30 Days of Me

Wondering more about me than my “about” page shares?  The following “30 days of me” pieces were posted on a blog that accompanied my old “Conversations, Reflections, and Meditations” site.  They’re perhaps a bit “dated”  as they were written in February and March 2011, and now it is 3 years later (April 2014)… but nonetheless provide an interesting meander through various aspects of “me.”  Unfortunately, I didn’t keep a copy of the pictures when I saved the posts, so I’ll have to look through my many photo albums again to find them… but that will come later.  For now, I hope the “word pictures” will help you “see” me a bit more clearly.

Day 1: a recent picture of me and 15 interesting facts about myself.

Posted on February 15, 2011

new norma crop

Two years ago (Nov 2010), I made a list of 25 or so things about me. A couple years having now passed, and much water under the bridge, herewith 15 up-to-date things!

1. Today is February 14, 2011, and my husband, Lionel, and myself are celebrating our 30th valentines anniversary together. Coming up, on May 15, we will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary. [2014: 32 years!]

2. We now have 8 grandchildren: Tony and Apollo, Kayla and Logan, William and Thomas, and Marcus and Hailey. [2014: 9 grandkids – add Meera!]

3. Due to developing neck wrinkles and jowels,  I have cropped this picture to edit them out

4. I no longer live downtown. We have bought a charming little townhouse mid-town. I like it a lot, but definitely miss the downtown vibe. Still, I try to get there as often as possible. Its only a half hour walk or so.

5. I still love my laptop. However, it is a lovely new laptop, and I love it even more than my old faithful (but very slow and rather outdated) one. [2014: well, it’s not quite so new now, but still faithful!]

6. On to new things. Let me see. I am trying to become more WordPress-wise. Today I spent a few hours revamping my penandpapermama.com blogsite. If you look at it you will no doubt wonder what I have done … but trust me! I have completed almost all of the first 28 items in “The Ultimate Guide to Launching A Word-Press Powered Blog.” I am pretty impressed with myself!

7. I am currently involved in several local organizations. I am the communications director for Penticton Writers and Publishers (PWAP) group. As such, I am the moderator for their yahoo e-group, and publish their newsletter, The Penticton Scribe.

8. I am involved with Another Church Street Ministries. I am developing their website and blog, and you can check it out here. [2014: still keep up that website – but now more involved with God’s Kitchen street breakfast – for which I’ll soon be making a site.]

9. I am also a member of the Okanagan Archive Trust Society (though I admit I’ve not been as involved lately as I should be – I must definitely get more involved!). [2014: I’ve started editing their newsletter recently!]

10. And I am on our townhouse strata council. And learning a lot about stratas, needless to say.

11. I am not officially “employed” at the moment, but life is never dull nonetheless. Besides writing, blogging, learning more about website and blog design, and so on, I am looking into the possibility of once again becoming self-employed. I am considering becoming a tutor (again), a virtual assistant, or a professional organizer. Unless of course you have a job opportunity for me which is too good to turn down (Do let me know!) [2014: My, how things change.  I now have a thriving tutoring, editing, and writing business, Pen and Paper Mama Services!]

12. I love camping. Unfortunately, we did not go camping at all this past summer. Next summer we will definitely have to make up for it. All my camping supplies are organized and ready to go. Where to? Hmmmm?

13. Being a jill-of-all-trades (aka a “renaissance mama”) I have a list of projects and dreams that is much too long. I am in the process of whittling it down to a reasonable size. Unfortunately, I hate to let any items go. I suppose this means I need to organize myself if I have any hope of becoming a professional organizer!

