December 14. We’re almost halfway through December, 11 days till Christmas and 7 days till the shortest day of the year. I am not sure of how I should feel. But today is not the groovy day of yesterday. I think I will classify it as one of my S.A.D. days. The biggest challge for me is to not take it personally and put my best foot forward. That best is not to put my BAD and SAD on anyone else. That means not taking it out on myself either. I did say it is the BIGGEST challenge, didn’t I?

How shall I tackle the challenge? I cry alot about the difficulties but really it’s difficulties that leads me forward. I do not want to be stuck in sad and bad. I will try to be as joyful as possible. I hate to rain on this universal celebration of Jesus in the manger and the ho ho ho of Santa Claus. But I do feel bereft. And how shall I proceed? My first step is to sweep out my cynicism and bitterness. Change my attitude. I once felt the holiness of Christmas and Easter and Lent. I do not know if I believe in the God out there or of Jesus. But I have felt the loving spirit. I want to feel it again. 

It is ok to be silly.

It is ok to believe in Santa.

It is ok to have fun.

It is ok to still love and miss Sheba.

Moving on, I have cleared my dining room table. It does make me feel better. I vow to keep it this way by clearing it every night. I am uncomfortable with some cleared psychological spaces. I can sit with those for awhile until I know how to fill them. Sometimes empty spaces, physical or psychological feel unsafe and unfulfilled. There’s a need to stuff them up. I’m resisting the urge. It’s not an easy task any time, but especially difficult in this season where much is made of the joyful season. 

December 15. It’s 11:21 am. The sun is streaming through the sunroom windows. What a beautiful winter day. The temperature is -16℃ outside. Checking the greenhouse, it is -7.5℃. In 3 months I can start planting in there. I think I better give my moods a kick in the ass. I have no time to be maudlin. It’s almost time for me to start a few seedlings if I want some early tomatoes. Peppers and egg plants need lots of time to grow and mature. Their fruits were coming into abundance just when the season was coming to an end. 

The greenhouse in winter’s repose, waiting for spring.

I’ve come to believe that I do have a choice as to how I feel. There’s a limit. There’s no other way to feel in the face of tragedy except bad. In that case, I would accept and laid down with it and wait for the wave to slow and ease up. But in the every day hair pulling, thorns in the sides kind of irritations, I have the power and ability to respond in a healthy responsible way. There is no gain in losing and blowing my gaskets all to hell – except high blood pressure and other bad side effects. I choose higher ground and joy, the path of my ancestor, Lao Tzu. I hope I can remember that in the heat of anger and in the depth of my blues. Let us pray.


Good morning. How have you been? It’s 3 weeks since I’ve lost my Sheba. It’s such a short and yet long time ago. I’ve had her since she was 2 months old, almost 14 years. But it’s never long enough. She was 3 months short of her 14th birthday. I think of her, missing her presence in all my waking moments. How could I not?

It’s been difficult to come here, my space of refuge, of sighing and letting go. I’m still in the grasping stage. I now know what is meant by grasping at straws. I’m grasping and clutching but there is no physical Sheba. I feel breathless at times. I hear the click of her nails on the floor. I feel her presence –  on her pillow at the foot of the bed, in the kitchen crunching her breakfast and making coffee with the guy in the morning, waiting for me as I come out of the bathroom. I’m ready to step over her but she’s not there. And so it goes.

The acuteness and sorrow of loss will mellow with time. For now I will just let them rise and fall. I will let the tears gather at the corners of my eyes, feel that lump in my throat and the ache in my heart. It is the nature of grieving. I had not been able to or allow myself the luxury of mourning my losses in the past. I had believed in keeping a stiff upper lip and keeping a tight lid on feelings. But Sheba has broke through that dam.

She was everything to me. She was always there and still is for me – my buffer against the blues and other ills. It’s high time I give credit for her work and role in my life. She has given much love and joy and many stories to be told.



