So, I just won Mother of the Year!!!  I know, right???  How fabulously exciting!  I can only wonder how long before I lose that standing….we won’t worry about that right now.  Let me tell you how I won it in the first place.

Elfie

Let me start at the beginning of the story.  It seems like everyone under the sun has an Elf on the Shelf.  I was NOT going to get on that band wagon.  That was, until Lena approached me last year about getting an elf, one she could do for Hannah.  Now you need to remember that Lena is one smart cookie and is onto it all…so she knew the whole deal with the Elf on the Shelf.  How am I to say no to that request?

So, off I went in search of an elf to use.  I was not going to invest into the ‘real’ Elf on the Shelf so I looked at ornaments and found nothing, finally what I found was a bookmark.  Sounds crazy, right?  Well, this bookmark was fabric with a stuffed head and a flat body.  Being that I am relatively handy, I took out the bottom seam and stuffed the poor elf’s lower extremities.  Lena was thrilled and proceeded to come up with ideas for ‘Elfie’ last year.  I helped a little but mainly it was Lena.

Elfie

So, Hannah was very excited about Elfie’s return this December.  He arrived without much fanfair and did some fun-ish things, nothing too crazy.  Usually the plans are made in quiet whispers at bedtime, Lena laying out what she wants done and I’ll do it up after everyone is safely asleep.

Elfie

Now, as many of you know, I work as an Interior Decorator for a company in Truro, as well as for my own clients.  We had a chair arrive in a large cardboard box a week or so ago.  I drug that big box home and hid it in the garage.  After both girls were asleep, I drug it into the kitchen, poked holes in the top { in hindsight, pay attention to the spacing on your string of lights….just sayin’ } and then I drug it upstairs into Hannah’s room.

Do you have any idea how noisy duct tape is when you try to unroll it in a bedroom at night where there’s a sleeping child?  It’s noisy, trust me….  Anyway, I taped up it up, poked the lights in the holes and plugged it in and then marveled at it for a bit.

Elfie

I wasn’t about the give Elfie all the credit, but it did seem like something he might be involved in.  SO, he was sitting on top of the box with a note, simply saying ‘Surprise’ written by me using my left hand to throw them off.  { Hannah even commented about his neat penmanship…maybe I should write with my left more often? }

Last night I ended up with both girls in bed with me.  Somehow I needed to get them into Hannah’s room where their surprise awaited them.  I wasn’t feeling exceptionally clever after fighting for blankets and removing little limbs tossed over me so I basically told them Elfie and I had a surprise for them in Hannah’s room.

To say they were thrilled might be an understatement.  Hannah already has plans to sleep in it and Lena envisions lots of reading, I’m sure.

Me? I’ll be sitting back, admiring my Mother of the Year award….enjoying it before I lose it….again….

To be continued,

Lori

Sometimes in life, the people who you cross paths with in the virtual world become very important and inspirational people in your life.  And I know I’m not alone in this.  So, I’m going to introduce you to one of those people….Sheila Atchley!

Let me start by telling you how I ‘met’ Sheila.  Do you remember me telling you about sending earrings down to Jeanne Oliver for her first ever workshop at their new home? { You can read about it HERE }  Sheila was there.  She was one of the ladies who received a pair and she reached out to thank me for them.  I got some beautiful messages from some of those ladies.

So, I started following Sheila’s art page on Facebook, which you can do HERE.  Her work spoke to me.  The women created on her easel touched my heart.  I saw myself, my friends, every woman on those canvases. I saw our hurts, our hopes and our potential.  And Sheila’s written words that accommodated her work truly struck a chord with me.

I think once you get to see the soul of the artist through their art and appreciate how much heart they put into it, the potential to be smitten with the artist is quite possible.  And from there, becoming friends is easy.

Sheila Atchley

Sheila’s art would show up in my FB feed regularly and one day, there popped up the most amazing painting of rose, done in shades of cream and grey { See above photo, which doesn’t do it justice at all! }  And the price was fantastic, so I quickly snatched that painting up.   And then I waited for it to arrive…..and I waited and I waited.  Finally, in my impatience, I sent a message to Sheila to see if she had heard anything about it.  Nope, nothing.  So she looked into it, and sure enough, the US Postal system lost it.  I’m not sure who was more broken-hearted over the lost painting, myself or Sheila.

