1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Book Reviews, Bucket List, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Interviews, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, National Novel Writing Month, Piece of Cake, Podcast, RIP, Shows and Events, SoCS, Song Lyric Sunday, Special Occasions, The Blind Reviewer, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel, TravelWriting, TToT, Writing

Thunderbolts and Firewires: The Year That Was 2016, #Farewell2016 #Writing #Podcast

I am feeling a little like I am frozen, and I’m warm while I say that. I don’t need to be out in a snow bank to say it. It is January, a new year, and I am frozen by many fears. I am afraid I will accomplish nothing, that this year of 2016 will be empty and a blank void in my life. I feel frozen by indecision and by uncertainty, but I hope I can find a way to thaw from that feeling of being frozen by all of this, that I can find the courage to take risks and keep moving forward.
I am equal parts afraid and optimistic. I am a lot hesitant and somewhat hopeful. The fear that I could go a whole year and not get anywhere at all clings on tight. On the other hand, I see a wide open year ahead as full of unknown possibility and promise of something great.
You never know the experiences you might have, the events in life that you just can’t plan for, and the people you may meet, who may come into your life for all kinds of reasons, for the short term only or for longer.

IqtN7Cr.jpg

Here I am, a year on from the fear and those remarks I made on my blog at the start of 2016, and a good year for me personally and creatively, trying new things, all by deciding to focus on myself is how 2016 actually turned out.

And now, I end 2016 and begin 2017 by looking back, at the year I’ve just had and ahead to the year to come.

I did it at the end of 2015 with:
My Top Spills and Thrills
of which there had been enough of both to go around.

What a ride! Would 2016 be anything else?

And so, I give you – 2016!

JANUARY

As the January 2016 quote from my blog showed,
I began my year afraid and uncertain and on a bit of a lower note,
with a little
Just Jot It January fun.

Then, to kick things up a notch, I thought the best way to focus on my writing was to take a writing workshop with a Canadian writer I’ve admired since I began blogging and seriously writing.
Carrie Snyder – Obscure CanLit Mama
Her style to creative work was just what I needed and it made me open up and here I am, one year later exactly, off to broaden my writing workshop horizons.

In reality, my brother had just come off a close medical call and was becoming himself again. I had lots to be
thankful for.
I just needed a bit of a push,
some creative inspiration,
and a path for a new direction in my life.

The year 2016 would, by many, be labeled “The Year All the Greats Died…the cursed year” even if you look at that with perspective from other years, past or future.

It began with David Bowie, but for me,
it all started with Snape,
as Bowie hadn’t quite meant to me what he’d meant to many others who felt his loss.

A new year maybe, but a new month meant another
#1000Speak,
focusing on the subject of forgiveness.

With the start of 2016 I decided to start a new Friday tradition.

Thanks to Kristi from
Finding Ninee
I decided to participate in a new blogging exercise
for the first time.

Another first included
Dungeons, Dragons, and Sorcerer’s Spells
but, in the end, it wasn’t for me.

Turns out, the magic of this month has been that I could just write, jot really, and I started to see that I didn’t need to have the rest of the year all figured out in the first thirty-one days.

FEBRUARY

This second month of the year is designated for a cause I know well. It ended up to be my chance to speak my mind about my personal cause and became my first published article of 2016:

To the People Who’ve Never Heard of My Rare Disease – The Mighty

February would end up being a month of
mindfulness and music.

Ten days in, I turned thirty-two and decided to check a big one off of my
bucket list,
and so I went out and rented myself a violin.

Happy Birthday To Me!

I turned another year older.

Harper Lee dies

MARCH

This third month of 2016 would bring more music, as I would discover my theme song for the year and forevermore:
Scars – Emmanuel Jal Feat. Nelly Furtado
and I would officially begin to learn how to play the violin, with lessons that would challenge and reward me, in both big and small ways.

Then, in honour of International Day of Happiness, I wrote a piece for
March’s #1000Speak
about how music makes me happy.

By this point in the year, I decided to cut back on blogging and write more of the memoir I’ve always planned for.

This was the best I could do.

I will keep at it.

March brought with it guest blogging spots and more opportunities for publication, other places than my own blog,
with my second attempt at the #BeReal challenge.

Following this, feminism seemed to be the topic of March as a month.

An interview I’d done with
a proud male feminist
and then a piece I’d written on
International Women’s Day
were both picked up by
The Good Man Project.

