The Great Pumpkin Walk

Fraser Lake, BC really is an amazing place to raise kids and participate in a family fun celebrations. Happy Halloween 👻

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Upon Sitting in my Thinking Spot

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There are two places sacred to me, my thinking spot and my sitting spot.

Early in the darkest of hours I sit in my sitting spot and I read. I write. I sip. I am still.

This morning I flipped open my journal and came across a little something I must have wrote while sitting on my mountain or as I call it, my thinking spot last summer.

I thought I’d share.

Listen to the Voice in the leaves
as they chatter in the wind.
It’s rythym breathes life like a
a ferocious whisper –
breathing deep into the
ressess of my heart.
My rhythm becomes His,
steady like an ever swaying metronome.
For just as sure as He is present
so shall I be.
It is well.
~August 14th 2014

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My thinking spot. Saskatoon Mountain, Beaverlodge Alberta.

10 Reasons I Walk my Daughter to School Everyday

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Every morning I walk my daughter to school.  It’s become something she sees as a mom/daughter moment.

But it’s more than that.  These are 10 reasons I walk my daughter to school everyday.

1. It’s creates routine.

2. It’s gets my dog walked.

3. It creates an opportunity for conversation

4. There can be zero excuses for not walking anywhere because it’s too cold outside…of course this will change when it’s ridiculously cold out, I’ll drive

5. It’s not called active living.  It’s called LIVING.

6. In a time when bad things are being reported at schools, more parents need to show up and make a presence both on the school grounds and on the streets.

7. It teaches my daughter to take the road less traveled.

8. Because I can.  She’s going to be too cool for me one day and I’m going to enjoy it now.

9. It gets me outside and moving in the elements.

10.  Makes me appreciate my surroundings.  Stop and smell the roses and take part in your community.

I Have Wrestled with a Grizzly Bear

I have wrestled with a grizzly bear all my life.

She comes to me in the darkest of nights, and the loneliest of days.

She hunts me by the smell of fear that is her prey, me.

I can feel her ever looming presence, her being

grips my heart with the clenching power that is her mandible bone.

Great is her presence both real and imaginary for she haunts me in my sleep,

when my world is still and silent, where peace should give me rest.

I can remember her first visit into my bedroom cloaked in the darkest of night.

I was a child, the age of 3 – maybe 4.

The summer air was warm and a breeze blew in my bedroom rescuing me from the heat of the day.

I don’t remember why, but the screen to my window had been removed, or broken – by myself or another, I can not remember.

I had spotted her earlier in the day, off in the distance,

rummaging…..

lurking in the field, as I walked home after playing with a girl whose family had been staying in a cabin.

Her curiosity and meandering ways had brought her to the small fishing resort where my family and I lived.

I remember waking up in the quiet of the night, hearing vast amounts of air being inhaled and exhaled, deep was her breath.

It filled my rib cage, heavy and tense.

The noise of her snout was taking in the tasteful scent in the air, me.

I opened my eyes from the dead of sleep and there she was, her head so close I could reach up and touch her.

Sheer terror pierced my bones and surged within my veins and flesh,

it was like nothing I can describe and yet I remember it like it was yesterday,

– like it was tonight, for she was in my bedroom again.

Her life on this earth ended that night.

Somewhere in time and movement that I can not remember, I managed to morph my physical body to be one with my bed,

creating as much space humanly possible between me and my bear as I woke my dad.

She may have died that day, but she continues to live in my dreams.

Its been years since I’ve had them and yet tonight, she hunted me again.

The beat of her breath rang in my ear, and

her jaw clenched my heart as fear ran down my back like condensated sweat.

She revealed her presence, lurking in the darkest of night,  tormenting with teasing terror, and in an oddity that only a dream can possess.

Her razor sharp claws could gash your hand should you lean up against the wall of the house, its walls angered by the mere touch of human flesh.

I have the gifted ability of the eyesight of an eagle, gazing over a rocky mountain valley,

watching her hunt me as I panic and flee through the forrest.

Running. Desperate. Grasping for safety.

And yet…..she continues on.

As surely as time exists, she exists.

She hunts with a diligent determination and the patience of a lifetime.

