Three in One Post

This is a three-in-one post. If you read all the way to the bottom there are links  to two other guest posts as well. 

I am letting you know right now – no painting happened this week. In fact, I am not sure why I thought I might get some painting done this week as I was off on a road trip to celebrate one of my special person’s ninth birthdays.

Complete with backpacks, ferries, coach lines, city buses and two feet my daughter and I made the trip over to Vancouver and back again. Okay, we had a diaper bag and my big camera too, plus 7½ week old Coen in a bjorn front carrier. It worked great because Josie could tend to the baby’s needs at any point which is not so easy in a car. Here we are on our return trip having peppermint tea sitting in front of the most beautiful big bay window in the old railway station that is now the bus station in Vancouver.

And yes, we are in McDonald’s. My first visit in about 20 years. They always say that McDonald’s doesn’t sell food but an experience. This was the case here. That window seat overcame any resistance I had. Then when I went to the counter and found I could buy a peppermint tea and it came in a paper compostable cup, I was in! This reminds me to never say never because someday you might.

As I reflect on the most amazing three days with family, I thought about how yesterday, starting early in the morning, we began to go our separate ways. No fuss was made. They were quiet good-byes. One after another we parted until there was just me left to return to Mayne Island. Deeply held connections released until we have a chance to get together again.

When I hear of families who have big explosions and fight their way through a visit I am often puzzled. What makes it so we can slip into a time together, enjoy each other’s company and slip back out again with my feeling enriched, blessed and a love that is shared? It is not that we are a perfect family. We have many human shortcomings. We have the usual challenges and worries that come with life. We are not a well off family but we have enough for quality food, basic shelter, health care and sometimes a wee bit more. Educationally we are all over the map. This diversity leaves us with an implicit understanding that learning and intelligence are only loosely related to our formal educational institutions. We are, on the whole, pretty-ordinary-though-sometimes-quirky, folks.

If you were observing, you may think nothing much happened during our visit. You would be right. We went for dinner one night to celebrate my grandson Arrow’s birthday The next night we had Smokies and Greek salad on his actual birthday with a small chocolate cheesecake topped with nine candles before the hockey game started. That was it. Simple. I don’t even have any pictures of the candles being blown out. At nine you still love your birthday but it is a bit embarrassing to be the centre of attention and have everyone singing happy birthday. That combination of pink cheeks and smiling happiness is just too vulnerable for a photograph. It would take away from the moment instead of adding to it.

Including the one above, here are a few photographs I did take. Are there any clues in these? What is it that made for such a special time?

A little family couch time.

It is the first day the cousins meet. I think there might be a life-time bond of friendship forming already.

The birthday invitations for a friends party on Saturday are done up using Photoshop with a little help from Dad.

The small antique wooden table they are working on in the kitchen is the same table I bought for my son when he first set up his own home at about 17 or 18 years old. We sometimes keep things in our family for a long time.  While other times, things go off to new homes between us or to friends or are set out on the side of the street for free. Items with a primary use or a story seem to hang around the longest. Little is found to be needed and wants are carefully considered and then indulged.

Auntie has a chance for a cuddle .

The cousins hanging out on the morning we are leaving. 

When I asked Arrow if he found it hard to hold a wiggling baby, he replied: “Not really. It is easier than playing video games.” So there you have it.

Sprout question: How does time with your family support your creative expression?

Also, this week I have two guest posts up that I encourage you to drop by for a read.

They are:

When the Ground Tremors” at Alison Elliot’s Life by Design.


Word of the Year: Bold (Terrill Welch)” at Stacey Curnow’s

Midwife for your Life’s Blog.


All the best of the weekend to you!

© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

FromMayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch online Gallery at

16 thoughts on “Three in One Post

  1. Terrill – I’m in California right now typing on a wee phone with a charge that’s dwindling fast. But I had to poke my head in to say hello and let you know I’ll give a proper greeting/response when I’m back to Maggie Mae – my laptop.

    • Laurie I am impressed that you have one of those wee phones. It is on my wish list. I am contemplating but I have been stalling on making a purchase. The kids all have them and they seem like so much fun. No running around trying to find an internet cafe or dragging along a cumbersome laptop. Soon I shall be posting comments with a wee phone too. Soon.

  2. Such beautifully warm photos, Terrill.
    I was blessed to be raised in a family such as this–we all got a long. Only one difference mine was a large extended family. Each year we would gather in one home to celebrate Christmas eve together and there was no…oh, don’t leave those two together…please don’t fight…it’s Christmas. We all just got along–regardless of differences. The rest of the year was the same. The only difference was we didn’t gather in such large numbers.
    Now, I live three provinces away, but it is enough to know that Eriksdale is still there whenever I need it.
    Well, off to read your other words–congratulations. : )

  3. Ummm, that was yummy! You can take me along with you any time you do the family thing Terrill, I just eat it up with a spoon and ask for more. The pictures were great but the words really did it for me too. I could feel your energy sing across the page as I read. This is indeed the bennies of family love. So many of us are but onlookers rather than participants in a scene like this, myself included, that it is with great appreciation that I thank you for showing me what’s possible in this arena.

