Friday, September 17, 2021

Canada's True North & Gandalf's Advice to Being Lost in the Woods.

"Now I turn around and find that I am lost in the woods. North is south, right is I'm lost in the woods...up till now, the next step was a question of how? I never thought it was a question of "whether." (Lost in the Woods Lyrics)

Canada has always been true north for me. I have a mug that says "The world needs more Canada" but currently I do not feel that way about my country as a whole. I feel a little lost. Where is my true north?

The North has a way of giving and taking so suddenly. I believe this gives the many inhabitants a live or die mentality of savouring goodness and seizing unexpected moments quickly. I have always believed we were a resilient lot- due to our ever changing seasons (sometimes all four literally in one day.) I am a 'Northern girl, wild and free with four strong winds to carry me' (- Terri Clark) ...It's in me and I am in it. This is who I am and although I may complain at times, and it brings it's share of pain, it also brings great depth, freedom, raw strength and beauty. Despite it's many issues- it has always been to me, the "True, North, Strong and Free." But right now, it does not feel like the land of the free or the strong or perhaps even the true? Because everyone is claiming truth at the expense of someone else. The news is mind wiping populations in the name of "protection." Government is corrupt, more so than usual, and everyone seems to have lost their compass. Instead of helping their neighbours, they are asked to veto them, require proof of one type of living or being, and show and deny anyone not on the "right side of history." Or they are just to tired and run down to care anymore because the grief is encompassing on every level.

Recently, my family and I visited our favourite Heritage site, not knowing it would be our last free outing before massive restrictions again. I was alone in the old fashioned apothecary shop chatting with the owner. She cheerily accosted me with, "I adore your outfit, buns in your hair, and entire look. Did you just have that come together or copy it from somewhere?" I smiled and as I answered her, my gaze fell on a forgotten crystal, covered in dust and a bit of rust, for sale behind the counter. It was the Northern Star. I collect window crystals and knew, despite the rust in the crevices, that it was going home with me. The owner stated that it seemed to suit me. I smiled at her amongst the old pharmacy bottles, tarot cards, crystals, pill bottles and mirrors. Dust floated into the old wooden slants of the cottage shop.  Muffled squeals of all the families in the candy shop next door, found their way through knotted crevices, but otherwise it was quiet. Old buildings seem to have a settled sort of hush. Upon seeing pictures on our text feed, my father asked if we were the only ones at the park, but we have been there so many times through the years, we know how to navigate, so it seems that we are mostly alone. I also tend to find the sacred, quiet places. My husband says magic follows me but I believe I follow it.

Afterwards, my family teased me because I could not stop talking about the magical encounter. The crystal now hangs in my living room window with memories of community, the beauty of strangers, magic, and old fashioned cures and beliefs mixed with the new parts of now. My true north.

This week has been tough on us and all those we love. This land of the chill has turned into the land of polarities. As Frodo sadly laments to Gandalf, "I wish it need not have happened in my time." 

I belong to this land. I have cherished it's freedom. I am proud that my ancestor from Spain drove cattle from Mexico into the heart of Cariboo County. I was honoured to have my Aboriginal ancestors live off the land. I have often wondered, when I was in the heart of the mountains, if they traversed similar paths. I am thankful that my German, Dainish and Romanian ancestors on the other side of my family tree, found their freedom when they were being persecuted in their home countries. They dug roots so that my down home could run deep. They celebrated that their country allowed for the freedoms of worship, community, health rights, and autonomy. They built up generations for the place I now call home. 

Anne Frank may not have seen the end of her war, due to dying from Typhus and secondary conditions of her imprisonment, but people like her, who told their stories, tried to be grateful, and tried to BE, became, in a way...everyone's story. By BEING in hard times, even to the end of themselves, and telling their story, they contributed to the world's story. It's brave to BE when a narrative is telling you it is not legitimate. When the larger story says that you are un- safe, or that it would be "better for everyone" if you followed this rule and that rule even if you are not sick at all, or worse, plain out wanting you to cease being in every place possible. Growing up we were taught Anne Franks' story as children to show us that even a child, who is curious, wishing to BE, and keeping an innocent journal, has a place in the hero's story. She had no idea the impact she would make just from trying to live. Those that pass onward while doing their best to LIVE, always matter. In each big moment in history they were there. But perhaps more importantly, we are here because of each little moment in history. We are here, because each person in our family line, chose to make a life, however that would look like. Begetten and Begotten. We are here because they were. We are now, because they fought for true north.

