My passion filled life
Thoughts and threads of passion and experience that have woven the fabric I call my life.
My passion filled life
Life chugs along, and if we are doing it right, we keep gaining experience and offerings. From one day to the next, we don’t necessarily know how those skills will be shared in the world, but the point of the learning is to share it where it’s needed.
A few months ago, I awoke to an email from one of my dear friends in Manitoba who had connected with a lady close to her. That lady, Lesley Feldman, had shared some of her life story with my friend, and in sharing, my friend knew that there was a story to be told. She connected the two of us, and with what I’d learned, was able to help get things rolling for what Lesley hoped for herself.
Shortly after we began to work on the story in her heart, she asked about publishing a children’s book that she’d had sitting on her shelf. Lesley, like myself and so many people that I know, had been bullied incessantly as a child. In talking about our shared experience, I remembered the turmoil and the pain that bullying had caused me in my young life. As part of her healing journey, she had written a book that would have children think about the fact that we all do certain things differently, but the bottom line for each and every one of us, is that we want to be accepted for who we are, just like every other person.
I am Just Like You is a beautiful teaching tool to have young children start to explore differences in a positive, educational way. To recognize that we are unique and different, but our needs are the same. Our need to be loved, valued and appreciated for who we are and what we offer to the world just as we are.
I’ve loved the conversations that I am Just Like You has started in my own family. It’s ideal for children in the 3 to 5 years of age range, to start conversations.
In the world as it’s continuing to spin, I think we have to use every tool at our disposal to do what we can to develop and mentor the next generation, so that they are more accepting and compassionate that so much of what we’re witnessing around us is revealing. I think this book is a great starting place for that, and I hope you’ll find it to be the same!
Those of you that know me, know that mine is not your traditional family by definition. It’s a wonderful family, but not typical, and includes a collection of step and chosen children. Because of this, I’ve spent a lot of time the last couple of years learning as much as I can about Canada’s Residential School system and it’s effects, and although it is not my lived experience, last year it did become a little more personal.
Last year, my grandson Tyson started kindergarten. On September 30th, when his mom, Bianca, was making him put on his orange shirt for Orange Shirt Day, she had to take the time to explain to him the reason for it and why it’s necessary to participate and honour the Residential School Survivors on that day. She patiently explained to him that in at the not so distant past, Tyson’s school experience would have been much different than it is today. Because of who they are, my family…my Grandkids… would have most likely been forced to live the Residential School system experience, simply because of their ancestry and their skin colour.
Shen she called me later to share with me her conversation with him, I was so impacted. For all my learning, I had never allowed my heart to picture one of my Grandchildren being the ones taken away. That new picture of what might have been has stayed with me, and haunted me in the year since.
When I started this journey of sharing my book ideas and creations with the greater world, I realized that Tyson's story was one that needed to be written. It needed to be shared, not only because his mom did such a great job of explaining it to Tyson as a 5-year old, but that Tyson can now become a teacher to others who may not understand what Orange Shirt Day is all about.
For myself, as I began to share with my own friends and circle about writing the book and the enjoyment we had creating the graphics to tell the story, it became so apparent that so many people of my own generation have no idea that there is an Orange Shirt Day, or why we have it. I’m hoping that this book will become a tool to help the young, compassionate Tyson’s of the world to continue to reach and teach the rest of us who are still wrapping our heads and hearts around a system that was kept a secret from us for most of our own lives.
The work of the recommendations that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission laid out for us has barely begun. There is so much to do, to create understanding and empathy between the people of this land. I hope that through working with my daughter and grandchildren to share this small piece of our experience, we can be a small part of the process that will move Canada forward. Thank you for sharing this journey with us.
When Shane came along, my musical creativity took a back seat and was set aside for years, as I focused on trying to figure out what was needed to make his life as full and rich as it could be. As a child who lived his life with spastic quadra-paraplegic Cerebral Palsy, lots of things had to be amended and adjusted to make sure he was always seen as just another kid that did things a little differently. It could be challenging, but it could also be so rewarding, in how I had to stretch my experience and talents in different ways. Learning to adjust my own sails to go with the wind that the day presented became an art form in itself.
One of the things that I did from very early on, was to try and find ways that Shane could tell his own story. Keep in mind, Shane was never able to communicate verbally, nor was he able to make use of his hands. What I began to do was to create books for him.
The first book was a very simple “All About Me” book that was a quick overview of who he was, how he communicated, how he used the wheelchair to get around and what his life at home looked like. It worked beautifully, as the other kids in Nursery School and then Kindergarten were able to look through it with him at the pictures that shared the many activities his life was made up with. They were able to learn about his family, his pets, his jobs around the farm feeding the calves, helping in the garden and an assortment of other activities that filled our hours at home. It gave the other children a glimpse of his life as a normal kid, who just had to do most things in a different way. I also used the Mayer Johnson Communication symbols throughout, so Shane was also learning what would be his future communication style.
