Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Evil Has No Power: 8 word story

Impenetrable darkness imprisoned;   brilliant flame of truth freed.

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”
-St. Francis

Monday, 26 May 2014

The Teeter-Totter Syndrome

Yup, Louie looks like the bad guy sitting on the low-end of the teeter-totter; Victoria seems the perfect , suffering saint. Look again!

At first glance, the relationship looks bleak. Victoria, with low self-esteem and a victim complex, is in an emotionally abusive relationship. Louie, her husband does love her but he is a miserable man, struggling with cancer and the progression of M.S. In an attempt to dull the effects of depression, Louie drinks. In addition, he resorts to verbal abuse, venting his pain on poor Victoria.
Yep, Louie looks like the bad guy sitting on the low-end of the teeter-totter; Victoria seems to be the perfect, suffering saint, running the household and holding everything together. Look again!
The teeter-totter shifts. Victoria injures her knee and suddenly, bam, she is now on the low-end of the teeter-totter. She does not like it one bit. She does not want to accept this shift in power. Frantically, this good little wife tries to stay in charge of her realm by hobbling around her house in order to do all the chores. of course Victoria finally breaks down in tears and asks her husband for help.
Louie responds to her requests! At first Victoria only asks if she is desperate but soon, without being asked, Louie is the one to pick up the morning paper at the corner, make his wife a cup of coffee and even cook dinner. Victoria bemoans the fact that her reign has crumbled and struggles to accept help. Yet, as she does, Louie continues to rise even higher on the teeter-totter. The balance of power has shifted.
Biggest surprise of all is that Louie drinks less and less everyday. Without his wife's constant nagging or silent disapproval, Louie is now free to change.
The teetter-totter of life.
 No one is always the bad abuser.
 No one is always the helpless victim.
 Both partners are part of an intricate dance because it really does take "two to tango".
Husband and wife react to each other by triggering positive emotions or setting off volcanic erruptions that are rooted in old wounds, often from childhood. 
When we change ourselves, our mates change. When we quit controlling and demanding change, our better half is free to change.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Crocheting With Humour

I love to crochet while talking, listening, waiting, watching. I just discovered  wonderful quotes by  Stephanie Pearl-McPheeAt Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.This woman extolls theintelligence of knitters (or crocheters). I  can’t wait to tell my kids, who think I am slightly nuts.
I love to crochet while talking, listening, waiting, watching. I just discovered  wonderful quotes by  Stephanie Pearl-McPheeAt Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.This woman extolls theintelligence of knitters (or crocheters). I  can’t wait to tell my kids, who think I am slightly nuts.
“…the number one reason knitters knit is because they are so smart that they need knitting to make boring things interesting. Knitters are so compellingly clever that they simply can’t tolerate boredom. It takes more to engage and entertain this kind of human, and they need an outlet or they get into trouble.
“…knitters just can’t watch TV without doing something else. Knitters just can’t wait in line, knitters just can’t sit waiting at the doctor’s office. Knitters need knitting to add a layer of interest in other, less constructive ways.”
“ I will continue to freak out my children by knitting in public. It’s good for them.” 
“There is practically no activity that cannot be enhanced or replaced by knitting, if you really want to get obsessive about it.” 
“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.I will remember that not everyone understands. I will resist the urge to ask others what they do when they watch TV.”
 My first crocheted baby dress. This is so easy, no seams, made in the round, all one piece, except for around the neck. It takes just a couple of hours to make and $3 or $4 of yarn.

And my first adult shrug. This is simply a rectangle 44″ by 38″, folded in half, with the sides sewn up, leaving 7″ spaces for the arm holes. I am experimenting using thinner wool and a smaller hook for a light weight shrug. Next, I am using cotton with holes for a bathing suit cover-up .

I still like the look of baby shoes the best.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Spring Colour Nourishes My Soul

Time to share beauty with friends. My pictures, taken with a borrowed cell phone, are nothing like images 
Time to share beauty with friends. My pictures, taken with a borrowed cell phone, are nothing like images captured by a photographer like Paul Militaru, from Bucharest no less but he always likes my pictures anyway. Visit his site to see artistic shots of flowers, among other things.
Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!' Robin Williams
Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love! Sitting Bull
In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. Margaret Atwood
Sweet April showers do spring May flowers. Thomas Tusser
Life stands before me like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes.Carl Friedrich Gauss
 No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. Hal Borland

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

10 Tips For Survial For Parents

My Philosophy : Advice from a relatively sane, joyful mother of nine children.

