Saturday, 29 March 2014

Rose or Dung Coloured Glasses?

Do I wear clear, rose or dung coloured eye glasses when I look around at the world, other people and myself? I can be full of self-pity over my circumstances or I can take a step back and take stock of all that is right in my world, all that I can be grateful for. The effect is almost like waving a magic wand because my feelings can change  from morose to joyful when I can be thankful for the fact that I am alive, I can see and hear and walk.
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The perennial test, to decide whether a person is a pessimist or an optimist is to show them a glass of water and ask them to describe it. They will answer either that the glass is half full or half empty. This exercise seems ridiculous at first glance but our answers really are telling and can give us a wake-up call.
Words, especially descriptive words are powerful. What comes out of our mouthes really does help bring sunshine or shadows into our lives and those around us. Even without applying cognitive therapy, by simply catching ourselves using overly negative adjectives, we really can change our emotional reactions to life
Gratitude and thankfulness are like removing dung coloured glasses and seeing reality in a whole new way, through clear glass. Words of praise, words of gratitude shape our response to life. Let’s pay attention to the words that come out of our mouths, especially to our children. We are helping shape not only our future but the future of the next generation.

Words have the power to flow like liquid sunshine into the shadows of our hearts.


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Wiring in My Brain

The wiring in my brain lacks certain vital circuits.

After years of struggling against my basic intellectual wiring, I have finally accepted that there are large black holes in my brain that deal with technology and even simple mechanics. I am content to manage our large home, renovate, garden and landscape and write. I do not care one whit that the kids laugh in disbelief because I cannot figure out the T.V. or cell phone.
Case in point.
I am a woman who has done little travelling. After 12 hours of travelling across three-time zones, on three different airplanes, connecting with a shuttle service and making it to my parents condominium entrance without mishap, I could not get in. This was my first visit where my dad admitted that he cannot drive safely in the dark. The first time he did not usher me in, carrying my luggage. Although I remembered their condo number, I did not know the access code to connect with them and I do not own a cell phone. The intercom system kept telling me to scroll down to access the list of occupants but for the life of me, I could not figure it out. I could have cried in frustration because the complex seemed deserted.
Since I did not want to stand around looking like an idiot, I lugged my heavy suitcase, carry-on and purse as I trudged through gardens, rocked strewn areas till I finally came around to their patio at the back of the complex.Their railing was so high, I stumbled as I hauled my bags over it and I had to balance on a rock to reach high enough to swing my leg over. Then one leg became wedged between the railings. It is a miracle that I finally stood in front of their patio door and knocked.
The look on my 82-year old parents’ faces was worth all that hassle. It was priceless. I laughed and laughed as my mum completely commiserated with my lack of techno-smarts and my dad patiently tried to explain the intricacies of scrolling down.

Monday, 24 March 2014

joy of nine9 Paper

If I can do create a newspaper, ANYONE can. Trust me; creating a paper is easy. Just install a bookmark for paper.li, click on it while on any article on the web , click yes for photos, choose which paper to put it in, click once more and voilĂ . The article is now included in your newspaper. Paper.li is one site where I feel more in control , choosing exactly which articles to publish, gathering  articles from ten different sources where I am published.



Hope is the Thing With Feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words 
 And never stops at all. 
Emily Dickinson

Only in the darkness can you see the stars. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up
and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. Anne Lamott

 Hope is the physician of each misery. Irish Proverb

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Connecting With Our Baby’s Souls