It is another morning in this new ‘life will never be the same again’. Yet it comes and goes with the rising and setting of the sun – as usual. We still need the air we breathe and the sun on our skin. Have we taken them, and everything else on this breathing planet, too much for granted? Now we go to sleep and wake up in trepidation of the air we breathe and things we touch. We look at each other with suspicion. We keep 6 feet apart. We mask. We wash and wash our hands and everything we touch. It is not life as usual.

I wonder how to proceed each day, how not to dwell in the well of this nervous energy and uncertainty. If there ever is a perfect time for a makeover, I think it is now. We have this time of no distraction from the outside world. We are locked in with just ourselves. It can be discomforting. I am, at times, uncomfortable and alarmed with just my thoughts and voice. I cannot sit in silent meditation. I still need the soothing recorded voice of Mark Williams to guide me.

I tell myself it is all right. I can try again in silence another morning when I am feeling stronger. I don’t have to be a hero. I don’t have to be Wonder Woman. In this time I can just be, to explore, test, sample, sift through feelings and thoughts, decide what is valuable, what is not, to keep or toss. It is, of course, a bit disconcerting, somewhat like being tossed about on a stormy sea on a raft. There are no boundaries, no safety net, no known territory. I have to re-think, re-see with new thoughts and new eyes. How do I live in this new world now? Do I sink, just tread water or will I learn new skills of survival?

I’ve been sinking and treading water forever and a day now. I’m tired of just keeping my head above water. I want to survive, thrive and feel the joy that is supposed to be mine. I would like that without having to ‘work’ so hard at it all the time. Perhaps that’s asking for alot. Perhaps the joy comes from the work. Perhaps I already have the joy. Perhaps I have to explore and redefine joy.

CHOOSING JOY – Day 46 in a day of…

Day 46, September 6, 2016 @10:49

Days like today are dangerous for falling into moping and feeling sorry for myself.  They are dangerous for wasting time and feeling justified in it.  Oh, I deserve to have a rest and let everything go.  Meanwhile, underneath it all, things gnaw at me.  I do want to … I wonder as to what is stopping me.  I do have a choice.  So I work a little harder in trying to understand myself.  I wonder if I have to understand.  I think about just doing.  After all, all I have to do is move a body part, then another one.

I’m an inspiration seeker – wherever I can find it.  This morning it is from the poet/writer, David Whyte. He writes of joy as “is a meeting place, of deep intentionality and self forgetting”.  It is a little ping, ping moment for me.  I get them often but have mostly laugh them off.  I discard them, not honouring my ability for sensing these gifted pings from the Universe.  But now, I am trusting myself and valuing my senses.  I am listening.  I am setting intentions to create an environment for joy to come.  Not all days are equal.  Some days it is harder to carry out the intentions.

What/how am I going about today?  Now that I have changed my mood and mindset a little, I can see the forest through the trees.  I can think about what’s for dinner, changing the sheets on the bed and bringing out the fall duvet.  It’s none too warm in the morning, though I can see a teenage girl wearing shorts on this first day going to school.  I can clean the deck and bring in my plants .  I have been thinking about that every day but haven’t. There’s tomatoes, hot peppers, squashes, beans and grapes to be harvested.  There’s rhubarb to pick and a crisp to make.  Then there’s art to do.  Oh, a little bird just came to the window.  I felt my heart lighting up. Is that joy?  I will tell you tomorrow.

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Day 7 in a year of….

Day 7, July 29, 2016 @4:48

IMG_6747Doing something new every day is not a hard nor easy task.  If there are 50 ways of leaving your lover, there must be equal number of ways of doing anything, including selfies.  Today, I’m trying for glee.  Inside I feel scowlful, if there is such a word.  And grumpy, though I’ve been told that I’m funny.  Anyways, I’m out for the many faces of joy and exuberance.

The hard part is my brain is hardwired to the same old and familiar.  It takes a short time to develop a rut. Some ruts are healthier than others.  For instance, putting on makeup every day is now easy after 7 days. It’s become a routine along with the trouble of choosing a pair a of earrings to wear.  I have a bad attitude of thinking everything is trouble.  Maybe it is wording.  Another new thing to put on my list.  Speak and think with impeccability, even if it’s to myself.  We become our thoughts.

