Sunday, August 11, 2013


The phrase " Naturality" has been going through my head as I work our land.  The garden flourishes with plant and bug, the soil teems with life.  Sometimes when I sprawl out on the grass, basking in the sunshine, I close my eyes and listen intently to every sound.  I hear the buzz, chirp, rustle, and flick, the creak, scurry and squirm of the natural world.

With each sound, I feel linked with creation, linked with the wonder of new seasons, of beginning again. 

Almost every morning, I put my face through a spider web.  It often happens when I lean forward to fill the bird feeder or to water my hanging baskets.  Sometimes it happens when I walk through the tree forest near the wild blackberry bushes. I usually utter a four letter word (tots!, of course) and shake it off. Part of me nearly squirms out of my skin.  And yet, another part of me expands with the wonder of a spider's work overnight. 

These moments are my Naturality, my spirituality lived through the abundance of creation, the flourishing of nature, handcrafted in Divine mystery.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Creating Our Home

My last post has a picture of us on a tree farm.

 What's amazing, is that we own that tree farm now!

In December of 2008, we were on the cusp of change.  Many aspects of our family life were in flux: we were reorganizing, regaining our health, building businesses, figuring out schooling for our children, and resculpting our dream of living on a farm.

For 8 Christmases, we bundled up and ventured out to pick and cut down a tree of our own.  We would walk around a local 5-acre tree farm and say "It would be amazing to have a place like this someday."

In early 2009, I got pregnant with our third child.  It was a difficult pregnancy from the beginning.  I experienced hyperemesis, and was put on bedrest at 26 weeks for preterm labour.  It was a very dark and rainy winter and I was really bummed out, despite being excited to meet our little baby.

Our home at the time was surrounded by tall, Cedar trees and was very dark.  We were getting stir crazy (me especially) and needed a brighter, lighter space.  We had chipped away at renovations over a number of years and felt a need for change. We also liked the idea of paying off some debt and reorganizing our finances. We decided to sell our fixer-upper and rent for two years while saving for a farm.

Thankfully, I was able to carry to term (a little past!) and give birth to our Joy-Child, Maxwell.  He was born just after we moved into a very bright, southfacing rental home.

We worked and saved and "filled up our hearts", by enjoying the simple things.  We worked on lifestyle changes that helped us feel healthier, and we reconnected with our dreams.

December of 2011, we went to get our tree and realized that the 92-year old owner had passed away, leaving his wife behind. She expressed to us, that she would need to sell because the upkeep was too much for her.  We gave her our number and asked if she'd keep us in mind when she was ready to sell.

In the Spring of 2012, she called, and we started the process of crunching numbers and unfolding the possiblities of a dream coming true.

Last summer, we moved onto this beautiful property and began the work of creating our home.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas in the air

We've enjoyed the last few weeks of Christmas preparation--A couple of weeks ago, we chose a large tree for our living room, and a tiny tree for the kid's room-- Bry's parents joined us. It was a beautiful time together-- at the local Christmas Tree farm--they even threw in a few sprigs of holly---

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I love nature's insistence on redemption. Everywhere I look, I see rebirth, life from death, redemption within and without darkness. There is always life, everywhere. Humanity is teeming with life. And we are life to oneanother, in the midst of hardship, sadness and loss. We help carry the grief, side-by-side.

Alethea is fascinated by dolphins lately. A friend shared with me that when a mother dolphin looses her baby, the other dolphins press their bodies against the grieving mother and carry her through the water looking for her young. Beautiful.

This week, we were slow at the hospital, so I was able to leave my shift early.

The weather was gorgeous outside: brisk with an Autumn-laced breeze. As I started to drive I felt drawn toward my old University, where Bryan and I met.

I parked on a dirt road and walked through the 40 acres behind the school. I retraced my steps from years ago: the slight turn at the bridge, up toward the old Rugby field, the smoothed stump where Meredith and I used to curl up and read books on warm days. Memories flooded around me as I walked toward the Science building where I spent hours and hours learning Biology, Anatomy, Chemistry. A few lights were on in the Nursing faculty area, so I knocked on office doors and caught up on current news of the nursing program.

