I Find Your Love

The sun, the sky, the rolling sea
All conspire to comfort me ~ Beth Nielsen Chapman

This song is by Beth Nielsen Chapman, my favourite singer songwriter. She can still write like this after being widowed, surviving cancer and the removal of a brain tumour that affected her use of language. It’s one of those songs that makes sense of things, that leads me back to love and connects me to those I’ve loved and lost or simply can’t be with.  It’s also an invitation to keep open, to not harden my heart when things get uncomfortable or difficult, to love myself and remember we’re all waves in the same ocean. To embrace what Buddhists call maitri – unconditional kindness to oneself.

It reminds me what it feels like to be touched by grace.

Even when my blog’s dormant, I see things everywhere I want to share with you – photos, songs, helpful things I’ve learned.  Blogging makes me want to connect with love, to rise above challenges and find the common red threads of humanity that connect us all. I have nothing to share but my journey through life and an overwhelming curiosity about yours; no niche, no stunning photography, no marketing magic, no seaside cottage renovations to share, no insanely useful writing tips, specialist recipes, expert crochet patterns, computer wizzardry insights, invocations to boldness, conversations with goddesses or insider knowledge about surefire ways to coach certification.

All you get here is my filtering of the world as I live out my life wondering what it’s all about, wanting to jump up and down like a wee kid tugging at your sleeve and pointing when I figure any of it out.

I’m still haunted by comment boxes that were full of chat, laughter and support, but the harder it’s getting, the more my heart’s opening, letting go and smiling. Pain peels back layers, lays you bare like love does. There’s no place for ego in writing; you either want to write or you don’t. Then you write – or you don’t. You have to trust that if you send your words out in a bottle, they’ll reach someone who needs to hear them.

Beth Nielsen Chapman couldn’t stop writing songs even if she wanted to. I know how that feels and I think that’s what I wanted to share with you here today. Please don’t stop writing; whether your blog gets visitors or not, keep writing. Stay connected to the beauty in everything around you, like you do when you’re in love. Stay open. Be kind to yourself…

I’ll catch your smile on someone’s face
Your whisper in the wind’s embrace
Through diamond stars and songs, and dreams
I find your love in everything
The sun, the sky, the rolling sea
All conspire to comfort me
From sorrow’s edge life’s beauty seems
To find your love in everything
I’ve come to trust the hope it brings
To find your love in everything
Even as I fall apart
Even through my shattered heart
I’ll catch your smile on someone’s face
Amazing grace


    1. Oh my gosh, what a lovely surprise! I hope you and your family are well! Your link says there’s a server problem so I couldn’t pop over to see if you’re still blogging, but I quickly googled and saw you’re sharing your herbalism work over on Facebook. Such a wonderful, sacred passion to have. I hope you’re getting your knowledge and wisdom out there to lots of folk. I haven’t ventured into Facebook, despite frustrated head shaking from lots of friends about what a Luddite dinosaur I am, but I’m getting tempted – so many old friends on Facebook, happy and thriving. I remember how much pleasure we both used to get from meeting up in comments boxes all over the wee coaching community we used to wander around in. I remember you loved writing long, authentic posts. Hope you’re still writing longer pieces somewhere, even if it’s just for the journaling joy of it.

      Thank you so much for visiting and for commenting. You have no idea how much strength I get from every visit, every comment, every email. I hold familiar faces and kind words in my heart, gathering strength as as I write each new piece.

      1. Janice… I am so honored by your words. I haven’t been blogging, to be honest. I do plan on getting back online and writing again. I have had so many endings in the past few years… a marriage, my mom passed, and I nearly lost my daughter.
        I have moved to a new home and I just feel like I have gained my footing again.
        I am so grateful to you for your writings, your reaching out, and your raw honest heart.
        I feel my creative muse returning!!! Much love to you.

        1. So glad to hear your creative muse is returning after the heartache of the last few years. Can’t imagine how you dealt with so much at once, especially your fears for your daughter. I hope that all is well with her now. I remember you used to process a lot of your life – good bits and bad – through your writing, so I hope your reawakened creativity and your herbalism help heal your own “raw, honest heart.”

  1. The online world has changed a lot. People don’t comment so much any more, for a whole host of reasons. Sometimes I think it’s as simple as not needing to enter your details on FB or Twitter since the sites remember you (of course this is not necessarily a good thing!) Also just that the culture and practice of commenting has changed over time and with people hanging out so much more on these ‘always on’ networks.

