A tribute to my Mother who has given her all.

All her time, surrendered all her desires, all her love, given all of herself for her family.

Where do I belong?” she asked as she boarded a plane that took her on a voyage quite literally into the unknown.

At sixteen years old my mother immigrated to Canada from Lebanon in hopes to discover this land of promise and enjoy a hope filled future. She was the eldest of nine children, daughter of farmers, yet captured by the urban dream of continuing her education and having a prosperous future.  By nineteen, she called Canada home, she perfected her language skills in English, enjoyed her job at Holt and Renfrew (she’s still quite the fashionista)  and saved her money in order to sponsor her family to immigrate to Canada.

Fast forward the journey, she landed in Saskatchewan and lived in Swift Current, moved to Edmonton, Alberta, later to Ottawa, Ontario, then Arnprior, Ontario, then back to Edmonton and finally Surrey, British Columbia. Married and three children later she longed for us to know we could persevere and reach our goals and she encouraged us at every meal!

Her kitchen was always full. Full of food yes but most importantly, the sweet aroma of cakes and cookies exuded warmth, love and hospitality. Each dish more colourful and beautiful than the next. It didn’t matter if she was cutting up a plate of fruit for just her and I – everything was done with excellence and precise perfection. “You eat with your eyes first.” Her decorated dishes were a sight to see, never was food slapped onto a plate, but rather each platter was a canvas to be decorated. Hummus, kibbie, taboulyeh – she would say, “Kings would eat of this!”

Her deepest joy has been to serve her family selflessly.

“Where do I belong?” she asked me just 3 days after my father passed away. Tears welled up and could not be contained as she contemplated her new reality of empty nesting and emptying a part of herself. Her life had been filled with unexpected surprises, and this was no different. She was resilient and knew that “better is one day in [the] courts” of the Lord “than a thousand elsewhere,” part of me thinks she took this verse in Psalm 84:10 literally as she invests her time as a doorkeeper of the chapel in her local church, she serves the community in the Soup Kitchen, knitting toques and gloves for the homeless, making meals for her friends that have ailments and loving on her children and grandchildren!

Just like the widow in Luke 21:1-4 she gives her all to Jesus as an offering. In this stage of life she knows where she belongs and who she belongs too.

Love is the true recipe she knows how to share and anyone who she encounters undoubtedly will be a recipient of this culinary masterpiece of the heart.