Category Archives: Inspiration

Thoughts of #Peace

Photo by Terri Webster Schrandt
Image courtesy of Terri Webster Schrandt
Our thoughts and prayers are with
our sisters and brothers in London
 ❤
The hatred evidenced by terrorist attacks around the world could easily be met with equal hatred, should we allow it. But how would that identify and inform us as a species? What would that do to the hearts and minds of individuals as well as society? What do we want to teach our children, and what kind of world do we want to leave them?
It is a challenge to keep our hearts open amid such unconscionable acts of violence. Yet it is our only hope of survival. Meeting these despicable acts with an equal amount of aggression could lead to our annihilation in this nuclear age. At the very least, it could alter our consciences and consciousness to a degree beyond repair. And that is as unacceptable as the terrorist act itself.
Fire cannot be fought with fire. We know this. Yet our species persists in its futile attempt to meet hatred with hatred, aggression with aggression, terror with terror. However, hope is skirting the horizon ~ fragile in its element but tenacious in its intent. Whether or not it will rise with tomorrow’s sun will be determined by our actions today.
I’m reminded of Dorothy Bryant’s book, The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You. The village folk circle a woman being raped. They neither interfere nor intervene but simply stand in witness of this heinous act. The perpetrator not only cannot continue, but also comes face to face with his salacious fear. When he realizes he has been forgiven, his heart opens and he is transformed.

The Kin of Ata by Dorothy Bryant

Some might call this a miracle. Yet if we consider the collective unconscious, we might see this in a different light. Instead of intervention from an outside source ~ no matter how beneficent the being ~ we realize it is a manifestation of our unified thought. We are what we think, and energy follows in kind.
Although I was raised Roman Catholic, I follow an eclectic spiritual path. I hold the avatars and bodhisattvas in my heart, and one in particular now comes to mind: Jesus Christ. Regardless of whether history is to be believed, the story of Jesus’ passion sets an example that sorely needs to be remembered, if not emulated. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
If we understand that all negative emotions and behavior originate from fear, we might be more inclined to err on the side of compassion. This does not negate the validity and necessity of raging with anger, for emotions are raw and must be given a voice, lest we implode. This does, however, caution us to act instead of react ~ act out of love instead of react out of fear.
Fear is a survival mechanism but, if unchecked, can easily run amok, as we have witnessed once again in today’s attack on the people of London. Where does violence end? Where does peace begin?
Flower by Terri Webster Schrandt
Image courtesy of Terri Webster Schrandt
Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me . . . ❤

Guest Post: Tina Frisco – On Facing Death

Friend and blogger John Fioravanti kindly invited me to guest post on his impressive blog. I was thrilled to accept and am delighted to share this with you. John is a historian who blogs on issues of contemporary importance, health, writing tips and more. He also supports other authors by reblogging and guest posting. Please visit his blog and enjoy his excellent posts. Thank you so much for hosting me, John, and for sharing my work ❤

Shortly after John invited me to be his guest, I received an email from a friend telling me his wife and my dear friend had just been diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Upon sending my condolences, Payson replied: 

Persevere…the dice keep rolling…and one adapts with as much detachment as possible.
The work of a lifetime….that drawing closer to the Event Horizon makes one more present.
Such good work…a blessing to be aware!

Both Payson and Kamla are authors and devoted to a spiritual path. I read Kamla’s book, The Singing Guru, during one long night of sitting with a dying friend. Kamla writes: 

The Divine “is everywhere, in every direction, in every space, without exception.”

Payson produces DVDs he calls VideoTonePoems, which are a blend of exquisite visual art, intriguing sound, and the poignant written word.

I’m sharing their work with you here, because it’s relevant to the subject matter of my guest post  ❤  

Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti

It is my pleasure and privilege to welcome Tina Frisco, author, blogger, singer-songwriter, RN, activist, a student of shamanism and friend, to Words To Captivate. Death is a difficult thing to face, but Tina puts a different face on it.

On Facing Death

Facing death is a life-changing experience and one that most of us fear. The first time I faced this monster, I paced and cried, ranted and cursed its arrogance. The second time, I tightened my mid-section and refused to acknowledge it; but I couldn’t sleep. The third time, I took in a deep breath, sat down, and closed my eyes. In a flash, I saw myriad lifetimes pass before me – incarnations I was fortunate to have lived.

