Monday, April 30, 2012

Zeal and Zenith

This is it. The last post of the A-Z challenge. I must say, for someone who never blogged before it was an incredible journey. I found sides of me, I did not know existed. Unfortunately, due to a series of unfortunate events (wouldn't that make a good title for a book?), I at times lost my zeal for the project.

However, I never lost my zeal for writing. This is a crazy compulsion we have. Writing. For those who do not understand it, how do we explain the need to lock ourselves away from the world only to build new ones? For those who share it, we wonder how others can not?

Now I urge each of you to reach for the stars, as I intend to. Don't give up. Always give a stellar performance until you reach your own personal zenith.

It is a matter of zeal.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Several years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to review Patch Adam's book Gesundheit. For those of you who have watched the movie Patch Adams with Robin Williams, and believed it was fiction or at the very least enhanced non-fiction, I suggest you read the book. This man really does embrace joy.

I was thrilled when I received a personal response to my review and to the Enhancing Joy issue of the publication I was then editing. In his response, he encouraged me to continue to spread joy.

Today, I am saying yes to that. I am saying yes to joy for myself. I am saying yes to life and love.

What about you? Are you ready to embrace joy?

Take it. It is yours. It is just a matter of saying yes.

Friday, April 27, 2012


I guess it is no secret after yesterday's post life has not been easy for me lately. I have to say, I am a great believer in tending your own garden, being positive and making your life work.

So what does that have to do with today's topic? And I am sure some of you might even be asking what exactly is xeriscaping.

Xeriscaping is a gardening method used to minimize water usage. It is especially valuable in drought-stricken areas. So, what does that have to do with my blog?

Well, it seems I have a bit of a spiritual drought, but that does not mean I need to stop tending my inner garden. I can still make it beautiful and encourage it to grow.

We do what we can with the resources we have.

So I will bloom. I really can. It is matter of xeriscaping.


Seems like I have been falling behind on this blog for a couple of days. There are many things going on in my life right now, and this sometimes slips my mind for the moment.

Yesterday, though, I found myself unable to accomplish anything. I was waiting for news. Hoping it was not going to be worse than the original call that put me into the holding pattern. Oh, I could clean and do any physical activity, but when it came to any higher cognitive functions, it seems they were waiting to kick in after I knew the status of the situation.

Waiting. It was counterproductive to my day, yet every time I tried to move past it, I found myself lost. My head would delve into the worst case scenario, and I would have to manipulate myself to think positive.

Waiting. The day dragged with no news. Finally eight hours after the initial call, a snippet of information. Just enough to relax a bit, and I realized I had been waiting to breathe.

Still, we have no definitive answers.

Waiting. I spent the night trying to sleep.

Hopefully today, I will know more details. Understand the extent of this situation, and finally be able to put aside this matter of waiting.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


When I was growing up, I learned about the seven deadly sins, and there seemed to be a lot of emphasis on that. I remember having to memorize these and the fear it created. When I considered this topic, I was amazed that I could rattle off the seven deadly sins. Yet, I had to look up the virtues. Oh, I remembered most of them, but like the seven dwarfs, there always seemed to be one or two missing as I listed them.

Why is it that as a child there was more emphasis on the sins - the things we were not supposed to do? Why were these the things that stuck in my mind?

The virtues are not a Christian thing. They are a quality way of living. A bar that we can measure ourselves against, not because we might be punished, but because we will be rewarded. Even if you don't believe in another life, consider this, living by the virtues will make this life a better one.

So, today I will begin to embrace the matter of these virtues.


Unconditional Love

Love should at all times be unconditional. By its very nature, love demands forgiveness, tolerance and acceptance. 

That is acceptance of the person. This does not mean accepting the deeds, and even more so it does not mean enabling the loved one to continue to pursue activities that are harmful to themselves or others. 

It is a fine line to follow, a difficult one to maneuver . 

To love the person we need to encourage them to seek help if necessary. To love the person often we need to say no. To love the person sometimes we need to step back, and let them find their own way, despite the heartbreak we suffer. 

When our love is scorned, it is not easy to practice this matter of unconditional love. 

Monday, April 23, 2012


I have been around for a while, and I have seen some sad situations. A doctor who is shunned by a town because he is a different colour, and children who tease others because of the slant to their eyes. Granted I grew up in a small town in the sixties and seventies, but my family chose that doctor, and he saved my sister's life. I befriended the girl with a different cast to her eyes, and she was my best friend. We set an example and many of the people finally followed.

