Random thoughts on scrapbooking and life's journey

Welcome to My Fragmented Journey
Wednesday, October 01 2014 @ 12:16 PM CST

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Toastmaters, Running and more

Life has been full the past week or so. A good full. An exciting full.

The spring days are stretching into summer. I love the warm sun on my skin. I enjoy digging in the dirt. I watch the yard come alive. Each flower blooms in its time. Lately the chives and irises have added bursts of purple to the yard. The blooms from the apple tree are finished. The strawberries take their turn. I have been digging out grass that was creeping back in amongst the strawberries and vegetables. As I dig and weed, I find myself thinking and planning. There are always more ideas than time.

May flowers

Last Wednesday evening, I attended a toastmaster event with my sister. She continues to inspire and amaze me. It was the first time I heard her present a speech since she attended a Special Olympics Speakers Bureau. Wow, what a change. I will be attending again. There was much laughter and encouragement. After saying no to my brother for two years when he asked me to join his toastmasters club, I said yes to my sister. (I have said no to mom for many more years). This means I now have to prepare a speech which makes me a little nervous.

Back to School 2011

The school year is almost at an end and I am still scrapping the beginning. The girls have learned much this year. Victoria is on a school camping trip today and tomorrow. She was so excited she packed her own lunch before Bruce had a chance to help her. I would say that one day I will be caught up and only telling current stories but I know that won't be the case. I prefer to jump around.

For the last three years, I have been working to improve my fitness level. Victoria challenged me to run a 5K with her in June of 2010. I laughed at her. I am not a runner. I couldn't run to the end of the block. However, I am a parent and needed to set a good example for her. So I said yes and started to train. I continued to resist the label. I am not a runner. I walked most of that 5K. I could hardly walk to the car following it. Last year we again participated in the Bridge City Boogie. I continued to add more running to my walk/run intervals. This year, we watched for the registration. I set out to follow the training plan and was pleased to find that it was easier. I might be able to run yet!

preparing to run

Yesterday morning was cool and rainy. Not an ideal day to run or was it? It had rained hard on Saturday and there were puddles everywhere. It rained steady as we waited in the park-ade for the Boogie to start. It rained steady as we ran the course. It rained harder as we drove home. They changed the course this year. It was a little shorter. Looking at google maps it may have been a little long last year. My time improved. It improved more than the change in course would contribute to. I learned that I can not add or multiply by four when I am running. I thought I had been out for four minutes longer than the chip recorded. I learned that I can run. I learned that I still have to work on the discouraging voices in my head that set in at about the 35 minute mark. After voluntarily running in the rain for just over three quarters of an hour, I am now willing to call myself a runner even though I still have to walk. And the girls, they were both ready to run some more. I am not running a 10K with them.

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Let Go -- Discover

For the last nine weeks I have been training for a 5Km walk/run this Sunday. Some days I recognise the progress I am making. Other days I wonder why I am doing this. What makes me think I can run that far? What makes me think I can run?

Let go -- discover

The last of the training is done except battling the negative voices. Today, I pulled out my art journaling kits and started working with some quotes. I have trained and I can do this but I need to stay positive.

The quote along the bottom speaks of throwing off that which hinders. I have a few more quotes along with songs and Bible verses. My goal is not to be blazingly fast. My goal is to complete the run with the pre-planned walk breaks. My plan is to finish well. My plan is to recognise that I have worked hard and to celebrate the success I have achieved.

It is my hope that as I deal with doubt in one area, it will help me deal with other doubts and fears. I can apply the lessons I learn with writing and art to running and vice versa. As I let go of my fears and doubts, I will be able to discover what I am capable of.
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New Perspective

My perspective is small. I am unable to see what tomorrow brings. Events from the past fade from memory. My time is now, a small moment in the middle of history.

Storms blow. Events unfold that leave me perplexed. Relying on my own perspective, I worry. Anxiety rises within me until I remember. I remember the one who created time.

His perspective is infinite. He sees the details not only of now but of then. The past and future meet in today. None of them are left to chance. I don't understand but He does.

He holds the threads of history and weaves them into a tapestry. He takes our pain, our uncertainty, our doubt and confusion. He sustains us. He heals us and teaches us. He breathes life into our dreams and at just the right time, He heals our brokenness.

My faith grows through the adversity even when I want to run and hide. I attempt to hide but the loving arms of my Creator hold me, moulding me.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20.

I am thankful for brokenness restored. I am thankful for lessons learned. I am thankful for opportunities to speak encouragement to others. I am thankful for the soothing balm of encouraging words in my life and others. I am thankful.

What are you thankful for?

