THE FIRST STORY from Story Cubes Challenge – January 7 – 21, 2018

Lily Loves Scotland

The iron key, heavy in her hand, slid easily into the ancient lock. Lily cocked her head heard it unlock, turned the knob and gave the wooden door a gentle push. Nothing happened.  She leaned in and pushed with more authority.  The door gave a loud slow squeal opening into the small stone cottage that used to belong to her Great Aunt Flora.

With her luggage in hand, Lily steps through the threshold into the past and her future.

The last time Lily stood in this sitting room she was six, preparing to return home to Canada after 3 months running wild in South Ayrshire Scotland. It was the year her mother died.  Her father sent her to Straiton to stay with her mothers’ aunt while he finished his work in Egypt before settling into a new position at Brock University as Head of the Archeology Department. When she received word her aunt had died last winter her mind instantly returned to the last kiss and hug they shared, then through all the years in between that day and the day she held the letter in her hand.

Time hadn’t moved forward in the 20 years since she left.  The room was exactly the same, except the fireplace was cold and an electric heater had been installed on the back wall.

It was late, she could re-acquaint herself with the rest of Rose Cottage tomorrow.

Lily woke to a crack of thunder; a flash of lightning and raindrops sliding down the bedroom window.  She would get wet going into the village for groceries.  Until then breakfast would consist of the 1/2 submarine sandwich she put in the fridge last night and the unused teabag she had in her purse.

During the 15-minute drive into Straiton, the rain stopped and the fulgent sun peeked out to brighten the day as she wound past lush pastures, grazing white sheep and rock fences. Rounding a particularly sharp corner she had a spectacular view of a stunning rainbow shining above Monument Hill.  The countryside colours were brilliant.  Her eyes couldn’t take in all of the shades of green in the grasses, trees and shrubs, or how the blues in the sky and sparkling in the river set off the rainbow like a jewelled setting.  What a sight to see on her first outing.

In no time she was in the village scanning for parking.  Lily had her choice of spots on Main street and parked close to both the fresh market and the pharmacy. Everything was within easy walking distance, her shopping wouldn’t take her long, she could begin the job of sorting through Aunt Flora’s things earlier than she thought.

The bell above the door jingled as she walked into the market.  “Good Morning Miss, how may I help you?” asked the smiling clerk as she wiped her hands down the front of her Kelly-green apron and stepped away from the floral arrangements displayed in the front window.

“Hello, thank you, I am just picking up a few things. I may need some help finding some items, I have a list” Lily replied pulling the list out of her purse pocket.

“Here let me see what you need”, the clerk offered as she reached for Lily’s list.  Lily followed the clerk to the back of the store where the clerk moved in behind the meat counter and selected the chicken, pork, ground beef and bacon Lily had listed.  Each item deftly wrapped in butcher paper, tied with twine then handed to Lily who put them in the handbasket she had picked up by the cash register counter.

The clerk, looked down at the list then quickly but briefly glanced up at Lily and said, “You’re not from around here, are you?  “I’m not being nosy, it’s your accent that gives you away”.  She moved up and down the isles efficiently filling the basket with cans, jars, boxes, fresh fruit, vegetables, tea, coffee, bread, juice, butter, oil, garlic, basil, ginger tea and honey.   Lily smiled, “Yes, you are right, I’m not. I’m Lily from Canada, I’m staying at Rose Cottage.”  “Oh, you must be Flora’s niece from Calgary.”  The clerk reached over and took Lily’s hand in hers ” Your Aunt, she spoke very highly of you. I am so sorry for your loss. She was well loved here and is very much missed – God rest her soul.”  “I’m Heather and it is a pleasure to meet you Lily” She smiled again and continued to fill Lily’s shopping list.

As she collected the items and placed them in the basket, she showed each one to Lily who nodded her head in agreement.  Picking up a package of tea Lily commented: “Everything is so different here, even the Tea”.  Heather giggled, “Oh yes, everything is very different here in Scotland, I have a cousin who lives in Richmond Hill, Ontario she says the very same thing about Canada every time she comes to visit my Auntie” Gently taking the package of tea the clerk turns the container over and points to the manufacturer.  “See this one, Wee Tea is grown right here in Scotland, it even won awards in Paris” “Imagine that tea from Scotland winning awards”.   She was so happy and proud of the home-grown tea, Lily grinned “That is so awesome! I’ll try the one you have in your hand.”  Heather’s smile stretched from ear to ear.