    That’s spilled over into how and why people blog too. The feeling that you basically blog to sell, or at least, to convince people of your marvellousness, is hard to shake just now. I’m forever unsure whether to keep going or not.

    There are still some quiet, human, vulnerable quarters on the blogging web though, and, like this one, it’s good when you come across them
    Joanna Paterson recently posted…Sharing A SpaceMy Profile

    1. I read your comment, then went and had a coffee so I wouldn’t gush. I’m really happy to see you here! Thank you. I’ve never known whether you visited my blog or not, and it’s been a liberating feeling knowing that it didn’t matter whether you did or not. Truly; I love your blog and never feel I have to visit, or comment on it or do anything except delight in it; connecting in your comments boxes is a bonus.

      But I’m especially happy that you’ve linked to your blog here; I was so tempted to promote it, but – and this may sound weird – I wanted folk to find you when they were meant to and when you were ready so they’d get that whoosh of pleasure I did when I first clicked on your site. The clarity, quiet power and fresh air of it is like a walk through the woods tonic for me when I go there, and your own quiet confidence means that it’s a safe place for me; I can just be myself there.

      I love that you’re torn, that you keep journaling, not sure whether to keep going or not. Because that’s what tells me that you can’t stop, that everything you publish is real and heartfelt and you couldn’t stop even if you wanted to. Art needs that, and women especially need to be able to trust that level of authenticity. If you choose to earn online, and it comes from the creative sweet spot you’re in right now, you’ll be blessed.

      I agree with what you’ve said above about the ‘always on’ society we’ve become. My own saving grace is that I learned a while ago that I get ill if I’m permanently connected. I need quality connections more than quantity. I simply can’t cope when I get overextended. My own particular challenges are about juggling wanting to make a living online with needing to stay grounded in real life and hating any sense that I’m exploiting folk or losing my authenticity or integrity. The introverted entrepreneur’s eternal dilemma. So many warning signs of folk who’ve genuinely embraced their strengths but have then tipped the balance over into ego, exclusionist tribalism, pricings that make me go “What?!?” and believing – then getting addicted to – their own hype.

  2. Hi Janice.

    You are a bright light. Welcome back to the online world. You have shared beautiful and heartfelt sentiments here. Beth’s song touched me deeply and I chose to share this on Facebook.

    It is easy to harden your heart and cower in a dark corner when life gets tough. And yet, hardening the heart just makes life tougher because that’s where our strength is.

    What I love about this is that this information is coming to me as I’m typing this comment and it feels so right. This conjures that very picture you described, where a person feels like jumping up and down like a kid, excited to have figured something out.

    Thank you for making this space available and for sharing your own grace. You’re a breath of fresh air in this “busy” online world.

    1. Before I respond, I just want to share something spooky; when I was scrolling down here, I spotted a very obvious reversed word typo I’d missed in my post, like you’d left a bit of your proofreader’s presence as a wee gift along with your comment!

      It’s a pleasure to see you here again and to read your thoughts! I know that work commitments mean you have to be selective about blog reading, writing and commenting because it can all get out of hand, so I appreciate it. I wish I could bottle up the feelings I’m having today as I read comments and emails, and keep them for the next time my mind hesitates about posting something vulnerable that my heart’s sure about! When I clicked the song to check it had uploaded OK and found myself slumped unceremoniously, sobbing, opened up like a stone split open by a seed, I cried with relief as much as anything, relief that I’m determined not to curl in on myself again and that the universe doesn’t seem to want to let me. I got ‘outed’ by Facebook a few years ago, when some folk from my offline life found my blog. (No idea why some of these folk were even looking for me, to be honest.) It made vulnerable writing so much harder than it had been when the only folk who read my stuff were in Canada and the States, harder still because some of the kids’ friends and their parents were among them.

      Even though it’s my own fault I’ve been Rip Van Winkling these last few years, I’ve really missed all of the folk I’d grown to enjoy as blogging friends; didn’t realise quite how much until I started to reconnect and blogwander again! It may sound weird, but when I was away, I had vivid memories of the feel of folks’ blogs, their writers’ voices and their wee avatars, the constellations of visitors who’d chat in comments boxes. I still remember the feel of your Island Thyme stories! Yours was one of my favourite ‘cafés’ and I’m so happy you’ve started blogging again! I don’t just enjoy all the different ways folk mirror their worlds and share their skills and passions, humour and insights; I enjoy dialogue and being with people who enjoy sharing and fostering connections; blogging distills the essence of a person like nothing else I know.

