“Hope” is the thing with feathers /That perches in the soul /And sings the tune without the words /And never stops – at all… ~ Emily Dickinson

Well, here we are, another snowy spring and another return to deciduous blogging. I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year! You’re never far from my thoughts, though. I always hoped that I’d return to blogging some day, so I jotted down ideas, took photos and bookmarked so many quotes that my books ended up looking like they had feathers. I think Emily Dickinson would have approved of the connection between books, sharing and hope. (She might not have liked the post in my drafts box about hope, fear and resisting what is, but that’ll keep for another day.)

Looking at that photo and how many things I’ve wanted to share with you over the last year, I have NO excuse for not blogging. There’s enough material there for a few months, even if all I do is post one heartfound quote every few days! I’m my own worst enemy, agonising and maximising, censoring and curating to the point where I create – then get paralysed by – my own overwhelm.

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life. ~ Anne Lamott

So, this is the first of some catch-up, patchwork pieces I’m going to try and post as a messy retrospective.

July 2017

Not long after I told you in Silence how sad we were that ‘our’ blackbird and robin had disappeared, my husband and I were standing at the kitchen sink when the blackbird not only reappeared, but taught his bairn how to tap on the window and beg for blueberries! With gaping mouths and teary-eyed gratitude, we stood still and watched. Eventually, it occurred to me to grab my ancient phone and take some photos to show you.

October 2017

Today, as you choose to wrap your heart around the moments that make up a life, how will you share your precious gift with the world? You were born with talents, you’ve worked hard to build skills, to create connections – but they’re just the channel. You are the gift. ~ Janice (from Birdsong)

My daughter graduated with a First Class Honours degree last summer and released her first full length album in the autumn, on vinyl and CD. She sings, plays guitar and writes her own songs – everything from the harmonies to the band arrangements – and is now earning a living doing what she loves. It seems like such a long time ago that I wrote Sharing the Journey, the piece about hope, purpose and supporting people’s dreams that inspired the title of my blog. This is one of the tracks from her album. I’m so proud of her, words fail me.

“No matter what my daughter chooses to do, I’m reminded today that her young life is filled with promise. No matter what she encounters along the way, I know she’ll travel the road she’s meant to take.  No matter who she becomes, I believe with all my heart and soul that every day I’m allowed to share her journey is a blessing.” ~ Janice, from Sharing the Journey, February 2009


    1. Lovely to see you, too! Can’t believe it’s been 9 years since we ‘met’ in Nadia’s blog. Mind you, I’ve probably posted fewer posts in that time than you average in six months. 😉

    1. I’m looking forward to seeing what your A-Z live from Canada will produce. My goodness you have some stamina… blogging, gym, new book club, line dancing, (I didn’t understand the bit about your grandaughter calling?) I also can’t believe three folk who visit these boxes now live, or used to live, on the same island!

        1. Hi Janice – I love Annie’s singing, composition and word poetry she’s building … I bet the rest of her work is just as good – and so many congratulations to her on her first and then getting and producing the CD and on vinyl …. interesting to read that. Brilliant for you … and am so pleased you’re back blogging – when you feel you can …

          The book group has some interesting members – to put it mildly … the one you might be interested in is June at Soulistry.com

          I will be finding out more … but am so pleased to see you back here – and looking forward to further posts and those wonderful tulips, jug and hyancinths appearing!

          Cheers for now – Hilary
          Hilary Melton-Butcher recently posted…Loving Vincent: A film of immersive beauty …My Profile

          1. Thanks, Hilary – I’ll pass on your congrats to Annie. I’m not sure how long I’ll be blooming alongside my tulips, but for now, it’s just nice to be back chatting, pottering around, tidying up and seeing what fragments appear. I’m going to check out the lady you mentioned above and nip over to yours and see if that’s the Vincent film I think it is; I was on the fence when I first saw an interview about it.

  1. “Bairn” – I love that word. Not one that we use in Canada. I really enjoyed this post, Janice. Kind of seemed like sweet intimate diary entries. Thanks for sharing them!

    1. Thanks, Barbra! I’m glad you’re still here and that you appreciated that I’ve tried to get back to doing what I used to do best, when you first ‘met’ me – just writing because I love it and trusting that the universe knows what it’s doing by inspiring me to reach out and connect. I write better when I’m writing for myself and the one person I’m hoping to reach. I’m quite shy in groups – paranoid and socially gauche on a bad day – so I like the quiet intimacy here in the blog. That’s why I changed the theme and stripped it right back, too, to make it easier for anyone who visits to read and comment easily. I owe everyone who visits the comments boxes that much for all the support I’ve been lucky enough to have had here over the years while I’ve flapped around and floundered.

