Walk a mile in their shoes: a challenge in these times

As I write the news screams about rising cases of the new variant across the country and around the world. While new vaccines have given us hope, the reality of the virus evolving into strains that may be resistant to these same vaccines is depressing. Our federal and provincial governments are stressing the need to stay the course, to continue social distancing, hand-washing, and the wearing of masks. As I write I continue to struggle with the present dismal realities. We have yet to be vaccinated, hopefully that day will come soon.

 A friend of ours insists there is some ulterior motives out there aimed at keeping people fearful and not fully living. I have tried very hard to see things from his perspective; to walk a mile in his shoes. I am not having any success at all with it. To my mind governments are not trying to control us. They are trying their best to navigate this pandemic and giving the best advice they can. (Well, some governments are.) The way I see it governments who stress the whole social distancing regulations are simultaneously losing many tax dollars due to these same regulations. What politician or government would really want to do that? I would not want to be the one having to make decisions on the part of the populace at any time, much less during this pandemic.

Try as I might I just don’t understand what the big deal is? Okay there are fair points when it comes to staying away from family and friends. I get it. We celebrate Easter this weekend. In my family it means another holiday without the usual family dinner that I love. That makes me incredibly sad. Yet, I am hopeful that the efforts at social distancing, etc. will eventually pay off.

To my mind it comes down to what is most important: individual rights or social responsibility to others. For me the latter will always be my first priority. Yes, right now that requires sacrifice but it’s a sacrifice I am willing to make if it means less people getting sick or dying; if it means keeping our health care systems from being overwhelmed; if it means having family dinners again where we feel truly safe and joyous in one another’s company.

We are entering the spring season, a season of new life and rejuvenation. It is my hope that the vaccines will do their job; that people can, eventually anyway, gather in celebrating life. Until then I will make whatever sacrifices are needed toward that end.

If you are a Christian, I bid you Happy Easter. If you are not then I bid you a Happy Spring!

Grouse for the day

What are you grousing about today? Mine is political. You can stop reading now, if you so choose. I wouldn’t blame you. Mine is this: why is our UCP provincial government even considering a for profit health care system? I am very concerned about this. I cannot see it working. Our health care system may be far from perfect but it’s working much better than others around the world. It is one thing that Canadians are rightly proud of. We know that despite where people may fall on the economic scale, they will be taken care of. In all honesty I did not vote for this government and they have done absolutely nothing to change my mind since they took office a little over a year ago. In the middle of a pandemic our health minister has been belligerent, arrogant, and picking fights with the province’s health care professionals (and have done little for education, either).

Yes, I know this pandemic will cost us all. I am not looking forward to the economic fallout that is sure to come. I know our taxes will likely go up. I know services will be pared down. It’s worrisome. Anyway, that’s my grouse for the day. My apologies. I do try to keep it positive but I am tired, and I am especially tired of the combative nature of our provincial “leaders”.

Neglected and Abandoned; in response to Lynn’s Tuesday Photo Challenge

And so, it stands like an orphan child left all alone. Abandoned. Empty eyes and torn clothing, shabby and forlorn. My mind wonders as it wanders through the past years: what children may have played in the fields out yonder? How many sticky fingers touched the door? Were they happy here, that family who once sheltered here? Where did they go, the family who once called it home? The romantic in me pictures it as it once must have been, when hard-working hands pounded in the last nail and then stood back with pride, admiring his handiwork with pride. Poor old thing sure has seen better days. But I wonder what secrets lay between the floors? What story would this old house tell of yesteryears? Poor neglected child.

Glen over at justabitfuther is the host of this photo challenge. To participate go to:


In a Funk

I’ve been in a funk. I know, hard to believe, but true! Life’s been tough for all of us and I felt I did not need to add my whining and/or complaints to an overflowing pool. My mother used to repeat the old adage, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. I apply that to my writing as well. I believe the world needs more positivity, especially now during a freaking pandemic that has most of the world on its knees. Perhaps, that’s a good thing. We can pray while we’re down here.

My muse has gone off on an extended vacation and has not breathed a word into my ear for several weeks now. I miss her. So while I continue to search for meaning, for encouragement, for more silver linings I have not forgotten all the wonderful, talented, and wise folks I have “met” here on WordPress. And, I am sending a hello along with well wishes for all of you. I will be back soon. I feel the funk lifting, so that’s good. Cheers!

taken from Facebook, photo credit: Douglas Smith, Arnprior, Ontario, Canada

To home-school or not? A very thorny question!

