Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Sometimes I dream and think of weird things. Such as whether we, as individuals, give much thought to our existence? You know, being born, growing up and growing old. The trials and tribulations and all of the unexpected detours that life brings to us – both good and bad. All of the people we have met and interacted with throughout that lifetime, even if for only a moment. All of the things we have done. The conversations held and secrets kept.....and revealed. Our broken hearts, skinned knees, dreams realized and lost.

It would amount to quite a number of memories I would imagine. Our lives touch so many people in so many ways, the odds of being able to calculate to what extent would appear to be unimaginable. Because we are too busy doing and living, we probably don't give much thought about the kind of impact it would have on others if we were not here. If we were never born. I'm sure that there have been some who have felt as though it would have been better if they were never born. Or that life is so filled with misery that there no longer seems to be a purpose to it and want to opt out. Some people would think that to be selfish thinking perhaps, but when living becomes more torturous than the alternative, I can only imagine the agony that person must be feeling.

So, what kind of impact do you think you have had on the people in your life? Have you ever wondered how different things would be for those around you if you did not exist, overlooking the importance of your being. Give it a little think. Look at a group photograph of yourself with friends and/or family and remember the occasion. Now, try to remove yourself from that picture and think about your contribution at the time of that memory. How would your not being there have altered the events of the day? Did you not put a smile on somebody's face that day or make them laugh? Did you not give somebody a hug or a kiss and share in their joy?

How many times did you find yourself in a line up somewhere with an elderly person who was waiting in line with you and you struck up a conversation with them? Do you not think those few minutes of conversation with them may have made their day? Or, has your phone ever rang frantically and there was a loved one desperate for your attention right then and there. Who would have been there if not for you? And now, what if you are responsible for young ones whose lives depend on you so much. Take yourself out of that picture mentally for a moment. Think about how their future would or could be so different from what it is now if you were not there for them. Not here to love them and guide them and nurture them. How important do you think your existence is now?

Life throws us curve balls. Always has, always will. Then we get up and carry on. Maybe a little battered and bruised, a bit slower but always a little more wiser. Life can also be easier when we live with our hearts on our sleeve. And we never fail to rejoice in those special moments when they present themselves to us. But, when we live with our hearts in our back pocket and forget to acknowledge our own humanness and our own existence, I think we do ourselves an injustice. For as many people there are out there who we believe we could never live without, they too believe they could never live without you too! We never fail to be grateful for those who enter our lives and leave a mark in our hearts. But let us never forget that we also can leave an impact on theirs.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Givin' Back

In the past, I may have mentioned that Monday's are usually my longest day of the week. And, there is a very good reason for that. You see, every Monday evening, I commit a couple of hours of my time to a community outreach program where individuals, who have a need to talk, come to do so. Freely and of their own free will. But usually, with a lot of trepidation, fear and anxiety. They are looking for somebody, anybody really, to listen to them in the hopes that they may find some kind of release or understanding of the inner demons that possess and haunt them. Most of the time, they have this sad belief that they did something to deserve the kind of misery they find themselves in. And usually, when I hear those words, it kind of puts a stranglehold on my heart. Fortunately, I'm a listener. Not a bad one, if I do say so myself. It gives me an opportunity to let these people map out where it is they want to go. If anything, I just try to be a navigator.

I learned a long time ago, in order to be a good listener, you have to take the cotton out of your ears and stick it in your mouth. Too many times, when I needed somebody to listen to me, they usually overwhelmed me with a desire to share their own life's journey. Thus, shutting me down and making me feel discounted. I figure, it takes a lot of courage for these people to recognize that they have something that they need to unburden themselves of. How long will it take for them to find that courage again if I prematurely open my yap? Experience tells me that if I jump in too soon, then the doors close. So, I wait. Patiently. I wait for them to come to what they think is an end to where they thought they were going. And then, because I listened, I would ask them a question that would push them a little further. And a little further. Maybe it was because I remembered what it was like to be sitting where they were sitting.

Last night was no different from any other Monday night. One by one they would kind of try and sneak in and blend themselves with the walls. Trying to decide whether this was the night they attempted to find somebody who could offer them a little salvation from their, often times, self imposed torment. Actually, to be honest, I am usually the one who tries to blend in with the scenery, if only because I am actually shy by nature. The one area of my life where I do not find that to be a hindrance, is on the sports field. But that is only because of my competitive nature. They sort of have an ongoing battle behind the scenes. Anyhow, that is another discussion for another time. Last night, I guess, I found myself in the right place at the right time for somebody who was aching to break free. Wearing an ID card is a dead giveaway that you are there to help. And so, when this young person came forward, accompanied by an older gentlemen about my age, I extended my hand and invited them to sit down.