As for those we lost in the month of march:

Rob Ford (former mayor of Toronto)

and

Patty Duke, at the end of Women’s History Month, March.

APRIL

I got myself a writing mentor and my lyrics were finally heard.

Don’t Look Back

I was trying to focus, to look ahead, and to plan for what I wanted.

Why Oh Why

The writing mentor was a big deal, for that, as great and knowledgeable as she is and as much guidance as she’s been so far, but it was a sign that I could make writing my future – only I could do that.

April’s #1000Speak was all about vulnerability.

Once again, like during the spring of 2015, I was losing my tool for communication and self expression. This makes me feel vulnerable.

So I appreciated
the share from a friend
and another
guest posting opportunity
from a blogger, a young woman I really admire and have interviewed here before.

Spotlight On Single Strides

The end of April brought with it the death of Prince.

It also brought with it
the death of the loner laptop I was using
and a beautiful gift from a stranger, one which would allow me to write another day.

MAY

Back And Better Than Ever

I’d been pondering the idea of doing a podcast for a while, but couldn’t figure out how to make that work. Then, I brought up the idea with my brother and an idea, our idea, was born.

Taking A Chance

Next, it’s the month to celebrate mothers.

Solid As A Rock

I couldn’t do this without thinking back twenty years.

Frozen In Time

For May’s edition of #1000Speak I focused on
Loving My Self-ish.

The end of May and onward to June always causes me to pause and reflect.

Born Again and Forever Grateful

This time these thoughts would grow to become my next piece to be featured on The Good Man Project.

JUNE

My first Song Lyric Sunday on more than just any old Sunday day.

Following “the month of the Mother,” –
Her Dad Gave Her New Life and Rebirth–Where’s the Father’s Day Card for That?
June will always be a month for me and my father.

Electric Blue Compassion, #1000Speak

JULY

We started with a Facebook page,
and soon that followed with
Episode 1 – Intro To Us
with Ketchup On Pancakes.

On top of the release of the podcast, I jumped at an amazing offer, an invite, which would require a whole lot of planning and a wait of nearly six months.

Would the moment ever get here?

I bet my sister was thinking that same thing, we all were, but her good news was finally a dream come true.

A chance at independence and a new life for my writing and for me and a second child for her.

And so I applied for a newly updated passport and began to count down the months.

I read and wrote one of my rarer than I’d like book reviews.

Then I was approached and invited to write another
guest post
about my life and my day as a blogger.

What is courage anyway? #1000Speak

AUGUST

More lyrics for a second song written and, in celebration of and motivated by that accomplishment,
I decided to return to the visual art of my childhood and an old, familiar kind of creativity.

Up next, speaking of being reminded of being a child,
I reviewed a movie about motherhood,
that I’d gone to see, with my newly pregnant sister, in our own empty theatre.

Weeks before, at the end of May, the lead singer of Canada’s own Tragically Hip announced his fight with brain cancer and all his fans of Canada were listening, especially all across the country, one night in August.

The World Can Learn a Thing or Two From Canada – The Planet D

One beloved Canadian spoke up about his oncoming struggle and we lost someone in our family. I’m glad I got to meet Gerti, at least once that I’ll always remember.

As August came to an end, I made a few hard choices about my writing and what I wanted done with it.

If I made a mistake somewhere in there, I guess it will be mine to make and to own and to learn from.

The questioning would and will continue, no matter the month or the year I’m in.

SEPTEMBER

The first day of this new month was one I’d been waiting for, with the release of a new publication, focusing on what travel should be, the kind I’d like to see.

Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel

I remembered what it was like, moving into my house that I bought with my sister, ten years ago.

Collecting Furniture, Memories, and Emails

Ten years later, my nephew started school and my niece began the first grade. Another loved one passes away. RIP Erica.

I got to feature an interview I’d done with one of my favourite editors/writers.

The Other Awkward Age: My Interview with Jennifer Niesslein

This felt like a giant win and one of the best things to ever happen to this blog.

OCTOBER

Episode 2 – Ingredients Listed with Ketchup On Pancakes

But we weren’t the only ones with the idea of doing a podcast. Apparently, the idea had spread.

The Brevity Podcast

I took an autumn trip, to say goodbye,
with more than just the fall colours
as backdrop.

NOVEMBER

The U.S. makes a big mistake and it’s time to get writing – all the more reason to write.