14. I am seriously considering monetizing my blogs. [2014: Still haven’t done this; however, you can purchase my tutoring booklets and cookbook from Teachers Pay Teachers – look under my name, Norma J Hill]

15. I would like very much for you to list (in the comments) anything you’d like to see me add to this site, or what are your favorite posts, or…. (Be nice, please!)

my blog name meaning – day 2

Posted on February 16, 2011


This website of course is called “Conversations, Reflections and Meditations.” But the blog name is titled “penandpapermama2.com blog.” [April 2014: well, that was back in the day.  Today, of course, it is https://penandpapermamatoo.com/ … and I haven’t started to blog it just yet, since I’m still transferring the old site over here!]

The “Conversations, Reflections and Meditations” site goes back to about 1997, and was originally posted on Geocities, in its early incarnation. Later, I changed the layout (with my daughter’s help), which was again posted on Geocities in a later incarnation. And finally, Yahoo bought out Geocities, and my daughter again came up with a new layout (the current one). Thanks so much, Taryn! You are awesome! I have just added the blog portion to the site. It is supported by WordPress.com through Yahoo. [And now this whole site is on WordPress!]

The name “Conversations, Reflections, and Meditations” refers to the fact that the site is a collection of my writings – which reflect some of my passions, of course, including my family, our Haida connection, writing and website design, and homeschooling and lifelong learning. The conversations and meditations part of the title reflects especially my central passion in life, my relationship with God. You’ll find that running throughout all my writing, and especially you will find it in the “Life Connection” and the “Prayers and Meditations” sections.

Back in the day, of course, this site was just a website. When blogs came along, I started blogs separate from the website, as Geocities and Yahoo (at first) did not support blog posting.

So I experimented with blogging. I started with a site, A Mother’s Journey, for mothers of teens and the experiences that go with that. I set it up on shawwebspace, a blog/website template which came free with my shaw.ca internet connection. Actually, I used the “pages” rather than the “blog” space, so it turned into another website. I didn’t understand blogging very well!

Next, I started an actual blog, with my own domain, penandpapermama, which is supported by WordPress.org (and hosted by Bluehost.com), at which I blogged about all kinds of things that interested me. Over time, I wrote over 600 posts, in at least 17 different topic areas. Very recently, I have gutted that site, and am going to do something quite different with it, turning it into a website/blog combination, using the WordPress ”pages” feature. [2014: so I did that… and now it really needs updating again.  Warning! Blog and websites need constant attention!]

I also created a blog of our family stories, The Hill Gang, supported by WordPress.com (a “free” blog platform from WordPress). This one is an oddity – really a website, or even book, written on a blog format. Still learning! [2014: This site still exists, but is currently set to “private” for family members only.]

Interested in different blog formats, I also started a blog, My Church Journey, which is supported by Google Blogger. For a long time, one could only do regular blogging, and I ended up with about 700 blog posts. It was really difficult for people to find information for older posts. But recently Google has added a (somewhat limited) “pages” feature, and I have picked out bits and pieces of favorite posts, and created pages on specific topics.

I have also recently started a website/blog combination (supported by WordPress.org and hosted by Bluehost.com) for a ministry I am involved with, Another Chance Street Ministries.

So, I can hear you asking, what does “penandpapermama” refer to? Well I realized pretty quickly, once I started my various blogs and websites, that I needed something to identify me as the person behind the various sites. So I chose the name “Pen and Paper Mama.” After all I am definitely a mama – with 5 children, and now even more grandkids! And all my life I’ve spent countless hours with pen and paper in hand, writing endlessly. I have filled up well over a hundred journals in just the past 10 years or so! I love writing. And so “penandpapermama” now pops up all over the internet, on my blogs, on my websites, on my facebook (yes there is a penandpapermama page as well as my own page under my name), and on comments I post on other people’s blogs. It’s my pen name, so to speak. It’s my writing identity. I am “Pen and Paper Mama!”