What is it about physical death that throws so many of us into a tailspin of grief, anger, and denial? Is it not knowing whether life continues beyond the…

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Problem, Lesson, or Opportunity? – Guest Post by, Tina Frisco…

Our generous Story Reading Ape has granted me another guest post on his most informative blog. Thank you, Chris, for giving me the opportunity to share the little wisdom I have acquired throughout this earthly journey we call Life. And, if you haven’t already done so, remember to stop by the pearly gates and pick up your angel wings 💜

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Image is courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

When faced with an inexorable problem where emotions run high, knowing what to do can be a challenge. Rational thinking becomes obfuscated, forcing us into a holding pattern of circular thought.

Anger wants to place blame on others. Obsession with fine points masks the big picture. Abject frustration insists we bury our heads in the sand. Emotions churn and become ill-defined. Focus obscures. Common sense derails. Indigestion, insomnia, or worse take up residence.

None of these gets us anywhere. All of them threaten our sanity and plunge us into a maelstrom of inimical emotion. What to do?

Taking in a few deep breaths is a good first step toward relaxing. Listening to soothing music, meditating, or taking a long bath are a few ways to ease the constriction felt in the midsection. Relaxing the body helps mitigate mental and emotional distress. We all know…

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A WRITER’S STORY – Natalie Ducey

When we weather the storms of life and continue on, undaunted and bearing our wounds like armor, we become wounded warriors, ready and able to cast our light into the world as a beacon of hope. 
Natalie Ducey is one such warrior. She acknowledged her fears and met the challenges life tossed at her feet, with grace and firm resolve. She is one of myriad unsung heroes in the world, as her story will enlighten and give hope to so many.

The Heart's Journey Home by Natalie Ducey

Purchase her book here. Please visit her site and share in her accomplishments. #Recommended 
*************

Writing is my passion and my saving grace, as I discovered in 2014. ♥

In January 2014, at the age of 39, I embraced the stillness and, without judgement or fear, listened to my soul. I really listened.

The truth is…I was tired. The sheer weight of the compilation of my heart’s journey was about to break me. The vast remnants of loss, sorrow, and regret suddenly chose to show their presence after I thought I had nestled them away in a place where they could no longer touch me. I felt everything with such acuity, it was as if I stepped back in time. My mind knew I couldn’t dwell there, but my heart seemed eager to stay. So…I began to write. It was my saving grace; as the words flowed so did my healing.

I tell you this because maybe you can relate. I believe we are connected by similar and relatable experiences. We all love/loved deeply and most likely have been on both sides of goodbye. We know the exquisite and profound beauty of love. We know the immobilizing force of grief and the anguish between letting go and holding on. We know the acute distinction between second chances and new beginnings. These trials could easily dishearten us, but instead we choose to be more loving, compassionate, and kind. Isn’t that incredible?

We all have moments in our lives that unequivocally leave a divisive mark; life is now conveyed in terms of before and after. Many of us have more than one of these divisive marks. I know I do.

On August 30, 1992, I sustained a spinal cord injury as the result of a car accident returning home after a fun weekend away with friends. I was 18 years old and just four days shy of starting University. Life changed in an instant.

Continue reading…  

When I Am Not Enough… Guest Post by Tina Frisco…

Thank you to Chris The Story Reading Ape for his enduring support of authors. I’m so pleased to have another guest post featured on his outstanding blog 💚

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

a5rmmt

Image courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

Throughout our lives, we hear ourselves say:  ‘I’m not that good!’  ‘I’ll never make it.’  ‘I wish I could write that well.’  ‘If only I had said. . .’

Words are powerful. Energy follows thought. The words we speak to ourselves drive our subconscious minds. Diminishing thoughts tell the subconscious we are not enough.

The subconscious mind is self-serving. Its mission is to fulfill our every desire, and it sets in motion the means by which to do so. It takes our words at face value and strives to manifest what they represent. It assumes that what we think and say is what we hope and dream.

