Photo of the Month

Hi Folks:

I’ll get into the philosophic issues of pride and narcissism in another post perhaps, but since one of my great loves is photography, I thought I’d dedicate the last day of each month to a ‘Photo of the Month’ page. Basically this will be my favourite image of those I’ve made during the past month. If I go a whole month without making any photographs it will likely mean I’m in a coma or something like that. So, below is my favourite image for November, 2009. It may not be your favourite image from my work (you can see more here), and you don’t even have to like it. On the other hand, if you think it’s the best work you’ve ever seen I won’t be offended by that either!

Without further ado…

Driftwood Sculpture

Driftwood Sculpture

(click on the image for a larger version)

As humans we see the world in colour (or at least most of us do), but as photographers we can train ourselves to see the world differently – not just in terms of composition and ‘rules’, but we can begin to appreciate how to ‘see’ in black and white as well.  Some colour photographs are good specifically because of the colours contained in the image itself – the photgraph at the top of this page for example has a whole mix of colours from deep oranges through yellows and blues and into violet hues (although these show up better in a print than on screen) – but with black and white we strip away those colours, and the cues that we get from the colours themselves.  What we’re left with is form, shape, texture, hue, highlight, shadow…

This image was made along the shoreline at Dallas Road in Victoria, BC.  When I first saw it, this jumbled pile of bits and sticks reminded me of this story, one I wrote several years ago.  Using the power of the wind and the waves, with ocean water and stones for tools, a living sculpure is created.  If I’d come the previous day, or the following one, the image would have been different.  Sand castles are magical like that too.


P.S.  As for the sign thrown back by the ocean, that’s closer to this story.

Journey’s End

One minute before midnight, Saturday November 28th, 2009. Exactly one month to the minute that I have spent every waking moment thinking of, planning for, contemplating, jotting concepts and ideas on sticky notes, and living the life of characters outside the realm of my own reality. I have felt their pain, heard their cries, laughed at their humour, been challenged by their limitations and been awed by their amazingly powerful, multi-dimensional spirits. They have filled me up and consumed my every thought word and deed for twenty-eight straight days and nights. Four complete weeks of total and utter absorption in something other than me and my own life – often even to the exclusion of my husband who has so recently joined me here in Victoria after so long an absence between us.

Today I completed the project to which I have dedicated these many hours, days and weeks. The goal was to write a novel. The commitment was to make that novel a minimum of 50,000 words. I made that commitment and kept it. I not only met it, I exceeded it by 2,855 additional words. The majority of my day today was dedicated to the final two chapters. Forty-two chapters in total, plus an Epilogue, shall one day fill a book with the story that has unfolded before my own eyes and to the amazement of even my own creativity.

I laughed often at my own foolishness as I would sit here at my computer with the intention of taking my characters to certain places, or giving them specific opportunities or introducing them to new concepts in very controlled and guided ways – my ways. The laughter would erupt from me because, like a child, each character had his or her own idea as to what they wanted to do, where they wanted to go, who they wanted to meet or with whom to interact. My suggestions that they behave in certain ways was immediately overruled in favour of their own perceived objectives and they went where they wanted and did what they pleased, in spite of me. Yes, it made me laugh to think of my own foolishness to believe that I had any power at all in the revelation of this tale that took on a life of its own.

After such loving, joyful, sometimes painful and always touching interaction with these beautiful characters that became real within this story, I wrote the last of their adventure today. At precisely 6pm PST in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, I, Marcia Mae Nelson Pedde typed the magical words The End upon the page before me. A novel had come to a finale. There was resolve, revelation, learning, and immense potential for the future. Mystery was unveiled, issues dealt with and there was closure.

The next phase of my role in this journey is the editing – structural and fundamental recovery of lousy prose, horrid punctuation, and improvement to the grammar. What was written as an introductory chapter I already know is going to have to be totally overhauled. As I mentioned earlier here, the story line I initially intended as I began this novel took on a life of its own and went in an entirely different direction. As a result the first chapter has the prime characters living and acting in places and ways that were no longer effective for them in the new roles the characters themselves wanted to experience.

