All You Need is Love

resized August 2011 181Back in the sixties The Beatles sang, All You Need is Love. While it might have been a bit simplistic an idea I think they were really onto something big. Love is something the entire planet, not to mention the people on it, could sure use more of. Especially during these times. I keep hearing this message again and again in my life.

Some days you find a quote that speaks to you. Today, I found this one by Emmett Fox and decided to share. Because I do believe that, no matter how simplistic it sounds, love can conquer all.

“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer. There is no disease that enough love will not heal. No door that enough love will not open. No gulf that enough love will not bridge. No wall that enough love will not throw down. And no sin that enough love will not redeem. It makes no difference how deeply seeded may be the trouble. How hopeless the outlook. How muddled the tangle. How great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. And if you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful person in the world.” Emmett Fox

 

The story of my friend Oran

Have you ever thought about living to be 100? What it would be like to see all the changes in the world over a span of one hundred years? Would you even want to live that long? A lot of people say they most certainly wouldn’t want to, although I wonder if it’s because most of us really don’t expect to live that long so it’s an easy judgment to make. Some people look at old age as a disease of the body and mind, and I suppose for many it is. But I’m just not sure it has to be that way. I’ve heard about some pretty remarkable centurions. I can’t help thinking that much of it had to do with their attitude and their determination to age yet never grow “old.”

My next-door neighbour lived to be 100. She was a remarkable lady. She’s been gone for about 7 years now, but I think of her so often. She was a feisty lady with a twinkle in her eye and a fierce determination to do things one way or the other. Many times it was that “other” way, but it never made a difference in the end result.

I spent many hours at her house being entertained by her stories of long ago, totally enthralled in that way of life she so vividly described in her yarns. There was so much for someone like me to learn and my love for local history deepened with each story she told. I loved hearing her stories about the first time she remembered ever seeing a woman smoke (probably a big deal at the time!); her days in a one-roomed schoolhouse; the very first doll she ever had that she won in a raffle but ended up giving it away to a little girl she thought wanted it more; and even her memories of the rumble they heard the morning of the Halifax explosion in 1917 and when word finally reached them in the Forties Settlement that “Halifax blew up.” I once asked her why she didn’t write down her stories but she told me she didn’t want to because there had been so much sadness. She often spoke of her father’s death during the flu epidemic after the First World War and how she went to work as a hired girl shortly afterward. She never complained about any of these things or the sadness she spoke of, but simply stated them as fact.

More than her stories, as if they weren’t enough, she helped teach me that I was capable of doing things I normally wouldn’t even have attempted on my own. I like to think that a little of her determination kind of rubbed off on me over the years.

cupOne spring she decided we’d paint her bedroom. She’d chosen a soft lavender colour for the walls. It was her favourite. Painting I can do… no problems there. But while I was in the middle of rolling on the lavender I heard a strange sound coming from the kitchen. I went off to investigate only to find that my friend had her skillsaw out and was cutting a piece of wood to make a shelf for her newly painted room. Just so you know, she was about ninety at the time.Together we put up the shelf. Now, I’m not a shelf-putter-upper person by any stretch of the imagination. When I need a self put up in my house I get Hubby to do the job. But not that day. That day I was a shelf-putter-upper. While I put up brackets for a brand spanking new shelf, Hubby was nowhere to be found.

Meanwhile, as I painted the walls and put up the shelf, my friend kept speculating on who would lay the cushion floor she’d bought. (Yes, she wanted the room to have a complete makeover.) Did I know anyone who could do it? she asked. While I couldn’t think of anyone, apparently she had someone in mind. And really, I should have known better. I really, really should have.

I’m not sure if my face gave way my surprise when she handed me a pair of scissors and told me to start cutting but it certainly should have. I stared down at the scissors, took a deep breath and started. There was no question about it. I was in for the whole deal. Cushion floor does NOT cut easily with scissors, but skin sure blisters easily—just so you know! And now that I think of it, she probably had me pegged for the job right from the start. She could be cagey that way …but cagey in an endearing way that always made me smile. Thank goodness the room was small with no strange and unusual cuts to make. It was no good for me to say I can’t do this, she’d have just said to give it a try anyway. She never worried that her expectations would not be met.

Like so many women in her time she was a quilter. I helped her with a few quilts one winter. I didn’t know how to use a thimble let alone quilt, but I did it. I love quilts, absolutely LOVE them. “Have you ever seen an ugly quilt?” I asked her one day as we stitched away. “Yes,” she said quite seriously, “this one.” But “ugly” or not, it keeps me warm, and I absolutely love it. Yes, she gave it to me when we were done. Of course it’s more than just a quilt, it’s pieces of coloured fabric stitched together with heart and soul and laughter and love and memory—and all those things makes it absolutely beautiful.

