Thursday, February 28, 2013

as a guest.

...oh Thailand I miss you...
i have no desire to become a
professional blogger
but i have often had a tiny desire to be a
guest writer.
to be invited or chosen to write for someone else's blog.
it feels validating for me,
and i don't know about you,
but i still need some validation every once in a while.
in my current situation there are not many opportunities for such reassurance.
which brings me to today.
i am the guest post over at
go check me out!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

the flip has switched

every February
around this time
the "spring is coming"
switch is flipped to on.
like, high beam on
blinding me of all other creative hobbies and pastimes.
the gluesticks and collage papers
lie on the table
waiting for me to remember them
and how important they are for balance in my life.
i am nose high in a stack of
delicious books with the titles
The Healing Garden
Gardens for the Soul
Guerilla Gardening
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Composting
Soil Mates
Common Ground
i vibrate with the hope and potential that lies ahead of me in packets of seeds and empty garden bed. this has been an ongoing illumination for the past 10 years
and while i am still a baby gardener,
i make up for lack of results
with unbridled enthusiasm.
i of course am also faced with the sobering reality
that this body can't garden as it desires to
and after my dismal,
 take on way more than you can manage
gardening experience last spring,
i am working on strategies and supports to make this years garden
that means being vulnerable, becoming more collaborative,
trusting that i can lead and share my vision and garden intentions
and allow others to be my muscles.
this means sharing my limitations in order to receive the help that i need.
this means letting the very act of gardening,
the excitement and anticipation
 i feel each year is now another means to
 prune me,
 and shape me
  more into who i am becoming.
how awesome is that!

Friday, February 22, 2013


it was a simple email conversation
"i was thinking about  how your body is like my husband.And how learning to love them completely as they are always must come before change"
"i just need to rid myself of my self determined "rights and expectations" of it, yes?"
"oh my gosh...yes"
"i dunno where that even came from but yes! that's it!!"
"being sad that things are not "the way they should be" brings on so much unneeded suffering"
"yes!! this may be my 'ah-ha' moment"
"blessings my lovely. you are right exactly in the center of where you are. right here and now. a very good place to be."
"exhale. thank you"
so simple and so profound at the same time.
so much of my struggle is wrapped up in mourning what i had, what i was, what i could do, what i ate, what i contributed, what i based my "self" on, the pride i had, the striving to prove my worthiness by "doing", the freedom to not care much about my body because it never let me down...
those have all by stripped away and each time i strive to gather them back to me,
the old ways, the comfortable grooves that i fit so nicely in,
they get stripped away again.
and again.
there is a determination in the change i am being "forced" to go through.
it is time to stop fighting.
i am letting them go this time.
i can reinvent myself
and use my new limitations, but also my new strengths
to create
all the while, mindfully accepting that
i am exactly who i am meant to be.
 right now. here. in this space.on this day.
 because i am doing what i do best.
i am doing me.
 and how that looks will change
 and i will change and life will change
 and it will have easy seasons again
, and harder ones too
 and as long as i don't attach myself
 so rooted
to what i think my life should be,
 all will be well.
and that is what i have been working to do
all this tossing and turning and striving and questioning.
the deep soul work, the physical illness work,
i have been striving
"to be well"
perhaps my definition has been incorrect.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

thinking on these

i am attempting to tidy up my brain.
quiet it down a little.
well, alot actually.
lists help.
meditation would be better
 but i am
not there yet
i am thinking about the connection between giving up food and spiritual practice
 and what does that  mean.
i am thinking about why my kitchen never stays clean. ever.
i am thinking about creative planning and how i could incorporate that into creating a budget we could stick to
i am thinking about permaculture and gardens and realizing as i learn more, that means saying no way more than saying yes.
 it's a discipline i think.
i am thinking about parenting and how it stretches me every single day in the best possible way
i am thinking about how making friends with my "illnesses" could actually be a wonderful thing
i am thinking about the power of going barefoot and what that means to me
i am thinking about home made body products that i could make
i am thinking about how i love to learn and write and discover
i am thinking about Owen's family (my family too) and how perfect they are for me
i am thinking about how much comfort i take in knowing my parents pray for me every single day without fail
i am thinking about how surprised i am by how much i love our cat and our chickens
i am thinking about silence and how i always interpret it as something negative
i am thinking about growing my hair as long and wild and curly as it will grow
i am thinking about embracing the name "garden maven" which was used to describe me by someone yesterday
i am thinking about the unbelievably long hours Owen is working this week and the toll that is taking
i am thinking about medicine and my hatred of it and why that might be
i am thinking about how grateful i am for this path i walk on
i am thinking about colour sorting my pencil crayons and having a rainbow on my desk
i am thinking about how absolutely marvelous it is that i can order library books from home and then just go pick them up!
i am thinking about how easy it is for me to say yes without even considering saying no when sometimes i need to
what are you thinking about today?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the reality is some things remain

here's the thing.
i assumed that this was going to be a short term relationship.
i didn't really understand what the diagnosis meant.
and i ignored them,
at least the parts i could ignore,
 for the first few years anyhow.
why make friends with something that is just going to go away
there didn't need to be an acceptance or understanding because
i believed this was a temporary thing.
not anymore.
oh  acceptance
you can be a bitter pill to swallow.
in hindsight
oh beloved hindsight
i realize it is time to shed some light,
accept some definitions and confess
that i spend a whole lot of time on the couch.
chronic illnesses by definition
are ones that
they go into remission if one is fortunate
and they take long vacations from your body
if one is fortunate
they reside within you
and i don't know about you,
but if something is sticking around for the rest of my life,
we are going to need to come to peace with each other.
what is means to be
living with a chronic illness
 is not easily understood
and it is hard,
 i now understand
 to know what to do.
 what to say.
 how to be
 with someone who has one.
(i am tricky and that can make navigation challenging)
we want to see people well. whole. thriving.
when that doesn't happen it gets confusing.
and it hurts and we want to fix and find solutions.
trust me,
i appreciate that and
i am very confused most days with all of this and wish there was an easy fix.
(but i am tricky and that can make navigating solutions challenging)
there are articles and books and support forums and all sorts of advice
that floats around and diets and plans, and miracle cures, and manifesting and positive thinking strategies,
there are herbs and supplements and prayer groups
  miracles do happen
but the reality is
some things remain.
they remain.
(perhaps that is the miracle...abiding and remaining)
and while they remain the goal is to live as well as possible.
not necessarily physically well,
but emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, creatively
to sing the bravest song
even if you sing
only from the couch.
go here 
if you would like to
read more about living with chronic illness
(there are a lot of people who do)
the metaphore is a good one
(better than my vines from the other day)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

these help

remembering recent sun filled days and how absolutely blessed i was to be there helps.
trekking out to the chickens each day helps.
 even little ones make a difference.
love from this man sure helps.
remembering to do this no matter what it looks like
 or how quiet it sounds,
journaling sure helps.
soaking up this girl and her smile helps- thinking about  her brothers does too.
and of course,
gratitude for all i do have,

Monday, February 18, 2013

an observation

(this is metaphor heavy, which i am not fond of,
or necessarily good at crafting..
but this is what i see.
i see big thick vines coming at me..
so here it is..raw and messy)
i can feel them sometimes
trying to scramble up my limbs
and choke me out.
the fear. the pain. the mind numbing exhaustion
and even as i see
them coming
growing ever thicker and stronger
as the days have turned into months
and the months just kept passing and
have become just shy of 4 years
i continue to run
to retreat
to call them out
and notice their tricky ways.
i am determined to not be tangled and swallowed
bit by bit
(even as it feels like i am)
often the depression comes
during a particularly long bout of flaring
and there starts be this mind numbing fog that
permeates every fiber of my being
and then i top that off with the
"eat nothing and that might work" plan
because the only food my body tolerates most days is no food.
today is that day.
today is the day that i am weary and hungry and so fog heavy i can barely navigate
the living room couch to the kitchen and back again
without getting lost.
this is not a complaint
it is an observation
it is a reality
and i need to continue to
notice the thick vines of despair
and send them on their way.
(and sometimes i might need help doing so)
i run from them
by distraction
until that is too much work
i run farther yet from them by immersing myself in others,
until that is too draining.
i use art, poetry, words, gratitude, journals, prayer, meditation, photography, tea
until i become to exhausted
to pick up a pen, or put the kettle on
and i find myself waiting for Owen to come home from work and rescue me
by bringing me tea to drink, reminding me to take a hot bath, watch a distracting show,
he rubs my feet, trying to work out the stress.
those strategies. those gifts to myself all work well.
until a day like today.
( so many of my loved ones  would come and sit with me, but that feels to vulnerable on days like today)
i could feel the choking going on around my ankles and wrists,
i found myself
allowing my mind to wander
to places i no longer am,
to people who are no longer a part of me,
i wandered back inot dreams i no longer hold dear,
ideals i once thought would save me.
i wandered in an effort to escape
the vines,
but i think that instead
i briefly became more tangled up.
i felt myself physically jolt back,
somewhat groggily and with much effort
to here.
to my reality.
my beautiful life.
i need to remain.
to sink into what is my now
and shore up my weary self
i need to take care not to wander into the very vines themselves
and get lost once and for all.
this is where i am meant to be.
i am here.
 and all will be well.

Friday, February 15, 2013

sitting with this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   "The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it"
-henry thoreau-


Thursday, February 14, 2013

oh life.

this post has nothing to do with my cat
two years ago
i sent a request to our local college
about getting credit for
my life.
you know,
the twenty some years
i have spent working with kids,
learning from encounters,
reading, seminar taking,
part of a degree courses
that sort of life.
i heard back from them.
i know right?
and it stopped me in my tracks
first off,
i didn't remember that i had emailed them
and then once i did remember
i just felt
jolted a bit.
this post doesn't really have an ending.
just a ramble of
how weird it felt.
i think the bigger question is
how do we get "credit" for our lives
at all
and why do i need to.
that's actually what this post is about.
i don't know the answer yet.

and then i pushed publish,
went to check my inbox
and there were two more emails
from two years ago.
signing me up for a first aid course
and the other confirming,
that yes,
we could take surf lessons when we were in Tofino.

my mind is blown.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

let it be gentler than it has been please

the girl.
i keep coming back to the girl.
parenting feels impossibly hard
when i choose not to control,
manipulate, punish.
letting her walk out her choices is scary
and it hurts and it has no promise of anything
at the end.
of course
no parenting style does.
that's the point i think.
being in a state of constant vulnerability.
taking it to the cross.
not getting so attached to the daily,
 having to trust the process in its entirety.
the end result.
i am exhausted by this.
staying true is work.
hard work.
i need to give the fear,
the completly unhelpful desire to control
 back again and again.
i hand her over,
take her back.
surrender her again,
take her back.
and perhaps that is how it always will be.
building that tiny muscle of
trust and surrender.
trust and surrender.
let it be gentler than it has been please.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

making peace with pink

colour associations run deep for me
a story. a memory. a hope. an intention
all appear in the colours
i play with in my journal pages,
my collage work, my gardens, the blankets on my bed,
the occasional ring and earrings i might wear.
i of course,
gravitate to some colours more than others.
blues, greens, yellow and white.
the colours of beaches and deep forests.
i am sure my dream house will have a red front door.
but not pink.
nope. i don't do pink.
or at least i didn't
until last week and now she is springing up everywhere.
last week
i dug deeper into healing my childhood trauma
a wound, a disturbance, an upset, confusion, upheaval.
i do not type the word lightly, nor do i need to elevate it to a higher place than it needs
trauma is a part of my story.
trauma is common.
trauma recovery
is a stepping stone to my future
and so here i am.
when i have the energy
i am accepting, welcoming, naming,
and turning over my traumas
 to reveal the fertile soil underneath. 
and this brought me to my understanding of the colour
i am continuing to use my art as
therapy and i am exploring on a variety of levels.
i go to art therapy
and i am also participating in two on line courses.
it was while i was
creating a mandala
 that the colour pink
came and busted me right open.
here's the thing.
i enter most of these experiences/exercises with a fairly skeptical eye.
how can this
actually accomplish the deep work of soul healing?
i ask myself this each time i begin
and each time i show up to the page
stuff shifts.
cracks open. heals.
 transforms me.
 allows me to become new.
my first mandala is dark and dense.
protected and closed in.
not pretty
not. at. all.
kinda looks like a school planet project gone bad.
except for the pink dot in the center.
it started out as white. then became yellow
but as i was trusting the process
i made it pink.
baby pink
newborn fresh pink
{oh dear}
pink as in eternal love
i will love you forever and never forget you pink
if you choose to accept the definitions that have been assigned to colours.
i do.
 they are bang on correct.
 and if at first i am skeptical,
i dig deeper and they always fit.
(weird, right..i know)
suddenly this little pink dot in the center of my mandala
becomes a representation of what i needed from my birth mother
and i feel it so clearly and i can articulate it to Owen,
which I can almost never do...
these are deep stories that remain hidden
but not the day of the pink dot.
i found myself on the couch,
sobbing and gesturing wildly,
laughing at my intensity
but letting it all spill out.
i needed a teeny tiny pink baby hat.
i craved the connection that occurs between mother and babe the moments after birth.
that exhausted love exchange that occurs.
i wanted. the. pink. newborn. hat.
i wanted to lovingly be placed on my birth mama's chest and i needed to feel her heart.
but i didn't get to do that.
that is  the true story and it is unchangeable
 i am learning to be okay with that.
and the grieving and healing that came
as an extension of that pink dot
is helping get me there.
closer and closer to being at peace with my birth story.
oh art.
i love you so.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

the optimist

i went to the Sally Ann
to find books to cut apart
for my art journal
and while i was there
the title of a book caught my eye
i bought it.
The Optimist
(one man's search for the brighter side of life)
my dear friend
has given me full permission
to mark up all my books
regardless of them being
"learning" works
or novels,
as this one is
and so far
i have laughed out loud more than once,
and underlined and circled a few secret messages.
such as:
"deep down, if you're an optimist,
you know that everything is going to be OK.
you don't know why-you just know.
It's like your little secret."
yes, i thought,
this man knows just how i think
and therefore,
i love him.
and i am only on page 33.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

i didn't know...

those things.
those moments
those opportunities.
the ones i didn't know i wanted
until i wasn't able to have them.
that is where my thoughts wandered to today
as i pushed the vacuum through the house
and gathered the eggs,
straightened the summer lawn chairs
in a neat row,
as if to hurry along spring.
yesterday i had the
"aha" moments of understanding
why i am so giddy and over the moon about getting sweaty.
for the past year i haven't been able to move much
and i certainly wasn't out walking trails or even feeling like getting off the couch.
it hurt too much
and it may hurt too much again
and so,
there is this intense gratitude and wonder
at this fresh opportunity.
and then
what about all those salads i turned down or the fruit
because i would have rather had,
well, a burger. or fries. or cake. or chips. or candy.
a bit of a carb and sugar addict here
and before the colitis
that won't behave as it should joined my life,
it didn't matter too much if i said no to salad and yes to cake
because i assumed that salad would always be an option.
i could, and pretended i would,
eat healthy next month
but then,
for the past 3 years
i haven't had that choice
my body has said no,
a thousand time over
i will not process raw food. i will not let you eat that.
and suddenly,
i really would love a salad.
i would.
(salad days are coming soon though. i am gonna push through that one if i can and eat them)
it is only little things right
and for that i am fortunate.
i haven't lost anything or anyone that i can not regain
with careful experimenting and gentle body pushing.
with letting the process unfold as it should.
so much gratitude for this life.
i dunno,
i just think that it's important
to once in a while,
on a Saturday morning
take some time to remember what we have
what we do, where we are at in our lives
and be aware that
while it might all disappear tomorrow,
we can be grateful and give thanks
however we choose to do that.

Friday, February 1, 2013

January Awesomesauce!

we forget right?
just how awesome a month can be
and so,
i am celebrating
i had 275 entries
 in my gratitude journal
for January
when i counted last night.
actually, i used a calculator
because it was hard to keep all those crayoned circled phrases
not enough fingers.

i adored January
the cups of tea i shared with owen
(he just started tea only..such a healthy guy)
the gathering of the chicken eggs each day
the watching of Thaddeus and Gideon get their licences and their own vehicles
the saying goodbye to my sickness being the first thing i think about and now being the 4th or 5th thing i think about.
i can't wait to not have to think about it at all...but not yet. not yet.
the trip to Thailand.

putting that down in 4 words on a list doesn't do it justice of course, but it needs to be here
the moments i have spent with pastels and chalk
the long tea visits i had
especially with my mom. with mary. with jenn. with kristin.
January felt connected. solid. friendly.
the afghans. i became so fond of them again.
cake making and eating.
i have wanted to remake that lemon cake each day since we made it together.
 i am resisiting so far, but not much longer.
my camera.
grateful for being reunited with a Canon again
loving my instax a day project.
the photos are so bad. technically speaking but so fun and life capturing.
the exercising that i started.
 the movement that is happening again.
that was good. is going to continue to be good
 i feel proud about that.
oh January!
you were such fun.
thank you