Thursday, August 31, 2006

Happy 80th...

Life. Is. Grace.

Borrowing a statement from his good friend Dorothy Day, Paul Harris used these three simple words to sum up his life. His life thus far, that is. By this, he explained to those gathered to help celebrate his 80 years, he ackowledges that his life has been a series of gifts... gifts from God. And like all gifts, he feels deeply that they are meant to be shared.

Therein lies the beauty of my friend Paul. He is Grace. He is pure gift and I feel so grateful that he has wandered onto my life path.

At his party, I chuckled when I saw the newspaper clipping about a young man from Toronto who hitchhiked to Quebec City in the dead of winter to witness the funeral of Cardinal Villeneuve, Archbishop of Quebec, in 1947. Leaving with nothing but extra socks, a spare shirt and 12$ in his pocket, it took him 3 days and 2 nights. As the story goes, he had 5$ left when he finally reached his destination.

This is the same young man who, later that year, announced to his mother that he was off to Combermere to meet a Russion Baroness that he had read about in a book. Assuring her that he'd be back for supper, he ended up returning home six months later.

Raising a family... establishing a successful career... So much to celebrate! Paul's current passion lies in sharing the teachings of Christian Meditation. He has authored many books on the topic and is sought out by meditators from around the world for speaking tours. Friends from near & far pay him tribute today...

I am fortunate to be one of those friends from near. Life is indeed Grace. Happy Birthday Paul!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Guaranteed Giggles & Broken Links...

It appears that giggles will have to wait! Hallmark web site is having technical problems and none of my links in the post below worked. So I've disactivated them - for now. You'll have to come back soon and experience hoops&yoyo for yourself!

Guaranteed Giggles...

hoops&yoyo crack me up! I first discovered them as Hallmark e-cards and ventured onto their website... There is no end of fun with them!!! They offer a lot of useful stuff too - whether you're looking for advice on proper Opening a Door etiquette, or how to politely blow your nose in the workplace. Or perhaps you'd prefer to simply follow their blog to keep up to date.

Whatever your preference, if you're looking for a bit of stress relief, spend some time with hoops&yoyo - they're a source of guaranteed giggles!


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Un-adult-erated Joy...

- Hello.
I'm going camping!
- Really? Lucky you.
Yeah. I'm going camping with my friends.
- Good for you... Have fun!
Yeah. I will.
- Bye.

The exchange lasted only a moment, but it has stayed with me. I was walking to cool down after my run yesterday and the little boy was playing in front of his house. He boldy engaged me in conversation, obviously unable to contain his excitement.

When is the last time I was so excited about doing something that I shared it with a complete stranger? Not surprisingly, I can't remember. I suspect that, if I did such a thing, I'd get that look... the one that says "Yeah. OK. Whatever. Wierdo."

Too bad. The world might be a better place if adults allowed themselves to share their joy - and simply accept that of others, without judgement.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Attention Intention...

It's Friday morning and I've decided to give a spiritual intention to my day. Since I've been feeling somewhat scattered and unfocussed these past coupla days, I've chosen "Attention".

Spirituality & Practice is a thoughtful, accessible online resource that allows me to bring Spirit into every aspect of my day, including my time at work. Today's chosen practice of Attention calls upon me to be in this moment. To walk with eyes & heart open to what is right in front of me.

May we all walk in such a way...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The shape of gratitude...

Gratitude comes in all shapes & sizes... This past weekend, it took the form of a small group of friends sharing time on the shores of Bennett Lake, near Combermere, Ontario. Every summer, my friend Paul extends an invitation to the members of our small Christian Meditation group to join him at his cottage. In fact, it's an invitation to paradise...

Saturday was as close to perfection as I can remember being. Quiet solitude reading on the dock while others napped or hiked... a boisterous game of frisbee-in-the-lake followed by a leisurely swim... a journey-à-deux by canoe around the lake... silent group meditation... a wonderful meal prepared by many willing hands... conversation-under-the-stars of spiritual paths and, in the end, how they all come together. How we all come together. I had the pleasure of having a screened-in porch as my "bedroom" and slept with windows wide open to the sounds of the night. Night as God intended.

The visit was short, but oh-so-very-very-sweet. Admittedly, when I got back home on Sunday, I had trouble adjusting to the noise & activity of the city. I found myself in a foul mood. Luckily, that passed (as all things do), and I was left with a reminder of how important nature is to my spiritual and overall well-being. As much as I love my home & neighbourhood, it is in re-connecting to simple pleasures and experiencing nature with all my senses that I tap into true peace - the presence of God.

