Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt Week 46 – Reblog From Sadje

Our first post for Week 46 post comes to us from Sadje.

As I’ve mentioned before, Sadje always send us top notch poetry or short works of prose for our “Tuesday Prompts.”

This week Sadje gives us a short, yet funny interchange between two married Canada geese.

You can check out her entry here.

Thanks Sadje for taking part again this week. Your story, while dealing with geese, has a ring of truth in it that many married couples can relate to.

Our next “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” is scheduled for next Tuesday, May 4.

Thanks.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt Week 45 – Reblog From Sadje

Our first post for Week 45 post comes to us from Sadje.

As I’ve mentioned before, Sadje always send us top notch poetry or short works of prose for our “Tuesday Prompts.”

This week, Sadje leaves us with a poem as to why the parks and benches are empty. A wise and prudent commentary on what is happening within the world today.

You can check out her entry here.

Thanks Sadje for taking part again this week. Your poem highlights what many throughout the world are currently experiencing.

Our next “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” is scheduled for next Tuesday, April 27.

Thanks.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Short and Sweet – Take A Breath

Today apparently is the big government announcement of yet another provincial wide lockdown to last 28 days. There is also much rumbling that schools here will close for those days as well.

The last two lockdowns really didn’t do anything and since then the government has dithered and talked a good story, but in essence has done nothing in terms of lowering COVID cases.

The new variants have taken hold and the vaccination roll-out here has been abysmal at best.

But, for today I’m trying to focus on two things.

First, is to simply stop and breathe.

Secondly, things will get better.

This third wave of the pandemic was completely preventable in our province. Yes, we the citizens need to take some responsibility.

But, we take and make our commitments based on part from what the government does.

However, when they have been so wishy-washy and vague in responses, action or anything concrete, we’ve come to the point where the government has lost the moral authority to govern. No one is listening to them.

But, alas…

  • simply stop and breathe
  • things will get better

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Short and Sweet – Winter Sunshine

Yesterday(Thursday), Lynn and I needed to make a business related excursion over to the Collingwood and Beaver Valley area, about an hour or so west of us.

Although our trip was about as uneventful as a business/road trip might be, it was a much needed day of: sunshine; blowing snow; cranberry muffins/chia tea; more sunshine and yes – a bit more blowing snow.

Source: Google Images

This isn’t a picture that Lynn or I happened to snap on our time out.

In fact, Lynn left her camera at home(which is weird and unexplainable) and I had my phone plugged in for tunes.

So, what is this purpose or why should you be reading this?

Good point! Not sure I can or that there is a decent answer to that question.

Source: Google Images

Sometimes one just has to go with the flow and literally seek out “that one ray of sunshine in what could very well be a dull and miserable day.” Both figuratively and literally. Funny, yesterday wasn’t dull one bit. The sun shone from mid-morning to when it dripped over the western horizon.

The picture to the right isn’t the Beaver Valley, but I must admit it is pretty darn close. But, you get the ray of sunshine analogy here.

There are those days and unfortunately there are often far too many of them, when almost of year of pandemic lockdowns; semi-lockdowns; restrictions and negative to the nth degree media(both mainstream and social) weighs heavily on my shoulders. And I assume the same weighs heavily on the shoulders of others as well.

I don’t have any answer to any of this. If I did, I would: a) apply the answer in my own life; b) share them with you.

Thursday and it seems like several Thursday in a row now, I’ve needed to search out “rays of sunshine.” Luckily for myself , the “seeking out” approach has blended nicely with Lynn’s business; places we enjoy and generally good cooperation with “Mother Nature” and our local weather person(s).

So, back too, “why are you reading this?” Again, that is a good, no a great question.

I don’t know.

Perhaps the message is a simple as, drop what your doing and head on out and find a “ray of sunshine.” A true ray of sunshine.

Perhaps it’s as simple as that.

— as always; with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Slip Sliding from 2020 to 2021

The year 2020 was 365 days that none of us would have predicted.

The first 60 or so of them weren’t so bad. But, as we reflect back over 2020, every 24 hours that we moved closer to mid-March last year, things started get a bit dimmer and blecker as each day passed.

I’d been pondering over the last remaining days of 2020 on what type of retroreflective “gobbly-gook” I might be able to crunch out. All of this is assuming that I want to “crunch” said post out.

