Filter

Autumn Musings

October.

The smell of woodsmoke, fallen leaves and rain without and simmering stew, sweet pumpkin and warming spices within. There is an unmistakable earthiness to this time of year as the season draws toward winter. Harvest and our awareness of things ripening keeps us tethered to the outdoors and nature, but the occasional chill in the air takes us by surprise and the need to cozy up and reflect by the hearth is nigh. Continue Reading →

Share

Uncertainty

Today is not a good writing day, I’m afraid.

I find myself plummeting into uncertainty.

A soul shaking blow occurred a few days when my husband offered to help send my writing files from the old family computer to my shiny new MacBook Air. It didn’t take him very long, but then suddenly he asked me “Where is your book?” I descended even further into uncertainty. I think he was expecting tidily organized files entitled Chapter One, Chapter Two etc. Instead he found random strangely named blurbs only I would understand. Why? Because I don’t know how to write this novel. That’s it. That is the Truth. Continue Reading →

Share

An Office Romance

A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.

~Virginia Woolf

 Guess where I am right now?

That’s right! In my office! It’s not quite ready for instagramification or FB posting, but it is getting there. I have a lovely white desk under the window and a shiny-new laptop of my very own. Continue Reading →

Share

A Feminine Den- it’s happening!

Well, it seems my days of writing at random locations around the house are finally numbered. Work is happening in my feminine den and what a journey it has been! Continue Reading →

Share

Birthday Girl

Today is my birthday. I am at an age where birthdays elicit all sorts of mixed emotions. Obviously the giddy excitement of being a little girl has long past, but I am not filled with doom and gloom, or even complete denial, as some women are on the day that marks another year older. Continue Reading →

Share

True North

Tomorrow is our nation’s birthday. It is a day to celebrate our glorious country, to welcome summer and for me, at least, to consider what true north, strong and free means.

My family and I celebrate Canada Day by donning our red and white and making the trip to Fort Langley, a charming town also known as the birthplace of BC. The community gathers around the Fort’s ancient wooden flagpole to raise the bold, beautiful Canadian flag and then we all burst  into an off-key, yet totally heart-felt rendition of Oh Canada. The whole thing makes my eyes tear up and my heart glow. Finally, we all line up for a slice of the giant Canada flag cake, the one with the sickeningly sweet frosting and loads of toxic red food dye. What can I say? I’m a sucker for tradition. Continue Reading →

Share

An Open Heart- and a love that transcends time and space

On Monday I received a magical parcel. Nestled within the simple cardboard box and encased in bubble wrap was a small, beautiful, not to mention iconic, little blue box all tied up with a white satin bow. It was, of course, from Tiffany. Continue Reading →

Share

Journey to the Desert

 

We are off to Palm Springs this weekend to soak up some much needed sun, to linger and lounge, to sip cocktails by the pool, to read books, to laugh hysterically, did I mention the cocktails? Continue Reading →

Share

Spring Breakdown- A Spiritual Spring Cleaning

I’ve never been one to shy away from a good spring cleaning. There’s nothing like cherry blossoms, daffodils and sunny skies to trigger a cleaning frenzy.

Whether it’s physically cleaning out our home and garden, or a thorough once-over of the soul, both leave me feeling refreshed and renewed. Just take a deep breath and begin. It’s time to rid yourself of the outgrown, broken-down, the uncomfortable, the dingy and the undesirable from your home and heart. Continue Reading →

Share

Perfectly Imperfect

Lately the notion of perfection has been swirling around in my mind. I am a recovering perfectionist.

I used to want to be perfect, as we all do when we are young, foolish and naive. And while I realize I still have many years of wisdom to gain I have come to understand this: There is no such thing as perfect. It’s a big one, if you can actually get it. An “ah-ha moment” as Oprah would say. Let the words sink in for a moment and understand the magnitude of it…. Wait for it… Continue Reading →

Share

Living Life Beautifully: A Spiritual Elixir

After an incredibly busy three-day saga spent in the corporate world of new home sales, little black suits, gourmet coffees, dinners out and contracts written; it is time for this little hermit crab to retreat to the safety of her dwelling. Today I rest.