Maybe we are past trusting each other with handshakes, but the concept still stands where I live. Perhaps smaller rural areas take longer to lose true north? Some people call it ignorant. "You think I'm an ignorant savage? Well, you've been so many places, I guess it must be so. But still I can not see, if the savage one is me? How can there be so much that you don't know?" (Pocahontas lyrics) Perhaps that is why a lot of those who still have to make a living off the land, tend to know these truths more. Weather, death, destruction...the natural landscape takes and takes along with a bit bright blot of giving. The best life, the one most likely to succeed, is one that relies on it's community. Ranchers, blue collar workers, foresters etc. know this. The north with it's harsh climate brings untamed beauty. I love my Canadian prairies and their great partner of sky. It can be treacherous in any climate and in mine, I recognize the wild spirits in the strong steel of survivors of the land. These survivors valued the wild and the free. They braved.

Each time history has lost it's true north, people eventually have come back to this truth too. The skies hold hope, steady inspiration within every changing circumstances, and wild freedom. Looking into the stars, following the moon path, gazing into afternoon sun clouds, or being enveloped by a heaven full of fluffy flakes steals breath from the lungs and pumps it back into the heart. 

True north is a guide. It's that moment, when all hope is seemingly lost, and the darkness suffocates because the moon is dark and the stars are clouded...and one star brightly becomes a beacon in the stark sky. "You are not alone," it whispers to the great partner of sky. "There is more, there is always light- it just may hide for awhile...eventually freedom does surface once again." Unfortunately, often it takes a lot of people losing many things, perhaps even lives, for freedom to be valued once again. For the crystal to become clear in the sun. Fear is never the answer. Truth is warm, real and bright. The world shifts in love. We need to sing with all the colours of the winds and allow them to sweep away the clouds blocking true north again. 

I loved Pocahontas as a child, and still do despite it being called to cancellation, because to me it represented aspects of my heritage, (when many of those stories were lacking as main heroines), my deep soul self and my beliefs. I sing "Colours of the Wind" to my children every night that I tuck them in. The lyrics can eerily apply to our times, "How can there be so much that you don't don't know..." We don't know each path for each person. How do we think we can force the answers or health choices of others?

"You think the only people whom are people, are the people who think and look like you." Does this sound familiar on both sides of the vaccination stories? Masks? Laws? Politics?

"But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you'll learn things you never knew, you never knew." There are so many layers to our stories. There is grief we each carry. There is hope too. "Can you brave what you most fear? Can you brave what the river knows? Where the north wind meets the sea?" (All is Found Lyrics)

When the world overwhelms me, I walk outside. The other evening we stopped on the highway on the way home to look at the stars. We felt small yet oddly so special. The sky was speckled with diamonds. I felt dizzy trying to soak it all in. Suddenly, a coyote close by began howling and had us running for the van, as a large group of howls surrounded us suddenly. I tripped over my youngest son when we dove for the doors, because it sounded like it was right beside us. Later, in the distance, from the safety of our van window, we heard dogs begin barking and horses neighing, and more howls from miles away.* It is in those moments, I realize how close we all are to the precarious nature of BEING. "Come run the hidden pine trails of the forrest, come taste the sun-sweet berries of the earth, come roll in all the riches all around you and for once never wonder what they're worth..." When we step into the nature of the land, and see the immense cyclicly of life and death, the precarious danger mixed with absolute delights, we realize, as people, how much more are we capable of doling out? "Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise can not see all ends."- Gandalf

"We are all connected to each other, in a circle, in a hoop that never ends." (-Pocahontas film. ) If we are connected to each other, why are we eager to override freewill and autonomy? Why do we wish to enforce our wills on another? Is there another way?

"How high does the sycamore grow? If you cut it down, then you'll never know...we need to sing with all the voices of the mountain, we need to paint with all the colours of the wind..."

