What the heck


FYI: Rant ahead…

Peculiar, I think, the lack of (or my perception of the lack of) social media engagement around our son joining the Royal Canadian Air Force. Both B and I are standing back in amazement, actually, as close family members like and love and even repost the announcement and NOT ONE of our friends or vast community of connections SAYS ANYTHING. OK, is this a touchy subject?

And, if our other son continues in his area of passion and follows his heart and intellect right into the RCMP, and we announce that with love and excitement (and yes fear and trembling) will we be met with like SILENCE?

It’s not that we need approval. It’s not that we need much at all. But if these friends of ours, these hundreds of connections of ours, care just a wee tiny bit about us, about our family, and know anything at all about the vast wilderness of parenting that includes directionless kids, confused kids, depressed kids, kids that are kids and yet adults, kids that move away and come back, kids that love you and reject you as they are becoming themselves, then surely they know what a BIG DEAL it is when your kid finds their thing, aside from all the fear and trembling and wondering at what that thing is, and just FOLLOW THEIR HEART into SOMETHING BEYOND THEMSELVES.

You don’t have to sign a petition, agree to a set of statements, promise anything at all. You aren’t saying yes to war, or rumours of war. Really, you aren’t!  You are just being a supportive and loving friend to us. To me.

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Surely this matters? Do I hear an amen?

Or, is it like everything else these days, everything is polarized, under tension, fraught with fear of taking a stance or offending the easily offended. So much so that even liking something may give someone the idea that this inherently means you are agreeing with a philosophy or a world view or something gigantic, when all you are really doing is LIKING your friend’s happiness, joy, sense of relief that their kid is becoming something new. Right?

I don’t know, maybe, like always, I’m just looking for the meaning beyond the matter. I’m wondering WHY?

And I just do, I do feel, like the rest of you maybe also feel, a twinge of hurt, when others are silent.

My son has signed up, signed on, agreed to some pretty heavy stuff that falls under that heading of the greater good. He’s heading to boot camp in less than 2 weeks. And I’m just processing all this as a mom (seasoned with a big dose of mama bear!!). I’ll be processing it for at least the next 5 years, maybe more, because with his decision we become “Military Family”. So your support matters to me, perhaps more than it should. I’m hearing the silence speak, perhaps where it isn’t saying anything at all. Yet more edges on me that require some honing!

As my grandfather used to say, it’s a great life if you don’t weaken!

Sigh…rant done…

LAE

 

 

It’s Mental Health Week (and how hard it is to explain how you feel when you are depressed…)


DSC_0005So, it’s Mental Health Week in Canada… May 6 – 12, 2013. And I feel a lot better about celebrating mental health than I do admitting or even accepting that my annual seasonal disorder (SADD) and hormonal fluctuations post partum and menopausal might be a form of ‘mental illness’. Very hard to come out and say that.

Why is that? Is it because there is still so much bias, misunderstanding and confusion around the phrase? Is it because it’s just really embarrassing to say “I’m mentally ill”? (Why is it easier to say (and only to some safe people) “I’m feeling a little depressed”?) Must we identify it in order to deal with it properly? And with medication? And with counseling? And with lifestyle changes that include health of body and spirit and mind? And with the support of those who love us? Yes, to all of the above.

Other than that I don’t have a lot of answers, but I’m willing to admit I struggle.  I’m willing to cast my lot in with all those who share the burden of psychological angst, times of overwhelming despair, and one who has considered not being as being better than prolonged being in this emotional state.

It’s far too complicated for me to explain my whole story, but know that I live with depression, struggle with coping, and I’ve come to recognize it as part of who I am. I am a person of faith who has doubts and darkness. I have the hope of Jesus and yet live in periods of hopelessness. There are others like me in my family. We talk about it amongst ourselves.

This attempt at bringing a little light into a dark place was written in April 2009.

The glimmer of hope is at the very end. It’s usually like that…

So yesterday about this time, I was feeling like my world was caving in along with my chest. Perhaps a little over-stressed, I had a feeling of unexplainable impending doom that was physical, and it was beginning to take over my mind as well as my body.

I stood by the sink after a morning of trying to get some of my menial household chores done, and heard a voice in my head say, “maybe you should just go and check yourself into the hospital”, as clear as day. So, I thought about that for a little while, wondering how that experience might pan out for me?

Hi, I’m here to check myself in.

What for?

Well, it’s that I just can’t seem to pull myself up by the bootstraps, you know. I can’t seem to find my stiff upper lip and suck it up princess, if you know what I mean.

I’m sorry Ma’am, I don’t know what you mean. What precisely are your symptoms?

