Be still: I’m melting!

I love The Wizard of Oz . It is hard to imagine the classic from 1939 still being around. Such a classic, such truths of human kindness, struggles and triumph.

The Wizard of Oz video clip… there she goes!

I hate heat. This week has been awful for me. I still can’t figure out why people appreciate it so much. We have had a few days of heat warnings, and yesterday we hit 38 degrees in our yard. I know we will have more, but this was the worst yet. Why do I hate it so much? Probably the number one reason, is having the energy zapped right out from me. I hate the feeling of not being able to get things done. And this week has been an especially busy one, between Customer Appreciation Night, anniversary and birthday celebrations. I had planned a family bbq supper…silly girl. I had things nicely started on the grill for surf and turf…but we ran out of propane mid way through. That was actually a relief… I could get off the deck, and finish things up inside. Hubby has recently discovered cannoli cakes at the Independent Grocer, so I had planned to pick one up for him. Zip. Absolutely no birthday cakes of any kind. Too bad. And I certainly wasn’t going to heat the house up by turning on the oven, even if it was his birthday. Sorry, Philip!

But alas, Newton’s Mercantile to the rescue! Peanut butter ice cream cake it was! Don’t you love it when Plan B turns out better than Plan A?!

Anniversary and birthday celebrations behind us, next on the to-do list was the start of Kiddo’s physiotherapy summer regime. I dropped him off, and headed off to do some customer deliveries. The dark clouds were moving in quickly, and the thunder had been rumbling most of the afternoon. Thinking I had time, I zipped out to Long Eddy to watch the storm and light show. It was pretty incredible. Then I get interrupted again; Kiddo’s appointment was cut short, as the power went out. So much for a little breather!

Heading down island, we witnessed a beautiful rainbow, reminding us of God’s promise of better days ahead. Just slow down long enough to appreciate them.

Our mid-week break is our bingo night. Or should I say, “give-the -Curling -Club -your -weekly -donation”. Power was still out, and all over the island, not just North Head. Bingo is cancelled.

Hmmm…my Youversion app just popped up a notification… a friend has started a new Bible study … “Addicted to busy: Recovery for the Rushed Soul”. Well, if that isn’t a subtle sign, I’m not sure what is!!

When I got home, I was reminded it was the last day of the month…which means any of my business orders must be submitted before midnight. So I turn on the data, sit by the window offering the most daylight, and get set to work in the dark. I finally got them done by 10pm…now my bedtime. I am grateful the power came back on, but our bedroom ceiling fan still offered little relief. The thunder boomers of early evening didn’t give as much reprieve as hoped.

So, I am melting. And I am being forced to slow down. I am being reminded of Judy Garland putting out one fire, to rescue the Scarecrow, and inadvertently causing another tragedy, as the Wicked Witch slowly disintegrated to a puddle.

I am grateful not to be living in British Columbia, where record-breaking temperatures have plagued the area, and now forest fires are breaking out of control. Town of Lytton under evacuation order

I still have much to be grateful for, and my troubles are minor. But I still need the reminders to slow down, and Be Still every once in awhile. I’m off to see the wizard… well, not quite…but we are off to the movie theatre tomorrow for our first cinema experience since 2019! This calls for a double hitter AND exorbitantly priced popcorn and snacks; because it is a week worth celebrating.

And I won’t melt in the theatre!

Guided Wellness Excursions

Great time to explore, and take time to Be Still

I am pleased to offer a new service, as an extension of my Life Coaching, starting week of June 20th, throughout the summer.

Nature Therapy has been around for many years, but has only recently been recognized for its value in personal health and wellness. Appointments will be made for individuals or partners.

$25 registration each, payable before hand, includes:
🥾approximately 1-1.5 hours; easy walking trails around the island. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a sweater.
🌿time for reflection, meditation and mindfulness activities. Discussion topics led by participants, and your comfort level. Take home activity provided for personal reflection and optional follow-through
☀️flexible times to suit your schedule (lunch breaks/after work/early evenings). Also dependent on weather/tides.
🍎refreshments; water and a light snack. *Please advise of allergies

🚗Transportation can be arranged, if needed, for a nominal fee

Looking forward to getting out with you and enjoying summer on Grand Manan!

On a Wing and a Prayer…

Do you know where the expression “on a wing and a prayer” comes from? I’ve used it over time, without really realizing it’s origins. I got the “prayer” part, but wasn’t sure about the “wing”. When I looked up a definition, this is what I found from …

Definition: Relying solely on luck to get out of a difficult situation. This expression originated during World War II. It appeared in a film called The Flying Tigers in the year 1942. One of the pilots in the military had lost one wing of his plane, so he was trying to land using only one wing and a prayer.