Sometimes we lose track of what it actually means to Live Life Beautifully. We dwell in an uber-fast paced world with instant everything from food, to banking, to gratification. It’s busy, yet sedentary; it’s interactive, yet isolating and it is very, very overwhelming at times. Especially for a highly sensitive, bohemian, spiritual seeker kind of gal like myself. Sometimes it is just too much. I get what I call a “people hangover”. Continue Reading →

Share

Happy birthday, baby boy!

Today is my son’s birthday. He’s seven. My baby is seven. Unfathomable how quickly life goes by. Every single day since his arrival has been an adventure and I would not change a thing. I say this with the most heartfelt honesty. Continue Reading →

Share

Om my God! You Meditate?

So. My word is Truth and guess what that means? I have to face it. It’s not always pretty. Sometimes we find we’ve been unkind to others, but more often than not, we find we’ve actually been unkind to ourselves. Every little move we make is subject to inner criticism from our ego, or the Inner Mean Girl, as I call her. Continue Reading →

Share

Romance, or something like it.

Due to the recent bombardment of romantic images, apparently linked to the impending arrival of Valentine’s Day, my thoughts have been drifting towards romance.

I have never been a hard-core Valentine’s Day kind of gal. Those big pink cards in the drug store, the ones covered with roses, gilded with bright yellow gold, beribboned with lace and ribbons, and filled with saccharine prose actually trigger my sensitive gag reflex. It’s somewhat ironic since individually I adore roses, especially the big, fat old-fashioned kind that actually smell like roses; I swoon for things gilded and actually have love letters tied up in ribbons and lace. Everything in moderation, I guess.

The wonderful thing is my husband knows this about me and will go to great lengths to find me a Valentine’s card that is either: a) hysterically funny or b) slightly racy in a cute way. Now that is real romance; a man digging through countless cheesy cards to find the one that doesn’t make his true love puke. Nausea does not make for an evening of romance, after all.

But I am a hopeless romantic in all things. I go through life expecting to be swept away by magical experiences, beautiful images and lyrical happenstance. Whether romance is delivered to me by a handsome man, or I create it myself is of little consequence. The point is romance is a seed to be planted, watered and grown in life. It must be nurtured and cultivated if we are to live a romantic life.

It’s also not fair to put romance in a box, heart-shaped or otherwise. I discover romance wherever I look, because I want to find it. If one can only find romance in blue Tiffany boxes or roses by the dozen, then hundreds of less grand, but just as meaningful romantic moments will pass unnoticed. How sad! This happened to me a while ago. I almost missed the romance and inherent love within it.

A tale of love, romance and bathtubs:

We were headed full-throttle into an epic renovation of our master bedroom and ensuite. To say it was overwhelming would be a vast understatement. It is safe to say renovations, in general, are killers of romance. Months of upheaval and heavy, dirty work followed by countless decisions and compromise and finally, depleted bank accounts are far from romantic. Don’t we hear all the time that renos are bad for the old marriage?? But if you can get through it together, enjoying the newly finished project is lovely.

In any case, my life-long dream, like most romantic gals, was to soak in a beautiful tub, preferably footed or freestanding. Of course, the beastly budget, as always, reared its ugly head, telling us we can only afford the most unattractive, builder-basic tub, on sale. Ugh. This proved to be unacceptable nonsense to my prince, who drove around the kingdom seeking a beautiful tub for me. Through his connections, he discovered a beautiful, sculptural, freestanding tub, heavily discounted (yay!), was on a truck making it’s way to a warehouse in a faraway land (nay!). He begged the merchant to turn the truck around and offered to pay for the tub on the spot. That’s how my dream tub came to be. And I almost forgot to notice this. Sometimes romance is simply going the extra mile.

Plenty of men might have done the whole “Who cares? It’s just a tub!” thing, or the “This is all we can afford.” thing, or the absolute worst “Baths are stupid, anyway!” thing. But my husband truly believed he could find me a dream tub and he did not stop until he found it. He knows how I love my sweetly scented bubbles, flickering candles and Buddhism books. He knows me. He just knows. And that is an example of everyday modern romance. He rescued me from a lifetime of mediocre bathing experiences. What a hero!