And then the “aha!” moment sprang forth.

2020 can’t just simply be about the dumpster fire of a global pandemic. News story of the year? I would suspect so. But, 2020 can’t just be that.

One thing that COVID_19 did for most, if not all of the world, was to slow down and stop.

Literally stop. Put the breaks on and go home.

Most of you reading this were involved in some type of lockdown; shelter at home; quarantine enforcement.

For many of us, the things we took normally for granted vanished more or less overnight. Big vacation plans, big events or simply time spent with distant family and friends evaporated like water sprayed on hot concrete during a scorching summer afternoon. Even going out for a meal – gone.

Most of us learned that what “might be here today could be and was gone tomorrow.” We learned a hard but necessary lesson in “taking things for granted.”

But, having said that we also learned or re-learned a few good lessons along the way.

I think one of the most important lessons to learn is that, at the end of all days it will be the simple pleasures we remember. Those memories not of the big events(don’t get me wrong, those events are vitally important), but the memories of the seemingly small and often perceived as insignificant events or things.

The point is to make memories. Memories falling out of big events or tiny coffee date with someone it doesn’t matter.

Let’s finish by saying this, ““your most valuable possessions are the shared experiences and memories that link our hearts together.”

The following was my retrospective look for last year. I’ve gone through and changed dates and updated a few things to make it appropriate for this year. Let the message of it, flow through your body and soul.

With love…..

hangover3

There is right this very moment, some exceedingly groggy and perhaps hungover bloggers that are unsteadily and perhaps with a significant level of befuddlement, typing away at a retrospective post on the year that was.

On the opposite side of the coin, however, given the expertise and professionalism found throughout the blogosphere, many of you will have your ever so thoughtful and sombre retrospective of 2020 done already. Written last week utilizing a sober-mind(or at least semi-sober) and now have it scheduled to hit the blogging world at some point today, if it hasn’t already been published by now.

Pat-on-back

I can confidently and with many self-indulgent congratulations admit, this retrospection was written during the week between Christmas and today, January 1, 2020. Having said that, it is entirely appropriate to recycle it again for looking back at 2020. And forward to 2021.

So, not so much groggy typing this morning.

Most “year in review” posts that I’ve read and I haven’t read all of them(insert your sarcastic voice here), often follow a semi-predictable pattern of focussing on highlights of posts throughout the year and then followed by goals, dreams and aspirations for the year coming up.

Realistically, in any “year in review” post, I’m not sure one can follow any other basic template, other than simply presenting a review of your past year. We may add to the mix life events that occurred and such, but in the end, it is still a review.

Screen Shot 2019-12-27 at 7.59.46 AM

Honesty time here.

It’s the “basic template” and in some respects the whole “year in review” post thing that has my “pantaloons in a twist.”

And in that regard, I took a stab at starting to untangle my “twisted pantaloons” in this post last week(written in 2019).

Nevertheless, one thing that did come to me while thinking about putting this retrospective together was the word “theme.”

“Theme”, when used as a noun, has two meanings:

  • “the subject of a talk, a piece of writing, a person’s thoughts, or an exhibition; a topic”
  • “an idea that recurs in or pervades a work of art or literature”
making memories

Both meanings fit perfectly with a theme that seemed to evolve throughout this year – making memories.

Making Memories

As I scrolled through the posts, I had written throughout 2019 and 2020 for that matter, and while pondering each one(some had more pondering than others), the theme of making memories seemed to rise to the surface.

Making memories when stripped right down, involves people. Our spouses, our children, our families, our friends and perhaps those we don’t even know.

It’s the people we love that are the most important. In fact, people are the most important things in our life. Not the gifts, nor the house or the “stuff” we work ever so diligently to acquire through our lives.

It’s people and making memories with them.

So, here’s my retrospective look back on 2019 and now for 2020 from a theme of “Making Memories.”

Be sure to click on the highlight links to read the full posts.

February 6 – “Making Memories” 

This entry is important not just because I wrote it, but I believe it has a couple of universal truths attached to it.

And it is these particular truths and the meaning they hold, that one day we will either be thrilled to look back on them or exceedingly disappointed we don’t have them to reflect and celebrate on.

The choice though is entirely ours to make.

The first is, that time marches on. It waits for no one. A bit of a cliche I admit, but true, nonetheless. Therefore, fill your time with things that won’t rust or fall away. Things that have true meaning and value.

