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Peace?

I have been thinking a lot about Christmas and what it all means. I don't know if I really know but I guess one has to try and understand a little bit... and then a little more... and a little more as one goes on.

I have been reading about Syria since the trouble started. The fighting, the anger, the violence, and looking at pictures of people having to leave their homes and their lives just so that they can keep their children alive. Families carrying what they can haul on their backs (including small children) pleading at barbed wired borders for entry into what they hope will be a safer place.

I have been hearing stories of neglected children in lands of peace. Of abuse and violence in the home. Of cycles of generational violence transferred from parent to child to parent to child. The things people say and do to their children sometimes is just cruel.

And just now I heard about how close to 27 kindergarten children were killed by a gunman. And I just can't...

What the... …

Friday Felicities

I've been meaning to link up to Friday Felicites for a while now. Oops! I just realized it's Saturday night and not Friday night! Oh well... the linky is still open so I guess its ok.

So Friday Felicites is something a wonderful quilter started on her blog. You can read all about it here. Felicty Quilts.

I have to admit that this week was not the best. However, I fully believe in focussing on the positive even though I don't always practice it. :)


So my Friday Felicity is Fall. I absolutely love this time of year and I am grateful for being able to experience it. I am thankful that I can take a walk in the park and see all the beautiful colors.

Have a good weekend. :)

Spring!

You won't know the joys of spring until you've been through a winter.
You won't enjoy the blue sky unless you've seen days and days of grey.
You won't smile when you see fresh leaves and flowers if you haven't looked up at the dried branches of the trees.
You won't enjoy the sunshine until you've spent days with none.



I hope I will get to live the rest of my days in a place where I can experience the different seasons. They are beautiful and each one brings such learning and wisdom.  If you care to listen. 


Mystery

I had not heard Bruce Cockburn before... but lately I've been hearing a lot of him! My husband's professor gave him a bunch of cds the other day and there were six of Bruce Cockburn. Then, The Church of the Redeemer had an evening service based on the music of Bruce Cockburn. The band that played that evening were very good and did such a great job of this particular song. And the service was beautiful.

I think Bruce is a modern day prophet. Listen to some of his other songs. He's like Habbakuk crying out in sackcloth and ashes.

By the time they played this song I was weeping. I was weeping because I realized that I spent so much of my life belittling the work of God. Not out of arrogance but out of despair. I would get so weighed down with the world, so hurt by all the violence and wickedness, disillusioned by what people were capable of and I would say that there was nothing good about the world. Nothing good about humans.

And here is this song.

You can't tell me t…

Winters Pass

I was watching Judging Amy today - on You Tube. I'm on the 5th season. I absolutely love this show and have been watching it straight since February. Anyway, in the episode I watched today, a landscaper comes to the house to fell a tree that has fallen. He asks Maxine why she hasn't tended her garden and why she let it get to the sorry state is was in. Maxine tells him that she doesn't own the house or the yard anymore, her daughter does and Amy is not interested in gardens. And who gardens in the winter anyway? So the landscaper says, "Winters pass Ms. Gray. Spring will come."

And it is true. Winters pass. For the Maxine who lost her fiance, whose children seem to be having horrible marriages, who is now paying rent in the house she used to live in... winters pass. And for us in the real world... for us who are lonely, sick, poor, tired, afraid, despairing... winters pass. Spring will come. And the world will be new again and alive.

Yesterday my boss offered me…

It's Winter now... but Spring's around the Corner

I know my last post is about dropping the negativity but I have been nothing but negative since then. This is hard. This moving across the world, being a student wife, being a "new immigrant", trying to find work, trying to live on a minuscule budget... its all bloody hard! If any of you are planning to move here be prepared to be bull dozed!

Anyway... so I've been down for a while. I need to go through these times it appears. Part of the deal of living and learning. And after I have moped long enough I usually bounce back with some important lessons learned (Thank God!)
Don't apologize for who you are. Don't be too hard on yourself. Everyone is screwed up! Maybe... you're not so bad after all.  The only way to be happy is to decide to be happy. The only way to stop worrying is to stop! All things considered - you still have it better than most.Be thankful. If you have the time, do things you always wanted to but didn't have the time to before. (The thing…

Dropping the Overcoat of a Negative Worldview

I don't know if you've seen my Dropping the Overcoat blog... well I guess you can now.  I got the name for the blog from something I learned in Celia Dawe's Yoga for Slimmers. She has a mediation session at the end of the asanas. She talks about thinking of your excess weight as a large overcoat you don't really need. So when we meditate we imagine that we are taking the overcoat off. We then stand back and objectively look at what makes us keep the coat, what factors affect our being overweight.
So yes, Dropping the Overcoat is about losing weight but its also about finding yourself, learning and loving who you are, and dropping the things in your life that you don't need to carry around anymore (or never had to in the first place). This post is going to be on that blog too.

