Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"Blue has never looked more like herself."

And the bluebells are singing, "hope is coming out"

Lyrics shared with me from a friend.

They added to the grace notes I found in the garden.

Trust that you can find beauty anywhere.
It may even be a signpost you have walked by many times before
and simply never noticed it.
Until now.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Seeking some direction

Pensive Lily cooling off,
reflecting on the day,
searching for her stick,
and watching a seagull.
And who said dogs can't multi-task?
Of course, she has her back to the sunset.
She can multi-task, but she's not always that bright.

Yesterday, I received this email...........

Thank you for submitting your ideas and concepts for Blogs to CanadaEast.com If you are receiving this email, you have been selected as a possible Blogger on our site.

The next step in this process is to submit a sample blog entry for our review. Simply write up a sample of what one of your blog entries might look like. We’re looking for writing ability, an understanding of the topic, humour, etc.

In addition please answer the below questions:

Proposed Blog Name:
Planned Update Frequency (daily, weekly, etc.):
City of Residence:
Topics to be Covered (politics, religion, entertainment, sports, arts, parenting, etc.):

Also, for your information, CanadaEast will be providing the platform and tools to publish you blog along with an existing audience (thousands of Atlantic Canadians every day). You will not be compensated monetarily for your blog initially. I say initially because if your blog can generate a certain traffic of its own, we would be willing to begin paying bloggers as freelance writers. Your blog’s traffic will be monitored on a monthly basis and if it can sustain a certain number of page views over a 3 month period, you will be moved up to a paid blogger position.

Wow! My first day home in search of meaning ......... and I receive this lovely invite. I had whipped off a quick application online over a month ago and then forgot about it. Turns out, these folks may be interested in posting some of my musings. CanadaEast is the website for all of the newsprint journals in the Maritimes. So, the readership is potentially big. I'm thrilled!! Who knows where this could lead?? And, I'm SO ready for a new journey......

The topics to be covered are broad, as they are on this blog. And this is where I am asking for some help from you crazy cats who read this.

Is there a particular piece you liked that I should consider submitting?

Is there a topic I have written about you think I've covered well, or have provided a fresh perspective?

What angle should I approach this from?

Any ideas for a blog name? And no "Mommyblogger" isn't an option. ick.

Any advice.................will be warmly received. AND if you aren't a blogger and can't leave a comment on my blog, please send me an email. You can find my address through my profile on the sidebar.

It is because of the comments and encouragement I have received that I have found my confidence and my writing voice to step out there and I thank you, thank you, thank you. I really do want your feedback to help me plan this out.
We're off to Nova Scotia today............mmmmmmmmmm salty breezes await, as do good eats and tasty libations.
Enjoy your weekend..........I look forward to reading your comments.

Don't know who lives here, but words out she's one sexy little number.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

don't let it pass you by............

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don't fill my head with the logic and science behind the phenomenon.
Let me bask in it's glow.
Let me shake my head in wonder.
Let me sit quietly and take it all in with my own senses.
Let me accept it as a miracle of life.

Tell me about the myths.
Share a bit of folklore.
Talk with me about mystery
The mystery of it's very existance.
And you will fuel my belief in God

A bright blue sky as far as the eye can see
A perfectly spun web covered in morning drops
A 12 foot high sunflower which started from a seed I held in my hand

Flickering stars on a summer night blending into one another
the milky way as far as your imagination can take you
Fork Lightening filling the sky with it's wrath
Cotton soft cumulus clouds floating in the wind

Cascading waterfalls
Autumn colours
A glowing orange harvest moon rising above the river

An intricately designed beaver dam
Robin's egg blue
A perfectly arching rainbow slipping through a cloud
A hummingbird stopping to sip the sugary sweet from the feeder

Midnight blue

An intricate snowflake
A busy little ant carrying a crumb larger than it's own body
Tides rolling in and out every single day

WE don't need to search for a natural phenomenon. They grace our personal worlds everyday. We are usually too busy or preoccupied to notice.......to acknowledge them. But they are there, for us to receive in awe.........to recognize how fortunate we are to play a part. We are the scribes who have the capacity to record and to rejoice in their creation. We are the lucky ones.

This morning as I sat outside on my back deck to quietly drink my tea, I watched a "flurious" hummingbird zippity by towards the feeder hanging on the eaves next door. It zoomed in close enough to dip it's beek into the shallow dish for a taste. It was so quick.....zip in.........zip out........always fluriously fluttering it's tiny blurry looking wings. Phenomenal.

Tonight, I headed down to the river and then up to Springhill Road near my home to enjoy the show....... and as I took a few photos of the sun spreading the last of it's light onto the water, a thought struck me. When we awaken to the realization that we are sensing a phenomenon, our voices turn to whisper. It's like if we acknowledge it too loudly, we'll scare it away.

The "phenomenal" prompt is courtesy of Sunday Scribblings..........a wee bit early. Check out their site for more phenomenal posts.

Now, it's your turn.........have you seen or heard or felt or experienced a phenomenon lately?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

hungry heart

Wilmot United Church, downtown Fredericton

front facade

"We hunger to be known and understood. We hunger to be loved. We hunger to be at peace inside our own skins. We hunger not just to be fed these things but, often without realizing it, we hunger to feed others these things because they too are starving for them. We hunger not just to be loved but to love, not just to be forgiven but to forgive, not just to be known and understood for all the good times and bad times that for better for worse have made us who we are, but to know and understand each other to the same point of seeing that, in the last analysis, we all have the same good times, the same bad times, and that for that very reason there is no such thing in all the world as anyone who is really a stranger."