Canada is the home of four strong winds. It has often symbolized freedom, kindness, tenacity, and generous amounts of space. But currently, much of it is forgetting. Much of it is lost. Our north star is glimmering in and out. But, "Sometimes you have to get a bit lost to know that you are found..." (All is Found lyrics)

"There is a mother full of memory, come my darling homeward bound, where all is lost and all is found." This mother has memory from the mother before her and the mother before her and the mother before her and the mother before her, and on it goes to the great Mother earth herself. We are all homeward bound, whether we wish to be or not. All is lost and all is found in the ever turning clock of eternity, where time is all experienced as one. But us singular beings, whom are guided by angels and stars and our predecessors, we must choose which parts we lose and which parts we find. We must find our own true norths. I may feel a deep seated grief and "every inch of me is trembling, but not from the cold. Something is familiar, like a dream that I can reach but not quite hold..." (Show Yourself Lyrics) And yet still, dear Canada, "I can sense you there, like a friend I have always known. I am arriving and it feels like I am have secrets too, but you don't have to hide. Show's your turn. " (Show yourself lyrics.) Please show yourself to be the True North you have been before. It's your move, your turn and the eyes of the world are watching. Yes, you have some darker secrets, a lot less than many places of the world, but 'tis true that we all have those places to grieve, but overall? Home is a word where feelings run deep. "You must brave what you most fear. Can you brave what the river knows?... Until the river is finally crossed- you'll never feel the solid ground... You have to get a little lost on your way to being found....She will sing to those that hear, and in her song all magic flows..." (All is Found Lyrics)

"I've never felt so certain, all my life I've been torn, but I'm here for a reason, could this be the reason I was born? I have always been so different, normal rules did not apply. Is this the day? Are you the way? I finally find out why?...Here I am...I've come so far... Show yourself! Let me see who you are!" (Show Yourself Lyrics) Let me see whom you are, Canada. Be true, Be kind, Be free, Be wild.

So it has come to this. I am seemingly lost, my family and friends are lost with me, and my country is lost in the darkness of the woods, but the good thing about being lost - is that there is a possibility of being found. Although, indeed, I wish it never had happened in my time...

And Gandalf sorrowfully but confidently replies, "So do all whom live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide, all that we have to decide is what to do with the time that has been given to us." 

All is found.

What shall we do with OUR time?

*This video was taken after we were in the van and the nearer howls died down but you can still hear them in the distance. My phone does not capture anything at night so the picture is pure dark.

For those concerned with freedom specifically from the vx perspective but also concerned about health- Here is also a link from a man who believes strongly in vaccinations and the science behind them and the covid vax- but why the current trajectory is not right ( this one is speaking to US mandates ) but has good points overall about forcing, bad approach, natural immunity for those who have had covid, needle fear etc.)

The Apothecary:

The North Star:

Colours of the Wind- Judy Kuhn Pocahontas

All Is Found- Kacey Musgraves

Show Yourself- Idina Menzel and Evan Rachel Wood Frozen 2

Friday, September 10, 2021

During Star Crossed Times; Finding Beauty and Magic Despite the Challenging Times we are living In. (Kacey Musgraves lyrics to illustrate)

*Post Note: I am using Kacey Musgraves new album “ Star Crossed” lyrics to illustrate how I’m feeling and navigating this unprecedented time in history. Kacey is brilliant in her writing and can encompass opposites in emotions realistically. Though hers are about her experience with divorce, I find that good lyrics/ music can often reach different people in different ways, translating into a greater experience. The stories we tell ourselves and live in, are diverse. I am commentating from MY context, weaving into my own story. I realize my perspective or twist on the meanings can be quite different from the reviews I am reading or what was meant in the first place. Most of us are just needing to live our best lives during any point in history. This is how I am living mine. This does post does not apply to people struggling for their lives from Covid disease or Vx side effects. There are many nuances and aspects to life. Song links are in her name.*

"Be inspired. Be the magic. Be the one who reaches out to the invisible. Be the one who sprinkles kindness around like it is magical fairy dust. Be the one who lights the way, the one who shows others how to shine. Be magical."- Simply Topaz

And still, through chaos, through hardship, through all that the world would throw at me...I decided to grasp the moments I could and LIVE. Off of devices, off of media, off of news, off of the circle of tragedy projections and constant opinions... I found some pockets of joy. I found grief which helped me embrace what WAS and IS. I found an obscure graveyard and empty heritage church on a hill to visit. My husband chose to be inside each time, and I always chose the graves outdoors. I found faith in hope. Though I still experienced sickness, pain, tragedy, death of loved ones, loss of freedom, anxiety, bouts of depression, restriction of budget and immobility, I decided to take the bad with the good. I documented the good days and tried to accept or fight the bad. "It was a fine, strange summer...hurt came after but healing doesn't happen in a straight line. If I cry just a little, and laugh just a little, and hate you then love you, then change my mind...I'm more than just a little justified."- Kacey Musgraves. Justified. 