Although I am a mother of nine and a grandmother to four and soon to be five grandchildren my encounters with these new grandbabies continues to startle me. 
My daughter-in-law was bouncing baby “Daniel” who was fussy and uncomfortable with the typical two-month old digestive problems. He was glassy-eyed and in pain, half crying, half complaining about life as he was held with his back leaning against his mum. I bent down and called out to him “Daniel”. Immediately he snapped to attention and looked me right in the eye with an uncanny intelligence, a piercing look that gave me a jolt intially.Then I started to explain, in a calm voice, that I understood his frustration. His whole body stopped moving, he froze in concentration, soaking in my love and my words and he started to smile, not only with his mouth but his eyes twinkled as I spoke.
” I know it is rough being in this helpless, fragile body where even digesting is painful. I understand how hard it must be when you can’t talk or really communicate clearly but I promise you that it is going to get better. In a month or so the colic will pass and everyday you will discover new ways to communicate to all these adults.”
I knew, that Daniel knew, that I knew that he understood every word that I said. I was speaking to an “old soul”, an intelligent person not a dummy. His expression spoke volumes;  he was obviously thrilled that someone connected with his core, his soul or spirit.
We know from medical research the newborns recognize their parents voices  and as Christians where are told the we are known by God even in the womb. Western society is finally waking up to the fact that we can talk rationally to newborns and not cute nonsense like they are idiots. Babies need adults to talk to them, to really connect with them, communicate and dialogue with them as equals before God, fellow humans with dignity and worth.
I won’t repeat earlier posts about infant’s intelligence or my experiences as a “baby whisperer”but I must repeat the words of C.S. Lewis because they continue to reverberate within me,”You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” We are body, mind and spirit.

Mary Fredal  adds an important reflection on LinkedIn. Wonderful post by Melanie Jean Juneau ! … ”You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” -C.S. Lewis … While this article is about little babies, but the same is true for every single person, including those at every age who cannot speak with us due to disability or infirmity or trauma, and including those who can speak… Let your words and deeds speak to a person’s animating, internal soul and not just their external body which houses their soul…

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Buster Gets Zapped


People often wonder if animals have souls; if 'all dogs really go to heaven' . I don't know all the answers to these mysteries but I do know that our animals responded to prayer and to love, especially divine love. Local farmers were always amazed and delighted by the personality and affection our pets and farm animals demonstrated with other animals, amongst themselves and to people. Buster, a springer spanie, was an excellent example of how our animals received love.

Buster was a depressed neurotic when we first took him in to our home and our hearts.
This springer spaniel had lived a happy country life until his owners divorced. Unfortunately, for the last two years he had languished in the garage of a townhouse during the day and slept crated at night. Buster was lucky to get two quick walks a day on a leash, no less. For a dog, such an existence was equal to solitary confinement in a maximum security prison.
The first month on our farm, Buster ran off all his extra weight and started to act like a normal dog. The former owner phoned us a couple of times, certain that we would be fed up with Buster's obsessive compulsive habits. Honestly, most of his irritating traits vanished as he began living the normal life of a typical dog. Although we were all surprised by Buster's quick transformation.
However, my husband and I noticed that Buster still need inner healing from his traumatic prison sentence. So he decided to pray over the dog. I laughed at the idea but not for long. As Michael's and my hands grew hot, sensing the flow of the Spirit through us to the dog, Buster started panting; he was getting hot as well. My eyes sprang open, my eyebrows shot up and I looked at Michael. His eyebrows were raised even higher than mine. Michael chuckled,
"It's getting hot, isn't it Buster?"
Buster just panted faster, his eyelids grew heavy and he started swaying. Michael encouraged him,
"It's okay boy. Just relax."
Suddenly Buster keeled over sideways. I knelt and peered into the dog's face,
"He is out cold!"
My husband and I looked at each other and started to laugh. We could hardly contain our amusement. To use Pentecostal or Holy Roller terminology, our dog was slain in the Spirit. So much for the theory that such behaviour is the result of mass hysteria or subconscious conditioning.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Tender Tidings Spring 2014 AVAILABLE! Free!


