Skywalker #4 – Coming home to walls

Sophie was stunned. She was returned from deployment on a submarine for six months, her heart filled with stories to share with her Mom, Stella. But all that waited for her was silent walls, and not the homecoming she expected.

Sophie’s Mom Stella was gone, holding her tongue she had said nothing to Sophie about her terminal diagnosis fearing holding Sophie back from the most exciting opportunity in her naval career.

Sophie stood silent, unmoving in her apartment except for the racking of her lungs as she tried to breath from the tears. “Mom, I would not have gone, I would have been there, I love you, I need you” and her tears ran, and her heart broke with shock and it felt like she was knifed in the heart. The wound cut deep.

Sophie sat on the floor until the darkness forced her to her feet to turn on a light.

Sophie held in her hands volumes of letters that her Mom had written her, and mailed her. Wonderful gifts from her Mom, conversations from her Mom. The letters, sometimes two a day, were priceless – the last conversations and they were warm, and encouraging, even understanding how Sophie would be saddened and enraged. But Stella was gone, and it was non negotiable.

After the shaking subsided, and the tea had been replaced with something stronger – Sophie started to breath. She understood the why, her Mom was selfless, and the deployment had meant promotion and recognition by the naval brass for her only daughter. Sophie was proud of her achievements, and so was her Mom – but now it seemed so empty,  a flat victory.

Rain fell against the window, and it seemed right some how.


Sophie sat in her blue sedan, in the rain, car idling and window open so she could look out the window. She was looking intently for Luke,  the caretaker for her Mom those last days. Sophie wanted to thank him but she was also looking for something else.

The letters from Star, her Mom didn’t share that nickname often, indicated Luke was more than a male nurse, he loved her Mom, and her Mom loved him.

Sophie didn’t have any family now, and what she felt, what she needed, was hard to put into words but she was drawn, pulled invisibly to someone else who loved her Mom, that she could share the burden she carried.

Sophie knew that Luke knew her Mom’s laugh, her smile, and Sophie wanted to remember those intangibles with him. If the letters from Star were true, and she bet they were, Luke was someone special. They already had a connection. Luke loved Star like her.

Suddenly in the haze of the rain she saw the blink blink of a red bike light. Maybe it was this Luke, the one her Mom called with love in her letters, Skywalker.

A warmth in her heart told her it was him, but she hesitated still.

Dawn beckons

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Skywalker #3 – A revelation in the rain

my iron horse with lightsLuke aka Skywalker felt content, and wet. The rain, cold and soft, ran down his face and over his chilled face. Not exactly a grin, and not exactly a smile was on his face as he rode his bike along the paved path.

The path was cracked, with moss in the cracks and chunks missing here and there. Luke was soaking up the silence in the off-roadway path and nodded his head at the dog walkers and cyclists he passed.

The laugh lines around his eyes condensed as he realized that this was meditation for him. The misty rain and the cracked pathway seemed perfect to him and to his head space.

Crickets! He skidded to a stop, and rested his rear, which was sore from the bike seat. The crickets music to his ears as dusk approached. The crickets song clear and in harmony to him. The cool air in his lungs like a refreshing drink of water.

He saw her face, Stella, was there in his mind’s eye. (why was it so easy to visualize her face he wondered?

Stella had died months ago, but he remembered her daily still, but no longer with sadness. It had taken awhile but now he celebrated the memories, tasting them over and over.

The rain, the path, the crickets – he realized somehow that Stella was here and she was saying goodbye, he would feel her again but time for him to ride forward. Forward march! and his eyes twinkled, yes – onward, it’s time. The rain lightly fell like a cape.

Leaning on his bike, slightly damp – his mind wandered. The brown eyes of the girl at the hardware store invaded. He smiled, onward he would go – Hardware Ho! and he chuckled – Stella – I’m going to buy some lightbulbs, lighten my world with a new love, her name is Alison, and you’d like her, you really would because she’s practical.

The tune of the song Yesterday by the Beatles filled his mind. ” I believe in yesterday, why she had to go, I don’t know… ” and he sighed.

Settled, relaxed and resolved, Luke straddled his mechanical steed, and pushed for home, the flashing red light on his bike like a beating red heart, steady and bright. Beating strong.

Nature's art


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Growing Apples

Today I am reblogging an inspirational post. I read it and it spoke to me, I hope that it speaks to you also. Thank you each of you for encouraging me to write.

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert August 23, 1993 Vintage Dilbert
August 23, 1993

One day I stopped to think about growing apples. I was munching a delicious, juicy apple and took a big bite. As a result I got an apple seed into my mouth. I spat it out into my hand, with the intention of throwing it away. But instead I looked at the apple seed. Really looked. It was dark brown, almost black. It’s shape reminded me of a candle flame. A little dark brown candle flame…

I realized I was holding an apple tree in the palm of my hand. A little seed with the potential to become a beautiful big tree; a tree that could grow thousands of apples in its lifetime. Thousands of apples, each containing several seeds, each capable of growing a new tree which again could produce thousands of apples. Why then the world wasn’t filled with apple trees?

