Friday, June 4, 2010

Our sweet little Mochy has gone on to greener pastures. Mochy started her life in quite dire circumstances, was rescued by our friend, Nan, Then we adopted her and had her for 6 wonderful years before we moved to Canada. For the last 4 years, Mochy has been lovingly parented by our daughter Denise and her family, and they totally fell in love with her charming little self.

Mochy had her share of early-on hardships. When we got her, she had mange and heartworm and the vet also missed that she was very pregnant. She brought her little pups to the back door one by one and then cried all night until she could pass the afterbirth.

She loved her new family out in the fresh country air and was very happy as top dog when her older sister, Shugy, went on to a happy life on another farm. Mochy was a funny-looking dog with sharpei ears and wrinkles, a double coat and black tongue of a Chow and a lab face and slick coat and a tail that couldn't figure out what it wanted to do.

We were fortunate to be able to give her some last pets and tell her we loved her when we were back in Texas, a couple weeks ago.

Godspeed, magnificent Mocha. Look for Kels, Shugy and other friendly folks, two and foor-footed in heaven. We will miss you so.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Helpers who Heal

Here is the text of the mini-reflection i gave Sunday, May 2 at our church. The audio version can be heard at Look for The Journey on the right side and click on my name. ( I have a couple friends who have trouble hearing so they wanted the written version.) Our church is in the middle of a campaign to improve our existing property and to add an affordable housing component. We have a dynamic congregation so we're excited that we can pull it off! This talk was given to honor people who have supported us but also in the hopes of inspiring folks to 'invest' in many ways.

good morning

i’m jane kelso winter and this is my husband charlie. we’re going to take a few moments to tell you why we think Hillhurst United is a one-of-a kind community and really worth putting your heart and soul into.

charlie and i were absolutely drawn here to hillhurst. we didn’t know it at the time of course. we first came on a christmas eve and heard this bouncy tigger of a guy speaking from the altar. we surely didn’t think he was the minister. - but the message resonated with us and since then we have never wanted to be away.

we have lived in calgary almost four years but are most recently from houston, texas and there’s a saying we have down there -- similar to the belt buckle one becky and terry rock talked about a couple weeks ago which said “Not born in texas but got here as fast as i could.” and it says “texas: it’s like a whole ‘nother country.”

both apply to hillhurst. this place is like a whole other country and if you have been drawn here (and believe me - you were) and you don’t decide to take up permanent residence and truly invest here.. you may be just wandering the countryside aimlessly (like 40 days and 40 nights in the desert) always seeking the spiritual home that is right here in your own backyard.

why do you need a faith community. well, when tragedy strikes, and as john says, “shhhhtufff happens”, These are the people you will want to have ready to hand you God’s toilet paper.

most of you know that our youngest son kelsey died about a month and a half ago. seems like just yesterday to us. what you might not be aware of is how extraordinarily this church family was there and is there for us... in the simplest of ways.. the ways that sustain you in your darkest hour.

here’s a graphic illustration of what we mean by “being there.” if you would please stand when i call your name and remain standing please.

it’s anna and john pentland and hillary higgins who came straight to our house within minutes of hearing about kelsey --to sit right by us as we cried and had to call our family and to put cooling hands on our foreheads.

it’s my soul sister shelagh who took the day off work and had me over to her house the very next morning after the terrible news and held me tight saying the healing words, “Jane, you were a great mom and I know kelsey loved you.”

it’s bigheaded, i mean bigHEarted Brent and Hugh who invited Hillhurst United folks over for what turned into a kind of Irish wake before we had to leave for the service in Houston; folks who boldly stepped into the wilderness of our grief with us and said, “we’ll be HERE for you” and meant it.

it’s marsha mah poy - the make-everything-happen-marsha who gave us odd tidbits of advice at just the right moment and joanne anquist who came through with an uplifting and just-right song for kelsey’s service - sounds like a small thing but it wasn’t.

it’s Bryce Paton who tried mightily to get on a plane to Houston (and when he couldn’t - he and barb (and others) made a donation to the Journey fund in kelsey’s memory. )

it’s Lea Meadows who wrote a sympathy note starting off with “i have no idea what to say” and then wrote a full page of incredibly comforting words.

it’s Judy Presber who brought over delicious chicken soup and then took me out for a long walk, long listening and a wee bit of shopping?

it’s the lindberg family who aren’t here today but who had us over for dinner, even though their own son, riley, is having worrisome health issues.

it’s murray and deb who invited us to go to a Montana cabin retreat.

and jan langille who wrote a very tenderhearted and reassuring email

it’s two of the best listeners on the planet: jill baker and darlene bell who have lent an ear for hours as i try to process.

it’s darlene’s daughter caitlin at dalhousie univ. in nova scotia who became friends with kels during his visits here and who is getting a really cool tattoo in his honor.

it’s our neighbor and pew-mate reg sauve and his friend ed who made gourmet meals to soothe our tired souls and fatten us up.

and one of the biggest hearted women in the tiniest body, Rose Larkham who lost her own beloved grandson, Jordan, recently, but who donated flowers for the sanctuary in our son’s name.

it’s cherryl, don, dan and molly wares who invited us and Kelsey’s visiting grandmother to come over for Easter Dinner so we could be with family. and molly who calls nearly every day just to let us know she cares.

it’s my dear friend janice and her son ian who gives the best 8- year old hugs around

and it’s marie benedict and her 7 year old twins orla and maeve (and friend rory) who give ian a run for his money in the hug department.