Frederick Buechner

And to think we all consider ourselves so unique!! Of course we do have our own unique handprint we can offer to the world. We all have a different combination of personality traits, of interests, likes and dislikes. Separately we have our individual desires. We make different choices and we react differently to situations. What we share is a hunger.....to give, to receive, to connect and to belong. No matter where you live, how you are brought up, what you look like, how old you are...........we all share a hunger. And that's why no one is a stranger. I love this quote!! Thank you to the "people" especially Dustin at Imaginations in Unity for originally posting it. :)

Wilmot United, side facade.

Don't you love the blue? One day, I'll take some photos of the inside because it has been handpainted by a famous Canadian artist, Alex Colville. It's very unique. It's also a friendly place to find yourself on a Sunday morning.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

random reflections

Tonight, I feel smothered by random thoughts requesting time for small reflections. It was a busy day, one where I had to focus on a list of to dos and not just on one larger task. I guess that's why I'm left with small reflections. So, I will start by identifying five words to describe how I feel at this point in my life.......will call them Pipwords because I have borrowed this idea from my emerald friend in Londontown (Pip, hope you're not too soggy from all the rain)






Spent.......I have revved it up at work as much as I can, though I know I'm not working on all cynlinders. Personally I'm fine with that. It makes sense that I'm not able to do this. My ongoing head butting over trying to find my way, trying to find direction in my job continues, as does my disdain for the powers that be. I'm feeling spent due to this and due to the fact that I'm working straight out in order to walk away from that stressful environment for the rest of the summer. I'm spent by life events. I'm spent because I havent had a good night sleep, where I am not ke pt awake thinking and reflecting and thinking in ages. By the end of the week however, I will be home until school begins again in September........to recharge, evaluate, and to begin to back in shape. So, spent is good. It tells me I'm doing the right thing.

Grateful......for so many things. Right now, I'm grateful that know I have a say in my own destiny and I am taking charge of that. Grateful that I am well aware of what is important in my life and some of what needs to change. Grateful that I have the ability to take new steps and that the confidence to take them will emerge more fully when I have time to clear my head to plan it out. Grateful that I have the opportunity to take the time away from my office. Grateful that I'm not Lindsay Lohan.

Dumbfounded.....OK.......I'm dumbfounded as to why boys and men want to wear their pants like they are about to slide right off their uncovered asses. I found myself walking behind this 20 something slacker guy today. His belt was floating somewhere above his thighs and just below his untucked shirt. I was convinced that I was going to voyeuristically watch his jeans slip down to his ankles as he walked down a busy street. It never happened. He somehow managed to continue walking in a way that they stayed right there. How can that be?

Hot.....no not that kind of hot. I'm hot. Summer is finally here and my core temperature is making me feel hot from the inside out. I'm tempted to phone my friend to see if she would let me jump into her pool for a midnight swim. If I don't cool my feet down soon, I fear they will catch on fire. I hate that feeling.

Content. Today was the most productive day I've had in a long time. I connected with many people, and felt so good about helping a few resolve some of their stuff. I'm content that my to do list is getting smaller so that I can begin to look at my to do list at home. Most importantly, I'm content with this evening's results of the Blue Jays game. WE won again!

I'm off to go find a pool or at least a sprinkler to run through...........

I look forward to a month of deep breath reflections and a chance to take a look in my attic where I have stored up a few ideas..........ones that I just may have time to chase after.
How are you feeling?

Monday, July 23, 2007

what more can be said?

all front doors should be painted yellow....
they are the most welcoming

What more can be said about friendship that hasn't already been stated? It seems like a saturated topic doesn't it? Consequently, I struggle to find my own unique words to capture the essence of how I would describe what it means to me. Like many topics I tend to write about, I find my writing muse pre-occupied with it and until I can encapsulate at least a draft of my thinking it will stick in my craw until I do something about it. This muse of mine seems to go hand in hand with whatever I may be experiencing..........a kind of in the moment written rendition.........reflections of my life. It's how I've let my writing flow out of me......one thought, one theme at a time.......

so, here i sit wondering about friendship..........think I'll just turn on the word tap and see where this leads me............and quit thinking about finding something uniquely creative to package it in.

Last night 6 of us enjoyed dinner together. Our children, 5 in total, who have known one another since they were babies could be heard downstairs laughing and carrying on. It has been a whole year since the 11 of us were all under one roof and within moments of our reunion, we have found our way again. Uncomfortable pregnant pauses don't happen with this crew even though one of the families lives two provinces away and only head home to the Maritimes once a year. It's a natural comfort zone we all feel. It never fails. The conversation jumps and hops and slides around various topics, some of which we all take part in and some which naturally lend to pairing up to share. We all comment on how wonderful and magical it is..........both for ourselves and for our children who obviously enjoy each other's company as much as we do.

Much has taken place, and never enough time to fully catch up. So, we swayed from throwing out hilarious stories of times shared in the past to the deeply felt experiences we as individuals had since we last met up. Though it was one short evening, we will all converge in a couple of weeks on a beach on Prince Edward Island to simply hang out.......unplugged, unwired, away from phones and televisions.....escape. A much needed escape, especially this year.

