Blessings and challenges

Hello all,
hope all is well with you.
I have been very busy of late-
and not just social butterflying.

I tried a new job, wasn't a good fit,
moved on.

And then...providence, God, the universe...
stepped in.

I have been doing some volunteer,
literacy training,
for a community center,
with a social justice mission.
They help immigrants to fit in,
giving them the tools and skills,
to take on life's challenges in,
their new home.
The center also helps people,
who suffer from chronic poverty,
from isolation and loneliness,
helps people in the community,
makes their lives better,
gives them a place.

This center is a special place,
the people who work there are,
special people.
They want to make a difference,
they make a difference.

On Monday,
I met with my new 'pupil'
I will be tutoring her,
getting her up to speed,
so that she can enter,
the French language skills program.
We worked out a schedule,
and I will be meeting with her, 
next week.

While I was there,
the lady who is my liaison,
at the center,
was talking to one of her colleagues,
they needed someone to take over,
their English language workshops.
They didn't need a teacher,
they needed a communicator,
someone perfectly bilingual,
someone who believed in their cause,
an open minded people person,
with good communication skills.

My liaison person, looked at me,
we had been discussing,
my search for a part time gig-

You could see the light bulb,
go on,
over her head like in the comics
and she looked at her colleague,
who looked at me,
they swept me down to meet,
the director.

Last night I observed,
and next week,
I will be flying solo.

Four evenings a week,
I will be leading workshops,
a beginner and an intermediary level.

Woo Hoo.

I am so excited about this, 
it is a challenge, an opportunity,
and I believe-
What I have been waiting for-
at least part of it.

I relish the opportunity to help,
people,
and I know my life will be enriched,
by meeting,
and interacting with,
people,
who's life experience is,
so very different,
from mine.
 
My theology courses at church,
are fascinating.

It's Fall, I am happy

But...my uncle has had,
a major heart attack,
scary,
he is important to me, 
one of my people.
He is in  good hands,
and I feel he will be okay
but, it is hard,
illness, aging, all of that

Like mom says:

Old Age is hard on old people



Be well, you all, cherish,
your life, your health,
your opportunities,
your people.

Later girls,

BB


September disguised as Summer

Hello all,
hope you are all well,
are you experiencing a heat wave,
where you are?

Here in my beautiful ugly,
our Summer heat has hit,
in what is technically,
the Fall.
It has been sweltering for,
the past few days,
and although I am glad to have,
a mini Summer,
it's a little hot for me.
When it's crazy hot,
I get cranky,
I have trouble concentrating,
makes ole BB a bit of a,
dumb dumb
:)

I have been doing a lot,
of thinking,
and a lot of being,
lately.
Thinking about the future,
what I want,
because I know,
what I don't,
want.
Also, I have been hanging out,
with friends, with my lady,
with my church folk.
being, me.
Enjoying the city I love,
trying to give myself time,
to find the next thing

I left my job,
found another,
and although it went,
ok, 
better than ok,
it wasn't right for me.
I used to not follow,
those gut feelings,
talk myself into things,
allow others to influence,
my decision process.

I find now,
that I trust more,
in the future,
that something will,
happen,
because it always has.
That even though,
it's been a few years,
since I closed my,
bookstore and that I,
haven't found the next,
big thing.
I have worked,
I have made new friends,
I have been involved,
politically,
I have done and will continue,
to do,
my literacy work.
and yes,
I have church.

I think all of you,
who read my blog,
know,
that I have been,
going to church since,
February.

I love my church,
the people,
the building,
the warmth,
the laughter,
the intelligence
the sense of community,
the constant food for thought.

I have a little confession to,
make,
I know a lot of smart people
that isn't the confession,
and for the longest time,
I thought, religious people,
might have been a little bit,
slower.
And, yet, I envied people of faith,
they were so sure...

The more I investigate, faith,
the more time I spend,
reading the bible and other books,
the more I believe that faith,
isn't so much about certainty,
as about...
trust.

I have issues with 'them against us',
notions of the world,
be they nationalistic or ethnic,
or religious.
I don't believe Christians,
are better than Muslims,
or Jews or Atheists.
I don't believe that,
Canadians are better,
than Ethiopians.
I believe men and women are equal,
I believe gays are every bit as good,
as heterosexuals,
and I think my church friends,
know that, respect that,
and in most cases,
agree.
And even if we don't share,
one hundred percent agreement,
so what?
We cherish and respect each other.

