Tag Archives: family

Eye … Cannot Live Without – Photo Blog Challenge

 

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Eye Blog image January 14

Blog Challenge – Day 13 Cannot Live Without and Day 14 Eyes

This blog is not going to be long and involved

Thinking through options my challenge is solved

I went through the list of things that I love

I thought of all people near, far, and above

There was coffee, chocolate, and all comfort food

Wine, sunset, and roses to set romantic mood

There will always be words and writing no end

Sunshine, spring, and horses – no need to pretend

But imagine a world where you cannot see

Where things are to imagine what they might be

So when I thought about all without I cannot live

I am blessed for my eyes and the insight they give

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All Things Considered

Although I have frequently admitted to myself that some aspects of my life will never be the same, there is an underlying current that wraps me up and sweeps me along the river of familiarity. It’s an ongoing and never-ending course with changes and morph-isms as needed, rising and falling, slowing and free-flowing… but one thing is prevalent – it is always dynamic and all-encompassing. I will admit there are times when I feel stagnant, as if industrious water animals have dammed up my waterways, their unexpected blockages stopping the flow of creativity from mind to hand to page.

In my attempt to learn, create, and share along my writing journey, consistency of content and commitment rate high on my list. To be true to what you believe way down deep in your soul is the only thing that matters when it all washes up on the banks. If I ever feel as if I am not living up to my own level of creative expectation, I just have to stop and look – truly see – all that I have done and all there is to do. I appreciate my friends who are constant supporters, and only remind myself of my accomplishments to justify why I have not posted another blog, why I have not written a new article, or why I have not engaged in the weekly writing prompts.

This short repartee is in no way to be considered masterful or all-inclusive. It is merely a brief composition of what’s been on my mind, what’ been accumulating for the past few weeks. However, it is heartfelt… all things considered.

Oh, look, beautiful fall things…

Fall Leaves

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Day 5 – Back To It

Easter Long Weekend 2014 Blog Pictorial – continued…

The last day of a holiday is bittersweet. Driving away from the mountains is always something I regret… I watch them fade in the rear view mirror and I think… what am I doing? I feel like the wild one trailered and towed away from my freedom. I tried to make the day last but the time passed and miles fell away and soon I was back to it. Back to the everyday life – not that there’s anything wrong with my everyday life… it’s just busier, and noisier, and faster paced. My extra-long weekend didn’t depend on time or schedules; it wasn’t filled with noise or the unnecessary. And nature doesn’t work that way. When the sun was out, so was I. The quiet of a Sunday morning was prime for locating the reason for my journey. When my body was tired and the quest accomplished, I stayed in and rested. Today, I was showered and packed and on the road by 10:00 am. As I got closer to Edmonton, the “back to it” increased and the relaxing feelings of the weekend faded away with the return to rush hour traffic.

On the return trip I retraced most of my steps with a quick stop here and there, but mostly I kept to the beaten path and was back to the city by 4:00 pm. I picked up my keys and met Ray for a drink and supper to close out my day. I return to be with those I love, to resume my job and work my company, but forever in my memory and in my heart, I know there is something that no one or nothing can take away from me… my chance encounter to see the wild horses where they belong – free and unhindered. Always follow your dreams.

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Day 4 – Catering to the Lazy Artist

Easter Long Weekend 2014 Blog Pictorial – continued…

Fresh air and exploration takes it out of you – or, perhaps, it’s that feeling of satisfaction that just keeps you rooted to one spot – a happy, inspiring spot made for self-reflection and creativity. The camera was quiet today although the mind’s eye was a flicker with all the images snapped and transferred over the course of Day 2 and Day 3. Had I not found the horses yesterday, I would have been more eager to go out today – to seek and to find, confirming for myself that I could see them how they are, free, in nature. Had I not found the band I did, I would have had to go forth in order to fulfill my sense of holiday destiny.

If I had arrived Friday, I would have been moving on today, but the delay had a way of working out in the end especially when things are relaxed and flexible. Three days at “A Bed in Heaven” really was relaxing and desired. The weather held nicely today although the wind was cool at times, but in all reality, there is still snow on the ridges and hillsides nearby, in the fields and in the shadows – the breeze whispers chilling messages as it grasps the cold and flows by…  in its windy way, it asks me what I discovered on my journey. How can express my appreciation and gratitude for this opportunity? As I write, it is calm now and the sun’s warmth feels heavenly upon me as I sit on the deck outside my room.

I discovered, as I have known for many years, I am good on my own, with more than enough interests to keep me busy, entertained, and occupied. That does not mean I am alone, nor do I want to be for any length of time – I want to be in love and I want to care about people – I deserve those who love and care about me. It’s really like the saying: the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. This… truly, has always been my quest.

