believer, wife, mother, storyteller,
Digital Scrapbooker since 2006
inconsistent journal keeper, lifelong learner
facing my fears and taking my stories beyond the journal and off the page
finding inspiration in my garden and herb beds and on photo exploration trips with Bruce and the girls
self-taught hesitant artist, and writer
I can be found on twitter
as lorigg and on Google+
as Lori Guenter.
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Welcome to My Fragmented Journey
Wednesday, March 12 2014 @ 09:54 AM CST
Tuesday, January 15 2013 @ 11:22 AM CST
Contributed by: Lorilee
This weekend we were helping Victoria with art ideas for homework. All of a sudden Bruce exclaimed, "That's what!" and disappeared into his office. He has a hiding spot somewhere in the office. If I was determined to find it I could but that would ruin the surprise. This was an extra surprise. Christmas Eve and Christmas morning he mentioned thinking he forgot something. I had no idea what it could be. Now I do. He had picked up a set of soft pastels for me. I had expressed interest in trying them. Now I can.
Bruce also set up a still life with some of the citrus fruit in the house. We are enjoying the abundance of in season produce from warmer climates. The girls are sure I have lost my mind. Last year I planted some clementine seeds. Two plants are doing well and one is struggling to hang on. Spurred on by that success, I planted a few more seeds. This time three grapefruit seeds, three blood orange seeds and some pink orange seeds. The pink oranges were the tastiest of the bunch so far. I hope one of each survives. The girls may be right. It seems a little unusual to be planting tropical fruit on a day that is -30C. Nevertheless, I continue to try new experiments.
Four pieces of fruit were rescued from the plate for a week. I have also been asked to pick up a lemon and lime. Victoria is working with watercolor pencils and creating her own still life. I am curious to see how hers turns out. I decided the family of four fruit was just right to try my new pastels. If I followed all the 'rules' I would have added another piece or taken one out to keep an odd number. I didn't. I look forward to trying new things. I am thankful that Bruce continues to encourage my hobbies. I am thankful for the unexpected surprise this weekend. I think his timing was even better than he planned.
Monday, January 14 2013 @ 08:26 AM CST
Contributed by: Lorilee
I wasn't going to choose a word to focus on this year. Before Christmas, our family started grumbling and complaining. It happens every year in the middle of the excitement and abundance. The days get shorter and colder. We are reminded of how we need the light. I started to tease my family that we needed to focus on the word positive for 2013. I told them I would make a big poster so they couldn't miss it. I was tired of the complaining. I was tired of the negativity. BUt I didn't do it. It didn't quite fit.
Just before Christmas a young family in our church was devestated by the premature birth and subsequent death of their long awaited twins. There are no words for their grief. How does positive fit in that case? As a church, we prayed for a miracle throughout her pregnancy as there was evidence of severe health problems. Did we lack faith? We all wanted a miracle for them and for us. The weekend before Christmas another family lost the patriarch of the family, the father, the granfather. He lived a long life. The family had good memories. Again there is sadness and grief. These are not losses to my family but they are losses within my faith community. These are people we walk along side and share parts of life with. In my job, I often work during funerals helping the friends and family grieve by making sure they have what they need during the ceremony or before. I interacted with both families in December. They did not want to hear a thoughtless "be positive" or "think of the good" or even "they are in a better place". They wanted a chance to reflect on the life lived whether long or short. They want and need a chance to cry and mourn. I want to respect that.
December drew to a close and I discarded the word positive. I still want to curb the grumbling and complaining. We have a choice how we respond. We can grieve without complaining. The Psalms shows us how to work through a wide variety of emotions including grief and excitement. I want to respond well both at home and in the community to the events of life. I want to teach my kids to respond well. I've been reflecting on a variety of areas of my life. I want to live my life intentionally. As I've reflected, I've kept returning to one word that seems to sum up the various ideas. One question I can ask myself when I start grumbling and complaining. The word: Perspective. The question: "where is my perspective right now?" My earthly perspective is limited. I do not understand so many things. If my perspective is centered on me and now, it will be easy to grumble and complain. If I lift my eyes and look forward, it gets a little easier. When I lift my eyes heavenward and ask God to show me where we are going the grumbling fades. He directs my steps whether I pay attention or not. How much easier is it to travel when I pay attention to where I am going?
Tuesday, January 08 2013 @ 03:48 PM CST
Contributed by: Lorilee
A new year offers an opportunity to reflect on what was and what is to come. I have seen many posts over the past week with plans and goals for 2013. I waited. In a very real sense my new year starts 5 days later than everyone else. It is a new year of my life. This year, I found myself reflecting more than others. Bruce's health scare might have prompted it. Challenging myself and succeeding may have contributed. In any case, I find myself reflecting and pondering the year to come.