Nano Nano Nano

“Regarding the influence from his poet-balladeer father, Cohen has said, “He’s tremendously helpful. Forget that I am his son. I was tutored in lyric-writing by Leonard Cohen and I had his sensibilities to draw upon. And I’m not just talking genetically. I could literally talk to the cat and he could lean over my notebook and point to a couple of phrases and say, ‘These are strong, these are weak.’ How can I consider myself anything but incredibly fortunate.”

Canada loses a great artist and the world all feels it, a distraction, in the form of
RIP Leonard Cohen,
just following the chaos in the United States.

Stalemate, #1000Speak

Could this possibly spell the end of 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion?

DECEMBER

Canada announces the first woman, other than the Queen, to appear on Canadian money.

Black rights activist Viola Desmond to be 1st Canadian woman on $10 bill

One month after November’s U.S. election, we share our Canadian perspective.

Episode 3 – The Great Gong Show of 2016 with Ketchup On Pancakes

I focused on my own personal growth for a greater part of 2016, but managed to fit in a little, last minute dating during the final days. Also, I made new and face-to-face connections with a few local women writers. So, a balance of personal and social, for good measure.

A few of the final famous deaths of 2016 would include daughter/mother pair Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, but for me, it was the loss of this guy that brought me back twenty or so years:

I watched Days of Our Lives multiple days a week, while I was sick at home from school or stuck on dialysis. It was my favourite soap opera of the late 90s, as ridiculous as the storylines always were.

Joseph Mascolo, ‘Days of Our Lives’ Villain, Dies at 87 – New York Times

No villain was ever more evil than Stefano DiMera (Joseph Mascolo).

Special Snowflakes and Safe Places – Wham! Bah Humbug! Whoosh! #10Thankful

I featured a George Michael shoutout, in my final 10 Things of Thankful post for 2016 and this was before the Christmas Day announcement of his passing.

I am no fortune teller, but some of my predictions did happen,
as I sit with what did indeed come to pass and look back on what 2016 became.

Ketchup On Pancakes (the podcast) had a final episode for the year, a catch up on all that was 2016, by a cozy fireside.

Episode 4 – Farewell 2016…By The Fireside with Ketchup On Pancakes

And now, here I am, and another January is upon me.

It is a bit of a contemplative month, with the new year so new and fresh, but I value it for its melancholyish quality. It is a quiet time of reflection and so much possibility ahead.
As a new year begins I search for the motivation I see all around me, the kind that is going to get me to the places I strive to get to. I feel the blueness of January and hope I can find some momentum in the months to come.

My 2016 Resolutions were:
I want to make more connections with writers, creative and smart women, and I want to keep writing. I want to not be afraid to keep putting my words out there, even though the fear of more rejection is a lingering one.
Some make resolutions, others pick one word for their year, but I resist doing both. If I have to choose one word though, I suppose I will go with “Adventure”. I do want more of this, as I believe life is one giant adventure, all the years we get to live it.

Advertisements
Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Spotlight Sunday

Loving My Self-ish, #Compassion #1000Speak

“Every day is so wonderful. Then suddenly, it’s hard to breathe. Now and then i get insecure. From all the pain, I’m so ashamed.”

Beautiful – Christina Aguilera

I don’t look forward to these months, I have to say. This month’s topic for #1000Speak is “Self Compassion” and I find that one most difficult to write about. I could go all day long about any other topic under the “Compassion Umbrella” but when I must turn all my reflections inward, on me as a person, I struggle and even debate skipping May’s linkup altogether.

But here I am. I do like a challenge. Showing myself self compassion is just that.

So many of us wrestle with turning our writing in on ourselves. I know I am not alone. I have my reasons, for why I resist showing myself the kind of compassion I fancy myself so good at showing anyone else, just like everyone else who can’t show themselves that very same courtesy either.

Lately I’ve seen a lot of awful things. I’ve heard from so many with terrible stories of difficult childhoods, all setting them up for failure with self compassion, and I have none of that. I know I am lucky there.

I had supportive and loving parents and a close family growing up. All still true. Every one of them contributed to the best of who I am, not the worst thoughts and ideas I think about myself, during those darker moments.

It is not in spite of them, but because of them that I have the sort of love for myself as a person that I do. I do see my own worth. How could I not, with family like mine? They made me who I am.

We all have our own unique struggles. We are taught a lot about arrogance and narcissism in our world. It’s all around us. How to avoid taking on the worst of those qualities? If we love ourselves a little too much we are called out on it. If we constantly put ourselves down we make it too painful to be around. How to find a balance?