(and also norma j hill!)

me and my friends, day 3 

Posted on February 17, 2011


Friends! I love my friends. My facebook page shows 585, but they are just a start. Where have I gathered so many friends? 55 years provides plenty of opportunities. Living in many communities. Teaching school provides endless opportunities to develop friendships with staff, students, parents. Involvement with churches, large and small, over the years. Education: elementary and high school, college, university. Self-employment and work for a wide variety of employers. Neighbors, of course. Fellow members of community organizations, school parent groups, and more. Being a wife, mother of 5 wonderful children, grandmother, aunt, in-laws and out-laws and extended family and their friends too. All these relationships involve precious friendships.

Some folks tend to leave their friends behind and make new ones when they move to a new community or job or group. Others are quite happy to stay cozily in one small group forever, if possible. I, however, was brought up by parents who valued friendships, and even in the days of snail mail, kept up contact with friends far and wide. When my parents passed on, their annual Christmas letter list contained 200 or so addresses, representing several hundred friends from about 17 different nations. My parents also wrote letters throughout the year, traveled and visited friends as much as possible, and the doors of their own homewere wide open to anyone who wanted to come on in. Every Sunday dinner featured guests, often those no one else would invite. In summer, the house was full of visitors for weeks on end. Relatives came for Christmas and other holidays. Door-to-door salespeople and many others who knocked, were invited in for meals, and often for holiday occasions and more. When my parents passed away, their funerals were great celebrations of life, with friends arriving from far and wide, eager to share stories and memories of my parents, their dear friends.

With this background, how could I help but learn to value friends? Someone once wrote in my autograph book, “True friends are like diamonds, precious but rare; false ones like autumn leaves, found everywhere.” But my parents’ example taught me to see every new acquaintance as a potential diamond. Not “good friends” vs “just acquaintances,” but true friends every one.

Certainly I have sometimes felt alone, as if my friends aren’t being very friendly. But I cannot judge for I, too, get busy and distracted and occupied with life, and end up not being the friend I mean to be. I am sorry, truly. And, more often than not, when our paths do cross again, even if a lot of time has passed and our lives have diverged, it takes only a few moments to realize that our friendship has survived intact.

What is of more value than friendship in our human lives? We are created for relationship, for friendship. It is the nature of our Creator, and that nature has been imprinted on us. Things and events pass, but friends are meant to be forever. And they can, if only we accept and nourish each other, and accept and nourish our relationship with the One who created us for friendship.

(Want to see pictures of me and my friends? Look through this website, and then check out my other web and blog sites – links from this site – and my facebook photos. That’s a start!)

Procrastinator!  – day 4

Posted on February 18, 2011

A habit I wish I didn’t have? That’s easy: I’m a procrastinator. A newbie procrastinator. A nasty new habit. Egad!

Actually, I think it must be a disease of old age (good excuse, right?). Just yesterday I was thinking that when I was younger, I had 5 kids (and extras, quite often), usually a job (sometimes full time), a big garden, involvement in endless church and other organizational activities, go-go-go. And I got things done. No procrastination. Now, not so much.

Maybe I had to keep moving back then. I had to be organized. I couldn’t afford to procrastinate. Of course I was younger, and theoretically had more energy (so I tell myself that I used up all my energy back then, and I’m just going on fumes now).

These days, with the kidlings all flown from the nest, and myself more or less unemployed, and only involved in a few organizations and things (see: day 1: 15 facts), I find it increasingly easy to procrastinate. I’ve even taken to watching too much TV and playing too much solitaire. Definite signs of procrastination.

My computer is loaded with half-completed writing and photography projects. A stack of recipes are piling up in the kitchen, waiting patiently for me to try them out. My mid-section is like Santa: “a round little belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly”; but I keep putting off exercising and walkabouts. My hobby basket is full of painting and sketching and crochet supplies, sitting there gathering dust. My sewing machine languishes under a pile of clothes awaiting repairs. Egad again.