Moral of the story: Love isn’t just something we say, it’s something that we do. Everyday. We should all open our eyes and hearts to romance.  Tip: Look for it outside the greeting card aisle!

If you have a favourite romantic moment, I would love to hear about it. Drop me a line, please.

 

Share

Adios, Man-Den

I am a writer so it stands to reason that I, of all the people in our household, should be the one with an office, right? It just makes sense.

When we moved into our house nearly five years ago there was not any one room that felt like it could work for me as an office, especially the actual office itself, which is a small room off the family room. I never even considered it as an option. I thought it was the perfect man-den. The room was painted a manly charcoal grey, given espresso-toned furnishings, and a sexy black leather office chair, hung with manly paraphernalia and promptly ignored by my beloved forevermore. As dramatic as I can be, I’m here to tell you that in four-and-a-half years he has never, ever, EVER sat down in his office. Ask him. He will freely admit it.

You see, he is not an office-y kind of guy. In fact, my guy changed not just careers but his entire field, in part, to get away from offices, desks and cubicle situations. We used to have an office in our other home, but that was before laptops and ipads. Where he likes to be is in the family room enjoying his portable technology and big screen tv, with his kids and his dog. He IS a true family man. And I adore this about him.

What became of the man-den, you ask? Well, it morphed into a catch-all, quasi-mudroom from hell. While it still houses all his neglected, dust-collecting stuff, it’s also where laundry is sorted and where clutter goes to die since I won’t allow it in the rest of the house. In short, this room puts me in hysterics on a routine basis.

Once I joined Pinterest I began to see that maybe there was hope for the sad little office after all. I cannot change the fact that it doesn’t get enough light for the likes of me, but maybe just maybe, it could still be a soft spot for me to land and do my writing in earnest and privacy. A cozy room with doors that close! As in, “Stay out! Mommy is writing!” Could it really work?

Maybe, just maybe. There was just the small problem of evicting the negligent tenant. I honestly hated the idea of displacing him, I don’t know why. It turns out I didn’t even have to because one fine day a Post-It note appeared on my morning coffee. My prince had given me the keys to his kingdom! “The office is yours,” it read. All I needed to do was transform it.

That was right before Christmas. There was no way I was undertaking it then. Even now I am filled with dread. He has so much stuff crammed in there and I don’t know what to do with it. I guess you could say he is a bit of a collector (he says) or hoarder (she says). However we define it, the fact remains: opposites attract. Even though my man brings home more stuff than I ever could have imagined, I still love him madly.

I’m a bit of a minimalist. I have only a few beloved objets, my books, candles, mirrors and art. Why do we need to collect anything? Why must we fill every empty space? Can’t we just let it be? I’m serious. We had no furniture in our formal living room for three years and I was totally okay with it. In fact, the only thing in there was my old desk and reading chair. Once we furnished the room (only with pieces I love) guess who got displaced? That’s right, yours truly. So here I find myself. Homeless in my own home, in a sense.

One day last week I found myself feeling particularly restless and unable to sit still and write at my usual perch in the dining room, which was now also timesharing with my daughter’s science project on forensics. That’s right. Me with my flowers and Buddhas and teacups co-mingling with fingerprints, hair samples and a blood-lifting kit. Ugh. As panic gripped my soul, I burst into the man-den and began packing it up. It’s over. I took down all the pictures, wrapped up all the models and strategized a storage system for the record collection. There’s so much more to do, but I think I got the message out loud and clear. It’s happening.

I’ve been collecting inspiration for a couple of months now and I can’t wait to get myself a new desk, chair and lamp. I’m also looking forward to hanging my grandmother’s beautiful vintage crystal chandelier, which has been in storage for years now. But in the meantime, until the big reveal, you’ll find me clearing clutter and drawing inspiration from Pinterest. Stay tuned for updates as we transform the man-den into a feminine writing oasis!

Share

Novel Update

I’ve been working on The Novel for a few months now. Well, actually it’s more like 7 years and few months.