Lately, I see a trend that disturbs me. A lack of tolerance for anyone different. Too many judge without knowing. They find fault without caring. They strike out without cause. In many ways, I see a move backwards in our society. Back to the ignorance and fearfulness I remember from my childhood. What is happening? Shouldn't these rifts be narrowing, healing, disappearing?

Shouldn't we be learning from the past? Shouldn't we be building a better future?

Let's begin to embrace what unites us, and appreciate the things that make others unique. Let's create a society that not only practices, but lives and breathes this matter of tolerance.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


It seems the more we have, the more we want. Have you ever noticed that? Wants become needs, and we go into debt to fulfill these 'needs'. Yet, we are never satisfied.

Worse, we work so hard to fulfill these wants, we never have time to enjoy them.

I often think embracing a minimalist attitude is a better way. Imagine finding satisfaction in simple things: the sunrise and sunset, the patter and fresh smell of a spring rain, or the embrace of a child.

When did we lose sight of the important things in life? Love and laughter. Health and happiness. Wisdom and  wealth. True wealth, not wealth measured by material items, but the riches found in nature, in friends, in family.

Isn't it time, we reexamined our priorities and apply them to this matter of satisfaction?

Friday, April 20, 2012


Lately, I have been burning the candle from both ends. Seldom getting to bed before one A.M., and getting up by five or six A.M.  I have so much to do, I am finding myself answering work e-mails at midnight.

When I was struggling to find my R word, I realized I needed REST. Not just a few short hours each night, but true rest. I need to learn to shut down my over active brain when I go to bed, and forget the research project I currently have on the go, or the stories I want to write, or the must-do's, should-do's and wanna-do's that stretch my personal resources.

So tonight I rest (albeit after midnight), and I am not setting the alarm for the morning.

I am sure I will be healthier, happier and even more productive, if only I give this matter of rest, a shot.

Questions about our Quest

Well, this blog is late, and I apologize to the Powers that Be, and hope I am not eliminated for this little slip.

Life is a funny thing. Just when you think you have things under control, it throws you for a loop. It reminds me of the advice we are given as writers. When things start to slow down in your novel, ask yourself how you can  make things worse for your protagonist.

Funny though, on this quest we call life, it is often the big things we take in stride. We know how to face them down but it is often a little thing that makes us crumble. The last straw that broke the proverbial camel's back, as it were.

Still, we must continue on our way, questioning perhaps our own folly that has created our circumstances, or doubting the quest entirely, at times.

But this is what we have - each of us. We are really only given one quest - unless of course you believe in reincarnation.

One quest, filled with many smaller adventures albeit,  but one quest to get the  most out of this life, and to give the most back.

The question is are we taking each day and living fully, or are we burying this matter of our quest under meaningless daily trivia.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I don't know what it is lately. Whether it is getting older, the weather, not feeling well, or a combination of many different factors, but lately I am not very patient. People who know me may find this hard to believe. I tend to come across as a patient individual. Tolerant and understanding, I listen to those around me. I do things for them, and I expect nothing in return. Or do I?

You see below the surface, I am experiencing something I am not familiar with, and if it is new to me, can you imagine what it will be like to those around me? Inside, I am seething. A heat unknown fills my essence, and I long to let it free. "Wait." I have been told most of my life. "Your time will come."

Now, I wonder why. Why was I the one that waited? Why have I been the one that enabled others to follow their dreams? Why have I not taken what is rightfully mine?

My life, my ambitions, my dreams.

Wait? No longer. It is time to seize the day. Time to say, "Now, it is my time."

What about you? Is there a dream lurking in you, ready to boil to the surface and erupt?

Is it time for you to take a stand, too? Is it time to say, "I am tired of waiting. I am tired of serving. I am tired of sacrificing. I am taking my life back, inch by inch, if necessary."

I won't change over night, nor do I think it is fair to do so, but I will begin the journey. I will find my inner fire, and I will channel it and allow the passion to fuel my life.

It is time. It is now. It is a matter of (im)patience.

