it seems as though it were in another lifetime that i first picked up ken gire's windows of the soul. perhaps even, it was another life, as this book was my introduction to so many of the things that have shaped me into who i am today. rilke. the gift from the sea. kierkegaard. van gogh.

so tonight, when i picked it up to look for a quote from vincent van gogh, it was like a visit from an old friend... one who in many ways knows me better than i know myself.

i've already confessed that i haven't been reading a great deal as of late. and truly, it was probably an unrealistic goal to think that i would get tomes read while i wasn't feeling well. {i did, however, almost finish a cara black mystery!} but tonight, with laundry done and folded for another week, once i finish writing this post, i am going to turn everything except the light beside my bed off, and read until the letters begin dancing around the page.

the following quote, the one that started all this, is one that i try to carry with me through libraries and art galleries wherever i go. it's as true with vincent's starry night as it is with the bible. in a letter to his sister, he wrote,

you read books to borrow therefrom the force to stimulate your activity... but i read books searching for the man who has written them. {vincent van gogh}

one is consumeristic. the other strives to be the very opposite. it tries not to see something in light of a singular narrow view, but rather attempts to envision what the artist or author's heart was on the other side of the finished product. as a writer, no matter how much or how little my words may impact others lives, they are first and foremost a reflection of who i am and the journey that i am on. i could receive no greater compliment than for someone to look beyond and see the heart and passion behind the words i have written...

which is why i pulled the book off the shelf tonight. reminders are a good thing...



thanks to @francophilia, this morning i discovered the region that the simards, my ancestors, came from in france.

we originated from the Poitou-Charentes region, on the atlantic coast. here is what franceguide.com has to say about my homeland:

the Poitou-Charentes region has a magnificent coastline - and is one of the finest destinations for countryside holidays.

the region's reputation is closely linked to cognac – the superb, refined, locally-produced spirit. Poitou-Charentes is a land of tradition, where skills are passed on from generation to generation: its inhabitants know how to wait for a good product to mature – and they also know how to take the time to enjoy life and to welcome guests.



how far this pomme has fallen from l'arbre.



i go through seasons when it seems like all i do is read. one glorious book after another. characters become my companions. authors who, by the time i finish reading their words, seem more like a friend i could meet for coffee.

but then there are the other times. times like now, when it feels like a million days since i've last picked up a book.

today, that will be remedied.

i woke up too early to actually call it morning today, feeling feverish and achey, so i'm staying home this morning, and will write for a while, and then, i plan to spend the rest of the day reading. finish a couple of the books i am reviewing, and maybe start in on a new adventure or two.

let you know how my plan works out...



as of the end of the day yesterday, we're halfway done a short work week. sometimes i question whether short weeks are even worth it, given the fact that there is so very much to do in the remaining days... but who am i kidding? i'll take the occasional holiday celebrating the Queen, or anyone else.

it seems to me, though, that short weeks with the friday off are much more preferable to those with the monday as the holiday. for some reason, the workload doesn't seen so heavy when you have the incentive of the coming free time, instead of the memory of the day you already had.

this train of thought has brought me back to the reason i am a big fan of journaling: that memory is a fickle, fickle thing. we have this gift of memory that could allow us to remember all of the amazing things that happen in our days, and for the most part, we end up dwelling on the sucky things in life. instead of being thankful for a day off, i only see everything i need to do because of it. while i would like to remember encouraging words spoken to me, the ones that i can recall instantly are the hurtful ones. instead of thinking of a good day spent with a friend, i see a transport truck's wheel try to drive over us.

without help, our memories tend to gravitate to the negative.

which is what makes remembering so important. writing down the good things. choosing to look beyond the hurt and negative and deciding to see that just because there were negative aspects to something, it doesn't always mean the whole thing is negative. celebrating what is worth celebrating, and discarding that which you cannot alter.

...and it also means that on the thursday morning of a short week, with victoria day behind me, that i will choose to be joyful in all that comes my way today.



i've said it before, but it bears saying again. i really do want to live a simple life... but the reality is that in the everydayness of actually living, my life becomes anything but simple time and again.

today, i've had two great reminders of the simplicity that i crave. the first was from today's entry in my utmost for his highest...
the people who influence us the most are not those who detain us with their continual talk, but those who live their lives like the stars in the sky and "the lilies of the field"— simply and unaffectedly. those are the lives that mold and shape us. {Oswald Chambers}

and the second from Tolstoy...
there is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.

i want to influence people, to help them further along the path back to God. i want to be great, not in a worldly, celebrity sense, but the kind of greatness that matters on the other side of eternity.

it seems that my challenge is to remember that without simplicity, the things that i really want in life move beyond my reach.

now to figure out how to remind myself in the midst of living...



it is too easy to get up in the morning and assume that the day you are currently living in is banal and unremarkable. it is too easy to put oneself on autopilot, with a goal only to survive the day with a minimal amount of pain.

it is much more difficult and dangerous and brilliant to realize that you only get one shot with today, and if you miss it, it's gone.
in the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there has never been another day jut like today, and there will never be another just like it again. today is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading since the hour of your birth. it is the point from which all your tomorrows will proceed until the hour of your death. if you were aware of how precious today is, you could hardly live through it. unless you are aware of how precious it is, you can hardly be said to be living at all. {frederich buechner}

what will you do with today?


the problem with change...

i have no qualms about admitting that i LOVE Star Trek.

