IS IT JUST ME? The seventh in a series of pictures worth a thousand words…


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Midweek Random Ramble020


Books - bookcase top shelf

1. On becoming an explorer of the world

But how does one do that? And why?

Here are 13 suggestions on the how, the why is up to you …

I recently found these and many more ideas to guide me on my journey to being more observant, more free to express my findings, and gave me permission to be as extraordinary as God created me to be! Got your interest piqued yet? All this in a little book! Don’t you LOVE books! When I think that e-books are taking a market share, I’m saddened because there’s nothing like the feel of paper, the smell as you stick your nose into an opened book, especially an old one… but I digress.

The book is called, How to be an explorer of the world, Portable Art Life Museum” by Keri Smith. Among other things, this book is full of inspiring quotes, creative exercise ideas, and suggests an entirely new way of looking at the world around us, under us, above us, beside us. Every day.

Check out this review of what I think is an altra-cool book. I just wish I had more time to read it!

2. Hard to believe, but it’s been almost a year since Claire and I traveled to Cancun to volunteer at a Sterilization Clinic with our friends and their non-profit organization, CANDi International.

I don’t think I ever was able to post the video that Claire and her friends put together to share their Cancun experience with their school. And, it appears that I still can’t post it without paying a premium to upgrade my video capacity on WordPress. SORRY! But, if you are my Facebook friend, you can drop by my facebook page to see it. I’m still very proud of these young ladies, for all they did to share their hearts and experiences with their school mates. Kids can do amazing things!

Another equally impacting video was produced in 2010, and is being screened on all Air Transat flights into Mexico. Featuring ‘At The End Of My Leash’ celebrity Brad Pattison, this CANDi International raises the awareness of Mexican tourists to the inhumane way that many cats and dogs are living in Mexico. Tourists are invited to come alongside and help financially.  Or, like we did, they can volunteer at one of the Sterilization Clinics in the Cancun area, organized by CANDi and The Achates Legacy Rescue Foundation. More on these amazing organizations and their passionate people can be found  Here and Here.

Check out the video… you may see some familiar faces!

3. I’m happy to report that I heard the Red-wing Black Birds calling in the marsh this morning. To me that always means Spring… aside from the groundhog and what he did or didn’t do, apart from what the Farmer’s Almanac has to say. Go outside on a morning when the sun has broken through the lid of cloud over our little valley, walk alone or with your dog along the edge of a marsh, and if you hear a warbling ruckus of birds calling back and forth over the bulrush edged ponds, you’ll know Spring is coming! Really!

4. Yesterday I went up a mountain to a special place of solitude that I return to from time to time. It was hard to leave the valley, hard to clear the internal clutter and be silent for a while. It was hard to remove the thought that this was not productive time. I went anyway. I listened anyway. I stayed for a few hours. God met me in the sounds of birds in the pine trees, the view of our beautiful city and surrounding mountains, the perfect calm of the lake, the insights into scripture and my life, the silence. He often does that.

5. It’s purging time, starting NOW. Call it Spring Fever, or whatever, I’m off to drag things out, pack them into boxes and bags, and release them into the world. My own version of reduce, reuse and recycle… release is my 4th ‘r’. Gotta run…

Peace is here,

Lesley-Anne

Midweek Random Ramble015


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Another ramble brought to us courtesy of the ‘Rambling Queen’… “EMMY, GET BACK HERE!!!”

Emmy has been sizing up the fence for some time now, completely enamored with the small children that live next door, when they are playing out in the yard. I’ve seen her staring at them through the fence, then standing up looking over the fence, and then last week, balancing up on top of the fence, and well, you know the rest!

Just to prove that when opportunity knocks, Emmy is more than ready to answer!

And the post script to this ramble is that Real Man and #2 Son went out and bought some plexi-glass. Then, Real Man and #1 Son, increased the height of the fence by several inches centimeters, covered over the bits that acted as steps for our Emmy, and “PRESTO,” Emmy is home to stay. Except for tonight when #1 Son was taking her out for a walk and she bolted through the right-of-way, and down the next block into someone’s back garden. #1 went looking, calling, looking some more, then came home to share his experience with me. Just as he arrived back at our front door, so did Emmy!

I know my life as writer/poet wife, mother of 3 and volunteer extraordinaire would be awfully boring without Emmy. She’s a delight. Really!

Peace, down, I mean stay, I mean off, I mean out!

Lesley-Anne

Mid-week Random Ramble012


1. This AMAZING photo was taken by my brother Joel Clements. Super talented and highly acclaimed Graphic Designer by day, Joel still finds time to experiment with his camera along the way, inspiring my son Malcolm with his new camera too! His photos are available on istockphoto and privately. BTW, if you have any need for his professional services, or inquiries about his photography, contact him through his company Brainstorm Studio. He won’t disappoint.

