A Ship’s Recollections

by: Rebecca Taylor

**Published on the Perspectives Magazine Website in 2008*

I have sailed on many seas and have weathered many storms. I am built from the strongest wood that Captain Isaiah Langstrom could find. My captain is a good man and I have respected him for more than fifteen years, but there was a time when my faith in him faltered. I caught him writing horrendous thoughts in our journey’s logbook. I can still remember the words like he had carved them into my stern. He had written, maybe after this voyage I will sell the Sea Scope and go back to the family business of dismantling old pirate ships and making them into seaworthy voyageurs. How could my captain think of selling me after all of the voyages we had been on, me, the ship that he built, the ship who has kept him safe against all sorts of weather conditions. When I heard this, my belly churned and I contemplated failing my master. He was going to sell me, who had proven to be seaworthy for more than eight years at that time, and had sailed on countless voyages with my captain. But, I believed in Captain Langstrom and had sharp pain foam throughout me like waves of a tropical storm that he could betray my love for him by selling me. I thought I might sink, that if we couldn’t be together always that neither one of us would survive. I decided to hold off for a while as I was thinking of doing this to a man that I cared deeply about and I didn’t know how I could kill someone who gave me life.

I came to my senses one night not long after when I heard my captain telling the crew how much his possible decision was hurting him, how as much as he loved sailing that his family needed him. I am a ship, and as all ships know, roaming in the sea is the only life for us, I didn’t want to imagine a life of possibly being docked somewhere or used by a different captain. I am a one-man boat but there was nothing I could do but try to make the rest of that voyage with the captain, seeing the new lands, the most invigorating feeling in the world, seeing it from far off and then sailing to it, seeing the image become clearer and clearer like seeing a Polaroid develop before your eyes. Time passed quickly on the rest of the voyage and while I tried to understand the turmoil that my captain was going through trying to make his decision, I was frightened of what was to become of me.

One night, the captain sat down on the floor of the ship on the starboard side and whispered so only I could hear, “Sea Scope, you and I have known each other for a long time, I have made a decision, you might not like it but it is the only decision that I feel I can live with right now. You are going to be docked for about a year while I help my family get its business running smoothly again and I then I will try to find someone to take my place and we will sail together again. I was going to sell you but I can’t bring myself to do it. I built you with my hands and I plan to sail you again. I hope you can understand.”

A captain talking to his boat, most people would find this absurd but this is the bond that Captain Langstrom and I share. I needed to hear what he had to say, and his words shook my hull. I know that the day he spoke to me sitting by my side was the day that cemented our relationship and restored my trust in him. Seven years have passed since that awful time and the captain and I have had to rely on each other many times. I am thankful that he believes in me like I believe in him. Many boats have crossed the seas before me with worthy sailors to discover new and exciting lands but I would not trade in my sails for another captain ever, no matter how rough some parts of our journey together may be.

Love As

by: Rebecca Taylor

Love as new and fragile as a baby bird
Emotions as overpowering as a fireworks display
Hands joined together as a symbol of commitment
Hearts beating quick as an Olympic racer’s footsteps
Joy as overwhelming as seeing a newborn for the first time
Life’s beauty as evident as a glorious rainbow after a storm
Sound of voices happy as experiencing rain after a drought
Sharing mundane moments stunning as experiencing medallic triumphs
Wonder because having someone special in your life is as good as it gets.

The Gift

by: Rebecca Taylor

**Published by Praise Writers in 2014**

God sends special people to make the sun shine brighter.
Steadfast love blossoms like a floral bouquet
and stays fragrant year round.

Gifts hide in life’s tests–
millions of tiny blessings wait to be discovered.

Gods sends special people to brighten our lives
and extend bouquets of love in numerous ways.
Look upward and praise God.

Dream Weaver

By: Rebecca Taylor in 2008

Previously published by Ageless-Sages, and in Memories Everlasting (compiliaton of stories for a fundraiser for The Wales Home Foundation).

Nestled away in a drawer is my graduation hat. Occasionally, I take it out and look at it. Some probably call it clutter. I call it a memento. Looking at it makes me smile because I remember the hard work that made high school graduation possible and the grand moment when I walked across the stage and received my diploma. Next, I went to college and emerged two years later with my diploma in office administration.

Now, I am secretary-receptionist at a senior’s home where I have the opportunity to meet and help amazing seniors every day. I am proud of my accomplishments but more importantly, I am proud of the undertakings, which I see them make. Change is hard to accept, but when the transformations that occur alter the way your life has been lived, you have to have an astonishing sense of strength to overcome those challenges. Age has caused some of these seniors to lose mobility, eyesight, hearing and sometimes their minds are not as sharp as they desire. The ability to write their names as they once did often changes, they see the change in what was on the papers in front of them but I see perfection, because no matter what life brings them, these seniors push their boundaries, overcoming their obstacles making me proud of them. I believe that as long as any of us does our best we have achieved. Some people fear aging, I don’t. I know at twenty-one, I am starting my life but if I adopt the practices of these seniors and live a happy, determined lifestyle anything is possible. Life must be taken in strides.