I know that in a so called,
secular society,
being a church going Christian,
can be seen as archaic,
anachronistic, obsolete,
and old fashioned,
but I tell ya,
the people I go to church with,
are,
smart, caring, flesh and blood,
men and women,
they live in,
the real world,
and they make room,
in their lives,
for joy, goodness and an occasional,
miracle.

I haven't been born again,
and I still have doubt, 
but I don't doubt that a Christian model,
lived in a thoughtful and reflective way,
is a good one.

I hope you all don't mind,
me sharing this ongoing quest,
and journey, with you

Be well you all.

Later girls,
BB

September!!

It's September, oh yeah,
my favourite time of year,
weather is great, 
a little cooler,
still sunny,
the time of year for long walks,
The time of year of new projects,
new beginnings, 
buckling down,
getting it done,
deep thinking,
planning, the time 'til,
Christmas.
Well for me it is...
:-)

Lots has been going on.
Got a new job,
similar to the old one,
but better pay,
more professional.

I liked my old job,
I was really good at it.
It and the people I worked,
with,
allowed me to get through,
some difficult times,
rebuilding my health,
rebuilding some of my,
confidence.
But,
they are closing,
and,
it is a place of,
complacency of frustration.
I had become,
complacent,
there is no joy,
in complacency,
there is no growth,
in complacency,
there is the illusion,
comfort and stability.

I need to be shook up,
I need to be a little bit,
scared,
pushed out of my comfort zone,
or at least to,
switch off,
the automatic pilot.

This new job is in the same,
general field,
but,
vastly different.
I have much optimism,
and some fear,
I don't think it will be,
an enormous challenge but,
stimulating at first.

I also am doing some,
volunteer work for,
the municipal elections,
here in my 'hood,
in my beautiful ugly.
I believe when you care,
about your city,
your environment,
your fellow citizens,
social equity and solidarity,
you must at the very least vote.
And every once in a while,
roll up your sleeves,
make some calls,
put up posters,
hand out flyers,
give money,
whatever.
I am doing some,
communications stuff,
very limited in it's scope,
but, I am a vast believer in,
every little bit helps.
The party I am involved with,
are progressives,
the real deal.

I am taking an online class,
blogging and digital marketing.

I will be finding a way to renew,
my literacy mentoring.

I will continue my spiritual quest,
my becoming a greater part of a community,
that I love.
We will be doing another Alpha class,
at St-Jax's and also what has been dubbed,
tent theology.
It isn't going to be like,
tent revivals,

give me that old time religion,
give me that old time religion

more like we all meet to discuss,
some theology, discuss issues of faith,
listen to theologians,
live and on video,
work those intellectual muscles,
and then we take the tent down,
until we pitch it the following week.
I can't tell you how much,
I look forward,
to it.

I feel so at home in my church,
loved, welcome, part of the family,
and I feel that more,
all the time.

Yesterday,
During the service we discussed,
the books of Ezra and Nehemiah,
both in listening and talking, 
modes,
listening to our pastor,
and in small groups,
discussing the messages of these books.
Our group hadn't found much,
positive,
we found these books to be filled,
with chaos, violence etc.

Often at St-Jax's the microphone is,
brought to those who wish to articulate,
what their group has come up with.

This time, since it was the,
welcome back from Summer service,
Graham, our wonderful pastor,
asked us to introduce ourselves,
so I did, and I shared our group's,
thoughts,
and then I added my own difficulties,
with the angry and rigid old testament God,
and,
the kinder and gentler almost hippie like,
New Testament Jesus,
I shared how as a new church goer this,
gave me pause.
This contradiction, this dichotomy,
An angry father and a benevolent 'brother'
supposedly one and the same.

I realize this is a simplistic version,
I am learning, wrapping my head around all this,
questing, still

Afterwards, we had our community lunch,
and several people told me they really liked,
what I said,
that they felt similarly.
It allowed me, sharing did, to make,
new connections.

I read the week before,

don't ask me where, lol, 

that humans think that others,
want to see them,
as strong and above,
things.
But in reality, we are closer to each,
other and truly connect,
when,
we open up,
share, make ourselves vulnerable,
even.

