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Category Archives: Personal

Cheerleaders (a poem for Family Day)

Today is Family Day in B.C. In the year since I first posted the poem below, we’ve discovered that our littlest granddaughter’s developmental delays are most likely caused by cerebral palsy. And so a family very precious to us is walking a new-to-them path with lots of challenges—and the sentiments expressed by little A’s grandma in “Cheerleaders” are more heartfelt than ever. Cheer someone in your family on today!

 

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Swans and cygnets, June 2016 – West Vancouver  (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Cheerleaders

Every wee one who is learning
to kick the ball, hit it off the tee
point her toes and do a plié
summersault, the front crawl
sing in a choir, be elf in a play
play guitar, trumpet, violin
shoot baskets, basket weave
weave in and out in a skillful
soccer dribble to the goal
with the goal to make the team,
every child with dyslexia, autism
Down syndrome, whatever syndrome
who isn’t ever going to make the grade
make the team, team up with the cool kids
(because who are we kidding?)
needs a cheerleader
a yell of encouragement
a bull horn, cow bells, sign held high
banner in the sky
face painted green, blue
or whatever colour the jersey
and an after-game trip to Dairy Queen
because she’s queen of the day
and you’re her mom, dad
grandma, grandpa, uncle, auntie
cousin, biggest fan
on the team of the family.

 

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Posted by on February 12, 2018 in People, Personal, Re-post

 

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2018 one-little-word reveal (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

Welcome to the first Spiritual Journey Thursday post of 2018. Today I and my SJT friends are unveiling our one-little-word choices for the year. My trusty altar-ego Power Shot is here to do the honors in a storyboard sequence. Take it away, PS!

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Life is full of so many lovely distractions.

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But now it’s time to get to work…

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Write and tackle that “To-do List”

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Wait. I need to see what’s happening on Twitter…

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Aand Facebook and Instagram, and Pinterest, and all the social media hangouts I love.

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No PS. FOCUS!

So there you have it, folks. My word is FOCUS.

Frankly, I was loath to leave my 2017 word LISTEN behind. So I picked its cousin who is not quite so sensory specific.

The word FOCUS came to me as somewhat of a lifesaver over the last few weeks. On November 1st, my husband had hip replacement surgery. My broken hip experience of 2014 sure came in handy here as I knew what to expect. Still, on some days the compounding of caregiving and household responsibilities together with Christmas almost bowled me over.

When I began to feel overwhelmed, I would calm myself with self-talk like: “Just do the next thing” and “Focus.” That attention to the moment and refusal to give in to distraction helped me stay on top of things through the first weeks of hubby’s recovery.

He’s well on his way back to normal now and Christmas is over. However, I’ve decided I want to hang onto FOCUS a bit longer applying it to my work, my relationships, my leisure, and my spiritual life.

The Bible passage that I’ve chosen as my focus true north is Philippians 3:13,14:

“But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

To me this means living a life of purpose that will be effective in its trajectory because of its focus on the things that matter.

spiritualjourneyfirst-thursday-copyThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted today by Margaret Simon on her blog Reflections on the Teche. There you will find links to more 2018 one-little-word reveals. (Thanks, Margaret, for hosting and for making the swank 2018 Spiritual Journey button!)

 

 

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The year of LISTEN (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

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Coloring sheet gifted to me by Irene as part of the Poetry Friday summer poem swap. (I plan to spend a few more hours in quiet contemplation working on this in the days ahead.)

My one-little-word for 2017—LISTEN—has served me well… so well, I’m sad that the year is almost done.

As I went through 2017 it helped me make a habit of listening to others, especially when in conversation. Countless times through this year when the urge to interrupt came over me, I would hear in my mind: “Listen.” That reminder brought relaxation and a certain peacefulness as I continued tuning into what the other person was saying.

