More birds, more blessings


It is a cold, frosty morning here. It is nice to think of spring, which, really, is only a few weeks away. I will be glad to bid goodbye to winter, especially this year. Here are a few reminders of what’s in store for us in the months ahead – perhaps not these exact birds – these were taken in Newfoundland by a friend who has graciously agreed to allowing me to use them here. There will be more birds, and more blessings as the days roll by into spring. For today, I will do my best to count the blessings this day brings and look forward to the arrival of our feathered friends. I hope these photographs cheer you, as they do me.

Pine Grosbeak (Male) – Photo by Kathy Marche
Red-breasted nuthatch – Kathy Marche photo
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2 – Kathy Marche photo
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Kathy Marche photo
Savannah Sparrow – Kathy Marche photo
Swamp Sparrow – Kathy Marche photo
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher – Kathy Marche photo
Yellow Throat – Kathy Marche photo

To walk in the woods and see such beauty and hear such song is a blessing. If you like bird watching and happen to travel to Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada I hope you chance to see some of these little beauties. My sincere thanks once again to Kathy Marche for her generosity in sharing these lovely photographs.

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Sacred Whispers



Frost Texture – Stockvault image

Sacred whispers

In every leaf and flower

Every tree, every bush

Each singing waterway

Divinity speaks quietly

And bids me to pay heed

To generous scenes of loveliness

That’s sent for all to see

And in the winter months

When all is ice and snow

The frost paints pretty pictures

For all to gaze upon

And consider the artist’s hand

Best of all these wondrous gifts

Are all completely free

My spirit’s filled with delight and awe

Sing on, my soul, sing on

Of nature’s praise, and glory be

For all eternity

Sun on Snow


There is a beauty to winter, however much I dislike the cold – and this past week has been brutally cold! Yet, seeing the sun rise on my way to work is a sight I am blessed to see, and I would battle the cold for such a view. The evening sunsets are also beautiful as the sun turns the snow on the hills a delicious shade of pink. These are a couple of photos I took with my phone trying to capture the magic, the majesty, and the wonder….

The sunset was spectacular and even made the parking lot at work a place of beauty

Even though the winter is cold the sun promises warmer days ahead and I am grateful

The blessings of being broken


She sat on the sofa not moving while the litany of destructive self recriminations began. She was too weak to stop it. It played on and on with one accusation following another in a never-ending loop. The mental pain was excruciating. She wanted to die just to end the pain. Yet, thoughts of her children stayed her hand. Who would find her dead body? No, she could not do that to them.

Despite the fact she knew she was not the mother she wanted to be; despite all the times she was distracted and preoccupied by the nonstop judge that ruled her mind and kept her hostage; despite the strong inner critic who chained her to the whipping post day after day after day and lashed her repeatedly with words both cruel and untrue.

Then one day the pain became too great. She decided to end it. She could not go on this way, and really, her children would be better off without her. She was merely existing, not living. She did not deserve their love; did not deserve to be their mother. And the children deserved so much more than she could give. In fact, she had nothing to give. She was empty, totally drained of joy or happiness.

She was broken, utterly and entirely spent. She cried and cried – screamed out her pain, but no one heard – no one. At least, that was what she thought and believed at the time.

When you reach rock bottom; when you can sink no lower, it is then you begin to rise. The ascent was slow at first, very slow. She thought she’d never see the light at the end of that dark tunnel. But she had strength – more strength than she knew.  She crawled in increments so tiny as to be microscopic. She did not see much change, at first. The inner voice tortured her still, but now there were small moments of quiet – moments of peace she’d never known before.

Those moments stretched into hours. Then eventually into days, and then weeks, until finally she emerged from the darkness.

She stretched her arms up toward the sky and turned in circles laughing up at the sun. And the blessings – oh the blessings – she felt the breeze tease the hair on her arms. She felt the sun warm against her skin. Breathed deeply the aroma of the sweet grass and briny air. And gazed about her like one newly born. She filled her senses with life.

 Like someone blind suddenly given the gift of sight her eyes were opened. She had much to give and gave it unstintingly. Compassion for others flooded her heart. She was healed. Yet the gift of memory allowed her to be a blessing to others. She never forgot her journey through that dark and bitter tunnel.