How often have we heard ourselves utter, ‘Did I say that’? Unless we’re channeling spirit, the mouth speaks what the subconscious mind thinks. If thought rests in the conscious mind, we are aware of it and can choose whether or not to give it a…

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A Message of Peace and Love

(Featured image courtesy of Lucie Stastkova)

Gag orders on gov’t agencies; walls being built between countries; bans on immigration to a country that is a melting pot . . .
My fellow Americans and all Citizens of the World: 
Lucie Stastkova
Image courtesy of Lucie Stastkova
Even though leaders in the Trump administration are behaving like children let loose in a candy store ~ now more than ever ~ it is important to keep positive thoughts, send out positive energy, take positive action, and simultaneously keep abreast of all that is occurring within the United States government and across the globe.

Collecting and sharing data is vital. Dwelling on the negative is self-defeating. Reacting with violence will sabotage any and all positive change.

Remember: The women’s marches took place in all 50 states and in 57 different countries. This was a first in the history of humankind. All marches were nonviolent. 

Everything unfolds in an orderly fashion. As above, so below.

The patriarchy is dying and rearing its head for one last stand.

United, we will get through this troubling time. This is the time that prophecies of most cultures and religions spoke of centuries ago. They speak of us moving into the Golden Age of Enlightenment. This is the time. We are in the storm before the calm.

It is imperative we recognize this and come from a place of love in our hearts instead of a place of fear. While keeping abreast of U.S. and world affairs, it is crucial that any and all action we take be positive and nonviolent.

Love is the only answer to the heightened treachery and tragedy we now experience, not only in the U.S., but also around the world. Only love will still the waters.

We have forgotten who we are ~ beings of light. It is now time to remember. In our purest sense, we are love. And only love will prevail.

 We must not lose sight of this.

 Love is the ONLY answer . . . 

Chronic Illness and Self-Acceptance

Lucie Stastkova Art
Photo courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

Living with a chronic illness is a challenge at best. If the illness is devastating but not recognized by the medical establishment, convincing ourselves life is worth living becomes an uphill battle.

In the year 2000, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness that presented as a drop-dead flu. I’d been symptomatic since in the 1980s, but early on, flareups were few and far between. Innumerable doctor visits always produced tests with negative results. Over time, symptoms increased in severity and duration until they became immobilizing and constant in 1999.

I knew my doctors thought I was malingering. I felt invalidated yet knew damn well something was wrong. I lived in fear of a dreaded disease not being detected in time to be treated. Simultaneously, I wasn’t sure I wanted to live. By 1999 I was nearly bedridden; in debilitating pain; overwhelmed by fatigue; suffering varying degrees of GI problems; plagued by sleep disturbances, cognitive dysfunction, free-floating anxiety, panic attacks, and depression; and had a constant low-grade fever with sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. It wasn’t until I consulted a rheumatologist that I finally got a clinical diagnosis – one based on physical examination, as no definitive tests existed.

Since I was too sick to work and had been denied disability for two years, I exhausted my savings and retirement. Add to this that I had to advocate for myself while nearly bedridden, exhausted, and in constant pain, it’s no wonder I reached the point of planning to end my life.

So what stopped me? I had lists made of people to whom all of my possessions should be given. I knew where and how I would take the final leap. The only question left unanswered was when. What prompted me to delay making a decision?

Lucie Stastkova Art
Image courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

Antidepressants helped somewhat but left me feeling flat and worthless. I also hated putting pharmaceuticals into my body. Two things saved me: my spiritual practice and the constant reminder of love from treasured friends. I had to learn to grant myself the same acceptance, compassion, and love I so freely bestowed upon others. It has been said by many – myself included, at times – that we are incapable of loving another if we do not first love ourselves. But I found the exact opposite to be true. I felt deep love and compassion for others, but every time I looked in the mirror, I faced self-loathing for the specter I’d become. I knew that in order to survive, I needed to turn the same love and compassion inward.

My belief that Mother Earth is a schoolhouse deterred me from ending my life. If we incarnate to learn specific lessons, and if we leave short of learning those lessons, we’ll need to return and undergo the very same experiences in order to grow. I didn’t want to backtrack. I didn’t want to suffer the same ordeals when all I had to do was commit to seeing them through this time around.