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Writing exercise: The Penny

I have recently started to attend the monthly meetings of the His Imprint writers group. This month the writing exercise was to write something about the penny. Recently our government announced it would no longer be producing the one cent coin. I at first hesitated unsure what to write. Once the idea came I had so much fun I found myself wanting to add to it at home. I resisted the urge to add to it for now.

Penny's Retirement

We are writing to inform you that due to recent events, the smallest member of our family is preparing to relocate.

Penny used to dwell in many wallets and school childs hand. She would be traded for some sweets at the corner store along with a few of her clones. Sometimes, in a burst of playfulness, she would roll into a corner to hide. Another favorite hiding spot was in the cushions of furniture. In her old age, she has spent much of her time lounging in jars and temperature controlled vaults. The more she rests, the less she is missed. Some have said she is old and useless. They forget the treasure she once was. Penny used to be a sign of good luck. In time her brother Nick has muscled his way into Penny's territory. Nick now finds himself traded for a sweet treat.

Before the animosity between Penny and Nick grows and larger, we have made arrangements for Penny to enjoy a leisurely retirement where she is still valued in history books and prized collections. She may occasionally be found in exotic locales enjoying her leisure.

What recollections do you have regarding Penny and her family?

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Time to Reflect

Birds sing outside my window. Earlier as I worked in the yard planting here and weeding there, birds sang. Sometimes, I don't even notice the variety of bird songs as they fall into the noise of the day. I get busy and I fail to notice.

How many things did I fail to notice as I went about my day? How many blessings just waiting for me to stop and enjoy? I can not go back and claim them now. The moment is past. But I can pause and listen to the birds and be thankful. I can reflect on that which I did notice today.

I noticed buds forming on the irises. The chives are about to burst forth in purple blooms. The grackle pair hovered protectively around the yard, scolding me at times. I can not see it but I suspect a nest in the evergreen tree. Sunflower seeds have sprouted and so have beets. Here and there growth and change is occurring.

I will give thanks to the creator for the variety He has made and for the blessings He has showed me today. I will try to slow down and notice that which is happening around me.

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Monday checkup

There is lots going on here this week and lots that has just happened. My thoughts are scattered. I considered neglecting this space for a day or two but know I want to record some of the events.

Sunday morning we headed to the soccer fields instead of church. This would not be unusual if I had soccer players. The fields served as a meeting place for about 1000 kids from grade 3 to 8 whose purpose was to run. These students have been running with school for a number of weeks preparing for one race. 2.2km rain or shine along the road finishing with the full marathoners at the Saskatchewan Marathon. The program Marafun a progressive marathon where each of the students runs 40km over a number of weeks as part of the training. The energy level was high. The excitement higher.

I am proud of my girls for committing to this and sticking with it. No official times were recorded for the kids event. Bruce timed the girls at their request. They did well finishing around the time they expected. They are already talking about their next race a 5K in two weeks. I will join them for that one.

Saturday, I had the privilege of joining Victoria's band on a trip to Regina for a festival performance. It was a treat to listen to the band play. They have practised hard and were ready to perform. After the performance, they unwound with a pizza party. The band director has high expectations for the group and they rose to the challenge.

I am thankful for the opportunities my girls have to try a variety of things. I am thankful for others who speak into their lives and mine. Tomorrow we say our final goodbye to one of those people. Our neighbour and friend fought a courageous battle with cancer. The disease no longer has a hold. It has been defeated. She will be greatly missed. She spoke not only into our lives but into many. I am thankful I had the opportunity to know her.

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A Time For Everything

This week a thick covering of cloud rolled in. It dumped its contents and threatened to touch the ground. The skies appeared heavy with the weight of the water they carried. A good three day soaker appeared to be in the works. It did rain for parts of three days starting late Monday. Thursday we awoke to a strange light. The grass sparkled as the water droplets caught the suns rays.

I must admit, I missed the sun. I know the rain is needed. My garden is thankful for the drink it received. Rain refreshes so much better than a sprinkler for the plants. But I missed the sun. The grey seeps into the being and pulls me down. I hide away inside and slowly let the world pass me by.

Tuesday evening, we hosted friends for a potluck and piano recital. The plan was to eat outside on lawn chairs. The plan was ours and it was quickly changed by the wall of water pouring off any flat surface. We quickly adapted thankful we planned a potluck and not a barbeque. The visiting happens just as well inside as out. It would be so easy to grumble at the closed in feeling of the rain. We watched the birds in the nest. We watched the kids play inside. We laughed. We visited.

Today, the greens seem brighter. The ground is saturated. I dare not enter the garden. The sun is shining. Everything in its time. The rain followed by sun to provide just what is needed to the plants and trees.

