Star-Gazing

“Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight. Wish I may wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.”

How many of us have looked up and allowed a star to touch our dreams? Or maybe launch them? As children, we would look up and chant at the brightest early evening star, holding onto a sacred wish deep in our hearts.

For my part I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of the stars makes me dream.

  download-5Vincent Van Gogh

There wouldn’t be a sky full of stars if we were all meant to wish on the same one.

 images-2 Frances Clark

The stars call to all of us, not just the artistically gifted such as Vincent and Frances. They are there, day (you just can’t see them) and night, and they touch each and every one of us who live on this planet, uniting the world with a sense of wonder.

Imagine… If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare.

images Ralph Waldo Emerson

They inspire us to live a better life, be a better person and to challenge ourselves to make a mark. With all that inspiration, they succeed in making us feel humble and very small.

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I’ve loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.     

Galileo Galilei

 

The power of stars is amazing. Just by looking at them, we are filled with a sense of awe. How many time in our life have we looked up and taken a deep breath, stopped what we were doing and breathed out, “Wow.” Some believe the stars have a healing power. I don’t know but I can say that one of my favourite things to do is sit and look out on a starry night and let my mind drift. It is so calming, it must be healthy for me!! 🙂

I have loved painting the stars for my latest book, Mother Nature’s Kiss. I was inspired by the circles in Vincent Van Gogh”s Starry Night, above. I wanted them to be loose and fun so I thought I’d share how I create a night sky.

 

While I am painting I listen to my favourite starry music:

So Long Lonesome, Explosions in the Sky play it here , Light the Night, Tracey Chattaway listen here and Glow, Lights and Motion yes, you’ll love it!

My dreamy music takes me away and lets me create, feel relaxed and happy as I paint and play as I go.

This was just a fun post to share and say hi. I hope you are having a great day and I wish for you a beautiful night. Check out the stars!

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xox

 

Connie and Lily’s Book Club

My book, Gifts of the Crysnix, is for people with big imaginations and big hearts. It is for people who feel compelled to root for a fallen champion and feel compassion for a lost soul. One who is in search for greater ideals and who is always willing to learn more about themself and be a better person can identify with the life-lessons that are gently persuaded from the pages.

When I wrote the book I targeted the message to young people at the brink of adulthood. I thought that reading a book with new heroes who are just trying to figure out the labyrinth of life would appeal to them. Although I have appreciated positive kudos from all ages, I had the immense pleasure of meeting six young ladies who I really wrote the book for. I was the guest author at a mother/daughter book club and got to meet my target audience up close and personal.

 

I have to admit, I was a little nervous because it was the first time I would have honest feedback from several people at once. You just never know how something like that will turn out! The girls were very organized with their questions and critiques. Exploring the origins of my inspiration and the depths of my research, we had a lively and spirited discussion. I was so impressed by the maturity of these 11-year-old girls and the intelligence of their questions and comments. All in all, the book passed with flying colours and I didn’t have to slink out of the room with my tail between my legs.

My young target audience is a group of people with literally the weight of the world on their shoulders. They are our leaders of tomorrow and they have a lot on their plates. I appreciate the steep learning curve they are on. The primary reason why I wrote the book is to remind the reader to fight the fear that holds them back, to advocate their moral compass and to realize that by just being your true self is enough to gain respect. I dreamed up the Crysnix to personify our inner voice. We all have to listen to it because somehow it knows the future and is always right.

If I can share a little wisdom to our future leaders, it is to trust our instincts, believe in ourselves and dig deep to create and live our best lives. These are heavy lessons and I used a beautiful world of fantasy and imagery to get the point across.

 

Thank you to Connie and Lily for an evening I will never forget. Thank you to all the girls and moms who were there that night. I absolutely loved the interaction! It was a real thrill for me to sign the books to the girls after they read it with them exclaiming to each other in the background about how much they loved it!

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What a treat for an author. For all those countless hours I spent conjuring up the story alone in front of my computer with only my imagination and hope for company, this night was a wish come true.