The second truth is, people are the most important things in our life. Not work, not things, not “stuff.” People, plain and simple.

Lastly, this point is a kind of sub-set of the second one. And it’s a quote, “your most valuable family possessions are the shared experiences and memories that link your hearts together.”

That last point should make it simple and blunt enough that all of us should get the point here.

As you read through Making Memories, it goes on to highlight five elements found or important in “making memories” and why making them so important and necessary.

Get out there and make some memories.

October 27 – “Hope You Had The Time Of Your Life”

Oh, where to begin with this one.

If I had to choose a post from 2019 that would make me the proudest of “hitting publish” it would be this one.

Not because of outstanding writing, content, layout or any of that stuff. It would be all due to the “spot I was at.” Which in all honesty, was and not a very good place.

time

The fall of last year was for the most part, not the best for me in terms of my own mental and emotional wellness.

The nub of it was dealing with anxiety issues on a daily basis, combined with feelings of self-doubt and “where do I fit in; not feeling like I was contributing much; my life wasn’t much to look back on” it all simply left me at a rather low point.

I had heard “Good Riddance – Hope You Had The Time Of Your Life” by Green Day several times throughout the fall months on the radio. Any lyrics, although written perhaps with a specific meaning originally, they can create a wealth of different meanings though to the people who hear and listen to them.

At that time, the song resonated for me along the theme of, “we only have one life to live; only one shot to do it in; so you better get it right.” And that when it is all said and done; and before you take your last breath, you can look back and boldly proclaim, “I did have the time of my life.”

Originally when creating the post, I planned to take the lyrics and intersperse a few pictures that would somehow correspond to the meaning of each verse.

It didn’t quite work out that way. In fact, it worked out far better than I could have ever imagined.

What made it a powerful and such a gut-wrenching post for me was compiling the pictures and I mean the many photographs found in the post. I simply started adding pictures I felt held meaning to me of past wonderful memories. And I kept going and adding until I felt I was done.

Some of the pictures were very important, like our daughter’s college graduation, to those of seemingly insignificant events like a hike along the Bruce Trail.

The point is, all of those pictures represent an incredible memory; lots of memories in fact. And that if today was that day I took my last breath, I could look back and say, not hope, but say, “I did have the time of my life.”

We often get stuck and spin our wheels in the present when things are at some low point. Digging ourselves deeper into some muddy bog, that we really don’t need to be in.

That was me.

So, I absolutely implore you to click the link for the post.

After that, start compiling your own pictures of those wonderful memories of days gone by. They could be from last week or ten years ago. Keep going until you either run out of pictures or emotionally you can’t select another picture.

Step back and take a look.

You’ll then see without a doubt, you “have had the time of your life” to this point.

December 13 – “The Importance of Christmas Traditions”

This one is similar in most respect to the post above from February 6 – “Making Memories”

Where it differs is in the importance of Christmas traditions.

As I wrote in the post if there is one season or time of year that yells out “traditions” it has to be Christmas.

Christmas traditions, like any tradition, involves people. Most often it is those people who are nearest and dearest to us.

In fact, a Christmas tradition can’t exist without the energy and power found within the hearts and souls of the people involved.

Those Christmas traditions we dearly and often eagerly anticipate are fueled by the wonderful and heart-warming memories those traditions have created over the years for us.

Twenty years from now, not many of you will be to remember the presents and gifts you received, but I can guarantee you will be able to remember those Christmas traditions, that became the glue that has bonded the memories and souls of our families and friends together.

So, there you have it.

looking

A slightly different way of looking back at 2019 and now 2020 from where I was sitting.

Obviously, there are other posts that are noteworthy(at least in my mind), as well as events in from last year that could have made the list for inclusion.

I didn’t include blog stats and such, because I’m not sure what they would add to the mix.

Having said all of this, one thing I pray you to take from this particular retrospection is simply this quote:

“your most valuable family possessions are the shared experiences and memories that link your hearts together.”

Go out right this very moment with your family/friends and get creating memories in 2021 that will last a lifetime.

Lynn and I thank each and every one of you who took the time to visit for a while with us at “justabitfuther” during 2019 and 2020.

We pray that you made it through 2020 healthy and well. Now, let’s look forward with hope and anticipation for a brighter future unfolding before us in 2021.

With love……..

