pursue stuff that matters

pursue stuff that matters

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A phone call from John

in Uganda on Christmas Eve brought back memories of this transforming experience…
of a young Lord’s Resistance Army victim and a journey into forgiveness. If you have a few minutes over the holidays, it’s worth the read.

Such love here...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Three words...

"You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think." A Course in Miracles

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Heartfelt Connections

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ...   Heartfelt Connections Slideshow : ★ Heartfelt Connections Slideshow ★
LOTS of memories of beautiful Waterloo County, India, Cambodia, South Africa 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The journey back from cancer

When I shot this photo in Cambodia three years ago, I was struck at how something can thrive on seemingly so little.

Not long after taking this image I found myself spending long days and nights at the hospital
, tending to my partner who was fighting stage 4 Lymphoma, a serious wound, infection, and a number of other complications too painful to share.
It was a brave new world; where blankets are heated, drugs are dispensed hourly and the staff talks at you instead of to you. You waiver between wanting to jump across the hospital bed to strangle them, to being eternally grateful.

Ontario’s well-oiled medical machine is just that; a human-powered, often-flawed business. To survive, you have to steel yourself and create an armor of protection. I became a vigilant advocate and gave up trying to win the “spouse of the patient of the year” award. I was his eyes, ears, and often his mouth. If something didn’t sound right, I asked questions and stayed on the medical team. Periodically we caught mistakes: wrong medications, wrong diagnosis… lots of stuff at every level.

The 2-year journal I kept is incredibly detailed and not for the weak of spirit.
It reads like a movie script, sometimes horrific beyond imagination, sometimes tender and hilariously funny. But through it all… it tells a story of strength and love.

In the end it was love, and the energy of positive thought, with mantras like, “Ribbons of love and healing surround our beings,” that rooted us. And beyond all odds; like this Cambodian tree, we thrive.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Smile on soldier, smile on.

I had sunny expectations for this long-weekend. But minutes into my Saturday morning routine, I leaned over the bathtub and had a flash…. a visual of a friend’s recent restaurant experience when the server crashed a bottle of wine on her table. And in that instant…. the open bottle of dark red nail polish flew out of my hand into and across our 3-foot bathtub. The result was Pollock-ish.
I ran into the kitchen to retrieve paper towels and then watched as my right hand flung a full glass bottle of olive oil onto the stone tiled floor. Glass and oil was splattered everywhere.

One hour later, I was peering through the window of a walk-in medical clinic asking about the wait time. The receptionist shrugged, rolled her eyes and without looking at me said, “It might be two hours, it might be four.” The room full of people stared, waiting for my response.

That’s when everything began to slow down. I stepped out for a kick-ass cup of coffee and then hunkered down with a great book. And for the rest of the day, I smiled.
                                                            Happy Victory Day!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Break the rules: It’s Pasta Time!

“Sweetie, it is only two o’clock. Way too early for dinner,” he says, as tomato sauce simmers, water gently boils and I prepare dough for the cutter.

The afternoon sun streams through the kitchen windows, bringing spring’s hope and a sing-song that encourages breaking rules. Smiling, I wipe my floured hands on mom’s crocheted tea towel and crack open a dusty red, dark grape Syrah. He watches quietly as I transform egg and flour.

“Thin or fat noodles?” I ask, even though I already know the answer.   

One ball will generously feed four. I cut it into three and flattened each piece into ovals. The ovals are squeezed thin through rollers then cut into elongated fifteen inch lengths. It’s a magical process.

Simple foods; simple pleasures.

Within five minutes, the powder-white noodles take on their yolk colour and are perfectly cooked; filling our pasta bowl with steaming fat al dente spaghetti topped with a thick peppery sauce and grated cheese.

Fresh and organic; from flour to tomato, we chose well.

And through the making, cooking, talking, laughing, eating… we are once again, deliciously present.

Photos by Deb Cripps

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Original thinkers make me smile

They are resourceful souls whose thirst for change is beyond the ordinary. They face the possibility of making horribly wrong decisions, while intentionally taking I-may-have-to-eat-this shit risks, and move boldly forward. Give original thinkers a challenge and they’ll manifest solutions that will blow you away!       
Here are a few.

The problem:
Starving artist cannot sell his art and cannot pay his rent.

The risk:    
Bill Lishman, secretly (in the middle of the night) moves his life-size sculpture of an automobile-scrap horse with an exhaust pipe jutting out of its butt, to the middle of Toronto City Hall and abandons it.