Her thirst for my blood fuels her every move,

step by step,

dream by dream,

year by year.

It is not a matter of if, but when.

For 37 years she’s been on the prowl and tonight she awoke from her dormant hibernation, leaving her den, hidden the recesses of my mind.

I have wrestled with a grizzly bear,

even if only it were in my dreams.

 

The Fall of Humanity

We cover up, let up, make up and shut up,

We lie, cheat, claim, and demand from others,

It’s my way or the high way, it’s a swipe to the right,

It’s a fake tits, fake nails, fake tan, photoshoped selfies,

It’s declaring our true inner being, and proclaiming our narsasistic self love.

It’s political lies, demands and grossly manipulated truths –

until the “truth” Is subjective, objective and imperceptive.

It’s a declaration of dependence on a drug induced culture

High on normalcy, balance, and sameness, giving way

To battle cries of “rights”  “opinions” “voice” and do as we so chose.

It’s the bitching and moaning when someone’s choice

impinges, infringes and calls out our self indoctrinated

truths backed by momentary whims and flights of fancy.

It’s the tail between the leg and the shoulder shrugged

“oops, I did it again” with the expectation – no wait, a the demand

of tolerance and understanding.

It’s the lack of backbone, no foundation, void of a standard

on which to ground our children, our morals, our future.

Heaven forbid we draw a line in the sand and say “NO, this is wrong!”

Our moral compass and the base of human rights has become

Tolerant, and entitled.

We have played a moral jenga as society teeters this way and that

As our vertebral backbone bends
And sways to the blinded masses.

Fall we will. Fall we must.
For without Fall there is no Spring.  

Winter is Coming. 

Deconstructing Chaos

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Back to the Basics

Remember when things were less complicated?  The ebb and flow of chaos in life consisted of Sunday afternoon sit down dinners, school lunch was homemade and music lyrics had depth and meaning?  Remember when summers consisted of picking berries and gathering firewood in prep for the winter and family dinners weren’t reserved for six times a year with a plastic easter bunny or Santa blinking on the front yard?  Remember when we played outside till it was dark and our cheeks glowed red and our hands burned as they thawed out?   Remember when halloween costumes were handmade and poisoned candy was just a old wives tale?  Remember when we had to babysit, shovel driveways and do chores for allowance in order to buy a treat?  Or remember when we didn’t have so many words in our dictionary as to accommodate political correctness and blatant laziness in use of the english language?

I do.

My kids won’t. Not unless I make the choice to do things differently, like getting back to the basics.

It’s time to get back to the basics and deconstruct the chaos.

  • Walk your kids to school.
  • Make super with your kids.
  • Teach your kids to quilt.
  • Cuddle on the couch.
  • Kiss and gross out your kids
  • Shut the phone off.
  • Eat without guilt.
  • Create moments of conversation.
  • Go to bed early and together.

I know that my business revolves around safety and some might ask, what does this have to do with occupational health and safety?  It has everything to do with it, as it starts with me.  When I take care of me, I take care of those around me and I perform better at work.

  • Slow down.
  • Eat.
  • Drink water.
  • Sleep.
  • Spend time with loved ones.
  • Play.
  • Laugh
  • Love.

and then,

  • Work.

Stick’n Stones: A Mother’s Heartbreak on the Bullying of Her Son.

I have this gift.  Actually all of us who are mothers have it. The ability to see what can not be seen with the human eye.  To hear those words never spoken, and to feel what the heart cries.  There’s a name for it.  It’s called motherhood and there are moments in life when as a mom, my super hero sensory capabilities become too much to bear.

There was a time when my child was a part of me.  My body alive with them.  My heart beat alongside their’s and my breath gave life so that they might live.

When they moved, I moved.  My body responded with every hiccup, every stretch and every growth spurt and with them, a sixth sense heightened that no man will ever understand and some few appreciate.

Motherhood.

This experience is nothing short of a miracle and try as we might, this can not be duplicated.  The mystery and wonder of motherhood can only be understood by those who have experienced it.  A woman who has never bore a child will never understand.  Nor will any man bear the knowledge of the depths of the words of which I speak for they have their own unique experience that only the gift of fatherhood can bring.