*When I started writing this, I intended a blog on being patient and tolerant with others. I am amazed and inspired by where  it took me. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Opportunity knocks, or so they say, and the question is usually whether we answer, but I believe that we make our own opportunities. Certainly there are times when we seem to have something serendipitous come our way, but perhaps we brought that to ourselves.

For instance, we all write. Now, if a publisher were to find our writing and offer us the opportunity to be published would this be something we created for ourselves? Most people would argue not really. It was opportunity knocking, but wait, didn't you choose to blog? So therefore, you were the agent of change for your future.

Still, even though we may create our own fate, we do need to choose to act on it.

What are you waiting for? Are you going to make your future brighter? Are you going to embrace life in a way that allows you to embrace the matter of opportunity as your right?

Monday, April 16, 2012

By necessity, this blog will be short. Why? Because once again, I have overextended myself.

Why are we afraid to say no? We accept it from others, but we tend to feel guilty when we say it. Why?
There is nothing pretty about martyrdom. Nothing honorable. If we do not start to care for ourselves, we soon will not have anything to give.

I don't know about you, but if I say I will do something, I will follow through. So, maybe I need to learn to accept that I can not do everything for everybody. Maybe I need to learn that saying no is not selfish.

I resolve to stop making promises at the expense of my own wants and, more importantly, needs. I resolve to step back and realize if I am only loved and respected for what I do for others, then that is neither love or respect.

So I will start to honour myself, and choose the projects I want to be involved in.

After all, it is just a matter of saying no.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Today I said goodbye to a very special person. It will most likely be the last time I see her this side of heaven. Although she has been given a bit longer to live, she is being moved too far for me to see her again.

You often think that you have all the time in the world to spend with people you love. You think there will be more moments to enjoy. You put off so much that should be done now, in this moment. And then reality hits, and you realize this moment is the only moment you have.

We had many special moments, but I also have moments I wish I could regain. Moments I could have chosen to spend with her, on the phone or in person, but I chose to be busy with things that don't matter. Of course, at that moment, I thought they needed to be done.

I hope that she knows I have cherished every moment. I hope that the rest of her moments are as peaceful as it was today.

Meanwhile, I have learned, I need to pay more attention to the matter of moments.

Friday, April 13, 2012


I don't know how your Friday the 13th went, but mine really did seem to throw things at me. Nothing major, nothing earth-shattering, but enough to keep me on edge most of the day. From the pop that fell and exploded all over my walls, across the floor and all over the furniture to the crazy dog that ripped up papers, ran with scissors in her mouth, and literally ran me ragged, the day has been exhausting. By the way, I blame the pop for the dog's behaviour. She did lap some before I got it all cleaned up.

But if I thought my day was bad, well it was even worse for my daughter. First, she jammed her toe into a door, bruising it badly and splitting her nail. Later, as she was still limping around, she closed a door on her finger. Honestly, I have seen this before with my other girls as they traversed the treacherous thirteenth year. There seems to be a preponderance of clumsiness. Still, it could be worse.

So what can you do? Well, crying seems a bit melodramatic, so laughter was the only recourse. Later, my daughter and I realized that April 13, 2012 occurring in her thirteenth year was not only a double but a triple whammy.

Perhaps you already know this. Friday, April 13th, is the second Friday the 13th of the year, and it is exactly thirteen weeks since the last one. Okay, that is pretty cool, made possible only because of the leap year. But wait, there is more.

Take the digits of 04/13/2012 and add them together. 0+4+1+3+2+0+1+2. Go ahead. I'll wait.

So you see, the thirteenth week after a Friday the 13th, when the date adds up to 13 has cursed my 13-year-old daughter. I think she will be counting down the last thirteen minutes before midnight, and I have arranged to post this blog at exactly thirteen minutes to midnight.

You know, because if you can't cry, you have to make it a  matter of laughter.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


We all have things we like to acquire. For some people it is money, other people collect friends, and for some it is  cats. 

I like to collect knowledge. One of my favorite pastimes is researching. Yep, researching. I love that moment when a question pops into my head, and I am off and running in the pursuit of knowledge. 

I told my husband it is like fishing and hunting. 

Sometimes, I spend a  leisurely relaxing afternoon sitting idly by a stream until I hook the big one. The idea runs, dragging my line behind it, trying to elude me, but always we are connected with that fine string until I reel it in. 