IMG_6761Doing this project has made me more discerning of things, people and opportunities.  When I saw a shelf of beautiful orchids at SuperStore,  I said YES! to a gift for myself.   When I think of gifting, it’s usually for other people and the expense is not an issue.  When I do buy for myself, I have to do all this dickering in my head.  You can see that the orchid is a good buy – only $22.  No dickering.  I just grabbed.

IMG_6760Familiar has its own value.  Saves time and energy.  I am fond of the store’s barbecue chicken.  When I’m by myself, I get one and it’s good for a number of lunches and suppers.  I don’t have to slave over a hot stove or hurt my head deciding what to cook.  I dress it up with a salad or different veggies.  I’ve never noticed that they had different flavoured ones till quite recent – regular and smoking something.  Well, today I espy yet another – Portuguese!  This project can be exciting – for me.

IMG_6764I’m still plugging away at my lists.  I like to keep the new things that work.  I am crossing off more items.  As you can see – no baking bread or Sheba’s biscuits.  Too hot and humid.  I’m sapped but I’ve turned on the AC.  I’m learning to be good to myself. Have you been good to yourself today?  Tell me how.


Reverb14 – Day 20

Today’s prompt comes from the phenomenal Jen Lee. Jen writes:

One thing I learned in 2014 was how to make space for joy and levity, even in the midst of challenging circumstances or sad times. 

How could you make space for joy in the year to come? How could you protect it?


I hate to say I’m coming from behind, but that is what I am doing.  I appreciate the opportunity here on Kat’s Reverb14, to reflect on my past journey and to contemplate where I want to go in the new year.  Thank you for this space to reverb.

IMG_6937I’m trying hard, maybe too hard to find my words this morning.  I have laid them aside, neglected them too long and too often lately.  They are pouting and reluctant to come out. I will have to be patient but it is not easy – not with Sheba begging for attention.  She is throwing her rubber ducky onto my lap.  Play! Play!  The squealing purple duck is driving me insane.  What was I thinking when I bought it?  There is nothing else to do except acknowledge her and squeal the rubber ducky to her delight.  Afterall, she is my joy.

A little peace and quiet is restored, but my head is dazed and abuzzed with a swarm of bees.  My words have retreated even further into the recesses of my mind.  I rise to retrieve some laundry.  It is soothing to sort and fold and put them in their rightful drawer.  If one thing doesn’t work, I can do another.  I am creating space for the words to come out later. It’s better than wasting time and moaning about my upset applecart.

IMG_1178So here I am now at my keyboard.  My words are coming out one by one.  They are not perfect. They not my best words but at least they are dressed and showing up. What more can I ask from them?  They bring me clarity and meaning.  You need both to feel joy.  How else would I know when it comes?



Reverb14 – Day 19  Prompt from Kat McNally

Sometimes I feel like an intrepid explorer through the lush, terrifying, vibrant jungle that is daily life. When I am open, I start to notice clues everywhere; clues which guide me to questions that, in turn, lead to answers. I sense the very real possibility that I am not navigating my way on my own

Recently I realised that I had been gravitating to hot pink. This realisation led me to a photo which, in turn, brought back some memories which then led me to understand something about a burden I’d been carrying for a long time. And in that discovery, I was freed.

Today, I invite you to consider: what sorts of signs and symbols have recurred for you in 2014? Think: repeating colours, shapes, people, sayings, music, images, ideas. Where could they possibly be leading you?


IMG_2062December can be a magical month, if you let it be, if you are not caught up in the ‘shoulds’ of Christmas frenzy.  I’m not saying to abandon the celebration of the birth of Christ.  I’m saying, pause and give a thought about how you really want to spend the season.  Do you have to be swept up with the crowd – in the malls and elsewhere, doing what THEY think you should do?

I’m not here to be an Ebinizer Scrooge and bah humbug Christmas.  But really a lot of the things for Christmas are commercial symbols of a religious celebration.  Think about it. The candy canes, the Poinsettas. the tree and decorations, Santa and the reindeers – what do they have to do with Jesus being born?  So why do so many of us feel compulsed to fit in with the general milieu?  And feel guilty if we don’t?