Well, without a stable childhood it is made one hundred times harder. I have the advantage there. I try to show myself compassion and then the negative thoughts creep in. It didn’t start from a need to be loved, not by family, to be perfect, but I got it anyway, in my own way.

Growing up with a disability makes you stronger. I can readily admit that. It teaches resilience and determination. That’s all well and good, but it also creates vast amounts of insecurities and guilt.

Am I worth being around?

Am I good enough?

Am I good at anything?

Am I or have I ever been a burden for someone?

Am I enough, in friendships and in romantic relationships? Do I deserve happiness? Will I ever find it or am I meant to end up alone?

Is that a bad thing in the end? Could I survive it and be okay anyway?

So, how to get okay with any of these?

Of course, I am familiar with the truth that “we must love ourselves before we can expect anyone else to love us” and I agree. My whole life, up until now and going forward, is focused on developing the skills and the belief in myself, to become stronger, for better or for worse.

I don’t know how anyone knows they love who they are enough that love from someone else will work out. Do I push people away? Is there something in me, a doubt and a faithlessness, that anyone I attempt to get close to can feel, of which inevitably ends up driving them away?

These are all questions that run through my head. I don’t know how to make it stop, how to finally answer for my own personal satisfaction.

So, then the challenge becomes finding meaning in what I love and what I know I am all about, a new internal fight begins. It’s more uncertainty that nags at me by this point.

So, I can repeat continuous statements of positivity in my head, out loud, or in my writing. I can then hope those thoughts take hold in my mind, as I desperately hope to believe I can be happy.

I try things like write down what I’m grateful for. I try to remind myself of the things I can do, instead of everything I cannot. That scale often feels unbalanced, but I steady myself whenever possible.

If I feel like I’ve got no friends, no hope for finding love, like I’m not meant to ever have children and a family of my own, like I will never find a job and support myself, like I can never look the way I want or be at the right weight then I would drown in a sea of hopelessness. I have somehow found a way not to lose hope, to keep the faith, even during the rougher moments.

Underneath it all I was raised to value myself. That is a foundation that will never let me down, one which I can always count on and look to for strength. It’s the building up from that initial base, since then that sometimes threatens to crumble. I must do whatever I can to stop that destruction.

I have no finality on this matter, no answers, nor conclusions. I am still figuring it all out.

This month…

And every month, or as it should be.

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

Self Compassion Heals

Standard
Uncategorized

The Year Compassion Rained, #1000Speak #LoIsInDaBl #BlogLove

I wanted to do something to mark the two year anniversary of this blog last week, on the day I turned thirty-two, but I decided to wait.

I knew the anniversary,

We Are The Village (a #1000Speak post),

would be coming soon after. Rather than talking about what I’ve learned about having a blog for two years, I figured that instead I would round up each monthly contribution I made to 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion over the last twelve months, all in one place. This, I’ve decided, is the best way I can think to truly illustrate the importance it has had in my life this past year and I hope to continue with it in the future.

The presence of

#1000Speak

has helped me to focus in on what is at the heart of why I write and at the core of my space, this blog: Her Headache.

FEBRUARY – Compassion

Planting the Seeds of Compassion

I interview two people who make a unique and lasting difference in the world around them.

MARCH – Building From Bullying

Bystander

I speak about bullying, in my own life, for other people, and in literature and how we all see it happening, in front of us at one time or another.

APRIL – Nurture

Nature and Nurture: Bloodroots and Blood Ties

Using a particular afternoon out in nature with family, I speak about the whole nature vs nurture debate and the vital role I think both of these have played in my own life.

MAY – Connection

Connection and Disconnection

I speak about the types of connection I want for myself and how I deal with feeling lonely or alone in the world.

JUNE:

Everybody’s Got A Story

This one speaks for itself really.

JULY – Acceptance

The Trouble With Being Real

I speak about showing compassion to myself in a world where it’s sometimes just easier to hide.

**Here, I took a bit of a summer vacation from compassion for the month of August. Sounds worse than it was.**

🙂

Instead, I’ve included a guest post I was invited to write, a few months later, for the 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion site.

If a Tree Falls in the Forest

I speak about compassion vs pity that I often get from others.

SEPTEMBER – Honesty

Eggshells, Broken Glass, and Scissors

I examine when it’s okay to be honest with other people and how to learn from the sometimes harsh nature of honesty when it is given back to me.

OCTOBER – Compassion

Who Is Malala?

A young girl was shot in cold blood on her way to school and she does not hold onto thoughts of revenge, retribution, or anger.