Being a mom is the hardest job ever!

It’s quite heroic actually.  In fact, I would argue that it was in this moment that my alter ego Vanessa, came into existence .  The very act of childbirth trumps any other experience known to mankind as it brings into this world new life.  It’s a divine gift that defy’s any notion of accidental existence and is nothing short of miraculous.

I love being a mom.

It’s now coming up to 13 year’s later and nothing has changed.

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The growing pains that were once felt within my body, continues.  The connection goes unbroken.  My eyes see what my children’s heart feels and in doing so my own heart responds.  I cry the same tears.  I feel the same joy.

Tonight, my heart broke.

My son and I had spent the day visiting friends and dropping my daughter off in Red Deer so that she might go spend sometime with her cousin in Calgary. Tonight embarks the beginning of a two week mother-son epic adventure. We celebrate with an epic sugar overload; complete with chocolate bars, sour gum, chips, candy and starbucks, and as usual we pay the price much later with stomach pains and dehydration. It was worth every bite.

As the night had grown dark and the sun set, the sugar high swung low just as the busyness of the weekend faded. The music was shut off and quietness set in and with it the conversation began to flow.

So did the tears.

I can not express in words the depth of sadness my heart felt when I listened to his words expressing his pain and his wounds over the subject of bullying. Soon his tears turned into sobs and with them I struggled to keep my composure as I quietly listened to his words.  His words were select and few but mine were fewer.

Just as I did years ago when we shared a physical existence, I remained still and felt him within me.  I felt his pain and his sorrow and the heaviness in the air grew thick as he spoke.  The stillness spoke volumes.  I found my answers that as a mom I’ve been searching for as my spidey senses have been tingling for sometime now.  I have been unable “put my finger” on what it was exactly, but now I know.

I now know why my son no longer chooses to play a sport he has played since he was 4.  I now know why my son avoids certain school days and activities that he so desires.   I now know why he asks to be home schooled.  I now know why he has said some of the things he has said in the past for his environment never changes.  He will not play anywhere or any sport that requires him to be alone with those certain teammates and those who serve as classmates.  This includes school sports, classroom partner work, and sleepovers.  He is harassed and mocked over every detail and is scared to screw up.  He said his favourite classes are math and science as those classmates are not there and physical education because the teacher is alway present.  He only liked hockey when his dad was helping coaching because then he was on the bench and always present.

He is scared.

When my son is confident, he is on fire.  I’ve seen this in his effort in both school but mainly in his sporting activities.

The bullying is ever present and the manifestation in which the bullying presents itself is devastating as it travels within his circles and within the very kids he has called friends and teammates.  The sad reality, three (that I am aware of to date) of my son’s teammates have decided to move on to other activities as they are burnt out physically and emotionally. Hockey associations wonder why the stats are low? We need to address the dressing room dynamics and play for the love of the game instead for the power of it.  Our coaches need to be able to coach without being bullied by a parent or having major sponsorship threatened to pulled from the organization.  My son is not alone, my daughter has experienced this as well by people other than her teammates.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

This is the biggest lie and deceiver of souls that we tell ourselves in order to survive.  From the dressing room to the playground, to the classroom, to the ice, to the pitch and ultimately to the heart; mere words have jousted my son’s heart and killed his joy in the very activities he loves.

The most saddening part?  It’s over something so trivial and unavoidable and yet fuelled by the arrogance and selfishness of a select few that has now spread virally.

Bullying takes form in many manifestations but ALWAYS has the same target, the heart.

As heartbreaking it is when a mother hears these words, and feels the tears as they stain the faces of her children!

Life is ugly, that we know.

Bullying doesn’t stop in the dressing room, or the playground or in the classroom.  It enters relationships, the home, the church, and yes, even the workplace. We’ve all experienced it in some form. I know I have.

Bullying is a killer of souls and a manipulator of lies and deceit, cloaked as truth by those around us.  It kills joy, wounds hearts, divides families and poisons workplaces.

Simply put.  Stop the bullying.  Get active within your kids lives and stand up for what is right and wrong.  It starts in the home.  It starts with us as parents.

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