Wiping her hands on her apron she moved to the register with the basket “Well, that’s the lot. I’ll ring it up and see what the damage is”.  As she tallies the purchases and puts everything into crisp paper bags Lily wanders over to the front window breathing in the heady scents of the various flowers on display.  With a sense of accomplishment, Heather announces “There it is, a total of 50 pounds 30 pence”.  Lily looking confused turns and walks back over to the counter, Embarrassed, she apologizes “I’m sorry I forgot to convert my Canadian money into Scottish money.  Would you take Canadian cash?”  Reaching under the counter and bringing out the calculator, Heather laughingly responds “Oh yes Lily, I will calculate the conversion and sell the Canadian money to my cousin the next time she visits”.  “That works out to 85 dollars 40 cents Canadian.  Is that OK with you?”  Thank you, Heather, I will have to go into to Dalmellington and convert the rest of my cash – I appreciate you taking my Canadian money” “You are very welcome, it is my pleasure to help you out”.

She moves out from behind the counter hands Lily the two bags, picks up a small wrapped bouquet of jonquils pops it into one of the bags, reaches over and holds the door open for Lily, the bells jingling merrily.  ‘Welcome to Straiton Lily – I do hope to see you again soon”.  “Thank you for all your help this morning Heather, take care, see you soon.” Once outside the market Lily turns right down the sidewalk to the Pharmacy.

With her errands complete and ready to return to the cottage, Lily balancing two large fully stocked grocery bags, the aromatic bouquet of jonquils and a first aid kit inside a small handled shopping bag walks down the sidewalk toward her car.  Twenty steps from her car, she is stopped her in her steps by the sweet scent of cinnamon buns wafting out of the Buck Tea Room.  She can’t resist cinnamon.  It is her favourite sweet spice.  Five minutes later she is on her way back to the cottage with a cinnamon bun in a small bag.

Before she reaches the cottage, Lily pulls off the road at Tairlaw Linn, the Water of Girvan runs through the northwest corner of the Rose Cottage property. She was glad she wore her runners it will make it easier to walk down to the beautiful double waterfall. As she had done dozens of times during her Scottish summer Lily bends over and slides smoothly between the fence rails and follows the animal trail down from the road to the meadow and the stand of alders beside the river.  The air cool and crisp after the rain is full of the scent of wet earth, leaves and thistle. She takes it all in, breathes deeply and listens to the laughter of the water as it tumbles over the edge and splashes into the pool below.

Lily’s Aunt Flora died while Lily was in Thailand teaching meditation.  She didn’t learn of her Aunts death until she returned home and read the letter from her Aunts attorney, two months after Aunt Flora was buried.  Flora had left everything she owned to Lily; a few stocks; a large nest egg; and Rose cottage, including the 12 acres of property it sat on.  This waterfall was on that property. How many afternoons had she spent swimming in its deep pools before returning to the cottage for tea and sweets?

Sitting down on a fallen log Lily carefully pulls out and unwraps the still warm cinnamon bun. The icing generously slathered on the glaze is gooey, the glaze sticky in her fingers and palms. The bun is oh so delicious.  Her mouth waters as she eats leaving her wanting more.  It certainly makes up for the poor leftover sandwich she had earlier.  Savouring the cinnamon and sugar she licks and sucks every morsel from her fingers then knees down to swish her hands clean in the bracing water.  Too bad she couldn’t enjoy a quick dip today.  Something to look forward to when she needed a break to clear her head.   Returning to the car she allows herself to make plans to stop by again, next time with a bathing suit and a full picnic.

Back at Rose Cottage Lily unlocks the bright blue door and gives it a hard push picks up her groceries and once again steps into the home where she will discover the secrets of her past and the truth of her future.

