Keeping busy with Syrian refugees

I want to apologize to any readers who may have been looking at my blog recently.

I have not posted because I have been busy chairing a group of people who are helping Syrian refugees come to Canada. Although the group was intially formed by congregants of the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, we have had many people outside the congregation join us to offer their help.

It is a tremendous amount of work.  We have collected enough funds to sponsor three families ourselves, we are helping two families sponsor their relatives who will live with them once they arrive in Canada, and we are helping four small private groups sponsor Syrian refugees by submitting their application to the government for them, managing their funds and providing tax receipts to their donors.

I am sure to those outside the process, it is a simple matter to sponsor refugees.  It is not!

It has been keeping me running! I feel like I am operating a small business. Apart from raising and managing the funds, getting matched with refugee families, submitting applications, finding housing, training volunteers, arranging for written agreements with the four private outside groups, we still have to settle the families once they arrive! Luckily we have a terrifc team of hardworking, dedicated and highly skilled people who take their work very seriously. Occasionally we trip over one another’s feet, but I am overwhelmed by the goodness I see in each of the volunteers.

This is happening all across the country. How amazing and wonderful is that.

I hope I will be back to writing in a few months; I miss it so much.



Tip-toeing in the garden of mothers-in-law


There is a lovely article in the Huffington Post on becoming a new mother-in-law to your son’s wife. It is sweet, heart-rending and very real.

What’s your advice for new mothers-in- law?  I would love to hear from you so please leave your response in the Reply Box below.

How to convince your parents that you have your life together

Photo by Blair Gable

Photo by Blair Gable

There is a very funny blog post on 10 things that your single adult son might do to his apartment to convince visitors that he has his life together. One of the suggestions singles out parents, but any of the suggestions would do the trick. But beware, there is some pretty rough language. The favourite word in the post is sh- – not to mention other four letter words.

My friend’s son sent him the post; they are now amusing themselves by figuring out which activities will convince his mom all is well with him.  Very funny to all but mom.

I have five suggestions of my own.  These apply particularly to the 18 to 25 year-old group.

1. Have some food in the fridge.

2. Make sure I don’t trip over beer bottles on my way up the stairs to see your room.

3. Air the place out. Stale beer and B.O., even if it is someone else’s, is not a good combination.

4.  Get your hair cut and keep your beard trimmed.

5. Get your roommates to stand up when I come into the room and shake my hand.

6.  Cook me a dinner and I”ll be totally convinced everything is right in your world.

What signs tell you that your child is managing his or her life well?  I would love to hear from you so please leave a response in the Reply Box below.

How I learned to reduce Christmas stress and sleep in my own bed

Christmas tree

The year I moved solo into a nearby hotel on the night of December 23rd to guarantee a good night sleep, was the year I realized that it was time to deal with Christmas stress.

But it didn’t happen quickly. Like many families, it was my kids who pushed me into it as they grew up and moved out.

The year before I chose to sleep at a hotel in desperation, I went to bed on the 23rd at my usual 10:30 bedtime. I was awakened by my husband an hour later when he came to bed, and then three times after that as each of my university aged children crawled in from their respective parties.  The next morning I felt like a wet rag, wondering how I would organize a Christmas Eve party for 22 members of my extended family, clean up, stuff stockings and prepare the turkey for the next day’s feast.  Read More