Actually, I remember having seen this young woman here before. Months earlier and looking just as lost. She told me her name and introduced me to her uncle, who was visiting from out of town and was there to support her. There was no mistaking their heritage. Native Canadians. I guess I use the term Canadian too liberally but I hope you understand. Her hair was the darkest black I have ever seen and her skin held not a single crease. Her eyes too, were as black as coal, but were as empty as though the owner had vacated them for destinations unknown. Her pain enveloped her like a halo. It was so obvious. I introduced myself and said, “So, where do you want to go?”

Within minutes, she became comfortable and supported by the embrace of her uncle, spewed forth some of the venom that had long ago poisoned her blood. Even though tears freed themselves in a steady stream, she remained strong in her desire to do battle with the shadows. A good sign, I thought. When she spoke, there was no mistaking the pride she felt for herself. These are the things I look for in order to help propel somebody forward. Look for the inner strengths. She spoke freely of the things that, she felt, made her weak. Weaknesses that were handed down to her from past generations. Her uncle continued to support her encouraging her to speak. One of the things that I remember her saying was that though, she succumbed to weakness after a period of time, that she did not want to feel as though she failed. That she was worth something and wanted to continue but needed help.

This is where I bit my tongue in order to staunch the tears that were now welling up inside of my own eyes. But I couldn't. I hesitated. Just enough. But it seemed as though that hesitation was enough for her to understand, that I understood. I spoke briefly. Explaining what it is like to feel as though you were a block of the point that you have been touched by your inner child. And now, you have to re-acquaint yourself with that inner child, discarding notions of who abandoned whom. To embrace the fear of walking down endless corridors of doorways that must be opened and explored. Separating fact from fiction and coming to grips with the reality that none of this was your own doing. You were just a by-product of somebody else's collapse. There was an acknowledgement in her eyes that made me believe that she understood what needed to be done.

Before we knew it, time was coming to an end. I had to meet with the others to discuss something about finances etc. and was preparing to say my good-byes. As I headed to the back room, they followed me, seemingly reluctant to end this little tète à tète. There appeared to be some life in those dark eyes that did not exist earlier. Letting them know that there would be future opportunity's to talk, I offered them some literature to help them find other community options should it become necessary. They both thanked me for my help for which I told them that they did more for me than I did for them. We hugged and said our good byes. I felt good, elated and hopeful. That this young person would find the courage to continue to find the answers to her struggles and forge ahead to make a life for herself. Life is funny. You shut up and listen long enough, you find out that life is not as bad as we think it is. Ya just have to look in the mirror of somebody else's soul.

Friday, November 13, 2009


(Please, read this slow, as it was meant to be. If you are happy, this has nothing to do with your happiness. It has nothing to do with you on a personal level whatsoever.

Every once in a Blue Moon,

and we all know how rare of an occurrence that is,

I find myself walking under such a moon.


As blue as I can ever remember it .

As happy, upbeat and carefree as I try to make my life out to be, now and again, I too, succumb to the effects of...........well...........'the blues'. Why? Does it matter? It happens. Earlier tonight, I found myself out walking under a cloudless, wondrous fall evening. Alone! Tonight, my heart and my soul, were feeling empty and..........yes..........LONELY. WAH! Actually, yes! I did cry. Don't ask me why. I just did! The tears fell. Freely! Copiously! And warm. Against my now fuzzy, wintry cheeks. What gives? Is it because I am reading and feeling the love out there amongst others of our tightly knit Blog Community who have or are sharing their heart with others. No matter how you personally feel, if you have the opportunity to share this evening with those you love....feel envied! At least by me. What you have is a gift, a treasure. Indeed, hard earned and harder to keep! not...... take it for granted....I know....I wouldn't. I couldn't. I never did.......and …....I never would!

The lyrics, of an old Beatles song kept filtering through my brain, as I continued to walk, stride after painful stride (torn knee cartilage will do that to you) but this, has nothing to do with feeling my feeling BLUE! Really, all that I am asking is that you …........


Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed antibody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me.

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I've never done before.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these daya are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me, help me, help me, oooh.

As I, would help you!..........CHEERS!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lance Corporal Graham H. Dixon - Lest We Forget

Next Wednesday, November 18, 2009, will be the sixty-fifth anniversary since my Grandfather, Lance Corporal Graham H. Dixon lost his life. His name, is but one on a very long list of men and women who forfeited their lives so that we who remain, can enjoy the types of freedoms that we do every day. As a soldier, he was considerably older than most of those with whom he served. A family man, he left behind a wife and three daughters in order to perform his patriotic duty. This was at a time, I am pretty sure, when times were desperate for many people of that era. Personally, I know very little of the man other than the few minor stories told to me by my mother. My Grandmother, stoic as ever, refused to talk about his tragic loss. She, like many women of the day, just quietly accepted it and move on.

On Nov. 9, 1944, the 2nd Canadian Corps occupied the Nijmegen salient bridgehead in Holland and turned it into a winter base. Nine days later my Grandfather was killed and is now buried at the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery in Holland. The picture you see here of him, is the only picture that I have and that I am aware of. It is usually framed and sits beside another framed photo. That of my Grandmother. For whatever reason, I have always felt that my Grandfather has been like a Guardian Angel to me. I can't explain it. It is just a feeling that I get every once in awhile. I often wonder what difference his presence in my mothers life would have made for her. Not just her I suppose, but their whole family. As it is, we will never know.

Today, we here in Canada and other Commonwealth countries as well as the United States, will take a brief moment of our lives, to remember the many lives touched by the tragedy's of war. I will be remembering my Grandfather, Lance Corporal Graham H. Dixon. Every single day that I have lived beyond my 39th birthday has been a blessing. Whether good or bad, those days are precious to me because they are days that my Grandfather would never know. So please, take the time today to remember the loved ones in your lives who too, have paid the ultimate sacrifice. A sacrifice which we should never, ever take for granted.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Unexpected

Earlier today, a Blogger friend from way back in April, when I started all of this drivel, Michelle of Crow's Feet, personally came by and dropped off this newly made award on my Blog-step. It is called the, 'Rain Bird Award', and it was created by Michelle herself. Michelle has decide to bestow this particular 'Award' to those who have found, “Peace under Pressure”. It is dedicated to “every person who has come through their own personal 'war' with...if not their dignity and sanity intact, then at least with compassion and humour.” There is a marvelous story that belongs with this and one well worth reading!

Personally, I believe in order to be able to achieve that, one must be able to walk through the burning coals of life and come through blistered, but not crippled. Bent, but broken. And, to be able to show compassion and empathy while maintaining a certain amount of gratitude and humility. Trying hard to believe that I fit all of this criteria, and although there were no direct instructions, I have decided to bestow this new, if not worthy Award, to the following people;

Michelle of, 'Truth As I Know It', for continuing to honestly, 'Talk the talk while walking the walk', not easy at the best of times.

Lori of, 'My Life Interrupted', for providing a safe and loving haven for two of God's children, when she could have said, “I did my tour”.

Natalie of, 'Musings From the Deep', for continuously treading water while the world around her, as she knows it, tries to pull her under.

Queen of, 'Queenofphrump', for shouldering the burden while maintaining a sincere hold on reality and keeping true to her roots.

Marnie of, 'One Slice At A Time', for her sardonic wit, while trying to maintain some semblance of dignity while keeping life as real as it needs to be.

Lori Ann of, Lorix5, for giving me a peek of what real Love can be, if you allow yourself to do so.

Of course, this Award was passed forward by me, without prejudice, and in no particular order. There is absolutely no requirement by you to do anything more. Wear it, share it, ignore it. I believe I have done what I felt was necessary to pass this forward. Feel free to do the same.

And thank you Michelle, for making me feel worthy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Firm Foundations

When you are thinking about purchasing a home, whether existing or brand new, what is one of the key things that you want a building inspector to investigate? The foundation....correct. Sure there are a lot of other details, but without a sound foundation, how long do you think it will last? A well-laid foundation is absolutely essential for a house. Of course, if you want it done right, you would hire a General-Contractor or perhaps an Engineer to ensure that it is done properly. (Well....most of the time.) Though it will cost a little more, but a strong and well-laid foundation is the best investment you can make. Using good quality material for your foundation, garage, driveway and sidewalks and steel for strengthening and holding things in place. Cracks formed due to the use of steel can always be fixed. Sounds simple enough... right?

But, what if we were to take these principles and relate them to the way we see our family. First, think about the family that you stemmed from. What kind of a foundation was beneath you when you were born? I know that at the time you didn't know any better, but what about now? What kind of thoughts do you have when you re-visit the threshold of your past? Was it sound? Stable? Dry? Did it have the strength to hold up the walls and the roof? To keep the outside out and the inside in. Or, was it weak, unstable and leaky? Were there cracks in the concrete patched here and there? Did the walls groan and the stairs creak beneath the weight of your tiny feet? Did you feel safe and comfortable or were you uncertain, unstable and frightened? Was a foundation template created that you felt safe to use when you went out to build for yourself? Or, did you think you needed to start from scratch?

Personally, my first foundation was built on quicksand. The building inspector of the day was definitely payed off to look the other way and it was only a matter of time before the concrete turned to dust. As a matter of fact, I'm not really sure it went beyond getting the forms set up before it was condemned. Then, you are suddenly moved into an existing dwelling. Cold, lifeless and stagnant. The foundation is established with no chance for an inspection or even a chance to get a second opinion. You are in it for the duration. Years later, you leave. Scratching your head befuddled, bewildered and unprepared. Uncertain where to start, you decide to throw caution to the wind and to start building from scratch. But time after time, the concrete recipe for the foundation fails. Always missing one ingredient or another. Stubborn pride, more than know how kept you from asking for the help to find the right combination of ingredients required. And now, the building plans are shelved, dust covered and incomplete. What went wrong?

Lately, I've been thinking about some of the close friends in my life and I have made this interesting observation. Almost every one of them came from relatively stable backgrounds. Better than 90% actually. A staggering percentage! To me at least. And amazingly enough, most have moved on to establish their own firm foundations with loved ones of their own. What gives? I watch the interaction between them and their parents and then between them and their children. And then it becomes painfully clear what ingredient has been missing from my recipe. Sometimes it hurts just to think how obvious it was I can't even bring myself to say it. But without it, you can be sure that all you are going to get out of it is a thick bucket of slurry which couldn't hold up the wind. It made me wonder how we became friends. How did I come to be in such company? It's a mystery I guess. Or is it? Perhaps my sub-conscious was hoping that whatever magic they had would rub off on me. No such luck.

Anyways, these were things that have been rumbling around in my head lately. And as you can tell, a lot more questions than answers. Now here in Blog Land, I feel a sense of belonging. A sense that there are others who's lives had a little bit of a journey to them. That they too, had to search for that elusive missing ingredient. From what I have seen, once they found it though, up went the forms, out came the mixer and a little bit of sweat equity. Toss in a pail full of tears, a shovel full of understanding and a few buckets of love et voilà! A new foundation. Stable, firm and one well worth passing on to the next generation. May we all find that missing ingredient.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Market Day

Well, the weekend came blowing in and I do mean blowing! And with the dark cloud cover, the debate was on as to whether to go to market or watch for any uprooted trees flying in the gale force winds. Of course I went but very close to the end of the day. A good time for deals though as the vendors would only be around for another hour by the time I got there. I took a few snaps of some of the many locals selling their wares in between buying a few things I would need myself. I'm sure I will be back there soon to stock up on meat for the freezer. This is our St. Jacob's market and is located just on the crossroads of an ever expanding community. It is a very active market with the outdor vendors mostly selling fresh fruits and veggies.

Then there are two buildings. The main floor of the first building is filled with meat vendors of every kind. There are also tea shops, fresh baked goods, jams & jellies as well as every known preserve known to humankind. On one end of all of that are a few vendors selling fresh foods of all kinds. Good luck trying to get thru that without caving in to temptation. The upper floor of this building are for the various craft vendors. Candle makers, sewing, knitwear, artwork of every kind. Christmas is coming, may have to go back and check out a few items of interest. There is another building which I didn't make it into this go around. It contains the stock yards, furniture made from the local Mennonite community. Very good quality....with a price tag to match. Plus there are numerous other vendors selling all kinds of uh....stuff! All in all, not a bad way to spend some time. And so, what did you do on this Halloweeny week end?

No matter how cloudy it gets, if you wish hard enough,
you can always see a little bit of blue.
Cabbage! Hmmm maybe next week.

Don't think the Pineapple are local!

Did somebody mention Apples earlier this week?

Just one of our happy locals
wanting to get in on the action.

Looking for last minute deals!

Quite the Cornucopia of colour!

And not to be outdone...
even the peppers were getting into the act!

A little musical interlude.

Beef, chicken, pork, baked goods.
You name it.......they got it!

And if you are ready to some Christmas shopping,
they have plenty of shops for you to choose from.
Arts and Crafts of all kinds.
....and for those chilly nights that will soon be here!

Couldn't resist this purchase.
I think it is a thought shared by many.
And a little Homemade Pot Roast Dinner!
The Market fresh Roast is buried
by all the fresh veggies on top!
Now...who made dessert?