Sabbath rest


Re-reading Sabbath, by Wayne Muller…deep sigh. Paying heed to the longing for more than one day a week.

Spending several mornings in a row by the lake, poetry, paper, pen and bible by my side…yes. Be still. Listen. Know. Learn how to do this again…lean in, see, hear. It is good.

Spending golden hour in pursuit of the light, camera, eyes, heart seeking ordinary beauty…yes…weeds, but not really…

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And then this morning by the lake a poem comes trickling, flooding through me…just when I think I have passed writing the last one, when I’m convinced it has all been a cruel trick of nature, that I actually can’t write a jot, that my work is shite, that the combinations of words will definitely NOT flow this time around…what was I thinking…and then…a poem…a draft poem…appears (she says carefully, not wanting to sound as if she thinks it is any good.)

A friend once scolded me…you are a poet…you write…HOW DARE YOU NOT SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD!!! Whoa, it bothered me to be spoken to like that. Who was she to say that? I stuttered out excuses, like these ones I still push down every single time;

I’m nervous

It feels self-serving doesn’t it, a bit boastful

There are many poets so much better than I

It seems inappropriate to ask if I may read, silence is just easier

Um…I don’t think it’s that good yet, maybe a few more edits

Edie looked at me straight on and said it again…How dare you! It’s your gift! It’s your voice! So you’d do good at getting over yourself and sharing your work. (Well, maybe she didn’t say it precisely like that, but I remember clearly her emotion, her gentle yet persistent tone. I often share those words with young emerging and nervous poets I spend time with.)

It’s been a while. The last few days as described above have included solitude, silence and the joy of allowing my heart to free up my fingers and journal some thoughts and some poems. Here is one of them. For you, Edie.

Praise the Mutilated and Aching World

after Adam Zagajewski’s ‘Try to Praise the Mutilated World’

 

Praise the mutilated and aching world.

Praise civil rights activists and pamphlet propaganda,

praise the moment after

you watch the Youtube video and can no longer say

I did not know. Praise your confusion. Praise your disbelief.

Praise the ones who call it evidence, or conspiracy,

and sleep soundly with both points of view.

Praise each pair of opposites, the terror and the beauty,

disgust and delight, the wildness within us

and the sea, sky, and expansive forests

that swallow men and their wives.

Like the elderly man, axle deep in snow

at the end of a logging road, who suggested his wife

stay right here, stay warm, and I will go for help.

Praise his half-frozen body

and the wolves who received his offering.

Praise her waiting, for days.

Praise the sway of nighttime hydrangea bouquets

and dead black stares of roof rats chirping

like beautiful birds. Praise their goings out

and comings in for seed and vegetables.

Praise their diseased droppings.

Praise copulations of wet salmon

over gravel substrated shallows, praise

their slick fins and gaping gills.

Praise homefires in our wood stoves

and firestorms in our neighbourhoods,

praise the smoke, the candled trees,

the displaced and crispened wildlife.

Praise equally the ash smothered front lawns

and ash crossed over foreheads in remembrance.

Praise each fickle choice and self-righteous justification.

Praise lonely and never alone.

Praise here and hereafter.

Praise Him whom you have not seen but believe may be who he says he is.

Praise Him. Praise Her. Praise Us.

Praise the mutilated and aching world.

 

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Lingering in silence


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I was watching a Hallmark Christmas movie tonight. In the movie and for the second time today I heard ‘Silent Night’ played soft and sweet and lingering. I love that song. I love it best of all when I’m outside on a crisp winters night carolling with friends and family, and we’ve sung Frosty and Jingle Bells and other more sacred carols, and suddenly we are singing Silent Night. A hush comes over us and whomever is listening at an open doorway, and I feel my soul caught up and carried up up up into the night sky. It reminds me of THIS POST from many years ago, so I’m sharing it with you tonight.