I guess you could say that I feel like there’s nobody I can talk to about how I feel, and that I feel like I’m too much for everyone that I might have talked to if I could have found someone.

Are you in any pain?

Well, if this pressure on my chest, and the heavy thing that’s sitting on my head counts, then yes, I guess I’m in pain. But not a sharp stabbing pain, more like a dull repetitive one.

Are you on any medications?

No, and I don’t really want to be, and that’s why I’m even afraid to tell anyone how I really feel in case they suggest drugs might be the answer. I guess there’s the ‘Maccaroot’ supplements I’m taking… to balance and energize me… but I don’t think that’s working.

So, what precisely can we do for you ma’am?

Well, I thought maybe I could just sign in and curl up in an empty bed somewhere until I feel better able to cope, find some energy again, and maybe find a friend that I could talk to. Would that be OK……?

At this point I realize that my idea is lame, and I haven’t got a chance of convincing medical staff, nurses or doctors that there’s something wrong with me any more than I did two days ago when I tried to explain myself to my husband.

So, I continue to stand by the kitchen sink until the phone rings, goes to the answering machine, and I recognize the voice as someone who might just be able to relate to part of how I’m feeling and I dry my hands on the towel and pick up the phone.

Hi……

Remember me…


Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day (Photo credit: Lauren Cathy Turner)

386. Remembering… the human ability to call to mind that which lingers and which has meaning

387. Remembrance Day… November 11, the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour… silent thoughtful remembrance of sacrifice of others for my good

388. The Remembrance… The Lord’s Supper… Eucharist… I am taking and breaking and eating and finding good and grace-filled and filled with meaning, because of Jesus sacrifice for me, his body broken for me, his blood poured out for me

389. Memory… the capacity to experience over and over again…

390. remembering to be grateful

391. remembering sacrifice

392. remembering love

393. the silence and sensibility for all this and more

394. leaves surrendering to chill, lack of sun and production of green, the swansong of colours, the final fall to earth and death

395. the things placed upon our hearts as they spill over with thanks

396. beauty

397.  words that last long after we do

398. husband reaching

399. whistle of a son

400. the goodness of all things, the goodness of Papa God

So I receive, remember, respond with thankfulness for all things,

Soli Deo Gloria,

Lesley-Anne

Surprise Communion

What’s eating me?


Farmers Market

Farmers Market (Photo credit: tamaradulva)

I’ve hesitated writing this for a while, because you know I try to be positive, try to bring something of value here to Buddy Breathing, yet at the same time, anyone who has read BB for a while knows I also am equally committed to being authentic. So, to write a rant (even though Rick Mercer, the rant master, says that ranting is very Canadian and good for you!!) might be considered to be negative, or whiny, or complaining, or blogging with the purposes of dumping on poor folk who didn’t even have a chance to prepare for the mess… uhu. I’ve considered the Biblical truth around Peter’s vision;

Acts 10: 9-16 Peter’s Vision

About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “Surely not, Lord!”Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

Now I recognize the need to look at the whole context of these verses, and I readily admit I need to do more in-depth study, but I just wonder, how do these verses relate to my concerns about food? And, I have to admit after considering all of the above, I am proceeding with my premeditated rant and I’m not sorry about it (yet).

This rant started with a facebook posting last week, “What’s eating me?” and progressed through a day of considerations around food, local food, available food, what’s good food, what’s not good food, what should we really be eating, who says, who is telling the truth, why, why, why, why not, and arrived full circle back here to the “What’s eating me?” because at the end of the day I’m really just pissed off at a situation that I’m not entirely certain I can do anything about. Food. What we are eating that eats me up at the same time.

39/365: Giant Can of Nutritional Yeast 2/8/2010

39/365: Giant Can of Nutritional Yeast 2/8/2010 (Photo credit: @heylovedc)

So, to the grocery store I go, armed with idealism and simplistic goals of buying some food that I can prepare for my family that will be good for us. Sounds like a great place to start, doesn’t it? I mean who doesn’t want to eat healthfully, other than the times we give in to the cravings for salt or sugar or both, most of us want to put things into our bodies that will not only fuel the machine, but will taste good and not poison us in the process.

I’m not highly read up on all the facts around food… I readily admit this. I do need to investigate more, but part of me is wary of academic studies that glorify a food one year and vilify it the next. I’ve watched Food Inc, cheered for Jamie Oliver as he takes healthy eating to America, read the occasional article on the superfoods . My roots are rural, so maybe that’s why I’ve passionately believed in the benefits of whole foods over processed foods for many years. I’ve long stopped haunting the drive thru windows of fast food establishments, unless you include a Starbucks drip coffee from time to time.