My life of late has been a long lesson of managing upheaval, as has my immediate family's. The death of my in laws last month, though emotionally mindnumbing all on it's own is only a part of the story because we have lived for a very long time waiting and listening and dealing with one crisis after another because of their illnesses and needs. I don't know whether it would've been different had we lived in the same town or province.......if things could've been handled differently. Somehow I doubt it. Plus living away from it all offered us the reprieve needed to somehow cope with the complicated relationships involved in the drama. And, the drama isn't over yet. Soon, but not yet.

I have struggled with my feelings about it all. It doesn't matter what the feeling, it's been intense. Grief, anger, frustration, outright indignation, sadness, confusion, fatigue.......and hope. Hope that our lives will soon be our own. It seems like such a selfish thing to write, but if I am honest, I have to admit that the feeling of freedom and relief which feeds my hope is well deserved, as is my husband's similar feelings. We've endured this together.

One day, I will write this whole story.....for now? It needs to simmer..........

The friends we shared a lot of wine and song with last night know the story. They've heard it all as it unfolded. It wasn't one we needed to catch up on because they know the details. When they stated last night how much they want to help us escape it all during our vacation, it meant a lot. Sure, we'll talk about it...........feelings will be shared both as a group and one on one over a glass of wine watching the tide roll in and out. It may happen standing in the surf or going for a morning walk. Or it may not happen at all, because they know the stories. What it won't be is the central focus of our time together. The focus will be on the celebration of our 20 year friendships, on sharing our dreams and plans, and on having some silly giggling fun.

Another good friend sent me an email lately about friendship in it was this comment............Love is blind and friendship is clairvoyant. Perhaps it is. Good friends simply know, don't they? When you get to a point in a friendship where words are fully understood and sometimes not needed, where there is a freedom to share feelings and it's acceptable, when you know you matter......you know that this friendship is a lifetime one. And what a blessing that is.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

bridging the gap....

A daisy in any colour is still a daisy

I wasn't going to post anything today because we are getting ready for company who is arriving any minute. Can't wait to see them!! But, I read a piece by Henri Nouwen this morning which tied so nicely into the post I wrote yesterday. I wanted to share it with you.

Nouwen's inspirational thoughts were published in a daily journal format entitled Bread for the Journey, which I highly recommend. There are so many thought provoking nuggets to ponder over as well as to aspire to. I also find that I am often bowled over by the serendipity of his writing and of his thoughts with where I seem to be in my own head. His beautiful spiritual prose is simplistic yet very meaningful to me. I wish I had met the man.....
Dated July 21rst:
We become neighbours when we are willing to cross the road for one another. There is so much separation and segregation: between black people and white people, between gay people and straight people, between young people and old people, between sick people and healthy people, between prisoners and free people, between Jews and Gentiles, Muslims and Christians, Protestants and Catholics, Greek Catholics and Latin Catholics.
There is a lot of road crossing to do. We are all very busy in our own circles. We have our own people to go to and our own affairs to take care of. But if we could cross the road once in a while and pay attention to what is happening on the other side, we might indeed become neighbours.
Wonderful advice....from a thought-full man

Saturday, July 21, 2007

the wicked slight of indifference

In a democracy some are guilty but all are responsible.

The opposite of good is not evil.

The opposite of good is indifference.

Abraham Heschel

It seems to me that we are becoming more and more hardened and weary by the blinders we wear. Though it may be out of sheer survival as we continue to be inundated with the barrage of horrors infiltrating our global village with no end in sight. It's just too overwhelming and too enormous to even know where to begin to search for solutions....war, poverty, hunger, terrorism, abuse, gun violence, gang violence, family violence, dictatorship, child soldiers, child labour, torture.....the list of human driven evil is endless. So, we turn away. We stop reading the newspaper. We turn off the evening news. We rationalize our closed minds by distancing ourselves to the realities that our fellow human beings are facing.

What I don't know won't affect me. What I don't know won't hurt me.

Why havent we learned from even recent world history that this is never the case?

Indifference. "Don't care." "Not interested." "Why bother? I can't do anything about it." "It's not my problem. If they have a problem, why don't they do something about it?" "Nothings stopping them. They made those choices to live there. Let them clean up their own messes." "Let the politicians deal with it. That's why they were elected in the first place." "Did I vote? Why would I bother? They are all criminals anyway. I'm not wasting my time."

"I've got bills to pay. Let someone else donate their money." "I don't watch the news. It's too depressing." "We don't get the newspaper anymore. It's too depressing." Africa? Ah, it'll never change.....I'm so sick of hearing about it. We keeping pouring money and sending them food and they never get over their problems. Why don't they just get over it?" "I can't think about that right now. I'm too busy."

Wow.......I'm sure you've heard these statements or similar ones uttered. They are flipped out into the air so frequently that I'm afraid we as a collective society have begun to believe them. It has led us down a wicked path of indifference as we insultate our individual nests to hide away from responsibility.

Cynicism eats the flesh of our souls. It feeds an "I don't care" attitude. Indifference is the enabler of evil. Just like the buddy who drinks with their alcoholic friend instead of trying to help the friend overcome his addiction, indifferent behaviour is interpreted as consent. Better to stick your head in the sand than to take your turn making a stand?

