Tag Archives: spirituality

In 2011, Grandparents Day fell on September 11th

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If your grandchildren didn’t acknowledge you on that day, it’s probably because other things of greater importance were happening, like the commemoration of the events that occurred ten years ago.

However, if you are fortunate enough to have grandchildren, remember that they are growing up faster than you are growing old, and enjoy every moment that you can with them.  You’ll live on in their memories long after your body is used up.  Make the memories significant.  Give them the best of who you are.  It’s really the only legacy worth leaving.

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Homosexuality and the Bible

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Ever thought about how relevant the writings of past times are to today’s world?  I read and re-read Jane Austen, and though society has changed a lot in 200 years, her humor, her irony, her insights, are still just right for today.

However, there are books that are full of rules for regulating society, and they lose their power when times change.  For instance, a book on etiquette that insists that men doff their hats to a woman has nothing to tell the modern man who either eschews hats or has a cap permanently pulled down on his head.

This piece points out that following the letter of a very old law makes no sense and does, in fact, lead to cruel and horrible practices that have been outlawed for centuries.  But don’t worry, you’ll have a good laugh if you read this.

Homosexuality and the Bible. Read the rest of this entry

“God instructs the heart, not by ideas, but by pains and contradictions.” –De Caussade

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I first encountered these words when reading Sallinger’s Franny and Zooey.  I discovered them again while re-reading old diaries. This quote comes to mind from time to time, especially when I’m confused and in pain, of course.  Whether or not you want to leave “God” in the sentence doesn’t really matter.  It could easily read, “We learn the important things, the deepest things, about ourselves and about life, not through our reasoning powers, but through the anguish we feel when we realize we hold two opposing opinions or feel one thing but believe another, opposite thing.”  We could say it like that, but it wouldn’t be as powerful.

It’s the emotional impact of feeling so very strongly about one thing and its opposite.  For example, you might believe in peace and non-violence and still feel justified in punching an “enemy.”  This is just one example of how a belief and a feeling can collide.  What do you do?  It’s at these moments that we learn about ourselves and our world view.

Have you ever found yourself trying to harmonize two very different aspects  of yourself and feeling like, “Pow! Slam! Impossible! This doesn’t work!”

What do you think?

What is forgiveness?

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I was considering the subject of forgiveness, because I found myself asking for this from a friend recently.  In my search, I found this piece, written by the staff at the Mayo Clinic:

  • Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you may always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

I find this so  beautiful.  Forgiving others, whether friends or not, can bring us peace, help us move forward and even let us become more compassionate, all without giving up our values and beliefs.

What do you think?  Do you find it easy to forgive others? Can you ask for it?  Can you accept forgiveness?

Lael Whitehead’s new children’s book Kaya Stormchild is very cool.

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When you finish reading a book and say to yourself, “I wish I had written it!” you just have to tell everyone about it.  That’s what I said and that’s what I’m doing after reading Lael Whitehead’s first novel for children, Kaya Stormchild.

The heroine, Kaya, is an orphan child who lives on Tangle Island in the Salish Sea.  Her Grandmother, a bald eagle, has brought her up lovingly, and Kaya plays on and around the island in Moon Cove with her good friends, Tike, the otter and Kelpie, the seal.  I love her friendship with them, and how the sea,  another  major, ever-present character, with its varying moods and colours and movements, plays its part in her life and in the development of the story.

Kaya does not attend school, but she knows many important things, including how to build a shelter, heal a wound or set a broken leg.  Kaya makes some new friends, Josh, a boy from a nearby island, and “the Duchess,” a delightful older woman who runs a thrift store full of tantalizing treasures.  Kaya, and Tike, along with the new friends, discover bounty hunters who are not only killing animals, but also threatening the rhythm of the seasons by stealing a magical shell, the Omrith.  The tension rises as the friends search for the magic item and the people who stole it.

Nature lore, communication between animals and people, vivid descriptions and magical objects, give this novel a tone of beauty tinged with sadness as the quest is undertaken.  Innocence is lost when the laughing dolphins and other creatures are forced to meet great evil as it threatens their world.  But they are victorious, and the book ends in a glorious description of The Turning, which takes place at the Summer Solstice.

