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On Waterton, a boys’ reconciliation, and mandalalalas

Waterton

We are so blessed to have a little cottage nestled in what is surely one of the wildest and untamed of places,

Waterton Lakes National Park.

Not a day goes by here when I, we, are not bowled over by an immense sense of gratitude for our luck in somehow landing in this part of the world.

As I write this, by the way,

the wind is absolutely howling,
gusts up to 100 km/h,
and there is driving rain. About an hour ago, George and I ran outside because we were both fairly certain that the rain had changed to snow.

Have I mentioned that it is July 24th?

Still.

And when I make¬† statements such as ‘we are so blessed to have the opportunity to get to know this part of the world’,
I add a caveat.

I don’t actually believe that this place is entirely knowable.

Our wonderful friend Lyndon was visiting us this last weekend and him and I found ourselves having the conversation that we have had before,

whereby we sit and sing the praises of these glorious surroundings.

I reminded him of the time when he likened Waterton to a portal.

There is, after all, such mystery to this place. One might think, if one was the kind of person to think on these sorts of things,

that if there existed a veil between worlds, Waterton would be the seat of that transitional dimension,

There is a feeling though that we are only allowed to touch the surface of understanding it,

yet, at the same time, the answers to life’s biggest questions might just almost be within grasp here.

Almost.

It is, after all, a land of dramatic extremes and contrasts.

Today’s pounding wind and rain may very well give way tomorrow to the ideal and calm heat of a perfect summer’s day,

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and a lake of glass.

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The stretching golden flatness of the prairies suddenly falls into the great depths of Waterton lake and rises up the steep Rocky Mountains.

This town is small, and the number of visitors cannot even begin to compare to the tourists that flood into the villages of other North American national parks, as we are out-of-the-way,

hidden in an unused corner.

And the wildlife here abounds in a way that continues to astound,

even those who have known this place for a lifetime are in careful awe of the raw power and beauty of the magnificent animals that inhabit these forests,

grizzlies, cougars, black bears, wolves,

foxes, lynx, wolverines.

The winters here are long and difficult, and I am not at all convinced that I could stand the loneliness and isolation, never mind the brutal weather, of a sustained stay through that season.

Yet, when Spring finally comes, the wildflowers that suddenly abound are unparalleled in abundance and variety to most places in the world.

It is rare for me to write such homages to landscapes and geography,

but this piece so wanted to be written.

She is my refuge, my inspiration and my creative cozy den, my safe source of comfort,

the place where our family gathers,

she is at once adventure and calm,

and in the midst of a busy life,

a continued and certain source of spirit, peace, renewal.

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A Boy’s Reconciliation

As will happen, George and his friend had a falling-out this week.

It was a passionate and volatile argument that occurred at the end of a two-day playdate.

The boys both, it turned out, wanted fiercely and desperately, to be the banker in their game of monopoly.

So much so,

that the game dramatically dissolved into harsh words from both sides, tears, a throwing down of the money and an abrupt parting of ways.

Though my first inclination is to always mend and encourage reconciliation,

I knew they were tired and needed time apart.

So we all rested, read, watched a movie, slept.

The next morning, there was a soft tap on our screen door.

George ran to open it,

the two boys stood and looked at each other for a moment and so I asked them what needed to happen next.

They both quickly said, ‘I’m sorry’, bumped tummies (their version of a hug)

and then ran to the living room to continue their game, this time sharing the role of banker.

I texted an update to my dear friend, the mom of George’s friend, in awe of the absolute simplicity of it all.

No drawn out conversation, resentments, or rehashments~

Just over,

done with, tummies bumped,

and upward and onward with new play.

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Mandalalalas

For years and years and years,

I have been obsessed with the gorgeousness of mandalas,

and the creative, therapeutic, and meditative potential of exploring these circular patterns.

Finally giving myself permission to delve into the things that make my heart sing, I have begun working with them in true but playful seriousness.