It hasn’t been easy, but it has been rewarding. I’m no longer taking pharmaceuticals and don’t rely on allopathic medicine for anything more than relative diagnosis and emergency/trauma care. There’s no known cure for this illness and the etiology is unknown. I still have flareups, but other than low-level pain and fatigue, the symptoms are no longer constant. I’m still learning to love myself, and I wonder if that isn’t an ongoing struggle for all unenlightened humans.

My biggest challenge is keeping up with social media. Writing can be accomplished when I’m feeling well enough, but maintaining an online presence can be demanding. I often find myself merely treading water. And when in a flareup, I feel as if I’m trudging through neck-high water, pushing myself to complete the simplest of tasks.

Lucie Stastkova Art
Image courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

I’ve lived with this condition for over 25 years and generally take it in stride. But since flareups are random and of unpredictable severity and duration, I’m finding it difficult to plan and write blog posts, visit other’s blogs and share their posts on a regular basis, and read the books on my overflowing TBR in a timely fashion. When I visit blogs, my ability to comment depends on my cognitive state at that moment.

When in a flareup, I have to accept a stop-and-start work scenario:  work a little, rest a little; work a little, rest a little. And I’m usually unable to do little more than click on a few share buttons, unless the fatigue and mental fog clear long enough for me to write a few lucid sentences. If lucky and my head isn’t dropping to the keyboard, I’m able to do a reblog or create a post. The challenge in all of this is self-acceptance and not giving in to frustration.

I remind myself each day not to become my own worst enemy. Self-acceptance on all levels is crucial to survival. Compassion for oneself is as vital as breathing. What concerns me most is not being understood by the people in my life. It’s difficult to imagine – much less believe – what someone else is experiencing when their condition or situation borders on unfathomable.

I hope my fellow bloggers will understand when I’m unable to visit their blogs as frequently as they visit mine. I hope my fellow authors will understand when I’m unable to read and review their books as quickly as they do mine. My desire and intention are to pay it forward; at the very least, to be reciprocal. Yet when a flareup strikes, I fall short in meeting my goals. I’m still learning to accept this as a life lesson for which I contracted before I incarnated. We all choose the lessons we want to learn before we come in to this earthwalk. The trick is not to give up on ourselves.

Self-acceptance. Self-love. Self-compassion. I’m still a work in progress . . .

Until the next time, my friends . . .  Namaste ❤ 

Rejection: the Ultimate Teacher – Guest Post by author Tina Frisco…

Thank you to Chris Graham, The Story Reading Ape, for hosting me on his blog and for his steadfast support of authors 💖

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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Image courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

LuSt 4 ART

Rejection comes in many forms, from many places, and is very painful. What makes rejection so devastating? What causes us to react in a particular way? How can we use rejection to our advantage?

On a purely instinctual level, rejection threatens to extinguish our life force by depriving us of vital nourishment. No being can truly thrive without some measure of love and acceptance.

Rejection devastates when we attach our personal worth to someone or something outside of ourselves. Feeling worthy only when liked and accepted by those with whom we engage sets the stage for rejection.

When feeling disliked or ignored by another, it’s wise to step back and view that person’s behavior as a mirror our own subconscious. Often the things we don’t like in ourselves are reflected back to us by others, giving us an opportunity to examine what…

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Addiction and The Power of Letting Go – Guest Post…

A heartfelt “Thank You” to Chris The Story Reading Ape for guesting me on his blog. You’re the bees knees, Chris; the cat’s meow. Or perhaps I should say, the ape’s bananas. Not quite an analogy, but much more delicious 🙂 Chris has hosted many authors over the past 4 months, giving us exposure for our books leading up to the holidays. Aside from being an ape of the highest quality (King of the Jungle ~ the lion has nothing on him), he is an honorable man with a big heart. I know he’s probably blushing under his fur right now, but his praises can’t be sung high enough. Thank you, Chris, for all you do, all you give, and all you are 