I’ve become alert to the wisdom of others about listening. Here’s something I read just a couple of days ago that sums up listening to others better than I could say it:

“Listening is more than being quiet while the other person speaks until you can say what you have to say … Generous listening is powered by curiosity, a virtue we can invite and nurture in ourselves to render it instinctive. It involves a kind of vulnerability—a willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity. The listener wants to understand the humanity behind the words of the other, and patiently summons one’s own best self and one’s own best words and questions” – Krista Tippett in Becoming Wise (p. 29) quoted by Melissa Moore in Entrusted p. 153.

“Generous listening is a revolutionary act of kindness in a world of screaming and competing voices” – Melissa Moore, Entrusted, p. 153.

I have also practiced listening to God through Bible reading, prayer, paying attention to the lyrics of praise and worship music, tuning in to podcasts, and more. One of the practices I’ve begun this year is Bible journaling. It was such fun to create visual memories in my Bible in response to Bible verses about listening. I’ll leave you with a short slide show of some of my listening signposts.

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sjt-2017-graphicThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey First Thursday, hosted today by our wonderful coordinator and cheerleader Irene Latham at her blog Live Your Poem.

 

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Gratitude (Spiritual Journey First Thursday)

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Image: Pixabay

A few weeks ago I attended the Global Leadership Summit (by simulcast). One of the speakers was Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook and author of the book Lean In). This gorgeous young woman looked like she had it all, and had it all together. Then she shared the story of her young husband’s sudden death while they were on vacation. He wasn’t even ill.

She was understandably devastated and paralyzed by grief. She told how slowly she worked her way through this tragedy to a new normal. Her therapist, Mark, was a big help, especially when he directed her mournful thoughts away from self-pity to gratitude (e.g. “Yes, your husband is gone, but you still have your children”). He challenged her to recall and write down, at the end of each day, three moments of joy from that day.

This Spiritual Journey Thursday finds me in the unusual spot of seeing my husband through surgery. Every time my mind goes to a negative place concerning this, I am trying to take Mark’s advice to Sheryl, and redirect it toward gratitude… which really isn’t that hard!

1. It’s elective surgery. Now that medical science has figured out how to replace hips, walking with a painful arthritis-degenerated hip is no longer a life sentence. And we’ve been waiting for this appointment for almost a year.

2. It’s publicly funded. We do our share of complaining about our country’s nationalized medical system (inefficiencies, rationing of treatment, long wait times). But when it comes to having to go to the hospital, it’s reassuring that it won’t bankrupt us.

3. General good health. I sat with hubby through his pre-admission interview with the nurse. As he answered question after medical question with “No” (no heart attacks, no strokes, no kidney disease, no diabetes etc.) it struck me how blessed he and I have been with good health.

4. Surgery is local, so no long drives to visit and fetch him home.

5. The hope of pain-free walking again—soon, we hope!

As I think of the days of rehabilitation ahead for him (I know a bit about what’s involved because I broke my hip in 2014 and also had to do the walker / cane / raised toilet seat / bath bench / hard to climb in and out of the car thing) I cling to my life verse for thought hygiene and reassurance:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses al understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” – Philippians 4:6,7 NKJV (emphasis added).

 

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sjt-2017-graphicThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday, a once-a-month look at life’s spiritual side by a collection of blogging friends who met (mostly) on Poetry Friday. Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday is hosted today by Karen at Irene’s blog Live Your Poem.

 

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Bear Scare

In the vintage Saskatchewan farmhouse where I grew up, a door that looked like every other in the house opened to a stairway to the basement. At the bottom of the stairs was another door to a dark and vacant cell that was once a coal chute. From somewhere I got the idea that that coal chute was inhabited. I scared myself many a time with that thought.

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Image: Pixabay

Bear Scare

 

At the bottom of the stair
in his secret coal chute lair
lives a black and hungry bear.

Fetching eggs or frozen pie
on an errand, do or die
up steep wooden steps I fly.

Feel bear’s breath hot on my back
any moment he’ll attack
when he does, I’ll turn and whack!

At the top the knob I wham
open door and close it. SLAM.
Once again escape bear jam!

