Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sunday Retreating

In desperate need of some down time, I spent this afternoon on a "mini-retreat" of sorts. I couldn't afford to go away somewhere, off into the woods or a house at the beach, so I held my retreat at home. I told the family I was going on retreat, and hung up a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the bedroom door. And then, I retreated.

It was great. I put some Meditation oil in the diffuser and a wonderful blend of sandalwood and cedarwood filled the room. Rachmaninov melodies permeated the air. I read, I prayed, I rested and journaled.

One of my exercises, taken from the Woman's Retreat Book, was to quietly meditate on where I was in my life right now, and then draw whatever symbols came to mind. In the sketch above, I'm a little stick figure on the curvy path leading to the mountains. Along the path I've written, "It feels like a path of long winding narrow curves and I still seem to have so far to go." The path divides the page in two - one one side my "duties and responsibilities" and on the other side "my dreams".

My entire retreat lasted a little over an hour but it was exactly what I needed. And so April ends and we turn the corner to May. I hope it brings some time to slow down and watch the flowers blooming, trees budding and the backyard awakening to spring.

I found this excellent online resource for journalers, worth browsing through - Journaling * o

Friday, April 28, 2006

April - The Good, The Bad and The Otherwise Indifferent

I'm in a funk. April has been a heck of a month, and while I realize there are still a couple of days of it left, I can't wait for it to be over.

Here's a summary of the highlights and lowlights of this month:
  • Palm Sunday - dedication of the new church - great celebration
  • John's birthday and celebrating it with our friends from Newfoundland
  • Easter
  • John's dad passing away - only 64 years old - way too young
  • A succesful journal workshop
  • This week a former co-worker's of John's passed away - only 48 years old - way, way too young
  • TJ got an excellent mid-term report card
  • I won a book (see previous post)
Work has been extremely busy. My massage therapist couldn't believe how knotted up I was yesterday - so much so, she's making me come back next week. Exhaustion is catching up on me a little, and I found myself last night reading Jennifer Louden's "The Woman's Retreat Book" (while lying in bed with the heating pad trying to recover from my somewhat sadistic massage) and wishing I could just run away by myself somewhere for a night or two. I dreamt of a day just spent reading, writing and creating - with no housework to do, no interruptions, no work. And definitely alone, because I'm not much company for anyone these days.

As always, when I dream these things a little nagging voice in the back of my head says "careful what you wish for"....but I don't think one afternoon of creative work, or one overnight get-away is too much.

So, I'm sending my men folk off smelt fishing tonight, and I declined to join them. Instead, I'm looking forward to curling up in bed, after a hot relaxing bath and digging into a good novel.

If I can just get through this weekend, it'll be May, and I'll be done with April. * o

Some good news for my day

Check this out: "We have a winner"

Thanks Donna for a fun, and easy contest! Can't wait to read "Stealing Adda". * o

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Betwixt and Between

Our Easter weekend had mostly been a time of enjoying the company of friends, good weather, good food and spiritual celebration and then took a blinding turn into never-land when my father-in-law passed away early Monday morning.

Before we could blink we found ourselves flying down to comfort and mourn with family, caught in that in between world of numbness and activity that makes up the passing of a loved one. We just got home tonight, and I feel like I still haven't caught up to where the week went and why.

Yesterday, at the funeral, I was especially struck by Father Quinlan's words - "we are all children of God and we are all broken. When we die, we are caught up in the awesome love of God and made whole again."

I like to think of my father-in-law, a child of God, made whole again - he deserves it after an often painful journey through this world.

And I like to think that no matter how many times this world might break me, there will come a time when God's awesome love will fix all that. * o

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Palm Sunday - New Beginnings

The sanctuary, before the dedication service this afternoon.

This is of course, the year of firsts for this church. First service, First Easter, etc. It was not the usual Palm Sunday fare but still a beautiful and moving service. A celebration of new beginnings. Despite nervous, shaking hands, I managed to light the altar candles without setting the Bishop or anyone else on fire.

I've never been a part of a "new" church building before. Most of the churches I've worshipped in throughout my life were already well established, older buildings by the time I was part of them. This morning I wrote that the new church doesn't quite seem like home, perhaps because we have not "lived" in it long enough. I wonder how long it will take to become so familiar that we don't notice it anymore? * o

A year of Blogging

I've been blogging for a year now, this month.

In honor of this auspicious anniversary, I decided it was time for a "new" look! (Not me, the blog. I still look the same...). * o

Dancin' Dude and Paper Toys

Turn up your speakers and head over to David Bessler's site - make the pipe cleaner man dance just by moving your mouse! Have some fun!

Then, when you've had a little dance workout, visit The Toymaker, Marilyn Scott-Waters. Print out some of her paper toy designs, and treat your inner child to some play! This is a great site too if your fortunate enough to have a younger child around to play with you.

"A child's attitude toward everything is an artist's attitude" - Willa Cather * o

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Creative Call - The Last Chapter

I just finished the last chapter in Creative Call. The last few weeks of working through the exercises in the book have taught me much about my creative self and I have learned to at least acknowledge it once in awhile! The twenty minutes of morning writing that I thought I would never do has become something I look forward to upon awakening and something I dearly miss when I don't get to it for a day or two.

The last chapter in the book discusses going on a retreat, taking time to highlight your daybook entries and come up with the three most important things you learned while working through the book. I'll have to write more on that later. Getting away for even a half day "retreat" is not going to be possible just yet, but I'm not going to let go of the idea entirely. * o

Sunday, April 02, 2006

This Month at Pink Jasper

Here's your chance to win a free copy of "The Complete Writer's Journal", the featured giveaway this month at the Pink Jasper website.

The journal features quotes on writing and marketing from over 100 contributors (including yours truly), and will be available later this spring.

To enter the draw is easy, just send an email to, and put "Contest Entry" in the subject line! * o

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Artist Date - Tai Chi

sipping on chai tea
contemplating tai chi
master peng's voice echoes
hand connected to heart
open and closed
wave hands like clouds
cat like dance across the floor
just begin the journey
and remember to breathe
sipping on chai tea
on a cool April afternoon * o