Saturday, October 18

You've Been a Friend

Sherry at My Journey Back has started a new meme. It is about friends that are precious to us and she's invited me to join. This looks like a lot of fun. I'm to write a post about a friend that means a lot to me, either a blogging or real world friend.

This week I'm going to write about my friend, Jo Ann. I met her in 1976 when I was selling Avon door-to-door. She had five children and I had one. Over time we became very good friends and we've been through a lot together.

We helped each other out as our children grew. We shared food, money and anything else. What one had, the other was welcome to. We've watched family members celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, weddings. We clung to each other and cried when family members passed on. We've held each other up, supported one another and cheered each other on. We've traveled dark valleys, climbed high mountains and stood on the top of those mountains and watched the sunshine break through the clouds.

Yes, Jo Ann and I have been friends since we were young women and now we're growing old together. Jo Ann has been a definite blessing to me throughout the last 32 years. Thank you, for being such a great friend.
Now I'm supposed to tag one friend to do this meme. Mmm! Such a hard choice, but I am going to tag Hootin' Anni. ;-)

If you would like to take part in this meme, just copy the button and then go to My Journey Back and add your name to Mr. Linky and then pass the meme along to ONE friend. How lovely that Sherry would encourage us to share one of the most precious gifts on earth - Friends.

Friday, October 17

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.

Last Monday, which was Thanksgiving in Canada, the boys came over to help me finish decorating the yard. We had started it about two weeks ago and hadn't had a chance to finish it.

First we took some Indian corn and tied it together with binder twine and hung it by the door. The photo doesn't do it justice. It is rather pretty.
While we were tying the Indian corn, Grandpa went to the basement and brought out the pumpkin head man that we've had for years. He is getting in kind of rough shape, but he still looks good lounging on the bale of straw.

We put a mum plant and some gourds and pumpkins beside him to brighten up the yard near the driveway.

Then we put up the ghost that I got last year. It has such a pleasant face and welcomes trick or treaters to the yard. We couldn't get it into the hard ground, so Grandpa put it in for us. Mmm! My fairy is lying on the ground. Looks like Meeko has been in the flower bed again. Grrr!
Then we added last year's scarecrow that will keep my new larger one company this year. We added a few cornstalks to the mix.
About three years ago the boys and I were at a holiday speciality shop and saw the groom from the Nightmare Before Christmas on sale. I bought one for their house and one for here.
A look at all the decorations from the top of the terrace steps. It looks kind of spooky, don't you think. Brandon was sure enjoying it after it was all done.

See that smile. And Anni, that witch hanging on the porch railing was given to me about five years ago by the boys. She has watched over the yard every Halloween since.
Jordan helped with all the decorations but for some reason didn't get in the photos. I think he was too busy raking leaves and trying to fill that big bag with the pumpkin face on it. After the decorating was done, we went to the front of the house where a poplar tree sheds leaves like crazy and filled that bag to the brim. I didn't get a photo when it was finished, but the boys took it home to set in their yard. They can't fill them they don't have many trees in their survey, except at the park.

We had a lot of fun decorating again this year. Oh, and notice the green Christmas lights that we are going to light on Halloween to make the yard look eerie. After Halloween, they will be shut off until December. I'm hoping that someday the boys will have many fond memories of decorating for Halloween at Grandma's.

It's colder here today and our lovely Indian Summer is gone. The wind is nasty and it has been overcast all day. Have a pleasant weekend, stay safe and take time to enjoy the simple things in life. ~Blessings, Mary~

Thursday, October 16

Thankful Thursday

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.