In terms of JUST BEING in my choices, I have found my life justified in the fact that grace covers all. I have found the justification of paradox in my constant flux of extreme (Enneagram 4) emotions. It is ok to feel the realms of all the emotions. I also found the truth I was seeking in my family, seasons of change, and creating my own rules quietly without having to justify my choices with anyone. I can struggle with that. I used to justify a lot. Sometimes I still do, but I try not as much because, "What doesn't kill me, better run...I'm not afraid of a fight, I can take it. Watch how I bend, but I'm not breaking. I've been to hell and back, golden hour fading black, say that it ain't coming back...but you're gonna feel me when I'm done. What doesn't kill me, better run. I'm not afraid to connect with something real, and just let it go when I know it just doesn't fit in."- Kacey Musgraves.

With a garden full of glorious weeds and wonderment, I am not feeling the need to pull them out, the way I did last summer. This year called for coverage and messiness and time. A different season altogether demanded a difference of living. Each day I have to remind myself to let go of what is not in my control, to bend the rules that are discriminatory in the name of protection, yet appreciate the ones that are true in causation. Being careful yet not giving in to fear, we, nor one person in our direct contact line, have not been contagiously sick in 18 months. Sickness happens and finding the line of acceptance versus deep respect for a scary variant is difficult to figure out. I've let go of those who value social media hits over real person vulnerability, or can not take a different type of living with opinions that may be contrary to theirs. Yet, for those that wish to connect with something real, despite our sometimes extreme differences...I crave that. Luckily, in small doses, I have found it. It's rare but it's alive and terribly tough to navigate at times. Which is why I also have a healthy doses of like minded individuals in my circles too or else I would feel regularly insane. "There is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a light inside of me. Try not to show it, to make you feel good. Pretending I couldn't, when you knew that I could. I won't cry when the cold wind blows, gonna let it shine, cuz now I know, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a light inside of me. There was a shadow of a doubt, but baby it's never going out. There is a light inside of me."- Kacey Musgraves- There is a Light.

Last year I avoided posting a lot of family pictures, inspiring or happy stories, or celebrating the daily good because I did not want to make others feel bad. I tried not to show my shine, to make others feel good. I've realized that is messed up. Perhaps many of us have experienced those on social media or off, whom shoot accusations of privilege, under education and all the resentful blahs at anyone who seem to enjoy little aspects of their lives? I have at least... Or sometimes many of us make the opposite grave assumption that the person doesn't have secret hardships just because they do not splatter them all over their newsfeeds or blog about them all the time... 
The people who love me, know, I can not help but shine my light when I FEEL it (or rage or be in the depths of despair when I feel it- welcome to the life of a 4!) I believe bright spots can be found. There is an AND/ BOTH mentality of all things. I can suffer and find joy. I can be joyful and still suffer. There is a light inside. I have faith in the beautiful and good.

I admit I blame social media (News, Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram etc.) for the root of almost everything lately for many individuals - obviously exceptions apply. ( I don’t feel blogging or email or texts are included nor family/ posterity/ nature enjoyment photography.) While I know it can give many beautiful connections or save lives at times, in general, I feel like it has caused us to lose a generation (perhaps three) to restlessness, division, politics, brain washing, addiction, lack of prowess in uplifting and sophisticated vocabulary and perspective taking, and aggressive misery...and that does not even address the privacy issues. While I do believe some beautiful moments and relationships have come out of such havoc inducing things...because good always comes with the bad too, and I have been lucky to find some friends through media sites I am no longer part of, in general, I don't believe they are sustainable to a good future, long term. Instagram for instance (this is coming from a former Instagram lover/addict whom still misses it at times), is not being present, because it is going back to a picture moment over and over again. Which is good sometimes to recall where we have been, but if we are constantly scrolling through it, we are no longer in our present moments but being jarred into a cognitive dissonance that seeps into our souls. We don't know why we feel disconnected believing we are well connected. 

