Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Happy Canada Day, eh?


Maclean's Magazine published a Canada vs. America issue proclaiming "99 Reasons Why it's Better to Be Canadian: We're happier, fitter and richer and our kids are smarter too." You can read all the statistics in a July 8, 2013, edition of Maclean's.

Of course, I read this issue with glee. I am not competitive in my personal life, choosing to also praise and exhort others, but I have an ingrained, historically rooted compulsion to challenge the powerful country to the south of me. Perhaps it is a David and Goliath syndrome. Here is a list of why I love Canada. Some of  the stats come from Maclean's.
As Canada Day celebrates its 148th birthday, I celebrate Canada's triumphs. Next to the United States we might seem insignificant but remember,  looks are deceiving.

Lyrics O Canada (English version)

O Canada!Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
We are more popular than Americans; wearing a maple leaf on your backpack means people treat you well in other countries.
We say, "eh" at the end of sentences. This is a word which reaches out in agreement while the American word huh tacked on sentences sounds like the speaker is a dimwitted.
                                                                                                              capital hill
Canada has one square kilometre of land for every three people
We are funnier; many comedians are Canadian such as Wayne and Schuster, Lorne Michaels, John Candy, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, Catherine O'Hara, Seth Rogen Jay Baruchel, Michael Cera....
Our banks are better- 4 of the top ten in the world are Canadian, the top U.S. bank is ranked 9th- the Citigroup
For our population, we break more Guinness world records.
Our government does not kill people; capital punishment was abolished in 1776 and no one has been executed since 1961. The States has 3,125 prisoners on death row.
Maple syrup
We are more fit with 35.9 Americans are obese and only 24.5 OF Canadians are overweight.
We live longer- an average of 3 years longer than Americans
Americans always make fun of us because we are polite; we always say. "I'm sorry" but researchers at the University of Waterloo say good manners boost happiness. Apologizing to the police for speeding results in an average drop of $51 in fines.
The wilderness -- we still have lots of it.
Our lobster tastes better.
NORTHERN LIGHTS

Our roads are safer.
Fewer homicides per person and mass murders are rare
Our national animal, the beaver, is industrious and rugged
The salmon run
We lead in quantum computing.
Our judges are appointed not voted in.
We can read the cereal box and road signs in two different languages.
                                                    the east coast- the Maritimes
There is a whole T.V. channel dedicated to politicians bickering.
Place Names that come from Aboriginal languages
We have better skiing with more ski trails, longer runs and more snow on Canada's Whistler Mountain compared to America's Vail
We dominate hockey; it is Canada's game
We get more paid holidays. 23% of Americans get no paid time off. ALL Canadian workers get at least 2 weeks paid vacation + 9 paid public holidays
Newfoundland
Newfies - I love their accent and sense of humour. They are the salt of the earth
The north is a land of untouched beauty
Easy geography classes: we only have ten provinces and three territories
Excellent education system; our 15 year-olds score in the top 10 of 65 countries. American kids are #17.
MORE POOR KIDS GO TO UNIVERSITY- 54% OF LOW-INCOME KIDS GO TO UNIVERSITY COMPARED TO 30% OF POOR AMERICAN KIDS
Northwest Territories
Lots of immigrants -- this is the place people from all over the world want to come to!
Our Government apologizes for past mistakes!
The Queen and other Royals visit us
Our corporate taxes are lower
An almost peaceful history
Intelligent population
When spring comes, we appreciate it
forests
We know how to make good, strong, HOT tea
The weather is a legitimate topic of conversation and we ALWAYS talk about the weather
Toques
Coffee Crisp ... Only available in Canada!
canada-scenery-582-2
the Rocky Mountains in the West
Affordable university tuition
Lots of fresh water!
We're less pushy than some other countries
We let everyone come here, and do their thing. Even if they wouldn't do the same for us.
Ketchup chips ... only in Canada.
Moose, Elk, Deer
Brown Bears, Polar Bears
So many rivers and lakes- I live in South- Eastern Ontario which is called the land of a thousand islands.
Great fishing, especially indownload (4) fly-in camps up north
Majestic mountains
We have coasts on three oceans
Second largest country in the world
Largest prosperous country in the world
Freedom553865_779334491462_40258293_n
Peacekeepers
Aboriginal people who have fought in all the wars, with an astounding war record
Official recognition of rights of Aboriginal Nations embedded in our national constitution
No one ever won between the French and the English: we just compromised!
Every landscape imaginable, all in one magnificent country
Enormous National Parks
Anne of Green Gables
Lots of hockey rinks, great outdoor skating rinks in almost every village, town and city. We even have one and our population isn't even posted
Car heaters that plug-in when it's cold. Even store parking lots provide plug-ins
Icicles- some extend for 3 to 4 feet from our roof.
Skating and hot chocolate
Beaver Tails224834a50d6cd49cc0b64dd74a46c988
The longest skating rink in the world on Ottawa's canal
Sound of crickets
The sound of Canada Geese flying back from their holiday in the South
We spell colour and neighbourhood the right way
We are proud of our British roots
Aurora Borealis called the Northern Lights.
We love to make fun of ourselves
We love to make fun of people who don't know anything about us, especially Americans
Terry Fox was one of us
Gordon Lightfoot
Lenard Cohen
Arctic Rangers
The change of seasons
Incredible beauty
The tundra
Best opera house in North America is Toronto's Four seasons Centre built by Jack Diamond who built Mariinsky 11 theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia by invitation of Valery Gergiev
TIM HORTON'S makes the best coffee




