Sunday, August 31, 2008

Proof Positive - It is Possible

Tonight I had the privilege of celebrating a special birthday of someone very dear to me. Technically she is my step-mom's mother - however Doris is so much more to me and my family. At 91 she embodies excellent health - the kind that comes from leading a good clean life. She is quick witted, sweet, loving and full of life. She is one of the most open-minded individuals I have ever encountered. I remember sharing the news with her that my daughter had " come out" and was gay. Doris - without a second's hesitation - said, well there you go! Now she can find someone special to love. It's love that is important, not whether it's with a man or woman. I was awestruck by her reaction -- or lack of one.

At her party, after she had opened all of her gifts, Doris smiled at us all and said that when she has to go, she hopes she can just " go" in her sleep. It's as simple as that. Doris has a way of seeing things in very simple terms. She is not a complicated person - what you see is what you get. And there is great comfort in that. She makes you feel loved and warm all over.

But don't be fooled. This feisty senior citizen has a rebellious streak. Don't tell her not to climb up on things, or not to go near the pool when someone isn't around to help her. Cause you can just bet that she will seize that as an invitation - a dare of sorts - and before you know it, you will find her straddling the kitchen sink and the countertops as she reaches for that dust atop of the cabinets. Or you will find her sweeping around the pool in those hard to reach spots - just to show you she can.

We love Doris not only because she is a joy to have in the family (cause she is) - but also because she reminds us of what is possible. A long, fruitful, healthful life surrounded by loved ones. Sound good? Sounds like a dream come true.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Winds of Change

The times - they are a'changing. Or at least I hope so. Like so many millions of others I was glued to TV coverage of the Democratic Convention - and I am not even American. I sat riveted in my seat as speaker after speaker took the podium to deliver a different flavour of inspiration. Caroline Kennedy 's introduction of her Uncle Teddy. Then Teddy's sweeping larger-than-life address that immediately conjured up memories of his elder brother's "Ask not" speech. A living legend from an American dynasty steeped in public service. Michelle Obama's moving tribute to her husband and clearly - her partner. So many more followed ... Beau Biden, Joe Biden, Al Gore, Hilary Clinton, Bill Clinton, John Kerry ... and finally -- the rock star!

What is a leader if not someone who inspires and fires motivation into the hearts and souls of his followers; whose words of conviction fuel the very best of us to action. It was more than hope that Barack Obama delivered ... it was the reminder that we are all capable of great acts and greatness -- and that it will take us all to make the changes we must make.

Kidlet came home from the Free the Children Leadership Academy with her hope renewed and the belief that she - with others - can change the world. She contacted her power and reflected on her values. She grew up in ways that I wasn't sure possible just yet. She told me how the group of 100+ kids loved the safety - the acceptance, respect and love that each one found amongst strangers ... and who are strangers no more. She explained that if this microcosm of such different individuals could find common ground and peace - that the world could also find its way.

She has truly adopted the Me to We philosophy and for that I am supremely grateful -- and hopeful.

Like I said -- the winds of change are blowing and hope is all around us. Brace yourself. Better yet -- embrace - and make the change.

Friday, August 15, 2008


I hate to harp on about the weather - but being Canadian the tendency to do so is ingrained in me ... it rained yet again today, as it has most days this summer. The car ride to and from work (about 35 minutes each way) has been an adventure lately. Today I started in sunshine, drove right into torrential rains for about 10 minutes, braved the sea of pooled waters on the roads and just when I was going to pull over -- the sky cleared. AND the minute I started to lower my scrunched shoulders and exhale, I encountered yet another storm - lightning and all!

Strange is an understatement and strange has continued all evening. Our poor puppy sits in front of the sliding doors watching for a break in the rain so he can dash out for a pee. While I sat perched - laptop on hand - on the couch my hubby called me to come quickly. A full arch rainbow had formed just over our backyard with the dark clouds looming like a screensaver. It was as though Mother Earth was smiling on us, reminding us that rainbows follow the storm.

I must remember that!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Me to We .. I hope!

Had a call last night from my youngest daughter Kidlet who is away for a week at the leadership academy run by the Free the Children organization. At 16, Kidlet is an intelligent, thoughtful and intuitive young woman who has always carried big dreams in her heart. Simply put -- she is special. At 16 she is also in the prime of teenage-hood and all the drama that goes with it. I had hoped that this camp would be help her set her compass and be the life changing experience that I knew it could be.

Eureka! Kidlet called me last night - which in itself is a surprise. Her voice on the phone was calm and when I asked her how it was going (after three and half days), she responded that " it was the sickest experience ever . No words for it ..." Parents of teenagers know that " sick" is "great" ... as I keep explaining to my father. She said she knows what she has to do with her life. (smile) She declared that she has made life long friends and that she doesn't want the camp to end. She has also concluded that she HAS to go to Africa. (That means she HAS to figure out how to pay for it too!). The icing on the cake was her comment, "I think I owe you a thank you" .

Case closed! Happiness rules. I know life will be forever changed for her (and for me too). And you just gotta love the whole concept of Free the Children ---- ME to WE -- the generation we have been waiting for. We have a generation of global citizens.

Suddenly, I feel that old familiar optimism rising within and I know that all will be well with the world.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

To Dream The Impossible Dream

What do we have if not our dreams?

My entire life I have spent countless hours deliciously painting vivid mental pictures of the endless possibilities of my life. I have meticulously developed businesses, conjured career schemes, bought and decorated countless dream homes, wrote screenplays and lyrics, and imagined living in foreign countries. And even though most of these have remained dreams yet unfulfilled, the hours spent visualizing and anticipating have been filled with excitement and utter joy. I am sure that my pulse quickens and my heart races during these brilliant sessions.

These days I feel a strong compulsion to live on a rural piece of land, living a sustainable life in a green home, growing our own food, raising chickens for eggs and goats for milk -- never mind the cute factor! I want to create the kind of home that (future) grandkids want to flock to - and that cultivates an airy peaceful existence.

At 48 with the last of my three daughters closing in on her own dream of graduating high school and going to university, I have a sense that this time heralds a new beginning for me. I can feel creativity surging within and my interest in photography renewed.

My husband teases me that I always say I get a tickle in my tummy when I feel something good is about to happen -- and the teasing comes from the fact that I feel this frequently! Call me an eternal optimist -- however I can feel the tides turning and that familiar little tickle is back.

One thing I know for sure is that dreams do come true -- and there really are no impossible dreams.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Gray skies are going to clear up ...

It's thunderbooming and pouring rain ... yet as I write this, I feel as though the sun is shining upon our family and that the tides of change are smiling at last. There is peace in the voices of my loved ones and solutions are finally within grasp. Most importantly - I know the people I love are going to be better than OK ...

It has been said that the universe works through people and I have been witness to this over and over again. Goodness prevails. Faith conquors all and life with its intricate twists and turns - is (always) unfolding as it should. Once again our faith has been tested!

Now - onto more important things of a daily nature .... preparations for the upcoming camping trip are underway. Everyone is excited to spend some time all together and I know my hubby is going to miss a good time - even though right now the long term forecast is predicting rain and thunder ...

We will persevere!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

How much is enough?

It's been a short weekend but somehow - a long day. If we could hold a vote right now for a four day work week - I would be right there - cheering it on. We try to cram so much into those two sacred days ... and ironically, the stuff we are cramming into them is stuff we need to get through the following week, Things like laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning. The best of good intentions get filed under just that -- unfulfilled intentions.

I have to admit that if I have had lots of visiting and family time, somehow the weekend feels as though it has been productive. That being said, it was a very productive weekend; we spent a good part of the day and all of Saturday night at my in-laws' - FIL and MIL. Our aunt was in town with her daughter and son-in-law and we through in an extra surprise with an appearance by a special Uncle B and his wife. It was great to be exchanging jibes and jokes -- the sound of unrestrained laughter and chatter filling the air. As the rye and wine flowed, the jokes got better and the smiles wider. The music got louder and people even took a few twirls and swirls. In fact, I think even FIL and Uncle B bonded over a tune or two.

Daughter2 had arrived mid day so Daughter1 decided to stay overnight as well. All three daughters back under the same roof ... just like when they were teens. That being said, the dynamics in the house fall right back to those years. The usual bickering ensures and I get cranky. Fun!

This morning we all were up early to prepare our fruit platter for the birthday brunch Dad was throwing his wife. Dad called a little earlier to discuss some personal business. He recognises that he is wrestling with sadness ... he said when he look in the mirror he doesn't recognise the person he is becoming. I worry for him. I know he isn't sleeping and the troubles that my sister is experiencing is causing him great distress.

He is feeling somewhat hopeless in that he is experiencing his daughter's horrific situation as a bystander - but one who is called upon to enter the ring - but not put up any fists. Helpless to truly help in the fight - but called upon to administer the first aid.

I too have shared these feelings and have found the process of watching people you love be in excruciating pain, so much harder that any single difficulty I have had to overcome myself, in my own life.

There are problems that need solving by people who don't own them. Help can come in so many forms -- money being but one. Families are supposed to be there for one another - unconditional love - but one has to wonder - when is help not help - but rather enabling. And how much is enough?

My step-mom looked pleased and we tried to make the best of any opportunity to be together as a family.

Next ... the family camping trip ...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

This too shall pass

My head is swimming ... it just feels like we are on the cusp of something ... what that thing is -- I am not really sure. It seems as though many members of our family are in the midst of life changing experiences. My daughter and I are in the midst of just such an experience ..

Our sixteen year old daughter is the last of our brood left at home. Right now if you asked her - she would probably say she wishes she wasn't. It is a difficult age and time in a teenager's life. They are walking the very delicate line between childhood and adulthood. They are hungry for independence and not entirely thrilled with the accompanying increased expectations and responsibilities. They are excited and scared at the same time. Emotions run high - tempers run hot and words get said that can't be taken back. In the midst of it all I just look at those big brown eyes and see the same wonderment in them that was there when she was a baby.

At times I simply can't comprehend how we ended up here ... But then I remember - this too shall pass.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Days of Our Lives

To say life is interesting is a colossal understatement. Twists and turns, bends in the road. Ups and downs, mountains and valleys. Love and pain. Life delivers it all ...

Our family is experiencing a period of upheaval. Our uncle has just been diagnosed with lung cancer which has possibly spread to his liver. His wife is distraught with his illness not to mention consumed with the overwhelming prospect of facing life without him. He took care of her and every detail of their daily lives. She will have to relearn how to do that for herself.

My sister is still reeling from her unresolved - dissolved- marriage. She is feeling hopeless and no one can help her. I wish she could just release that which she cannot change - to the universe. Trust. Have faith. This too shall pass.

Change is guaranteed.