I look at life through a negative lens. The glass is always half empty... well... the glass is really empty as far as I can see it! Things will never get better. People don't change …

Budget Bytes

Found a really good blog today. I have to admit that since we came to Toronto our food has been extremely boring. My excuse - we're too poor to eat interesting food. So the weekly food log is Dhal and Rice, Khichidi, Pasta, and Soup out of a can now and then. I have done the occasional chicken and salad meal but its rare. I'm not proud of it and I do want to turn this around. I feel like we end up getting so bored of the food I make that now and then we do have to get ourselves a burger. But, in our situation it will be better to work things out so that we can eat at home more.
Beth from Budget Bytes seems to be on a great mission to eat a good meal for less and I am following her! I hope I manage to get this going! :) Check her blog out. The recipes are simple and easy and there's just tonnes of great stuff!

Winter!

Celbrating Birthdays

I called to wish a friend who turned 40 the other day and after the customary Happy Birthday! and How are you? I asked if he had any big plans. He said he wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary since he doesn't really get the point of celebrating birthdays. It's not something he has achieved, it comes every year and passes by without him doing anything about it so he didn't see the point of making a big fuss about something he did not engineer. He celebrated his achievement he said, not his birthdays.

I must say I felt a little sad. I believe we should celebrate birthdays. I think it is an achievement staying alive and getting through the day, living, working, loving, caring, keeping your sanity... they're all bloody achievements! But above that I think it is important to celebrate who we are and not just what we do. I think celebrating a birthday means celebrating our very existence which is no small matter to us, and to those who love us. Surely, we matter v…

Tales of an Urban Childhood

I started my Tales of an Urban Childhood blog in 2008  but didn't post very much. I then took made it private and forgot about it. I have noticed, after moving to Toronto, I have been thinking a lot about my childhood. Things come back to me from time to time - maybe its just all the free hours I have on my hands. So I'm posting on the blog again so check it out.

Accepting who I am

Sigh! You'd think I was done with my self discovery during my 30th year turn around but no... it goes on! I don't know what it is with me... I just can't be happy with who I am, or even remember the things that I actually worked on to get to where I am. I mean, I spent the whole of my 29th year trying to find myself right? And now, at 32, I feel like I've wasted my life!

I guess this time round the task will not be to find myself but to accept who I am. I lamented as I came closer to being 32. I lamented on the loss of my youth, on the lack of success, on the lack of financial security, on not having had children, on not having traveled the world, on the loss of hope, on the loss of dreaming... on being poor.

Today I was at a coffee shop and I realized that all through my life I have felt like I was in a tug-o-war with the world, with my family, with my friends. I was expected to be a certain way and I could play the part but I was never really happy that way. In play…

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I stayed away from Anna Karenina through my Masters in English course and through all the years that it sat on my bookshelf because I thought it too long! I even had a friend in my class at university who said it was his life's mission to open a restaurant and read War and Peace!

I did however decide to read the book and once you begin Anna Karenina, you can't stop. There's just no way! I loved it. Loved it more than anything I have ever read. When I wasn't reading the book I wondered what was going on with Anna and Count Vronsky, and with Levin and Kitty. I kept wanting to be back at home reading my book.

I must say though that I thought, as I read the book, that Anna irritated me a little. I thought her somewhat irresponsible and childish. Well, she is really with the way she behaves with Vronsky later on, and in not wanting to divorce Oblonsky. Yet, I couldn't help but feel that all was lost once she threw herself off th…

Immortality by Milan Kundera

Immortality by Milan Kundera


Our housemate - a philosophy student - gave me this book when we asked him if he had any novels I could read. It's not something I would have normally picked up and I must admit I struggle with it - just in its form and trying to figure out what the whole point of the book is as we bounce from Agnes, to Laura, to Bettina, to Goethe. Still, I am intrigued by it and I know I must stick with it and know that I will be better for having read it.

View all my reviews

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

This is a relaxed read and enjoyable if you're into knitting and crafts. It gives you a sense of what a craft community can offer and I know, from listening to the Stitch and Bitch group that comes into the store where I work, that they really have something going!

