Monday, June 9, 2014

"I'm in a New Phase State of Mind."

Like so many things in life, it's time to bring this blog to an end.

It's been an awesome experience... I'm in a New Phase State of Mind.

With that said, I'll let Carol Burnett bring the curtain down.

I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together

Praying for abundance of Health, Happiness, Love, Peace and Prosperity for all.

God Bless

Sunday, June 8, 2014


I've come across some quotes that are so inspiring that I felt the need to share them.

Whatever your journey, maybe one of these will make a difference.

Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect, it means you have decided to see beyond the imperfections.

God delights in his children and he loves us simply because we are his.

In the end only three things matter; how much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go things not meant for you.

I am not what happened to me.  I am what I choose to become.

The mind is the source of happiness ... and unhappiness.

All that we are is the result of all that we have thought.

What you are is God's gift to you.  What you become is your gift to God.

Wake up every morning with the thought that something wonderful is about to happen.

There is always a way.

Make it simple, but significant.

Always choose the adventure.

What you seek is seeking you.

Don't worry, God is always on time.

Peace, Love and Happiness to all. :D

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Jerusalem The Movie at Ontario Science Centre

Before Jerusalem The Movie  began in the IMAX theater at Ontario Science Centre  (my favourite place in world :), Daniel Ferguson, the Director polled the audience, "How many of you have been to Jerusalem?"  A few hands went up.  His response?  (not verbatim) "I hope after this movie when I ask if you have been to Jerusalem all your hands will go up."

The lights faded and we were transported to the center of the world.

I didn't know what to expect. 

Better that way.

I left all preconceptions behind so that Jerusalem could be seen for all its treasures.  

The aerial views and moving through the crowds of people were captivating. I was soaring among the clouds and on the streets I could  feel people brushing past me. All my senses were acutely attentive.

From across the ocean (and screen) I was warmly welcomed into Nadia, Farah and Revital's lives. They spoke eloquently and from the heart. Each so different yet so alike. Young women mature beyond their years, echoing the voices of their ancestors.

Seeing Jerusalem through Christian, Jewish and Muslim eyes changed the lens of the movie in a spectacular way. Being a Catholic, I was inspired by all the moments reflective of my faith. Then I was equally inspired by the moments of the Jewish and Muslim people. All of them deeply passionate and committed to their beliefs and ways of life. Yet the movie is not 'religious.' It illustrates beautifully what is an intricate part of Christian, Jewish and Muslim's lives without judgement. 

The journey continued through crevices and expanse. Walls and paths that told stories of countless generations. I ingested every rich morsel of history, culture and people ... people that are no different than you and I; Lives filled with work, school, religion, family, friends, hopes and dreams.

I sensed the movie was coming to an end.

As the images on the screen faded I hesitantly returned to my seat, fulfilled but wanting more.

I raise my hand in the air .. I have been to Jerusalem.

Friday, February 21, 2014

I've got God in my corner

It's been an interesting life so far.
A mixed bag of ups and downs.

I have learned a lot.
I can look back over four decades but I can't see anything beyond this moment.
I will not know what is waiting just outside my door, around the corner until I am facing it.

I know what I want to happen.
Like many others I have plans, goals and dreams.
I intend to achieve them, I just don't know when.

In the meantime, I have the now and all that it can dish out.
I've experienced many rewarding moments.
Moments that remind me to keep going; that God's in my corner.
I've faced many, many disappointments.
Dark moments that try to break me. That test my belief; that God's in my corner.

So what can I take away from the good and bad moments?
That faith can be precarious.
It's easy to find and embrace .. when things go well.

But when there is pain that aches in my heart, sits in the pit of my stomach, fills my eyes with tears and reeks havoc in my mind that is riddled with doubts; faith seems to become elusive.

I don't enjoy pain, defeat or rejection.
I have experienced them nonetheless.
When I'm facing these.
When I don't know what awaits me behind the door or around the corner.
When pain and hurt can be so intense it skews any rational thinking.
That's when I dig deep; and when I find it, I hold on tight,
Because I've got God in my corner ... always.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Today I met the lady who feeds the birds

It was a chance meeting.

Along the aisle in a supermarket.

I flashed her a smile as she walked towards me.
She stopped and asked, "Why are you smiling?"
I answered "Because life is good."
She laughed; and before I knew it, she was telling me about needing peanuts, for the birds she feeds, because they like peanuts. She feeds them. The pigeons often land on her hand allowing her to to stroke their wings. She knows it's because they want the peanuts.  I think they like the warm, kind touch too.  I watch her as she speaks. She reminds me of the lady on Home Alone II who fed the pigeons in Central Park.
She pulls out an almost empty bag of peanuts. The bag that needs to be replenished. I thought she was done as she pointed to the selection of peanuts, but that was only the tip of the peanut shell.  I learned where she was from, where she had lived, people she had met. I learned her name, Anne Marie. She asked me if I knew her heritage. "Scottish" I answered apprehensively. I was right. She said that  all her Italian friends call her Anna Maria.
I sensed that she had so much more to share.
She did.
After several minutes we found a moment of silence, bid each other a great day and headed in separate directions.
Only to find a few minutes later she was heading right for me and began a new conversation. The diseases she once had and the miracles of healing she experienced. She asked, "Do I believe in Saints?" I answered,  "I sure do"
I noticed that she had her container of peanuts, but she wasn't in a hurry to feed the birds. I learned more about her health issues and got advice on the many products I shouldn't buy because they caused cancer, diabetes, and other serious illnesses.
Another brief moment of silence.
I wished her a wonderful day.
She did too, and she continued to walk with me. We talked some more.  Then as quickly as we began our conversation she ended it. She saw a familiar face, called out and rushed to him. He welcomed her and her stories.
I wished her a great day and made my way. She flashed me a smile and wished me a great day too.
I could hear bellowing voice. She wasn't at a loss for things to share.
I continued down the aisle. Her voice was fading.
And just like that, she was gone.
I thought about what her life was like. Did she live alone? Were these conversations her only connection with others. Would she remember me?
I don't know if I will ever see Anne Marie again.
I'll keep an eye out.
Who knows, maybe one of the pigeons she feeds will lead me to her.