More on this topic to come, but for now,

here are the beginnings of possibilities…. ūüôā

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On dangers, our Canada, and bear grass….

Dangers

The other night I had a dream that hundreds of little black birds were swarming around me, pecking at me, pursuing me. I felt the relentlessness of their pursuit but I wasn’t completely terrified, rather I felt a sense of just giving in and giving up.

When I woke, the dream felt heavy and ominous. I am, after all, a woman who looks for signs in everything.

Hundreds of little blackbirds trying to attack me… How can that be good?

This dream came after several days of holidays with Dan’s family. We all reunited in Waterton over the Canada Day long weekend and then drove together to Montana, where Dan’s brother and his wife have a holiday house.

Life has been simpler and more relaxed this week…..big dinners, sleep-ins, family walks and games, swims,

all surrounded by the gorgeous bounties of summer,

seasonal fruits and berries, wildflowers in full bloom, and warm days and evenings.

Last night, however, my summer reverie was violently disturbed when George crashed his head into a signpost while playing tag with his cousins after dinner.

It was, ironically, the loveliest of evenings. We had just finished a wonderful meal celebrating Dan’s parents’ anniversary and were all meandering through the park.

Suddenly, though, I found myself cradling my sweet crying boy in my arms, panicking inwardly about how severely he had been hurt. He seemed to recover but at 2am Dan and I made the decision to go into emergency as George had started vomiting.

12 hours later we still had not slept and had made yet another trip to emergency to have it finally determined that George had in fact suffered a mild concussion but would be okay.

These are the very worst kinds of hours as a mother.

They are the long hours when I try to hard to appear brave and calm, but am terrified.

These are the long hours when I talk to my mom in my mind non-stop, asking for support and strength.

These are the long hours when I know for sure that nothing matters more to me in the world than the health and well-being of these precious beings, our children.

Hundreds of blackbirds swarming…..perils dive-bombing me from every direction and I am so so desperately and completely powerless and vulnerable.

On a family hike earlier this week a few of us were talking about how it’s not usually the dangers that we work to protect ourselves from that end up being the problem. At the outset of the hike we were alerted by a warning that bears had been hanging out in the area,

but our most dangerous moment was when we all sat down to rest for a few minutes beside a hill and inadvertently triggered a mini avalanche of rocks.

And on the day of George’s head injury we had taken the kids to the skateboard park in the morning and watched them repeatedly zoom down ramps of steep cement,

unharmed.

It was a sign on the sidewalk that evening that ended up changing our course.

Driving to the hospital this afternoon, however, I made my peace with it all…the kind of peace that I have to make over and over and over,

because my gentle covenant with this life is constantly forgotten,

I am not in control. I surrender. It is too hard to hold so tightly onto my fears and anxiety and panic. I just can’t do it.

I cannot stop this swarm, nor can I predict which one will end up scarring me and unfolding more pain or more of life’s dark bits.

However, beyond and higher is the vast blue sky, billowing clouds, the sun,

a safety and trust and a broader perspective that I have to believe is sustainable and true and real,

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All is well. All will be well.

Our Canada

What a joy it was again to celebrate Canada Day in Waterton. The bike parade in the morning was an absolute delight,

a spectacle of kindness, laughter, joy, innocence and fun,

with the Rockies sparkling in the background.

Our Canada. My goodness we are blessed.

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Canada Day Bike Parade at Waterton Lakes National Park

 Bear grass

Oh yes, and speaking of wildflowers…. the stunning beautiful bear grass is in bloom, a flower I get so excited about.

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‘you belong among the wildflowers, you belong somewhere you feel free’¬† Tom Petty

 

 

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on the fourth decade, Deathdays, and Carol’s RADIANT Garden….

The Forties

Though I have always enjoyed friendships with women of all ages, most of my contemporaries have now turned 40.

This is a milestone no matter what we tell ourselves, and is invariably a time to reflect and take stock.