You never know what will touch your life. Some of the smallest things can touch lives in the biggest ways. My favourite phrases are “thank you” and “have a great evening.” They may seem insignificant, but they’re not. They mean that someone cares, that you are important. We are all tiny ripples in the ocean of the world, each responsible for changing it. By touching a life, you make a difference. I pray that some day the world will be filled with smiling people, hands reaching out to help each other, and violence will be outdated. I believe positive thinking can help achieve anything; a smile is one’s greatest asset and wanting something enough will make it happen.

The most important thing in life is being happy. If you are unhappy stop, step back, and reflect. You need to weave dreams; they achieve goals. Dreams are motivation. Give back to the world, and it will give back to you. Our lives can be touched in the smallest of ways; a kind word, the touch of a hand and a smile can give people the utmost happiness they experience .Never quit. All lives need to be put in perspective. Sometimes it takes a news story but it could be a memento like my graduation cap, which reminds me of how fortunate I am to be surrounded by people that care both at home, at work, and in the community.



Children’s Media: What is it Saying?

By: Rebecca Taylor

**Published by the Montreal Review in 2010**


It is natural for children to love having bedtime stories read to them but have you ever really thought about what it is that you are actually reading them. There are many stories and famous fairy tales out there, which undermine values, which you may be trying to teach a child. The same applies for other types of children’s media, like music and movies.

For example, there is “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” This is a story of hypocritical reindeer. Most of the reindeer refuse to or are forbidden from playing with Rudolph because he is different. He has a red nose. However, when Christmas Eve comes and it is storming out, Rudolph becomes a hero because he has a gift, his red nose can lead Santa Claus’ sleigh through the fog so that all the children receive their visit from Jolly Old Saint Nick, and not be disappointed come Christmas morning. After Rudolph saves Christmas, he is accepted, and allowed to “play in any reindeer games.[1]”  What lesson is being taught here, that being a hypocrite is okay? It needs to be duly noted that in the original “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” book by Robert L. May, Rudolph was much better treated, but why is it that this original story is not what children know?

In the popular tale, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” Goldilocks breaks into the Bears’ home while they are out taking a walk. She steals food, breaks furniture and sleeps in Baby Bear’s Bed. In today’s society, Goldilocks would be considered a juvenile delinquent. She would be accused of breaking and entering, stealing and destruction of property. Does Goldilocks get punished in this story? No, she doesn’t, she goes out the window and runs away. What is this teaching children, that it is okay to do something wrong as long as you as you run and hide from it?

In “Rumpelstiltskin,” a woman is locked away and asked to do the impossible (spin straw into gold) because her father lied about her abilities. She is threatened with death if she cannot accomplish this. A dwarf helped her by spinning the straw to gold, and then blackmailed her for her first-born child unless she can guess his name. It is not until someone hears Rumpelstiltskin singing, and tells the woman about what the dwarf’s name is that she is able to keep her child. If you are reading this to a child, what are you teaching them? Yes, the woman gets to keep her child but she never should have been in the situation that she was. The lesson here would be?

When I was a child, my mother would change the ending to many stories and someday I’ll probably be doing the same thing when I have children because the lessons these stories are teaching are not what I want to portray. I could refuse to share the media that I disagree with to my children but then they would go to school and learn about fictitious characters like Rudolph. Ignoring the issues, will not solve anything, new endings should be written to these stories, for example, maybe the police would be called on Goldilocks, to figure out the best solution to the problems. If nothing else, Goldilocks needs to be told that she did wrong and that it is inappropriate behaviour. The same applies to the other examples given. There needs to be an add-on or discussion questions at the end, teaching about the issues in these stories. I believe in fiction but I also believe that there needs to be a moral to a story so that children do not get the wrong ideas.

These are only a few examples of the media which children are subjected to. The next time, you pick up a movie, CD or book, think about the actual content of it, consider what it is really saying. And if you decide to still give it to your children, as entertainment, please talk to them about it afterwards. You can discuss what the characters did wrong, and how they could have fixed it. The choice is yours.



[1] Words from song “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” by Johnny Marks, 1949.

The Benefits of Positive Thinking

By: Rebecca Taylor (written in April 2011)


It is easy for life to get busy and sometimes even the smallest things make us feel overwhelmed and discouraged. However, if we attempt to keep a positive outlook on life, this makes it harder for the gloom to get a hold of us.  In order to stay positive, we must all take time for ourselves to replenish our energy. These few minutes a day might make all the difference.

