Friday, July 23, 2021

A Favorite Decade and Lessons Learned

Last week I decided to participate in my friend Rain's
Rain's Thursday's Art Date for the first time.
I'm going to take part as often as I can,
and thank goodness the deadline extends well into Friday,
because it's well into Friday.
This week's prompt is Your Favorite Decade.

Can you pick a favorite decade?
My favorite is the 2020s.
Yes, pandemic and everything that goes with it.

I attribute this to Watson Kirkconnell.
I'm willing to bet that you're thinking
Watson Kirkconnell???

Maybe not my friend Debra at She Who Seeks
because Kirkconnell is a memorable and noteworthy Manitoban.

I met Kirkconnell sometime during my year as a grade eight student
at Wolfville High School in 1963-1964.
My parents had returned to their alma mater in the fall of 1963
to earn their education degrees, and Kirkconnell was the President of Acadia University.

Wolfville High School's Basketball Team
(I'm in the upper left)

My parents let me attend numerous university functions,
often on my own and even at night. 
At one of them I met Dr. Kirkconnell, likely when Teresa Stratas,
a famous Canadian-born operatic soprano, performed at Acadia that year.
Both Dr. Kirkconnell and Teresa Stratas were appointed Officers in the Order of Canada,
two of 7,212 people so honored (as of January, 2020).

Teresa Stratas
Watson Kirkconnell attended our Baptist church as well,
and I would often see him from my perch in the choir loft.

How about this for an illustrious career?
Kirkconnell was professor of English at Wesley College in Winnipeg from 1922 to 1930 
and head of the classics department there from 1930 to 1940.

He led the federal government’s “Nationalities Branch"
(which became the Citizenship Bureau) during the Second World War.

He headed the Humanities Research Council in 1943 and the Baptist Federation of Canada in 1944.

After a period at McMaster University, 
he was President of Acadia University from 1948 to 1964.

He wrote 40 books, 130 brochures, and 600 articles, as well as innumerable translations
from some of the 50 languages with which he was familiar.

And he was especially important for translating Ukrainian and Icelandic poets into English.  All information from Manitoba Historical Society

Watson Kirkconnell certainly made an impression on me,
so much so that I went to his 80th birthday celebration at Acadia in 1975.
On this occasion he said something I've never forgotten,
and it's the thing I remember him most for.

He said that every decade he lived was better than the one before
and that he was looking forward to his eighties as the best decade yet.

I thought at the time, in my mid-twenties, that that was how I wanted to live my life.
I wanted every decade I lived to be the best one yet.

Now I'm in my seventies, and I love this challenging decade.
By the time it's over, I'm sure it will be my best one yet.

I now recognize that each day is precious, because it could be my last.
I am not burdening myself with the drive to live each day as if it were my last.
That's exhausting and too much pressure.
Instead I'm savoring each day and appreciating what it gives me, good and bad.

Life has taught me some lessons over the decades, 
and these lessons fill my heart and bring me peace:

Being born is an improbable and miraculous gift.
Just by being born, I've won the biggest lottery ever.

Joining the Human Story
Myrtle Louise MacBeath
with her parents, Sara and Don MacBeath
Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada  March 1950
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Life is motion.
I wish this weren't true, but it is.  You have to keep moving physically, even when it's hard and hurts.  Whatever your physical condition, do something, move forward, and improve.

Never stop pursuing your dreams!
As long as you are alive, you are worthy of achieving your dreams, big or small.

Walk in another's shoes before you judge.
You never know what someone is going through.  Grant people empathy, compassion,
and understanding, especially if they're grumpy or rude.  Try not to judge.

You get out of life what you put into it.
My father's adage was "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well."
This was not the best advice to a daughter who is a perfectionist, but he meant well.
I learned early on in courses that had poor teachers or professors
that what I got out of a course depended on what I put into it.
I've applied that lesson to many important things in my life.

Never stop learning!
We are privileged to live at a time when the world's knowledge is literally at our fingers,
and the volume of knowledge is exploding!
Curiosity, imagination, and chasing your passions enrich all phases of life.