Food for thought, eh?

So yeah, September has been,
and will continue to be busy,
stimulating and scary

May your Autumn be joyous,
enjoy the last of the golden warm sun,
bite with full gusto into the harvest,
and have a great back to school, work,
all of it

Be well dear friends,
Later girls,
BB

Pilgrim

Hello all,
hope your Summer,
has been top notch,
mine has been,
outstanding,
which kind of surprises me.
It rained lots,
I have been kind of broke,
the usual,
and yet, I have had a,
fabulous Summer,
lots of social,
time,
lots of me,
time,
lots of urban exploring,
museums, walks, 
Montreal anniversary happenings.
Lots of stuff.

On Sunday,
in church,
we discussed in small groups,
what had changed in our mindset,
during the Summer,
brought me to think about things,
articulate and express them.
I believe this Summer,
I have appreciated,
my surroundings,
my friends,
my family,
myself...
more.
I have looked at my city,
differently,
through new eyes,
the eyes of a traveler,
a pilgrim even

A pilgrim (from the Latin peregrinus) is a traveler (literally one who has come from afar) who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journey (often on foot) to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system.

Well, maybe not literally
:-)
but, I do feel that I have come,
from afar.
deep in me,
to reach this place of,
centeredness,
and that all the walking,
I do, alone, with friends,
in and about my beautiful ugly,
have brought me to a greater love,
of it and me.
But I also think, that my church going,
has had an immense place,
in my calm and centered place.

I have found much,
food for thought,
at St-Jax's,
I have found,
sincere, smart, good,
people,
not lip service Christians,
people who,
talk the talk,
and,
walk the walk.
The church,
the community,
have become a part of my life,
a vital part of my life,
when I cannot go on Sunday,
my week seems...less.

I miss the people, the sermon,
the readings,
the prayer and conversation,
the coffee and bagels,
the sun coming through,
the stained glass,
the red floor and vaulted wood ceiling,
the brass plaques that testify,
to it's history and place,
in the history of,
the city I love.
St-Jax's is now a part of what,
home means,
family, friends, my 'hood,
my church.


Obviously, I don't need to go,
in order to pray,
or read the bible,
investigate, cogitate,
but, church brings it together,
for me.

I started the year,
searching for spiritual growth,
for more implication,
for a calmer and more resolute,
heart, route.

I'm getting there.

Enjoy the last beautiful gasps,
of Summer,
the harvest, the bounty,
the beauty

Be well you all

Later girls,
BB

p.s 

I write about this because it is a part of me, Faith is personal but not private, if we can discuss all aspects of our lives without it being considered attempted conversion(sex, politics, sports) why not faith?
Just sayin'

Summer Chilling

Hello everyone,
hope your Summer,
is,
has been,
fabulous.
Mine has been,
good,
I have spent lots of time,
with friends,
with mom,
mostly at home,
because of her,
wrist injury,
but we have watched,
a lot of TV,
which is bonding thing,
with us.

I have gone to the museum,
several times,
seen inspiring art,
soaked up lots of vitamin D,
via the sun,
well mostly in August,
but, hey better late,
than never,
I have been working on,
gratitude, centeredness,
appreciating all that I have.

I find myself,
at an age,
where I am neither, 
young nor old,
I have lived through,
a few things,
many of which were,
scary,
traumatic,
grey hair, and brown spot producing,
and I find that I am less,
scared then I used to be,
about,
pretty much ...
everything.

I also find that some,
of those grey hairs and wrinkles,
have come from much laughter,
and, some deep thinking and searching.
I don't want to cover them up,
they are a part of who I am,
of where I have been,
of where I am going.

just babbling...

Get some sun you all,
charge your batteries
chill

Be well, my friends

Later girls,
BB

The Summer it rained

Hello all, hope you are all healthy and happy.
I am feeling quite well,
positive and pensive,
and overall,
pretty darn happy.

I think many people will remember 2017,
as the Spring and Summer it rained:-)

I have to say in spite of ups and downs,
it has been a terrific Summer.
Less sun than last year,
but,
that has also meant,
less bone melting heat.

I have been wearing my shorts,
a little less, 
don't like rain on my legs,
also the AC at work is insane,
from sweat to chill.

My vacation was great,
did lots of exploring,
of my beautiful ugly,
read, rested.

