By Lisa Chandler, 22 July, 2023

The Covenant of Water—it’s beautiful inside and out. Though I also feel gutted having read it. It’s epic proportions left a mark on me.

Take my sensitive nature, reading about 400 pages since Thursday, add big thunderstorms in the night, a little water on the camper bathroom floor of unclear origin, and waking up to news of floods in Nova Scotia, and you might see how this fiction is colouring my reality today.  The covenant of water indeed. 

I find myself moping around, rolling over the joys and tragedies that befall all of us in our lifetimes. And while there is utter beauty in the pages of the book, today’s rain has me focussed on hardships.   

Tomorrow we’re going to a new, one time book club in St. Peters Harbour. We’ll meet in a cottage which looks across St. Peters Bay at beautiful Greenwich. We’ll discuss the far away India of decades ago. I learned so much while reading. I’m curious what others will say about their swim in Abraham Verghese’s waters. Despite my melancholy, I recommend taking the deep plunge into his deep waters, all 715 pages of them.  

By Lisa Chandler, 11 July, 2023

I’ve been spoiled this birthday. Peter hosted a wonderful garden party on Sunday, with warm temps and even warmer wishes. He had great help from the kids, my parents and our Rukavina family. I felt touched each time a guest walked into the back yard.  

The crowd at my birthday party, gathered in a circle of chairs in the back yard.

Peter's boozy custom cocktail was a delight: Gin, Aperol, Charteuse, Prosecco. He chose well! I had to stop after two, remembering I had a workout scheduled for the next morning.

A jar of the custom cocktail, with the recipe on a sheet of paper to the left.

Olivia and I jumped in the homemade photo booth for a “future” focussed shot.  She’s very keen to go in new directions, and wanted my birthday to be forward looking! 

Me and Olivia

This girl, the apple of my eye, loaded me up with many gifts.  I’m awestruck by her thoughtful words and deeds.

Me and L.

And while I’m elated with my beautiful new bike—a surprise from Peter (I purchased my last bike in Toronto in the late 90s, and it has served me well until this week!), I am particularly taken with his Facebook post this morning. I feel seen, known and loved. 

L and I cycling. I'm on my new bike.FB text from Peter

We just stepped on a plane, headed to the US for a business trip for Peter. While boarding, I reached into my bag to get my passport. I found a card from the most thoughtful 12 year old in the world.  We have a tradition of notes in luggage when we part. She wishes me to feel “as happy as a bird with a french fry”.  I do. 

Birthday card from L.

P.S. I got 28,000 in ice ball last night. I think I’ll invest $100 in loonies this year and see what I score on my next birthday. Best get practicing, Chandlers and Rukavinas! 

By Lisa Chandler, 25 June, 2023
A page from Magnolia magazine, Summer 2023.

Summer is a paradox.  It somehow feels like the season when we can “let our hair down” yet it also feels like the time when the most is expected of us.

To host and be fun.  

To be creative and explore.

To slow down but not miss a thing. 

To help grow things: vegetables, children. And ourselves.  

To cherish every memory.

Perhaps it is because we make such a big deal about it, that I sometimes don’t look forward to it or know how to be.    

By Lisa Chandler, 22 June, 2023

I took this peel and stick wallpaper…

Black and white peel and stick wallpaper.

And turned it into this…

A new painting I made from wallpaper.

I love it. 

It exists because I have been able to put down some other things. I am deeply grateful that the right side of my brain is ready to play.  

Next time I’ll ditch the template and see what emerges.  

By Lisa Chandler, 21 June, 2023

We’ve been stressing ourselves out about summer. 

Somehow we’ve managed to make summer planning hard and draining. We seem to oscillate between having so many aspirations that we lose interest in doing any of them to equally dreading a blank slate. 

When I’m at my worst, I am impatient, judgmental of our privilege and frustrated that we cannot just “figure it out!” even though I know that the best results don’t come from insistence or trying to control what happens. 

“Sometimes structure steals true joy”, writes Joanna Gaines in this summer’s Magnolia. 


With this in mind, I’ve been nudging us to come up with a loose vision, or guiding words, or principles for the summer+ whilst also seeming to forget how I’d help others do the same.

And then today, a breakthrough in a text from Peter. 

A text from Peter which captured our summer intention.

He has a knack for synthesis and words. 

All we need are two guideposts. 


Be still.  

And to fully show up as ourselves.

The rest will take care of itself.  

Leaf shadows on our umbrella.