Thursday, February 28, 2013

To Love

“A heart to love, and in that heart, courage, to make love known.” ~ Shakespeare
Because of Valentine’s Day, I suppose, February seems like a month to focus on love. Although I try to live from love in each moment, during this month I make a conscious effort, demonstrating outwardly and working inwardly.
We learn at a young age how we are to behave on Valentine’s Day. There are those “years when my mother insisted that I give one of those cute animal-holding-a-heart cards to every child in my class so no one would feel left out. Where was the meaning, the honesty, in sending Tommy Robinson- the dark-haired, wild-eyed, pint-sized hooligan who regularly mowed me over on the playground- a card declaring I wanted to make him ‘My Valentine?’ First lesson: Coerced expressions of affection don’t mean much.” (Oriah Mountain Dreamer)
Inspired by Oriah’s words I too believe that even though we know that Valentine’s Day has been exploited by the commercial world that we live in, we can still use this day to centre ourselves on self-love, friend love, love of nature, romantic love, all love. I have deliberately worked at spending this entire month focused on love, by reminding myself to breathe deeply and easier and attend to my feelings until those feelings are love. Sometimes it is easy to do, like when I am working with young children. Sometimes it is more challenging, like when my daughter’s basketball coach yells. What I’ve learned is that I can only control how I behave and that if I am squeezed, I can choose what will come out of me. If something other than love spills out, I know that I need to work more inwardly, acknowledging and honouring my feelings that have emerged. However, in order to heal and come from a place of authenticity, I need to fully understand and know what surrounds those feelings as well as how to resolve them, so as to return to that love once again.
As many of you know, I meditate several times a day from short little 15-second meditations to longer more directed ones. After I run, which too is a form of meditation for me, I engage in a guided one. During this past month, I’ve been steered by Marianne Williamson’s, Prayer for the Beloved, placing my bond with Brent in God’s hands asking that I be a blessing on his body and soul, that he be a blessing on mine and that we be a blessing on the world.
Thank you…

~ Ellyn

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

People Who Live In Glass Houses...

Once a company has incurred a bad reputation, that standing is challenging to alter. 
My children are athletic and they prefer and choose various brand names for their clothing and equipment. For basketball, Jillian loves Nike®. She has a narrow foot and likes how the shoes fit, and in actuality, she prefers how Nike® clothing fits her too. For volleyball both of my children like Asics® and Mizuno® over all other brands, and because of their height and long bodies, they both like Adidas® for jackets and jerseys. This brings me to corporate social responsibility.
In 1996 it was discovered that Nike® contracted out their production of goods, and that a percentage of the people who were creating the products our children buy, were children. Nike® immediately responded to this accusation and it was evident that the information that had been pedalled was misleading. And yet 16 years later, it is still being passed off as truth. Nike® admits that in 1996 they made a mistake when they switched to a supplier in Pakistan, who was found out to be practising child labour. It was momentary and was remedied and even though they have raised the bar for themselves and other companies, their reputation had already been tarnished. And certainly tarnished in an unacceptable manner.
If you purchase, Bauer®, Hurley®, Converse®, Umbro® and others you must also know that they too are under the Nike® umbrella. If you purchase Adidas®, Puma®, Reebok® etc. are they socially responsible? All I’m asking is that you do your homework, before throwing stones or jumping on wagons.
I would love to see a “No-Logos” life for my children, but like many North American consumers, they are swayed by this lifestyle that we lead. All I can do is to continue to research and educate and maybe one day the insignia will not matter.
~ Ellyn

Sunday, February 24, 2013

On Moving Slowly...