Though aging, per say, has never really bothered me that much, I did find my world a little bit rocked a few years ago on my 40th,

by my own relentless and critical self-assessments of

where I thought I should be at, and what I hadn’t yet accomplished.

As with everything, once I managed to put a halt to the tricky mind games and flip everything in the direction of gratitude and love, it all looked pretty rosy again.

And so it is with my friends too,

once the birthday celebrations are complete,

here is what I am so often noticing about the women that I see and know that are now moving through their fourth decade….

They are far more likely to articulate how they really feel and what they intend and believe, without worrying about how it will be received.

They stand taller, smile more, and open up their hearts and hands more freely.

They have experienced loss, conflict, heart-ache, disappointment and they are thus stronger, wiser and far more beautiful than ever before.

They are less judgmental and less apt to dismiss, disengage, or allow themselves to be disempowered.

They have learned when to say ‘no’ and when to say ‘yes’.

They love their families, their friends, and the world with a passion and intensity that only grows with the passing years.

They are hopeful and are ready for change and adventure.

Many years ago, I heard the Dalai Lama’s surprising and famous quote, ‘The world will be saved by the western woman.’ I remember repeating this idea to Dan, and he whole-heartedly agreed.

So, my radiant girlfriends,¬† let’s get to it….

We have so many incredible and unprecedented resources at our disposal, and the confidence, understanding and love to move mountains.

It’s time.

Deathdays

This week was the eighth anniversary of my mom’s death. I know that the word ‘deathday’ seems morbid and abrupt, but still I decided to use it,

because we need a word for that day that speaks to the absolute truth of what it is.

In Mexico, of course, they have the¬† ‘Day of the Dead’ which is a holiday that has spread around the world to many cultures, and continues to gain worldwide popularity.

What a beautiful and healing and necessary concept,

time set aside to stop and remember,

acknowledge,

and celebrate our dead and our ancestors.

I know and have met so many people who have lost someone very close, and then  struggle to create meaning on the anniversaries of the deaths of their beloveds,

often attempting to create their own little rituals or ways of remembering.

On facebook, we see posts all the time on anniversaries of loss –

tributes and photos,

because our hearts desperately yearn to remember and we have no day set aside for our dead.

It can be so easy to sit in a sense of aimlessness on that anniversary, not quite knowing what to do,

or where to focus the emptiness and that need to

cry out,

You are gone, but you will always exist.

It doesn’t matter if it has been a year since the loss, or fifty years,

that yearning to simply acknowledge doesn’t just go away with time.

So, my beautiful mother that I adored heart and soul,

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and all of my grandmothers and grandfathers and aunts and uncles and friends and my dearest mentor,

and my unborn baby too,

you are not here anymore for me to talk to and hug and live out all of¬† life’s moments with, but

I still see you and hear you and feel you,

and know you.

You are my dead and on this day I am proclaiming

that I love you still.

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¬†Carol’s Radiant Garden

The ‘ritual’ that has evolved over the last eight years for us to honour and remember mom on the anniversary of her death, June 11,

is the planting of her garden in the planters beside our front steps.

Every year the kids and I choose a ‘theme’ and then let loose in the greenhouse, concerning ourselves less with flower names and care requirements,

and more with colour, feel and thematic appropriateness.

Some of our themes over the years have been

fairy garden, prairie grasses, enchanted forest, and the tropics.

The year Olivia came up with…..sunshine garden!

So, here it is, mom, your newest radiant and love-filled realm….

We all planted it last night after eating pizza and drinking our very best bottle of wine.

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We all most definitely love you still.

 

 

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On medical tests, peace in perfectionism, and ‘Flow’ magazine

Every week I speak to three topics: anecdotes, books, ideas, products, or innovations that I believe are peace-building, heart-opening, community-celebrating, love-spreading vehicles.

So, my sweet friends, here goes…Our world is a beautiful village and peace does begin at home.

What I am thinking about / loving this week….