A couple of weeks ago, I had to travel for a medical appointment. As it involved getting eye drops, it was recommended I have a driver, as my sight would be altered for 3-4 hours. I was thankful hubby was able to take time off work for me.

We haven’t been travelling much lately, throughout the pandemic. Our days of heading to the mainland “for fun” seem to be in the distant past. Medical appointments are the only excuse, as of late. We tacked on a couple of “necessary” trips to Indigo, Michaels and No Frills… which says a lot about the necessities of life for our household!

What we had forgotten, was the necessary careful balancing of time management; especially for a Friday afternoon. We left the city in time to make it for our 4:45 ferry reservation.

Then came that sinking feeling of coming down over the hill, seeing the compound jam packed, and noting the time of 4:47pm. Razzen-frazzen! So, of course, we were told to go to the Standby lane.

I was tired after a long day of driving about, and tests. My vision had been improving over the past few days, but motion of the Jeep along the highway was not a comfortable feeling. I told Philip to cross his fingers, and say a prayer. He’s the kinda guy that would cross his fingers instead of saying a prayer; I’m the kinda gal that would say a prayer instead of crossing my fingers. That’s how we roll. He said “It ain’t happening!”…. he meant getting on the ferry; as opposed to the prayer. I think.

Someone’s prayer worked. But it was a tight squeeze. This is the kind of load we see in peak of summer, with cars being left behind. It was Mother’s Day weekend, but couldn’t imagine so many people travelling home, along with a few transports.

So we made it; on a wing and a prayer.

The following Wednesday, Kiddo had a mishap at work, and ended up with a double compound open fracture to the arm. Needless to say, he was in a lot of pain, and our small hospital wasn’t equipped to handle it. So, off to the Saint John Regional Hospital by air ambulance, thanks to Atlantic Charters.

Two wings and multiple prayers!

Kiddo and I made this flight once before, nearly twelve years ago. Although we knew his injury was serious, and would likely involve surgery, it was far less frightening than the last trip, where the fear of the unknown laid before us, and the beginning of his journey with leukaemia. Both trips involved a whole lot of prayers, from a great support network. We are so grateful for the exceptional teams of healthcare professionals, and air service from Atlantic Charters that work together in emergency situations for our island.

EMT accompanied us to Saint John airport, where we were transferred to another ambulance. Thanks, Marc!

A day later, we were headed back home, with Philip at the wheel again. Kiddo’s left “wing” will be out of commission for the next 30 days, much to everyone’s dismay. The good news is, he is a pretty tough guy, and has survived a lot worse. Just more “battle scars” to add to his collection.

After we made it back, “wings” kept popping up everywhere. I’m sure God was sending me a message. Carolyn, one of our strongest prayer warriors’ favorite verse kept coming to mind. Isaiah 40, verse 30, reminds me how we all stumble and fall, but like Kiddo, he marches on, faith unshaken.

Sunday afternoon, I was really looking forward to some down-time. I had settled in nicely to my zero-gravity chair on the deck, ready for a catnap in the afternoon sun. Kiddo was inside, resting comfortably with Netflix. Hubby and Eliott were about to head out exploring. Ahh, peaceful bliss. I was invited along, but was trying to resist; I was enjoying the deck. He was quite persuasive, as he knew this amateur bird watcher was intrigued by the idea of possibly spotting an owl that had been seen out the Crabbe Road. But what I found, was just what my soul needed. At first, he looked as if his wing might be injured, but we later decided he was just drying off in the sun. He flew off with much grace and ease. I’m sure someone else with an injured wing will rise up, just as easily, given time to heal.

Immature eagle spotted in the middle of nowhere!

Just this past Monday, I had an appointment at St. Joe’s for further tests at the Eye Clinic. Driving along the highway, guess what I caught a glimpse of? Yes, a beautiful eagle soaring high.

He gives strength to the weary, and will renew their strength. So grateful for His promises.

Praying for you

I’ve been doing a lot of praying this week, and have a wonderful group of friends that I keep on “Speed Dial”, when I am requesting prayers for a situation, or a person I care about. After a conversation with one of my prayer warriors, I got thinking about how hard I find it to pray for myself.

