Pure Imagination

A few weeks ago, we hiked the spectacular Crypt Lake trail. Even though we have lived part time in Waterton for the last 5 years, we had not yet done this hike. Not only is it well known as being one of the park’s more challenging hikes, but it also has some famous tricky sections such as a ladder climbing up into a natural tunnel, followed by a narrow cliff with cable attached.


I had been quite successful in talking myself out of it for quite some time.


I am afraid of bears.         It seems dangerous.         The kids might hurt themselves.

I am worried about my heart.              What if one of us fell?        The weather could turn.

Also.                   Only really good and experienced hikers do this kind of hike.


I am very good, so good,  at this kind of talk.


However, after visiting my dad, an avid outdoors-man, and talking to him about it  and watching you-tube videos of 7 year olds making the trek with solely their Barbie back-packs on, I decided it was        probably safe.


As it turned out, it was. The day we chose for our hike  was a hot mid-August Saturday that stayed hot and sunny, and there were literally boatloads of people,

which made the chance of being devoured by a bear relatively non-existent, as I am sure they were the nervous ones.

It didn’t feel particularly dangerous either. I am not generally afraid of heights and am pretty limber so the obstacles were fine as long as you didn’t look down.


Nobody fell.


And my heart kept up beautifully.   Yay, heart!


Sitting at the lake having lunch, Dan and I commented to each other about how easy it is to build things up in your head, make them so much bigger than they really are.


In Scotland this Spring, Dan had a marvelous opportunity to do something that many people dream of, but few get the chance to do. It’s his story to tell, not mine, so that’s all I am going to say about it.

Except that…..he almost didn’t do it. Because he didn’t think he was good enough or prepared enough or a bunch of other things that only he knows.

He did it, though, and had one of the most rewarding days of his life.


It seems so silly to talk ourselves out of things when we can do anything really,

the possibilities before us are as wide as the sky.


And, is everyone really more talented and capable than us –

regardless of how prepared they may look with all of their gear and confidence. Or maybe it’s just guts.


I am looking forward to courageously and joyfully moving forward this fall into new territories and adventures, even if all I have on me is my Barbie backpack because really,

as sung by one of my all-time favourites, Gene Wilder (rest in peace beautiful man) who masterfully played Willy Wonka –


Keep watch this week for an announcement regarding my Fall PeaceCard sessions. I have spent the last few months pondering what they should be all about, and I am super excited about how it’s all come together and what’s in store.

Happy Fall!
















On fire, fire, and cousins

On fire,

Much of our local news lately has been around fire. We also just returned from Montana where the days and nights were extremely smoky.

Dan read online this morning that there are presently over 100 active wildfires burning in that state, so the fire and smoke was and is a discernible presence.

A couple of weeks ago we made our way to Columbia Falls, Montana, via the spectacular Going-to-the-Sun road and saw the ravages of the recent fire that had moved through sections of West Glacier Park.


Our 10 year old George, in particular, was concerned. Natural disasters worry him to no end, and his ears perk up at any slight mention of new developments. He requires constant updates and conversations about what is going on,

his logical mind requires the facts.

We try to remind him constantly, though, that fire is essential to healthy forests.

It is part of the natural environmental cycle. Fire renews, regenerates and cleanses. We fear fire, and understandably rush to suppress it as it threatens and draws near, but we must still recognize and value its importance,

its place.

Before our trip into the States, a couple of friends and relatives who were concerned for George warned us that we would be driving through the fire site. We could have gone a different way, but I intuitively felt that George would be ok and that it might even be helpful for him to witness the fire site firsthand.

Our late afternoon drive over the pass could only be described as deeply quiet and peaceful. We drove by the firefighters’ camp and then into a parcel of tall burnt trees,

a still blackness.

It was easy to see that something powerful had happened there, and we were all in awe of it.

Yet, already, there were little tufts of bear grass poking up,        new life.

How quickly nature moves back in ~ animals returning and a little green forest floor already pushing up and through,

life restored without hesitation.