Medical Tests

This week I had another echo cardiogram,

and a couple weeks previous to that I had my first mammogram.

Neither of these ended up being at all difficult or lengthy tests, just a little awkward and uncomfortable.

What ends up being much harder is the anxiety and mind games that can set in before, during, or after these kinds of procedures.

Will they find something? Has my heart condition significantly worsened? When will I hear back? Why haven’t I heard back? Should I prepare myself for hard news? What if? What if? What if?

and around and around and around it goes…

as I am suddenly caught up in a silly whirlwind of habitually preparing for the worst and losing the joy of the present.

This is no way to move through a test or a day or a life,

and so I am now employing a couple of new strategies that are helping,

a little bit.

First of all,

I breathe.

I can’t even adequately describe the difference this simple strategy makes. Of course, the mindfulness trend is talked about at every turn these days,

but, for me,

the real triumph comes when I can successfully make the choice to just focus on gently breathing rather than panicking or jumping on a crazy runaway thought train,

whilst in the middle of what would typically be an anxiety inducing event.

Secondly,

I focus on the idea/truth that for the most part, my body truly is a miraculous mechanism that is actually functioning quite perfectly and beautifully for the most part,

and so it makes so much more sense to focus on gratitude for all that is working,

which is pretty much everything.

The crux of it all is that

I can no longer live in fear of ‘what if’.

Instead,

I choose ‘what is’.

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Peace in Perfectionism

In our house it may often seem as if we can never do anything in a small way. We love to create, all of us, and it’s not uncommon to suddenly find ourselves deeply immersed in a ginormous idea of which the scope, or dedication and time required,

we had not considered carefully enough.

For example, several years ago, Dan decided to build for George’s dinosaur-themed birthday party,

a life-sized 3-d T-Rex, inspired by the little wooden models you find at your local dollar store.

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Another event that jumps to mind is the ‘day at the office’ themed birthday party that we threw for Olivia at Dan’s place of work,

complete with Starbucks for everyone, a full meeting with a real agenda, office-wear, and even a presentation from a potential make-believe company that wanted us to market and test their candy.

Below, see Ry brought in as the candy representative live via video tele-conference,

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and Glenna waiting outside to present a ‘personal relations’ issue for the birthday party girls to discuss and resolve.

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I look at these pictures, now, and laugh again,

remembering the fun far more than the expended energy. At the office party, I actually can remember laughing so hard that the tears were rolling down my cheeks.

This week a wise friend was offering me advice about ‘perfectionism’. She was commenting on the idea that we often (I often) perceive perfectionism as a negative trait.

I criticize myself for being a perfectionist, but this is just who I am in part.

We are told constantly that we all need to

let go of perfectionism,

and find more balance.

We also may avoid trying too hard, going to extremes, or appearing as ‘too much’ or ‘over the top’

because maybe that’s just not cool –

and all of this, ironically, whilst navigating a society that ultimately rewards  performance.

The thing is though, that for our family, this is just sometimes how we play and create and collaborate. Not all the time, but sometimes.

It’s not right or wrong. It’s just us,

and every family has their particular ways of being in this world and finding their own sense of meaning and fun.

So today, I am coming out with our wacky and wild side that can be over-the-top,

admittedly exhausting,

but always fun.

And it’s all good.

This week’s production¬† involved a homemade gopher head bopping game created by George and Dan for the school carnival.

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 Flow Magazine

Do you LOVE paper, stationery, cards, stickers, tags, labels, wrapping paper, mail and such!?

and….

Do you ever comb the magazine racks for a beautiful, relevant, playful, meaningful magazine to no avail…?

I have discovered the most gorgeous magazine, created in the Netherlands,

which offers intelligent articles on themes that are close to my heart, such as  connectedness, play, and peace. Flow  is aesthetically gorgeous and even includes the most delightful paper treasures. The current issue even has 26 detachable letter cards, each one designed by a different illustrator from around the globe.

