|Posted by Val Fox on December 3, 2012 at 11:30 PM||comments (1)|
For many years I’ve searched for answers about God, the universe, this world and others, asking questions and reading, discussing, then avoiding. After attending several different churches I eventually made a choice about just who or what I would pray to. It got tiresome feeling confused when so many different religions claimed to be a direct channel to God and the one and only true church. With a small seed of faith I opened my mind and heart. Since that day I have still questioned and researched, but always end back at the same place…one on one with Someone in my own heart Who Hears, Someone I will be honest with.
When I act as though a greater power exists, that’s just what I get. Inspiration, wisdom, guidance, truth – a friend. When in doubt or pleading for favors, the result is frustration and despair. Quantum physics tells us that we create our current reality, and that there are other realities available to us when we think different thoughts which lead to different choices which lead to different outcomes ( or similar.) Kind of fits right in with a simple faith in a creator and teacher. He is or he isn’t, we are or we aren’t, It is or It isn’t, they are or they aren't depending on what we allow ourselves or challenge ourselves to believe. And, of course, what our culture has taught us to believe.
Simple until our ego gets involved. EGO is sometimes used as an acronym for Easing God Out. Kind of fits, don’t you think.
What to let go of and what to keep…how to forgive, what will we reap
Whether to stay or whether to leave, how to excel or at least to achieve
When to take risks, how far will we go to do what we must or accept status quo…
The answers will come or are already here, so trust in Spirit and cradle your tears.
Thanks for visiting,
Tags: Spirituality; rejecting religion; spiritual practice; seeking truth; church membership; world religions; finding peace; using discernment
|Posted by Val Fox on November 28, 2012 at 5:00 PM||comments (1)|
When “trying” to pray this afternoon, the chatter in my mind distracted me from That Place…where the breath meets the Spirit; Truth can be found there.
Fragrant smoke floated around windows and doors. For a second it felt as though Emma might be present. Minutes later it happened again. This time I stopped and looked around. I don’t know what I expected to see for she has been gone from this world a while now.
Thank you for blessing our loved ones, our home, our vehicles and the animals…Thank you for your guidance…
I stood at the top of the stairs looking down at the front door; leaned over and brought the smudge up and over in a rectangle – the shape of the door. It was then it felt like she was behind me, gentle yet firm, reminding me to go down all the way to the door and do it again.
It’s all in your mind.
That thought aside, I smiled and said Hello. Told her how much she is missed. Perhaps she checked in on her dog. Whatever the facts, I wanted to share this with you. This is not the only time it has happened. Others would tell me it’s just a tweek from my subconscious when I miss them…Emma and the mother that raised me. I’ve felt her too, especially when working with the kids. Mom had been a teacher.
Then, the moment was gone.
Have you ever experienced similar “feelings?”
tags: spiritual; angels; death; those who are no longer with us; family that has died; intuition; missed loved ones; grief; healing; prayer
|Posted by Val Fox on November 25, 2012 at 2:00 PM||comments (0)|
A November 22 National Post article, Financial Bill Set to Pass in House of Commons, has highlighted some of the issues that many First Nations communities face when dealing with elected officials. If the financial transparency bill is passed, First Nations in Canada will be required to publish their financial statements including pay, honorariums and travel for Chiefs and Councillors.
Although the concerns are similar to some other reserves in Canada, Writer John Ivison cited the example of Alberta’s Kainai reservation, stating that he’d received “the kind of information that is currently inaccessible to non-band members.” Ivison shared that Kainai Chief and Council claimed $1.7 million in tax-free expenses “last year.” Locals of this community are now repeating that one or more councillors make even more money than Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Non-band members aren’t the only ones in the dark. For years I’ve listened to members of Canada’s largest reservation express concerns over monies spent, and programs/services that have vanished due to lack of funding. Residents who demand accountability are sometimes bullied, fired or forced out of their jobs, leaving a frustrated community that is unsure of all the facts.
Ivison stated that Lethbridge auditors reported, for example, that all monies may not be accurately recorded – that the risk of fraud and misappropriated funds is high in both past and current tribal governments.
And then, there is the upcoming election. Not being a band member, I have no voice, no vote. But I will share my observations with you, having lived on this reserve for several years. There is a lot of talk, some based on fact, some on rumor and innuendo. Many voters do not understand the bigger picture. Others lack the education to make informed decisions. I listened to one candidate speak on Lastar radio about his plans for the future. He has no more than a grade nine education, yet wants to manage global funding from the federal government that numbers in the millions. Families band together and try to gather power in numbers. Others talk about the same issues but never offer a realistic solution. On November 27 there will be approximately 100 candidates vying for 13 positions – 12 councillors and one Chief.
