Saturday, 28 February 2009

Finding rainbows in the clouds . . .

"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love, to work, to play, and to look up at the stars."
~Henry Van Dyke

Dying comes naturally to us all, having the courage to live does not. Let’s face it . . . our lives are pretty much ours to do whatever we want with. Full of it’s ups and downs, we can either accept what comes to us with a sad sort of acceptance and resignation, or we can rage against what drops on us with human passion. We can choose to find life as an exaltation or as a subjugation, as cause for bliss or something sad that we pound ourselves with every day, happy and full of joy, or sad and empty. The choice is ours to make.

I’m not little Miss Sunshine or perfect to be sure, but I like to think that I approach life with a most positive attitude most of the time. When I hit a big bump in the road, I try to look at it with a positive perspective, hang on and enjoy the ride as much as I can. In short, when life hands me lemons I make lemonade . . . Or lemon cake, lemon cookies . . . Lemon pie. I do try to make the best thing possible from it. That way I can remind myself daily of the pleasures that life has to bring, rather than it’s grim offerings. Walking around in doom and gloom really doesn’t help. I may cry briefly and deeply at times, but then I try to shake whatever it is that is causing me angst or sorrow off, and pick myself up and move forward. I make a pro-active choice to live and forge ahead, instead of giving in and dying. There is ever so much more good to find in this life, than there is bad. Why dwell on the negative?

Each day I am greeted by ordinary miracles . . . The sun comes up, whether it is cloaked in rain or not. The birds still sing. The grass still grows. What a wonder these small things are, and still we take them for granted. I am reminded of one day when I was working hard at the kitchen sink polishing copper. It seemed I had been doing it for hours. A menial task, I often lose myself in thoughts and imaginations as I work away. As I looked out the kitchen window, and across the courtyard, my mind lost deep in thought, a rainbow appeared in the sky just above the hedgerows. It was not a really bright one and I would have missed it, had I not been looking so closely at the clouds that the wind was pushing past my window's view. How beautiful it was, however faint, and what a reminder to me of a God’s promises that are true and sure. It made me glad to be alive, even though I was standing up to my elbows at a sink full of soapy water. Let's face it . . . the alternative hardly bears thinking about!

Today I pray that, no matter what challenges you are facing, or that I shall face on this day . . . that we shall all be able to look through the clouds and see a rainbow . . . the promise of better things to come, hope in the midst of dismay.

My grandmother’s sister, Orabel, lived in a big white house up in a small rural Nova Scotian village on top of the South Mountain called Inglesville. As a child, my mother used to take us up there to visit her on occasion. She seemed quite old to me and to be perfectly honest, we children were more interested in feeding the old half blind horse that lived in the field next to the house than to be sitting in the kitchen listening to old people talk. I wish now that I had stayed in the kitchen and listened more, but such wisdom is wasted on the young. She did make awfully good date squares though . . . another recipe from my big blue binder.

*Aunt Orabel’s Date Squares*

Makes 16

These were always a childhood favourite and remain so to this day. I try to tell myself when I am eating one of these that they are good for me. Dates and oats can’t be bad can they? In some circles these are also known as "Matrimonial Bars." I have no idea why!

2 cups chopped dates
2 TBS brown sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 cup plain flour
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
¾ cup butter
1 cup packed light soft brown sugar
2 cups oats (not instant)

Pre-heat the oven to 160*C/350*F. Lightly butter an 8 or 9 inch square baking tin and set it aside.

Put the dates into a saucepan along with the first amount of brown sugar and the boiling water. Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer for about five minutes, until the dates are soft and smooth and most of the water has been absorbed. Mash with a fork and set aside.

Put the flour, soda, salt and brown sugar into a large bowl and give them a good mix together. Rub in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the oats and give them a bit of a rub again to mix well. The mixture should stay quite crumbly.

Put half of the crumbs into the prepared pan and press it down evenly. Spread the cooked date mixture evenly over top of it, then sprinkle the remaining crumbs evenly over top. Press them down very lightly to even them out.

Bake in the heated oven for 25 minutes, until set and lightly browned. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cook before cutting into squares to serve.


