Dreams Come True



The thudding rhythmic beat of the hooves is music to my ears. The momentary pause as man and beast soar over the jump is grace in action. The competitors make it look simple. They just gallop around the course in a collected manner and then spring up over the jump. I’m not sure the audience can fully appreciate the hours of practice and training that goes into the presented teamwork of horse and rider. This is a dream come true, it is the riders dream come true.

I attended the Nations Cup At Spruce Meadows held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on September 9, 2017. It wasn’t only an outing to enjoy the beauty of the equestrian sport but it was a small reunion between a few Equine Studies college friends, and myself. We hadn’t been together in over ten years. So what better way to reconnect than to horse around at Spruce Meadows? Yeah, it’s a groaner.

The horse is an instinctual animal that has survived for hundreds of years by living according to it’s fight or flight instincts. I reluctantly add that horses by nature’s choosing are creatures of prey. In the wild they are hoofed grass eaters subject to the laws of the hunt. The weak and slow of the herd are meals for packs of roving wolves, nature’s henchman of the bush. Most horses choose flight over fight, unless they are cornered, and then watch the kicking, striking, and biting commence. This fact alone should add to your admiration for all who sit astride a horse in hopes of controlling the outcome.

I’ve had the pleasure of horses in my life since I was a naive little pea pod on the vine of life. (Such a bad metaphor, no comments from the peanut gallery.) In my days of being tossed, trampled, struck, bowled over, bit and kicked by horses I know painfully and personally, horses are not just instinctual beings, but are emotional creatures as well. They form strong bonds of companionship between other horses, and given time and trust, between people as well. Horses are sensitive to emotion. They can sense fear or hostility in a person by simply being close to them. They don’t need the demonstration of trembling hands or a baseball bat to the fence, to know a person can’t be trusted in that state of mind. This means, for a rider to be successful, they must be calm and confident, even in the face of their own personal fears. The trust between horse and rider must be like the trust between a flying trapeze performer and their partner who catches them. There can be no hesitation, or doubt, timing is everything. Welcome to the Spock Academy for hopeful equestrians.

Now lets add to the mix, the fact that horses actually do have ideas and desires of their own. Sometimes a stallion would rather be mounting a mare than leaping a fence. It takes a strong hand to guide a stallion to a rider’s whims. Sometimes horses are having a bad day. Maybe they miss a stable-mate, or are feeling lazy, like they would rather just lie around the pasture. It’s a whole different ball game when a sport includes a non-verbal teammate.



Ultimately show jumping is communication between man and beast, for the jumper to be successful the horse must want to jump. Somewhere inside them there is the desire to soar. And as I watched the jumping events it is clear to see the horse trusts it’s rider, and the rider trusts his horse. The horses accepts the encouragement and challenge from their director to jump fences they wouldn’t consider jumping on their own.

It’s bloody amazing. The professionals in any sport can make the task look easy. The teamwork in show jumping seems effortless, and therein lays the magic. It is the slippery fricken magic of appearance. We don’t see the in behind scenes of hard work, or countless hours of practice and failure. We haven’t seen the riders struggle to maintain a positive outlook through their feelings of frustration, doubt and fear. If these show jumpers can trust their horse, who by nature is a creature of fight or flight, to go over jumps for them time and time again— then I think you can trust yourself to accomplish whatever dreams you can conjure up in your limitless mind.

You got this. Oh yes. Damn right you do.

Sometimes The Piglet Lives


Little Garth, the 10-day old piglets some milk. Photo credit-Vancouver Sun/Lora Grindlay

I can hear the unsettled whimpering sounds coming from the box at the end of my bed. I’m sleeping on the edge of worry anyways so it doesn’t take much to alert me. I kick off the covers and scurry down to check on the piglet. He feels cool despite the fact he’s covered with my little sisters flannel doll sheet. He seems uncomfortable. I’m not sure what to do. Mom and dad are asleep, but it doesn’t matter anyways because the piglet is my responsibility.