I was amazed to visit old haunts and see renovated areas with hardwood floors and gorgeous furniture. The nasty, grungy old "lower caf" had an Ethical Addictions Coffee House and Jugo Juice franchise in it. I could hardly believe how much the school has grown.

Afterwards, I walked back through the forest, in the pitch black (I forgot it goes completely dark by 5 pm now!) and made it to my truck.

My heart was full with memories and warmth as I remembered my four years of University. I experienced a lot of joy and deep friendship during those years. Hardship and grief were also near at hand. And as I meandered through the trails, touching trees I remember from years ago, I realized how much redemption and growth has taken place in me, in my life, in the lives of those around me, those I met during those 4 years.

I felt grateful for the hardship and the loss, the joy and friendship. I felt grateful for the redemption that happens, in all things.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Know Thyself

I've been asking myself questions. Some of the questions have arrived uninvited. And others are part of my desire to become more mindful of my motives, feelings and reactions. Here are a few:

*If you had to think of one word that would be a great complement to you, what would it be?

*What is a new hobby or interest you would like to incorporate into your life in the next year?

*What is a belief you held 5 years ago that you no longer hold?

*What do you feel is your unique gift to the world?

Asking myself questions, opens a part of my soul with the same intensity that glimpsing this picture evokes. I am free to change, to grow and to become more of my true self. In this picture of St. Francis, I sense a man who feels fully freed by his Creator to let his soul fly.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Brotherhood Of Man

My favorite bands, for years and years, have been U2 and The Innocence Mission. I've been asked a few times, that if I could choose two books and two albums, what would they be? I would have to choose The Joshua Tree (U2) , and Glow/We Walked in Song (Innocence Mission). And for books: No Man is an Island (Thomas Merton) and Here All Dwell Free (Gertrud Mueller Nelson).

Here is a beautiful live performance of "Brotherhood of Man".

Autumn Moments

This is a picture of Alley at our recent Tour of the Apple Barn and Pumpkin Patch. The top picture is of Michelle and I on the Hay Ride with our families.
We've enjoyed hiking in the nearby mountains, along the rushing rivers. This hike was in Golden Ears, on the Lower Falls Trail. The kids hiked slowly and in meandering directions. So, we took the path for an hour or so and then relaxed by the water, played in the sand and skipped rocks.

This is a picture of a recent "Daddy and Cherubs" campout. They loved roasting marshmallows and spending hours throwing rocks into the river.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Back to the Center

I just returned home for a trip to Arizona. My loving husband, in his love, encouraged me to go, to reconnect with my center, my soul-land. He also encouraged me to completely enjoy time with dear friends, to soak it up and rest in it, to know that he and the kids would be just fine (and would probably have more fun anyway!).

In all of this: our traveling and experiencing life and changing, I realize how comforting and centering it is to know that I have Bryan in my life. He is the constant. We are ever and always circling out and recircling back into eachother's arms. And I find great solace in that.

You see, I have been struggling with the change in weather again. And since Arizona is so glorious and sunny, being in it again made me realize how "dampened" my personality becomes up here in the great dark north. I felt like a sleep walker when I got off the plane in Phoenix. Being in Arizona, lying in the sunshine, hiking in the Sedona Red Rocks, walking in the sunshine... I felt like I was suddenly "plugged in" to a power source.

I do confess that it was the company as well that contributed greatly to a general feeling of sunshine. But at least a portion of it seemed to be physical.

So, now that I am home and in my quiet northern abode, I am trying to recreate it all. I have a steaming mug of Earl Grey, precisely 5 candles lit and flickering around me, white christmas lights encircling the plant to my right and a small warm lamp beside me, lighting the screen as I type.