As we drove on I remembered how nine years ago, the month after my mom died, we did this same trip into Montana.

There was no talk of fires that year that I recall, and the drive was positively stunning. The flowers were in full bloom, the bear grass was tall and especially magnificent, the park teemed with energy and the fullness of colour and summer.


I felt blessed by the flowers, the mountains, and the trees – especially the trees.

On that afternoon’s drive as strange as it may sound, I intensely felt as if all of nature was comforting me through the deepest sadness I had ever known,

letting me know that life is so much bigger and greater than I could ever possibly understand.

And then, nine years later, driving through the same forest and mountains with my family again,

Witnessing again a kind of destruction and rebirth, such achingly beautiful resilience,

graceful resilience.

Nature is resilient.

We are resilient.

George still worries, of course, but he sees a bigger picture too.


Ironically, the very morning that we were set to leave Montana and head back to Waterton, I opened up my emails and found a notice from Parks Canada alerting Waterton residents to a possible evacuation due to another wildfire that had started the previous day due to a lightning strike.

Oh my God, you won’t believe this,’ I said to Dan.

We read that if it became necessary to evacuate, an alarm would sound in the townsite and we would have no more than one hour to leave.

We both had the same first thought, ‘how do we tell George?,


‘how traumatic would that be to get back there and then go through an evacuation?’

We slowly processed the information and felt a bit panicked.

I need to grab that photo I love‘ I thought, ‘mom’s quilts‘…,

and ‘our dear little cabin, threatened.’

A couple of hours later, however, the evacuation alert was rescinded, we had explained the situation to the kids, and we were packed up and on the road back to Waterton, driving home through that same mountain pass,

through ever-stunning views,

this time held partly in mystery by more haze and smoke and low clouds.


An otherworldly drive.

As I write this, there are still five crews and two helicopters working through the days, but the Waterton Lake wildfire is largely contained.

All fires eventually die.

Two nights ago, we took this picture from the Prince of Wales hotel. In the very distance is where the Waterton (Goat Haunt ) fire still lingers.


What beauty, though, it is being held within.


There has been lots of play this summer, with good friends, and also great quality time with cousins.

During our big family reunion on the Westwood side, we spent over a week with grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, cousins.

I love that.

Though Dan has an endless repertoire of stories about his cousins and all of their adventures and mishaps, in my small family cousins and big family gatherings were sparse. Though I had lots of love from my grandparents and aunts and uncles throughout my childhood, I never knew that feeling of having that unique cousin relationship~

 almost sibling, more than friend.

I am, however, deeply grateful that my kids get to experience that special bond.



On the Moon, the Kids’ Table, and a quietly but surely hovering September

The Moon

These past few weeks we have been blessed with many visitors; both chance encounters and planned visits with friends and family ~Long and casual visits over cups of coffee and glasses of wine, and fun communal hikes to quiet mountain lakes where our hoards of kids jump into icy waters and screech with glee.

This is the kind of fun that only summer can bring and it is so lovely.

One of my favorite moments so far, though, was an after dinner walk to watch the moon rise. On a stroll the night before, Dan and I had admired a spectacular moonrise over the mountains and so we suggested to our friends who were visiting from North Carolina that we go back to that same perfect spot to catch the magnificence again.

This is the spot.


If you are ever in Waterton Lakes National Park, do sit in these red chairs and admire a view that never ever gets old and will surely restore your faith that all is well.

We gathered in that spot, and waited.

And waited, and waited, and waited.

And waited.

We hadn’t checked the moonrise times, nor did we realize that there can be such a great variance from night to night.

But we had promised our friends that it would be a spectacular full moon and we wanted to impress (as if the moon could possibly be our show to arrange) and so we waited some more.

We visited, and the kids threw stones in the lake as kids always do, and we shivered as the mountain air grew colder, and we jumped up and down to stay warm, and we walked up and down the shore of the lake, and we laughed and teased about how long it was taking, and we told jokes, and we got impatient, and then we waited on some more.