What is wrong with me? I need to get organized! I need some pressure, some deadlines, some absolutely-must-do’s! I must get busy. Stop putting things off. And I will. Just as soon as I play one more game of solitaire, and check my facebook page again, and check out what is on HGTV, and add a few more blogs to my reader, and take another little nap in my incredibly cozy bed…


Somewhere I’ve been to, day 5

Posted on February 19, 2011
Untitled-Scanned-127 Untitled-Scanned-129

I have a dream. A dream of living in a little cabin on a wild, windswept north Pacific coast beach. On an island. Haida Gwaii. Or Vancouver Island. Or even one of the hundreds of tiny islands scattered along the coast. A cozy little cabin with a wood stove. And windows that look out over the wild ocean.

Where I can wander the beach every day, looking for the jetsam and flotsam that has drifted in from places far, far away. Where the wind whips through my hair, and the rain drops splash on my face, and I can deeply inhale the intoxicating scent of sea salt, and hear the haunting calls of eagles and ravens and seagulls. Where I can gaze out over the cold rolling waves to the far horizon and find myself drawn into the mystery of the far beyond; where on rare clear nights the stars twinkle and call me outward and upward.

“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely seas and the sky” – and all I ask is a snug little cabin, with wide windows to gaze at them by!

I had the great privilege of staying in a cabin (well, actually 2 cabins, side by side) in the middle of winter on the east coast of Haida Gwaii, for 2 weeks. And I have hankered for “my cabin” ever since. Here are some pictures from that time. Beautiful, eh?

favorite super hero, day 6

Posted on February 20, 2011


Superman! “Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Superman!”

Why is Superman my favorite super hero? He’s the first super hero I remember. We didn’t have TV or comics at home till I was in my teens, so I loved to read Superman comics and watch TV reruns at my friends’ homes whenever I got the chance. Later, of course, Superman was made into movies and other TV series and video games and you-name-it. Superman has been around all my life and he never gets dull!

My kids and grandkids love him too! Why just yesterday I picked up a box of Superman valentines (at 70% after-Valentines reduction, lol) to send to the grandkids. A couple of months ago, I was able to get Superman backpacks for them, too.

I have always loved sci-fi stories, shows, and movies. And as far as super heroes go, Superman fits in with sci-fi pretty well, too.

And finally, what woman couldn’t love a man with a physique and a handsome face like that, eh! And who at the same time is so noble and chivalrous and humble all at the same time? Reminds me of my handsome hubby Yep, I have a Superman of my own!

“Yes, it’s Superman – strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman – who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel with his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights the never ending battle for Truth, Justice and the American Way.”

who or what has the biggest impact on me, day 7

Posted on February 21, 2011


I love my husband. I love my children and their spouses. I love my friends and my relatives, present and past. I respect and honor past teachers, pastors, employers, and others. I can honestly say that many, many of these people have impacted me in a variety of ways. Some of them have impacted me greatly. (You can discover more specific details about the impacts of some of them on me, if you look through the things I’ve written on my Conversations, Reflections and Meditations website).  [April 2014: Well. This site is the new incarnation of that site which no longer exists.  But a great deal of it is the same.  Enjoy!]

I have also been impacted by writers and filmmakers, poets and artists, and others I haven’t met personally, but whose works have had a deep influence on my life. I have no doubt that some of the people who will read this post are included in my long list of people who have impacted my life!

I have been impacted by experiences, by places I’ve been, and things I’ve seen. The wonders of creation. Observing animals and other creatures. Miracles. Small things that contain the seeds of great ideas. I have always experienced life as an adventure, an exploration, as lifelong learning and growing and changing.

But beneath and around and above and within all these things is the One who has impacted me the most. The One who is the source and the final fulfillment of everything. For a very long time I beheld this one in a “knowledge about” kind of way. But as my life has moved along, I have found my knowing about is moving more and more into relationship, into real knowing. It hasn’t been an easy journey.

As an explorer, learner, adventurer, I tend to ask questions, doubt what I am told, look for the truth. Unwilling, often unable, to easily accept what others tell me I should believe, or what they say is the truth. I’m a child of the twentieth century, of a time of belief and trust in scientific thought, of rationalism and progress. But too often its promises seem to fail. Too often it feels empty despite all its intellectual wonder.