Does this sound odd to you? If you are an artist in any medium, you will likely understand exactly what occurred to me through this creative journey.

Yet my prime reason for writing tonight is that after all that has occurred today, I’m feeling sad – maybe even a little lonely. This day was filled to the brim writing over 4000 words. I finished the novel, submitting it to the website for word count and validation. My joy and exhilaration generated through an amazing feat of loving commitment was shared with my husband, family and other supporters who journeyed with me through all of this. The high of it all, the pride, has been replaced this evening with a sense of emptiness. My characters have gone to bed. They sleep. They’ve earned that rest, having worked long and hard for it. So have I.

However, rest eludes me. I miss them all. Their chatter in my head is gone. The voices are silent. Their planning, scheming and laughter no longer fill my mind; no longer spew out from my fingers on to the computer screen.

I come to the computer this evening to write. The muscles must remain exercised – even if it is merely those in my fingers and between my ears – yet they must be worked. And so I choose to come here to share my emotions and my journey with you, dear reader.

Thank you for caring enough to peruse these words. May you understand what I am choosing to share with you. Should you not, I thank you for taking the time to listen anyway to the ranting of a woman who loves to live with creative abandon.

In Light & Laughter & Loss,


50,000 Words!!!

Hi Folks: As mentioned in a previous post, Marcia has been busy this month typing away at a (minimum) 50,000 word novel for Nanowrimo. As of 2:08 p.m. today, she reached her goal!! She’s not finished the book yet, and I’m sure she’ll have much more to add, but I’m so proud of her I had to share…


Hug Certificates

Hi Folks:

Well, the results of the latest survey show that rampant hugging is sweeping the world!  Okay, so we made that part up, but there’s no doubting that hugs are good for you, non-fattening, and won’t cause cavities!

Because of this, a couple of years ago I had an idea to make up Hug Certificates.  I designed the original Hug Certificates using CorelDraw, and printed them out using standard business card stock.   They look like this:



We’ve given out Hug Certificates to people we’ve met hugging each other on the street, left Hug Certificates in books at the bookstore, on seats on the bus, on chairs in restaurants, and basically everywhere we go during our days.  And yes, we’ve also given them out in exchange for hugs we’ve received.  We’ve even mailed packets of Hug Certificates to friends in other places, so they can start their own hugging trends…  Recipients of Hug Certificates have returned smiles, laughter, happy tears, and more than one hug back to us.

So, in an effort to make hugging a truly global phenomenon, we’ve decided to put up a link to a Hug Certificate file so you can print out and give away your very own Hug Certificates!

Instructions are very simple:

1) Go to your local office supply store and purchase a set of blank business card stock pages.  These come on 8½ x 11″ sheets, 10 to a page, usually 300 in a package.  Each card is 2 x 3½”.

2) Click on this link: Hug Certificates to download the file.  This is a Microsoft Word file, suitable for any version of Word from 1997-2007, and I assume it will work with later Word versions as well.  It may work with other word processing software, but I haven’t tried it.  Open the file, and you should have a two-page document.  Print page 1 on one side of the business card stock, and page 2 on the back side.  See your printer guidelines on how to load the paper properly and how to print on both sides of the paper.  I find it easiest to print several copies of one side, reload the paper and then print the other side, but it depends on your printer.

3) Fold along the perforations (folding both ways helps it tear easier), and separate the cards into a stack.  Recycle the leftover bits and go out on your merry way, giving out certificates as you go!


NB: (May 20, 2010) The new version of shortened links allows us, the users to create custom links.  Therefore, we’ve replaced our old link that links back to this page with a new one.  The new link is: The old link still works and will lead here, but the new one is a lot easier to remember.  I’ve updated the back of the card (above) to show this, and also updated the downloadable Word template.  Also, we’ve decided that we each prefer slightly different wording for the backs of our Hug Certificates, so the template now shows five of each style.  Feel free to edit the back of the template once you’ve downloaded it to reflect your own preferences, but we’d appreciate it if you’d leave the link attached.