NOVEMBER – Gratitude

And Then There’s Books

I am thankful for the things in my life that teach me gratitude.

DECEMBER

Compassion For Christmas

I relied on the compassion showed by others during a time when I really needed a lot of it.

JANUARY – Forgiveness

Both Sides of the Forgiveness Story

I speak of looking at forgiveness from several angles.

Thank you,

#1000Speak,

for helping me see the good in people over this last year.

All of these posts listed here are a tribute to you.

Love Is In Da Blog, #BlogLove

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes

And Then There’s Books, #1000Speak #Grateful #GivingThanks

November’s 1000 Speak For Compassion topic is

Gratitude

and today is Thanksgiving in the US, but I am in Canada.

We celebrated our Thanksgiving a month ago. My family and I spent that beautiful weekend at a pumpkin patch and corn maze. I will always be thankful for days like that with my family.

I have had all week to write about gratitude. I did not write a post for this on the 20th, but I thought, since I am not celebrating feeling thankful and grateful by eating turkey and pie, I’d write about feeling thankful and grateful instead.

I like to associate this holiday with pumpkins and harvest, rather than Natives and Pilgrims. I don’t associate feeling thankful with any sort of history and I don’t even really like pie.

🙂

I also don’t like that tomorrow is Black Friday. It feels bad to me. I like things, material objects, as much as anybody. I just wouldn’t be willing to get trampled to death for the pleasure of obtaining more of them.

I know what the holidays, starting with tomorrow are about, a lot of the time, but I am not even sure how I’m going to feel about the holidays this year.

I don’t know about miracles, but I have seen a lot of things that come close. why, just last week my brother became very ill very fast. I am thankful he’s doing better. It could have been something so much more serious.

I can list many things for which I am grateful, because I like to say my glass isn’t ever half empty or half full. I just spill a little sometimes.

I guess I feel weary with all the materialism of these celebrations, when I hear about all the bad stuff going on, but I don’t have to look far to find things to be thankful for in my own life.

I do it on a weekly basis now, thanks to the blog hop I discovered six months ago:

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for this weekly exercise in silver linings, thanks to Lizzi at Silver Linings.

I know Americans like to say what they are thankful for on this day. In addition to Ten Things of Thankful, here are some more things I am thankful for. Instead of speaking about them around a dinner table I will talk about them here.

I am determined to focus on feeling thankful, even as I feel the bad stuff in the wider world growing. If it’s true that terrorists want to divide and conquer, I won’t stop thinking positive. I won’t let them have everything, not if I can help it.

I have enough trouble thinking of the pain and misery humans keep causing for other humans, but I keep many thoughts buried deep in my own head. Sometimes it feels like I might explode with all that bothers me, but as long as I have writing and my blog to help make things a little easier, I will use both for taking the edge off of that hurt.

I am thankful for the direction Canada appears to be heading. I was numb and hiding from national and political stuff for several years. I felt like I had no control and I did not like the things that were going on, like someone was trying to pull wool over my eyes and the eyes of Canada, so I checked out as my way of dealing with that feeling.

Justin Trudeau could turn out to be just as bad, but I have a good feeling about him and I hope I’m right. The change, either way, has made me grateful for several weeks now. I hope Trudeau’s government and the decisions they make on terrorism and environmental issues, for example, are going to make us all proud to be Canadian.

I am thankful for Christmas. Even as hard as last year was, I still am a Christmas girl at heart, which gives me hope that this year I will be able to find all the happiness and joy in the season that I’ve always found.

I am thankful for my father, who turns sixty in a few days. I am trying to figure out just what to say about that. I want to say more than a few words of gratitude, as the best present I can think to give him are my words, but it’s hard to put that kind of thing into words of any kind.

It’s strange to write so much about gratitude and thankfulness, focusing on it at least once a week. So many times I want to let other things win: envy, fear, hopelessness. I remind myself, several times a day sometimes, that being grateful is worth the extra energy it often takes. The reminder is necessary. It keeps me going.

My envy for other people and the things they have sometimes threatens to swallow me whole. If it weren’t for how lucky I logically know I am, it would be impossible to go on.

I am grateful for the kindness of people, those who take the time to get to know me, to speak to me like a human being. I don’t want pity and never have. I am grateful for so much, but that wouldn’t be so true and meaningful if it weren’t for all the things that remain hard and painful and lost to me.

When I am having a bad day, wishing I could see colours still, remembering the loss of a family member, relationship, or time in my life I loved I want to throw my hands up and scream. Then the clouds that were so grey one minute part and the sun shines in. I don’t have to work too hard to make this happen.