2. Tuesday is Abortion Clinic day at the Kelowna General Hospital. How do I know this? Well, it’s hard to miss all the picketers that haunt the sidewalks every Tuesday, carrying signs that say things like, “Adoption, the only moral choice.”

Just so we’re clear, you should know that I fall fully on the side of Pro-Life, but I don’t believe that picketing is the best way to build relationships or effect change.

I wonder what would happen if those well intentioned pro-lifers were to come alongside the women who are facing these life-altering decisions, perhaps volunteering their time at the pregnancy care centre or offering up financial support for young mothers. Rather than parading up and down the sidewalk hurling written insults week after week after week… just saying… I get this sick feeling each Tuesday when I drive by.

My simple take is that the Tuesday behaviour is not loving, and I’m absolutely certain that Jesus wants us to be that way… loving. And yes, he wants us stand for things too, absolutely, in a loving way, somehow making our voices heard without hurting those who we are called to help.

3. Why is it that you can never find the receipts for the items you need to return? I am drowning in receipts and maybe that’s the problem. Maybe if I had an organized way of keeping them, perhaps in alphabetical order by name of store, or even sub-categorized by way of family member most directly involved, then maybe I’d have a chance of finding those receipts for the things that I thought I needed, but didn’t. Thought they’d like it, but they didn’t, thought was the right colour, but wasn’t, or bought on a whim and got buyers remorse sometime later.

4.  Decision making is never, for me anyway, done with 100% knowledge that I’ve chosen rightly. But, it is done with the willingness to bear the consequences of that decision 100%. Like writing about #2… I feel a little jittery there, but it’s how I feel and I’m willing to say it.

5.  We interrupt this ramble for a stocking footed run through the neighbourhood and orchard to find the brown bullet that exploded from our front door when it was left open just a few seconds too long!  With flashlights waving and voices quavering we call for Emmy over and over again. Slight panic in my heart as I imagine Coyote’s circling our suburb (really, they do!), when suddenly, out of the darkness, two glowing orbs coming closer and closer with a jingle jangle of dog tags and… she’s back! And she’s got something fowl in her mouth that smells like death and looks something like… a goose wing! I try not to gag and take her home, bag the bird (wing) and resolve not to share any mouth kisses with Emmy tonight!!!

6. Only 66 shopping days until Christmas. Hoping I can dig into my reserves of energy and find a balanced and healthy outlook for Christmas this year.

This year, I’m certain it will be fun, and not all about buying gifts. This year, I’m certain that it will be about spending time with those I love, making memories around activities like playing board games and romping in the snow. I’m fairly certain it’s not going to be about making a huge dinner and eating too much, or staying up really late on Christmas Eve to wrap the gifts that I didn’t get around to yet, or forgot about entirely. I’m certain nobody else cares about the silly things that seem to weigh on me, like the decor, or the dirty carpets, or the baking, or the Christmas cards ( yes, I still feel guilty about not sending those)

Ah yes, Christmas. Maybe this year I can sing in the choir, have a cookie baking party for my daughter and her friends, handcraft gift tags and… there goes the perspective and balance right out the window with the need to make a lovely wreath of fresh boughs for the front door.

7. Driving in the car several weeks ago, this piece of music took my breath away… the voice, the haunting feeling, the sadness. Altogether lovely…

Until next time, peace and love,

Lesley-Anne

Suddenly…


Yesterday I was presented with an amazing opportunity, and even more amazingly, I said YES! That’s not my usual response, as I’m the kind of person who thinks things over, considers the cost, needs more information, needs to understand the outcome, weigh possible side issues etc. etc. etc., so to get to YES is a lengthy process. But, this time, it seemed providential that I was asked, and so I bravely opened my mouth (well, my FB messager) and said, “Count us in”.

So, in April, my daughter and I will be leaving Kelowna, and heading to Cancun, Mexico, to volunteer at a sterilization clinic for dogs and cats. I’m not a vet. I know nothing about the needs there. All I know is that my friend Darci has dedicated her life to bringing hope and healing to the unwanted and uncared for dogs and cats of Mexico and other countries through her organization CANDI International. Many times we’ve seen Darci with dogs she has rescued from horrible situations, and witnessed her find them forever homes and happy lives in Canada and the US. Now Claire and I get to go along and show our compassion and love to God’s creatures. We get to make a difference with CANDI, as their website says, “one animal at a time”.

Thank you Darci, for asking us to go with you. Now we need to get prepared, and understand more of the details. But all I have to do is look at the photographs or read the stories on the CANDI website to know we have made the right choice.

As I go through what might be the last days or weeks with our sweet dog Buddy here at home, it somehow helps me to know that there are other dog stories still to be written, other dogs that need to be cared for, and the possibility of other happy endings. If our Buddy story has a sad ending, our trip to Mexico might be exactly what God has in mind to begin the process of healing our broken hearts through loving unloved dogs far far away.