Please Join Me At SMARTLiving365 “Ten Things We Should Have Known Before We Started Blogging”

I love Kathy Gottberg’s sentence on how the “Ten Things We Should Have Known Before We Started Blogging” “….offer a glimpse into our personalities and how we approach both our blogs AND the world around us.”  This past year I was surprised to learn how blogging is actually a team sport.  I greatly appreciate all of the interesting, kind, supportive members of the team from all parts of the Globe. 

I am especially grateful for the privilege of meeting these amazing ladies.  I know you will appreciate the candor, insights and gems found in this post.

What things would you add to the list?

via Ten Things We Should Have Known Before We Started Blogging

 

 

Please Join Me At SMARTLiving 365 – I look forward to seeing you there!

I was honoured to be invited to contribute a guest post on Kathy Gottberg’s informative and inspirational blog  SMARTLiving365     SMART is an acronym for Sustainable, Meaningful, Aware, Responsible, Thankful. 

Kathy is passionate about positive aging, exploring new ideas, educating and sharing information.  Her articles are thought-provoking, relatable and filled with information encouraging us to be our best selves. If you have not had a chance to visit Kathy’s blog, I highly recommend you check it out.  I know you will appreciate the articles as much as I do.

I wrote the “Sliding Doors” story in November, 2018.  It is a story close to my heart since we celebrated our 40th Anniversary last Fall.  Have you had a “Sliding Door” moment in your life?

via    Sliding Doors – How Would Your Life Be Different If You Had Taken The Other Door?

 

Do You Believe A Person’s Energy Can Be Attached To An Object?

A friend shows me her Grandmother’s ring on her finger.  She is emotional and very moved telling me how much this ring means to her, how much her Grandmother meant to her.

Another friend shows me the ceramic bowls she created in her first few pottery classes.  She describes preparing and centering the clay.  She explains how this challenging process requires stillness, concentration, calm perseverance and becoming one with the clay.

Our three year old granddaughter brings me artwork she has created along with an elaborate description of the shapes and colours.  Her unfiltered pride is evident in her smile when I display her painting on the refrigerator.

             Are objects simply inanimate materials? 

Is an heirloom handed down from past generations only symbolic of a special relationship? 

Does artwork merely showcase the craftsman’s talent and skills?  

Or is there an essence, an energy present that animates these physical materials?

 

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Maori Art

I had not really thought about these concepts until I began to learn more about the Maori culture.

We were surrounded by many art forms visiting New Zealand this year.  The Maori believe art is an expression of the life force, the energy within you.

They believe that a physical object, a Mauri, contains a vitality, an essence.

Maori art conveys spiritual information, ancestry and culturally important topics.

           The Maori believe that the gods create and communicate through the master craftsmen.

 

 

 

We had the opportunity to visit Te Puia in Rotorua this year. Te Puia is home to the “New Zealand Maori Arts  and Crafts Institute.”  

 

 

Today artists learn through classes and much practise.  The styles vary from region to region.

Traditional Maori art was created using the materials available at the time, such as wood, bone, pounamu (jade or greenstone), paua (abalone) shell, flax, and feathers.  Many artists continue to use these natural, organic materials today.

 

 

What do I think?  Do I believe a person’s energy can be attached to an object?

Entire fields of science and pseudoscience are dedicated to the concept of objects and energy.  I went down the “crystals” rabbit hole when reading about this subject.  Possibly a future story.

I had not given this topic much thought until we were exploring New Zealand and learning about the Maori culture.  I respect the Wisdom of the Ages. I try to keep my mind open to new ideas and possibilities.

I find I appreciate art more when I learn about the history and cultural significance of an item.

The Maori traditions have helped me recognize the spiritual connections we have with our environment and the emotional connections we have with our ancestors. 

The effort and meticulous care taken during the creative process is an expression of our inner selves, our essence.

Are materials infused with love and energy during the creative process?

                Is this life force passed on to the artifact?   

I do believe it is.  When I learn about the traditions, the history and the spiritual significance

                The artwork takes on a life of its own.

 

What do you believe?

 

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Weblinks:  Mauri      New Zealand Art     Maori Arts and Crafts

Maori Tradition    Maori Culture

 

 

 

 

Have you ever been on a Blind Date?

