Christmas 2014

Dear Family & Friends:

In my life when I sit in Stillness words or phrases come to mind. This Christmas season my word is P E A C E. We say to ourselves I wish I had a life of peace. Peace on Earth is often the phrase used in Christmas carols, on cards and in various places.

This year and in truth many of our married years have not been a life of peace as our lives were about - go here, go there, do this, do that when in fact, IF we want PEACE in our life THEN it is up to us to create it within ourselves. When we do so this energy of peace swirls around us and out into the world. Here is the second verse to the words Let There Be Peace on Earth:

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.

I just love the internet for I wondered: “Who wrote this?”. A husband and wife team in 1955 - Sy Miller and Jill Jackson - wrote the song “about their dream of peace for the world and how they believed each one of us could help create it”. Almost 60 years later their words resonate with me.

The word peace began quite some time ago in my little heart. When I had my heart failure almost 33 years ago even it slammed, fluttered, and rarely had a lovely rhythm. I decided I would ‘fight’ this thing and get better.

In the midst of fighting for almost two years I woke up one morning and the word surrender came to mind. I was tired of fighting as it simply exhausted me. I got up that day and decided I was going to LIVE my life to the fullest.

In reviewing these past 33 years I realize that the word PEACE has been swirling a lot through me. Being human means sometimes we can only embrace things in little increments or ‘tiny bites’ as my sister Janet would say.

This year, however, the groundswell of PEACE and LET IT BEGIN WITH ME is my mantra. I am tired of the world fighting wars, fighting diseases, fighting the unknown enemy, fighting with each other, or fighting over things that do not matter one iota five minutes from now. There are times standing up to ones position or belief is worthy, laudable, and needed for the truth does set us free.

Peace is about the power of one. IF each ONE of US gives ourselves the gift of peace THEN that will indeed be the most fabulous gift to the world. What if each of you were to pause in the reading of this letter and sit in STILLNESS, eyes closed, hands palm upward and envision holding hands with everyone in the world encircling the planet with our shared energy of peace.

What does that feel and look like? I can visualize it glimmering and glowing like the Aurora Borealis from my little creative space joining each of you what a wonderful gift. This gift does not cost a cent - all it takes is our agreement to sit in peace.

We’ve created a movement of peace without moving an inch, attending a board meeting, contributing large sums of money or feeling we should, could, or do some thing more. This is truly enough except we could add to the list of peace - one of my favourite bible verses - Galatians 5:22-23 “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”. Just imagine how the world would look and feel if these were our combined energetic messages/prayers to the planet - all the words contained in the fruit of the Spirit. Our prayer for peace could morph into so much more.

And I am thinking why stop with those on earth to join us for in my heart-of-hearts I feel those who have gone before us are with us. Let’s ask them to join the mighty chorus. The words contained in the fruit of the Spirit are words that each of us want in our life and at the very core of our soul.

We want to love and be loved. And all the other words simply add to the spirit of who we are or strive to be. Being human I say that some days I am stellar exemplifying those words and others days abysmal. The rest of the time? Somewhere-in-between. I will admit my greatest struggle is with self-control.

I think self-control is the last word on the list so that we remember to be kind, loving, compassionate, gentle with self and have patience with self when we feel we do not live up to our potential. And also to forgive ourselves, get up, dust ourselves off and try, try again. And the word compassion encompasses all those words knowing our struggles so that we can have some semblance of compassion for ourself and others who are working on their journey.

As for the rest of the year other things we worked on - total redo of an apartment.

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This is one-half of the double room for living and dining - new windows, radiator covers, new floors, paint, light fixtures,

And more importantly, a total redo of Janet’s home. She was out for eight weeks so that her home could be transformed to accommodate her physical needs (structural changes) and her bliss (paint colours, furniture, designed things that hold her treasures). She spent most of the time at Seaside Beach Resort - on holiday overlooking the shores of Passamaquoddy Bay with a few short-term visits at our house when there was no room at the Inn.

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Living Room Bedroom with built in shelves Command Central Office Block

We staged 20 Schoodic Street to sell it. (check it out at: http://tanyaestey1.point2agent.com). We’ve had three couples view it, the first activity in three years. It is such a great house - been idle for a while now, however, 3 couples in the last week so interest is improving.

