Good afternoon to you all, apologies for being quiet, in the last little while. I have been busy and also, I have been suffering from, writer's block, or perhaps, writer's blockage, would be a more, apt descriptor. I have lots to 'say', on any number of things. Those who, know me, know this, but, lately, maybe even longer than, lately, it hasn't been coming out, or it starts to, and is all, garbled and confused, at times, it even seems, nonsensical. It's as if all the pots, on the back of the stove, that have been steeping, have spilled over, making a sticky burnt mess. As if, what I thought was going, to turn out, creamy sweet and complex, has become something, unexpected, that at first sight seems, a mess but, may yet, turn out to be, nourishing and sustaining. Maybe... So yeah, lots going on. The new gig, has been, challenging, and as is the case with, challenges, both enriching and trying, also, rewarding and sometimes, even infuriating, but it sure ain't boring. Church and, my journey, through faith is also, not what I expected, I find myself, after almost a year, still deeply questioning. I love the people, I love the theology study, I do pray, I have felt my prayers, answered, I do feel loved, accepted, guided and protected, and I know that a big part, of faith is not having to know, everything, a big part is, trusting. I have no plans to stop going, the journey is on going... So, lots of challenges, lots of faith, lots of reaching, But the best part of November: the election of Valérie Plante, as the first female mayor, of my hometown, the city I love, my Montréal!!! I am a member of Projet Montréal, the party that Ms Plante leads. I have been a member for a few years, I voted for her as leader. She has begun all her political races, as an underdog, and has won all of them, including becoming the mayor, of the second largest city in, Canada, and the second most important, French speaking city, in the world (after Paris, of course) She did it her way, with hard work, grit, humor, ideas, fierce intelligence, people skills, and lots of people, believing in her. She is a woman who can, rally people, inspire people, she listens, she cares, she leads, she does not dictate. I played a very small part. I spoke to people, around me, I debated ideas, I volunteered some time, I used what influence, I had to get people, to listen, to read, to vote, to inform themselves, and, to believe in the... possibilities. I have to say, Sunday night, when she won, was one of those, I remember where I was when moments, not a sad one or a hard one, a moment filled with hope, and a moment where you know, the work has just begun. So, as far as, Novembers go, this one has been pretty darn, memorable and enriching, in all ways Be well you all. Later girls, BB
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
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
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'
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
Mom is away for a few days, I hope she is having, lots of fun, she must be, she is with my aunt and, they get on, very well. I miss her when she isn't here, it is definitely more quiet. Mom is a whirlwind of sound and movement, it is who she is, and I love her the way she is, but, quiet and solitude is good for, everyone. I have written of my new quest, my spiritual quest, my personal exploration of, faith, my coming to St-Jax's is quite, serendipitous. A part of my everyday landscape, spoke to me, one day, open modern church, all are welcome. I have been going to service, almost every Sunday, since mid January and in the last, few weeks, I have been attending Alpha, on Wednesday evenings. I have gotten a few questions, from friends, both live and via social media, on Alpha, what it is, what it means. I am no expert, but, to my way of seeing, Alpha is series of guided, talks on Jesus, his life, the meaning of life, and our place in the world. Alpha, starts with a meal, the food is delicious, varied and plentiful, afterwards you watch a video, and a group discussion follows. So far, I have to say, I have enjoyed it. The people are lovely, and welcoming. My group, is a good fit, smart and reflective people, who I like. I am not sure that the videos, would convince, Atheists, I think most people who come, to Alpha and to the church, come with an open heart, a heart yearning, for whatever hearts yearn for. I say this not in a flippant way, but, in a sincere way, I think different hearts, yearn for different things. Mine, my heart, and I believe by extension, my soul, yearns for meaning, for purpose. Some people yearn, for love, for acceptance. I am not sure, if St-Jax's and Alpha, lead to that purpose, maybe. But, I do, feel good and welcome, there, I feel centered, at peace. It's hard to explain. I think faith, is personal. A framework, guidance, helps and may even be, essential, but, to me, it remains, a relationship, between me and, my God- like I said it's personal. I share this with all of you, because, I share most of my quests, with you, it helps me to know, what I think, gives texture to my thoughts, my ramblings. There will be more of these Take care all of you, be well Later girls, BB