It will be an interesting year if the transparency bill is passed and becomes law. The people may be shocked to find how well their councellors are paid when most of the community faces lack of employment and lost services. My foster children can’t even secure a ride by a transporter to a family visit. The head of the department is now gone. And so is the money.
tags: honesty; government; accountable; elections; votes; community issues; poor vs. rich; entitlement; corruption; uninformed voters; secrecy; secrets
|Posted by Val Fox on September 24, 2012 at 9:35 PM||comments (1)|
|Posted by Val Fox on July 22, 2012 at 8:25 PM||comments (0)|
Visitors from all over North America gather this weekend under the century-old cottonwood trees here in southern Alberta. They are dancing, honoring and feasting with family and friends.The annual event held on the Kainai First Nations reservation near Lethbridge features a variety of activities for people of all ages. Midway rides, food /craft venues and handgames also entertain. This year four new members will be inducted into the Kainai Chieftainship which honors people that have made significant contributions to Canada's First Nations population. Last year"s recipient included Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Tepee Ears Adjust Smoke From Inner Fire and provide protection from bad weather
Dance competitions include traditional dances passed down for generations (Chicken Dance and Buckskin) and more recent dances that include Men's Fancy Dance and Women's Jingle. Large drums surrounded by singers also compete for status and prizes. Generations ago dances like this were held to celebrate the warriors' return or a good hunt. Today the event mirrors culture and tradition (thru dance styles and outfits) while providing opportunities to live a summer lifestyle and to earn money and prizes. But the most important goal seems to be the fellowship and renewal of old friendships. Everywhere people gather around campfires and tables of traditional food. Laughter rings in the air, as does the news crier early in the mornings.
Some examples of what is polite behavior among Blackfoot people are included in the following link. These are also included in my Feb. 12/2011 blog.
When this event is finished many will move their camps up the hill to participate or watch the Sun Dance. The Sun Dance is the most sacred event in Blackfoot Country. I am cautious about what I photograph at the Sun Dance and at the opening of Medicine Bundles. There are strict protocols and if in doubt, I always ask first. I also learned from my Blackfoot family that it is appropriate to wear a skirt during ceremonial events.
Ribbon Dress & Moccasins
The next link is an article on the Sun Dance and came from my August 3, 2011 blog. If you wish to learn more about First Nations culture, always be cautious about who you get your information from. A true teacher will never ask for money, although it would be appropriate for us to give them an offering of some sort (money, food, tobacco.)
The summer months include plenty of activities for those interested in First Nations culture. Visitors of all kinds can attend and ask questions to learn what is appropriate clothing and behavior. It also helps to have someone with you that speaks the Blackfoot language.
I hope you are all well and safe, friends. Till next time,
Photo's: Creative Commons
Tags: Native American, celebrations, traditions, dance outfits, ettiquette, cross-cultural protocols, pow wow, feast, traditional cuisine, indigenous
|Posted by Val Fox on June 28, 2012 at 4:35 PM||comments (0)|
Sometimes I hate the thought that I'm on someone's list. When I first joined Facebook I decided I would not collect friends but choose people I could actually have some sort of relationship with. Whether it was other writers, parents/foster parents, work or school collegues didn't matter. They were all on the same list of friends.
Then FB introduced lists where you could sort your friends into categories - aquaintances, business leads, work-related and so forth. I know how valuable it can be when networking with others. But I still struggle a little with the list thing. It seems so impersonal. Just some thoughts.
And while we're at it, I struggle like hell with the thought of marketing myself. Yet, in today's publishing world it's a necessity to plug yourself into all kinds of social media and strategy. Since I have not yet completed all the steps I've kept my friends list manageable, with those who I have something in common with and would like to know better.
This website is the place where I encourage visitors from all over the world to come. This site is a place of acceptance for all people of our earth, whether or not I agree with them on certain issues or share similar values. People will not be put on lists here, as you are all valuable and have something to say. The only thing I ask is that comments be respectful of others, which they have always been. I want to hear your stories, about your lives and about what matters to you, and welcome your input or messages.
I am still camped down at the dam and and am lucky to have an opportunity to meet new people and live among the wildlife of the area. Three nights ago the campground was hit with a violent hail storm. The photo below shows some of the hail still lying on the ground. My trailer was hit by golf-ball sized hail stones which dented the roof and broke two sky lights. The campground was littered with broken branches but no one was hurt. It is the season here for thunder and lightening storms, with June rains. Last weekend members of my Blackfoot family had a ceremony where they opened a medicine bundle and prayed for many people. The bundle is opened each year when the thunder begins.