Update: After seven years of hugging, in 2016 we had to make new Free Hugs posters (see below for our first Free Hugs campaign in 2010). All you need to make a poster is a pen or marker and a stiff piece of cardboard, but if you’d like the template we used to make ours, you can find it here: New Posters: For the Love of Hugs As of June, 2019, we’ve shared hugs with Ambassadors from (at least) 84 countries!! 🙂

And be sure to check out Marcia’s page: Marcia’s Meanderings – Ladybugs and FREE HUGS! for information on our own ‘Free Hugs’ campaign to celebrate the anniversary of our engagement.  More images are available here.  Also visit our post on International Free Hugs Day 2011!!

Know anyone who’s looking for a really Big Bear Hug?


P.S.  Every time you give or receive any Hug Certificates, or if you find one somewhere, we’d love it if you would leave us a comment and share your experiences!


Free Hugs Campaign – Official Page (music by Sick )


Free Hugs Campaign continued….

The official site: Free Hugs Campaign
Update: February 14, 2010

A man from Ohio (unofficially) broke the world record for the most number of hugs in 24 hours: 7,777!

More here: Hug record attempt over Valentine’s weekend

P.S. II, the sequel:

There are a number of ‘Free Hugs’ videos available on YouTube – they’ll definitely bring a lift to your day. Here are a few examples, and from there you can find links to others:

And one from Vimeo: Hug Therapy – You can Change the World, One hug at a time…


Hug it Forward is “a movement to inspire people everywhere to live their passion while giving back to make a lasting change in the world.”  Click the link to see more!

UPDATE May 2015

The Great Zen Buddhist Teacher Thich Nhat Hanh on How to Do “Hugging Meditation”

Remember to put all of yourself into it!!

Samantha Standish

Good Morning!  You know what it’s like when you run into an old friend?  Someone with whom you really connected but haven’t seen in a long time, and you suddenly bump into each other on the street or in a café, and it’s as though the intervening time just disappears?

Well, that happened to me this morning, with someone I’ve never met.  Not physically, anyway.  Now some people would say that sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. have redefined the word ‘friend’, to the point where we now have friends, and ‘friends’.  If someone reads your work or connects with you electronically, they become your ‘friend’, at least online.  Apparently in the Facebook world one can have a million ‘friends’ or more.  That’s a lot of Christmas cards  But friendship, at least to me, is more than that.  Friendship involves a sense of connection, of shared ideas, a similar way of looking at the world.  Friends make us feel better about ourselves, and uplift the way we look at the world.  To steal a line from ‘Beaches’, friends are the wind beneath our wings.

Samantha Standish is a friend in that sense to me, although we’ve never met, and she may or may not feel the same way.  I first encountered her writings through the NewWorldView site (now mostly defunct, but there are still some wonderful archives there) where she had a blog.  I found that I loved reading her posts, and I felt a sense of connection with her view of the world that I’ve shared with few others.  I felt the same sense of connection with Tom Brown nearly thirty years ago when I read his first two books, ‘The Tracker’ and ‘The Search’.  Anyway, I digress.

Yesterday I wrote about the ‘Future Me‘ site, and this morning I had two ‘Future Me’ posts show up in my Inbox from last year.  I enjoy receiving these posts from myself; sometimes I find a distinct contrast with who I used to be, and often I find a ‘new’ perspective on something I’ve been chewing on lately.  Well, in the first post I read this morning, included in my usual ramblings was a post from Samantha’s NWV blog, called ‘Economic Whoas!’  I haven’t thought about Samantha in a while, but re-reading what she wrote was like a breath of fresh air for me.  So (Google is your friend here), I thought I’d see if I could find her online, and much to my delight, I did!