We are social beings by nature, but has this pandemic caused us to become anti-social? And what about the little children growing up during these anxiety-producing days? Are we raising a generation of children who will be less inclined to socialize than previous generations? Are we projecting our fears on our children? This was a discussion recently brought up by a friend of ours. Technology had already been making parenting challenging as so many children spend more time on tablets and cell phones playing video games than physically playing outside with other children. What unseen mental health issues may lay in wait? Should school, with the opportunities for children to interact with others, be seen only as germ-infesting buildings where the virus will play greater havoc? Oh, don’t look at me. I have no idea what to do for the best. But our friend did bring up some important considerations as parents are faced with making decisions regarding sending their children to school or opting for home-schooling. I am so glad I don’t have to make choices of this magnitude. Choices that will have far-reaching consequences. Not an easy call to make. We look to government for answers, for guidelines. Too often our governments fail us. The choices we make will reverberate through time and we will only know the answer in a future that is too murky to even guess at. May parents and teachers be given the insight and wisdom to make good choices.

Covid brain

Yesterday I posted photographs I’d taken of a “chipmunk”. Obviously it’s a small gray squirrel and not a chipmunk at all. Also yesterday I was looking at a photo of my brother and his family. It was group photo but his wife was missing, or so I thought. She was right there, why didn’t I see her? Some days it makes me feel like I am totally losing brain cells at an accelerated rate. This whole pandemic is getting the best of me, I think. I cannot seem to get enough rest and every morning I am awake almost as soon as the sun rises. I am irritable too much of the day and feeling off balance. Well, I was. I feel a bit better today (so far, anyway). I am also back to work after being off since mid-March. I am grateful that the library is not yet open to the public. I am not ready to deal with the public just yet and my heart goes out to everyone who has been dealing with this fear and anxiety while I have been safely ensconced at home. I’ve been on the anxiety roller coaster, as we all have been. Numbers are creeping back up again in the city and have revived the fear factor within me. What to do? Walking sure helps relieve stress, but to get outside I have to get on the elevator to go downstairs. That’s also anxiety-producing . I mean how can you safely keep a distance in an elevator? I will deal. What choice do any of us have? We can’t go around it, over it, or under it, we simply have to go through it. Please stay healthy and well and please, stay safe.

Nothing is insurmountable, or, bad news really does come in threes

Tough times do not last. I know this is true. I have experienced them time and time again. Still this whole corona virus thing seems like it has dug its feet in for the long haul. As businesses and organizations re-open across the country I keep waiting for that other shoe to drop. That second wave that sits like the monster in the closet I was so afraid of as a child. We’ve had a few, well actually three, pieces of news this week that make me wish I was a child again and could look to someone wiser than myself to deal with them.

 I wrote about Teather’s journey over the rainbow bridge yesterday. He belonged to my daughter-in-law and my son. He was such a sweet little dog and he will be missed so badly. That was one thing. Thing two: we learned that someone very near to our hearts and much loved may have been exposed to covid-19 just when we thought we were coming out of the woods where that dreaded, horrific disease is concerned. They will be tested on Monday and then we all await the results. I am confident it will come back negative, but still that small slim to none chance hangs over our heads like an axe about to fall.

Thirdly, we learned that my husband’s heart has suffered further deterioration. We are waiting for an appointment with a cardiologist in the big city. Our family doctor’s office said it could be a long wait due to circumstances around covid-19 and the long list of patients waiting to be seen. In the meanwhile, I may be called back to work soon. I work at the local library and have loved my job. Yet, the thought of working with the public in the midst of a pandemic is rather concerning, especially since my husband is at the top of the covid-19 list where vulnerable people are concerned.

I know I will be given the strength, wisdom, and fortitude to deal with it all from a Divinity whom I am so very grateful for. At this moment, as I write, however, I really want to tell the Creator, ‘enough already, enough!’  Yet somehow, some way, these tough times will pass, as others have passed. I just have to hang on and keep faith in the One who is all-wise and all-powerful.

Rainy days and Mondays…

It’s been raining a fair bit this past week, so much so the pond in the green space behind our building has flooded again. Sigh. I just want to get out on the trails for a nice long walk, but I know the trails will be soggy and I do not own any rubber boots. I snapped a photo to show the difference a few days of rain makes.

A view on most days …before the rain
Overflow of water fills the area around the pond after a few days of rain

I know rain is good, but after the long winter and a spring that was slow taking hold, it would be nice to see sunshine for a while. I guess the ducks and geese are happy though. So, that’s something. I keep looking for baby ducks but so far without success. If they had any they are keeping them well hidden in the reeds. Can’t blame them, a lot of people walk their dogs around the pond, many let their animals off the leash despite signage to the opposite. I guess if I were a duck I would not trust my young to be safe with canines on the loose either.