1.Focus on the joy of parenting, not on the activities you are giving up to raise a family.
2.Treat little children like people, albeit little people, with respect for their feelings, likes, dislikes and personalities.Listen to your children, even as babies. Read their expressions and body language. In fact become a baby whisper by learning from your baby because they are not idiots, cute dolls or appendages of you but brilliant, although as yet nonverbal individuals.
3. Accidents and mishaps are simply part of every day life when you live with kids, so plan on all your plans falling apart.
4. Praise works; berating usually backfires. Give good behavior lots of attention and simply ignore most ‘bad behavior’.
5. No need to run around like crazy people, putting our children in every single program. Free time, even boring, down time allows imagination and creativity to surface .Give them cardboard boxes, crayons, paint and paper, not expensive toys. Most of all, read to them. Read to babies, toddlers, kids and even read to your teens. You will be giving them a gift that will last the rest of their lives.
6. Cultivate flexibility and acrobatic skills by learning to operate in two gears. Slow and simple for anything to do with kids. Let your little ones set the pace. Stop and look at bugs and pretty weeds when you go for a walk. Never rush a kid; fast and furious only works when you are alone.

7. Root your children in your unconditional love and in the love of God. Enjoy their unique personalities and help them discover their innate gifts and talents.
8..Let children learn to do things on their own, like dressing or feeding themselves even if they look a little odd with a polka top and checked pants.Their pride will shine brighter than your need to look like a perfect parent with well dressed children.
9. Put your kids needs first and never let then get hungry and never let them get over tired.When I ignored my children’s limit of endurance, I created either a clingy shadow or a screaming monster.
10. Laugh. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at your kids. Laugh at the mess and mistakes and enjoy this short and  precious time.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Gratitude for Spring Flowers

It is cool outside today in Ontario, Canada (16 C) but the sun is shining. Although we are 3 to 4 weeks behind this year for gardening, I will not complain today because the trees are starting to leaf out and my spring flowers are starting to bloom. Enjoy the colour with me and let’s allow gratitude bloom in our hearts.

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. ~ Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke
Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn, “An Easter Hymn”
I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. ~Ruth Stout
No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. ~Proverb
PicMonkey Collage
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Saturday, 17 May 2014

Society’s Sneaky Scapegoat Game

Every society has a tradition of a scapegoat, a person or a group of people to blame and punish for the sins of that particular culture.
People need to blame someone for the problems and suffering in their personal lives and in the life of their community as a whole, so they pick on someone to punish. It could be a witch, a ‘heretic”, an ethnic group, illegal residents, those on welfare..anyone who is weak and vulnerable, anyone who society can ostracize, marginalize and pick on.  The Old Testament’s practice of picking a scapegoat is a brilliant illustration.

In the Old Testament, the Azazel goat, translated as scapegoat, was one of two goats chosen for a ceremony on The Day of Atonement. The first goat was sacrifice but a priest would lay hands on the second goat and symbolically transfer all the sin and guilt of the community on to this animal. The scapegoat was then driven into the desert, to die, thus cleansing the community of its sin.

The practice of scapegoating people drives many to mental illness.
Case in point, Every single person, in a recovery group of 10,  are intelligent, articulate, many university educated or self educated people but they are also sensitive, usually intuitive. Often for arbitrary reasons, as tiny children, they felt responsible for problems in their families, be it a death, family discord and dysfunction or divorce. Like all little kids they tried to fix problems yet ended up crushed by adult emotions and burdens that were not theirs. Now decades later, they are waking up to the fact that they have punished themselves for crimes they did not commit. Society is only to eager to marginalize, blame, shame and condemn them for not functioning as active, contributing members of society.
Yet, in the end, it is up to each person to say,
‘ Enough; my suffering is not helping anyone, least of all me. I refuse to play scapegoat anymore. I refuse to try to save the world or heal those around me. Only God can do that. I give up control by letting God have his job back.’

