Saturday, January 31, 2009

regrets, i've had a few

sorrow weeps winter's blue light mourning
it's inner siren
strangles hopes with tangled tears
blankets dreams of youthful temptations

everlasting regrets awaken empty half breaths
it's quickened tempo
surges awareness with heated panic
sparks impulses resonating shameful memories.



admit it
own it
own it

face it
own it

and dream again.

never let regret win

This week's Sunday Scribbling's prompt is regrets. We've all got a few. For more interesting perspectives, check out this site. You won't regret it.

Friday, January 30, 2009

walking on solid air

Well, I'm going away to leave you
I'm gonna leave you in disgrace
Nothing in my favour
I got the rain in my face
I'm going home
Hey, over the hill
Over the hill
Hey, over the hill

John Martyn. His beautiful emoting music and his eclectic sound fills me with nostalgia. A smiling stranger who fought his demons every single day. May he find and rest in peace.


"Expect that a miracle is about to manifest."

"The Mystery never leaves you alone.
Behind your image,
below your words,
above your thoughts,
the silence of another world waits.
A world lives within you."

-John O'Donahue

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

lovely simplicity

lost in a clutter filled life,
behind monuments and trophies,
remnants and weeping trash....
mired in endless ruminations
tied to webthreads of dusty dread
are the sweet simple trinkets
held in my cupped hands.

i want to share them with you.
Can I share them with YOU?

a glimpse of the last of sunset's glow

one blooming delight

a festival of candlelight

sunwarmed juice of strawberries ripe

the smooth taste of deep red merlot

a hushed silence felt in comfort
the touch of our fingers entwined
an embrace on a lonely winter's night
a long lingering kiss goodnight
and three simple words expressed in the breath of a whisper....
I love you

clear away the clutter and you will see my cupped hands.
they hold the simplicity of an evening together.
they reach out for you.
lets pour that glass of wine
turn on some soft music
pull closer to the warm embers
and bask in its glow

on this stormy night of angry blowing snow.

Brought to you by Carmi's Thematic photo word of the week.....simple. I guess i'm a simple romantic trying to de-clutter. For more simple offerings, check out Carmi's Written Inc link on my sidebar. And may you find a few moments of shared simplicity for yourself this week.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I saw you crossing the street
at the moment when the light of day flattens
hands tucked in oversized coat pockets
you.....a human being...
lost in the crowd of going home people
hunched against the winter wind
on your way to the kitchen
to sit huddled with strangers
whose concept of home
floats in a menagerie of broken dreams.
I saw you crossing the street
at the time of day when the voices appear
arms now raised like a conductor of an orchestra
shaking in shivering side effects of respiradone.
Pedestrians walk by oblivious
like you're as invisible as the mind biting messages
circulating like summer dusk gnats.
No one else has noticed your dramatic attempts
to seek solace in the silent scream of your reality.

I saw you turn your face to the daywilting sky

at the empty hour of evening transition

the palms of your hands opened upward

rough bitten, they hold a burdening plea,

a wordless request from a beaten down heart,

your need for serenity in affirming validation

through the collective din of your psychosis.

In a moment of surrender, I watch you tuck them back into your oversized pockets and walk on in search of a bowl of hot soup at the end of the never ending waking day. The voices are hungry. The crowds float by like a backdrop to your own world.

No one is paying attention. No one hears except you. You can't filter them out. They can't filter you in. Who is lost?

Monday, January 26, 2009

tell us about yourself.......

Interviews...I've nailed some, choked in some and thrown a few when I realized the job I was being screened for wasn't what I was looking for. There have been times when I conciously decided to play it in an understated way, and then there have been the ones when I was so overly prepared that my brain was spilling over with facts, stories, much so that I came across like a crazed banshee on speed. Well, maybe not that off the wall but close to it.

Yeah, I've had my share of interviews....more than I care to admit. Given that the first 8 years of living in this province was a process of juggling various casual and term positions, jousting for something permanent they did add up. And they spurts and bursts over the years. It's just that I've never been completely settled in any job I have worked in. I always seem to be looking for the right home, the right place to be me.

I never thought it would be so difficult to find this place. I have always known I wanted to work in the field of counselling....I wasn't one of the majority who didn't know what they wanted to be when they grew up. I always knew I was a people person who saw herself in a helping profession. You'd think that would be a straightforward process. For many reasons, it has been anything but straightforward. I realize now that much of this happens as one grows through mastering one's craft.

We seek out challenges....where the discomfort leads to adrenaline inducing learning. Settling, which was something I have longed for may not be all that it's cracked up to be.....Settling is different than security, but both are illusions.

