October Surprises

He knows he’s always been loved
Held by an eternal ribbon of energy, binding lifetimes after lifetime
Until madness strikes, darkening, once again, all revelation

Hope became obscured by landmines of poisoned frivolities
Silly id dreams; a dance mix of Oedipus, Tantalus, Aristippus…
Every step an intriguing claim of elevation, all baseless; mocking Divinity’s design

The guileless taken unawares that soon their sky would become green
and the clouds will rain red and azure seas would boil brown
The world turned inside out within the haze of fear’s divisive fires

october-butterfliesHe knelt before her
held out his hand to her heart
whispered, forgive me

She sighed, can’t do dark
Only light truly sees light
You’ve always known that

You still felt my heart
in every distraction
Holy exceeds all

She takes his hand and holds it in her lap
She said, you were always my sun
and she joined all the spots on his hand with her lips

Her tracings on his hand reminded them of the beginning
when she first saw him and she connected all the dots
of a future begging to be mapped

Hope was their only highway
and desires assured everything was real
before meaninglessness ruined yet another lifetime…

…and then, Divinity promised another…

Photo Credit: Randall Willis, who was treated to the lovely surprise of Monarchs October 2nd at Beaches Boardwalk, Toronto
Daily prompt, writing challenge: Promises
I’ll love forever, my forever love…
Posted in DP Challenge, Haiku, healing, love, Micro Poetry, Poetry, three line poetry, Writing Challenges | 6 Comments

REDress Day of Recognition #MMIWG 2016

This is a day to pay tribute to those women and girls we’ve lost from Indigenous communities, and to honor those we have hope will one day return home. October 4th is chosen to honor the lives of over 4,000 Indigenous women tragically taken from their loved ones, most often with little awareness of the circumstances.

This day is meant to raise awareness about that and of the ongoing violence, at significantly higher rates toward Indigenous women and girls than any other demographic on the continent. With awareness comes greater hope and opportunity to get to the root of all the issues that encompass these losses.  We remain diligent and attentive as a national inquiry is now underway in Canada.

It’s the 10th year of this recognition started by the Sisters In Spirit Vigil (SIS) organization which, along with an idea begun by artist Jaime Black for public displays of red dresses to represent missing and murdered Indigenous women, includes marches and candlelight vigils in many towns and cities across the country.

Last year I hung my red dress under my weeping willow tree.  This year I hung a dress in a location that holds the memory of many women. The entire effort took some interesting legwork and cost me some scratches and torn clothing, but I wanted to speak for them. I wanted them to know we remember, I wanted them to know they are loved.

I held out my tobacco offering and prayers and hung up the dress while a friend took pictures of my appeal for awareness.  He edited out the hanging stand, lending an ethereal effect. It seemed to make the dress feel free or freed.

Within this all, I send my love and hope for all our grandmothers, mothers, aunties, sisters, and our daughters…

(click or scroll over photos to see entire picture)


Photo & Editing Credits: Darren Quarin, Quarin Photography
Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Photos, REDress Day, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Friends in Low Places – Unfinished Business…

spineless-friendshipLusting for her fall
Your four ears in on her calls
Sharing how she bleeds

Re-tool her story
While you bond on secrecy
Winking together

Cheshire grins & glee
Pleased to have gifted chagrin
A graceless friendship


Sometimes what seems like the ending is really only a middle… whole rooms of space for the plot to thicken or the potential for an especially satisfying twist, or so I’ve heard.


Daily prompt, writing challenge: Unfinished

Posted in Bullying, DP Challenge, Haiku, Micro Poetry, Poetry, three line poetry, Writing Challenges | 4 Comments

Animal Crackers – Hiding Haiku Facades

animal-crackersLackluster works fly
Critique: trying far too hard
To gain the best howl

Outdated phrases
Begin to sound desperate
Like ‘dances with wolves’

Such ease, in the end
To crack up a dull ego
Toss words like raw meat


I got a really great laugh out of this one, and thank you, friends who sent me all sort of inspiring fodder. I thank you for your continuing support and care.