And into these cracks, into these empty spaces, has moved this One who promises to fill in the emptiness and disappointment, who offers Truth and Life that goes beyond the promises of the world I have grown up in. I have struggled with Him, questioned, wondered, sought. I am still on that path, and always will be to some degree.

But I am knowing Him more and more. I know Him as Truth and Life, as the Way I have been seeking. I am learning to focus more and more on Him, and less and less on the things that people have claimed about Him and built around Him.

A couple of millenia ago, one of His followers created a word picture describing Him. I have read those words over and over, pondered that picture, wondering what it might really mean. And the longer and the more I am coming to know Him, the more I am understanding the immensity and wonder of who He is, as these words describe Him:

“He is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over [is the firstborn of ] all creation. He is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth…. Everything has been created through him and for him. He existed before everything else began and he holds all creation together…

For God in all his fulness was pleased to live in Christ, and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross… in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault…

God’s secret plan… is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge… For in Christ the fulness of God lives in a human body, and you are complete through your union with Christ.”

He has, above all people and all things, had the biggest impact on me. Will you let Him impact you? Ask Him. He will.

(quote from Colossians 1 and 2. You can read more about my thoughts about Him, including my doubts and questions, and the answers I am discovering, at My Church Journey blog site.)

short term goals, day 8

Posted on February 23, 2011


Well, this is a tough one. Mostly because the month is almost over and I haven’t gotten very far on most of my goals (which I didn’t really set very well to start with). On the other hand I still have almost a week, so you never know

Things I wanted to do this month:

  • list all my projects I’ve been putting off (you don’t even want to know how many, LOL) : done
  • prioritize and choose which projects I am still interested in: not done
  • check out some self-employment possibilities: tutoring, professional organizer, consultant, virtual assistant, blogging: semi-done… okay, very semi!
  • do the 30 days of me challenge: well, this is day 8… kind of got off to a late start… but at least I’m doing
  • start putting together a container garden for the back yard: not done: but what the heck, it keeps snowing! And freezing! Good excuse eh [2014: got to this one slowly, but now I have 4 raised beds, 4 containers, and a composter – not bad for a postage-stamp-sized back yard, right?]
  • work on my oral (listening and speaking) French skills: mostly not done – a bit of listening to podcasts and broadcasts and such
  • look for local employment possibilities: well I signed up for Third Quarter … and have been passing information on to other people, lol [2014: decided on self-employment, and it’s been going great!]
  • learn to use my camera properly: well, I’ve taken a bunch of snapshots. Guess that doesn’t really count, eh? [2014: well, that camera died – just got a new one this spring, which does about a million more things than the last one.  I suppose one could call it a “smart camera.”  I’m not so sure about the “smart” photographer, unfortunately!]
  • dismantle my penandpapermama.com blog and restart it with a new outlook: well, the dismantle part got done! [2014: and the new outlook got done.  And then I left it to stagnate.  So it’s time to do some major updating, again. Good grief.]
  • do more writing in my journal: yep!
  • set really good goals for each day, week, month, and the rest of the year: does this post count? lol…

Oh. What about the why? Well, I am feeling a lot better these days, and figure it’s time I got back to being useful! Besides, I’ve gotten very inspired by my friend Jean who is the most organized goal-setter I know! I’ve been examining her goal-setting methods and am going to give them a try … next month, lol

walking and photographing, day 9

Posted on February 23, 2011

I am proud of actually getting outside and walking around in the fresh winter air, and taking pictures of our beautiful Penticton skies! Here is a sample – and you’ll find lots more on my facebook, too! [2014: and this particular post got me really interested in photographing my community – you’ll find loads of photos at PentictonPedestrian – which seriously needs some updating; I just got a new camera after the last one died almost 2 years ago, so hopefully I’ll be updating soon!]

