Tuesday, August 12, 2014

steph ratcliff ep fundraiser: "an end to a start"

photo credit: diana squires

Growing up around youth group and summer camp, I knew the ring around the campfire, music and laughter floating into the night along, very well. But as I've aged, these blissful moments have become rarer and now when I happen upon one, it's all I can do not to be standing in the middle of it all, eyes closed, my head thrown back, arms outstretched.

July 12th, 2014, just off East Hastings, in a room that has only begun to dream of air conditioning, we gathered for a friend. Because we knew her, we knew that a night of beauty was as likely as were wry comments and dead-pan jokes. The only event in Vancouver to have ever accomplished this, the night began on time.

At 8 o'clock sharp, Steph took the stage in support of her opening act. Each playing two songs, Faith Numada, Ryan Cadamia, Ian Cromwell, Bre McDaniel and Stuart Alves filled the first hour with a mix of original music and covers, while between them, playing almost every instrument known to man. Then it was Steph's turn and we waited, excited to see our friend take flight.

And just like my campfire memories, the music filled, twirled and wrapped us all up. Stories and questions, returning and discovery, and always ending up back at hope. Steph is as bold in her music as she is in person, and without a doubt, also as lovely. Laughing with her band and sharing a bit about each piece, she let us in on her process and her life. However, never able to let a moment fall too heavy, Steph would finish a song full of sincerity and depth, only to quip, "Okay, so I'm going to talk while I tune. Because all good musicians can do that."

There are many more things to say about this woman, this artist, this friend. But I will refrain, and leave you waiting, like me, for her next burst of beauty and light. 

photo credit: diana squires

but as it is
and as it will be
we’re more than a means to an end
we’re an end to a start
and as it is
and as it will be
we’re all grown up now
except for the hope in our hearts

~Grown Up by Steph Ratcliff

EP coming soon...
Find Steph Ratcliff:
on Facebook
on Wordpress

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

a letter to little ones (and myself)

Listen baby
I want to tell you something
whispered to me
too many years late
Don't be afraid
and don't let me stop you
from loving and living
So smile and say yes
to that first date
let him take your hand, stand
in the middle of the street at night
and kiss him hard.

Come close baby
I want to hold you
and shut the hurt out
I want to stand giant between you
and everyone else
I want you to be happy
but only if it means you never feel
your heart beat open
the flesh ripped back
exposed and alive
like mine is and was
and always will be
because you are in this world.

Reach out baby
I want you to live
You're going to love and break
and I want it all for you
I know not to worry (though I do)
because I know you
courageous every day
strong in your frailty
beautiful and lovely
like the things in my heart
when I sat and cried
on a swing in the park
breaking and hoping for another day
one better and full of new to-comes.

Walk bold baby
through each new door
though you cannot know what's ahead
and it feels easier to give up
Your frailty is part of your sparkle
the stars that make up your soul
are strong as they are glorious
and I've watched them brighten with every
humble selfless quiet brilliant stubborn gorgeous thing
you've ever done
and so I know there's more to come.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

spring: the rainmaker

We walk home
and carry our coats: the evidence of spring
in cherry blossoms
and perspiration on my upper lip.
I have my umbrella (of course)
and wear my galoshes.

But the grass could be greener
and the watershed's only half full.

Tomorrow I will wear ballet flats with
my new teal skirt
so it can rain.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

a too short goodbye

eating gluten free pie before Lydia moved back to TB

Lydia is not one of those people over whom you scramble to think of what they did well, or who they were. She is a woman who touched me deeply with her tenacity, courage, intelligence, curiosity, sense of humour and loyalty. I would remind her of these things when she was feeling low, but it always seemed so crazy to me that someone so amazing could actually know discouragement like the rest of us.

It's not so much that I can't believe she's gone, as it is that I can't believe she didn't beat it.

summer in her yard

We became friends almost three years ago. We had known each other from work before that but it wasn't until after she finished school and quit Starbucks that we actually hung out. Lydia asked me to meet for coffee one day because she needed someone to talk with, and she sensed that I would understand her questions and struggles about a life with faith. We talked for about 3 hours and have been close friends ever since. She was incredibly fun and loving but she also never put up with crap. It could be jarring at times but I loved her for telling me when I was being an idiot.

hanging out with Chris at the YVR airport and avoiding saying goodbye

Lydia handled herself with dignity. Frustrated and hurt when her health was holding her back from what she wanted to do, she often did those things anyways, resilient and so stubborn in the face of daunting obstacles.

a summer of fun and the view from Lydia's hospital window

Lydia was quirky, full of random knowledge and interests that spilled out at any time, in any place and without warning. One day we were having coffee and she just started talking to the guys at the table next to us because she couldn't not engage in a conversation about Russian authors.

how do we look?

Lydia accepted me with my faults out in the open, letting me know that she actually liked me, for me. Generous and thoughtful, when she moved back to Thunder Bay, she offered me her clothes, almost anything I wanted from her closet. Who does that?!

I only dress up like this when Lydia comes to Nanaimo to visit

The first person to make me eat Indian food and the reason I know how hard it is to find diet ginger ale in the stores, Lydia you are one of a kind (the very best kind) and I carry you in my heart.

Until we meet again my friend.

making popcorn in Nanaimo (oops!)

Scott and I getting down to "Pound the Alarm" to tease Lydia

fave place at Kits Beach