My love always to special bird lovers, and watchers. xo.


Daily prompt, writing challenge: Façade


Posted in Haiku, Micro Poetry, Poetry, three line poetry, Uncategorized, Writing Challenges | 7 Comments

What is Orange Shirt Day? A Tribute to Taken Children

It’s not often I re-post a story, but in addition to explaining the background of what September 30th – “Orange Shirt Day” means to me and my family, I wanted to add the story of the person who was behind the creation of this campaign.

My son and I, proud to acknowledge the survival of our family and all the others of us who've made it too... Kisakihitin...

My son and I, proud to acknowledge the survival of our family and all the others of us who’ve made it too… Kisakihitin…

Orange Shirt Day, is an Every Child Matters awareness campaign created to honor, and in respect of, all the children taken from Indigenous families and forced to attend Residential Schools in Canada and the U.S. between 1879 and 1996.  These schools were created to complete the attempt to eradicate ‘the Indian’ out of the children, the intent to fully rid the continent of its Indigenous Peoples.

In my family, we had five children enter a Residential School in Northern Alberta -Grouard. Three of them never came home. I don’t know what my great-grandmother was ever told of the details of their deaths, it was never anything ever talked about and that was standard behavior for nearly all families. Very little to nothing around those schools was ever discussed.

What I do know is, the consequences of all the trauma between that and the ensuing efforts to move my family into more convenient locations for government plans took its toll on my family. They call it ‘inter-generational trauma’ now. All the brokenness that came out of those years and all the efforts to recover from them included too many years of addiction issues, homelessness, and the continuing loss of children to the foster care system.  I was one of those children.

I didn’t become addicted to a substance, but I did have just as many needs for recovery from the traumas of abuses, of neglect, of years of fear.  Even today, while most would say I seem to have it all together, there are those much closer to me who know my fight to stay on top of old demons is a job that needs review every so often.

I’m only one of so many and I would want them to know, that there are places now that help. That understand us and who speak our languages – not our Nation’s language, but how we see things. I found mine with the Indian Residential Survivor’s Society (http://irsss.ca/). Contact them, if you need help or you want to help someone. They know, and they understand.

The story I want to pass on is the origin of this Orange Shirt Day, a HuffPost piece by Zi-Ann Lum on Phyllis Webstad.

Phyllis Webstad was six-years-old when the new orange shirt she excitedly chose for her first day of school was stripped off her back. She never saw it again.

It was the early ‘70s and Webstad was the third generation of her family to attend St. Joseph’s Residential School in Williams Lake, B.C. Most people knew it as The Mission.

She was a kid. She didn’t know that merely being born an indigenous child surrendered her to an education system designed to break down her identity.

phyllis webstadA childhood photo of Phyllis Webstad.

“The colour orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing,” she said in a statement. “All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”

From the 1880s until the last school shut down in 1996, Canada’s residential school system forced about 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children to attend church-run facilities that aimed to “take the Indian out of the child.”

The students faced widespread neglect and abuse in the schools, which was examined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that released a report with 94 recommendations earlier this year.

It took Webstad 40 years to find a way to re-frame her experience to fight racism and bullying under the motto “every child matters” — and by using orange.

orange shirt day
Orange Shirt Day began on Sept. 30, 2013. (Photo: Facebook)

On Sept. 30, 2013, Webstad organized the first Orange Shirt Day in Williams Lake to acknowledge the harm that Canada’s residential school system has left in generations of indigenous families and their communities.

And every year on Sept. 30, Canadians are asked to wear orange as a sign of support.

orange shirt dayThe event is spreading across schools in Canada. (Photo: Orange Shirt Day/Facebook)

“When I was in school, I didn’t know my own history,” Webstad explained in a video.

She said she is now “overjoyed” by the growing number of people participating in the event each year, from schools to reserves to businesses.