Songs I listen(ed) to: day 10


To be honest, I don’t listen to that much music, at the moment. I do like to listen to Randy Bachman’s “Randy’s VinylTap on CBC Radio,” Saturday nights. Each week Randy and the crew choose a theme, and then search through all those old time vinyls (from when I was young) for songs that relate to the theme. What’s cool about the show is the history and stories Randy tells about each song – and what’s especially cool is that Randy knew and worked with so many of these artists, and he tells really interesting personal anecdotes. He also from time to time plays a few riffs on his own guitar and/or sings a few lines. Great show, great songs!

Of course there have been times when I listened to songs a lot more. First time I clued into listening to recorded music, I was about 8 years old, and my parents boarded a grade 12 student whose parents had to move mid-year, and they wanted him to graduate locally. This was my first introduction to rock-n-roll, as he often had the radio turned up loudly enough for us all to enjoy (well, my parents’ reaction to the music maybe was not best described by “enjoy” but us kids liked it). We’d moved into a new house not long before, and there was a dead tree in the back yard that had been cut down to make way for the construction. I remember a bunch of us young ‘uns clambering into the dead branches, and wildly shaking that ol’ tree. And hollering, “Rock ‘n roll! Rock ‘n roll!” And then singing, “She loves you, ya ya ya! She loves you ya, ya, ya!” Yep, the Beatles were the big thing back then, and I’ve loved them ever since.

When I was about 12, my friends would come over to our place with their record players and records, set up on our patio, and we’d turn up the music, dance to the tunes, and pore through the teen music magazines, oohing and aahing over our favorite groups and/or singers. I still remember, in particular, dancing (if you could call it that) to the Monkees (yeah, well, kids that age don’t have well-developed taste in music, right?)

Back to the Beatles soon enough. I remember in grade 8, our girls grass hockey team loved listening to them. When we won the finals, we had a big party. We kept phoning the radio station and begging them to play “Hey, Jude.” They must have played it 4 or 5 times that evening for us! That 45 became The Beatles biggest single ever. Many years later it resurfaced in a big way when my own kids were teens. I sang along with it every time it came on. Moms can be very embarrassing.

When I was 15 or so I remember sitting doing math homework, and listening to the radio. The DJ announced a contest. Write a letter telling what you would say to David Cassidy (of The Partridge Family) if you had a chance to speak with him. First prize was a chance to speak to him live on radio. Second prize was 3 albums, a 45, and a personally signed autograph. Bored out of my mind by the math, I wrote the letter and mailed it. Some 10 year old won first prize. Ten-year-olds loved David Cassidy; I didn’t. My friends all started telling me I’d won 2nd prize. Phoned the station; yep. How embarrassing. Had those albums for years, but they finally warped when I left them in the sun for too long. Still have that personally autographed photo somewhere, though.

When I was maybe 14 or 15, our school band went on a trip to a school in Vancouver. They hosted a dance for us after the band concert. Being the “big city” they were a bit more “advanced” in their musical interests than us small-town kids, and the band they chose for the dance played nothing but psychedelic music. We all stood around dazed, wondering how one was supposed to dance to music like that. Of course we went home and started to pay more attention to the psychedelic music scene, and the eye-opening experiences that attended the music. Hm. Anyway, I loved Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album, Santana, Black Sabbath. And yes, I remember the Woodstock Festival, though from afar. I was too young to be there, and we didn’t have TV at home…

A lot of that music had come out of the folk rock movement, and folk rock also became a popular music style in the Jesus People movement. I grew up in a very church-oriented culture, and our youth groups were big on popular songs like “If I had a hammer” as well as the Jesus movement music that came out of that. In the mid 70s, mostly in senior high school and later, I enjoyed listening to Larry Norman, Keith Green, Love Song, and others.