Sitting silently in a canoe, on a lake so calm I was losing sense of what was up & what was down, the gratitude was palpable, yet entirely inexpressable in that moment. Words were pointless. Today, I offer up one of my favourite prayers, by Dag Hammarskjold:
For all that has been, Thanks.
For all that will be, Yes.


Friday, August 18, 2006


"I'm worried about my finger. Does it look infected to you?"

John (of no fixed address) shows me his swollen index finger, the handy work of a bicycle chain gone awry. I scrounge around in my purse and pull out a small bottle of Purell to help disinfect the obviously punctured skin. I also slip him a band-aid to help keep it clean. He promises to drop into a medical clinic to have it looked at - a much better alternative then his original idea of heating up a needle himself, and bursting the bubble slowly building up near his knuckle.

Today, John shows me his strapped up hand. Indeed, infection had started to set in and the doctor put him on a round of antibiotics. I was grateful he had a place he could go to for proper treatment. But what truly made me smile was the band-aid holding some of the gauze in place. A pretty, pink Hello Kitty band-aid. :-) Now, there's a man who's secure in his masculinity!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Pleasures - big & small...

BIG: Spending oodles of time with Hubby on Aug. 5 & 6 at the Canadian National Track & Field Championships. The weather was perfect. The athletes were inspiring. And Life was as it should be.

SMALL: Buying Hello Kitty Band-Aids, just because... I wore one on my heel even though the blister was pretty much gone. :-)

BIG: Celebrating my Acadian roots with Sis on Aug. 15th and marching in my first tintamarre in years. Turns out the musician playing at the bar was from our home village in New Brunswick!

SMALL: Getting a bunch of free perennials from my neighbour and planting them. All. In one small garden. Next spring should be a revelation! (If they survive the winter :-))

BIG: Planning & delivering a short workshop to a group of teachers from across Canada. Although the experience was brief, it reconnected me with what I love doing. I was in the zone! What a great reminder of why I left the management level...

SMALL: Enjoying waaay too many cheats on my diet - with a special nod to Miss Vicki's Roasted Red Pepper chips and to Rolo Ice Cream. Yum.

BIG: Being able to sleep with the windows open, being caressed by a fresh breeze...

SMALL: Loving my new haircut!

I could go on... but you get the picture. Life is good these days.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

PPJP Post-script...

Turns out that, after all these years, Sis & I have a different understanding of what PPJP stands for! For her, it stands for post-purchase justification process, not post-purchase justification period. Huh. Who knew?

We briefly tossed around the idea of calling it PPJPP (post-purchase justification process period), but in the end, we agreed to leave things as they were. She has her word; I have mine. It's all good. The important thing is that we're there for each other during those precarious purchasing moments. Thanks Sis!


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Welcome to my PPJP...

I did something very out-of-character today. Moi, Mlle Consignment Shop Shopper, dished out an exhorbitant amount of money for a single article of clothing. Yes, it was on sale. Yes, I will get a lot of use out of it. Yes, it's gaawwgeous, and therefore made me feel equally gaawwgeous. And yes, I feel guilty.

Welcome to my PPJP.

The "PPJP" is a sister-thing that we came up with; it stands for post-purchase justification period and usually lasts anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. We are a product of our clothes-shopping upbringing: sensible, frugal, Sears catalogue. As adults, we've had to unlearn those old patterns and allow ourselves to spend, spend, spend on clothes - clothes that make us feel good and make us go "wow". Clothes that say "I'm worth it!" But there is an emotional cost to that unlearning, and it's called PPJP. It usually expresses itself in a phone call to the non-purchasing sibling, explaining all the reasons the purchase was valid and necessary. This phone call was duly initiated as I exited the shopping centre.

Today, I even jumped over the pre-PJP phase. This is an occasional occurence where I call my sister before I pull out the credit card in the hopes that: a) she'll talk me out of it, or b) she'll support me in my decision and I no longer have only myself to blame. But alas, not this time. I presented the plastic, hugged my new green crushed velvet jacket, and complimented the sales girl on her selling skills. I'm on my own on this one.

And so, for the next day or so, I get to look at the jacket... touch the jacket... wear the jacket... and tell myself - and anyone else within earshot - that it is indeed, a good thing.