And then finally, eventually, this happened, as it has happened since the beginning of time and will forevermore.


photo by Andrew Stillwell

And why don’t we think to look more often?

Because, oh gorgeous and radiant sun, you have everyone’s complete adoration,

including mine,

but dare I say that              You –          magical, mystical, and wondrous moon,

you are the one that actually holds my heart,

You pull at me and retrieve me, you restore me, you comfort me, you return me to me

again and again.

And so we all heartily agreed that she was more than worth the wait, and we clapped for her performance. Happily we stood there together and even sang every song we could think of that featured her, including my favourite moon song of all time.

Moon River,
Wider than a mile:
I’m crossin’ you in style
Some day.
Old dream maker,
You heart breaker,
Wherever your goin’,
I’m goin’ your way…..
Two drifters,
Off to see the world,
There’s such a lot of world
To see.
We’re after the same
Rainbow’s end
Waitin’ round the bend,
My huckleberry friend,
Moon River
and me.

And then, becoming more chilly and tired, we walked home.

Thank you, dear moon, you beautiful and enchanted thing.

Once again you have worked your magic.

the Kids’ Table

Another one of our summer delights has been the Netflix show ‘Chef’s Table’, a new series that provides an intimate look at the life and work of the world’s best chefs. This is a fascinating show that juxtaposes very different styles and personalities, but truly showcases inspired creativity and passion for food and excellence in general.

I could endlessly watch shows about food and creative pursuits of any kind, but even our kids have been quite riveted. So much so, that they felt excited about creating their own food extravaganza for their movie party last week.


Their culinary choices would not be considered healthy by anyone’s standards but their presentation certainly deserves high marks.

I highly recommend Chef’s Table.  Dan, of course, loved the Italian chef  –

‘Every time I open a cheese like this, I get emotional. In my blood, there’s balsamic vinegar. My muscles are made by Parmigiano’     Massimo Bottura,

and I was deeply heartened by the second chef, Dan Barber, who promotes farm to table eating and shows us that even though there are massive obstacles, it is entirely possible to re-think and make our relationship with food on this continent.

a quietly but surely hovering September

We all know it’s near. We can feel and sense the nearness of September and summer’s end. We are still basking in the sunshine, swimming and playing outside, going on trips, but our minds are beginning to re-organize and plan and strategize about how this fall is going to go.

It’s inevitable.

The promise that I have made to myself, though, is this…

I will deeply enjoy these days and weeks, what is left of summer,       but

I will resist stressing about the transitioning.

We will find ways to celebrate and welcome the shortening of the days, the slow but certain turning of the leaves, the preparations, the still leisurely time with family and friends.

And when I plan what this year will look like, I will pause and consider…

what fills my soul, our souls,       where does my work want to focus,     what keeps my family connected and at peace,      what needs to be let go,      what builds community,

and from these intents and understandings,  I will find our priorities and the coming structure to our days.


The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.”
Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting


On balance, gathering, and weathering the cold


At Dan’s staff party this year, we dined at an Italian restaurant where the champagne flowed freely and endlessly. It was the kind of winter’s evening where the ambiance was dark and intimate, the conversation bubbly and enticing, and the hours lost their definition.


The next morning, however, I woke up with an excruciating headache.

This is something that rarely happens to me anymore,

I am too old for it, I have far too much to do, and it’s simply not worth the toll that it takes on my body.

However, I was able to look at my situation from two angles that felt utterly refreshing,

one being the decision that I would not waste a minute feeling angry at myself or regretful (what’s the point),

and secondly,

I was able to immediately recognize that I had understandably lost my balance,

my footing.

This festive evening had followed a few weeks of relentless work and preparations for Christmas, my business, and events we were hosting. I had often sat at my computer until 11pm and neglected my walking, my yoga, my meditation, regular meals, my peace,

in favor of emails and determinedly charging through my to-do list.

No wonder I had been driven to excess,

to the point where my body severely jolted me back to sanity and the much needed stillness of a day on the couch.