      Thank you for sharing the song on Facebook; I’m so ignorant about how Facebook works because you can’t really know till you join and I won’t join till I know what I’m doing and if it’d suit me! But I think this may be the year I try and figure out how to make it work for me. I tried twitter again last week, but I don’t think we’re compatible – it’s like black murmurations of starlings swooping around randomly in my brain. Talking of twitter, what you wrote above would make a good tweetable.

      It is easy to harden your heart and cower in a dark corner when life gets tough. And yet, hardening the heart just makes life tougher because that’s where our strength is.

  3. This post made me feel so good. I am so pleased to see you sharing yourself again and we get to feel the soothing comfort of your words, especially these words: “You have to trust that if you send your words out in a bottle, they’ll reach someone who needs to hear them.”

    I feel the same way about blogging. Oh, I confess there are times when I count the number of comments and worry about those who have stopped blogging, but on the whole, I love just letting a writing a go. Like you, I always believed in my heart (maybe not my ego) they would get to the right person.

    This post is perfect example. You may not know how many people will come here and read your lovely words, listen to Beth Nielsen Chapman song and feel a weight lifted from their lives just because you took the time to talk to them.

    As I am following Davina’s comment, I just read the last line in your reply. Oh, this should be in a quote book! I am so pleased you’ve decided to share yourself and your words again. You are a powerfully inspiring writer!
    Sara recently posted…SPC: I’m Stuck and I Can’t Get Out!My Profile

    1. Thank you, Sara! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. The advice you gave me in an email back in February helped me get to this place; that and the comments from you, Hilary, Connie, Gwyn and LG back at the start of the year.

      I basked in your last compliment for a sunny second till I thought to myself, “My last line was about brain fry, starlings and tweetables.” Then I realised what had happened: I can take no credit whatsoever! I corrected a spelling mistake in my reply to Davina, and for some reason, when I did, the block quote had disappeared! The last lines are hers! (I’m a good quotehunter, though! 😉 )

      This post made me feel like I’m back home. Some folk have emailed their responses because it evoked a response too personal to post; others have cc’d me on forwards. The stats show it’s had more hits than anything I’ve posted since I first sniffed the air with my twitchy wee nose back in February and ventured out of hibernation. It’s one of those that wrote itself and took on a life of its own, determined to leave home and reach someone. The line you highlighted was actually my favourite.

  4. Janice,
    This is the third time I have tried to connect with you in 2014 – your comments on my book reviews have not linked back until today when I found your comment on Sara’s post. Friday afternoon is my blog reading cup of tea time. I can not spend as much time reading as I have in the past. I do not do very much Facebook, except to check in with family.

    I challenged myself to read and review 200 books in 2014 because I love to read and share with people my thoughts about what I have read. It is so fun, but it cuts into my personal writing adventures quite a bit. I have read and reviewed 102 books at the moment. Many I would not have read with out the tour. No one is paying for reviews any more and I find that a bit freeing.

    I am in the middle of what I am calling a Great Falling Apart of Change. the Chinese say this is a good thing and a great opportunity to become empty and not so full. In January I fell raking leaves out of the drain at the street corner into a huge puddle – I hit my jaw and damaged a tooth and the jaw bone which became infected. I fractured my right elbow and torn ligaments and tendons, my hips, shoulders, and knee are out of alignment and then in March all the my income sources became a dry well. It made me see my fears clearly, it revealed distractions, it summoned my patience, and washed me with tears – I was laid bare and I was so very angry at myself….I needed comfort and escape from the pain and discouragement…still in the middle of letting go and emptying

    I feel as though I have nothing to offer – no magic, just the feelings

    I am just starting to be able to use a pen again to write – learning “Dragon Dictate” 20 great bloggers found me writing tasks to help me pay for my next surgery – that was affirming and I found some amazing friends on line who are still there and we are connected. A few young journalists are trying out my research for their articles and so many book authors have been delighted with my reviews of their work I am feeling fortunate…I have connected with so many more people than in person, I think I should just stay the ladybug for awhile longer

    Your writing is lovely and it is refreshing to see my favorites in the comments column.

