1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, The Insightful Wanderer, TravelWriting, TToT, Writing

TToT: The Bridge Between What Is and What’s Hoped For – Making Waiting Worthy, #10Thankful

“She promised herself she would see the world, and so she did.”

-Virginia Woolf

Sometimes I fear, as I write piece after piece about my first solo travel experience for interested and curious editors, that I will never again get the chance.

I took the Woolf quote from my writing mentor’s email signature because I feel like I could be that quote, if only…

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful that I can call my sister anytime and hear my little niece babbling happily in the background.

She is old enough now that my sister can put her down on the floor, with some toys, and then get some stuff done around the house while my niece entertains herself a little.

I don’t have to go far to see them in person, but sometimes, in the moment, I am dealing with something hard and hearing that little girl chatting away happily is the only thing that can make a difference in my mood.

She is just that precious.

I’m thankful for a lovely home visit with my friend because downtown was so incredibly busy.

It was a warm day again and the downtown area was busy with Thursday market and other things.

So, instead, we went through a drive through and took coffees back to my air conditioned house.

I’m thankful for a return into the world of yoga.

My instructor got rather busy at the end of summer, but we are starting again, now that fall has nearly arrived.

My balance wasn’t bad, but I still fight shaky arms.

The end-of-session silent meditation time was my favourite part, again, though this time I had a harder time blocking out everything I have had on my mind lately.

Other than a few Skype difficulties, it was not bad for having missed multiple weeks.

I’m thankful for a surprise acceptance email in the evening.

Different editors work varied hours, but normally I don’t expect to hear from them after eight in the evening.

This one was such a pleasant surprise and a great opportunity.

I’m thankful for living light.

Bioluminescence

I can’t really see it anymore, but I still watch any documentary I can get my hands on about the sea. It’s just amazing what animals are programmed to do.

Oh, to have become a marine biologist, free to study such miracles all the time.

I’m thankful I could book an eye appointment.

I haven’t been to see my retinal specialist since March of 2014 and I was worried I might need a referral to get back in there.

I am sort of worried about my eyesight, feeling it slipping away, and it’s about time I get some peace of mind, if possible.

I have been seeing this specialist for over twenty years, ever since a mysterious virus attacked my left eye and started in on my right. This doctor was understanding and patient and did his best to save my little remaining vision.

Now I need to hear he sees nothing wrong and that maybe there is hope. Though I bet he won’t see anything and I will feel even worse about what my gut is telling me is going on.

I still am grateful to have this doctor and he may just have a comforting word, said in his soft, soothing voice.

I’m thankful for seconds.

At the market, a bag of my favourite September apples costs quite a lot, but if you are willing to settle for the apples that didn’t quite make the cut during inspection, the price goes down considerably.

I have inspected many of these apples that weren’t quite good enough, finding nothing wrong. It’s not like they are covered in worm holes and mushy bruises.

They are still the apples I love. I am happy to take the ones nobody else wanted.

I’m thankful for my writer mentors and friends and their belief in me and my writing.

Just knowing such wildly talented writers believe in me, that they consider my writing so highly, this means everything to me.

That they describe my latest freelance writing successes in this way: “well deserved catapult to glory”.

I especially love that the piece referred to in this case was published in
Catapult
and I can’t believe my piece is visible on their main page.

On those days when I am feeling down about a pitch rejection or not hearing back from a short story contest I’d entered, their faith in me is just the thing to make me reconsider my own talent, as something I am working on constantly and am meant to do.

I’m thankful for a complimentary email to brighten up my weekend.

The one travel publication I received an acceptance for last week read something I got published (the Catapult piece I included here in the last TToT) and they emailed me, the editor, to say how much they enjoyed reading it and are even more sure about my participation in their literary journal.

It was just the thing to brighten up my dismal weekend.

I’m thankful for unexpected acts of kindness.

As my friend and I were going through the drive through to get our coffee, the worker at the window asked if we wanted to purchase a smile cookie to support a good cause.

VON Sakura House – residential hospice of Oxford County

I said why not, as it is for a good cause, and then we drove to the next window.

It turns out, the car ahead of ours offered to pay for our cookie and I suddenly felt warmer than the day could cause. It was a warm feeling of gratitude and for the kindness that still exists in my town and in the world.

And, speaking of lifting quotes from others…

The title for this TToT post I got the idea for from
Lisa
and from
Christine Carter’s book
all about self care and healing.

These ladies have a point, in that I am not dealing with any disaster. My brother’s accident a few years ago, that was a disaster for the family.

My week was far from disastrous and I am thankful for that.

Advertisements
Standard
Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, Kerry's Causes, The Insightful Wanderer

How do you tag a jellyfish?  

