Just write


A new year, and always I begin again. To wake up. To write. To cast my thoughts, words, dreams upon the water. To wonder at what it all means. What’s next, what’s new, what’s possible, what’s true, what’s better left unsaid, what’s needed now.

Just write…

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2017.1

Slant light on the neighbour’s roof;
the first sun we’ve seen in days.
The snow glows with it. White hot. Hopeful.
Trapezoid rooflines point high up to the clear dome
and down to where the New Year and me sit
and concoct plans sharp enough
to pierce the ozone. Cold. Silence. Window.
The Monashee and their inhalations of sky. Breathe. Breathe.
Light is fading fast now, a vague
idea of what it was, what I thought
it might mean. Dusk. Blue land. Monochrome.

LAE2017

2017.2

After you pour the seed
they will come close,
like they already know something.
Chicka-dee-dee, rosy finch, black-capped junko
compete for one perch,
unaware of other openings
in the feeding tower,
or your kitchen table admiration.
They appear to trust you
and your “original mix” from Buckerfields,
but the glass between you is a false promise,
closer contact will prove harsh, or final.
Still you feed them. See how
they dart and depart,
dine and dash,
your lush communion brief, at best. See how
they wing away and eat at a distance,
heads cocked,
eyes on the sky
for sparrow hawk
who, like you, has dined here before.

LAE2017

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See, I am doing a new thing!


Eowyn+in+battle

I’m not really one for resolutions, but I do find the New Year and Spring and also September to be times when I have renewed energy and this sense of potential buzzing around me like small but pretty flies. Not a lovely image I know, it reminds me somewhat of Charlie Brown’s friend ‘Pig Pen’… so perhaps I should say potential like the small illuminated motes you see floating in sunbeams? Truth is there is a buzzing of ideas and the correlation to something alive and with wings a more apt description. What I mean is, my mind is alive with ideas germinating and taking root, ideas that come in the night and again at first light and keep poking at me during the day. I have such energy. I want to involve myself in initiatives that are fresh and alive and I’m entirely OK with charging ahead into many different things at the same time.

Someone asks me if I am somewhat manic (a rather charged word choice, don’t you think?) I take slight offense, of course. My husband agrees I am certainly not manic, and suggests I might pace myself, but when I ask him how to do that, he doesn’t know. Busted, I say! He gets me and I get him because this is how we do things, and there will be a time where we crash, but not yet!

I’m focusing on a new way of looking at it and choosing to call it ZEAL! A new facebook friend used this word to describe me recently, and I’m latching onto it. He said I had Uber-Zeal! Then he shared the provocative illustration below. Double wow! Sure, I’ve heard of zealous, of being a zealot (that, I’m pretty certain I’m not) but the root word, ZEAL, appears to mean something entirely different than what I thought. On fire… for God. And that description can include many many things and look entirely different to many people.

Uber Zeal

A google search of the meaning of the word ZEAL opened up further definition;

zeal
zēl/
noun
noun: zeal
1. great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.
“his zeal for privatization”

synonyms: passion, ardor, love, fervor, fire, avidity, devotion, enthusiasm, eagerness, keenness, appetite, relish, gusto, vigor, energy, intensity; fanaticism

Each one of the synonyms and their life application attract me, compel me, inspire me, somewhat drive me (apart from the last one which I will choose to remember only as a warning, or maybe just as a baseline for balance.) Or maybe being a fanatic for good God things is a good God thing in itself? As always, everything is open to interpretation!
What I’m really saying, as I carry on this dialogue with myself about who I am, and a perceived hope-filled conversation with you about who you are, is this;
Take time to know yourself deeply. I’ve heard and am beginning to see how knowing yourself leads to a deeper knowledge of God. (I struggled with this at first… not so much anymore) So with that in mind, keep on getting to know yourself, what makes you tick, what makes you white hot mad or joy-filled and spilling, what makes you energized and focused and gives your life value. The work of self-knowledge is never wasted. Choose to hear the positive descriptions of who you are rather than the negative. One person’s manic is another person’s zeal. Apply what you learn to your decisions, to your life.
I’m still trying, at my age, to learn what it means to truly live with integrity… my life lining up with my core values. It’s not easy, but it’s so important. My core values center around this:  I believe in a God is up to something GOOD in this world and we ALL have a part to play. I believe in a bigger story and all its many character roles including mine ~ this wee Irish gal who has some off centre ideas and just might attempt to do some crazy stuff because she has a small dose of faith and a strong feeling that everything is connected and everything does matter and how we spend ourselves makes a difference. Yes, I do believe I hear zeal in me!
Some people choose a word each New Year as a focus. I’ve never done that. I’m not saying I’m going to either. But if I were to do it, it just might be… you guessed it, ZEAL.
And if I were to choose one verse, it might be this verse, one that arrived in my inbox just after Christmas and I read it again in awe (I’ve read it before… it always takes me by surprise because of the intimacy and strength of it… the POTENTIAL, of what God can do);
16 This is what the Lord says—
    he who made a way through the sea,
    a path through the mighty waters,
18 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:16,18,19 NIV
Happy, happy New Year, my dear reader friends.
Here’s to another new year, new ways of doing good things, renewed perspective and understanding of who we are and what God can and will do because we are his and precisely who we were made to be!
May we be aware and encouraged and energized by the knowledge that God IS doing a mighty NEW THING in us this year! Can you see it?
Lesley-Anne, SDG
p.s. my apologies for the formatting but I just can’t seem to make it work this time around. xo

