about God in a forest

So utterly beautiful

Blaze of Obscurity

The forest rises up from the first hills that mark the beginnings of mountains. You walk here from the tiny hamlet, past the soccer field where you used to go with your father in the evenings and watch the deer graze in the fading light and wait for the clockwork scurry of the hedgehogs searching the lawns for slugs and snails.

The trees begin soon after as the rise becomes more earnest, and at first iti is a jumble of deciduous hedges interspersed  with oaks and beeches. Then the pines take over on the opposite side of the road, and you turn right along the packed gravel drive. Here the strawberry plants huddle with their little three pronged leaves, and you slow down to bend and peek, and begin to uncover the tiny wild fruits. They taste…they taste like the way your mother’s hand felt when you had a childhood…

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Liebster Award


Sadje over at Keep it Alive nominated me for this award. Sadje writes on a wide variety of subjects and keeps it interesting and entertaining. Check out her blog: https://lifeafter50forwomen.com

Thank you for honoring me with this award, Sadje. I am sincerely grateful. (To my readers, scroll down to see my nominations, you’ll be glad you did)

Sadje Posed the following 8 Questions for me to answer:

How has writing affected your life?

Writing has helped me express ideas, served as a form of therapy at times, and helped me identify the things dearest to my heart and assisted me to create and meet my personal goals.

Do you have any hobbies?

I used to do crafts, crochet, and cross-stitch, but my eyesight is not what it once was and I think I’ve run the gambit on those. I love to read. I like documentaries and of course I love to write. My only other hobby is nature photography, which I love.

Do you follow the social media?

Yes, actually. I like Facebook because my family live in provinces far away from mine, so we cannot easily visit. Facebook allows me to see babies grow from infant to children and onward, which I thoroughly enjoy.   I love the photos posted of special occasions like weddings, vacations, and holidays. It helps keep us all connected. I also use Twitter, but not as frequently.

On a relaxing day, do you prefer to go out to eat or order in?

I work almost every day so when I have a day off I’d prefer to order in. I guess I’m a bit of a homebody.

If you were required to learn another language, which one would you choose and why?

I would choose to learn French as I am Canadian and French is one of our national languages. I know a smattering, but not enough to converse fluently.

List your 3 favorite writers whose work has affected your own writing.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol resonates with me because of the subject matter i.e. societal injustices. I love Nicholas Sparkes for the ease with which he tells a story. Another writer I much admire is Mary Jo Leddy. She writes non-fiction stories about her experiences helping refugees and people new to Canada. I tend to read more non-fiction than fiction. I like real life stories that tell tales of people who have surmounted tremendous odds. I am passionate about human rights and to be frank, I really don’t know how the authors I’ve mentioned have affected my writing, except to say they inspire me.

Morning walk/ jog or evening gym?

And the answer to this would be D. none of the above. I’m afraid I live a rather sedentary life style, though I do walk but not on a regular basis.

What is your childhood dream that you still want to achieve/ or have achieved?

I’d like to learn how to play piano and to paint. So far, they are still on my bucket list.

Eight random thoughts about myself:

I love animals, and especially my fur-baby, Callie, who has been featured in a few of my blog posts.

I really enjoy photography. Although I am far from an expert, I like trying to capture the beauty in nature or just to capture the light play on an object or scene.

Christmas is approaching and once again I am begging my adult children to keep it simple. I am all about downsizing and getting rid of clutter I no longer want or need.

I love the Northern Lights and this place I call home often grants me the pleasure of viewing them.

Politics are interesting, but often frustrating. Why are people so easily led?

Consumerism will be the death of the planet, in my opinion.

Faith has carried me through many hardships and challenges. I pray it will carry me onward until my days on earth are done.

I miss the ocean.

As per the rules of this award I nominate the following 8 bloggers (in no particular order and if you accept this award please see 8 questions that follow the nominations as well as the rules for this award):

Nefertari at Educate to Liberate writes insightful blog posts which are sometimes challenging and always inspiring. She is an educator and a writer extraordinaire. Check out her blog:

Nefertari Nikenge  https://educatetoliberate.blog

Stephen at Fractured Faith Blog often entertains me with his wit; inspires me with his candor, and regularly surprises me. Stephen lives in Ireland and writes about faith (of course) his daily struggles with OCD and the challenges of work, family, and publishing his books. Check out his offerings:


Dr. Perry writes the MakeItUltra Psychology blog, but don’t assume this blog is only about psychology, though it is the mainstay. Dr. Perry inspires, uplifts, gives generously of his time and wisdom and is a must read. He sprinkles his posts with stories from his own lived experience and often share breathtaking photos as well. Do yourself a favor and have a peek at his blog:


If you’d like to learn more about our world and how human rights are being impacted you may want to peruse the offerings on Baher Kamal’s blog, Human Wrongs Watch


Have you ever wondered how homeless individuals deal with their harsh existence? You may want to learn more about this growing problem. If you do then be sure to give some time to A.P. at Eden in Babylon https://edeninbabylon.com/2018/11/21/the-homeless-christmas-day/

Dottie’s Journey takes the reader along on her life experiences facing challenges that would daunt most of us, but Dottie’s upbeat ways and honesty give hope and inspiration to many. Find her blog at https://dottiesjourney.com/2018/11/20/busy-tuesday/

Shauna is a self-professed geek who also happens to work in a library. She enjoys cosplay and all things geek. I recently re-blogged her post about smuggling her pet rats across the country. Shauna is cheery, upbeat, and a joy to read.


Here are my 8 questions for the nominees:

  1. What inspires you to write?
  2. What is your favorite thing to do, besides blogging?
  3. How long have you been blogging?
  4. What challenges do you face as a blogger?
  5. I have read blogs from around the world. What part of the world do you reside in?
  6. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
  7. Who is your favorite story teller?
  8. What would you most like to change in our world?


Acknowledge the blogger that gave it to you and display the award

Answer 8 questions that the blogger gave you

Give 8 random thoughts about yourself

Nominate 8 other bloggers and notify them of their nomination

Ask your nominees 8 questions.

And the Ancestors Spoke

TRUTH SCULPTURE Carol Hopkins photo

And the ancestors spoke and said

“Child, find your voice”

“Do not sit mutely watching the world go by”

“Use your voice and remind the people of the price of silence”

The price of silence, they gave me to understand:

Injustices, heartache, pain on every level of one’s being

But I answered them, “I have not your strength, I am weak”

And that quiet voice I attribute to them wisely advised:

“Even an infant cries out for what it needs; even a child loves, if taught love”

And then I whined and rationalized and said again,

“I am not wise. I do not understand”

They answered, “Hear us, then, let us teach you …

Sit by the ocean, feel the moisture of the waves as the wind brings it to you

And the scent of the briny air

Walk in the forest feel the softness of the earth beneath your feet

Hear the birds sing and insects buzz

Go to the mountains and look up at the wonder before you

Feel its majesty and grandeur

Venture out into the dessert and on the sandy dunes feel the sun hot upon your skin

Visit the fields and meadows and dig in the soil for plants that nourish

And when you know the blessings of the earth turn and share them

As the wind brings moisture to the land, give drink to those who thirst

As the forest offers shelter, give shelter to those in need

As the mountains make us pause in wonder, give joy and wonder to those who despair

As the sun heats the dessert, bring warmth and compassion to those who are cold

As the fields and meadows offer sustenance, feed those who hunger

But most of all, feel, for when you feel deeply you will not turn from another in need”

And so, I found my voice, and though it may be soft and weak, I will use it here

Thank you, Ancestors




The Homeless Christmas Day

A heartfelt and beautiful request to consider the homeless this Christmas (and aways) ….

Eden in Babylon

This piece was originally posted on my Facebook timeline on December 23rd, 2015.  It has been edited for coherence, and for the relative removal of bitterness and rancor, being as the overall conditions of homelessness were, at the time, affecting both my brain and my heart.  

It looks as though we’re closing in on Christmas again, folks. That’s bad news in my book, and (I daresay) in the corporal book of homeless people everywhere. The good news is that I haven’t flipped out yet. Last year at this time I thought I would “err on the side of caution” and do everybody the favor of at least deactivating my Facebook for the holidays, so that people won’t have to endure too many posts like this on my timeline. Meanwhile, I would be free of that awful combination of outrage and jealousy that so often overtook me when I had to…

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To speak or not to speak: Responding to Grief

pexels-photo-356842 GRIEF

Photo Credit: Pixabay

It’s not so much the fact that loved ones die that keeps us mourning, but the fact we are here without them. In especially close relationships the grief seems unbearable. When that special someone is the person we shared our intimate thoughts with, confided in, laughed with, cried with, shared life with, the desolation is brutal. It’s said that time heals all wounds, but I disagree with that sentiment. I think we carry the wounds for the rest of our lives, but time does help us carry on, despite the wounds. I think the worst thing about grief is the way it takes us back to experience anew every single occasion where we lost someone we loved like some kind of twisted and tortuous boomerang.

