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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. http://wendistewart.writersresidence.com

January was kind to me this year

January was kind to me this year. That is, aside from dumping the 'flu on me, though I may have blamed others and not January specifically.

January may have read my column from a few weeks back (though that may be presumptuous on my part) and decided to extend a hand of gentle consideration and go easy on me.

If that is the case, thank you, January.

The power of creativity

I am reading Lisa Moore's new book, “Flannery." It's classified as a "Young Adult” novel but to me it's clearly a book that needs no classification; it is a book for all of us.

So read it. I implore you. You won't be sorry.

Moore is able to capture the loss we experience as teenagers, when life gets complicated and hasn't turned out as we hoped or as we expected, and we learn to find the solution within ourselves—the very essence of coming of age.

The power of creativity

I am reading Lisa Moore’s new book, “Flannery.” It’s classified as a “Young Adult” novel but to me it’s clearly a book that needs no classification; it is a book for all of us.

So read it. I implore you. You won’t be sorry.

Moore is able to capture the loss we experience as teenagers, when life gets complicated and hasn’t turned out as we hoped or as we expected, and we learn to find the solution within ourselves—the very essence of coming of age.

Why does January hurt me so?

I listened to an oral essay the other day on the purpose of illness, and if not the purpose, then the positive by-product thereof.

We learn valuable lessons from our discomfort of illness, and as our body coughs and wheezes and suffers with fever, it is telling us something and we should pay attention.

We make promises to that outside force for wellness and we certainly pause in taking our previous good health for granted. As we begin to recover, life seems almost more purposeful as we search for answers.

I want my mother

I have the ’flu. It seems very single time I fly, I get sick, so I’d like to blame those people carrying germs with whom I was locked into the cabin of a Boeing 737 and those who followed me around in various airports for the 18 hours it took me to get from Vancouver to home in Nova Scotia.

But if we examine the facts, the truth would have something to do with the lack of sleep during the long journey—and the germs got to pounce on me when my back was turned and my guard was down.

We don’t need masses of ‘stuff’

Christmas is in the rearview mirror; just about out of sight now.

Last week I was packing up and heading home from Vancouver—from a city that boasts about its moderate temperatures and claims winter doesn’t happen.

I was seriously misled. The sidewalks were covered in thick ice, with ruts and bumps that make walking treacherous for those unsteady on their feet or while pushing a stroller or trying to get around in a wheelchair.

The intricacies of good manners

We were discussing good manners the other day, my daughters and me, and the conversation circled around the importance of learning to extend respectful kindness to those we encounter in a day.

We have made it more of a challenge for our wee ones these days to whom we instruct, it seems, from birth not to speak to strangers. The chanting of danger, danger seems more a course of action than please and thank you.

At the end of another year

The days leading up to the New Year can be considered the days of good intentions, but it seems I squeeze in as many poor eating choices as I can manage before the calendar turns over.

At some point during the pre-holiday preparation I seem to give up. “Why fight it,” I say, as I devour my weight in miniature cream puffs (profiteroles I think they are more accurately to be referred).

I may be exaggerating but the intent is accurate.

My Christmas ‘want’

I was at a mall in Vancouver last week—a really big mall comprised of three levels; a shopping maze that even the brightest of us would struggle to find his/her way from.

I’m fairly certain a GPS should be standard issue upon entrance to the mall.

I wasn’t shopping, not really. I wasn’t referring to a list and checking it off and walking with a purpose. Rather, I was meeting a friend and the mall was halfway between us and allowed for walking without getting snowed or rained on and without getting wet feet.

My wish for Christmas

I am compelled to take photos of old abandoned houses. I can’t help myself.

I used to have my camera in my car specifically for this purpose whenever I was behind the wheel. Now I have an iPhone that simplifies the process, though the quality of my photos may have slipped into serious decline.

I’m especially drawn to those derelict buildings whose front doors hang by one hinge, ajar, as if saying to me there is nothing to hide; the story has found its end and the details are beneath the crumbling walls and sagging roof.