      

Some pics from this Summer, vacation and otherwise, Montreal, Ottawa and Mom and I

Church has figured,
more and more prominently,
in my life,
it's Summer,
lots of people,
are away,
but September and it's,
new,
learning and sharing opportunities,
are right around the corner.

I look forward to a new deeper,
exploration of faith, I have done,
lots of reading this Summer,
C.S Lewis's Mere Christianity,
as well as My Bible in One Year,
morning ritual.
I figure by the time,
February rolls in,
I will have one year,
of regular church going,
one year of daily bible reading,
and, I should know if that is,
a road I need to keep walking down

I love my church,
I love the people,
and feel surrounded by love,
by those around me,
and from above,
the key to faith,
I think,
for me,
is to just have it.
To learn and question,
oh yes,
but mostly to stay open,
to accept the love and kindness,
and,
reciprocate,
to not doubt everything,
to not tear apart,
to not say but tomorrow it will rain,
when it is sunny,
I loathe when people do that,
and, 
I will not succumb to it,

well, not too often, anyway,
I'm human, I get cranky


My title is the Summer it rained.

Rain is good, it brings growth,
it brings quiet,
it brings space to think,
it offers up time to be,
it can also be annoying,
walking in the wind and the rain,
arriving at your destination soaking wet.
But,
it's July not November,
I won't catch pneumonia, 

I am blessed,
with love and friendship,
with strength and health.

September will bring,
theology and journaling,
a new project and a new job,
life moves on,
through sun and rain,
ain't it grand

Be well you all,
Later girls,
BB



Try

Good morning all, hope you are well.
Happy, healthy and chill.
I have been on vacation for the past,
almost, two weeks,
I had a list of things I wanted,
to do and see, and I have managed most of it.

Caught up on some reading
made a few resolutions as far,
as reading is concerned,
more on that later.

Went to the museum,
went to the movies,
did some walking,
spent time with mom,
with friends.
Read two books,
shredded some papers.
Took lots of pictures,
went to parts of the city,
I don't normally frequent.
Got some air,
got some sun.
Watched a few seasons of,
Damages.

Mom and I went to the open air museum,
downtown, part of,
Montreal's 375 celebrations,
it was a lot of fun,
but mom had an accident,
she tripped on,
a foot traffic heavy,
hazard laden sidewalk,
could have happened to anyone.
She hurt her wrist,
a bad sprain and has been,
in pain for more than a week.
Ice and Aleve, rest,
it has healed well,
she is almost 100 percent.

My vacation was like...
life,
fun and frustrating,
scary and jubilant,
all at once,
the accident sucked,
and, there are many challenges,
in my life and of those around me,
but, mostly,
I don't have a whole lot,
to complain about.
Not having your dream job,
is not much to complain about,
in a world where people starve,
live in war torn constant fear,
don't know where their next meal,
will come from.
In a world where millions,
have no homes, have no future,
a world of pain and disease.

A few years ago,
when I had my surgery,
it was a big operation,
but, I was expected to make,
a full recovery,
I had no cancer,
after a few months,
convalescence,
all would be well.
It was hard, it was painful.
The last evening I was,
in the hospital,
my best bud was visiting,
she visited everyday I was there,
she helped me walk, very slowly,
and with an old lady stoop,
down the corridor.
I had been in the hospital,
for four days at this point,
but, hadn't walked out of my room.
I didn't have Cancer,
but, I was on a Cancer ward.
As we slowly made our way past,
people's rooms,
I could see many people,
obviously, in pain, despair,
people dying.
It gave me some perspective,
on my pain, my fear.

I made a promise to myself,
that evening, 
back in my bed sweating,
from the exertion,
and the over heated hospital room,
it was February after all.
I vowed to not complain,
over dumb ass things,
to reach for all the good,
I have in my life.

I haven't always succeeded,
but,
I try, hard.

I used to think,
surrounding yourself,
with smart people was,
important,
it is,
but, more important still,
surrounding yourself with,
kind people,
and at this stage of my life,
I would add,
people who try,
to see,
everyday,
just how lucky,
they-we are.

