Some Days it’s Harder to find the Good Stuff but It’s There

This morning I decided to look for the lovely things around me to help me get out of the funk I seem to find myself in.

It started with a lovely spider web on the window. It glistened in the sunrise with shades of red.

As I left the house I looked back over my shoulder I was so happy to have a lovely place in the world to live.

I travelled down the highway listening to the radio talk about peonies.  I looked for them and there they were.  Everywhere they bloom.   I could almost smell them.

Bright faces on the bus heading to school.  Some happy and some not but all looking forward to summer and new adventures.

Sunshine and bright blue sky.

Coffee fresh from the French Press.  Yum!

A sweet little nap I seemed to need badly.

Running water in the shower and power to make it work.

So blessed!  Even on days when I’m feeling a little less grateful it is good to find things to be grateful for.

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Mustard Seeds and Thorns in the Side

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One of the great challenges I have in life is that when someone has taken a swipe at me I really have trouble getting past it.  I don’t think Mr. Trudeau has the same trouble but he might.  That aside, I’m learning and it’s getting easier but still, when someone is angry with me I have trouble concentrating on anything else.

I’ve been filling in for our minister at church lately and coming up with a sermon is a challenge.  There are always little things in the way like work, trying to build a business or two and dealing with the things that crop up like sick family members, electronic glitches that take an hour to fix and waiting on people to help with things I can’t do myself.  While I’m trying to come up with a strong message about the mustard seed and trusting God the proverbial thorn in the flesh of someone who is “pissed off” with me is planted firmly in my side.

I’m not sure how Justin and I can get past these little outbursts of what feels like unjustifiable anger, but I do know I need to take a page from his book and find a graceful way to respond while still stating facts that need to be addressed.

My usual response is to just let it go when someone is nasty to me but I’m learning that isn’t the way to deal with it.  The usual “let it lie” or “ignore it and it will go away” attitude is not right.  People don’t need to be punished for the hurt they cause but they do need to be corrected at best and at the least told how very much they have hurt us.

So today, I’m sitting here trying to blog and sermonize while my head is filled with the pain of broken friendship.  It’s just not working.

 

 

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Don’t mourn, organize!

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When I went to the polls last evening I was hopeful that Ontarians would see through the bluster and BS of the Conservative’s non-existent plan and contradictory promises “to make Ontario great again”.  I hoped they would see the inexperience in politics, the bully tactics and the corrupt methods of the man who was seeking to lead our province.  Many of them did but because of the way our electoral system works the option of two other major parties and many smaller parties and independent candidates split the vote so badly that he is now in power.

I could hardly sleep last night because the thought of this man representing me, and my needs was abhorrent.  He in no way wants to make our province better for anyone but the rich and it will be done on the backs of the poor, the sick and the ignorant.

There have been many wise posts I’ve read today about how we need to keep fighting for what is right and working toward making this a province where I would want to live.  I’m still not comforted but I am a little more hopeful.  Who I really need to hear from though are the young.  They are the ones who are going to bear the brunt of this.

As I searched for images about mourning political events I found lots of pictures with Donald Trump and a few of black dresses and black ribbons.  They represented the loss I was feeling.  But then I ran across the picture of Joe Hill, a falsely accused labour organizer who was shut up by executing him.

I don’t know if many of are willing to go to the lengths that the labour leaders and the suffragettes went to for our freedom.  I don’t know if people will ever be willing to go the wall for good values and honesty again, but I can hope so.  I’ve done my share of fighting for rights.  I’m tired of revolting against the foe of evil and greed but I can take one last stand because I know it is worth it.

If we want to live in a province that is fair to everyone and values all it’s people, we have a big battle ahead, but I’ll give it my last breath.  Who’s with me?

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What is a Fountain Pen Anyway?

Fountain pen

As I strolled past the sale table at Staples the other day I noticed a lovely Cross fountain pen was on sale for a very reasonable price.  I ruined the last one I had by printing with it, so I was cautious, but I couldn’t resist.  I love fountain pens.

The first time I ever used one was in grade four.  In those days we didn’t have cartridges like this one does but rather there was a little rubber squeezer (not a technical term) on the shaft safely tucked under a casing.  You unscrewed the casing and pressed the cylinder together to force air out and then put it in the ink bottle to draw the ink up into it as you released the rubber.

My classmate, Glen Ferguson, may recall that he filled his and then proceeded to squirt the ink back out of the pen onto my nice new pink suit.  At nine, things like that are easily forgiven but not forgotten.

The history of the pen goes all the way back a few thousand years to the quill pen used by the scholars and scribes of old who dipped it in ink and then took the words to ancient parchment or cloth.

