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Bye Bye 2013!

me sideways

2013 was a busy year for me filled with surprises, many learning experiences and one huge discovery…my love for writing and I am getting better day by day!

I have written about my surprise and gratitude in receiving the Queen`s Diamond Jubilee Medal and to be able to get to Toronto to receive it with my colleagues made it all the more special and meaningful. I can`t find the words to say how grateful I am and to be among many wonderful amazing people who were also honoured that night. One woman whom I admire for her courage and her compassion is Pam.  She has suffered such a tragic loss and yet with her compassion she found the determination and the courage to go to schools to give a powerful message…there is help…suicide is not the answer and Kids Help Phone is one safe place that youths can reach out to.  Bless you, Pam, for doing what you do…you have no idea how much you have touched so many hearts. I feel privileged to have met you in person.

2013 was a difficult year in that more youths reached out with very very serious issues.  I am not sure if that means youths are struggling more OR if it means that they are finally realizing that there is a youth line that may just be able to support them.  If it is the latter, I say, good on you for the courage and trust you put in this help line.  I feel privileged being a part of this support and honoured to listening to  youths who are looking for guidance and a helping ear.

I am grateful for having 2 amazing adult children and a grandson in my life.  I know may sound mushy and a bit old to them when I get all weepy thinking how much I love them, but hey, that`s the way it is when you love your kids, right?

This past year I was fortunate winning 2 tickets to see Oprah on her grand tour with her inspirational message.  WoW!  What an experience.  I  am pleased I was able to share this with my son and that he even accepted to go with me.  I think 98% of the people there were women…so, yeah, he was pretty brave too…hehe.

After 4 years of searching for an organization to volunteer my services, I finally found a great place. Ami-Quebec which has run for 35 years is the ONLY  anglophone agency in Quebec that offers support to families and friends, counselling and peer support with those suffering with mental health conditions.  Over the years it has widened its outreach outside of Montreal by offering webinars and teleconferences so English-speaking people in areas far from Montreal can receive the same educational services.  I feel privileged to be volunteering here and to have received some enriching training as well.

Friends are family to me. Life could not be as fulfilled or enriched without these special friends both  in Quebec and in Ontario. They make me laugh and they hold me when I need to cry.  I am so grateful having them in my life.  Thank you for being in my life, merci d’en faire partie dans ma vie…vous ne pouvez savoir à quel point que votre appui me touche.

Speaking of Ontario…well, my cousin and his wife who is really like my sister and their son who is so precious and amazing and of course their parents…(my ma tante and uncle) my second mom and dad away from home give me so much and more.  Their home is like my resort where I can unwind, get pampered and just “be”…yes, I would say I come back feeling Zen!

I am grateful having the health to be able to continue working fulltime in a career that is so fulfilling and gratifying.

I have to say that the WordPress community has also touched me in so many ways. It is a support, encouraging and enlightening. I have learned and continue to learn about many issues especially mental health with my blog Stigma Hurts Everyone and reading about experiences people are generous enough to share.  Now why would I even think of going on Facebook when WordPress is feeding so many facets of my life? Oh, yeah, I know…to keep in touch with friends and to share my blog posts…yeah, that`s why.

Last but not least, my lovely feline friend who loves me unconditionally and if I don`t give her attention, she definitely lets me know!

I don`t quite believe in making New Year`s resolutions but I will TRY to walk more, would like to start Yoga again and perhaps swimming as well.  Let`s see how well I do there.  I do have a spiritual outlet however, which is writing more poetry and narratives.  Some day I may even compile some to self-publish…or at least to give to my close friends and family.

Happy New Year and wishing everyone peace and health in 2014.  Let`s get a bit more involved in the environment…that would be nice if we all did our part.

Blessings,

Cheryl-Lynn, January 2, 2014

The O’Donnell spirit

me sidewaysMae O’Donnell had been daydreaming, sitting in her rocker as her boys were playing a board game. She smiled fondly at her sons. She felt so fortunate that they enjoyed playing nicely. They never complained about not having computers or television. They were content just being together. Tomorrow she would bring them to the public library to get new books and stay for a few hours. There, they were allowed to get on the computer. The two youngest liked to play on-line games but Liam enjoyed doing research. He was surely to become something great someday, she thought proudly.

She went to the kitchen pantry to start dinner for her children who’d been whining to eat soon. “Come on, Mommy, we’re hungry!” the three shouted in union. The youngest of 5 years old yelled louder than the oldest of 12. Hmmm, she thought, that one takes after his grand-daddy for sure!!