It's not as black and white as I'm portraying though is it? We may be able to trace this lackadaisical stance to the beginning of time, we are now living in a multi-media ocean of news. It IS too much. It IS mindblowingly awful. We have evolved into a global village where the horrors of Darfur may be a top news story one day only to be shoved off the front page and out of our consciousness by a terrorist attack in Glasgow the next day, followed by bombing in Pakistan, a plane crash in Brazil, and a list of casualities as a result of yet another terror bombing in a village in Iraq. Who can keep up with the conflicts in the Middle East? As much as I try, I am one confused person. And what is completely and utterly lost in the onslaught learning about death and gore and torture? The good.

The good. We dont hear or read enough of it.

The consequence? We tune out just to handle the dooming glooming wicked. Our media thrives because of sensational stories of evil. Though someone must be reading them or watching the news because we are the ones who obviously perpetuate this and expect it, the collective "we" remains passive and indifferent. We are informed and indifferent? It's a vicious circle which has left us feeling impotent. Instead of seeking balance, of learning about some of the good things happening in the world, our constant feed of evil has turned into a sense of learned helplessness. Too may bad guys. Too many bad stories has left us bereft of knowing and understanding the goodness. Just like a victim of abuse, we have lost our confidence in doing something about it. Given that the knowledge and understanding of good and bad, of right and wrong is the essence of our moral construct, it leads me to wonder if our society is clinically depressed. Depression manifests itself by exhibiting indifferent behaviour doesn't it?

So, where do we find the balance? How do we dig out of the depression and indifference which seems to have rendered us incapable of reacting? How do we find the motivational drive to overcome apathy?

Desmond Tutu stated, "Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." That's how he started, right? He wasn't born a famous spiritual and political leader. He started by doing a little bit of good. Look where it got him?

Last week, in the midst of the evil driven news stories was one powerfully positive story which floated to the top....the story which actually instigated this long run-on thought. Stephanie Nolen, an author and journalist who writes for the Globe and Mail on topics mostly related to Africa, but in a manner which always brings whatever story she is writing about right into my own cloistered world and makes me think, wrote a wonderful story about a new group of people called the Elders. Did you hear about them? An excerpt............

"The official order of business Wednesday was the introduction of The Elders: convened at the request of Nelson Mandela, a collection of former leaders that has begun to work together to advance the causes of peace and global justice.
Five Nobel Laureates and a handful of other eminences gathered on the stage in Johannesburg as Mr. Mandela announced that they would seek to fulfill the traditional role of elders in a village, providing wisdom and leadership and attempting to resolve conflicts, taking on everything from climate change to the fighting in Darfur.
A symbolic empty chair was left on stage for Aung San Suu Kyi, the activist who will join the group when she is free of government-imposed house arrest in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). But as the Elders sat in a row and spoke about their very serious work, a current – of irreverence, of resilience, of what looked very much like joy – kept bubbling up through the formality. And Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who chairs this elders' council, voiced the true theme of the gathering: “Goodness will prevail.”
here is the link to the rest of the story

Abraham Heschel was right. Indifference is the opposite of good. He learned this as a strong opponent of racism and war, as a man and a religious leader who walked alongside Martin Luther King and who stated that when he was marching against the savagery of racism, his legs were doing his praying. His moral compass fed his action. As ours must do too. A little good at a time and we will overwhelm the world.

We can overwhelm the world.

We need to regard our leaders, the more famous ones as well as the people in our community who are assuming stances and demanding goodness, who can provide us with balance in an imbalanced world, who can motivate and stimulate and generate activity which takes us away from the depression of indifference. Because the more you hear something, and the more you read it............the more you SAY IT OUT LOUD, the more you will believe it.

Goodness will prevail..........has a wonderful ring to it, doesn't it? Let's let our feet and our hearts and our minds and our actions be the prayer.

ps. Wicked is the prompt this week from sunday scribblings......

Friday, July 20, 2007

Who's sitting out front?

We have become a society of back deck dwellers, or so it seems in this part of the society I live in. Our backyards are where we tend to seek refuge from the rest of the world. And that's all fine and good, but I'm wondering what this is doing to the fabric of our neighbourhoods. No one seems to be paying attention to one another. When did this happen? When did we all switch from the front porch to the back deck?

Community is all about connections......ones that may start just by observing one another and saying hello regularly to your neighbours. Sitting on the veranda watching the world go by helps us connect......to feel a part of the neighbourhood.

Knowing who lives on your street........where the kids live and what they are up to......which individuals may be celebrating a milestone or struggling with their health.....what is happening to the young family who just brought home a new baby.......is all part of feeding the foundation of community. And yet, most of us most likely can't even name our neighbours. There are some people on my street who if I passed in the grocery store, I wouldn't recognize because I hardly ever see them. They are in their backyards as I am. During the week, we are off at work. On the weekends, we are busy catching up at home. Heads down, we don't have time to look up to study each other's faces.

I went for a stroll at lunchtime the other day to capture some of the elegance of downtown Frederiction. The verandas and front facades of the beautiful old homes always capture my attention. All unique in their design and decor......

As I was taking these photos to share here, I realized that I never saw one person sitting in a hammock or wicker chair watching the world go by. Not one person. I realize it was the middle of a working day, but c'mon......