I wrote an article on gardening with kids in this issue. It is posted on CAPC

At last, the spring issue of our FREE parenting magazine, Tender Tidings, is available for viewing!  Our special topic is Education Options.
This is honestly the best issue yet.  You’ll find tons of ideas for living a joyful, radiant life with your family.  Definitely check out Marcia’s article on doing the Stations of the Cross with kids!
A few changes in this issue:
  • The special topic is limited to just one section.
  • New columns:  Kim will write a regular column on one of the Building Blocks; Marcia has a new column on ways to bring the faith to our children in fun, hands-on ways.
Click on the Flipbook to view on Catholic Attachment Parenting Corner
PDF is also available from Flipbook mode.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Plugging Into An Ancient Craft

Although I have crocheted for the last decade, creating at least  a dozen queen sized bedspreads or afghans, wedding shawls, headbands, towels and hats, I have just started crocheting baby clothes. The images on pinterest of women crocheting or sewing are fascinating. It feels like I am plugging into an ancient craft, finding myself connected to generations of women and girls who have worked with their hands. It is delightful creating something out of nothing, clothes out of nothing more than balls of yarn using just a steel hook.



Inspiring designs.  For Easter, I am going to try my hand at lacy scarves and summer shawls for my six daughters and 2 daughters-in-lawspired by creative designs

Saturday, 15 March 2014

The North Wind Doth Blow and other Essential Nursery Rhymes


NURSERY RHYMES AND OTHER NONSENSE ARE ESSENTIAL TO EVERY CHILD’S DEVELOPEMENT. It is up to mothers to ensure their children are inundated with nonsense.
It is still winter. In fact, it is snowing today, even though the official first day of spring is in about two weeks. Unfortunately the birds do not know that this is an unusual winter; we saw a robin on the side of the road, right at the end of our driveway. I hope robins eat something more than earthworms. I quoted this little rhyme last year but I think of it every March since my mum repeated it to me every March.

The North Wind Doth Blow 

The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He’ll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
and hide his head under his wing, poor thing.


This nursery rhyme is referred to as either the North Wind doth blow or The Robin. ‘The North Wind doth blow’ is British in its origins, originatING in the 16th century history. ‘The North Wind doth blow’ uses the olde English word ‘doth’. The purpose of the words is to encourage children to empathize with the plight of the robin.This English poem originated in the 16th century, so it would seem that I am not the only mother to have a childhood nursery rhyme engraved in her mind in order that I too will pass down this oral tradition.
The use of catchy rhyming poems to teach children and to preserve oral tradition is probably thousands of years old.
The problem I see in schools these days is that parents put pressure on even preschool teachers to equip their kids to get ahead in the world. The lessons and brain development techniques start soon after birth. By age 3, kids are learning to operate a computer, taking swimming lessons, learning to skate and attending a  French Nursery School so  they will be bi-lingual and fit into immersion schools by grade I. School is serious business these days with no time for delightful nursery rhymes.  The result is kids with little or no imagination, creativity or time for the arts. Society is  raising a generation of driven, pedantic thinkers trained to succeed. How terrible.
NURSERY RHYMES AND OTHER NONSENSE ARE ESSENTIAL TO EVERY CHILD’S DEVELOPEMENT.It is up to mothers to ensure their children are inundated with nonsense. Listen to Dr. Seuss


I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.
download
Adults are just outdated children.
You make ‘em, I amuse ‘em
Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Let Me Guess: Daddy Dressed Her

