Earth to Ash

Ash Wednesday

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Yesterday was “me Wednesday”, the sun was shining, March was upon us and I saw a person with what I thought was dirt on their face. Actually, yesterday marked the first day of Lent (pun intended) where many people around the world went to mass. Specifically, Christians attend mass and receive ashes of burnt palm branches on their forehead in the shape of a cross to symbolize repentance and confess their sins. Ok, I googled that, (sorry God) but once I realized that yesterday was Ash Wednesday, it did get me thinking about how Church was a big part of my life at one point which in turn made me think of my grandmother who was the primary reason it was.

I know for a fact she wouldn’t be too happy to hear that I have drifted away from religion so much over the years. As I thought about it more, I wondered if faith was a void in my life, am I missing it? I ask that question from time to time, I think a lot of people do. Life is full of moments where it’s just us alone with our inner voice that guides us through the peaks and valleys. I’m Catholic, I was taught religion growing up but once I left school and moved away from my hometown, I strayed from the flock as it were. I still believe don’t get me wrong, it’s just my opinion on religion can vary sometimes along with my faith. Faith is a very strong thing to have, it can help you through some of the worst times and can give you hope when you need it the most. We need something to call upon when life challenges us, it gives us something to hold on to when we are at our weakest, and provides comfort in times of doubt.

People find faith in so many different things traditional and non-traditional, it’s up to us, we can believe in other things that don’t have to be contingent on being some sort of higher power. Quite frankly, we can choose to believe in nothing at all, those who feel no need to place their “faith” in anything other than themselves carry on just as fine as someone who practices religion. Ultimately, we all need to show acceptance and tolerance to religious differences, our world still needs work when it comes to loving thy neighbor. No matter where I look, there seems to be conflict, people hurting others over the color of their skin, the language they speak or religion they practice. The big picture, we differ from far more reasons than I just mentioned but we fail to see the one constant that remains in each of us which is the most important and that is, we’re all human beings.

 

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Another Chance

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I’m lonely now,
Because time pushes me further away.

I would go back if you’d meet me there;
By your side one last time.

Hold on, hold.

Familiar Breeze

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As the breeze blows I feel;
I think of you.

A warm breeze, it’s familiar;
The wind is something I remember.

Loved one, gone.
Impossible to lose the memories of
their touch, it’s familiar.

Their embrace is something I remember.

I’m Still Here

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I look like you, I act like you;
although I don’t see you.

I remember us if I think real hard;
Won’t you?

I miss us, the way we were;
Don’t you?

But I’m still here;
You?

 

Snow Place Like Home

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Just made it in from digging out from yet another snow day, we are on day two of a marathon of bad weather.  Snow days I like, the shoveling not so much, if you have read any of my recent posts you should know by now that I am not a fan of winter and a big part of that is the shoveling.  I am one of those who still has to shovel out, no snowblower for me, it’s two legs and a heartbeat that gets me through it. This winter has been especially bad and it still seems like spring is nowhere in sight. After many weather-related conversations this week, there is a general consensus that this winter season is really wearing on us all but “hey, at least we have storm chips”.

Yeah, they’re a thing, I was at the supermarket the other day and a lady in front me was chatting with the cashier and mentioned she was on the hunt for a bag.  Now I need to back up a sec to provide some background on this newest phenomenon called “storm chips”. I live in Newfoundland and we are notorious for bad winter storms, and something else we are notorious for is preparing for one. We take our storm days seriously, there’s booze to be purchased, electronic devices that need charging and of course the “storm chips”, snacks are essential. Social media has added momentum I’ve noticed, to this pre-storm ritual, we now live in a world where something like a #STORMCHIPS hashtag can bring a community together while mother nature drops by to throw up.

It’s true, we have come a long way when it comes to how we spend our snow days. One huge example of that is technology, it allows all of us who have to endure a winter wallop to connect and share how each of us, are surviving our snowy sequester. Snow days are a much needed day off work for some, you don’t have to worry that you didn’t make it in because no one else did either. It’s now a chance to binge-watch some Netflix and make it through that next season, maybe grab some games from the closet to challenge the kids, or curl up with that book you’ve been meaning to read. Some even brave the elements and venture outside for a wintery walk hoping the coffee shop on the corner managed to open, the possibilities are endless.