Hello everyone, hope the new year, so far, has been good to you. Still holding true? To your resolutions? Making plans, moving forward? I've shared this before, Calvin and Hobbes, never gets old:-) I have, mostly, stayed the course, as far as, my not overthinking things, plan is concerned. I had a slight, slide back, last week, got all weird, with myself, others, about expectations, but... I am back, on my path. You might recall, in December, I said I would, pick a project, a creative endeavour, to work on, this year. I have spent, more than a month, being with friends, family, etc, working, reading, watching, observing, absorbing. I have chosen to not, chose, not yet. I will be taking, the Alpha course, at St Jax of Montreal, exploring, the spiritual, in my life. They are nice people, very nice. I still don't know, if I will follow that road, the church road I mean, But I will follow, the 'class', ask questions, meet people, break bread. With an open mind, and, an open heart. I will also be, attending, Sunday service, from now and up until, the end of the Alpha course, afterwards, we shall see. I am in my second week, of an online, photography class, with shawacademy.com, my BFF gave me a voucher, for a free class. I chose the photography class. I love photography, been taking pictures, for a few years, learned it on my own, trial and error, with varying results, but, it makes me happy. If there is one thing, I have learned over, the years, it's that you always, have stuff to learn. Even in the first few classes, about basic principles, a couple of lights, went on in my head. Very enjoyable. My promises to myself, to take concrete steps, in political, action, are also moving along, meeting people, networking, going to the women's march, on Saturday. A world wide collective, protest to the disturbing, trends in politics, all over the world, but, mostly with our neighbours, to the South, we stand with you, sisters and brothers. Keeping my journal, reading everyday. Being the best, friend, daughter, girlfriend, person, I can be. Letting, light, beauty, thought... in. Going to keep doing that, for a while, sometimes, it isn't abut choosing, it's about being. Be well you all. Later girls, BB
Hello all, I hope your holidays, whichever you celebrate, have been, joyous. Mine were nice, quiet. On Christmas Eve, mom and I went to, a Christmas service, at a wonderful, Anglican Church , in downtown Montreal, an open modern church, where all are welcome. Indeed, we felt welcome. It warmed our hearts. I took this picture of my fave church a little more than a month prior to the Christmas eve service, it has long been my favorite downtown church(and we have many beautiful churches and cathedrals) it's the architecture, the church yard, the location, all of it, a whole, that I cannot adequately explain. I had never been inside before Christmas Eve this picture of the interior of St-Jax of Montreal(formerly St-James The Apostle Anglican Church) I took on Christmas Eve 2016 I am an agnostic, have, pretty much, always been. But, in these last few months, I have felt, adrift. I am not miserable, I am not suffering, but, I do long, for... meaning. I suppose most of us do. I have found that, I disappoint myself. I am angry and hurt, much too easily, touchy, prickly, more than before. I expect people to be, who and what, they aren't. I have been a pain in the ass, especially to my mother, and, my girl. To be clear, I have much to be grateful for, family, friends, good health, a strong mind. but.. I need more, stimulation and conversation, thinking and pushing myself. I need meaning, I need to make a difference, to people, to my little corner, of the world. I think the church, might be an avenue, towards that, also, civic involvement. I became a member, last year, of a wonderful, municipal party, here in my beautiful ugly, Smart,caring, engaged people, I have met, in it's ranks. Recently, we elected a vibrant, brilliant, woman at it's head, and when, her victory was announced, I vowed that I would, work towards, having her elected, Montreal's first, woman mayor. So this year, I will write more, and work harder at, it. I will read more, and, deeper, think, reflect. I will share, what I am passionate, about, with you my readers, be it, faith, culture, politics, and, I hope you will, comment, and, join me, in a conversation, about ideas... life... all of it May the hard year that, 2016, has been, end on a soft, peaceful note, and may we all waltz, joyfully, into 2017. Be well, all of you. Stay healthy, strong, hopeful, and, kind. Later girls, BB