Monday, March 30, 2009

Flip-Flop

Yesterday, there I was... sitting on my deck, in a cotton t-shirt, capri pants and bare feet, reading a good book and watching the birds play hard to get....just humming a great little song, soaking up the sun and growing fresh freckles.

Today...well...that's a different story...

Even Callie is sulking....

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Happy Earth Hour


Here we are, celebrating Earth Hour.

Actually, I honoured our Earth all afternoon, it being a balmy 12 degrees and sunny...I could have spent the day doing housework, but then I would have missed this day...and it will never happen quite like this again.

So instead, I parked myself in a snowbank for an hour, just enjoying the sun and birdsong...(I heard the first white-throated sparrow of the year!), then when my backside got too cold I moved to a deck chair on the veranda.

Not much electricity used today.

What if fear was our guide?

I just finished reading A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson for the book club I belong to. It's the story of an 'unfinished woman', taking a sabbatical from her marriage by spending a year alone at her Cape Cod cottage.

In the book, after several weeks of hibernating, the author spontaneously hitches a boat ride to a small off-shore island, where she spends the day alone, swimming with seals.

Within our little group of women, this brought us to the topic of fear and how we cheat ourselves out of life's joyful abandon by allowing fear to dominate our choices.

It seemed serendipitous as earlier in the week, I'd had a conversation with someone I love about just that subject.

Most people think fearless people are courageous, but I think the antithesis of fear is surrender. I'm certainly not a brave person, but I've learned to combat fear by giving my apprehension over to the universe, surrendering the outcome to chance. And every time I do, I gain a little more confidence, a little more self-respect, a little more courage. If I want to defeat fear, there is no other way...I have to dive into it.

In Year by the Sea, just before she plunges into the unknown and swims with the seals, the author wonders if her need to control outcome has brought about her fear. "Why am I more cautious as I age instead of the other way around," she asks herself. "I wonder if it's all tied in to failure. I tend to forget my gains and remember only the losses. The failures have piled up, wreaking havoc with my confidence until, as an adult, I've become afraid to take chances."

But by trying to always control outcome, don't we cheat ourselves out of wondrous unknown possibility? Fear is a tool of the dark side...the negativity in our head that tries to keep us from becoming the whole person we are created to be. Each time fear creeps in, confidence and self-esteem seeps out. So, rather than equating fear with Avoidance, what if we equated it with Advantage?

What if we used fear as our guide? What if we used our fear to alert us to the areas of our life that we may most need to explore? What might we gain?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Gathering

Some of us had worked together for almost two decades. During that time, we’d spent a third of almost all our days together – from 8 to 4 – laughing, teasing, complaining, supporting, achieving, listening, sharing, eating, collaborating, raging, advising…sometimes even crying together.

We matured, gained and lost weight, swapped recipes, sprouted grey hairs. We married husbands, raised children and buried parents.

Now, a decade later, we gathered again to see if there was still a spark of our old relationships smouldering in the passage of time. Would it be the same? Or had we all changed and grown too far apart in our separate lives?

We hugged and laughed and caught up with each other for a full eight hours…just like the old work days.

It was like hearing an old familiar song...and discovering you still know the words.

We dusted off our memories and resurrected the achievements, surprises, stories, habits…we howled with laughter because one still didn’t finish her sentences and another was still delightfully scandalous and irreverent. We learned that the children who we'd watched grow up were now married with children of their own.

I found comfort in how little we’d changed through the years we’d been apart. Familiar facial expressions, gestures, patterns of speech…we recalled old nicknames, pranks and the laughter of the past.

We celebrated the relationships that had taken years to build, and I realized I’d probably spent more hours with these girls than I’d spent with my dearest friends. I know the colour of each woman’s eyes. I know that one hates pasta and peaches, another hates to hug. One tells all, another tells nothing.

It's taken me years to appreciate this.

Oh, the pleasure that comes from knowing, accepting and understanding a person…how she will respond or what will make her laugh, or how her eyes will tear when she does. We all agreed that we’d shared a very special time – one that will never come again because the world has since changed. That special synergy we created at that time of our lives cannot be duplicated.

And, we are all richer and wiser for the knowing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What if we just have to listen?

I am exploring this idea of place, and how it speaks and textures my writing. When in the presence of beauty, it's as if my heart opens and my words spring forward in flight. Other times, I turn inward and write slowly...deeply. I think I need both.

Landscape has such power to move ... consider how you choose an unmarked route through a forest...how the curves and hollows call and draw you forward...how obstacles cause you to pause and re-consider.


How it awakens our curiosity...we just have to know what lies around the next valley, or over the next rise, or beyond the next hilltop...

Consider how a mighty tree makes you look way, way up…dizzy...


...how a soft moss bed begs us for rest, and a tiny garden of mushrooms can pull us to our knees...



While, an open field causes us to feel joy...breathe deep and run with giddy laughter.

Boulders beg us to climb and warm ourselves on their shoulders…

...and then see how we are drawn to the horizon of a cliff, how the tickle in our belly delights us as we peer over the edge. We have to see what’s below.


We walk the edge of land and sea; we cannot refuse, it bathes our soul.

Landscape calls us out from our walls and freely gives us wisdom and emotion.

What if we just have to listen?

Monday, March 2, 2009

A gift of Uncommon Grace...

When my friend told me the story of her daughter's pregnancy last year, my heart nearly broke in half. I could not conceive of her pain.

All had seemed normal with the pregnancy until an ultrasound showed that Myah was carrying a child with anencephaly, a disorder that causes the brain to not fully form.

In the days and months to come, Myah stood her ground against the advice of an army of doctors and specialists, who told her repeatedly she was carrying a child who could not see, feel, think or hear. She finally resorted to legal advice, fearing her daughter would not receive the compassion and care she deserved upon delivery.

Myah carried little Faith Hope to full term...celebrating the joys of her pregnancy the entire time, cherishing every moment of her daughter's growth. She saw her daughter (this child who 'could not think, feel or hear') sucking her thumb on the ultrasound, felt the baby kick and respond to music and her mother's touch.

Her blog tells the story of this tiny bit of a miracle child who, while she may not live long, is nonetheless living long enough to profoundly change lives. Daily, she shares her personality, spirit and joy with those who know her. I want you all to meet her, too...to feel the power of Faith.

This is a story of uncommon grace, strength, maturity and love. Myah's words are filled with hope and light and humour - there is no anger here, no sorrow. The maturity and wisdom of this young woman staggers me. Termination was never an option for Myah, who has an unshakable faith in God and his love. She trusts in His plan. Now her story is touching thousands of people across the web.

This is the story of Faith...