Funny, when I read my words four years later, I recognize I really have slowed down. I’ve been choosing to do things this week that have nothing to do with Christmas prep and everything to do with loving people. And I’m OK with less presents and more presence. I hope my family is too.

Calm and bright,

Lesley-Anne

Here is what I wrote on November 28, 2009:

I’m waiting.

As I post this, with a heavy feeling that I really should be doing other things on my lengthy to do list, I remember last December when the snow came early… and how it changed things for me then. So, I’m waiting for the snow, and hoping for change.

Have you noticed how much quieter things are after a fresh snowfall. My husband commented to me that everything seems to slow down a little when it snows, almost a subconscious response to the forgiving blanket that wraps its way around our lives.

The panic of the Christmas rush is pre-empted by the need to clear the driveway. Conversations break out with neighbours as they choose to do the same. Plans are made for future conversations, eggnog dates are set, and people reconnect. Priorities are revised, and humanity wins over consumerism for a time.

The children get caught up in it as well. The X-box 360 and iPod are left untouched as they rush outside to create snow forts, speed bumps in the street, and havoc with well aimed balls of packing snow! I watch them from the window, full of memories. When the time comes, they reluctantly leave their winter playground and come inside for dinner, rosy-cheeked, energized and full of conversation.

Here in the moderate clime of Kelowna the city seldom shuts down, but back in childhood days in Toronto things sometimes ground to a halt until the snow stopped falling and roads were cleared. Schools closed, people went home from work early, and streets were strangely hushed as people left their vehicles parked and walked instead.

The very things that happen because of a snowfall, are, to me, the things that are most needful in my life. I need to slow down more often, and be fully engaged in the moment. I need to take time for people, to dig out from under the To Do List, and have a good old conversation with my neighbour, with my kids. I need to step back from the consumer-based version of Christmas and consider what this season is really about.

That is why I love the snow and it’s ability to get our attention. Love it or hate it, it has an impact on us. We can’t ignore it. We can’t control it. And it’s silence speaks.

So I’m waiting… for the first snow fall… for another first silent night.

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Lesley-Anne

Looking for a common thread and finding random rambles…


It’s been a while since I’ve written… don’t know why, just haven’t felt much like it. Nor have I felt like writing poems. Enough said because the new me (since two nights ago when I re-established my trajectory with the gracious help of my dear husband Bob) is focused on finding a balance between over-sharing being honest, and living on the surface of life superficiality. And that, my friend, isn’t very easy for moi.

I recall a while back I used to publish mid-week random rambles, and I guess that’s where I’ll start. Easier than an essay or a soul searching journey that results in something vaguely poetic. Probably easier on both of us? Or, perhaps you can relate to #6 below… which takes me back to the difficulty in finding a balance. But, I digress.

Anyway, here’s my ramble for ya;

1. Found a new sweet spot… having artists/musicians billet with our family, share our stuff, food, ideas… the spine tingle of having them play our piano and sing in our rooms. I felt alive when they were here. Understood. Understood them to some degree, even though they were so much younger. Here’s Zerbin “New Earth”… have a watch and a listen. So talented…

2. When said band members were staying with us, they were in the kitchen devouring enjoying a dozen muffins when Derek started to laugh (I think it was Derek, maybe it was Jason or was it Nick?) Check out the view of our art gallery style fridge front in the slide show below with the cows (somewhat same theme of poo…). Yep, right under the bible verse you’ll see it!!! Nice to know there’s always something yummy to eat in our fridge!

3. Somewhat surprised that the photo of our dog Emmy and her amazing encounter with a deer posted in the Toronto Star and Kelowna Capital News… would end up with over 4229 likes and 1917 shares at Dogwork.com, on Facebook at D-Fa Dogs, on Tumblr and half way around the world on a hungarian website that I can’t find at the moment.

4. Seen along the way, a field of cows and calves, resulting in a return trip and walk into the ditch to photograph said creatures resulting in these photos… and then, the very next day after the photo shoot… they were gone! Relocated to greener pastures perhaps?