As always, I have much to be thankful for this week. Though I've been feeling a bit tired from my bout with the flu or whatever it was, I'm thankful that it wasn't worse. I am also very thankful for the following:

1. Great online friends who visit and comment.
2. To live in a province where we have a good health care system.
3. To live in a country where voting is a right and not a priviledge.
4. The freedom to vote for whom we chose.
5. For grandsons who love to come over and help decorate for the holidays.
6. For a lovely mini vacation with my grandson and mother. Many memories were made.
7. The completion (almost) of the upstairs apartment. It's been a long haul but it's looking great.
8. Birthday greetings and gifts from family and friends. I'm truly spoiled.
9. For phone calls from good friends at unexpected times. Enjoyed talking to you, Pea.
10. For the sights, sounds and fragrances of autumn. It is one of my favorite times of the year and the colors are just coming into their peak here.

I hope you have a great day. Remember to count your blessings and if you have a hard day, turn lemons into lemonade. ~Blessings, Mary~

Wednesday, October 15

A Birthday Surprise and Awards

I love surprises! When hubby came in from the mailbox today, he told me there was a parcel for me. A parcel!!! For me? Well, I must confess that I knew it was on its way.

Above you can see the package that hubby handed me. I was ecstatic. My dear friend Anni from Hootin' Anni's had told me that she'd sent a little something to me for my birthday and she teased me a bit about it like I did her when I sent her a little Halloween parcel.
I could hardly wait to open it. It was packaged well and I had to get the scissors and be very careful about snipping it as the tape was hard to get off. Anni had wrapped it well in bubble wrap.
When I removed the bubble wrap, this is what I found. A scarecrow couple. I was ecstatic! Now many of you will know that I love scarecrows and these are just delightful. I have never seen anything like them in the stores here. I LOVE them.
And they go perfect on the entertainment center with my pumpkins and other autumn decor. Thank you so much, Anni. I will treasure these always. They are a token of our friendship and each time I pass through the living room, I see them and think of you.
In the last few weeks I've been presented with many awards and with completing the apartment renovations and meeting my writing deadlines, I've been tardy getting them posted. I love each and every one of them.

Thank you, Storyteller!

Thank you, Storyteller!

Thank you, Anni!

Thank you, Jojo!

Thank you, Jeni!
Thank you, Jill and Grams!

Thank you, Mike!

Thank you, Renie!
Thank you to all my dear friends for these awards. I will certainly pass some of them along in the near future.

It was beautiful here today, but it isn't going to last. A cold front is moving in. I hope it gives us another day or two before it arrives. I love autumn and the days have been warm and the nights cool. Remember to take time to enjoy the season. ~Blessings, Mary~

Tuesday, October 14

Granny Ross: A Leader in History

October is Women's History Month in Canada and the 2008 theme is Women in the Lead. That being said, I'd like to introduce you to Marie Henriette Ross, aka Granny Ross.

It's hard to imagine what life was like for early settlers to Canada. Early pioneer, Marie Henriette Ross faced daily challenges. In addition, she blazed a trail in the world of science in Canada, inspiring future generations to follow their dreams.

Granny Ross, as she was eventually known by fellow Nova Scotians, served as a midwife and healer for over sixty years. Her name has been passed down through generations. Though information on this woman is very difficult to find, I did find out that she gave birth to eleven children. This would have made each day a challenge, just keeping their clothes clean, preparing meals and other household duties. However, Marie always found time to help her fellow man.

Marie LeJeune was born in 1762 in Rochefort, France. Her parents, Joseph LeJeune and Martine LeRoy were Acadians who had been deported to France from what is now known as Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. In 1771, they returned to Acadia. In 1778, they were once again deported to France. It was here, at the tender age of seventeen, that Marie married Joseph Comeau. He was thirty-seven years older than Marie. Marie returned to Acadia with her husband in 1784. Later that year, Joseph drowned. At age twenty-two, Marie was a widow.

Shortly after Joseph's death, Marie followed her family to Little Bras d' Or, Nova Scotia. She married her first cousin, Bernard LeJeune dit Briard. Bernard drowned shortly after the wedding, leaving Marie a widow once more.