One thing I loved about doing things for my friend was she never expected perfection. (Good thing for that!) She was always just happy to have it done…and always grateful to have company.

IMAG0584One summer, when she was further into her nineties, she decided she wanted to finish one of the bedrooms upstairs in her house. Ignoring what others said about why she would decide at her age to tackle such a job, she went ahead. Her niece helped her. Saturday mornings we could hear the tap-tapping of hammers from down the road. “Oran must have got a pet woodpecker,” my husband would joke. It used to make us giggle as we imagined the two of them working away. But you know what? She got ‘er done. And I’m not sure if I’m more impressed that they did it, these two women with no carpentry skills, or the fact that at 90+ years she wasn’t too old to hope or wish or want or dream. And while I’m not absolutely sure, I think that her “I can” attitude had much to do with her longevity.

There is so much more to this story than I could possible post here, more than a lifetime if I were to dig deep enough. But more importantly, I think this story, this story of my friend, Oran, who lived to be 100 years young, is a story we can all learn from. Life is so much more than the number of years we’ve lived but the number of years we’ve filled with love and laughter and memories, not only for ourselves but for others.

Have you ever thought about living to be 100? Has anyone in your life made it that far?

The Two Most Powerful Words in the World

As a writer I contemplate, not only sentences and paragraphs, but individual words. I love words, all kinds of words. Not just your run-of-the-mill words, but words that have some oomph behind them, words that resonate in the thoughts and hearts of many, words that possess the power to shape our lives.

Shape our lives.” How can an itty-bitty word do all that, you might ask? I do think it’s possible, but only if you’re willing to open your mind to the possibility.

I’m not sure what the most important word in the English language is, or even if one words stands above the rest, but here are my thoughts. We could probably debate this if we wanted, but without any concrete way to prove it, it would simply be a waste of time. Undeniably is the fact that certain words have the power to evoke emotions within us. They can inspire us to do good things for ourselves and for others. They can get us up out of that chair and send us off into the world ready to participate and make a difference instead of letting life happen without us lifting a baby finger in the process. Here are some words that are all inspiring for me. You might have  your own words that hold some special meaning, but for me here are some of the biggies. In no particular order.

As you read each one take a moment to contemplate what that word means to you. Is it just a word or is there a feeling that accompanies it?

Dream

Wish

Hope

Peace

Faith

Magic

Love

While I find the above words to be SO inspiring, I started wondering the other day if I had to choose two words that totally draw me in and keeping me reaching forward in life, what would they be? What words stop me short, when I see them written out, and totally inspire me to try harder. I knew what they were without putting too much thought into it because these two words have been following me around most of my life, even when I wasn’t aware of their existence. And hey, it’s not just because I’m a writer that I can say this. They are both just truly wonderful words.

So what do I think are the two most important words in the English language?

…. Imagine

…..Believe

 

 I’d love to know, what words inspire you?

The Christmas List

December already and I’m attempting to get my Christmas shopping done. I haven’t yet given serious thought to baking, decorating or wrapping gifts yet, but that’s nothing unusual for me. Eventually everything that needs doing gets done before the big day. I’m not one of those people who thrive on the “preparation part” of Christmas. I want to go into Christmas relaxed and able to enjoy the time with my family. When my kids were small that was next to impossible. Sometimes change is a good thing.
This Christmas there will be laughter, food, gifts, and most of all the laughter. Did I mention laughter? Of right, I did. We’re a pretty silly bunch when we get together. Last year seemed to be the year for poetry as a good many poems accompanied the gifts. I’m inclined to think that, for all of us, the poems were the best part, certainly the part that we remember first.
I always ask my kids to make a list of gift suggestions just to make it a bit easier on dear old Mum. I have a full head of hair and I’d like to keep it that way. My kids all know this list is more of a wish list than anything because I’m not about to try and track down everything on it. Besides, now that they’re all earning more money than me I’m thinking that perhaps I’m the one who should be making up a list. It never seems to work that way though. Ah well, that’s the way.
Last year I shared with you a bit of my son’s list where he claimed to have suddenly gone Atheist and therefore didn’t want any Christmas gifts.You can read a portion of last year’s Christmas list. here. It was a fairly substantial note intended to obviously amuse me, which it did. I’m a pushover when it comes to silly. My kids know it.
This year, after an enormous amount of prodding from me, I received this lovely list in an email which he titled “short and sweet.” I thought some of you might be interested to see what’s on the wish list of your typical 24 year old these days. Hmmm, did I say typical?…Tell me what you think. This is how the email arrived to me. I added my response. I simply couldn’t stop myself.