Posted in Aboriginal Peoples, First Nations, healing, Indigenous Peoples, Life | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Emotional Liquid Bugs, Floating Upon Haiku Tension

water-nymph-jpgWater nymph skimming
Measuring the surfaces
Of her jealousy

wasp-drinkingOld wasp sits & sips
Watching for validation
Of her loyalty

Sought win by claiming waste
Loses face for it


Just a little light-hearted fun in the middle of intense yet gratifying circumstances. Definitely back to loving life.

Inspired by the writing challenges issued by the Daily Prompt: Passionate https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/passionate/

Posted in Haiku, Laughs, love, Micro Poetry, Poetry, Reflection, Uncategorized, Writing Challenges | 6 Comments

Waking a 12 Year Old’s Dream, Part 1 – Short Story

The girl ran over hills and dunes, striving to keep up with him while holding back the hair whipping all around her face.  He urged her to follow, and hurry.  He made jokes about how tiny she was… how he could just throw her into his pocket and rocket them away. They were going to wherever their running legs would take them.  Who needed a plan when any direction was good enough? There wasn’t any need to determine a finishing point. Their companionship was the ultimate destination.


Her 12-year-old heart laughed with his in complete ease. He told her she was the nicest person he’d ever known. He called her every name that he knew meant precious and he said that no one could ever be the best friend she was.  She was so happy to have found him; no one wanted her for their best friend like that – ever. She was somehow always lacking a certain something that said No. 1 material,  like the kids who always get picked last for every team.

She’d first sought him out when she caught glimpses of him in behind all the grown up discussions coated in angst, behind all the searches for adult contentment that had surrounded them for years.

At 12, he was still as shy as he’d been at 6, but she saw him when most barely acknowledged he’d even existed. He was taken off-guard when he realized he’d been spotted.  He was used to being ignored, often drowned out by back to back beers or wine or depression. When the grown up around him wanted company, the last person he chose was his 12 yr. old.

The boy didn’t know he was lonely until he’d been seen. He didn’t know he could actually even love. He came to adore her, first for her seeing, then for being.  He couldn’t bear to be away from her for even an hour.  He’d go to sleep with her fully enveloping his thoughts until he woke up to resume them.  Lifetimes of plans replaced empty, faraway dreams.

One night, after an effort of determined, careful planning, they got to share a room, snuggled within the safety of one another’s presence. They were startled awake though, in the middle of the night. The grown ups were fighting, loudly.  It terrified the boy and he bolted.  He ran as fast as he could. He left her behind.

Somewhere in the middle of his running he decided the grown up of his experience was right, the only way to be, the only way to cope was the head-on pursuit of simplicity, the eternal chase of a good cocktail and easy lovin’.  Safety ensured by familiar pattern.

When she realized he’d turned back to the shadows, she stumbled from the room, once again rushing, this time blinded by the tears coursing over her face… As she ran, she heard his grown up and his grown up friends laughing behind her.  They yelled out, “Ah, face it, kid you weren’t enough anyway”…

When she got home, her grown up cried with her as she rocked her.  She whispered, “I’m so sorry sweetie, but you were always meant for far, far more than simple”…


Dedicated to one 12 year old heart that still doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks about her or them; ever the bravest…



Posted in Photos, Relationships, short story, Storytelling, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Friday Funnies – ‘Cause I Was A Goat Herder

OK, OK, I wasn’t really a goat herder. At least not in the literal sense. It was just a little fun I had with Linkedin.  If you don’t know what Linkedin is, well, neither do a lot of the people who actually use it.

How do I know that? Well, because once in a while I like to test the efficacy of certain operating procedures in my world. This time I wondered about the effectiveness of my notifications on Linkedin, so I made a couple of changes to my profile.  I changed my name to Shelley Miller and I ramped up my rather average marketing title to ‘Goat Herder’.  I also changed my location to Montana for good measure and then I kept that profile up for two weeks.

Goat herder



Do you know what kind of response I got to all these changes in my life? Nothing. Nada. Not even a blip on any social media radar. Is it me? Do I have to really, really up my game to make it in business social media?

