Saturday, October 6, 2018

"Count your blessings... Name them one by one..."

I specifically chose the group of words to introduce today's post. I did so because I feel they certainly reflect the true spirit of our celebration of Thanksgiving. Harvest has always been the perfect time to give thanks. Simply because it is at that time in the year when there is plenty. The cruelness of the winter cold is yet distant. Even in earliest times, the harvest bounty cultivated a sense of gratitude in all people for the smallest of blessings in life.

Those same words used in the title form the first line in a Thanksgiving hymn that we sang as a family with the rest of a then small Mormon congregation in a tiny rented place of worship. That congregation has since grown in strength and numbers substantially. Their meeting place has grown into a beautiful place of worship. The blessings that have been bestowed upon them as "believers" have arrived out of their own hard work and commitment. I will add the word Faith to further support the reason for the blessings that they have received.

The next line in that same hymn of Thanksgiving reads as follows:

"Count your blessings... see what God has done."

I suppose it might seem strange to many... that I can still believe in a God...  who many might think has turned his back on the prayers of our cancer-stricken daughter and our our own pleas for His intervention. Not so. We only asked for the courage to endure the painful passage... together ... in continued Faith and Hope....and a belief  in a life beyond this.

On most days Faith supports us in that struggle. But there are days... even weeks when that Faith or belief in anything is tested. I seek solace and direction from therapy. It helps refocus and me and acts as a release from the anger that does build on occasion. For the most part, we feel greatly blessed... blessed to have had such a beautiful spirit in our midst!

I reflect upon the many other blessings in my life to help regain a thankful perspective and outlook in my daily life. Amongst these are my other beautiful children and members of my immediate family. Our circle is indeed a powerful and constant source of pride... love and support. Each one is different and brings to the circle a special spirit and presence. I am grateful for each member. Deb, Joan, Lisa, Andrew, Melissa, Liam and Bryn. Sprinkle into the main company additional new members... our combined grandchildren and a company of loyal lifetime friends.

We are indeed... very blessed.


The Queen's University Quarterly is a respected literary publication which is devoted to "the best things Canadian". It features articles by prominent Canadian writers based upon politics, literature, science and the Arts, as well as poetry and fiction. It combines skillfully written articles with artfully photographed images to visually enhance the contents. I am now truthfully embarrassed to admit that I had never read the publication... even though I am an alumnus and had seen it many times before offered in the good bookstores that we frequent.

Only by chance alone on Friday, I bumped into an artist friend while shopping for Thanksgiving dinner items. Our chat stretched out into a lengthy conversation.. and during that time Michael asked me if I had read the current issue of the Queen's Quarterly. I smugly offered that I had never felt any need or compulsion to read that "high brow" periodical.

He immediately came back with,"Well you should read this one. There is a dedication to Allison in it." He further offered to drop by an extra copy he had on hand so that we could avail ourselves of the opportunity to read it . This morning, he dropped by for a coffee and left us a copy. After reading it...  I now realized that I completely misread and misjudged the value of this periodical. At $6.50 per issue, I will be aboard for all future issues... and not just because of the tribute to Allison.

Never turn a deaf ear to the Universe's offerings. Here was an unexpected blessing from the Universe... delivered via Michael. It suddenly became a much needed lift in my spirits heading into an otherwise bleak and emptyThanksgiving celebration... minus our lovely spirit Allison.

I wish to acknowledge this beautiful tribute to Allison by Anne Koval - curator, art writer, art historian, and poet. She is currently a professor of art history at Mount Allison University. Her credits are too numerous to list here , but can be found on p.432 in her article : Evan Penny: Ask Your Body (his exhibition piece at the 2017 Venice Biennale).

Check out the Queen's Quarterly - well worth he $6.50 and time  taken!

"This review is in the memory of Dr Allison Sherman, a brilliant and much-loved art historian , professor, and coordinator of Queen's University' s Summer School. She is fondly remembered for her sage advice to hug a column whenever the opportunity arises."

Death and its Darkness seems much less the victor... when the warmth and the Light embodied within this remembrance of her life and contributions is taken into account.

"She" and her life DID matter... to so many. We are greatly blessed....

I love you FOREVER Jemima!

I thought that I would conclude this post with a small collection of my favourite Fall images. In looking back over these I realize that each one does indeed capture  a chunk of my own time and the journey that I have made. Please enjoy... and

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!!

"Les Couleurs d'Automne" - oil on canvas 30 x 24 inches

"Simple Blessings "

"Autumn Tumbles In"- Algonquin Park 

"Fall Reflections" Algonquin Park - 8 x 10 inches

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

"Fall's Symphony" - oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches

"Merrily... Merrily... Life is But a Dream" - oil on canvas 30 x 24 inches

"Autumn's Glow" - oil on canvas 16 x 20 inches

"The Dimming of the Day" -  White's Falls - oil on canvas 30 x 24 inches

" The Real Canadian Idylls- Kananaskis " - oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches


  1. Good Evening Bruce,

    What a wonderful convergence of circumstances that led to this chance discovery, and uplifting of your Thanksgiving spirits!

    I love your little collection of images, which capture so well the essence of the season in your part of the World.

    Happy Thanksgiving season,

  2. Thank you Keith... for taking the time to visit and comment! Strange ... how many times that Allie seems to re-enter our lives "by the convergence of circumstances"... or are they by chance alone...

    I wonder..

    Fall is well underway here in Canada and the colour is raucously beautiful. We are off to Toronto for a necessary two day medical appointment for Deb.

    I fully intend to "throw paint around| as soon as I return.

    Stay tuned...

    Warmest regards,

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you Bruce. I am trying to celebrate a thanksgiving of sorts every day,..focusing on every thing I have been given and not what I no longer have. It is helpful, (but it’s like flossing my teeth...sometimes I forget.)

    I believe that our loved ones are ever present, and send little reminders of that fact... I believe that you have received one such reminder. Some would describe it as “Synchronicity.” However you describe it, it is a blessing for sure.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving Wendy!... What a shame that we are conditioned from a very early age to believe that the act of Thanks - giving be allocated to a single day in the year.

    Since Allie's hurtful passing my own view has shifted very strongly towards a belief that our loved ones who physically leave us here on earth actually continue to have a presence and bring further meaning to sour lives.

    One can call the happening as "Synchronicity"... or anything else that offers some explanation to the feeling of a continued presence. I have decided upon this simple view for myself in living day to day with the loss.

    Simply put... I can choose to live out the remainder of my life ... feeling grief and the negatives that accompany that path such as anger... blame... guilt and Hope-less-ness. Or... I can choose to follow a path which uses Gratitude for all of my loved one's contributions to my life and time shared with them.

    As with all things in life Wendy... it is about the choices we must make to find and retain Joy, Happiness and Purpose. Through these states we find true Peace and inner Happiness.

    I sense that you and I both share a similar path... and I wish you well on your travels. You never walk alone Wendy. They walk with you in spirit... and I walk with you in Grace and with Dignity.

    Blessings and Peace to you!


    1. Thank you Bruce. You are a wise fellow... Blessings to you too.

  5. Thank you wendy... for being my Friend! I never feel totally alone. Love is everywhere around us... if only we can believe... trust in "ourSelves" and reach out to others to share the love that we feel.

    Blessings back to you!
    Warmest regards,