In today’s world it seems like grief is either ignored, shamed, or bullied into a dark closet. But people can only begin to heal once they feel safe and their emotions validated. I find it strange how, in our society at least, that people are so uncomfortable with grief. Yet death is the one thing that is an absolute guarantee. It will come to each of us – nobody is getting out of here alive.

In my family it’s okay to talk about death – though we, as individuals, may deal with the aftermath in different ways. Some seem so dry-eyed and strong while others cry copious tears and wear their hearts on their sleeves. It doesn’t matter what the personal expression of grief may be, it is, by and large, respected and accepted.

I remember years ago when I went back to school after a sudden death in the family how uncomfortable and awkward most of my classmates were around me. But there were two very young men who approached me to say ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ and how much their simple expression of condolences meant to me.

So, my advice would be, don’t be afraid to express simple condolences. While a grieving person may be in pain, your words may bring them a bit of comfort. Don’t be afraid to mention the person who died – most people are grateful to have their loved ones remembered. I think it hurts more to be ignored or to not have your pain acknowledged and/or validated.

I am speaking from my own personal experience, which may vary greatly with the next person’s. But I think we, as a society, have much to learn about coping with death. And to me ignoring it is not an option.

Homeless Jesus

An awesome post by an awesome writer…food for thought for everyone, not just Christians

Fractured Faith Blog


I was out for my lunchtime run today, when I was literally stopped in my tracks by a new addition to the Belfast landscape. Outside a homeless centre I regularly run past, was a statue. At first glance, it appears fairly unremarkable. It’s a bronze sculpture of a man lying beneath a blanket on a park bench. What caught my eye, however, was the name of the sculpture – ‘Homeless Jesus.’

Behind the statue was a inscribed description of the piece. It was created by a Canadian sculptor, Timothy Schmalz, and depicts Jesus as a homeless person. His face and hands are obscured by the blanket, but the crucifixion wounds on his feet reveal his true identity. The sculpture is intended as a visual translation of the words Jesus gave to his followers in Matthew 25:45.

‘As you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you…

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My beloved Uncle may you R.I.P.

Yesterday I found out that a beloved uncle has died. He was ninety-one years old. Many have said he lived a long life. Yes, he did. Others have said it was his time. That’s a fair point, I guess. But does age really matter? I mean, loss is loss, and no matter the age it’s still painful. My uncle was a fun loving, mischievous, and very caring man. I could live to be a hundred and more and never meet a kinder, sweeter person. It hurts knowing that I will never get to visit him again or hear his laughter – the man would laugh until tears freely poured down his face. He really enjoyed a good joke! He also loved to play tricks and pranks on his loved ones. And he could never hide it when he had a plan – his eyes would twinkle and his grin would give him away long before he could execute his plans. But he absolutely loved it when one of his pranks was carried off before his victim caught on to what he was doing. Here’s a little case in point:

We were building an addition onto the little house we’d bought and my uncle came to help. He and my husband were busy outside nailing down the floor joists. My husband was so caught up in what he was doing he didn’t notice my uncle behind him nailing another joist in place. They were standing on ladders as the addition included a basement and they were laying the foundation for the ground floor.   I was in the house when I heard a light tap on the door. I opened it to my uncle who was bent over, laughing hard, and gasping for breath. He couldn’t catch his breath to tell me what was so funny. He was pointing to the corner where my husband was caught between the floor joists and could not move. My uncle had him trapped there. And it wasn’t enough for me to see the results of his prank, he wasn’t satisfied until everyone in the house seen what he had done. Then, and only then, did he pull the joist off so my husband could move.

Aw, the many happy memories. This was one of my uncle’s favorite stories to tell at every family gathering of which we were part. Actually, it is also one of my husband’s favorite tales to tell whenever my uncle’s name comes up in conversation. Do you remember when…it always begins. With my uncle there are many remember when moments. They are memories we will cherish.

He was also such an exceedingly kind man. He loved his family dearly. I remember his stories of how he met my aunt and the love in his eyes as he related it to me; of how smitten he was with her. She also died in November, five years ago. He missed her terribly. That same pride would shine in his eyes as he told me of the latest news of his children or grandchildren.

The memories are a comfort to me. Yes, it hurts that he is gone. But he left us an example of a life well-lived and adversities overcome.  We will mourn the fact he is no longer with us, but we will celebrate the fact that he lived, loved, and celebrated life with gusto. I will endeavor to follow his example. Rest in Peace Uncle Leo, you will always be remembered fondly and with love.