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

 

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)

Graces, gifts and gratitude


Barrack Building 225, Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington

For those who have just joined me in this experience of seeing gifts in every moment, along the way, as we wait, as we struggle suddenly overcome with blind eyes, I thought it might be helpful to share what began with a single step. It was a book. Ann Voskamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts” that I picked up one day at Chapters, and then a confirmed thought process, a prompting, a nudging of the spirit, and then the journey beginning and spreading out before me this eucharisteo, this thankfulness for what is set before me when I have eyes to see.

So please consider how the naming of life’s gifts might be something worthy of time and space in each of our lives, and might carry within it the potential to change us from beggars into those overwhelmed by a feast of grace. Here is the blog post where it all began for me… my naming one thousand gifts. That was my start, and although I can’t always document each gift as it happens, I’ve chosen to name many of the gifts here on this blog as a reminder… mostly to me. I hope you join me… and if you do, please let me know… share your list. You are most welcome to do that.

And, if you have the opportunity to pick up and read Ann’s extraordinary book, please do it!

Journeying,

Lesley-Anne

So my list continues:

263. a long journey with a new friend

264. finding your tribe

265. expressing what is risky and beautiful

266. healing through creative expression of a thought, or two, or three

267. fog over sea, first light

268. the long call of a fog horn for safe passage

269. being on the water

270. historic buildings and used book stores

271. a phonecall home, the sound of voices you love

272. scars

273. a bench of your own in a quiet place

274. patriotism

275. listening and learning

276. new ideas

277. new people

278. the sense of place unique to every place

279 – 294. gifts captured in photographs

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Naming one thousands gifts that God gives… day 16


226. talking about details of family history and finding reasons why

227. sketch plan for the garden

228. finding a retro button collection that my son might like

229. the woman of his dreams on his childhood pinboard

230. night sky, full moon shining me awake

231. promises of fruit in the flowers on the vine

232. digging in black earth, tucking in new ideas

233. Dad pat on my shoulder

234. Zephaniah 3 verse 17

235. no shame, no entitlement, “all is grace” (Ann Voskamp)

236. contrast of greens, hydrangea leaf over wild violets

237. robin evensong

… so many gifts… so many opportunities to give thanks…

Night Sky Over Joshua Trees

Night Sky Over Joshua Trees (Photo credit: nate2b)

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… day 11


corn on the cob

corn on the cob (Photo credit: mjtmail (tiggy))

180. another colourful sunset after another rainy day

181. 3 supportive children at the grocery store

182. watching LOST again with my girl

183. kids and kids friends in our home

184. poetry and writing contest to sharpen skills

185. husband who listens to rants and raves

186. husband with grand perspective

187. first corn on the cob of the summer… so sweet

188. Emmy injury nothing to worry about said the vet

189. work for our kids

190. friends who are authors, authors who are friends

191. a world of places to explore

192. sleeping in, going to bed early

193. striving to make healthy food choices

194. a menu and assigned chefs for the next few days

195. fridge full of ingredients

still counting,

Lesley-Anne