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

OPlhev

Image is courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

LuSt 4 ART

You’re extremely disgusted with an old habit. You’re ranting. You’re pacing. You’re regurgitating. You’re spent. You pick yourself up from the floor, dry your tears, and swear on your life that this is the last time. You throw away all accouterments, all paraphernalia, all reminders of the loathed and dreaded addiction. You make it through the day with firm resolve. Then you awaken the following morning with an insatiable craving. You recall your commitment and fight doggedly not to give in. You argue with yourself. You become frustrated. The stress grows into a pressing mass in your belly. Then suddenly… a comforting thought: One more day won’t hurt! You acquiesce. You give in. And the roller coaster ride begins…

A teacher once told me that the masters, the avatars, often carry an addiction in order to stay in form — to…

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What’s Your Story? – Guest Post…

I am fortunate to be a guest on The Story Reading Ape‘s blog today. Chris is a generous and indefatigable supporter of authors who is much loved by the blogging community. Thanks so much, Chris! ❤

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

J77LWH

Image is courtesy of Lucie Stastkova

LuSt 4 ART

Our life is the story we tell ourselves.  As we think, so our life unfolds.  Energy follows thought.

Consider the laws of physics.  Physics is the science of matter and motion.  One of its foremost premises is that all matter converts to energy.  Therefore, that which is not matter is energy.  But what is energy?  We can’t see it, yet we know it’s there.  This is displayed when we flip a switch and the light goes on; when we accidently get shocked by an electrical current; when we sense someone is watching or following us; when we feel drawn to a stranger without explanation.

We react to this energy physically when we put our body – matter — in motion.  We react to it mentally when we develop an opinion – thoughts — of a situation.  And we react to it…

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Smorgasbord Short Story – A Soldier Waits – Sally Cronin

Sometimes we wish we were somewhere else or someone else, doing something other than plugging away to make a living, doing something we loved and regarded highly. Sometimes we wish our lives away, not giving a second thought to those who lost theirs too young or in service to others. In Sally Cronin‘s moving short story,     A Soldier Waits, we see life through the eyes of a young man who served his country and who now attends the annual memorial for the old soldiers and heroes of his village. The memorial is always conducted with great love and respect. While reading this story, I was reminded that where there is love, there is hope; and where there is hope, there is the promise of tomorrow. Take a few minutes to read this superb tribute to our fallen heroes…

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

short-stories-two

A Soldier Waits – Sally Cronin

David stood beside his comrades as they waited in the village square for the parade to begin. Despite their advancing years, the men stood as tall as possible, often with the aid of a stick. Two of their number were in wheelchairs, and had been guided across the cobble stones by their fellow old soldiers.

It was a typical chilly November morning with dark skies and clouds laden with imminent rain. Whilst inappropriate perhaps for this solemn occasion, the men standing huddled against the cold wind; wished for a few rays of sunshine. Their overcoats were shiny with age but their shoes were burnished to a brilliance thanks to the loving attention the night before. A reminder of a time, when the action of rubbing in polish and then shining the boots for the sergeant’s approval, was used for reflection. A time to remember…

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Now Is the Time for Love

lucie-morning-glory-bee-by-lucie-stastkovaImage is courtesy of Lucie Stastkova LuSt4ART

Last night, I was in shock. Today, I’m ready to join the protestors who have taken to the streets. I’ll be damned if I’ll let anyone take away my freedoms. This is not a time to hide. This is a time to stand up and face down the beast. As an older woman surviving on Social Security and Medicare, I could lose my independence – and quite possibly my life – should Social Security be abolished and Medicare privatized. But I will not be intimidated and I will not go down without a fight.

Now that my head has cleared, I’m sensing something is very wrong here. Battleground states like PA/WI/MI that historically have been blue (Democratic) states and that polls predicted  – up to and including Election Day – were Clinton’s, went the way of Trump. Something isn’t right. I suspect the power elite bought the election. They certainly have the financial wherewithal to do so.

With a right-wing Republican President, a right-wing Republican-dominated Congress, and a right-wing justice sure to be appointed to the Supreme Court, all 3 branches of government will be controlled by the extreme right. Make no mistake: This was planned and executed by the power elite.