This is a compelling book,  imbued with the awareness of our spiritual connection with the natural world.  My grandchildren will definitely be receiving copies of this book.

Interview with Amber Harvey by Bill Maylone in July 2011 MayneLiner Magazine published by Alea Design & Print

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It is a very strange feeling to read about oneself.  As it brings others into my life story, I find it distances me from myself.   I wonder if everyone feels this way when they read about themselves, or if I’m just different.  Let me know what your experience has been I’d really love to know.  Amber Harvey

TCAC The MayneLiner, July 2011 Art on Mayne 

By Bill Maylone

Amber Harvey’s third book in her series of mystery novels for young readers has just been published. Set locally once again, “Mayne Island Skeletons” follows the continuing adventures — and growing up — of her young protagonist, Magda Sommers.”

Besidesbeing fun reads, Amber’s first two novels in the series dealt with the challenges of maturing. “Magda’s Mayne Island Mystery” investigated the feelings that result from the death of a loved one. The second book, “Mayne Island Aliens”, deals with the consequences of rejection.

“Skeletons” is again about internal struggles, concentrating on the issues involved in keeping~ secrets. Kids often protect their peers by not revealing trouble they may be in or when they do something dangerous. In the story, Magda must deal with the aftermath of a friend who ends up getting hurt, and who would have avoided injury if Magda had revealed a secret. Developing stories is a two-part process for Amber. First, she works out much of the “internal landscape”

Magda’s internal struggles as she grapples with ethical and moral questions such as trust and betrayal or  compliance with adult demands and independent decision-making. In developing a story, Amber considers what she experienced as a young person and how she viewed the world and responded to it at that time. The plot – the external situation that allows her characters to express their internal struggles, comes later. Amber enjoys the process of looking for real-world situations and events that allow the internal landscapes to play themselves out.

The real world in her stories is also full of the kind of unique fun, adventure and friendship that growing up on a small island offers. It’s an environment that also offers safety.  “Kids possess a real sense of freedom, and I try to capture that in Magda’s exploits. She’s a tomboy, and she really engages with the world around her. She likes to have fun.”

Writing is also a lot of fun for Amber. She finds the process of weaving the internal and external together to be an interesting one. “Sometimes the stories write themselves. When I’m working on a story, I’ve got a kind of “perception screen” that alerts me to situations or environments that may be useful in constructing the story. A lot of incubation happens too — somewhere deep in my mind, a part of it is still working on the story even though I’m not consciously thinking about it.”

As with many local artists, Mayne Island provides a lot of the inspiration for her novels. She uses familiar local settings: the ferry terminal, Miners Bay or a particular store or business, but she also uses island locations in a more ambiguous way.  “I don’t always specifically ID a particular existing clearing or trail, because I want kids reading the story to make some of the places their own. I’ll write about Magda going down to “the beach”, for example, so that it becomes for the reader, the beach they want it to be. It’s important to give the reader lots of room to put themselves in the story.”

Before she and her husband, retired to Mayne Island six years ago; she had done some writing, but retirement – and a beautiful environment – gave her the time and inspiration to write novels. Previously, she had written a few articles that were published in Parents Magazine or Teachers Magazine. Those articles grew out of her experience as a teacher and counsellor in both conventional and non-conventional school settings.

“My first teaching job was in Montreal in 1966. I walked into a multilingual classroom of forty students. It was so regimented; it was like working in a strict military camp. The kids were allowed little creative freedom, and they could still be strapped if they broke the rules.  I said to myself, ‘I can’t be part of this anymore!”, and I walked out.”

She had earned a reputation by then as a promoter of unconventional teaching techniques, and she was subsequently offered a position in an unstructured school. There, she was able to relate to students in a way that could transmit her sense of wonder, community and spirituality.

“By “spirituality”, she explains, I don’t mean religion. It’s something bigger than that. It’s about seeing how beautiful the world is, how important it is to have friends and family, to behave ethically and to cherish life.”

Her novels express that belief, using the fun and the challenging situations of growing up as a framework. However, she has one regret. “It takes me two years to write a Magda story, but I only age her one year in each book. I’ve become really fond of her, and I don’t really want her to grow up. I’ll miss her.”