Tag Archives: A Good Home

An Honest House: A Memoir by Cynthia Reyes

I don’t often reblog but Diane’s review expressed, so perfectly, my feelings about Cynthia’s latest memoir that I couldn’t resist. Thank you, Diane; thank you, Cynthia.

Diane Taylor

An Honest House is a rich memoir that moves through a ten-year period of Cynthia Reyes’s life. In the midst of a successful career, family life with children blooming, she and her husband move to an old farmhouse surrounded by gardens they love. It’s just north of Toronto. Against this idyllic backdrop, PTSD strikes.

An Honest House, a second memoir by Cynthia Reyes An Honest House, a second memoir by Cynthia Reyes

A car accident leaves Reyes with debilitating pain and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and its attendant depression, inability to concentrate, inability to sleep, nightmares, regimens of pain killers, difficulty walking and years of physio. The dream house becomes a prison.

In case you are thinking this is a hard luck story, it’s not. Good memoirs bring light into the world, and An Honest House beams light from every page. Bit by bit, from deepest despair to light-hearted jocularity, we accompany Cynthia Reyes as she “grows up”, to use…

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All Good Gifts ~ a balance sheet

Still in the spirit of keeping track of myself ~

ALL GOOD GIFTS  ( Incomings):

from Cynthia, author of A Good Home, a dedicated post, accompanied by flowers;

from Clare, at  A Suffolk Lane, an introduction to the lovely tradition of the Blessing of the Plough on Plough Sunday, and a reminder of the wonderful hymn ” “We Plough the Fields and Scatter”;

from Robbie (and her friend Lori), at Palm Rae Urban Potager,  notification of Save our Soil Blogger Action Day (21st January ).

 

ALL GOOD GIFTS (Outgoings):

for Robbie ( and Lori ), composting my soil in time for Save our Soil Blogger Action Day, and scattering seeds of buckwheat and wildflowers;

International Soil Day 21 January 2015

International Year of Soils 2015 

for Clare, a beautiful rendition of We Plough the Fields and Scatter,

and a glimpse of a harvest to come,

Cape Gooseberry ~ physalis, amour en cage, golden berry....

Cape Gooseberry ~ physalis, amour en cage, golden berry….

fed on the sweetness of summer raindrops;

False Physalis

False Physalis

for Cynthia, an arrangement

Summer arrangement of roses, mint, sage, borage and heartsease

Summer arrangement of roses, mint, sage, borage and heartsease

for a heart’s ease and a heart’s celebration in all things bright and good, no matter how tiny.

Heartsease,  heart's delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood,  love-in-idleness,johnny jump up

Heartsease, heart’s delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood, love-in-idleness, johnny jump up…

© silkannthreades

A salad mix from Gallivanta’s Herb Garden

Parsley,

Parsley

Parsley

sage,

Sage

Sage

rosemary,

Rosemary

Rosemary

and thyme,

Thyme

Thyme (which the cat uses for her day bed. 🙂

and, because she asked for it, rocket,

for Cynthia.

Rocket

Rocket

This rampant rocket planted, perchance, by the light of the moon and a solar-powered torch, some seasons ago has taken off, all over my garden.

It’s my most successful crop ever. Grows better than any of my weeds.

Now, to add to the mix, I have something that Cynthia didn’t ask for, but she is getting anyway; a review of her book, A Good Home, which I have just finished reading.  Here it is. ( You may also be able to see the review on Amazon)

‘Love, laughter, tears, grief, family and community form the cornerstone of any good home, and this holds true for Cynthia Reyes’ heart-warming “A Good Home.’ From the moment Cynthia opened the door to her little pink house in Jamaica until the last pages in the old farmhouse in Canada, I felt like an honored family member in every one of her good homes ( and gardens). I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced, I mourned and marveled with Cynthia and her family. And, when Cynthia’s life shattered into sharp and dreadful pieces, I sat with her in her silence and cheered her own; willed her to allow the wisdom of the old house to begin the healing of her wounds. To my great relief, the healing began. Without it I would not have had the privilege of reading Cynthia’s tribute to the power of a good and loving home. Read and enjoy, and I guarantee that, by the time you reach the last page, you will, like me, be asking the author for a sequel. If you want to know more about Cynthia and her lovely, good home of today, I urge you to visit her blog http://cynthiasreyes.com/

In my  haste to share my enjoyment of this book, I forgot to mention, in my review, another lovely aspect of Cynthia’s story; her frank account of  her ‘doubting Thomas’ struggle with her faith. It cheered me  greatly because it echoes my own faith experiences, which, dare I say it,  are somewhat akin to the salad mix in my garden. Sometimes they are over abundant, sometimes they turn up in unlikely places; sometimes they are tattered at the edges or bug-eaten, or don’t grow well at all. But the amazing thing is that there always seems to be enough faith around to nourish me when I most need it.