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All Rights Reserved)

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Image: Pixabay

 

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poetryfridayThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Brenda Harsham at her blog for all things whimsical—Friendly Fairy Tales.

This poem is also joining other poems about frightful things on the October DMC padlet at Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ blog Today’s Little Ditty. The topic of the challenge this month, posed by Carrie Clickard, is to write a poem about a person, place, or thing that spooked you as a child. Read Michelle’s interview of Carrie and the original challenge post HERE.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2017 in Kids, Personal, Poetry Friday

 

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Poetry Friday – Pumpkin Edition

Welcome to Poetry Friday, hosted right here today!

(Someone mentioned they had trouble finding the link to the widget. It’s way down at the bottom of the page, but also HERE for posting links and reading.)

It was exactly a year ago that I hosted the Poetry Camp Edition of Poetry Friday. It’s hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since that fun Poetry Camp day in Bellingham (October 1, 2016). That one-year anniversary, combined with the fact that this is the Thanksgiving weekend in Canada (second Monday of October) gives my hosting Poetry Friday today a meant-to-be feeling.

One of the things my husband and I especially enjoyed about our visit to Bellingham a year ago was walks along the Taylor Avenue Dock with coffee at Woods. There we ordered Cream Cheese Pumpkin Loaves to go with our coffee. Yum! When I got home, I tried to duplicate those tasty mini-loaves but never got them quite so rich and creamy.

That Bellingham memory plus the fact that it’s Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend has brought pumpkins to mind. So today, a little ode to pumpkins for my own Poetry Friday offering.

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Pumpkins (© 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

To Pumpkin

You kept the new world’s
hungry pioneers and pilgrims alive
with your soft sweet flesh
and nutty seeds,
their feet warm with your rind
woven into mats,
their parties and celebrations
fueled by your beer.

But I am not stuck in the past
for you, orange gourd of October,
are still the icon of autumn
visiting our fall menus with spicy milkshakes
fragrant muffins, scones, and pies
infusing grainy loaves with gold
burnishing soups and stews,
ever the magnet of the latté lineup.

We see ourselves
in your well-formed circle
and with cold sharp blades
carve for you vacant eyes,
a triangle nose, a toothy grin
then plant within the fire of life
for one secret night
only to find your precious meat
shattered, your pulp a slurry
on a November sidewalk.

Thank you, large melon
for your stubby steadfastness
through famine to plenty,
your generosity from yellow blossom
to creamy flesh,
your patience with us
as we bake and boil
microwave and sauté
carve and create
you and your orange generation,
most tasty and handsome denizens
of the market’s harvest bin
and the farmer’s freckled patch.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Posted by on October 5, 2017 in Personal

 

Nourished by music (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

sjt-2017-graphicToday is the first Thursday of September and time for the monthly Spiritual Journey Thursday post. This month we’re hosted by Ramona, who is discussing her one-little-word for 2017 – NOURISH (what a fabulous word!).

One of the first things that comes to mind as soul and spirit nourishment for me is music. Though its delivery has changed over the years (from records, to eight tracks, to  cassette tapes, to CDs to, now, a streaming service), my appetite for and enjoyment of it hasn’t diminished. If anything it has increased.

When I joined Spotify (a music streaming service) a vast array of music was suddenly available to me at a tap of an app. Wow! In browsing around this huge resource, I stumbled on some ready-made playlists of worship music that introduced me to songs and artists I had never heard before. One such was Audrey Assad.

The first song of hers that snagged my attention was “Even Unto Death.” Her beautiful clear voice and the haunting melody begged to be replayed. Then the lyrics of this love song to Jesus captured my heart.

I found the song on YouTube (Audrey’s own channel), sung against the stark but stunning visuals of a snowy landscape. Even more moving, though, is Audrey’s own explanation of her inspiration to write this song—an ISIS video no less!

You can hear the song and Audrey’s explanation of why she wrote it below:

This song, along with others, is now part of my own worship playlist which is growing regularly as I discover more songs that nourish my soul and spirit.

 

 

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