Trump has been a self-proclaimed outsider since the beginning and was the perfect patsy, feeding the people what they wanted and needed to hear. He is so self-serving/egoistic/narcissistic that the PE easily could have persuaded him to run, with the promise of certain victory and on the condition that he do their bidding once in office. The plan: Put into office a puppet POTUS to ensure no congressional legislation be vetoed and no PE-backed laws be overturned by the Supreme Court. The goal: Advancement of The New World Order that Bushites and the lot have been working toward for decades.

But massive organic protests are occurring in multiple cities throughout the U.S., including Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Washington Square Park, Seattle, Philadelphia. This is only the beginning. The people are not happy. The Trump presidency will meet with colossal resistance.

It will be interesting – albeit frightening – to see how this plays out. But regardless of the dynamics, I refuse to allow the power elite to close my heart. I will continue to act from a place of love instead of reacting from a place of fear. I will not fall prey to hate, prejudice, propaganda, violence.

lucie-morning-glories-by-lucie-stastkovaImage is courtesy of Lucie Stastkova LuSt4ART

We are living in the time prophesied by many over the past several thousand years. The Earth’s axis is shifting, causing a multitude of natural disasters and moving us astronomically from Pisces into Aquarius. This is fact, not fiction.* Simultaneously, we are moving from a 3rd dimensional reality into a 4th (some say 5th) dimensional reality.** What this means is we are moving from a lower/denser (material) frequency into a higher/lighter (ethereal or spiritual) frequency. If our planet and solar system vibrate at a higher frequency, so must we. As above, so below. If we fail to lighten up, we will not survive. If the physical body remains dense, it will become ill and die.

Thus, the patriarchy – a dense material construct – is dying. As it is losing its life force, it is rearing its head for one last stand. This is what we are in the midst of right now. But if our species is to continue – if we are to survive – we must not give in to compression tactics. We must not constrict. On the contrary, we must expand. And the only way to do that is through love.

Now is the time to follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr. Now is the time to recognize compassion can be ruthless, in that it will permeate and disintegrate pain and fear. Now is the time to realize we can put someone out of our homes but keep them in our hearts. Now is the time to show the world this is not the end, but rather the beginning of a brighter world wrought from meeting a colossal challenge head on, with an open heart, with interminable love – and prevail…

Until the next time, my friends . . .  Namaste

*http://www.share-international.org/archives/Science-tech/sci_rrPisces2Aquarius.htm

**http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_dimensionshyperdimensions02.htm

Remembrance Day Tribute by D.G. Kaye

Remembrance Day in Canada, as well as Veterans Day in the U.S., are set aside to honor all those who fought for our freedom. In her inspiring post, D.G. Kaye reminds us that during this time of upheaval and uncertainty, it is in our best interest to remember that we can choose how we behave toward our sisters and brothers across the globe. Will we divide across fear-based lines of prejudice and hatred, or will we unite under love-inspired hoops of kindness and compassion?

remember-by-debby-giesAt a time when the world seems divided with so many fears of uncertainty, it’s a time to remind that we all still have a choice to unite, not only to make America great again, but help to make the world great again. Strength is in numbers, not held solely in the hands of an elected official. It’s the numbers that put these officials in power. The damage is done, as has been in all wars. It’s now up to all of us to work hard at being kind and compassionate to our fellow man.

Today I went out on my balcony for a breath of fresh air, and something which stares me blatantly in the face every time I do so, became so much more polarizing. An apartment in a building across from mine flies the Canadian flag proudly every day. I watched as it danced in the wind in all its glory and served as a reminder that no matter how much I’m unhappy about the state of our economics in my province, and particularly my city, that I am grateful for the many other things we have in this country.

poppy-by-debby-giesTomorrow is Remembrance Day, a day to reflect and remember all those Vets who fought for many of our countries for freedom. November 11th – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month is when we take a pause for a single moment of silence to pay our respect and remembrance for those who fought and died in battle for us, to end hostility.

Despite the loss of life, the world didn’t seem to learn after that war, as the second World War emerged only two decades later. In the decades that followed, more wars around the world ensued and still, there’s a nagging question mark lurking in the minds of many, wondering if it’s only a matter of time until the third World War might . . .

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