And then, one day I got a slip in the mailbox that I had a parcel in at the post office.  I messaged Sheila right away – nope, she hadn’t heard anything but I promised to message her as soon as I picked up my package.  And lo and behold, it WAS the painting!  Arrived safe and sound and about 3 months after I ordered it.  And all wrapped up so beautifully, too!

Sheila Atchley

Let me tell you it was well worth the wait – it was even more stunning in person than the picture I saw on FB.  Presently, the painting is hanging in my kitchen.  I’m not sure if that’s where it’ll stay or not, but I love getting to see it everyday. { She sells originals and prints of her work, the link to the giclee of this one is HERE }

Following Sheila’s journey means getting to see what she is creating and is involved in, geography alone makes it interesting but she’s at a different stage of life than I am, too.  And frankly, that’s so interesting to see, too.  She is passionate and creative and that combination can manifest itself into amazing things….like, say, a self-published book!  But it isn’t just any book.  It’s a book filled with her art, it’s a book filled with stories of women from the bible who are linked to Jesus.  It is a book for advent, about advent, about the journey of these women.  { You can order a copy HERE }

sheila atchley

I wish I had unlimited funds, I would buy you all copy.  I would place it in your hands, I know you would enjoy it and soak up the words written between the covers.  I know the art would move you.  I know you would see the faces of the women in your lives, maybe you’ll find your face among the pages, hear your story told.  Maybe, just maybe, you’ll find a tiny baby who would come into this world, helpless.  But who would do miracles, touch lives, save us from ourselves.

This is the advent season.  This is the time to quiet our hearts.  This is the time of connecting.  I’m thankful for the people in my life, who I have crossed paths with, even if they are virtual paths, who inspire me and urge me along in my own journey.  Sheila is definitely one of these people.  This advent, I hope you find some friendly strangers along the way who encourage you, inspire you and connect with you.  Be open, be willing and be present.

To be continued,

Lori

 

 

Well, I’m back today to tell you that sometimes, and  maybe just sometimes, Facebook contests are real.  And guess what else – real people win!  I’m sure you doubt me.  How ever would I know?  Well, because I won a year’s supply of coffee from a Facebook contest.  But – not any coffee….Aroma Maya coffee.

Now, I didn’t know anything about Aroma Maya coffee, I drove past a sign on my drive to work but that was really all.  Then I noticed something on Facebook about them, read a little to learn more, and decided to start to follow them on Facebook.  A couple days later, they posted a contest to win a year’s supply of coffee, so I entered, of course…..who doesn’t want free coffee?

Aroma Maya

Let me tell you more about this company.  Aroma Maya is run by Sergio, a twenty-something from Guatemala in the search of good coffee.  He brings in fresh Arabica beans from Guatemala and roasts them right on site at the River Run Golf Course in North River.  They sell the freshly roasted beans on site, as well as other tasty treats in their cafe, which is in the clubhouse at River Run.  They also offer Bistro lunches, yoga classes and snowshoe passes for the winter. All in all, great coffee, great activities and a great place to hang out.

I was pretty pumped when I found out I won a year’s worth of this yummy coffee – as you can imagine if you’re a coffee lover.  I’m a huge fan of companies like this, ones who are doing something worthwhile and giving back to the community, as well.  It’s an easy spot for me to swing in on my way to work to pick up coffee and grab another bag, if I’m out at home { which equates a crisis, just so you know…. }

Aroma Maya

I’ve tried a few different roasts now, and I have to say that the Huehuetenago Highlands is my favourite.  I’m still exploring the difference of the light, medium and dark roasts.  Currently, I’m drinking their Morning Blend, which is quite enjoyable, too.  Now, please be aware I am by no means a coffee connoisseur, I just enjoy drinking it.  Don’t ask me about subtle notes or however coffee people talk about coffee.  I just love coffee.

So, I thought I’d share the love!  Comment on this blog post to be entered in a draw for one bag of coffee beans from Aroma Maya, be sure to include your name so I know who you are!  Yes, I’m willing to share my years supply with YOU!!  Open to Canadian residents only….not sure if I really want to deal with customs and coffee beans….  I’ll make a draw on November 27th and announce it on my social media platforms.