I stay home, buy food, cook it, try new recipies, pay attention to what I buy, read the labels. Our family values include the benefit of eating family dinners at the same table for as many days a week as our schedules allow. That’s pretty often. I’ve let go of white bread, cut down on carb intake, increased my intake of water over drinking empty calories, gone from 2% to 1% milk after a rigorous taste testing exercise. I am a well intentioned “locavore”… meaning I believe in the benefits of eating fresh, locally grown produce in season. But as you know, I’m Canadian, half of our food needs fall in times when growing doesn’t happen locally

THE RANT PART…

I headed to the local Superstore grocery store with my ideals and biases, and came away crushed like a can of imported roma tomatoes. The new electronic shelf labels set me off… I don’t like them, they are small, they are confusing, they flash, they remind me I need to wear reading glasses. The fish… even those caught here in North American waters, were all farmed. Any frozen fish… was imported from waters I know even from my most basic understanding of geography to be sketchy and not to be trusted. Veggies and fruits, well, it appears the local packing house and the local S(t)uporstore are un-aquainted. Apples, pears, berries… from south of the border. Tomatoes… gassed and from further afield. So I headed to the rice section, looking for healthy non-white rice options… and then I remembered a news headline on one of the days when I was listening to the news, that announced a broad concern around tainted rice from Asia… hmmm… does that include India, I wondered? Definitely includes China and so after much searching I located a bag of rice, a brown paper bag that looked somewhat more grass roots to me, and it was from California. I’m happy to announce that California Brown Rice is quite nutty in flavour and I will buy it again. Meat… well, I’m still not over the E-Coli scare and a recent study suggesting red meat is guilty of producing all sorts of dietary ills. Dairy… butter, never margarine… don’t ask me why… it’s just a gut sense I have that naturally occurring rather than chemically produced oils are better for me. Eggs… consider cholesterol… milk… consider lactose intolerance of 2/3 of our family members and the cost of lactose free milk vs. regular milk… And on and on it went, from one food group to another to another, reading labels, considering issues, considering rumours of issues, and then on to the dietary restrictions around issues, and finally to the ORGANIC SECTION, in search of anything that might look better, feel safer, add some interest to a narrow selection of food that might or might not feed the family. In that section is where I really lost my mind I guess… in the NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT SECTION to be more precise. Because, in that section, on a bottle of Omega 3 vitamins, was where I read this in teeny tiny print… I don’t know… maybe 3 point text…

Contains acceptable levels of arsenic!!!!!!!

So, is that related to mercury in fish… I mean Omega 3 is fish oil, right? Oh my goodness!!!

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I didn’t know whether to stay or run or say something to someone, anyone who might care to know that our vitamins contain arsenic and that’s completely acceptable to whomever decides the acceptability of these things. And I guess I’m still in shock that my grocery trip clearly was such a personal indicator that our food industry is in a bad state. I really truly think it is. What do you think?

And, if things are as bad as they appear to be, why aren’t we jumping up and down and screaming loudly enough to change something about it?

My husband, whom I dearly love, says it’s a matter of cost.  It’s a matter of cost that it’s cheaper for someone to buy a Big Mac than it is to buy a healthy lunch of fruit and veggies. It’s a matter of cost that we have a 2 tier system of food in this country, that it costs more to buy righteous, healthy, Organic foodthan less healthy alternates. It’s a matter of cost… yes. Costing us our quality of life when we consider the root cause of disease and the impact on us and on our health care system. Yes, in the end, it is costing us our very lives. Well, isn’t it?

organic produce section at Berkeley Bowl

organic produce section at Berkeley Bowl (Photo credit: Librarian In Black)

I have no answers… so I guess that doesn’t make me part of the solution… yes, I know, I know. I DON’T WANT TO BE PART OF THE PROBLEM. Still I’m just little old me… one voice in a million crying out in the wilderness, “What are we eating?” What can we eat that is good for us? Can I afford to not eat good food? Am I slowly poisoning my family? Am I becoming obsessed over what the good Lord has deemed “clean” and taking my focus from things that are of much bigger consequence than what I put into my mouth?

So many questions… so much to learn… what to do, what to do???

Lesley-Anne

The precipitous perils of writing


National Poetry Month Display @ Forest Hills

National Poetry Month Display @ Forest Hills (Photo credit: mySAPL)

I write because… I feel better when I do, worse when I don’t, especially during the grey days of February. I feel like I’m supposed to write, that it fulfills something in me when I do. Writing is cathartic, gets the inside out, stops the slow simmer-spiral down, provides the occasional epiphany, allows for conversations to develop, promotes transparency, builds bridges, finds community. All that and more.