    Time with my family has never really supported creative expression.

    • Alison I slept on this post overnight wondering it was too personal or just too much for people to enjoy. I breathed a sigh of relief when I read your comment. I know there are many families who do not have the ease and comfort that we do when we connect. I have tried to figure out what works but it seems like there isn’t really an easy explanation. We simply appreciate each other and don’t try to fix anything or anyone. That doesn’t mean we don’t have opinions about what someone might do or could do or what might work better for them but unless it is immediately life-threatening or we are asked, we tend to keep it to ourself. And sometimes we can mess up something terrible but I find we stand beside each other while that person gets their feet underneath them again – quietly encouraging, or lending a hand without comment, or a word of confidence when someone else questions.

      If not in ones family, I hope people can purposefully create family-like connections that offer at least some of this experience. It seems easy enough from the inside even if I can’t seem to explain it:)

  4. Well put mom! I had an absolutely fantastic mid-week adventure myself!
    Your photos really capture the moments we had (I didn’t even know you took pictures of the four of us on the couch!)

  5. How perfectly precious it is seeing the cousins meet for the first time, and documenting it. My favorite part was Arrow’s quip about holding a wiggling baby.

    My sprout answer: My family nurtures me and I nurture them. That’s how I’m able to be an artist in the first place. And they all support me in it.

    • Martha I am not surprised at all by your sprout response. It is great when it works out that way. Others who don’t have this kind of support must consciously and purposefully build a nurturing environment. I like to think that Creative Potager is one of the places a creative being can come for community and nurturing.

  6. It sounds like a lovely weekend Terrill! Wish your grandson a happy birthday for me. This is such a fun age. I love the picture of couch time – now that’s a great family event. Congrats on your guest posts!

  7. Ah, Arrow. I’ve met him before in some of the nature habitats on Mayne Island as I recall. Happy Birthday to you! I was riveted to your profound discussion of family and of that first trip to McDonald’s in 20 years! Well, to be honest I wish I could say the same, but in these parts McDonalds are all over the place. My oldest son Sammy can’t get enough of teh cheeseburgers there, though I do my damndest to try and guide him to more nutritional food. However, I can’t deny the event aspect, and it seems like you have a wonderful time with the family you cherish. I love reading and seeing photos of your delightful brood. Needless to say, in conjunction with your sprout question, the family is what keeps you from the blues, day in and day out.

    • Sam I have been thinking about your comment for days. In particular about eating nutritional food. There is so much out there about eating this way or that way and like most things there is no one way for anyone. Some times it can be tiring trying to figure it all out but I think it is worth the effort to start small and start now remembering that what we need to do will change depending on our age, general health and specific needs. There is a cumulative effect to eating well. We get better at it the more we do it. So start with what is easiest and keep going. Pretty soon you will notice you are doing things differently out of habit. And we want eating well to become a habit.

      Here are my top 7 tips:

      1. We do best when we are part of a team. Start children participating in what they eat before you think they are old enough. The reason is you really WANT to cup up an apple with a sharp knife (under supervision) at three years old where it is not so interesting at ten years old. Baking a batch of cookies when your hands can barely balance the cookie tray to get it in the oven is a thrill. Using this approach my son did the family grocery shopping at age 15 when he was looking for a new chore and him and his sister each cooked dinner two nights of the week – from scratch. My kids used to complain that there was no food in the house, only ingredients, but they learned to cook and turn those items into awesome meals.

      2. Make it simple. Only have healthy ingredients in the house and buy low food value items as a one-off special purchase. For example, my kids were allowed to by whatever treats they wanted with their allowance each week which was enough for one small bag of potato chips or a chocolate bar. That was it. I did the same. Serve plain water often and eat fruit instead of drinking juice and cook by colour. Do you have enough colour on your plate? This is an easy way to make sure you have a little of everything you need.

      3. Find foods you like and try new things often. Find healthy high nutritional food that you love. No choking down broccoli because it is good for you. Keep trying green vegetables until you find ones you enjoy.

      4. You always have enough time to eat well. Plan ahead, plan easy and only do complicated things for special or on weekends. I cooked from scratch as a single parent with two small children while going to university full-time and working half-time. I can assure you it can be done. We ate a lot of soups, stews and cut up raw vegetables.

      5. Change only one or two things at a time. You are more likely to succeed over a life time of eating well.

      6. Work up an appetite. With all our sitting at school, work and home I believe are bodies get confused about what is delicious. A family walk after dinner instead of TV and homework right away? Just a thought. It worked for us. Homework was easier after a walk even for me.

      7. Be gentle on yourself and your family. Eating well is not about eating perfectly – it is something you will do for the rest of your life. Do your best and focus on what is working.

      Well, that is it Sam. I am sure that you and others can add to this list with their own top seven tips too. I would love to hear.

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