With the first book working so well for him, I began to make it a practice to create books that told his story whenever we did something different. “Shane’s Big Adventure 1” and “Shane’s Big Adventure 2” are two of those books. They are made up of rhymes and pictures that helped to tell the other children about his travels to visit family in British Columbia. First when he was five years old, then once again when he was nine.
I always loved the reactions that he received from the other kids, who were able to read those stories with him and share the places and things he did. The greatest part of it all for me was that it didn’t matter that Shane couldn’t talk to tell his story, he could share through their voices and reading with him, and he didn’t need a hovering mother or EA around to do that. It could just be him sharing his adventure with one of his peers.
All these years later, as part of my quest to get the things that I’ve found beneficial out into the world, I’ve finally made time to put those little binder books into a published format. My hope is that they will be a starting point for children to begin to learn a little more about other children who live life differently, and begin some discussion about not only differences, but commonalities. I have found that they are a great conversation starter, and once conversations begin, real communication and learning can unfold.
I also hope that maybe another parent who is looking for a way to help smooth the educational road for their own child might find it a beneficial idea that they too could try. Or, maybe they can use Shane as an example of another little boy who had to live life differently, but none the less, lived life fully!
I’m not sure where either will go, but what was important to me was that I got them out into the world! There is now a tangible offering that Trem and I can share when we do our presentations, as we talk about the books I created during those events. If people are inspired to buy them then maybe the proceeds will fund more opportunities to present, and share and keep spreading the message that we all belong, we all contribute, and we all matter.
“Shane’s Big Adventure” books are now available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback. Please feel free to share the information about them with anyone that you think my be interested or might benefit.
Myself, I’m just so grateful that we live in a world where I get to continue to share Shane’s story, his message and his teachings in hopes that by doing so this world of our will continue to move forward into the inclusive, diverse place that I believe is possible!
A couple of years ago, while I still lived in Manitoba and was still the Senior Coordinator for Innovative Life Options (LIFE Inc), I was involved in what we lovingly called the ‘Kitchen Table
Talks’. The project was created to bring families who had a child living with a disability and who were not yet being provided services in the adult world together for open, engaging conversation. Our hope was that we could garner some wisdom from these families as to how things were working, what they were most proud of, what would be most helpful and what ideas they had for their son or daughter’s future.
We learned, more deeply, what we already knew. Families are amazing! They are strong, resilient, innovative and are hungry for information that will make their child’s life as full, inclusive and meaningful as each of our own lives strive to be. By keeping our conversations on the 'Appreciative Inquiry' stream, whereby we focused on what had gone well that we could build upon, rather than things that were not, we were able to garner a glimpse of the amazing things that families have done to provide the best they can for the children they so dearly love, whether their child is a youth, or an adult.
We realized much of what the families most wanted to know more about were things that could best be answered by other families who had walked this path. To build upon the wonderful initiative started, it was decided the next step would be to gather some of those answers, and I had the great privilege of being chosen to move the project forward.
It was decided that the best way to do that would be to compile a book through interviewing families using the questions that had arisen in the Talks. I sent out a call to the families I knew that were involved with ‘In the Company of Friends’, Manitoba’s self-directed, independent living model for adults with developmental disabilities. Ten families came forward to share their stories, and ‘Family Matters’ was born.
It was wonderful to spend the time in deep, connected conversation with the amazing people that participated. Many of them had been as much a support to me when I was raising Shane as I ever was to them in my working role. They shared, inspired, laughed and often cried, as they recounted the joys and the challenges of the lives we come to know on the unexpected roads of the world of disabilities. It was humbling to be given that intimate glimpse into each of their lives, and to be given their trust and faith that their story would be shared with dignity and respect, so that those who might benefit from their wisdom would.
So now the project is completed. ‘Family Matters’ has been published and shares these stories through the voices of the families that have lived the experience. These stories talk about inclusion, support networks, relationship development, the education system and of the many incredible steps that each family took to make sure that what their child needed to be a part of their community was put in place.
The book, ‘Family Matters’ is now available on Amazon, in both hard copy and on Kindle. At only 140 pages, it’s an easy, informative read where it can be picked up and explored one chapter/one unique story at a time.
It was the hope of every parent that participated and myself that in sharing our journeys, another parent raising a child with different, special needs, might feel a little less alone as they journey through life. Our hope was that something that we learned, some pearl of insight or achieved wisdom might take some of the bumps out of the road for another.
Parents are truly the greatest experts when it comes to what is needed and what is possible for their child. Parents also have to appreciate and then build upon the efforts and the work of the ones that came before, so that we can keep moving our world forward into one that is more inclusive, accepting and accessible for all persons, with and without disabilities. Family matters provides some of the history and structure that was laid as foundation of the work for the building that needs to continue. Maybe that work can be achieved a little more quickly and a little more easily, by sharing our lessons and learning, so that previously invented wheels might not have to be recreated.
