Seriously, ladybugs?


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If I were to ask God for a significant recurring insect in my life, it would certainly not be a ladybug. Something more exotic perhaps, like a praying mantis, but not scary like a wasp or millipede. Nothing precious or pretty, nothing commonplace, please God. Let it be something with a bit of an edge to it, like the insect world’s version of a raptor, a hawk or falcon of the insect kingdom. But a ladybug? Shiny red, polka-dotted, embarrassingly cute… oh God, why that particular choice?

And, as if it weren’t bad enough to have had a ten year history (here and again, here) of encounters with these little red creatures, God continues to place them in my path. And I continue to notice. Either I find them or they find me, and it’s usually at a time when something significant is happening in my life that…poof… there they are again!

Still, they always come unexpected, and cause a sharp intake of breath that I hope is at least partially spiritually significant. These bugs hijack me, beg the question “Why?” (like most other things in my life) and have me asking, “What God, what are you saying in this, what would you have me learn in this?” And sometimes, I end up smiling, like there’s a private joke between me and the Almighty. So maybe I have come to terms with them as my significant bug species? I have not, nor will I ever, get a ladybug tattoo or wear representational jewellery. I have yet to witness any cool ladybug t’shirts. Those darn bugs keep showing up, and I keep wondering what they really mean?

Last weekend, 7th floor apartment in Vancouver, B.C. and I’m there with my young adult son helping him nest, watching him put together IKEA bookshelves and bed frame and it gets a little stuffy in the small studio and I go and open the sliding door to the balcony and there, in the track of the door frame…yes, you guessed it…ladybugs…3 dead ladybugs. Why? I have no idea. I’m not an expert in ladybug flight patterns, but 7 floors up seemed pretty high to me, let alone a little bug with translucent wings. And they were dead, again, dead and dried up. But this time there was no voice saying a word. Silence. There they were, and there I was. They were dead. I am alive. And these days I’ve taken to flying more. My son is leaving home, and I am still alive, still standing. Big changes, still standing. Big changes, still flying. Maybe that was it, more of a comparative analysis this time around? Was that it God? I don’t know.

And then this, again, these words,

Coincidence is the term used to describe two events which unexpectedly occur together in a way that makes one wonder if this is chance and simple happenstance, or is there a hand.  John Terpstra, Skin Boat ~ Acts of Faith and Other Navigations

I’m choosing hand, and I’m beginning to see humour in it, how God might be enjoying a belly laugh when his kid (me) stops everything she is doing, everything she finds so vitally important, in the presence of this blatantly red yet miniscule stop sign! Yeah, maybe that’s it, it’s an attention getting thing. Whenever I get a little too hung up in my own way, my own pain, my inward focus, my work ethic, my sadness that my son has grown up and away, my, my, my… Oh my… then God says…

…consider this…

“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothes [or whatever else…you choose what fills in the blank]? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.…” Matthew 6:27-29

Stop, observe, consider. Maybe that’s it. About seeing.

Lesley-Anne

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Slowly but surely…


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I adore playing with my Nikon DSLR… but I don’t always have the patience to read the manual (never) or the attention span to watch Youtube self help videos. So, I just play. I randomly test and spontaneously shoot and sometimes magic happens. Like above. Rain back lit by low light. But I don’t know if I could repeat this. And I’m OK with that. LAE

A continuation of paying attention to the details, taking notes, and persuading my heart to be grateful:

546. eye feast, soul banquet, in every direction…

547. son’s 21st birthday dinner

548. soccer success

549. air conditioning, home

550. love is all you need

551. Facebook void not as painful as might have been expected

552. dogs

553. irrigated lawn on a hot afternoon

554. relatives calling to wish him happy birthday

556. family life

557. a safe drive there and back

558. photographs

559. the ability to remember

560. brushing your teeth

561. finding a good gift of an experience rather than a thing

562. life is wonderful, God is good, God never gives up on us

563. more peace, more shelter

564. confirming words from listeners…

565. the ability to write a letter, post it, and have it arrive in another’s hands…

566. rest

567. grace

568. kale salad, kale smoothie, must try kale chips

569. typography, fonts, endless variety

570. Antigonish Review #177

May the fullness of this day be yours,
May the generosity of God overtake you,
May the loveliness of your presence
be shelter for you as it is for others,

Lesley-Anne

 

Adding extra to ordinary…


india kerala boat people

india kerala boat people (Photo credit: FriskoDude)

Part of me longs for extraordinary… while the other part feels rather comfortable with things just the way they are. But the first part, the one I often censor or squelch or call names, it’s the part that is most alive when I watch movies and read books and listen to people talk. It’s the part of me that holds it’s breath, that makes my heart beat just a little stronger than comfort ever will. That deep part of me has a voice that whispers over and over and over until I have to pay attention. I believe God may be calling my name.

What I’m trying to hear and trying to understand is this… that I need, or my heart might need, a jump start… an experience that would be like strapping on those ER cardiac paddles and yelling ‘CLEAR’ and holding my breath and feeling that whomp in my chest, as something big and electric and jarring and different and nothing near ordinary changes something in me. And how that change will effect my writing… as a witness,  writing about things that really matter… all this and more…

I’m a pretty ordinary gal. I’m not much of an adventurer, I’m an artist. I’m not very flexible, resilient, crowd saavy, travel saavy, or extraordinarily brave. At least, I don’t think I am. I speak one language well. So, I’m good with ordinary most days.

And maybe it’s because of my recent birthday, maybe it’s because I just promised my husband that I’m going to live to 100 and I want to make the very most of the next 50 years that I’m thinking I’ve got to bust out and figure it out and get out there in a new way that might change the trajectory of my life… or not. You know what I mean. Talk is… well, just talk.