It doesn't matter if the front of your home has an elegant veranda space or just a one step stoop onto a city street, its time we made ourselves our morning coffee and headed out front. Even if you don't see anyone else venturing out, you can be sure someone else is paying attention looking out their window.........registering you in their minds.

simple and welcoming......a symbol of an open and supportive community

We just need to see the smiling interactive faces to prove it is.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Yesterday, I sat with a woman in her new living space, out in the middle of nowhere. She and her children moved there on the weekend. They had no choice but to move away from their house.....to seek safety and piece of mind.

The middle of nowhere. Do you know where that is? I do. I've been there many times, in many places, in many spaces. Always feels and is the middle of nowhere. It's between here and there. Somewhere in the woods. Sometimes down the hall in an apartment building of anonymity. In the core of the city. Way out in the country. Tucked away and out of sight, down a dust splaying dirt road. Dead end. Under the radar. Behind the door. No amenities. Away, away. Lost.
Neighbours? Maybe. But, no neighbours who have the capacity to be neighbourly.

Family? Maybe. But, no family members who have the strength and energy to look outwardly.

The middle of nowhere is a deserted place void of healthy community lifelines. That's how it feels because that is what it is.

I initially drove right past the turn off. Though I had travelled this road many many times, I had never noticed the turn off before. Nowhere is invisible when you have another destination. You need directions to get there even if it's a familiar community. So, i found myself backtracking with new eyes searching for a break in the road to indicate a turn off. Eventually, my eyes spotted it and I turned onto an ungraded drive feeling like I had come across a forgotten place which should've been called Despair Drive.

Give us this day our daily bread.........and a little bit more, please.

The buildings, 5 or 6 of them looked neglectfully dilapidated on the outside. Beyond repair, like it was going to eventually collapse into a heap of compost only to be swallowed up by weeds. And a church too. An abandoned little church. Out in the middle of nowhere. Was it a religious community at one point? Who knows? Did God walk away and forget about this place?

Situated as one of a bunch of inhospitable dwellings, their new home fit right in. Hope hadn't visited this cul-de-sac in the middle of nowhere in a while, or so it appeared. A mangy old dog greeted me as I looked around at broken bits rusting in tall grass and dirt paths and thought to myself, "Dear God..... Is this truly the "middle of nowhere? Are you keeping tabs on these people? How can I help this family I'm about to meet?" I had only been provided with minimal facts concerning their plight, enough to know the severity..... bad enough to be asked to make sure they were safe from harm.....bad enough to be asked to follow up promptly. I had to fill in the gaps to prepare my approach and to manage my own reactions.

Counselling in the middle of nowhere expects that of you. Being effective as a counsellor means you have to be open to the journey of discovery but also to be able to protect yourself by preparing as much as you can......judgements and expectations have to put on the back burner, especially when you're trying to make an initial connection. But, your intuitive antennae is never turned off. A balance between being open to whatever happens, responding supportively, and making sure of your own comfort level is assuaged is key. Especially in the middle of nowhere.

As I turned into the driveway to park, I spotted a group of children peaking out at me as they played happily together with the mangy dog. Guess he's a friendly old mange, I thought. Looks can be deceiving. Never judge the facade, I remind myself again.

Beyond the frollicking kids was a garden...a thoughtfully mended garden of daylilies and daisies which seemed to take away from the pockmarked painted homes. And yet, I wondered how deserted this alcove in the middle of nowhere would look like in the dead of winter. Barren and isolated. Coldly bereft. Yesterday, however, the wildflowers and lush landscape in the background allowed the light to shine through the cracks. Hope may not have been visible to the naked eye, but it was definately lurking yesterday. I approached the front door, swinging wide open.....the springs long gone and was greeted by a smiling little urchin dressed in her dress up clothes.......for fun. I told her she looked like a beautiful tulip. Smiling, she twirled for me to show off the magic of her sparkling dress. Her long brown hair, knotted from summer winds lifted up as she swirled around faster. At that, her mom came to the door to invite me in. Big smiles on her as well. This was a family in crisis, I had been told. What I was greeted with were genuine smiles.

I crossed the threshold where I left dilapidation behind, and where I entered into a clean and bright hallway that ushered me into her new living room that was painted a glowing sunny yellow which reflected off the shiny hardwood floors. The windows were propped open with plastic containers filled with magnetic letters for the fridge and multi-coloured building blocks for rainy day towers. Sweet summer breezes scented by wild roses wafted through. Hint of pine. She had already unpacked her family's belongings and managed to turn her kitchen into a functioning place...........no boxes to empty....everything where it should be. She even managed to hang a few decorations. Wow....such efficiency! Such focus and calm! This woman has made big strides in less than a day to turn the living space into a sanctuary.....into a home.

And the light shone brightly in the middle of nowhere, where we sat in a bright yellow living room surrounded by inquisitive kids eating fresh strawberries......the juice colouring their chins a delicious red. When I asked the woman how she was feeling. She looked me right in the eye and simply stated: "I can breathe again. For the first time in 14 years, I can breathe again. It feels like a dream."

She found a calm refuge in the middle of nowhere. Isn't that something? Tonight, I think of her and of the kids and know they are breathing deep breaths of relief. The other stuff they have to contend with? It will happen after they gulp up the fresh air they found in the middle of nowhere.

the question?

It is not enough for me to ask a question;
I want to know how to answer the one question
that seems to encompass everything I face:
What am I here for?