I am thankful I have no serious mental illness. A girl shouldn’t have to shoulder both physical and mental illness at once. I know there are people who do, but I got the one, not the other. I am thankful for a clear mind, albeit foggy at times. I look at the world in crisis, so much of the time, and I focus on the stability I am so lucky to have in my own life.

So I am not sure how long I should wait for the other shoe to drop. That’s how I often think. All the thankful posts in the world can’t truly drown that thought out, but I’ll keep trying anyway.

So there you have it. This post did not include lots of statistics or scientific articles about gratitude. Others wrote about that. I could only tackle the subject from my personal perspective. I am thankful for personal perspective, in all its forms.

P.S. And then there’s books. How could I forget books?

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Interviews, Memoir and Reflections, RIP, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Turn Back the Time and Think Inside the Box – Booooo! #10Thankful

The 3 types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it’s when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It’s when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there…

–Stephen King

img_1003-2015-11-1-09-55.jpg

Who’s afraid of spiders?

😉

Who likes to be scared?

I watched a scary movie, but waited until after Halloween was over, as if somehow this made me safer. I believe it was the third and worst one, according to King, the king of the horror genre.

Bela Lugosi’s Dead – Bauhaus

Happy Halloween

I know. I know. I am aware that Halloween is done and over with, that it is the start to a brand new month, and Christmas merchandise is beginning its reveal in stores, but just stay with me a minute or two, or as long as it takes you to check out this edition of the TToT.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

Since this is about the week that just was, there is a clear Halloweenish theme to it, but this includes lots of chocolate and candy talk and a reminder added to the title, to remind everyone to turn clocks back one hour, if they haven’t already.

🙂

If so, what are you waiting for? Did you forget? That would explain why things seemed off all day.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For the chance to be featured early in the week.

After The Scars: Featured Writer’s Series

I was interviewed about my story on the new website that has been launched for the anthology I am in.

For a chocolate adventure – the best kind in my opinion.

Chocolatea

A friend and I went for a drive to a nearby town and to try out the chocolate shop I’d been told about.

I hoped it would be better than the one here that my mom, sister, and I tried during the summer.

This place was all made-in-house, but there was sugar this time. I am one of the many hooked on sugar, I can admit it.

So good I think they would make excellent Christmas gifts – and, just in case the name isn’t obvious, they also sell tea.

For raspberries and laughter.

My friend’s little girl now blows raspberries. They are cute and all, except, maybe, when she decides to keep her mother awake for an hour with them at 3 A.M.

The giggles are new, to me, this week upon seeing her. It’s the best noise in the world. Enough said.

For my “second chance” to be featured this week, about or with my writing.

😉

First it was for The Second Chances Anthology and then for 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion.

If a Tree Falls in the Forest

The #1000Speak blog asked me to write the guest blog for this week on their website and I thank them for the opportunity.

For Halloween candy.

Sure, it’s just candy, but something about the size of the chocolate bars, makes me think I am in the clear because I am eating less, but I realize, after Halloween is over, the trick that was just played on me.

Well, anyway, it makes it fun and it brings back many memories.

My siblings and I used to all gather on the wreck room carpet at the end of the night, dump out all our candy, and share and trade with one another. My father would stand by to snatch his favourite chocolate when we weren’t looking.

🙂

Just kidding. He asked first, most times. )Parental Tax)

For the humorous side of this horror filled holiday.

#HalloweenFail

Without that, I would find it harder to handle the scarier elements. I need a good mixture.

Halloween Impressions

For little trick-or-treaters, or not so little, as the case may be.

Yes, from the smallest to the very big. The small ones are sweet, but some kids find it hard to give up free candy.

When should kids stop? We were debating this question.

Some of them say the funniest things. The little ones are often so polite. The rain fell for a while, but they were troopers.

For not having my house get toilet papered or egged in some sort of a retaliation

We gave too much away at the start, which left us rationing by the end. We eventually had no choice and had to close the door, but a handful of kids kept coming. They very well could have been pissed and returned aiming for blood, or aiming with eggs as the case may be.

As a matter-of-fact, I am thankful I have never been toilet papered or egged in this house. I do live near a school and park. Could be the perfect target for punks, if they wanted to.

For my favourite little trick-or-treater of all

My friend returned, this time with her little pumpkin.