There are many ways that we can turn a not so great day into something better. For each of us, this will be different because we are all unique. For some of us, it can be as simple as getting a phone call from a friend, hearing his or her voice might put a smile on our face even if we are talking about a subject of little significance. Listening to music, watching your favourite movie, reading a book or working on one of your hobbies can make you feel uplifted so if you work these activities into your schedule, around your hectic lifestyle, they may help you be a happier, more optimistic person. If you have the time, you may also consider a volunteer activity, because giving back to others is another way for us to feel better about ourselves.

Positive thinking is beneficial to our health. When we are positive, it is more likely that we will live longer, be less likely to become depressed, be less prone to, or better at coping with stress. The mental and physical strain on each of us is also supposed to be reduced when we think positively.

We must remember what Dennis and Wendy Mannering say, “Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?” If each of us does our best to keep things positive, then this will make it easier for the people around us to be positive too. There are two ways of looking at most situations. It is up to us to decide if our glass is half-full or half empty.

It is difficult to change all at once, so if you decide that you’re going to work at being a more positive person, remember self improvement takes time and patience but do not give up, the more you work at being positive, the easier it will come. The way you make the transition is up to you, maybe you will decide to start and finish each day with thinking about something that is positive in your life. Wishing you all a happy, positive month.


Life of a Pottery Wheel

By: Rebecca Taylor

**Previously published in 2009 by Perspectives Magazine**

Some say I live a mundane life, but I just laugh and tell them it is anything but that. I am a creator of many fine items like vases, which hold the flowers picked by tiny hands and given with great care to their mothers. Not only do I assist in inventing beautiful items and precious memories but I also create a living for Linai Prichard, the pottery teacher and a supplemental income for a few of her students. If you have not yet guessed, I am a pottery wheel. It is a very rewarding vocation, everyday my heart is touched by many different individuals. I find my life intriguing getting to be involved in the process of creating unique projects depending on the artist’s mood and personality. I love seeing a chunk of clay become a useful or decorative item. There are classes in my home at the studio for all ages and skill levels. Seeing the children, some as young as three work their magic on me is amazing. They are so unafraid of making a mistake in shaping their artwork, unlike some of the adults who take a more cautious approach. Children are fearless when it comes to making a mess; to them designing a piece of pottery is like making a different kind of mud pie.

The feeling of hands of any age turning the clay over my body creates an incredible sensation. I wonder if this is what it feels like for a dog to be brushed by its master or to play fetch, at peace doing what it loves. Sometimes when nobody is spinning my wheel, I sit and watch the students decorate their pottery; some are talented in drawing and create very realistic designs like waterfalls and horses. Other students use designs are more abstract; some even engrave or paint words on their pieces. As long as these students are happy with themselves and their creations, I can smile.

The most frightening part of the pottery experience is having the artwork be placed in the kiln. The hot air can be felt in the studio, it is like having all of the windows closed in a kitchen and turning the stove up to full blast on a sultry day. This makes sense to me because mostly a kiln is a giant oven heated to harden the clay and preserve the design of the artwork that is on it. Most of the time the pottery comes from the kiln unscathed,  but there have been a few times when cracks have appeared and Linai assists her student in remodelling the piece with extra clay to give it the necessary thickness it needs so it does not fracture in the kiln. When I see beautifully completed pieces come out of the kiln safely, I always breathe a sign of relief. These pieces have a lot more courage than I do, I am afraid of the fire in the kiln.

In my eighteen years of being a pottery wheel, the most amazing experience that I recall is the story of Jennifer and Stephane Arbour. Jennifer had brought her boyfriend Stephane to a pottery class so he could see why this art form was important to her. Jennifer guided Stephane’s hands on me, the clay becoming caked to their hands as we sculpted the terracotta into a plate. Jennifer and Stephane left the studio after setting the plate aside to dry. Two days later, they came back and as Jennifer sat down to paint a teacup she had previously sculpted, Stephane sat down to design the plate. He experimented with some colour and eventually said, “Jennie, what do you think of this?”

Jennifer looked over at the plate and read the message that was surrounded by hearts and smiley faces. It read: Jennie, will you marry me?” Jennifer didn’t say anything for a minute, but her face held a surprised expression. “Yes, I’ll marry you.” she answered engulfing Stephane in a hug. Linai took of picture of them standing with their plate. This picture hangs in the studio reminding us all how pottery can touch lives in so many ways. Anyone, regardless of age or talent can give me a whirl, and if you’re having fun so will I, no matter what the outcome of the project. I’ve seen many improvements in the students’ works over the years as they learn with practice how to be a better potter. I hold their joy and perseverance close to my heart. I think I have the best job on earth. Living the life of a pottery wheel is never boring.


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