It’s all of you who came to the simultaneous service held by bill phipps here in these 100 year old pews while John presided over kelsey’s memorial in Houston. some of you might even have sat in the same pew kelsey sat in on christmas eve.

it’s lisa macbeth and dale nichol who made a beautiful photo collage of the service and marcia amaral who is helping us with our photos.

it’s the italian sized compassion of carmela diflumeri who asks “it’s mother’s day soon, how can we help you through that?”

God is in the consoling hugs from becky rock, valerie kangles, jenn howat, frieda, laurie shea, chris and fay lapointe, carolyn pogue, aurora hamilton, elaine friedt, judy archer, cheryl hayduk, patti and barb robertson, and maren wilson. It’s in the tear-filled eyes of carol chapman who has been through a similar wilderness and offer shoulders to lean on.

If you’re looking to be in the presence of God... God is in Cal and Leanne Malhiot’s shoulder squeeze from the pew behind us, Alice’s “I’m sorry”, Lucretia’s knowing glance, and Rhonda - my partner in crime at the gala - and sweet thelma, and dianne and frank, fay and chris lapointe, roberta and gord gunther, and sherry philpott and my look-alike in the choir alison mcpherson, and the incredible solace of the words of lawrence moon and the prayers of his wife evelyn, .helen miner, and sunday school sharlene and wally and Donna Dennomee and all in the prayer circle..oh my gosh i know i’ve missed so many.

but do you get it? do you get it? if you try to develop these kind of relationships AFTER you’re in need, it might be too late. they are life GIVING and life long. they can not be bought but you must BUY in, in order to receive.

It doesn’t have to be money, - there are a 1001 ways you can BUY in with your time and talent. you can help big a stage, you can help with communion, with planning worship, with stuffing envelopes, with helping @ sunday school or in the nursery or making lunch, or Inn From the Cold or backstage at the spring musical. but perhaps for some of us our actionable faith ALSO takes the form of making the biggest gift we could ever think of giving to a church - the next 100 years’ legacy. a gift which insures that this building can house all those who want to be with us on our journey..whoever they are, wherever they’re at.

could we have a profound impact on someone’s life just by continuing to open our drawing the circle a little wider? being here where we want to be anyway and expanding our vision...our space?

it’s not just about - to paraphrase John F. Kennedy, “what can my church do for me?” it’s, “what can i do for my church?” Truly. This is why.

when you are the one in need, it/we will be there for you. God will be there for you.

You will be able to hear His voice.

He will speak through the faithful actions of your friends - this community here.

God is in the threads between us.

He is the Web of life.

This is why we support the Journey Project and I urge you to look deep into your heart and ask yourself: How do I put my faith into action? for that’s what faith is.. living out loud what you believe. ..

there are dedicated people right here at this church who are putting in texas-sized hours so that this church can be more than just these 4 walls to house us on a sunday for an hour. this is a 7- day a week church and if we practice that live-out-loud texas/ alberta-sized hospitality.... It will come back to you many-fold like it has come back to us.

one last thing is that if you are here today and you are troubled beyond what you think you can handle, reach out. there is help as close as the hand next to you.

thank you.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brandon's Wedded Bliss

Here it is! The long-awaited Wedding Blog.
Charlie and I were so blessed to see two of the happiest people on the planet, his youngest son, Brandon, and Brandon's beloved fiance, Jenni, tie the knot. Marriage is a blending not only of the bride and groom's lives, but also a blending of their families with all our imperfections and perhaps a bit of dysfunctionality?

Perhaps you know that our family has had its share of relationship challenges and we haven't been as close to Brandon as we've wanted to be, so his and Jenni's invitation to be at their wedding was a gift straight from their hearts to ours: a true gift from God.
These are Brandon's last few minutes of being single but he is ready to get the wedding show on the road! He has his best buds, brothers, and brothers-in-law all giving him a rousing send-off.

Not being Annie Liebowitz nor having my high-tech, sneak up on you from afar, longer-than-a-weiner dog lens and having a very wiggly grandson on my lap, I didn't get any during-the-wedding photos.

The main point is that we were at the wedding to see Brandon and the love of his life, the beautiful and effervescent Jenni, celebrate the beginning of their life's journey together in a simply elegant and passionate ceremony.

With everyone in their wedding finery it was time to put the FUN back in DysFUNctional. Enter the blushingly beautiful bride and her beaming beau Brandon as new life partners.

The grandsons were all decked out for Uncle Buh's wedding but not for lonnng! They (and we) got to explore the soggy grounds during the reception. For me, it'd been nearly a whole year since I'd seen them, so I couldn't wait to kiss their perfectly coiffed but soon-to-be-sweaty heads.

This is the newest grandson-to-be, Mr. Atomic A, and his proud adopting parents. D was happy but really emotional about her baby brother being married. Our time is so short together - shower the people you love with love.