I discovered Flow when I fell in love with and bought the special edition Flow Book for Paper Lovers at Chapters. The current magazine I ordered from the Netherlands. It came quickly and I am quite definitely smitten.

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On birthdays, Maya Angelou, and lilacs

Every week I am going to speak to three topics: anecdotes, books, ideas, products, or innovations that I believe are peace-building, heart-opening, community-celebrating, love-spreading vehicles. Complaining and criticizing are easy traps to fall into, but I am convinced that building up holds far more power and transformative energy.

So, my sweet friends, here goes…Our world is a beautiful village and peace does begin at home.

What I am thinking about / loving this week….

Birthdays

Last week was the engagement,

then this week brought us yet another reason to celebrate…

Olivia turned twelve.

Admittedly, I do have a thing about birthdays. I believe they are truly worth celebrating. Life, after all, is challenging and none of us are immune to pain and difficulties. To some degree, most of us struggle with our sense of worth in this crazy and messy world.

So why not spend one day a year (or 2 or 3) whooping it up, and celebrating the mere fact of our honored presence on this planet? Also, why not wholeheartedly celebrate the birth days of those that we love and hold dear?

My mother was a master of the art of celebration. It wasn’t that she ever tried to be her own version of Martha Stewart. Rather, she simply oozed joy and delight and invited celebration. She was happy to bake a cake and plan a meal, welcomed guests with laughter and hugs, was ready to dance in the kitchen or sit and chat and share a glass of wine, and she loved buying gifts….

Not only did I adore all of that about her, but I feel it and get it and embrace it all in myself too.

So again, why not celebrate?

Surely the marking of another year is worth a gathering, a cake, a feast, and laughter.

Happy Birthday my twelve year old girl.

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Maya Angelou

I cannot now pretend that I closely followed the work and life of Maya Angelou, nor can I pretend that I have read most of her books or her poems.

What I do know of this fascinating woman has come to me in small snippets:

a quote or poem of hers I may have come across in another book, an interview with her and Oprah that I saw, and so many references to her from other writers and teachers.

Still, I find myself quite struck by the news of her death this week,

and riveted by the descriptions of her as they have come in from different news sources –

she lived a life of relentless creativity’,

‘she was a sculptor of words’,

‘she lived a life as a teacher, an activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance, and peace’ (Guy B Johnson)

she moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence, and a fierce grace‘ (Oprah)

and then there’s her last incredible tweet from a few days before her death, that has been spread the world round already,

‘Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God’.

Be still my heart. What honoring words of pure inspiration are these,

describing a woman who fully understood her own power and willingly stepped into it,

owning herself with no apologies,

and understanding always that true power and strength is guided, motivated, and fueled above all by love.

What a woman,

one that I now am even more inspired to get to know deeper.

I will finally be reading¬†I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings as I have been intending to for years, and I along with so many others, will be letting myself be mentored by Maya Angelou‘s essence, her spirit, and her words long after her death.

‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you’ Maya Angelou also once said,

and so may we all be graced by her beautiful example, and all be empowered to find our own voices,

everywhere.

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Lilacs

Have you noticed the lilacs in full radiant bloom (how could one not!?),

and noted their heady gorgeous Spring fragrance?

Is it just me, or do these sorts of recurring wonders of nature become only more miraculous as we age,

and become more aware of the fragility and beauty of it all?

I see you lilacs, and you are a sight to behold.

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On kid art, sick time, and mother’s day

Every week I am going to speak to three topics: anecdotes, books, ideas, products, or innovations that I believe are peace-building, heart-opening, community-celebrating, love-spreading vehicles. Complaining and criticizing are easy traps to fall into, but I am convinced that building up holds far more power and transformative energy.

So, my sweet friends, here goes…Our world is a beautiful village and peace does begin at home.

What I am thinking about / loving this week….