Earlier in the day, my older sister Cheryl, and younger sister Shannon, and I, had gone down to the barn after school to meet the newborn piglets.

Dad meets us outside the barn. I wonder if it’s going to be like a birthday party with balloons and cake. We never had piglets before

Before he opens the door he gives us a stern look, “Keep the noise level down inside. This is a new mama pig and we don’t want to upset her.”

I guess there won’t be any dancing then. I feel disappointed. I like to celebrate special events with dancing. Way to dampen my creative spirit pops.

We follow dad inside. There is no balloons or cake. We bounce silently on our toes and lean in on the fence to get a better view of the new arrivals.

I crowd Shannon out of the way so I can see better.

“Stop pushing Debby,” Shannon complains.

“Oh sorry,” I say, not the least bit sorry, and squeeze next to the wall so she can see too.

Cheryl is tall, and she can look over the top of our heads. She wrinkles up her nose, “It’s pretty smelly in here.”

Dad chuckles, “Yeah, pigs don’t have the best smell when they are penned up.”

We never had pigs on the farm until a few months ago and baby pigs are all new to us. Their tiny pink snouts are flawlessly formed, sparkling clean, and unblemished from life. They snuggle up in a long line sucking milk from mama pigs multiple teats. One extraordinarily small piglet keeps trying to find a way into the line up to suck. It is continually pushed out. He is getting nothing to eat.

Dad leans over the fence beside me casting a long shadow across the floor. I poke him in the thigh with my finger, “What’s going on dad? Why won’t the big piglets let the little piglet have any milk?” I ask.

Dad straightens up and places his hands on his hips shaking his head. “That’s the runt of the litter. It means he’s the smallest and weakest. They don’t usually survive. It looks like he’s having trouble fighting his way into the food line up.” Dad’s face is hard but his eyes look soft.

Those big piglets are assholes. I think to myself. I knit my brows together and shake my head wildly, “But that’s not fair!” I argue.

Dad sighs, “I know, but it’s natures way of weaning out the weak ones.”

I watch the tiny piglet try to feed again only to be cast aside by the strong. The little creature lies quietly and closes his eyes. It looks to me like he’s giving up.

I feel a dull ache creep into my heart. “Can I look after him?” I suddenly ask feeling hope rise up.

Dad purses his lips and stares into the pen.

I glare at dad with pleading eyes.

He scratches his head underneath his cap, and then meets my gaze with reluctance. “Alright. You can try,” he relents, and then cautions, “but don’t expect too much. He probably won’t make it. Don’t get too attached.”

I bob my head with enthusiasm like I’m agreeing. But I’m not. I can save this little pig. I just know it.

Dad retrieves the piglet and places the puny being in my arms. I look at his teeny ears and perfectly round nose. He’s wiggling. There’s nothing wrong with him. Of course he’s going to live. I tuck his warm little body inside my coat.

Dad watches me with doubtful eyes.

My sisters and I take turns carrying him to the house. When we arrive we put him in a box lined with a thick old towel. Mom rounds up a tiny bottle filled with milk. He drinks a little bit but lots leaks out of his mouth.

My younger sister Shannon puts her dolls flannel blanket over him.

At nine years old, I still quietly believed in the magic of life. I’m certain if I try hard enough I can save the little guy.

It’s the middle of the night and the piglet is whimpering. I read somewhere that babies like to eat in the middle of the night. Maybe he’s hungry. I scoop up the precious little package and bring him out to the kitchen to offer him milk.

I flick on the bathroom light and the brightness floods the kitchen floor.

The piglet’s breath is harsh and laboured.

I warm the tiny bottle of milk in a pot of water on the stove and cradle the pig in my arm. I check the temperature of the milk on my wrist the way mom showed me.

I sit down on the cold floor in the middle of the kitchen and admire our newest addition. I marvel at every inch of him, from the little downy hairs that covered his pink head right down to his delicate little tail. I can feel the adoration in my heart grow. How could he die? He is flawless. I watch his chest rise and fall with rough breaths.