It is…

View original post 476 more words

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Where is summer?


linden garden viewI should not complain but I want Summer to last longer. The cooling nights, and windier days are harbingers of frost, and dates with a snow shovel.

To be fair, the days are still in the high 20’s celsius but now when I jump in the lake I look around at 7:30 and I am a lonely Canuck braving the waves. You can’t count the odd child, as they are immune to temperature – I don’t know why, but  it is truth.

I know many of my readers are not that knowledgeable about Canada. It’s not all snow and ice, especially here, you might think you were in Napa valley when you visit my home town. Vineyards, lakes, and beaches not lions, tigers, and bears! Oh my, see here the aerial view.

Summer, summer, linger longer please I beg you. I love not hearing my furnace run, wearing shorts and picking fruit in my yard.

Autumn, wait a little longer before you knock all the leaves to the ground, and bluster in fine voice against  my windows.

It’s been a good summer,  and I’ll grasp her hand as long as I can, and when she returns, I’ll be waiting.

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I have come unglued, finally

rio 3I suspect that I am not the only one that has spent an abnormal amount of time glued to the spectacle that is the summer olympics.

Soccer, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, rugby, diving, plus plus, and now I confess, at last the closing ceremonies.

It’s a people show. You watch teams win and receive a medal and, if you are like me, you wish both sides could win, that there were more medals for these amazing people.

rio 2Now it’s no surprise I enjoyed the beach volleyball, and for more than the reason you think (I saw those raised eyebrows!) – two people in great shape covering a court, making great saves and diving all over the place. It’s all action, and these athletes are in super shape. They know they look good and enjoy being young and admired, so they should. Those abs were earned!

What I also liked about the beach volleyball was the sportsmanship. The teams are always hugging their teammate regardless of whether the point is won or not. These teams travel together, share meals together, compete together, train together and win or lose together. At all times these partnerships are uplifting and encouraging one another. One bad attitude and the team is broken. rio 1Wow, I can learn from beach volleyball players. When you hit the sand, hit it smiling and get up, dust yourself off and play the next point. Enjoy the game, and keep supporting the team.

So much people watching, and many stories of huge athleticism. A marathoner from Argentina, Federico Bruno, stood out as he finished his marathon race in pain (read more here) but managed to finish the race. He ran the last 12 kilometres in intense cramping pain but finished by crabbing sideways and still finished the race in under 3 hours beating other competitors. An runner has strong leg muscles, those cramps would have been 4 He managed to finish somehow. Another opportunity to learn for me.

Life may not go as hoped for but do the best you can, and in my marathon I will keep it in mind. glasses moving

How about you? What did you learn from Rio?

Thanks for reading, and commenting, your suggestions are welcome.

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Some things don’t change, Thank heaven


Holding On.

IN the last 36 years, I’ve owned a whole bunch of different cars, moved strata to house to strata to house to strata to house again. Presidents, and Prime Ministers have come and gone. My career has changed. I have picked up, and changed hobbies and sports numerous times.  I have watched our beloved daughter and son go from swing sets to cell phones.

Almost everything has changed, but one thing hasn’t.

organ donationOver the years I have been healthy, in the hospital for months at a time, and been healthy for decades.

I have lost contact with old friends, reestablished contact, and made new friends.

Certainly I know I have changed, but not everything has. I’m a blessed man.

It’s not my anniversary, that was 4 months ago. But this song reminded me of my lovely Susan. It’s been a long time (March 8, 1980) since we drove away from a church in our rusted out Honda Civic, but the journey still continues, and she was the one in 1980, and she’s still the one in 2016.

couple smileys cuddling

ah shucks


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Animals two by two – line up!

rain 1The skies opened up yesterday and a waterfall fell from the clouds. Crashes of thunder, flashes of lightning – the full meal deal!

I was rooting for a good rain, but not the full house, royal flush I was dealt last night. The gutters on my patio were overflowing, and the drains could not handle the volume. whoa!

My fertile mind envisioned animals lining up two by two, but thankfully there was no ark in sight.:)

Yes, I was hoping for rain because I had cut my front lawn and have enjoyed not manually watering the lawn for the last few weeks due to unseasonal rain this year. Lazy? Perhaps but I would prefer to call me a naturalist – mother nature is always thorough and the water is soft and pure.

But the storm gusts beat up my plants, topping over the ones in pots and my lovely wife was so helpful. Go! Your plants are toppling over, they should be moved. Thanks honey.

AmazinglyGene-Kelly-2 the waterfall actually increased as I moved my plants and then my helpful wife pointed out my car window was left open. (I did appreciate her pointing that out, just wish it had been before the rain started.)

Again I dashed out to close the window, and again mother nature turned it up!

Thanks MN, but I’m already wet and numb but no matter – I love the rain.

2013-05-31 14.02.33

Okanagan Lake

This morning the lawn was pleasantly saturated, the lawn sparkled. The plants are all watered and overall in the beautiful tranquil stillness I was now soaking up a magnificent blue sky.

