Find the Cake, Part. 2

Our Christmas tree this year is full and tall and drinks gallons of water.  I can barely keep up. We check the water level every few hours, and are continually surprised that it wants still more to drink. The first few nights I even wondered if I should wake up in the middle of the night, set a timer. I have never seen a tree drink so much water. The kids and I joke about needing to hire a babysitter for our tree when we go out. It is as if it is constantly reminding us that she is a living, pulsing thing requiring our attention too. And so I give it, feeling almost as it I have another mouth to feed, someone else needing me. But she responds by hardly shedding a needle. We have had the tree for over a month now and I have hardly swept. She is radiant, and very much alive. People comment as they stand in our entry way on the health and beauty of  this tree.

In my quietest, most clear and sacred moments, I wonder even,

Is it possible that this tree loves us, so generous she is with the fullness of her being?


Regardless, it is for certain that her beauty and scent permeate our home and I love her. We turn on her coloured lights first thing in the morning, and turning them off is the last thing we do at night.



I have not written since the election. There isn’t anything to say, and there is everything to say. How do I write the way I used to, when there is so much change, so much being challenged, such unrest? So many things now feel uncertain, no matter your views or beliefs, things that once felt unshakable .


Yet, here is this tree. Steady she stands reminding me that it is still Christmas and there will be delicious food on our table that we have all worked together to make, and the kids will wake up early on Christmas morning ~


we will all feel excited and wrapped up in the coziness of the dark and silent early hours, and our hot chocolate (topped off with Bailey’s for the grown-ups) will warm us as will the impressive fire that Dan will build us as he always does, and the filled stockings will bring fun and delight. I will sit with my back right up against that roaring fire because that is where I love to sit, and I  will watch our kids bask in the magical joy of their favourite day of the year and my heart will be full because theirs are~


This is the beautiful dichotomy that I coming to honour, that sadness and joy can be felt at once. Even hope and fear. For holding one does not mean disallowing or even devaluing the other. So it is that our beautiful open hearts are made to ache and fill, fill and ache.


How could I forget the days before my mom died, so intensely written they are in my mind and heart? Though, to be honest, I don’t remember those days as being awful. Family and friends filled our house, there was lots of comfort food and hugs, shared cups of tea and glasses of wine, and tears freely fell but so did laughter easily ring out. Two days before she died my uncle cooked cabbage rolls all day, and then after sharing a meal together a spontaneous family sing-song  broke out that lasted a few hours while mom watched on, so peaceful. Not wanting the evening to ever end, we searched our collective memories for songs of her childhood, hymns of her upbringing, lyrics to bring us comfort. It was one of the most significant and beautiful nights of my life,

heralding both an end and a beginning.


In those unimaginably difficult moments  grace, peace, and even joy found us.



Times have been turbulent before and people have found their way.

This time, we are being pushed to be brave, true to our own hearts, and fiercely kind beyond measure. This is how we will heal and thrive. I know this with every fiber of my being, as do so many others.


Take heart dear friends,

for we have evergreen trees and wide frosty sky, glittering snow, and magical Christmas morning wanting to love us and


there are infinite cakes to be found.


Sometimes, though, it is up to us to bake them.


Winter Wonderland cake for Alex’s birthday


Merry Christmas to all, dear family, friends, and acquaintances~ So many beautiful hearts finding their way. I love you all.







on the fourth decade, Deathdays, and Carol’s RADIANT Garden….

The Forties

Though I have always enjoyed friendships with women of all ages, most of my contemporaries have now turned 40.

This is a milestone no matter what we tell ourselves, and is invariably a time to reflect and take stock.

Though aging, per say, has never really bothered me that much, I did find my world a little bit rocked a few years ago on my 40th,

by my own relentless and critical self-assessments of

where I thought I should be at, and what I hadn’t yet accomplished.

As with everything, once I managed to put a halt to the tricky mind games and flip everything in the direction of gratitude and love, it all looked pretty rosy again.

And so it is with my friends too,

once the birthday celebrations are complete,

here is what I am so often noticing about the women that I see and know that are now moving through their fourth decade….

They are far more likely to articulate how they really feel and what they intend and believe, without worrying about how it will be received.

They stand taller, smile more, and open up their hearts and hands more freely.

They have experienced loss, conflict, heart-ache, disappointment and they are thus stronger, wiser and far more beautiful than ever before.

They are less judgmental and less apt to dismiss, disengage, or allow themselves to be disempowered.

They have learned when to say ‘no’ and when to say ‘yes’.

They love their families, their friends, and the world with a passion and intensity that only grows with the passing years.

They are hopeful and are ready for change and adventure.

Many years ago, I heard the Dalai Lama’s surprising and famous quote, ‘The world will be saved by the western woman.’ I remember repeating this idea to Dan, and he whole-heartedly agreed.

So, my radiant girlfriends,  let’s get to it….

We have so many incredible and unprecedented resources at our disposal, and the confidence, understanding and love to move mountains.

It’s time.


This week was the eighth anniversary of my mom’s death. I know that the word ‘deathday’ seems morbid and abrupt, but still I decided to use it,

because we need a word for that day that speaks to the absolute truth of what it is.

In Mexico, of course, they have the  ‘Day of the Dead’ which is a holiday that has spread around the world to many cultures, and continues to gain worldwide popularity.

What a beautiful and healing and necessary concept,

time set aside to stop and remember,


and celebrate our dead and our ancestors.

I know and have met so many people who have lost someone very close, and then  struggle to create meaning on the anniversaries of the deaths of their beloveds,

often attempting to create their own little rituals or ways of remembering.

On facebook, we see posts all the time on anniversaries of loss –

tributes and photos,

because our hearts desperately yearn to remember and we have no day set aside for our dead.

It can be so easy to sit in a sense of aimlessness on that anniversary, not quite knowing what to do,

or where to focus the emptiness and that need to

cry out,

You are gone, but you will always exist.

It doesn’t matter if it has been a year since the loss, or fifty years,

that yearning to simply acknowledge doesn’t just go away with time.

So, my beautiful mother that I adored heart and soul,


and all of my grandmothers and grandfathers and aunts and uncles and friends and my dearest mentor,

and my unborn baby too,

you are not here anymore for me to talk to and hug and live out all of  life’s moments with, but

I still see you and hear you and feel you,

and know you.

You are my dead and on this day I am proclaiming

that I love you still.


 Carol’s Radiant Garden

The ‘ritual’ that has evolved over the last eight years for us to honour and remember mom on the anniversary of her death, June 11,

is the planting of her garden in the planters beside our front steps.

Every year the kids and I choose a ‘theme’ and then let loose in the greenhouse, concerning ourselves less with flower names and care requirements,

and more with colour, feel and thematic appropriateness.

Some of our themes over the years have been

fairy garden, prairie grasses, enchanted forest, and the tropics.

The year Olivia came up with…..sunshine garden!

So, here it is, mom, your newest radiant and love-filled realm….

We all planted it last night after eating pizza and drinking our very best bottle of wine.


We all most definitely love you still.