I’m at home today, moving slowly, thankfully.
When my children were in Junior High school, they were still trying on various musical and athletic pursuits and we seemed to be always going somewhere. It was then that I insisted that they only choose one team pursuit at a time, be it musical or sport. I knew that eventually team obligations would coincide and that they would end up letting one team down. I also began to notice sleep deprived children who seemed burned out at a young age, but also so many kids who were wrapped up in an outside-their-home type activity, that they no longer seemed to know how to just move slowly and create something from their inner passions.
This endeavour to move slowly has afforded us the opportunity to have much more time at home, eating our home food over packing some and eating from concessions some, but most importantly it has taught my children that being busy is overrated. It is okay to move slowly and choose carefully before saying yes to an activity.
Peace comes when I move slowly.
Gratefulness abounds when I move slowly.
Deep authentic listening emerges from moving slowly.
This doesn’t mean that we don’t have moments of busyness, but we all know that it will be focused on one undertaking and that when we are home, it will not be a time to just get ready for the next venture or commitment, it will be a time to move slowly and be at peace.
~ Ellyn

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


We chose to send our children to our community school, not because it was Catholic but because it is our community school. Being that we are Protestant, we could have bussed them down the highway to the public school, but we had sent them out of the community for Kindergarten and felt that that was enough bus riding, especially down a highway.
In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves.  The process never ends until we die.  And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.  - Eleanor Roosevelt
If I am going to commit to something, then I commit to that thing as whole heartedly as possible and because I had taught in a Catholic school, I had begun to study Catholicism years before my children went to their community school. I also attended many Liturgies and we, as a family supported the school’s mandates, explaining to our children why we didn’t believe said conviction, and why we were still honouring it anyway. I wanted my children to see their education as just that, an education, and loved when they would bring ideas home to discuss, be it English, Science or Religion. Being taught in their Catholic school offered them a chance to openly experience tolerance and intolerance as well as play around with and develop their own beliefs about religion and spirituality and feel how those beliefs would unfold and evolve.
Last week on Pancake Tuesday, as I call it from my upbringing, my son arrived home from school and with elation said, “Yeah, I smell sausage! Are we having pancakes for Shrove Tuesday?” and I came back with, “Of course, it’s Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday and Shrove Tuesday!” because it doesn’t matter what it is called, and knowing many names for something, just broadens perspectives and vocabulary. What Max desired was to experience that good feeling that he always had from those school celebrations, through food, prayer, tradition, and being in community.
The kids are in high school now, which makes this year the first year that I have not given up anything for Lent, nor have I chosen to offer a specific gift each day for 40 days, but I have been thinking about the practise. Please join me in dialogue here or through my other Social Media venues to discuss thoughts surrounding this time in the Christian calendar as I process these contemplations and allow my ideas and practises to evolve… 

~ Ellyn

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


The worst thing for me about eating as healthily as I do is that I no longer want to drink my morning coffee, and that makes me sad.
I started drinking coffee in my mid thirties when my babies were no longer nursing and I was visiting with other moms. Right around that time my husband began drinking coffee as well, and then… we became coffee snobs. We have been grinding Organic Fair Trade dark roasted beans and French pressing a small pot of coffee for many years now and our at-home coffee is our favourite of all the coffees we consume. Having a morning coffee is an aesthetic experience for me. It allows me to sit still and be grateful. The sound of the grinder, the aroma that lingers, the waiting as the grounds infuse… and I still love that first sip, but then I don’t want anymore. I know that it is a good thing but the entire experience of having a morning cup is what I will miss when I give it up. Until then, I’ll continue to smile warmly and breathe in the entire encounter… 
~ Ellyn

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On Cultivating Love...

