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Oh Captain! My Captain!

LOS ANGELES - JUL 29:  Robin Williams arrives at the 2013 CBS TCToday the world is mourning the loss of an artistic legend. The breadth of Robin Williams’ talent spanned the same distance that his career breaking character Mork travelled way back in 1978 when it first aired. Throughout the years he’s made us laugh and cry while fighting a courageous and difficult battle of his own unbeknownst to all those who watched. His mental illness was left “unsaid,” as it does with many, many people. Myself, I hadn’t heard he was battling depression but deep down, I wasn’t surprised. So often, those who shine so bright are hiding a dark shadow within. I can’t say that I don’t understand what he was going through. Those dark times sometimes threaten to completely consume you. Sometimes, there’s an external flicker of light that eases the pain and loneliness for a while and can offer hope that things will get better, but it’s not something that you can just get over. It takes time, support, patience, love….


“The loneliest people are the kindest.
The saddest people smile the brightest.
All because they do not wish to see
anyone suffer the way they do.”



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Play a Little Tune

Musica comprimida  -  Compressed Music

Musica comprimida – Compressed Music (Photo credit: Ferrari + caballos + fuerza = cerebro Humano )

The power of music is amazing. It has the ability to lift your spirits when you’re blue, to make you feel energized when you’re tired, relax you when you’re anxious and much, much more. I wake each morning with a song in my head. Sometimes, the same song plays for days, other times, it’s a new song each day. It often reflects what’s going on in my life, or my mood. I’ve had this morning melody in my mind for as long as I can remember. Earworm of a different sort I guess….speaking of which, “I’m a little teapot, short and stout…….” now let’s see you get THAT out of you’re head for a few days!

After mom passed away, I had a few songs – anthems if you will – that I would listen to (or more accurately, cry to) that seemed to offer some solace. I have a couple of good girlfriends going through some really tough times right now. Knowing music can encourage and inspire, I sent a video to each of these ladies of a song that I thought was inspiring for their situations. Maybe they’ll need a custom inspirational play list….hmmm, iTunes, here I come!

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Each Small Light….

Candlelight Vigil

Candlelight Vigil (Photo credit: KOMUnews)

It’s a mystery to me how someone could think to hurt those most innocent among us, our children. After the news of the tragic shooting in a Connecticut school, I found it difficult to think of any kindness I could offer anyone that wouldn’t seem moot. All those poor souls have been ripped away before they had a chance to shine.

I am at a loss. I have no act of kindness to share. It would seem callous to report such a menial thing when so many are mourning. It does strike me however, that acts of kindness are exactly what we all need more of. We need more connection to each other. Is this sort of news horrifying? Yes. Absolutely, but surprising? Not really. It seems our news is filled with far too many instances of death and destruction. When these things fill our minds it’s difficult for kindness to fill our hearts. Instead we are, understandably, filled with pain and mistrust. It’s my belief that what we need most now, is more kindness. We need to say those things to each other, the kind and loving things that often go unsaid. We need to do those kind things for each other that bring us together as people. Acts of kindness shouldn’t be so surprising, but they are while violent acts like the ones we’ve all heard of today are not. Instead of letting this monster drive us all further apart, let’s make a vow against him and others like him to draw closer and kinder to each other. To stand together to create a kinder, safer world.

Hug your children tonight and tell those you love, that you do.

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Art for Healing

One hopes that they will never need to spend time in the hospital, but inevitably, that time does come. I’ve been there, after a car accident 8 years ago I spent 4 days under the care of the doctors and nurses at the local hospital. I was released on Christmas Eve. I was bound and bent on going home that day, even if it meant that I had to crawl home on my hands and knees! Since then there’s been a massive fundraising campaign to build a new, state of the art facility which opened just last year. The fundraising continues.

I’ve spent a significant amount of time in hospitals throughout my life. In high school, being active in a LOT of sports found me as a regular at the emergency department. More recently, I spent a lot of time in hospitals with my mom as she underwent her cancer treatment and in her final days. I’ve learned the importance of funding for our health care centres. Imagine the consequences without them!

Today I delivered some of my art work to support an art sale at the local hospital. A portion of the sales will be donated to the hospital foundation. As an artist, it’s a great feeling to be able to use something you love to do as a means to raise funds for a good cause. Here’s hoping my work will draw some sales!