1) Kid Art

A few months ago, I picked George up from school and he proudly handed me a note indicating that a piece of his art had been chosen to be displayed in our local gallery’s (the Southern Alberta Art Gallery) annual student art exhibit, which showcases works from local schools. ‘Art’s Alive and Well in the Schools’ is a tremendously well attended event and brings in hordes of new people to the gallery. It also allows kids the chance to experience the¬† joy of showing their work publicly.

Both of George’s big sisters have managed to create art that was chosen for this show, so it was especially heart-warming that he made the cut too.

What a boost. The gallery was packed to the brim with families and enthusiasm. We drank apple juice, visited, and checked out truly wonderful pieces.

By the end of the show, however, George asked me if ‘we could please go home.’ He quietly confided in me that he wasn’t sure he had the energy to ‘show his work to one more person’.

My son. He is no bubbling, self-promoting extrovert,

but his watercolour of birch trees along a wooded path was beautiful, especially according to his mother.

Actually, everything about this type of endeavour makes me tingle.

Kids making art. Kids sharing art. Kids and parents valuing art. Communities gathering to celebrate art.

It’s all¬†so good.

Art promotes peace, of that I am absolutely certain,

and kid art holds its own special brand of magic.

George at the 'Arts Alive' show at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, posing with Mayor Spearman

George at the ‘Arts Alive and Well in the Schools’ show at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, posing with Mayor Chris Spearman

2) Sick Days

We have all been quite healthy this year, but this week Olivia was absolutely walloped with a bad case of the stomach flu.

My poor girl.

What we assumed would be a productive and full week ended up being 4 days of her lying on the couch watching SpongeBob and renovating and home flipping shows,

while sipping warm gingerale and herbal tea,

and munching on saltines.

Actually, it is not uncommon for her little body to dramatically pull out  of life once or twice a year for several days.

To be honest, it never really surprises me and it always feels/looks like a re-booting of sorts.

Olivia is a perfectionist and is deeply persistent and driven. She has achieved excellent grades this year, but it has taken her a ton of dedicated effort given that she has dyslexia. From the moment she was born, she has been sensitive and kinesthetic,

always moving to a beat, singing a song, or acting out something she just saw.

Every so often, though, her sweet active, constantly wiggling body tires and her soul seems to say…..enough.

Stop. Rest. Retreat.

And so I let her. I have the blessing of working from home and so I also have the luxury of being able to let her sleep and stop,

and watch countless home and garden network episodes.

She will catch up, and I will help her.

I get it.

Sometimes it’s all too much. I feel that way too.

It’s okay to hide inside the house for a while.

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3) Mother’s Day

As we lead up to Mother’s day, I am feeling reflective about the role of mother, and how motherhood has changed me.

I am also deeply aware that, like every other holiday, it can be an emotionally challenging day for some…

Mother/child relationships can be complex,

perhaps the day may bring up pain around not having been able to have children for some,

and in so many cases there has been pain or loss  Рloss of a child or parent Рthat surfaces.

Certainly, I am deeply aware of the absence of my mom at our table each year as we sit down to brunch together. Though it was hardest the first few years after she died, I still ache for her and feel as if I always will.

Yet.

Sunday is a lovely opportunity to honour the energy, the beauty, the essence of ‘mothering’ that is nurturing and in some ways is always accessible to all of us,

whether it be through friendships, mentors, extended family, or even through finally learning to properly nurture ourselves.

For me, though, this Mother’s Day, I will celebrate my relationships with my children.

Alex, Olivia, George.

I am deeply aware that I have been gifted the deepest honour of guiding these beautiful people to adulthood.

Though it has not always been easy and I do not mean to downplay the many challenges of parenting,

and though I have often struggled with my identity that has often felt mired and lost in the haze and blur of these extended mothering years,

I still know for sure that I would not change a thing about the way my life has played out.

To learn to step-parent, then parent, and watch these babies grow and blossom has thrilled me to no end. It has been the greatest wonder of my life, and continues to be.

I am grateful beyond words.

This Sunday,

Happy Mother’s Day and peace to all mothers, of all forms.