I know that love is what I am but in this human being that I reside, it has come to mean a form of art that needs to be honoured, pondered over, revered and cultivated.
Thank you to Kathryn Woodward Thomas for opening up an array of many to assist others, and me, in 171 countries around this small world of ours, to nurture and improve upon this Art of Love.
Over the years, and generally speaking, the nature of relationships have changed. There was a time when people married for money, social status, safety, security and procreation. They wanted a person to fit a role. Now, more and more people desire a deep, meaningful soul-to-soul bond with their partner in life.
When I met my husband it felt like a dream had come true. I know now that it was and is just that. This April, we will have been married for 20 years, and like many relationships, there have been ups and downs. There was a time when we fell into a hole. Yesterday’s words, from Arielle Ford through The Art of Love seminar, touched me deeply when she said that if in a relationship, you experience a dream and then a nightmare, and there of course is no abuse involved, you are probably with the right person. A breakdown is a gift and that is why I prefer to call it as BrenĂ© Brown suggests, an unravelling. Our unravelling allowed us the opportunity to make our GOOD relationship, GREAT! But it doesn’t just stop there, we have to continue to cherish and develop it.
It has not been all easy, but as for my beloved, and me, we created an awareness of love, slowly and deliberately inviting supportive people to surround us. The podcast seminar that I referred to is just one more guide so that we may align our love with its highest purpose.
Thank you.
We too are committed...

~ Ellyn

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Not All Soaps are Created Equally

When I spend one day away from home, the skin on my hands dries out. Hand sanitizers are prolific within the world that I travel but I refuse to use those. I choose to not overwash my hands but will wash with soap and water in each washroom that I happen to frequent. Typically, that soap is only a fraction better.
Or is it?
Why is it that soaps take an extraordinary amount of water to wash off? Why do such substances need to be included in their chemical make-up? Many studies and tests have been done to allow such soaps to hit the market conveying a message to the consumer that they must be fine, but all one has to do is wash out a water bottle with traditional dish soap to know how much water it takes to get the residue from the bottle.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is the key ingredient that is damaging and yet found in many cleaning products, and, to a lesser degree, in much of the make-up that we wear. Mainstream supporters of this compound like a good lather and there is no question that it rids floors, dishes etc. of grease and oily products. I’ve read articles that talk about how it may penetrate beyond the surface of the skin and how researchers use it to irritate skin and then test ways to heal it but I’ve also read pieces on how, when used in small amounts, there is no need to be alarmed. My hands tell me the story that makes sense to me and it only takes one day back at home with my sulphate-free soaps, for my hands to be well again.
~ Ellyn

Friday, February 8, 2013

Living Alongside of My Children...

As parents we live for moments when we hear things come out of our babies’ mouths like, “I’m having the best day ever!” Especially when we are raising teenagers in this North American society with the pressures that seem to exist for teens. Yesterday was one such day when my girly saw a glimpse of what joy and satisfaction really feel like.
She is in love with the sport of basketball and although the team they met last night was not nearly as well matched with the skills for the game as our girls are, causing them to win with a final score of 54-24, my girly got 27 of those points. She is dedicated and devoted to playing hard and well and she is only in grade 10. It is an aggressive and fast game and there are times when I wish she didn’t love it so much because I struggle with liking it. But, she does and so be it.
She also just started a new semester with one of her classes being Math. She loves how math works and I marvel at, not only her understanding of mathematics, but of how well she is able to convey that to someone else. She has stepped into the mode of tutoring and feels a sense of satisfaction when another student responds with understanding and thankfulness for her help. This takes me back to a time when she was much younger and she walked in after school with a great sigh and announced that if the teacher would just let her work a little bit longer with Jimmy, he would get it! I doubt that Jillian will choose teaching for a career, but for now she has answered the call to be one. When we honour a call, we are gifted with a deep sense of satisfaction. Through Jillian's simple act, I get to be enraptured by this life that I live, alongside her…

~ Ellyn

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Paleo Caesar Dressing

Over the years and as we explored better nutritional health, the one thing we have all struggled with is a Caesar salad dressing that we all like. I’ve tried countless so-called Organic and natural dressings, I’ve made many of my own and still none appealed to my children, until now. We eat a salad with every dinner meal that we have at home, which is almost always, and since December, have had a Caesar salad, no croutons, about 4 times a week. What follows is the dressing that I make that appeals to all of us. I make it in the bowl before tearing the lettuce atop it and toss it with bacon bits just before it goes to the table. It’s so simple.
1 tsp. of Organic Dijon Mustard
1tsp. of Organic Worcestershire Sauce
½ Lemon squeezed
2 pinches of Himalayan Sea Salt or anchovies if you prefer
2 heaping tbsp. of Organic or homemade mayonnaise (Many Paleos use an
avocado mayo. I’ve been using a 5 ingredient 3rd party organic one.)
1 farm fresh free-range egg yolk (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, pressed (use as much as you desire)

Voila! And Enjoy…

~ Ellyn

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I think that his eyes were blue...