Its a quick read so it could very well be one for a lazy weekend at home or one of the many you take on vacation (if you're that kind of person).

I hear Julia Roberts is making a film on the book and apparently she knits all the time! On set, in between scenes! So I guess she's the write person for the role!

Speaking of Julia Robert's movies I did try reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and could get through it at all! I was so bored. She has such fantastic reviews but something just did not work for me. I came back to it thrice trying to get through it but I only got to a page somewhere in the forties I think. Gosh! Just couldn't read it.

Kate Jacobs though is very engaging and you really get …

A little bit of reading...

The good thing about being jobless is that you can spend a lot of time on facebook, and blogs, and youtube. And when the computer gets taken away its time for the trusty old novel to take center stage. I'm reading again. It's been a while I must admit. Well... its not that I haven't read in the past few years but I don't have a regular reading habit. I used to read a lot when I was younger. Novels mostly. When I got older I thought that I needed to read non-fiction so that I could seem erudite. Then I stopped reading.

Once I turned 30, which I do believe is my most significant milestone so far, I decided I did not care if people thought I wasn't scholarly or brilliant,  I was going to go back to my novels. And I have enjoyed them. Still, when people ask me what I like to read, my answer is usually, "I don't really read much." I'm not terribly keen on getting into those conversations for some reason. "So, what do you like to read?" "…

Got the blues...

Just so you know I'm not always deliriously happy and receiving indulgent gifts. I have to say I am feeling really bad these days. I haven't started work yet so that might be one reason. My younger brother and sister-in-law just had a baby and I 'm missing being there so very much. I miss what was familiar and comforting, my mum and her great cooking, my friends, my dogs, my studio, sigh! I have one job for two days which is fantastic but I really need to find work for the rest of the days.
Finding a job in this city is even more frustrating than finding an apartment! And to top it all my husband and I have to share his computer and he has papers to submit! So my computer time has been drastically cut down and I'm almost spending winter in hibernation! Not to mention I might just come out a little bigger at the end of it! The good thing I suppose is that my reading has gotten better. I read two books in three days and have two more going simultaneously.

Oh, I will blo…

"The Father is very fond of me"

If you aren't reading this book yet I suggest you go out and get it! Brennan Manning presents a way of Christian living that is freeing and exhilarating. For all the years I've been a Christian it is only now that I really feel free in the Father's love. Now I truly believe that I am loved, and accepted and not judged. It has opened a new world for me and I urge you to get the book.

I must say that it is not only the book that changed my life so don't expect magic to happen just by reading the pages! :) But if you are truly seeking and you want to experience God in a different way this may be something you should consider on that journey.

I've had one of those amazing moments in the past few days so I wanted to share. The reading for the 4th of January is titled "Being Cherished". Manning talks about a priest who was on vacation in Ireland. His one living uncle was going to be eighty and they were to celebrate as a family. On the day of the birthday the …

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

I often go through life thinking I'm a loser. That my life really does not count and that I have no great success to my name. I didn't start early enough, was not in the right places, didn't meet the right people... I blame everyone and everything that has ever happened to me for my loser life.

When I read Sedaris, yes he's extremely funny, but I didn't feel that much of a loser. Well, I felt like were all losers in one way or another and we should really stop taking ourselves so seriously! I mean, here is a man, who goes to teach a writing workshop with absolutely no preparation! All he is thinking of is what briefcase he will buy and how he will look in a classroom. It seems juvenile that an adult would think this way but he does! And he's fine! Well, he survives and now is  a best-selling author! Sometimes I would be reading an essay and just stop and think, "Who is this guy?" What sane person does these things?

And then there are stories of regu…

Hello 2012!

I'm looking forward to this year with a little more hope and a little less fear (I hope!) I want to focus more on trusting in God and learning from God... I know there will be things that I cannot stop from happening, that I cannot change, that I cannot predict... but I want to stand in the knowledge that God is holding me and will not let me go. I don't know what this year holds. I must say I have many moments of intense fear but to live in fear is to not live at all.
There are some things that I hope will happen this year:
I hope I can quilt and make some good quilts. I hope my craft gets better.I hope I get a good job! I hope my family is safe and healthy and will see another year. I hope my poor Hugo finds a good home to go to... or stays till I get back. ;) Hmm... well that's the list for now. 

All prayers answered. It was a good year.