I was slightly nervous.  My hands were a little clammy.  I was out of my comfort zone.

I was also curious and looking forward to this Blind Date 

I have had the opportunity to meet many new people in my life.  This was different.  This was a first for me.  I was meeting someone face to face when we had only communicated in cyberspace.  

          Spoiler alert:  Donna is even nicer and more interesting In Real Life!

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Donna   Retirement Reflections  and I initially met last Fall, when I was reading anniversary stories on WordPress blogs.  I was deeply moved by her beautiful letter to her husband, a gift of words.   A Love Letter    When I found out that Donna and Richard lived on Vancouver Island, I knew we were destined to meet.  I believe that our paths were meant to cross.  I believe in synchronicity.

As many of you know, Donna and her husband Richard are preparing to hike   La Via Francigena   this Summer.   Monday nights include a two hour drive each way into Victoria to attend Italian lessons.

Donna and I had arranged to meet before the class at a restaurant called “Victoria Sushi.”  

An initial big, warm hug was followed by over an hour of non-stop talking about many topics. 

We talked about blogging in general.  Bloggers know the challenges of writing, editing, revising and critiques.  We know the feeling of vulnerability when we share our stories.  

We shared personal stories.  Donna has led a varied and interesting life with adventures in many exotic locations. I always look forward to opening my inbox and reading Donna’s stories. They make me laugh.   Bear Attack!!    They inspire me to be a better person and a better writer.

Early on I recognized Donna’s warmth, kindness, intelligence and wit through her posts and her comments. Donna has a supportive and kind comment for everyone.  She has a gift for recognizing and validating the core message and underlying emotions in a story.

I know that Donna has a large following of bloggers that admire and respect her.  I am one of the lucky few that have had the privilege of meeting Donna In Real Life.

 I had the opportunity to see her face light up when she talks about her family.  I saw how she smiled at Richard when he entered the room.  I can see why they will be celebrating their twentieth anniversary next year.

 

 

 

I enjoy this positive corner of the internet.  I have met many like-minded individuals.  I have also met people with diverse interests and different perspectives. You have enriched my life on many levels.  I live vicariously through your adventures and photos.  You make me laugh. You inspire me with your stories, your writing, your wisdom. 

I have also made friends along the way.

If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend you go on a Blind Date with a fellow blogger.  You will not regret it.  

Especially when you meet someone as genuine and kind as Donna.

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Postscript:   “Outtakes” 

I always have a lot of material to condense when I write. Since I enjoy watching outtakes, I decided to add a few notes.  aka “my inside voice 

  • Donna sent me links to past meet ups with fellow bloggers.  In the photos I see bottles of wine on the table and glowing cheeks on the bloggers.  Thank goodness for Marty’s timely wine post.   Snakes in the Grass   We can stay within a budget. fullsizeoutput_7768
  • Do I warn my husband about my computer history?  I did research “blind dates” and “what are the ten best dating sites in Canada?”
  • Re: IRL.  Susan’s   Swooning Grace   comment on Donna’s Retirement Reflections blog  made me smile. “Is IRL a secret code word among bloggers? ha ha.”  I am naive about the blogosphere, too.  I saw IRL a few times before I figured out the meaning.  Susan, you also made me cry on the same day you made me smile.  I read your beautiful post,   Tribute to a Father
  • In the age of Marvel comics and superheroes, Kindness is a quality that supersedes all of the other powers.  Thank you Donna, and all of the bloggers that continue to make this community fun. 

How do you teach children about death?

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Part one – January 23, 2018

Coincidence?

This afternoon, sad, teary-eyed Sadie shared with me that her fish had died.  She had this fish since she was born. 

Children often bring up topics when you are unprepared and you least expect it.  I looked at it as an opportunity to discuss death with a four year old.  

“Everyone and every living thing dies.  It is normal to feel sad.  Love for each other never dies.  Memories live on.  It is good to share your feelings.”  The usual things we say.

Questions from Sadie included:  “Was her fish in outer space?  Was my Dad in outer space?”  She was aware that my Dad had died many years ago.  

I told Sadie that I really wasn’t sure where her fish is and where my Dad is. We talked about heaven.