Such amazing creatures.

Conservation & Science

They’re so soft—so squishy! Where to put a tag—and why bother? Questions like these moved scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), Hopkins Marine Station and other institutions around the world to publish the first comprehensive how-to tagging paper for jellyfish researchers everywhere. This missing manual was long in the making

A wild sea nettle swims off Point Lobos near Carmel. Photo ©Bill Morgan

Tommy Knowles, a senior aquarist at Monterey Bay Aquarium, explains why.  Historically, ocean researchers demonized jellies as “blobs of goo that hurt you,” and that interfered with scientific gear. That changed in the  latter part of the 20th century as scientists grew keen to understand entire ecosystems, not just individual plants and animals. Knowing who eats what, how, where and when, they learned, is critical for conservation.

Jellyfish, however, remained a very under-appreciated member of the ecosystem for…

View original post 979 more words

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, TravelWriting, TToT

TToT: Stormy Skies Over Soft Summer Sunlight – Where’s the yellow? #10Thankful

“Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

—The Little Prince

psxnx7E.jpg

I like alliteration in my titles and I like this time of year. I am busy during the days and try not to think too much, about those things that keep me up at night.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful my family and I are safe and far from natural disasters and that my friends are safe too.

Here in Ontario we get tornados sometimes, but we aren’t out west where the fires are, nor are we by the coast where the flooding happens.

Then I woke to the notification of a strong earthquake in Mexico and I feared for my friends living there.

Mexico is big enough that those I care about weren’t touched, but these natural disasters seem to be everywhere lately.

Just not here. Our weather has been beautiful, if not a little cool for this time of year, but I am loving it.

I’m thankful for such a fun and energizing writing group.

A pack of three crayons (red/blue/green) were brought in for the mystery object, those packs you find at a restaurant, to keep the kids entertained. Well, I love crayons, but many of us in the group wondered and commented on the lack of a yellow crayon.

Our group was larger than usual and I liked the energy each person added. I was entirely entertained, myself, by everyone in that room.

The stories were diverse and all about crayons. Ah, the life of a crayon.

There were two new people there and they were both J names. This, somehow, had its own influence on someone’s story. I hope they both come back.

I’m thankful my brother had his adventure and made it safely home from Iceland.

I’m thankful he returned to his radio show.

He is getting better and more comfortable, every time he does it.

I’m thankful for a another Saturday family day.

The guys went to a baseball game and us girls and Max stayed home.

There were family photos taken out in the back yard.

I’m thankful Saturday family day spilled over to Sunday.

It was a lovely afternoon spent sitting in a circle in the yard, with beers, wine, and snacks.

My family are some of the most interesting people I know.

I’m thankful a piece I’ve been working on (from pitch to publication) is finally out, starting all the way back last May.

Lost, and Then Found Once More: On Traveling Alone without Sight – Catapult

Read to the end and the part about the drumsticks.

This is a prelude to my audio piece for SiriusXM.

I’m thankful for two more “acceptances” and for the fear that’s accompanying both.

I wasn’t expecting it, in a way, and I am back to square one. I must come up with a piece of writing that they will want to publish. I worry about not coming up with anything and instead letting them and myself down.

The excitement is there too though. I am honoured, after ending last week with a rejection email to a pitch, to hear anything at all to start off a new one.

I’m thankful to have an available store full of food to shop in.

As I meandered through the isles, the shelves, and the freezer section and prepared foods, I know not everyone has such choice right there in front of them. It felt like a lot, but it is an abundance I am thankful for.

I’m thankful for pumpkin spiced latte.

Enough said.

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Song Lyric Sunday, The Insightful Wanderer

Happiness Is The Best Kind, #SongLyricSunday

Revenge may feel good for a while, but success in happy pursuits is the better revenge to have in the end.

XYoFPv1.jpg

There you have it. My fortune cookie for September.

Another song to make my heart happy, when I realize that any thoughts of anger in revenge or vengeful moments, dreaming something of the kind toward someone, well I am much happier in focusing on wanting more for my own life.

And I think that making my own dreams come true is the best kind of revenge there could possibly be anyway.

***

Oh, my life is changing everyday,
In every possible way. And oh, my dreams, it’s never quite as it seems, Never quite as it seems.
I know I’ve felt like this before, but now I’m feeling it even more, Because it came from you. And then I open up and see the person falling here is me, A different way to be.
Ah, la da ah… La…
I want more impossible to ignore, Impossible to ignore. And they’ll come true, impossible not to do, Impossible not to do.
And now I tell you openly, you have my heart so don’t hurt me. You’re what I couldn’t find. A totally amazing mind, so understanding and so kind; You’re everything to me.
Oh, my life, Is changing every day, In every possible way.
And oh, my dreams, It’s never quite as it seems, ‘Cause you’re a dream to me, Dream to me.
Ah, da, da da da, da, la…

LYRICS

***

And so, if or when I did happen to find someone wonderful, I’d want my life to be as wonderful as it could be, so the two would deserve each other in unison.