Other times it is an active hunt as I track down my prey. I know its habitat. I have studied its mating call. I track it through heavy brush, dead ends and swamps. Learning more about my quarry with each step I take. 

Like all good enthusiasts, I  enjoy telling tales of my conquests, sharing the love of the sport and encouraging new participants. Still, as much satisfaction as I get from those endeavors, the true joy is in the pursuit, and even as one quest ends, I eagerly plan for the next outing. 

What about you? Where do you stand on this matter of knowledge?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Recently I have been experiencing synchronicity. As I have been shifting through submissions at Shadows Express, there have been an unusual number dealing with journeys.

Life is, of course, a journey. The question is how do we view this journey?

Do we wish to be at  our next destination, whether it is a birthday, graduation, or retirement? Do we think we will be happy then? Does each destination simply mean it is time to put your eye on the next prize?

I suggest that the journey is the destination. We only ever have the here and now. This minute, this second is the only one we can guarantee. Don't you think it is time we began to enjoy the journey? Embrace every second of it.

Learn as we go, love as we live, and don't worry about the destination. We will get there soon enough.

It really is a matter of the journey and how we face it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Have you ever been tied to one set of ideas, only to have them challenged? Do you stick to the facts as you know them, or do you open yourself up to new possibilities. We may think we have the answers, but we don't. Rarely are we privy to knowledge without bias.

So what do we do? Do we shout down opposition, or do we try to find the truth, often in the center ground.
I vow never to stop learning, never to be so entrenched in my ideas that I can not learn from others, and always be willing to adapt, reevaluate and admit ignorance.

I want to always evolve and to do that I must rely on this matter of ideas.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Did you know there is one thing that can help us get through even the darkest of times? Hope. Hope is not a static feeling. It is not a wish for the unattainable. It is a dynamic action. It begins a domino effect. When we can trust that things will work out, we begin to plan as if they will, and if we plan that they will, we begin to take the steps to help that happen.

Certainly at times, things seem hopeless. That is when we need to hope the most. Of course, we may need to reassess these, and determine our real needs. Then we can begin to take the steps to make them reality. We can solve nothing when we give up hope, but hope, as an action, can accomplish our own miracles.

Do you have the desire to turn your darkest night into day? You have the power. It is merely a matter of hope.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Come on, 'fess up, you all expected this one didn't you?

I have lived my life with a great deal of suffering. From a very young age I learned what grief was, and I knew hardship. Many people have asked me why I am not bitter due to all the difficulties life has thrown my way.

One word - gratitude.

Yes, life can be bitter. Life can be hard. Most of the time we have no control over the tragedies that beset us.

We do have control over one thing - our reaction.

So, even as I face another potential life-altering issue, I realize I have a lot  to be thankful for. Each day, I am blessed with the sun. Even when it hides behind clouds, it provides us with warmth and sustenance.

I am thankful that I have a family that can sometimes drive me  insane but still fills my life with love.

I am grateful for each and every day I wake up. Even if those days are hard, and filled with sadness, I am here. I am alive, and I have the opportunity to make a difference - whether in my own life or someone else's.

Yes, some days are trying. Some days are scary, but I am grateful I have those days. For even in the worst of times, I have lessons to learn.

So I raise my cup of thankfulness to a day that has brought me new challenges.

I will face it all and deal with anything as long as I remember: It is a matter of gratitude that helps me cope.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Are you the type of person who holds a grudge? When there is a transgression (real or imagined) against you, do you wrap yourself in the hurt? Do you find comfort in your anger, and the feeling that life is unfair?

Or do you forgive?

I think the vast majority of us forgive most people. Oh, we may nurse our distress for a while, but most of us are aware that maintaining the anger really is foolish. People make mistakes, and generally we are willing to forgive them for it.

But what about ourselves? Do you readily forgive yourself as quickly as you would someone else? Do you allow yourself to make mistakes? Do you move on, and learn from it?

Or do you kick yourself, bringing up past transgressions years later as proof of your ineptness?

We hinder our growth, and we entrap our creativity, when we refuse to accept our own slips and follies.

Isn't it time we start treating ourselves the way we treat others?

Isn't it time we accept our faults and learn to love ourselves, not in spite of, but because of our faults?

Wouldn't we do that for most anyone else?

So let's start today, right now. Let's move on from past transgressions.