Why not? Apparently I can be anything I want on Linkedin anyway. I’m seriously considering – ‘Fire Hula Hooping Rocket Scientist’, tagline: “We light the fire under your landing pads”!

Maybe it’s better to leave plain marketing as is and return to Memey Vice. Let’s face it, this post has gone to the dogs anyway and maybe even a monkey too, but strangely, no goats…

dog fence

Reason has its moments… Guess which one works for Linkedin?

Well played sharon

Don’t ever underestimate a woman, dog… Just sayin’

ya gotta be kidding

Yeah…. no words. Just backing away slowly.


I always know how to work a Friday!


Whatever gets you over the humps.

cat found

Probably sister to meme #4

Yup Canada

Because Canada, and it’s how we summer, eh?

Have an awesome final August weekend.  Cheers!


Posted in Humor, Lighter Side, Uncategorized | Tagged | 21 Comments

Photo Project: … Reluctant Releases …

Portrait 1Relentless year called
I became a waterfall
I was swirled away

Portrait 2Released old dreams; moved
They commanded me, let go
Heart crushed from goodbyes

Portrait 3New is on its way
Release dross for destiny
All reward is nigh

Portrait 4Trust what angels say
Tears are healing; scars get cleansed
Real love fills all wounds

Life is pushy when it wants the best for you. Sometimes you have to give in & give up, a lot…

When this photo shoot was set up in the spring, I knew I wanted to wear the dress I’d hung in public the previous October 4th as requested by Metis artist, Jaime Black. Her ‘REDress Project’ is an art-based awareness campaign in tribute to missing and murdered Indigenous women. Red dresses represent these women. (See tree photo and background notes here)

I’d chosen to hang my dress under my beloved weeping willow tree. That seemed like a poignant statement in itself.  At the time of that participation, I was soul surfing through a course of life-altering loss, trauma, and life and death events.

In a way, even that gorgeous tree experienced the same before it let loose its majestic beauty. I’d saved it years before from being brutally hacked at when my ex would attempt to eradicate the ‘strange weed’ growing in the middle of our yard.  …  I guess my point is, there was a whole lot of understanding under and within that tree.

So, when I met up with Nadya Kwandibens, a very skilled and renowned photographer who honored me with her talent, she suggested we head to a local park and search for more of a nature-based/natural background.  When we arrived, she scanned the landscape and then she pointed and said, “There – head over there, I think we should get you under those weeping willow trees”.

Nope, she had no idea of my story, it was just how this particular circle would finish.  It seemed like a good omen and I suppose it was.  I have come through what I think is the greater part of those trials and I have gained new strengths and continue to build them.

From a time I was certain I couldn’t even breathe for another 5 minutes to standing up tall enough to see – that no matter how hard the testing, no matter how hard life knocks at me, I will keep getting up. I know that now, because even when there shouldn’t have been a way I could have, I somehow did.

Like my tree, I am still standing.


Photos by Nadya Kwandibens, Red Works Photography
You and I, there’s air in between
Posted in Haiku, healing, Life, love, Micro Poetry, Photos, Poetry, Uncategorized, weekly photo challenge | Tagged , , , , | 29 Comments

Robyn’s Dreams – Video for Caribou Legs, A Warrior Against Violence & Tara

A couple of months ago I received a message on Facebook from a guy I’d never even heard of.  He’d seen something I posted somewhere and from that, he looked me up.  Of course, I’d joked that his initial check out was an actual ‘checking me out’.

We laugh about that now, but regardless of the original motivation for reaching out to me, it would be a turning point for the both of us while we were both in the midst of working out some next steps in our own shook-up lives. We’d soon instead be working together for causes near and dear to our hearts.

What we’d learn about each other was that we shared a lot of common history. That our family backgrounds were very similar, the same path of so many of our Indigenous families who’ve been lost to our cultures. Those that then coped with addictions to drugs and alcohol which lead to abuses in every form.