I am working on setting some goals. It is a stretch. I still do not like goal setting. I do not want to stand still though. I want to build on the fitness habit I have started. I do not have a goal yet. There are a few opportunities I am considering with my running group. In the meantime, we are going to continue running 3 times a week. We want to gain speed and maintain or increase endurance. We have discussed adding swimming since two of us are now dealing with injuries or the remnants of injuries. The next event we are considering is not until May or June. We have time to build endurance and health.
I am reading. I love to read. I have read three books already this year including my first book for the Artful Readers Club. I have been thinking about art possibilities for the book. I have a few different ideas. In the meantime, I am thinking about what I want to learn and accomplish with artistic expression this year. Just like with my health, I do not want to stand still. there are many things I want to learn. The difficulty is narrowing it down to a few things to focus on.
In order to meet any of the goals I am considering, I need to organize my life. I spend way too much time looking for things and tripping over things. Bruce and I started with a mini re-organization of our bedroom. I now have a writing corner with a rocking chair and fireplace. the other corner on that wall has our exercise gear. The re-organization has made better use of the space and we no longer feel enclosed. Slowly over the course of the year, I plan to make similar changes around the house. I hope by reclaiming the space and time I will be able to achieve my goals.
Friday, January 04 2013 @ 04:00 PM CST
Contributed by: Lorilee
Many people put exercise more on their list. It sits beside get organized, lose weight and others that are often forgot before January ends. I tend not to make resolutions. I fight setting goals though I did set some for 2012. It isn't that I don't want to change and improve, I do. I don't want to rush into too many changes that I get overwhelmed and stop.
A group of five of us have been running early in the morning. We run before the sun rises. We run for health. We run for energy. We ran to train for a 5K event. On January 1, instead of setting yet more resolutions that get neglected, we ran the 5K Resolution Run. Every running event I participated in 2012 it rained or snowed. Tuesday morning was overcast. The forecast said increasing winds and snow. Would 2013 follow the same trend as 2012? WE readied for our event and headed out. By the start of the race the temperature had risen to -1C. The face mask for the wind seemed like too much and it ended up being too much sinc ethe wind only started to pick up at the end of the race. The snow stayed away as well. Once again I was the last person to finish. I improved my time from the Santa Shuffle on December 1. My goal in 2013 is to increase my speed. I also want to eliminate the walk breaks during a 5K event even if the weather is not ideal. I know I can because I have. My injury is healing and I can return to building my endurance.
Friday, December 14 2012 @ 10:40 AM CST
Contributed by: Lorilee
We have been busy baking and eating, decorating and celebrating, planning and playing. It is an exciting month. It is a busy month. The stress of deadlines and unreal expectations threatens to overwhelm. I find myself protesting: "This isn't how it is supposed to be."
A soundtrack of Christmas carols plays in the background. Everything seems perfect. Cider simmers on the stove. The freezer threatens to burst with goodies tucked inside. The tree is up and starting to sparkle as the girls add the ornaments. Everything seems just right. Or does it?
I fall into bed exhausted. The dishes form leaning towers here and there. The perfect picture doesn't happen. In order to make room, things must be moved, packed away or given away. Do I still really need the preschool toys when Kat is 11? The chair that normally sits in the corner now occupies the middle of the living room. It is our favorite chair. But the tree needs a spot. The chair will move to the side but first I must make space. The list goes on and on.
This week, I find myself pondering the preparation. As I prepare to decorate and decorate, I wonder what needs to be removed from my mind. Lots! I contemplate the words of one of my favorite songs "One king held the frankincense, one king held the myrrh, one king held the purest gold, one king held the hope of the world." One king held the hope of the world! That is why I celebrate. That is the reason behind all this preparation and busy. Unfortunately my hope slowly was getting buried under the weight of expectation. The negative voices grew louder threatening to paralyse me. With 11 days left until Christmas, I am rewriting my expectation list. Christmas cards may be sent. I hope to do them. I have just the right picture for the front and I know the message I want to include. If not, it is not the end of the world.
I was recently reminded that my King is no stranger to stress and chaos. He was not born in a palace surrounded by servants who had everything just right. He was born in a stable amidst the noise and the smells of a barn. He was visited first by shepherds and later by kings. If I let Him in to the stress and the mess of the season, He will bring the joy and the hope. That's why he came to restore our hope. To restore our relationships. To restore us. To restore me.