So, tomorrow morning (Tuesday) I will be sitting across from 4 people answering the lobbed at me questions to the best of my ability. Yes, I have job I am keen to perform well in. "Why?" they will ask..... "Describe a situation..." they will wonder outloud while assessing my ability to think on my feet.... "What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Goals? Dreams? Opinion?" "What are your hobbies?" "How do you manage your stress....?" "Give us an example of...." All pretty darn predictable questions acting as a springboard for answers which I hope will be perceived as genuine, thought provoking, memorable.

Chances are it will begin with something along the lines of........."Tell us about yourself......" Who knows how it will unfold from there.... I'll let you know.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

simple gifts

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free.'
Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be.
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,'
Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
bow and to bend
we shall not be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,'
Till by turning, turning
we come round right

'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,

'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.
When true simplicity is gained,
bow and to bend
we shall not be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,'
Till by turning, turning
we come round right

This is a beautiful hymn written by Joseph Brackett an Elder in the Shaker community of Alfred, Maine. When I heard it played during the inauguration, I automatically thought it was Lord of the Dance, one of my favourite chapel songs, because they both have the same tune. A friend of mine who came over to watch the ceremony with us explained that it is the hymn she sings at the end of every Quaker meeting on Sundays....Simple Gifts.
Today, I heard another version of this beautiful hymn which left me almost breathless. It was like the air all of a sudden turned thin with magic as time vacated leaving a scent of fresh pine and spring water. At the time when it was played, I was in a mad rush and was surrounded by mad disarraying thoughts. It brought me to a full stop appreciation of the empowerment of a hymn....

The hymns which touch a chord in us that hasn't been plucked in a while offer us a simple gift of our lives affirmed. They have the ability to make our dry eyes well up in fountains of tears. They soften even the hardest of outer shells. Hymns open our eyes to see the beauty in a moment of reflection which often is tucked in the middle of chaos. They can halt the immediacy of a crisis, can tear down the defences of an enemy, can hold out it's harmony in trucefull honesty, can express the indescribable, can bring people into a gathering place of peace Hymns can make you believe in the unbelievable.

No matter wherever you are or however busy you happen to be, please take a moment to enjoy this meditatively brilliant version of Simple Gifts. I think you'll agree with me. It's a gem.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

kindred spirit love and kindness.....

This is Matthew. Look at his beautiful face. He melts my heart!! I met him at the Boyce Farmer's Market last October when he was actively raising money for his 10 year old friend MacKenzie who was in the process of fighting off her third round of cancer. Matthew and MacKenzie met in Kindergarten and became good friends right from the start.

When MacKenzie became ill and had to travel to Halifax for treatment, he saw how much of a financial toll it was taking on her family. She missed a lot of schooling during her illness....missed alot of the fun. So, Matthew took it upon himself to help them as best as he could. His goal? 56,000 dollar for every inch between MacKenzie's house and their school. He would collect loonies (Canadian dollar coins) because they were approx. 1 inch in diameter. He placed large mason jars in convenience stores and solicited the market goers and shoppers every chance he could.

A few anonymous people donated larger amounts of money. An elementary school class in Oromocto sent letters taped with loonies, one for each child. Most of the donations were 1 loonie at a time. The community and the local media celebrated the hope and loving kindness of this little boy. I know that every time I thought of him or saw him outside the market with his big mason jar my heart melted into his determination and unwavering belief that MacKenzie would beat the ugly disease.....

Every night, he prayed with his family for his friend to heal. They openly discussed the big life and death issues together. The talked about cancer and the chances of MacKenzie surviving it. Matthew knew the doctors were dumbfounded that MacKenzie had survived this long. And yet, he stayed true to his beliefs that she would overcome the odds.

Over the course of his compassonate fundraising, Matthew gathered 14,000 loonies! With the money, he was able to lighten the financial load of MacKenzie's family as well as shower his kindred spirit friend with gifts to help her experience some fun. His actions also provided her an affirming love which no doubt helped her in her battle to beat the odds. This act of love and kindness brought two families together in a place where courage and fear, where reality and escape from it all meet. This beautiful youthful soul created this.... Matthew traded in his childhood innocence for harsh light awareness to take the initiative to DO something. It was the trading in of innocence they both understood at a level most of us never experience.

Their story was covered regularly through the media and I would see Matthew out and about at the Market on Saturdays collecting his loonies. A recent story published a week or so ago alluded to the fact that MacKenzie was struggling, but the picture posted of the two of them sitting side by side simply illuminated in hope that anyone who saw it, would remain optimistic for a miracle. Strength in their bond.......bravery shared.

