The Young and The Old

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” – Greek proverb

untitled2Each generation, at some point, bemoans the world they have inherited from the previous generation. With their whole lives ahead of them, they vow to leave a better world for the next generation.

Then life happens.

The drive to provide for, and protect, their immediate tribe becomes priority. They  block out the injustices in the rest of the world, not entirely, but where these issues intersect their own survival – they choose to protect themselves.

This is not necessarily a bad thing.

This is how we have survived for tens of thousands of years.

We’re not really wired to think about 10, 50 or 100 years from now.

But perhaps in our old age, with our lives mostly behind us, we are freed up to think about future generations.

Perhaps then we are willing to plant the tree whose shade we will never personally enjoy.

I wonder what we could learn and what plans we would conceive if we listened to the idealistic dreams of the young and tempered them with the life-time wisdom of the aged.


Friday Pick 117

Bonnie over at BonsEye has a pretty remarkable relationship with her 10-year-old son. She’d tell you that he’s an old soul and his humour is on par with many adults. I haven’t been following BonsEye very long, yet I am drawn to her blog. Her writing is philosophical, reflective and one senses a quiet wisdom throughout.

In Bonnie’s own words:

What about me? Lots to say Just not sure yet! But I have a better idea…now. It’s a work in progress!

This week, I’ve chosen the post below as my Friday Pick.

In this post Bonnie shares her latest vacation adventure with her son…

Go ahead and visit the link below

and tell Bonnie Diana sent you…

If Trees Could Talk by BonsEye


*I’ve closed my comments in hopes that you will leave a comment on the writer’s page*

How To Distract People From the Fact that You Did Not Spend a Lot of Money on Their Gift

Imagine my delight when I found out in a private message via Facebook that my favourite Canadian, Scottish, Israeli friends were coming to Alberta, Canada for a visit!

I was beside myself with joy, eagerly anticipating their visit.

They arrived last Thursday and are staying with friends in Olds, about an hour’s drive away.

My favourite Canadian, Scottish, Israeli friends; George and Annie, contacted me on Sunday to let me know they were coming to Calgary on Monday.

Maybe I should explain why I call them my favourite Canadian, Scottish, Israeli friends before going on.

I’ve known George for 24 years. He met Annie who was born in Uganda, moved to Scotland with her family in her teens, went to school in England, then moved to Israel where she was working as a nurse, when he visited some years back. That’s where they met and they just clicked.

Are you still with me?

I met Annie when she visited Canada and her and George worked at Mountain Aire Lodge together just outside Sundre. George and Annie were married in Scotland and that’s where they currently live, close to Annie’s family.

Anyway, I was beside myself with joy, eagerly anticipating their visit and wanted to surprise them with a unique gift.

The trouble is I currently have more time than money. Luckily, I found a gift that was unique and would give them and others the giggles for years to come.

Although I chose a brilliant gift (I have to be careful here not to break my arm, patting myself on my back), it’s not an expensive gift. So what on earth could I do to distract them from the fact that I did not spend a lot of money on their gift?

Well fortunately, I currently have a lot of time on my hands to plot and be creative and I thought it might be helpful to others for me to share my technique.

What to do when you want to distract people from the fact that you did not spend a lot of money on their gift

Turn the Giving of the Gift into an event.

GET A BLANK CARD or make one with the cardboard from an old cereal box or something, whatever… and fill it to the hilt with lots of words. Just go on and on about nothing in particular.

I chose to ramble on about my thought processes at the time of purchasing their gift and ran through all the gift options I had considered and why I scrapped each, one-by-one, until I found THE gift that was now wrapped and on the table in front of them.

Next. Make them read the card out loud before opening the gift. Annie had reached past the card for the gift and I said, “Hey, hey read the card first!”

Hint: It is more fun for you if you write with small letters and present the card in a place where the lighting is poor.

GIFT PRESENTATION. Wrap the inexpensive gift in plain paper. Paper grocery bags work. Decorate the paper with drawings, clever words, stickers, buttons, uncooked macaroni, or left over Christmas bows. Let your imagination run wild!