From now on you can expect posts on Thursdays when I can access my computer at home. Thanks for visiting, friends. I'll be back soon with more photo's and music from around the world. Let me know if there's anything you'd like me to share with other readers.
Hail storm June 25
Young robin stayed still for the camera. No zoom lens needed.
Many of these small ground squirrels live all around my camp site. Their interactions are funny and entertaining.
tags: camping, southern Alberta, weather, friendship, culture, people, cultural diversity, writing, story-telling, amateur photography
|Posted by Val Fox on April 28, 2012 at 4:55 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Val Fox on April 11, 2012 at 6:25 PM||comments (3)|
Every so often when there is a dance among my Blackfoot family I get to listen to the soft tinkling sounds of the jingle cones. They are attached with ribbon in rows upon the girls' colorful dresses. The sound they make during a jingle dance is like the soft rush of long. native prairie grasses. It was originally considered a good medicine healing dance that was shared from the Ojibwe people of eastern Canada. Today it is a common sight at pow wow competitions and ceremonies.
There are variations of the legend behind the story but they are all quite similar too. One version tells of a medicine man (or woman) that had a sick daughter. Asking for help from the spirits, he dreamed a group of women dancers showed him the jingle dance - how to make the dress, the small, precise steps and what songs to sing. He was told if his granddaughter dressed the jingle dance she might be healed. The man and his wife made the dress as instructed and took it to their granddaughter. Although needing to be carried at first, her condition improved with each consecutive dance around the circle, until she was healed.
Formerly made of wood, the jingles are now formed from the lids off chewing tobacco cans. They are sewn closely together so during the dance they rub together, producing that gentle, rustling sound. A basic outfit for competition includes dress, a feather fan, moccasins, beaded leggins and feathered hair adornments. Dancers used to raise their hands toward the drum to receive healing but during competitions today the use of a fan is more common and is raised during the heavier, louder four honor beats of the song.
Dancers are judged on their tight, intricate steps, poise, endurance and their ability to keep time with the drum beat. I've encluded a short video so you can view the beauty of the jingle dance. Thanks for coming!
Sources: Manataka American Indian Council (Jennifer Whitefeather Attaway)
Today's featured letter for the A to Z April Blog challenge was the letter "J" Further infor at http://z-to-zchallenge.com
Tags: Native, Aboriginal, indigenous, culture, tradition, First Nations, indians, dancing, traditional dance, pow wow, beaded outfits, fabric, colorful, ribbons, accessories, dance arbor, reservation, dance troupe
|Posted by Val Fox on April 3, 2012 at 12:10 PM||comments (3)|
Today's April Blog Challenge features the letter C of the English alphabet so I've decided to share three "C" recipes that my parents taught me.
One year my father gathered crabapples from one of our trees and made a lequeur recipe that we used to celebrate with at Christmas. It's very sweet with variations of red to pink shades, depending on the color of the apple skin. Served in tiny crystal goblets, this sweet treat warmed our cheeks and helped to set a happy memory or two, along with great company.
Dad's Crabapple Lequeur (as written by him on the recipe card)
1 gallon of crabapples, sliced. Suff into a glass jar (old vinegar bottle or similar jar)
Add: 4 cups (yikes!) of sugar
1 26 oz. bottle gin or vodka
Close bottle and invert (set upside down) every day for 15 days. After 15 days, strain the liquid from the pulp
Bottle the liquid.
The next recipe is written in my mothers script. The chicken casserole was a delicious family favorite and my mother would make it for birthdays or with turkey leftovers. I also adapted the recipe to include ground beef, then a vegetarian casserole with whole wheat noodles and no meat. Yummy!
Mom's Chicken Casserole
1 large chicken, stewed
1 can muchrooms
1 small can pimento
1/2 large package noodles, cooked
1 can peas, 1 cup celery
1 large onion
2 cans low-salt mushroom soup
broth from chicken as required to dilute soup
Saute onion and celery in butter ( or 1.2 tsp canola oil)
Combine all ingredients except chips. Then crush chips and spead on top of casserole
Bake at 350 F. for one hour.
As my parents got older they became more conscious of eating healthy foods. My dad was basically a "meat and potatoes" man and didn't care for new or unfamiliar flavors or plant life. But the following recipe was also found in an old recipe box, written in mom's familiar pen. I don't know how authentic it is, whether or not it reflects true asian cuisine, or if this is actually a North American creation ( I will find out!) It IS delicious and fits into a healthy lifestyle. I also noticed that even after dad gumbled What's this?? his plate was always empty as he left the table. Today's letter C, there you have it.
