I took these and transplanted them into the side flower bed. Hopefully by having them in a variety of places I will be able to keep some of these. They were given to me by my MIL and they are very difficult to find in garden centers. They are one of my favorite flowers.

I've had a few surprises in my email lately. A couple of days ago I received an email from Hootin' Anni. She told me she had been dabbling and had come up with a new look for my blog, if I liked it. Like it? Anni, I love it. I was delighted and I think my readers will agree that it is beautiful. Anni, thank you so much. In honor of your kind and generous heart and our friendship, I would like to present you with the button below. I absolutely love the new look.

Last week, Denise at Shorty Bear's Place send me some graphics in an email. Thank you, Denise. They are all beautiful. How did you know that I love birds and birdhouses? This is a very pretty personalized graphic and I thank you for thinking of me.

Not much else going on around here. It is the Victoria Day weekend but we don't really do anything special. We stick around the house, relax and enjoy the peace and solitude.
Have a beautiful weekend, Everyone and be sure to take the time to enjoy the simple things in life. ~Blessings, Mary~