"Don't go through your camera roll, so much you don't know that you've forgotten. What a trip, the way you can flip through all the good parts of it...I shouldn't have done it. Chronological order ain't nothin' but torture, scroll too far back, and that's what ya get, I don't want to see 'em, but I can't delete 'em, it just doesn't feel right yet, not yet. All the best, that's all that's left. Cruel evidence- it does me no favours, I should know it's a place not to go- when I'm alone. I'll just feel bad later...Look at me I'm living all alone, tired of only living in my phone. Anyway thanks, for all the nights and the days and everything you gave, I'll never erase it. There's one where we look so in love, before we lost all the sun and I made you take it."- Kacey Musgraves, Camera Roll. (This is my favourite song on the album.)
Kacey may have written Camera Roll for a previous relationship, but I found her poignant words resonating with the times that I flip back to when my children were young. While it is nice to have some remembrance, if I go back too far for too long, I usually end up a puddled mess of existential grief, feeling like my life is already over and I can't remember most of it. How are they already grown? I adore this age but I want the other one back too. I don't recall what it feels like to be pregnant and although I don't want to be pregnant and hated many aspects of it, I still want to go back. Spending too much time on my camera roll isn’t good for me. That said, I love taking pictures to remind me of the good life I have. I take a lot for the times I’m in bed with autoimmune issues and my memory loss. There is a fine balance. Sometimes even the day after, I wish for the day before or regret not living up to my pictures when I am a mess of autoimmune symptoms and don’t look anything like the day before. It’s a tightrope. I believe that photos are a glorious invention to help us truly capture and see moments and times that we otherwise would not linger. Photos give us memory to all of our lessons learned and an avenue of connections to explore or share when we don’t have the words to convey what we have been up to. However, as in anything, there’s a counterbalance, a counterweight and a danger and each of us must navigate where the beauty stops and the heartache or dis-ease begins, in our own camera rolls of life. 

"Be selective in your reading of the daily news. Do not fill your day with a constant mental picture of the worlds crime, disaster and distress. Direct your attention to the beautiful, encouraging and ennobling. Read books which are constructive, informative and inspiring. Do not read anything simply because you have to read something. It is better to sit in a quiet communion with your own thoughts, with your eyes closed than to gorge your mind with evil calamity, tragedy and human depravity. There are great projects, vital problems, new discoveries, the world questions which make interesting and profitable reading. Choose carefully the content you consume and focus on knowledge and culture."- Unknown Knowledge 

There are occasions in life when we must discuss hardships and incoming disasters to prepare for, but this should be at a micro level of our own places in the world first. I have found, my best life is when 3/4 of the time I am filling my life with the ennobling and beautiful in my books, art, movies and music. If it gives me the case of the "ick" I move on. The "ick" is different for everyone. I describe it as a gut feeling instinct that something simply isn't for me because my gut tells me so. For instance, my husband and I recently tried a popular T.V. series for the second time. I made it to the fifth episode when I said, "Nope. I can't. There are not many redeeming qualities to the characters in this show.  The sets are gorgeous but I read ahead for my brain to have closure, and I just don't want to fill my time with a show that lacks encouragement, friendship celebration, or some other redeeming quality weaved through out. It just doesn't suit my personality- but I could see how it could for there are medical aspects and I never do well with that." It wasn't a terrible show, but it wasn't ennobling for myself personally. I need to follow whatever is true, pure, and lovely. That does not mean I shy away from the tough but as for my free time? I need to be picky. I do understand why others would find the show compelling, but again, we all must follow our own intuitive 'ick' and 'aha' moments for our inner compass to work at optimum.

“I can write a melody, and maybe I could even make it rhyme, I’ve never been scared of what I wanted to be, and you know me… I’ve never been afraid to shine…. So tell me why, it ain’t easy, it ain’t easy to love someone I’ve been trying and I found out it’s easier said than done. I can wake up with a heart of gold, sometimes I can be the one I that you need me to be never said that I was easy to hold but I love you and I know that you love’s easier said than done.” Kacey Musgraves. Easier said than done.
I want to shine when I can, and BE when I can't. Perhaps we all feel that way? I want to encompass a sense of wholesomeness and vulnerability while still encompassing a grittier stance of courage and sensuality of life. I know I am not easy to hold sometimes in friendship, as a mother or as a wife. It is easier to say than to act out love for me. I know this. It is what keeps me constantly checking in with myself. To live out truths but to also hold back or give beauty with my particular brand of difficult.