Just another manic Monday…


Mud bathing at the Standard Spa in Miami Beach, FL

Image via Wikipedia

What’s your biggest goal going into the New Year? What’s your biggest challenge?

I was expecting to feel excited about 2011, but I’m feeling rather ordinary about it all. Sure, Bob goes back to work and the kids back go school and I un-decorate the house, get back into a schedule, but is that it? I mean I know I have a couple of special things to keep going with, like AfterGrad celebrations and all, but what else? Sure, there’s choir… I’m looking forward to continuing with that. And, there’s the date nights that we both organized as Christmas gifts this year, and there’s the 3 birthdays that fall in January and February combined, and then there’s Valentine’s Day and before long there will be Spring Break, but what I’m looking for, what I’m really longing for is something else… something out of the ordinary… something bigger.

Do you feel it too? A certain amount of…

Boredom?

Lack of purpose?

Lack of focus?

My darling treated me to a Spa retreat for a couple of days over the Christmas Break. Our kids were happy to take care of themselves while Bob and I went to the ‘Kurspa’ at  ‘Sparkling Hill Resort for some TLC and down time. It was lovely. We enjoyed steams and saunas, and ate wonderful meals and slept in a bed with a memory foam mattress. Many of the spa treatments were for the purposes of detoxifying the body. From skin treatments like aroma scrubs, to more deep cleansing muds, our bodies were deep cleaned and felt amazing… lighter, fresher, younger, and smoother. What a delightful way to take care of our health and wellness, one we should probably do more often. I also couldn’t help reflecting on how a regular spiritual detox might be good for me too.

So when I see that I’m not heading into 2011 feeling excited and energized, that detox idea is what comes to mind again.

Or maybe I just need to get back on the vitamins? Perhaps  SAD is already catching up with me after a couple of dreary months of little sunshine? A little light therapy, or maybe some tanning, or even a new thing called ‘Hydration’ might do the trick. And making certain I eat healthy and get exercise… out in the fresh air is also a good thing.

But what I really think I need is to set time set aside for solitude and connection with my maker again… very soon. I have this need to get away with God and me to a special place up on a mountain, where I can just be still and listen. It’s something I haven’t always done, but the last couple of years I’ve started I find myself wanting to more regularly, and each time I go I am never disappointed. As I spend this intense time with God, I expose some of the wrong thinking I have inside me, I deal with the things I’ve done wrong, I get vulnerable with him, share my hopes and my ideas, and then I wait for his direction for what comes next. It detoxifies me from the influence of ungodly things in me and around me. It is such a good thing.

And I believe, based upon past experience, that my renewed focus and energy and passion and purpose will come from my time away with God. Most of all I will come back with the knowledge that there’s more to life than just this moment, or any immediate needs. I’ll come back ‘down the mountain’ with a tiny dose of eternal perspective that was given an opportunity to take root inside me.

So yeah, it might just be another manic Monday, but my planner’s open and I’m looking for a spiritual health day asap!

Out with the old and in with the new!

Lesley-Anne

Post Christmas Random Ramble


I am so thankful for all of you. Those who drop by Buddy Breathing and stay a while, those who offer something in response to my writing, those who are regulars. This place has become a touchstone for me, somewhere to share my ideas and rants, even the messy stuff off the top of my brain that needs to come out! And knowing you are ‘out there’ makes it all the more worthwhile. So, thanks for listening.

I wish each one of you a Merry Christmas, and for the New Year may you continue to find people in your life with whom you can ‘buddy breathe’… share oxygen… fresh air… with one another. Breath deep!

