Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wonderful Wednesdays

This week I am choosing to celebrate my niece Alex on this wonderful Wednesday since we share a birthday! Happy Birthday to my one and only.. Alexandra Nicole!!!

Top ten reasons I love her so much:
  1. She is an old soul. Her level of understanding far surpasses that of an eleven year old.
  2. Her eyes sparkle with mischief and with loyalty.
  3. She makes me feel good about being a girl.
  4. She is sensitive by nature and has a heart of gold.
  5. She giggles often and its contagious.
  6. She is honest with her feelings and forthright with her emotions.
  7. She loves her brother and doesn't hide it.
  8. She loves pizza and getting her back rubbed, just like her auntie.
  9. We have an understanding. We "get" eachother.
  10. When I look into her eyes, I see my childhood all over again.

Birthday Baby

"The Journey Of Life Begins With A Single Step"
I am a woman of 34 years who hasn't learned to tie her shoes right yet.
I wonder how many miles I have walked in this life so far?
Ella Fitzgerald shares a birthday with me.
I always wanted to be a talented jazz singer!
I am a happy girl.
Life is the most ridiculously wonderful event
I could ever ask for.

Monday, April 23, 2007

a friend of a ladybug

Ladybugs make me so happy. Not sure why. I like their name for starters but the beautiful patterns on their backs are so artistic. They look so friendly. Most people are afraid of bugs but I have never heard of anyone being afraid of a lady bug. Although they are a member of the beetle family, they are too "ladylike" to be taken for granted really.

I remember sitting at my window in the early spring of 1997. I was feeling a little bit down. I was smoking out the window, as I recall. I didn't do this often. I was also listening to the gentle rain and the cool air felt good blowing through the window. All of a sudden, there appeared a lady bug on my finger out of no-where. Odd, I thought. I started to talk to this little critter of a lady and she walked all the way up my arm before I gently let her off onto the window sill. I said good-bye and off she went.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Like Valentine's, I don't need a day to be showered with gifts from my loved one. I am abundant with gifts of his love all year through. Earth Day should be a mind-set and a lifestyle... not a day! I guess it's a start. Okay, I know I am beginning to sound pessimistic but I am passionate about alot of things.

I will do my share and contribute to a cleaner earth. It is our gift we should cherish. On our fridge sits a check list of ideas to make your home more environmentally friendly. We have checked off a lot of these recommendations but we still have a ways to go. I am committed to this process and I will do what I can to instill this in our precious son. We all have to be caretakers of this glorious garden we call earth.

Imagination Street

On my street, the houses are small and tidy. They are not enormous because people just build homes that are adequate and cozy abodes. They are filled with laughter and light heartedness. The comforting aroma of fresh bread baking in the oven. The windows are open and there are no screens. There is no west nile to worry about or intruders. There are no locks on our doors and visitors are always welcome. The birds are singing. There are beautifully landscaped gardens filled with wildflowers and bird baths. There are no pesticides. All you can smell is fresh earth and dew worms. Your vegetable garden is plentiful and abundant with colourful produce. You pick your own fixings for a delicious salad you are preparing for the evening meal. Your kids can pick fresh fruit from your fruit trees in your backyard for their afternoon snack. They don't whine because they have never heard of fruit roll-ups or McCain luncheables. You know all the neighbours on the street. You sometimes join them for Sunday dinner. Your children perform an after-dinner skit of dancing and singing or Johnny plays the piano for his small audience. Your children skip down the street and go on their own little adventures to the park, building forts and selling lemonade on the corner. You don't have to watch their every move because it is safe. No predators to worry about. The ponds and lakes are safe to swim in all summer long. No threat of E-coli or a high bacteria count in the water. The UV rays are minimal and the summer high is 25degrees celsius. There are no smog alerts.