I choose to go the more upbeat route for this week’s
Song Lyric Sunday
because I am living my dream, or starting to anyway. It’s often a more gradual process than I’d like it to be.

And thanks to
Marquessa
for the prompt of revenge/vengeance.

I could have gone down that road, still easier than I’d like to admit, but admitting that makes me human.

So, instead…here’s to dreams!

Standard
Bucket List, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Writing

Fear of Flying: Inside the Memoir-on-Submission Wind Tunnel

And, through it all, the writer keeps writing, inspiring other writers to keep writing too.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Cameron Dezen Hammon

“What is it Mama?” my daughter asked, her so voice so hushed I could barely hear her. “What did they say? Mama?”

My daughter is not a quiet person. When she speaks, she’s usually heard. Maybe she was afraid of my answer. Or maybe I couldn’t hear her over the rush of blood in my ears, the slap of my palms on the hot steering wheel, the tepid air conditioner in my ancient Honda, barely keeping out the one-hundred-degree Texas heat.

I was in a Starbucks drive-through, my 11-year-old watching slime videos on her phone in the backseat. We’d just come from iFly, an indoor skydiving place on the Interstate 10 feeder road. My agent had sent my memoir out in early July to 45 editors, and since then I’d become an expert at choosing activities–like indoor skydiving—that prevented me from obsessively checking my email. I’d…

View original post 875 more words

Standard
Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday, The Insightful Wanderer, TToT, Writing

TToT: Forever and Ever and Always – “Inshallah” #10Thankful

“Another celebrity dies. And still it mystifies the people. Another icon is destroyed.”

—The Cranberries, “Paparazzi On Mopeds”

Last week I was writing about American royalty and this week British, with my memories of where I was in my year, month, and life twenty years ago this week, when Princess Diana was killed.

Biopsies and weddings and recriminations, oh my!

I may have been able to see swans twenty years ago, but I don’t know if I’d go back if given the chance.

lcj43rI.jpg

I had the best day in a long time with my sister and her kids.

Forever and Ever – Pooh’s Grand Adventure

We spent the day in a nearby town called Stratford, known for culture and Shakespeare’s plays, but I like it best for the swans at the park, the awesome chocolate shop, but mostly for the time the four of us spent there together.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for another fascinating interview.

I heard Sting speak about his music, then and now, and the world he’s worried about leaving behind for his grandchildren.

I love to listen to interviews, to learn about people, and I think he is a good one. I’ve always been a fan of his music, from his Police days.

Then he scored the IMAX film The Dolphins that I love. It’s remarkably beautiful.

When Dolphins Dance

It brings me peace.

“Be yourself, no matter what they say.”

—Sting

I’m thankful the roof is completed, all fixed, along with all banging sounds silenced.

The men are gone, scaffolding removed, giant bin for debris taken away.

Now the rain will stay where it belongs.

I’m thankful my brother is off on an adventure.

Adventure Is A Wonderful Thing

We drove him and a friend to the airport and I was so excited for them, even more so than if it were me going. I want everyone to get to experience travel of some kind.

I’m thankful to have discovered an out-of-the-way little pizza shop to enjoy with my mom on a drive out of town.

Super Choice!

It was.

I’m thankful the first of multiple pieces of my writing was published to round off the month of August.

My Pal Croche: Remembering My First Guide Dog – Paw Culture

I am grateful that Paw Culture gave me the opportunity and a place to write about Croche, for the tenth anniversary of her death, on Good Friday, 2017.

I’m thankful for September and the first of the fresh local apples of the fall season.

It’s practically all I eat for the next month or so. Perfect combination of sweet and sour. So crisp and crunchy.

I’m thankful my niece and nephew have had such an amazing person to take care of them for the early years of their lives, so my brother and his wife could be at work and have total confidence and trust in the care their children were getting.

Now that my nephew will be joining his big sister in school, this won’t be happening, but the bond will always be there.

I know it’s hard to have to decide to leave your precious baby with someone else so much of the time, as working parents, and especially in a city like Toronto, finding good childcare isn’t so easy.

This person helps shape how the child will be, from the first years of their lives, and I know this was a big weight off their minds. I am grateful to this person. I see how much my nephew and niece love her. Transitions are never so easy and pain free, but a part of life.

I’m thankful for the senses I still have to enjoy a day out with loved ones.