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5. Considered in passing, a sign that said “Ignore inconvenient twists and turns” and immediately I could think of all sorts of life applications for that one! Especially having just experienced a rather nasty twist when an elderly lady gave me a tongue lashing for pulling just a leetle too far into the walking lane at the intersection.

6. Discovered on the book shelf in Chapters… “Quiet”, a book by Susan Cane whom I just recently watched present a Ted Talk on the same subject of the power and joy of being an introvert. I’m waiting for the soft cover version, or the library copy… but I know there will be gems of affirmation in those pages. Here’s the talk…

Voice One – Ralph Hass


So, this is the first post in what will be a new series of guest posts… celebrating the voices of people whom I am honoured to know. You’ll meet poets, writers, photographers, artists, and others who have something unique to say. I hope you are encouraged, inspired and entertained.  And, once you meet them, I hope you will drop by their blogs, and get to know them a bit more.

In the true spirit of ‘Buddy Breathing’, I trust that these voices are fresh air to your soul.

Here then is Ralph Hass… Voice One!!!

Ralph Hass voices all sorts of sports projects with exciting sprints to the finish! Clients include the NFL’s Buffalo Bills since 2008 (“Thurman Thomas Show.”); Shaw TV in Canada (2010/11 is his fourth season voicing the promos for WHL hockey games); NHL’s Buffalo Sabres (2006 to 2009).

Besides sports, longer narration projects like corporate videos and eLearning modules make up Ralph’s niche market. In the spring of 2010, he began work as the voice of training materials for NAPA Auto Parts dealers. This will result in close to 20 modules being recorded by the end of 2011. Ralph works from a home studio in one of Canada’s most beautiful cities, Kelowna, BC.

Website:              http://www.HasTheVoice.com

Blog:                          http://HasTheVoice.blogspot.com

Twitter:            @ RalphH_VO

This is from Ralph’s posting on his blog, “Has The Voice”  Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Facebook Fun! Finally Photos…Family is EVERYTHING!

I have posted quite a few videos lately but NO photos. The last one was on December 3rd when I was surrounded by a couple of Gretzkys.

So, as we set a new record for blog posts (120 for 2010 beats the combined 119 for 2008 and 2009), I wanted to share this Christmas photo when my family spent time at my parents. My dad (Emil) took the photo so he’s not in it:



Jordan snapped this one last night of my parents and myself. The clothing we are wearing is from the Lance Armstrong Foundation, LIVESTRONG, which provides support to guide people through the cancer experience, bring them together to fight cancer – and work for a world in which our fight is no longer necessary.

My dad is currently battling cancer. He has finished radiation treatments and chemotherapy is hopefully an option in the near future. He has always been a strong man and is a fighter but right now his kidney needs to get better. He beat prostate cancer a couple of years ago but it returned and spread to his bladder and now into the lymph nodes.

Please say a prayer for my parents as they go through this battle together. HOPE is a great thing to have!

Holding On Praying Endlessly

Poetry Friday040


wildfire_biscuit

Image by Lou Angeli Digital via Flickr

Burn

When grief sweeps deep into gullies
and once green meadows melt,
Ponderosa sticks, flame sharpened, poke the sky.
I rush by, gasping, clutch my throat
full of words I will not purge, eyelids
on fire with memories.

When white tails leap past downhill fast and
heat and smoke snuff nests of rabbit dreams,
mole minions meet their maker.
Ferns falter, faint, and
bunch grass is consumed.
I shake my fist at firestorm
rolling overhead, like a freight train filled
with screaming banshees.

When they come, heavy with man power,
equipment, pure stink of sweat and fear and balls,
they build a line, push back. Backs aching
all night breaking ground, force spot fires down.
I lay in smoldering places, receive the
balm of cool water and gentleness
into my open wounds, dream of
snow enough to cover my dark nakedness.