This particular jack-o’-lantern is only six months old. This means she has no teeth yet and can’t eat candy or chocolate.

img_1002-2015-11-1-09-55.jpg

She sure tried her hardest. I don’t know if you can tell from the photo of the evidence left behind, but she chewed on that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup for quite a while. It didn’t end quite like she’d hoped, but she had fun trying.

That was one heavily drooled upon package of mushed up chocolate.

I Walked with a Zombie – REM Version

I, myself, did not walk with any such thing. I would say zombies are some of the worst creatures there are, even though people have gone crazy for a show about them. I get totally creeped out. Even Brad Pitt wasn’t enough to make them tolerable to me.

Thanks to my brother (music expert extraordinaire that he is) for the strange and unfamiliar Halloween themed song selections.

And, to the departed Mr. Lugosi, you will always hold the place of Dracula and no disrespect meant Sir.

RIP

Well, another Halloween over and I still didn’t manage to finish reading Dracula. So, here’s a quote from Dracula’s literary horror rival instead.

“So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein–far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.”

–from “Frankenstein” By Mary Shelley

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes

Everybody’s Got A Story, #1000Speak

“It’s the human condition that keeps us apart. Everybody’s got a story that could break your heart.”
–Amanda Marshall

Sunday, June 21st is the first day of summer (longest day of the year), Father’s Day, and National Aboriginal Day here in Canada.

Iceland’s Midnight Sun

It’s funny how much has happened, in the last six months, since I wrote about the opposite to this day:

Solstice and the Big Red Dog

“See my eyes, don’t see what I see. Touch my tongue, don’t know what tastes good to me.”

Amanda Marshall sings, in this particular song, about our unique, human stories.

“Dig deep. Deeper than the image that you see. Lift the veil and let your true self breathe. Show the world the beauty underneath.”

I know there is a connection between these individual stories and the compassion we could all stand to give and receive.

Then there are those hard things in life that make compassion so vital, yet each time I hear about just such things I have to look harder and harder to find enough of it, but I keep on looking still.

I saw a moving and beautiful play this week:

The Diary of Anne Frank

I know the story of Anne Frank and her diary. I just recently had a chance to focus on the stories of the other people trapped with her, because they too had separate stories of their own.

Anne was a typical teenager, despite the chaos going on all around her. She did not get along with her mother, was jealous of her sister’s supposed perfection, and referred to the man she had to share a room with in the Annex as an idiot and a dolt.

This was only her side of the story.

Anne’s mother loved her two children, worried sick about them, and only wanted them to be safe.

Margot may have been more reserved and quiet than her rambunctious younger sister, but she had dreams of becoming a nurse and helping children after the war.

The man Anne was referring to had a life outside the Annex. He had a woman who loved him and whom he loved, a child, and had no family to lean on during all that time in hiding.

Anne loved her father above all others. She even had a special nickname for him and everything. She sometimes felt he sided with her mother against her, but she rarely, if ever said one bad thing about him. He was her hero.

Otto Frank was left to face the future, post war, without any one of his family left alive. He had to face the fact that his two daughters and his wife were never coming back to him and he had to figure out a way to go on without them.

He, with the help of friend Miep Gies, decided that his little girl’s story needed to be told.

I am here to make sure her story goes on being heard, but that the others affected and ultimately lost have their stories known too.

Then there’s some history of my own country and hopefully a better future. I must admit that I don’t know much about Aboriginal stories. These are people living in my own country and I know very little about their history, their heritage, and their stories.

I learned some in school, yes, but not nearly enough. I feel separate and cut off, I will say.

I am doing some research, for an upcoming Canada Day post, and I don’t like what I hear.

The facts about the residential schools must be told. It’s not just one story though, but a multitude of stories. I think it’s about time Canada heard these stories.

And then there’s the terrible shooting in Charleston, South Carolina that took place.

A twenty-one-year-old walked into an historic African-American church, sat down to join a prayer group in session, and eventually opened fire, killing nine innocent people.

I know a lot of people will be writing about this for 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion.

I know very little about it, even though it has been all over the news for days now:

An Emotional John Stewart Drops The Comedy To Talk Charleston

I honestly feel numb. My brother and I both agreed on that lack of emotion.

This doesn’t mean I feel any less horrible. I just don’t know what is left to say.

I could rant about my feelings on gun control and a pervasive gun culture. I could speak about a country that is filled with stories, including those of the poor victims and their families and yes, even the shooter.

Well, I still don’t know where to start, so I will focus on the big picture.