There was a moment as I peeked outside while the freezing rain tapped against the window that I thought back to my youth.  I remember mornings my grandparents chatted while I laid in my bed trying to make out what they were saying, I knew it had to be because of the weather because I couldn’t see out my window-oh boy! As the morning went on my confidence grew, the fact that my grandmother, who was my alarm clock for my entire school career, was still yet to crack my door and give my bed a shake was a high probability of a snow day. No happier feeling than being a kid and being told school was canceled and the day was all mine. My snow days are enjoyed from an adult’s perspective nowadays but my inner child still enjoys the anticipation.

Shoveling is all done and the city is moving again, life is slowly getting back to normal. We received give or take, 60 centimeters of snow these last two days, two snow days in a row which is like seeing a unicorn. The rumor of bad weather hits everyone differently, kids don’t count because we all know how they feel. The palette of colors plastered on the meteorologist’s teleprompter can make some cringe, others take it as a warning to start their supply list right away at the whisper of a few flakes. Snow days aren’t going anywhere and no matter how you feel about spending a day stormbound we have no other choice but to wait it out. Take this free day to catch up on things you may not have enough time for normally like cleaning the house, doing a craft or reading a book (or this blog-shameless plug). Newfoundlanders have existed on this rock in the Atlantic for a very long time, yes we may complain, it’s our culture to always talk about the weather because it’s a big part of who we are. It doesn’t matter the forecast anyway because when it comes to a winter in Newfoundland, one thing’s for sure, there’s snow place like home.

Versatile Blogger Award

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There is no bigger compliment than receiving acknowledgment from fellow writers.  The Ink Owl has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award which I am so appreciative of and I hold this nomination in the highest regard-Thanks.  Please head on over and check out The Ink Owl to discover his contributions of fiction, fantasy, and real life.

Blogs that I feel deserve the same respect and acknowledgment are listed below, each of these blogs has their own unique blend of content and offer a wide assortment of quality writing.

  1. Orlando Espinosa – need inspiration and motivation? Here’s your man;
  2. The Road to There – another great site for empowerment, inspiration and a personal journey to enlightenment;
  3. Adventure 57 – Well written and visually stunning;
  4. Mirror & Soul – Life from a mom’s perspective, positive thinking at its best;
  5. Be Like Water Production – Little of this with some of that in the multimedia world;
  6. My Five Experts – Need help blogging? Great informative content;
  7. Altered Nature Gyotaku – Blog with artistic flare;
  8. Follow Your Arrow – Follow her path and journey to help your own;
  9. Sparky Jen – Another positive thinker with wisdom to share;
  10. The Watts – A glimpse into the life of a young family with very informative posts for raising kids;
  11. The Nostalgia Diaries – A look back in reflection, good for the soul;
  12. Positive Mindset 2017 – Simply positivity, see for yourself;
  13. Thoughts and Afterthoughts – Free thinking and beautiful poetry;
  14. Food Fit Fun – Loads of information on healthy living;
  15. PalHachi – Nice blog with great use of visual elements.

These are some of the more deserving examples of what my blog community can provide for a world of readers waiting to discover them. Each one of the contributors that I have listed above has written their way into my daily routine and I’m sure once your click on their links for yourself, you will find the same. Great job to you all and I feel each one of you are deserving of the Versatile Blogger Award, keep blogging on.

SEVEN THINGS ABOUT ASH

  1. I don’t always refer to myself in the third person;
  2. I love to bike;
  3. Leave no pun left behind;
  4. Gym rat;
  5. Not writing gives me anxiety;
  6. Was raised by my grandparents;
  7. Favourite author is Neil Parischa.

I am grateful to The Ink Owl in recognizing me for this award and I’m glad to pay it forward with my thoughts and feelings of some of my fellow writers that share their stories each and every day.  It takes a lot to put yourself out there and share pieces of ourselves with the world and for that I commend you.  Never stop writing and never not sharing because your audience is waiting.