I discovered that although I like to think I could go back to the ways of the world before the Internet and advanced communications, I don’t believe I could and don’t care to… there is just too much connectedness with my work and my networks through it to give it up completely. I have my lap top with me. I admit… I watched some TV. I checked emails and I posted to Facebook and to my blog. I could not text or phone, however… so it was quiet in a way that it isn’t when I am home. We are, though, bound to the limits of the technology itself. When there is no reception, no hook-ups, no way to connect… it doesn’t matter what you want or desire.

I discovered I am only limited by my own fears and insecurities – this is nothing to do with being loved, not about having friends or others around, not about jobs or work or money – but just about living without fear of what might happen. I keep to the path and stay safe. I know my limits and won’t push for more. I am contented with my journey – is it as exciting and adventurous as some? No. But it’s mine and I take it as I please. Because you step out of your comfort zone your mind tends to focus on the things you don’t know and cannot see – a cougar stalking you, coming across the path of a bear. In the wild, these things are my fears and tend to keep me tame in my quest. Again, with someone along for the hike, it might be a different story, but why put oneself in harm’s way, just because you can. I can treasure my memories because, for the most part, they are not marred by incident. Yesterday’s issue reminded me of being 23 and so wrapped up in my own little world, lost in a stranger’s arms, that it panicked a travel companion to the point of reporting me missing. I never wanted to be that person again – it leads me to believe you cannot ever be free without someone standing there with your bridle and reins, saying, “Dammit, where is she?”

Some general impressions of my Easter long weekend journey:

  • Why must some people throw cans and other garbage to the road side?
  • Why do some drivers of trucks have to drive so fast?
  • Why do those in a hurry travel the road less taken?
  • To some people, horses make a mess… really?
  • The numbers of wildies don’t warrant such opposition – less than a thousand animals? There is so much country out there – really?
  • The tallest of towers does not provide reception amongst the tallest of trees and the tallest of mountains.
  • My hosts at the B&B are amazing people.
  • I take too many pictures!! Good thing this is the digital age and not 32 mm film!! (Regarding my comment above about the camera being quiet… I just downloaded 42 pictures… and I didn’t even leave the deck…)
  • I see pictures in everything – except people – why is that? (My biggest regret was not having a recent picture of my mother – yet I still neglect the subject of people, for the most part.)
  • You can pack all the fruit and vegetables and cheese and nuts you want… I feel like I am going to eat a gazillion hamburgers upon my return.
  • As much as it would have been nice to have someone else along for the ride, I did do this thing for someone special… me!

Oh, yes… the lazy artist thing… well, I don’t think I was lazy at all. I only slept until 8:00. I worked on some editing. I read through and plotted the illustrations for two stories I am working on with one of my DWP authors. I wrote and posted 4 blogs so far. And I took a gazillion photos. I did not put any miles on the car today and plan to be up and out early tomorrow morning. I haven’t decided my return route but I like a road I have not taken before… or I could return the same way. Thinking like a wild horse… that’s the power of freedom.

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Family Day

He picked me up in the blue Tucson – the one that used to be Mom’s, and he drove the first leg of the trip out to my sister’s for coffee. We talked about work and weather and the state of things within our family dealings. At one point I felt scolded, as if a child, just because my views don’t match those of others. I feel like a rebel as they may never be the same and I hold independence and freedom of thought close to my heart. I said I didn’t care but that was taken out of context – it is not that I don’t care, but rather, I care too much to let the numbers overshadow that which is truly irreplaceable – her. I am not oblivious or swayed by what others know to be their truths realizing we should all decide for ourselves and hold true to your own. I am me – and there were tears. But he had his tears, too. Dad stated bluntly that no one could know the extent of his loss – she was his life and now he just exists.

We talked of subjects I feared would be hard to broach; but, in all honesty, they were easy once the emotional trench was dug. I flooded it with inquiries, comments, and questions so he would be aware of the things we already knew, already had in the works – we, being those I have spoken to about the subjects we discussed. There is cause for concern but we found truths and revelations in our conversation. But, there were also things that need further clarification. What one chooses for their last resting place is personal yet it cannot be so personal that no one else is privy to the preference. At one point, he admitted he would have chosen cremation and the spot to rest – now he chooses to be by her side forever, and we have that covered.