Zentangles - well, friend Phyllis, introduced me to zentangles. I did my very first one with her help when she came to visit. That led me to trying my hand at decorating Christmas glass ornaments with a zentangle theme. I did many which now adorn the tree at Kingsbrae Garden of Lights, a fundraiser for the local food bank. The trees and gift certificates are auctioned off to raise money as well as each business buying the tree in order to decorate it. I have to admit the roundness of the glass ornaments makes doing the designs challenging!!! More importantly I had fun.

Framed piece was my first tutorial from Phyllis, and the decorations
- I just used my imagination.

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Other highlights. The Algonquin re-opened which is a big part of our local economy for it is often said: “So goes the Algonquin so goes the Town” and it is true. Jeff and I have been going through all the historical papers we have and donating them to the Archives of Holmes, Emerson, Thornton, Merrill and Saint Andrews history too - photos of buildings, people, events.

Aunt Aileen and Sharon came to visit. We always enjoy our time together, perhaps we do less running around but the conversation is still lively. This year our cousins were able to join us for a gathering here - David Hitchings came all the way from Boston to visit.

This year life changed again in the Emerson family when cousin Irma died. Irma lived in the big farm house with Grampie and Grammie , worked at Gidden’s Store and was an interesting combination of cousin, ‘sister’ and friend. She was so very kind to this chick who hung around her. Her husband, Eddie of 47 years honoured her final wish, to be buried in the founding Emerson plot at Oak Bay Cemetery beside her Mother. It was a simple service for she wanted no fanfare - so her family, and friends gathered including ones from her growing up years in Greenock. Irma as we discovered is actually Erma on her birth certificate. Irma a couple of years ago gave me her collection of slides which I have now scanned and are in my computer. Next step - a software program to spiff them up as they are faded but still lots of fun. Just look at these….

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Ardeth - Janet - Ross Irma & Eddie, Honeymoon visiting Gilbert & Margaret Emerson in Detroit
Thanks Irma for being you and preserving Emerson family memorabilia. Thankfully, cousin Joanna has done the family tree work. Where did the first Emerson move from is the remaining challenge.

Jeff would say of his life still out making the donuts with occasional visits to Camp Digdeguash and in someways, busier than ever.

Blaine works at the call centre now answering e-mails rather than phone calls. He likes it. We also know that his command of the english language, writing skills and succinct way of expressing himself makes for a good written communicator.

The tenants at the farm moved out so it had to be salvaged. That word would indicate the state of its being. When I arrived to view it after the tenants moved I realized that just because I had an attachment to the farm I was doing it a great disservice not allowing it to be loved with the same stewardship from the Emerson’s ownership since 1866. I felt this profound sadness that my not willing to let go of the farm up until then meant it too was sad for it wanted to be all that it could be.

Holding on even if one’s heart intention is love sometimes means that letting go is the loving thing to do. Parents have to let children leave the nest, sometimes relationships have to be let go of, we have to allow others to perhaps even suffer to learn their own life lesson and the ultimate letting go? Saying good-bye to those we love allowing them to depart in grace and glory.

Letting go is like spring cleaning giving away those things you no longer use or need and then having that new space to create a life that suits this age and stage of living. I often will do “clearning” the act of clearing and cleaning and then fill that space with love. We know nature abhors a vacuum so filling it with love means all manner of wonderful things can happen.

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Letting go this year, with no way to prevent it, was the beautiful tree in our backyard. We had a mighty windstorm with the wind coming from the nor’east and then from the exact opposite direction. That wind action actually caused the tree’s trunk to be snapped off at the base. Normally, a tree felled in the wind would fall over with the roots being exposed. Not this time.

I hugged the tree and thanked it for all its beautiful shade it created, and filtering carbon dioxide into clean oxygen. I let it know that it would continue to provide as it would be cut into beautiful firewood, its branches mulched and left in the flower bed. And we would leave its root system in the ground. If it felt it had the energy and could recreate itself come spring so be it.

Having been born and raised on a farm with 275 acres of tree’s their existence then and now is still such a blessing. All things have energy and our woodlands well, Dad surely knew the tree’s on the farm like they were his friends. We blessed our food, the hands that prepared it and bless our forests that gave/give us each so much. Trees know how to be trees. It is we humans who struggle being human.