The Novel, it seems, has taken an extended winter break. I put it away for the two weeks leading up to Christmas and then when the New Year rolled around I diligently took it out and waited. Waited for inspiration. Waited for beautiful, glorious snippets to be woven into sentences. Waited for scraps of conversation, new ideas, plot twists, anything to get it going. But nothing happened. The Novel had gone into hibernation and refused to be disturbed. I tried gently coaxing it, softly nudging it and then finally walloping it over the head. But still it slept, or pretended to sleep. The Novel was ignoring me.

For a time I was genuinely concerned. Was it something I did? Something I said? Why wouldn’t it respond? I had a cold panicky feeling that there was no novel at all. That it had been yet another one of my diversions. You see, as a creative-free-spirit type, I’ve been known to daydream and dilly dally. I’m something of a dabbler and a dilettante; trying many things, but never really committing myself to anything. The honest-to-God truth (there’s that word again, Truth) is that I am just not a career-driven person. Maybe being an actual novelist was too much of a stretch. I want to Live Life Beautifully at the end of the day. The Novel is not the only thing in my life. Do you hear me, Novel?

The Novel has to understand that I have other passions besides it. I love to curate a lovely home; I strive to raise spiritually-aware, well-adjusted children; I love to write and it doesn’t have to be just The Novel. So I fired up my this blog again, have been considering a home-office reno, I started meditating more often and making my own face cream. If the Novel wants to be written, it’s going to have cooperate. Just a little, at least. If I am showing up for it, then it needs to also show up for me.

Finally, after an eternity (seven weeks), a couple of things happened. I reconnected with a beautiful someone who had both insight and information I truly needed for the development of my main character. We chatted back and forth and then slowly, slowly I felt The Novel waking up, yawning and stretching. I’ve also pared back my schedule as much as possible to hold space. I’ve been writing a lot, so I’m warmed up. Whenever The Novel is ready, I will be too. There was a time in my not-so-distant past when I would have freaked out and abandoned the project. I might have thrown my notes in a box or worse, the shredder. I might have cried and said “I quit!” as I have with many other past adventures. Not so this time.

This time, I mean it.

 

Share

Do Not Disturb

I need a Do Not Disturb sign for my front door that says something like:

“Yes. I see you and you see me since I am working in the front room and you’re standing there at my door with your Optik TV brochure, or bible, or amazing deal on aerating the lawn. But I’m trying to write here and I’m a person who craves light and this window has southern exposure and for me to close the blinds would defeat the purpose. So just to let you know, we recently upgraded our bundle, I’m very comfortable with my spirituality even if you think I’m destined for hell and damnation and finally, we rent an aerator every spring and do all the lawns on our street front and back.”

As you can plainly see, I’m not having a great day at the page. I’m feeling uninspired and a bit cranky. And if one more person comes to my door pedaling Jesus or landscaping or media bundles I might lose it. But here I am writing badly. I don’t have an inspiring message to deliver today and my novel is giving me the silent treatment. I feel a little guilty about putting this tidbit of negativity out there, but I am being vulnerable. The fact is it’s a grey and drizzly January morning and I’m not in my gorgeous Pinterest-y office, nor have I even started working on it yet. I’m at the dining room table wearing yoga pants and drinking reheated tea. It’s a little too early to follow the simple advice of good old Hemingway: “Write drunk; edit sober.”

Perhaps I’ll take the gentler path and take shelter in the words of novelist Jodi Picoult:

You might not write well everyday, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.

The main thing is I am here now. Waiting for inspiration to strike. Patiently… sort of.

 

 

 

Share

Out in the Fields

 

 

I guess you’re all on to me. I’m a bit of a spiritual junkie.

In keeping with my Journey through January theme- since let’s face it, January can be a rather dreary month to get through- I thought we could explore where we go to find light in this greyest of the grey months.

When I speak of light I am not referring to tropical sun-drenched getaways or changing the household lightbulbs over to the new energy efficient ones, I’m talking about light as in Spirit or God or whatever you like to call it/Him. I use both terms interchangeably and unapologetically.