I sit with my blue flowered nightie pulled over my crossed legs. I stroke his head with my finger. I didn’t know much about God but I had heard he helped some people. “Please God,” I pray. “Please help me save this little pig.” The tears well up in my eyes as I realize that he really might die.

I hear footsteps coming towards me from mom and dads room. I wipe my eyes with my nightie sleeve.

My mom peers around the corner, “Debby?” she says with a frown. “What are you doing up?”

I look at her, and then look down to the small bundle on my lap. “The runt was making noises so I brought him out to see if he was hungry.” I answer in a wobbly voice.

She moves toward me with her housecoat pulled tight. “You know he’s very sick, don’t you?”

I steel my voice, “Yeah.”

She purses her lips and lines furrow her brow. “You should put him back in his box and go to sleep,” she suggests.

I look up into her eyes and hold her serious gaze with my own, “I will mom. I promise. I just want to see if he’ll eat.”

Mom presses her lips together and then sighs. “Alright, “she says relenting, “but get to bed soon. You need your sleep too.”

Alone again with the runt I offer him some milk, his mouth doesn’t move but his chest still rises. I force the nipple of the milk bottle in and milk dribbles out the side. I put the bottle down and hold him close. My eyes liquefy and tears spill over. My bottom lip trembles. He needs all the help he can get. “Please, please God,” I beg, “if you save him I’ll put my allowances on the collection plate at church.”

The piglet’s breath is raspy.

I sob. “All of them,” I said, “I’ll give you all of my allowances.”

I set the little creature on my lap. His struggle for breath becomes quieter. I wonder if my prayers are being answered.

The piglet’s body convulses. I realize God has not agreed to my bargaining.

The tears come faster. I am helpless to save this most perfect little being. “I promise I whisper with passion. “I’ll give you everything! My Barbie’s, everything. Please save him.”

The runts shuddering stops and the tiny pig relaxes into death.

I cry a lot. I cry so much I run out of snot.

It was my first experience with death. I remember the bargaining with clarity, the hope that some being would shine some kind of special light down on me, on him, and give the runt a second chance. I never blamed God for rejecting my offer. As a matter of fact, for a long time I thought it was that I was unworthy of having my prayers answered. But as I aged and lost many more beloved people and pets I’ve come to believe in the ridiculously overused saying everything happens for a reason. I believe that the randomness in life is not simply a scattered mess of happenings, but an intricate weaving of lives that are brought together and apart to create specific opportunities to fine tune our life. Even the worst in life offers us hope. We see it often as we watch times of the greatest troubles be soothed by acts of great love and compassion. I think we are given situations to prepare us, or clarify us, for the following days of our lives.

I’m not one hundred percent sure why that little piglet died in my arms when I was young; maybe it was the first stepping-stone of strength I needed for all the future dying in my life.

But I bet for others— sometimes the piglet lives.


An Absence of Sun


I’m what you would call an early bird. As many of you know early risers don’t only get the worm, they also incubate a dozen eggs and hatch a batch of chicks too. Not to say the night owls and nighthawks are slackers, it’s just that because of the time of the day there might be more alcohol involved. And then we have those akin to the blue-footed booby— we don’t generally talk about those folks. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with a secret society— they may or may not be under investigation. I plead the fifth my interpretation could be flawed.

As we enter into the seasons shift I can’t help but notice the morning light has attained a later state of being. Now as my alarm sounds out and I reluctantly pop my peeper’s open,  I am greeted by a dungeon-like darkness. The only thing missing is the shackles. Now don’t get me wrong. I like the dark. I just don’t like slippery touches, or bony grasping fingers, or weird snuffling, grunting noises in the pitch black. Not that there are right now, because my husband is away at work.

Now, to keep the truth on track, I admit I’m not totally opposed to the impending winters dark. I often wear black and I confess it’s a classically gorgeous color. If I am not mistaken, black is a combination of colors so it’s kind of like a rainbow in disguise. And who doesn’t like a rainbow? Heh?