This is the year I too am working on clearing my mind of all mantra’s that no longer serve me. It is so ironic that taking prednisone which really plays with one’s mind creating profound euphoria and then, eyes yes wide open in a zombie state of work, work, work and now finding the way back to me as the dosage is lowered. Me, who am I? What do I want for this next stage of my life?

I have a wonderful book of house dreams from paint colours to chairs that would suit my need for healthy circulation, the Rolls Royce of chairs. It has soft doe-skin leather, modern looking yet traditional lines, and the back and foot section of the chair operates independently with a push of a button electrified for adjusting it so that even Goldilocks would say “it is just right”.

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I began this letter December 1st on the 5th found this chair at Marden’s. While looking for fabric - the sign said new fabric by the furniture. My eyes fell on this - the Lord does provide - perfect chair - size, price, colour, comfort. Yahoo! (Did I forget to mention the Rolls Royce chair was $5,280 plus tax and another $500 if you wanted the battery back up. Yikes! I am very happy with my little VW of chairs.)

And now I am going to review my Dream House Binder and ask the question what does the rhythm of my life look within our new Dream House. I can envision its colours, spaces for Jeff and Maggie , my creative, mediation/yoga space and a great room for the kitchen, eating and sitting area with family and friends. It has a cosy room too - a snuggle room (small den) for Jeff and I to enjoy the days of our lives with time a plenty for those things that are near and dear to our hearts.

Jeff I am sure will begin his day walking Maggie to the convenience store to pick up the paper and visit with those who gather for early coffee. I will be at home writing, writing, writing, (No Jeff is not retired, however, we can envision just such a thing happening - and it surely worked finding a fab chair!!! Gratitude for God’s Generosity and Abundance!)

We will both volunteer. Jeff for those things that are near and dear to his heart within our community. I will volunteer with my feet up. I look forward to joining many others in sending peace and love around the world.

At the end of the day we will gather in the great room sharing the day of our lives with each other or perhaps with friends gathered. We will live a life balanced as James Arthur Ray states: “ A balanced life of wealth harmonics - educational, spiritual, physical, financial and relational”.

Our hearts will beat with the fruit of the Spirit for self, our family and friends, our community and send the energy of peace and love around the world. Our home will be surrounded outside with the gifts of Mother Earth - beautiful trees for shade, my own little cluster of birch tree’s, stones from the farm and the stained-glass window from the family home in Greenock.

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There will be a few treasures from our families that evoke those wonderful memories - Jeff’s little mug with farm animals that his grandmother used for his milk and cookies. I’ve saved a small towel rack from the Steeve’s house, the roller towel rack from the farmhouse, and a few colourful Mason jars that will hold my little bouquets of daisies for they remind me of the fields in bloom on the farm.

I will trust the wisdom of my body as I am try to remember the importance of the rhythm for my life - the chorus from the song the Rhythm of Life is this…..

For the rhythm of life is a powerful beat, Puts a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet! Rhythm on the inside, rhythm on the street, And the rhythm of life is a powerful beat!

May the rhythm of your life make you feel tingly all over including the remembrance that with each beat of our heart we send




around the world. It is true that what we give is what we receive so be prepared to have an ethereal, world-wide, cosmic flood of peace, love and joy like a river flowing back into your heart. Be prepared for the force will be with you.

With mindfulness and creativity these three short sentences to me are where our many lives, not just ours, are heading:

Fewer things. Smaller space. Bigger life.

I think perhaps it is the wisdom of the ages at this age and stage of life that comes to the forefront of our being. It is that space, our soul place, that wants to sparkle, sparkle, sparkle.

It is the being true to self in every way that manifests the truth of a bigger life. It is the fulfillment of dreams for ourselves and the dreams we have for the world. I return to the word Peace. It is a gift we share with each of you as well as our love….Ardeth, Jeff & Maggie

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You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12

(Print the above dove of peace and accompanying bible verse. Attach it to the wall by the door you exit each day for a life of joy and peace with mountains and hills bursting into song and tree’s clapping sound like a fabulous way to begin and live the day.)