My modern one has a cartridge, but it still has the wonderful combination of scratch and skate as words become visible in the deep black liquid which takes a few moments to dry.

Somehow words written with a fountain pen seem more real to me.  They require a little more thought than the words written with ball point pen or on the keys of the computer.  They are sort of like the Velveteen Rabbit.  They are real because they require some effort and love.  They are not just empty and effortless but truly flow from the instrument to the paper.  fountain pen parts

My grandchildren who are not learning cursive writing or calligraphy like I did will never know the pleasure and joy of making thoughts appear on a page with this fabulous tool.  They will have missed a great lesson.

 

 

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Election Day Tomorrow – All Votes Count

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Oh if I could only see a poll on how voters in my area are voting because, much to my chagrin, I am wanting to vote strategically in tomorrow’s Ontario election.  I’m doing that not because of who I want in but who I want out and that saddens me.  The thought that we really have no options makes me a little angry and I’m sure it has made many people just throw up their hands in despair and want to stay home but that is not an option in my books.

There is a group in the province that is helping people get to the polls by encouraging them to vote.  Unfortunately, I heard about it on the Radio and can’t seem to navigate to the story on CBC, but the concept is this.  Those who vote are most likely to get others to vote.  Only 1/2 of Ontarians vote but if everyone of those voters finds one person who does not and encourages them to vote it will likely work.  Great idea.

So here I am encouraging you to vote.  Young, old, rich, poor…your vote matters.  This time it is particularly important.  How you vote it not important.  What matters is that you say something with your vote.  You can say you like a leader or a local candidate better than another or you can even say you don’t like any of them but staying home from the voting booth only says you don’t care.

It has been my thought for many years that you if I don’t vote I can’t complain and we all need to be able to complain about things.  Apathy isn’t the cure for bad government.  The cure is voter engagement.

I have some very strong opinions about how to vote tomorrow – or how not to – but I’ll keep them to myself if you will just get yourself to the polls and cast your vote.  Blue, Red, Orange, Green or for no one the fact that you show up shows the leaders that you care.

If you need a ride give me a call or FB message.

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Quitting TV for the Summer

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I might be calling on some of you who have movies in your possession to get me through the summer, but I’ve had enough of TV and need to see if I can survive without it for the summer.  If it goes well, I might end it permanently.

The cost of running a TV is outrageous.  It costs me over $100 a month just to watch two or three shows a day.  I just can’t justify that.  That breaks down to about $3 a day which doesn’t sound bad but it’s sort of like going to Tim’s for coffee.  It adds up to over $1200 a year and that is two months rent in my world.

Whatever happened to the days when you had to run outside to turn the areal and the cost of programing was covered by the advertisements?  Now I have to pay and watch ads.

When my kids were little we didn’t have TV and we survived it well.  There was always lots of play going on and lots of creative things happened too.  I think my kids were better off without it and so will I be.

I have an enormous stack of books that need reading and a list of things I can do to make my life and health better.  There are things I can do to build my business.  I have friends who I love to spend time with.  I enjoy the beach and going for walks.

After speaking with the woman at Bell who didn’t seem to understand my need to be charged for time I’m not watching it I’m a little uncertain about how my bill will look but I know that for some strange reason they are charging me $49 to go on vacation.  Really?

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Great Grandpa’s Pipe and Hours of Quiet

Peggy Guiler and Wilbur Christie @ 1959

Yesterday it was my great privilege to speak from the pulpit at Mt. Zion United Church.  The topic was Sabbath.

As I was going on about the great benefits of quiet time I recalled one of the most precious of my childhood memories.  It was about my Great Grandfather, Wilbur Christie.  When I was little he would always have time for me, taking me to the barn to visit the horse or to play with a new batch of kittens.  When I was seven he had a stroke and while I didn’t really understand what had happened I did understand that he couldn’t do much any more but that didn’t mean I wanted to spend less time with him.

He sat for hours looking out the window and listening to the radio.  His speech was affected, and he couldn’t say much so when I was there I would sit with him and we would quietly admire one another.  Much of that time was spent holding hands.   He would take my then small hand in his and caress it with his thumb.  I would also hold his and look with wonder at the heavy veins and the creases in his finger nails.  Occasionally, because it was hard for him to light the match, I would get to light his pipe.

Because I was an only child and was the only great child within easy travelling distance I spent much time in that big old kitchen with Grandpa Christie.  Great Grandma always had sugar cookies (I have the recipe still) and calico tea for me.  I was often the only of the great grandchildren at gatherings and that meant I kept Grandpa company in the kitchen while others went about their fun.  He could only handle the crowd for a while.