Sadie wanted to see pictures of my Dad.  I opened up the file on my computer from my last visit with my Dad.  My Dad was very compromised, elderly and in ill health.

Sadie noticed the Christmas decorations in the background.  She asked whether he had died at Christmas.  I told her, no.  Some time in January.

The hair rose on my arms.

I hunted down his memorial script.  May 4, 1929 – January 23, 2007.

A sob escapes my throat.

Coincidence?

 

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Part two – May 4, 2019

Sadie is now five years old.  One year older and one year wiser.

After a long, fun-filled day,  we were waiting for Sadie’s Mom to arrive to take her home.

                    This time I received an extra long hug.  She wouldn’t let go.

Then she said “I don’t want to forget you.  I looked at her and she had tears in her eyes.

I paused.  Where did this come from?  Does she know something I don’t know?

I was taken aback.  I didn’t have time to prepare an answer.  I said what I think are appropriate things to say to a five year old.  “You won’t forget me.  I will never forget you.  You will always be in my heart.”  I was a little emotional, too, although I tried my best to hide these feelings.

I get it.  I also don’t want to forget.

Memories surface around special holidays.  This year my Dad would have turned 90 years old on his birthday.

A few of my memories: 

  • I remember how birthdays were always a big deal in our house.  We always celebrated with a Black Forest Cake.
  • I remember how my Dad valued an education. On a very limited income,  he purchased the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica.  We would actually read these books on a daily basis. 
  • I remember how he was a gadget person.  The latest knives, blenders, recording devices, projectors, movie cameras.  We also had the first black and white tv on the block.
  • I still get misty-eyed when I hear a song from the Sound of Music, the first movie I saw with my Dad.
  • Most of all I remember the family values my Dad instilled in all of his children.  To him, love was a verb.  He showed us every day how much he cared about us. He loved children and unfortunately he did not have a chance to meet his amazing great grandchildren. 

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Memories can fade.  We will forget details about our loved ones, especially grandparents that may have left us many years ago.  We may have only a hazy recollection of events.

Sadie had questions about death and about my Dad in Part 1 of this story. 

How do we teach children about death?

When we have the privilege of spending time with children, we quickly realize that we will learn far more from children than they will learn from us.

Sadie taught me that it is okay to ask the hard questions. It is okay to love someone and be afraid of losing them.  It is okay to have tears in your eyes.

Sadie taught me that sometimes the only answer you really want is a very long hug and not let go.

Epilogue

A few weeks ago I was making some notes outside the yoga studio, waiting for my class to begin.  I was debating on whether I would write and share this story.  I walked into the studio and I met a friend who was telling me about her upcoming birthday plans.  I asked her what day is her birthday?  She said, May 4th.

Today would have been my Dad’s 90th birthday, May 4th.

Coincidence?

 

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Contemplating a Tattoo in New Zealand

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Tattoos are popular.

I have nothing against them.

Just not for me.  Not right now. 

 

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We were watching the surf on the Coromandel Peninsula, on the North Island of New Zealand.  The first thing that came to mind was my daughter’s tattoo.  It’s funny how an image can evoke a memory.

The waves on this beach reminded me of the tattoo of a heartbeat.

 

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Having raised teenage daughters, the concept of tattoos was brought up at a young age.  I didn’t bring up the topic.  They did.

The buzzword phrases were:  pick my battles and allow them to make their own decisions.

I chose my words carefully.

My advice was “think about it for one year before you do anything.  This is a permanent decision.”

Their first tattoos were initials of each other’s name.

 

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Artwork was added. 

 

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About ten years later, my daughter was excited to show me her new tattoo.  This tattoo was the image of the actual heartbeat of her little girl. This tattoo meant a lot to her.  It was symbolic of the precious gift of her child.

 

My daughter now has two heartbeat tattoos.

 

 

 

 

The first thing I saw on that beach in New Zealand was an image of a heartbeat. The waves had created distinct peaks on the shoreline.  Possibly the ocean’s heartbeat.

 

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For me, it brought up the memory of my daughter’s tattoos.  Symbolic of the priceless heartbeats of life.

 

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I may get a charm, or a pendant as a special, meaningful keepsake.

I don’t think I will get a tattoo.

Not right now. 

I may change my mind.