Once I got into university, and then started teaching, and got married, and had 5 kids in 8 years, I didn’t have much time to listen to music. It kind of sailed past me, although my high school students were constantly amazed at how I knew the lyrics to the latest songs (so many of which were remakes of songs from my youth, of course).

As my own kids got to the age where they started to listen to music, I couldn’t help but listen to their music, which was played non-stop in the house, in the car, and wherever we went as a family. I found myself enjoying a lot of their generation’s music, because when it wasn’t a remake of songs from my generation, it had clearly grown out of styles of music I had enjoyed. Alternative, heavy metal, and so on were oddly familiar! And I liked listening to the music my kids played, even though they thought it strange (and embarrassing sometimes) that such an old lady would enjoy it.

Now my kids are grown and moved away, and again I don’t listen to songs so much, except on the car radio now and again.

I never really got into listening to the “worship CDs” that became so wildly popular among the “evangelical” church folks. I enjoyed live “Christian” music, especially if it had a good rock beat, but was never very interested in the recorded stuff. I am definitely not into watching those worship videos.

Most of all, I never, ever got into country, western, or Elvis for that matter. Though I have enjoyed listening to blues and jazz and classical from time to time.

Okay, this is way too long! Nuff said!

picture(s) of me and my friends day 11

Posted on February 25, 2011

school friends

Okay, like I said on day 3, I have a lot of friends. So who do I choose? Also, in most of the pictures I have, I’m behind the camera. Oh well, here are a few favorites from over the years…. [Well, one from high school, anyway… “crazy hat day” … love it!]

Now if you didn’t find yourself in one or more photos, please don’t be offended! Like I said, most of the time, I’ve been behind the camera! So more than likely, I have a picture of you – just not with me. And the topic for today was “pictures of me AND my friends” ….

my blogging history, day 12

Posted on February 27, 2011


Back in the day (around 1996 or so, when we first got internet connection on Haida Gwaii) my kids immediately started making their own webpages. Not to be outdone, I took a little online course and built one of my own (you can find a bit of that original effort here and here ). Then I added a bunch of pages about home schooling, which was my big thing at the time. That was on Geocities; later my daughter helped me changed the look of those pages; and then later we changed them up again. Eventually Yahoo bought out Geocities, so that is the platform I am now using for this site, with this blog powered by WordPress.org. Some of the original site information is still on my Conversations, Reflections, and Meditations pages that this blog is attached to, in case you want to see it. As a matter of fact, I only started this blog a couple weeks ago. Take a look at the rest of the site, too, to see topics I’ve added like my family and Haida pages. [April 2014: The site you’re now looking at is my most recent incarnation of that original site.  Things keep changing…]

It was about 2 to 3 years ago that I decided to try creating blogs as well as the more static websites. My first effort was on the Blogger platform, and I’m still adding to that blog. The blog is called My Church Journey and as the name suggests, it is related to topics around my spiritual journey. Recently, Blogger has attempted to add a “static pages” opportunity for its blogs, and I have taken advantage of that to put up some material on specific topics such as the street church I am involved with.

I also started a couple blogs on the WordPress platform. One is a “free” blog site, through WordPress.com, and I call it The Hill Gang. It is primarily stories and pictures of our family, for my kids.  The other is on WordPress.org, and is my own domain, PenAndPaperMama.com. It has been a kind of catch-all for all kinds of topics. Recently, I have pretty much “gutted” it and am in the process of turning it into a hub site for all my different sites, some of which are under development and not yet uploaded. [You can find links to all my sites from PenAndPaperMama.com – including new ones not listed in this post].

I also created a kind of website on a free blog/website platform through the server we use. It is called A Mother’s Journey, and is to encourage women as their children go through their teen years.

I have started one or two other blogs as well, but decided not to continue with them; that is the great thing of blogging on “free” sites like Blogger or WordPress.org: if it doesn’t work out or your interests change, you can of course close the blog down, and you aren’t out any cash. Free sites do have some limitations, though, and that’s why I use a combination of free sites and sites I pay for.