For many people, this is a no-brainer. They go to church and find God there. They get up on Sunday morning, put on their church clothes and go listen to an inspiring sermon. Then they go for brunch. At least that is how it seems to me. For me though, church was never enough to keep me spiritually satisfied. I wanted to know him for myself. Much the way Elizabeth Gilbert reveals in Eat, Pray, Love:

I want God to play in my blood stream the way sunlight amuses itself on water.

When we were little girls my mother would take us to church in a neighboring small town. I remember sitting on the hard wooden pews of St. Mary’s in my shiny shoes and pretty but itchy dress listening to Father Beck address our congregation and wondering, But where is He?? Where is God? I just wasn’t feeling it. Sometimes though, if the timing was right the brilliant prairie sun would beam through the old window panes just so causing a twinkling effect, and I would think, There He is! There’s God!!  Somebody let him in! No one ever did.

After church, when I was finally allowed to burst through the heavy wooden doors and out onto the cracked sidewalk, I would offer up a silent prayer of gratitude, Thank God! It was over.

Of course, as a little Catholic girl, I felt guilty about this.

Still, being both precocious and a daydreamer, I was determined to find Him. And I often did. He was outside. And inside. A little backstory:

The farm I grew up on was idyllic. It was my own Green Gables. Our crisp white farmhouse, complete with Kelly green shutters, was perched atop a gentle hill. Surrounding us were fields as far as the eye could see. The view from my bedroom included St. John’s, a tiny country church and historical landmark. I had a playhouse, a tree house and a big red barn. I had a tire swing in the summer and a skating pond in the winter. In the spring we could hear coyote pups practicing their howls. In the fall we would pack up the truck and take a hot supper out to my Dad who would be busy combining under the Harvest Moon. It was, as far as childhoods go, a very milk-and-cookies upbringing.

It was not uncommon for me to wade out in a rippling golden wheat field and gaze up at the unfathomably blue sky and think, He’s here! God is here now! But I was little and the world was big. I was still questioning it all.

Eventually I grew up, as we all must, but that childlike curiosity about Spirit never left me. I followed it wherever it took me and gathered glimpses of inspiration along the way. I practiced yoga and meditation well before it was a thing. I studied what I call Bathtub Buddhism. I attempted gardening (turns out I’m much better at keeping my kids alive). I did a bit of traveling. I fell in and out of love and had my heart broken once or twice.  I even had a couple of dark nights of the soul where I cast my gaze heavenward and sobbed, “Why??”

What have I learned? What, as Oprah says, do I know for sure? That I do have Faith. That I do believe in something bigger. That I know, without question, that it will be okay. Most importantly, God doesn’t even care where you go to find Him as long as you show up. So if I find him alone in a rippling wheat field, reading Buddhism in the bathtub, meditating on the beach or even in the twinkle of my children’s eyes, it’s all good in His eyes.

What are the ways you find God or seek Spirit?  Comment or send me a message privately. As always, I’m curious to know.

 

 

I’ve also included a lovely poem by Elizbeth Barrett Browning

OUT IN THE FIELDS WITH GOD

The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday
Among the fields above the sea,
Among the winds that play,
Among the lowing of the herd,
The rustling of the trees,
Among the singing of the birds,
The humming of the bees.

The foolish fears of what might pass
I cast them all away
Among the clover-scented grass,
Among the new-mown hay,
Among the hushing of the corn,
Where drowsy poppies nod,
Where ill thoughts die and good are born-
Out in the fields with God.

PS: Isn’t it romantic that my father, as a young man, wrote this poem on a piece of paper and gave it to my mother? In the 1970s??

Share

Amazing Grace

 

 

I’ll have a tall, extra-hot, non-fat, half-sweet vanilla latte with an extra shot of grace… oh! And a sprinkle of cinnamon, please. Thanks!

 

Caffeine and motherhood. The two go together like peanut butter and honey, or wine and cheese, or manicures and pedicures, or shoes and purses. You get the idea.

Seriously though, few mothers out there can get their day on without a powerful boost of caffeine. Whether it’s a freshly brewed cup of coffee or strong pot of steeped tea, we all need a little something to get us going each morning. What many of us are not doing is adding a little grace. Cream; sugar; non-fat, dairy-free French vanilla? Yes. But grace? Not usually. When is the last time we even thought about grace? Yet, it is there. All we have to do is accept it.

