Simple Gestures of Love

So many gestures have been made for me and my family the past while.  I don’t want to forget any of them.  As I set out on the journey of another day…the journey of an hour…I am taking pause for reflection.  I am saying, Thank You.

When everything slows down…becomes more simple…I notice more.  I see the love and the detail that goes into simple things and simple gestures of love; right down to the way a package is wrapped.

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Walk With Our Sisters: Calgary

I sit here eating a hot bowl of hamburger soup for breakfast, nursing a cold that after days, seems to hang in.  The soup is comforting and healing.

There are no photographs on this particular post, but a link, here, for everything you might want to find out.  Calgary’s Walk With Our Sisters memorial installation has been two years in the works (maybe more) and has traveled Canada.  It has just a few more visits and will be retired to Batoche. This stop in Calgary is an amazing opportunity for us to connect with the journey…to think about our sisters who are missing and murdered and to think of their families and friends.  It is important for us to honour their lives and their life force because these sisters remain with us, as long as we remember.

As you will see, there are opportunities for volunteers throughout the coming weeks.  All are welcome.  Orientations are offered, but it was made clear yesterday, at my own orientation,  no volunteer will be turned away.

As most of you know, at the onset of Canada’s 150, I decided that I wanted to embark on a journey of gathering knowledge and understanding about Canada’s Indigenous Peoples.  I didn’t know how to begin.  Sable Sweetgrass hosted an online book club and this peeked my interest, so I began to read along and reflect on the authors and books that we were reading.  It was Sable who told me about the book club at Forest Lawn Public Library, hosted by Indigenous Pride with 12CSI and 12CSI Community Safety Initiative.

I attended my first monthly gathering at the library some time after that, intending to read a book a month, for a year, with a focus on Indigenous authors.  After bonding with this group and having my mind and awareness open up, I decided that I wanted to continue with the group and to enter into my own personal journey with Truth and Reconciliation and the 94 calls to action.  Michelle Robinson has been key in my life as an agent of change and her embrace is assisting me in becoming fearless in this journey.  I can not judge what other Canadians do with the knowledge of Residential Schools or with the initial shock of colonial movement across our nation.  I am responsible, first, to grow in knowledge and then to go forward to be a strong advocate on behalf of our brothers and sisters.

I was invited to volunteer with Walk With Our Sisters and this has also expanded my knowledge.  As a result, I am inviting all of my readers to participate at some level during the weeks ahead.

Last week, a lovely group of women gathered to tie tobacco and I grew new friendships and new knowledge.  I really love the fact that working with our hands created such a warm community feeling.  My mother would have loved it.

Yesterday, I attended an orientation and was blessed by Autumn EagleSpeaker’s clear and welcoming approach. Autumn is a strong woman who is a source of inspiration for these coming days.  It was evident how she has inspired so many others on this journey.  I am grateful for our meeting.  I was further blessed to  meet Christi Belcourt, artist and visionary where this memorial is concerned.  We were given an extended opportunity to preview the work that has been done to this point and to be given more information about the ceremony and protocol involved.

I loved being given the story of the shape of the Calgary installation, with consideration for the two rivers, the elbow, the native plants and medicines and the dress.  The configuration of the vamps has been very specific to each city’s Indigenous peoples along the way, while the vamps themselves represent and include a wide variety of peoples, even expanding beyond international borders.

I am really looking forward to my shift later on today, the final installation shift prior to the Opening Ceremonies tomorrow afternoon, at 2.  I hope my readers will attend.  I hope that you will even extend this to volunteering a few hours, if it is possible.

Just ending this post with a lovely video of Christi describing the world of plants represented in a large painting in acrylic.  Amazing stuff!

Where are you, Valerie Jean?

Thoughts of David Carlin…and a bit of writing…caught me missing my sister.  Everyone should be so blessed as I have been in my life…to have one sister…or to have a friend who has somehow become as close as a sister.  I remember going to sleep the night she was born.  I know a person shouldn’t make deals with God…but after all, I already had three brothers!  Maybe it isn’t right to ask God for signs or wonders.  But even as a wee thing, I had a deep and abiding faith.  I already knew the mystery of God.

It was a humid April night in North Bay.  I stared at the sheer drapery that hung motionless over my open window.  I said, “Dear God, If you are going to give me a sister…please move the curtain.”  I fell asleep staring at the drapery…motionless…but, with tremendous belief that it would move.

In the morning hours, my father came to my bedside.  I remember him shaking my arm…”Kathy…Kath…Mommy got you a sister!”

Sigh…magic!

In North Bay, after David Carlin’s art exhibit in Callander, Val and I enjoyed silence in our air-conditioned Super 8 room and then went down to Trout Lake for a picnic dinner.  This photo sort of says it all for our family.  We had good times at the lake…squealing and laughing…swimming and leaping off the docks.  It was a wonderful thing to share a picnic and to think of our childhood years…and our mother.

P1110671Back in the day…same location…my family…

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Sistah Love! (And God Loves You Too)

As I consider this week’s celebration of my sister’s birthday, I am filled with gratitude for who she is for me and who she has always been for our family.  Recently, with Mom’s illness, she didn’t hesitate to travel to be a support to Mom and Dad and to send all of us an evening update.  For this, and for all of the love and affection she has shown us over the years, I want to express my love.  Thank you, for all of the drives from airports and trains and your generosity in every aspect of your life.  I am wishing you much encouragement in your hectic week and know that you are always in my heart.  I’ve saved every little piece of writing or drawing…every photograph that has been popped into the mail over the years…and so now, I pass a few of these tidbits back to you.

PS PS God Loves You

PS PS God Loves You

Here, I like "To a Good Kid", this from someone 12 years younger.

Here, I like “To a Good Kid”, this from someone 12 years younger.

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You Are My Sister

My sister defended her comprehensive papers this morning…this part is done…now forward she goes.  I’m proud of you and love you.

You are My Sister
by Antony and the Johnsons

You are my sister, we were born
So innocent, so full of need
There were times we were friends but times I was so cruel
Each night I’d ask for you to watch me as I sleep
I was so afraid of the night
You seemed to move through the places that I feared
You lived inside my world so softly
Protected only by the kindness of your nature
You are my sister
And I love you
May all of your dreams come true
We felt so differently then
So similar over the years
The way we laugh the way we experience pain
So many memories
But theres nothing left to gain from remembering
Faces and worlds that no one else will ever know
You are my sister
And I love you
May all of your dreams come true
I want this for you
They’re gonna come true (gonna come true)

James Keelaghan: Artist, Musician, Story-Teller

I’ve felt deeply about this musician’s music for so many years…listening to it while I clean the bathroom.  It makes a small task so much nicer!  I’ll always remember my sister sending me a couple of tea bags,  a long woven rope of sweetgrass and a James Keelaghan Cd as a care package!  I love my sister with my whole heart!  I’ve been so blessed in my life!

Blessings