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:


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.


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.

Memoir and Reflections, Special Occasions, Spotlight Sunday, Uncategorized

Grandparents: Our Greatest Teachers

Today is National Grandparent’s Day and I wanted to speak about the great teachers they become in our lives.

Firstly, if we are lucky we all have them. I learned so very much from my four grandparents and was blessed to have them all for from ten to twenty-six years of my life.

Opa was a fun presence in my young life. He was a storyteller and a partner in crime. My memories of him are vague mostly, but several memories do stand out and always will. I miss the sound of his voice and his accent. I miss his total love and approval, which I realize now not everyone else received from him in the same way. That is what grandparents are for. They should love you unconditionally and always represent the lighter side of life.

Grandma was my secret confidant. She was the only one who ever truly understood. She was sweet and loving and always there to listen. She was even more naive than even I can be with life sometimes, but that is what made her the fair and generous lady she was. I miss her uncanny way of making me feel better about the things that life throws at you. I cling to the presence and the connection we had and I will never fully let go of that.

Grandpa was the jokester and the wever of humorous tales. He had an endless string of jokes to tell and a mischievous spirit to make me laugh always.

Oma was the toughest woman I have ever met. She was a survivor of all things I could not comprehend. She bared widowhood with strength and resilience. Her love for me was unquestionable and the strongest thread I’ve ever felt. I miss her saying my name and her generosity with me always. She showered me with things, material and priceless, of which only an Oma could.

I love that my nephew has an oma of his own now. I know she and his parents will never let him forget he had an opa too.

I love to see my niece and nephews interacting with their grandparents. It makes me smile whenever I witness the bond they share.

So Happy Grandparent’s Day to all of you grandparents out there and I just want my parents to know what important roles they now play. I know they probably already realize, but I am here to repeat it anyway.

You are special people to your grandchildren, speaking from experience. You should never underestimate the influence you have on them and the adoration either. You are fun and light in a world full of day-to-day rules and responsibilities. You are a break in life and a place to just be kids. You imprint lessons and morals into their lives that nobody else can. Let them be free with you, free to just be kids and they will forever hold you in their hearts with a love like no other.

Lastly, I wanted to take a moment and share something about the importance of teachers Whether they are the life teachers that are grandparents or the ones in the classroom.

I found myself sitting on a slide, in a playground last week and thinking about school. As my little niece was to start her first day of school I imagined her playing where I sat, only days from then.

I saw my young self in the midst of a playground full of children, so long ago now it feels. It wasn’t always easy and it was downright tough at times, but I survived and learned so much from those years. I grew into the woman I am now and I am lucky to have gained those experiences. I hoped for only the best with my niece.

I think we were all scared for her, as myself and her grandparents pictured her there. The next time she appeared on this playground she would not have us there to protect her, and so we were afraid to picture our little girl set free in such a big big world. That image affected each of us in different ways. We saw her as that little baby still, but in front of our very eyes she had grown. Her independence can not be denied and so I knew in my heart she would knock em dead.

The other day I came across a video and I want to share it here now. I strongly urge you to take five minutes of your time and check out this speech by a truly inspiring teacher. She is well-spoken, humorous, and just the sort of teacher I hope my niece will have. Listening to this educator speak made me feel better about my niece’s new adventure and her step forward in life, which all who love her felt had come much too soon, but of which we all know she will learn so much.

Every Kid Needs a Champion

The teacher in this clip talks about the student-teacher relationship as a human thing, a connection, the building of relationships. It is hugely comforting and heart-warming to know there are teachers out there that care this much.

School is a series of learning and growth experiences and it effects every child in its own unique ways. There are lessons to learn academically and socially that not every child grasps the same. I want my niece to thrive and make friends, to learn what she is good at and what she can excel in. I hope she makes lasting connections throughout the years and that her teachers inspire in her a love of learning. I want teachers and students alike to see what an amazing girl she truly is.

So this post is dedicated to grandparents and teachers. Always remember and be mindful of the power you have in your hands.

Fiction Friday

The Playground

“The best things in life are always free. Wishing you were here with me.
This used to be my playground.”

Photo albums lined up on a bookshelf. A folder of family photos on a phone. The times have sure changed, but family still matters just as much as ever.

The playground was her favourite image of her childhood and the youth she sometimes longingly strained to remember in better detail, now that she was getting older and felt it all the time.

She felt so disconnected from them, her siblings, spread out across the country and the world. She knew the saying “blood is thicker than water” but she wondered what that really meant. Would they always find time to make the call or the visit? Blood and water were excellent metaphors, symbols of the love there would always be, but then there was the hustle and the bustle of everyday life. This got in the way of the blood and the water.

“This used to be my playground. This used to be my childhood dream. This used to be the place I ran to, whenever I was in need…of a friend. Why did it have to end?”

The playground was a favourite spot of her own children now. She often sat on the bench or while pushing them faster and faster on the swings, remembering when it was her and her siblings swinging. It was such a freeing feeling as a child, to be flying through the air, the wind blowing through the swing’s movement.

This childhood image of a playground stuck in her head and Madonna’s
This Used To Be My Playground would play in her head when she felt the connection with her siblings slipping away, due to time and location. Life took them all in their own directions. New families were formed and were still growing. It was miraculous, yet it felt lonely sometimes, for her.

“And why do they always say, don’t look back. Keep your head held high. Don’t ask them why because life is short.”

Her children kept her busy and her job and husband too. This was all she’d ever wanted, dreamed of as a child on that playground, a family of her own someday. This was how it was supposed to be, how it was meant to be. Why did she think back often to the past with such a feeling of sadness? She remembered how much they fought and screamed at each other, when they had to share the television or the computer. They wished desperately then for their own things and their own lives. Could they ever have imagined they would have them at the price of distance?

“And before you know, you’re feeling old and your heart is breaking.”

They weren’t the people they used to be. The realities of the world and adulthood had crept in and rolled over them in many ways, big and small. It changed who they were. They would grow old together, only them knowing the secrets they once shared late at night when their parents had told them long ago to go to sleep. School would come early in the morning. Up and dressed and breakfast, rushing to catch the bus. There too they would separate, sitting with their own groups of friends. School had been the first place of sibling separation. It would teach them that there was going to be more for them than each other.

“Don’t hold onto the past. Well, that’s too much to ask.”

The past was not exactly what she wanted. She wanted now to watch her children grow and grow old with her husband. She wanted the same for her siblings, wherever life may take them. Childhood had not been a perfect one, but they had always had each other. Around the dinner table and in the car on the way to somewhere. They had taken a family vacation to Disney Land, all of them packed into a van. Songs made up during long car rides and stories they would tell each other to pass the time were fading from her mind now, but she knew instinctively they had existed and their laughter at these silly things lit up their faces. They were learning how to love and how to share and she knew these lessons from their collective childhoods would stick with them always.

“And why do they always say no regrets? But I wish that you were hear with me. Then there’s hope yet.”

She had soccer practice to drive to and dinner to prepare. She had a proposal to work on and bills to pay, but what about these photos? As she sat on her front stoop and browsed lazily through each one, a family portrait came into view. Her shorter haircut her mother had given her as a ten-year-old. Her glasses covered her eyes, so full of young enthusiastic life. She sat, looking back at her preteen self and her siblings standing with her.

“I can see your face in our secret place. You’re not just a memory. Say goodbye to yesterday. Those are words I’ll never say.”

Did her sister remember the secret fort they built in the back corner where the others never went? She thought about asking her this question sometimes, but when they did finally get together there was so much to talk about. The kids were first priority and they never got much further than that. The deeper and the harder to recall memories were last in line now. Everyone has their own unique memories of that time. How could she be sure any of them had come through for the others like they had for her?

She read her brother’s wife’s Facebook status, the list of weekend plans. This was a small glimpse into his life, which she knew very little about now. Did he still like the same movies and foods? What had changed and what had remained?

“This used to be my playground. This used to be our pride and joy. This used to be the place we ran to, that no one could dare destroy. This used to be the place we ran to. I wish you were standing here with me.”

Photos on a shelf or on a phone. This was not sufficient, not in her estimation. She wanted to be able to visit those days at a whim, waiting maybe for a time machine to show up out of thin air. This was the only way. She would always be connected to the bright faces in the family portrait with an unbreakable cord. The playground was where she took her children to burn off their excess energy, but this was what she got out of being there. The gravel under her feet at the bottom of the slide ringing in her ears, of a time long gone. Somewhere out there they were, living their lives and bringing up their children in the ways they too had been taught. This was a comforting thought to her now. This playground was her time machine.


I wanted to take a moment to thank my own three siblings for all they’ve done for me and continue to do. I am lucky to be close to them all, if not always physically, our bond was formed long ago and it remains strong. They mean the world to me. I hope as we all grow older that we appreciate each other’s lives and make the effort so richly rewarded. We will always be there for each other. Three more remarkable people I have not met. You guys are my core, at the centre and the heart of who I am.


The words within the quotations are the lyrics of Madonna’s This Used To Bee My Playground.