    1. Thank you! I hope to be sharing as much of her music as I can.

      It certainly does seem like yesterday. Do you remember that book I wrote with her when she was eight?! 😉 It may sound daft, but I’ve been so fiercely protective of the kids’ privacy in my blog and column right from the start that it hadn’t occurred to me that Annie’s had a public music page on Facebook for years!

  2. Janice, welcome back! I enjoyed your pieces from past year, especially the photos and reports of home creativity. Your blog is easy to read, with usual lovely touches of beauty and colour. Also, I was captured by and captured some inspiration for my Quotations trove from your Soul Guides. I look forward to enjoying your Attic ~ what a warranted tribute to some of the many treasures of your writing!

    1. Hi, Connie! Thank you for sticking by me all these years, for noticing wee things with a big open heart and for always making me feel that what I’ve done here, with others in mind, is worth it. You made it to the attic – brave woman! I am such a hoarder when it comes to this blog. There are so many cherished conversations in The Boxes Below that I can’t bear to get rid of, so I thought to myself, just keep them!

      As you know, I love gathering and sharing quotes that speak to me, but the problem is they seem to breed in my quotebooks, folders, bags and cupboards. My aim now is to have fun archiving them in my quote rotator. (The kid in me still finds it quite mesmerising, wondering which quote will come up next. 😉 )

  3. I revisited Why Do You Write? in The Attic for momentum, and clarified what will be a useful distinction about my own relationship to writing, how it’s less that I’m an abiding writer by nature, such as you describe of yourself, and more that writing is a means for bringing meaning and articulating lived awareness for me. The challenge is about revealing, both the subject and myself. Thank you for the landing pad for self-reflection, your Attic, Janice!

    1. Hi Connie – you are spooky! I’ve been cooking up some new Attic pages, categories and quote rotator input based on the kind of thing you mention above. The topic fascinates me and features heavily in the archives, as you know, and I have loads of books by writers talking about writing and how they experience and process their worlds. This one’s in a scrappy file right in front of me at the moment:

      “Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” ~ Gloria Steinem

      I suspect any creative I know could enter their ‘thing’ and the quote would be just as meaningful to them. Bit of a prescription for contentment, really: Fill in the blanks then go for it!
      “_____ing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

      1. Yes, yes, yes responding to “only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else,” and your insight: “Bit of a prescription for contentment!” Thank you for that!

  4. Hi Janice, it’s not easy to sustain a blogging practice, especially when the online world has become more and more fast and shiny, but there are so many different ways to do it, maybe it’s a question of trying to find whatever works for you. I’m finding it a bit easier sticking to a weekly practice – although there are many times I really don’t want to I’m trying to stick with it to build up the habit.

    So glad about the blackbirds!

    And Annie’s singing is amazing. No wonder you are a proud mamma!
    Joanna Paterson recently posted…So LightMy Profile

    1. Hi Joanna. Lovely to have you popping over! As you know, I’ve been enjoying the rhythm of your weekly blogging habit. It’s working really well for me, but more than that, I love knowing that there’ll be something inspiring and manageable waiting in my inbox on a Sunday evening or a Monday morning. You and Hilary, who’s been visiting here since 2009, are my idols when it comes to steady, determined blogging. I really do think that’s the way to do it. I’ve accepted that I’m a bit (a BIT?!? 😉 ) seasonal and deciduous when it comes to posting, and I’m getting much better at telling my demons to shut up, you know, the ones who whisper What’s the point?! The point is, I enjoy blogging and I’m deeply fond of the folk who take the time to visit here – good folk, smart folk with creative souls and supportive natures. I agree about the fast shininess of life right now. And scariness. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have made so many folk feel their lives don’t exist unless they’re witnessed, but worse than that, they encourage folk to become gladiatorial and competitive. The concept of counted likes, friends and followers nauseates me, but in some ways it’s just made me more thrawn, more determined to keep things slow, seasonal, authentic and deep. I’m the only me who’s ever been, so anything I filter authentically with a view to connecting or resonating is as valid as the next person’s offerings. And like you, I enjoy playing around with new themes and learning how to code. It expresses me and it’s fun! 🙂 Reason enough to begin with.

      I’m glad you liked Annie’s voice. She’s also earning from tutoring and from her songwriting, which gives me an extra fuzzy glow inside. Tough way to earn, the music world, but she’s loving it.

  5. Hi Janice – sorry it’s taken me so long to post a comment here… It’s lovely to see you back in the blogosphere! I’m so happy that your blackbird returned with its offspring – so precious. And your daughter’s song and voice are very beautiful. I can imagine how proud you must feel. 🙂

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