Down my street, there is a centre core. It is filled with indepedent merchants. A seamstress, a locksmith, a barber, a pharmacy, a confectionary store, a toy store and a florist. There are quality products lining the shelves but the food labels are easy to read. The ingredients are natural and safe. There aren't too many choices to confuse you. The selection is simple. The prices are affordable. The customer service is respectful and courteous. You walk down the street and don't try to conceal your wallet. You make eye contact with the people who pass you and you hold doors open for them. If you drop a parcel, someone will help you pick it up. The worst kind of violence you may see is a couple of boys shoving eachother and putting up "their dukes" but someone intervenes and breaks it up. They eventually shake hands and dust themselves off. There is no colour, gender or class discrimination. Everyone on my street earns an honest and similar wage. There is no such thing as two income families and 2-3 vehicles per household because there was no need. If you were going anywhere, you would be taking your family with you.

In reality, all we can do is try to live our best life.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hello Mr. Moon

A tender moment in our household. The baby awoke in the middle of the night which is a fairly regular occurrence and so I brought him into the family bed in hopes he might settle again. I looked at the clock. 4am.

As he squirmed between us, he looked amazingly alert for this hour. He began staring off at the window and shouting in baby talk. He usually does this to his stuffed animals every now and then like he's having a conversation with them. I wondered what the heck had him so amused?

I turned to see Mr. Moon in our window. The baby had discovered big old Mr. Moon and I guess he was greeting him. Their conversation went on for a few minutes and then he was off to sleep again.

Too precious.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I did it!!

I finally thought one of my writing pieces was good enough to try to get published! We shall see. I won't say anymore because I have already made peace with the fact that it sometimes takes years for this to happen, according to my "editing mentor". She has had several short stories published in magazines and now the Chicken Soup series. How great for her!!!

Anyway, I threw my hands up into the universe, along with my short story and let's see what happens.

For now, I will just keep writing and keep my fingers crossed!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Lengs

I have known the Leng family for ten years now. Bill and Millie raised two daughters in a small town. They raised them well. These two girls are very dear friends of mine- BJ and Kelly. I have never really had friends who were from a small town... most of my friends are "city girls". Their parents treated me like I was part of the family.

I was always invited for "lunch" and there was something so endearing about that. We'd sit together in the middle of the afternoon and Millie would bring out traditional lunch fare. A relish tray, a potato or macaroni salad, sandwich fixings and sweets. Other times we'd have barbeques or "appetizer afternoons". We'd sit and gab, laugh and giggle at Millie's calendar on the fridge. She had everyone's birthday written down- from cousins, to neighbours, to church friends. She would also use the calendar to mark important things like who visited, the weather, different local events coming up like church bazaars, etc.

We'd play boardgames or sit under a tree in the backyard shade and play with Rosco, their beloved dog. We'd go to Canada Day parades and have picnics at the park. At Christmas time, I was invited a few times to attend their family Christmas celebration at a local community hall. They'd have a potluck and play cards, while the children ran around and played. Millie also loves to decorate the tree at Christmas time. I would ask if I could help out with setting up the Christmas village and it was always a special treat. We'd even go to see the big seasonal lights display in another town.

I will never forget those times at the Leng house. Though we don't see one another nearly as much, I owe that family so much. They showed me there was a different way to live. Simple was good and it made me feel so warm and loved.

This is the way a family should be.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

wonderful wednesdays

Wednesday is my day of reflection. Today, I thought about what things give me comfort.

Here's my top ten:

  1. A hot bubble bath: Nothing beats this! Bubbles and hot, steaming water. Though I never have enjoyed reading in the bath (I know people that do), it is my time to daydream which is one my favourite things to do! I also like to sing my heart out like the lounge singer I have always wanted to be and make my lyrics up as I go! Most times the words don't even make sense but who's listening anyway? I also like to close my eyes and dunk my head under the water and just be. I crank the furnace up so I am toasty when I get out because that is the hardest part!
  2. A cozy blanket: I now have a favourite blankie. It is from LaSenza (who knew they had chenille blankets- thanks Helga!) It is so comforting to wrap myself in it on a cold day and watch a movie or my favourite soap, or with a good book, or when I take a nap with the baby or whenever I just want to feel surrounded by something very warm and soothing. I have even shed a few tears in it and it really helped. It is the kind of feeling you get when you are wrapped in your mother's arms... and she doesn't have to say a word.
  3. Chocolate: I know this can't be something I rely on too much. Just today I discussed in great detail my shared love for chocolate with my friend Denine. We both fell in love with it years ago! It's the only thing you can put in your mouth and you instantly feel like you are ooozing with comfort and it takes you to a different place.
  4. Cookies baking in the oven: The aroma alone is just enough to remind me of "home". Enough said.
  5. Hugs from my husband: There is something to be said about his arms. I remember when we were just friends and he offered me a hug when I was really stressed out. It made me weak in the knees, let me tell you. His hugs are firm, genuine and safe.
  6. A call from Mom or Dad: Both of them have such soothing voices when need be. I don't care how old I get, it will be something I will never be too proud to receive! They offer me the perfect blend. My mom gives me really good advice and she often talks alot. She usually gets pretty emotional and will usually shed as many tears as I do. She is in that moment with me- completely. My dad is usually the more silent type. He will talk really soft, ask a few questions and spends more time just listening. His steady voice and unwavering disposition gives me quick reasoning abilities and mental clarity. He cries too sometimes but usually keeps it together for me and offers me solutions.
  7. Baby time: I am learning that babies can be so therapeutic. Just being in their presence offers you a constant glimpse at what the closest thing to perfection can be- their innocence, their new skin, their flawless disposition, their unconditional love. All you have to do is love a baby and they think the world of you.
  8. Old Photographs: My grandmother is amused by my love for old photos. I constantly pull out her albums when I visit and look at each picture over and over. They are so revealing with emotions, memories, family dynamics, personalities and history. Of what was then that cannot be erased by time.
  9. Nature: All I have to do is look to the sky, the sun, the clouds. Breathe the air, listen to a bird's song, smell the earth and listen to the trees rustle in the wind.
  10. A good belly laugh: There is humour in everything, even when you are feeling sad. I look around and think of the endless possibilities of humour and find it often. Sometimes my husband won't get this. "How could you be in the depths of despair and then suddenly start busting a gut with laughter!" I don't even bother explaining. You just have to be me! If you can't laugh at yourself, you have nothing.

Monday, April 09, 2007

My short published piece!

Mapquest-- The Journey of Life

The internet is an endless resource for consumers. Everything from searching for love to searching for a vast supply of products and everything in between.

Mapquest is a website that acts as your on-line compass around the world. You name a destination and with a click of the mouse, you get directions!

I wonder if such a thing will exist where you can "map quest your life's path" and get directions to it one day! That will save a lot of unnecessary travel expenses, gasoline and heart-aches for people. Hey- it may even protect the ozone layer if we keep our travels to a minimum! I'm all for that!

I often contemplate life and feel I have navigated myself through some pretty interesting terrain. I find it fascinating that there are so many twists and turns in a life-time that nothing can truly be "mapped out". There are so many variables. Our daily choices combined with plain old circumstances can make for one winding, bumpy and exhilarating journey.

Think of all the short-cuts and detours you have taken. You thought you were onto something wonderful and then the brakes went on and you made a left turn instead of a right. I wonder how things would have turned out for you if you just stayed to the right? I wonder if you hadn't come across this person and that person along the way what that would have meant for you in the long run?

Life is so mysterious to me. Predictability makes people feel safe. Maps and directions make people feel in control because it is in writing, I suppose.

I believe our most reliable compass is our gut and even that is subject to change.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

the kitchen table

This past weekend, I enjoyed sitting at my mother-in-law's kitchen table. It is a simple pleasure I get when I visit her small town. It gives me a "small town feel" and so much comfort. While my sister-in-law Jan hopped around from counter to counter, I watched her in awe. She always takes great pride in preparing delicious meals on holidays and all year through. She is a great cook and a "domesticated diva"- really. If she were to live closer, I think my husband would be at her place all the time tasting her pies, jams, baked goods and spaghettti sauce. I am certain of this.

Family time has been lost in many households across the world. I think the kitchen table is what keeps family's together. It is where stories are told, laughter is shared, comfort is given and nourishment is received.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Shady Tree

Think of all of the wonderful things you can do under a shady tree. It is the perfect prop for so many things. You can sleep, have a picnic, read a great book, gaze into someone's eyes or just lay back and look up at all of the lush leaves and daydream about something special.