1 – Globe – travel

2 – Scarab – death – funeral rites

3 – Flower – nature

4 – Abacus – ancient calculator

5 – Key – Access – secrets – truth

6 – Building – Cottage – Family

7 – Letter L – Lily – Linn

8 – Lightning Bolt –

9 – Rainbow? Waterfall?, River?  (Wasn’t quite sure what the icon was)


Cheryle – January 2018


The Community Associations’ Winter Carnival 2016

Today was a day filled with children and activities definitely outside my comfort zone.  Today the Community Association held its Winter Carnival.  Today I played with children of all ages. Some were three and some were eleven and the others were all the ages in-between.


Yes, I helped out at the colouring contest table sponsored by the Ogden Seniors 50+ Activity Club.  We had a multitude of Christmas pictures to colour, crayons, and prizes to be won.  The kids lined up at our table excited to spend a few minutes shading stockings, wreaths, and Christmas trees with the waxy crayons. A chance to win a five dollar McDonalds gift card was an easy enticement for many of the young people tagging along behind their Mom or Dad as they wandered from booth to booth.  Alone in their zone, they chatted quietly about their schools, their ages, their siblings and in some cases current world events. “Yes, I am good with colour and drawing”, “My favourite colour is pink”, “I don’t live around here”.  One young artist didn’t want to enter the colouring contest, he knew he wouldn’t be back this way again.  Another so intent on her art, didn’t say a word.  Quietly, she slid the crayons back and forth transforming the white paper to green, yellow and red.


The carnival, so much more than our little colouring corner tucked into the back of the hall. It is a gathering place.  A place where old friends can reconnect after months or years of not seeing each other.  I ran into a young woman I hadn’t seen is 10 or more years.  I knew her as a cashier at Safeway working part time while in high school.  It took me a few moments to shake off my past image of her and accept a new one. So grown up now.  She has two children and is the imaginative creator of unique candy bouquets.   This event is a hub where local entrepreneurs  set up business for an afternoon, hand out their business cards in the hope of a future sale or commission.  Where home based artisans can share their artistry, adding to the vibrancy of our community.  The hall was filled with the soothing scents of peppermint soaps, chocolate arrangements, and the sharp aroma of herbal oils.  My eyes were treated to the sparkle of semi precious stones strung into bracelets and necklaces, and the bright warm colours of knitted winter hats and scarves.

Christmas carols hung on the air and kids acted out their favourite Christmas messages on the 80 year old auditorium stage.  The floorboards creaked as a Taekwondo team kicked and jabbed their way through their sparring program.  Little girls dressed in mukluks, their faces painted as Hello Kitty,  turned and twirled as they worked to figure out the hula hoop moves so easily managed by the older more flexible teenage girls.


The Calgary Multicultural Orchestra treated everyone to a selection Christmas songs including winter wonderland, jingle bells and the first Nowell. (that is how it was written on the sheet music)  A beautiful and inspiring arrangement brought the sound of Christmas to our hearts.


At the end of the day everyone had fun, Christine and I tried our own hands at colouring, and four young aspiring artists won gift cards worth the price of a McDonalds Happy Meal.


December 2016   Cheryle


Drums on a Blue background   An unusual event took place in the Ogden House auditorium on May 5th, 2016.  For those members sitting in the lounge at the time, they heard and felt a rumbling never before experienced at the club.  What could it be?

a drum circle begins

A drum circle, of course.

As we arrived, each of us looked around the auditorium, skeptically, and wondered what had we gotten ourselves into?  The chairs were arranged in a large circle with a drum sitting in front of each spot.  Jamie Gore,  a Drum Circle Facilitator with Circles of Rhythms, greeted us and invited us to select a seat and a drum.  There were colourful Cuban Tubanos, shapely Djembes, and graceful Frame drums, all waiting to release their voices with just a touch from a drummer.

Each drum style, is unique in the way it looks, the sound it makes and in the way it is played.

A cuban drummer a   The Tubano, a tall floor standing drum, is played by used two beaters to hit the drum skin and by striking the hard straight side of the body with the beater handles.

