Wednesday, June 20, 2012


The butterfly is a powerful symbol, clearly representing the process of transformation. An emblem of change, joy and colour. 
We bought my husband’s family farm, sixteen years ago and I have always been in awe of the variety and amount of butterflies that cohabitate with us. However, this is the first year that we have seen and have been inundated with monarch butterflies. We’ve had painted ladies, swallowtails, little blues and other orange and black sorts but never monarchs. I was enthralled at how many showed up last week and amazed at their size as well as their boldness. They will even take on birds.
It seems plausible that due to tornadoes south of us, and the high winds that we have experienced, that they may have been thrown off course. The problem that now befalls them is that I have never seen milkweed growing here and my friend Carrie declares that because of this, we may never see them here again. These majestic butterflies only lay their eggs on milkweed because of the plant’s poison that is emitted, which does not harm the monarch, but does discourage other animals from rummaging around it. Consequently, the monarch’s eggs stay safe.
When an animal reveals itself to me in such a profound way, I turn to author Ted Andrews, and his book, AnimalSpeak. He proclaims that when a butterfly shows up, one should make note of the issues that are present and at what stage of change one is at in regard to them. He goes on to say that butterflies remind us not to take life so seriously as they appear to dance from flower to flower.
And so I wonder…
Change is inevitable, I know this, but it does not have to be traumatic and can occur sweetly and gently like the touch of a butterfly. After all, “the butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.” (Rabindranath Tagore)
~ Ellyn

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Dad...

Even though my mother is the voice in my head, it is my father who is the ground beneath my feet. For this, I am truly grateful.
When I was a little girl, my dad had me convinced that he was a Martian. As I grew, I let this notion drop by the wayside and yet at 50 years of age, I know that if I am from Venus, my dad is definitely from Mars.
There are so many ways that I am different from my dad and so many ways that I am similar. Isn’t that the way it is with parents and their children? So cool.
Some of the things that I learned from my dad are:
·      Never go up or down the stairs empty handed.
·      Everything has a place, find it and always put it back there.
·      Be committed to everything you take on and do it well until it is finished regardless of pay or recognition.
·      Do things slowly and gently.
·      You get what you project. When he called people a pain in the a#*, he got sciatica.
·      He had great faith in me to take care of myself but taught me that he would always be at the end of a phone line and would rescue me from any situation without questions or making me defend myself.
When I was 14 years old and being in a state without any of my own money, I won a contest on the radio winning a family bucket of chicken from KFC, it was called Kentucky Fried Chicken then. I skipped school to redeem my prize so that I could gift my dad with this for his birthday. There was some miscommunication between the station and the restaurant and I never did get that prize but it began to bother me that my dad always gave me so much and I could not give him anything back. Well My Dad, my gift is my words and I hope you know how much you mean to me now, always have and forever will.
I wish that I was with you on this Father’s Day but I will see you soon when my commitments and your commitments collide.
~ buddy

Dad and his Kids at the wedding of Jared & Jana in Jasper in June.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Today I said a formal good-bye to an amazing woman who lived down the road and around the bend. Bette was a tough and feisty 71-year-old lady who had such a soft and curious side. I only saw her a couple of times a year, but when I did, she and I were immediately drawn to each other, finding ourselves fully engaged in discussions about literature, computer technology or spirituality. I thought it was a unique relationship, but at the crowded and overflowing funeral today, I looked around and smiled warmly. Bette had connected with many people in the way that she had connected with me, only maybe on different topics.Wow!
In 2008, and on the day that her husband died, Bette had her final treatment for breast cancer. She fought hard and with verve booked trips, went parasailing and ziplining. She read books and lunched with ladies. She was an artist and nature lover and loved to laugh. 
Bette lived! 
Until she discovered that she had developed a rare form of leukemia and knew that it was time for her body to leave this earth.
Today, as I gazed around that hall, I noticed many young girls and women of all ages, who are utmost grateful to have known her. 
Bette, you will be missed, and I am pleased that I knew you. Thank you for making me feel that I was special.
Godspeed my friend.
~ Ellyn

Friday, June 8, 2012

Country Road Woes...

We bought my husband’s family farm sixteen years ago. I had been raised in a well-manicured city yard and began to try and maintain this very large farmyard. I remember wondering where our yard ended? The one thing that irked me more than anything else, were weeds and I didn’t mind hoeing and tilling, and so, I hoed and tilled… lots! The gravel driveway was a challenge and I began to spray the chemical Roundup on it. As long as I caught the weeds first thing in the spring, the driveway was clear all season and sometimes into the next. I found that I did not have to use the chemical every year. Until last year, when I used it three times on the driveway and was puzzled as to why it was not keeping them from coming back. Is it possible that those weeds had built up a resistance to the chemical? This year, so far, I have been hoeing the gravel. It is not easy but maybe it is the most responsible thing to do. I would love any suggestions that you might have regarding other methods that you use to keep weeds out of your driveway.
~ Ellyn
Note the edges of the lawn where it meets the driveway.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Growing Pains...

With the exception of one year, my daughter and her best friend have been the only two girls in their grade for nine years. They know each other well and honour each one's unique gifts as well as challenges. They are athletic and musical and orators and writers. They figure out math and science together and all other problems that come their way. They take charge and organize the fellas in their classroom, including their two male teachers.
As they prepare for high school, and just last night, they both anxiously headed to volleyball tryouts for next season's team. Eleven girls showed up and there are only ten spaces. My heart dropped. They are from a small school where they were called up to play Junior High sports when they were in grade 6 and now, they are facing a possible cut from a team. I felt my girly's angst last night but never said a word. This morning as she waited for the school bus, she said to me, that it would be better if she was the one cut, over Jacey because she said, "I have had to handle criticism through my music, and sport means much more to Jacey than it does to me."
She loves her friend and has already learned how to sacrifice something for someone you love. I am in awe. Lesson learned but this time by me...

(Update: Both girls just received notice that they both made the team! Yay! I guess they do not have to learn a "cut from the team" lesson yet.)
~ Ellyn

Jillian & Jacey in Junior Kindergarten
Jacey & Jillian Grade 9 Farewell