Many years ago and while working with children, I was required to have a complete RCMP security clearance. Knowing that I have a spotlessly clean record and with my two children in tow, I headed to the local detachment to have this done. When the receptionist inquired, quite loudly, if I had been known by any other name, I froze. My two little kidlets were standing beside me and so I paused and looked her in the eyes with my very wide eyes and nodded. She was immediately compassionate and pushed a blank piece of paper and pen towards me and I wrote, I was married before but I haven’t told my little kids yet. She just pointed to the paper and told me to write it down. I was grateful for her kind-hearted way with me, and when the kids went to bed that night, Brent and I decided that it was time to tell them. 
No big deal. 
The funny thing about kids is, some things are a big deal. They wanted details. The funny thing about me was, I couldn’t remember much. 
Among other details, I actually had to calculate how long Ted and I had been together, and I still cannot remember the date of when I was married.
I was in University when I fell in love with Ted and I know that I still love him today. He was fun and brilliant and I loved his family. We were only supposed to be together for the time that we were together. The timing of our individual lives just didn’t work. I used to say that I was devastated when he left me, but in actuality no one is really devastated, and I was just deeply saddened.
I learned so much about life, relationships, and myself while Ted and I were together, but more importantly, I learned more about these things when we separated. I’m grateful for the time that I had with him and that he let me go so that I could live this life to the fullest of my being.
Thank you Ted, wherever you are…
~ Ellyn

Monday, February 4, 2013

Social Media Acceptance...

There must be as many reasons to use Social Media as there are people using Social Media and just because I use it for sharing information, collaborating and connecting with like beings, doesn’t mean that my way is right. 
It merely just is. 
When I first joined Facebook and Twitter, I lurked and knew that I was learning from that lurking. It didn’t take me very long to see that information, love, laughter, peace and harmony could come through these places as well as through the course of blogging, Google+, Pinterest etc. If I don’t like what a contact posts, I don’t have to follow or read them. It’s my choice but not my place to judge how they use it. So pin, converse and blog on, post what you will with whatever intent you have for posting and I’ll see you in the web… or not.

~ Ellyn

Friday, February 1, 2013

On Health...

Healing is a matter of time, but it is 
sometimes also a matter of opportunity. 

I learned to meditate when I was 18 years old and it saved my soul during my University years. For some reason I fell out of the practise during my 30’s but as my life unravelled in my early forties, I once again began to meditate. At age 51, I meditate at least four times a day and it has become such a natural way for me to live. Some of the meditations I do are simple and brief like the one I do in the shower every morning, while others are guided and specific. I meditate before I make an important decision and I meditate after I exercise, during my cool down. 
The month of January is always a time for me to reflect on my present health and set goals for the new year. Besides becoming Paleo creatures a few months ago and pulling out our juicer from storage, this year the big change I made surrounded meditation. After my daily run and strength training, I have been engaged in a specific health meditation with Marianne Williamson from her Meditations for a Miraculous Life. Her voice is soothing and comforting and I never tire of hearing her speak. I love this particular meditation and have noticed my body loves it too.
And so… as I offer out my thanks for the miracle of my body and send prayerful light to different areas of it, I too know that I am “literally boosting my immune system.”
I have had wonderfully rich discussions with many about the power of meditation and invite you to share your thoughts and/or practises with me here.
~ Ellyn