A couple of djembe drummers   The Djembe, a goblet shaped drum from West Africa, is held between the legs, and is tilted slightly forward to allow the voice of the drum to escape through the bottom of its hollow body.  The drummer beats the drum skin with their open hands or the drum rim with their fingers.

a community drum with two frame drums  The community drum and the frame drums are used to keep the beat and set the pace for all the other drums.  Historically,  the frame drum is believed to have been styled after the original drum, which was developed from the grain sieves used by ancient agricultural communities.

a bunch of percussion

As the short hour flew by, everyone had an opportunity to try out each style of drum, and to play one of the percussion instruments which had been laid out on the floor in the centre of the circle.

a painted drum  We drummed for ourselves, we drummed for each other, and we drummed for those fleeing the fires in the north.  We energized our bodies, our minds, we played with our hearts and our spirits.  The room vibrated and bounced to the sounds we made.  Our faces broke out in smiles, our feet tapped in rhythm while our arms beat in time to each other.

a djembe quartet


A flute soars    Karin Foster, a musician and a Circle of Rhythms drum circle volunteer generously treated us to two haunting melodies played on her American Indian Flute.

A mother listens to her daughter play a  We sat quietly and meditated as her energy and love filled the room.

I had a drumming good time and look forward to the next drum circle, but from the looks on the faces of the members sitting in the lounge as we left, the next circle will need more chairs and more drums.

a gourd sound

Cheryle – May 2016

Originally published in the  Ogden House 50+ Seniors Activity Club – June Newsletter



Turmeric: True Gold

The topic for this post was suggested  by one of the members at the Ogden Seniors 50+ Activity Club  for publication in the April Newsletter .  I delayed posting it here until after the newsletter had been printed and distributed.   At the end of the post is a list of the articles I read as part of my research.  I hope this is the proper format.  I’m not a doctor or homeopath or any such person and want to make sure that my research is  available for any one who wishes to check it out for themselves.


Put spice in your life and reap amazing rewards You can improve your health and wellbeing.

Turmeric: True Gold

Turmeric, a rhizome native to India, has taken centre stage in the healing and wellness arena. It has the ability to positively affect more than 160 different physiological pathways, able to cross the blood-brain barrier, and is able to make your cells more orderly

Historically, turmeric was used as a flavour enhancer, preservative, and a food colourant in India, South East Asia and Africa.  Not only yummy it is beautiful too.  Due to its golden yellow colour it has been called gold.  It’s widely believed many of the ancient references to gold actually refer to turmeric, not to the soft yellow metal. Considered to be a holy spice for millennia, turmeric has been used in many religious rituals and ceremonies.  Thousands of years ago, Ayurvedic, Siddha, Unani and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners began to utilize and prescribe turmeric for a wide variety of ailments, including stomach, respiratory, blood and inflammation disorders, and to treat ulcers and wounds.

Today, scientists, researchers and big pharma are all investigating the healing and preventative properties of curcumin and turmerone, two of the bioactive ingredients found in Turmeric.  Curcumin, the more widely studied ingredient, has been found to have anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-spasmodic, anti-flatulent, anti-microbial and anti-mutagenic properties.  Turmerone, a volatile oil, has protective and regenerative properties. Wow!  These are just a few of turmeric’s qualities discovered, so far.

Studies report chronic inflammation is at the root of many illnesses and diseases, including heart ailments, rheumatism, and oral health.  Curcumin and other ingredients found in turmeric have demonstrated anti-inflammatory action, which reduces the pain and inflammation associated with certain types of arthritis. This promises an effective treatment for illnesses in which inflammation is either a precursor or primary symptom.

Of its’ many properties, the two most specifically exciting are turmeric’s neuroprotective and anti-carcinogenic effects. Good news for anyone who has witnessed the degenerative ravages Alzheimer’s disease or has first-hand experience with such cancers as colon, breast, and leukaemia.

Recent research has determined that in addition to anti-oxidant properties, turmeric inhibits the accumulation of the destructive amino acid peptides which form the sticky plaques that are indicative of Alzheimer’s disease.

Due to a process called apoptosis, in which cells literally commit suicide, Turmeric helps to inhibit the growth of abnormal cells which prevents the rapid reproduction of cancerous cells.