My Mother
who taught me to read and to never stop learning.
Acadia University, Wolfville. Nova Scotia, Canada
Circa 1947
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Be generous!
My father always said, "If you can't afford the tip, you can't afford the restaurant."  
This is important throughout life, not just in restaurants.  
Be generous with tips, with charities, with little kids selling lemonade,
with firefighters holding out boots, with compliments, and with appreciation.

Forgiveness is good for the soul.
Forgive others for things they have done to you, and give forgiveness to those
who ask it of you.  Forgiveness is a powerful force and soothes your soul.

Smile, even when you don't feel like it.
Smiles are free and easy. They can lift another's spirits and your own,
so spread them around, to the little kindie with bows on her shoes,
to the hot and tired groundskeeper,
and to the invisible and overlooked elderly and disabled.

Value the work of others.
There is dignity and worth in every job, so value the contributions of everyone.
It's not the size of a paycheck that matters,
but rather contributing to the functioning and wellbeing of our society.

My Favorite Photo of My Father
who taught me the values of hard work and the dignity and value of all work.
St Peter's Bay, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Circa 1929
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Kindness is my favorite word.
Another adage of my father was, "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar." 
I've translated that into treating others with kindness, as I would like to be treated.

Be gentle and forgiving to yourself.
None of us is perfect.  We all make mistakes.  Most of the time we do the best we can.
So forgive yourself and treat yourself with the understanding
and compassion you would give others.

Laugh often and loudly.
Laughter makes just about everything better,
so find things that make you laugh and laugh freely.

Family is everything.
However you define "family," love each other, stand up for each other,
and don't let stupid things push you apart.
If you're lucky enough to have brothers and/or sisters,
love them and treasure them for they will be a constant throughout your life.

First Photo Together
Donnie, Barb, Me (Louise) with Bertie, and Roy with Gretchen
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
April 1959
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Most Recent Photo Together
Barb, Bertie, Roy, Me (Louise), and Donnie
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
August 7, 2019
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Don't be a gingerbread man.
It's easy to be a runner, to run from love, or challenges,
or confrontation, or opportunities.
Courage is the wiser course.  

See the humanity in those who are different from you.
People in our world are hurting, and the fear and hate of those
who appear different are making things worse.
We are one species, Homo sapiens.
We have far more in common that the superficial variations we see among us. 

Love is the greatest gift of all, and it comes in many forms,
from the soothing touch of a mother's hand,
to the rambunctious lick of a favorite dog, to the look in a lover's eyes.
I have been blessed with love throughout my life,
and my greatest love of all is my husband Terry.

Terry and I Enjoying Life
Vegas, Nevada, USA
April 4, 2021
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Thursday Art Date?
My main form of creativity is writing, and today I'm sharing writing.

I hope all is well with each of you!

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

On the Bay of Fundy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



  1. Well, I'm afraid that Manitoba's official symbol, the Bison, is going to come to my home and kick my ass, because I have NOT heard of Watson Kirkconnell before. But I do know that Wesley College is now the University of Winnipeg! Maybe that will make up for my ignorance a bit. Also, I do know who Teresa Stratas is!

    Your rules for living are very wise! Onwards and upwards! That's my motto.

    1. Wow, Debra! Onwards and Upwards is my motto too! One of a number ~ LOL. I hope your bison doesn't come and kick you. Dr. Kirkconnell is likely better known in Iceland and the Ukraine. But I will always remember him. Have a great weekend with your Rare One! Hugs to you!

  2. Savor and appreciate--I like that.


    1. Thanks, Janie! And thank you for being an understanding and kind friend as I try to get back to normal again. Hugs to you!

  3. Wonderful post, Louise, well written and entertaining. It's always good to remember the blessings and not dwell for ever on the things that went wrong! have a happy weekend, take care, hugs, Valerie

    1. Thanks, Valerie! I'm glad that you enjoyed my post. I hope you have a happy weekend too. Hugs to you!

  4. Dear Louise, I have read your suggestions for an optimal life and accept them as axiomatic. I didn't expect such teaching from a person so young --I am 4 months older than you-- but your societal provisos are sound. Most trouble I have is with self-compassion. Working on it.