On Thursday, Matthew and his Mom visited MacKenzie in the hospital. According to today's newspaper, she was unconcious throughout the visit. But as Matthew was leaving MacKenzie opened her eyes and waved at her kindred friend for the last time. She died yesterday surrounded by her family. May beautiful MacKenzie rest in comforting peace. And may Matthew feel her presence every day as a loving guardian angel.

ps. I want this wonderful young boy recognized by our city. I want his efforts to be applauded with tears and respect. And I want this little girl who fought with such courage to be remembered as a spark we can all learn from. I plan to send the Mayor of Fredericton an email to request that he consider recognizing this friendship, and acknowledging Matthew's gracious heart.

"I will rise now...."

I waited for the sunrise this morning and was disappointed to see the day emerge void of life affirming colour. Clouds full of snow threatening to drop down on the landscape seemed to cloak the sky's breath and depth of possibilities. Omnipresent like a sneering bully on the playground, they hovered....arms crossed, immovable and bossy!

I walked away, determined to ignore it's wintry threats and began to focus my attention on slipping into the beauty of the imagination where the spectrum of possibility perches on the precipice of eternity. Over a cup of tea of course. Imagination and tea are happy partners in generating thoughts and feelings. No cloudy bully was going to break my spirit! HA! Not when I had a steaming mug of tea by my side.....especially when the mug, purchased on my trip to the UK, has a quote by Billy Connolly printed on the side of it....(love that man!)
"Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn't try it on...."
OK.....imagination, tea and a twisted need for a sip of the ingredients to bite back at the bully see the world around me with a new set of eyes.
Pretty soon, I swear I heard Bono singing in my head....a beautiful backdrop to my own imagination fueled by my happy tea mug. Like a whoosh, I was pulled into it's orchestration. The music memory awakened expressed love like the opening of Solomon's Song of Songs.... it's breeze clearing way for enlightening.'s stirring yearnings....
My spirit automatically lifted. Amazing how the harmonious blend of lyrics and sound can do that, even if it's a memory playing just to yourself. Sure there are days when dirges can fill the spirit if you let them. Today, however, there seemed to be no need to push any sorrowful tunes away. Bono was prayerfully present to stir my thoughts! With my eyes closed absorbing the words, the sound and my feelings, I smiled and took a couple of meditative breaths....
It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
It's a beautiful day

Touch me
Take me to that other place
Teach me
I know I'm not a hopeless case

I looked up and out the window again. Day had broken without the cresting colour just above the horizon. That time had come and gone. Instead, it had patiently held onto its empowering beauty, joined forces with the words of the wind and braided its luminescence through the bullying clouds. Shadows and light tasting colour seeped out its drama, like a life living its dramatic score.
Still in my sexy red plaid flannel pyjamas, I exchanged my cozy slippers for my furlined boots, slipped on my big woolen coat, grabbed my camera and headed out the door into the crisp coldness of a January morning. A fresh layer of snow cleansed the salt and sand on the street. The front yards covered by knee deep powder reflected the new light of day, it's shadows forming in the windswept drifts. The winter nesting birds warbled their own welcoming sound.
I felt alive and connected to my part of the world......alone standing in the middle of my street.....I enjoyed the unveiling of a beautiful day. Let the drama begin.

Friday, January 23, 2009

getting through....recapturing peace of mind.

It seems as though I suffer more from the "getting throughs" at this time of year than in the peak of summer. Everything requires so much more effort starting from getting out of bed in the morning when its still dark out. It just feels so unnatural, like our own internal need is to sleep deeper, to stay tucked under the duvet, to wait until light begins to pour through the window. Just the knowledge let alone the reality of having deal with parkas, hats, mitts, big fur lined boots, icy sidewalks, cold cars just to get out the door in the morning to go to work can invoke the mind altering "getting throughs...."
"Can't I just stay home??? This is what the little whiney voice says in my head. "When does Friday come around again," it says as the aches of wanting to hibernate kick in.

I'm beginning to realize that my "getting throughs" are in direct correlation with the absence of enough light in my life. I need it to boost my energy. The paradox here, however is that I love winter nights when the pitch outside has an infinite space to it, when the twinkling lights inside glow brighter in contrast. I rarely feel the pushing sensation of wanting it to end, of wanting to get through it.

It's been a long week full of the regular responsibilities accompanied by a multitude of other activities thrown into the mix. Its left me with an empty cup. Somewhere in the middle of the week, my focus flipped forward with such yearning for Friday to come. That "in the moment" frame of mind kept slipping out of my grasp and the more it did, the more energy I had to expend in order to stay on task. Wishing one's week or day away is an unsatisfactory trap because you do miss out on the collective nuances of breathing the air around you.