BJ was happy for his brother too...

But NOT happy enough to get dragged out onto the dance floor.

At the end of the evening, Little L told his dad, BJ, "I made two new friends tonight - Grandad and GrandJane." Our hearts melted right onto the dance floor.

Lots of roasts and toasts for the happy couple. Looks like Brandon might already be worrying about the cupcake he's gonna get...right...right...


And they lived happily ever after....
The Beginning.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Au Revoir Le Petit Chateau

Today the movers came to pack up our sweet little house in Garden Oaks. T'was not an easy decision to sell it, but the time has come. In no particular order, here are just a few of our memories. I've decided not to add any friends or family in the photos, as I just don't know where I'd begin. I want to share memories in words.
This is the Barn that BJ (Charlie's oldest son) built. He did it without any plans..just did it all in his head and all by himself. I would love to have moved that with us, but U-Haul didn't have a barn-busting dolly big enough. We would have loved to have taken the trampoline too, since we've had it since Kelsey was 6, but after 47,976 kids have jumped on it, it has put down little trampy roots. The grandsons have been on it from the minute their moms could stomach it (and even before that when they weren't looking.) It has been through serious shrieks, wild wrestling, big thrills, little spills, bum-flops and back-flips, and, "It's MY turn!s", but it's seen only one bloody nose, one slight adult misstep, and a gajillion great laughs. Even the youngest grandson got to get his first and last jump in before ..... (Hey! Can we get a girl in here somewhere?) Here's where the best dogs ever, Shugy and Mochy, used to try to dig to China, and where we picked up the 47,976 sticks and branches left by Raging Rita. When Irate Ike roared through, it knocked down a 90' tree from Joe's yard into ours, missing our car and house by mere inches. Perhaps it was the prayer Joe had said minutes before that had something to do with that close call?

Kels' room ..hmmm...don't think that desk saw any studying at all, but the crammed bookshelves had everything on it from Where the Wild Things Are to Webster's New World Dictionary. Boxloads of books were given to a friend's happy Harry Potter reader and his equally thrilled, "I can read too" sister. The bunk beds are having a new life at our daughter's house since there is a new grandson and the older ones have had lots of experience fighting over who gets the top bunk.
Well, NOT going to go into any detail about this room but it was consecrated ..( that the word?) in July of 2001.
The key feature of this room and one that is securely packed in a crate (we hope) is a portrait of one Mom, Mimi, Grammy, Bomba aka Jeane Wilson (Kelso) at age 7 painted by a then-famous artist in 1932 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It has traveled from there to West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, South Carolina, and 4 homes in Houston, Texas. God Bless her and the new chapter in our lives.
Now THIS is a photo that could be filled with many, many faces. Site of our wedding reception; fabulous 4th of July parties; grandkids playing in the toy cabinet; advent candle and Christmas tree lighting, girl gossip, and a 51% women's group party prompting a certain 13-year old's famous line - "There's too much estrogen in this house tonight!", and where I watched the World Trade towers fall.
The kitchen: Site of all things family. Enough said. Except, that I'll miss the folks big and little sitting on the bar stools - the big ones sometimes drinking beer-ritas, the little ones coloring, cutting out things, blowing out birthday candles.... "Can I have the fish plate, GrandJane?"
This is the pot-rack bought at an antique store in the Heights for Charlie, but staying behind. It can be seen from the dining room, because once again, the pass-through is BJ-built. What a difference it made but do NOT ask him how hard it was to get through the shiplap and various forms of what really shouldn't have been called drywall. Labor of love.
The dining room table which started its life at our house as a sorta-beat-up hand-me-down from my niece, Kristine, who, once she saw it refinished said, "Can I have it back?" Nope! It's not so much that the cherry finish is divine, as that we've had half a dozen Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and maybe a few mac-n-cheese spills on the seat that won't come out.
Kels' old hobby horse; a Brittany Spaniel in honor of my first dogs; real dog hair in the carpet; a glass vase wedding present from Connie and Steve; two photos from when my brother, Alan, took me on a snowy adventure into Oak Creek Canyon; pine cones collected from my parent's house in NC; a clock given to Charlie for years of service; and a brass toy trunk from my grandmother's house - all in about 10' of space. Au revoir, sweet home. We are grateful for the many blessings we've had within your walls. May the new owners have much joy and love there too.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Famous Five

Some dear girlfriends and I celebrated 80 years of Canadian women being declared "'persons" at a high tea honoring five courageous women, Emily, Nellie, Louise, Irene, and Henrietta.
Best remembered for their work as suffragists, legislators, champions of the rights and welfare of women and children, and for their successful appeal of the ‘Persons' Case in 1929 [in Canada] which changed the world for all women in the British Empire. Dressed in our Sunday best,

we were ever so lady-like as we sipped our tea and nibbled on those delightful, tiny finger sandwiches and fought over, (i mean bid on) spectacular artist-made hats


all to support the Famous 5 foundation that carries on the leadership work begun by these hard-as-nails early feminists.
Carry on, girls! "We are equal to high and splendid braveries."