She knew it was time to start scrounging for something to eat…She looked with dismay in her pantry…there was not much to rummage here, she thought. She had to go back to the welfare office to get more food vouchers. She had a can of beans, a large bag of sticky rice and half a carton of molasses (she always had enough molasses, so rich in iron and good for her growing family). This was not good indeed, she thought. What would she make for their lunches for school tomorrow? What will she do for the entire week? She did not have enough money to pay for the bus to the welfare office PLUS the food bank. She had to make a decision quick.

She cooked a big batch of rice and wondered what she would do. Then suddenly, she had an idea! She would make bean balls. She would roll up some beans in the rice and make balls. It would harden and be a great snack! She’d add molasses to the beans to make it sweet and sticky. Why that’s a grand idea! She thought hopefully.

She spread the cooked sticky rice that was on two large cookie sheets and spread the warm beans that she’d heated in a pot with molasses, sparingly to cover BOTH cookie sheets. Then she decided to have the boys participate and tell them her plan. They knew all too well that they had little money and did their best to make the best of things.

“Patrick, Liam and Sean! Come on over here and help Mommy. I need your gifted artistic hands to help me make Rice-Bean balls for school tomorrow.” They ran over to the kitchen table excited and shoulders held back pompously. They were young men helping their mom!!

They managed to roll out 60 balls. They still had not had their supper but they seemed to have forgotten how hungry they actually were. Mae boiled an onion in chicken broth and added the leftover rice…this would do for tonight, she thought.

Tomorrow the boys would sell each ball for .25 cents at school. The students often had Loonies and Toonies and the teachers liked her little special treats. That would give her at least $12.00…(she would give 4 balls to each son for their lunch and sell the remaining 48) enough to get a few things to get through the week. She could go to the corner store and get a few things to eat. Thank goodness they were part of the EMO programme with free Eggs, Milk and Oranges each week delivered on Friday mornings. At least the government did one thing right by offering healthy items for eligible families.

The boys did not complain; they were excited about their new project. Liam, the 12-year-old used to like calling his family the O’Donnell Entrepreneurs…If you need it, we’ll find a way to get it or make it.

“Mom,” Liam looked at his tired mother, “You know if we just mark “donations are appreciated”, we usually average more than .25 per item. Do you want me to do that?
His mother looked proudly at his son who was already 5 inches taller than her. “Maybe another time, Liam, honey. I don’t want to take a gamble on the generosity of folks this week. We need at least $12 to get through the week. Is that okay by you, son?” He nodded and went off to bed.

She finished washing the last of the dishes and got out her notebook to write in her journal. She wrote for a few hours. She yawned, “Time for bed now.” But she added one more line before turning in, Please, Great Spirit, make it that we get a nice surprise for Christmas, so the food bank will spare at least a small chicken for our dinner. Thank you for blessing me with the finest lads in the county!, Mae O’Donnell, December 17, 2013.

The holidays have their highs and lows for most folks. During this season, think of giving a little extra for your local shelter or food bank. This year our office surprisingly doubled their collection of non-perishable food and toys. Just think about it…if everyone gave a little extra, that would fill a few tummies for sure.

Give just a little, it’s better than naught
look at a homeless person this week in the eye and smile…
even if you don’t have money that particular day,
that’s okay,… just don’t turn away…
they’re also actually human by the way;
if you do have something to spare, then
don’t just throw the money their way…
look at the person and wish him/her a good day.
It does make a difference to be treated with dignity.
And trust me, you’ll feel better too!

Happy Holidays

© Cheryl-Lynn, December 17, 2013

3 years of Blogging already!!

I had not realized I started with WordPress 3 years already!  I first started with Alecoute-Ntouch   then graduated to Stop The Stigma   then Cher Shares

Ultimately I started with Ntouch to market my workshops and then I wanted to share my thoughts with chershares.  And finally it was really last year that I seriously put more effort in blogging on Stop the Stigma.

How fortunate it is to have a great community like WordPress. We have technical support for free, a community of creative writers and bloggers but mostly, I have noticed a wealth of caring and devoted people here. So to get this nice WP wish in my notifications tonight was truly a warm fuzzy blanket I could wrap myself in.  Thanks WordPress!

You registered on WordPress.com 3 years ago!

Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

 

What is PEACE?

 

Simple Sunday with Artist Delawer Omar     http://www.friendburst.com

What is peace
but an attitude
that will release
any inquietude;
it’s worry free
battle free
bully free
racist free
bigot free,
colour blind,
faithfully liberal
remarkably kind,
spiritually lenient
exceptionally charitable
massively tolerant
conflict free
purely carefree.