I feel it a real privilege when someone seeks me out specifically, asking if I would pray for them. I am honored they trust me with their heart, and inner most fears and concerns. I never really looked at myself as a Prayer Warrior, perhaps because there always seemed to be certain people in the community I immediately thought of, or their role in church gave them the unofficial title. Then there were some older people, usually ladies, who seemed to have a direct private line to the Creator himself, and I felt like their prayers held more power for some reason. A couple of sweet ladies have such quiet, earnest prayers, I could listen to them all day.

Two of my very favorite Prayer Warriors 💕

I know some of this is just my theological past coming out, and today, I recognize my prayers have just as much power. In some faiths, I understand the prayers of the priest or religious leaders have historically been given more power. I am thankful I know I can pray for any situation or person, with literally all my heart and soul, thanks to Jesus. The first time an online friend reached out to me, and called me a Prayer Warrior, I was immediately humbled. Of course, I will. That may have been the day I took my prayer time even more seriously then ever before.

But then when a personal health concern popped up unexpectedly this week, I struggled to reach out…my prayer request remained “unspoken”. I know my team will step up to the plate and offer prayers, knowing the important thing is, that God knows each request, even without words. Even I can just quietly ask “You know what I need Lord, and You know my heart”.

One of my friends challenged me, right up front, when I shared details later…why was I being hesitant and secretive when I first called on my Prayer Warriors?

Good question. My reply was I think I just needed to wrap my head around the situation, and know what to ask for. Why can I go on and on with my request for a friend, and give God lots of detail like he doesn’t know already; yet I settle for just a basic sentence, the bare minimum, when the prayer is for myself?! Perhaps it comes back to my own pride, and not being able to ask anyone for help very easily. I need to figure out how to do it on my own first. Thank you, Michelle, for calling me on it…making me re-examine myself. I had another friend scold me years ago for not asking for help. Admittedly, she could not do anything about the situation, but she could pray. She, above all, could and would pray. But she also reminded me that by not asking for help, I was taking away the opportunity for them to be used by God to be a blessing. Who did I think I was?! I’ve learned that lesson, Rose. Thank you. She is always a blessing, always reaching out to others. Having worked with young people my whole life, I love to help others reach out and be a blessing, as well. But, man, isn’t it hard to be on the receiving end sometimes?!

One of my favorite scenes from the Bible is when Jesus left the disciples on the shore to wander off down the beach by himself, to pray. Perhaps that is why I enjoy my solitude walks at the Anchorage and Stanley’s beach…I know He will meet me there. I just need to learn to talk more, and not be afraid to ask. I am accepting those prayers graciously from friends, but why is it so hard to ask God for help, to spell out my requests precisely? I’ve gotten pretty good at leaving the prayers open-ended, “Thy will be done”, and I’m a great listener. Usually.

So, God, I know you’re listening. I heard you Sunday morning when Pastor Karl asked, “give me eyes to see”, and I know you heard me when I asked you to show me the lesson in all this.

So, I will just keep asking, and ask you to help me be a better Prayer Warrior for myself.

Competition. I’m done!

I’ve been thinking about this a lot on my last few walks. It has been a little more challenging since I recently started working, and I find myself reflecting on the days I was working at school. It wouldn’t have been unusual to put in ten hour days as a teacher. Actually, it would have been more unusual to NOT put in ten hour days. These days I’m struggling to get the laundry done, and other household chores. Saturday night entertainment was spent at the grocery store, deciding on which package of pork chops would be the best deal for the week ahead…especially since I wouldn’t be home to cook suppers, and have to readjust my menu planning yet again. But that entertainment had to be confined to an hour, because the store would be closing soon.

But somehow, when I was teaching, everything got done. Well, most everything. Most of the important stuff, anyway. I guess it has just been a bit of a shell-shocker this month, because I refuse to admit I can’t get everything done I want to. (No news flash there, eh?!)

So, one of my Covid activities, has been Virtual Walking challenges. I’ve set my sights on various medals with differing distances, and have accomplished several smaller ones. 5-10kms seem to be no problem, but then I got intrigued by some longer ones. Now I’m struggling to keep up, because of my work schedule. I have tried getting out before heading to the office, which is an enjoyable way to start the day, but it takes me away from “valuable” time at the dishwasher or laundry room. I know “this too shall pass”, but when Dalton and Karl have both passed me enroute virtually, I’m beating myself up!

As I was adding things to my Happy Planner earlier this week, this card fell out. Yes, I definitely needed reminding. How many days do we spend competing in our head against the expectations of others? But even worse, competing against the expectations we set for ourselves? Everyday, I see reminders around me of things I “want” to be, things I “should” be doing. And at the end of the day, I often reflect on what I need to change or do differently. But this week, I gently reminded myself I really am doing the best I can.