I’m writing this solely because I love their product and want to support them and this is one way I know how….getting everyone to try it and fell in love with it, too…..:)

Be sure to comment here, share the post with your friends and maybe you’ll get some free coffee, too!

 

***UPDATE – Contest is now closed – Eleanor has won a bag of Aroma Maya!!  Eleanor, I’ll email you!***

To be continued,

Lori

 

 

 

  • mary chaisson - November 19, 2016 - 7:56 am

    I love coffee too Lori…. and just where is this place to speak of? LOL now I have to try itReplyCancel

    • lori@farmfreshstyle.ca - November 19, 2016 - 12:05 pm

      It’s in North River, at River Run Golf Course on West North River Road. Well worth the drive!!ReplyCancel

  • Sam Graham - November 19, 2016 - 8:38 am

    I have always known you to be kind and generous Lori but sharing your coffee takes that to a new level ! :)
    I wish Aroma Maya much success.ReplyCancel

    • lori@farmfreshstyle.ca - November 19, 2016 - 12:06 pm

      Just goes to show how much I want you all to love this coffee, too!!! 😉 Thanks, Sam!!ReplyCancel

  • Eleanor - November 19, 2016 - 8:48 am

    Lori, how lovely of you to share your win! The aroma of coffee brewing in the morning is my favourite scent 😊☕mmmm..ReplyCancel

  • Darci - November 19, 2016 - 9:00 am

    I’ve recently been hearing about them more and more! Maybe it’s a sign I need to try some of their coffee haha. Nice post Lori and congrats on the win! 😉ReplyCancel

    • lori@farmfreshstyle.ca - November 19, 2016 - 12:03 pm

      Darci – you’ll love it!!ReplyCancel

  • Lori - November 19, 2016 - 12:33 pm

    You lucky girl! I will throw my hat in the ring for a bag of coffee :)ReplyCancel

  • Rose - November 19, 2016 - 2:10 pm

    AROMA MAYA IS THE BEST!!!!!!!!!! (Did you take the pic of the heart-shaped pile of coffee beans on distressed wood??? Love it!)ReplyCancel

    • lori@farmfreshstyle.ca - November 19, 2016 - 2:20 pm

      Haha – totally stole it from their website!!ReplyCancel

  • Cathy munro - November 19, 2016 - 4:10 pm

    How cool it that! Thanks for sharing the love. ALOT of coffee happens at this farm. A hot joe in my hand right now 😉ReplyCancel

  • Andrea D - November 22, 2016 - 4:55 pm

    That’s awesome. Congrats!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - November 23, 2016 - 7:01 am

    Love this story…and coffee. :)ReplyCancel

  • Connie Baird - November 24, 2016 - 11:46 am

    Hi Lori,

    I love following your page on Facebook, and I’m a huge fan of new, small businesses. I’ve had a lunch treat from the bistro at Riverrun and have attended a yoga class there too. It’s great to see some new blood with new ideas. While I love the smell of coffee brewing, I am not a coffee drinker. This, by no means, says that I would not love to win a bag of their coffee. I have lots of people on my Christmas list who do love their coffee.ReplyCancel

    • lori@farmfreshstyle.ca - November 24, 2016 - 8:50 pm

      I see we are work neighbours!! I spend my days across the road at Costandi’s!! So, Aroma Maya is handy to both of us!!ReplyCancel

  • Marlene MacLean - November 24, 2016 - 9:55 pm

    You always have such a happy, positive post written that my day is uplifted whenever I read it…I know it’s not just from the coffee you drink. Like you, I love coffee!ReplyCancel

  • Juls Heighton - November 27, 2016 - 9:21 am

    l didn’t know anything about this place so thanks for spreading the word. l love coffee but am not a fan of the famous chain at all and will def stop in there on my next trip to Truro; wouldn’t mind having my own bag to try first though; just saying 😉ReplyCancel

  • Alena Martin - November 27, 2016 - 9:40 am

    sitting at the Breakfast Table, hubby just said “did you enter Lori’s coffee contest” which i replied “no I don’t like coffee” which got me a “but I like coffee” so here I am entering to win a bag of coffee just because I kinda really like that guy, he’s my favorite. I love your blog (and you!) and i love a good local company doing great things in our region.ReplyCancel