Thanks, Ash

“Forget Me Never”

(I thought I’d share this poem that was taken from a journal of mine, it was written July 26, 2006.)

Forget Me Never
by Ash

Forget me never;
Forget me not.

Times we loved;
Times we fought.

We walked alone;
We walked together.

Forget me not;
Forget me never.

 

Pain in the Ash

I’ve been nursing a real bad neck as of late, I have no idea what might have caused it, all I know is that it’s been nagging me for awhile now. It could be the gym, quite possibly from shoveling or maybe it’s the way I slept, something has been causing me to slow turn my head for the past two weeks. I was never one to just tolerate the pain so I have been doing my best to rehab it as much as possible, so far, though, the pain keeps coming back.  Over the years I’ve  accumulated my share of bumps, bruises, and broken bones but with time I healed and the pain all went away, I always bounced back 100%.

This neck thing does bother me a lot, but I’m still doing everything I normally do, there’s a discomfort but I manage the pain enough to get through it. To aid in my recovery, I’m using the help of the gym, heating lotions, stretching and my doctor has prescribed me some pills too but I only take them when I absolutely need to (not a fan).  I have resorted to a more physiotherapy like approach when it comes to my gym workout and I make sure not to overdo it which is important when you are rehabbing any type of injury. Best not to push it and make something worst.  If you sit at a desk all week like I do it’s good to take some time during your day to work out your strained muscles, working in front of a monitor can wreak havoc on your posture and can also make an existing injury flare up something fierce.  I try to pay attention to how I am sitting to alleviate some discomfort created by slouching or hunching over at my desk which I’m guilty of from time to time.  Heat has seemed to provide me with the most relief; I have been using a magic bag and a heat rub to loosen the tight muscles in my neck. When it comes to our bodies, we know ourselves the best and we all respond to treatment differently; some of the things that I have suggested are things that you can try for yourself.  I do want to point out that if you are experiencing pain on any level, it’s best to consult a doctor and then with that advice you can start your road to recovery.

Dealing with pain is awful; my stepfather had to live with pain each and every day for about a five year period not long ago.  He injured himself on the job and was faced with a future of surgeries, painkillers, and extensive rehab that even then provided no absolute surety that he would get back to his old self. I saw that man who is by far the strongest man I know concede that he was at the mercy of chronic pain and on his darkest day cursed everything and wanted to quit. I earned a lot of respect for people suffering in chronic pain because of the hell my stepdad had to endure during his recovery. Because of his will and the support of the family, he’s completely back to himself today but for awhile there, he was doubtful that he would ever truly be rid of the pain entirely.

Staying healthy is a challenge, we try our best to take care of ourselves but sometimes the unpredictability of life proves that anything can happen. We break and bleed all the time, as far back as our days of bumping into corners and falling off our bikes, we are all too familiar with the feeling of pain. Now that I’m older it’s becoming apparent that I may not fix as easy as I used to, I need to do my part but I also need to accept going to the doctor when something doesn’t feel right. I know people who avoid the hospital at all the time which actually puzzles me, why?  Ego? Denial? I can’t answer that question for anyone but myself but I hope my dialog has made you think about how important it is to look after yourself.  We have friends and family that love and depend on us so we have to think about them too, they matter and so do you, don’t forget that. My neck got me thinking and this post was just my way of exploring my thought…next time I make a post though I promise it won’t be so much of a Pain in the Ash.

 

The Streets are Paved in Cold

I watched a movie earlier tonight, “Cardboard Boxer”, not bad of a film.  It starred Thomas Hayden Church and Terrance Howard, and it focused on the homeless.  Watching the main character Thomas Hayden Church fight adversity and survive his way through day to day life on the streets got me thinking.  A few nights ago I went for a walk and later wrote about it, I blogged about how cold it was and how much I hated winter.  It’s true, I was just “vent writing” and emoting my true frustration with how I felt about the dark days of winter.  No question about it, that night was cold, sooo cold, it was bitter and there was snow everywhere I looked.  As I walked along my body was in a full contraction from the brisk night air, I couldn’t help but think about how people who live on the streets do it.  Imagine having no place to go and having to try to find somewhere warm to sleep every night of your life, not only that you have to feed yourself too.

