Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Dream, A Vision in My Heart


Picture from google

A number of years ago I received an unusual inspiration at around 3 a.m. This came in the form of ideas for a children's choir.

I 'got' the name intuitively as well as the number of children to start off with and/or the ages. The name I received has been used since for a children's choir - reason to start acting sooner – though I realized it wasn’t ideal for me as my ideas/inspirations about a children's/youth choir have expanded since then.

It took me some time to digest this information, this piece of 'news.' After all, I was not a musician, only having played a recorder briefly in elementary school, violin in junior high or high school, and a few piano or keyboard lessons here and there since that time. However, with anything, as you already know, if you don't use it, you lose it! I would have to learn or relearn how to play any instrument.

Similarly, I am not a choir director though I did a stint as one for children at a former church.

However, I came to realize that there are ways around those two obstacles.

I actually started this blog for one main reason: to advertise my choir. (Side note: I recently changed my bio and may change it back to what I had originally if things change.)

If people were to google my name, they would find that I have no website. Because I love to write, I decided rather than a website (though I may one day who knows), I would write a blog.

Through my blog people can get a (better) sense of me and my choir-to-be. My dream eluded me after a few attempts. At times I call it "a dream" as it seems elusive, though perhaps I should call it "a vision" of what (it) could be.

(YouTube Video of 'Dream' - click on 'show more' under video in google for music, movies, and speakers. One of the films, 'Into the Wild' is an amazing story about one man in pursuit of his dream for freedom)

I know what can be as I have had visions of it. I also know what’s possible as I continue to receive inspiration from time to time – one time a download of information came streaming between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. (see http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2010/07/call-to-action.html) and also because of what I observe and witness.

In my heart, I know the reasons for my alternative choir – I used to term “co-creative children’s and/or youth choir” – are important. It serves many functions, not the least of which is for children/youth to express themselves, though that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

There are many layers, the primary one being self-expression and creativity which make up the top layer, authenticity and individuality just below the surface, and way deep down is getting kids off drugs, i.e., medication, in particular those who are mislabeled AD(H)D.* (See http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2010/07/why-me-why-this-choir.html.)

My preference is to have children register themselves if they feel drawn, rather than the parent(s) force their children to attend. That’s an entirely different dynamic!

I know what can be as I have had visions of it. Will I have the courage to go after it, despite all obstacles?

Now your turn: Do you have a dream in your heart and if so, are you expressing its essence? And are you expressing your essence?

*For another post?

I'm linking this to WriteTribe: Tell a Story.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Day of Thanks


An empty cornucopia made of bread, prepared for a Thanksgiving meal, picture from Wikipedia (may be filled with harvest vegetables and fruit)

Thanksgiving Day or Thanksgiving (for short) is a holiday primarily celebrated in North America (composed of Canada as well as the United States of America (USA) (or United States or U.S. for short). Canadians celebrate it as a holiday on the second Monday in October whereas Americans do on the fourth Thursday of November.

There are different histories and celebrations marking this day between Canada and the United States: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving for more information.

A family saying grace, picture from Wikipedia

Thanksgiving, A day of giving thanks, signifies a day of gratitude of the current harvest as well as from the previous year. It is a time to give thanks for the blessings, the abundance, the cornucopia, bestowed in our lives. See yesterday's post, A List of Thanks: http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/10/a-list-of-thanks.html

Traditional Thanksgiving meal, picture from Wikipedia (below right)

What is an expected meal at Thanksgiving you ask? A traditional Thanksgiving meal consists of this cornucopia of food: turkey filled with stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, yams (also known as sweet potatoes), corn and other harvest vegetables such as squash; dessert is mentioned below.

Oven-roasted turkey, picture from Wikipedia

Turkey, being the centre of attention of the Thanksgiving meals plays a major role in its preparation. It may be glazed with its own juices later used for the making of gravy, or laced with bacon strips on top (the way my mother used to), it may have no stuffing or lots of stuffing inside, though usually the latter. And both turkey and stuffing comes in umpteen recipes.

Pumpkin pie, picture from Wikipedia

Pumpkin pie and/or other pies such as apple pie as a dessert may be served with or without whipped cream or ice cream. Dinner may be served with wine, apple cider, or cranberry juice as an example.