  • Linda O'Shea - November 27, 2016 - 10:11 am

    Congrats on the coffee win, and how nice of you to share. B but whether it’s for the coffee win or not, this comment is overdue. You have a very easy, informative and heartfelt style of writing. It’s always a treat to take a few moments to see what’s up at “Farm Fresh”. Happy to be neighbours in this wonderful corner of the world. Look forward to your future posts.ReplyCancel

  • Katja - November 27, 2016 - 10:23 am

    I love small batch roasted coffee! We should have coffee soon together!ReplyCancel

  • Melanie langille - November 27, 2016 - 11:32 am

    So generous to share ☕️. I too drive by that sign on my way to work. I always wondered if just anyone could stop in to grab a cup….now I know. Thanks for the info.ReplyCancel

Sometimes, you just need to run away.   I felt the weight of the world last week.

Election crap.  People disappointing me.  Being tired from the time change.  Being tired from work.  Just life.  I needed to get away.

weekend escape

And on our drive to our typical escape, Cape Breton, it was November 11th at 11 am.  The radio was playing, the trumpet started and so did my tears.  In light of the sacrfice of so many, whether paid by their life, their time away from family or their wholeness of body and mind, my problems seemed petty and shallow.  Our veterans paid such a price so that the problem that overwhelmed me could be petty ones and not life or death problems.

weekend escape

My girls were in back seat.  I’m sure my tears didn’t go un-noticed.  They were silent and respecful.  They know, school tells them about Remembrance Day, we talk about it at home.  Lena remembers Grampy being in Afghanistan and they both know Uncle Jon is being deployed for 6 months in the new year.  They get it, as much as a 9 and 7 year old can.

weekend escape

We spent the weekend relaxing at the house of my best friend.  She is the most wonderful hostess.  The coffee runs freely, the good conversation and oh, the food!!!  We ate way too much, laughed together, enjoyed some fresh air and the company of each other’s children.  We carried on like fools while trying to get the neighbour’s horses to run along side the fence with great success.  We visited an estate sale, held at a house that was stuck for a very long time in the 60’s…down to the patterned carpet, extensive use of wood panelling and the purple, carpeted bathroom.  { Wishing I had snapped a couple of pictures just to show you – like a time capsule!! }  We even had a girl’s night with some of her local gals who are becoming friends of mine, too.

weekend escape

It was exactly what I needed.  Before the continued crazy of birthday celebrations.  Before the prep work of Christmas.  Before the onslaught of festive parties and concerts.  Before the future starts to unravel.  Before we beckon a new year.  Before what lays ahead.

weekend escape

Time away doesn’t solve anything.  But it makes my days brighter and that counts for something.  I know full well that avoiding everything doesn’t actually help – just so you don’t think I’m completely off my rocker.  We need to step back sometimes and let things fall into place and into order of priorities.   That’s what I did this weekend.  Mulled things over, tried to establish a game plan.  Am I any closer to answers? No, yes, who knows!  Lol!  But that’s okay, too.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I hope that you all recognize when you need an escape and that you have somewhere to run away to.  Somewhere where you will be greeted with open arms and a hot cup of coffee.  Where the conversation can be as deep or as light as you need it to be.  I’m so thankful for knowing Janice will also meet me at the door with a hug and that her house, no matter how busy, always, always has room for a few runaway girls on any given weekend.

 

To be continued,

Lori

  • Peady @ Tempered With Kindness - November 17, 2016 - 10:36 pm

    This is a beautiful post.

    Sometimes running away is just what we need.

    I’m so glad you got away from all the stress. Honestly, I could still use a bit of a hermitage. I so get it.

    I love your photos. Good job with the horses! I wish I had a behind the scene shot of the set up. 😀ReplyCancel

jordan

This fall, my cousin’s son ended his battle with depression by taking his life.  He was 17.