The air smells great, and another day I don’t have to move a sprinkler around.

oh yeah! (fist pump!)



Thanks for reading, comments and feedback appreciated.



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The Value of a Friend

It is often said “blood is thicker than water” meaning that family relationships are always more important than friends.

My blood relatives are important to me but I certainly have and do appreciate the many good friends I have had in my life that have been kind and supportive to me especially during the times I was sick or facing trials.

I spoke to my son and daughter when they were growing up about picking good friends, and how to be a good friend. I believe they have seen in my life how I have had special friends and the difference between friends and acquaintances. I have been blessed.

The value of a friend is priceless. They lift up when you need it, and no matter how long between get-togethers – the friendship is not diminished.

To you reader I wish the blessing of good friends, who call you up out of the blue to check on you, who drop in to give you a hug, who include you in prayer without being asked.

Yes, blood is thicker than water, but none of us,  I’m sure, underestimates the inestimable value of a good friend.

Thanks for reading, comments and suggestions always welcome.

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We all have one, at least

ImageSunny, but still cool outside because of the time of day, 6:30 a.m., and I was enjoying my plain coffee with a friend whose Starbucks order of double expresso plus plus was just impossible to memorize.

I met this friend years ago at a Toastmaster conference, he was competing in a speech contest and I mic’d him along with the other contestants. He didn’t win that year, but he was infected.

He was infected with a desire to win, to practice, to study, and to learn how to give award winning speeches, and to win!. To this end, he worked, travelled to study with the more experienced and gave speeches, and more speeches.

Two years ago at a District 21 fall conference, he did it, he won first place and was invited to travel to Las Vegas and compete against District winners from all over the world. My friend simply glows when he talks about the week he had in Las Vegas. He gave speeches, he met contest winners, he received advice and helpful gifts (feedback) but didn’t win.

He thinks he did win though because the experience changed him, it was so much fun.  He works more and more on his speechcraft now and helps others grow and better themselves for free at every opportunity.

calvin wagonMy friend is young at heart, young in energy, young in enthusiasm and passion but has a few grey hairs that somehow enhance his boyish grin.

Dave, my only regret is that I didn’t discover Toastmasters earlier in life. I wish I had known sooner, found Toastmasters sooner.”

Those words struck home. He is having a blast, doing something he loves and interacting with others, making and renewing friendships almost daily through his discovering of Toastmasters.

What if he had passed when invited to be a guest at a Toastmaster meeting? All of the richness would have missed him.

It may be Toastmasters, or it may be something else but we all have regrets, at least one. Is there a holiday, an experience, a place in the world, a food – anything you have the vision to experience – start the steps to realization so those words “My only regret is that I had *** sooner,” are not your words.

Good luck to you reader for discovering your passion, your zest in life and dodging life’s regrets. 

Thanks for reading, I hope you will let me know what you like about my blog posts. If you want to learn about Toastmasters by being a guest (they are everywhere) – Click Here.  Guests are free for a meeting. 

As a treat – I will add a speech from an international conference – enjoy!


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Not just survival, someone gave me life

When someone said yes, allowing their loved one’s organs to be donated, it did not mean I was going to survive, no it meant I was going to live again.

Today I celebrate my re-birth (transplant day) but I am also thinking about those waiting for a transplant.

Utah - Arches and Canyonlands-11Living on dialysis is something I did, I had no choice. I lived doing peritoneal dialysis until I got an infection and nearly died. I did four exchanges a day, even when I went to work, every day, even Christmas. Four times daily, and each and every time I hated it, but it gave me another day to hope for the call.

Then I did hemodialysis three times a week for 5 hours, better but worse because I had to be so careful about fluid intake.

July 6, 1987 –  I got the call, they had a kidney for me. Hopeful, excited, nervous I arrived at the hospital. They shaved me chest to knees, and painted me with something to help prevent infection during surgery. Midnight they wheeled me into the operating room, a team all masked waiting for my arrival. I prayed with my surgeon for success.

My life was all possible because someone took 2 minutes one day to become an organ donor. Two minutes to give me and likely others as well more than survival,  a chance at living again.

The donor did give more to me than survival. Freedom from dialysis, energy, freedom from depression, freedom from anxiety, ability to enjoy my family, ability to travel, and so much more.

Every day in Canada 14, yes 14 people get the news that their kidneys are failing and they need to go on dialysis. Those people are added to others, who are waiting, hoping to live to be a recipient. Years waiting on dialysis, sometimes dying while waiting.

organ donationPlease, please don’t wait until one of your loved ones are on a list to become an organ donor, or even worse until you are on one.

The way the odds are, you are more likely to need an organ than to donate one. Would you want your loved one’s on a list, waiting for years?

Help someone else live again, stop their survival and give them a life.

Less than two minutes – it’s the right thing to do – register now to be an organ donor, and tell your family. If you live in BC, do it by clicking here. 

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