My sweet memories yesterday of those blessed hours of quiet and love reminded me of a poem I wrote about the time he died when I was 15.  Here it is.

His Pipe

An old man sitting
By the window,
Puffing on
His pipe

He watches all day
All the cars wiz by
And he lights,
His pipe

He listens to the radio,
It’s turned up very high
And I don’t mind the smell of,
His pipe

When I go to visit
He sits silently and stares,
And we hold hands as he smokes,
His pipe

If I stay a little longer
Holding that wrinkled hand
I might get to help him light,
His pipe

These memories will always linger
Our silence outweighing all words
But the thing I’ll best remember is
His pipe

By Peggy Guiler
In Memory of Wilbur Christie

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There is Peace and then there is Peace

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Continuing thoughts on the journey through the Course in Miracles


Yesterday it was my challenge and charge in my daily devotion/study to spend the day “in perfect peace”.  As you might guess it didn’t work out that way, but I did learn some things about peace and about me.

A nine on the Enneagram, it is my constant quest in life to keep the peace.  “9 THE PEACEMAKER   The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent”.  That is me in a nutshell, but it is not the best way to be.

Having peace and making peace are two very different things.  Truly the only way for me to keep the peace is to avoid people but that isn’t healthy.  Yesterday I was doing fine for a while and then a situation arose where I had to stand up for myself or be out a great deal of money which I really cannot afford.  $200 may not seem like much to some but for me it is huge.

I was dealing with people I truly love and care for and everything in me screamed that if I rocked the boat and stood up for myself I might lose their friendship.  It was easier to just shrug and give in, so I did.  That made peace but it didn’t give me any.

One of my friends recognized my panic at the thought of losing $200 and she forced me to stand up for myself.  Sheer terror ensued for me.  I had a full-blown panic attack and was tongue tied and sweating.  Fear was flowing out of my eyes.  All the other situations I faced in the day became equally terrifying because I couldn’t concentrate.  Trying to buy a cheap chair for my porch became a daunting task.  I was a mess.

It all worked out and thanks to my friend I didn’t lose the money.  Thanks to the other person who is a wise and generous woman, she understood my dilemma and I think she is still my friend.

I learned though that keeping the peace doesn’t always bring peace.  All it would have achieved yesterday was resolve and resentment.  True peace in the situation came from holding to my truth.

Good lesson.  Getting better at this.

 

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It’s Getting Hot – The Ontario Election that Is

By Photo by and (c)2007 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man) - Self-photographed, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2093511I’m not confused about how not to vote next week because I don’t like bullies who are all hot air and empty promises.  The confusion comes for me comes from voting for the devil I know or the devil I don’t.

How sad that our political forums have become  more like voting for the prom king or queen than for policy and values.

I was rightly called out today for suggesting that people who vote in a certain manner are fools.  I was wrong to suggest it because it is a free vote and people are allowed to make their own decsions.

My concern is that people are not making informed choices but rather believe the rhetoric and smoke screens being put before them.  It is my belief that too many people who vote don’t really understand the process or the truth.  They believe everything they see in a 200 character tweet rather than doing the research and critical thinking which should accompany a vote.

Everyone in Ontario over the age of 18 should vote next week because it is their hard earned right but it is also their hard earned responsibility to go to the polls educated about the truth.  That truth needs to line up with their values.  If they believe only the rich should have benefits I know how they will vote.  If they believe in human rights and the benefit of social supports the choice isn’t quite so clear.

Do the research and listen to the trustworthy commenttors.

Just say’n.

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The Story of the Wolves and Me

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Often there is a war going on within me and it could be for any variety of reasons.  Sometimes it is about difficult relationships or tough decisions or some days, like today, it is just about having too much on my plate and having to chose between anxiety or peace.

This morning I spent hours rushing.  I had a host of things to do and still have a bunch more on my plate but I’m learning to take the time to settle and meditate no matter how rushed I am.  (Not an easy lesson.) That time of meditation end up making the rest of the day more productive so it’s worth it but it’s hard to remember that when my list is looming large.

Today as I settled into the guided meditation which was next on my list I tried and tried to settle down the turmoil inside and often got way off track from concentrating on my breathing.  I was tempted to berate myself but the narrator kept reminding me to let it go without judgement.  Judgement of ourselves can be so harsh but I kept opting for peace and that deep silent place even though I only got there for a few seconds.

At the end she told this story.  Perhaps, like me, you need to hear it today as well.  I hope you will allow yourself to feed the peace within.

The Story of Two Wolves

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

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