Saturday, 27 June 2015

The Dangers of Techno Pacifiers

For most modern families living in apartments, townhouses, or even the suburbs, it takes a conscious effort to ensure little ones connect with nature and animals and, as a result, connect with God. Nature is suffused with the Presence of the Creator because God sustains and controls nature.
It seems to me children need to go outside where they can delight in the smallest details because their hearts senses the Spirit of God and His joy when they are in nature. Even adults are growing increasingly discontent with the hectic pace of the 21st century because it is an existence more plugged into technology than to people.
Many are more comfortable texting each other than speaking face to face or even talking on the phone. This disconnect has devastating repercussions, also affecting our relationship to nature, but most especially our relationship with God. Man is losing the ability to even engage in authentic prayer because prayer is all about communion, the ability to relate.
Children are especially vulnerable to the toxic influence of technology. It is so easy to switch on the television or hand a tiny child an iPhone when they are distraught and parents are busy. One of the creators of the television show Sesame Street once said that any activity is better than watching television, even an educational show like Sesame Street. In our home, we went a year without any television when we had seven children. After this, we limited their time in front of the television as well as the computer — not too difficult when kids of all ages are clamoring for their thirty minutes of allotted time.
The Canadian scientist David Suzuki also believes children must be given the opportunity to connect with animals. The inner drive to bond with animals is so strong that, if they haven’t the chance to connect with real animals, children will turn their attention to stuffed or cartoon animals. Suzuki calls these substitutes for real animals a “grotesque” substitution.
While watching my own kids interact with our pets and farm animals, I discovered children do have a deep seated need to relate to animals. I was as fascinated as my kids with the arrival of tiny balls of fluff called chicks, cute piglets and tiny kittens. The whole family gathered around in the barn when the chicks and piglets first arrived, not wanting to miss anything.
In the coming weeks, the smaller children clambered for one of the older ones to take them to see the chicks. Sitting among the little birds with the warming lamp, holding or simply watching them was an almost magical time filled with quiet joy.
Mary was and still is my most fervent animal lover. Before she could even walk, she exhibited an obsession to find, crawl after, grab and squeeze any and all animals. This was a passionate love for animals, I would say. She could barely talk, so to communicate her wish to hold the hamster, her hands would frantically open and close and she would utter soft little grunts as she pleaded, with big chocolate-brown eyes, for someone to open the cage. When Mary realized that she would finally get to hold the hamster, her hand would literally shake with excitement and anticipation.
Needless to say, either one of the older siblings or I had to supervise Mary, because she would tend to squeeze Hammy till his eyes started to bulge out. Then the cry would arise . . . “Mary’s squeezing Hammy again. Come quickly!” Once she could walk, Mary would haul the disgruntled cat around, but she was happy with her eyes shining with joy. Mary was in heaven, so I couldn’t bear to deny her access to her beloved pets.
At least the rabbits in the hutch on the covered porch were more placid than Kitty and tougher than the hamster, and she was content to simply stare at the goldfish. Though she did tend to over feed them. I’d scoop out food from the top of the water to use for the next few feedings. Spring provides the perfect time to build memories like these.
It really takes minimal effort to encourage little ones to connect with nature and animals, and, as a result, with the God who sustains them.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

I’m Batman Foevaaaa….

