Monopoly and laughter 

I walked in to the kitchen at my mom’s house today to find her sitting at the table planing an intense game of monopoly with Jenna. Jenna is very good (and very competitive) at games, so playing with her is always lots of fun and very challenging. 

I cooked us all supper and we spent the evening sharing stories and laughing. It felt so good to do in that kitchen that is the centre of the home of my heart. 

It was so nice to have us all shed some of the stresses we have been carrying and just give into the laughter and the enjoyment of each other’s company. A delightful happiness moment. 


Pie and ice cream

Tonight we had a dinner party at my mom’s house. It was the first gathering of laughter in the house since before Dad died. A much needed, long over due time for laughing and sharing.

That house has always been a great house for gathering friends and family. From the time I was a young child I remember people coming together in Grandma and Grandpa’s (now Mom and Dad’s) house for tea, for visits, for fun.

When we would have supper in recent years it was usually finished off with a bowl of ice cream. Never were my sister and I so lucky as kids to have ice cream for dessert on a regular basis, but somehow becoming grandparents turned my parents (my dad in particular) into an ice cream eating machine.

Part way through supper Dad would look at one of the kids, point his fork at them and while shaking it up and down say “someone better go set the ice cream out on the counter”. Always one, usually more, kids would jump up and run out to the garage and grab the many varieties of Mackay’s Ice Cream that lined the shelves.

We didn’t eat any ice cream at the dinner table this summer. It just didn’t feel right.

Tonight loving, dear friends of Mom and Dad cooked and brought out supper to share with us. They along with my cousin and her family, my mom, and my family joined around the supper table for some good food, some story sharing, some laughter, and some pie and ice cream. It was a supper that would have made Dad so happy. He would have loved to have been here to enjoy it with us, but I know he is happy that we joined together anyway and celebrated. My cousin-in-law took one for the team and sat in Dad’s seat at the table and he did so with class and finesse. It was fitting.

What an act of true friendship-kindness from this couple whom my parents love so much. It was so incredibly thoughtful and so timely of them to have a dinner at our place. The laughter and joy that belongs in that house was brought back and the mood was light and free from the sorrow of the past few months. Fitting too that it was shared with my cousin and family as they are an extra daughter, son, and grandkids to my parents and siblings to us all. More people who needed to share in the joy of the occasion. The happiness moment today.


A generational cake

When I was a kid grandma used to make what us cousins called Grandma’s special cake. To us it was a recipe unique to grandma and we always looked forward to the times when she would make it. Always for brandings, usually for community events, sometimes just for us to enjoy.

You can imagine my horror when I moved to Québec and there was a bakery there that sold Grandma’s special cake. The horror grew when my cousin’s husband was delighted because it was his aunt’s special cake.

Yesterday my cousin texted me to remind me that she’d made a dessert for my parents and I’d forgotten to pick it up at school. She finished with I have three words for you




Well. I didn’t have to be reminded again.

Last night my mom and I split the cake. They kept some and we took some. Today at lunch Jenna and I dove into it. As I was eating I thought about the generations who have enjoyed this cake. We were sitting in the house my great grandparents built eating it, my parents were in the house my grandparents built and my mom grew up in eating it. 5 generations of family sharing love from that cake and the memories attached to it. Because not only is it yum yummy, but every bite has a fun childhood memory attached to it.

As I was getting ready to put it away I saw another cousin walking down from the barn after a ride. I went out and shared the last piece of our cake with her. The delight on her face was totally worth it. Cake love. Family cake. My happiness moment for the day.


Share the Love

Yesterday morning I was trying to figure out what to do for Children’s Chapel. There’s always a set lesson, but after that I have to come up with something to do with them for the rest of the time. The past few weeks we’ve been colouring – which at first was a huge hit, but lately has gotten a little boring. I knew it was time to shake things up, but I was at a loss as to what to do.

I remembered last year I’d played a ball game with them that they’d really enjoyed, but didn’t really have much to do with the fact that we were in church. It truly had been a time filler game, and I was hoping for something a bit more. I got to thinking about how much I enjoy the beginning of our time together when we share the best part of our week, or something we are thankful for. It sets the tone for the rest of the lesson, and it lets us all get to know each other a bit better. I decided to see if I could figure someway to combine those two things and came up with a pretty simple game.

We all had to get in a circle and one person would throw a ball at another person. When that person caught the ball, they’d have to say something nice about the person who threw the ball. Wanting to make sure it passed the “cool test” I told my kids what I was thinking about and they both seemed really positive about it. In fact, when we got to church they suggested the three of us throw the ball together and practice so we would know how smoothly the game went. It started out with them being a little awkward and silly: “Your farts stink” Your farts don’t stink” (both of which sadly enough were something each kid took as a compliment), but it quickly turned into genuine kind words “You’ve always got my back” “I like how you are a good brother to me” “You’re a good friend to me”. I could see the smiles on their faces grow and I knew it actually was working.

The same thing happened with all the kids at Children’s Chapel. At first they were a little shy and self-conscious “I like your shoes” “I like your hair”, but it soon got much, much deeper “I like how you are always kind to others” “I like how you always smile” “I like how you always let your little light shine”. I could see them smiling more and more and they all seemed to really enjoy it.

Near the end one of the littler kids got a little antsy and pulled a small bouncy ball out of his pocket and wanted to know if we could play with it. I said if we all sat down we could roll it so we didn’t super bounce out one of the windows. Not sure if they were getting bored I added that they could stop saying the compliments if they wanted and just roll the ball. As my daughter pointed out after though “Mom, did you notice that even after you said they didn’t have to keep saying nice things, they kept on doing it?” Which I had. Because that’s the excellent thing about saying nice things. Once you start, they snowball into more and more nice things, and they become easier and easier to say.

I know my heart left a little happier after our time together. I noticed too that the kids said more kind things to each other during the day.

So easy, and yet so powerful.