So as we return to my 5:00 a.m. rise and shine time. I find the absence of the sun has throttled the very breath out of my fun loving demeanour. I find myself inspired to drag the life size skeleton Mr. Bones from our garage and have him sit beside me on the couch. I am currently playing the top ten hits of funeral music. We mourn the death of my chirpiness together. Although to be frank Mr. Bones seems quite unsympathetic to my state of being.

So here I sit the only live being in the dark. The stars are grieving too, currently veiled by a thick coverlet of clouds. The only light in the room is the orange glow from my Himalayan salt rock. I could turn on a real light but it would interrupt the mood. It’s not even that that I’m miserable. I’m just setting the scene to see if I can invite it in, after all misery loves company.

After sitting a while longer I realize it’s not coming— misery has snubbed my overture. I bring Mr. Bones back to the garage, and set him back on his sled with his sunglasses raised. He’s had enough shade for one day.

I wonder about the night owls, do they ever feel drawn to invite misery into their pitch-black moments? Do the seasons changing rhythms cause them to long for the extended evening light of summer? Or do they prefer to be wrapped in a shroud of shadows when the moon sits high, or to cocoon themselves in the velvety blackness vacant of starlight?

Regardless of my musings, autumn is here. It is robed in reds, scarlet, brick and sangria. It is accented with oranges, ginger, marigold and pumpkin. And lastly, it is crowned with yellows, golden sunflower, corn and flaxen tones. Without a doubt it is the most glorious season of all. It brings the shorter days and chilly nights to forewarn us winter is nigh. I wish the early birds, night owls, nighthawks, and blue-footed boobies a joyful transition time, because no matter what we do— winter is a coming and we have no choice but to nest or fly.

Paddleboard For Peace


I’ve been contemplating the world from my secluded slice of heaven for a while now. It can be a reflective state as you can see from the photo. It’s a photo of myself and Mica on one paddleboard, and then my hubby on another paddleboard struggling to keep up. I revel in the fact I’m faster than he. He’s normally the fleetest of foot, his legs compare to the stilts of a caribou running in front of a wildfire. If he straps on skies, he’s akin to a bunny on steroids. If you give him a pedal bike, his legs spin around like the roadrunners in the Looney Toon’s cartoons, “Meep Meep, try to catch me.”

So I admit, I practically glow with satisfaction when I look back on him wobbling in my wake. He blames it on his weight and the length of his paddle. However, I patiently tell him, “Your paddle is fine. It’s the way you use it that counts.”


Anyway, my grand dog Mica loves to go cruising on the lake with me. She is at ease, sometimes she stands up, and sometimes she sits down, and then there are times she lays across the bow like the July playmate in a Playdog magazine. She trusts me. She knows I will do my level best to keep us afloat, and so far we’ve done well.

The contemplative nature of steering across the lake has caused me to toss around the notion that the most troublesome of the world leaders should be required to paddleboard. It should happen on a remote lake in the middle of nowhere. They should be instructed to ride together and then switch up partners taking turns at being the paddler, and then being the passenger. It would be a good teambuilding experiment. It might instigate a sense of trust— no rocking the boat on purpose here.

It would an excellent time to remind them of the beauty of our planet, and how well an ecosystem survives when there is little to no manipulation from human kind. Maybe the leaders causing the most damage should heed the words of Mother Teresa, “ If you want to change the world, go home and love your families. (love your people)” Just imagine if everyone stopped throwing spitballs at each other, and went home to hug their family and pet the cat?

Out here on the lake I see no imaginary lines determining countries or property. It looks to be open access for all. On the water we hear the voice of the wind speaking gently to the trees, and the willowing cry of the loons. We see the fish leap and land with a splash causing circles to ripple outwards. The dragon flies glimmer and sparkle in the fading light as they dip and dive consuming mosquitos that would feed on our blood. Out here there is a sense of freedom, and a definite detachment from the over populated parts of the world. As we sweep along on the wrinkles of the lake there is no phone by our hand, and no call to be judged or judge. Our hearts are open and our minds are free as the sun begins to set. Our world is shaded in splendiferous colors and glows offering hope for tomorrow.