Thanks to all that contributed. Thanks also for taking the time to read this. Please share this information as far and wide as you can, so that all parents who might benefit from the opportunity to access and read these stories, will know that they are there waiting for them!
5 out of 5 stars: A MUST READ!!!!
ByAmazon Customer on August 20, 2017
This book is a very touching book with many stories. Everybody should read it! Teachers and families that have a challenged child in their family should definitely read it! Helps to give you support you need!
4 out of 5 stars: Great work!
ByAmazon Customer on August 3, 2017
ICOF is a new concept for me, but I'm already a huge fan. Great work!
5.0 out of 5 stars Overcoming obstacles and ignorance to lead normal fulfilling lives is at the heart of this amazing read. Lynda is extraordinary writer who tells her ...
Bydixietomchukon September 11, 2017
An interesting and honest review of the lives of families living with a child with special needs. Overcoming obstacles and ignorance to lead normal fulfilling lives is at the heart of this amazing read . Lynda is extraordinary writer who tells her story and that of others in an open and honest way . There is help and resources available which is pointed out throughout the book. I love how the stories are told by answering 18 thought provoking questions.
Recently I started a new website, My 150 Reconciliation . My goal, over the next months, is to take in 150 stories, one for each of the years that Canada is celebrating in 2017. Well, that some of Canada is celebrating.
I find myself torn by the whole thing. The part of me that is the descendant of the Scottish crofters that were kicked off their ancestral lands 170 years or more ago, recognizes that we do have much to celebrate. The part of me that is the descendant of the Irishmen who managed to escape the death of the potato famine because of the military compensation that allowed for the passage of the family to come to Canada also celebrates what a wonderful place this was to come to, to start over, to allow your children and your children’s children to be and have more. That self too understands what greatness there is to celebrate.
But the part that has invested in learning more about what transpired on this land is struggling with how I came to be where I am and to have all that I have. Though this project of mine I am trying to deepen my understanding, my compassion and my ability to be an ally to the people that were here long before my ancestors arrived or even knew of this great land, our Indigenous people. That is what my website and project is about.
The book that I chose to help me with that this week was recommended by a friend of mine who runs the local library in our old home area in Manitoba. She knows my interests and my passions, and felt that this book would be a good read for me. It was!
Katherena Vermette’s book, “The Break”,was a wonderful, though dark glimpse into the real Winnipeg that is the experience for so many Indigenous and Metis people that live their lives there. We on the outside hear about the gangs, the thefts, the fights and deaths on the news, a safe arm’s length away from it all. We seldom give those news stories a second thought to deepen our understanding of how what happened did happen. We hear about the violence, the racism, the addition issues, but we don’t often hear about the lives. Her book gives us that glimpse into the deeper core of the story.
Because it is based in Winnipeg, there is a familiarity that allowed me to picture where each place was, and a reminder of the warnings we’ve heard through the years to be careful and stay away from ‘those areas’. ‘Those areas’ being home to so many of the characters whose lives we were given a picture of in ‘The Break’.
In reading ‘The Break’ I was granted the opportunity to see more deeply into that world that we often manage to ignore. The gangs that aren’t necessarily an option as we might choose to think. The story behind the stories of the addictions and deaths we often choose not to think about…because it’s over ‘there’ or it’s ‘them’ not us. She gives us a taste of the resilience of the people that live that story, everyday, for the majority of their lives. The love that exists behind the media blurbs, the pain that is a part of each newscast, the fear, mistrust and attitudes that form and feed so much of the heartache.
Through ‘The Break’ I have opened a door that I won’t be able to close behind me. A door to a deeper awareness, a stronger compassion and a greater respect for those that are represented by the characters that were introduced to me through the book.
You know how when you dedicate time and energy to really creating a sound plan for an event, working options around all possibilities that could go wrong and navigating to avoid those things, then having everything that could go wrong go wrong anyhow. Life is funny that way isn’t it?
That was the case for my husband’s recent 60th birthday surprise party. My daughter made the plans around it being early enough to surprise him, and also early enough that the birth of her new baby wouldn’t interfere with the plans and festivities. And with all the good intentions, you’d think that things would have unfolded seamlessly, but that, of course, was not to be.
First thing that happened was that one of our other granddaughters made the provincial volleyball team, and with that was able to participate in the Nationals in Vancouver, which meant her family wanted to come out to the coast and support her, which meant they’d likely carry on to the island to spend time with us, which meant our planned return to the prairies would be delayed for a few days. We could work around that.