How are you preparing this season?
Wednesday, December 12 2012 @ 08:49 AM CST
Contributed by: Lorilee
We have been inundated with snow. Snow, rain, sleet, snow rain, sleet. The pattern continues. Some mornings are an off-road adventure through the neighborhood to get kids to school. Some morning running plans have been replaced with a weight workout. many adults are grumbling. However, most of the kids at school are not. They are getting more excited each time the fluffy white flakes drop from the sky. So I wonder what changes?
Even In Winter
Somewhere along the way our sense of wonder disappears and the weight of responsibility appears. This seems to occur starting somewhere between grade five and grade eight. The grade eight kids are too cool to admit they like winter. "You're being sarcastic right?" is an oft asked reply to a comment of "it's a beautiful day." No, I am not being sarcastic. Yes, there is white stuff on the ground. It is beautiful. It sparkles like millions of tiny diamonds in the sun.
Let It snow
I used to be among the crowd, grumbling loudly. It's cold. It's dark. Some mornings I still am. I fight the urge to grumble daily. A few years back as I read through the Book of Numbers I found myself amazed at how much the Israelites grumbled. God was providing for all their needs and they continued to grumble. Why would they do that? Couldn't they see the abundance and blessing all around them?
Then it hit me. I am just like them. I want a nicer car. My house is a mess. It's too hot. It's too cold. I'm tired. The list was endless. The list hasn't changed.
However, slowly my attitude is changing. I wish I could say I never grumble. I wish I could claim to always recognize the blessings around me. Each day I try to find at least one thing, one spark of beauty, one thing I am thankful for. Some days I fall back on the obvious. I am thankful for my family. I am always thankful for my family. Even when they push me and test me.
This Christmas season as I prepare I find myself having an ever shrinking wish list. I am replacing the wish list with a gratitude list. Won't you join me?
Monday, December 03 2012 @ 10:13 AM CST
Contributed by: Lorilee
The season of Advent has begun. It is time for the final prep for Christmas. I have many things on the go, too many likely. Some are surprises for friends and family as the month progresses. Others are my attempts to record the stories and document the season. Ali Edwards has been hosting a December Daily for a few years. I know I will not create a page a day with activities from this month. I do however, want to record the highlights, the funny happenings and the traditions we participate in. How do I balance these two thoughts without driving myself crazy?
I could pretend that I have it all figured out and set out a four step or a twelve step plan. I don't. I know what I want to do, what I hope to do. Yesterday, I started to tell the story of December 2012 using some of my digital scrap-booking supplies. I also started a list of stories I want to tell this month. The plan is simply to tell the story. I will use a variety of formats depending on my mood, the time available and the story to tell. In the end I hope to print it out and bind it in a book that we can enjoy.
November ended by raining ice pellets. One could personify it and claim it was jealous of all the fun December gets and decided to rain on the parade. December 1, I awoke to softly falling snow. Neither are ideal when the first planned event of the month is a 5 Km run. I debated intensely can I do this, maybe I can't right up until I crossed the start line with 154 other participants. As I ran down the Broadway Bridge 1Km into the course, I marvelled at the beauty created by the gentle snow. By the 2Km mark, all hopes of finishing in a good time disappeared. I walked more than I ran in the soft snow. The uphill climb tested my legs and lungs. I was thankful for the beauty that surrounded me as I mentally struggled to overcome.
The beauty of the day continued with the Festival of trees in the afternoon. That story has not been told yet. It is on the list. Bruce took a number of photos as we all tried to pick our favorite tree. One of his photos will be our Christmas card this year. Oh and that gently falling snow, it turned into a full prairie snowstorm coating the landscape in white. Today I write and create in between bursts of digging out. I'm no longer dreaming of a white Christmas. I am enjoying the fresh perspective of a world painted white.
Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 10:49 AM CST
Contributed by: Lorilee
I have been following the lead up to the US election from a distance. I can tune it out if I choose. I am not an American. I can not vote today. It will affect me. They are my neighbors. Some of them are my friends. I hear a lot of rhetoric. I hear a lot of anger (on both sides). It happened here during our last election as well. I wonder when did we move from discussing ideas to dissing people? It has me thinking about my words and plans.
Plans and words are merely empty thoughts and promises when not backed up with action. How many times have I told Bruce and the girls I will do something and then neglect to follow through. I might have a good reason for not following through but it still leaves that empty feeling. I let them down. I can't imagine the conflict and stress that comes from letting a larger group of people down. Maybe it isn't as bad. The larger the group the less personal stake there is. If I let my family down, I still have to sit at the supper table with them.