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Monday, July 16, 2007

more than you know................

outstanding shasta
taking front row in garden of delight
shastas never grow alone
though they stand alone showing off their simplistic beauty
they always have companionship
intertwined at the roots.


flowers depict the beauty of our soul
friendships reflect the image we share from our soul
music is the harmony rising from our soul

one note accompanying another note

intertwined at the roots

Our songs, our hymns, our melodies envelope the moments we choose to remember, just like a photo can. They both have the capacity to stop time......... And when you hear the song, all the emotions you felt in that captured slice of your life rush back with the same intensity. Familiar places you may not have thought about for a long time.......familiar faces you had put away in the back of your mind..........resurrect in an instant, sometimes flooding you with feelings so REAL that it seems like you're right back there living the moment.
Most or perhaps ALL of our important relationships have an "our song" don't they? As do key events in our life. And as I write this, I am flooded by a cornucopia of tunes filtering through my memory bank.
Amazing.........an overture of connections with the people who intertwine at my roots.

............cue Mr. Piano Man please...............................

ps. thank you Katie for kickstarting my thinking today with your post.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

down the path..........

And it is still true,
no matter how old you are,
when you go out into the world
it is best to hold hands and stick together.
Robert Fulghum

When was the last time you had a whole week in front of you that was all new learning, when everything was new to you? New routine, new experiences, new people, new surroundings, new opportunities......new, new, new....? It doesn't happen very often does it? Our lives are for the most part routine, staying within the lines of the known with a few dabbles here and there of new learning where we stretch out to dip our toe in the stream of discomfort. It takes a move or trip or a job change or a loss or a major change in our lives to foist us into NEW.

And what accompanies NEW? Different levels of anxiety are present, and depending on the event our nervousness seeps into our bellies filling them with butterflies and growls. Excitement too is a form of heightened alertness....same adrenaline bursts as anxiety I think. Curiosity, motivation, hesitancy, wonder, fear, grief, joy, sorrow and lots and lots of questions......expressed openly or not....depending on the situation.

NEW learning............takes us down paths that may have been trodden by others before us, but are not trodden by us......and it always leaves us changed. New learning is change, no matter how intense the feelings...........it starts a chain of events..........

This is where my thinking is tonight. See the accompanying picture? Right down that path is a little cabin with 8 boys nestled in for the night with their camp counsellors. One of the boys is my son, who is in for a whole week of NEW. Today, we dropped him off at a sleepover camp for his first foray. Being the youngest in this family, he hasn't had as many opportunities to do something independent of his big sister or of his Mom and Dad. Even when he went off to kindergarten, his sister and her friends were there to greet him. So, today my son has begun a week of new learning. And I'm thinking that I've got some of that ahead of me too because his changes impact changes in me as I come to a different level of accepting that he is growing up independent of me and his Dad.

This isn't a new concept. Many have walked this path before us. However, the path is new to us. Familiar in some respects........

Robert Fulghum first became famous for his book entitled, "Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." It was a clever and charming anecdotal book about the important lessons in life..........about sharing and being kind to others. I thought of the book today, knowing these life lessons are also relearned at summer camp when you're sharing space with a group of others you aren't related to.

These are also life lessons we all try to instill in our children to nurture their openness to others....to be thoughtful and empathic, to be expressive in their wants and needs, to look out for others. It seems to me this is the foundation needed to be self-confident in order to take strides into unchartered territory knowing you can rely yourself. Every new learning, whether it happens when you are 9 or 90, provides a chance to test our personal questions..........."Can I?" "Do I?" "Will I?" And I guess the key is to know that any new learning is linked to all the other building blocks accumulated in life. First time tries for young ones we hope are successful because they will encourage future risk taking. Knowing and and feeling this way, I hope this week for him is triumphant because it can lead to so many other unchartered paths that one day he will want to try.

So, I sit here tonight, feeling a bit of a mess...........more of a mess than I had expected as I realize my little boy, who fills this house with his presence, is off for a week of NEW without us.

I should be comforted by the knowledge that he has many tools in his life toolbox already.....some he's accumulated on his own figuring stuff out, and some we have provided for him. I should be comforted in knowing that he will be experiencing many of the same life lessons I learned at the very same age at camp. It does help, believe me, but it also makes my reaction all the more surprising. I know he will be safe and cared for...........that's not what seems to be twisting inside me. And I don't clearly know what it is. But the pangs are sharp and cannot be ignored. I guess that's what my own learning this week will help me clarify and hopefully will guide me in accepting change. It's all a part of growing up.......for me and for him.

If I have two wishes this week......please let him have the best time of his life.....and let me accept the growing up bit.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hair yearnings.

Bad hair days are scary because they tend to lead to rash decisions especially when you're trying to grow your hair out and you've hit a snaggy period when nothing seems to feel right with the moptop. I feel like I've had a bad hair week, which thank God doesn't happen very often, but it seems to be happening more than it used to. You see, my hair seems to be changing and I don't like it one bit.

I grew up without a ripple or curl in my hair. Thick, dark brown with red highlights which shone through especially if I was out in the sun, I took it for granted. I always had positive comments about the healthiness of my mane even though I could get away with using a cheap brand of shampoo. Never one to be settled with one type of style for too long, I was always changing it's shape and length. Some of the cuts I've had in the past were hideous but it didn't bother me then. Since it grew like a weed, my ongoing preferences for short vs. long hair was doable. I could have it cut really short only to have it long enough to pull back within a year. It still grows fast, but all of a sudden, there is a wave to it. AND the dark brown? It's slipping away. And the shine? It doesn't seem to have the sheen it once had. It feels different too.....

