Monday, 20 April 2015

Book Review: Bridge to Beyond

In Bridge to Beyond, True Stories of an After-Life Midwife, Carolyn Ewing Cobelo reveals her real experiences of guiding and communicating with souls, as they cross over to the Other Side after physical death. Each of her fascinating stories is unique and individualized, mirroring the personality and cultural perspective of the person whose soul is making this journey. Carolyn has also discovered common, universal elements of the after-life passage, which she describes here in vivid detail. This book offers essential wisdom for anyone interested in life after death.

What an intriguing book! I've heard of Death Doulas, those who assist families. As a hospice volunteer I have assisted and advocated for those who are at end-of-life. Some have fears of death, but usually that revolves around fear of the dying process, being cared for, determined to die at home, and conquering pain. Some, as this author writes, need permission to pass over, fearing leaving loved ones alone. Several times, including my ex-late-mother-in-law's death in the 80s, I assured her that her daughter could cope without her, and she had turned into a strong woman. She passed over the next day. This concept is well-illustrated in the book. There could be much more the author could teach us, but it is only in the final chapter that Cobelo gives a brief two-page guide to meditation.

Bridge to Beyond is chronicling the author's work assisting the soul's journey into the spiritual world. I've had experience with such, having studied meditation (which I failed!), and reading a lot about spiritualism. It would be a hard read for some; atheists, or lapsed Christians. I have given up religion, having been in contact with too many who profess to be Christian, but fail to practise these values. It is Christianity-based, bringing in the symbol of Mother Mary, which bothers me. Archetypes are common in most religions, but many of us do not have positive experiences with organised religion. I understand the author's bias, but I would prefer, but the claim by the publicist that Cobelo mirrors the cultural perspective of her people is just wrong. Perhaps, more fitting, Mother God, if she wants a female symbol. Too many have had negative experiences at the hand of the Catholic church, with nuns and priests. I found this disconcerting.

I found the book difficult to process, as the author's spiritual journey, covered in these scant 66 pages, isn't chronological. Cobelo writes two or three times of her late mother's more recent after-life passage, as I recall, and then writes of an 1982 visit to an Ashram in Bombay, to see Baba. (Coincidentally, a late friend of mine wrote a book about her journey to an Ashram in the 80s, which I helped her edit in 2005.) Many of us have found such gurus and teachers, and this is interesting reading. Many religions incorporate archetypes, such as Jesus, and other prophets, common to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is a journey many of us explore.

There are three pre-chapters: the author's story; preface; introduction (total 10 pages); before we get into the body of the book. I found this disconcerting, as the author's story, surely, should be a part of the basis of the book. She is a prolific teacher, and has many books on Akasha sacred travel, but little experience, methinks, writing an autobiography.

Finally, there were two spelling errors I spotted. This may sound silly, but this bothers me! Autopcy should be autopsy (p. 37), and house should be horse. "In a few minutes I saw in the distance a herd of wild houses, stampeding towards us." (p. 51.)

My cactus blooms!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Cat stash: Dorah didn't want to share

Lady Annabelle isn't quite in the tribe yet. Dorah was in a huff as Annie'd ventured as far as this front yard garden and found her catnip stash. Dame Dorah is bigger than Lady Annabelle (12 lbs. to 7 lbs!), she tried to stare her down, but eventually they shared the stash. There are three wild plants here. Plenty for all!
I've found it interesting seeing how they do or don't all get along.

In the beginning, Annabelle was on the defensive, growling and snarling to keep them at bay. Buster is fine with her, he's a confident boy. Daisy will walk by and give Annie a whack, which is ignored. Even provoking her, Annie remains neutral. Dorah feels threatened, as well. Until now. 
My videocam is in the shop. Hence the photo series! Just flip through them quickly! I used the video of the camera video, but my hands aren't stable.

My's stash from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
Dorah found this stash the other day. Annabelle decided it was hers.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Wood ducks, Mallard, Wood frog videos

Thank goodness, my computer is repaired and I am back in business. A long drive into the city, twice this week.

I have processed the 118 videos from the Trailcam down at the frog pond. It has a motion sensor.
I whittled it down to a few scenes! It's a busy pond.

The sounds you hear are the Wood frogs chirping for love.

Duck action on the pond from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
It seems like 3 single male Wood ducks, one pair of Woods, another pair of Mallards, but I kept losing count! Mr. Wood duck kept his partner away from the other males!

My Sharp-shinned hawk did a fly-over, flying the length of the pond looking for a meal as I stood there! It was a bit scary! They are so fast.

If you are curious, this is what a Wood frog looks like: the video has its sound from the pond.
Wood frogs from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
They are crazy! Cold pond, chirping for lust! I was using my zoom lens, not ready for them to sing, and so I inserted a few close-up shots.

Flash forward...these are the eggs. This was a year ago.
Wood frog eggs from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
I took my girls (daughter and granddaughters) down to the frog pond where we did some casual pond studies. The wood frogs were singing for love. Lots of eggs in the water. We found a bullfrog tadpole and saw water striders and water beetles.

Spring unfolds as it should: Ospreys on the nest

What a delight. Near us, on the highway, we have a pair of Ospreys nesting. They had two babes last year. We'll see what this year brings.

They were endangered, in the 50s and 60s. Human ignorance of DDT and the poisons we put into the environment. Thankfully, these beautiful birds are soaring again.