Acrylic © 2012

Acrylic © 2012


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It’s Murphy’s Law that whenever you’re in a hurry, people in front of you tend to move slower –  so do drive through lines. However, it gave me time to decide that I’d pay for the order behind me…if someone showed up. They did, but at first it didn’t look promising. I asked the lady at the drive through window to just wish the lady behind me (who looked a little grumpy too) a Merry Christmas. I couldn’t see her when she learned of my gesture, but I had hoped it put a smile on her face.

This week, I learned that someone I went to high school with committed suicide. I know that people who do this feel there is no hope or end to whatever pain they’re in. It’s so sad to consider how that must feel. I find myself wondering what people are thinking when I see them, much like the lady behind me in the drive through today. Her facial expression wasn’t a happy one. Was she simply deciding on what she’s ordering? Is she having a bad day? Even those you do meet who are smiling and happy, may only be so outwardly, concealing whatever pain they may be feeling. It’s hard to know what affect your actions or words will have on someone. A seemingly harmless comment may seem harsh or hurtful to the ears of someone who is in the midst of a personal struggle. Conversely, something as simple as a “thank you” can make someone’s day.

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Click for a Cause!


Donations (Photo credit: Matthew Burpee)

Can you say CRABBY? That was me today. Between a splitting headache and an egregiously delayed printing shipment for work, I was impatient to say the least. Time for a break. I headed out to the local Tim Horton’s to get myself a tea. It seemed a good time to apply the principle that altruistic behaviour improves mood. Something had to help. My intent was to pay for the order of the person behind me, however, no person drove in behind me! Drat. Foiled! So I drove through town with my tea wondering what I could do. It’s a small town, it didn’t take me long to drive through and head home. So instead, I worked on a painting that’s been on the board for a couple of weeks. That’s when inspiration hit.

I’d heard of sites that donate to charity based on clicks received on their websites. I decided to check it out. I found this site called Freenuts that listed 10 good sites to do this very thing.

First I tried Free Rice. This site allows you to learn something all while doing something to help end hunger. For each correct answer, you donate 10 grains of rice to needy people. (Who counts them anyway?) This was addictive. I quickly got caught up in the vocabulary challenge. I love words and it was a lot of fun to test my knowledge, all without even creating an account! Which you can do if you’d like to keep track of your donations.

Next I travelled to Care2. After creating an account I could get started generating donations to rain forests, baby seals, animal rescue, oceans, wolves (notice a theme?). Considering my penchant for wildlife and nature I was instantly drawn to that and began happily clicking away to save our natural world. I learned that my clicks helped feed a rescued primate, protected 11,000 sq. ft. of big cat habitat, saved 7.4 sq. ft. of rainforest today and more.

Then I went to Games that Give where you can choose games that sponsors donate money to charity as you play the games listed on the site. Oh my….dangerously addictive. It’s a great way to spend some time and you don’t have to feel guilty, you’re doing it for a good cause!!

The age of the internet has opened up doors to increase awareness and now increase sponsorship to help very worthy causes. I encourage you to give these acts of kindness a try. They’re free and can be done in the comfort of your own home. For a day when you’re feeling crabby like I was, it’s a good way to spend a little time.

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The Colour of Kindness

Kindness Blooms

Considering, I’ve spent quite a little time gathering ideas from various web sites and gathering inspiration from others who’ve done similar acts of kindness, surprisingly, I didn’t plan my first day. As strange as it may sound, I just couldn’t decide what to do. For my family, today is a significant day. It would have been mom’s 63rd birthday. Traditionally, I’d buy her a poinsettia, or some other “Christmassy” plant and help her put up the tree today. It wasn’t until I was on my way to town to run some errands that I decided on what I’d do.

I was nervous. What if I get caught or someone recognizes me? But really, WHY would that worry me? Is it so unusual to do nice things for strangers? Apparently.

I stopped at the local market and picked up some small plants – hardy ones that could weather a little chill. At the dollar store I picked up little cards and wrote the following note….”ACTS OF HOLIDAY KINDNESS. You’ve been ELFED! Merry Christmas!” and placed the little card inside the plant. I waited in the parking lot and watched for my targets, waiting to find someone who seemed just a little down or grumpy or generally preoccupied and gently placed the plant on their front window after they made their way to into the store. I had people watch me curiously as I went about my mission. Some smiling and even one person looking at me as if I had three heads.

The nervousness faded and was replaced with warmth as I travelled home. I already wanted to do something else!

While I was at the market I also purchased a violet in mom’s favourite colour which I’ll keep with me. Happy Birthday mom.