Summer Blackberries

We’ve moved to the suburbs;

evening walks are filled

with the silhouettes of tall trees

against the darkening sky,

their simple elegance poignant enough

to make me want to paint them.

As we walk along the winding sidewalks

and down the forest-lined road,

we are surrounded by the smell

of summer blackberries

bountiful enough to make me 12 again—

a grinning girl in cut-off jeans

licking her berry-stained fingers

and rejoicing in being

at home in this world.

Just Breathe

There was another year of Covid,

but we crawled out of our caves

like newborn butterflies with sticky wings,

slow and hesitant in the spring sunshine.

We hoped to migrate to a new home

of our own, a fresh start…

but the inheritance was not enough.

Nevertheless the landlord said, “Go.”

A flutter of wings, a flurry,

a tiny hurricane of stress,

and searching, searching, searching

for a safe place to land.

A flying in the dark

—a trusting through blindness—

through not knowing at all

what was meant to be.

The summer sun swelled with heat

yet no shady dale

or safe valley dappled with sunshine

appeared—until it did.

And then it did.

Out of the concrete embrace

of the city we flew,

away from sirens and cement

towards the cedars and starlight.

Towards wind whispering in the fir trees,

the moon staring at me on my patio

and winking as I grin and grin

at the wonder of my new home.

And evenings filled with sunshine

sparkling in the sprinkler-kissed grasses

of the wildflower field

that is my unmowed back yard.

And glistening on the rosy skin

of my newborn daughter,

sleeping like a little wild nymph

in my joyful arms.

“And all is well

And all is well

And all manner of things

shall be well.”

Julian of Norwich

Thank God for big sisters!

Amidst the chaos of packing, moving and unpacking again, a lovely big sister is such a help! Her lucky baby brother has a mini-mum! 


“Here Mum,” she said, “You’re tired. Let me try the snugly.” Only nine years ago, she was the little baldy in the snugly! Now she is more organized than I am, and very maternal to boot. I am very blessed to be her mother. 

Human Heart Divine

Tonight,after another long day of unpacking
and sorting the mismatched socks which mysteriously followed us
to the new house (how? how?),
we walk the two blocks to church—so close!—
and attend the Mass of the Sacred Heart.

Jesus awaits us. 
And amidst the glow of candles
and the flowing melody of chant
my spirit begins to breathe again,
having been slightly suffocated 
by walls of cardboard boxes.
In this open space, my heart expands.

The silence is pregnant with poetry—
the words which have been bottled up inside,
which my hands have longed to release,
begin to emerge and the urge to write grows stronger. 

My little ones are sleepy
the baby dream chuckles and snores somnolently in the snugly
cosy and safe as in God’s pocket. 

My toddler clutches his toy car,
which is always magically in his hands
no matter where we go,
until sleep releases it from his grip
with a small clatter.

My five year old slides over 
with her stuffy peaking out of her coat,
her eyes wide open and insistent,
as she asks me a pressing question 
“Do bunnies eat petals?”

“I know,” whispers my four year old,
Let’s pretend we’re in a movie theatre.”
I grin and breathe in deeply to let the incense fill my lungs 
as the shimmer of golden vestments brightens my eyes. 

Under the everyday human humdrum,
runs the divine,
like blood under skin—
hidden, life giving, essential. 
The heart of God
pierced with the sorrow of love for us
stoops down to touch us gently…
an embrace filled with yearning. 

Rain drums on the roof 
and we are cradled inside the cosy wooden church
as if in the ark,
riding the waves of our life
to the shore beyond…
seekers listening for the gentle sound of a dove
as the Holy Spirit leads us forward. 

Crazy Land is on the move!

Big news! We are moving less than one week! Our house has become a giant cardboard box fort. I’ve been slinging my tape guns so much I need a cowboy hat to complete the look. Even the baby is helping out…sort of…  

We are so excited about our new place, which is right in the neighbourhood we were hoping for, only 2 1/2 blocks from our parish! It will be awesome to have another room, and two floors instead of one. For some reason the kids are very excited to have stairs for the first time in our suite!

It wasn’t easy to find, and definitely is an answered prayer…I say this because looking for a new home to rent in the city when you have six kids is kind of like asking if you can bring six large dogs to a wedding…people look at you like you’re crazy and take back the invitation. “There just wouldn’t be room for you all,” they say. 

So many potential landlords turned us down once they heard we had six kids. Sometimes politely, sometimes….not so much. One reluctant realtor for an old small 4 bedroom house, which would likely soon be a tear down anyway, sounded reluctant but said, “They are all yours?! Well, we can’t refuse kids (he didn’t say technically, but it was under his breath), so I guess if you can manage them all…” Needless to say, we decided against the reluctant realtor of the rusty gated shabby house…and the next day, I found our current place: a beautiful newly renovated three bedroom with abundant bathrooms for all our little munchkins. No more pee dances while Daddy is in the shower! 

The lovely thing is that our new landlords are so welcoming, and actually wanted a family to live there! I had prayed for God to give me a really clear sign when I found the right house, so I would know it was the one He had waiting for us. I was asking St. Joseph to pray for us to find a home for our family, as he had to moved the Holy Family several times and knew what this kind of uncertainty was like. Well, guess what my new landlord’s name is? Joe, and he’s a carpenter! God has a good sense of humor.

To top it off, a friend who didn’t even know we needed a new one gave us a beautiful queen size mattress. Our old one was definitely ready for the dump! The kids are using it as a trampoline in the living room until it goes.
I have been missing you all and will give you more updates when I can! I’ve been so busy packing all day for the last few weeks and sending away loads to the thrift store, with the help of very generous friends, who have been helping me dig through my stuff and pair it down. The u-haul is booked for this Saturday, and a bunch of friends from our parish, including our sweet friend Father McDonnell, are coming to help us move our things, while a few others are going to help me set up the essentials at the new house. Hurrah!