A Thankful visit to Transvaal Farm

Hello again, my friends! We just got back from a wonderful, long Victoria Day weekend. We opened up our tiny trailer and got our first real taste of summer — despite the fact that it was still quite chilly. Oh my, we are so ready for some warmer weather over here!

Which got me thinking about all things vacation. Therefore, I wanted to throwback to a few weeks ago, when I took a lovely, little “mini-vacation” with a couple of good friends. We had an awesome time together — simply enjoying each other’s company, with no set agendas, just doing whatever tickled our fancy (which was a whole lot of shopping!) We journeyed to little town called St. Marys, near Stratford, Ontario (Canada!) and spend a few days in a wonderful little place called Transvaal Farm.

The guest house, situated on 50 acres of rural farmland, was quaint — and perfect for the girls’ getaway. The home features two bedrooms, a lovely sitting area, and a country kitchenette, allowing us to save some money by cooking our evening meals in-house (all the more cash for shopping!) Our host, Cindy, and her working partners, were eager to show us around, and we reveled in the delights of the goats… and you guessed it… CHICKENS! (I don’t know what it is with me and chickens, right now….but I am lovin’ them!)

Although not a true bed and breakfast, our hosts delighted us with a stocked fridge full of fresh goat cheese, delectable, baked artisan bread and treats… and, of course, farm fresh eggs! We even got to gather our own eggs, direct from the coop, one day! We visited during off season, so many of the garden’s goodness’s were not yet available, but I’ve been told that the property boasts a lovely variety of fresh veggies all summer long. I did see quite a few rhubarb patches, too! I understand that Cindy hosts some wonderful classes on all things good and yummy, as well. I encourage you to check it out!

Our felted owls
Our crazy little felted owls!

The girlfriends and I spent our days touring around the surrounding cities, thrifting (I was on the hunt for glass bottles!!) enjoying cafe lunches, and quaint little gift shops. We found boundless treasures and laughed and chatted for hours. We even tried our hand at some felted owls one night. Which led to a deluge of giggles at our own inadequacies! But, the fireplace was warm, and the company was even warmer. It was such a refreshing time for me!

I am so blessed. Indeed, I must remember to be thankful. To take time to reflect and thank God for the bountiful blessings He provides — warm beds, nourishing food, a bountiful earth full of good things, and lasting relationships with friends who bring such value to my life. I must remember to be thankful that I am blessed enough, financially, to take time away from working, to be a bit frivolous with my time. I must remember to be thankful for a family that is home waiting for me to share my joys upon my return (and to hear me talk about chickens… again!)

Have you made your blessings list? Have you taken the time to indulge in a few days with no agenda, to laugh with friends and collect fresh chicken eggs? To pet the barn cats and enjoy lattes at a quaint, small town cafe? To find treasures hidden away in a thrift shoppe? Oh, may you enjoy coming home again to the faces of your beloveds, because your absence has made your heart grow fonder. Be blessed, my friend — and be thankful.

Just a cup o’ Joe

I love a great cup of coffee. There’s just something about that rich, creamy goodness that soothes my soul. I have lots of friends and relatives that are “tea toters” — which I just discovered during this post — does not mean a tea lover!! I will have to find another name to label my friends with, as the phrase really has nothing to do with tea! It is actually spelled “teetotaler” which really means they abstain from alcoholic drinks — which isn’t really my friends…well some of them…oh my — where was I? See — ya’ll need to drink coffee!

Anyway… yes. Ahem. The soothing calm of a good cup of java. Just a cup o’ Joe, as they say. Why coffee? Well, there is a lot of chit chat about coffee and the “need” for it in the morning. That the caffeine in coffee is somehow required to wake us up. To fuel us in our daily tasks. Now, I do enjoy it with my breakfast, but I don’t often get the chance to linger over it. (Much as I would love to, but I am an on-the-go coffee girl). That’s what thermal mugs are for. I like mine with cream or milk — but have been skipping the sugar for years. I think I had my first taste of coffee during my last year of high school — pulling all nighters for exams and projects, and figuring I “needed” it to stay awake. More than likely not true, but I learned to like the taste from then on out. Pumpkin spice latte season? Don’t even get me started! Most people agree, they love the smell of roasting coffee beans…even if they don’t drink it. Hmmmn…yup, coffee is it.

We Canadians love our coffee! (Photo Credit Adi C.)