Our second youngest child was born with a zest for living. This was obvious with even a quick glance at my baby’s face. With his eyebrows raised in surprise, eyes wide open to see everything around him and lips smiling with glee. Anthony was a delightful infant, toddler and young child. Actually his temperament at twenty has not changed much at all!
Anthony was a delightful infant, toddler and young child. Actually his temperament at twenty has not changed much at all!
Anthony had a marvellous imagination, creating dramatic play scenarios like intense sword fights with invisible villains. By the time he was two and a half, he insisted on wearing one of two batman sweatshirts every morning. Anthony needed to wear his batman sweatshirt, so I just acquiesced and washed one of the sweatshirts every night.

By four-years-old he had added a black cape, felt fedora hat and black  barn boots to his daily uniform. His outfit was my little guy’s salute to his three heroes Batman,Zorro and the Canadian Mounted Police.

 He tried to imitate Batman’s ability to fly. I caught  Anthony just in time when he was three, as he slung a leg over the banister, so he could sweep down and save a hapless victim of crime. After that incident, I convinced him to jump off the fourth step of the front hall staircase. Honestly that little boy jumped countless times every day, black cape billowing behind him. One afternoon, a doctor passed us in a hospital and smiled at Anthony’s outfit,
“Oh my, what do we have here, Batman?”
Anthony took a flying leap, cape billowing behind him again and answered,
“Oh no, I’m Batman Foevaaaa….”

Another time, as we sat in a doctor’s waiting room, four-year old Anthony backed up and then crouched low like a runner’s preparing to sprint towards the plate-glass window. Shocked, I called out,
“ANTHONY, what are you doing?”
My four-year old son adjusted his tense stance and said,
I am going to run and leap and smash that glass with my feet! Then I’ll fly through the air.”
However, Anthony did get a few chances to really fly when his older brother’s friends came out to the farm.  Matthew’s friends would play catch throwing Anthony instead of a ball. With his little legs tucked, arms clutched tightly around his bent legs, the strong teenagers would toss my son between each other!!
It was teenage sleepovers that provided Anthony with his most memorable flying feats. On early Saturday mornings, he would run from our big farm kitchen, down the hall and then launched himself into the air to land on all the teenage bodies strewn about the family room. A series of groans and moans joined Anthony’s gales of laughter as he yelled,
“Come on guys, it’s time to get up!”

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Coming Soon- Love Rebel: Reclaiming Motherhood

I am part of an upcoming anthology of five other Catholic mums due to come out in about a month. All the women are great writers, each writing from a completely different perspective. Roberta Cottam is the creator and editor for this project. It started out as a project for a class but with her mother's illness and the death of one of the contributor's full term baby, the book was put on hold. Now Roberta is working on this book because she is passionate about it. strictly pro bono along with designer  Laura Wrubleski  Here is Roberta's initial vision in her own words
I feel deeply inspired to create a book specifically featuring five writers, with the focus being Catholic writers/bloggers. I find there is a current theme around the courage to parent as your faith supports you to do versus what is the current trend in our culture, and I find this very inspiring.
I envision a beautiful print book and eye-catching eBook. As a designer and author, I am really passionate about creating a stellar print book. I believe that having a physical incarnation sampling each of your work honours what you have to share as mothers, and is a celebration of your talents.
We will be self-publishing under my new publishing logo, Village Acres, which Roberta has designed for me  to use individually as well as for this book. It will be available through Amazon both as an ebook and a paperback.
Praise for the Authors of Love Rebel
“Full of earnest and joyful contributions that inspire and affirm, this exuberant anthology resonates with love and authenticity. It serves as an earthy and affectionate antidote to a world that suggests that motherhood should be considered an afterthought instead of a priority.” — Dymphny Dronyk, Q. Med., Senior Consultant & Manager atCommunica Public Affairs, President of the League of Canadian Poets Council, and Editor/Publisher at blueskiespoetry.ca
“Pope Francis challenges moms and dads to dream about their children...and this little book is a great beginning. I’m a big believer in affirming what is good and in this short work, five spiritually alive mothers make the case brilliantly.” — Father Julio Lagos
“Motherhood shared — whether the ups or the downs — is pure joy, as Melanie Jean Juneau proves again and again in her delightful and insightful writing — Allison Gingras, host of A Seeking Heart on Real Life Radio
“There are no cultural boundaries when it comes to love, faith and motherhood. Echoed with laughs and tears, I got inspired by each love rebel’s own experiences, honest reflections and ordinary yet spirit-lifting deeds!” — Odilia Lee, monthly columnist of S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Evergreen News
“Love Rebel: Reclaiming Motherhood gives comfort and encouragement to ts readers by reaffirming the value of their roles within their families, and as a child of God in their own rite.”— Lisa Whelton, Made Just for You By Lisa Designs
"Bonnie Way has a way with words in which you can’t help but feel like you are actually there. This book took me back to when my child was small and made me miss all of those things that makes raising a small child so memorable.” — Kristy-Lea Tritz, Personal Coach atgettotheheartofthematter.ca

