Passing The Time

Pursuing feathered inspiration takes me to quiet rural settings. At home, I pour over images, and “picturate” as my husband calls it – altering the photos to create something new.

I spend time daily, crafting poetry, inspired by images, or dreams, or prompts. Often I combine the poems with the artistic photos:

(Photo taken on Vancouver Island, April 2018)

I’m also spending my time writing a community newsletter for our retirement community, and as a retired teacher, offering support to my grandchildren for their online learning. I’ve even created a YouTube account so that I can read to my granddaughters – posting videos for them to replay when they need a Grandma fix.

And in between, I am reliving the years of art I missed as a child, experimenting with pencil, ink, charcoal, and watercolour:

How are you passing this time, staying home?

(Submitted for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: pastimes)

Creativity Remains a Blessing

The child embraces creativity without limits. I have memories of tucking between my bed and the wall, hidden from view, surrounded by materials for drawing, writing, and colouring. I kept the chaos at bay with my creative endeavours.

Life happened, and the pencils and crayons disappeared. Journals remained, but only for private. Mundanity and routine replaced imagination.

Then illness struck and with dis-ability came time, and that inner urge to create re-emerged. A true blessing.

(Reena’s Exploration Challenge this week is quotations related to writing, creativity, or writer’s block.)

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #50: Acceptance

“The doctor was adamant that it’s cancer, and I’ve researched it. If it is, it’s not good.”

Weeks of repressed fear gush forward, and I find myself crying, mid restaurant, my husband seated across from me.

“We just don’t know yet.” he responds softly, taking my hand. “We’ll deal it with one step at a time.”

Of course he’s right. Lack of sleep is making me irrational. The site burns with itch, but the skin tears if I touch it, leaving me with razor-like pain. The specialist warned against treating the area till we had more information. I am a raving lunatic.

Back at home, I have a little chat with God:

“Whatever the outcome, whatever your plan, please give me the opportunity to serve in some manner. I want my time here to count.”

We leave it there. I have calmed down. Acceptance settles in next to faith.


In the dance of life, acceptance has been a frequent partner, asking me to follow. This week, examine the role that acceptance plays in your life. So looking forward to your responses.

Leave a link to your post in the comments below, and I’ll be checking back regularly.

So Many Questions

Questions are piling up over here, with very few answers. Isn’t that life? And maybe that is the point: we are meant to reflect, to ponder, to search, to explore.

As a teacher, the emphasis was on inquisition: teaching children to think beyond the obvious, find the tools to research deeper. In this ever-increasing digital age, we want to ensure that students are equipped with the resources and discernment to recognize that you can’t take everything at face value, that ignorance is our enemy, that we must keep asking – even if the answers are elusive.

This week the focus has been on the unanswerable, and while we have acknowledged that answers aren’t always at hand, our combined efforts have inspired thought and hope. Here is what I have gained from your input this week:

“…how can people do/ Horrific reprehensible evil to others….” asks Abandoned Amenities, a question relevant to current world affairs.

“the answer is there, but it’s not,” Paul writes: “certain uncertainty”. (parallax)

“As time passes, the answers thin out.” (one letter UP)

“As long as the sun rises/ The unknowable is the way…” Olga offers
(Stuff and what if…)

“the quest is joyful / paradoxically sound” from wonkywizard

“interconnectedness gone with ignorant winds” Reena Saxena

“if even for a moment…” Heather sparks wonder (Sgeoil)

“Spring/ are you / there waiting?” Hélène asks a question close to all our hearts (Willow Poetry).

“Unplugged and broken” – Ken’s respond made me laugh. (Pictures without film.)

“…how and who?” asks Proscenium. Tongue-in-cheek, of course.

“How long will I live?” asks Antonia, a question most dare not voice.
(Antonia Sara Zenkevitch)

Thank you all for your thoughts, and for making my week.

(Featured image is from my personal collection and asks the question: How long before our disregard for the environment destroys us?)

See you tomorrow for a new challenge.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #37: Story

My very first blog post on this site is entitled “Relevance of Story“. It was inspired by the work of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie whose Ted Talk: The Danger of a Single Story, challenged me to think differently about how, as a teacher, I approached my craft. Her words are also a recipe for living compassionately.

Each time we open a blog post and read, we are touching a part of someone’s story. Every time we commit our words to the page, we are presenting a part of our own story. It’s never a complete picture.

There are many ways we might approach this challenge: dig up a story from our timelines, tell a story about the future, offer a story through images, or even uncover the story of another.

Not sure, what I’m going to do yet, but I have a feeling this challenge will uncover much – looking forward to your responses.

To participate: create a post with a focus on story, tag it with VJWC, link back here, and enjoy the creativity of this community.

Wild Card Moments

Age, I’m determining, does not define me. Each new decade presents a different attitude and energy in regards to life, and sixty is but a new approach.