Last night was girls night out. We went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel… yep, a sweet movie with more than a hint of introspection/perspective on counting our days, measuring our choices, and experiencing a life of joy to the end. Made me wonder if I could be doing things a little differently, a little more focused/purposeful/passionate than I have been so far. I mean, my life in Canada is so… privileged, so…vanilla, so… expected. And it’s not that I can’t do good things at home, can’t impact the world/my world from here, but still it’s awfully safe and sane and sanitized… can you relate? Still I’m not convinced… still not certain if this is real, or my imagination.

When I got home last night I spent a couple of hours online investigating India…and today I’m thinking some more about it… and I’m wondering what will come of all this? What is this all about?

India - Kids - 092

India – Kids – 092 (Photo credit: mckaysavage)

God, what are you trying to tell me?

God, I’m opening my ears, my eyes… to what is

India… far far away, crowded, hot, humid, beautiful architecture and people, deep poverty, intensely spiritual, rich in culture and history,

india calcutta bookstore

overwhelming humanity… India.

and I’m paying attention, God,

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)

Naming one thousand gifts… day 13, 14 and 15



207. sumac hugging the banks of the upper Don River Valley

208. church spire above urban sprawl

209. old brick houses that someone still loves

210. hugging Dad

211. hugging Mom

212. playing silly hand clapping games with my neice

213. phone calls home

214. realizing home and the place you grew up are two different things

215. split rail fences

216. patina, erosion, moss, and all things that measure time passing

217. finding the one trophy I ever won for being a ‘good citizen’ in grade school

218. new and old things to photograph

219. preparing a meal for my parents

220. Hummingbird at Mom’s feeder

221. the kindness of the Go bus driver who let me ride with no cash to pay for my fare

222. moon shining on  my bed

223. internet access after a few days without it

224. playing childhood piano in the livingroom

225. good food, wine and conversation in local cafe

Naming one thousand gifts… day 8


111. sitting in oak tree shade

112. finishing laundry, breathing clean

113. road signs

English: UK traffic sign: Give Way (TSRGDNO 602)

English: UK traffic sign: Give Way (TSRGDNO 602) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

114. his last exam in grade 11

115. soccer tournament

116. waking to a new word on my lips, a new way of ‘eucharisteo’ in my heart

117. being told my name was on their heart

118. dog sleeping, me writing

119. how orange and yellow and turquoise sing a song

120. how I blog and it’s good and I don’t know who will read and I blog anyway

121. preparing a place

122. a mention of a name that might someday be a friend

123. how slowing down is the beginning of seeing

124. little children splashing happy in pool next door

125. searching for a birds nest

126. that he was able to remove the thorn from her foot with soft words, deft hands

127. a misunderstanding smothered by grace

128. anticipation of homecomings

129. brother’s voice on the phone

130. scented candles

131. summer sound of boats playing on the lake

132. a good day and sales up at the market

133. email connecting my friend over ocean and continent

134. compassion

135. this disciplined writing beauty down, thanksgiving words

136. road signs

137. his eyes to see green hills not brown, because of all the rain

Naming one thousand gifts… day 7


1,000 Gifts

1,000 Gifts (Photo credit: LearningLark)

I’ll never forget the day I was reading a soon to become favorite chapter of my old KJV Bible… Isaiah 6 … and came upon this note in the middle column. It said,

“his glory is the fullness of the whole earth”

…and it being Spring, and it being that time of day when I walk my old dog Buddy, I began to think on those words and that idea as I walked through my neighbourhood seeking evidence of God glory.

I looked and saw… a rose bush, fragrant with hundreds of blooms. I moved closer, nose pressed into the middle of a heady bloom like a small girl filled with wonder and I thought… there is enough glory in this one bloom, but his glory is the fullness of every bloom on this bush and every bloom on every bush multiplied over and over and over and over and over… And that… and even that, is just the beginning, a minutia of the glory of the one I call God. The earth shouts glory glory glorious fulness everywhere!

And these walks and this seeing began to be part of who I was, how I lived and how I wrote about what I saw, and the thoughts that came from those things that my eyes beheld. Poetry was born in the beholding. Stories germinated there…

I found God in new places, heard him tell me truth, share love through the world around me, in particular the natural world. And my heart began to grow in the process, my understanding of God stretch a little wider, deeper. In 2009 I share one such God ambush in,  “October Valentine”.

So, it’s no wonder that when I begin to read Ann Voskamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts” a couple of weeks ago, my heart presses hard in my chest as I feel an echo of Ann’s words that I believe I am living (not every hour of every day, but still…). Ann’s idea of slowing down, taking notice and finding God in the details of the life beauty all around me… makes complete sense to me.

But, the naming, the listing, of those gifts from God, the thankfulness for them a doorway to gratitude and joy and a changed life… well that is a new idea to me. And here He draws me…

Thus, my list begins and grows longer and my heart yearns to learn and I lean into whatever this part of the God trek is that I am on, somewhat limping and sometimes sidetracked and still believing… I write it all down…

98. unexpected invitation from my husband

99. unexpected text message from my son

100. unexpected gift from a friend

101. sun, 27 degrees,  first day of summer feels like the real deal

102. dog laying at my feet

103. chicken on the bbq

104. a good article to read

105. textures

106. colours

107. cold glass of fruity white wine poured with love

108. planting potential in the garden

109. the way NY Red Bulls Thierry Henry moves a soccer ball

Red Bull New York's own TH14 Thierry Henry, ma...

Red Bull New York’s own TH14 Thierry Henry, making a play on the ball midfield versus Real Salt Lake. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

110. all of us watching major league soccer on TSN