Month 9 – NATURE

IMG_6660 IMG_6639I’m taking David Suzuki’s 30 x 30 NATURE CHALLENGE (30 min. of nature for 30 days). It starts May 1 – join me!

Here are some great suggestions:

  • On your next walk, stop to smell some flowers.
  • That book you’re reading (or avoiding)? Take it to your favourite shady spot and dive in.
  • Choose a new trail, park or path and explore it on foot or bike.
  • Tap into your inner ornithologist and identify three birds. Take along a guidebook or app for help.
  • Go on a nighttime nature walk. Look and listen for the creatures of the night.
  • Get to know your inner artist. Take a pencil and paper to your local park, and try your hand at sketching.
  • Get your hands dirty in the garden. Not only is it great exercise, it lifts your mood.
  • Tap into your inner botanist and identify three trees. Need help? Try Leaf Snap
  • Take your camera or phone to a park or greenspace. Find some cool patterns or details to snap.
  • Nature is an acoustical paradise! Take some time today to just sit back and listen to the wind in the trees.
  • Take a notepad and pen to your local park. Sit down write whatever comes to mind. (You won’t ever have to show anyone!)

Month 8 – MUSIC

IMG_6715Oh how I hated piano lessons.

So, it strikes me as a little odd that ‘music’ is this month’s topic in my 21days2joy project. Throughout April, I am dedicating 21 straight days to music and trying to seek joy in the many forms that music can take.

I didn’t have a firm plan around this musical month except to purchase tickets to the Juno Awards. I figure if I listen to Michael Bublé, Johnny Reed, Colin James and kd lang all in one night, that should pretty much fill up my music cup and have me singing kd’s stately version of ‘Alleluia’ for the rest of the month (or the rest of my life?)

But strangely enough, on April 1 my in-laws arrived for a week-long visit. One of the first things they did was sing a song to our dear little daughter (in perfectly balanced two-part harmony). Then they sang ‘Johnny Apple Seed’ as a prayer at lunch. Then they sang ‘Amen’ at supper and then they woke up and sang ‘I Love the Mountains.’ This pattern of song and joy has been repeating itself daily.

The piéce de résistance was when my mother-in-law pulled out a few extra hymnals. I didn’t recognize many hymns from my childhood days in church, but the hymn ‘God is so Good’ leapt off the page. I scampered down the stairs to our piano with my musically gifted mother-in-law in tow.

I stumbled away on the keys as Susan graciously held her finger on each note (she recognized my piano playing disability immediately).

Then I remembered my favourite church hymn – ‘Prayer of St. Francis.’ We flipped to page 95 and there it was, in all of its noted glory.

I fumbled through the chords, and I floundered through the F-sharp notes and the A-minor chords. But my singing partner graciously followed along with the melody, singing ‘Make me a channel of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring Your love. Where there is injury, Your pardon Lord. And where there’s doubt, true faith in You.’

Oh how I hated piano lessons.

But oh how I loved that I could stumble through the Prayer of St. Francis some 35 years later – JOY!

Thanks mom for making me take piano lessons! Yes, you heard me. Don’t make me say it again.