To see a video of me reading the Prologue set to the beautiful music of Thomas Newman, please click here

 

Poor Michael’s Emporium

Are there Crysnix around Clear Lake, Manitoba? Judging by the enchanting forest hugging the crystal clear waters and the terrific Onyx-like storms that race, boom and crackle over the area with regularity, I think there is a very distinct possibility they are near, waiting for you to make a life-altering wish and the chance to make it come true.

A wish is coming true for me this Friday as I am going to be launching and reading Gifts of the Crysnix at Poor Micheal’s Emporium. Check out more info here and here.

It is a fabulous bookstore and cafe that sells furniture, clothing, jewellery, original art and pottery, and is generally THE meeting place for a wander or a visit. Owners, Murray Evans and Lei Anne Sharratt travel the winter, visiting exotic places such as India, Bali and Nepal and bring back treasures for the store.

In the Clear Lake area, it is a must to drop by for an excellent coffee and a browse for your next favourite book, painting or piece of furniture.

An outdoor patio beckons with flowers everywhere and little seating areas for lunch or a quiet read. Evenings, there are often musical concerts and I hope the weather holds out for me to host my reading out there.

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If you are in the area, I invite you to join me for a glass of wine or dessert and coffee on Friday, August 26th at 7pm.

Wishing you a magical last weekend of summer 2016. xoxo

The View

On the back page of my book, my Bio mentions that I found my inspiration in the forest around my family island home. I have found a lot of inspiration in that forest and this summer I had the wonderful opportunity to go back and take a walk along the trails of my childhood.

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You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way. Walter Hagen

The occasion was the wedding of my son, whose marriage took place on an island on the lake where he grew up. We all grew up there, all six generations of my family, and it was the perfect excuse to go back.

The old “camp” has been renovated almost beyond recognition and the changes made were beautiful ones. However, the living room and a couple of bedrooms were the same and I inhaled deeply as I walked through the scents of six generations hidden in the fir walls. The verandah was gone. It was cool in every sense of the word. We would sit out there on a hot day shaded from the sun and on a warm evening, we could rock on ancient rocking chairs and look out at the view that seemed to go on forever. It was very cool, indeed.

We do not remember days, we remember moments. Cesare Pavese

The view is mesmerizing. Like a close friend, it was always there. I can’t count the times I would look out and feel a sense of calm overtake me. It wouldn’t matter if I was a small child crying from a bee sting, a hostess of many enjoying a large party, rocking a baby to sleep or quietly playing cards at night with my mother. Whenever I looked out, it was my happy place.

Walking through the camp, things definitely looked different but I would catch myself looking out at the view and the trees and the hill and be struck again and again at how little things had really changed. Fifty-five years separate these two pictures.

Life is very different for me now. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done when I walked down the hill for the last time. Now, years later, I walked up the hill again and marveled at the fortunes of time, how they twist us and turn our lives around. So excruciating at the time, we grit our teeth and endure only to find that life turns out for the better.

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. E. M. Forster

The memory of the view will be with me forever. Although it pains me that I can’t see it readily, I have it in the picture of my mind always. It’s like the view we have of our life. We can pine for what we do not have or hold our head up and look out to the new opportunities that are around the next corner.

This week, I am incorporating a publishing company. Years ago, when I began writing for children, I was inspired by the beauty of the forest on Treaty Island. Why not name the company Treaty Island Publishing Ltd.? It’s appropriate, right?

Below, I have shared a couple of poems about the camp. Hold On To the Past was written while I still lived there every summer with my small family. Now, the words are bittersweet as I watched my daughter mother the sixth generation of our family. It is about holding on to the memories in our hearts.

I think Night Light will be a bedtime story very soon. I wrote it one night as I was looking out from my bed. It was the light of a new cabin across the lake belonging to friends I hadn’t met yet.

Night Light Lake view

Enjoy.

Night Light was recently showcased by Scriggler. You can read it here .

Hold On To the Past

 

A certain realm of comfort comes when living in this place.

Everywhere I turn, I can see my mother’s face.

Her decorating touches, nestled in the corners last

And I feel a reassurance when I

Hold on to the past.

 

My father’s vibrant voice still booms through the rafters.

I still can hear the residue of tinkling sibling laughter.

We were so young, all of us. The future seemed so vast.

Much too soon, all I could do was

Hold on to the past.