At any rate, this is life here today. How are you doing in your neck of the woods?

Birthdays, memories, and reminiscences: what children learn, and what they can teach us

Concerning racism and bigotry

 I grew up in rural Newfoundland, perhaps I’ve mentioned that before? It was a very tiny community where everyone knew one another. It was settled by mainly the English and the French. There were no women when fisherman first settled into the area so many married Mi’kmaw women, the people who are indigenous to the East coast of Canada. There were prejudices while I was growing up, religious bigotry was common as was prejudice of the English to the French and vice versa, as well as toward our Native peoples. My father worked on the American air force base (built in nearby Stephenville during the Second World War) for most of my childhood years. He was what’s been termed a “cradle Catholic” while my mother had been raised Anglican. From the get go there were issues for my parents as both sets of grandparents were not happy with their union.  “Yellow belly Protestant” and “Dirty Mic” were a couple of the derogatory terms slung about. I also remember never having seen a person of color until American airmen of African descent were posted to the base. I remember being fascinated with the color of their skin and asking my mother why their skin was so much darker than ours. I remember her explaining how skin color has a lot to do with hereditary genes and how the sun burned some people but others would tan deeper shades of brown. She was very matter of fact about it and explained in ways I could understand. She made nothing of it; it was no big deal. At the Catholic school I attended we were taught that all people – ALL people, were our sisters and brothers. Those lessons were reaffirmed at home. I am grateful for my parents and for my teachers and for their lessons of acceptance and understanding.

Fast forward to when I had grown up, married and had children of my own. Today is actually my daughter’s birthday. She is the eldest of our three children, and as often happens on birthdays, I find myself wandering back through the years. When my children were born, we lived in Brampton, Ontario. At that point in time it was a small town, predominately white. We seldom met people of other nations or people of color. It was a nice day and we had been out doing a bit of shopping for groceries and sundry items. Afterward we went to McDonald’s, my daughter was two years old at the time and our son was six months old. We got our order and were headed to a table when she spied a black couple sitting with their children. They had a new infant and my daughter ran to see the baby. My daughter was a very friendly child and would talk to anybody and everybody! This was not always welcomed. At any rate, she excitedly called back to me, “Mama, mama! Come see the little brown baby!” I hesitantly approached their table apologizing for her intrusion as I came. I remember the parents just being so kind and delighted with my girl. I remember the pride on their faces as we cooed and ah-ed over their little one. They also had a toddler about the same age as our daughter. In our short exchange it was more about what we had in common – our children. Although it is now so many years later, I remember how proud I was of my daughter and relieved at their acceptance of her.

Acceptance is something children readily display, until they are taught racism, bigotry, and prejudice by misguided adults.  Let us look to the children, they can teach us much! And let us not lead them astray!


Complaining seems to be as much a virus as Covid-19 and, although not fatal, can be debilitating. I know I am just as guilty of complaining from time to time as the next one, but experience has taught me that it is not good for my mental health and, since my mental health impacts my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, not good overall. And who likes to sit and listen to somebody who is given to whining and complaining? Not many people. As the saying goes, ‘misery loves company but company does not love misery’. Ain’t that the truth? It is so easy to get trapped into a cycle that can quickly become a downward spiral into depression. At least that’s been my experience.

 I have been making a concerted effort to pay close attention to my thoughts and to guard against negative thinking. It’s not easy at times such as these when there are so many unanswered questions concerning the corona virus and its impact on life as we’ve known it. Yet, life itself is so fragile. Not one of us have a guarantee we will be here tomorrow. There is so much we have taken for granted in the western world. ‘First world problems’ is a phrase I often see bandied about. Such things as not being able to visit the hairdresser or go to a concert or out to dinner.

Perhaps this virus will help us learn more about ourselves, about our values, about what is truly important to us. Perhaps it will help us learn that social connection is much more important than we’d previously realized and treasure time with loved ones and friends much more deeply. Perhaps we will learn that care of our health and the health of others is more important than that trip to the hairdresser or to see a movie. Perhaps we will learn that life, all life should be valued, including that of the planet itself. Perhaps it will help us turn over a new leaf, to realize we are not the be all and end all of the universe. Perhaps we will become less self-centered and less selfish. Perhaps it will make us all better people, more caring, giving, and loving. Perhaps this is a golden opportunity for self growth and growth of society at large. Perhaps …..

“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.” – Ronald Reagan

“A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it. – Frederick Douglass