Friday, July 13, 2018

Summer Goals

My son was always an inspiration when it came to setting goals. During ski season, he would set goals, during volleyball season, he would set goals. When he was a little fella, and on the first day of summer holidays, at home, he would tell me his goals for the summer, even when it was merely, land a flip on the trampoline.

This summer, I decided to follow his lead and prioritize a few things and then set some goals for myself. I do this often, in my mind but when I put something to paper, I feel even more committed to it. And so, here are my priorities this summer, as well as my goals:

Every day that I am at home I read, run and meditate along with all of the other things that I do in my yard, garden, greenhouse and house.

My goals are to read a book a week, be able to run for 30 minutes nonstop, write daily, smile more and breathe easily.

It’s the second week of July and so far I am on track, with the exception of my writing. It’s the tough one, the one that I avoid. Hmm, I wonder why? I guess I’ll go write about that…

How about you? Do you set summer goals?

~ Ellyn

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Song of a Nation

It’s Canada Day and there are times I feel anxious about celebrating it in its entirety but in all actuality, 
I’m proud that I live in a nation that is willing to go to the edge and have tough conversations about 
being Canadian. There are traditionalists who feel that they need to hold on to what they have been 
taught or have learned or have experienced about the history of our country and there are those 
challenging us to make it better and hear a different side of our history. We are just at the beginning of 
a journey with each other and I couldn’t be more impressed to live here where we can walk together, 
listen to each other, and move forward in understanding. And so, on this our Canada Day, I listen to 
our anthem with gratitude and humility, loving that it has been changed and altered so many times 
over the course of its life. How cool is that? That we are willing to change it in order to capture who we 
are as a people, in a certain time. I feel glorious and free and I wish everyone a very 
Happy Canada Day!

~ Ellyn

Image result for canada day diversity

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Life’s for the Living

Bonfires and neighbours, long walks and the moon, sleeping in and coffee on the verandah, #runningoncountryroads and reading for as long as I want, my yoga practise and meditating. And then, with a glass of red accompanying my dinner, back on the verandah this evening.

The first day of summer has been absolutely perfect and my mama would be so happy for me that I love and appreciate my life. She has been gone from this earth for almost 14 years, but not really. At the time of her death, my friend Barbara told me to never stop noticing her presence and I am grateful to see her in every area of my life.

Her favourite vehicle was a lime green Volkswagen beetle and even my babies see those throughout their travels. When Jillian landed in Belfast, earlier this year, my mom’s favourite place, three different ones crossed her path before she had arrived at her hostel.

Thanks my mama, I love you. And also, like you, I continue to be enraptured by life and I am living!

~ Ellyn

Monday, July 24, 2017

There But for the Grace of God Go I

Spiritual Awakening is what Brenè Brown calls a nervous or mental breakdown or at least her therapist does. Brenè actually jokes about this term. However, I see truth in it and knows that she does as well.

There but for the grace of God go I. This reemerges in my life over and over again and I am so grateful to have experienced it yet again.

Who am I to judge someone else’s pain? No one. It seems to me, as a whole, that North Americans, are awful at truly dealing with another’s pain and so I continue to work at being present with anyone I love or anyone who steps onto my path that is in pain. I am continually reminded not to rescue but to be available and useful, of service so to speak, just as people have been present and of service for me.

There but for the grace of God go I.

Brenè Brown speaks to vulnerability and this crucial way of being in The Gift of Imperfection, a book that has played a key role in my life. Her first TED Talk was the 3rd talk I had ever seen. It resonated so deeply and after 7 years, still does. I have experienced and want to keep having joy in my life and so I too have to deal with the messiness of life and know that at the core of “vulnerability is shame and fear and our struggle with worthiness but it appears that it is also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love”... (B. Brown)

This summer as I reconnect with so many people that currently seem to be on the sidelines of my life, Brenè’s talk found its way back too.

Thank you Brenè.

There but for the grace of God go I.

~ Ellyn

Monday, July 10, 2017

Showering Jenna...

Change is inevitable. It happens. And, it is a good thing. It may be upsetting, disappointing, sad, and at its worst, devastating, which by the way it rarely is. When in the midst of what we think is awful and unfair, it feels devastating and then just like that it is over and we remain complete, not irreparable, devastated. Without judgment, I have accepted that change quite simply, just is.