When a writing prompt asked what was the weirdest thing about my health, the question stumped me until I realized that my good health is weird; I mean, I had nine kids but I am tiny with the best good cholesterol my doctor has ever seen and such low blood pressure that if it was any lower I would drop dead. not one but three doctors have repeated the same words. This good health is a pure gift.
My husband and I halfheartedly followed natural family planning but I am a rare case; I have conceived 5 DAYS
before ovulation. As my wonderful doctor once said,
“Ah yes, there was a woman in New Zealand who conceived 5 days before ovulation about two years ago. “
I raised my hand and said, “Add me to that list.” My body does not follow the rules.
I also deliver 3 weeks early because my babies would be nine to ten pounds. if I didn’t. Although I am tiny, my deliveries were all natural without drugs or ripping and tearing. After short labours, I feel great with little pain.I am blessed with comical circumstances surrounding many of my pregnancies and births. Take my eighth delivery.
 Our doctor had warned us to come into town immediately with my first labour pains because that baby was going to come quickly. Dr. H met me outside the hospital, helped me out of our old van, into a wheelchair and literally ran past admitting with a huge grin on his face yelling,
“Sorry. No time to admit her. I’ll do the paperwork for her after the delivery. See you later!”
He was still chuckling in the elevator over the shocked expression on the admitting clerk’s face. We moved slowly out of the elevator and Dr. H peered around the corner to check the nursing station. He sighed happily,
“Good. The head nurse is on coffee break and no one is in the natural birthing room. Olga is going to have a fit when she sees your stats on the board and that you are in here!”
He laughed loudly this time as we darted into the softly lit room. Michael walked in a little later, holding eighteen-month-old Grace, her pink, frilly sun-suit on backwards, straps crossed across her chest with her nipples peeking out. Even though I was in the middle of labour, I was embarrassed. The obstetrical nurse, noticing my reaction, looked over her shoulder at my toddler as she was held by my husband, turned back to me with one eyebrow raised and said, “Let me guess. Daddy dressed her.”
Ann Marshall pastel & paper collage

Monday, 10 March 2014

Recipe For Me: One Part Guts, Two Parts Gift


How to create Melanie from scratch: A layer cake
I have dredged a few ingredients up from my core, as the result of dire circumstances and sheer necessity, others have been pure gift and a delight to embrace and incorporate into my life.
Baking Tin
Must be constructed from a shiny, iridescent hot metal called love which shines and reflects warmth even in a dark, cold room.
Bottom Crust
5 pounds of sheer determination ( guts), layered, alternately, with 5 pounds of sinew and true grit. Make sure the crust is firm yet still flexible so that it does not crack under pressure but rather bends when needed.
Sprinkle with pounds of humour and laughter. Both must be shaken on top of the crust and in each subsequent layer because laughter is essential to my survival. Do not omit this life-sustaining ingredient or my life will collapse.
First Layer
Add liberal amounts of creativity and intuition combined with circular thinking. DO NOT MEASURE. Large quantities of these three ingredients are vital. Do not substitute with logic nor linear thinking. Completely vital to my sanity and to the insanity of my husband. This layer is the thickest and most lively; it springs back into shape even when neglected for long periods of time.
Second Layer
Delight in children. Since I had nine kids, nine shakes of delight will suffice. The whole cake will fall into depression without delight.
Top Layer
Gratitude and thankfulness make up this layer, the more the better. This is a clear, gelatinous layer that receives light which permeates all the other layers.
Icing
Joy. This ingredient cannot be purchased and is pure gift.
Drink with a strong cup of tea, steeped at least five minutes. A must.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Happy International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day,  I have collected quotes and images throughout history which celebrate the vibrant life of women, of women fully alive!
If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.  Margaret Fuller
Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.  Louisa May Alcott
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For what is done or learned by on class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, the property of all women.  Elizabeth Blackwell (The first woman in the U.S. to become a physician)
Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. Helen Keller
Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Eleanor Roosevelt
Mothers are the people who love us for no good reason. And those of us who are mothers know it’s the most exquisite love of all. Maggie Gallagher


 God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers. Rudyard Kipling
I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars. E. M. Forster

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Embracing Reality With a Sense of Humour

 Ash to ash and dust to dust; yup that is what we reflect on today, Ash Wednesday. Since it is Ash Wednesday,how about some quotes on the reality of our human condition, seen through a humourous lens of course; it wouldn’t do to be morbid and depressing about reality. As my kids say, ” It is what it is, right?” You can’t do anything about reality except embrace it with a wry sense of humour.

If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.  Mahatma Gandhi

A sense of humor… is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.  Hugh Sidey
Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.  William James
 You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.  Bill Cosby

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road. Henry Ward Beecher
Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is. Francis Bacon