The blue icing skies were smeared with fluffy white marshmallow clouds. The warmth of the mid-February sun at +2 kissed the snow-covered fields making them shine like meringue, rich sweet and browned in patches with winter wheat or grasses or weeds peeking through the snow. Crows and coyotes plump with an abundant taking of winter road kill watched from the ditches as our vehicle passed by… We encountered a quizzical little animal on the highway and in the wondering “what it was” realized quickly that the vehicle next to us determined what it wasn’t… alive… so quick a life can end. It was puzzling until we saw one right outside muskratmy sister’s house under her truck. We determined the little animal to be a muskrat – and we wondered of its frequency in sightings (there were plenty for the crows and coyotes along the highway) and did it hibernate? A search provided the answer – no – but it usually sits at home content to feed on the stores built up for winter survival. It ventures out at first sight of spring…

As nature takes its course and one is lost leaving others to go on, we must embrace the life around us. Take time to smile at the sunshine, wonder of the creatures, and feel pleasure in the company of those still here. We must let those hurtful things go that bog us down with anger or bitterness; accept that your views don’t have to match those around you to be just as viable. We must also venture out into the big world to discover what it has to offer – no matter our fears – and appreciate life in the moment.  

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Asking Myself Questions

Twenty seven days into the New Year – what have I learned? Nearing the end of the first month of 2014, what have I accomplished? Did I make resolutions to be broken or did I promise to make good on dreams that can be fulfilled? These are questions I am willing to ask myself and I hope you will take them to heart and ask yourself, too.

I cannot separate out that I am a writer and expect the outcome to be different from my everyday life. My writing journey IS my life – it’s my writing life and the one I cater to because I have to, I need to, and above all, it’s a part of me that must exist for me to be whole. Writers will nod as they read this, knowing what I mean. Readers will respect there are writers out there to provide them with words to which they can connect. Others – please think of something that means so much to you, you’d be unwilling to give it up, no matter what. That is of what I speak. Passion. Your very soul. The reason for being.

True, there is a scale that tips its balance as life’s events happen, as people need you, and as there are things that have to be done. Most of the time we can ignore a slight imbalance when things aren’t really all that important, they’re not life threatening, or detrimental to our very survival. We can react when we are so inclined to respond. People should always come first, but in that same breath you should never let anyone take your passion from you. It’s up to you to protect that piece of you, as you would your health, your heart, your hope.

This past weekend I spent the day at a women’s conference with several good friends. The event was a charity fundraiser for the Edmonton Dream Centre – a place that helps women in transition through education, self-discovery, and realization. A place that offers hope to those who need help to rediscover their dreams. It was awe inspiring and educational, it was a way to connect and network with those around you, but more importantly, it was a way to reconnect with yourself. Many of us cannot feel from experience what some of the women have gone through, but we can all feel through compassion and empathy based on our own life’s references. I will repeat a post I made that evening after all was said and done – if you do not believe that helping someone achieve their dream is fulfilling – try it.

January has not been a slow month and I am thankful for the weather of late – it has been unseasonably warm, with lots of snow melt, and although icy conditions prevail, I have been able to get out to events and meetings without too much problem. Today is colder, but after all, it is still winter! Work is always busy as we plan for our February annual general meeting and conference – my position means I usually do most of the writing, the speeches, presentations and reports – I even present at breakout sessions. It keeps me busy in my day job capacity. My own company, Dream Write Publishing, is growing. The workload is phenomenal for this time of year – the launch of an important book and teacher’s guide addressing bullying, the completion of an amazing cookbook layout for a local restaurant which is now at print, signing an Australian author for the release of his historical novel in EBook and Print-on-Demand, tentative clients and meetings, scheduling illustrations for upcoming children’s books, preparing royalty summaries, reports, and tax receipts, compiling silent auction donations and door prizes, etc. etc. etc… Looking ahead, just one short month, February is shaping up to be just as busy.

My own fulfillment comes from contributing to others’ dreams. It also comes from my need to write and publish my own work. My involvement with the local writing group fuels my community connection, keeps me connected with my writing friends, and inspires me to do what I love – write. I am nearing completion of my nearest and dearest work – one that has become a part of me over the years. Writing a pivotal scene made me very emotional last night – I felt its end nearing as the characters lose their connection, one I was so involved in and a part of, one I could not bear to let go of…

My own fulfillment comes from making promises to myself that I am able to keep. When asked to make that big commitment for one thing I wanted to do for sure this year – it was to finish and publish that very novel mentioned above. I am planning a writer’s retreat for May. I also took steps toward bettering my health, at least in a small way, so I can continue to enjoy and do all I am involved in. Nothing will get done if I am not healthy. I stepped out of my fears and into the pool to aquasize once a week.

