Summer in Crazy Land


How I have missed blogging much this summer! I’m bursting with ideas but haven’t found enough quiet moments between camping, swimming, visiting friends, researching new homeschool programs for the fall and editing my new poetry book, unexpected blossoming: a journey of grief and hope. This has been a really good process, and quite time-consuming…going over each poem with a fine toothed comb and, on the advice of my big sister (beautiful poet and editor Dymphny Dronyk), making sure that each word, each line break, each bit of punctuation or lack thereof is intentional. The poems were written more as passionate cries from the heart, but it’s been good to read them slowly and try to make sure they express my feelings in the clearest way. 

I’m excited to say that that process is just about finalized and I’m going to place my first bulk order in a day or two. I have been telling lots of people about my book and already have about 125 pre-orders, which means that another 125 will also be ordered and donated to bereaved moms, hospitals, midwife or doctor’s offices, or any other place where families suffering from miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss could benefit from my poems. I’m also getting my Blurb bookshop set up for online orders, and hope that women around the world will be able to benefit from knowing they are not alone in their grief after losing a baby. 


On top of all this, my little Mr. Baby has combined late night teething and his newfound mobility to keep me on my toes night and day, and my trusted iPad mini conked out for a few weeks—leaving me a strange internet-less vacuum. Happily my sweet techie husband managed to restore it to life by cleaning up the excessive digital load it was storing…kind of like the Internet version of a home rescue. I had 1100 emails (combining inbox, sent, drafts, trash etc) and 1300 photos!! My iPad mini just couldn’t handle this kind of clutter—poor little beast! After loading the pics onto our Mac instead and deleting the insane amount of emails (gah, remind me to stop signing up for things online!), my iPad is purring away again, much to my relief. As my friend Julia put it when I told her it was out of commission: “What!? That’s your life!” 

Does make you wonder though…why this need to keep everything? To read everything? To document everything? To be present everywhere (omnipresent) and to know everything (omniscient)…doesn’t that sound like Someone else’s job? Reflecting on this makes me want to strive for more simplicity. To be fully present where I am, right now, and not feel the need to hang on to old things from the past. I’m just one tiny part of this vast creation, and all I need to do is play my little part with all my heart. The rest will be taken care of by Someone much wiser than me, who doesn’t get overwhelmed by trying to fit so much into one little head!


So I hope you’ll be hearing from me more often as we settle into school this fall…wrapping ourselves in cosy scarves and sweaters and sipping cinnamon dolce latté’s as we watch the scarlet leaves tumbling against steely grey skies…oh, dear, sorry…slipping off into fantasy land! I meant as I juggle 4 homeschoolers and the baby chews my face while my toddler climbs the furniture…

Anyway,  here are a few posts I hope to write soon: 

  1. How to support a bereaved spouse
  2. Baby Burpin’Blues (a bluegrass poem)
  3. Scene Players: making hours of fun games out of stickers and junk mail 
  4. Things you don’t need to bring when camping with kids
  5. Teamwork, happiness and household chores 
  6. Online educational programs I’m excited about this fall

Any votes for which one to write first? Let me know! A huge hug to you all from us here in Crazy Land, and best wishes for a beautiful year of learning ahead!

    An Eastland Family Adventure

    You might not know it, because I don’t often get around to posting photos of them, but we do go on a fair number of family adventures. Here’s some snapshots of one of them…taking our family outings to new heights! 😉

        
      
       
    Yes, Grandma, your little darlings rode the gondola up the misty mountain! By the top, we could hardly see a thing. It was a little chilly…

      

    There was still a bit of snow….enough for Daddy to throw a snow ball!

      

    Don’t worry, Grandma, we didn’t ride these!

      

    We followed some large tracks…until we found the grizzly bears.  

      

    But they were very mellow…lounging in their baths complacently. 

       

    Goodbye, bear! 

     
    After all this, an amusing logger show and a wild bird show, we were ready for hot chocolate! Our city kids were very happy to cradle their cups at Starbucks after their chilly but very civilized adventure up the mountain!

    Reality is the greatest mystery

    We adults are so easily bored. We think we’ve seen it all and that a fantasy would be much more interesting than our real lives. How shortsighted our vision is…how little we perceive as we fuss about our busy, distracted, task driven days. How much we complain, rather than stop and give thanks, in awe of even being alive….the wonder of existing at all. There could be a million stories written in which we did it exist. A million versions of life on earth without us. And yet here we are. 

    Children have more sense of this. Their minds are not so constricted by supposed practicalities. Reality, seen through the eyes of a child, is the greatest mystery there is.