  1. I'm always looking to find the rainbows in life, and a brighter day for sure. Rough times do come, but we know that they will not last. I was thinking how nice it would be to bake something every day like you do. The nice part would be having someone to do it for. I used to do that when the family were all home, but now if I bake once a week that is sufficient. I hope your Saturday is a great one. 'On Ya'-ma

  2. Hi Marie
    I just love your positive outlook on life. I try to be that way too. I saw a sign the other day that said, "Instead of praying for the rain to stop, learn to dance in the rain." That is really the same thought as the verse, "This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it." So let's rejoice today. It's fun imagining you rejoicing over in England and me rejoicing here!
    Hugs, Rhondi

  3. Im can remember my Granddads sister Aunt Kate telling the most wonderful storys ,I wish I had taken them in ,she would talk about Queen Victoria with such love and admiration ,Oh why didnt Ilisten Jan xx

  4. This is exactly why I love jouraling...I was angry last night...and wake up this morning reading your entry and it makes me realize that you are right. It is not worth staying mad or angry. Life is too short!!!

  5. I think that I will call you my rainbow friend. You not only find the rainbows in the midst of your storms but you help others to do so also. That is a talent. That is a gift.

    I think that Lenis is a rainbow friend too. That first night in Ketchem when we couldn't see Eileen I could not find any rainbows to point out to you...all I could do was cry with you.... but Lenis remained positive...and started pointing out the rainbows. What a sweet friend she is.

    Looking for rainbows is not always easy for when Erin quit her job and then didn't get the baby afterall.... like when Dathan got laid off because contracts were down even though he was a great when I read that little Gracie's new heart isn't working...sometimes my soul screams WHY? WHY???.... but I do know that we are in God's hands and He loves us.

    I try hard to take Bro. Wirthin's mother's advice to "Come what may and love it" and remember the scripture that Rhondi posted in her comment today....I try to look for rainbows but sometime it takes a lot of effort and almost wears me out.....THAT IS ANOTHER REASON WHY I AM SO THANKFUL TO HAVE YOU FOR A FRIEND....THANK YOU FOR BEING A RAINBOW FINDER... AND HELPING ME TO SEE THEM TOO.

    I must get busy now. We are getting Austin this morning so Mindy and Ernie can take Claire and EJ into LA to a children's concert at the LA Philharmonic. I also need to make two capes for YW costumes.. clean house...have Kris and Jan over...and be ready to go to Claire and EJ's school talent show by 5:30. It will be a great day full of fun stuff but I had better get to work.

    I send love to you, Todd and Jess. I hope that you are having a great weekend my rainbow friend.XOXOX Lura

  6. I love to fly in an airplane on a cloudy, rainy day because I love the moment we rise above the clouds. There is ALWAYS sunshine above the clouds- what a metaphor for life! If we lift our head above our trials we can always have the influence of the "Son" to warm our souls. I love that!

  7. I'm with you, lifes for living.

    I am going to bake your reciepy today, I just love oats and dates. Thanks.

  8. Hello again dear,
    It is 10:45 and I thought I might catch your Sunday post before I went to bed but I don't see it. That is good because I hope it means that you are getting a little more sleep than usual.

    I have had a nice day....Austin came over early...Jan and Kris came for a visit....Claire and EJ were in a darling elementary school talent show tonight and both did very well. EJ played the piano and Claire brought down the house with her song.... fun stuff.

    However, my heart is heavy for the Gledhill family. I am praying that they may feel at peace and comforted as they prepare to say goodbye to their precious little baby. Thank goodness that they know that families are forever and they will have their Gracie again here after.

    I am tired and going to bed. Have a great Sunday my sweet friend. Love, Lura

  9. I'm not all sweetness and light either. I wish I was and I do try but with scant success sometimes.

    I am and have always been an "I Can" sort of girl ('girl' - HA) but this past few years Ive been up against the "No you mustn't" brigade (my wonky legs you see?). What really annoys me is that they think so little of my intellect as to assume that I would do something risky. I have to do some things a different way but that's so "I CAN". That's mainly what I get cross about, just unfortunately not with the perps! Poor old Keith gets it, both barrels as a rule! Yet he is my rainbow, all the time. I'm a very lucky horrid person!

    love, Angie, xx

  10. thanks for the reminder to look for the rainbows in our life. sometimes its hard when you feel down, but its important to not waste minutes and hours being sad or unhappy! who knows how short our life here on earth may be?

    and i agree-you are a very positive and upbeat person. your blog exudes it! thanks!

  11. I really like the sound of using dates in a square like this. They look really good!


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!