Today, I am ready to venture out into the day. Instead of hiding under the grey, I cleaned and wrote and created. I tool the break from outdoor tasks afforded by the rain to pursue indoor hobbies. I am thankful for the changing weather and the reminder that eveything is provided in its season.

Ecclesiastes 3 1There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 2a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

Today, I plan to embrace that which is provided. Will you join me?

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May Flowers

The oft repeated phrase April showers bring May flowers seems inadequate to describe a prairie spring. Our April Showers are regularly of the frozen variety. Our tender plants are kept in greenhouses until June. If we risk placing them in the ground earlier, blankets are kept nearby to cover them. Some scoff that it should be May showers bring June flowers. I tend to agree until I take a stroll through my yard.

Spring Flowers

The hyacinth has bloomed and is now fading. The tulips are blooming. The anemone are just starting to bloom. The front flowerbeds are waking up. I wander along pulling a weed here and there and am amazed at the hardy flowers that keep going in spite of the frosts. In the backyard, I am greeted by new green shoots on my herb plants. The strawberries will bloom soon. Their buds are starting to form. I wonder did the frost last night harm the Saskatoon berries. Only time will tell. The apple tree seems unharmed with its blossoms in various stages of opening. The bees buzz around attracted by the early spring blooms. Each day the yard seems to change as the garden wakes up and sheds its winter garb.

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Past and Future Collide

The month of May has been a full and busy month and it is not done yet. This weekend we celebrate Victoria Day in honor of Queen Victoria who reigned 63 years and 7 months. It is also the time we celebrate the birthday of the current monarch of the British commonwealth.

As I have been reading in old family letters and journals, I have found a transcription of an extended article on Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. Sixty years as head of the country was something to celebrate especially for a much loved Queen. She is the longest reigning monarch in British history. This year there are celebrations for another diamond jubilee. Queen Elizabeth II has been queen for sixty years. I am finding the current events are making the past reading more interesting.

Along with letters and journals, I have some old family photographs. I do not know the stories that accompany the photos. Some can be inferred by matching names and dates with journal notes if names and dates have been attached to the photograph. It reminds me to add story to my photographs. This week, I took one of the photos that has been scanned and used it as a jumping off point for my story. Earlier this month we celebrated Mother's Day. When I let my mind travel, unusual things happen. In this case I find my self thinking of the chain of Mother's going back through history. Each of us trains the next generation. We impact them for good or bad with our choices. Each carries pieces of us through the next generations. I have been impacted not only by my parents but my grandparents.

One Lamp

Jane Randall nee Hills lived in the mid to late 1800's, the Victorian era. The album identifies her as "Mother's grandmother Randall". How many generations seperate her and me? I am not sure. The Mother indicated was either my grandmother's grandmother or her great grandmother. Instead of digging out the charts and tracing the generations, I instead choose to ponder the changes that have occurred over time. I expect the world will be similarly unrecognizable extended into the future a similar time frame. Just like Great Grandmother Randall, I can impact those future generations by my choices. That is the reminder I gave myself with this page and the quote chosen to go with it.

Many in the artistic community around the web have been contemplating Mother's this month. Berry71Blue has a Mother's Day themed challenge and a number of thoughts on Mother's Day. Scrapping Everyday Miracles has also been talking about and scrapping about mother's. As for me, I am telling stories as I am inspired to do so whether it is the past, present or future. Relationships are the key to stories and Mother's will feature in that along with daughters and friends.

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Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for life and health. I am thankful for faith and the knowledge that there is more to life than me and my perspective. I am thankful that the one who created the universe is in control of everything. He provides for the birds and the plants. He provides for me and my family. He is not distant or absent even when I don't understand what is happening.

Bird watching

For the last number of years, robins have been building their nest just outside our back door. They watch us. We watch them. They scold me when I am outside working under the nest. We watch the birds emerge and grow until they stretch their wings and leave the nest.

The warmth of spring draws me outside. I plant and water. I visit with neighbours and watch things grow. Slowly things turn from brown to green. Then the flowers emerge. I slow down and notice the changes, or at least I try to.

This spring has been different. One neighbour is battling cancer instead of battling weeds. I don't understand it. I do understand her faith. She is going home. She won't have to battle any more. But first there is one last test. We watch and wait. I miss her smile and her wisdom. As we watch and wait we start to realise her influence. How many lives were touched by hers?

As I ponder life and death and influence, I pause to watch the birds. I do not understand. I do not need to always understand. I know the one who cares for the birds cares for me. I hope my faith is bearing fruit just as my friend's faith has. In the meantime, I continue to watch and learn.