    And in honour of the messy realness of children’s vision, the lovely freeness and honesty of it, here are some pictures of my kids, taken by my kids…in this case my 5 year old daughter, who has a fantastic imagination, and for whom the little moments in life are still an adventure. 

       
        
        
        
     

    Hope you enjoyed this peek into a little moment in her world! May your day be as bright and cheerful as this sunflower, no matter what the weather.

    Boys are like puppies…

    Puppies need lots and lots of affection.

    Puppies love to nap. 

    Puppies like to play with other animals.

    Puppies love treats and getting messy.

    Puppies enjoy being taken for walks.

    Puppies like to play on the floor.

    Puppies delight in popping out of funny places like boxes. 

    Puppies love big sticks.

    If any of you are puppy owners, you’ll surely agree they are sweet, loyal and a little sticky, and make you feel very, very loved!

    Sleepyhead

     Nothing like an afternoon nap on a hot day…sleeping is the way to travel! 😉 

    It’s been a day for pink lemonade and ice cream, and painting pictures inside in our cool ground level suite, rather than in the blaring sun. 

    Hope you all sleep well this warm evening! We had a pre-bedtime splash in the kiddie pool and have the fans going….

    …This brief weather-coping update is for the sake of aunties, grandmas and other relatives worried about their little peanuts roasting in the heat! 🙂

    Why Posting an Imperfect Post is an Act of Freedom

    Lately my husband and I have been on a theology kick and read to each other before bed…until we get totally confused, inspired or one of us ends up drooling on the pillow (usually me!)…It’s been really interesting, and definitely gives us something new to talk about beyond how’s work and what did the kids do at school today.

    Tonight we were reading about freedom, and it made me ponder what it really means to make a free choice, and how it relates to the stifling danger of perfectionism in writing…as perfectionism leads to the inability to make definitive choices and complete things. (Yes, being writing-obsessed, I manage to relate pretty much everything back to blogging…just ask my husband).

    Anyway, the author described the misconception of freedom as the ability to make an endless succession of choices, without any of them ever being permanent and definitive. The idea that having options equals freedom, and the more options, the more free you are. “But why not?” you might ask…”Doesn’t that sound good?” The thing is to apply this idea and see where it leads. Here are some examples of how it changes, sometimes subconsciously, how we make decisions:

    “I’m not going to choose what to study, because that way I can choose to study anything at all. I’m keeping my career options open.” Yes, and your empty wallet…Being open to the possibility of all jobs but having no job = unemployment, not freedom.

    “I’m not going to choose someone to marry, because that way I can marry anyone at all…I’ll be so free.” Or so lonely and jaded, because it takes one real heart to love you and keep you warm at night, not several billion theoretical ones.

    “I’m not going to post anything on my blog (ah, finally, blogging!) until I have something perfect. As long as it’s in my draft box, I have the freedom to keep changing it. It won’t be permanent.” Ah, yes, that horrific word….permanent! We are so afraid of it. It implies commitment, confidence, strength, endurance…yikes!

    But tell me, is having a draft box full of unexplored possibilities really freedom?  Nothing wrong with drafts, but to really mean something and come alive they need to be released, imperfections and all, into the world. You need to say as a writer (or painter, photographer, chef, etc), “This isn’t perfect and I’m ok with that. It’s not perfect but it’s mine and I stand by it. This is me.”

    That one irrevocable act of posting your little poem, photo, story or ponderings is a greater expression of true freedom and honesty than that of hoarding your drafts like treasures, choosing to hide them away lest they not shine as brightly in the light of day as you’d like. I think it was Julia Cameron who said that you need to be willing to be a crappy artist in order to become a great one. So be yourself, stand by your work, make a permanent choice to share your work and in that way really own it. Post that thing you’ve been hiding away so jealousy. Chances are what’s closest to your heart will resound in the hearts of others as well.  

    The Consolation of Beauty

    Since sorrow hit my heart I’ve become more of a photographer. I hoard the consolation of beauty the way a dragon does pearls.   

    There is something about the ruggedness of naked branches, tangled and bare, but alluring, that speaks to me. They seem to say, “We have been stripped of everything but hope, and though we seem lifeless, sap pulses within us, and new buds will sprout again from our fingertips.”

      

         

    Edit

    See-Through Me

     

    Sometimes it is hard

    to be around You, Lord,

    because You see right through me.

    The caverns of my heart

    are no secret to You.

     

    There is no hiding,

    no pretending to be fine.

     

    The layers of my defences

    are shed like an onion skin,

    peeled by Your deft hands.

     

    In this raw state,

    the tears come

    and I weep to think

    how much You love

    each person

    and how much

    it must pain You

    when they turn away

    and refuse the shelter of Your wings.