Are you celebrating or have you ever celebrated Thanksgiving?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A List of Thanks


(Clipart picture)

Since this weekend and tomorrow officially is Thanksgiving weekend in my part of the world, I thought a list of thanks are in order.

In no particular order of importance, just what comes to me spontaneously that I'm grateful for:

1. my parents whom I know love me and support me in the best way they know how
2. my home, albeit it is somewhat messy at the moment primarily with papers and the like, there is no place like home to put up your feet so-to-speak or literally in my case as of late
3. quiet and peace at night when I usually blog and during the day generally speaking where I live
4. my senses where I can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch
5. a 'whole' body, i.e., having arms, legs, feet, toes, arms, hands, fingers to navigate me through the world
6. my skills: those that I know of and those that I may not know of yet!
7. my friends here in my part of the world and in the 'other' part of the world (Indie bloggers) as well as all of you who read my blog and/or comment...I truly appreciate it! Thank you!
8. a good, kind, and gentle heart - though I'm generally not mean-spirited - I'm not perfect! - I do strive to be authentic and true to my heart, my true nature...speaking of which...
9. nature, especially trees which I love as well as colourful blossoms of flowers, even plants, and grass (the latter primarily when green) ;)
10. my blog and the opportunity to do so, to express myself, my thoughts and ideas etc.
11. the seasons which make you appreciate the ones you love even more (mine being Spring then autumn)
12. Thanksgiving Day and weekend to give thanks to others, God/Spirit for all that I do have: abundance in comparison to many others

What are you most grateful for today and/or in general?

Linking this to Write Tribe (http://writetribe.com/write-a-list/)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

World Mental Health Day


(Photo from google)

Friday, October 10th is World Mental Health Day. According to Wikipedia,
"World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy...supporters come to celebrate this annual awareness program to bring attention to Mental Illness and its major effects on peoples' life worldwide. In some countries this day is part of the larger Mental Illness Awareness Week."
"Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), also known as Mental Health Awareness Week, was established ... to educate and increase awareness about mental illness. It takes place every year during the first full week of October. During this week, mental health advocates and organizations ... join together to sponsor a variety of events to promote community outreach and public education concerning mental illnesses such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Examples of activities held during the week include art/music events, educational sessions provided by healthcare professionals, advertising campaigns, health fairs, movie nights, candlelight vigils, and benefit runs."
And similarly, from a United Food and Commercial Workers e-newsletter,
"Currently the World Health Organization estimates that more than 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In Canada, each day 500,000 citizens miss work due to a mental illness, and it is estimated that one in five Canadians will experience some form of mental illness in their lives."
The latter is a statistic I have mentioned in my series on mental health. (Before three posts on the topic of suicide dated September 10, 11, and 12, I wrote a three-part series on mental health entitled, "Aftermath of a Brilliant Comics’ Death: Funnyman Robin Williams" on August 24, September 2, and September 8 (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/08/part-1-aftermath-of-brilliant-comics.html), (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/part-2-aftermath-of-brilliant-comics.html), and (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/part-3-aftermath-of-brilliant-comics.html).

How does your home and/or work environment handle situations around mental health? And how do you personally deal with it?

P.S. If you press on the Control button on your keyboard plus roll upwards (towards) the front on the middle of your mouse, it will increase the font size so the ad may be more legible.

I am linking this post to ultrablog as well as ultimateblogchallenge and writetribe.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Tree Days Part 2 - Indian Summer!


Photo I took of a tree wrapped in knitting in North Vancouver, BC

With tongue in cheek I am posting the above title with a little smirk, to draw attention to so many of you bloggers who are Indian and whose writing I admire. I hope you read this! ;)

Not only do I love your writing styles with superb choices of words, but I also love autumn, more notably Indian summer. Some of you may not have heard that term as you probably don't experience it in your part of the world. Let me briefly explain:

Indian summer occurs in the fall, also known as autumn. Autumn usually starts on or around September 21st where the length of day and night are equal. (See my blog posting, Tantalizing Tuesday: Tree Days: http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/09/tantalizing-tuesday-tree-days.html.)

According to Wikipedia, "Indian summer is a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather that sometimes occurs in autumn in the Northern Hemisphere" and "...weather conditions that are sunny and clear with above normal, occurring late-September to mid-November."

