Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Four Things

Okay, so what goes around, comes around. The one blogger I am tagging to complete the four things exercise in her blog is Barbara Harris at http://everywhichwayofbarbara.blogspot.com/ William tagged me, so here are my lists:

Four jobs I've had:
  • teacher
  • pastor
  • family therapist
  • hash slinger (my very first job in a greasy spoon called Ashton's where the local guys from the car wash came over to ogle and my boss, who weighed 500 lbs. bellowed orders from his private booth and liked his dozen eggs sunny side up and his pound of bacon crispy)
Four movies I can watch over & over:
  • Amadeus (Solieri is my alterego, and I find a judicious review of this movie from time to time brings me to my knees)
  • The Secret of Ned Divine (There is nothing like a straight English comedy, set in a charming place, with a cast of character actors who are aging energetically and without benefit of cosmetic surgery.)
  • Simon Birch (because it was filmed in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and is funny, compassionate and transformational all at once. And because the wonderful Anglican church featured in it was torched by teens a few years ago, and I can see the original in this movie.)
  • Dead Man Walking because it is so complicated theologically and so brilliantly acted. I wonder if actors are touched spiritually by the material they work with?

Four Places I've Lived: (only four?)

  • Fond des Negres, Haiti
  • Springhill, Nova Scotia
  • London, Ontario
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba

Four TV shows I love: (I added House and Monk because good television can be produced in the United States. If you haven't seen This is Wonderland, with its wonderful Canadian cast, script and setting, do it now.)

  • Masterpiece Theatre
  • Mystery
  • How Not To Decorate
  • This is Wonderland (plus House and Monk)
Four places I've vacationed:
  • London (U.K.)
  • Iqaluit (Inuvik, Canada)
  • San Diego
  • Outer Banks, East Coast USA

Four of my favourite dishes:
  • Baked Brie with cranberry sauce or peach chutney
  • Spinach Salad with pears and candied walnuts
  • Salmon lightly poached with lemon dill sauce or Halibut with pureed mango
  • Foamy Lemon Pudding (the best, the lightest dessert to follow fish)
Four sites I visit daily:
  • Northumbrian Community
  • CBC news online where I have been privileged to have once written the "letter of the day" and where I am constantly tempted to reproduce my minute of fame.
  • Henri Nouwen
  • sorry, only three

Four places I'd rather be right now:
  • Home, even though waiting for the birth of a new grandchild in Brampton is exciting
  • The Hebrides (yes, in winter)
  • Any Greek Island
  • St. Augustine (for another little jolt of American history)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Okay, so I lied

So I lied. I don't really want to write a book. If I did want to write a book, I would already have written it. I would have:

  • found an agent
  • selected a subject
  • chosen a title (from the hundreds of great book titles I've concocted over the years)
  • submitted a proposal
  • or answered Xlibris affirmatively
  • paid my money to self publish
  • paid my dues (Have I not done this yet?)
  • turned my back on seemingly more important things (as Frederick Bueckner does)
  • edited my last post more carefully

The ether is full of dreaming these days, and much consideration of what we truly want out of life. Here, in part, is what Cindy said on Tuesday, January 24, 2006: (click on Quotidian Light in my links to connect with Cindy's post.)

Thinking Out Loud: On Knowing What One Wants

This week I received a rejection letter for my last submission. There was once a time when I would have been devastated. I hardly even blinked when I opened this one. It's not that I've become immune to disappointment through Rejection Letter Repetition so much as that I've made a discovery in the past year--publication doesn't seem to be what matters so much anymore...I thought I knew what I wanted.... And to some degree I evidently succeeded. Why, then, the definite diminishment of desire instead of an increased wish to continue?

We yearn for something, set ourselves to accomplishing or acquiring it, and then stand befuddled, holding it in our hands, staring at it as if to ask, "How did I get here, and why did I think I wanted this?"...

So I've got to give this more thought. I, like Cindy, am perplexed about what I really want. And what does it mean, anyway, Psalm 37:4: "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart?" Since I am a little foggy about the desires of my heart, perhaps it is time for a clear call to "Delight in the Lord." Now how do I do this?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


There has been a veritable barrage of TV programs on dreaming. Tempting topic. Irritating too. It seems no two specialists agree about dreams. One says dreams mean nothing at all. Another says they relate to unfinished business in our lives. Others claim that repetitive nightmares arise from unresolved stress, or sudden acute stress in our lives. Still another expert connects mental illness and dreaming by mapping psychotic brains, and matching them to the brains of individuals in REM sleep. Even Dr. Phil was on the topic today, dealing with three nightmare plagued individuals who suffered from night terrors, sleepwalking and sleepfighting, and, would you believe it, sleepeating.