1rXgddu.jpg

I got kind of depressed after we returned from Stratford, because I couldn’t see the white swans on the water anymore, but I enjoyed juice boxes, walking along a path while my nephew looked for a campsite (pretend), and the drive there and back.

I felt the fresh air and sunshine of the day. I smelled the scent of chocolate as we entered the shop. I heard the ducks and geese, if I couldn’t see the others.

I’m thankful for the sweetest moments with my nephew and niece during our day.

M8BTxsd.jpg

“Kerry, mommies and daddies always come back, right?”

I was blown away by that statement? Question? Hmm. I still don’t know.

I heard the small voice from behind my front van seat ask this. He’d heard it said on a children’s program that morning. He sounded certain enough, but still looking for a little reassurance from his aunt.

“Inshallah”

Then, as we walked through a store full of goodies, he soon asked if we could get chocolate for others, not just himself. I almost melted, right there, surrounded by chocolates, at his thoughtful request.

As my sister loaded him and our treats into the van, I held my niece in my lap. She’d hardly cried or fussed the entire day. Later that night, I’d hold her in my lap as she chattered away and watched her big brother playing, with great interest.

My nephew wanted me to come to his house to watch Pooh’s Grand Adventure and I did. I am so happy I did.

Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin

I’d seen it before with him, but never had I paid as close attention to the dialogue and word choice. I was impressed at what a smart story it is.

As we sat, the song from above played, about being together forever and ever, as my nephew crawled into my lap and cuddled, sitting still for what could have been a shot at forever and I nearly cried, thinking of how many days there will be like that granted to me.

“Inshallah.”

It means God Willing. It’s an Arabic word I heard mentioned twice this week, from Sting during his interview and then in a piece I read somewhere.

I’m thankful for my boys.

1rXgddu.jpg

Never before had both Dobby and Lumos sat on either side of my chair like that.

I think Lumos was still wanting me all to himself, as Dobby had been away the previous few days because of all the commotion with the roof repairs.

And to end the post, a song that one of my favourite bands wrote after Diana’s senseless death.

Paparazzi On Mopeds – The Cranberries

Goodbye summer/August, the final long weekend of the season, and welcome to a new month and season of autumn to come.

And to my nephew, starting school for the first time and his big sister and cousin, I want you all to know:

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

—Pooh’s Grand Adventure

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Shows and Events, Song Lyric Sunday, Spotlight Sunday

Best Possible Advice, #ChronicPain #SongLyricSunday

Breathe, Kerry. Breathe.

HzRRAqM.jpg

Chronic Pain Awareness Week is about to begin and so I thought this the perfect time to speak about it.

I will use Song Lyric Sunday and Helen’s prompt about breathing to do it.

Singer Ingrid Michaelson had a few songs that helped me through a bad breakup and things, but this one helps to remind me of how to cope, with both emotional and physical pain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fORAPkfVV_A

It’s a good one for after a breakup, for a stressful day, physical pain, or even for people living through an awful natural disaster like a wildfire or flood, anything any one of us can’t control.

Deep breathing…I am not the first to think of it and either is Michaelson.

It’s a yoga practice. It’s a coping mechanism. I don’t speak a lot about the pain I live with on a daily basis to most people. There’s a stigma to chronic pain that is hard to deal with, almost as painful as the pain itself. If I mention it, people can’t fully comprehend and many human beings feel the common need to problem solve or judge, even unintentionally.

Do I drink enough water? Do I get enough sleep? Do I get enough fresh air, sunshine, or exercise?

Am I depressed? Do I eat enough fruits and vegetables?

***

The storm is coming
but I don’t mind
People are dying,
I close my blinds
All that I know is I’m breathing, now

I want to change the world
Instead, I sleep
I want to believe in more
than you and me

But all that I know is I’m breathing
All I can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing now
All that I know is I’m breathing
All I can do is keep breathing. All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing now

LYRICS

***

The song starts with a few lines of lyrics about more than just any one kind of physical pain. It also serves as a reminder that we all feel helpless about the things we see going on in the world and want to help. The helplessness I feel about so many of the world’s ills, human suffering, injustices, all that on top of the physical pain I live with every day and it’s enough to make me want to close my blinds and sleep through life, but I only allow myself a day or two of that before I must do something different.

Then the song repeats the simple advice to “keep breathing” and the song is correct – all any of us can do is that. I remind myself of it, at least twenty times a day or more. I tell myself to remember to do it when the stress becomes too much to handle in any given moment, when even thinking about others feels like an impossibility because being me is hard enough.

As the lyrics “all we can do is keep breathing” repeat, the song builds to a climactic point and then returns to where it started.

That’s pain of all kinds. That’s life.

Standard