When you pay attention to nature and its progression through the seasons (like I do now) you watch things grow and blossom and then fade away and die. I know that November is difficult for me for this very reason. I feel loss as the trees loose their leaves and stand bare for the cold winter ahead. They must feel lonely, cold, unattractive and abandoned. Okay, I am giving the trees humanistic traits that they don't have, but this is how I would feel if I were a tree.

I am deeply affected by nature and its powerful healing properties. If you surround yourself in nature, love nature and respect nature, it will do so much for you.

Though there are no leaves on the branches outside our home, I anxiously await them to lovingly fill the trees with their beauty.

Enjoy this picture taken outside my work at the retreat centre. It was a perfect autumn day!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

wonderful wednesdays

I got this theme idea from a friend who writes lists on Tuesdays... ahemmmhemmm.. Laurel!
I will go with wonderful wednesdays and choose random lists of wonderful things!

10 wonderful reasons why I love my husband:

  • he flosses his teeth every day!!!

  • he calls his mother everyday to check in on her (she is 82)

  • he likes routines and is methodical in nature.

  • unlike my "what you see is what you get" approach, he reserves a huge part of himself just for me. I get to see all of the wonderful layers of qualities that reside in him.

  • he can imitate all kinds of voices and famous lines from classic movies to a tee.

  • he is a "one take" kind of guy- doesn't usually have to re-do things because he does it right the first time.

  • he is mysterious and just when I think I "get him", he surprises me!

  • he marvels at his blessings out loud and often.

  • he has a good core; avoids gossip and keeps his opinions to himself.

  • he has an appreciation for fine art, cuisine and all things beautiful. Did I mention he hates sports- aside from baseball! YES!!!! I love this about him!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

my last ten

Throughout my life, I have come into hard times. Fortunately, I was blessed with different opportunities and a hint of resourcefulness which would see me through. Times were especially tough when I decided I could "make it on my own" at 17.

I remember being given pieces of furniture from various sources which amounted to one very colourful apartment. An orange and brown couch, a black spray painted table and chairs set, mixed end tables and a mattress on the floor as my bedroom suite. Hey- this is not a pity party here. It is fact. I chose this life. I lived it. I managed to turn out okay. I lived on $450 each month and my rent was $350. I had $100 to pay for groceries and everything else. I did it though!! I didn't starve either. I was very good with my money. I stretched it far. I continued to finish my high school education and work part-time at Beaver Lumber.

Through the years, after college, my income increased. I became somewhat of an over-indulger in that I had gone without stuff for so long that I often bought way too many toiletries, perfumes and home decor that I didn't have the room for it all! I used to give it away to those who were in similar situations I had been in. I was "paying it forward" in some respects- giving to those who were in need just like I was.

I remember my sister saying "Don't count on money that you don't have." It was good advice. I used to buy furniture or at least pick it out long before my income tax return would be completed. This habit only lasted so long before it blew up in my face and I had outstanding purchases but no income tax credit that year. I also stopped stretching my dollars like I used to and I took for granted that I suddenly had money in my pocket.

One year, my contract never got renewed at work. We had lost some funding. I was not only devastated, I was out of a job. Hence, no savings to count on. Nothing. I took on three jobs and times were tough again.

On one desperate day, I was sitting at the gas station filling up. I was handed the change- my last ten and went to put it in my wallet. It fell through the crack of my window and down into the door. I began to sweat. I raced home and got a screw driver out and tried to take the door apart. I had no money left. To no avail, the door would not come apart. I had to borrow money instead.

Years would pass and I forgot about that day. It came time to sell my jeep and I took one last look and remembered the door! I was determined this time to get that money in the door as a souvenir and as a reminder to be wise with my money.

Last year when we bought our first house, I brought out my "last ten" and shared the story with my husband. I was almost tempted to display it in the front hall but it is very worn and weathered looking. Instead, I hung up an engraved stone that says "BELIEVE".

My husband often remarks that when we are looking through the fridge for something to eat, that we always have this many options to choose from. We remain humble people who try not to ever take anything for granted.