Then, baby, who wasn’t scheduled to arrive until August 11th, decided to make an early appearance and arrived on July 20th instead. He also ended up being a c-section. On top of that, he ended up being given my late son’s namesake, when they added Shane to his handle. That meant that I would fly home earlier than planned, to support and meet, and would leave Cecil in the capable hands of the volleyball kids to get him back to our place on the prairies in time for the celebration.
The visit on the island lasted a couple of days later than planned. The drive home included a backtrack loop to explore the ice fields between Jasper and Banff. The night before the party I booked a room at the Days Inn in Portage, only to discover that the air-conditioning wasn’t working and there were no other hotels available in town, so my night’s sleep was crappy. Then the morning of the party, Cecil was making his way home, having left Strathmore the night before.
When he called to in the morning it was to tell me that he’d blown the axle on the trailer that was carrying his quad, and that he hadn’t noticed. Another driver had put him onto the fact he was dragging the trailer behind him, sparks flying down the TransCanada. He pulled into the nearest yard and called.
When he told me what happened, and that he’d have to wait a few hours for Princess Auto to open to see if they had a replacement axle and tires, he said that he’d likely miss our ‘little party’. I, being cranky, tired and hot jumped to the conclusion that our son must have spilled the beans on the surprise, forgetting that I’d told him we wanted him home for a small wiener roast to celebrate our other grandson’s birthday. In saying so much, I gave the surprise away. Darn!
I told him to do what he had to do, and not worry, and let him go. I then remembered that my brother was only a couple of hours behind him, making his own way across the country. When I called him back to tell him that he said, “You are never going to believe what just happened!”
He then told me that the lovely people whose yard he’d stumbled into had not only made all the calls to see about the Princess Auto opening, helped him unload his broken trailer and settle his frazzled nerves, they had then offered him their own trailer to continue his journey and get home in time to make his not so surprise ‘surprise party.’ Who does that for a complete stranger in 2017??
Cecil made it home for the gathering with no time to spare. The party was wonderful, everything that a man turning 60 could wish for. Good friends, good food, cold beer and the reconfirmation that there are wonderful, wonderful people in the world still, and that morning, in pulling into the yard of Scott and Steph, he had met two of them.
They confirmed for us our belief that when you put good out into the world, it comes back to you in the most unexpected ways. Cecil gives much of himself, and he supports me to give much as well, often with no financial return, but because it ‘feels’ right to do the giving. We sometimes ask ourselves if the universe actually notices that we are giving, and trying, and doing. The answer came back to us with a resounding yes. What we put out into the world boomerangs back.
They had no need to offer what they did to get Cecil on his way, so that he could get where he needed to be and address the problem on the way home. They had no reason to trust the shaggy, tattooed Island man with their property, but they chose to, just as we so often choose to give just because. In their generosity, the reminded us of all that is good in the world. Of what a powerful impact a good deed can make to a person’s day and thus, life. Of how we have the opportunity daily to make those choices and decisions that can do that for others.
When faced with a choice, always choose love.
Be an earth angel, and look for love behind the actions of everyone you meet today.
Whenever you look for love, you will always find it.
- Doreen Virtue
I've become so impassioned with my beading and wind chimes, that I've now opened my own Etsy Store! Who'd have believed it! Check out my Singing Dolphin Wind Chimes when you have a chance!
I’m not sure when it began again for me. I think it was March. I knew the grand kids were coming out to visit for 10 days, and that might have been what spurred the purchase. It could have been my ideas of what we could do for some ‘fun’ inside should the rainy days that we’d experienced for weeks and weeks continue. It could have been my conviction, finally, to get rid of some of the seashells that we’ve been collecting from every trip we’ve taken to be near water in the last 10 years. I’d always managed to drag bags of them home, but had yet to decide on what to do with the collection. There was always an idea in the back of my head of things I ‘could’ do when the time and opportunity arose, but they remained just ideas, until the last two months. Regardless of what triggered the purchases, I found myself in the local Walmart looking for some beads that could be used to pretty up some sort of creation, my thought being to make wind chimes out of the shells that were gathering dust.
The first time I sat down and actually worked on the craft was with a girlfriend who was visiting from the prairies. We had a great evening creating our beginner versions of the shell chimes, that would hang as reminders of good times spent together. The second time was with my grandsons, one working on a wind chime that he would take home with him, the other working on a necklace that spelled out his name and used his favourite colour. Then everyone headed for their respective homes and I was left with the beads...and the shells...and a passion to create once again.
I am not sure exactly how soon after that that it hit me. I was working on restringing a wind chime that had been my Mother’s, having made the decision to start using beads and baubles from some of the old jewelry that sat in boxes in my storage. Stuff that had been my Grandmother’s, or my aunts, or my Mom’s. Junk jewelry, that I hadn’t the heart to throw out, but had no desire to use or wear myself. So the dismantling began. Cutting threads, snipping wire, organizing colors, then putting the pieces back together in a new way that said ‘Lynda was here’.
