I’m Feeling…

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I had this drawing of a lion posted at my desk at work and it said, “A strong person is not the one who doesn’t cry. A strong person is one who is quiet and sheds tears for a moment, and then picks up her sword and fights again”.

It’s mocking me!

I want to cry, but I can’t quite give in. By cry, I mean the kind where you drop your pants, crawl under the covers, snuggle up next to your bed buddy and just give’er! No holds barred! Full on, scary, ugly-cry crying! I want to because I know that sweet relief follows. That build up of pressure flows out with your tears and your snot! And when you stop hiccuping and feel the coolness on your face as your tears dry and you start to drift off to sleep, you feel hope again.

I still feel hope, but I’m also feeling a lot of other things these days.

I feel hot and bothered, frustrated with discourteous people and people who don’t do what they say they will do. By well-meaning people who brush off my frustrations with poorly-timed cliches or personal anecdotes that really don’t fit here. Oh, and by hot flashes and night sweats, but mostly by people…

I feel restless. Like a teenagers’ “can’t wait to move away from home and start my life” kind of restlessness. Attending a 2 day leadership conference didn’t help. I came away feeling both overwhelmed by how things should be and aren’t, and by an intense desire to be involved in something that matters. Something transformational and pure and just.

I feel angry. I know that anger is a fickle and volatile companion. It breeds contempt, jealousy, and malice. I have enough weeds in my garden to keep the lawn maintenance companies off my block, I don’t need weeds in my soul too. (Or that zit on my forehead. Hello! I’m over 40 now!)

Strong women wear their pain like they do stilettos. No matter how much it hurts, all you see is the beauty of it.

You know I like my stilettos. I feel fierce in my sassy green boots. But I also feel annoyed because the world appears to be full of platitudes that make vulnerable women feel weak if they don’t behave like warriors, and dismiss their right to hurt.

Joyce Meyers wrote, “A strong woman knows how to keep her like in order. Even with tears in her eyes, she still manages to say, ‘I’m OK’ with a smile”. I disagree! There may be times, when our circumstances dictate that we have to stand firm, put on a strong front, and keep our pain private. But there are other times when we need to let someone in so they can help awaken a new beast within us. Warriors and lone wolves are powerful figures in stories, but how many of them live long enough to share their stories.

I don’t doubt that I am a strong woman, but I resent feeling like I’m not allowed to behave like a “weak” one.  I see myself as a warrior, but I resent the implication that I should feel shame if I need someone to stand by me or stand up for me.  Asking for someone to acknowledge our pain and to help us is a sign of strength.  I believe we need to embrace our messiness and carefully let others embrace us.

I tore down the quote posted at my desk, and I’ve replaced it with a new one. It says, “My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight”. See, C.S. Lewis’ quote removes the connotation that I am standing alone, or that I don’t show my feelings and I’m pretending that everything is okay. I may be strong or weak, fierce or vulnerable,  messy or just plain a mess. It connotes that I kept fighting the good fight.

And that makes me feel….hope. And “hope will not lead to disappointment”. (Rom. 5:5a)

Prison Break #1

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This weekend, I went to prison…

…for a tour! But thank you for thinking I lead an exciting enough life to land me in jail! If people keep making assumptions about me, even in my line of work, who knows what’ll happen?

A good friend calls you in jail. A great friend bails you out of jail. Your best friend sits next to you and says, ‘wasn’t that fun’? – unknown

Happy Wednesday!

WPC: Ruffled Texture

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This holiday Monday, I spent almost 3 hours taking over 200 photos using the ruffles in a bridal bouquet of blush and pale mauve roses. My parents were awarded them for being the oldest married couple at a family wedding. 🙂

Don’t worry – I’m only posting 2 today: something old and something new!

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My Grandmother’s Wedding Bands

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My Wedding Bands

The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make – not just on your wedding day, but over and over again – and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife. Barbara De Angelis

Happy Wednesday!