And it's all part and parcel of aging. It goes along with the other gravity winning sags one has to contend with. Oh, and those lines that all of a sudden have turned up on around my eyes? This week, when I was looking in the mirror, I realized that my eyelids for God's sake seemed stretchier or something. What is that all about? Are they one day going to droop down over my eyes so I look like some Basset Hound? OH yes, oh yes......all the notches of living begin to accumulate to alter your appearance.

As much as I want perky again......to some extent, it ain't gonna happen.......except with my hair. I can do something about that right away.

Hair has always been the most profound ornamental statement. It speaks expressively of our personalities, of how we feel about ourselves, of how we feel politically. Hairstyles shout attitude, perspective, individuality............emotions. Colour, length, straight, out of control curly....pulled back, hanging down, shaved off.........all effect impressions left with others. But more than anything, for me? If my hair is doing it's thing? It affects the walk in my step, and the way I feel both inside and out.

This week, I have been wondering what I would look like with short blonde hair. I've also wondered how I would look if I grew my hair out again so I could twist it and braid it and throw it up in a messy bun like I used to......am I too old for that style? Two extremes really, which indicates to me that I'm still trying to grapple with the changes my hair is going through, with the changes my body is going through. Best wrestle with this a bit longer before I march into the hair salon and do something completely kooky.

"You look marvellous, I must say"

for more hairy thoughts........follow the link to Sunday Scribblings.

Friday, July 13, 2007

captured reflections.......

captured reflections

What I love more than anything about writing is the opportunity I have to take a snippet of my life, and to find the words to expressively reflect my perceptions of it. Whether it's an older memory or a recent one that has occured during the course of the day a chance to capture it with a net of descriptives fills the reflection with another dimension. A poem, a quote, a concept, a memory, or one single thought are all seeds which grow in my imagination. Writing empowers the growth of the seeds. Writing about it brings the reflection forward.

An unexamined life is not worth living..............who said that? Though I have a tendancy to analyze ad nauseum because well, that's just how my brain is wired, taking the time to reflect on the day, the week, the year feeds my learning. Reflections offer refreshed perspectives which in turn allow for broadening how I view my world or the world beyond my front yard. It helps me understand human behaviour........my own as well as others. Using my net to pull in the words, I can make an attempt to put my reflections out there for others to consider.
Writing may be considered a solitary pursuit, but it doesn't feel isolating or lonely to me. Rather, it's the activity of conjuring up the original idea before it is integrated with the right words where solitary is found. I feel more alone when I'm still "in my head" so to speak than when I'm sitting at the keyboard allowing it all to flow out of me. It's like I'm holding my breath as the ideas solidify. Writing lets me exhale..........it breathes life as I go through the process of directing the flow of the oxygenated words stored inside me and then out through my fingertips. And as I breathe, I feel more alertly focused and spiritually connected to others.........past and present.
And when one feels spiritually connected, one never feels alone.
captured perspectives

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Intro to my vagina monologue......

evening light filtering on feminism

As a human being, I want to continue to strive for..........

Equality and respect which produces a level playing field both in the home and in the world of work

where choices and options are offered to both sexes both in the home and in the world of work

where working together to seek consensus and understanding of differences as well as commonalities is seen as a good thing

where there is celebration of sexuality and the beautiful differences of the sexes are acknowledged

where women stop dispensing judgement on the choices other women have made with respect to being MOM

where men stop dispensing judgement on the choices women have made with respect to being MOM

where men and women understand the value of providing support and encouragement for individual human beings to be the best they can be

where justification of one's choices doesn't have to be accompanied by radical (right wing or left wing ) political or religious pontifications in order to turn into into an illusionary battle cry.

where the very idea of feminism isn't mired in angry finger pointing

where the "old boys network" feels comfortable enough with their masculinity to keep an eye out for the girls every now and then

where women in the workplace learn to trust one another, to support one another and to applaud the success of a colleague rather than resort to undermining cattiness and gossip

where trust abounds

where women who choose to have a career outside of the home respect the choices of the women who decide to stay at home as their career AND visa versa.

where pink isn't a political statement

where toys aren't a political statement

where love is dispensed to our children by all adults irregardless of sex.

where masculinity isn't defined by skewed interpretations of the Bible

where feminity isn't defined by skewed interpretations of the Bible

where our understanding of the Body of Christ and the roles we play are considered equal in the eyes of God.

As a human being who is a feminist, I want to live in a world..........

where equality......... is associated with balance, respect, and individualism


where everyone can find happiness in the choices they make in how they decide to live their lives.

The unspoken and spoken critical judgement on both sides has to stop.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Messy interpretations? Love it.

Are you familiar with comedian Ricky Gervais? He starred in the original "The Office," an even more biting comedy set in the UK than the spin off version on TV now. This is a stand up bit he did on interpreting the Book of Genesis............. I received this from a good practising Anglican guy I know quite well and who happens to be THE funniest man in my life.........my husband. It's a bit long, but worth watching. Unless of course your sense of humour isn't the same as mine.

Robin? Are you out there?? You will love this piece...........


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The perfume of sandalwood,

the scent of the bay leaf and jasmine,

travel only as far as the wind.

But the fragrance of goodness travels

with us through all the worlds.