“Writing is a struggle against silence.” ~ Carlos Fuentes

But where I write/publish (and what is safe, yes, there is a very real element of professional safety involved around potential copyright infringement etc.) and what disqualifies me from further publishing of my thoughts-work-art is a very real concern these days. It causes a bit of angst for me and I don’t quite know what to do about it.

This year, when CBC announced their annual “Canada Writes Contest”, rules clearly stated that any work previously published in any form, including on the internet, was not eligible for submission. Bummer. Big bummer. And I’ve noticed an increasing number of Literary Publications that have this qualification in their submission guidelines.

Yikes, I thought… so much for blogging my poetry, my essays, my words, when it is clearly disqualifying me from serious literary activities. Or, does that really matter?

There is an inherent tension in the life of an artist… the hard wired need to express what and who you are, and then while you are busy doing just that, at some point, the thought crosses your mind and then becomes a small voice repeating itself over and over, expressing the need to expose your work to others. Then to further complicate things, the dawning realization that the ‘work’ of getting projects out there to others is quite complex and filled with dead ends and wrought with politics and costs and the days and the weeks and the years pass and you suddenly wonder, if this traditional route of getting out there is really working, is really worth all the trouble… I mean, is it? What is the point of writing if nobody is ever going to read what you write?

I used to share my poetry openly and with abandon here on my blog. Tuesday Poems were… every Tuesday gifts to whomever dropped by to read them. Then after the “Canada Writes” disappointment, a bit of fear set in, and I reluctantly quit posting poems. The haunting question remains… what if I’m giving it all away for free (because poets can expect to make big bucks once they are famous, right!!!), what if publishers consider any form of any draft poem published online out out out of the question too. Simultaneous submissions aside, if it’s online and free for all to see, then would any discriminating publisher want it? Would they?

It’s feels like a gift has been given (the world wide web way of sharing words/art/ourselves) and then taken back. And that really isn’t a very nice thing to do, whether it’s a pony or a candy or an opportunity? How is posting online any different from reading work aloud in public places? Or posting broadsheet billboards of my poetry old school style on posts and walls and street signs? Or, sending a hand written poem to a friend? If I share my written work any way whatsoever, is it considered used and tired and not worth publishing in a traditional sense? I’m confused. And a little bit angry.

I’m just laying this all out there today, in hopes of starting a conversation, discussion, around this topic. What do you think? What are the underlying issues?

Testing the waters,

Lesley-Anne

On your mark, get set…


Bridge Olympic Rings

Bridge Olympic Rings (Photo credit: Mabacam)

I was up and out early this morning, and on my drive I turned the radio to CBC. Headlines included the Premiers discussions around the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, and the countdown to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London, England. In just 5 hours much of the world will be watching in awe as London unveils what has been held secret for so long.

And, although I’m not an athlete, I couldn’t help but feel the excitement as I listened to some interviews of Londoners who have had this event in their sights for seven years. There’s something about planning, about setting your mind and heart towards the future that catches us all up, grabs our hearts. And issues of commercialism and athlete drugging aside, there’s also something pretty spectacular about the young people that dedicate their lives to being the best they can be. The training, the perseverance, the undivided eyes set on the goal… GOLD. So, we watch, we admire, we are inspired by these ones who embody something most of us can only dream of.

And in the echo of their accomplishment we hear an invitation… to be the best of who we are with the gifts we have been given.

Gifts for today,

311. how a pedestrian walk-way can be a wildlife corridor for a neighbourhood white tailed deer

312. the words and infectious attitude of Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes on CBC Radio One

Clara Hughes

Clara Hughes (Photo credit: John Biehler)

313. heart-felt greetings and farewells at airports

314. another sunny summer day, projected high of 29 C

315. Tim Hortons drive through server calling me ‘sweetie’… twice

316. Tim Hortons coffee ~ double, double

317. a peaceful porch invitation to pause and consider the naming of gifts once again

318. lime green pool float glowing in sunlight

319. bumble bees blessing Spirea blossoms

320. a bowl full of beach combed seashells

321. plans for blueberry pancakes with the kids

322. anticipating pageantry and excitement of Olympic Opening Ceremonies in just 5 hours

323. that feeling of being in a sweet sweet place, like The Flying Scotsman, Erik Liddell, winner of the men’s 400 metres at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, who said this “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

Olympic Torch for the 2008 Summer Olympics pas...

Olympic Torch for the 2008 Summer Olympics passes through Stratford in London. Stratford will be a major location for the 2012 Summer Olympics. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)