 

The memories in the pillows, bathtub, garden, pots and pans,

Mom’s favourite chair, playing gin at night — now I can see her hands

As I hold my cards or hold my child. Traditions have been cast.

I mother generation five as I

Hold on to the past.

 

The view, the hill, the summer breeze, the deer eating the flowers,

The bears, the storms — and more — create the Camp’s compelling powers.

The cool lake consumes me with a daily bracing blast,

When reaching deep into the green, I

Hold on to the past.

 

The feel of cool dew on my feet, or thigh-burn on the hill,

The sound of loons or smell of pine are what makes time stand still.

Gentle waves in rhythm tap a halyard on a mast.

Sensations of the ages help me

Hold on to the past.

 

A silent pang of sadness comes. I take it all in stride

And think of those who lived here once and swallow tears of pride.

We mark our time in summers as our lives slip by so fast

And measure our heights on the wall and

Hold on to the past.

 

Thanks for reading. Remember, life is all about the view. Cheers.

The Winnipeg Launch

Hello, Winnipeg! Welcome to my launch!

Lisa Book Launch  05McNally Robinson Booksellers … (cue dramatic music …) a mecca for any prairie author to give a reading and launch.

It is one of the most beautiful and HUGE independent bookstores that still remains in North America and is the largest in Canada. You can just feel the unique touches as you walk in – the children’s section built like a treehouse, complete with a full line of clothing and soft toys, the fabulous Prairie Ink Restaurant and the photos celebrating hometown authors adorning the walls like a frieze of accolades. This is a special place and I was so honoured to have my launch there recently.

Thank goodness it wasn’t a scene from Thomas Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again! That expression was so false when I looked out at the many faces of the people who took time out of a beautiful summer evening to attend my launch.

Family, friends from my school days and friends of my parents, dear friends I can never see enough of and old friends I haven’t seen in years, all came to support me. I can’t thank them enough for their love and “being there” for me.

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My dear friend, Patty Christie introduced me. To give you the level of the bar of the people there, she came and stood at the podium to introduce me after a hip replacement two weeks before! Man, I have good friends!

 

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My best friend from high school, Ali Hanks came by and her husband, Bruce, (and by the way a huge shout out to all the husbands who attended!) took these pictures. Thanks so much, Bruce!

 

My readings were set to the music of Thomas Newman, lowland and Hans Zimmer. Quite an accompaniment! If you would like to hear the music again you can click here , here and here . The first selection was the Prologue and you can read along to the music for fun. It is very dreamy and dramatic and you just feel swept away into another world. I love reading to music and plan to create YouTube videos of me reading to these selections and more.

As I signed books and chatted with old friends, I felt so grateful for the reconnection to Winnipeg. True to the Crysnix magic, the whole evening’s success was a wish come true.

I just heard from John Toews, who is the Events Coordinator, that my book reached #1 that week! 

Here is a video I pulled together. Honestly, I need a resident high school kid to help me with this stuff! Just another reason why I miss my kids. Many thanks to my son, Lee for his amazing help through the evening and to him and his fiancee, Emily for putting me up and putting up with me! 🙂

A video of the evening and much love to all. xoxox

Old School

With a couple of weeks to go before school lets out for the summer, the students at Balmoral Hall School must have thought I was crazy when I exclaimed how GREAT it was to be back!IMG_2012

But, really, it was.

I began in Kindergarten and left in Grade 7. The memories are rich and textured and, although the school has changed quite a bit with brilliant new wings and lofty ceilings,

 

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the exterior of the old school is still there and the memories are visceral as I remember how it felt to push out the heavy doors and run down the stairs to the playground.

 

 

 

 

IMG_2007 I was struck by the feeling of belonging as I noticed the beautiful, bronze plaque from a capital campaign years ago, and chuckled at my name engraved on it. I felt proud of the connection

 

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My presentation in the beautiful Sifton Theatre Auditorium went off without a hitch as I reminded the girls to believe in themselves and to fight the fear that holds them back from living their best lives.

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After, I really enjoyed meeting the girls and hearing their DSC00675.JPGdreams of being a writer. There was zero doubt in my mind they would go places and have a significant impact on the world.

DSC00674It was an honour to put a note in a beautiful writing journal.