We witness this all the time, we pass by the usual suspects every day on our lunch breaks that give us their best pitch Monday through Friday to score just a little bit of change.  As soon as that interaction of just a quick yes or no is over, you move on with your life.  We go back to discussing what plans we have for the weekend or how good our workout was that day, the question of where you were sleeping tonight never entered your thoughts.  That night as I walked I thought about it a lot, I was freezing, yes I was wimping out a bit too but I was content knowing I had a warm home to return to.  I asked myself what I would do, what would be my gut instinct, could I be capable of the lasting a night like that on the street?  Probably not, but it humbled me knowing how fortunate I was and how my problems just don’t seem as important anymore.  I look out the window and I see a driveway that needs to be shoveled or I see a hinderance to my morning commute, I can’t appreciate the challenges they must endure each and every day battling mother nature.

The next time you pass by someone who could use some help, do so, give them a chance.  Yes, I know, how can you be sure where the money is going?  So many questions rush through your mind during that microtransaction, it’s milliseconds, we are quick to judge.  We can stand there all day morally debating if we should but we already know the answer to that question.  How much do we waste each day on the simplest of pleasures that we enjoy, ask yourself again, can you afford to give?  I bet the answer is yes, we just try to find answers for saying no, like we have something to prove.  We honestly don’t know where we will find ourselves in life, there are peaks and valleys in every dynamic.

That night made me realize that sometimes I do take life for granted and I do have it good but sometimes I think otherwise.  I have a roof over my head, a job that I go to from week to week and a family that love and care for me.  Appreciate the fact that you have cable and that the internet exists, a trip to the store takes 5 minutes by car, we got it pretty good.  Give of yourself, help out at a soup kitchen, donate your used clothing, do whatever you can because at the end of the day if you give back to the people that need it the most it can slowly become the only change they might need.

Weather or not?

I went for a walk last night and boy was it cold, the air was crisp, the snow made crunchy noises under my feet and my face kept seizing up on me, ah winter.  Didn’t matter what the temperature was, I determined to get a walk in, it was a beautiful night so I threw on a few layers and took off.  I kind of fast walked at first which warmed me a little, then when I passed the point of no return I had no choice but to see it through.  As I paced along kicking the scatter chunk of ice I thought, we are nowhere near the end of the winter season and it is really starting to get to me.  I’ve lived here on this island for my entire life and you would think by now I would be used to the cold Atlantic Canadian winters but that is by far the polar opposite (pun intended).

Yesterday morning we had 30+ centimeters dumped on us which we all had to wake up to and to add to that, had to do so on Monday morning-gross.  Yeah the 5:30 wake-up call from the neighbor’s idling snowblower is always an indication that there was shoveling in my future, it was about to be a “morning”.  Feeling robbed already of my weekend I turned over and made a cave with my pillows complete with a tiny hole with a perfect view of the alarm clock.  Lying there defeated by mother nature along with a severe case of the Mondays, I started doing the math in my head of the steps between getting out of bed and sitting at my desk.  On the verge of facing the harsh reality that I had to move my lazy butt and very close to leaving the sanctuary of bed when all of the sudden, my face started buzzing.  It was a call from my co-worker, she was calling to tell me that work had a delayed opening, yes…there is a god.  There’s no better feeling than looking outside at winter punching everything in the face and then being told that there’s no work, how old am I again?  With the anxiety of white-knuckle traffic and snow drifts lifted off my shoulders I returned to the blanketed abyss because it’s a snow day.  Well, it was more like a snow morning but like I said, after losing the weekend and on top of that a Monday morning, I’ll take it.  (Ash 1 Winter 0)

Oh yeah, I hate not having sidewalks. (Ash 1 Winter 1)