The Christmas Gathering in 2006 was our usual good time. And I will bring you up-to-date on Christmas 2007 at the end of this letter. New traditions mixed with the old are all a part of who we are. A few changes were made in the 2006 holiday season. We did not have our usual sing-song which had been a tradition for 25 years. As I am aging smaller, simpler times with good friends with opportunities to have a great chat are more interesting.

I am enjoying my time moving forward in both age and wisdom. When I turned 50 in 2003 something inside me changed. I began reviewing my life. One must look back in order to move forward. I am still in the process of reviewing my life - mind, body and spirit. One accumulates a lot in almost 55 years.

I am reminded of this layering of life and will describe it with this analogy. When I was in nursing we had an anatomy book that showed the skeleton. Then opaque plastic sheets could be overlaid one at a time which added organs, another for blood vessels, another for tendons, muscles, etc. So I have been peeling back to the basic skeleton of myself.

In 2005 I had gone to a psychologist as I was not happy. When asked why I was there said: “I want peace in my life. And I always thought I was kind and compassionate and I no longer felt that way.” After a few sessions I realized my MIND knew and understood what I wanted and needed - so what next. I did not return but went home to practice, practice, practice.

Slowly, seeping into the core of my spirit I knew I wanted to be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, contentment, gratitude and self control. (See Galatians 5 titled in the New Living Translation as “Living by the Spirit’s Power”.)

Jeff would tell you that he is going to put on my gravestone “I want, I want, I want”. And I do not have a problem with that for wanting is about dreams, desires and goals. Of course, the BIG thing to remember - be careful WHAT you want as that is probably WHAT you will get.

Life has been a giggle these last few months as unfolding before my very eyes and in my space have been placed all that I could ever need or want to help me mindfully take this journey for my soul to be filled with all those things listed above. As so often happens in life the lessons required to learn each of these traits may not come in the way you thought or imagined.

Peace in my life has been ever more present. How am I achieving peace? Quite simply, I am learning to be quiet. I was reminded of this the summer of 2006 when I spent three weeks with Dad on the farm when 235 Queen Street was being redecorated. Dad and I sat on the front porch head swivelling left as the cars went up the road and right as they went down. We watched the sun set over the rolling hills, fireflies flickering their light dance to the rhythm of castanats, and as those of you who know Dad would understand we said little to each other but simply enjoyed nature and each others companionship. Dad is a peaceful presence.