I had a few amazing counselling sessions, and connected with a few colleagues at a deeper level.....sharing personal histories never shared before over the lunch hour. I celebrated the historic inauguration of Barack Obama, soaking up his stern message to anyone who was listening clearly that it was time to grow up and take some ownership on our global and personal affairs. I spent one evening trying with all my might to remember how to figure out the standard deviation of a bell curve. HELLO!?? Thank God for my blogging friend Breadbox who came to my rescue with a quick tutorial for my daughter who was studying for her Math exam. Thank you N!

All week, I advocated, conjoled, promoted, counselled, listened, interacted.....all good stuff but tiring too.....especially if your mindset is focused on the end of the week. I am literally all talked out and spent from listening and coaching and trying to find solutions. Spent. I havent one new idea in my head......not one. I used them up.....

So here I sit on a Friday evening....having made it through another week. I made it! I'm sitting on my oh so comfortable couch, snuggled into the corner, tucked in under great new blanket my parents sent as a Christmas present. Everyone is out tonight for a short while. The dogs are sleeping soundly. I can faintly hear the singleness of a lonely car driving by below on the old highway along the river. No music is playing. The TV is off. Every now and then, I stoke the logs in the fire and listen to the last of the sap steam through the cracks in the wood as the flames lap up in a heated dance. That's as boisterous I'm going to get tonight.

I'm happy, grateful, peaceful, warm, reminiscent, wondering and content. It's Friday evening and I'm enjoying every minute of it's nighttime darkness and inside twinking light in the quiet comforting silence of my home....a place where I can hibernate and recharge my batteries.

Oh, I wrote too soon.......! Gracie the puppy has just pounced up on the couch with her new bone and is desperately trying to bury it in my new blanket! Drats! Looks like I'll have to share this couch cocooning with rawhide and puppy breath. The little bugger has literally crawled up behind my back and is staring down over my shoulder watching my fingers hit the keys. Too funny.

Off to stoke the fire and find a chew toy for you know who.....and get back to the blanket before my bare feet feel the cold.

good night.......hibernation awaits...I've been so looking forward to it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

under the wires

Let's build our dream home under the wires of progress
Nestled beside the highway that leads to success
A grey brick enclave an armlength away
From the next monstrosity blocking the sun everday
We'll build our deck on our treeless patch of green
That we share with our neighbours, sight unseen.
Brand new detached, free from all history
Filled with boxstore keepsakes stripped of antiquity.
We'll consult with the experts on the colours we choose.
Who knows if the trend is a palette of taupe or blues.
Make sure there's a jacuzzi and a plasma TV
Line the stairway with IKEA artwork to see.
Weekday mornings up before the sun awakes
Head to work past the landscaped man made lake
Take the on ramp that leads to the collectors lane
Join the crowd of strangers who must be insane.
And slowly our identities will mesh with the rest
As we continue to live in our quaint little nest.
Amongst parents who have no time for their tykes
Who have chosen to live in Branthaven Heights.

There is an alternative to losing our minds
Let's head east down the road to the Maritimes.
Where the homes hold memories of times past and new
And the people have time to ask....How are You?
Let's get in the car and get the hell out of here
Before the next onslaught of pollution floats by us too near
Back to a place where the living is a much better fit
Where the people's sincerity isn't bullshit.

Give me the storied old veranda anyday. I want to hear its tales. I want mine to seep into its floorboards as well, to blend with the others.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Surprised by a Daydreamer

Creativity thrives when one lends credence to one's intuition and replaces certainty with the wide eyed curiosity. Tapping into one's imagination allows one to see the world through the clarity of a prism.......acknowledging the hues of light and colour reflected in all directions and then some. Creativity is our best attempt at capturing a sacred beauty tucked in the mystery of our souls.

Tonight, I was given a surprise and I want to share it with all of YOU! There is a new blogger in town.... Her name is Daydreamer and she's my beautiful daughter. Martha's creativity is definately not a surprise. She was born with a confidence to rely on her intuitive imagination, and to see the world through her own prism of light and colour. It was evident from a very young age. Her blog, which will primarily be an avenue for her to share some of her photos and her love of music and lyrics, is a beautiful surprise! I love it and I believe you will too.

I welcome you to check out Daydreamer's photoblog for a glimpse of her captured creative gazes. And please "sign" her comment guestbook. She would love to receive some feedback. Thank you.
ps. There is a link to Martha's blog on my sidebar for future reference too.
For more surprises (this week's photo theme), check out Carmi's Written Inc. blog...a link to his blog is also on my sidebar.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

making the untenable transform into one spoken word.

Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
Martin Luther King Jr.
The other day, I had to grab a cab from downtown to get home. Unlike my memorable trip to find Pip's house, I knew the way this time! However, when the cab driver asked me where I would like to go, I joked and replied..."Montreal. I'd really like to go to Montreal." He laughed and seemed game actually, but then I gave him my address and off we went, yapping away like we'd known each other from another planet or something. Gotta love the friendliness of cabbies!
Our conversation ran the gamut of topics, led mostly by my philosophical and very intuitive cabbie. I was fascinated by his "take" on Quebec and our constitution, on bilingualism, psychology, and the very idea that we don't own thoughts we just borrow them in the space where they dwell (try and get your head around THAT one...loveitloveit!).....and in fact asked him if he was writing this stuff down (he's not, but I did encourage him to become a blogger....and gave him the link to mine so he may be reading this!) Anyways, one thing he spoke of really stuck with me and for some reason it flows into my thinking on this day of hope.....Obama's inauguration.

In the middle of a story he was sharing with me, he asked me if I knew the original meaning behind the word "universe." I had never thought too much about it before except that it had such a vast infinite connotation.......something almost so intensely open-ended, its galaxy seemed untenable and beyond my grasp. When I think of the word "universe," it makes me feel so small and inconsequential, that whatever i do in this vast expanse we live in would never really make a dent of a difference. I tried to put pull together what I had always considered the meaning of the word...... but then he broke down the word into three.... uni-ver-se.... this one word was formed by three words.... translated as "single-spoken-word".....or another translation is "turned into one"

Universe means single spoken word.....
or turned into one.

Today, we all watch in anticipation and hope all the while holding our breath as a man who inspires like no other on this planet right at this moment takes the oath of office. Our hopes are pinned on his lapel. Somehow, Barack Obama has generated such a universal feeling of action, of possibility that only change can produce even in the face of such enormous obstacles....he has somehow turned us into one. Obama, with his compassionate words AND his compassionate actions thus far has wiped away the face of apathy and replaced it with inspired energy. He has stretched our imaginations to include the fresh air idealism which feeds a sense of oneness needed to create a major shift in the collective conscience and consciousness of all. When he uses the chant, "Yes we can!" he is calling on all of us to take part.....American, Canadian, French, Australian, British, Kenyan, Brazilian, Mexican...... Have you ever experienced anything like this rush of energy across this universe??

Universe..... single spoken word.....
turned into one.....
How can he succeed against such odds? Only if we help....only if we all take responsibility for the long "to do" list which sits on the desk of the President of the United States of America, only if we recognize our role, our duty to make a difference. Obama has been clear that he can't do it alone. He has been vocal about the long haul ahead of us.....economically, emotionally, spiritually, how it's going to be fraught with false starts and small steps towards a better place. What is threaded throughout his speeches, is a message of a single spoken word. We must listen.....and act.

Yesterday to acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr Day, Obama helped roll paint onto the walls of a homeless shelter for youth, beautifully and symbolically marking a challenge to all who are paying attention. Service in action.

Martin Luther King Jr said...."An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity"...... this is what I'm hearing from Obama.....spoken in his own calm, deliberate, intelligent manner....He is challenging us to live outside of ourselves, to recognize the thousand threads which bind us, to begin anew by doing. This leader of our times had chosen a single spoken word to capture the vastness of the issues of this planet.....


Perhaps this is how we can help make the untenable transform into possiblity....through our acts of service.... We begin to perform small acts in our communities, for our schools, in our neighbourhoods, at the local shelter, with a soup ladel in hand at the community kitchen, reading to a child at the library, donating to the food bank, buying locally, supporting one another, looking out for one another.....its all found in a single spoken word.


Barack Obama knows his destiny and success lies in our hands as well as in his own hands of action....this is the essence of a good leader. In his acceptance speech after winning the democratic nomination, he spoke of promise..."What is that American promise? It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have an obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect"......He goes on to say....."Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence but for every American who's willing to work. "

"That's the promise of America -- the idea that we are responsible for ourselves but that we also rise or fall as one nation: the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper. I am my sister's keeper."

"We are responsible for ouselves but rise or fall as one......"

Even if we don't live in the United States of America, we are enthralled because this man plans to lead us into working as one. His actions and his appointments indicate this. Turned into one. We are inspired when we hear the single spoken word....Service..... Let him reframe how we look at our universe so that we all feel significantly needed in the embrace of change.

It's possible. Yes we can.
Let the change begin.

Monday, January 19, 2009

snow, snow, snow....

Ah, the beauty of snow. I took these last week and will be dealing with the same bleak road conditions and winter weather blusteries today. School is cancelled, but the parents have to go to work. This isn't fair!
"Passable, but snow covered and slippery...visibility is fair to poor depending on the wind blowing in your area....." that's what the experts say. YUK, YUK, YUK!
It has been snowing since yesterday morning....light snow which has accumulated quietly and it continues. This doesn't stop life around here like it would in other parts not used to this weather. Rather, it just makes it messy and tests your self motivation reserves.