By about the third creation, it all came back to me. I love this! I had loved beading and creating as a child, but had completely forgotten for over forty years. As I sat at the kitchen breakfast nook, threading the little glass beads onto the fish line, one delicate bead at a time, the memory of doing this as a child came flooding back, and the joy filled my spirit.
We learned about it in elementary school, and I don’t even truly remember who it was that taught us. Something tells me it was Stella Smoke or maybe it was Tony Myran, who were two Indigenous mentors brought in to the school to work with students who were being mainstreamed into our typical education system, and I realize today, they were likely the first students in that situation. After generations of Indigenous children being sent to Residential Schools, those that we started Grade 1 with were among the very first to have escaped that system. But inclusion came with challenges, as all inclusion does at the beginning. The mentors were brought into try and ease some of those challenges by being examples to the Indigenous students, and educators to the rest of us. The beading, I remember, was one of my favorite learning, and once I’d learned the basics of it, I would spend hours and hours at home creating headbands, name tags, small pieces of work that filled me with so much pride. I never achieved the intricate, detailed pieces that the ladies from the neighboring reserves were so gifted at creating, but I still loved the little bit that I did do.
As I sat at my kitchen counter I finally remembered that. As with the resurgence of any passion, I’ve been diving into this with both feet as I scan Walmart for more beads, garage sales for discarded jewelry treasures, and the seaside for shells and driftwood that might work for the next piece. Then, upon returning home, comes the pleasure of the sorting and organizing and grouping. It’s crazy, but more importantly, it’s fun. The thing that we all need more of in our lives.
I try to keep the pieces consisting of up cycled and recycled materials for the most part, but I also want them to be eye catching. I’ve found that Amazon is a great source for an assortment of bead suppliers and options, and most of those options are actually quite reasonable. To be able to add a little bit of brand new bling to each piece, something that is a signature that I can recognize. Something old, something new, something....you know.
Each creation gets a little more refined and techniques are adjusting and fine-tuning as the days go on. You’ll have to take my word for that, because before I thought to take pictures of some of the first ones, I decided to gift them for special occasions. Handmade gifts are always a hit, and what better way to say Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island than by using the gifts of the sea that we receive right here.
I’m loving being immersed once more in something that I loved so dearly, and had forgotten about. The evenings are different, relaxed and more focused. It’s a kind of meditation all on its own. It’s a gift to be reminded of things that fed our childhood passion, because the truth is that those things usually still do. We come into this world with creative gifts to share, but we get devoured by the busyness of living and providing and forget that those gifts ever existed. Yet they are still in us to give, in one form or another.
Take some time, find a quiet place and let your heart wander back through time to who you were before the world started making you into what it wanted you to be. What were the things you loved to spend your time doing? What filled your hours with joy and pleasure, and made time pass by unnoticed? What part of that could you recreate today to bring more of that childlike joy into your grown up, responsible adult life? It can be done you know. We all have the right to live more passion filled, joy filled lives, but we neglect to give ourselves permission to embrace that. The time has come to allow ourselves to pursue whatever it is that feeds our souls and our spirits, because although we think our time is endless, it isn’t. Don’t waste it being anything other than your happy, authentic, true self. It’s what the world is waiting for.
It’s become my typical morning routine. Cecil prepares my Bullet-proof coffee, I relax in my living room chair, and go through my social media on my IPhone before starting my work day.
A couple of mornings ago, I happened to notice a new follower my Truly You Twitter page. It was Daniel Dolphin! Who wouldn’t be intrigued by that, so I had to look a little closer! I can’t ignore it when any dolphin speaks to me, and certainly not Daniel!
You see, dolphins hold a very special place deep in my heart. Maybe I didn’t even realize how deep until this connection happened and I began taking a more conscious look around me, here in our new home on Vancouver Island. It has been an eye-opening couple of days.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Shane was my dolphin-boy. There was never any doubt that he loved dolphins, because even though he wasn’t able to communicate verbally, his eyes always told us what was on his mind and in his heart. We’d known dolphins were his thing for a long time, all you had to do was follow the eye-gaze with tv, shopping, toys, magazines and stories. Then listen for the hoot that would follow.
In 2004 it was explained to us, by a very insightful little 10-year-old in a swimming pool in Winnipeg. Shane had been chosen by the Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba to participate in Air Canada’s Dreams Take Flight that year. Because we lived so far out of town and the flight for the one day trip to Disney World for a plane load of children with various life challenges, we were put up at the then Greenwood Inn in Winnipeg for the night before the trip. Shane loved the water, he always had, and so the night before the flight we headed down to the pool for a few hours of swimming before bed.
While in the pool, another ‘dream’ recipient named William attached himself to Cecil, Shane and I. We actually don’t know what Williams last name was or where he was from, but he just connected to us and swam and played and chattered away. He had a very big scar that ran the length of his chest and stomach, so we suspected that he may have had heart surgery, but we didn’t ask. We just spent our time having fun together.