To see more textured photos, click here.

Guest Post: Cabin in the Woods – Tom Thomson

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Please welcome a Guest post from my very own Little Guy!

Tom Thomson

 

This summer, I took Little Guy to an art gallery to (hopefully) see some paintings by Tom Thomson because Little Guy had written 2 school papers on the artist and his contributions to Canada’s identity through art. Not only did we see an exhibit of Tom Thomson, we also saw Lawren Harris (Group of Seven) and the Group of Seven Guitar Project. Unbeknownst to us, the gallery also owns Tom Thomson’s cabin. I think it was the highlight of Little Guy’s trip!

* * *

Thomas John Thomson, or Tom Thomson, was an important Canadian artist. Tom inspired many, including a number of those in the famous Group of Seven, who were his friends. Tom, because of his unique Canadian landscapes, is considered a significant person to Canada because he shaped the way people thought about Canada through his art.

The Life of Tom Thomson

Tom Thomson was born in Claremont, Ontario on August 5, 1877 from Scottish-Canadian stock. He Tom died a mysterious death at age. Tom died a mysterious death at age 39, in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario on July 8, 1917.

Tom’s parents were Margaret Matheson and John Thomson. Tom’s family moved to Leith two months after he was born, a place near Owen Sound. Tom was the sixth of ten children in his family and grew up on Rose Hill farm.

Tom liked to draw and fish, and he grew up with an appreciation for music and literature. Tom’s father was a naturalist. Tom went to school locally with his nine other siblings.

In 1899, Tom tried to enlist in the army to fight in the Boer War in Africa, but he was turned away, so he moved to Seattle to study at the Acme Business College, which his brother co-owned. After college, he worked as a graphic designer, then he moved to Toronto to work as an engraver in a big company, but he hated being indoors. Then. he got a job as a designer at the Grip Limited. He made friends there and they often spent Sundays sketching together in the country. They taught him more about mixing oil paints and drawing landscapes using lines. He also took courses at what is now the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto.

Tom Thomson 3Dr. James McCallum loved the outdoors and was a landscape art collector. He learned about Tom from Lawren Harris and James MacDonald. He offered to pay Thomson’s expenses for a year which allowed Thomson to quit his job and become a professional painter. Dr McCallum also introduced Tom to A.Y. Jackson.

In 1912, Tom went camping and canoeing at Algonquin Park went with some friends, a suggestion from his friend, Tom McLean. Tom fell in love with the wilderness in Canoe Lake. They paddled from Canoe Lake to Tea Lake and camped near a dam where the logs ran through.

By 1913, Tom’s friends, including Lawren Harris, James MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, and A.Y. Jackson (part of Group of 7), were discussing how to promote national art for Canada. Canada had become a new nation in 1867 and the artists wanted to celebrate the country’s natural features and grow pride in Canada.

Tom Thomson 2

Tom died on in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario on July 8, 1917. By this time, he was living there 3 seasons of the year; he spent winters in Toronto. Tom had gone out fishing and his empty canoe was discovered the next day. His body was found a few days later. He was buried in the Canoe Lake cemetery, but the cause of his death remains a mystery. Some believed he was murdered, while others believe he drowned. His family had his body exhumed and buried in Leith, but in 1956 some men dug up a body in Tom Thomson’s grave. Some believe his body was never sent to Leith. The skull was last examined by some forensic experts in 2010 and they believe that it does belong to Tom Thomson, but they can’t do any more tests unless the family agrees. The mystery of his death helped him remain popular as an artist. Even the group Tragically Hip have written a song about Tom’s fiancee, Winnifred Trainor.

Tom’s Art

Tom developed a practice for making major paintings, and used it. Once, on his third trip, Tom took a camera but he quickly ran out of film. Tom usually sketched the landscape, and would paint it later when he had more time and supplies. He used bold colours and often used the perspective of sitting in a canoe.