Turmeric, on its own is difficult to absorb into the body, therefore, unless prescribed or taken by supplement, make the most of Turmeric in your cooking by heating it, eating it with piperine – an ingredient in black pepper or with healthy fats such as Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut oil.

In conclusion, Turmeric is a versatile spice with a long history as a trusted remedy for a wide variety of ailments.  I suggest you look into the benefits of turmeric.  Talk to your doctor, your homeopath, or healthcare practitioner. 

References: include but are not limited to:
Turmeric: Doctors Say This Spice Is a Brain Health Miracle – from live in now Joshua Corn, Editor-in-Chief
-Turmeric and Curcumin: Biological actions and Medicinal Applications – Chattopadhyay, Ishita; Kaushik Biswas; Uday Bandyopadhayay; Ranajit K. Banerjee. Current Science (Indian Academy of Sciences) ISSN 0011-3891.
-Role of Curcumin in systemic and Oral Health: An Overview – Nagpa M. Sood S. 3 Nat Sc Biol Med 2013:4:3-7
Turmeric: How to Whiten Your Teeth –
This is A Must Read before Ever Using turmeric Again – Feb 22, 2016 – Healthy food House –
Turmeric – Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia


April 2016 – Cheryle



Photo Blogging Challenge (October 2015): Closeup

Close up – Up Close

I ventured out this month to visit one of my very favourite parks to photograph.  Carburn Park in Southeast Calgary.  It is a quiet gem, normally overlooked by many park enthusiasts.  On a good day, I can see Pelicans, Cormorants, various ducks, woodpeckers, one or two owls and deer.   The Pelicans were late this year, sitting on the Bow in mid-September when their usual visit occurs in late spring or early summer.  I wasn’t able to capture them this time, but I do look forward to next years’ opportunities.

Carburn Park is a popular spot for local dog walkers who enjoy a bit of exercise with their fur babies. There is no off leash area here, due to the abundance of wild life and the way dogs do like a chase whatever runs.  Therefore it is a once or twice around the lagoon before moving onto Sue Higgens’ Dog Park across the river or back home. The dogs appear to be content to wag their tails, scratch the grass, sniff the brush, and the trees that line the pathway. Occasionally they will catch the scent of a deer, squirrel or other park dweller, bark excitedly and try to follow their instincts into the woods. All the time, irritating their walkers who are so encapsulated in their world of walking and raising their heart rates, they don’t even look about to notice the life moving around them.

Often they miss, nature at large, up close and personal, right next to the pathway.  This is the perspective I chose for this months’ Photo Blogging Challenge.

 Nature Up Close and Personal

Crow n Bones

duck up 2

duck down 6

These last two shots were taken on a day when I was without my Nikon. Lucky me,  I had my little Ricoh.

This fat gopher bodes a late and mild winter as she basks in the October sunshine.

Fat Gopher

A young Mule Deer walks so close to the pathway I could touch her, if only she would let me.

Deer 1

Cheryle   October 2015

LOVE is …… Poetry Challenge


A poetry challenge.

I want to thank  Piyush Singh of The Perceptions Square for nominating me for this task.

The task is to write 10 lines about what you believe Love represents or as the title suggests LOVE IS…..!

Each line begins with the word Love and is only 4 words long.  Once the poem is written – challenge 15 other bloggers to do the same.

Each person I challenge does not have to accept.  This is for fun.  I certainly had fun coming up with my list of what Love is.

I hope you enjoy my submission and those I have challenged.

Love shines a light

Love brightens the night

Love comforts the dark

Love naked bare – stark


Love energy to sooth

Love offers souls truth

Love is compassions friend

Love beginning no end


Love senses through love

Love below and above

Cheryle – March 2, 2015


I sent the challenge to these 15 Bloggers.