On an aimless drive, which ended up on backroads, as well as a late lunch at The Cove, I spotted an Osprey with a fish. With water still frozen on most of our lakes, I wondered where on earth it found this large fish. Ask a question on the Lanark Birds Facebook group, get an answer: flowing rivers that are spawning grounds!

More meme critters #70

Friday, 17 April 2015

Paint Party Friday

My inspiration...
This is all made of wood, the buyer has to put the pieces together, mix the paints, paint it according to the number on the back, and put it together. It was bought at Crappy Tire several years ago, not by me, and the company went out of business.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Art is so much fun with grandkids!

I bought these decorate you own pillows kits. What fun!

Then, I sent some of my drawingsto the grandkids! What fun seeing them hanging above their beds!

My laptop is in the shop still. I'm realizing how difficult the iPad is to use with my deteriorating vision. My new glasses are wonderful, but I just like the big 17" screen! Ah well. I spent yesterday in the goldfish pond, trying to deepen it, since all critters have died. It is good physical work, with cats helping.
Walking down to the frog pond, Sharpy, the Sharp-shinned hawk, did a fly by, right along the middle of the length of the pond. It was intimidating. Do you think it would go after a muskrat, Red?! More on this later.

What a relief: frogs, muskrat

Spring peeper, in summer 2014
- note the X
My computer is in the shop. Only a video card that has died. It's covered by an alert and known issue, therefore free. Meantime, things are tense here! Thank goodness I can use hubby's machine.

My videocam is off, too. That is self-inflicted. I dropped it!

Daisy and I went down to the pond. Monday we heard Spring Peepers, Tuesday we heard Wood frogs.
We went down after we arrived home from the city, dropping of computer and videocam at two different stores!

While listening for the Ontario Atlas Frog Watch project, we spotted a muskrat. I'm now hoping that all three water rats are still alive. We shall see!
The photos are long, but you can see the hunched over muskrat, I didn't have my zoom lens with me.

Also, I heard a bird I did not recognize. If you are proficient, you can listen to the video...
Here are the wonderful sounds of spring, if you should so desire.

Spring Peepers Lanark from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Wood frogs from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Book Review: The Power of Legacy

The Power Of Legacy

Prolific author Randy Sutton is a retired police Lieutenant and the most decorated officer in the history of the Las Vegas Police Department who regularly lectures around the country about policing with honor. A successful author, for his latest book, The Power Of Legacy, Randy traveled the country to interview people who have done amazing things in their lives for the betterment of others.

The goal of the book was unique. It was not intended to feature these people and their accomplishments, but to gain an understanding of who their personal heroes are and who inspired them to become the people they are today.

You know, some days, you wonder why people are rewarded with powerful Senate appointments for no reason, except that they will be fundraisers. The ridiculous Duffy trial in Canada has been on my mind. Appointed senators, self-entitled, with 6-digit incomes who charge the taxpayers for meals.

This is an important book, to my mind. Many get recognition and rewards for simply doing their jobs. It always irked me. The award for the Teacher of the Year could be the person whose principal had the time to fill in the recommendations. There are so many unsung heroes in this world. People get up every day, care for a loved one, or punch in a clock, and make a difference in their spare time.

The people who should get awards are those who do something, not on their employer's time, but those above and beyond their call of duty. Randy Sutton has chosen stories about those whose lives have been changed by either a mentor, or a challenging or traumatic incident, and they have decided to make a difference.

What I like about it is that it shows how the Pay It Forward notion has a lasting impact. We carry on with our lives and we never know what will happen that will change it. It is our response to this that shapes us forever. For example, providing palliative care for my parents led me to burn out and quit teaching. I am now a hospice volunteer to one or two clients a week. It is a simple way in which I have managed to overcome my life circumstances, and changed my path, as many of these people have done.

The heroes in the book include Frank Shankwitz (Make-a-Wish Foundation), Gary Sinese (Gary Sinise Foundation for Veterans), Bonnie Carroll (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), Myrlia Purcell (Look to the Stars: celebrities who give back), author Jacquelyn Mitchard (adoptive parent).

This is an interesting chapter: Kevin Saunders (accident survivor, para-Olympic athlete, motivational speaker), and he has a wonderful YouTube video.

Kevin Saunders survived the largest grain elevator explosion in Texas history, and his life would never be the same. This is the story of how one man overcame incredible odds to thrive as a World Champion Paralympic Athlete, author and Motivational Speaker. You, too can find the champion within!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Our lakes are still frozen

Thankfully, I'd uploaded these photos to Picassa after our trip. My computer wonked out on me. Then, I dropped my videocam. Ah well. This is why we pay the repairs peeps the big bucks. Everyone has to make a living. Hubby's computer is a blessing!

Yes, southeastern Ontario is thawing slowly. Big Rideau is freezing cold, but the sun is warming us up. It's lovely in the front yard, in the lee of the front porch. Cats are quite happy!
But the rivers are flowing, and ice is running over the brink. Code Dr. was bleak, (no birds at all), except for the ONE chorus frog singing (you can year him here)! This is a Birds Unlimited bridge, and later the ducks, muskrats and geese will be here.

Another drive-by photo, over a bridge: the blue skies and running waters are wonderful!

This family has a bit of a front yard pond!

The Rideau's islands are still frozen, although the dark grey ice means that things are swimming along nicely!

This family, with a young 'un in front of the driver, mom behind the driver, was ditching. That might be a good term for it. Not sure I'd want my kids doing this...