At the age of twenty-six, Marie met Protestant Scottish soldier, James Ross. The couple married and first settled in Little Bras d' Or. Later, they followed James' family to East Margaree River.

While living in Bras d' Or, Marie realized that she'd been blessed with the gifts of healing and midwifery. The legend of her life began there. During a small pox epidemic, she cared for friends and neighbours, both French and English. She was always ready to attend anyone in the community who needed her services. Since she had already had small pox, she was immune to the deadly disease. Marie saved many lives during the epidemic. The people she helped never forgot the dedication of this woman.

Over the years, Marie studied plants for their medicinal purposes. She spent many hours in the forest and became a knowledgeable herbalist. She traveled miles from her home to nurse the sick. She delivered hundreds of babies in her lifetime.

Marie's forest adventures and her knowledge of herbs became known far and wide. This is when the Granny Ross legend began to take shape. She dedicated her life to the study of plants, in the hope that her findings would save lives. As she advanced in age, she became blind. Still, her healing and midwifery services were much in demand.

Marie's life was one of inspiration and dedication. She thought only of others and never of herself. Her goal in life was to help mankind. Her dream was certainly realized. She died in 1860, at the age of ninety-eight.

Marie left behind a great legacy. This midwife, herbalist and healer devoted her entire life to the study of plants and the healing of those in her community of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Her name holds a place in the history of that province.

Canadian Heritage Alliance
National Archives of Canada

I wish everyone a wonderful week. ~Blessings, Mary~

Monday, October 13

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to leave Happy Birthday wishes for me yesterday. Your thoughtfulness made the day so much brighter.
Today is my friend Pea's birthday and she has invited everyone to her Birthday Tea Party. Let's join in the fun.

Pea, I hope you don't mind but I decided to wear a vintage dress to your lovely tea. This color is one of my favorites.
I found a matching hat and it is perfect. Once again in the vintage style.
And my boa, as instructed. hehe. I'm so glad you invited me to attend your lovely tea party.
Pea has everything ready. Look at the lovely cakes that she's made just for the occasion. Mmm! They are delicious. Try one.

And I brought along a vintage tea pot and some cups just in case you needed extras, Pea.

Wishing you a wonderful birthday, my friend. I hope your day is filled with love and laughter and that you have many, many more.
Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and I have much to be thankful for this year, as always. I would like to wish all of my Canadian friends a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you enjoy time with family and friends. Have a wonderful day!
Peggy, from Mission4Monday, invited me to join in her meme and to tell my readers about my Mission4Monday.

Twice a year, once in April, which is Autism Awareness Month in the US and in October, which is Autism Awareness Month in Canada, my mission is to promote knowledge of autism. As my regular readers will know, this is an issue close to my heart. My grandson, Brandon, is high functioning autistic.

Shutdowns and Autistic Children

Children who have been diagnossed with high functioning autism can experience what is known as shutdowns. These occur when the child is pressed to take part in social situation which make them feel uncomfortable. The high level of stress caused in such situations can cause the child to literally shutdown. Shutdowns can range in severity from mild unresponsiveness to sleep immobility, which signals a mediocre shutdown. A severe shutdown causes the child to become limp and possibly fall into a deep sleep for a period as short as ten minutes and as long as two hours or more. These shutdowns are always preceded by social stress and can become worse over time.

Shutdowns can cause high funtioning autistic children to regress in both academics and behavior. They may refuse to do tasks they formally accomplished with ease and behaviors that have disappeared may return. The child may also seem disoriented and have trouble remembering the task they were trying to master.

Research has shown that shutdowns are driven more by physiology than by learning. Shutdowns are not a behavior that the high functioning autistic child can control. The child may be highly motivated to complete a difficult task but when pressured, may refuse to continue and then go into shutdown mode.

Shutdowns are triggered by abnormal stress response, which only occurs when interacting with humans. There has been no evidence of shutdown when children are interacting with animals or playing with toys.