Childlike mentality
innocent, trusting,
seeking hospitality
lucent thinking.
Peace is never ever
second guessing
there’d be clever
deeds ever deceitful;
when there’s peace
all acts are truthful;
all is authentic
genuine, real.
like the Velveteen Rabbit
who became at peace
once he became real.
Peace is harmony
relating in accord
never feeling discord
what a lovely place
to be
when making peace
an essential
fundamental base
to perpetuate
to nurture
to promulgate
in one’s future.
Peace is love
love is peace
becoming one.
You,
I,
we…
are one,
living in peace.

© Cheryl-Lynn – originally written October 26, 2013

Dungeon Prompts – Week 11: Peace – Just a Word? What does it mean to you?

The good, the bad and the ugly.

 

This week’s Dungeon Prompt Week #10 is:  

Entitlement Ideology – Making Up the Rules as We Go (running from October 17 – October 23)

 

Gov.t ordered to turn over residential school file

Photograph courtesy of The Canadian Press

This exercise prompted me to look at the Good, the Bad and The Ugly of entitlement. This first part is the Bad and the Ugly, the last piece starts as Good and then, it all goes to interpretation, I suppose.

“As to the Indians, the guiding principle was, promise them anything just so long as they get out of the way”.- Stephen Ambrose

The above quote bothers me to no end.  I realize Canada is “starting” to make progress in talking with our First Nations People but still, we all know they have a lot of hours, days, months and  years before Aboriginal people in Canada can actually feel a positive change.  We, disregarded their rights and privileges.   We robbed them of entitlement to their land, to their culture and their language.  Residential schools comes to mind and yes, I AM talking about it still…the ramifications of such a travesty, of such oppression will trickle down for generations. It will take that long so their healing can commence.

Two years ago, I was privileged to be part of a group from our youth line to visit a reserve in Northern Ontario and ask youths in that community how we could better meet their needs.  The day before our meeting, my colleagues and I took a brisk walk near an old residential school outside of the reserve; the ghostly feeling walking around there was so eerie.  In our group, a young woman who was part of this pilot project told us stories she had heard from her grandmother and great-auntie who had been forced to go to this school.  Most of these youths had no clue they were thousands of miles from their homes. So when a youth tried to run away,  can only imagine the despair learning when caught to return to the school, the despair …they could not and would not see their family for, to them, a lifetime!

I cringed to imagine of youths as young as 4 and 5 that were literally ripped from the arms of their mothers and fathers by the RCMP.    Can you actually imagine such a thing?!

I recall speaking to a youth several years ago who proudly talked about a journal her grandmother had recounting her sad and tragic experiences in residential schools.  It’s important to document, to remember.  Part of healing IS remembering.

What is so sad about these calamities is that many First Nations People of that generation who were “condemned” to those schools, were brainwashed…told from 5 years old until they were 18 to speak ONLY English, to comply to a Christian religion of the white man, to forget their mother tongue and their culture…only to return to their homes as young adults having lost their identities totally.  They could not even communicate now their families.  They were confused as to who they were and feeling they could not fit in anywhere.  How can one heal from this?

Imagine you are taken away from your mom at an age where you cannot grasp certain concepts developmentally at the mere age of 4 or 5, punished if you speak to your sibling in your mother tongue and told over and over how ONLY the white man’s language, religion and ways are the right way. What an oxymoron…the right way is to oppress, abuse physically and emotionally? Let us not forget the sexual abuse as well…yes, the white man felt entitled to rob these people of their own rights in the guise of “it’s for their own good.” That sounds like the parent who hits his child and says, “It’s for your own good.”

This is but a small example of our country, our government who robbed our First Nations People of their entitlements…land, culture, language

Related Articles:

A History of Residential Schools in Canada

The Residential School System

 

This prompt of Entitlement also reminded me of the students protesting last summer 2012.

They walked the streets

for months and months

insist they couldn’t eat.

they said the fees

were way too high

refusing to comply.

they walked the streets

for months and months

banging their pots and pans.

they said they had a right

to demonstrate and march

still making their demands.

they walked the streets

for months and months

banging their pots and pans.

they stopped the students

at any time from going

to their classes.

and then they’d band

anyone from entering

so they could make demands.

they walked the streets

for months and months

banging their pots and pans.

They even blocked

Jacques Cartier Bridge

and said it was their right.

they made a lot of messes

without regard for classes.

self-righteous, they continued

to fight for what they claimed.

they walked the streets

for months and months

banging their pots and pans.

A week or two was fine

I even thought that cool

that youths would get involved,

to be part of a change.

But reasoning was not

to be part of their plan.

simply, me myself and I

the only game they had in mind.