The results are immediate..burdens lighten and depression lifts. Of course these patterns are so ingrained that the process must be repeated hundreds of times before a person’s core identity changes but it is a glorious journey into freedom and a privilege to walk with others as we experience new life together.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Babies Are Preverbal, Not Idiots

Newborn babies are complex little people who see, hear, touch, communicate, receive information and who above all, remember. 

Of course we can readily see that loud, sharp or deep voices cause a newborn to jump but are you aware that a newborn will turn to look at a voice he remembers hearing in the womb? It was still  amazing to watch my first grand-daughter turn towards her mom’s and dad’s voices when she was only hours old.  When her parents held her, she calmed down right away because she had been constantly reassured of their love and devotion while she was still in the womb. Now out in the world, she knows that she is safe and protected especially in their arms.
Conversely, all babies are sensitive to the approach of a stranger.
The most blatant  personal example I can remember is my six-month old Mary. I was holding her when a tall, slender, older priest, dressed all in black, gently reached out to hold her. He smiled and patiently waited while Mary tensed her 
little body, drew back and looked him up and down very suspiciously. She drew back a second time,even further, and once again glanced from his head to his feet and slowly looked back at his face again. A third time, Mary repeated the process and then suddenly she relaxed, broke out into a wonderful smile and reached her own arms out to lean forward so Father could pick her up.
That baby was receiving unspoken messages from Father’s facial expression, tone of voice,  body language and emotional and spiritual ‘vibes’ that radiated from his inner spirit. In short, even though Mary was not talking yet, she was not an idiot. We tend to forget that.
Michael and I were lucky because we somehow understood, right from the start, that we were relating to another human being when we communicated with our babies. I stopped and listened when they cooed and then I answered them . It might sound, foolish but I believe that this attitude instilled respect for themselves and others. I tried to treat them as people, they just happened to be little people.

Monday, 12 May 2014





Saturday, 10 May 2014


Kids need time to be bored; 
that’s how creativity is born. 
melanie jean juneau

Finding Joy in Chaos

“Welcome to OUR home. We love kids, animals, plants and even you. Just come on in!”
Five-year old Daniel is leaping off the fourth stair wearing his black cape, a purple Batman sweatshirt and his 'Mountie' hat. Three-year old Rebecca carries a huge, old purse stuffed with cut pieces of paper and fake money and she is trailing behind seven-year old Grace who is gathering stuff to make a scrapbook. Mary is in the same living room playing "Magic School Bus" on the computer and Claire is upstairs changing her clothes again. Joseph and Mark are building a Lego plane across the hall in the family room but eighteen year old Matt is the brains behind the construction.Alison is on the phone and Jean is listening to music that is way too loud while leaning over the upstairs railing and complaining about life. Michael is tending the animals.
Why I am putting in the fourth load of laundry that day and planning a folding marathon where I sort laundry and literally toss each kid their own clothes to fold
 Guess what?
I learned to be happy in the chaos. I don't have a living room , I have work and play areas. A table in the living room is covered in a 1,000 piece puzzle and the coffee table is Katie's craft station. There are goldfish on my too small counter, a huge dog trips anyone walking through the door and the cat thinks she owns the most comfortable chair in the house and I warn you, do not try to move the queen! My kitchen walls, fridge and cupboards are decorated with all kinds of art and scribble art and I have too many indoor plants.
One day my father-in-law tripped over our dog (who did not move, by the way) and he gruffly asked me,
"What is that dog doing in the house? He should live outside."
I laughed and said,
"Welcome to OUR home. We love kids, animals, plants and even you. Just come on in!"