When forgiveness, like fireweed, hot pink, impossible,
blooms in purged soil, I fall to my knees
in Spring rain, tear striped ashen cheeks
remember flourishing. Memory of burrows,
baby mice, nests in upper branches,
contrast of moss tendrils on stone,

I, ancient and always,
remember
redemption.

Lesley-Anne Evans
March 2011

Midweek Random Ramble017


1. A big shout out to my friend Heidi McLaughlin on the release of her most recent book, ‘Sand to Pearls’. Watch as Heidi introduces her thoughts on how to make choices that will enrich your life. Yahoo, Heidi!!! I’m excited to read your book, and to feel that tingle up and down my spine when I see some of my own words in print inside! You continue to inspire me in writing and in life!!!

2.

“The secret to great writing . . . is . . .
WRITE!

No, really. It’s true. Too many people spend the majority of their time talking about writing, reading books about writing, wishing they could write, dreaming about the writing life . . . you get the idea. But the fact is, writing is work, and to be a writer one must write and write and write some more.”

Kay Marshall Strom

3. Speaking about being intentional in the daily (writing and everything else), here’s something else to watch and consider… yes, it’s a writing theme today!!! Tim Schroeder, Pastor of my very own Trinity Baptist Church in Kelowna, shares some insights from his book, ‘Life by the Hour,’ in this excellent interview today on ‘100 Huntley Street. Another must for my reading plan!

4. Stories… everyone has them… and they are uniquely written parts of our lives.

Stories are gifts. SHARE., as I was reminded this winter in Starbucks most recent advertising campaign. So, I did!

Here, with the permission of the author (me) I will share again what I had the great privilege of sharing at the Christmas Eve Program at Trinity a couple of weeks ago. A number of other brave souls shared their stories as well. I hope to post a video of the program soon, if one is available.

“Hi my name is Lesley-Anne. My mom had breast cancer, and in the back of my mind I wondered if it might happen to me one day. Even so, it’s surreal to me when recently, my doctor calls me back after a routine test. Next thing I know, I’m being rushed in for more tests and day surgery. And as I wait for results, I’m thinking, “How can this be happening?” I’m thinking the worst. I’m angry. I’m disappointed. But, there is this point where I just say, “OK God, I know you are bigger than this. And I want to believe you are enough for me, no matter what.”

At the same time that all this is going on, I decide to join the Worship Choir and help with the Christmas Program here at Trinity. I want to sing, to praise God openly, like I’m taking a stand on what matters most in the middle of my messy life. So I audition for choir and I make it!

The very next weekend we’re on stage, singing a song called ‘Surrender’, and suddenly I’m crying, because the words are so personal, and I’m standing there giving God all my junk, my fear, my anger, over what I’m going through. And in my heart I’m saying,  “Yes, I surrender all of it to you God.” I feel God’s peace inside me.

Soon, we begin rehearsals for this very service. First time we meet, the director explains to us how the music, drama and experience of the Christmas services are all pointing to one central theme; God IS with us… All Shall Be Well. You can’t imagine how I feel as these words sink in. I am overwhelmed by God and how he knows me so intimately. I made it about my promises, and my worship, and my surrender, proving my trust in God. I almost miss it! So God whispers,“I’m here. I love you.”

“All Shall be Well Lesley-Anne… I am with you.”

God is with us.

Post Script… I received good news from my Doctor… and now I will begin a more vigilant lifestyle… testing more often to ensure everything remains OK. Still, no matter what comes, I stand on the one truth that will sustain me… God is with me.

Soli Deo gloria,

Lesley-Anne

Mid-week Random Ramble011


 

first miner out

Image by papayatreelimited via Flickr

 

1. October 12, 2010…The Chilean miners are slowly being brought to the surface. The first miner, Florencio Avalos, emerged after a 22 minute trip, from the 28 inch wide capsule, named the Phoenix, at 12:12 a.m., Chilean time. Avalos was chosen to be first because he is in the best health and would be best able to identify any problems; so far, there appear to be none. Incredible technology involved. 33 miracles in the making after being underground for over two months. The world watches in wonder…

2. In the thick of things is a place I want to be. I don’t want to be on the sidelines, or standing by waiting for something to happen. I want to take the gifts that God has, in his incredible generosity, given me, and use them for something more than myself… something bigger.