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Grammar Humour

gram·mar ˈɡramər/noun
the whole system and structure of a language or of languages in general,usually taken as consisting of syntax
and morphology (including inflections) and sometimes also phonology and semantics.

synonyms: syntax, sentence structure, rules of language, morphology; linguistics
“the editors of this newspaper need a refresher course in grammar”
a particular analysis of the system and structure of language or of a specific language.
a book on grammar.
plural noun: grammars
“my old Latin grammar”


Monday, 4 May 2015

Letting Go and Watching Growth


Spring has finally come this week,
Without any help from me.
Flowers are blooming
pushing through dead leaves and untilled soil
Even more surprising,
all sorts of breakthroughs are happening
in my adult kid’s lives
simply because I let go of control
prayed, trusted in God and
allowed natural growth and development to progress
without my meddling
…too much! Let’s say I facilitated, then stepped back.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

No More Mental Kung-Fu

Posted on my fridge right at my eye level (I'm 5'1") are quotes that are key to my sanity. When I feel at my wit's end, this quote makes me laugh and cuts through stress.
One in four people are mentally unbalanced.
Think of three friends.
If they seem fine,
You're the one.
 
I never fail to smile, even after reading these lines hundreds of times. This reaction pushes worry to the side. When I don't take myself too seriously by entertaining the thought that I might be slightly unbalanced, I immediately stop over reacting. My worries are now put into perspective.
 
Laughter is the best way to snap out of melodrama.
 .
Cognitive therapists love to tell us not to 'make a mountain out of a mole hill', however there are times
when everything actually is even worse than it seems, times when our world really does shatter. What then? I love to control but when my safe little world has shattered, sometime it was the only way I could step out of my comfort zone.
 
Many times devastating circumstances have ended one way of life for our family but something new always rose out of the ashes. I had to learn to relax and patiently let the process unfold naturally.
 .
Again melodrama really did not help. I always say that I finally can laugh in the face of tragedy.  Christian Cognitive therapy came to my rescue.
 .
That old proverb, "Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill", has saved my sanity many times. Laughter puts every thing into perspective. Although stuck in retched circumstances, I still can change how I feel and how I think. Cognitive therapy is a powerful tool. I can often change my thoughts and focus on all the blessing is my life, instead if everything that is going wrong and my emotions change as well.
 
For example, I still can see, hear, use all my limbs and I don't have a chronic illness.

 .
But what about the times when you simply cannot change your thoughts?, when you can't snap out of anxiety or panic? My family coined a phrase for crazy thinking that leads to stress. Repeat this phrase and it is once again laughter what will put a stop to your running brain, guaranteed.No more Mental-Fu Can't you just see your thoughts sparring with each other in a match that neither of them can ever win, especially in the middle of the night? Really, humans are so illogical, we are comical. So this is my wise advice.
 .
To quote the Reader's Digest, "Laughter is the best medicine.
.
Laugh and Let God take charge.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Oopsy Daisy: Free Ebook

new cover on Smashwords
Life at the Juneau's farmhouse was often overwhelming with eleven personalities living, working and playing together. Luckily, Melanie had a wicked sense of humour and just enough grace to remain serene in the eye of the hurricane, the CEO of a chaotic domain. She has written hundreds of short stories, insights and articles which only could happen when you put nine kids together on a farm. Oopsy Daisy is a selection of short stories, an introduction to her upcoming book, One Breath at a Time.
“Melanie Juneau—motherofnine9—knows that a woman’s ground of creativity lies as close as her child’s heart. In her delightful stories and memories of mothering nine children, she shows how a Christian mother bathed in love brings all the power and light embodied in her faith to that most important sphere of hope, the family.”—Isabel Anders, author of Blessings and Prayers for Married Couples
Melanie Jean Juneau captures the Holy Spirit's message in her writing, unlike anyone I've read. Her writings are practical, direct, and faith-filled. Living a contemplative life as a Hermit Monk for me, Ms. Juneau provides a vineyard of spiritual fruit of which to meditate and pray for. All I have to do is reach out and pick. Her heartwarming writings in time will transform you. -Abba Justin Anthony, Hermit Monk
Found on Amazon
and for free on Smashwords
I wish I could find an image 1400 pixels wide to use on Smashwords like I used on Amazon...will keep trying
Amazon's cover
old cover on Smashwords