Oh, yes there is beauty in the fresh fallen snow. I'm just not seeing it this morning as I gather my energy to go forth and deal with it. OH! They just announced the temps are going to increase by noon which will make the snow turn into freezing rain! Oh Goodie!! Happy Monday!

I wanna stay home!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Seeger, Sprinsteen Sing A Song of Hope

Beyonce brings them home.

brought to you by the letter "G"

Gracious good greetings from the Great White North....a glacial gem on our globe......

  • where growth gleefully germinates under the glistening glassy ice of its geologic tundra and gigantic glaciers,

  • where gortex and galoshes are granted fashion status by the guys and girls who gather the gumption to go gallavanting out into the great outdoors

  • where the growling groans of gaunting ghosts gather in the gaels and gusty northwind galaxies

  • where the geneology genuinely gathers the glowing golden genes of multi-culturalism

Today's post is brought to you by the letter "G." Fellow blogger and facebook friend Judy at Imagine recently posted her own take on an alphabet meme which I enjoyed reading and asked her if I could join. She gladhandedly passed me glassy eyed "G" to go to it. So, without further gasp gaffaws....let me gaze into my grabbag of goodies with my green eyes and grapple for something about this girl which God hoping, will make you giggle.......oooooooo......I'm grasping onto a grand theme.....our national game....a game that I love. Get ready!
Genuflect....a reverential gesture common in these parts when acknowledging with gratitude the game of hockey as the religion of this country. GO Leafs! (Oh, and may I just add that I do believe Jesus is a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs because as long as we've been following them here, this team has always lived in the margins. Gotta love these perennial outcasts.)

Grapes.....One of the most revered and loved Canadians from coast to coast is Don Cherry, aka Grapes. Don Cherry is a brash mouthed in your face Guru who wears garish suits and barks out his opinion every Saturday night after the first period. His gregarious demeanour defies the stereotypical profile of the nice and gentle Canuck.....he speaks his mind with such heat and passion....and not just about hockey!

Much to the dismay of the brass gentry who wither at the sound of his controversial gravelly grizzly voice, we Canadians listen...sometimes rolling our eyes, sometimes laughing at his gutsy bravado, sometimes yelling back at the TV screen and believe it or not sometimes in tears when he shares his patriotism by recognizing our "boys overseas" in Afghanistan, or when he sends his love and best wishes to a hockey family who are going through rough times or when he demands the attention of every little kid who plays hockey whose listening while he gives them a couple of tips to playing the game. The guy's got gutsy compassion.

Grapes galvanizes us during Hockey Night in no other. And I love him for it. I may not agree with his politics or opinions all the time, but I love his passion and compassion. If Don Cherry ran for PM, he'd win....we'd be in deep trouble because he'd most likely piss off every leader in the free world, but he'd win.

Goals....He SHOOTS! He SCORES! Ah, the sweet sound of the excitable commentator of our great sport when the blistering puck slides past the goalie and into the net! No matter what level of hockey, goal scoring is exciting and gets us up clapping with our gloved hands making the sounds of happy seals. There are a few goals which are gouged in the collective memories of Canadians. And, we do gloat about them. :)

The first one took place in 1972 when Paul Henderson scored with 5 seconds left against Vladislav Tretiak in the Canada-Russia series. Honest to God, not only did that 7th game in the series bring this country to a halt (it was shown in the school gymnasiums right across the nation...even bridge playing ladies hosted hockey parties that afternoon) it brought this vast and magificent nation together!

The second monumental goal happened during the Salt Lake City Olympics when we beat the United States for the Gold medal for the first time in 50 years! It was a glorious gleeful whooping moment. You could hear the whole country shout for joy at the very same moment. Not a dry eye to be found when that flag was hoisted.

Gentlemen....believe it or not, there are many in the fast paced gnashing game. Gordie Howe is the first who comes to mind. The most recent player to take the reins is our boy from Cape Breton, Sidney Crosby. Thrown onto the professional rink at the tender age of 18, with lightbulbs flashing and our full attention, Sidney has taken his role as hero to all the little timbits hockey kids and mentor seriously, learning from one of the great gentlemen of the game....Mario Lemieux. Instead of letting this kid grapple and gangle....Mario, who runs the Pittsburgh Penguins team, invited Sidney to move in with his family. How cool is that?

Goons.....oh, hockey is FULL of them too. These elbow throwing high stickers know how to check another player into the boards with GUSTO. These are the guys who most often make the front pages of our national paper or the first story on the national news, sometimes even usurping an international story of far more gravity and importance. They are also the eejits whose violent antics have made a mockery out of our national sport. However, the ones who do their jobs, who protect the goal scoring elite, aren't recognized properly for their important role in the game. Grapes recognizes them....using their defensive plays to teach us the nuances of the fastest paced game going.