in light of this, it should come as no surprise that this past weekend, i saw the new JJ Abram's Star Trek prequel twice. i could gush about how great it was, but that would be an injustice to the film. if you have not seen it, even if you are not a ST fan, just GO! you won't be disappointed!

in contrast,while listening online to the space shuttle Atlantis preparation and take off today, i was struck by the dichotomy that the movie seemed more real and probable than this real life space shuttle taking off to upgrade the Hubble teloscope! which is kind of ridiculous.

it took me a while, but i think i figured out why...

i have always been a big fan of change. part of my personality lends itself to needing to change things up to keep myself engaged. i love the new. the undiscovered. the uncharted.

what i don't love are the in between times between what was and what will be. our recent construction project at the church has highlighted this for me. from the beginning, i was a huge fan of the changes to the facility... what i wasn't so much a fan of were the million steps, inconveniences and inconsistencies between the dreaming and the coming true.

what i tend to forget is that without all the steps between the old and the new, there is no new!

i see this crazy thinking reflected in my own discipleship and life as well. i want to be a better Christ follower. i want to be patient and loving and humble and steadfast... but i will never become these things overnight. i need to live, walk, stumble through the infinite steps between the me i am today, and the me i dream of.

there is no new me without today's baby steps.

to boldly go...


answered by action

for a while now, Steven Pressfield's book The War of Art has been on my wishlist. i ran across this quote somewhere {cannot for the life of me remember where}, and wrote it down in my journal. i try to read it at least once a day. after you finish reading it, i'm sure you'll agree it is important...
the artist's life

are you a born writer? were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? in the end the question can only be answered by action.

do it or don't do it.

it may help to think of it this way. if you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don't do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself, you hurt your children. you hurt me. you hurt the planet.

you shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along in it path back to God.

creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. it's a gift to the world and every being in it. don't cheat us of your contribution.

give us what you've got.
what were you born to do?



so, today's photo is the last one i'll be posting on this blog. but fear not! my photo-a-day experiment is still continuing, but now you can find it at creative disorder, my other blog, less about words, more about the visual side of the creative life.

which means i'll have to write more... :-)



i'm working away at my desk, and as i glance to my left, this is what i see:
how many starbucks mugs can you count?


making peace

i read a quote yesterday that keeps haunting me.
until you make peace with who you are, you'll never be content with what you have.
~Doris Mortman
for a girl with contentment issues, these are the kinds of words that can cause hours of introspection. and not necessarily the good kind...

there are many days when i feel as though i am at peace with who i am. the self esteem issues that were my constant companion in my teens and early 20s seem to have evaporated. i am comfortable in my skin.

but then there are the other days. the days when i cannot seem to find my way out of bed in the morning. days when words seem more like sticks and stones than things that cannot hurt me. when all creative and original thought seems to be sucked into some great black hole, never to be brought to life. when every insecurity i have seems to be stuck to me like a post-it note for the world to mock.

on those days, i will admit, i tend not to be at peace with myself.

could this be the root of my discontentment?


i know it's not a photo, but i started playing around with this as a background yesterday. who couldn't use a little more van Gogh-ish inspiration in their day?


live radiantly

i've been reading excerpts from the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and today, i read this:
live radiantly by expanding your focus to include {Jesus} in all your moments.
i don't think anyone actually wants to live a dull life. at least i don't. but i also don't often do the math that the inclusion of Jesus in all my daily moments gives my life the radiance i want it to have.

i never was good at math...

the setting for today's early morning writing ritual



vacation: days three to six

day three: monday
i started the first weekday of my vacation with a glorious mani/pedi. it really is too bad that each day cannot begin that way, but i guess that is part of what makes it so special when it does happen. the rest of the day was spent doing errands, and some pretty unimportant stuff. until i got a phone call at 9pm, and ended up going out for coffee with a friend, and while we were at starbucks, we had the thought that perhaps the new italian restaurant in streetsville was still open and we could get some panna cotta. but alas, the panna cotta was sold out, so we had to *settle* for the tiramisu, which was spectacular!

day four: tuesday
it was a dark and stormy day, so i stayed home and did laundry. i won't bore you with any pics.

day five: wednesday
fun day! i went downtown toronto, a happy place of mine, and saw The Sound of Music musical. the set design was spectacular, what a fantastic job that would be. it was everything i had guessed it would be, although i have to admit i was surprised that there were some lines straight out of the movie that people laughed as though it was the first time they'd heard it. is it possible that so many people have not seen the movie?

then i walked up john street, and as i entered the park behind OCAD, i saw this church.

and, of course, the OCAD building. how could one walk past this without a photo?

then, i spent a delightful couple of hours at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which, if you didn't know, is free after 6pm on wednesdays. as i've mentioned before, even though they were few, the presence of the work of van Gogh and Rodin really do make me feel more whole.

then, after walking among the world of art, i sat outside for a bit, and let the world pass me by.

day six: thursday
today was the one day i had something responsible to do, a doctor's appointment in milton. chris let me use his car, so on my way back to deliver his car back, i stopped and got lunch, and had lunch at the church. after that, we went to etobicoke to pick up something, wandered a while around the Apple store at Sherway Gardens had unbelievably good Godiva Chocolixer (not quite as good as Angelina's africaine chocolat, but close), and then went across the street to Chapters to pick up, in my estimation, the one necessity for life: books.


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