Be well you all,
enjoy the Summer.
Later girls,
BB

* I mentioned earlier some reading resolutions. I find in the past few years I have been reading less and spending more time on social media, I need to reverse that, I meed to see people more in person, when possible and to read more. While on vacation I have read 2 books and am almost finished a third. I have read at least 10 articles that had been lingering in my articles to read file on my laptop. Social media is great but, concentration and serious reading have to regain their place in my life.
I don't believe my path will be found on Face Book. So, resolutions, start every morning with 30 minutes of reading, a book. End everyday with 30 minutes of reading, a book- carry one with me, always- put away the phone, often. Try... and don't beat myself up when I fail, just try, again*

Church People

Good morning you all.
I hope your Summer is going well.
Summer has had a tough start,
here in my beautiful ugly.
The rain has continued on,
from April and May,
June was rainy.

But, now July is here,
the hot and sunny month.
Today is a gorgeous day,
the first official day of
....
MY VACATION!!

Yay


I had a pretty cool,
Canada Day weekend.

I am still feeling grounded.
My spiritual quest,
seems to be good for me.

I find I am more calm about,
things,
in general.
I still have anxious moments,
grumpy moments,
periods of doubt,
I am a thinking and doubting human:-)

I do however feel-
centered,
and I know this might,
sound weird-
thankful.

Thankful for what,
the spiritual quest,
has brought me.
I have met so many,
bright, positive, beautiful people.
My church people.

I used to have certain notions,
about church people.
I had a bit of a,
not precisely... distrust,
but not a positive view,
either.
A lot of hate and ugliness,
has been perpetrated,
in the name of God,
via various religions,
but,
along with that much good,
as well.

Church people are like everyone-
some are nice and friendly ,
some are shy and reserved, 
some are closed minded,
some are what my dad used to,
refer to as,
the keepers of the truth.
Many are good, real people.

When I first went to St-Jax's,
many people welcomed me,
with open arms,
a few were cautious,
which I get,
trust takes time,
I could have been,
a come for a few weeks,
kind of person.

But, I now have been,
going to church since,
late January,
so almost 6 months.
I have been through,
the Alpha course,
which I loved.
I occasionally volunteer,
for the welcoming group,
greeting people at the door,
smiling,
saying good morning,
that comes easy to me,
the smiling.
I have a bit of a reputation,
as a smiler.

This week a woman who had never,
really spoken to me,
she had smiled, politely,
gave me a very enthusiastic,
good morning,
we exchanged pleasantries,
and I felt as if something,
had changed.
I have been in the congregation,
long enough for her,
to consider me,
one of them,
I think.

Faith is not as yet,
perfectly defined for me,
but, I do feel part of a,
whole.
Not quite family,
warm and friendly,
loved and loving.

I look forward to Sunday morning,
I get up at 7 o'clock,
voluntarily.
I like my church,
it's people,
it makes me feel centered,
light.

Be well,
you all.
Later girls,
BB

A five, maybe?

Hello all, hope the Summer,
has been good to you,
so far.
It's grey and muggy,
here in,
my beautiful ugly.

Today is the first day,
of the long weekend,
here in Quebec,
La St-Jean, la Fete Nationale.

I am hanging out,
drinking tea,
enjoying some solitude.
Have lots of,
social activity ,
coming up,
on the weekend.
Time with friends,
old and new.

This has been,
a week,
of reflection,
introspection,
and frustration.

I just noticed in,
preparing this post,
that it is the 800 Th.
Wow, that ain't nothing.
Been more than seven years,
since I started this blog.

Some people journal,
I blog.

I 'hear' that blogs,
have become,
a little bit,
passe.
Hmm,
I think I may have become,
a little bit,
passe.
I'm fine with that,
truly.

Weird, I keep searching,
for what it is,
I am looking for,
and yet,
I am mostly ok, 
with who I am.

I am.
neither young,
nor old.

I have people who love me,
I strive to learn new things,
everyday.
My health is pretty darn good,
and my mind quite sharp.

I have more confidence,
in my abilities,
than I ever have before.

I realize that by,
conventional society,
standards,
I am not very,
successful.

I have no money,
no career,
no car,
no house.
I have no marriage,
I have no children.

I like comfort,
I like exploring for meaning,
I like to spend time with people,
I like to walk,
I like to talk,
a lot
I like to do,
what I want to do. 
I have no real ambition,
in a standard sense of the term.