    Be well, and come by when you feel like it – your words a beauty
    Thank you for finding me – now I will see how to connect
    Patricia recently posted…PAINTING JULIANA: A Novel ~Martha Louise HunterMy Profile

    1. HiPatricia!
      Don’t you dare lose the ladybug – so many blogs wouldn’t be the same without it or you!

      Thank you so much for popping over; I understand exactly what you mean about having to carve out chunks of time when we can sit and enjoy visiting blogs. And let’s face it, my posts are rarely short so I understand more than most when folk simply don’t have the time to read them or engage with me in the comments. You said above “I feel as though I have nothing to offer – no magic, just the feelings” but it’s your presence that’s the gift, the time you take to share, to support, to connect, to read – to write lovely long comments like you have above – and to keep going because you couldn’t not keep going. Never underestimate it.

      I feel for you, I really do. Any one of those injuries would cause life upheavals, but the elbow one alone is a life changer, making it hard if not impossible to use the crutches you might need for hip and leg damage. But you’ve highlighted one of the most wonderful things about blogging with heart and friendship, that the essence of who we are can connect with other folk, even when our bodies are going through challenges.

      I love your expression, “A Great Falling Apart of Change.” I feel every bit of me’s being doing that for the last few years – gradually, through illness and perimenopause, and then gathering speed into actual menopause. But, and it sounds as if you’ve experienced the same thing, for everything that gets stripped away, new strength appears from somewhere that can never be diminished, from the source of everything that connects us to love and light; our spirits get wiser and stronger.

      It’s so much easier said than done, but I hope your 200 book reading challenge, your blogging connections, and your online sponsors, family and friends bring you enough strength to help you let go of what you need to so that all kinds of health and prosperity can flow in.

  5. Oh Janice, this was just what I needed to hear today. Like you and others, I’ve had moments of “What in the world is blogging for, anyway?” You captured it perfectly when you said, “…no niche, no stunning photography, no marketing magic, no seaside cottage ren0vations to share,…” That’s what I feel has become of blogs and it’s part of the reason why I’ve had such a vacation from it. A few weeks ago, when I thought I might get back into it, I was overwhelmed with all the new “rules,” such as “if you post a photograph you have to make sure it’s labeled correctly so if people try to Pin it, it’s ready to go,” and “if you provide a link and someone can purchase something from that link, you have to include additional html so that Google doesn’t block you.” Ugh. The rules.

    When I read this today I realized that instead of fearing the new blogging world, full of ‘seaside cottage renovations’ and ‘specialist recipes,’ I’ll make up my own dang rules! It’s my blog! I’ll write what I want, when I want. How liberating. And if I don’t make $300,000 a year like the blogger I just heard at a lecture, oh well! I did it my way! (Cue Elvis…)

    This week. I promise. A new blog post.

    Thanks Janice, and a thanks to your readers whose comments were also inspirational. The interplay is why I enjoy coming here so much.

    1. So, so glad to see you here. I hoped you’d find the song and the comments as well as the post. The comments and private emails about the post have been a life line for me when I thought I was out at sea, alone and floundering.

      It was a weird post, born of a tangle of emotions; a calm determination to just breathe and be myself after I realised I was actually becoming more open to sitting with pain, embracing it and doing something with it. Along with that realisation came a blast of insight, synchronicity and beauty that floored me while making sudden, perfect sense of why I blog. I have a video to post this week that may explain that weird ‘beauty pain.’

      Please blog again, Randi – and let me know when you do. The world benefits from writing like yours, and the kind of self expression our fellow bloggers share with us all; the humanity, gratitude, fun, wisdom and love of life that comes from years of trying to figure out who we are and what on earth we’re doing here. Whether you get one reader or a hundred, you – and the folk who read and co-create this blog – are needed to keep the world balanced. All of life’s about sitting with the joy and the pain and breathing in the awareness of simply being.

      I mentioned those other kinds of blog because I silently follow and enjoy craft blogs, photography blogs and interior design blogs and appreciate being able to instantly find a specialist recipe at the click of a button, for example, but I can’t offer any of those crafts or skills, and my home and daily walks don’t lend themselves to constant recording. Many of us can’t do niche based, specialist blogging, but our own lives can still be rich material for sharing and inspiring if we love the details and learn from them.

  6. Hi Janice .. I love the Buddha reference early in the post – I’ve kept it for reference later on or early next year in a similar kind of posting a South African blogging friend suggested I join her with next time around.

    I didn’t know about Beth’s challenges, but sadly music is not something that sinks in too much .. wish it was an attribute, but I can pick things up and understand more easily as I find interesting blogs to learn from.