Glide....I love this word and the sound it makes when's the artistry of a's the freedom ringing from the razor sharp blade on the endless ice. It looks so easy....gliding.....but it isn't. And when you see a person who has the gift of making their skates look like they are a part of their body, it is a Rockwellian moment. The last time I glided? Some kid cut in front of me, knocking me off balance and in order not to fall and crush my son, I took the fall backwards with a thud so hard I saw stars. I ended up in Emergency in the throes of sobbing hysteria which I was told is a side effect of a concussion. I was sidelined for a week. I haven't put skates on since. Gotta rectify that. I need to get back to gliding....

Gretzky the Great One.....the God of the game. The ultimate hockey gentleman, goal scoring phenom, coach, mentor, Wayne Gretzky is our gifted ambassadour of hockey who is presently working diligently to pull together the next gold winning hockey team for the 2010 Olympics on our home ice. The pressure on his shoulders to repeat the glory of the Salt Lake City win is HUGE. Nothing matters more to most Canucks when it comes to the Olympics. Nothing is acceptable except GOLD

Wayne could run for Prime Minister too. What I admire so much about this man is how humble he had remained. No primadonna demands from this guy.......

The Great Outdoors.....Most hockey players learned how to skate in their backyards. Outdoor skating is THE best. It's where I learned too, on the rinks my father created for my sisters and I. There was also a neighbourhood rink on the street where I grew up which normally was overtaken by the boys and their hockey sticks. So, in order to have my time on the ice, I would don my skates before school started and practise my gliding! There are many outdoor rinks across this country.....and rivers and lakes and streams all waiting to be tested.

Next month, the World Pond Hockey tourney takes place in the little village of Plaster Rock, about two hours from here. Teams come from all over to jump into the game.

Yes our GREAT outdoors offers us many opportunities to play all types of fact a forthcoming road hockey game is being organized in front of my house in the upcoming week or so. You're more than welcome to join. All ages and both sexes will be represented. Beverages to be provided during and post-game.

Well, there you go. I had plans to write on other "G" words, but given the time of year, and the wintry weather, I couldn't help but focus on hockey. Thank you Judy....that was fun to write. And PLEASE go visit Judy's blog and Naomi's too. I always enjoy their pictures, photos, commentary and stories.

If YOU would like to take on this creative and fun task, just let me know either email or in the comment section and I will send YOU a letter to lead you on your way.

Friday, January 16, 2009

the 12 most difficult steps

Lily, our canine matriarch.
Photo by Martha.
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Heartwrenching brokenness
The series of falls are painful, bruising, hard and deep before one can reach out for the first rung with the understanding and the surrendering needed for the journey up the 12 steps.
Physically, emotionally, spiritually, holistically.


I have had the privilege of learning from the experts. Their raw feelings seep out of their skin electrifying the air when they share a slice of reflections. Broken admissions blend with a hopeful heart scarred by scraping knuckles and knees in search of serenity.

Stories spill.
Wishes spill.

Tears come easily because they live just under the sensitive surface.

Prayers repeated until they are at last heard.....until they finally come from a deep holiness which sits in the pit of blackhole transformation. Prayers spoken until they are birthed into a home where loving guiding hands await the surrendering.

Palms upward and open....friends, family, strangers, God.

I have learned from the experts. Beautiful and broken..... they know the story. They know it can't be done alone. They know it needs love and unconditional acceptance. God has that in abundance. So do we.
You know, i'm left this morning wondering if these are truly the steps we all need to consider attempting. They are the learning steps towards living a life with humbling grace and forgiveness of ourselves and others.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

reflections of a broken dream

Heart pane,
Photo produced by my talented daughter Martha.
I'm trying to encourage her to start her own photo blog. Perhaps after exams are over. I'll keep you posted. She's a blossoming talent and always helps me figure out what to post for Carmi's weekly theme. This week, we've combined her photo with my poem.

blurred lines along the highway
this landscape etched in pain
closed door houses looking all the same
twilight hovers, feeding the aching game
aching game.

This empty kitchen coldness, hums a moaning strain.
the woodstove fire's gone out
whos to blame?
who's to blame?
this loneliness in my soul echoes like rain,
like the rain

I catch your reflection in the mirror
when I'm looking through a dream
trying to shave away the stubble through the fog and steam
to find the face of what's left of me, a reverie...
a reverie

my bones so brittle, they've aged a thousand years
these times i've let go of a hundred million tears
encased in deep affection when your voice appears
lost love feeding these darkest night fears
dark night fears.

This empty kitchen coldness, hums a moaning strain.
the woodstove fire's gone out
whos to blame?
who's to blame?
this loneliness in my soul echoes like rain,
like the rain......