The outcome:    
Bill’s career took off; he became world renown as an artist, ecological hero, film-maker, author. His life story was made into a successful Hollywood movie. http://www.williamlishman.com/

The problem:    
Man breaks his back in fluke hang gliding accident and becomes paraplegic.

The risk:    
Three weeks into rehab, Carl Hiebert hung a “gone flying” sign on his hospital room door… a short time later he became the first paraplegic flight instructor and the 1st pilot to fly an ultralight across Canada.

The outcome:    
Carl made aviation history; became an inspiring adventurer, photographer, motivational speaker, and philanthropist. He has six best-selling books. http://www.giftofwings.ca/

The problem:    Chef’s dissatisfaction with Canada’s general food culture and food industry causes him sleepless nights.

The risk:     Michael Stadtl√§nder drove a biodiesel-powered bus across Canada, cooking on beaches and in forests, utilizing food sources found along the way. He hosted 500 chefs at his farm – in an effort to connect chefs, farmers, fishers, gardeners and foragers.

The outcome:     Michael is one of Canada’s great chefs responsible for helping to propel the organic and local food movement. His Eigensinn Farm restaurant was rated ninth in the world. http://eigensinnfarm.blogspot.com/

Deb Cripps  http://www.tryoneofakind.ca

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Medical Twilight Zone

Has the universe ever tried to communicate something important to you (in a variety of ways and through different people), but you decided you were not ready to learn that life lesson yet?

I’m a private person. And although professionally I am quite public, I value my personal space and have been resisting issues around that particular sensitivity for a number of years. It’s ego-centered, and no doubt part of my, “What will the neighbours think!” upbringing.

That was until I stepped into the medical twilight zone.  

For approximately one and half years after our family switched family doctors, I couldn’t for the life of me change the doctor on record at the hospital. This was during a challenging period when our family’s hospital visits were often weekly.

I personally visited the health information management department on the hospital’s first floor and filed an official complaint. I also phoned several times, explaining that our new GP wasn’t part of the information loop—and besides feeling like my personal business was being hung out on an old line like dirty laundry—this missing link was impeding our medical care.

But month-in, month-out… visit after visit…. the old doctor’s name kept showing up.

Until, the ODDEST thing happened….

Five months ago, I sat at the intake cubical in Emerg with a young RN who looked at her computer and commented, “So, your doctor’s name is ‘X’”.

“No,” I responded, while stifling a laugh and surprising myself at finally seeing the humour in it all. “He hasn’t been our doctor for almost two years now,” I smiled.  

My guy was then admitted for a short stay and on discharge day, I showed up promptly at 12:00 to find him fully packed, grinning from ear-to-ear, ready to be sprung.

We immediately buzzed an attendant and asked for discharge papers. The attendant said he couldn’t locate the paperwork, so he’d have to track down the nurse who happened to be having lunch. The attendant returned again, and informed us, with a perfectly straight face,
“Your nurse said she already gave you (he points to me) your discharge papers.”

Well, NO we explained patiently, we haven’t received any paperwork, and after about a frustrating thirty minute discussion, the conversation at the nurses’ station got a little heated.

Finally, the charge nurse leaned over her desk and yelled, “You have your paperwork, go home!”

And in that intuitive moment, I replied, “YOU have discharged the wrong patient.”
Sure enough. Like a Monty Python script playing out in front of us, red-faced nurses realize they discharged the old gent who was staying in the bed next to my guy.

He wasn’t supposed to leave. But at 10:00 am that same morning, they packed up this senior, told him to go home and gave his wife (who they thought was me) all of my guy’s personal info, prescriptions, etc.

While we sat at the nurse’s desk waiting for new paperwork, we watched the kafuffle and heard the charge nurse yell again. This time she was on the phone with the old gent’s wife, “Bring your husband back; he wasn’t discharged!”

Just to set the record straight….The other couple in this mix-up was not similar in any way; they were of European decent with heavy accents and at least 20 years our senior. Also, it is hospital policy for every patient to wear a wrist band with their name and birth date on it… which according to policy, is to be removed before the patient is discharged. 

Breech of confidence? Yes. So, on our exit, I made a quick detour to the first floor again and shared this story with a big-eyed clerk who took copious notes.

Breech of privacy? Absolutely! But also one of most hilarious life events I could ever create. Life lesson learned. We’re all connected anyway, and in the end, what does it really matter what your friends, family, neighbours know or think.