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – How Are We/You Holding Up?

Perhaps a strange question for so very early on a Sunday morning, three-quarters of the way through the month of November.

But, on the other hand, maybe this isn’t such a strange or weird question afterall.

How are we holding up?

At any time of the year and it doesn’t need to be the holiday season, scores of people are dealing and managing with their own mental and emotional wellness issues and concerns.

For many, the emotional and mental wellness issues they deal with on a daily basis can amplify and intensify during the holiday season.

There is plenty of well-documented research illustrating the myriad of stress related issues that the holiday season can heep upon all of us.

This year, add a global pandemic into the mix and all of these issues and concerns take off to new and uncharted territories.

Speaking for myself, the past weeks have been a series of good and somewhat less than good days. Not bad days, but on the other hand – not good days either.

I’m finding that the introduction of seemingly ordinary things or events ramp up my anxiety a notch or two. For example, today the weather forecasters are calling for a winter snow storm to start in the afternoon, into the evening and taper off by early Monday morning.

The thought of having to drive home from work at 3:30pm this afternoon in snow is not appealing to me to say the least.

Normally, this wouldn’t phase me, even slightly. In fact, not long ago I would have said,“bring it on – Mother Nature!”

But, now here I sit composing a blog post in order to deal with the anxiety I’m experiencing.

Experts might start by telling me to, “cut yourself some slack.” You’ve got enough happening in your own life, along with the swirling mess that generally has engulfed most of us across the face of the planet.

Easy to say…….but a challenge to implement.

So…how are we/you doing?

Any suggestions?? Other than staying at home and avoiding the anticipated snow storm?

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Covid, Christmas and Stress

Let’s just start of by saying, I don’t have any answers to the question of “Covid, Christmas and Stress.”

In fact, I’m not sure there is anyone alive at this very moment who can address that to any great degree.

We do know that there has been plenty written in the past on how to deal with reducing stress during the Christmas and holiday season.

And there certainly has been over the past while, a ton of pieces scribed about blending COVID_19 into the Christmas stress mix.

For many, the approaching Christmas and holiday season can be a time of great stress and anxiety for a multitude of reasons. The unexpected and unrealistic expectations the we and others pile upon ourselves. Issues dealing with finances needed for gifts etc. Burdens of not enough time. Past issues with family and friends that creep into the holiday festivities. Emotional and mental wellness concerns that invade all of the holiday season.

The reality the list of things that cause stress during Christmas and the holiday season is virtually endless.

And this is all in “normal years.”

What will happen during this Covid Christmas?

It will be tough and difficult to predict what this Christmas will actually be and feel like. But, one thing for certain, the holidays for many will be different from last year’s for sure.

One bright point is, COVID_19 doesn’t necessarily mean having to stop your family from having a fun and fulfilling holiday.

But, on the other hand balancing holiday festivities with social distancing and other potential health directives(including restrictions on certain activities)certainly will make things at a minimum challenging and stressful.

Things can become even further complicated, if you and your loved ones have entirely different views and ideas on how to spend the holiday season this year.

The following are some ideas I came across a few days ago. And I also recognize that depending on the area you live in, restrictions and COVID protocols can change with little notice.

Tips To Consider

Have the Holiday Conversation Now

Much of the anxiety and stress swirling around the holiday season any year and especially this year comes from “uncertainty.”

“What do we do about visits to the house and visiting others?”; “is having Grandma and Grandpa stay with us a good idea?”; “is our large family Christmas dinner and such a good idea?” “how do we avoid large group settings like going to the mall to shop?”….”what do we tell the kids?”

Have these conversations now….not a week before Christmas.

Sit down and figure out who you may need to talk to and have the conversations.

Speak and Listen with Empathy

These convo’s may be exceedingly tough. So it is important to be empathic.

Three points here to remember:

  • communicate YOUR needs, wants and concerns
  • listen to and confirm loved ones’ concerns before offering solutions
  • work together to create a plan(s) that are acceptable to everyone

Be Inclusive with Your Plans

For some people, a visit for a few hours or a few days at Christmas may have occurred for them for the past 40 years. Think Grandparents for example.

What happens this year of that visit can’t happen.

Think of ways that they can still be part the festivities.

A video call and chat on Christmas day perhaps; a special gift or something from ALL the grandchildren.