The beauty of above.

On the surface we are the same as the Pope, Donald Trump (shudder), Queen Elizabeth, Beyoncé, Kim Jong-un, or mass murder Robert Pickton. We are all human beings. We are amazingly diverse and complicated. Many of us simply become what we are taught to be by our parents, and culture, when in essence, none of us are any more different than the names of those listed above.

It’s true, most of us don’t have fame, excessive money, the responsibility of a nation, altar boys, the paparazzi, murderous minds, or lofty goals of plotting the damnation of the western world. However, every single one of us began our lives needing other humans to care for us. During our growth period our personalities and circumstances shape us into our future. It is a miraculous time when our uniquely shaped bodies, minds, and spirits function in balance to become what we can only imagine.

We all struggle. We struggle against genetics that cause big butts, fat thighs, baldness and disease. We struggle when we are confronted by the death of a loved one. We struggle when we are faced with violence of any kind through sickness and hate. We struggle with finances and the cost of surviving.

But truly, we are the lucky ones. We have opportunity. We can read. We can connect to others around the world through the Internet. We are truly unlimited in our words and minds.

In a world as developed as our it’s hard to imagine that there are places where children are taught to hate others on the premise of color, or beliefs right from the day they are born. They are expected to follow in the family’s way without questions of why. They are crippled by the beliefs of their parents and society. Their shine for expanded knowledge is shuttered in even before they even realize they have a glow. Yet if they were raised in another way, or place they could become someone totally different.

So again I say, we are all the same in essence. And I bossily say hating another human is wasted effort. Without a doubt it comes as a challenge to love even the worst behaved of us. Yet isn’t that what we must do? Is to love the broken pieces? Hate breeds hate, love breeds love, and yes, I am over simplifying. But how else do we do it?

Life is a complex beast and from it arises atrocities, and magnificent events beyond our wildest imagination. All of us stand in awe of the famous, successful, and oh so in your face talented people, but for all the differences, they are no better than you or I. We are all headed towards the compost heap.

Everyone has gifts and talents to tap into for the betterment of humanity. What beliefs do you hold that harden your heart and seal you off from others?

We have so many possibilities you and I. We are unlimited. In this complex world of startling extremes we can make a difference. Most of us are not the rich and famous, but we can improve our small section of the world with how we give and share with others. Upon reading the headlines of the world you can dance, or you can cry. But Dancing feels so much better. Try the Cha Cha Cha, even if you can’t do it yet it’s kind of fun to say.

Worry Wart


Worry is planning for the worst possible outcome. Do you really want to live your life that way?

Is it ever worth it to worry? According to Dictionary.com — worry is to torment oneself with, or suffer from, disturbing thoughts. How terribly accurate.

I agreed to the voluntary affliction of worry when I was six years old. Worrying came as naturally to me as breathing, except with much less benefit. I used to worry all the time. I thought if anything could go wrong it would. I was convinced anything happening out of the ordinary would harm me, or kill me. Or harm those I loved, or kill them. Sometimes I would imagine tripping down the stairs and breaking my neck. Or having my head pop off when I got red-faced angry with my sisters. Or being missile attacked by a high-speed boulder in a rock fight. The list was endless— exhausting.

My Mom called me a worrywart. Attractive right? An anxiety ridden raised bump caused by a virus? Hmmm, I guess I did cause the bump on mom’s body, and if you call a sperm a virus, I guess I could be an accurate representation of a worrywart.

However, it’s a strange phrase Worry Wart. Where did that phrase even come from? Let me enlighten you, it came from a 1956 comic strip character; Worry Wart was the name of a character that instigated worrying in others. He didn’t actually worry. So mom had it all wrong in calling me a Worry Wart. I was a victim of the Worry Wart.