Like garlands woven from flowers,

fashion your life as a garland of

beautiful deeds.


How do you help someone understand the importance of showing care to others of being receptive to other's uniqueness and the gifts they have to offer to this world when we live in a world motivatedly driven by the almighty competitive dollar? Or do they simply have to figure it out for themselves?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

In silence and in song.

birdsong dawn, July 8, 2007

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Time is suspended for a moment between the silence of the night and the awakening of a new day. It happens before there is any visible inkling of dawn. In fact, to the naked eye the darkness appears to be the same depth. The birds however seem to know of the transitional moment -- when it is time to usher in new.

Who knows if there is a specific leader among the choir who starts the melody or whether they are all equally as sensitive to the nuances of nature's rhythms though I tend to think there's one bird out there who is maestro. Can't you picture the little guy holding a teeny tiny little baton, knocking it against an oak tree or a weeping willow to get the attention of the sleeping birds? I wonder if he has a pitch pipe too? I'm glad one of them has the incentive to get things going. I betcha its a Robin. They can be pushy little buggers.

However it happens.....it is a beautiful sound of hope for renewal, regeneration and respect for life. And, it happens before the break of dawn every single day.

This morning, the birds welcomed me to join them outside to listen. Having had a restless night of tossing and turning and not feeling like I ever managed to slumber into a deep sleep, I was glad to hear their little voices after a long period of silence. Though I had used the silence as best as I could, processing a week of "downtime" and beginning the wondering of what will be in store during the week ahead, I accepted the invitation. By the time I had made myself a cup of tea, the sky had begun to reveal it's orange red and deep blue canvas as a backdrop to the birdsong.

As I stood there watching and listening intently, I was struck by a thought.........

Dawn is never silent like the night but they need one another to distinguish the differences. Neither appears timeless on their own. Looked at separately, it feels as though we live a very ephemeral existence, captured in moments which appear to have a beginning and an end. Though every sunrise looks different, the very act of it rising allows us to believe in eternity. We can rejoice in the parts we have been chosen to play. We are a part of nature's eternity.....in silence and in song.

Ok.......I'm going back to bed now that I've shared my little epiphany. Will someone please look after my family's Sunday breakfast? They like cinnamon in their pancakes. You'll find it in the cupboard. Thanks.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

slippery when wet...........

Crash Davis: It's time to work on your interviews.

Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: My interviews? What do I gotta do?

Crash Davis: You're gonna have to learn your clichés. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends. Write this down: "We gotta play it one day at a time."

Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: Got to play... it's pretty boring.

Crash Davis: 'Course it's boring, that's the point. Write it down.

Taken from the movie Bull Durham.

Trust is built on integrity. There's nothing more repulsive to me than realizing I have been duped by a slippery person who projects an image of honesty and trustworthiness. Though I try to give someone the benefit of the doubt, when it comes to the field of politics, I seem to have run out of patience with the jargon based postering ever present in the spin that is spewed out on a daily basis. Who does one believe? How can one form an educated opinion on any party, on any issue when it seems like we never have a clear picture or an honest take on any situation?

Politicians and bureaucracy would eat their own young if it meant that they would look good in the polls. Fuelled by fear.............fear of being perceived as inadequate, incapable, impotent.....fear of not looking strong in the eyes of the voter............fear of showing any vulnerability........our systems churn out the most innocuous weaseley prose as a means to cover up one's zits. Does anyone really believe any politicians these days? What about televangelists? Talking head journalists? Publicists? Talk show hosts? Lawyers, Salespeople, Mechanics, appliance Repair people............and the business world all have their own jargon, their own way to persuade, dissuade, and cover up the truth. I don't care what flavour or stripe they represent, our public figures ooze slipperiness. There seems to be no way around this beady-eyed problem because it has spread like the Black Plague and has infiltrated all forms of media, marketing and our way of life.

It's enough to make you crazy trying to figure out who to believe as we continue to drown in a slippery slope sea of cliches and over-burdened concepts.

"at the end of the day......"

"above board......"

"just between you and me......."

"trust me........."

"I'm here for you...."

Is sincerity a thing of the past? I don't think so. In fact, I believe we are way more alert and aware of the tactics and spins thrown out at us on a daily basis. I believe we have developed a more sensitive doublespeak filter.........one that can sniff out what is simply slippery goobledeegook from honesty. Integrity is making a comeback.......the problem is that anyone who has honest to goodness integrity is intelligent enough not to waste their time running for office. On the surface, that may feel like it's a shame, but I believe people with true integrity are looking at different ways and means of making an honest difference in this world. It may be the more difficult route.......because their is an awful lot of slippery stuff to shovel out of the way.........but in the long run, doing the right thing and finding the right way to lead will ulitmately win out.

To quote Crash Davis................."And God willing.................we will win."

for more slippery sonnets, snipes and scenarios............check out Sunday Scribblings.........

Friday, July 06, 2007


even a beautiful harbour needs a sanctuary...especially at twilight

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again I heard them say
Don't dwell on what has passed away
or what is yet to be.

Ah the wars
they will be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells
that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned,
they've summoned up a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...
You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum Every heart,
every heart to love
will come but like a refugee.

Ring the bells
that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack,
a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells
that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack,
a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen

Sometimes we see cracks as simply brokenness.........maybe we need to see cracks in a different light...........