Currently, I think we may all have a few friends and loved ones who are opposed to much of what we strongly believe in, at this time in history, on multiple topics. But hopefully, like me, we can also find like minded individuals to encourage us, but not to cushion us solely in our own ideals. It's important, above all, to find unity, with both those whom are similar and different and respect both. I keep reminding myself that LOVE. MAGIC. ALL THAT IS. JESUS. MOTHER EARTH. UNITY. HOPE. THE GOOD OF THE UNIVERSE... is what I need to get back to when I don't find it easy to love or be loved. I CAN wake up with a heart of gold and be what others need me to be...but other times I simply can not. Sometimes, I want to yell a bit, or strongly state what I believe in, and why it is unfair for me to hear constant washing of truths in main stream media or in person, but not the other side which is also always with us. There IS a middle.  Sometimes I want to quit. Sometimes I let my light flicker a bit because of compassion and that is ok, as long as I do not let it go out, or completely forget myself. But if I can remember that we all long to understand and be understood- it’s a bit easier to believe in important values but give room for the values of others . 
For an Autistic person, I  try pretty hard in my social interactions, politeness and my word choices...and still often I regret not conveying what I meant to convey or realizing that my words were taken differently with what I wanted them to say. I know I've worked hard on choosing words. But I also know that I don't just use pretty words. My husband says he likes me best when I am sassy but not when it is directed at him. Ha. I've been told even my kindest words can have sharp truth barbs that cut deep. I don't mean to do that. But as much as I try, and sometimes I try too much, I am not an angel.

"If I was an angel, I'd use only pretty words. And when I'm talking to you, it would never hurt. You'd only get the best of me, I'd never make you want to leave. I'd pull you out of the darkness, keep you out of the rain, everything would be better, you'd never have to change...but something's gotta change."- Angel. Kacey Musgraves.

We build our lives day by day. We make choices in small ways which affect our lives in the long run. What we do today- IS our life. Whether we like it or not, our star crossed dramas are reality to a degree...and each story has layers of beauty and pain. Some are pure tragedies out of one's control, some are Cinderella dreams come true with a sassy gawdmother to boot...but most, most are in between. Like the cherry blossom trees, the blooms are not long lasting...but they ARE there. "I’m your cherry blossom baby, I don’t want to blow away. I hope you haven’t forgotten Tokyo wasn’t built in a day.” - Kacey Musgraves. Cherry Blossom.

In 2020/21 when it was in my control to choose (sometimes it was not but mostly it was), I chose to live quietly, even if I can admit to a simmering rage for all the pain people were experiencing in the background of my mind. (Perhaps they are right that rage is just a symptom of grief?) But each day I try to focus on the little sensory delights: "Paint covered aprons, cinders from a campfire, misty spring mornings, cool summer breezes, apple blossoms, green tea, faded quilts, lying on your back and looking at the stars, wanderlust and homesickness, old letters, pressed flowers, listening to records, candle flames, photo albums, softly playing a new piano, random acts of kindness, used bookstores, cafes, rough sketches, staying up late for just one more chapter..."- Unknown
"Grew up in the sticks, where there ain't light, but the stars were big and bright. If they told me no- I would always wonder why. But I try to be good and keep my head down, but there was too much sky around, and my daddy said, 'Keep looking up, don't let the world bring you down, keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground. Keep looking up.' It comes to me in a different ways, beautiful and strange, I seen fire burning in the sky, things that I can't explain, I've seen truth step into the light and love turn into pain. ... Keep looking up." - Kacey Musgraves

There is SO MUCH SKY where I live. I love seeing the stars at night and am often tempted to lie underneath them on the cold damp grass in our front yard. I try to be good and keep my head down at times, to not draw attention to my unconventional ways. I actually censor myself a lot...but on other days? I just want to be me, ya know? The beautiful and strange seem to find me. I can't explain much of it. Truth steps into my life often and can be quite a bitter pill to swallow yet it illuminates.

In these times, I have seen such strange things. I have seen love regularly turn into pain as families find themselves divided because their news feeds told them what to believe. But I have also seen unlikely friends become allies. I have seen friends on opposite sides of the coin STILL REMAIN FRIENDS. Is it common or easy? No, but it CAN happen. I have noticed more sunsets and tried more experiences. I have had surreal moments of wonder so encompassing I can not believe what a gift it is to be alive. 

It is true that when I am told no, I am more likely to ask 'Why?' and try. There is mystery to many aspects of life. In that wonderland of abnormality I have often found peace. 

"My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage."- Alice Hoffman 
Where is my courage? Is it in his smile crinkles? Is it in the passenger seat when my son drives? Is it in watching my daughter work at the bakery every day despite more government (upcoming) rules being piled on her shoulders? Is it in watching my son's soccer mishaps but letting him play regardless? Or is it walking out my front door every day when sometimes I would rather not? And then finding surprises of bliss, growth & connection? 