Chicken Chop Suey
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 med. onion
2 tbs. cooking oil
1 10 1/2 oz. can of chicken consomme
2 tbs. corn starch
1 med green pepper (thin strips)
2 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. molasses
1 can bean sprouts, rinced and drained
1 5 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and sliced.
1 pkg. (2 cups) cooked and diced chicken
1 5 oz. can bamboo shoots
Saute celery and onion in hot oil until onion is transparent, but not browned.
Add one cup consomme, stir cornstarch into remaining consomme, then stir into onion mixture
Add remaining ingredients, cook until liquid is just thickened.
Serve with rice.
|Posted by Val Fox on March 21, 2012 at 11:20 AM||comments (0)|
Today I will share some photos taken from the areas around where I live in Southern Alberta, and across the border into Montana, USA. These pictures are from my home or within 1/2 hour drive from home. The terrain changes very quickly from prairie, then to foothills, then the Rocky Mountains. Have a nice day, everyone!
The last of the old wagon used by my husband's father who was born in Montana, 1877 and died in Alberta 1967 when my husband was just 11 years old. The wagon sits in our yard as a reminder of a time now passed.
The above sign is posted just as you enter Alberta from the Carway border crossing to the U.S.A. 30 minutes from home.
Checking the cattle that graze in our field from May to October each year.
The Rocky Mountains are 30 minutes to the west of our home.
Outside doing chores with Buddy.
Val's horse, Harvest Moon, born September 15, 2011
I watch these bison from my kitchen window.
Taken at Park Lake, Alberta
Opening a letter from Santa.
Visitors like to sleep in the tepee during the summer.
I feel fortunate to gaze upon these mountains every morning.
|Posted by Val Fox on March 7, 2012 at 1:30 AM||comments (0)|
Recent news stories have me second-guessing my desire to return to Mexico for a vacation. I felt safe enough in Cancun two years ago, but a recent news story tells of two Canadian couples - off-duty police officers - who became ill or unconcious after drinking cocktails from their five-star hotel near Playa del Carmen. Believing they had been drugged, the four were transported to hospital. Before the men were treated; they had to pay $1500 each, plus $800 ambulance bills. Following the hospital visit the women were escorted out by armed police. The women stated the events appeared to be a money scam. Although the Canadians kept urine and drink samples, conclusive test results have not yet been reported. There have been several other stories in the last couple of years from Canadians victimized in Mexico. I've tried to minimize them but it's not working any more... Story Source: Lethbridge Herald 06/03/12
Source: Google Images
The recent presentation of Bill C-398: An Act to Amend the Patent Act gives hope to people in foreign countries dependent upon supplies of affordable medicines from Canada. The new Act is a streamlined version of C-393 that passed last year in Parliament but was defeated in the Senate. The goal of the new Act is to reduce the amount of beurocratic red tape, simplifying the process of getting affordable drugs to people that need them now. Many die daily from preventable illnesses. You can learn more at http:/www.medicinesforall.ca
Thanks for stopping by everyone! Watch for many more videos, photos and articles coming soon. Your submissions are also welcome.
|Posted by Val Fox on January 31, 2012 at 10:30 PM||comments (0)|
The Kainai Chief and Council here in southern Alberta is currently in negotiations which could result in an economic development partnership between the tribe and Calgary Stampede officials. An announcement would coincide with this summer's 2012 100th Anniversary Celebration of Calgary's "Greatest Show on Earth."
Council member Dexter Bruised Head said recently on LASTAR tribal radio that the Blood Tribe (Kainai) has assisted with and been a part of the Calgary Stampede since its beginning in 1912. Tribal member Tom Three Persons and other noteable First Nations cowboys came from their reservation homes to win and that's just what many of them did over the years. An economic venture between the tribe and Stampede would involve the gifting of a 2-acre piece of land on Stampede Grounds that could be developed into a cultural-business centre and conference hall owned and operated by the tribe with revenues shared between the two parties. With 10 million people coming through the gates each year (not including the potential business centre) the money generated could be a significant profit to both Kainai and the City of Calgary. Details are still pending.
I've attached a video announding one of this year's Stampede entertainers, with more information in the coming months. Calgary Stampede
will be held in July, 2012.
Tags: Calgary Stampede; Kainai Reservation; Indian cowboys; First Nations; tribal economic development; City of Calgary; Blood Tribe; rodeo