"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire; it is the time for home."—  Edith Sitwell

This was the quote in Oprah’s newsletter December 5th. When I read it I thought two things. The first was that Dad was home - back into the warmth of what he had said that he missed when Mum died. The second, that I had the Royal We again as my parents were back together my two angels sending me lots of love. And I have my own home filled with the things that my parents taught me - love, sharing, comfort, good food, warmth - the whole year through.

The Royal We - together again
Emerson 002

This photo was taken on Dad’s 95th Birthday Celebration , December 2011 held at the Andersonville United Baptist Church.

This little country church and his church family meant a great deal to him.


I wrote a little poem that was turned into a card for each family at the church. I played the piano for services, sang,
and enjoyed the time with Dad and our friends at this little church.

At the Crossroads
Sits this little country church
Its steeple -
With open arms to heaven
Patiently waiting...
Clothed in heavenly moonbeams,
Swirling snows and starlit nights.
The magic of sunbeams
Sends rainbow hopes
Through its panes of multi-coloured glass
Patiently waiting…
To embrace its little congregation
And fill them with the fruit of the Spirit
Love - Joy - Peace
Patience - Kindness -Goodness
Faithfulness - Gentleness and self-control.

What next?
Do the math!
One hundred sixty-eight hours in a week.
One spent at Church leaving -
One hundred sixty-seven hours.

At the Crossroads -
With arms open to heaven …
Dance in the moonbeams,
Make angels in the swirling snow,
Let rainbow colours heal all wounds
And then -
Sprinkle the gifts of the Spirit
Like celestial stardust where e’re you go.

ardeth holmes © 2010

Family is such a wonderful word as it truly encompasses all those with whom we feel a great connection. Often family has nothing to do with DNA and everything to do with shared values, experiences, and sharing the truth of who we are with each other…. and still being loved….unconditionally. Unconditional love is a powerful thing… and an art with endless rewards.

This year I have spent time asking myself the question: How does one heal ones self? Prayer? Believing in miracles? Asking for a miracle? Allowing a miracle to happen? Doing what is best/right - eating healthy, exercising, having joy in your life and spending time in nature? Following your passion that means you find your bliss knowing what it is you should be doing and doing it?

Part of my life journey has certainly been aligning the whole concept of mind, body, and spirit. BE - ing human means I do not always do what is best for me and yet, I do my best. I remember after my job with the Foundation moved to Toronto I was at a cocktail party where the first question asked by a stranger was what do you do? I thought - what do I do? I no longer have a job to define what I do. I responded: “I work at being nice and sometimes I am stellar at it and other times abysmal”. For me, I never stop trying to be nice. And most recently, I am working at being nice to self, loving self, honouring self and doing what is best for me.

I repeat we forget to be nice to ourselves. I have found that when I do what I love doing - creating no matter what I create - dinners, poems, funny little painted poem booklets, gardening, flower arranging, picnics, scrapbooking, decorating, my life unfolds in a rhythm that physically makes my heart sing. That is not to say that some medications are not needed, however, one’s spirit really needs to be happy too in order to BE well, WELL.

It is something that not many people in the health profession have learned - that we are so much more than just a body with parts that might not be functioning well. What brings you joy creates a heart rhythm that lets your heart sing; a walk in nature even though your bones may ache when you begin the walk can with the sunshine on your face or the crunch of snow underfoot or watching the tide come in remind you that life is so much bigger than aching bones - life is about embracing Mother Nature whose beauty can heal; healing is about listening to music that makes your body swing and sway or violins that make you want to weep; the sound of chick-a-dee-dee-dee when you least expect it; carrots that are big enough to pull and hav
e for dinner - the wonderment of life in nature. I miss the farm because of all those things. And combine all the above with unconditional love for/with self and others, it makes for a lifetime of joy, hope, laughter, and simple bliss with each and every breath.

Jeff and I had joy when we went on a boat cruise while in Portland, Maine in May

I loved the intense colour RED of this marker

While these had a function - I thought they looked like fabulous sculptures

Fuel anyone?


And in the midst of all the traffic - a nest - love the decorating blue and red string and greenery. We all love colour in our homes and think of the price of real estate for this condo!