Monday, February 10, 2014

MammaNon (My Grandmother)

She was there for my first breath; my grandmother (aka MammaNonna; I called her MammaNon)

I was one of the lucky ones. My grandparents lived with us. Yes, it was a full and busy household, but it was rich; with family.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time with MammaNon. I hung off her apron strings learning the art of pasta, pizza and sugo (sauce) making. We shared many breakfasts and lunches alone, together. She insisted I have my egg yolk with sugar and marsala every morning and a few sips of red wine at lunch (to put a little colour on my face LOL :D I watched her hands hard at work, gardening, peeling fruits and vegetables, preparing meals, cleaning... I sat with her and watched Lawrence Welk, Johnny Lombardi, Donny & Marie, Jesus of Nazareth, Tiny Talent Time.  She took me to church and on bus trips downtown. She held my hand and kept me close. I became a part of the neighbourhood ladies gatherings and colourful conversations. We laughed, we loved and she shared bits of wisdom at just the right time.

I got older and so did she.

Our bond only got stronger as I married and had children. What a gift. My children would have the honour of knowing their great grandmother!

Then it happened. There were some signs over the years but it wasn't until MammaNon fell and broke her hip that it made its appearance, Alzheimers. Life as she knew and we knew would change. The difference was we remembered and she didn't.

I watched the transformation. This strong woman, both mind and body began to weaken.  MammaNon came to live with me for some time while my mom had surgery. We shared many breakfasts and lunches alone, together. Our conversations hinged on the clarity of her memory. She watched my hands hard at work. We sat watching some of the programs I knew she used to enjoy. I took her on short walks. I held her hand and kept her close.  We laughed, we loved and I told her everyday how much I loved her. When I tucked her in bed at night, she looked at me with her tear filled eyes. If she remembered me, she would tell me how grateful she was that I was caring for her and I would tell her how grateful I was for her.

Eventually the disease stripped MammaNon of any memory. She knew we loved her, but she didn't know who we were. Her body weakened further until she needed hospital care.

Things were deteriorating rapidly. Everyday I visited. She did not speak anymore but I knew she would want to pray. Everyday I helped her make the sign of the cross and she listened to my words. We prayed together.

I was there for her last breath; her grandchild (aka Nipote)...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Molly and Tiger

When I was a child, my parents rented out the basement apartment in our bungalow.

We only ever had one tenant, Molly and her dog Tiger.

I remember it so vividly the evening she arrived. I was in my pajamas dunking chocolate chip cookies in my milk when a knock at the door followed by a bark summoned the whole family to the door. I hid behind my mom to assess the stranger and the dog. Her laughter, loudness and excitable dog quickly drew me out to the front of the group. With cookies still in hand, I tossed a couple to the dog. He gobbled them up and wagged his tail happily. The entire family led her down to her apartment grabbing bags along the way.

Molly and Tiger wouldn't be just tenants. They became family.

I knew because Mom started sending me down to bring Molly a plate of pasta or whatever we had on the menu that night. Molly LOVED Italian food and in a short time, us. We loved her and Tiger back. She rarely kept her door locked, and even when she did, that didn't stop us (the kids that is). The windows were held shut with a single latch that we were able to slide open. We easily slid into the room and made ourselves at home. Why? We loved to hang out with Molly and Tiger.

She would take us for walks to the park,we played for hours, stopping at the Dairy Queen for an ice cream. She took us skating and shopping. She shared her world with us and we did the same. On our birthdays she always gave us $1. That $1 meant more than you can imagine. One year she splurged and bought us each a huge pillow. We kept it in her apartment to sit on when we hung out there.

Molly became a part of every celebration. Communions, school concerts, birthdays, Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. She even helped out with the sauce making. I remember her telling people who visited her that we were 'her kids.' :)

Then the dreaded day arrived, Dad had to ask Molly to leave because we had outgrown the space upstairs. I remember her pleading with dad that she would be happy with even one room; but they both knew it wasn't realistic.

We were heartbroken. My parents were able to find her an apartment with another family member only a few blocks away; but it wasn't the same. We still visited often. Molly would make us Kraft macaroni and cheese which would be quickly intercepted by my grandmother and made into a real Italian meal.

School, jobs and life started to fill our days and before we knew it, Tiger had passed on and Molly moved to another place, further away. We kept in touch by letters, cards and the occasional phone call.

Then the cards stopped. Our letters went unanswered and her phone had been disconnected.

We went to great lengths to find her only to discover that Molly died of cancer. She never told us she had been diagnosed. We all died a little that day.

When I think back, I don't know who needed who more. We were the family Molly didn't have. Molly and Tiger were the family we didn't have. My parents were immigrants still learning the Canadian culture. Molly infused many lessons without us really knowing it. We embraced her as she embraced us.

I still remember that day when I stood at the top of the stairs, chocolate chip cookies in hand...