I have heard a lot about change. I don't think talk creates the change. I can talk all I want about a clean house but unless I pick up things instead of stepping on them it doesn't happen. I can talk about getting fit and healthy. If I then eat a chocolate bar change is happening but not that which I talked about. There are a few areas that I am trying to affect change in none are easy. All take time. There are a few areas I would like to see change in my city and country. Some are not even being talked about. I wonder will the change ever happen?
This weekend I attended an 'unconference'. One speaker challenged us "If you do what everyone else does, expect to end up like everyone else." I am rephrasing it for myself. "If you keep doing what you've always done, don't expect new results." We were challenged to think pro-actively and to take personal responsibility. How unusual. I regularly hear complaining (including at the grocery store this morning) about problems caused by everyone else. I do it too. I don't want to do it. I am working on turning my talk into plans of action. Even before the plan is fully in place, I can take steps to change. I need to take responsibility for my thoughts and actions. Can I change my country? Probably not. I don't want to be a politician. I can change me and my family. I can influence my community. Enough people living a life of integrity and taking responsibility for what they can do might change the world, even if we disagree on what the world should look like.
I created this art journal page this weekend. We had freezing rain and a forecast of more freezing rain. I was tired. I was working on information overload. I did not wan to fall into the trap of complaining. Seasons of change, glimpses of joy across the range. There are so many things I could have included that I am thankful for. So many blessings that get overlooked in the midst of complaint. This art page is one step in my action plan of change. I had to stop and think about my blessings.
What changes do you need to make? What blessings do you have? What step can you take today on a journey of change?
Friday, November 02 2012 @ 09:23 AM CST
Contributed by: Lorilee
It's a new month which seems like a good time to pause and reflect. Our fall was full. Many routines fell by the wayside. I am thankful for the opportunities we encountered. I am sad I didn't record some of the highlights. These last two months tend to disappear in a flurry of activity. This year I intend to make some changes. The difficulty is turning intentions into action.
In spite of turning off the TV years ago, we are bombarded with ads. Buy, buy, buy! I want to show my family they are important to me without a credit card bill in January that makes me groan. I want to choose items that will be appreciated and show I amfont: Chocolate Box thinking about what the recipient likes. Some will be bought, others will be made. My mother has given two strong hints about her gift. The girls are already brainstorming ideas with me to fulfull her wishes in some way. In the past, I have made a grandma's brag book for each of our mothers with photos from our family through the year. It is definitely a possibility again.
One of the ways I intend to combat the consumerism this season is with gratitude. I am blessed. I am surrounded by abundance. If I listen to the advertising, I am missing something vital. I am not. I have a place to live. I have food to eat. I am surrounded by friends and family who care about me. I have health.
This morning, I awoke to a blanket of snow. It is beautiful. I am thankful we changed our running plan this week for other reasons and I didn't have to run in the ankle deep fluff. I can enjoy its beauty instead. We will run tomorrow instead and my girls are joining me. I am excited. I am thankful I live in a place that experiences seasons. Each has something to offer. Each has its own beauty. I am excited to get out with Bruce and photograph some of the beauty of this new season.
Wednesday, September 19 2012 @ 10:36 AM CST
Contributed by: Lorilee
Some things are taken for granted and overlooked. Some things are expected to just work. They do their job day in and day out until one day...
Thursday morning, we received a reminder that there are things in life that should not be taken for granted. Our health being a main one. Bruce's heart started fluttering. It seemed he was missing beats. I took him to emergency. And so the adventure began.
The monitor very quickly picked up a series of premature Ventricular contractions (PVC). PVC runs can be a precursor to heart attack. Bruce was moved to the resuscitation room and hooked up to the crash cart. Blood was drawn. IV's inserted. In the middle of the activity a doctor fired questions at Bruce and a nurse recorded the answers. No other symptoms of a heart attack were present except a slight shortness of breath. A cardiologist was consulted. Bruce was transferred to University Hospital under the care of the cardiologist.
all hooked up
Friday afternoon, he had an EKG and a stress test. Each test given eliminated more possible causes of the irregular beats. Each hour that passed reduced the concern. His heartbeat was not deteriorating. His other vitals remained strong. His heartbeat improved as it increased. He passed the stress test.
He is back at home and back at work. He thinks the irregular beat is gone. I hope so. We may never know what caused it. Life returns to normal. Except we are reminded to be thankful for every beat of the heart. I am thankful that Bruce has more beats in his heart.
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