IMG_1686I try not to, though I have, through different years.  Afterall I like everyone else, want to fit in.  I still do but I am tired.  I have been for years.  Do I have to fit in at this stage in my life? Not really.  It’s time for me to stop. I’ve come to that crossroad.  I am all grown up.  I do not have to pretend, to do things just to fit in.


IMG_2920This has become my favourite sign.  When life becomes hectic and my head gets abuzz with bees, I see the STOP in my mind’s eye.  It stops and sooths me, clearing my head, mind and heart.  What I think, see and feel are not always the truth.  I can put a STOP to that steady stream of lies.  And in that STOP, that pause, there is space for truth and joy to enter.



IMG_0646Oh, today was so loverly!  The sun was shining and the skies so blue.   We sashayed into the park with our heads held high and tails wagging.  What beauty and joy laid before us!

Let us not waste time sighing and worrying about tomorrow.  Let us not drag our feet behind.  We must greet the day and our lives with glee and joyful anticipation.  We are here today.  Who knows where we will be tomorrow.  Let the journey begin!


The road is long and winding, full of twists and turns.  You just don’t know what can be around the corner.  Life is like that, too.  And that is a wonder.  It keeps everything alive and fresh.  It IMG_0651keeps you on your toes.  Oh, what do we see when we looked up? Why, it’s a bird’s nest!



We cross a bridge and a babbling brook.  All else was quiet.  We heard our own footsteps and the calls of the birds.  It is so peaceful and serene.  I will stay awhile and breathe in the calm.  Call me when you are ready to leave.



It is day 21 and Easter Monday.  It is late evening.  I am catching my breath and sipping ‘Sleepytime’ tea.  I hope I won’t fall asleep over the keyboard before I am done!

Easter supper for the family last night was a success.  Sheba was so happy and excited with so many people here.  She let everyone know, too, jumping and barking with joy. That is how we should be, too – showing our joy.  And we did with good food, laughter, conversation, and home movies on YouTube.

My nephew is somewhat of a cook.

And my roommate likes to build bikes of a different sort .

The stress and worries of the day are washed away quickly in the midst of good fellowship.  We should do this more often!





As always a death announcement always makes one do a retake of one’s own life.  This is especially when the deceased  had just resigned from a job three or so weeks ago – James Flaherty, our former finance minister, age 64.

It’s a reminder for me that life is not forever and we have to live each and every day.  We don’t have to wait till…it’s the right time, till we have enough money, till we retire.  The right time is now.  There are so many wonderful sweet things in life to explore and enjoy.  They are right here, if we can open our eyes and see.  Sometimes I get wrapped up in the worries and cares and forget the joys of doing.

Even though spring is late, the sky is grey and the way strewn with many a thorn, let me leap forward with joy and anticipation of what the day can bring.  I can choose my actions and sometimes that can bring the emotions.  Fake it till you make it!  We’re talking about putting one foot in front of the other and walking the talk.  Darn!  I do talk too much.  It still happens even when I vowed to do otherwise.  Well, I am doing the best I can.  And that is all I can ask of myself.

It is the 11th day of the challenge.  I’m still here, writing, doodling, filling my page with words and pictures.  Eleven days feel like a very l-o-n-g time.  Maybe I shouldn’t count.







I am reading Byron Katie’s A Thousand Names for Joy.  I am always in perpetual pursuit of happiness.  Perhaps it is the ultimate book for me because it is about living in harmony with the way things are.

I love the word joy.  The very letters seem to jump up from the page, dancing with life.  No doubt the way I see things has a lot to do with my Chinese background.  Some of the Chinese characters are pictures of the objects they denote.

Sheba is one of the thousand names for joy.  She is joy whether she is leaping off the page, or laying contently with her stuffed toys.  She needs no reason.  She is just joyful with what is.  She is my teacher in life.  Be with what is.  It is not easy but I am learning to sit with that, too.  I am sitting and staying, Sheba.  Thanks for being in my life.