Growing Imagination

photo (1)#thegratitudeproject Day 19

Look at those two. We spent a good half hour this morning at a park near our house making, serving and buying ‘ice cream’. Actually they were wood shavings, but that made it all the more sweet.

I am grateful for these two little ones, and especially their budding imaginations. Never a dull moment, I tell you.

Gratitude Day 17

photoI am having trouble getting over how picturesque our new little city is. That would explain all the posts about how grateful I am for these views! But aren’t they pretty? The scenery has actually inspired me to go running a day or two a week, which has also been good fro my soul.

This is what I see when I go running down the bike path near my house.

#thegratitudeproject Day 13

#thegratitudeproject Day 13

photo (2)Today, I am grateful for the freedom my citizenship (Canadian), my education (French Immersion high school diploma, Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism), and my upbringing (decidedly middle class), have given me.

I snapped this photo as we lazed around at a play park with our kids after a rigorous game of ultimate Frisbee. I realize that for many people around the world, a Sunday afternoon like this is luxury.

And I hope that my own freedom can be used to enable others to live freely and with dignity as well.

shadows

How shadows have helped me appreciate the light and other thoughts on grief and change

It is rather peculiar that after such a long hiatus from blogging, I’m finally finding words again. Now, seven months after leaving Cambodia and a couple of months after finishing our #epictrip, the jumble that was my brain throughout the duration of our big transition, is finally starting to unscramble. Part of this could be because our girls are finally sleeping through the night. (Amazing how eight hours of sleep numerous nights in a row will clear the mind.)

But some things can only be processed – unraveled really – over time. Our Epic Trip might have ended when we landed on Canadian soil in June, but our Long Way Home continues. It is taking time, as one would expect of course, to regain a sense of belonging in Canada.

This past year has also been laced with many shadows that have coloured and discoloured our experience.

shadowsThose moments of beaming, glorious light – like exploring the Cappadocia region of Turkey, or wandering the old streets of Jerusalem, or bobbing around in the Dead Sea, or seeing my gorgeous little sister get married to an amazing life partner – have been punctuated by dark, cloudy spots. As I reflect on the past twelve months, I can piece together a common thread.

Loss.

Lots of it.

Heartbreaking loss after heartbreaking loss.

We walked through grief and desperate sadness with very good friends. We left Cambodia. And while it was clearly our decision to do so, it does not change the inherent sense of bereavement – of the community, profound friendships and life we had there.

Then, death snuck up on us and caught us completely off guard. It punched us in the gut and left us in a crumpled ball on the floor. Literally.

These are the shadows. They are dark and gloomy and really hard. And, they are always there, lurking around just when the light seems to come out and dance.

When I read the following passage by Annie Dillard the other day, I was struck by it. It’s written in the context of darkness falling on Tinker Mountain and I couldn’t help but think how it sheds some light on my own story.

“Shadows define the real. If I no longer see shadows as “dark marks,” as do the newly sighted, then I see them as making some sort of sense of the light. They give the light distance; they put it in its place. They inform my eyes of my location, here, here O Israel, here in the world’s flawed sculpture, here in the flickering shade of the nothingness between me and the light.” (‘Pilgrim At Tinker Creek’ (Harper Perennial. 2007. p 63)

I find great hope in this passage for these times of dislocating transition and lingering grief and sadness. Shadows are not static. They don’t stay there stuck in one place forever. And while at the moment I might only see them as ‘dark marks’ – blotches on an otherwise clean canvas – there is more to it than that. The shadows, as difficult as they are to handle sometimes, show us there absolutely, positively, is light.

photo

Friendships that transcend time and space

#thegratitudeproject Day 12

The other day, a friend sent me a rather cryptic email. It detailed an address and a time that I was supposed to go to that address.

First of all, I adore stuff like that. I feel like I’m on the amazing race or something…

So, I loaded the girls in the car and eventually got to the right place. And low and behold, this was what awaited us.

photoI am grateful. For friendships that transcend space and time (years and years in fact!). For friends that are purposeful in making us feel loved and valued. For friends who have been with us over the long haul.

This particular gift was from one particular friend, but the words in this blog are for plenty of friends out there – you know who you are!

There were plenty of chocolate covered strawberries in there which totally and completely made my day.

photo 2

Trestles and Train Tunnels

#thegratitudeproject Day 11

Most of our time since we moved to Kelowna has been spent getting ourselves sorted. You know, paperwork for health care, getting new driver’s licenses, researching day cares, buying furniture, everything it takes to get set up in a place.

Which is a lot.

But today, the second last Friday before Steve starts work, we decided we needed to test out our bikes and chariot and explore Kelowna a bit. We drove up to Myrna-Bellevue Provincial Park and LOVED it! There are bike/hiking trails up in the hills that use the old railway route. It’s beautiful and you get to ridie over at least a dozen trestles and through old railway tunnels.

It totally made my day and I found myself biking with a stupid grin on my face all morning.

Very grateful to live in such a beautiful location that has so many opportunities for the outdoors close by.

That's the grin I had on my face all morning. For some reason, old train bridges and tunnels make me happy!
That’s the grin I had on my face all morning. For some reason, old train bridges and tunnels make me happy!
photo 3
Rocky bluffs, a trestle in the background, and my sweet family all in one shot.
photo 2
Crossing trestle number 3.
photo 4
Isn’t that the cutest thing ever? I know I’m biased, but common…toddlers in toques and mini coats are just the darnedest. Plus, it shows how cold it was the morning.
Aya and Playdough

Playdough

Aya and Playdough#thegratitudeproject Day 10

Playdough is a miraculous substance that somehow transforms my typically hyper three-year-old from a jumping bean into a dedicated little artist. She can spend a lot of time doing all sorts of things with it. Sculpting, cookie cut outs, you name it. It captures her mind like nothing else.

So, when it’s my morning to watch the kids, I can’t be more grateful for the stuff.

Here, Aya puts the finishing touches on Piglet and Kanga (we’re on a real Winnie the Pooh kick these days), and I have time to a) snap this picture and b) sip my coffee.

Not a bad morning at all.

thoughts on faith and life and the world

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