Just keep swimming.

 If you have followed this blog for awhile, these girls must look familiar to you. My friendship with them began 3 years ago when I moved to Pikangikum.

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The desire to keep to myself in the first few weeks of arriving in a new place is very strong. Especially when I don’t know anyone and I am the only black person for miles! Because of this, I push myself to do the very opposite of what my mind is telling me to do. I purposefully put myself out there and go make friends. It is with this determination to make friends that I walked over to their home unannounced, not quite sure how I would explain my sudden appearance. By the time I was at their doorstep I had decided to go with the typical greeting that everybody back home will use when they rock up announced, ” I have come to visit.” I wasn’t quite sure what to say after that but my determination to make friends was stronger than my fear to stay away.

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These girls decided they did not like me the moment they saw me. Their first reaction to seeing me was a lot of screaming, crying and hiding away. The panic lasted awhile but their grandmother was very accommodating and in the midst of the wails and calls for grandma to come to where they where we tentatively held a conversation of two people getting to know each other. I must have spent an hour in their home that day and thankfully by the time I left, the girls had calmed down completely. Even after they realised I was quite harmless, they would not come any closer to me. I  assured grandma I was not bothered and confidently told her, eventually, the girls would warm up to me.

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I made a point of visiting the family once a week, a month went by and the girl’s reaction remained the same. That month turned to two then three, rolled into four, passed five and still the girls would not accept me. On my part, I did not impose myself on them, I waited. It was sometime in my sixth month of knowing the family when the change occurred,  by this time grandma and I were very comfortable with each other. That afternoon, I walked into their home fully expecting the usual cries but instead, I was greeted with three toddlers joyously shouting my name, running towards me each clamouring to give me a hug. I was amazed. I knew there and then, I had just made life long friends.

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I have often times found that we long for the fruit that comes with genuine friendships but we cringe and hide away from the work that needs to be put into making community happen. Obviously, my case with these adorable girls is extreme but the lesson is still the same. Healthy, long-lasting relationships are hard work, there is just no way around it. Most times pursuing friendships takes patience, sometimes it is messy and occasionally the temptation to walk away is strong. The Bible shares an incident when one of Jesus friends asked him how many time he had to forgive his friend.The Bible does not give a back story to his question but I can only assume the man was deeply offended with his friend and wanted nothing more to do with him. Jesus answer raised the bar for any of his followers, his response to the question was, he had to forgive 70 times 7. In other words, you never stop forgiving and you never tire of loving.

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When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and pursued a friendship that you know would stretch you to the limit? Sometimes some of the best relationships are made when we courageously step out in faith even when we are afraid and have no control of the outcome.

My little pony

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One of my highlights whilst visiting friends in Southern Ontario was watching my friends daughter at riding school. She is five years old and the youngest at the school but from what I saw (even though I don’t know much about all things equestrian), she has incredible poise and confidence with Cassey her riding pony.

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Cassey is more like a medium sized horse than an average pony and enjoys to nip people in their rear anytime she feels inclined to. I was told that even though she is far from the most powerful, graceful and even beautiful in the stable she has the bossiest attitude towards her fellow compatriots. I am sure it does not surprise you that the other horses loudly make their displeasure known each time she walks passed them, not like it bothers her one bit. Compared to Cassey, Isla is pint-sized but had no qualms making it clear to Cassey who was boss the moment she was riding her. It was a delight watching Miss Fearless, I guess Cassey found her match!

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P.S I should have been flying home by now but I had problems at the airport yesterday. Thankfully I got a new ticket for Thursday, nothing short of a miracle!

Blueberries

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I went blueberry picking on Saturday. I cannot say that picking is fun, far from it, it’s all hard work but I enjoy going out because of the peace I encounter on a patch.

Sometimes I listen to music or sing as I pick but this time around, I wanted to listen to the nature around me. I would challenge myself to block all other sounds except for one. It’s amazing what your ears will pick up when you do that.3

I picked up a lot of interesting sounds but what held my attention the longest was the wind. Wild blueberries grow best in areas where trees are short and shrubs are plenty, this particular patch had tall trees surrounding it in a U shape. As I picked berries I would hear the different sounds of the wind, as if everything around me was there to translate what the wind was saying.At times the trees sounded like a group of overly excited girls sharing sweet morsels of gossip, pausing from time to time to make sure no one was listening to them. The soft whoosh and rustle of the leaves like lovers whispering sweet nothings to each other,  other times it sounded as if the wind from different directions was converging on the patch, reminding me of the steady hum of a busy international airport. So much going on at the same time but all in an orderly fashion Then other times the wind would howl, the trees would bow, the shrubs shudder like friends in a heated argument aware that the longer they went on the harder it would be to repair the damage. Nothing good ever comes from gossip even though at first it’s tantalizing to the ear.

Looking to the sky I could see that the wind was bringing rain, I tried to hurry along with my picking but I would relapse to a slow pace as I again sat in silence and listened to the wind and the conversations it brought my way.

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Days gone by

A few of my favourite shots from the past two months.

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I am watching the opening night of the Olympics as I edit pictures. Made me think of Paul, one of the Bibles writers and something that he wrote:

 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Watching the show has got me thinking, do I have goals or am I just living? What dreams must I keep holding on to? How am I embracing discipline in my life? and am I really running my race in such in a way that says, ” Yes, I am running to win this ?!”

Good night friend.

 

Nifty fifty.

 

I finally did it, I have crossed over into the world of camera lens, FYI the ones I have been using are the ones sold together with the camera. So happy, I am! I did some saving and bought a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM. I know that sounds like gibberish for anyone who is not into photography. Basically its the cheapest Canon lens that makes it easier to take detailed photos of anything.

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I went out for a two hour walk today, hoping I would find more evidence that winter has truly gone. Seeing as last year we where dumped with a pile of snow in the middle of May, I am not holding my breath.

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Well, at least in my neighbourhood, there are no flowers at all, not even a hint. Just a lot of dry grass, *grumble *grumble.

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But lucky for me I found something that was blooming, I don’t know what they are called … maybe its a Birch tree bloom??

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Good heavens I am horrible at naming flora … Anyways, Enjoy!

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Looking forward to teaching myself more on what I can do with this lens.

May I never loose the wonder.

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I have been back in Pikangikum for two weeks now. Yesterday I took my camera with me as I did work and errands. Since it was too cold to take time on one shot, it was pretty much point, shoot and keep walking 🙂

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