But even that last sentence makes it sound like I’m competing again. As if I am “settling”. As if, not meeting my expectation, means I am failing. I really need to be still, and remind myself I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Be Still, Be Kind

Have you had one of those days, when deep down, you know what you need to do for a better you…but you just can’t seem to find the motivation to make that first step?

Today was one of those days.
I was up early (as usual), put on my comfy leggings, and consciously put on my sneakers instead of my flats. Be prepared. My coach says “Be Ready…that’s half the battle” .
Be ready, at a moment’s notice to jump back on that path to a better you.
I had Dial a Ride clients this morning, so had to go “all the way” to North Head 😂, anyway.
I was tempted to just go straight to the lighthouse, skip the helicopter pad today. It’s too windy. It’s too cold. It will be really cold up there. You missed the sunrise, so the view isn’t going to be that spectacular. You forgot your water bottle. Your tummy is rumbling because you didn’t grab breakfast. Just get to the lighthouse and you can turn right around and head home.

Self-talk can be so harsh, can’t it?
My feet seem to have a mind of their own sometimes…habit says turn uphill, not straight ahead when you get the keeper’s house.
Before I knew it, I was standing on top of the cement path. It was certainly breezy.
Before I knew it, I was heading further away from the lighthouse, out to the very tip of the peninsula. The trails down there are very narrow, and a little more challenging, but I made it. Looking back, I purposely chose the longest, twistiest path back to the lighthouse. Jump over to the foghorn.
Then I spotted it…the first of several painted rocks little Harper had left yesterday. I had come prepared with a few rocks of my own to trade. Thank you for the motivation to keep going, Harper.

Just Keep Moving.
Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Just climb those steps like you own them.
Just get to the top.
Only stop to enjoy the view from where you’ve travelled.
And just be kind to yourself.
Just for this day.

National Day of Remembrance for COVID 19

March 11, 2021

I look back on my Facebook memories today to see if there are any clues of what life was like before. None. Although today was noted as one year anniversary of World Heath Organization declaring the world pandemic of Corona Virus, here in New Brunswick, on this date, our first presumptive case was announced. It wouldn’t be until three days later, our own world would start to shut down… Friday the 13th.

I’ve been watching my Facebook feed all week for clues… memories… of what life was like BEFORE the pandemic. I didn’t find a lot. We had some snow; not much. The deer came to visit in the yard. I made an early morning trek out to Swallowtail.

Then I would be enjoying Art Club, as we waited for our teacher, Carole Forbes to return from her winter vacation and resume classes. I would be doing volunteer work with Dial a Ride, Food Bank and Toast Cart. I had just started my Life Coaching business, and holding Creative Art Therapy classes & small group sessions. We would be enjoying Monday morning Ladies Bible Study (WITH singing!), and 40 Days of Prayer at CLC.

Dalton and I made a short trip to Fredericton for March Break; I enjoyed a painting class at NB College of Craft & Design. We visited the Beaverbrook Art Gallery with Auntie Joyce for the Emily Carr exhibit, and visited with my mom at DECH.

Various friends had been traveling South for March Break, and the Nova Coronavirus was really hitting Europe. Precautionary travel advisories and restrictions were starting to pop up, and seep into our daily lives, whether we were traveling or not. Our nursing home and school district, amongst other organizations would start restrictions if you had travelled to certain countries. Friends were stuck in Hawaii, frantically trying to avoid airport closures and look for a way home. Entire cruise ships were being turned away at ports.

Shopping for toilet paper, hand sanitizer and flour would be amongst hottest grocery store purchases. Forget Storm Chips!

And here we are. Week 51 State of Emergency. We cautiously accepted Dr Theresa Tam’s announcement “no reason to be overly concerned in Canada”, but by March 2020, we would be hearing her recommendations of social distancing and face masks. We would meet Dr Jennifer Russell and welcome her into our homes on a regular basis.

First of many updates from Dr Russell

And we would learn to go about our everyday lives in a new way.

March 11, 2021

We learned to watch for arrows, space ourselves 6’ apart, wash our masks daily, wash and sanitize our hands an insane amount of times, schedule our lives around 2:30 news updates; we learned how to Zoom and FaceTime when we were expected to “Stay the blazes home”. We booked appointments and bought groceries behind plexiglass, and answered a barrage of questions regarding symptoms and recent travel at many public buildings. We learned to celebrate from a distance, and not always together at the same time. We learned to prioritize friendships with a Steady 10, then 15.