"This hook up scene ain't all that it's made to be, you get your fill and then leave empty, more lonely than before, than you lay beside somebody you know isn't right, and make believe it's love at night and start looking for the door. If you've got someone to love, and if you've almost givin' up, hold em tight, despite the way they make you mad. Cuz you might not even know, that you don't have it so bad. A pretty face might get you far but still it can't replace, the kind of real connection that I crave, the kind we don't have anymore. I get in my head, analyzing what I had. It's a chapter that ain't coming back, I could have learned to love it more. So if you got someone to love, and you've almost given up, hold on tight, despite the way they make you mad, cuz you might not even know that you don't have it so bad."- Hook up Scene- Kacey Musgraves (My other fav. song on the album)

Sometimes, we don't realize that we really don't have it so bad, when we think we do. (Use common sense for exceptions that apply.) We feel restricted, out of place or sorts, and complain or dread what is coming. While there is a part of reality that demands preparation, maybe we can still find the places of our youth? Spare time meant walking in nature together for a snack at the local Red Rooster, sending music and notes to loved ones, and embracing the simple times of life.

“Every day felt like Friday, Walkin' to the 7/11. Me and all of my best friends, we were always together. I remember talking on the phone all night, didn't know it was a simple time. Wish that I could put this game on pause, skip this round take the headset off, put my lip gloss on, kick it at the mall like there's nothing wrong. I need to step away if I don't I'm gonna go insane, cuz being grown up kindda sucks sometimes and I'm just really missing the simple times. I think I'm going off of the deep end, I wanna wake up on an  island. throw everybody a peace sign, put all the static on silent. We could stay up all night, pour one out for the simple times. Wish that I could put this game on pause, skip this round take the headset off, put my lip gloss on... and I'm just really missing the simple times..."- Kacey Musgraves. Simple Times.

Being a Four type, there are times when I feel I am going to go insane if I hear one more opinion, tragedy, or ridiculous statement that does not directly apply to those I love or are put in my path. My brain can not handle global or the macro knowledge of the world- I am not God. Maybe some people feel they thrive on that grand scope and can make the world better- and if they truly can- kudos to them. But I think I am going off the deep end if I dive into all the things. I crave water and mountains and wind swept prairies. I will seek out the small pleasures and satisfy some of these cravings with the nature which surrounds me because truly, being grown up DOES suck sometimes. I crave depth. I do miss the 90's even if I prefer my life now in most other ways. I miss the absence of social media...even though I don't use it. I wish most of those I know, also were not using it either, because it can make for an isolated experience when just myself and my hubby and kids are off it completely. Because sometimes people do not find alternative ways or time to connect (which is understandable) when there are those options around. The lonely person who connects on social media is not likely to try to find connections in their own tangible community and their tangible community is unlikely to reach out to the lonely person when constantly distracted by their apps... Although lately we have found some kindreds gloriously share their lives in person and on voice texting distance. That is deeply valued. The wonderful community has cushioned us with safety, sharing and new connections of healing and capability. At least I have them, and what a beautiful existence we intentionally make with all that spare time! Better in my opinion on most days than what we had before on social media, but still slightly isolated in ideals and lack of time constraints. I find I come to conclusions, based on my quiet and solitude, that most do not get the luxury of having because they choose their constant influx of news. 
So my way of putting the "game on pause" is to stop everything and walk outside. Perhaps put on some heels and take some pictures just because. It's an occasion because we decide to BE. Not for any other reason. We paint our faces green for a movie party with just a couple friends who are comfortable coming over. We set out snacks to share (with frequent hand washing) because community and sharing food are integral to living. Because sometimes we need to step away and pretend there is nothing wrong...because sometimes, in our yards or homes, there IS nothing traumatic going on at the moment and that IS something to celebrate. Because tragedy, sickness, death and disease affect us all at some point in life. So the moments that reach back to our youthful souls, of simple delights and friendship, community and safe interactions with family matter. I need that. I need truth in conversation. I need harmony in disagreement. I need compassion paired with strength. I need the heat of the sun and dark caress of the moon. I need my brave.
"Being needy is brave. Having the gumption to step out into vulnerable light and risk being one of a number of souls to want time and friendship from someone is so honest. When we are brave enough to verbalize "I want you in my life. Will you be my friend?" The invitation has the power to confirm that yes we as humans are all needy. The few that are brave enough to say these longings aloud and then wade into a vulnerable wait are the very souls who know the beauty of true, safe connection. Here's to the ones who are brave enough to be needy and admit it."- Bekah Jane Pogue
"If this was a movie..we'd fall back into place. "- Kacey Musgraves. 