    1. It's so good to see you, Geo! I was literally typing a comment on your blog on April 10th, when I had to jump up and race to the hospital with Terry. Out of nowhere he was experiencing a 100% blockage of his LAD artery, followed quickly by cardiac arrest. He had just come from playing pickleball for two hours and felt an unusual kind of tired. We didn't think to call 911. We decided to go to the hospital just to be safe. If we had been 15 or 20 minutes later or not in the hospital, Terry would have died. Because we were early and fast, Terry's heart has recovered and is now functioning well within the normal range. He just came home from playing in a pickleball tournament this morning. Can you believe it: One of Terry's first questions to the cardiologist when he was being wheeled out of the cath lab was, "When can I play pickleball again?" Things have calmed down considerably at our house, but I'm still struggling to get into a normal routine. I scurried around with a packrat's brain and movements for weeks.

      I am looking forward to catching up with you. I hope you, Norma, and family are all doing well. Keep working on self-compassion. You deserve it! I find it helps to smile at myself in the mirror in the morning while reminding myself that I've done my best and am worthing of being loved by me. Hugs to you, my friend!

  5. I don't often comment on your posts even though I read them all. This one is particularly insightful, so I want to say, "thank you." Also, I do remember Kirkconnell. He was president when my father was hired at Acadia, and my father would often speak of him in positive and admiring words.

    1. You made my day, Renée! I'm honored that you read my posts. And I'm delighted that you remember Dr. Kirkconnell. It's hard to believe that it's over fifty years since you and I were together in Wolfville, along with so many other great kids. Hugs to you, my friend, and have a great rest of the weekend!

  6. There is so much to be said about today's post (rather Thursday's post, as I am writing my comments on Saturday ) I could start by saying that you and I have had similar upbringings, if there is such a word. Your words could have come out of my Mother's mouth as she was the model after which I pattern my own life. Always positive and kind and giving and funny and gentle ... I could go on and on and I see all of that in you and your wonderful thoughts. If only there were more of you in this world. Education was a big part of my life as my father was a professor and knew the value of learning something every day and growing up in university town gave me access to so much in the way of cultural growth ... I was blessed as were you. Having all of that gives you the insight to be all of the wonderful things that you have talked about ... not to say that I am perfect because I can get upset and disappointed in things, in life as easily as anyone, but I can always find my way back to where you are, except here in the USA, it is hard to forgive what has happened and is still happening in our country and to know who to blame. I hope we all can get past this and return to our positive lives, it surely can't be that our country would continue in this destructive direction, but meanwhile, I find solace and loving within my own family and circle of friends. I admire your brilliance and aspire to get back to being like you again. Thank you for your eye opening post ... and you and Terry and a handsome couple :)

    Andrea @ From the Sol

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment and kind words. You touched my heart, Andrea! When I was growing up in Nova Scotia and other rural parts of Canada, spending money on sending daughters to university was considered a waste of money. My mother and father's number one dream was that their one son and four daughters would graduate from university ~ specifically Acadia University. And we all did! Somehow we all got through it together, even though my parents were unemployed one year when three of us were at Acadia and two of us in high school. You and I are lucky to have parents who valued education. I am terribly distressed by what is going on in our country ~ I moved to the USA in 1973 and became a citizen in 1999. I yell at the tv a lot, and then I have to ask for forgiveness because I'm being really judgmental. I pray almost every night for the divisions in our country to heal. And I pray that people will get the vaccination for the Covid virus. It is heartrending to think that the Covid suffering and death happening right now is unnecessary. I believe that we will pull through as a country. You can be sure that I will be working very hard as a volunteer in the mid-term elections! Take care, Andrea!

  7. I can see why there is always a smile on your face, Louise!

    1. Hi, Jacqui! Yes, I'm a big believer in smiles. Hugs to you, my friend!

  8. Love your life suggestions and the outlook that the best is now and coming is a wonderful way to live. I have favorite decades (my 30s are hard to beat) but I have never not liked anywhere I have lived. Every place has wonderful aspects to it.

    1. Thanks, Jeff! Like you, I have never lived in a place I didn't like. And there are so many wonderful places still to see if not live. I really like Aurora, Colorado, so I hope I finish here ~ LOL I keep thinking of a quote from the book "All the Light We Cannot See: "Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever." I hope I get to see lots more. Have a good one, my friend!

