Pine River Hawg’s Breath Sunday

I was here!  The roof did not cave in!  No Christians were harmed!

I was here! The roof did not cave in! No Christians were harmed!

Daily Prompt: Island of Misfit Posts

We all have something we’d like to write about, but that doesn’t really “fit” our blog. Write it anyway.

If there’s something I’d like to write about, I just go right ahead and write about it.  My blog is all over the place.

However, there are many things that I rarely do, and today I did one of them.  I went to church.  This was never part of my holiday plans, but sometimes circumstances pull me in strange directions.  My sister sings in a choir group called Makin’ Waves, and today I went along with her to keep her company on a 45 minute drive, and to hear her group perform at the 150th anniversary of this small country congregation.  We had to be there early, so I was lucky enough to claim a seat in the last row (YAY – I love the last row!) and watch while the place filled up to over flowing.  I’m going to say there were over 300 people there, but there may have been more. Not a good place to be if you’re claustrophobic on a hot muggy day.  Or any kind of day I suppose.

A church service is a nice relaxing thing to sit through (or in this case, to pop up and down in, to alternately sing and keep quiet) especially from a back row seat where you can take your cues from all the people in front of you, because you neglected to pick up a program and thus have no clue what’s going to happen next.  There was a lovely little lady beside me who kept thrusting the hymn book into my hands even though I wasn’t familiar with what they were singing.  It was a well planned service and they definitely saved the best for last, as Makin’ Waves sang the Lords Prayer.  It was absolutely beautiful.

As I’m writing this, the recommended tags that are coming up are all religious in nature.  My blog posts are NEVER about church, although I grew up attending one every Sunday until I went off on my own and married a heathen.  Actually he grew up sporadically attending church as well, but wishing he had gone fishing instead.  As adults we have never belonged to any specific religious group, so my random appearances at church are always very nostalgic in nature.

We skipped the luncheon provided afterwards, and went out for lunch instead.  This type of activity is more normal for me, as is the venue.

hawgs-breath kincardine

I was here too but this is not me.

This is also not me.  This selection of beverages was tempting, but I opted for fresh brewed coffee instead.  It IS Sunday, after all.

This is also not me. This selection of beverages was tempting, but I opted for fresh brewed coffee instead. It IS Sunday, after all.

Only three more days left in my Ontario holiday and then I head back home and back to normal.  Churchless once more.

Big K Little k, What begins with K?

There are several sweet and brilliant “K” people in my life, but if I get started talking about them I will never shut up.  So I’ll just say a few things about Kismet and Karma instead.

karma koma

karma koma (Photo credit: PixLjUicE23)

To me they don’t mean the same thing at all, but feel free to correct me if I’ve got this all wrong.  Just letting you know that even if you do confuse me with the facts, it’s still unlikely you’ll change my mind about any of this.  Ha.  Yes, I am one of those obstinate and opinionated people today.  Which makes this day not unlike every other one I’ve ever lived, but that’s another topic entirely.

Kismet to me is synonymous with the word fate – a predetermined or unavoidable destiny.  We are born, we live and we die.  You can’t really argue with that because it is pretty much an unavoidable process for being involved in dwelling on this earth.  To us as mere mortal humans, our fates are unknown and unknowable beyond the very basic and obvious.  We know death will come but we don’t know when.  It’s kind of funny how it totally surprises all of us when you think about it.  But that would be because we mostly try so very hard to never think about it at all.

Karma as action and reaction: if we sow goodne...

Karma as action and reaction: if we sow goodness, we will reap goodness. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In between arriving and departing, we have free will.   We believe we are directing our own destiny.  If we didn’t believe this, there would be no point in trying to make something of our lives.  We would all just sit around waiting to see what happens next.  Sometimes others are very influential in pointing us in a certain direction and we may not be aware of it, or simply not care enough to stop them. Then when things turn out not to our liking we tend to blame someone else for seriously messing with our fate.

The truth is, everything that happens in our lifetimes between birth and death is Karma, or cause and effect.  Karma is what we do, and Karma is what comes back to us as a result of the decisions we made on what to do.  Life is kind of like a circle, or a looping spiral, or a meandering line going from point A to point B.  We get to choose our path.  We are in the drivers seat.  I could go on and on with these similes, but I choose to stop now.  You’re welcome.

“Karma is simply the law of cause and effect. If you plant an apple seed, you don’t a get a mango tree. If we practice hatred or greed, it becomes our way and the world responds accordingly. If we practice awareness or loving-kindness, it becomes our way and the world responds accordingly.  We are heirs to the results of our actions, to the intentions we bring to every moment we initiate. We make ripples upon the ocean of the universe through our very presence.”  – Christina Feldman Jack Kornfield, Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart, Parables of the Spiritual Path from Around the World.