Balance, it seems, has been my lifelong lesson

and my worthiest of pursuits.

When I am comfortably in the flow, everything feels quite smooth and right.

I spend time with my family and friends and regroup with time on my own. I get restorative sleeps and spend enough time moving my body. I eat well but allow myself occasional treats. I work hard but leave time for play. I spend time creating and planning, but also get through the more mundane details of my work. I read and I write, I cook, and I play with my paints and felts. I listen to music and relish in quiet. I give but allow myself to receive. I dream but stay grounded. I am energized by the stimulation of people and culture, coffee shops and bookstores, but then I happily retreat to the hushed quiet of nature. I visit and share, brainstorm and question, but also trust and

I breathe and I breathe and I breathe.



My  New Year’s wish for you is the manifestation of your own sort of balance, however that may look,

not necessarily found in each hour or day, but in the more general stream of things,


and then loving gentleness with yourself, too, when you inevitably falter,


and begin again.


‘I was thinking back to the first night when we were all cuddled up with the fire going, getting ready to watch a movie and I had such a warm and secure feeling, like you do when you are a child and you are surrounded by people you love. It was such a lovely moment.’

This is an excerpt from the message my aunt wrote me to after our little holiday family reunion in Waterton this week.

Judy summed it up beautifully.

Family in its highest expression is finding that place where we feel safe and nurtured and awash in unconditional love.

My New Year’s wish for you

is that you may find yourself enveloped in moments such as these this year,

held in the very bosom of your tribes,


and beautifully aware of the magical perfection of these times.

I am increasingly convinced that these sorts of gatherings will ultimately be looked upon as the most precious treasures of our lives.

Weathering the Cold

I am NOT a fan of the cold. I have lived in this great white north all of my 42 years, but still I rail against its winters. I curse the biting air, and resent my frozen extremities. I say again and again to Dan, ‘this is not the climate I was meant for.’ I force myself out into the weather, dressed in a ridiculous multitude of layers but I am still not warm.


Dan calls this one, ‘Karen is frozen stiff’


I often will sink into my steaming hot bathtub up to 3 times on particularly frigid days, even just for a few minutes to warm up,

for the day, for the afternoon, for bed.



this is where I live,

and there is undeniable beauty in the frost, in the icicles, in the stillness, in the blue tinge, in the low winter’s light that is almost mystical.


And so,

I carefully bundle up once again and head out down the streets and sidewalks as my feet rip-rip-rip on the snow,

and sometimes I am not annoyed,

but am rather captivated and even delighted by the magic of this winter wonderland that many in our world will never get to know.


this third and last New Year’s wish for you is that you may be brave and resilient and tenacious enough to withstand

the snow, the harsh storms, the pounding wind,

and the dark times when hope and comfort falter,

and that you are also able to find the beauty in wherever you are,

and that above all you have a home, a fire, a cup of tea, a soft blanket, a warm meal that eventually and surely

calls you in from the cold to bring you comfort and warm your toes.


Happy, happy New Year my inspiring friends.

The best is yet to come.





What do you do?,wildflower inspiration, and my birthday…..

What do you do?

I have been asked this question 7 gazillion times.

Basically, if I leave the house, someone asks me this question.

Sometimes, all I can do is pause and stare blankly because even though I have been asked this question the aforementioned 7 gazillion times, I still don’t quite know how to answer,

nor have I yet come up a with a satisfactory reply.

What do I do? 

Like…..what do I do with my time???

hmmmm…..well I plan meals and buy groceries and pay all of our bills and manage our finances and correspondence and maintain records for Dan’s limited company and put on holidays and family events and go to meetings and take minutes and send e-mails and receive emails and meet with teachers and make appointments and cancel appointments and re-schedule appointments and go to umpteen functions to help Dan represent his firm and do laundry and run up and down the stairs and help my daughter manage her dyslexia and help her with homework and studying and I drive the kids to activities and school and I run errands and sign forms and talk all of my 3 kids through issues that arise and I write a blog and I sometimes do courses online and I write and I write and I write and I read and I read and I did ‘grief recovery’ for a while, and I try to keep us all healthy and active and fit and dressed and organized and calm and happy and I dream and I think and I plan and I clean the kitchen and I make food and I clean the kitchen and I make food and I clean the kitchen and I make food.