Let's give ourselves the gift we extend to others: a matter of forgiveness.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Do you sometimes crave  the dramatic, the impetuous, the exciting? Do you want to feel passionately about something? I believe we all have a passion. Too often, we bury it under our daily chores, obligations, and responsibilities.

This leads to depressive behaviours, and of course, this becomes self-perpetuating. We don't grasp life with all its wonder and embrace all it has to offer. We plod through it, existing but not enjoying the spirit of the moment. 


When did we outgrow running through fields of dandelions, just to see their seeds lift up in a blizzard of wishes? When did we stop doing cartwheels, just because we couldn't not do them? 

Why did we stop?

Don't tell me maturity. I don't buy that. 
Don't tell me we need to be proper. I don't want that. 

I want to run until I can't run any further. I want to collapse, and lay on the sweet grass, catching my breath while I watch the clouds paint pictures for my imagination. 

I want to sing and dance. 

Maybe my body can not do those things like I could as a child, but my mind can, and  my soul longs to.  

I can embrace every moment of every day with gratitude, passion and vitality. 

Will you?

It isn't that hard. Really, it isn't.

It is just a matter of excitement. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


What will you do today? Will you set goals, only to neglect them or have you given up? Do you see your dreams as unattainable? We are all creatures of habit, and when we allow discipline to slide, we find ourselves drifting. Regardless of the desire we have to achieve something, we will not succeed without discipline.

Discipline does not happen overnight. We do not turn things around only through determination. Although determination is a key ingredient, we need to devise a realistic plan. A plan addressing the areas we want to improve and a detailed strategy to achieve it. Every day, we add a bit more to our lifestyle to meet these targets. 

For instance, if you haven’t exercised for a while, you aren’t going to run the marathon tomorrow, but you can park the car two blocks from your destination and walk. Keep building on your successes, forgiving your setbacks, and move forward.

When we make small changes, we allow ourselves to succeed. These small successes build on each other and before we know it, we have met and surpassed that unattainable goal.

The only thing separating us from our objectives is a matter of discipline.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


What do you do when you are faced with too many choices? It seems like the perfect scenario, but in reality it can be crippling. Concerned you may make a mistake; calculating the best path to take; contemplating the endless possibilities, and all of this immersing you in cement. Instead of contributing to creativity, too many choices can stifle it.

So what do you do? Consider the possibilities, but then commit. Commit to an idea, a principle, a philosophy and work with it. Finally follow it with the conviction that it was the correct choice.

These are the things that help us grow.

It is a matter of committing to your choice.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Have you ever chastised yourself for not being brave? What is bravery anyway? The dictionary says it is to be fearless. I disagree. Fear is an emotion that prevents us from doing something dangerous without thought. Therefore, I equate fearless with foolhardy.

Bravery then, is not the ability to act without fear, but the ability to act with thought and determination despite fear. Some things we should fear. I am not about to walk up to a cougar with bravery. That would be foolhardy. Other things we shouldn't fear. These are the things holding us back,  and these are the ones that we must face with thought and determination.

What are you afraid of? Public speaking?  Standing up for your rights? Failure? Success? Now is the time to act with true bravery. Face down those fears that shackle you. Take this moment to determine exactly what is holding you back, and then, even if your knees are buckling, or your hands are shaking, act. Act with determination and thought.

After all, it is a matter of bravery.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Have you ever noticed there seems to be an inverse correlation between talent and attitude. We see it all the time. The people who have the attitude they are great, so often aren't, and yet, the ones we envy for their ability to draw, write, or perform are the ones that doubt themselves most. 

There is a problem though. The person with attitude with less talent will often succeed. Why? Because they believe they can. That belief separates them from the wannabes. They market themselves. They perceive themselves as successful. This visualization drives their success. 

So what does that mean for the rest of us? We need to believe as well. We need to visualize. We need to follow - no pursue that dream. 

So, throw away that modesty. Embrace a healthy ego, and go for it. 

It really is just a matter of attitude. 

The A - Z Challenge

I am a little late getting started here, but I am going to use a familiar motif for me. Finally, I may pull together my "A Matter of . . ." series. 

If you haven't already, I encourage you to check out this great challenge. If this does not get the business end of your creative juices flowing, I can not imagine what will.

I have completed the first task, albeit, I am currently not sharing it with anyone, but that will change with time.