Ava Peacock of The Secret Life of a Lightworker

Bard of What Bards Sees

Lani of Life, the Universe and Lani

Abhinav Majumder of Subdued Flamboyance

Cloudthinker  of Mindlessfloyd

Leon Kwaski Kuntuo-Asare of  Leon Kwaski Kuntuo-Asare’s Blog

Sheila of Seilas Sea

Vanessa Spark of The Vanessa Spark

Busy Lady of Darlenes Corner

Allyson Adam of Allyson Lee Adams

Vrakesh83 of LineSays

JoHanna Massey of JoHanna Massey

Faye Diabel of Faye Diabel

John White of Double U

Megan Elizabeth of Words Can Inspire the World

Have fun

In love and light Cheryle

Blogging U 101 – Assignments 16, 17, 18 & 19 Combined

Blogging U 101 – Assignments 16, 17, 18 & 19 Combined

This week I have been a busy girl, I am so far behind in my assignments. On Monday I did my first delivery of bread from Cobbs Bakery to a local charity then enjoyed the first of two days of Lightwalking for the Calgary Operas’ presentation of The Marriage of Figaro.  Did you know they don’t actual sing Figaro, Figaro, Figaro as shown in the Bugs Bunny Cartoons?    Wednesday flew by with household chores, shopping, teaching, and catching up on emails, Twitter, and Facebook.  Thursday was a day of preparation for dinner & the Opera, one of the perks of Lightwalking.  Friday was set aside to complete the final preparations for drum making. The drums were made and hung to dry on Saturday while watching Space Cowboys.

I am combining all the missed assignments into one big post.  I hope it isn’t too huge or boring.

I completed the 16th Assignment “Plug into Social Media” before it was given. During the widget challenge one of the widgets I added to my sidebar was a connection my Twitter feed to WordPress.

The 17th Assignment directed us to add a new page.  I added 2 new pages, one a contact page, not that I am expecting anyone to actually contact me and the second page is a disclaimer page.  I borrowed the idea from Serins at  Wahoo!  I have a 3 page blog.

The assignment I had the most difficulty with was the 18th Assignment – Try another blog event.  The purpose to expand our horizons, increase our opportunities for blogging and interact with another community, thereby gathering more friends or readers.

I looked at all the available options.  The photo challenges, the weekly challenges, the one word challenges, the poetry and the cooking events, none of the offerings resonated with me.  After wandering around the dozens of sites for a couple of day, reading the rules and criteria of each, I finally settled on the PBC.

Photo Blog Challenge  

I chose this challenge because it is a monthly event.   On the first of each month the event theme will be posted to which the participants will post 5 photos on their blog representing their interpretation of the theme.   I expect it won’t put too much pressure on me to produce an event post weekly, so it shouldn’t be overwhelmed.  In addition to encouraging me to take pictures of topics other than the mountain ash tree in my garden, I will enjoy interpreting the theme.  I will see how it progresses and what I create.  Here’s to the Photo Blog Challenge!

19th Assignment – Extend your Brand

Brand!  Wow having a Brand makes me feel like a product.   I guess that is what I am a writing product or a product of writing.  I now have a Blavatar.  It is the same photo that I used for my WordPress profile.  I figure if I am supposed to be consistent across the web I should maintain the profile I began with.  Here is the picture, let me know what you think.

I also created a page called Lightwalkers Blog attached to my regular Facebook page.  I tried to connect the two but haven’t seen any evidence that I completed the task correctly.  I will continue to try, but my mind is shutting down where technical tasks are considered.

20th Assignment – Create a Regular Feature

Before I registered for Blogging U 101, I wrote a post called the Meditation Cushion.  I will use this title as part of a regular feature for posts on thoughts, instruction and comments regarding meditation and how it can improve life and relieve stress.  I hope you will like what I post and try some of the suggestions.

21st Assignment – Last Weekend – Review your posts and Make Contact with your New Event Community.

I have enjoyed learning about blogging and especially enjoyed meeting many other bloggers.  I have even surprised myself with some of my new discoveries about myself.   It isn’t as scary as it appears, it is fun. I will visit my fellow Photo  Bloggers Challenge over the next month.

I recommend Blogging U 101 to anyone who is new to Blogging or who is struggling with or avoiding posting.  I have registered for Blogging U 201 and for the Blogging Writing – 201 Poetry sessions.

See you soon.

In love & light