Part of Tom’s style of art, was mixing colours to create new colours, and certain brush strokes too. Tom’s style of art made his artwork very recognizable. Tom’s art was also often non-traditional and bold, painting very unique scenes from Canada. He developed his own unique style that quickly became well recognized. Some of his famous paintings are The West Wind (1917) (shown left) and Jack Pine (1916-1917) (shown right).

 

It was shortly after his death, that his friends joined together to become the famous Group of Seven. They focused on showing Canada’s rugged northern wilderness. Currently in 2017, there are eleven people inside of The Group of Seven. A public school ( in Ontario ) and an art museum, ( in Owen Sound, ) were named after Tom Thomson in memory of him.

Take everything as it comes; the wave passes, deal with the next one. – Tom Thomson

Tom succeeded in becoming a Canadian legend for his art style. His artwork has inspired many artists. In 1990, a group of artists created postage to honour Tom Thomson. Tom’s friends in the Group of Seven, were, and still are, the most famous Canadian artist group. Tom accomplished in helping to create the group of seven. Tom is an important Canadian artist, because of his creativity, and influence on how others now see Canada.

Painting photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Thomson

 

 

What’s in a Street Name?

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On Friday’s Coach Daddy answers 5 random questions posed by his daughters (Go Ask Daddy) and this week he tackled the Art of Naming a Road!  This prompted me to dig deeper into some of the weird and wacky names of streets found around the globe, including a few in my own neighbourhood.

Why, you ask? Because it’s the end of another Summer week and I’ve spent it suffocating in my cubicle of purgatory, listening to the world roll by outside my window. Today I was the only thing moving in the building. It’s been close to 30C every day with thunderstorms that peak right about the time I get home from work. The temperature in my bedroom is scorching, but it’s the one hair blowing from the fan, on the back of my neck, that’s keeping me awake. I’m seriously in need of a vacation, even if it’s just looking at weird places I could visit. Don’t worry – I kept it clean!

Geeks

Virginia Ave, Kentucky Ave, Tennesse Crescent, Ventnor Ave, Pacific Ave, Baltic Ave, St. Charles Place (Canada) – all in one neighbourhood. Monopoly anyone?

Scully Way and Mulder Ave. (ON, Canada)

Knightrider Way (UK)

Wayne’s World Drive (Utah, USA)

Little Guy would like to live on Redstone Blvd. – since we’re a family of Minecraft fans.

Gotham St (640x436)

Alternatively, he’d be happy with Gotham Street, but that would require a move to the U.S. I’m not ready to commit to that kind of move just for a street name.

Alcohol/Food

Amaretto Ave, Whiskey Gate, Cognac Crescent (ON, Canada) – also all in one neighbourhood!

Roast Meat Hill Road (Connecticut, USA)

Captain Bacon Road (Massachusetts, USA) [Mmmm….bacon….]

People/Groups

Bonnie Crescent & Clyde Ave. (ON, Canada)

Wayne’s World Drive (Utah, USA)

Street Sign with Walk Signal

Tragically Hip Way (ON, Canada)

 

Miscellaneous:

This Street, That Street, The Other Street (Nova Scotia, Canada)

Road to Nowhere (Nunavut, Canada)

Bad Route Road (Montana, USA)

Pillow Talk Court (Las Vegas, USA)

Chicken Gristle Road (Texas, USA)

Anyhow Lane (NY, USA)

Goa Way (Idaho, USA)

Farfrompoopen Road (Arkansas, USA)

Peepee Falls Road (Hawaii)

Intersection: Crooks Road and Corporate Dr. (Michigan)

Shades of Death Rd (New Jersey)

Meth Bible Camp Rd (also a Dead End) (Tennessee)

Divorce Crt (Penn)

Butt Hollow Rd (Va)

Booger Branch Road (Ga and SC)

Psycho Path Pvt (Michigan)

When I was contemplating law school, I liked to drive by Barrister’s Court. It just seemed so ironic!