But can we fall back into the places we were before? Some of them are inaccessible. Others can be navigated.  Kacey's Golden Hour is still regularly played in our home. Some say it is a honeymoon phase album but I don't see it like that. To me, it reminds me to find the sparkle, the golden moments of butterflies and oh what a world! Because Oh what a world it is! Both good and terrible. It's star crossed lovers who DID have golden moments. The sun rises, as does the moon. Both are needed. 

"What have we done? Did we fly to high just to get burned by the sun. No ones to blame, cuz we called all the angels to save us, called them by name, but I guess they got lost. Star Crossed."- Kacey Musgraves. Star Crossed.

“Let’s go back to the beginning. I just wanna be a good wife. Wake him up nice and slow, bring coffee in bed, listen to his problems, tell him that I understand. Touch him so he knows in his heart he’s the only one, try to loosen up and be more fun. God help me be a good wife because he needs me. Even when he’s not right, he still needs me. Help me let go of all the things that make me mad, at the end of the day, he’s got a know that I got his back, and if he comes home stressed out I can pack him a bowl, just let him be himself, don’t try to control.” -Kacey Musgraves Good Wife. 
(I cracked up because of his face in these photos.)
My dreams will be different from many. From the age of 3, I acted out romance with my barbie dolls way before I could comprehend it. I loved my 1940s musicals. So obviously, the dreams of my heart were for marriage. But marriage is not easy and as I have stated before, I believe in divorce in context and have had hard years, but overall I love being married. I understand why the institution is being attacked with a vengeance- some reasons are true while others are less noble. History is fraught with the good and bad of marriage. Unfortunately, most of the ordinary, beautiful unions were lived out on simple farmsteads and homes without being put to paper or memory. Most of the time I just want to live mine out simply and in an Anne of Green Gables kind of way. "It's been my experience that you can almost always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will."- Anne
My prayer each night before I go to bed is to have more healthy, happy years of him and I together. But I am NOT a conventional wife. I laughed when Kacey sings "pack him a bowl" because that is the extent of my cooking skills. I've actually sent empty bowls with a packaged cereal in them in our early days. Then we found a different groove. We were lucky. Because in every relationship in life, we can only be in control of ourselves...and distance ourselves when another person in a relationship does not. But in a marriage? It is required that the other person is as willing to put in the work too. That is the difference between marriage and any other relationship. It demands BOTH. Because both people pledged their sacred oaths to TRY. When one does not regularly, it is almost impossible to keep up. That is the beauty and heartache of it. My husband had to learn to be less conventional, have less expectations and adjust to a different sort of marriage. I had to learn to be vocal, strong and adjust to a different sort of contribution to homemaking. It was not easy but it was so worth it. Because we both embarked on a growth journey together. I still can control. I still get mad on a daily basis (we joke that it's my primary emotion...and luckily he mostly finds it funny which helps me lighten up. I'm actually not that much fun on case you didn't gather that from this post...ha. I'm a mixture of harsh, innocent and feisty and goofy which makes my family laugh a lot.) But I want to convey through these pictures and lyrics, that in dramas, there can also be sparkles. There can be hearts both torn open and completely in love with life. We can hold to our stances with flexibility whilst still sprinkling some fairy dust. We can still shine and be magickal in the mundane.

These are Star Crossed times. But when it is in my control (sometimes it is not), I refuse to let my daily story end up like Romeo and Juliet surrealism and tragedy. Although there are true, legitimate, aspects of "being ripped at the seams and being woken from a perfect dream...and then the darkness came..."- Star Crossed Kacey Musgraves. And we need to also honour those ripped up times, but when we can have it in our control...

As Anne states in the classic 1980's Sullivan series, "It's not what the world holds for you, it's what you bring to it."

* I could not fit the song "Breadwinner" in this post but I wanted to include it as a post note. I actually loved it. "I wish somebody would have told me the truth, that he never will know what to do with a woman like you."  Kacey, who shot to stardom when her partner clearly did's very tough to keep that type of relationship and I am glad she is shedding light on the disparity. I couldn't fully work it into this post though:) 
For a short poetic autumn post click

 If you love music - this is fun! ( Don’t Shut Me down By Abba has been on repeat in our home..) Skip to the 22-26 mark to see what concerts of the future may look like;
Even though Kacey songs are sprinkled in this post and links are in her name ( or find her album on spotify) I will actually leave the Abba song for this because "I have been re loaded...I'm not the one you knew, I'm now and then combined and I'm asking you to have an open mind. I'm not the same this time around. I'm fired up, don't shut me down..."