But sadly, we also learned to love differently. I learned how to love differently. I learned I couldn’t just pop into the hospital to visit an ailing friend, or even my dad after surgery. I couldn’t just pop in to visit my dying mother in a nursing home. I learned I could enjoy lunch with my sister over Zoom. I did learn I have friends who can help me make those visits happen, regardless. We learned to cry as a nation with a neighbouring province when tragedy hit, and I had the privilege of sitting with a remarkable poet from that neighbourhood and listen to her grieving heart. I learned I could drop off fresh bread (no covid lessons needed, I already had that skillset!) on an elderly friend’s porch, and chat through her kitchen window. I learned we could sing Happy birthday with a choir from Fredericton, North Head, Scotland, while on my couch on Hill Road. And I still sing badly. We learned we couldn’t sing in church; but no one could see my lips repeat 10 000 Reasons for my heart to find. We were told to keep 6 feet apart, but we couldn’t stop that 6 year old’s tiny arms from swinging around my waist. We couldn’t stop that grieving man, standing in front of his mother’s casket, from reaching out and squeezing tight, and knowing that all you had to offer in the moment was a prolonged squeeze in return.

We haven’t lost heart. If anything, maybe we rediscovered it.

Sandra Boynton, March 2020…just the beginning;
but we must NEVER lose heart.

Marching on…

Good morning!
Happy Friday…and to many of you, happy Friday before March Break!
When I was working at school, this day was an incredible milestone in the year for me. It was a reminder of all the things we had gone through since September, all the accomplishments, as well as all the struggles. Like the seasons, winter is coming to a close, and subtle hints of spring are starting to appear. For me, the school year was actually about to accelerate, as graduation preparations would start to take up most of my days, and nights. Much like climbing Mount Crumpit, though, a whole lot of energy was taken getting to this point, and it seemed like the finish line was still off in the distance. Yet, March 1st was like a major turning point. Once March Break arrived, you could descend that mountain, and in no time at all, you would be at the end; June would be here with barely a blink of an eye.

The last couple of months have been challenging, but I’ve been determined to find those things that bring me joy, no matter how small. I found my snowshoes again. I picked up my watercolours again. I learned to make Ramen Noodles … far different from my traditional comfort food soups. I took a couple of online workshops, and started preparing for an online ladies retreat.

I was surprised yesterday by a delivery from my favorite flower girl. Auntie Jo-Jo arrived with a sweet arrangement from the Library Board. I have been on the board for the past three years, and struggled with renewing my stay. I tentatively said yes back in November, but after all the stressors of December and January, I was regretting that decision. Don’t get me wrong…they are a great group to work with, and I greatly value all their programs for island families. My head just didn’t have the space. Thank you, for your show of appreciation. It certainly looks like spring!

I decided to stop in Thrifty’s for a minute. My new rule to live by, is I’m not allowing myself to bring anything IN the house, unless something LEAVES my house. I was feeling pretty good about taking a couple of boxes last night for the Curling Club yardsale. So I felt I was safe to stop in the second hand shop. My great $3 finds were a “new” glass jar for beach glass, and an awesome “new” book. Literally.

I met up with Darlene at her shop. I had wanted a couple of specific stones, but my under $5 purchase was much more valuable to my spirit that day. When you walk into Presence Boutique, a sense of calm immediately comes over you. I love how Darlene always greets me with love, and welcomes my soul with her nurturing heart. I needed that. I took my time looking though new stock. So much to see. I’m not in a hurry to leave. I found what I was looking for, but then spied a beautiful agate geode wind chime. And in my favorite colour. I was immediately transported to a lovely spring day when my windows could be opened up and I can hear the gentle clinking of the crystals.

I was excited to bring home my treasure… but I had a problem.

In my excitement to unpackage it from the carefully wrapped bag, the strands got tangled. And, just as life, I wanted to see it hanging in the morning sun, but couldn’t slow down. What a tangled mess I had created, despite Darlene having wrapped it carefully, gently. Lovingly.

Why do I do this to myself, time after time? So many beautiful pieces I want to take in, and experience each and every one for their unique beauty. So many details to learn. So many things to share.

I sat for a good thirty minutes, gently weaving and untangling each individual slice, nervously laying them out as they became separated. I started to lift them up, but quickly realized I hadn’t put the hanger up yet. Slow down, Heather. Enjoy the process of preparing, just as much as the end goal.

There always seems to be a never ending pile of chores to complete. This week, I don’t want to tackle any of them, let alone complete them. I just want to gently untangle some things, and sit in His peace.

To sit and Be Still.