  9. Louise!!!!! I LOVED this post!!!! I had never heard of the gentleman you admired so much, but what a great way to think. I want each decade to be the best I've ever lived...I totally agree with that. As I age I think it's more real, I guess because time goes by so much quicker and I value everything I have more than ever before. I love all of those words of wisdom too, I try to live by most of them. Time can't be taken back can it? What a lovely post and I'm so glad you joined in!!! Love the photos too! :))) ♥

    1. Thanks you, Rain! Your comment filled my heart! Yes, time does go faster and faster. All my hard work and struggles over the years has brought me to a happy, happy place. Take care!

  10. I have to agree with the others. This is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Nicole! I'm glad that you enjoyed my post!

  11. Amazing, beautiful post! Thank you Louise!! Touched my soul! Big Hugs! ( I have never heard of the gentleman you talked about, thanks for sharing everything!)

    1. Thanks, Stacy! This was a challenging post to write, but when I was finished I was happy with it. Much love to you!

  12. there must be some award to give it to your post today dear Louise !

    i will say once again that you are truly a gift to not just for friends and family but to those who luckily came across to know you and i am one of them. You have gift to say things in their Best manner indeed. these golden words must be part of a book which should be in every hand my friend !

    you had desire for Light and you looked for it and found it everywhere you went. The light you found in world outside matched with your Inner Light and created one of the most beautiful existence and a highly successful one .
    special thanks for the treasured photos ,they just made my day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    everything you said today i share it from the bottom of my being believe me. yes the sate of being alive is most beautiful thing one thing can experience ! i cannot pull out myself from this celebration as each breath i take feels like most wonderful gift i have and this "feeling" makes everything ,every moment and every relationship most beautiful for me !
    and this is the only reason i put myself at the end of the line ,yes i fear from being obliged to write as you advised me many times that i should write for the site but i am afraid that if i do so i would not be able to do it on time because when so many thing are going in mind it is hard for me to create something under such pressure .otherwise when i see life closely i never got afraid of challenges i can say this .
    thank you for the POWERFUL dose to my longing senses ,it was fulfilling read indeed!
    hugs and blessings to you and loved ones my lovely friend!

  13. Thank you dear Baili for your lovely comment. You made my day! You are one of my treasured friends, even if we have never met physically.

    With regard to writing, you don't have to do it online in your blog. I don't know what applications you have on your computer, but there's likely one that creates a document you can write in and save the writing. I have Microsoft Office and Apple Pages. I'll bet that any of your sons could help you get one or more documents set up, especially your eldest son who has likely written many papers. You can transfer the writings and poetry from your blog into your documents, slowly over time. Don't be afraid to ask your sons, if you have questions. I bug my nieces and nephews all the time with some really dumb computer questions. But they're not really dumb questions, just something basic that I don't get.

    Also in your documents, you can just jot down memories, thoughts, and ideas. Then at some later date, when you have more time, you can go into your documents and work with the material ~ or not. No one has to see anything until you're comfortable with it. Even if you just collected memories for your family, that would be wonderful!

    I'm going to keep encouraging you to write, my friend, because you are truly talented ~ but I certainly don't want to pressure you! I certainly know how hard writing is! You are a Light in this world, Baili, and I love how you shine! Sending you love and hugs.

  14. That is actually a good way to look at it. Never really thought about the next decade being the best. There is always good and bad, but have to pick yourself up and keep moving indeed. If you can't walk, you crawl, can't crawl you roll, can't roll you grab onto something with your teeth and let it drag you lol have to keep on a going. And yeah, bring a gingerbread man is never a good thing, well except if there are bears chasing you, or woodticks. Too many woodticks and time to run away lol

    1. So far I haven't had to grab something with my teeth to keep going ~ LOL! I get lots of inspiration at my gym about keeping moving. Yesterday an elderly man with an oxygen canister in a back pack was walking on the treadmill. And the person who often works out after me with our trainer can't speak and can stand only briefly with help. She works her heart out in the hopes of getting a little stronger. I don't dare whine or wimp out ~ LOL. Have a great weekend, my friend!


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate the time and energy you put into making them very much.