This year so far I find that my emotions are more intense, my dreams are more defined, and my commitment is better outlined. I feel the deep loss of my mother, I feel for friends who have experienced the same, I managed to tackle chores left undone yet I don’t fret about others and just do what I can. I want to love and feel strong. I realize who is important and deserving of my time, I promise to make time for those people always, and I am trying to remain positive and active. In all this consideration, however, I am not saying I won’t overload the system – sorry Mandy – but I will certainly take a second look, apply all that I have learned so far this year already, and still remember to … breathe.

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Reflection

I will premise this blog with a short note to readers: I am fine. I will be okay. I am doing what I need to do in order to deal with things. YOU are the reason I will be okay for I am blessed and lucky to be part of such an amazing group of people – family, friends, co-workers, fellow writers, lovers of life, dreamers, believers… there have been many developments since last year, some good, some not so good – all are part of my journey.

                   *****

The traffic is light but increasing as the dawn creeps into another day. I am awake and the coffee is brewing. It’s a cool mid-fall -8 and the snow from yesterday is still on the ground. It makes me wonder if it will stay again … like it did last year. By Wednesday this week last year we had a storm that dropped several inches and it was cold – winter stayed this week last year.

There is no reason to be up this early as I begin a vacation week. Days that are mine, time taken to allow me to get done some stuff yet undone, to do some things abandoned, to deal with emotions still alive and raw and welling inside. This week will mean to each of us something different, yet for our family it also means something so common – the pain of loss.

This day started early after an uncomfortable sleep, if I could call it that. This day begins, promising to be productive, but not without discomfort. My memories do not rest easy in my mind nor do they soothe my heart. For I – this day, last year – called an ambulance to take my mom to the hospital. It was to be a one way trip.

I have written only a few things about her over the past year – I feel I have neglected my words in many ways yet have continued my journey as a writer in others. So much has happened – many good things, even though they are tinged with sorrow. Dealing with the loss has been a rollercoaster and I know people deal with death in different ways. I have no presumptions of its glory and where we end up; who really knows? I don’t believe in things that some people turn to during these times – it was a choice made long ago. But, I honor my mother and her beliefs; those give me comfort, small as they may seem at times… it allows me to think she is okay and with her own mother again.

My mom’s picture stands on my shelf at my bedroom doorway where I can see her every day. I talk to her and visit her grave. Those physical things I clutch in a desperate attempt to hold her close. The thought that makes me cry, every time, is how I miss her hugs – I always got one when arriving and another when I left. That emptiness – that hollow in my heart – will never be filled. Others in my life – family and friends – will surround it and make it better so I can go on, but no matter how much time passes, that deep wound will not heal. They say time does that but I don’t believe it for one second.

WP_001513

Photo by Linda J. Pedley (c) October 27, 2013

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In Touch with Writing Reality

My words keep me in touch with reality despite the fact I like to write fiction. It is in creating these alternative realities we solidify a connection with words and other writers, we reach out to our readers, and we delve deep to discover our inner selves. When we pull from within we stir up memories, emotions, thoughts; our words become drenched in our creative spirit. Down there is a collective pool where we dig up experience in order to add authenticity to our words. We write what we know because we keep all this tucked in our learning cabinets until such time we require it and draw it forth. We hold our emotions here, too – as we have opportunity to use them in real life we sympathize or empathize through personal experience, applying it to our writing, fact or fiction. Our words reflect our reality. Our writing life is forever entwined with our life journey.

*****

From somewhere in the vast unknown I know you are watching over us and although we feel like an empty abyss has opened up flooding us with overwhelming despair, it is our naivety that leads us to believe there is only darkness where you are. Perhaps, there is light and love as you find your new place within the next part of your journey. As I wrote today, and uploaded a new book, I thought of you. Although my accomplishments will always mean a great deal to me, it is with sadness that I accept the fact you will never hold them, read them, or say how much you liked them. No matter how many readers come to my blog – and I appreciate every one of them for they are a valued literary connection – I have to also accept that my number one fan will not return. Today, delayed realization finally set in and I could justify my inability to sleep well last night and identify the reason for my need to cocoon today. It has been 2 months to the day since you left us – we feel no less the loss your passing created and we love you all the more.

*****

Small bits and pieces fall together into an eclectic mix. I finally completed a project that was ongoing for some time now, uploading the result as an Ebook on Smashwords. A Writer’s Life ~ My Ode to the Bard, is a collection of written pieces that offer suggestion and, hopefully, inspiration to fellow writers. Articles, poems, reviews and some photographs/illustrations featured in the book came to me over the course of a few years during the time I was searching for myself as a writer and discovering different aspects of the writer’s life. My greatest influence has been the connection I have with writing friends, the establishment of a successful writer’s group, and the acceptance of my craft as my journey. These are my thoughts and opinions and just to share them is a success ~ if it inspires just one new writer to seek their dream, it will achieve more than I could ever hope.