Sol deo gloria,

Lesley-Anne

Things to remember for next year;

1. Absolutely, positively, (if at all possible), join in the experience of a Christmas Eve Service… VOLUNTEER…sing, usher, act, organize… whatever… just get involved! There’s a feeling of ‘bigger’ that accompanies this… not so much about having my house in order, my gifts wrapped, my cookies baked… more about preparing for others to experience the message of Christmas… Emmanuel, God with us! And if you absolutely, positively, can’t help out, then please… attend a Christmas Eve Service somewhere! Stop, consider, breathe, pray, believe in the miracle of Christmas personally.

2. Get up early… the long day was wonderful. Sure Bob and I were a little tired at first, but nothing a coffee or two with a drop of Baileys can’t help. By afternoon we were able to rest, read, relax and listen to the sounds of our kids chilling. Even the dog was happy to nap on the couch beside us. Yes, as my Dad always said, “The morning is the best time of day.” Mind you, I’m talking 7:30 AM, which probably sounds like sleeping in to those of you with teeny tiny excited kids! There are definitely some advantages to having teens!

3. Buy less. Every year it’s the same feeling… I intentionally try to buy less. I think I’ve put a lid on the excess and then I see all the presents under the tree… worse still, all the wrapping around the living room after we have finished opening up the gifts and I feel… a little nauseous. For those who say set a budget… sure, that’s fine if the bottom line is ‘value’ of what has been purchased… but I’m talking pure amount of ‘stuff’ that now needs to be put away and absorbed into our already abundant life. I mean… come on!

4.Write more Christmas cards. I enjoy writing. I love getting mail. Perhaps others feel the same? Sure I hand delivered some cards this year, but next year I’d like to mail them out early in December, perhaps tuck in a photo or two, and bless others with something they can hold in their hands. Of course email is good, and Facebook is a great way to share a greeting… but, still, the handwritten paper in hand kind of greeting is much more personal… don’t you think?

5. NEVER, EVER, EVER, cancel the caroling party again. No matter the number of folk who can’t make it, no matter if no musical accompaniment is available, no matter how easy it is to just say, “Oh well, we’ll try again next year!” DO NOT DO THIS! Even though I delivered a basket of cookies to the seniors in place of our melodious voices, still I missed sharing a meaningful evening with them. I missed our home being full of friends afterward, playing party games, sharing stories and treats, I missed the stress of ‘managing’ the crowd as we walked around the neighbourhood to sing, and I even missed the angst over whether the coffee would be ready in time, or the food enough for everyone. All of it. Mostly I missed the feeling of contentment and pure joy as we gathered to sing carols like ‘Silent Night‘ and ‘Joy to the World‘, our voices softened by the cold night air, snow gently falling as we gathered at someone’s doorway and met the smiles on their welcoming faces.

6. Let the dog chew the wrapping paper. Emmy was so good. Sure she sniffed every package, and she certainly tried to steal various presents right under our noses, but mostly she was really good. Claire wrapped a bone in paper and let her rip it open. I think Emmy enjoyed the paper as much as the bone! Not that she ‘ate’ it, but the sound it made, and the process of tearing it off the bone… I could almost swear she was smiling! We only put her in her kennel for a short time, but that was simply because we should have taken her for a walk earlier… she was a bit stir crazy by mid afternoon… yikes, earlier than 7:30 AM? Which takes me back to item #2!

7. NEVER STOP reminding myself what this season is really all about. Never stop posting reminders on Facebook, or reading the Christmas Story in Luke, or the prophecies of our Saviour in Isaiah. Never stop reflecting on the miracles found in the story, how the angels came to earth as messengers, how the shepherds found everything ‘exactly’ as they had been told, how a virgin conceived and bore a child… the son of God, how God came… in the form of a teeny tiny baby, to earth, and that’s just the beginning of the story! And most of all, how God IS with us… in each experience of who he is, every tiny little way that he shows himself to us, in creation, in music, in people. How God is here, and in the most intimate way possible, desires to be part of each of our lives.

8.Never stop sharing my story. May my life be an open book to who God is, and what he has done and is doing in my life. May I be bold, honest, transparent, reverent. May my life be filled with opportunities for God’s story to shine through me.

9. In the words, and expressed in the life, of my Uncle Dr. David James Cook, who passed away this Spring at the age of 71,

“LATHER LOVE LAVISHLY”…

on your family, your friends, your neighbours, those you meet every day…

because you never know. Time passes by so quickly, kids grow up, friends move, parents pass away…

Make the most of EVERY moment.

I miss you Uncle Dave. I miss you Art. I miss you Buddy.

Peace.