And then mid-November Jeff and I went to Sturbridge, MA and spent time at the historic village - lovely eyes


A barn with a beautiful architectural detail for the doorway - and hinges

Jeff is reading the latest 1825 news posted at the General Store and is being followed by his new found friends, I am the shadow ...


I went to Maine several times this year on mini-retreats to my friend Sandy’s - I do all kinds of fun things while there, watch the tide come in and out,
admire her gardens, paint, write poetry, rest and simply be……

Sandy paints - and this is one of hers. This one speaks to my soul….. a Moon Goddess

Sandy’s front yard that faces Cripple Creek - beautiful afternoon place to warm in the sun or in the evening watch the sunset over the bay


And this is Cripple Creek as it heads out to Penobscot Bay… this is early May with little seedlings being warmed by the cover of cardboard to encourage
their growth


And here is my friend Sandy. I have learned some interesting phrases from her - “just because you can does not mean you should” or “No.” -
is a complete sentence.
She has also taught me how to look inward for my answers to life’s big questions to trust my own wisdom. She reminds me of Mum and Dad combined - as
she has a great affinity with nature and is surrounded by trees, water, gardens, pond, and knows how to share her art of hospitality She’s a great cook too!


And this was a stellar day for Dad when David Palmer came to formally present Dad with a plaque for a Lifetime Achievement Award in Woodlot Management
from the YSC Marketing Board - David, Ardeth, Dad and Barry Gregory who works in the woods for us and gives us good advice of when/where
to cut next.

If you desire you can read the thank you speech I wrote by clicking on the file to the left. I presented it on Dad’s behalf at the YSC Marketing Board AGM in May. After that meeting
I was asked if I would speak to the AGM of the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners of New Brunswick - which I did. They are a dedicated group of men
and women who have a great love and affinity for not only their woodlots Crown Land forests too. They too are like Dad honouring Mother Nature in their management of their woodlots.


This is the Frederick Street side of the house earlier this summer…..


And this is the view in late September -


And this is the view today -


We knew something needed fixing when there was a bulge on this 1783 wall. The side of the house was stripped back to the interior walls when rotten
clapboards were found and some beams too. Many of the original boards remain including in a couple of spots - trunks of cedar trees bent between
two boards to give it added strength - just as the trunk grew. They used what they had - and here we are 219 years later and most is still strong.
Will we be able to say that of today’s construction 219 years from now?

And I am sure all who own houses know what happens next. Well, if we are back to the original interior walls we should do any work that needs doing
while it is open. We now know the house is TOTALLY insulated, covered with Tyvek, lattice work allowing it to breathe under the clapboard (when it is put
on) and all the windows will be replaced with the traditional style of 1783 - with warm technology. The centre section on the first floor where you can see that
wide red tape will become a faux door. This door which would have been the main entrance when this colonial home was floated by barge from Castine, Maine
in 1783.

And now too is decision time as to what to do with the farm (as seen from the top of Sorrell Ridge) 300+ acres. What will our legacy be? I keep thinking about
an Intentional Community and the possibilities with this space. I am a dreamer…. who knows … dreams can come true. The intention? That all who live there
would enjoy and be in tune with nature, honour the land - fields and forests, and understand and participate in the spirit of community.


And here is the view from our upper deck - our garden, the wharf and Navy Island. We love going out there at the end of the day under the canopy of
the tree … and enjoying the cooling breeze of evening - that would be in summer although I do go out in winter too to test the air temperature!


Summer is not summer without a visit to Kingsbrae Gardens - only 5 minutes away


We had several passenger cruise ships visit St. Andrews this summer - loved where this one was anchored behind the sign at Passamaquoddy Park!!


And then we had the cruise ship that is actually a floating condominium….. BIG! HUGE! GIGANTIC!


This year I finish with this photo for it is about returning to our roots. While this photo is only 5 years old - the barn has been torn down, however, this
is the view that is in my mind’s eye when I think about the farm. It is a glorious view across to those distant hills from here in the upper field overlooking the
farm house and our little family home. Life changes.


Life changed a lot for this family. Aunt Mury (Dad’s sister) died earlier in the year. And cousin Ruth (Hastey) less than two weeks before Dad which was
ironic for her husband Maurice died a few weeks before Mum nineteen years ago.

