The Inch Worm

Downsizing of Dreams

My life moves ahead in Fits and Starts 

I am the Inch Worm

  Folding in half for each step ahead

    Vulnerable, easily squished

      But I am not the Inch Worm

        Because I have Skin

          A backbone that aches

            Pain lets me know

              That I am alive

                I taste Joy in this

                  Velvet Morning

                    Pink Skies give Way

                      To a Brand New Day

                        To Inch Ahead.

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Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.

Vaclav Havel-Czech Playwright and President

Silence & Sacred Idleness

Work is not always required …there is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.

George MacDonald
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Silence is scary … I am left with my own thoughts. The voices in my head.
I think one of the reasons technology does well is that few people want to be alone with their thoughts. In fact it’s difficult to get the peace and quiet to be in that space. Being (Over)busy, has become the accepted hallmark of value and approval.
But when something desperate or traumatic happens in life, be it a big or small desperation, the necessity of silence and the need to address the inner voices becomes inescapable. At that time I have the power to stifle the voices, to run from them, or to ask them – what is it I really need to learn from you?
Being alone with my thoughts … I confess to not minding my own company … I value times of silence. A dear sister and I expressed the mixed fear and delight of becoming these eccentric mature ladies-didn’t want to say old. I would be vividly odd, and she would be cerebrally offbeat, and strangely enough we think it would be ok. It’s the freedom to not care what others think anymore, and the urgent desire to listen to and give voice to that too long silenced inner self. One of my favourite images comes from a U2 song line …
she is running to stand still.
Be still and know that I am God ….IMG_5687
Those were the words that came to me many years ago, in the middle of a snow storm … My daughter Kristen and I were speaking at a Mother Daughter retreat … and I was contemplating the busyness of life, a possible new career direction, or a decrease of same. Options weighed on my mind as I took a short walk in a Nov snow storm and came to a clearing in the woods … in that small magical space, snow whirled all around me and here I was …. Calm and Silent, as though I was in the eye of the storm. The silence spoke powerful peace into my soul … and the ancient words came to mind …. Be STILL and KNOW that I am God. How could I know? I’d been so busy running, flapping on the spot … the way I see the ravens in a strong wind … flapping before they soar.
At that moment I knew I could not take on one more thing, as good as it was.
I often remember what the silence of the snowstorm did for my soul.
No longer do I apologize for my time to sit by the river, to absorb the beauty, to let the chaos of mind seep out of my body.
Although it’s been a tad hard to buck the norm, I have never regretted a moment of Sacred Idleness . IMG_7562_2

Silence does not exist in our lives merely for its own sake.
It is ordered by something else. …
Silence is the strength of our interior life.
Silence enters into the very core of our moral being.

Thomas Merton
from his book No Man is an Island

Tribute Tarries

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(Photo by Joel Krahn, African River tributaries)

Like a river that flowed and reached into dry corners
she spread her love and acceptance
Beneath Martha she hid her Mary soul
But that woman, she knew how to clean ….
She opened both her well vacuumed home and her heart …
Her brother said, her walls always had a window,
a window that had been recently cleaned …
She loved, she accepted, she cared, she stayed in touch …
All spokes led to the mamma … the hub of the family.
I don’t think she ever missed a game.
She was loyal, caring, kind
Her faith always practical
Thank you for being my friend.

The initial message of her passing came via email … and said that she “had gone to her eternal rest.” One thing I know about my friend, she wouldn’t want to be in eternal rest. She was an active person. I don’t think rest is what Heaven’s about. I used to wonder about eternity … if it was going to be forever anyways, I saw no rush to get there. But after I had two term deposits, my perspective changed. Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven, paints a phenomenal picture of experience and beauty, an exciting future he believes will greet us upon arrival. He is convinced that we continue on in our creativity, and work in the eternal future. Somehow, I don’t think my friend will be vacuuming her days away.

IMG_6150While kayaking last week, heavy with thoughts of my friend’s life, and the upcoming funeral, I saw the most exquisite flowers, unlike any I had ever seen before, what made them so unique? They were underwater. I have seen enough seaweed and lily pads, to know this was exceptional … I kayaked over the clear blue green mountain lake waters again, to be sure my eyes had not deceived … yes, there a few feet below the water glass top, tiny yellow and white flowers smiled up at me … the water dimmed their colours, but they truly were blooming where planted. What a picture of hope for me … under the ocean of grief new flowers can bloom.
The reason I like Sudoku is that there are nine squares, nine numbers fill those squares, only one way to do it. Simple, clean, no deep mystery.
Grief is not like that.
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Emily Dickinson says:
On subjects of which we know nothing, we both believe and disbelieve a hundred times an Hour, which keeps Believing nimble.