Is there a name for that?

I haven’t come up with one, and if I was to start spouting off a list such as this one to my waiting listener it all starts to sound a bit silly and perhaps even a little desperate, and not nearly as impressive as those one word answers  that neatly and clearly sum up one’s profession,

like lawyer, doctor, professor, librarian, accountant, or architect.

For a long time, I really struggled with this,

because I am a perfectionist and a high achiever and an academic at heart.

Yet, after having my first baby I left my teaching career

and delved into twelve years of love and grief and family and absolutely consuming domesticity.

And here I sit now, in a bit of a blur,

thinking to myself what just happened?, and

excuse me but how many years did you say have gone by?


Still, for countless significant and beautiful reasons, I do not regret a single moment,

which does not mean to imply that I have not also felt a crisis of identity throughout those years,

or that I have not questioned my worth and contributions, value and purpose, hundreds of times.

Nor has it always mattered that I have been told over and over by my husband and kids that my worth and value are immense and true.

I have often had a hard time believing them,

given that we live in a culture that has a very specific definition of success, and I am surrounded by so many friends and peers who are wondrous examples of that fixed societal definition,

while I have been at home.


I have come to my own definition of success whilst being forced to find my worth separate from a label, and I can so clearly see now the shining radiance in so many around me, regardless of what they ‘do’.

True success, I believe, is all about character and has everything to do with how we move through the world, and less to do with what we do in the world.

It’s about integrity, confidence, and generosity,

and it implies kindness and openness and courage,

traits that take time, tears, commitment and a trust in life to develop.

I understand now, too, that every person’s life trajectory is unique and that none of us are really in a place to judge all of the factors and unique circumstances that may land a  person on a particular path.


A better, more interesting question to go around asking people might be,

What do you love to do?

Or even just,

What do you love?


Wildflower Inspiration

Check out this lovely little video produced in partnership with Travel Alberta to promote the annual Wildflower festival in Waterton, held every June.

Our wonderful friend, Lyndon, opens up the video, and speaks with such joy and passion about what he loves.…..

My Birthday

Something I LOVE is…..

my birthday.  I do.

I love deciding that for a whole day I am not going to wash a dish, or cook, or worry, or hurry.

I love savoring wishes and love and connection from all the people that I love.


I love how excited my kids get, almost as excited as if it was their birthdays.

I love how they jump out of their beds in the morning and hop onto ours with wishes and kisses and surprises,


I love the feeling of treating myself and listening to my whims, and I always think,

We ALL need to do this more of this.

If you happen to bump into me tomorrow,

I will likely be sipping my London Fog in Chapters with Dan and the kids, or I will be perusing the books for an extra long time, or I might be checking out the lovely wares at the Christmas artisan fairs while getting terribly excited about Christmas, or perhaps I will be enjoying a gorgeous dinner out with my family.

How lucky am I?


The best is yet to come…….























On Robin Williams, a goodbye and our block party

Robin Williams

It may seem that some people have such a strong and vibrant life force that the world can only sustain their blinding brightness for so long.

Consequently, when we suddenly find them gone, too young,
their absence is palpable
so deeply felt was their presence.

When Robin Williams died earlier this week, didn’t the world suddenly feel a little emptier, a little more hollow,
as the hole he left
gaped open?

Robin Williams was known for his comic genius, his unparalleled ability to improvise and his endless and unbounded wit and zaniness.

Yet, one of my favorite movies of all time featured him in a more serious role,
‘What Dreams May Come’. I have actually written about this movie in a previous post.

After news of Williams death, it was easy to imagine him,

wish him into a state of frolicking in a heaven of his own making, as that movie depicts –

completely, wildly, ecstatically and finally free.