We also learned we both often speak out against the issues of the domestic violence in our communities and more recently, on behalf of the continental issue of our missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Caribou Legs profile

Brad Firth AKA “Caribou Legs”

He is an ultra-marathon runner originally from a First Nation in the Northwest Territories. His name is Brad Firth, but his public persona is ‘Caribou Legs’, a name bestowed on him by a family member in comment to his stupendous running ability.

Brad’s history is quite storied as it is, but he continues to add many amazing and adventurous pages to that book. He’s currently doing that by running across Canada, in stints of 50 kms to 75 kms per day and alone with only a backpack, a small hand drum, and his face decked out in warrior paint.

When Brad contacted me, he’d already started his run from Vancouver, BC heading east planning ultimately to finish his run in St John’s, Newfoundland, a journey of 7,419 km.  I was astonished to learn that he had no support. There was no vehicle following or anyone waiting to meet him at any point, and in fact, he wouldn’t even know where he might be sleeping at the end of a long running day.  He’d actually spent some nights on fields next to the highway, in broken down, but open abandoned barns and even old vehicles. Wherever there was cover from the elements – which many times included heavy storms and severe hail – was good enough.

As far as Brad was concerned, this was just par for the course. He’d just decided one day that he was going to do this run to speak out for his sisters and mothers and daughters in his community.  As compelling as that was, the point most dearest to his heart was that he wanted to honor the memory of his sister who had been killed in a domestic violence event the previous year.

I’m a mother.  As most parents know, there’s an instinct that wants the best and most importantly, the safest avenues for anyone who comes under our wings.  I also happen to have been an event planner for a great part of many of my roles in my corporate and volunteering worlds.  To me this endeavor was awesome and noble, but for God’s sake, surely we could at least, keep him covered in a decent place at night.  Brad initially laughed at my ‘softness’, but he relented. You can’t tell a mom that a good rest doesn’t make a hard journey that much more doable!

More than that, when he entered Alberta, there was an influx of racism-based attention that included calling him into police as a danger, perhaps mentally ill and even a gunman. Safety was moved up the priority ladder.

So, at that time, while Brad wondered if I could help him out in general, I took it upon myself to contact media across the country and start a fundraising campaign for him to, at a minimum, get good enough meals, a safe place to sleep and to help supply him with what he’d need on the road from running gear to educational materials.  Brad is often asked to speak with various groups and treatment centres along the way.  And don’t worry, I will have the link to said fund at the bottom  ;)

There is much more to the overall story which I will share in upcoming posts and actually, there will be links to Brad’s Facebook pages and other stories written about his amazing story so far.

I’m stopping at this point because there was a very unexpected turn in our journey this weekend when my involvement in this issue became much more personal.  I learned that one of my own family members had gone missing and that there was an active police search open.  It was surreal and even more unbelievable because this same family had already lost a woman a few years ago in a case made famous by the name Pickton.  I’ll ask you to look that up rather than detail it now.

I made a short video about what transpired up to and since finding out the news that my cousin was missing.  All that I’ve said so far, helps to make this video more understandable. I post that here as a main point for what I am writing here.

Her name is Tara Ashley Ferguson.  She is missing from and/or around her home town of Grande Prairie, Alberta.  Her family is completely in anguish looking for her and they ask anyone with any information to please call the RCMP regardless of location.  The link to these details are also below.

July 31:  Utterly and happily relieved to advise that Tara has been found and will be home soon.

The work for everything else continues…

Next scheduled post:  August 12, 2016


RCMP looking for missing woman – Tara Ashley Ferguson

Caribou Legs – Running Across Canada For A Cause – CTV NATIONAL

http://www.plumfund.com/fundraising/cariboulegs   I’d originally started a GoFundMe page, but when they started to have technical issues that included not forwarding the donations, I had to move the fund to another platform


Posted in Aboriginal Peoples, Domestic Violence, Indigenous Peoples, Life, Missing & Murdered Women, Native Americans, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments