We're All People Watching

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I love people watching. Some of my favourite pictures are simple random shots of people I dont know.

Our Home and Native Land

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It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw, not because she is Canada but because she’s
something sublime that you were born into, some great rugged power that you are a part of.

 - Emily Carr

I’m convinced that god sent me to live in Canada because of how wonderful and beautiful this country is, knowing that I would love it as it loves me. I must have been very good in a past lifetime because I really do believe that Canada is the best place in the world to live, dream, play and work.  What must have been an accident of birth seems like an incredible blessing to me.

As Canada Day approaches my thoughts meander to what I love most about Canada… the Rocky Mountains, lakes, rivers, sunsets, beaches, oceans, wildlife, national parks, dinosaur bones, Niagara Falls, maple trees, maple syrup, the RCMP, the Canadian Armed Forces, our flag, bannock, Nanaimo bars, salmon, the Ogopogo, the Sasquatch, Chinooks, the Parliament Buildings, Winnie the Pooh, hockey and of course, the Stanley Cup!

What do you love about Canada?

Lessons Learned

wildrose.jpg At Raven’s grade nine award ceremony one of her classmates sang this song called “Lesson’s Learned.” I loved these lyrics - how they resonated within me. The words keep playing in my head.

There’s some things that I regret, Some words I wish had gone unsaid,
Some starts, that had some bitter endings,
Been some bad times I’ve been through, Damage I cannot undo,
Some things, I wish I could do all all over again,
But it don’t really matter, Life gets that much harder,
It makes you that much stronger,
Oh, some pages turned, Some bridges burned,
But there were, Lessons learned.

And every tear that had to fall from my eyes,
Everyday I wondered how I’d get through the night,
Every change, life has thrown me,
I’m thankful, for every break in my heart,
I’m grateful, for every scar,
Some pages turned, Some bridges burned,
But there were lessons learned.

There’s mistakes that I have made,

Some chances I just threw away,
Some roads, I never should’ve taken,
Been some signs I didn’t see, Hearts that I hurt needlessly,
Some wounds, That I wish I could have one more chance to mend,
But it don’t make no difference, The past can’t be rewritten,
You get the life you’re given,
Oh, some pages turned, Some bridges burned,
But there were, Lessons learned.

Aho, Heyokah!

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Coyote the Trickster

Wile E. Coyote? Perhaps. This guy was pretty wiley (quietly appearing 15 feet just behind us while we were admiring a lake). But I am going to label him Heyokah - the divine trickster.

Coyote’s mythological role as a trickster in many cultures, especially the native traditions, provides an archetype for the rule breaker in all of us (whether we are breaking the rules unintentionally or with defiant purpose). Coyote is often seen as a cultural hero (or the class clown) but is also often used to teach hard lessons about subjects that would be otherwise taboo in a community outside of humour and comedic relief. Opposites and riddles are the realm of Coyote. Because of this Coyote can be a misunderstood but powerfully clever medicine.

Coyote medicine teaches us by folly and misadventure and allows us (ha, more like forces us) to to find joy in our own foolishness. Coyote tricks us into discovering our own truths rather than giving us all the answers. Be careful if Coyote is afoot in your world because you never know what’s going to happen. Just remember that laughter is often the best medicine!

Long Live Coyote!

On Growing Up and Stepping Out

IMG_7204a.jpgRaven’s new shoes - grade nine graduation

At Raven’s grade nine graduation ceremony I was struck by her and her friends all dressed up like grown ups, most wearing high heels for the first time (some too high as they carefully wobbled across the stage to receive their grade nine IB Diploma) but all of them confident, happy and full of promise for the future.

It makes me quite happy to celebrate this milestone with Raven and see her so happy and successful. I almost feel like this is a milestone for me too, another checkmark in the win column towards my kids growing up. I don’t know if there is ever a day that you think, as a parent, that you are “done” but certainly as my children get older, become their own people and achieve the goals they are now setting for themselves I feel more and more successful every day.

True Patriot Love

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Wesley at his BMQ Graduation Parade

Some people among us are what once would have been known as members of the warrior clan, born protectors who have a natural instinct to dedicate themselves to the overall wellbeing of others. In our world, these people become our policemen, paramedics, firemen, soldiers. It makes sense that these qualities may run in families, yet we’re not following in the footsteps of the generations before us, per see. We are simply walking the path we were born too.

When I was young joining the army was something I felt I was always meant to do - as far back as we had kept the record, at least one person in every generation of the family served their country in a military uniform (and my Dad was both a soldier and a fireman).

I joined the military during the cold war, which was something that had defined my childhood (and global awareness) with a hint of danger and unpredictiblity. But I see my son’s choice to enlist in todays world to be one made in the face of a more real danger. I’ve blogged before about my feelings on how the world changed the day 911 happened, and I don’t think that anyone would suggest the world is a more stable place today. It’s not. There are bad people out there and they don’t have the best of intentions towards us.

As a parent I worry, of course I do. Any parent would. I raised my children to be good caring people who will contribute to their society in a positive manner. I wish for them nothing short of a long and happy lifetime lived in freedom with a family of their own to love and explore life with. That’s all any of us anywhere really want.

As a warrior and a trained soldier I know and understand the calling and there’s not much else I can say about it because if you don’t get it then you likely never will. Suffice it to say that the freedom we all want needs to be protected and some people in our society are better suited to it than others.

Captain Nichola Goddard said it best when debating with her father about the state of the world and the role of our military in places like Afghanistan. Her father, Dr. Tim Goddard, recalled the conversation after her death (and I have always remembered the words). He said that she subscribed to the view that military force is required to permit the reconstruction of civil society; he argued that education is the key to development for the poor and oppressed.

Quick as a flash,” he said, “she punctured my professorial balloon. ‘You can’t do that when the bad guys run things, Dad,’ she said, ‘they just shoot you. You have to have peace and good government in order for the rest to happen. I do what I do so you can do what you do.”

We do what we do so you can do what you do.

The Bear Necessities of Life

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Ask the animals,  and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth,
and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you
” ~ Book of Job 12:7-8

I love it when the universe manifests your sincere and simply innocent desires for you. This past weekend held many true examples of this for us, from obvious events like this bear - moments before we came across this black bear Duncan had just said “I sure hope we get to see a bear on this trip” - to the more subtle manifestations (such as the promise of future opportunities). Our trip to Canmore was not only enjoyable but eye opening as well. Sometimes you need a small break away from everything just to see things more clearly, or hear the messages the universe is trying to send you.

Those that know me well know that I happily dwell within the mysteries of many religions and spiritualities and often find great comfort in what resonates for me there. And if any spirituality reigns prima within the Rocky Mountains it has to be the Native Spirituality of Canada’s first peoples.

In Native spirituality animals (and plants/elements), as messengers of the great mystery, have much to teach us. They come to us with a lesson for a lifetime, a situation or sometimes briefly with a message for the moment.

The strength of Bear medicine is the power of introspection; the ability to turn inward to access your strength and honour your natural cycles.  Bear represents the west side of the Medicine Wheel, which is the place of intuition, transformation, shamanic journeying, dreams and visions. Bear medicine reminds you to go within yourself to find your answers and direction – but also that there is both a time to act and a time to be still. Knowing which time is at hand is an important skill. 

Bear is well known for its period of winter hibernation and the season of spring provides space for new ideas and opportunities. The teaching of bear medicine is to prepare for the upcoming year but not to forget to live fully in the present moment as well. Opportunities are always right there in front of you, in your path. You just have to be aware enough to recognize them at the right time.

Bear was a good messenger for where Duncan and I are both at right now. I’m looking forward to pondering the opportunities before us. What an amazing spring this has been for us!   

My Prima Ballerina

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When Raven donned her ballet recital outfit for pictures today I couldn’t resist taking a couple of shots myself. Her recital is in June, at the Citadel Theatre here in Edmonton. I’m really looking forward to seeing her up on the stage during her performance. I love ballet and theatre but it’s something else when you’re watching your own child perform.

This evening we are going to see Raven’s art in the annual Victoria Festival of the Arts at Victoria School. Her art teacher selected 5 peices of Raven’s art to show at the festival and I am excited to see them. It’s Raven’s second art show this year (earlier this year she was selected to participate in the “sights unseen” art show at the Works Gallery Space).

When Raven applied to attend Victoria School of Performing & Visual Arts for Grade 7, in her portfolio when she talked about her experience with dance she wrote that when she dances she becomes art. I can attest to how profoundly moving the truth in that statement is. Actually, to me, Raven herself is art.

Who Can Tell Where the Road Goes...

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A girls converse will take her anywhere

I recently embarked upon a small adventure, travelling by myself towards the warm spring days of Canada’s west coast. It’s the destination that most often draws my imagination after a long Albertan winter (I grew up there) as in my mind Spring starts, or should start, in March. In Alberta spring won’t blossom until May, and more often than not you must wait into June to be enjoying flowers (at least without the threat of frost or snow).

I flew into Comox to meet my childhood best friend Dawn and together we drove to Nanaimo to catch a ferry to Vancouver. We spent a couple of nights in Vancouver before heading to Victoria for another couple of days and then eventually back up island so that I could fly home from Comox.

This year for me has been about personal growth in all areas. I’ve been learning how to be kinder to myself, how to live healthier, how to be a better friend, wife and mother. It’s not that I’ve been a terrible person recently, but I think it might be fair to say that I’ve allowed certain business to knock me off the path I am most happy on and it’s time I found my way back. So this trip was part of that and allowed me some time to do a lot of thinking. I can’t proclaim to have come home with all of the answers but I can confirm that I do have an idea of what I need to do. Oh yeah and a turtle. I came home with a Red Ear Slider who I named Raphael.

 

Self Portrait

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It’s 2010 and that means that Duncan and I have been together now for ten lovely years. Like many other’s our path has had its fair share of ups and downs, twists and turns and the little surprises that life tends to bring. All these years later I still can not imagine anyone else I would want more by my side, holding my hand and sharing my journey with me. I can be a pretty stubborn woman sometimes, and I’m glad he puts up with me! 

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