I enjoy working with dreams. I am the family dream consultant. Got started as a kid. Hooked on all those dream stories in the Bible. Intriqued by how God revealed plans and purposes through dreams. The Bible is a veritable pasture for dream grazing. It's my major inspiration for dream interpretation. I don't use dream books, which clearly conflict with one another. I have my own theories, supported by experience and some specific psychological knowledge, to say nothing of my work in the field of altered states as pioneered by Stanislav Grof. Don't rush to your local Bible bookstore for Professor Grof, gentle readers. Enough said.

I don't know whether it is reassuring or disappointing to discover specialists who make their bread and butter from ideas which I stumbled upon, quite independently, exploring and manipulating my own dream life. We've arrived at similar conclusions from different angles, of course. They were doctors experimenting and I was just me, reflecting on my own dreams.

Which is why, at first, I couldn't relate to the current Globalgirl topic: "Dream". (Click on title above for link.) Dream. As in: imagine, envision, wish, aspire. Another take on the word altogether. I've always dreamed, grandiosely, that I might pioneer something, have an idea first, market it and make enough to endow a few charities and live comfortably for the rest of my life. I dared to dream at a Path Workshop in November, 2004. While some of my dreaming turned into plans which have been acted upon, other dreams lie unfulfilled. To be expected, you say. Yes, well my lofty expectations have frequently gotten in the way of fulfilling my dreams. And additionally, there are times I feel, that at my age, I should stop dreaming and settle.

So it is with some trepidation that I dare to dream here, once more, in the public space of my own blog. Which is written under my REAL name. And believe me, this is one post which I wish could be anonymous. Because if I write a dream, then I am held accountable. To God. To you. And anyone else who reads this. I am accountable for working towards these dreams. Sort of like New Year's Resolutions. Or prayer. Mmmm.

Here is my partial response to Idelette McVicker's "Dream" quiz from the January Globalgirl Ezine.

1. Three places I'd love to go: Bangladesh to visit my friend Elizabeth; St. Petersburg to fulfill the longing inspired by an undergrad Russian history course; and Home (The British Isles) with my husband to explore the lands of our forebears.

2. Three things I'd love to do: a pottery course; dance without shame in public; swim well enough to enjoy swimming as exercise.

3. Three things I'd love to accomplish: finish the endless Quilt Project; really, this is silly...my three things are One. Write a book. Write a book. Write a book. So?

4. Three skills I'd like to acquire: a fearless mind; a more tranquil spirit, and the ability to access most of the capabilities of my computer and cell phone. Could these three be related?

5. Ten things I'd really love to have: (Materially? I've got so much. But I'll make a stab at this.)

  • no debt
  • access to a car with a spotless interior
  • clothes which washed themselves (too fanciful?)
  • a big pile of river rock, another of well composted manure and topsoil, and a third of mulch for the garden in the spring
  • no visible TV in the living room
  • a fuzz free face
  • all that new baseboard moulding in the garage, painted, caulked and installed magically by elves or some helpful relative or friend
  • a small, soft sided hot tub for my aging bones and Rob's wonky back (now that IS material) Where could I put it?
  • clean ducts (furnace not tear) and less dust
  • fewer books or more shelves
Now, it is quite obvious that most of these things are easily attainable, given my lifestyle and means. If I washed clothes less often, it would be almost as if they washed themselves. I can plan the debt elimination, order the garden stuff, keep cleaning the car myself. It is mostly do-able. But if any of you have ideas for a fuzz free face that does not include ten years of electrolylsis, I'd be happy to hear from you.

Thank you Idelette for the dream questions.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Journey of the Heart

Some decisions we make on a whim. Some out of necessity. If we hadn't booked our tickets five months earlier, we would never have gone. Plenty of excuses to stay home. But this journey was both a whim and a necessity. Time away from work and crisis. Time for us. Time for relationship. Time for sharing the things we enjoy together. Moments of the Spirit. History. Discovery. Nature. The creative unknown.

Why San Diego? Heard it was a wonderful city. A hop from Vancouver. Best climate in North America. Great zoo. Not too big. Spanish-full. Close to Mexico.

It was...although not a hop from Vancouver...all the other things and more. Just the kind of place to relax and be together and count our blessings and laugh that we are getting old. Laugh at ourselves. Laugh, full stop.

Thank you, all of you who prayed for me over Christmas, and for my grandson Robbie during his recent surgery. We recover. God is Love. And Grace. And Goodness.

We are richer than we know.