It is believed that high functioning autistic children have social phobia. Once indication of this is that they have difficulty making eye contact. These children are reluctant to engage in social activities and will avoid social situations at all costs.

Our family has first-hand knowledge of this with Brandon. We have taught him to make eye contact and he has improved in his ability to do so. However, there are times when he has extreme difficulty looking people in the eye.

Another thing Brandon doesn't feel comfortable with is being the center of attention. When we were at the Huntsville Railway last week, he was invited to be Assistant Conductor. Though he enjoyed wearing the hat, he told the man that he appreciated the offer, but he preferred not to take on the task. When, privately, I urged him to do so he said, "Grandma, you know I don't like being the center of attention." That said, I let the subject drop. I will not force him to participate in anything where he is not at ease.

Another example is when Brandon had to write his autobiography for a school project. He did so with enthusiasm, but when asked to read it in front of the class he absolutely refused. His teacher, who asked to have Brandon is his class this year, took Brandon into the hall and asked him why he refused. Brandon explained that his Asperger's Syndrome caused him to be very uncomfortable when he was the center of attention. This is where Brandon's Independent Educational Profile comes in. He was excused from reading his paper to the class.

Shutdowns are something that Brandon, as a high functioning autistic child, has never experienced. This is a blessing. Research has shown that shutdowns in developing children can cause pathological changes in the brain. In turn, these changes can cause developmental delays. Symptoms include learning disabilities, difficulty with language, rhythmic motor activity, such as rocking, extreme anxiety, further social withdrawl, fearfulness and extreme emotionality.

If you or someone you know has a high functioning autistic child, be sure they are aware that these children should not be pressured into social situations they are not comfortable with . The child should be allowed to progress at their own pace in order to avoid shutdowns caused by extreme emotional stress. Shutdowns cause regression and these children fight everyday to accomplish things that we do with ease.

And that is my Mission4Monday this week. Please spread the word about Autism Awareness and donate to Autism Research.
For more information on Autism, please visit these websites:

Autism Society of America

Have a great week and please do a random act of kindness. A smile can mean a lot to a lonely person. Take an elderly person or child for a walk to the park, help someone put their groceries into the car trunk or smile at someone who looks down. Kindess means so much and oftimes a smile can brighten someone's day.
~Blessings, Mary~

Sunday, October 12

A Big Surprise

I'm taking a break from the mini vacation photos to show everyone the Big Surprise I had waiting for me when I got home. The parcel below was sitting on the table and from the return address, I knew it was from Pea at Pea's Corner.

When I removed the brown paper, this beautifully wrapped present was inside - a birthday gift from my dear blogging friend.

Of course I couldn't wait until today to open it, so I removed the beautiful wrapping paper and the mini carnation.
Then I opened the envelope and found this lovely card inside. I do hope you can enlarge it to read it.
The inside verse was just as lovely. I love cards of all types and this one will be added to my card collection in a day or two.
Pea packed the package really well and it was heavy. What wonders lie inside?

Lovely fall napkins. Pea knows how I love autumn and picked the perfect napkins for the season.
Lots of bubble wrap to keep this beautiful leaf dish perfectly safe on the long trip from her home to mine.
Included in the package was a fragrant pumpkin candle. It is delightful and I will be burning it throughout the autumn season. Above are all the goodies that were inside the box.

After opening the beautiful gifts from Pea, I made a nice arrangement in the entertainment unit. It will remain there until mid November when I exchange my autumn decor for Christmas decorations.

Thank you, dearest Pea. You couldn't have chosen better. I love everything and each time I pass through the living room, I see it and think of you.

Now, another surprise. Tomorrow is Pea's birthday. If you would like to see what I sent her, click on the link and visit her blog. And Pea, a very Happy early Birthday to you, my friend and Happy Thanksgiving also. Here's a little something extra for you, my friend.

I wish you a wonderful day filled with love, laughter and lots of fun. ~Blessings, Mary~