Monday, 5 May 2014


My newest grandson is 17 days old. His dad must work 12 hour days for the next two weeks and his mum, my daughter is recovering from a traumatic birth experience, the kind that happens rarely in the First World, about one in  thousand births.  So I am helping out during the weekdays. After walking and rocking for hours, I wonder how I managed to mother nine newborns because it is exhausting. Life is indeed reduced to the basics, especially given the fact that we must return to the doctor’s office twice a week to make sure this poor babe is gaining enough weight.  No wonder modern mums quit breastfeeding; the pressure and anxiety to produce enough milk to satisfy science is enough to deter anyone, never mind a first time mum, whose iron levels are down, and is exhausted from the demanding schedule of feeding every three hours with barely an hour and a half rest between feeds.Thank goodness my daughter is determined and dedicated. 
One afternoon before Easter, I was ironing cotton dresses and shirts for church the next day. Six year old Sarah watched for a while and then pointed to the iron and asked,
“What is that mummy?”
I laughed because I realized that this little girl had never seen me iron; I usually used the clothes dryer as my wrinkle smoother when I wasn’t looking for perfection but rather efficiency. My mother and aunt didn’t laugh when they heard this story;they were horrified, thinking that it was terrible I rarely ironed.
Actually it was not just the iron that seldom received attention as I mothered a large family, I eliminated many activities which I formerly thought crucial to my well-being with the birth of every child.
Painting portraits went with Matthew. Other babies gave the boot to crafts, dusting, bread making, interesting meals and laundry folding (each child dressed out of their own personal laundry basket). As every mother knows, a newborn takes at least eight hours a day to nurse, burp, rock and comfort, bath, change clothes and diapers (at least ten times a day), and to wash diapers, clothes, receiving blankets, sheets and baby blankets as well as your clothes which tend to get covered in vomit, and other nasty surprises.
The lack of sleep leads to a rather narrow existence where the best days are when you can sneak in a nap or shower and dress before noon. Oh, those were the days when babies reduced life to the basics.
Guess what?
Those basics were all I required when I relaxed and allowed myself to live in the moment, enjoying my newborn rather than bemoaning all the “important” activities that I couldn’t seem to even start. The very fact that everything my little one required to grow and thrive was inexpensive and near at hand was amazing. My baby didn’t need a lot of money spent on him, he simply needed arms to hold him, mother’s milk to drink and warm clothes and blankets
A friend who had five children, couldn’t quite grasp my peaceful demeanour as I sat nursing a newborn with family life whirling about me. She finally surmised that I was content to enjoy the present experience of mothering a tiny, dependent newborn. Her comments sparked an epiphany in me which kicked out guilt. I think I must have received a gift of understanding that ultimately my failings and lapses would be covered and hidden by Love.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Horses and Bicycles

Have you ever tried to catch an animal that does not want to be caught?
If you raise animals, they always manage to escape by breaking through fences or because someone leaves a gate unlatched. When any animal escapes it must be caught. Imagine the chaos as cars slam on their brakes to avoid a 2,000lb steer, neighbouring cattle scatter as an upset, fugitive pig surges through their placid herd, a pregnant highly prized mare due to deliver, is hounded into a frenzy as our stallion threatens to break through into her enclosure. The possible comic- tragic scenarios are a countless. Picture kids running around in circles in knee-deep snow with a grain pail following a cavorting calf in the middle of a huge windswept field or a dozen squawking chickens flapping their wings, darting every which way deeking and dodging squealing kids However the hardest animal to capture is a horse because they are swift, smart and strong, emphasis on all three adjectives.
Chad was an older, pure bred, Arabian stallion that we bought as a safe horse for our kids to learn to ride. I admit, he was the perfect, docile pet horse. He would stand absolutely motionless as a toddler scrambled under his belly, a preteen braided his tail, a five-year old fed him a carrot and two kids sat on his bare back. Chad was unflappable. Anthony could even stand upright on him bareback. Yet this mild-mannered animal had a dual personality disorder. Once he escaped his personality flipped. Chad galloped like a highly prized , temperamental race horse. One little slip up and Chad would dodge ropes, people, cars and gallop full-out, head arched proudly tail poised and his main and tail streaming behind him. He was picture perfect, looking decades younger. Once transformed he was almost impossible to reign in.
One particular time was absolutely ridiculous. Chad galloped across the road to a neighbouring field surrounded by tall firs and ran in joyful abandonment. As we desperately tried to head our stallion off, he tossed his head, laughing at our pitiful attempts to capture him. Sometimes raised Chad stood on his hind legs, pivoted, changing directions in an instant. I sent three of the kids back home for their bicycles, thinking to match his speed, what a farce that was; dog barking, kids running and calling, mum shouting out strategies of attack, bicycles, swinging grain bucket all swirling around in maddening circles of confusion. Although trees screened our circus from the road, we managed to snag the attention of a young horse trainer.. He issued quick directions to all the kids and cornered our stallion then leaped out of his pick-up to lasso our equine fugitive.