The Alqonquin Hotel was bought and the main part of the hotel closed which meant Blaine no longer had a job, and HMS did not have one of its best
clients - the travelling public and convention groups. One survives and you do what you need to do. The 50 rooms from the new (well 18 year old wing) was
closed after labour day so the work can be completed. The Hotel is being totally retrofitted and upgraded to a Marriott Autograph Collection opening June 1st, 2013.

On December 1st., Jeff and I along with Janet, Blaine and Chris attended the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration in St. George. Jeff was one of the
recipients honoured with a Diamond Jubilee Pin for service to his community. Our MP, John Williamson, hosted the event and the presentation of the pin was
made by The Honourable
Graydon Nicholas, Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick.

As to other things in our lives…. our year this year was quieter. Business was slower, I had a few physical ailments that slowed me down (much better thank you), we
saw Arlo Guthrie in concert at the Imperial Theatre (good show, one person, four guitars, one piano and lots of stories), several small mini-trips (my favourite kind), entertained a
few people through the year, and the house now that we have gone to artificial tree’s is completely decorated both inside and out. (I am not sure the neighbours or public feel that
tyvek and lattice work or blue tarp is decorating!!!)

December and Christmas is my favourite time of year. I love the magic of the decorations and how it transforms our space into a fairy land, the activity within our community
and surrounding areas of special events. We have much to look forward to throughout the month - concerts, celebrations, and simply relaxing rejoicing
in our blessings sharing time with family and friends.

Joel Osteen if any of you happen to watch him on TV - had a sermon on the two words: “I AM…..” with the statement that what follows
I am is what you bring into
your life in great abundance. I took this to heart and cleaned up my thoughts - so that my I AM’s are what I have/want in my life.

I AM blessed with wonderful memories of those who while they have departed from our earthly lives continue to be there for us as our very own angels.

I AM blessed with vibrant health so that I can do the work I was placed on earth to do.

I AM blessed with a full complement of family and friends who know how to share sorrows and joys equally.

I AM blessed to live a life of abundance of every kind imaginable or as James Arthur Ray, the philosopher states for Wealth Harmonics a balance in “financial, relational, educational,
spiritual and physical”.

I AM blessed with a faith that all will be well and simply allow time for life to unfold in all its glory.

I AM blessed for I have come to understand that the Spirit of Me goes round and round which some might say is reincarnation and I would simply say is the circle of life. … both heaven and earth.

I AM blessed to know that said blessings require both commitment and belief.

I AM a divine being created by God to be me as are each and every one of us.


May you, your family and friends be sprinkled with your own - I AM BLESSINGS - in whatever areas of your life blessings are (gratitude) - or are needed (requests). Sometimes we forget to ask for help. How important to remember that Christmas is the time of year when we were given the Blessing of the Christ Child who loves us to ask Him for help. It was Sylvia Brown who wrote: “Prayers are asking the questions of God, and meditation is listening for the answers”. I AM thrilled with the blessings of nature for in God’s space is the perfect place to meditate to listen for the answers to my questions.

Love, Ardeth, Jeff and Maggie.

This photo is a place of meditation for all these plants - join them in living a life of harmony with each other. My little fairy spirit wants to land within the light of the beautiful pink flower.
I am asking your to join me …..today so we can join others around the world in the mighty chorus of Peace on Earth Goodwill to all of God’s creations. God’s creations? I am reminded of Genesis - “In the beginning God created…..”.

What will our legacy be or our footprint if you will of our time on Mother Earth with each other, our natural environment, our built environment and the answer to that is simply by asking ourselves
what are we creating?

What will our legacy be?

On Friday, December 21st the blue tarp was removed. The wreath will be hung - and other things that are not complete will be finished over the next few months - shutters back on, faux door made and installed, heritage lanterns will arrive in next few weeks, lovely granite slab we brought from the farm will go in front of the door, and perhaps a flower garden will be planted on this side of the house. - the perennials are plentiful enough in the back yard to do so. Every window opens (yeah!), they are energy efficient (yeah!), and they are made in New Brunswick as is the clapboard which is pre-painted and guaranteed for twenty years. The vents will be painted to match the siding colour. Too cold to paint these days.

Yes, you are correct in thinking it does need a new roof.