Certainly, there is so much to be addressed about mental illness and thankfully this important conversation has been re-opened. My friend Lyndon, for example, has written very eloquently on the topic this week as have so many others.

The new revelation of Williams having been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease is personally heart-wrenching too, as I watched my maternal grandfather struggle with this disease for all of my childhood.

Every time, though, that my thoughts take me back to Williams’ death, and I have pondered speaking to it,
it’s not so much the subject of mental illness that asks for my pen,

it’s laughter.

Robin Williams lived to make people laugh.

In death, I think, he would like nothing better than to be able to remind us to laugh…
Big, consuming, tears-streaming, right from the belly, pure and good, healing beautiful laughter –

wherever and whenever it can be found.

Many of us have read the quote, by French poet Antoine De Saint-Exupery, tweeted by Williams daughter, Zelda, right after his death.
“You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them … In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night … You – only you – will have stars that can laugh.”

And then later she wrote,

‘To those he touched who are sending kind words, know that one of his favorite things in the world was to make you all laugh. As for those who are sending negativity, know that some small, giggling part of him is sending a flock of pigeons to your house to poop on your car. Right after you’ve had it washed. After all, he loved to laugh too.’

And so it is then, his death on one hand a booming call to take care of our hurting brothers and sisters, and to carefully tend to our own pain too,

and on another a reminder to play and laugh and abandon inhibitions.

Could we expect anything less from such a man who was able to take on the most serious of roles but then could effortlessly slip into the shoes of a genie or a nanny,

encompassing the wide spectrum of life~

One who seemed to bear the pain of the world,

but then could just as easily make the very stars laugh.

This beautiful humanity and heart-breaking vulnerability…

It’s in every single one of us.


A Goodbye

Last night we said goodbye to a family that, for the past 5 weeks, has melded into ours.

For a little while, my kids were her kids and hers were mine.

Both our families have been in Waterton together for the last three summers and with each year the kids’ connection deepens as does our adult friendships.

For our combined brood, It has been the sort of play that can only happen within the freedom of summer.

Suppers of noodles or cereal at 10pm after one last bike ride. Hours of Rainbow Looming. Countless trips to the yogurt place and the gas station for penny candy. Racing to the frigid lake for a quick dunk.

This, to me, has always been why we chose Waterton.

After our friends drove away back to their ‘real’ lives and home, my two burst into tears,

feeling the immediate grief of their departure,

as well as the anxiety regarding the looming school year and the tightly packed schedule to come.

Next year we will meet again, of course, but we all will be one year older,

the same, but different too, as much will have changed.

It always does.

I suggested a walk to cheer my kids up and promised George frozen yogurt smothered with his choice of candy. On our way back to the cabin, they wanted to jump off the dock. They did this wildly and enthusiastically, recovering quickly from their sadness as kids tend to do. It is still summer and they are still free.



We will miss you, beautiful Howeth family.

Our Block Party

This year marks ten years of block parties on our street. This party has strengthened community bonds in our pretty little neighbourhood like nothing else could have.

Let this be my expression of deep gratitude for this collaborative venture that has proven to all of us here that there is such beauty in this world to be created and found.

This year we have decided to celebrate in a more quiet and intimate way,

and take a year to get to know new neighbours and quietly but surely rejuvenate.




On Mrs. Hitchcock, discovering a place, and the writing process

Mrs. Hitchock

Motivated by a looser summer schedule ,

these last few weeks I have been determined to finally watch a few movies that have been released in the last ten years

as they would still be quite new to me.

Thank goodness for Netflix. I can curl up in bed with my iPad and feel like as if I am an in-touch adult again.

Given my remembered teenage obsession with ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ and ‘Twilight Zone’ episodes,

I decided to watch the 2009 movie ‘Hitchcock’ last week as I had heard an interesting snippet from an interview about it a few months ago.

This movie captures the part of Alfred Hitchcock’s life when he made ‘Psycho’, but largely deals with his fascinating and complex relationship with Alma, his wife.