So, enough of my rambling, take the opportunity to go and see what I’m talking about for yourself.  And Samantha, if you find your way here, my thanks for sharing your view of the world!  I consider you a friend (not just a ‘friend’), and I send you hugs in return!!



Samantha’s Home Page

Samantha’s Blog


I Am Pollyanna

The Power to Flower

Our Stories

By the way, for those who haven’t noticed yet, at the top of this page you’ll see a link called ‘Our Stories’.  Clicking on that will bring you two options, titled (you guessed it!), ‘Marcia’s Stories’ and ‘Mike’s Stories’.  There are some there now, and we’ll add to them as we get time.  Look for short stories, poems, musings, and other scattered thoughts…


P.S.  The scroll wheel on your mouse will get you down the list if it goes beyond the page you can see.  If you don’t have a scroll wheel on your mouse, get one!  All seriousness aside, you can use the down arrow on the keyboard as well.

Future Me

Good Morning!  I figured it was time I actually wrote something on here, and since this whole idea is rather new to me, I’m not entirely sure where to take it.  However, I thought maybe I’d outline some of the things you might expect to find here as time goes on.  Marcia and I have a number of different interests, among them (for me) are photography, writing, spirituality and environmental topics, so expect to see some entries along those lines.

One site I like to use with my writings is called ‘Future Me’ (  In a nutshell, you  create a post on their site and arrange to send the message to yourself in the future.  This isn’t a reminder service; the minimum posting date is 3 months, and the default is one year, but you can set it for years or even a few decades into the future.  You can either set it to be private, or viewable to the world.  On the day you’ve specified, your message arrives in your Inbox.  All of mine are private, but from time to time I do drop by to see what other people have shared.  Anyway, try it out for yourself!


Count Your Sheep

Marcia’s Meanderings

Hello Dear Ones!  Marcia here.

Wherever it is on this beautiful globe that you call home, a warm welcome to you.  Thank you for stopping by!

This month of November is an exceptionally busy one for yours truly. As a registered contestant in the Nanowrimo competition – that’s the National Novel Writer’s Month – I’m to complete a minimum of a 50,000 word fictional novel – that’s 1667 words per day, every day during the month of November. What a challenging and joyous journey this has been and continues to be!

Currently I’m just over 42,000 words with 5 days left to complete the basic requirement. Does that mean I’ll have a book finished come November 30th? Not on your life! December is editing month. Everything I’ve completed by then, whether it is magnificent or simply awful, perfectly honed or grammatically ineffectual, or potentially there may be a section or two with horrific punctuation – however the story has unfolded by then, December’s the time I get to play with the flow, structure, formatting and tweaking of whatever I’ve recorded this month.

Even so, look for more of Marcia’s Meanderings on a regular basis come December. The skills I’ve gained from the dedication to this writing process have been invaluable for me. I’ll continue to use and fine tune those skills here on M&M’s Musings, hopefully, and intentionally, for your enjoyment.

Create a fabulous week for yourself! Mike will be posting regularly in the interim, and I’ll post more again after December 1st!



BTW: Here is a synopsis of my novel:

Title: The Power of Grace, Hope and Joy

Three women and their penultimate behind-the-scenes techie are about to venture into the world of seminar presentations on topics near and dear to their hearts – yet their hearts are testing them on the very topics they wish to teach.

It’s Our Birthday!

Well, as of about two hours ago, we bounced out into the electronic world, screaming loudly as the electrons filled our collective lungs…

“Now what?” you ask?  Good question!  Really makes us wish we had an answer…  As with any sentient being we’ll learn to feed ourselves, learn to ‘walk’ (should we let our fingers do the walking?) and talk and… which button changes the diapers?  Oh well.  We’ll figure it out as we go along.

So, thank you for being patient with us as we begin to navigate our way through this new world of ours.  We’re looking forward to the adventure, and trust you are too!

Marcia and Mike.