I never got the chance to meet Jordan even though he was part of my family, he lived in Ontario.  But my heart still breaks over his death.  My heart breaks for his parents who were by his side through it all.  My heart aches for his siblings who will have an empty spot for the rest of their lives.  My heart aches for his grandparents, my mom’s sister, who will always look across the yard, hoping to catch a glimpse of one of ‘their’ kids.  My heart aches for his aunts and uncles,  my cousins, who knew him so well and loved him so much.  My heart aches for his church community, his classmates, who will always miss him.

jordan2

During Jordan’s funeral, Chris and his wife, Christy, Jordan’s parents, read the eulogy.  I wish I could’ve been there to show that he mattered and that they matter to us, even across the miles.  They shared what they read via social media and I find such peace in their words.  Their message is not a new message, it is as old as the ages, but it the midst of such loss, these words have such strength and impact.  I pray they don’t fall on deaf ears.

“Friday night we were waken by a call from Jordan’s lifelines, “Jordan is planning something really bad at the factory.”  I frantically searched 23 acres of black warehouse on a bike with a light from a cell phone, calling out “Jordan, Jordan, Jordan, Jordan” over and over, it echoed throughout in the warehouse.  I went up to the second floor and then on the roof, calling out in the dark night, across the town of Alymer “Jordan, Jordan, Jordan” over and over.  He could hear me but he made the choice not to respond.  It is the same in each of our lives, Our heavenly Father calls out to each and everyone of us by name.  He calls us to live under His conditional Grace and Love.  We may chose not to answer, but He keeps calling and reaching out.  No matter what we have done, will do, or in what broken way we find ourself.  I repeat He offers forgiveness and unconditional love.  I forgive Jordan, too, one part of his mind was not thinking clearly, and so I ask you to forgive him, too…. the same way the God asks us to forgive others. Don’t numb your life to God’s calling with the distractions of life, turn down the volume and listen for His voice.  Take long quiet walks and sit in stillness to hear His voice.”

I have never truly understand depression and I still don’t, I don’t think we ever really will.  But through this tragedy, I see and understand more.  Jordan had a strong faith and trust in God, but, sadly,  the demons of depression spoke louder.  It’s hard for those of us who don’t fight the battle of depression and mental illness to grasp how life can get to that point.  Jordan was getting help, he wasn’t fighting this alone, he had a team of support but it was still too much.

Jordan’s dad, my cousin Chris, put together THIS VIDEO about Jordan.  I see the crowd of people who cared about Jordan.  I see the line of cars down the road.  I see the lights of the Chinese lanterns.  It’s too late for Jordan to see what an impact he had on the lives of the people he lived, worked and played with, but maybe, it’s not too late for you or for someone you know fighting this battle.  Reach out, I’m begging you.  Talk to someone if this is your battle.  And if you know someone is fighting their own battle, reach out to them.  Please, talk about what’s going on.  Seek help, no matter how hard it might be.  You are worth fighting for.  There are people who love you and care about you.  You don’t have to fight this alone.

I’m not telling this story to garner your sympathy.  I’m telling this story because sometimes through someone’s pain, we see a clearer view of ourselves.  It isn’t easy talking about the hard stuff….depression, suicide, mental illness and death.  But the time is NOW to seek help, or to reach out to a friend or family member you know is struggling.  Life is precious and all too often, much too short.

To be continued,

Lori

  • Nancy LeB - November 10, 2016 - 8:56 pm

    I am very sorry for your loss and the loss experienced by Jordan’s whole circle who loved and cared for him. Depression is such a difficult thing to live with and to describe to those who have not suffered – and I pray that you and no one else has to find out how it does feel. One description I have used it to try to imagine that you are in a deep hole and occasionally you get to see out of the top of it and other times you are so far down that you can hardly see the light at the top. If you are lucky enough to finally climb out of the whole – with the help of God,family, friends, the medical community and/or medications you are still terrified that you will fall back down – sometimes some people just too tired of the climbReplyCancel

  • Sheila - November 10, 2016 - 10:39 pm

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.ReplyCancel

  • Rachael McLean - November 11, 2016 - 8:26 am

    thank-you Lori. I hear your words…ReplyCancel

  • Jen - November 11, 2016 - 8:54 am

    Oh Lori…so heartbreaking and sad. To be so young and feel like life is not worth living, shows the true power of depression. xoReplyCancel