After a while, William explained to Cecil, “You know why Shane likes to swim so much don’t you?” We had to admit to William that we really didn’t know the answer to that, only that he did love to swim. So, William clarified for us, “Well just listen to him. When he laughs, he sounds just like a dolphin!”
That was the first time we actually heard it for ourselves. The unique combination of laughter and delighted squeal that was Shane’s way of telling all of us he was in his glory with whatever he was doing. From that day on, we referred to him as our dolphin-boy, even though he’d given us lots of clues about his interest in them before. Sometimes our teachers come in the form of little, health-challenged boys that pick up on things quicker than we as the distracted, over stretched adults ever do.
Shane passed away in 2009, but I’ve come to know that his love of all things dolphin was passed along to me before he died. I’m just beginning to see how deeply, and as I look around my house, I am having an awakening myself, because I am seeing dolphins everywhere! They are both reminders of Shane and sparks of inspiration and joy for me. Through different spiritual belief systems and cultural philosophies, dolphins can represent many different things. People who identify with the dolphin totem are usually peaceful and gentle, but with a deep inner strength. They trust their instincts and intuition. Dolphins live in harmony with their environment and practice love for each other, and have been witnessed helping the young and sick, even those of other species. They have a well-earned reputation as protectors as they balance their animal nature with a higher intelligence. They could teach our own human species a lot.
When we moved from Manitoba to Qualicum Beach this year, hours were spent sorting and choosing what items were coming with us, and which ones were not. Whether I realized it at the time or not, except for a few of Shane’s personal ‘dolphin’ items that I gave to some of his friends and family, everything dolphin followed me here. In fact, everything ocean is here surrounding me, and the lightbulb in my head is finally going on.
So back to Daniel Dolphin. With the twitter follow, I had to look further, and realized that Daniel Dolphin is going to be “a 3D-animated adventure film for the whole family inspired by the bestselling novels of Sergio Bambaren. Our goal is to push entertainment to a new level of audience participation and environmental awareness. Daniel Dolphin will share the larger message that we have to protect what we love: our oceans and each other.” I felt the call to become involved, and through a donation to their fundraising page to support the next steps of the film’s development, I have done so. I’m excited about it, and it just feels so right to me.
A couple of posts ago I shared that I have come to terms with accepting the fact that I will not be leaving my lineage in this world when I pass beyond it. Shane was my only hope for that. I am, however, committed to leaving a legacy with and for my chosen ‘kids’ and grandkids, the work I am able to do, the music that I write and the causes I choose to support. This cause calls to me, just like my return to the coast after all the years in the prairies did. Maybe there is a deeper connection even with that. Maybe part of this move was to position me to be more actively involved in what is happening to our oceans, by seeing for myself what is going on around us. Maybe Daniels’s voice will be the one that speaks to the children of today, who themselves are going to be the protectors of tomorrow, so that they will do a better job of taking care of Mother Earth and her oceans than we’ve managed to do so far. I hope so, and I hope my discovery of Daniel will help me to be part of the change in the world that I wish to see.
Maybe his story will spark an interest in you as well. If it does, consider supporting this Canadian project and the possibilities that it holds. If you were thinking of sending me a Christmas card or a gift this year, consider making a contribution to get this project off the ground instead by simply clicking here. That would be a gift that would keep on giving if we could inspire the Guardians of tomorrow through our actions today.
“Follow your dreams. Listen to the voice of your heart. Whatever others might tell you, never forget that you only live once, and that your dreams, big or small, are the biggest treasure that will guide your life to a wonderful destiny. Don’t let your fears stand in the way of your dreams.”
— Sergio Bambarén, Author of The Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer
For the whole of my life I have been a learner. A learner and a reader, and I'm glad that as time has gone on, that has not changed. What bothers me is that as a 'learner', there is so much that I am only now beginning to understand and begin to try and make sense of. So many things that I, like the rest of society, should have been learning much earlier in our lives. If we had maybe today our world would be less of a mess. I often worry that our learning is coming too late and too little, with so many people locked into their skewed ideas and belief systems. Even so, I write this with the hope that maybe one person's heart may be challenged to take a different view of things, and nudge our world one more step forward and closer to the place where we can all have more open minds and open hearts to the journey of another.
To be clear, I have no knowledge of any First Nations geneology in my family lines and my perspective and views do not come with the life experience that many of my friends have lived. My ancestry is as Irish and as Scottish as you can get. But that does not keep me for having a love for other people and a thirst for information that will help me to better understand my world, so that I can pass that understanding along to others. I do believe that our society is past the point where it is okay to turn a blind eye to what has been created. We can believe there might have been good intentions, but we can't ignore that whatever the intention was, the outcome is bad. One way or another we need to lean into that and start growing forward. For me that means to listen, talk, read and learn and work towards having a better understanding so that I might become a better advocate and a better person as a result.
Last night, I finished my reading of the book 'Black Elk Speaks'. It took my a long time to get to the book in it's entirety, but for a long time I have been fascinated and drawn to his words and his wisdom. Nicholas Black Elk (1863-1950) has been working to get my attention for a long time it seems, through so many coincidences and experiences in life. But when we're ready, the teacher does arrive. This teacher died in 1950, but fortunately for our world, he opened his heart and shared his wisdom.
The book was originally published in the early 1930s, after Black Elk met with John G. Neihardt, the author, on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. His intent was to share his powerful and inspirational experiences and message to all that would be open to them. During their time together, he relayed the stories from his earliest memories as a boy in th 1860s through to the Massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890, and the final efforts of his people to maintain their freedom and their way of life. He was a warrior, a hunter, a medicine man and a healer who lived his life in an effort to move ever closer to the vision he had experienced as a young boy of 9. He shared his visions in the book, trusting that John would pass them along to a world that needed to know and understand what he had seen. He did this at a time when it was not common for a man of his stature to talk about those things with a stranger, but Black Elk felt the deep need for that message to be shared and so he did.
Through his story, we are given an opportunity to see that horrific time period through the eyes of those who lived on the receiving end of the decisions being made to secure the United States as a nation. A story that is very much the same as our own story in Canada, with it's brutality, battles and manipulation. Black Elk shares his memories of what the First People were experiencing throughout those years of Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Custard and the army's continued movement west. It is a much different perspective from what we are taught by history books.
He tells the reader about many of the horrible battles that took place between the Indigenous people and the soldiers. One of the paragraphs that haunted me really made me think about the things we see happening today, in 2016, at Standing Rock. "Wherever we went, the soldiers came to kill us, and it was all our own country. It was ours already when the Wasichus (white man) made the treaty with Red Cloud that said it would be ours as long as the grass should grow and the water flow. That was only eight winters before, and they were chasing us now because we remembered and they forgot." (pg 83)
The book is full of the broken promises and broken dreams of a people who were forced to bend to the ways of the invading world, and reading it, I couldn't help but see the role that is still playing in what is happening around our continent today, but most noticibly with with what is happening at Standing Rock. As he talks about the treaty agreements that were made by a few on behalf of the many, treaties and agreements that pushed them further and further from the land and the life they had known he relays "only crazy or very foolish men would sell their Mother Earth. Sometimes I think it might have been better if we had stayed together and made them kill us all." The people lived through heartbreak after heartbreak as he shares stories of the battles, the hunger, the massacres, the Ghost Dances and the broken promises.
After the Massacre at Wounded Knee, when the people gave up their fight he was quoted as saying "I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And i can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was burried in the blizzard. A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream. " pg 169
Black Elk died believing that he had not accomplished what the Grandfathers had set out for him to do. He never saw his people regain the footing lost or their old way of life, traditions and spiritual belief systems reestablished. What he had visioned for his people was not possible in the world that had been created and with the restrictions that were placed on our Indigenous people, throughout North America.
But I wondered, as I read through it, if Black Elk wasn't also fortelling of some of what is happening today? His vision fortold of the days ahead, the disappearance of the buffalo herds, of the 'black road' that his people would be forced to walk. But it also fortold of a day when "I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one Mother and one Father. And I saw that it was holy." (pg 26)
As I look at the gatherings that are happening in Standing Rock to support the people who are fighting for their water, I begin to wonder if that gathering may be part of what Black Elk envisioned? People from all tribes, faiths and races coming to stand for the common goal of preserving and fighting for what is here, before everything is gone. People starting to take notice and realize the wisdom that was embedded in the beliefs that lived here long before my ancestors arrived.
My heart aches for the old man who returned to the place of his vision one last time. "Hear me, not for myself, but for my people; I am old. Hear me that they may once more go back into the sacred hoop and find the good red road, the shielding tree." (pg 172)
It has been a slow resurgence, but I believe it is beginning to happen. Idle no More, people saying no to the big corporations, our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation work. Change is in the works, and the winds have shifted direction. And from the Voice of Black Elk's vision, "Behold this day, for it is yours to make." So I ask, what are you going to do?
So for those of you that know me, you're likely asking 'What's the Deal? Lynda isn't much of a sports fan or a gamer?' Well, with that I'd have to say you're right...or you were right! Things have changed and FireFan has arrived!
My goal and my passion is to keep doing good in the world, and I see FireFan being one of the ways I'm going to be able to do that, because yes, I am a United Games Marketing Affiliate with this, and thrilled to be part of this! There, disclosure made.
But I'm also someone who likes to have a lot of fun with friends, and have found this is a brand new way of doing that, so lets keep moving here shall we? I have put this step by step explanation together so that my friends (who are as game savvy as I am :( and invitees won't get frustrated, because this app is like nothing we've ever seen! I hope it helps you to get the most out of this great new game!
- Social, Competitive, Fun, Interactive
- It is not gambling, so it's something the entire family can enjoy
- You can Play LIVE with friends and Superstars
FireFan is just hitting the app store, so here's what I can tell you about it right now from my experience over the last weeks of our beta testing. It's a new way of playing along with sports. It's not betting, there is no money to be made, so you can get your entire family involved in the fun. It is free to download, and it is free to play if you want to just use the pregame picks option. If you want to go live, you will need to acquire tokens. There will be lots of ways to do that when the last of the beta test is done. You can get them by watching the advertisements that will be built into the app. You can acquire them through purchase through Apple Itunes or Google store. You can get them as rewards for inviting friends, or in some league games. But that's for later. It's not even necessary at this point to worry. Lets just get started.
Now we are moving on to the next screen, #1
Here you're going to be picking the sports that you love to follow! Remember, at the moment we only have NFL Football and MLS Soccer within the app, but that is going to be changing regularly!
Coming Soon, Watch for:
Step Number 2 allows you to pick your favorite teams. For now, as I said, it's only NFL. That will change in the days ahead. You can pick as many, or as few teams as you choose. You can go back and add teams at any time. This is your game. When you're done, hit next.
Step 3 allows you to connect!
STEP 4 is to Join some FireFan Leagues. There are literally hundreds, and will be thousands to choose from! So it's up to you! You can join a few right off the bat, if you see ones that catch your eye, leagues in your area, or leagues for your teams, or you can wait and do more investigating. You can join and leave leagues at any time. The next screen is going to ask you if you want to turn on notifications for League invites. As a newby, I'd leave it on, find out what's being created and get to know new people. For more about leagues, keep going, there'll be more later!
Hit next and see your brand new Profile Page!
So welcome to your new Profile Page! You are officially a FireFan. On your home screen you will see Total Points Earned (this is for all games played ongoing), your followers and you're following. Going down the screen you'll see:
On your home screen, hit the X at the top at any time to go back to your profile.
This page is all things NFL! Scroll across the top you get the Schedule, Team Standings, Teams, News and Depth Charts.
This shot shows what happened Week 13, hit Week 14 (and through to Week 17 at this point), and it tells you everything that will be happening. How many games, whose playing, where the game is, the time, the channel that is carrying it, it's all there.
Hit the TEAM STANDINGS Tab, and it's up to date with the standings in the AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West, NFC East, North, South and West.
Go to the Teams Button, find your team, and it'll give you a list of all upcoming games. As well is the results of games, Roster, News and Depth Charts.
News and Depth Charts are also available on the NFL Page. Everything is in One Place!
So, our girl FeeBee has decided she wants to check out the Dallas Cowboys vs Minnesota Vikings that is happening on December 1st. That takes her to here!
The game is still a few days away, but you can see that there are a lot of leagues that have set up to watch it. She's not sure she wants to use any tokens to play with them yet, but she doesn't have to use tokens to go into the pregame Picks screen.
Ahead of kick off, go into the picks and answer the questions asked. They vary and are specific to the game, but could be things like:
The PLAY button and the STATS buttons are for when the game is happening. If you do decide to use tokens and play it live, there are more PICKS with every drive throughout the game, so more opportunities to get points on each play. Watch as the drives end for the bright green bar that lets you know 'new picks are available now'.
So FeeBee has done her picks (she's not going to show you, so no one will be able to copy her predictions :) ), but has decided that she wants to see what her own leagues are doing before she signs up for the game. She goes back to her profile page and discovers that DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH have that game scheduled! (pick shows previous game, ignore that and pretend please)
Does she want to spend 6 of her tokens and sign up to play? You bet she does! So she hits the join game button. From here she can also invite friends that she thinks would like to be part of this league. Everyone in the league has a chance to join the game and play live, for 6 tokens.
Note on the league: From this page you'll see
A Little more about Leagues: Leagues are a hoot, and they are so simple to set up! Any player can do it, and it only takes seconds.
I am so excited about this app! You will be too! For now we have NFL, but just imagine what it'll be like to play on leagues with your friends across the world when the Soccer comes online!
Or to have fun game with family from anywhere on the continent during the NHL games are on or WORLD SERIES finals are happening. This app is going to set Fans on Fire! Be one of them!
One final note, the little dancing FireFan symbol that you'll see dancing at the bottom of your screen opens up a series of options, based on the screen you're in. It's a quick link to where you want to go, and changes if you're playing live, but a nice streamlined feature to get where you want to be.
Tons more to be learned as we go along, and will update as we know more, but this ought to get you going!
Welcome to My Passionate Life!
The Passion Test supports you to live your life more passionately, creating the life you dream of, doing the things you love!