The Gift of Home

As I’m re-reading this post from a couple of years ago, I realize that I’ve lived here now for as long as I lived in the house I grew up in. It’s been 14 years since we moved here and nearly 15 years since I purchased Grandma’s house in Hughenden.

After all these years, I’m still happy to live here in this house. Lots has changed in my life and in this house, but that’s how it goes, isn’t it? Just recently I’ve started thinking that I could let go of this place and be happy anywhere.

Take care and thanks for reading!  ~ Lori

Listen to me read this post:

Decorated
Christmas decorations.

This is my 12th Christmas season spent living in Grandma’s house. In March of 2005 – 9 years after her passing – I had the opportunity to buy this rundown little bungalow and make it new again.

My grandparents, my dad’s folks, built this place the year after I was born. They moved into town after selling their farm. Grandma lived here 28 years before she died and thanks to the loving people that cared for her, she was able to live here until her brief hospital stay prior to her death.

I remember Christmases here surrounded by these same walls and by people I loved. On Christmas Eve, the tradition was for us kids to open one specially-selected gift. This gift was always the homemade pajamas that Grandma had spent the autumn sewing in the same basement where I now watch the flat screen TV from my elliptical trainer.Lori Lake LouiseThis house isn’t large. It’s only about 900 hundred square feet, but in those days, you could cram a lot of overnight and supper guests into it. We weren’t as worried about impressing, but instead the emphasis was on being together all in one place and under one roof, this roof.

This house remains although some of the people are gone now from us. And like the people who remain, the house is older, a little creakier, but just as familiar. Together this house and I hold the memories of days and people past. As long as this house and I are here, so are they.

I’ve learned that over a decade spent in any one place can give a really clear picture of the impermanence of everything and everyone. Since coming to this community, I’ve grown to love its people and I’ve attended some of their funerals. I’ve shared meals and drinks and photos and chores. I’ve given gifts to new parents and then I had the chance to teach those children who didn’t yet exist when I first arrived here.

From Grandma’s house, I’ve watched the years move by more closely, more clearly than they would’ve moved by anywhere else. Here, the years are thick with memories, dripping with history, and sweet with sentiment.  To live on this ever-moving continuum for this part of my life has been a gift. This Christmas season and after 12 years, this house in this place and time still feels like this best present I’ve ever received.

Heavy with frost.
Christmastime branches heavy with frost.

 

The Gift of Home

As I’m re-reading this post from a couple of years ago, I realize that I’ve lived here now for as long as I lived in the house I grew up in. It’s been 14 years since we moved here and nearly 15 years since I purchased Grandma’s house in Hughenden.

After all these years, I’m still happy to live here in this house. Lots has changed in my life and in this house, but that’s how it goes, isn’t it? Just recently I’ve started thinking that I could let go of this place and be happy anywhere.

Take care and thanks for reading!  ~ Lori

Listen to me read this post:

Decorated
Christmas decorations.

This is my 12th Christmas season spent living in Grandma’s house. In March of 2005 – 9 years after her passing – I had the opportunity to buy this rundown little bungalow and make it new again.

My grandparents, my dad’s folks, built this place the year after I was born. They moved into town after selling their farm. Grandma lived here 28 years before she died and thanks to the loving people that cared for her, she was able to live here until her brief hospital stay prior to her death.

I remember Christmases here surrounded by these same walls and by people I loved. On Christmas Eve, the tradition was for us kids to open one specially-selected gift. This gift was always the homemade pajamas that Grandma had spent the autumn sewing in the same basement where I now watch the flat screen TV from my elliptical trainer.Lori Lake LouiseThis house isn’t large. It’s only about 900 hundred square feet, but in those days, you could cram a lot of overnight and supper guests into it. We weren’t as worried about impressing, but instead the emphasis was on being together all in one place and under one roof, this roof.

This house remains although some of the people are gone now from us. And like the people who remain, the house is older, a little creakier, but just as familiar. Together this house and I hold the memories of days and people past. As long as this house and I are here, so are they.

I’ve learned that over a decade spent in any one place can give a really clear picture of the impermanence of everything and everyone. Since coming to this community, I’ve grown to love its people and I’ve attended some of their funerals. I’ve shared meals and drinks and photos and chores. I’ve given gifts to new parents and then I had the chance to teach those children who didn’t yet exist when I first arrived here.

From Grandma’s house, I’ve watched the years move by more closely, more clearly than they would’ve moved by anywhere else. Here, the years are thick with memories, dripping with history, and sweet with sentiment.  To live on this ever-moving continuum for this part of my life has been a gift. This Christmas season and after 12 years, this house in this place and time still feels like this best present I’ve ever received.

Heavy with frost.
Christmastime branches heavy with frost.

 

Nothing Better

IMG_5983
Candy cooking.

Is there anything better than butter and sugar melting together in a heavy pot? I don’t think so. Of course, this is subjective. Some of you are thinking that there is something better! But for me, these days, nothing is better than butter and sugar together. I love that caramel smell as cooking candy bubbles on the stovetop.

Candy and cookies and cards

This year I’m making cookies and candy for friends and family. I’m also sending out old-fashioned Christmas cards. Over the last few years we’ve received blank Christmas cards from different charities as either an incentive to give or as a thank-you for giving. The cards are gorgeous, and I have a whole heap of them. It’s great to finally send them out.

I even wrote a funny Christmas letter to include in the cards. Remember, funny, like sugar and butter, is also subjective. The letter tells about all the excitement that’s been happening around here so it’s short.

IMG_5993
Colour gel pens, stickers, and cards.

I’m using all the colourful gel pens that have sat lonely in a drawer for so long, and I’m sticking hoarded stickers on all the letters and all the envelopes. I don’t know why I love this so much but I do!

What is this unfamiliar feeling?

This holiday season I am happy. Sometimes when I’m working I’ll stop and notice that I’m smiling and my heart is light. There are no pressing thoughts about what to do next trying to push me out of this moment and into the next.

I’m relaxed and I’m happy. It’s hard to know if I’m content because I’m sending cards and baking, or if I’m sending cards and baking because I’m happy. Perhaps it’s the eggnog. Who knows? It doesn’t matter why.

The point is that it’s fun to have time to spend creating homemade gifts. It’s good for my soul.

Sure, I’m finishing up my editing program and have a big project to tackle, but that’s okay. I’ve got time to do it, and that’s a really nice feeling.

IMG_1486
A tree on a December evening.

Memories of busyness

I do miss (a bit) the merriment of elementary school at Christmastime. Kids are so much fun at this time of year because their wonder and excitement are infectious. Their shining eyes remind me of my own childhood Christmases.

But as an elementary schoolteacher there is always a frantic dash up to the finish line of Christmas holidays. (I can’t see you, but I can almost feel all you former and current teachers of young students nodding in agreement. Some of you are still mildly traumatized.)

The classroom is merry in December, but it is hectic. Hectic merriment.

While teaching, I entered Christmas vacation like a zombie, numb and disengaged, but with no appetite for anything, let alone brains. When you give it all, there’s nothing left to give. You need a chance to refuel.

That’s the working world and that’s just how life was while I was teaching. I was busy! Like any job or profession, teaching has its perks and its drawbacks. Mostly, I remember the good things, and there were lots of good things.

That being said, it’s a joy this year to be joyful as I prepare for Christmas. It’s wonderful to have the time to take my time.

Seasons

Life has its seasons, I know. There will be busy times again and maybe even soon. But for now and for this season, I’ll bask in the calm contentment, and wish for you, dear reader, this same pleasure. There’s nothing better.