Wednesday, September 26, 2012

K is for Kindness

It is hard to avoid  the pressing concerns that swirl about our troubled world. Headlines scream of global stories explode with incidents of war, prejudice  and massacre.

So often, we sit shaking our heads, mouth open, appalled at how we, as a people, have so gravely damaged ourselves and our world.
But what can we do...what can any of us do to make a difference in the face of ongoing  devastation?.

A good start is to believe we have more individual power than we think.

I have noted that kindness has become under-rated. Of course, we hear many stories of people putting their own safety at risk to help a stranger. Such stories reaffirm our faith in human nature. 
Unfortunately, there are also tales to highlight the disconnect that plagues modern society...too many incidents of people looking the other way because they don't want to get involved.

But imagine a world wherein each of us dug deep in ourselves for empathy and compassion...imagine if a Kindness Movement rose up from where it has been sleeping and we began to take care of one another, not just our own family, but reached out to offer a helping hand to anyone  we saw in need. 

I know I may be criticized for my Pollyanna optimism...I have been in the past. Perhaps it is simplistic to suggest a bit of kindness can change 
the world, but where else can we all start, if not with ourselves?

Kindness multiplies when it is given freely and openly. It need not be much...even a small gesture can expand when passed on.

 I have a dear friend at work who practices Random Acts of Kindness. She might mention casually that she'd paid for the coffee a man ahead of her in Starbucks had ordered. Her immediate reward is a happy grin from the surprised customer.
 But can you picture, then, how that man will do something nice when a chance comes up for him to make a difference in someone else's day?
Imagine that multiplied many times over and you begin to see that change is possible. Get involved in your community. Give  what you all that you are able to on this busy planet and we all benefit.
Make each day a chance to improve your world in small ways. When you see tourists quizzically scanning a map, go over and help them find their way. Better yet, buy them a drink from the nearest street vendor, while expounding on the many beauties to be found in your part of the world.

Kindness will not always feel like kindness.  I have found it difficult in the past to tell people I do not appreciate what they are saying, but I will no longer listen to racist is not just a joke!
Pointing out that I'm an immigrant, too, and that I find the reference offensive always leads to sputtering and protestations: "Oh I didn't mean're white and you speak English!"
These are words my egalitarian spirit cannot embrace. I only hope that a calm discussion may cause that person to think before he spews out more bigotry disguised as humour.

I am no-one's idea of a role model...nor am I besieged with kudos and awards, but I have learned in my time that we each have untold depths of compassion and goodness in us just waiting to be unleashed and embraced.
Of this, I am sure...

Please drop by ABC Wednesday to see more takes on the letter 'K".

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

J is for Jaunt

                    Jaunt: A short excursion or journey for pleasure

Jaunt" is one of my favourite words. I like the way it pops cheerily out of the mouth...and am always drawn in by the lure it calls up of a sudden and enticing getaway...a dash of fun and excitement in the day where none was expected.

 One can certainly plan jaunts, but I think they are best enjoyed when presented out of the blue. My husband and I are always open to the possibility of jaunts, finding ourselves easily able to adjust if a change of direction is offered up. 

One day last week, we set out in late morning for a bit of a drive. We had no destination in mind, but found out that the further along the road we went, the further still we wanted to go. 

Our short drive turned into a round trip of 650 kilometres. We considered stopping when we got to Abbotsford, but continued on past Hope and Chilliwack, and then onto the Coquihalla Highway, ending up in Merritt. Home to the fabulous Merritt Mountain Music Festival held every summer, the town was a quiet and rustic spot to explore on this September afternoon.

Of course, the main rule of road trips  is that one never goes back the same way one came if it can be avoided, which is why we switched to the old Trans Canada Highway and made our way over to Lytton for supper.  

Lytton well deserves its reputation as B.C.'s hot spot, and is also where the Thompson River empties into the mighty Fraser.

It is interesting to see the very clear difference in colours as the waters come together.

I am always fascinated by topography but had forgotten the wide variety that presents itself in B.C.'s Fraser Canyon.

Of course, I also kept my eyes open for ramshackle buildings long abandoned, and was not disappointed in finding a few.

From dry, scrubby hills to well-watered pastures, there was variety enough in the landscape to excite my photographer's eye, though many of these shots were, of necessity, taken from the swiftly moving car.

There was little time to stop if we wanted to make it home before the day was done.

Landslides are common in this part of the province...evidence of their power is to be found everywhere.

By the time we headed homeward, the light was long gone, but we carried back with us the knowledge that we had packed a bounty of pleasure and beauty into this particular day....

For more takes on the letter "J", do stop by ABC Wednesday at the link below....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I is for Island


We're fortunate to have been invited  by my husband's family to spend   long weekends this summer at their  cabin on Thetis Island. 

I will write more about their lovely home, (cabin may not be the best descriptive word!),
and their generous, outgoing natures in a later post.

However, as I seem to be tardy posting of late, I am including just a few of the small touches that charmed me on the island visits.

The sweet window box and weathered red bench are just a few of the special touches that dot their property at every turn of the path.

I am always 
delighted by
 the Arbutus trees that 
grow in the 
dry southeast 
regions of 
Vancouver Island 
and the 
Gulf Islands.   

The photographer in
 me goes mad at the 
colour and 
of its bark.  

I have very few
 people pictures 
of those weekends, 
but numerous shots
Arbutus trees!

My favourite time of the day has always been takes on a magical quality while snuggled into a chaise lounge on this deck, watching the sun make its final descent behind the mountains.

I will write more about our visit soon, but am now linking this to ABC Wednesday, a wonderful même that showcases photos from around the world. Do pop in for a peek...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

H is for Happy

Just a few things that make me happy...

Spending time with my kids...

...especially when we're all feeling silly...

J.J.,  Nikki,  Nette  and Jules 

...exploring abandoned and forbidden places...

 Henry Bose Farm, Surrey, B.C.

...revisiting favourite haunts...

Finn Slough, Richmond. B.C. 

...hanging around boats... 

...especially when the 
skies are grey and moody...
         Steveston, B.C.

...going on road trips with my husband, 
(aka my partner-in-crime)...

Arizona, USA 

...having my camera at hand to capture what's left of a passing storm...

...mucking about in my wellies....

...especially when autumn leaves start to fall.

I could go on forever, but as I'm already late posting , I'll simply suggest that you stop by ABC Wednesday for more takes on the 
letter 'H'....