 

 

 

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I stood under the pictures of the Head Mistresses who were there so many years ago with me. There have been five more Heads of School since and I felt like I entered a time warp.

There is nothing left of the old senior school as I signed in at the new entrance. Complete with a buzz-in system and guard at the front, I wondered, what has the world has come to? as I clipped on my visitor tag.

 

Gone are the days when I used my crutches with my broken leg in Grade 1 and won at “Mother, My I?” under the glass passage. The old swing sets are gone and with them the original and all engrossing pastime of swing tag. The kilts are still there, though, and the prefects and Closing Exercises, and I am convinced the facilities, ethics and dedication toward our leaders of tomorrow are new and improved.

As I walked to my car, I glanced at the old Junior School. Still the tindlestone brick and the many windows we all looked out of, almost every day of our formative years. I paused and looked at one window in particular and a hilarious memory flooded in of when a schoolmate climbed out of it, causing quite a stir as she inched along the outside of the building and climbed in the next one. I remember telling my mom about it and she just laughed along with me. She was definitely NOT old school.

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Many thanks to Balmoral Hall for the warm welcome and the warmest of new memories. There is something definitely intriguing about going back … to the place of your foundation and the seat of your ideals and values and friendships and aspirations … to your old school.

My Hometown

 

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Sweeping, swamping memories flood in as I drive around the old, familiar streets. Anyone who knows River Heights understands when I say how the cavernous, verdant arches of the tree-lined streets whisper, “Welcome home, welcome home.”

I can’t help but drive by my old homes as my son now lives on my old street and as I go to visit friends, they live on another old street and as I drove into town and went to the car wash, I couldn’t help drive by another as it was on the way. Seeing the places where I once lived tugs at my heart as I remember the visceral details of switching on certain favourite light fixtures, the feel of opening a window in the spring or the heft of opening a front door, all insignificant at the time. All were just moments and motions in an ever-changing life that always moved too fast. Moments and motions that were torn and shoved into memory as life abruptly moved on. Now, as life is a little calmer and I am much more at peace with all the loss and change, I look at my old homes, not with sad nostalgia, but a reverence for the pace and resilience I developed in those years.

Winnipeg has a way of drawing old friends together as we all lived up or down the streets from each other. We have generations of tales of antics down the back lanes. “We trudged to school in minus 30 degrees up and downhill both ways…” was the joke of our parents and we laughed at the part about being in the hills, not about the temperature that earned Winterpeg its nickname. Close to the longitudinal centre of Canada and also on the pancake flat prairies, I actually have a lot of respect for anyone who can drive decently in snow. We played and grew and loved and lived in an urban forest and never realised how incredibly special the quality of air is from all those trees. Years ago an out-of-town  friend said Fess up – there are only five streets in Winnipeg and you have lived on all five! Pretty much.

My hometown is a place of constancy. Not a large city, it boasts beautiful women, bountiful nearby lakes, and culture to rival anywhere. The fans of the Winnipeg Jets are renown for their loyalty and that love and devotion just spills over into lifelong friendships.

I am here to share my book, Gifts of the Crysnix. This is big for me! It will be so poignant for me to look into the eyes of old friends and read my words – my heart – to them. I have chosen the biggest, most beautiful bookstore in town and it thrills me to think I will finally be launching at McNally Robinson Booksellers. If you would like to read more about it go here.

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A blurb about me from McNally Robinson was in the Winnipeg Free Press weekend edition. Out of the blue, I heard from an old friend, actually, someone I was never really close to but knew many years ago. She took the time to track me down through my website and say hello. It was so great to hear from her as she congratulated me and promised to read my book. An acquaintance from the past, in this harried, busy life, made the time to send me a lovely note. That is the kind of quality of people who live in my hometown.

I am so proud to be back in Winnipeg.

Reviews with a personal touch.

I knew that when I finally published my book, Gifts of the Crysnix, I would be “putting myself out there”, leaving myself open to criticism (both good and bad) and becoming vulnerable to sharing my life with the masses. Being a very private person, I think that is the reason it took me so long to pull the trigger, so to speak.