Just look at the amazing results I got below using a white grocery bag and 4 dry erase markers!

Art and words on the front of the package

Art and words on the front of the package

I have actually been drawing that guy with the big nose behind a wall since I was a kid. I’ve drawn him at the end of letters. I’ve drawn him on the back of sealed envelopes when posting letters, I’ve drawn him on furniture – you name it.

I took this picture and texted it to my daughter and she texted back, “Hey, I remember that guy, you put that on all my birthday cards!

But I have never – and this is where it gets exciting – I have never drawn Mr. Big Nose from behind! Great idea or what?

Fortunately for me, the wrapped package had two sides, so when I was done with the front, I flipped it over and…

Art on the back of the package

Art on the back of the package

I took a picture of the back of the package and texted it to my daughter. She texted back, “Bahahahahahaha!”

Well there it was on the table in front of them. Annie started to unwrap it and I said, “Hey, hey look at the back!” So they looked. And they laughed. Annie unwrapped the gift carefully. She wanted to keep the paper. And they even loved the gift that I didn’t spend a lot of money on. In fact, I think they thought it was expensive, like $800 or something, whatever…


When did you last set aside some time to be creative? Let your imagination run wild? Do you have friends that you don’t see often because they live far away? When you do see them, do you just pick up where you left off?

Their left hand doesn’t know what their right hand is doing

There is not a man of us who does not at times need a helping hand to be stretched out to him.- Theodore Roosevelt

Everyone needs a hand up at some point

Everyone needs a hand up at some point

In my life I have had opportunity to help some people.

It works best, when done in secret; something I learned from a group of men I have never met!

Somewhere in Calgary, there’s a group of men who want to make a difference.

They don’t do it for recognition.

They don’t do it for a tax receipt.

They just want to share from their bounty with others.

Each year they contribute a sum of money into the pot and wait for the opportunity to bless someone who needs help.

They solicit the help of a local financial planner to find an individual who is struggling and he shares that person’s story with the group.

The group then sends this financial planner to deliver the gift, without revealing who it comes from.


I personally know what it feels like to be at the receiving end of a random act of kindness. Click here to read that story!

Friday Pick 116

I’ve been following The Journal for some time and have enjoyed their posts of stories, reflections, ideas and even tips on How To Not Suck Online. I’m sure that you will be as intrigued by the vastness of topics and observations made on the Journal as I have been, so go on over and have a look around!

In The Journal’s own words:

I am the enthused editor of the lifestyle, culture and interiors magazine The Home Style Directory. This journal is a smorgasbord of things that fascinate my tiny brain! I was enlightened about the sexiness of WP by Michael a fellow staff member. So now I come to conquer!!…Or indeed play conkers, whichever is most viable.

This week, I’ve chosen the post below as my Friday Pick.

In this post The Journal shares the empowering story of Truman Duncan in spite of his disability…

Go ahead and visit the link below

and tell The Journal Diana sent you…

Man Survives Being Cut In Two by The Journal



*I’ve closed my comments in hopes that you will leave a comment on the writer’s page*

I love you in a ditch


This “Dr. Seuss” type invitation would set the tone for the wedding.

We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.

The Ceremony

On Saturday I went to Sabrina’s and Daniel’s wedding, a 2-hour drive from Calgary, on the beautiful grounds of Sanctum Retreat, just outside Caroline, Alberta.

Before the ceremony started, children gathered to hear the story Horton hears a Who by Dr. Seuss. In fact the whole wedding had a Dr. Seuss-ish kind of feel to it.

One knew almost immediately that this wedding would be a bit different when a drone equipped with a camera flew overhead!

The father of the groom, Pat Nixon officiated the ceremony, incorporating vows that sounded like they were written by Dr. Seuss himself!

The bride and groom, and all in attendance,  giggled when in turn they said, “I love you when we’re rich, I love you when we’re poor, I love you in a ditch.”

I turned to the guy on my left and said, “I hope they’re not serving green eggs and ham at the reception!”

The reception

We gathered in a great, big, white tent, worthy of a party in Whoville and waited for the bridal party, and ultimately the bride and groom to join us.