On Amazon you can read an excerpt from Cynthia’s book, so whilst you all rush off and leaf through that, I’ll prepare us a delicious green salad with herb dressing that we can share when you’re ready. Deal? 🙂

From Gallivanta’s Herb Garden, with love.

With love

With love

© silkannthreades

It’s a fortunate day when you come to a good home

 

Nau mai, haere mai ki te whare o Silkannthreades! 

Welcome, welcome to the home of Silkannthreades, in the South Island of Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud, New Zealand . ~

When the early pioneers arrived in my part of the South Island*, they saw a landscape similar to this,

Norman, Edmund 1820-1875 :Canterbury Plains,- New Zealand. / Drawn by E. Norman. Maclure, Macdonald & Macgregor, Lith, London. Lyttelton, Published by Martin G. Heywood, [ca 1855]. http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=8818

Norman, Edmund 1820-1875 :Canterbury Plains,- New Zealand. / Drawn by E. Norman. Maclure, Macdonald & Macgregor, Lith, London. Lyttelton, Published by Martin G. Heywood, [ca 1855]. http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=8818

 which had been surveyed, and made user-friendly for colonial settlement, by criss-crossing it with names like Canterbury, Christchurch, Avon, Armagh, Lincoln…..

 Lincoln, NZ, named for  the Earl of Lincoln, UK.

Lincoln, NZ, named for the Earl of Lincoln, UK.

….. whether any of the sites thus labelled bore any resemblance to their namesakes in the old world, I do not know.

The Liffey at Lincoln

The Liffey at Lincoln.  The Liffey?!!!  perhaps it looked like this somewhere  in Ireland in the 1850s.

I suspect not. Most likely, the nomenclature came about via  some wishful thinking, some lazy thinking, and some self-important thinking, coupled with a desire to impose current theories of civilization on the perceived wilderness.  And whether these familiar names plonked upon the unfamiliar lands helped the settlers adjust to their colonial lives more quickly, or merely made them homesick for the real thing, I also do not know. I imagine it could have been almost as disorientating as our current practice of giving names like Pitcairn ( the Island) to a street  in the middle of an inland suburb in Christchurch!

So, as much I do not know, this I do know:

that, 4th September is a fortunate, white-stone day

because, on that date, fifteen years ago, my family and I stepped off the plane,

and began our life in Aotearoa New Zealand; a country which, to me, needs no reference points other than its own.

We had been globe-trotting for 18 years and it was time to settle down. Not in a place masquerading as a new, improved version of another land, or a place oddly correlated to  memories of distant countries, but in a place uniquely and unmistakably itself. A place we could simply know as home; and a good one, at that.

Rakaia Gorge

Rakaia Gorge (with thanks to my brother for his photo)

Home Thoughts
…..
But if I sing of anything
I much prefer to sing of where
The tram-cars clang across the square,
Or where above the little bay
John Robert Godley passed his day,
Or where the brooding hills reveal
The sunset as a living weal.

I think, too, of the bridle track
Where first they saw the plains curve back
To Alps, of how that little band
Of pilgrims viewed their Promised Land.
…..

I do not dream of Sussex downs
Or quaint old England’s quaint old towns:
I think of what will yet be seen
In Johnsonville and Geraldine.

Denis Glover (1936)

To mark, yet again, the fortunate, fourth day of September, I substituted the traditional white stone with the white pages of a book; the book being  A Good Home . It is written by the witty and wonderful blogger,  Cynthia Reyes, who knows a great deal about good homes (and good gardens).  She would be the first to agree that it is, indeed, a fortunate day when we come to a good home.

Map Legend:

* The South Island of New Zealand was  known as  New Munster from 1840 to 1853. Wikipedia   says that Governor William Hobson named it so, in honour of his birthplace in Ireland. Happily, the South Island now (since 2013!) has official recognition for its original name Te Waipounamu (Greenstone waters).

© silkannthreades