I didn’t enjoy being labelled as a worrier. So I relabelled my tendency. I no longer worry, I simply consider all the possible negative outcomes. I clearly recall my first experience in considering all the possible negative outcomes. Normally my older sister Cheryl and I would arrive home from school about twenty minutes before mom rolled in from work. I had just enough time to crawl up on the kitchen counter, dig through the baking supplies, locate the bag of chocolate chips, and scarf down a few handfuls before mom could catch me in the act. Naturally I paid Cheryl a small portion of my allowance for her silence.

On this particular winter afternoon many, many, many minutes after my healthy after-school snack, mom was MIA. I clearly remember standing on my bed, on my tiptoes, and peering out the window for any sign of my missing caregiver. Suddenly strange thoughts began to form in my mind. I began to imagine mom had a car accident. Or that she slipped on the ice, refused stitches, and bled to death. Or that she was kidnapped, and was being held for ransom for her tiara from her historic beauty pageant. Being little, the minutes seemed like hours. My stomach shook uncomfortably from all the grasshoppers jumping around inside of it. Worry soon has me planning for a future without mom. Tears form as I contemplate dad’s next marriage, and me as the new Cinderella wearing mom’s tiara.

All at once car lights flash in the window. Mom swings into our driveway with our younger sister Shannon in the front seat. She’s travelling without a car seat, or even a seat belt, because that’s how families drove back then.

I suppose mom may have wondered why she got the biggest hug in the world when she stepped through the door, but more than likely she just wanted it to end. She still needed to create supper before my giant dad came home from work. “Fe fi fo fum, give me food for my tum tum tum.”

As it turns out, Mom was late getting home because she had tea with Shannon’s babysitter. All my brainpower had been wasted on worry. On the upside, I may have burnt off a few chocolate chip calories.

These days I’m at the point in my life where I worry very little. It’s undoubtedly because I’m closer to being dead. Now, I mostly take life on as it happens.

‘Worry is like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain.’—Wiz Khalifa. That doesn’t sound extremely productive does it? Walking around with a stick that pops out shelter on a perfectly wonderful day? So how about we drop the deadbeat umbrella, and heed the words of Hagrid from J.K. Rowlings, Harry Potter, “What’s comin’ will come and we’ll meet it when it does.” Good idea Hagrid. I agree, life would be far less tormenting if we stopped the process of worshipping our problems with worry. When we succumb to those disturbing thoughts, we are simply reinforcing the idea that we’re not good enough, or strong enough to manage the temporary obstacles which pop up in our lives. We undermine ourselves by worrying.

We deserve more than uncertainty. We can stay positive. We have the power to influence our focus and feelings. We have a fierce inner roar to deal with any unexpected setbacks in our path. We are so bloody capable it’s scary. Now show your grit, bare your teeth, and get your monstrous life on. Grrrr.

Why, Hello Happiness


“Hey happiness! Thanks for showing up today!”

Oddly enough I just spent the morning reading all the doom and gloom headlines and I am still choosing to be positive.

I do not care. No, not one hair, for all the scare the news does blare. Apparently I am channelling Dr. Seuss.

Just so you know, I don’t live a totally charmed life. I can tell you, my parents are dead, my two sisters live hundreds of miles away, one of them halfway around the world, and I have no job. Plus I am writing without financial success— but damn I am happy.

So you might say to yourself, well obviously she is partaking in the consumption of happy pills. In the teenage years perhaps, but no, not recently, unless vitamins are little tablets of joy. My magical formula is to simply cherish what I do have, and let the crappy parts go knowing they are only temporary.

I am hugely fortunate to be attached to a supportive and loving partner. I have long ago birthed two healthy grown children and now have two amazing little grand girls. I have sunshine in my windows, and food in my fridge. I have clean water, and a choice of clothing. I have friends, new and old, and ones I have yet to meet. I have cousins and Aunties, Uncles, and in-laws. And— I just happened attend the best damn impromptu dance party on a deck last Friday night— nothing like shaking your butt to get out of a rut.

My heart swells at all the blessings in my life. Happy Tuesday. Hugs!