Stampede it Up!

There is a time for everything …
a time to weep and a time to laugh
a time to mourn and a time to dance
(Ecclesiastes 3)

DSC_0576And a time to put on cowboy boots—Yeehaw!

I chatted with a couple from England, we were both in the line for cinnamon buns, having just missed one of the 20,000 free pancake breakfast tickets, part of Family Day at the Calgary Stampede.
The long line ups had the Brit’s coffee finished before their buns were even ordered, whereas my friend and I had split up, and managed to purchase coffee and cinnamon buns that arrived at the same time.
For one fun day with a friend from Zimbabwe, my eyes IMG_0201delighted with eye-popping creativity—artistry, athleticism, body stretching Peking acrobatics, and the cowboys’ perseverance, alongside a deep-fried version of almost anything edible.
For the rodeo we had our choice of standing room only tickets … stand up close and personal at the tarmac level in the hot sun, or on the seventh level shaded nose bleed section … we opted for the shaded nose bleeds … from above we saw the RCMP Musical ride pattern. One or two horses and riders IMG_0146individually were striking, but the coordination of rows of black horses in formation crossing in mountie red patterns was impressive … the bigger picture brought new life to my soul. We saw a cowboy dust off his chaps after being bucked off, as the announcer told him tomorrow was another IMG_0189chance, today wasn’t his day. Same announcer also said, It’s all about the money. And I thought it was all about the hats and boots, cowboy hats and boots of all colours and size everywhere.
Dodging dangerous bulls was made easy from the rodeo clown’s perspective. He scrambled up the gate just as the long horns charged and missed his target this sunny day.
The two sided coin of Diversion—delightful for a while, but detrimental when relied on for a life time. The beauty of this day, for a short period, I delighted in each of the moments. Which of you by worrying can add one hour or minute to a life? I remembered how a Moroccan woman told my daughter that, For just a little while you helped us forget our troubles, after a celebration where my sisters and I danced, henna’d and sipped mint tea with the local North African ladies.
To everything there is a season, a time to laugh, and a time to cry
Sometimes all seasons happen in one day.
IMG_0080When the sudden hail storm hit rodeo city at suppertime, all walks of life dashed for cover. We waited out the weather in the company of the volunteers of The Summer Kitchen replica … with memorabilia of my grandmother’s era along the log walls … a reminder of the ongoing changes of life and seasons.
A breath of fresh air, does not take away the pains that come our way, but it gives opportunity to re-energize and to gain perspective. The world is not only a waiting room … it is also a living room, and sometimes we wait out the storms in shelter. For me, distraction had its purpose and place that day. Frugality can be over-rated, especially when it comes to the soul.

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.
Oscar Wilde

Mamma said …

IMG_4581Mama said there’d be days like this ….

The flowers I bought myself smile to me. The mountains observe in silence.
And I ponder what means to be a mother. There is no one portrait that describes what we desire from a mother, or what we hope to be as a mother. Both perspectives are different, and on both counts disappointment has been experienced. For most of us there is still a deep connection to the one who birthed us, and to those we have birthed, no matter their age or location.
Today I think of the many women, who’s role does not fit that fictitious angel mother persona.

The word Mother evokes a lot of responses.IMG_3420

Three years ago I stood beside a father, as we waited for an ambulance to arrive for his drugged, semi-comatose daughter.
“She’s completely Motherless,” he said.
What is it to be a mother?
To stand by, to love. To have pieces of one’s heart beating outside one’s own body.

And then I think of God … Like a mother hen, who longs to gather up the children …
Let the little children come to me
We are all little at times,
in need a mother’s hug.

I could weep, but I can also rejoice.
Hug a Mom today!

Here’s a great little video on what it would be like to be interviewed for the most important job in the world.


And here’s a link on what mothers aged 100+ have to say:
http://wp.me/p47Ltb-Cp

Wildflowers short-lived as …

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It’s summer in the Rocky Mountains, and I think it might only last a day, at least one day at a time. But the wild flowers were stunning enroute to Canmore yesterday. And I thought about Philip Yancey’s comments in his book ‘I Was Just Wondering” as to how the concept of beauty and pleasure is “the philospohical equivalent for atheists, to the problem of pain,  for Christians.”   I have experienced pain in life, and I am on a quest for beauty, and the abundant wildflowers were like a massive bouquet selected just for me. I could not help but stop to take some pictures. It does not hurt to have the grey blue majestic Rocky Mountains as a back drop.

Nature's bouquet

Nature’s bouquet

Who is responsible for all the beauty in this world? Why does nature speak to the soul?