Random thoughts on scrapbooking and life's journey

Welcome to My Fragmented Journey
Thursday, April 17 2014 @ 03:34 AM CST

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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.

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Thoughts on Process: Reading

I love to read. I read almost anything. There are a few genres such as romance that I do not enjoy. In recent years, I have made a point of including non-fiction in my reading list on a regular basis. Variety keeps things interesting.

Some of my favorite things to read are the published diaries of writers I read growing up. The glimpse into their lives is fascinating. Beyond that I have learned the struggles they faced and the disciplines they established as they strove to tell stories. This gives ideas as I strive to establish routines and disciplines in my life.

More recently, I have been reading random topics that catch my eye. Some because of questions in my curiosity journal. I continue to enjoy learning. I read Cascadia's Fault to learn more about earthquake science. How is it studied? What advances have been made? Are any scientists working on prediction? With each question answered more appear.

This past year, I have started to research various countries. With a different country each week, the research is cursory at best. It does give glimpses into areas not previously considered. Each search leads to more questions. There are some countries I plan to return to at the end of the year to find out more. If at that time other things have caught my attention, I have at least learned something. I am using this research as art inspiration.

Both art and story benefit from my research as I consider different locations and ideas. The stack of reading material is never-ending and I like it that way.

How does reading affect your life?

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The birds of the air...

I catch myself wishing and worrying. Discontent threatens to blot out the blessings. I am surrounded by abundance yet find myself wanting different. As friends and acquaintances return from exotic vacations, I wonder will we have that chance? Then I remember friends fighting for their life as they battle cancer. I don't have a new vacation memory but I have improving health. I have choices. We plan a walk instead of a vacation. The value lies in connecting and building relationship.

I get frustrated with work. I struggle to choose what to prepare for supper. I grumble at the mess. But I have choices. Some have so much less. Just this week two acquaintances were laid off. One joins her husband in unemployment. My concerns pale as I consider the possibilities. Yet worry continues to press.

Worry saps my energy. It drains my creativity. It challenges my faith. I choose to fight. I count my blessings. I watch the birds. The wind blows. Rain threatens. they take shelter in my evergreen tree. Where do I take shelter? The birds are cared for by the creator. How much more can I trust that my needs will be met? And so, I fight back against the worry. Armed with my list of blessings and verses, I choose to trust. I may need to choose repeatedly today, but still I choose. Hopefully, when I review the day, trust wins. If not, I fight back again tomorrow.

Matthew 6: 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

How do you fight back against worry?
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Lori, Lori Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow? With memories and toil and raspberries all in a row.

I didn't always enjoy gardening. Endless weeding when I could be exploring with friends had that effect. But mixed with those memories are ones spent with Grandma at the farm. The large garden behind the house yielded a variety of salads to go with supper. Auntie Terry and I would head out to find cucumber, lettuce, onion and radish. We would pause at the carrots for a snack, wiping the dirt off with our hands so we could eat them on the way in.

The mix of memories led me to dig out a small garden plot when we moved into our house. The ground was hard and filled with weeds. I hardly knew where to start. I wanted fresh salads like at the farm. I wanted fresh tomatoes for on my sandwiches.

We got some raspberry canes from Bruce's grandma. Then I set to work building our salad. The first years, cucumbers failed to produce until I gave up on them. While the cucumbers failed, the tomatoes produced well. Did the work improve the flavor?

As I dig leaves and compost into the soil this year, I notice how easy it turns. The soil crumbles where once it clumped. Soon I'll drop seeds beneath the soil and wait. I'll wait for the feathery greens of the carrots to emerge. I'll wait for the red-stemmed leaves of the beets. As I wait I wonder, what memories will my girls have from the garden. Will they only remember the weeding or will they remember the fresh vegetables on the table?

How does your garden grow?

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Spring Awakening

Tender green shoots break the surface of the ground hardly noticed among the debris of the past winter. As I pull back the blanket of leaves, I find the promise of things to come. Here's oregano and chives. Over there rhubarb and strawberries rise. Daylillies dot the yard, here there and everywhere.

The clouds threaten to spill their contents. I move along uncovering tarragon. I notice new growth on the raspberries and note the patch needs more work than I can give this day. The Saskatoon berry tree is bursting with new growth. None of this could be seen from the shelter of the house.

Saskatoon berry tree

As I step out and look, I see details missed. Birds are building nest, not just the robin near the door. I hear a grackle and chickadees. I watch the sparrows. Slowly the garden awakes, nurtured by sun and rain in season.

Spring is a time of impatience. I am anxious for the warmth of the summer sun. I eagerly anticipate the colors of summer. In my haste, I miss the small delights.

Then I pause. I enjoy the hint of color as the hyacinth swells ready to bloom. I notice the green shoots on the rose with the nearby garlic ring. As I pause, I reflect on the beauty all around. I reflect and am grateful. I am grateful for the small blessings. I am thankful not only for the promise they hold but their own beauty. Today they add a touch of green to the yard as it awakes to spring rains.

A new leaf, a small flower bud, a young green sprout, a bird song, all simple blessings that remind me to slow down and notice the details. They remind me to pay attention to today. I am thankful for today.