Naturally, the onset of a debilitating illness and all the losses I incurred, made me feel old and redundant, but I’m happy to say, I emerging from that stifling confinement. Embracing the new decade with hope and excitement.

Age was my wild card this week. To find our focus, I challenged us to look back over the past week or so of posts and find the repeated word.

It was interesting to see how different each of our ‘wild cards’ turned out:
landscapes, snow, winter, balance, age, hope, colour, hope, ago, sweet and whispers, love, and nature.

Naturally, I am tempted to weave it together:

Winter is the landscape
of this age, snow
the colour of my hope,
I balance whispers of ago
with sweet hope and 

the love of nature.

Would like to see what you can up with – leave your thoughts in the comments.

Thank you to all the creative geniuses who participated. Check them out:

Pictures without film
Stuff and what if…
Willow Poetry
Antonia Sara Zenkevitch
one letter UP
Prats Corner
Poetry for Healing

See you tomorrow with a new challenge!

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #36: Wild Card

This week, I am giving you a carte blanche…well, sort of… there’s a catch.

Go back over the last week’s worth of posts or so, and notice any words or phrases that repeat themselves. I’m talking adjectives, or verbs, maybe nouns.

For example, when I look over my posts leading up to writing this one, ‘aged’ comes up frequently. So this is my wild card, and my focus for the week.

Now what is your ‘wild card’?

Respond as your muse guides you: with photographs, poetry, prose, art, or whatever.

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

To participate: Create a post on your blog and link back to this one, or drop your post’s address in the comments below. Tag your post VJWC, and check back to see what everyone else is doing.

Restoring Balance

Fog has dissipated, as has the rain. Hallelujah. Although it is still overcast, we decide to take a drive, cameras in tow.

Goose Island State Park is our planned destination. It has just the right combination of driving and walking trails. This is also where we saw the Whooping Cranes, so maybe we’ll get lucky again today.

All along the roadside, I spot herons, egrets, spoonbills and birds of prey. The birds must be just as relieved as us to see a break in the weather.

Photographers are set up with tripods and massive lenses when we arrive at the field where the cranes visit.

“They’ll be coming around in an hour or so,” an avid birder tells.

We drive around to the park entrance, pay our fees and stop at the marsh overlook. Here we see Great Blues, a Tricolored, a Snowy, a Reddish egret and a Roseate Spoonbill, as well as a cluster of small wading birds. Even though the sun is not making an appearance, the stillness lends a mystical element to the day. I breathe deeply and feel a return to balance.

At the songbird viewing area, the approach is flooded, and Ric decides not to attempt the short walk, but I wade through, the varied calls beckoning to me.

I settle myself on a picnic table and wait. Within minutes the trees and bushes are vibrating with winged life. I can’t point my camera fast enough. Eventually, I give up and decide to focus my lens on the busy hummingbird feeder. Such joy!

We retrace our steps on the way home, hoping to spot the cranes, but they still have not appeared. Their distinct cry can be heard in the distance, but so far, none have approached. A flock of Snowy Egrets are grazing in the ponds across the road, so I decide to focus my camera there. Among them is a slightly larger, dark-bodied bird. A juvenile White-Faced Ibis, one of the enthusiasts tells us.

The wind picks up and the air has a chill to it, so Ric and I decide to leave. It’s been a good outing. I am feeling restored.


This week’s focus has been balance, a theme that lends itself to photography and writing alike. I have greatly appreciated the images and words you have shared and appreciate the kind comments. Here are this week’s contributors:

Willow Poetry
Pictures without film.
Heart to Heart
Stuff and what if…
one letter UP
priorhouse blog
Poetry for Healing

I’m mixing it up a bit for tomorrow’s challenge. See you then.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #34: reaching

Tree Trunk, Emily Carr 1932

“…she singled out a cedar, wide at the base, narrowing as it grew. If there was any kind of portrait worth doing, it would be the portrait of a tree. But a portrait had to convey character. The channels in this cedar’s raw umber all stretched upward, reaching toward light. It was more than a tree, however noble. It was the manifestation of the attitude that had brought her this far: reaching. Not just the tree, but that idea was her subject. The things in a painting were only bits of visible evidence of a still, small voice whispering a truth.”

– Susan Vreeland, The Forest Lover

I’m reading this novel based on the life of Emily Carr. It is speaking to me in so many ways, and when I came across this paragraph, towards the end of the story, it strikes home. As artists, aren’t we all reaching? No matter the medium, our work is a representation of a search, a need, a longing.

What is it you are reaching for? Maybe it’s a lens drawn (as mine often is) to line that stretches… or is it something stirring behind your words?

This week, let’s follow our instincts, or impulses, and try to capture that for which we are reaching.

All are welcome to participate, just create a post, link back here, and enjoy the creative genius of this rich community.

Looking forward to your responses.