We Canadians especially love our coffee. According to the Coffee Business Intelligence Site (*giggle* who knew there was such a thing?!) we average about 2 and a half cups a day, and are in the top ten for consumption per capita. In 2014, Tim Horton’s sold 2 billion cups of coffee per day. That number, I am sure, has sky rocketed since roll up the rim started giving away its millions. If you are reading the blog from a place other than Canada… let’s just say Timmies is a Canuck thing and you have to live here to understand. But again, I digress.

the Canadian coffee consumption 2019

I recently watched a national geographic clip about coffee. The photographer traveled to interview farmers who have come back to their family farms to carry on the tradition of coffee farming. It was interesting — coffee is truly an artisan craft. There is still very little automation in the process… the ripe, red berries are always handpicked, and the drying and roasting is slow and time consuming.

Coffee drinking is generally associated with a slow process as well. A lingering. We meet “over coffee”. Coffee is about the social and about relaxing and enjoying one another’s company. We laugh. We hug a mug to feel it’s warmth radiate through us on a cool, crisp morning. It does awaken our senses and help us appreciate the world around us. There is no etiquette to coffee drinking. No pinkies up, no china saucers, no formal attire. It’s pajamas and wool socks with our frothy goodness-es.

Even if you think of coffee drinkers around the world, it reverberates the relational — espressos in Italy with lovers chatting at bistros, Turkish men debating over strong brews, African or Colombian farmers sampling wares and fine tuning their trade with thick skinned, weathered handshakes and smiles. Moms at Starbucks taking a break to reconnect with girlfriends. Business partners making big plans over coffee breaks (with donuts!) Sorry tea drinkers — coffee brings us together. It gets real with coffee.

My friends, have you “had coffee” lately? I don’t really mean the drink, of course, I mean have you taken the time to be with someone? To nurture a friendship? To chat? To linger and catch up? Or taken the time to wake up your senses to the world around you? To breathe in the aroma of God’s world and let Him wrap you in the warmth of His love? I’m pretty sure Jesus is a coffee drinker…the Bible does say “He brews” (groan). I bet he can make those cute little frothy milk pictures on the tops of lattes too… just to make us smile.

I hope you get the chance to sit and sip awhile today. To savour the warmth and drink in the people of your little world. To enjoy the richness of your relationships and the spice of life with the people who mean much to you. As for me, I smell a campfire brewing in our backyard as I type, so maybe I need to bring a few mugs out. Bottoms up, my beloveds!

Sparking Joy Through Photographs

This weekend was spent pouring over memories. I sat in a room with with about 50 other ladies (and the occasional man) scrapbooking. Technically, it was a scrapbooking “retreat” — but I’d like to think of it as time spent recalling happy (or sometimes sad) memories … with a little paper and tape mixed in. Okay… a lot of tape, and glue, and patterned paper, and embellishments, and ribbon, and die cut machines and lap tops and…oh, nevermind.

Ask any scrapbooker or photographer (or blogger for that matter) why they do what they do, and one of the first responses is this: I want to capture the moment. To savour a unique blip in time that brings an emotion to life. And, we want to share it. How many grandmas pull out those precious pictures of the new grand baby? How many times have you looked through that trip to the mountains album and discovered you have taken 101 shots of the same piece of dirt? Photographs produce memories. Visual cues to a time and place stuck in our brains forever. Moments to be recalled and re-lived. Moments that spark joy. Or moments that bring a flood of tears as you remember challenges… and how you are overcoming them.

I skimmed through a few articles about how our brains and memories work together to store and interact with images — and no surprise here — looking at pictures helps to recall memories. We remember: who, what, where, how and sometimes the why of those pictures. Lots of research is being done to see how scrapbooks and albums are helping Alzheimer patients and people with learning disabilities cognitively connect. I will try and Pin some of the articles on my Pinterest board for you to check out.

Having discovered all these great facts about pictures, I decided for this blog entry to ask a few of my friends to share some of their favourite pics. Images that capture “joy” for them. Some of my friends have studied photography. Others are still learning. For this project, though, I simply asked them to send me photos that “spark joy” for them. I love the results. When you google “joyful images” you get a lot of smiles, a lot of hand raising… and for some reason: bubbles. I suppose “joy” ignites the feeling of freedom for some of us. Therefore, without further ado, here is the collection of a few images that “spark joy” . Please check out the links to follow along if you like what you see –and share the joy around!


As Easter rolls around this week, I am musing about what it would be like if there were photographs of that last trip of Jesus’ ministry. What a contrast of images from the triumphal entry on palm Sunday to the dark hill and the gruesome scene on the top of Golgotha. What would the Instagram accounts of the disciples document in the eventful three days of the first Easter? Does it spark joy in your heart? We’d love to see what images kindle joy for you! Share with us on our Facebook page and tell us why !!