    I love the different blogs that are around … and how some people are happy blogging and in some instances not doing FB or Tw … but we can always learn .. and I love the friendships.

    I don’t like getting stuck in a rut … and thankfully seem to have found my way to blogging and keeping it interesting … I thought I’d blog about mostly English things and Scottish! … but having just done three Aussie posts … perhaps I should branch out to other coasts that I know – eg South Africa …

    However I don’t have blocks re things to blog about .. and as long as people keep reading I’m happy … but I do appreciate broadening my horizons … and I get that through your blog – and am delighted you’re back blogging again …

    Cheers and hope all is well your end of the world … Hilary
    Hilary recently posted…Shipwreck Coast, South Australia …My Profile

    1. Thank you, Hilary – I always appreciate your visits, kind words and support. Things haven’t really been great since we last emailed; traumatic events have left me struggling with residual exhaustion which is always a worry as weeds of depression have been known to seed themselves in the cracks between intense events and health scares.

      Having a ‘niche’ based on learning then sharing interesting things about the world you know and the world we live in means you’ll never be short of inspiration and avid readers! I’ve tried commenting on your colour posts, but lost two long enthusiastic comments and am now at war with Blogger; even though I logged in to my dreaded google account, it put up an oops message, something about a memcache and having to clear my cache and do something with my cookies…?!! I’m sorry, but I’m really looking forward to your new wordpress site going live! So many times I’ve had problems when I have to log into google to comment. Don’t even know if I’m still logged in now!

      Anyway, sorry for my google ranting….I’m glad you liked the quote. It’s such a simple concept, but so powerful. We can only really be kind and compassionate towards others if we learn to show loving kindness towards ourselves, otherwise we risk martyrdom and deny other folk the chance to reciprocate the same kind of love.

      1. I’m a determined wee blighter…. tried a third attempt over at yours and managed to leave an insipid wee comment – kept it short in case it got lost again. Sod’s law 😉 !

    1. Lovely to have you over here! I’ve really enjoyed meeting new people through blogs like Sara’s – kind folk attract like-minded bloggers. I saw your name (doesn’t Sara call you her Prodigal Pea? 😉 ) and I had a flashback to the lovely fresh air ‘feeling’ of your blog when I first found it and the inspiring video you had up when I first landed. I hope you’re well and that you’ll visit again sometime and that you’ll enjoy a few moments of breathing space and ‘now’ when you’re here.

  7. I’m so glad we connected via Karen’s website! I really do feel you are a kindred spirit… I’ve not written anything on my blog for about 9 months, until a couple of days ago. Like some of the previous commenters, I wasn’t sure whether to keep going, whether there was any point in writing – even if a few people do read the posts. But, like you, even if I’m not blogging, I’m still noticing things around me that I’d like to blog about or take photographs of – and if a few people do read the posts, and if it means something to them to know there is a like-minded soul somewhere in the universe, then it definitely is worthwhile continuing. So thank you for the encouragement!
    By the way – I’m also a fan of Beth Nielsen Chapman!! A few years ago my husband and I had the huge privilege of attending an intimate songwriting masterclass with her, at the PRS. As you say, she has overcome rather a lot in recent years – not least, being told by her singing coach to “stop trying to sing, for goodness sake!” I’m glad she finds the energy to keep writing.
    Julia Barnickle recently posted…The August Break 2014: Today is…My Profile

    1. Hi Julia!
      Thanks for visiting! Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I often log off and go awol to save my soul, but this time we had connection problems – a dodgy router or BT digging up the streets to put in new broadband, not quite sure.

      It was such a pleasure reading your about page and seeing how much we had in common – singing, languages, EFL and then coaching! (..and an unashamed fondness for exclamation marks!) I like what you said above about blogging connecting like-minded souls in the universe; there are so many millions of folk out there online, you have to believe in synchronicity.

      When I first heard Beth Nielsen Chapman, I cried like I’d found someone from my home planet. My daughter’s doing a music degree at uni, specialising in singing/songwriting, and one of my happiest memories was going to a BNC concert with her and chatting with Beth at the end. My daughter got to know me better that night through really understanding what resonates with my soul. After that, she explored our collections and got into James Taylor, Carole King, Alison Kraus and a host of others.

      I hope you’ll visit again and get to know some of the folk from my comments boxes and archives; I suspect you’ll find some other like-minded folk. The comments folk write here never cease to astonish and humble me.

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