Socially Distanced Alternatives For The Holidays

Holiday parties are and have been for just about ever, a staple part of the holiday season.

In fact for many of us, a holiday party of some description may have been a tradition between family members of friends for years. The annual “girls Christmas movie night get together”; “the sister’s cookie and treat baking day;” “the guys holiday dinner at the local steakhouse”; “the office Christmas party.”

You get the idea – the list of traditional stuff is endless.

You may need to try something different this year:

  • a family or friends Zoom call to chat over wine and appetizers
  • A FB video thing with loved ones while you decorate the Christmas tree
  • convenience friends or family to watch a particular Christmas movie together in the privacy of their own homes using Netflix all at the same time
  • perhaps a socially distanced winter hike

Perhaps Delay Important Family Events

Although, this may be a hard concept to fathom for some, but isn’t the holidays about making memories with family and friends?

What if you simply made those memories at a different time?

What if you delayed the big family dinner for a few months? Or the big celebration?

The pandemic will eventually end, and the minor – yes the minor things we need to do this year won’t last forever.

In Canada, we are in the midst of a second wave of COVID that is exponentially worse than what we experienced in the spring.

All of us need to look internally at this time to see “what can I do as an individual” to help minimize the effect and work towards flattening the COVID curve a second time. So sacrificing some holiday traditions this year makes it more likely we all can celebrate how we’d like in 2021.

Unfortunately for many, this one will fall upon deaf ears.

A good chunk of society(perhaps even those within your family) are heading off to do what they’ve always done, regardless of what they are being asked of them to do for the greater good of society.

Believe me, I want this to be done with as much as anyone.

Give Yourself A Break

When having the “holiday conversation” there is the potential that conflict will pop up. Ya think?

If so, try to get people focussed on the positive, like imagine all the festivities and craziness we can get into next year.

But, if that isn’t working and it looks like “Christmas is going to hell in a handbasket,” suggest taking a break and re-group when you’re all feeling a little better. 

Remember – the holidays can be a stressful time – even without a pandemic.

The holidays this year has all of the potential to go off the rails real quick.

Get a jump early on how Christmas and the holidays will look like for you and your family for 2020.

COVID isn’t cancelling Christmas, it’s just changing it a tiny bit.

Remember…..the changes and challenges for 2020 are tiny bits.

And tiny bits are simply – tiny bits in the overall scheme of things.

Don’t charge off and mold the tiny bits into something they aren’t.

But remember, we all have a role to play this year. Do the right and correct thing. It may be a present that benefits all of us across the country.

Let’s end on a chuckle……. ya gotta love “Clark.”

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt – Week 19

Most of the leaves in our part of the province are done for this year. We’ve gone through the entire “leaf peeping” craziness that started near the end of September. But, now we’re at Week 19 in “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt.”

Art(including pictures and images) should evoke an emotional response in those who are viewing them. That’s why art can leave such a long-lasting and poignant imprint within the depths of our psyche

Your challenge or writing prompt is this:

  • what emotions or feelings get evoked or aroused in you when you look at this photograph taken by Lynn

Remember, the goal isn’t necessarily to tell me and others exactly what the picture is.

The creative goal for all of us is “what does the picture evoke in you; what emotion; feeling; memory or whatever it may be – what does it arouse in you and to share it that with others.

Our Week 19 prompt saddens me a great deal.

We all know that masks and wearing them is but one part in controlling the spread of COVID_19. Here in Ontario we’ve been experiencing Wave #2 for a number of weeks now.

The picture above is what I’m calling the “new plastic bottle syndrome.” Instead of finding discarded plastic water bottles when hiking, we’re finding disposable masks instead. This was one of many found on several hiking trails in Algonquin park, when we visited in the first week of October.

A few points to help along the way:

  • write a post on your own blog and create a pingback to link back to the original post(this one)
  • I’ll reblog your post on my blog when I get the notification
  • write an original story; perhaps your own thoughts; maybe some poetry or even a simply one word response. Maybe even post that says “it does nothing; means nothing”
  • regardless, whatever you write must encapsulate the emotion or feeling evoked or aroused in you from the picture
  • no limit on the length(I guess)
  • keep it a “family friendly” as possible(not looking to delete or not approve stuff)

Be sure to tag your responses with:

#lynntuesdaypictureprompt or

#ltpp

Looking forward to your thoughts!

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —