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Wendi Stewart - Wendi with an 'eye'

Wendi lives in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, but the farm on Rainy River in Crozier will always be her home. MEADOWLARK, her debut novel released September 15, is published by NeWest Press of Edmonton. She is the mother of four daughters who did the unforgivable: they grew up.

The same old me underneath it all

I got my hair cut last week.

I’m well aware that this fact is of little or no importance to you but it got me thinking (as things tend to do). For instance, I always go to my appointments such as the doctor, the dentist, and the hairdresser armed with supplies to pass the time. Would it kill me to just sit quietly and wait; to empty my head and just relax?

Apparently, the risk is far too great.

Never hesitate to lend someone a hand

I had a friend visit me for a couple of weeks recently. She is the kind of friend who fits right in; who doesn’t alter a space in which she is in but rather enhances it.

The best part is she has a serious helping of silly ingrained in her cells. And what could be better than silly?

Alison is a chef, a maker of incredible food, following a plant-based formula. She believes, after thorough research and committed study, that we can find the answers to our health problems in how we fuel our bodies.

‘Hope to’ list growing

Thanksgiving has passed. I ate enough turkey and stuffing and fixings to sink the ship a few times.

The pumpkin pie was exceptional, if I’m allowed to say so; the pumpkin grown in my own garden, which somehow makes it more noteworthy, almost noble.

If Rod Stewart is knight-worthy so is my pumpkin.

Sir Pumpkin. Has a nice ring to it. Much better than Dame Pumpkin (but that’s a discussion for another day).

Helping to make life more bearable

Kurt Vonnegut said, “Go into the arts. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.”

That seems an almost defeatist way of looking at life but it’s true. Creativity is known to soothe the soul; to be in the tool box for rehabilitation.

Yet the first programs we cut from education, when the money gets tight, are the arts programs. Rather, we tend to educate our children to become consumers, as if that is the only way to pursue a meaningful successful life.

And while we do so, we educate the creativity right out of them.

I’m aching to be a candle of light

Many of you will have seen the video of six-year-old Alex from New York on Facebook reading a letter he wrote to U.S. President Barack Obama about the boy in Syria.

He asked President Obama to bring Omran Daqnees to Scarsdale so Alex can give Omran a home. In his letter, Alex cited all that he and his sister, Catherine, would give to Omran: a family, shared toys, safety, help, understanding.

The images of Omran in the ambulance are haunting. The everyday reality of war and destruction that has been the whole of this wee boy’s life is staggering.

We’re all butterflies in the making

I watch people. I think I’ve always watched people.

I look for clues in how they hold their hands, or repeatedly pull on a ball cap as if they are trying to keep their thoughts contained or massage an eyebrow to control a worry.

I look for sad, for weary, for signs of hurting.

I’m not sure why but I do. I create stories in my head, complete with solutions for what I imagine is going wrong. Perhaps I watch to remind myself we are never alone in what we feel.

What to do with a do-over?

If I had my life to live over, I might pursue a variety of occupations that I didn’t have time for this particular go-round.

I still would want to be a writer, but I’d start earlier and wouldn’t engage in the distractions of accounting with such vigour, though I do love the math of accounting work, the black and white of it, the rules of it, the staying between the lines, so to speak.

I have fun imagining what I might be given a chance for a do-over.

‘Cricket’ no longer one of my favourite words

I have a lot of favourite words. I even have them in a list in case I forget; a list I can add to and delete from.

Sometimes I modify said list—removing words that no longer make me smile while adding new words. Words I stumble upon in the course of a day; words that make the day a little happier.

Some of the words on my list of happy words are: bubble and gallop, giggle and guffaw. Enchanting and serendipity are easy candidates, as are watermelon and felicity, which actually means intense happiness.

It seemed a good idea at first

You know those ideas that seem like really good ones at first blush, when excitement is high and enthusiasm keen!

But halfway across swimming Lake Ontario, you start to doubt your common sense and think you may have made the wrong decision—considering you only know how to dog paddle and a rescue boat should have been part of the plan, so the only option is to keep swimming?

Making jelly is a bit like that.