Remembrance Day 2019: Lest We Forget

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“The Homecoming” by sculptor Morgan MacDonald

Tonight, as the twilight closes in on November 11th, Remembrance Day, I think of my Father who was one who came back from WWII. The day he left home for the first time, in a soldier’s uniform at 18 years of age, he remembered hearing his mother playing a hymn on the piano as he walked down the road. There was no certainty, only a knowledge that life was precious.

Earlier this year, I traveled to St. John’s Newfoundland. It was a place that has always been on my “to visit” list ever since I studied the map of Canada in my early grades. Bannerman Park in St. John’s holds a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by those of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment soldiers and their families.

The Homecoming” brings to mind both joy and sorrow, and the need to come together as a community.

It’s passing on the torch to the next generation.” Sculptor Morgan MacDonald

We Are Story

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My father passed eight years ago. His last request was that I tell the stories. I made that promise without fully understanding the definition of stories. What stories? Over the years, I have come to recognize that he was speaking about a wider narrative, one that integrates the past with our current reality. A story that could be sent off to the future as a recollection of what was, mingled with a call to action to continue.

And that is the background of how the Podcast, Tea Toast & Trivia came about.

Tea, Toast & Trivia is about exploring the creative spirit within a dynamic, ever-changing global world. The pursuit of creativity is essential. It speaks to the soul of our culture and society. It allows us to celebrate our individuality and our togetherness. We live in a world that offers unimaginable possibilities.

My goal is to encourage a deep and profound awareness of our personal journeys. There is always a story to be read, an adventure to be imagined, and an idea to be understood. Our conversations and connections give meaning to the present while expressing the universal hopes and aspirations of humanity.

Sharing a cup of tea signals a pause, a breathing space.

Toast signifies bread – the staple food that has been with us since ancient days.

And trivia – those seemingly insignificant details that we soon forget – they are important. They influence our actions and define our lives. Isn’t it time to give relevance to what we overlook in our busy, even frantic schedules?

So put the kettle on and join me for Tea, Toast and Trivia.

All that we are is story. From the moment we are born to the time we continue on our spirit journey, we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here. It is what we arrive with. It is all we leave behind. We are not the things we accumulate. We are not the things we deem important. We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship – we change the world, one story at a time…” Richard Wagamese

Bike the Night Vancouver

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Cycling has become a major player in responding to the need to seek the cleanest and most energy efficient forms of transportation. With every push on the bike pedal, we are the energy creators. It is the best of all solutions, for we respond to two imperatives: embracing a healthy lifestyle all the while seeking solutions to safeguard our precious world.

Serendipity is timely. On my evening walk up to my local grocery store, something exciting was happening.

Bike the Night, Vancouver

Bike the Night, presented by MEC, brings out over 5,000 cyclists, young, old and in-between, to ride through the streets of Vancouver. Starting at 8pm, riders embark on a 10-kilometer journey through the open streets of Vancouver. Even the Burrard Street Bridge is closed for the event.

 

The excitement and energy is unmistakable and compelling. The spirit of adventure comes through the lights, glowing reflectors and stickers. Bike the Night lights up Vancouver.

Come and join the party!

The Legacy of Callum and Fury

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I am celebrating International Dog Day by going back to my first visit to the National Galleries Scotland, located in the heart of a vibrant Edinburgh. It was during the height of the Fringe Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, when the Royal Mile is filled with festivities, laughter, and excited tourists (I include me in that description). Inside the Gallery, there was a tranquility marked by an occasional hushed comment.

I happened to look up as I passed through an archway. That was the moment when I saw the painting of Callum by John Emms, 1895. What I had stumbled upon by “looking up” was a profound connection between a man and his dog.

Callum, John Emms (1843 – 1912)

Callum, was a Dandie Dinmont terrier owned by Mr. James Cowan Smith. The painting was a bequest of James Cowan Smith in 1919. According to the Gallery notation:

“Mr James Cowan Smith bequeathed £55,000 to the National Gallery of Scotland in 1919. This enormous amount formed an important trust fund for acquisitions. His bequest had two conditions: the first that the Gallery provided for his dog Fury, who survived him; the second that Emms’ picture of his previous dog Callum should always be hung in the Gallery. Both conditions were fulfilled, and although Fury is long since dead, Callum still hangs in the Gallery in memory of his owner.”

The legacy of £55,000 provided funds to purchase invaluable art work, including Constable’s Dedham Vale, and Sargent’s Lady Agnew and Goya’s El Medico.

I wonder if there is a painting of Fury. Always a mystery to solve…

Happy International Dog day. Let’s celebrate!

Callum, John Emms (1843 – 1912)

Sunday Reflection: The Best is Yet to Be…

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Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!”

Robert Browning

The Best is Yet to Be…

Friendships with Commas

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A long-time friend once said to me, “We have a friendship, with commas.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“It means that, no matter how much time has passed, we pick up our conversation where we left off. There are no “periods” in our friendship timeline.”

This memory floated into my thoughts as I was reaching high above my head to capture a photo of a flowers.

What I love most about flowers is their willingness to bloom, without receiving anything in return. There is no quid pro quo. They bloom because that is what they were meant to do. They arrive in season, without commas, welcoming us to enjoy their moment in the sun.

Georgia O’Keeffe wrote: “Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”

May our time be fill with many commas.

Join me in walking in the St. Albert’s Botanical Garden. You need to take a rain hat, because it is raining!