“There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how  I’m going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life – whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts.” ―    Elizabeth Gilbert

So what kind of ripples on the ocean of the universe do you want to make?  I used to think I was pretty much completely inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.  Now I’m not so sure.  And don’t try to talk me out of this comforting little notion I’ve got, because I quite like believing that what I say and do might actually matter

I can’t change my Kismet, or my ultimate fate.  But I can make some good Karma on the way to wherever I’m headed  I can take the bad things that happen and turn them around and head off in a different, new, even better direction.  I can be optimistic to the point where I appear to be blowing smoke up my own ass.  Sorry if that little metaphor offends, but I figured if I snuck it in here right at the end a large percentage of readers would miss it because they’re already bored to death with this whole Kismet/Karma diatribe.

Just make some good ripples today, okay?  Or some big waves.  Whatever floats your boat.  And doesn’t sink someone elses.

Having Babies

Having Babies: Part One

Okay,  where was I?  Brand new parents to a baby girl with more character than either of us put together – from day one she had an attitude.  And great lungs and a temper.  We knew lots about parenting, but nothing about actually BEING parents.   Any child is a challenge, but in hindsight I know D. was more than the usual handful.  Our spirited child.  Isn’t that a lovely way to describe it?

W. had another year of university to complete.  I had to go right back to work in a mere four weeks.  My mom came to stay with us for a few days after D. was born.  After she left, I stood staring at my sleeping daughter and was overcome with the enormity of the responsibility we were taking on.  This little life in MY hands?   What was God thinking?  All the pent up emotions from the past months welled up and poured out.  I crawled into bed and refused to get up.  Poor W.  He put up with this emotional wreck of a new mom, bringing me food and my daughter when she got hungry, and blabbering away about post-partem depression, sounding like he was trying to convince himself more than me that we could get ourselves through this.  Two days of being a drama queen was about all even I could stand.  And that’s when we made one of the two most asinine decisions we’ve ever come up with, and packed up ourselves and our newborn and took a two-day car trip to visit W.’s parents.  They were thrilled to meet their first grandchild.  I was exhausted, mentally and physically and spent the entire time there in some kind of zombie state.  So D. was at our island and a little camper practically from day one.

As much as my mother-in-law bugs the living shit out of me most of the time, I must give her credit for loving her grandchildren in her own strange way.  And she did help me realize a very important thing.  My daughter would not cease to exist if she was out of my sight.  She would not die if I left her with someone else for an hour or two.  MIL forced me to go fishing with W.  There was no heart to heart little talk about anything – that’s never been her style.  But one morning she just said that I needed to get out, and W. needed to take me, and to get the hell out of here, D. will be just fine.  It’s the closest I’ve ever come to having a panic attack.  Leave my baby?  W. didn’t have to drag me kicking and screaming to the dock, but it came close.  We lasted almost an hour with me constantly freaked out that D. might be hungry, or screaming, or in whatever state it is babies might get themselves into when their mothers aren’t around – I couldn’t even imagine.  And with W., thoroughly exasperated, saying JEEZUS Lin, my mother had three kids.  I think she knows what she’s doing.  We got back to find D. peacefully sleeping, exactly how we had left her.  How freaking amazing is that?  I know my MIL was trying to help me get out from under the enormous weight of the pressure I was putting on myself, to let me breathe and trust someone else to help.  I had to do it when I went back to work, like it or not.

We were incredibly lucky to find a babysitter that I felt I could trust.  She had six kids of her own, all in school, and she was missing the baby thing.  Her name was Mrs. White.  Isn’t it funny that I don’t even remember her first name?  She looked after my daughter Monday to Friday, 8 to 5, for the first year of her life.  It was kind of nice to have someone else to blame for how spoiled she was.  I often wonder what effect this all had on D.  Sometimes when we picked her up she would look at us with that little frown of hers, as if to say, ‘who the heck are you guys again?’  It was not an easy thing to do.  I probably missed a whole lot of her “firsts”, although Mrs. White was very kind and never said anything about D. doing something new until I mentioned it first.  D. never slept longer than a six hour stretch, from midnight to 6 a.m. that first year.  Her naps were short, few and far between.  She was active, curious, easily frustrated, loud, demanding.  We just assumed that was normal, having not much to compare it with.  We did have some friends who came over with their little Rebecca, who was a month younger than D. although bigger, and a child that they could plunk on the floor and she would actually stay in one spot.  I remember we thought there must be something wrong with that kid.

It was a hectic year.  We were all sleep deprived.  I don’t know if that’s a good enough reason for being lax with the birth control.  I recall having vague thoughts about not wanting D. to be an only child, and that if I ever had to make a conscious decision to get pregnant again, I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to do it.  So I did it unconsciously.  W. finished his year and applied for a gazillion jobs.  He got two good offers.  One was a teaching position in Lindsay, Ontario.  The other was as a Wildlife Officer with the government of the NWT in Cambridge Bay.  And there you have the second most asinine decision we ever made.  How different might our lives have been, if we had gone left instead of right at that big fork in the road.  At the end of the summer, following D.’s first birthday, we headed north.  L & W’s Big Adventure begins.