It is helping; I feel uplifted this morning. I realized that an important aspect of my sense of peace and well-being is the creation of a morning ritual. I have been very disciplined in my morning ritual over the years until recently. My life has been busy and full and I often fall into bed and stumble out of bed. But for the last week, in Arizona, I was rested, and drawn into another's morning rituals I could easily insert myself into.

My dear childhood friend Natalie has an incredible sense of ritual. And I realized how restful it was to be a part of. Returning home, I feel recharged to recreate rituals of my own that bring a sense of peace and centeredness to my days.

So, this is a beginning.

I want to write briefly about the events of the summer, and move on into the Fall and Winter. The 3rd Annual Feast Collective happened in August again this year. It was a momentous time of connection between friends, sharing of music and art, good food, laughter and warmth around the fire. We added a Sweat Lodge and Women's Story Circle this year. And of course the Tie-dying and rock painting for the kids. The Traditions continue to grow and expand. We already look forward to next year.

In September, I traveled to Toronto for a Business Conference with Arbonne. While I was there, we stayed in the Sheraton Downtown where the Celebrities in town for the Toronto International Film Fest were staying. Just for fun, I'll tell you who I saw: Michael J Fox, Chris Nash, Sigourney Weaver, the cast from the 70's Show...and a bunch of other people I didn't recognize.

Bryan traveled to Boston for a week of training in his field of work as an Internet Affliate and Writer. Followed by a trip to Los Angeles to record his first CD. News on that to come...

We have started homeschooling Alethea through Summit Learning Center. We enrolled her in the Open School program and it has been incredible. Summit gives me Modules of Curriculum to do each month. They provide extensive support and programming through the Art Smarts Program. So far, she has been involved in Yoga, Circus Kids Gymnastics, and Tractor ride and tour of the Pumpkin and Apple Farm. On the horizon, we have celtic dancing, pottery, iceskating and way more than I can drive her to in a week!

I really enjoy having the curriculum this year as I begin. I enjoy the structure it provides. We often do work beyond the book, but it gives us a foundational groundwork for what she needs to learn this year. For additional reading lessons, I am using the "Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading" and she loves it!

To finish off, I want to continue:

Today, I am thankful for:

23-Toast and tea by candlelight
24-The warmth of the season upon us
25-A reawakened love for cooking and entertaining friends over bowls of soup

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Music for the Soul:Woodsong

Over the last week or so, we've been exploring new music: Feist, Bon Iver, Craig Cardiff.  And over the summer, we returned to our favorite grassroots music festival called Woodsong Music Festival.   

We camped for 4 days beneath the Westcoast cedars and pines. And listened to almost non-stop live music. The kids enjoyed the Art Tent and created beautiful things: birdhouses, painted rocks, beaded jewelry. Each night, they showed an outdoor movie on the screen; families nestled together in fleece blankets and sipped on hot cocoa and spiced tea.  

This was our third summer at Woodsong, and we recognized return visitors, exclaimed at "how much the kids have grown!" and generally reconnected with ourselves, eachother and new faces I look forward to seeing next year.

Burke and Barbara Thomas are the creators of Woodsong. 11 years ago, they decided to open their gorgeous piece of paradise land up for an honour-system based music event.  They don't charge and they trust guests to camp responsibly, pick up after ourselves and donate funds out of the goodness of our hearts. They go to incredibly effort to make it memorable and extremely well done.  We love it.  Each morning, they offer a potluck-topping breakfast.  For lunch and dinners, we all bring our own concoctions to cook on the fleet of outdoor cooking equipment already set up for us.

I highly recommend Woodsong. It is a good-for-the-soul weekend that captures the heart of Woodstock and other music festivals, but without the drugs and junk that we wouldn't want our kids around.  Perfect combo, in my opinion.

19-I am thankful for the uninhibited way my son sings like Bob Dylan
20-The chocolate covered almonds on sale at Sav-On Foods today.
21-The sound of the ticking clock in a quiet (kids asleep!!) house tonight.