There’s also: Needless Alley, Dumb Woman’s Lane, Wasps Nest, Broadbottom Road, Hooker Road (UK)

And last but not least, Butt Hole Road. The jokes were too much to take for the long-suffering residents of Butt Hole Road, in Conisbrough, South Yorkshire, a street named after a communal water butt that was originally in the area. It was renamed Archers Way to refer to a medieval castle, half a mile away.

Can you blame them? Happy Weekend!

Sources:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/66000/15-weirdest-street-names-across-us

http://www.wideopencountry.com/15-awkward-hilarious-street-names/

http://worldwideinterweb.com/3741-the-funniest-street-names-ever-pictures/

http:://www.oddee.com

https://www.buzzfeed.com/sarahaspler/street-names-in-canada-are-weird-and-thats-ok?utm_term=.tv3omd65xG#.fujwrB265Q

 

 

Wilderness Wednesday: Baby Frog

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My parents were a little slow getting their pool ready for the summer…and consequently became the guardians of a large family of poly-wogs. They left them to grow up for as long as possible before carefully moving them to a nearby stream. But it would seem a few had grown up and left the nest before the “big move”. Now they are guardians to a new generation of tree frogs, who will serenade them (and get “lucky”) next Spring!

Little Frog 2

Dad brought this baby into the house to show Mom (who was not impressed), so we had to take a quick shot while keeping it from disappearing. It’s so tiny!

Delight in the Little Things – Kipling

Happy Wednesday!

On a Jet Plane

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When Big Guy was 2, he used to run after me with his arms outstretched, pumping as fast as he could on his little chubby little legs, and calling “Wait me! Wait me!” Today I feel like a 2-year old. Today he’s leaving on a jet plane for England  – partly for vacation and partly as his friend’s escort to a wedding (he’s that kind of sweet)! And I’m excited for him. Excited for the adventure he’s embarking upon but… if I’m completely honest, I’m also a little terrified.

It’s a big, big world and I’ve invested my heart and soul into keeping him safe. I’ve adjusted to him spreading his wings, living his own life…but I’ve been blessed to still have him close enough to visit often…usually with dirty laundry.  England is so far away and it’s been kinda crazy there of late…what if something bad happens! I can’t drive there in a couple of hours. In fact, the thought of hopping a plane in an emergency is more adventure than I can handle. But I would do it. If he needed me to do it!

I know he’s an adult! I know he’ll be fine! I also know the next well-meaning person to tell me these things is going to get socked “right in the kisser”!

I know these things. I believe these things. But he’s my baby! Not yours. Mine! He’s my surprise baby! He blew apart my adolescent plans and set my life on a different course. For a while there, it felt like us against the world. We’ve cheered each other on (he even offered to bury me in the woods if I didn’t survive our Mud Hero run). In many ways, we grew up together and words simply can’t explain how very precious he is, and how much I love him.

I hope he knows it.

That’s the problem with “good-byes” and “see you soons”. Your whole focus goes into the preparation and the planning. You focus on savouring the joy in the time you’re together. And suddenly, it’s time to go!

I’ve been emotional all week. It’s ridiculous, I know! Believe me, I know!! I’ve chided myself more times than the number of chocolate chips in a really big cookie. I think in part, there have been a lot of changes in the last few years, and I am missing a lot of people. I miss my grandparents who have passed away. I miss my friend who has moved away. And I miss my kids as little people. I miss those good days when we played hard and laughed often in a smaller and safer world. I miss their weight and warmth as they fell asleep cocooned in the safety of my arms. Time marches on.

All my bags are packed; I’m ready to go… ‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane.
– John Denver

His bags are packed by the door (including new socks and underwear!). There’s already too much to say and no time left. So at 8:30 this evening, I will wave at the sky from the window. I will pray without ceasing. And when he gets home, I want to hear all about his adventure.

I really do hope he has the time of his life!

Jenn and J_ed