Hitchcock was certainly not an easy man to be married to and their difficulties are well highlighted in the movie. Alma and Alfred were, however, fantastic collaborators and in the end their love was affirmed. Alma was a brilliant support to her husband, understood his projects, and was even able to masterfully step onto her husband’s  movie set and take over,

or spend hours with him in the cutting room, adding her own bits of genius.

It occurred to me that this, too, is what marriage can be about ~

Creative support and relentless cheer-leading when it seems that every other fan has left the building.

Undying belief in one another when faith in self falters and wanes,

as it will.

Enthusiastic collaboration on one another’s dreams….

Last week I was reading my newest blog post out loud to Dan, as I always do before publishing, and he told me he loved it,

after offering a few truly constructive comments.

He then said to me, ‘I am your Mrs. Hitchcock’.

I looked at him, surprised, while selfishly thinking to myself that it has actually been me who has done all of the

cheering on and supporting and standing beside.

But then I just as quickly realized that, in actuality, our support and belief in one another has always been completely and unarguably



Teamwork builds peace at home, after all.


‘Dan, you are my Mrs. Hitchcock and I am yours, and so……

Good Evening.’

Knowing a Place

On my morning walk this morning, in Waterton,

I reflected on how places can offer innumerable and never-ending precious gifts to be discovered. It doesn’t always need to be about the big, glamorous sights that everybody clamors around.

When we  traveled to Holland seven years ago with the kids,

rather than rushing all over the country and the next one over, and seeing every possible sight with little kids in tow,

we decided to just choose one location to settle into and get to know.

We chose Delft,

and spent long afternoons browsing its markets, shops, museums and cafes,




Bike rides along the city’s canals and into the flower-filled countryside, day trips on crowded trains into the next town, lingering dinners with delightful menus (yes for me, it’s so often about the food)… These are the sweetest parcels of memories that I still hold onto from that trip.


There were so many tourist attractions that we missed, and some that we were able to make time to see,

but so often the greatest delights in life and travel are small,

the ones to which no expectations are attached.


Sometimes I will berate myself for having spent another whole summer in Waterton  yet still not having checked all the ‘must-do’s off the list.

I haven’t, for example, done the most spectacular hikes that everyone asks and talks about,

and I am not out on wonderful adventures with the kids every time the weather is lovely (and it has been an achingly lovely summer).


This morning I drank my tea at the picnic table with George while we watched two squirrels chasing each other,

and we laughed our heads off at their zaniness.

Yesterday, I went on a long walk by myself and found my first perfect thimbleberry (don’t you love that word) of the season.


This past long weekend, on a long family walk after supper I turned around suddenly and saw this,


and my heart swelled to about ten times its size.


This is enough.

Perhaps, even,

this is all there really is.

The Writing Process

Earlier on this week, I inadvertently posted a first draft of this blog.

Correction. It wasn’t even a first draft,

it was my very rough and preliminary thoughts about this piece.

I only worked on it for a few minutes and then, to my horror, pushed the post button instead of the save draft button. Of course, I could quickly delete the post from most social media, but those who have signed up to receive my blog via email received my

emerging ramblings.

I decided that I could stress about it, or I could just breathe and let it go.

No point in obsessing over something that can’t be undone.

Perhaps, I even thought, there might be at least one lone soul out there who might be mildly interested in my writing process,

as how others bring their pieces to final form intrigues me to no end.

Writing is such a highly personal and creative act.

For me, writing is largely about distilling a piece, as much as possible,

to its essence.

Therein resides the impact and beauty.

My dear friend and glorious flower arranger, Jen, taught me that the real trick with flowers is to quickly get rid of all the extra unnecessary leaves and foliage fillers,

so that you are left with the perfect simplicity of the flowers.

Re-writing and editing, for me, is like that ~

a repetitive process of filtering and stripping away of words and extraneous thoughts,

until I finally reach a point where I feel that I have found something worth sharing.


Then, and only then, do I press publish. 🙂