Sunday, October 13, 2019

Thanks Giving... or... Giving Thanks... or Thanksgiving

No matter the interface one chooses to use between these two words, they are meant to describe this autumnal celebration in one's life of giving thanks... being grateful. The words and the celebration  are both meant to describe an ancient human ritual that was derived from the conclusion of a successful harvest time.

It marked a time when food(s) were harvested... gathered in successfully. The gatherers then gathered around a table in fellowship either collectively as a family, or in communal groups. They gave thanks ... and shared in the bounties of the harvest. In most cases, the festival was connected to deities, or faiths to whom adherents felt inclined to offer prayers of gratitude and thanks.

It has always remained festive and celebratory... and in most cases involved food, wine, music and joyful conversation. The celebration, as we have come to celebrate it in North America draws family members homeward from wherever they conduct their "separate" lives, or circumstances.

In North America usually turkey, or ham, root vegetables and pumpkin pie comprise the traditional fare. These foods translate to our table from their early origin on the Eastern Seaboard of the US from the traditions and foods available there to earliest settlers and Christian ancestry.

Most likely, these traditions, including the food choices will remain in place. It will not remain so for Deb and I however, on this occasion. Firstly, our family members are widely scattered geographically in diverse places throughout Canada and the Barbados.

Each of those members has responsibilities in their own lives to share the ritual of Thanks Giving that was begun under our roofs and around their tables with their own offspring And so our Thanks Giving custom continues. We remain gathered together.. spiritually... at least.

Thanksgiving in 2019.... Sherman-style

Life changes many things. In the worst scenarios, family members are sadly and tragically removed from their seat at our tables, leaving empty seats around the table and in the hearts of all remaining family members. Such will be the case at Andrew, Melissa and Joan's 2019 Thanks Giving table.

Grief and loss, if you permit it to be brought forward can leave hearts forever heavy and one's Faith shaken, or worse, even destroyed. Allison would be so upset to be viewed as the cause of family sadness.

She implored each of us to " live out our lives to its fullest measure in her honor, if this was to be her time."

We each are doing so. I continue to try to fulfill that wish in my own way. Painting, as I am able and reaching out to use my Art as the connector just as she and I both did using our earthly time and gifts to do so. I will continue to do so... and will support all of our family members to join hands to continue to celebrate in their own fashion the life miracles that she created for others.

I have a painting on the go already but have let it rest for now to share the memories of Allie , in combination the Joy and Love that we have put in place to share with our Friends and neighbor. I hope that you enjoy this small sampling of my own personal memories and creations.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to my Canadian friends and neighbors and an early greeting to those who celebrate theirs outside our calendar date!!!

                               "Bounteous Blessings" - oil on canvas 30 x 24 inches

My life has been filled like this wheelbarrow . It ironically was used by my maternal Grampa Birrell to tend his garden. He filled the wheelbarrow with flowers throughout his life time and he filled his family's lives with copious love and blessings That generous spirit still lives and guides the actions of so many of his offspring.

I was greatly blessed to learn from them and to feel that same love from my Mom and Dad in their home. Today , I do my best to pass it forward to my children. I believe that they would continue to be proud of their family. Too many blessings to list...

                            "Autumn's Final Fanfare" - oil on canvas 11 x 14 inches

"Autumnshine" - oil on canvas 16 x 20 inches

"Leaning Towards Autumn" - oil on canvas 36 x 48 inches

"Bittersweet Madawaska Valley" - oil on canvas - 11 x 14 inches

"Lake Galaiery Color" - plein air oil on panel 8 x 10 inches

Giving Thanks in 2015... all present (Andrew the  chef and photographer)

Who will ride Allie's bike next year.?????

Sadly... I wonder.

Each of us are still pedaling that bike for you Sweet Heart. Last weekend were among the Shermanator team members who hit the road at The Annual CIBC  Run/Walk for the Cure in your honor.

Love you FOREVER Allie
Mom, Dad and Deb, Andrew, Melissa and his Fearsome Threesome lol


  1. Your paintings filled with autumn light and gorgeous fall color always are a delight! I am so sorry for your loss and I feel that it begins every day for you - and yet, you keep trying to go through the pain to the happiness of memories kept forever. I hope your autum season is a wonderful one and that you and Deb enjoy these days before winter’s cold sets in (although I know you will still be out there painting in it!!). Take care, both of you, and Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Dear Friend Rhonda,

    Thank you for your visit and compliments. You are absolutely correct in acknowledging the fact that my posts (like my days) register clearly the continuing presence and effect of the pain of my loss.

    Life is simply "out of order" when one's child precedes the parent through the gates this life into Eternity. In my own case, I choose not to blot out the memories (good or bad) which this loss brings me.

    I try very much to be open about my feelings and to add activities and additions to my existence that encourage optimism and Hope... and (Hopefully) does not inflict melancholy, or evoke pity.

    I deeply hope that my readers and Friends find something from my actions and attempts to "move on"... that inspires them to reach out similarly to others they meet in their daily lives.

    Perhaps, if my words and my paintings can be seen to effect your feelings with delight and brightness, then they have achieved the psalm-like quality that I fully intended. I truly Hope so!

    I am heading "out there" right after this comment is posted.

    Stay tuned... :>)

    Warmest regards,

  3. Absolutely beautiful paintings !!!

  4. Thank you for visiting Stylios... and for your encouraging comments regarding my paintings. I much enjoyed my visit tour blog site as well and found your works offer the viewer a peace and quiet in all of your landscapes. Bravo!

    Warm regards,

  5. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Bruce. Autumn is my favorite time of year and your paintings thoroughly encapsulate the gorgeous color and bounty of the land with the deep acknowledgement of earthly beauty that splashes off the end of your paintbrushes.

  6. Hi Bruce,

    What a lovely collection of paintings. They all seem to me to have a sense of time passing, but at the same time they are warm and sunny, which seems to give them an optimistic quality.

    Happy Thanksgiving season.
    All the best,

  7. Bruce such a wonderful post filled with gorgeous paintings. Happy Thanksgiving to you a bit late. Hope you are still enjoying some lovely fall colors. God Bless

  8. Hello Debbie!... and a belated 'Happy Thanksgiving" back your way!!! I have truly been overwhelmed by the magnificent color display this year. The high mark has just been passed in these parts.

    We were treated to a six hour annual boating cruise party through the islands- it was breath taking!

    God bless you and your loved ones too Debbie. I will (hopefully) post a painting with updates on our trip! Thanks again for stopping by!

    Cheers... and Happy Autumn blessings.

  9. Good morning Keith,

    Sorry that I am so late in picking up on your comment.It was Allie's 40th Birthday on October 20th... so I've been somewhat "distracted"... if you know what I mean.

    Thanks for your encouraging comments about the paintings. I couldn't ask for a better critique... by anyone I admire more as a peer. Thank you for stopping by!

    Warmest regards,

  10. Hi Susan!,

    Thank you for your visit and eloquent words of encouragement and solid understanding of my artistic purpose. Coming from you truly means a lot Susan. I much admire your own artistic process and striving.

    Warmest regards... rich blessings... and many sales!

  11. How lovely to see your beautiful paintings again Bruce! I can't believe I have been away from blogging land for four months!! I will need to catch up with my blog! Wishing you best wishes from the highlands of Scotland in misty rain!!

  12. Hi there Lass!

    Been missing you terribly in Blogger Land! Good to have you back online! I miss seeing your paintings... and hearing your "voice!" Look forward to both again!

    Warmest regards,