short and sweet:

-A 1000 pk bag of sugar twin.  (I’m assuming he’s developed a sweet tooth, but doesn’t want the calories)
-A 50 pound bag of potatoes.  (This one really threw me..For the love of God who asks for a 50 pound bag of spuds? When asked to specify, he said he’s partial to Yukon Gold.)
-Nair for men (Is there even such a thing as Nair for men? Okay, this one had me worried a bit. But wait, my mind is telling me he’s been lifting weights at the gym, could it be he’s going to become a body builder? Body builders remove unwanted hair, right?)
-Grecian 5, colour AC242  (I have no idea if this is an actual colour, but me thinks not. I’m sure he pulled that colour number out of thin air.)
-Cardamom— (hmmmm.This is one bachelor who knows how to cook and obviously knows more about spices than his mother.. I had to look that spice up. Perhaps it’s an attention getter, you know for when he invites his date in for a meal he’s prepared. Every woman loves a man who knows his way around the kitchen. Right? But will she even know what Cardamom is?)
-Pickled Herring (I knew  sooner or later there would be something fishy about this list of his.)
-door stops –(Yup, what every young man hankers after these days—door stops.I’m sure there are a few rocks around here that would do the trick. In his spare time he can paint them up and make them look quite nifty if he’s truly ambitious.)
-those little pads that go on your cupboard doors ( .Ah yes, those little pads, the ones my second child chewed off my cupboards when she was a toddler. Apparently, they even lack a proper name ..)
-2, 5 gallon SunSpun oil buckets (Free at the superstore)  (Need they be SunSpun, I wondered? Won’t just any five gallon bucket do the trick? I’m assuming these will double for chairs as well as storage, right? You know, for when he invites his date over a gourmet meal of pickled herring and potatoes that he’s prepared himself. He can even sweeten that dessert he’s making with sugar twin and let’s not forget the cardamom, heavens to Betsy we can’t forget that.)

So there you see what I have to deal with. Although, truthfully, it serves to remind me that we needn’t take life or Christmas too seriously. There are far more important things in this world than wanting everything to be perfect.  Perfection is a façade, something that builds up our expectations to greater heights when really it is the simpler things such as peace, hope,joy and love that we will remember and cherish. Let’s not forget the love and support of family. It won’t be that big ticket item you purchased that you’ll look back on with fond memories, but the happy times that you created with your loved ones near.

Now to get back to my Christmas shopping. Anyone know a good place to buy Yukon Gold potatoes? I SO want to get him a bag just to see the expression on his face come Christmas morning.

A Bowl of Cherries

Life is just a bowl of cherries
Don’t take it serious,
Life’s too mysterious
You work,
You save,
You worry so
But you can’t take your dough
When you go, go, go

So keep repeating “It’s the berries.”
The strongest oak must fall
The sweet things in life
To you were just loaned
So how can you lose
What you’ve never owned

Life is just a bowl of cherries
So live and laugh,
Laugh and love
Live and laugh at it all!

This silly little song holds a lot of truth and serves as a reminder that we shouldn’t always take life so serious. The picture is a reminder to me of just how delicious those cherries were this summer. I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to post it. When is it not the perfect time to post a picture of fresh cherries?

This post has nothing to do with writing, except maybe the mention of the word writing, but I don’t think that counts. I’m also not sure I care at the moment. I happen to be in a silly mood. Miss Charlotte is due to make a visit this weekend, she’s even bringing her parents along. I have a right to feel giddy.

I hope you are in a place at the moment where you can live, love and laugh to your heart’s content, and if not, hopefully you will find that place soon.

So, if you want to throw something silly out there to prove you aren’t taking life so serious, I say go for it! We can all stand a good giggle.

Notes From The Universe

Every weekday I receive a little note from the Universe in my inbox. Often it relates to something that is going on in my life. Sometimes the little notes make me laugh. Always they inspire.

Just thought I’d share the note I received this morning.

Shaping, shifting, molding, making… what people do when they discover their imagination.

Spinning, curling, dipping, twirling… what people do when they discover their wings.

Beaming, marveling, basking, sparkling… what people do when they discover love.

Here’s hoping you have all discovered your imagination, your wings and love….

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