But, I am lucky,
might even say,
blessed.
I have received many,
kindnesses,
in my life,
from loved ones,
and relative strangers.

I have had some difficult,
passages,
and have weathered some,
better than others,
grief is particularly,
challenging,
for me.

As I have gotten older,
I don't bounce back,
quite like I used to-
But, since I am not,
a rubber ball..
That's ok.

I tend to not lie to myself,
about how everything is fine,
anymore.
I face difficulties,
more than I used to,
I know the consequences of burying hurt
sometimes with drama,
and panic,
but, more and more,
with real emotion,
and I hope, reason.

I do trust in the future,
I have faith,
it ebbs and flows,
but,
I really do believe,
in the inherent goodness,
of people.
But, I also find my,
bullshit detector,
to be,
pretty strong.

I appreciate sincerity,
and earnestness so much,
even when it is,
to the point,
of naivete.
I have less and less,
respect for snark and sarcasm.
I have also learned that,
some smiles and honey tones,
hide,
bad things.
and that some of the,
gruffest people are also the,
kindest.

I am who I am.
Neither young,
nor old.
Far from perfect.

Occasionally,
I am shallow, superficial,
unkind, weak,
but,
I work at improving,
and at not beating myself up.

Every day I pray to be kinder,
to be more patient,
with people,
with their foibles,
with me and my...limits.

Last night,
I was watching a,
television show ,
the Big C,
with Laura Linney,
and Oliver Platt.
I love both of them.
At one point,
Platt's character,
Paul,
Linney's husband in the show,
says to their couples therapist,
'she is a a ten and I am a four,
or between a four and a six,
on a good day'.

I loved that,
I feel that way about this stage,
of my life,
it's between a four and a six,
some parts are tens,
some parts are twos,
but, on the whole,
no complaints

:-)
Thank you, all for
being there.
Be well.

Later girls,
BB



Bright sunshinny days

Hello all,
the sun, has arrived.
Hallelujah :-)

We seem to have been,
drowning,
in rain,
here in my beautiful ugly.
April rained steady,
May was rough as well.
Even June which can be,
quite hot and hazy.

Last week,
I thought I would lose,
my mind,
and that's why,
I didn't write,
who needs to read,
whining,
we all have our battles,
we all occasionally,
feel like we are,
losing it.
Full moon and practically,
a week of rain,
not pretty:
'nough said.

The sun is back,
with a vengeance,
kind of scorching,
these last few days,
but, you know,
I got my  shorts game
down,
oh yeah,
fun in the sun.


I am reading a fabulous book,
almost done,
love it:
Help Thanks Wow: 3 Essential Prayers,
by Anne Lamott,
fabulous,
she never disappoints.
She makes me laugh,
out loud on the subway,
she also makes me cry,
quietly,
same location,
I like to read on the subway.
This book is a perfect,
carry with you book.
It's funny, touching, 
full of insight,
it's smart not cloying,
or goody goody.
She is a good person,
she is flawed,
she tries, she fails,
she succeeds,
she is weak,
she is strong.

I love her writing,
it makes me think.
It feels like,
I am  'listening' to a,
friend,
a smart funny friend,
who has been around,
the block a few times,
knows the lay of the land,
and, 
knows that ultimately,
we don't know,
shit,
but,
we should keep learning,
and trying.
We should reach for meaning,
keep the faith.

Lamott's book,
made me cry for,
my gone,
but, not forgotten,
beloved cat, Dude,

 
brought back feelings,
of doubt and the "did I do,
the right thing",
questionings,
and a few pages later,
reminded me,
that I loved and cherished him,
and did the best I could,
always,
that I tried to avoid him,
suffering,
and prayed for him,
to go in his sleep,
but, it didn't work out,
that way,
sometimes it doesn't,
that doesn't mean,
we shouldn't,
keep hoping,
for it,
praying,
for it,
whatever term you are most comfortable with

Her book,
reiterates, to me,
that it is ok,
to ask for help,
it is also important,
to say,
thanks,
to our people,
to a greater force,
God,
whoever, whatever,
and that we are,
surrounded by beauty,
wonder,
and... life.

So get out the sunscreen,
put on those shorts,
no, not those, the nice ones, you only live once:-)
get out there and soak up,
the sunshinny days

be well,
all of you

Later girls,
BB