In all ways, you hold up the earth.

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Alex and her ‘two moms’, Mother’s Day 2013

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On Rainbow Looming, Sending out Love, and ‘Oh She Glows’

Every week I am going to speak to three subjects: books, ideas, people, products, or innovations that I believe are peace-building, heart-opening, community-celebrating, love-spreading vehicles. Complaining and criticizing are such easy traps to fall into, but I am convinced that ‘building up’ holds far more power and transformative energy.

So, my sweet friends, here goes….Our world is a beautiful village and peace does begin at home.

1) Rainbow Looming

Rainbow Looming has been BIG in our house as of late. Admittedly, this makes me happy. It just does. I love watching my kids engaged in a craft for hours. I love it because they are so hyper-focused on something that feels peaceful and almost meditative.

All the time we hear that kids today are crazy distracted, screen obsessed, and lack creativity, and yet, there my two sit on the living room carpet researching new designs online and experimenting with colour and design for hours.

I know they are not the only ones. My sister-in-law tells me stories of  tween hockey players looming away their bus trips and a few weeks ago the friendly cashier at Michaels told me that their new shipments of elastics always sell out in just a few days.

To be honest, I am a little jealous of the looming kids. I yearn to jump head-on into a project or craft, losing all sense of time, yet ….distractions and places to be inevitably pull at me before I have the time to sink my teeth into anything.

A dabbler in so many things I remain.

There is something so simple, calming, and inspiring in weaving away the hours with colored elastics.

2) Sending out Love

The other night we all watched the news together before supper, which we never do. Here’s how that little ‘family activity’ ended:

Olivia was in tears, worried that a major meteor might soon hit the earth and kill us all. I was completely shaken for the rest of the night by the image of the grieving families of the missing Malaysian aircraft passengers. George heard the word ‘war’¬† while the situation in Crimea was being discussed and went into his own tailspin of worry.

I decided then that, for us, watching the news is certainly not peace-building. We can inform ourselves of current events but refrain from having our senses and sense of peace inundated.

Here’s the thing. I am simply not going to be the one who is going to solve any of these problems, nor is Dan.

There are people and initiatives working to solve all sorts of crises as we speak but for the most part, these things are not even within our scope of influence or proper understanding.

Here’s what we can do though.

We can write letters and sign petitions supporting causes we believe in and offer support through donations of time and/or funds.

I can continue to blog about peace-building because writing is what I know how to do.

Dan can design beautiful spaces that lift spirits and he can always aspire to maintain integrity, along with his partners, in running their business, because that’s what he can contribute.

We can both extend kindnesses in all sorts of spontaneous and planned ways as we move through our day,

and we can ALL send out deeply loving collective thoughts or prayers to families and countries experiencing times of unimaginable loss and or uncertainty.

3) The ‘Oh She Glows’ Cookbook

I bought this cookbook by Angela Liddon because I couldn’t tear myself away from it. It is simply beautiful – both text and images.

It is a vegan cookbook. To be clear we are not vegan, rather just trying to eat less white flour, less sugar, less meat, less of all the things that you are supposed to eat less of.

I love and celebrate¬†all food, especially food that is prepared with love and creativity, whatever that looks like (don’t get me wrong -butter¬†is my friend),

but if it is healthy than all the better for all of us.

This book makes me want to eat at this elevated level of goodness every single day.

Last night after supper I made the apple crisp. Without exaggerating, Dan ate half the pan in one sitting.¬† For all you apple crisp lovers out there (and I know there are legions of you) this recipe is divine!¬† Best apple crisp ever.¬† And…. it includes ingredients like chia seeds, almonds, maple syrup, coconut oil…

Don’t even get me started on the ‘crispy almond butter chocolate chip cookies’, the ‘vanilla chia pudding’, or the ‘ultimate nutty granola clusters’. (I know – My cravings have been on the ‘sweet’ spectrum this week)

Oh, this book glows.