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)

Only If I Knew…

“I wish I was a boy, Grandma.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Boys don’t get their monthly thing and they don’t have to birth babies.”

I remember thinking the same thing. I also remember how unfair the world seemed, growing up in the era of Women’s Lib, recognizing the broad stroke of inequality.

I didn’t have any pat answer in the moment. After she left, I wished I’d said the things no one ever said to me:

Life is about choices. You don’t have to do anything.

All experience is valid.

We cannot know why we are born a certain way, but if we are patient and trusting, we will come to find purpose.

Everyone struggles; it is the nature of life. What we do with the struggle is what makes a difference.

Not all pain is physical. Enduring pain gives us strength.

The joy you will experience will far outweigh the pain.

It is easy to fear what we don’t understand; in time, your perspective will change.

Give life a chance.

(For Reena’s Exploration Challenge: If Only I Knew…)

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.)


A photo of my favourite flowers revealed that I wasn’t the only one enjoying these beauties. Can you spot the butterfly wings?

Came upon this old car, complete with costumed actors, film crew, and security. Murdoch Mysteries playing out in our little town.

A protective arm from a big sister, who only moments ago had been her greatest rival.

Life is full of many unexpected and wonderful things. It also promises to present us with challenges.

Aren’t we glad it isn’t always just what we thought!


This week’s challenge was: “Just when I thought…”. I am also linking this up to Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge: unexpected, as it seems to fit.

Thank you to all of you who joined in, and whose input continues to delight me.

Word-Whelmed Woman
Stuff and what if…
one letter UP

As I link up this week’s contribution, I am struck by one name that has been missing for some time, and sadly, will not be joining us again. Hélène Valliant of Willow Poetry has passed away. Her absence weighs heavy on the hearts of many who came to know her. I know I counted her amongst my online friends.

Tomorrow’s challenge is more of a sharing than a creative endeavour. I’ll see you then.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #49: gadget

The first time Ric cooked dinner for me, he pulled out a tall, slender stainless steel pot with a glass lid and a basket inside. I’d never seen anything like it.

“What is that?”

“An asparagus pot!”

I haven’t stopped teasing him about it, being the pragmatic woman that I am.

I would soon discover that Ric is the king of gadgets.

“What’s that for?” is a common query from me when he comes home with new purchases. I don’t see the need for many of his ‘toys’, but that’s just my conditioning. I’m a ‘make-do’ person.

Then, the other morning I wanted to do something outside, but wasn’t sure how cold it was. Then I remembered that Ric has a device that tells the temperature, inside and outside – front and back. This was useful.

It got me to thinking: what other devices would make my life easier?

So, I thought I’d shake things up here, and offer something completely different. Tell (or show) me about those gadgets in your life, or better yet, put on your creative caps and invent something new.

To participate, create a post on your own site (or leave a note in the comments), and link back here.

Looking forward to your responses.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #48: Compassion

Compassion becomes real when we recognize
our shared humanity.”

– Pema Chödrön.

As a young woman, I braced myself against the world by adhering to black and whites – a judgmental stance that was not conducive to relationship building. More self-protective than self-righteous, this attitude only served as a wall, confining me to loneliness.

Then in a strange moment of altered reality, I slipped into the experience of ‘other’ and the door to compassion opened. Heart-shattering, it marked not only the start of growing appreciation for the lived experience of others, but also a softening in my perception of self.

This week, as we navigate through routine, let’s be mindful of how compassion plays a role in our lives. Respond through images, or words, or whatever creative process speaks to you.

Look forward to your posts!

To participate just create a post on your own blog, link back to this one, or leave a comment below.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #43: Rain

Raindrops, not tears,
blur my vision –
the line of trees before me
a glistening blur.
The pounding in my temples
is just the steady rhythm
of watery drip, drip, drip,
not the incessant roar
of my blood pounding –
discordant is this day.

I wrote this piece while stranded in Mississippi, with eighteen hours of driving still ahead of us, and no idea when we might resume our trip. The car had been towed to the shop and the RV mechanic had not yet shown up. Rain began pummelling down early in the morning, and showed no sign of letting up.

As we all know, rain does stop, and circumstances change, and so, hopefully, by the time you read this, I am safe and dry in our home, the incidence all but forgotten.

April is, according to lore, the month of showers, washing away the old and watering the new.

What does rain mean to you? Show me in photographs, tell me in poems or prose, or any other creative means of expression.

Look forward to your responses.

Unsure how to proceed? Just drop me a line below.

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.

If I Knew; I’d Change It

I’m struggling with myself. It isn’t the first time, and I’m certain it won’t be the last.

There is no definable reason, and yet my emotional self tries to find blame: it’s Ric’s behaviour; it’s because I’m homesick; it’s my illness.

Rationally, I recognize that my life is full of blessings right now, and this is how depression works. It is a back and forth tug-of-rope between the logical and illogical.

I try to counter every negative thought with a positive one. When my dark self complains that I am trapped and have lost my independence, the lighter side reminds me that I have choices. When the shadows plant seeds of resentment; I fight them with affirmations of gratitude.

Today, I just wanted to stay in bed – let sleep numb the angst, but then Ric suggested a drive and I pulled myself out of it.

When I’m feeling this way, it’s one moment at a time. I distract, remind myself to keep breathing, try to eat healthy.

I feel like I’m biding my time – just waiting for this funk to lift.

Why does this happen? I read once that are hundreds of reasons for depression. Almost all of them applied at the time. Can’t remember any of them right now. Does it even matter?

This too shall pass, I am sure. For now, it’s just one of those unanswerable aspects of life.

(My weekly challenge is unanswerable. When I set the challenge, I had no idea where it would lead. I guess it’s inviting me look at my shadow.)

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #39: Unanswerable

“I always start with questions that I can’t answer.

Otherwise you get bored halfway through if you already know the answers. If you’re asking what seem to be unanswerable questions, then you have to keep showing up.”

– Barbara Kingsolver
From A Talk in the Woods, by Kevin Larimer
Featured in Poets & Writers, November/ December 2018

From the moment I came across this quotation, I knew I wanted to use it in my weekly challenges, and yet, week after week, I have put it off. Not sure why, but today has been elected as the day.

Some questions in life are unanswerable. We may think we’ve found a solution, or come to some understanding, and then wham: life throws us a twist that proves us wrong, or demonstrates that our perception is limited.

I do not, at this point, have any idea how I am going to approach this challenge, other than to stay open, listen to the questions buzzing around my head, and let the muses guide me.

I look forward to your responses.

To participate is as easy as creating a post on your own blog (on the topic) and linking back to this page. Tag VJWC and be sure to read the posts of others.