Most of us think of grace as effortless elegance or a certain loveliness of form or manner. Consider Princess Grace of Monaco, or my current favourite epitomy of grace, the beloved brand-new Duchess, Kate Middleton. But there is another kind of grace we can all benefit from and we needn’t don a tiara or walk around with stacks of books on our heads to get it. Not that there is anything wrong with tiaras or book stacks. I quite fancy both, actually.

The grace I am speaking of is Spiritual Grace. Simply put, this grace is the love and mercy given to us by God/Spirit because God/Spirit desires us to have it. It is free, limitless, spontaneous, generous and available under any circumstance. Like a Divine data plan sent from heaven!

The trouble is we, as mothers, have become so accustomed to giving, giving and giving some more, that we forget it is okay to take. Think of the unconditional love we lavish upon our children. Even when one is covered in Nutella and the other has bingo-dabbed the living room, we still somehow love them! Imagine being able to feel that way about ourselves. Grace is kind of like that. It fills us up and recharges our souls.

“Grace.” All we have to do is think it and the heart is lightened. I literally do this: When I feel I’m about to completely spazz out, I pause a beat, take a breath and simply say the word silently. It’s calming and cooling to the mind and warming to the heart. Perfection. I may or may not imagine I am wearing a tiara as well. Hey, it can be tough out there!

Tomorrow morning when you pour your first cup, don’t forget to add a little (or a lot) of grace.

 

*Although I have directed this piece towards mothers, whom we typically define as women with children, I believe the mother archetype is very strong in all women and also in a few good men. Anyone who has ever tried to birth an idea, raise a village or nurture someone or something in suffering knows this. As consciousness on our planet shifts, we will come to realize we truly are all One and that we are all here to care for one another and our planet. If that isn’t mothering, I don’t know what is!

 

 

Share

One Word That Brings Peace

 

At first I wanted to create a section in my blog called Mindful Mondays, but I don’t even know how to create sections in the first place, so then I thought, Do I really want to have to wait until Monday to post my spiritual tidbits? Not really. Why impose labels unnecessarily? Also, I am incredibly sleep deprived and shouldn’t engage in learning new technology tricks today. In fact, it took me three attempts to spell ‘unnecessarily’ because I am too stubborn to spellcheck a word I should know how to spell in the first place.

My point is this: January is a great month for personal reflection and it is Monday and this is a spiritual piece. Why don’t you just go ahead and read it on whatever day of the week suits you.

Each New Year the urge to seek a new word of wisdom arises within me. Like clockwork! After my word is revealed to me I keep it close to my heart for the entire year and see what lessons unfold. Last year it was Balance, which of course, I’m still working on and as a mother, will continue to strive towards quite possibly forever. Or until they graduate.

This year my new word was a bit stubborn about showing up. However, after a few days of reflection, (aka insomnia) my new word finally came to me. Truth. It is a deceivingly simple, exquisite pearl of wisdom to ponder. And a dangerous one too. When we live our truth we expose our hearts. The truth can be scary. Everything and anything is up for an internal discussion and auditing. Things may start falling away. From excessive Tupperware, stilettos and magazine subscriptions, to our old friendship with Negative Nancy, to careers that fit like an unbearable cheap suit… on the Skytrain… in August.

Suddenly we may feel compelled to answer a calling and anytime that happens we are in a potential position to make a mess. Truth is love and love can be messy. (Don’t confuse spiritual love with romantic love, okay? Spiritual love comes from the Divine and is meant to show us who we are. But romantic love? Well, that’s a entirely different blog post.) Whether this means ending a relationship that no longer fits or pursuing a new passion, Love and Truth both require one thing from us: Faith. Faith that it just might be okay, but in the process we make a big, beautiful mess, we break our own hearts, we learn something new, we grow and change and become wiser. Phew! Are you up for all that? I am. Right after a short nap.

That’s love. That’s life. That’s truth. What else could we possibly be here for?

What is your word for 2014? Tell me. I want to know!

 

 

 

Share