I took so many years, in fact, I began to ask myself if I would live to regret not publishing it at all? My answer was, YES, and so I steeled myself as I went about answering the promotional questions my publicist put to me with honesty, candor, and the silent hope that I was doing the right thing. Although it went against my core of being happy to stay under the radar, I realised that I would never be able to reach my potential readers and share my message if I didn’t just suck it up and go for it.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the tremendous, positive response and support I have received from friends, strangers and (wow?!) the reviewers. Below are a couple of reviews I have received recently.

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I am so touched that someone took the time to snap a couple of pictures of my book in their home – on a table and in the hands of a reader who is my target audience. My heart swelled to see that picture! My book … there in the hands of a young woman comfortably settling in for a good read …

Thank you so much to the gals at GROOVINMOMS for the time and effort they put into the review.

Here it is:

GROOVINMOMS review

 

The second review reveals some personal points from my past that are tender issues. After I lost both of my parents, I grew into womanhood feeling that no one had my back. I had to figure out life on my own. The life lessons I learned are some of the ones I wrote the book around. They are the reason why I wrote it. If I can help a young person figure out life a little by reading Gifts of the Crysnix, then I will have had their back. It means everything to me.

Many thanks to the people at Mystic Living Today, an e-zine about our mystic life. They wrote a very sensitive article about my book and me.

Have a look:

The Gift of Life Lessons

Hi from Signal Hill Indigo!

Hi Folks!

Check out the video on the link below for an introduction to my latest blog entry. 🙂

Hi from Signal Hill Indigo
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Recently, I had the immense pleasure of walking into my local big bookstore, Calgary’s Signal Hill Indigo, and seeing my book on the shelf there. Imagine how thrilled I was!

The staff at Indigo were incredibly welcoming. Stacey Kondla was a pleasure to work with and through the day, different members of the staff came up to me and introduced themselves to make me feel like a part of the gang.

My table was set up next to the Starbucks so, you can imagine how good the traffic was! I had my best day of sales ever and absolutely loved meeting so many people who were interested in my book.

 

 

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The day was magical as I soaked up the buzz of a big, beautiful book store and soaked in the aroma of coffee. The traffic was constant and I finally sat down for a quick bite at 2:30 across from my set up. It was pretty cool to look over at it and think to myself, “Hey, that’s MY stuff!”

My colouring page was a hit too. It’s always nice to give out a free gift. I also brought along my guest book which gave me the lovely opportunity to meet a lady from out of town who invited me to her town when I drive to Winnipeg this summer! I will take her up on her offer and look forward to meeting the people of Medicine Hat, AB!

 

 

As ever, the day was one to remember. I love talking about the messages in Gifts of the Crysnix. I get so excited to see the faces of the people I’m talking to light up with the desire to learn how to create their best lives.

 

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We truly have tremendous power over our destinies. Let the Crysnix  show you how.

 

Press Releases -“Gifts” are flying out to the world!

Wow! I just googled myself and there were 4+ pages about me! Crazy! I guess my publicists are doing a good job. I was kind of tickled to see, not only my books offered to countries all over the globe, but also the press releases starting to swarm like butterflies out to the world.

Have a look at a couple:

Broadway News

prweb release

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Butterflies are very cool and they exemplify the reward of setting your sights on a goal and the merits of tenacity to get there. I am writing a book about their journey through life that takes them great distances. I hope that my books will travel as far and more.

The life lessons offered in Gifts of the Crysnix are for every age and every culture. They take us on a ride where we see the metamorphosis from being self-centered to self-giving, from being shallow to magnanimous, from feeling insecure to feelings of tremendous self-worth. I may not know how to speak all the languages that my book is now offered in, but the message is universal.

Gifts of the Crysnix coverAs my novel is read, I hope people will come to understand that as we mature, everyone struggles with the same issues. It doesn’t matter where we are, what country or culture. I wrote the story to be set in a small seaside town that could be in any country in the world.

Let us all remember to believe in ourselves, to wish for the right things and live our best lives. Let us remember the lessons of compassion and selflessness, and how it feels good to live by a moral code of ethics. And let us know the strength that comes from humility and the power of forgiveness.

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It is the message I wish for humanity.

 

For more information about the magic of the Monarch Butterfly watch:

Flight of the Butterflies trailer