The emcee, Daniel’s brother Jeremy, informed us that they would not be showing up until it sounded like we were celebrating. He instructed us to say, “OH YEAH,” together in our deepest voice.

You must listen to the above while I continue. Go ahead, click play, I’ll wait…

Ok, all set?

This is the tune that blasted through the tent as, couple by couple, the groomsmen and bridesmaids headed to the dance floor and performed (I use that term lightly) their own choreographed … umm… dance.

They did not look like they felt awkward at all, nor did the wedding guests seem to perceive any awkwardness whatsoever in this display.

Stories for kisses

We were told that the bride and groom would kiss, not by our clinking of glasses with spoons, but by our telling of stories. I had a story to tell, but I chose not to, because my story was one that resulted in damage years ago because of, you guessed it, a kiss, or rather the blowing of a kiss!

Years ago, when I was a volunteer at the Mustard Seed, Annelie another volunteer, blew a kiss at 8-year-old Daniel through the window as she stood outside on the deck.

Daniel, whom it would seem has always been a little more affected by gestures of love than the average person, reacted by running through the window pane, shattering the window.

I did not wish a repeat of this story. So can you understand why I chose to stay quiet?

Many stories were told and much laughter ensued. Here are my two favourites:

     A friend of the bride told of a day when she and others were helping the bride move. They’d loaded the car up with all of her clothes and were driving down the street. People in other cars were trying to get their attention with frantic waving and honking.

Somehow, Sabrina’s clothing was tumbling out into the street and the girls found themselves picking up underwear that was scattered all over the road.

     A friend of the groom told the story of when he and the groom worked for Daniel’s oldest brother Jason at Mountain Aire Lodge. The Lodge was quite isolated and they were bored one day, so they set off fireworks in the bush. A small fire was started, they put it out and snuck back to the lodge feeling as though they narrowly escaped disaster.

Jason caught wind of their escapade and to teach him a lesson he told Daniel the next day that there had been a dangerous forest fire and lots of damage resulted.

Daniel, who had always thought this was a true story, piped up from his seat at the head table, “You mean that wasn’t true? I fessed up to that incident when I tried to apply for the police force!”


There were many good speeches. Some touching. Some funny. The parents of the bride and the parents of the groom gave particularly touching speeches. But I won’t tell you about them in the interests of brevity. One speech did stand out though and exemplified brevity.

The Best Man, Shane, youngest brother of the groom stood at the podium. He admitted being nervous and then shared that he once was told that the Best Man’s speech should not be longer than it takes the groom to make love to his wife. He then thanked everyone and sat down.


A lot of other stuff happened. A lovely meal was served. A touching presentation of photographs and music told the stories of Sabrina’s and Daniel’s childhood. Laughter, tears and great conversations were enjoyed.

At some point in the evening, someone asked me, “Where’s Daniel and Sabrina?”

“Dunno,” I shrugged. “Is there a ditch nearby?”


After thought: Daniel and Sabrina, I know in my heart that your passion for each other and for others will make you a dynamic duo, effecting great change in this world. Congratulations to both of you and God bless.


If we both always agree, is one of us not really necessary?

Meet regularly with someone who holds vastly different views from you ~ unattributed


SO THIS ISN’T THE NORM for me, because let’s face it – life is much easier when people agree with me.

And depending on whom I’m speaking with and what the topic is, often I will keep my mouth shut, for fear of hurting the other person’s feelings.

But even I have to admit that there’s value in varying views.

So it’s something that I engage in when the opportunity presents itself.

It’s also something I seek, when I’m stuck in a rut.

And I always learn something from it!

I try to keep the following principles in mind when talking with others who have varying views:

  1. Listen to the other person
  2. Try to see their point of view
  3. Give thoughtful answers to their questions
  4. Respectfully share my perspective
  5. Avoid personal attacks
  6. Discuss new possibilities with an open mind
  7. If we can’t achieve #6, agree to disagree


Reaching common ground takes longer, but often it’s worth it. Can you think of a time when doing so produced better results?

And I'll try to see them from yours

And I’ll try to see them from yours