I want that for my blog too.  And with only 15 more hits, I will have been graced with 4000 visits to Buddy Breathing. That makes me catch my breath… thank you one and all… thank you so much.

I hope that of the 4000, there are some that can say Buddy Breathing changed the trajectory of their day, came alongside with a voice of empathy or understanding, made a difference somehow.

3. We just discovered a new restaurant (well, 3 years old, but new to us) on the side of Gordon Drive at Clement (Sorry for those of you who don’t live in Kelowna!)… Jimmy Ho’s… great service, tasty food, fast, healthy, reasonably priced you can order online to pick up! We were treated exceptionally by the owner, and although we won’t disclose what happened, the experience of working through a small problem is what will take us back there again! Just to experience true customer service along with yummy food!!!

4. For me, ‘Quiet Time’ or ‘Solitude’ or ‘Meditation’ all conjure up pictures of alone, silent, introspective, meaningful moments. My desire for these moments is to focus my thoughts toward God. Sometimes I sit and read my bible. Sometimes I walk and breathe deeply. Sometimes I have my hands in the kitchen sink and wash and pray. Sometimes I can go for days without remembering to include this spiritual discipline into my day. But, when I remember, and when I intentionally set aside time along the way, God meets me in the silence. Yesterday I tried to reinstate a time of silence, and struggled as the dog bounced, chewed, and squirmed beside me. Yet, even with that distraction, my attention was drawn to a verse that spoke to my heart about my personal journey and the character of God. So, I posted the verse on my Facebook profile, and turns out it spoke to others as well.

This is verse 11 and 12, from Psalm 139;

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

As I began to read and re-read this verse, I saw something of God’s character that was new and refreshing to me. It says that God sees dark and light the same way. While I go through times of darkness, depression, doubt, despair, God sees into that place and sees light. He sees me in that light. I often lose sight of him when I’m in dark places, but he NEVER loses sight of me. What a beautiful thought to mediate on throughout my day. What a beautiful verse to bring to mind next time I am in a dark place.

5. Parents of grade 12 students in British Columbia are familiar with “Grad Transition Plans”, and the angst created by this B.C. Ministry of Education requirement. Creating a plan for the future is often complicated, especially for some 17 year olds who live and think in the now. So, while our Grad combs through University calendars, discusses and considers various options, wraps his head around financial aspects, considers future lifestyles, pros and cons, we will try to support him in putting together a firm plan for not one, but two options, for his future. I can’t help but recognize that I never truly knew what I was meant to do in life until I was 40!!! I guess this exercise is just that… an exercise that promotes planning and thinking and ensuring that the kids that graduate in B.C. have some life skills in addition to a solid education. But I wonder, how many Grads will actually follow their plan?

6. Made an apple pie on Thanksgiving with some ‘Jonagold’ apples, gleaned with thanksgiving from the orchard behind our home. Each year I ask to glean what is left behind. And each year the answer is ‘yes’, and than I bake a pie for the owner in return for his generosity to us.

The pie was lovely, Graeme used the food processor to slice the huge apples into perfectly thin slices.  Because Jonagolds are an older variety of apple, which stays together rather than turning to mush, (like Macs do) the pie looked more amazing sliced than it did whole. This pie was for our dessert after a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner. The pastry I made was a butter pastry, from The Canadian Living Cookbook, 1987, pg. 227. The pie recipe was from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky ‘Apple Cherry Crumble Pie’… without the cherries. It was wonderful, even if I do say so myself!

7. More of Malcolm’s photographic experiments… very cool and creative, Malcolm!