Entitlement

was what they claimed

their only actual aim

for this important game.

They said it was their right.

and these were youths

who one day might

eventually run our state!

now that I’d really hate!

 

 

People gather at the start of a protest to mark the 100th day of a students strike, in Montreal, Tuesday, May 22, 2012. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Photograph courtesy of The Globe and Mail

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, originally written October 19, 2013

 

Related articles:

Quebec Students study in entitlement

Massive Montreal rally marks 100 days of student protests

Update on Street Art

Photo 1 -This was not for the graffiti but really for the lush greenery on this building about 5 blocks from my work.

Photo 2 – This is on a warehouse on a building on de rue de Gaspé like the following one.

Photo 3 – Above is one of many graffitis that were created during the night this passed summer on de Gaspé near Fairmont where I work.

Photo 4 – This is a painting that was surely commissioned on the side of a restaurant on St-Viateur near avenue du Parc; it is the background I chose for my website Stop the Stigma.  Isn`t it magnificient?

Photo 5 – I took several shots of this one; I have been admiring it for months when waiting at the red light on the corner of St Laurent and avenue du Pin;  Well, one day I got fed up and walked down St Laurent and took many photos of street art. There were so many, the sun was setting and I have to return another day.

This photo is the background of this website I just added this.  I may add other street art as backgrounds from time to time.  I just love the personality the artist gave this lovely old lady. Don`t you?

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, Oct. 2013

 

street art 1 Mile End 2013

 

 

graffitt-mural-de-gaspe

 

 

Street art 2

 

 

st-viateur-masterpiece

 

street-art.jpg

She had pink hair

Sept 26th spiritual aha moments and blue skies 013

On my way to work today
I listened to the music play
gazing here, admiring there,
reflecting shades from trees
sky looked aquamarine.
Got to parc Alphonse Lépine
saw a girl seated on a bench
so tranquil, calm and serene
admiring nature and listenin’
to music she had on her mp-3.
Hair beholdin’ deep pink hues
looked like it been dipped in fruits
like Pomegranate or raspberry,
looked funky, cool and trendy.
Unusual, yes, but her calm nature
pulled it off quite, nearly elegant!
seemed tall and slim of stature
when I got closer, she grinned.
I asked her if I could take
a photo of her, which just might
inspire me to write.

october-1st-and-september-29th-112
Her eyes widened, impressed,
flattered , she sat up straight
so she could properly partake
“click” the snapshot did take.
That sure made my day
I really have to say
I walked to work with a goofy smile
I had not really felt
like this in quite a while.
People who are kind and considerate
to a perfect stranger like me in a park,
warm my heart that the city didn’t rob
their genuine kindness away,
or harden them in any way.
Being a small town gal like me
I thrive on human kindness, Don’t you?
This now, restores my faith in humanity.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts,  originally written October 2, 2013

Photo credits: Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, 2013 – Parc Alphonse Télésphore-Lepine, Montreal, Qc.,

Time flies away

park muse

It seems like yesterday

‘twas only Sunday

and here we are

already Wednesday

Time flies away!

And such summery

glorious balmy days!

if only it could pass

slower and relaxed

I’d sit in the park

with pen in hand

and let my muse

soak up the land.

Such beauty

takes my breath away!

It seems like yesterday

‘twas only Sunday

and here we are

already Wednesday

time just flew away!

©Cheryl-Lynn Roberts,  originally written October 2, 2013

Photo credit: Cheryl-Lynn Roberts 2013

Autumn Leaves

Autumn leaves
that flock the trees
parks are mixed
with season’s pics.

Oh dear I’ll soon be late
but this just, cannot wait
Click click,  the yellow leaves
Change is here, I do believe.
I look above, the firmament hue
which forms a splindid backdrop
provides an artist his canvas – blue
Mother nature smiles at her milieu.

Autumn leaves
that flock the trees
parks are mixed
with season`s pics.

 

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts,  originally written September 26, 2013

Photo credits: Cheryl-Lynn Roberts 2013

Is compassion enough?

it seemed so hopeless
and hard to see the light
walking in the darkness
having lost sight
blind to any likely hope
focus only on despair
not seeing some DO care
that love is everywhere
one may just not be aware
yet…
misery is tormenting sometimes
but still … temporary…
suicide is tragic every time
yet still … permanent!
somehow we must try
harder
somehow we must speak
louder
somehow we must hear
better
somehow we must help
further
somehow we must never
stop trying, reaching, talking, listening
and above all caring.

by Cheryl-Lynn Roberts,  originally written September 7, 2013

Photo: deadlygothicdesigns.webs.com