And so it was my privilege and pleasure to open up my yard to a group of neighbourhood women, most of whom I first met as girlies, so that they could shower their friend in love and good wishes before she marries one of her soulmates. For me, it was easy and wonderful but for the bride, some stress surrounded the event. Outwardly, she handled it in the way that she handles all things, with ease and grace… 

The bride and bridesmaids
Jenna & Friends
The history of showers for a new bride dates back to the 16th century and was an alternative to the dowry system. Without offending anyone, in 2017, it needs to be changed. It would seem that for many people getting married, that very little needs to be showered on them with regard to physical items, but good wishes and love still do. This particular bride and groom are minimalists and prefer to live a life of simplicity. When Brent and I were married, I had three showers and felt so gluttonous. We were in our thirties and had established households and yet we were gifted so many things. Not that I wasn’t appreciative or grateful. Showers have just lost their meaning and usefulness.

For this beautiful bride to be, I wanted to gift her something that I had re-purposed and made with love and because I am so far from being a DIYer, I was also proud of my simple accomplishment. Isn’t that what a gift really is? Something created or chosen from one heart to another.

Jenna & Tiger Lily (The 5th bridesmaid)

Jenna's Tree Chandelier

Now that the event is over, I am grateful to all who came out to gift Jenna with love and good wishes, and her bridesmaids, who worked hard to honour Jenna’s feelings and way of life. 

‘The secret of change is not to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new.” Socrates

~ Ellyn

Monday, July 3, 2017

O' Canada

"My country is not 150 years old. My country is as old as the forests, as old as the rivers. As old as the first people, countless millennia ago. Even the name is old: Kanata. Not a name from king or conqueror. It means a village, a place for people to live." ~ Joseph McLean
I openly love my country and feel that I am fortunate to be one of the 36 million people who call Canada home. This year in particular, I have acknowledged and am fully aware that July 1st, Canada’s birthday, is a date chosen by a group of European men who claim to have settled this country, my ancestors. You see, I am little white woman who has had a privileged life and have been incredibly fortunate to never have had to be plucked from my family and treated with such unworthiness. We are flawed, I know this. I know that the people of the past in my country, have committed atrocities that should not have occurred and that these ways of treating people have had a resounding effect on other individuals within an entire culture and generation, and that this has carried on to another generation and another and it is time to reconcile. I don't want to just pass this off and pretend that enough years have gone by and people should be over this. I want to remember so that mistreatment doesn't happen again.

I personally apologize for my ancestors and will continue to listen to all of the people of my country with an open heart, but an apology isn’t all that is needed. I too want to reconcile a friendship and what better place to do this but in the Canada of today, where we are free to have these dialogues and fully open conversations with each other so as to understand and respect our amazing diversity and past misunderstandings and treatment. 

"Beginnings are scary. Endings are usually sad but it's what's in the middle that counts. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will." ~ Ramona Calvert

The how of doing something is always the challenge, but as I read and listen, reflect, say and do, I hope that I too will learn how to live a life of utmost respect and peace, with and among all people of this beautiful country of ours because "hope is a verb with it's shirtsleeves rolled up" ~ David Orr

O, Canada...

~ Ellyn

Friday, October 28, 2016

Flight Day

“The most valuable resource that all teachers have... is each other”. R. J. Meehan

Four teachers with Stettler Elementary School demonstrated this with such effectiveness that I have asked them to be guest bloggers here today. Have a look at this extraordinary endeavour.

The project itself was about flight with an original driving question surrounding the importance of flight, how it has evolved and is evolving, and how these changes will affect us in the future. Albeit brief, the following are some of the curriculum implications that align with the project.

During a directed Math lesson, the students started by finding the local airport using Google Maps. After printing the maps, the scale had to be determined by measuring the bar line offered and comparing it to the actual distances. The scale given was used to calculate the actual length and width of one of the buildings and of the runway.  When students were finished these tasks, they were encouraged to research the lengths of other runways at larger airports and were in awe of the amount land belonging to airport authorities.

During their Social Studies lessons, the students have been studying the different types of taxes people pay, including income tax, property tax and the Goods and Services Tax, mainly with regard to how the government keeps things equitable for Canadian citizens by using tax dollars to provide services. They used an authentic airline itinerary to explore the cost of flying, and the types of taxes that may be added to flight costs.

On the actual Flight Day, the students created a fleet of paper airplanes that they had to design in order to complete four given tasks. That being: to sustain the longest flight, to be able to hit a target, to fly in a straight line and finally to have the longest flight. They focused on the parts of the plane in order to control the direction the paper airplane flew.

In Language Arts the students discussed imagery and envisioned their flights on Saturday.  They wrote descriptive paragraphs to demonstrate what they thought they would see, hear, smell, and feel.  With that task completed and the compiled information, the students wrote short narratives that they acted out.

The photos that are included in this post are but a few, but demonstrate how engaged the students were and the true joy of working together through this valuable endeavour.

I'm so grateful for dedicated people who continue to reach and teach our children.

~ Ellyn