This is what I experienced this weekend, notably today where it was actually hot late afternoon. I was wearing a sleeveless top!

Apparently, warmer than usual temperatures and drier than normal conditions are expected this season, due to El Nino (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Ni%C3%B1o).

(Photo I took of a maple tree)

I bring this up for several reasons:

Firstly, I find a lot of people recently near the end of August complaining that "summer is over" with a glum face. I then remind them that autumn isn't until September (and then state the day after I note it from the calendar). This year is occurred on September 23rd for example.

Secondly. I recall vividly that the past two years have been extremely pleasant during Thanksgiving weekend which is celebrated the second weekend of October; read here for a short detailed desription: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving. Two years ago, it was actually HOT and sunny the entire long weekend with the following day, returning to work on Monday bringing cold, wet weather: rain! Last year, it was warm (not so hot, but very pleasant) with sun again that weekend.

Thirdly, it is predicted that at least for Vancouver, BC and area, we will experience unseasonably drier weather. (The rainy season usually starts as early as September.),

Is this occurring due to climate change? If so, what actions can you take individually and collectively?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

National Seniors Day


Name of a seniors housing complex, North Vancouver, BC, CanadaC

Today, at least in my part of the world - I need to qualify that for my "far-side-of-the-world" bloggers - ;) - is National Seniors Day (http://www.seniors.gc.ca/eng/pie/nsd/). It is a day to appreciate and celebrate seniors (or 'older adults'), and taking a look at issues such as housing and health issues that impact their lives.

With the baby boomer generation, those born between the years 1947-1966, we are seeing a lot more seniors in our communities. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomers for more information.

In parts of Vancouver and North Vancouver where I work and live respectively, the number one population are older single females, age 55 and over, i.e., 55 considered the age of a 'young senior' as I will be next year. In the West End, the downtown core of Vancouver, BC, over 50% of residents are women, most of them are seniors and live alone.

More and more seniors are not only living alone, they also spent a big chunk of their income just on housing alone. In fact, there are more seniors who are homeless than ever before, even in our wealthiest of suburbs, West Vancouver.

I find this an extremely sad situation, for probably most of those seniors have worked hard all their livings raising families and/or working, only to find that they aren't being supported financially.

Vancouver is known to be an expensive city to live in with housing costs and rents easily taking up about half a paycheck or more. And yet, they expect people to pay 1/3 of their income on housing!

And this is only one, though a major issue, that they have to deal with.

Do you know a senior in your family and/or community? Are they supported by society?

P.S. I am writing this coming back from a work-related event where I heard two or three stories of seniors who were homeless. So sad indeed.



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Last but not Least: Tribute to Indie and Other Bloggers


"Whoa, I'm not done yet!" (Photo by Roberto Kaplan)

This is going to sound crazy, silly perhaps even, but I did not realize that today is the last day of the month for the Ultra Blog Challenge! No way! Weird! How can that be? Why did I think I had Wednesday as well? Time just snuck up on me. That's what happens when you write late at night I suppose! ;)

I had at least one if not two more posts I wanted to write for this month. In fact, one is in draft form entitled, Indian summer. Gosh, maybe I should retract the coffee/tea blog post, a prompt from WriteTribe but I already posted! Oh dear, what a dilemma! :(

Ok, I have an idea. In that case, I am posting two as I understand we can...right? ;) Well, now that it's the end of the month, who cares (anyway)?! ;)

A quote I wanted to share with all you, before you leave, from the beloved late actor, Robin Williams is the following: "No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world."

I think us writers know that, that "the pen is mightier than the sword" in changing lives, the world even. Isn't that what we want? I know I certainly do!

So I say: Write. Keep writing. Keep on writing. As you do, your life will change, and those of others around you.

My plan for October? Take it easy or rather easier, like posting when Spirit strikes me as I have been dealing with health challenges and pain for almost three weeks. Getting organized by catching up I hope on housework (like dishes) and papers.

I hope to 'see' a lot of you again soon, especially the regulars I follow and who follow me...love you all! And yeah, that includes all you Indie bloggers! ;) <3 ... I already feel sad to say goodbye, even temporarily to ALL of you, all around the world, as I feel a part of this blogging, this blogospheric community and tribe...it is a small world after all! ;) (heart shape as blogspot doesn't like my heart symbol unfortunately)