And so, it was and is and will be until the clock winds down and her days on earth are done, that brokenness leads to blessings untold and reaches out to heal others trapped inside the tunnel.

Gifted, Blessed, and with Joy to give


The past two weeks have been incredibly busy, as I am sure they have been for most of us. Christmas is such a blessed time of year, and one I have always loved, but it can also be a stressful time of year with marketing geniuses doing their best to manipulate the masses into buying whatever they may be hocking. For those who are already under financial constraints the pressure can be intolerable, and the emphasis on family depressing for those of us who do not have the support of a loved one(s). So, Christmas can bring a mixed bag of joy and sadness – joy for some, utter dejection for others.

Two weeks ago, I had to call an ambulance to take my husband to hospital and within a few days I was visited by the flu which set me on my butt and added to the stress. In the midst of all this was the pressure I was putting on myself to get ready for Christmas, forgetting we always have choices…. maybe they’re not great choices, but they are choices.

Not long ago a friend gifted me with tickets to Tom Jackson’s Huron Christmas Carol. We were supposed to go together but my friend had to opt out. So, she gave me the tickets so my husband and I could go together. As I sat in the theatre with my husband listening to the beautiful music and laughing at the anecdotes Tom was sharing, I could feel the tension ease off my neck and shoulders.

The entertainer was talking about joy; about gifts; about what we can do for one another – sometimes something as simple as a smile can be a much-needed gift for another. What ‘finest gift’ can we bring?

This was cause for a lot of reflection on my part. We don’t have much money. My husband has been on a disability pension for many years and my job is only part-time,leaving little cash to spare. Giving gifts is a great pleasure for me and for along time I found it quite depressing that I could not give the things I would have liked to give. I do what I can.

And then I met people who are homeless. One man gifted me with his sense of humour that made me laugh so hard that tears started to roll down my cheeks. Another humbled me with a gift of candy – a quiet, gentle person – he reminded me of the innate goodness of humanity and the dignity inherent within all of us that should be respected and celebrated. His gift was pure joy as it came from the heart. Another bakes banana bread and brings it to the library to give to the people who work there. His gift was recognition of the people who go over and beyond what it required of them in their paid positions. His gift was gratitude. A so-called ‘mentally disabled’ woman helped me remember the joy of presence as she regaled me with stories of her life and doings. So, in the end it isn’t the physical gift that matters is it? It is the gifts of compassion, empathy, and connection that are the true gifts.

We all have joy to give, if we choose to do so. We are all gifted in some way –talented in some way. We are all blessed with something special and unique to ourselves. May this Christmas help us identify and share our blessings with others.

Regaining equilibrium and giving thanks


Last week was a very difficult week. Between my husband being hospitalized and my bout with flu coupled with the fast approaching Christmas season I was stressed to the max. I am grateful to have 2/3 behind me. My husband is home. I am over the flu. Now, to tackle decorating and shopping. I have always loved Christmas and I am looking forward to family time and friendly gatherings.

I am also looking forward to a reprieve from any crises with my husband’s health. The one thing these crises continue to teach me is to value our time together; to not take anything for granted; that life is very fragile and can end at any time. With his release from hospital many people assume he is better – and he is to a degree, but damages done to his heart and kidneys due to diabetes have taken a toll that cannot be reversed. We will work to keep his kidneys and heart from further deterioration and, hopefully keep dialysis at bay.

Still, I am grateful. I am grateful for the kind and warm support we have received from a wide variety of people – from close family and friends to acquaintances to my blogging community. Words can never express what this support has meant to me.

To all my readers, a sincere thank you for your kind words and expressions of support. They truly mean a lot to me and bolstered my spirit when I was feeling very low and very afraid. May all the blessings you bestow return to you multiplied many, many times and may all your kindnesses return to you a thousand-fold. From my heart to yours I wish you a peace-filled and truly joyous holiday season. May God bless you all

Liebster Award


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:

https://fracturedfaithblog.com

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:

https://makeitultrapsychology.wordpress.com

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

https://human-wrongs-watch.net

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.

https://hidengoshauna.wordpress.com

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?

RULES

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.