*****

My writing is what helps me deal; it keeps me grounded; it fills me with hope ~ that is the reality of it.

 

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Starting the New Year Out “Write”

As I watch the sun go down in the southwestern Alberta sky, a beautiful first day of January slowly succumbs to dusk. The sky is still clear here and is an unseasonal -2 degrees which allows me to open my window a crack to let in the fresh holiday air. I am multitasking as I play a game and monitor the posts coming through my Facebook page, reposting those interesting tidbits that build a newsworthy feed (and “liking” every horse picture, too). Creativity hits so fast, words are just a blur

I take my time today as I ponder the direction of my first blog of the New Year. My mind is a blur with the possibilities. I could also work on one of the numerous projects I have on the go – personal and publishing. My own resolutions are clear: to do what’s “write”, simply stated. Over the past couple of years, my focus has been diverted from my own work to that of my clients and colleagues; this is not a bad thing, for it is what I am destined to do. It is how you keep learning, promote the craft, and progress on your own writing journey. It is also the mandate of my publishing company as we head into the second half of my third part-time year in business. Things are going well but it is not without its own self-inflicted wounds. I have several works of my own awaiting attention and there always exists the underlying desire to do more and submit more for outside consideration. My commitment to my blog is an ongoing passion because this is where I connect with all of you out there, my fellow writers. Here, it is more than just the ramblings I commit to my journal, things I don’t share out in public, things I provide a disclaimer for in case anyone reads those words post-mortem – “please be kind and don’t judge until you walk a mile in my shoes.” Certainly, these fertile emotional fields are the breeding ground for words to be shared with some revision. It has borne many an article, many a verse, many a line. My blog is my public journal that endeavors to share my writing life and how life affects it. My easy-going day is a treat but it is now dark as I still contemplate. My window is closed but the year of opportunity lies open ahead.

We are all given the same amount of time in a day - the difference is what we choose to do with it...

We are all given the same amount of time in a day – the difference is what we choose to do with it…

It is not that I don’t have anything to write; in fact, just the opposite – I have so many words I would like to express and so many directions my sharing could venture. My first blog of the year often holds promise for what lies ahead with encouragement to keep on writing while reflecting on the things that matter most – memories. Looking back over 2012, it brings those bittersweet extremes life is known to throw at you just because you live it, into high focus. It is a conundrum best described in the immortal lyrics of country singer, Garth Brooks “Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain but I’d of had to miss the dance.”

Life hands us the experiences of loss and gain, hope and failure, happiness and sadness. It can appear to be in larger helpings for some, almost never to others, or an ongoing thing with this and that so much so we beg “enough already.” I can speak for no one but myself when I recount the past year and the effects events have had on my writing and my life, in general. I received great accolades and suffered great loss. I accomplished goals yet dealt with frustration. I felt the elation of happiness, yet spiralled to the emotional depths of despair. There is no going back for a do over so it is something I need to embrace when I recall 2012 – what can I do better? What can I treat with greater compassion? What can I change and what has changed forever?

Through this social media family and my own, I have connections with great minds who prophesize their own 2013 future in as many ways as there are numbers. I like the suggestion that we take little bites off the months as we chew through this year. It makes swallowing what life has in store for us so much easier. Little goals, little steps, little by little we move forward. Keep the big dream in mind but focus on each and every day. To look too far ahead you miss the chance to experience everything along the way. I have lofty goals, oh yes – I recently proposed to a friend that we plan the trip to Italy we have talked of so fondly for some time now. And 2014 it will happen, with a short stay in Stratford Upon Avon to visit my hero.

The BardThis post is not without its underlying desire to encourage a bright writing year ahead. It is necessary to keep your writing goals posted close to your heart, for only another writer knows how vital they are to your journey. We write because we must. We write because it is an inborn, innate, inherited passion that will not go away even if you ignore it. Oh, you can waylay your desires if you are easily distracted but your muse will not allow you to miss out on your true calling in this life. Seek the support of those who share this passion; be true to your own creativity and be strong enough to stand against those who would disarm you of your pen. In time, your own mettle will prevail, your ink will flow, and those around you will see you for who you are meant to be – a writer.

In this proclamation I take with me my most cherished memories. I hold them close to my heart so I can remember what it is that is most important. I have the support of so many friends and family, colleagues and clients. I claim this right through the words channelled by my muse, through my admiration of others who share my love, and my mother, who watches over me now from beyond. Despite my pain, there is hope as I dream big and move forward. Deep down I know it will still never be the same but in my heart I know I am doing what I am supposed to do with my life.

New 2013 writer wish

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