“That ain’t the picture. It’s just a part. Everybody’s got a story that could break your heart.”

Yes, thank you Amanda.

It’s funny how life works sometimes.

I was planning this #1000Speak post about everybody’s stories, when a friend brought my attention to a TED video.

Now, I love these and I’d actually listened to this particular speaker before, but I thank my friend still. I admire her and her spirit and for thinking of me.

Both her and the Nigerian writer below:

Chimamanda Adichie: the danger of a single story,

they are both strong and intelligent women, full of passion and compassion. Both their stories make them who they are.

“Patronizing, well-meaning pity.”

The above TED speaker sums it up nicely, exactly what happens when we jump to conclusions about people, without first looking at who they truly are, in all their glory and depth. Is the story we’ve been told about something really the right story?

I too have a story:

**It’s made up of the wonderful family I have and the happy childhood I experienced.

**It’s made up of the challenging and character-building experiences living with blindness all my life instills in me.

**It’s made up of the additional medical issues I’ve had and the barriers that were put in my path as a result.

“single story.
A balance of stories.”

I know we all have our perceptions and our realities. We all make our minds up, when we hear someone’s story.

People meet me, see that I am blind, and right away they may think they can paint a picture of what my story must look like.

Chimamanda says it best: stereotypes are not untrue, but incomplete….

Stereotypes about blindness are deeply ingrained in people’s consciousness. I have felt pity and longed for more, for compassion, understanding, and connection in pity’s place.

I don’t know enough about all those who lived and died in war, those I share Canada with, the victims and perpetrators of gun violence, or what life’s really like on the African continent.

I say I have become numb to tragedy and senseless violence, but I realize that is not at all what I want for myself, or for any of us.

“Stories matter. Many stories matter.”

I want to be passionate and compassionate. I listen to passionate speakers like this and I want to be passionate about things like literature, writing, and social issues.

I want to tell my story and to tell the stories of many other people. That is why I love this blog and I love writing. I can tell stories, not one single story, but every story I can possibly tell.

Adichie says about stories: they can empower and humanize. Break or repair that broken dignity.

I am glad to take part in

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

Check them out on:

Facebook,

Twitter,

and there you can use #1000Speak to share the compassion.

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights

Lucky Number One Hundred

It’s Monday and this is usually the day of the week where I post an answer for the Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, but I must admit that I am not feeling up to much today.

A lot can happen in one week’s time,

But Trust Me On The Sunscreen.

I have come down with another sore throat. I’d originally hoped I would get through with the colds I had over the winter, but here is my first one of spring. Hope this one is only a minor nuisance.

😦

Instead of my usual Memoir Monday post, I will simply announce my place in this past Friday’s March 20th 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion edition:

Bystander

I included a link to my post and below I include one to the spot where you can find all the Building From Bullying posts, if you want to read any others.

#1000Speak Link-Up: Building From Bullying

I hope this movement isn’t losing steam already, but even if it is I believe even a little bit of kindness and compassion can go along way.

It seems the next big thing in the blogging world is the A to Z Challenge in April.

WHAT IS BLOGGING FROM A TO Z?

I recently heard about this one and I thought about taking part, only for a second, before common sense returned: perhaps next year.

I already have enough on my plate, so much that I am letting this blogging thing take over my entire life practically.

Okay, that’s a tad over-dramatic perhaps, because I really do enjoy it.

🙂

I have a place where I can go to write about all the things that are important to me. I feel, even for a few moments, that I am doing something worthwhile, even if I can’t do all I would like.

I just need to keep things in perspective, if I can, and try to maintain a balance in my life.

This blogging universe, I am learning, is really quite a small one. It’s a bit, I’ve noticed, like school.

It’s like the playground, I suppose you could say. It would make a good metaphor, especially for the topic of bullying I’ve just mentioned.

It’s not a bad thing. There seems to be a lot of support, from what I’ve seen and experienced so far. I haven’t witnessed a lot of bullying or judgment, but then again I didn’t see that constantly when in school either, but it did exist.

I just see a lot of the same bloggers, on any particular blog I might click on. I end up feeling a bit like I always did in school, a part of it, yet not really. It was like I was on the outskirts, looking in. I just keep doing it for my own reasons, doing what feels right for me, and that’s all I can ask for.

I continue to write about what matters to me, what my heart tells me to write.

I should be back again for my usual Monday post next week, with hopefully a few more in between, if I don’t let all this technology trouble get me down in the meantime.

Great week to all of you.

Standard