I hear a voice, it echos in the silence of the night
Damn its cold and lonely without you in my sight
but through the crack, an opening I know I see some light
this aging soul is empty, but hasn't given up the fight.
hasn't given up the fight......

This empty kitchen coldness, hums a moaning strain.
the woodstove fire's gone out
whos to blame?
who's to blame?
this loneliness in my soul echoes like rain,
like the rain

This week's Thematic Photo theme over at Carmi's Written Inc is Aged. Love can do that to you can't it? It can make you feel young and it can leave you feeling very old. Still, we take the risk of opening our hearts, of seeking love because without it, we starve. For more (perhaps upbeat) takes on the theme this week, check out Carmi's blog.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

unceasing to releasing.

Our minds churn and bubble with activity. There is not a moment in the day or night when we aren't thinking. We analyze, reflect, ponder, postulate, ruminate, daydream, drift and dream. As adults our thoughts seem so much more tangled and complicated. Our energy seems to leave our hearts colder and moves with friction into our heat zapping brains.

If we allow it, our thinking trumps our feelings like a lion would a lamb. It seems so much more aggressive as it feeds off our emotional simmerings, stirring up the voices which make you second guess yourself.

"Prove you are a good person...."

"You don't fit in........"

"Nobody really cares about you....."

"Why do you feel you are worthy? YOU aren't worthy."

"You keep screwing up. What's wrong with you?"

"Why do you think anyone can love you?"

The lamb within us becomes an innocent victim when the lion within us decides to pounce.

Our ability to think is our greatest gift, though there are times when it would be helpful if one could turn it off in order to avoid the guilt, shame, fears and anxiety it can generate. It is an isolating weapon producing paralyzing pain. When our thoughts turn on us, the pain feels like an unrelenting slaughter of the that is so difficult to stop. It is a quick swing of the pondering axe which can lead to self doubt and depression, especially if our thinking is hungry for fuel....if we are already in a wounded place.

How do we protect ourselves from allowing the roaring lion reflections to turn our lamb like emotions into a carcass? How do we internally fight off the attack of the nasty thoughts in order to find peace between the two animals? We need to take special care to hear the voice of the lamb. We need to release our thoughts, the harmful ones and the hopeful ones into a pool of prayer....where the attacking monologue turns into a dialogue with God. We need to listen to the small voice tucked deep inside...the one who reaffirms.....the one who will show us how to coach the lion to lay down with the lamb.

Listen for the love.....experience it as amazing grace. He never lies., if I could only accept my own advice and not let the freakin' lion roar in my head....

Monday, January 12, 2009

3 artists, one family

The other night, I had the pleasure of looking through a culmination of artwork by three talented young people who play a big role in my life. The above sketch is a haunting piece done by my 13 year old friend. She normally draws in manga form and has created her own comic strip. This is only the tip of the iceberg of her talents. She plays the violin, acts and sings. I love having a front row seat to watch and to enjoy her emerging self.
Below, is a poem written by her twin brother who lives with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. A bit of his perspective on life is caught in this poem which has stayed with me since I first read it. My young friend intrigues me, his nose in a book far more often than up and interacting with the people around him. Though there are times when he will engage in whatever conversaton is happening around him and share his perspective with others. He loves his dog, and knows the comfort of belonging to a loving family and a large group of family friends. Still, his life is a struggle as he tries to figure out how to "read" and react to the feelings expressed all around him.
On this Monday morning, bitter cold in temperature, I wanted to share their creative energy to warm us up for the week.


To Dance with Oneself
by Liam
To dance with oneself so gray and so old
To dance every night, the same story told
To see the same flower
To breathe the same air
To eat the same food
To brush the same air.

One million eyes
Copies of just two
One million sighs
Sighs coming from you
They all see
The same things as thee.

To be the same person
Three million times over
To dance with yourself so gray and so old
To dance every night, the same story told.


ooooohhhhh! Guess what? They have a beautifully gifted little sister too who gets up every morning and writes poetry before she heads to school. Many of her attempts she tosses in the trash. Some she saves. Shy and quiet, my little friend who is in Grade 3 has a magical gift she is tentative about sharing with many. I was honoured that she let me read some of her more recent descriptive pieces. The one I have posted here is, according to her, unfinished.

Every morning the moon wakes up the sun. Then the moon says goodbye to the sun. The sun always wears colourful nightgowns. Her nightgown is the sunrise. Later in the day the sun puts on a bright blue dress. She watches over earth.
When it is cloudy, it means the sun is sick and she stays in bed. When it reains the sun is crying. Every night the moon wraps the sun in a starry blanket. But first the sun gets into her colourful nightgown......the sunset.