I love writing, and that’s why I started blogging – as well as trying to keep up with my kids and technology! It’s quite embarrassing for your toddlers to be able to do things on computer when you know nothing about it at all. That’s how I got started using computers, lol.

I have not really done any monetizing up to this point, but I have been researching, and you will find that that will be changing shortly, especially on some of my new blogs that I will be posting shortly. So keep posted! I’ll let you know about them as they go up.

writing letters to people who hurt you, day 13

Posted on February 28, 2011


Well, well. I just have one thing to say about writing letters to people who have hurt you recently. 99% of the time (100% of the time on facebook or anywhere on-line) it is usually a BAD idea. Wish I had figured that out years ago. I’m sometimes a bit slow in the wisdom category. My deepest apologies right now to people I’ve written “hurt” letters to in the past. I should have spoken to you person to person. Even good letter writers can’t always tell how the other person is going to perceive the written message. When you talk person to person you have a better chance of conversing and working through it together (and even then it isn’t easy). Public (on-line) letters should only come after you have both talked it through, and both agreed that a public letter is even needed or is a good idea, and both have approved the letter.

And I am not judging you. I am judging myself. Yes I know. I have written letters I should not have. I have published things I should not have. I have taken some of those things down – and need to remove more; I’m working on it – but once it is “out there” it is awfully hard (if not impossible) to totally get rid of it, and even if one can manage to do so, someone out there remembers. And people are hurt.

Oh dear. I really am sorry. And embarrassed. And apologizing. To all of you who I have hurt when I was hurting. Please, if you can find it in your heart, please forgive me. I am sorry.

family photo(s)! – day 14

Posted on February 28, 2011


A recent picture of my family? Easier said than done! My family has been growing by leaps and bounds (6 new grandkids in about 2 years), and live scattered from Alberta to Vancouver Island. Getting everyone together at the same time, especially with new babies and all, has been a pretty big challenge. Our most recent family picture (minus our son and our sons-in-laws) was in October 2009. Fortunately one of our daughters is getting married this coming summer and hopefully all (or nearly all) the family will be there for a new family picture. Meanwhile, here is a selection of pictures that added together include all of us!

Lionel and Norma Andrew, Taryn, Apollo and Tony Sarah, Daryl and Kayla
Sarah, Daryl and Logan Alex, Robyn, Thomas and William Bates Gavin and Wendy
Marcus and Hailey Peter (and nephew Thomas)

(Do you have any idea how hard this was? I was searching for family group pictures from hundreds and hundreds of snapshots… Why oh why don’t we think to take family-together photos?) [Okay then! How about an old-timey family photo instead?  Done!]

IPod shuffle, day 15

Posted on March 1, 2011


No IPod, no shuffle! Do have an MP3 but not a shuffle function. That’s if for today! [April 2014: And believe it or not, that has not changed! Though I do have a Kobo reader – my one recent nod to new technology – oh yes, and that new camera that does all kinds of “smart” things I still haven’t figured out…]

another picture of myself, day 16

Posted on March 2, 2011
Good grief! Why? Oh well, okay. Here it is. Isn’t my grandson adorable? [I’ll find the picture… I hope…]

being someone else? – day 17

Posted on March 2, 2011


Seriously. Why would anyone want to switch lives with someone else? Even for 24 hours. I’m old enough to have realized that no, the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. I therefore do not wish to switch lives, even for one day, with someone who is rich, famous, highly educated, successful, or any other of those things that we sometimes think would make our lives better.

Maybe, on the other hand, it might not hurt to “walk a mile” in the shoes (or lack thereof) of someone who is in true poverty, suffers from a severe mental illness or severe chronic physical illness, lives on the street in today’s snow and wind and icy cold weather, has just lost everything they had in some kind of disaster, is living in the middle of a war zone…

Actually, I guess it doesn’t matter which way I go. Walking in the shoes of the rich and famous might be just as enlightening, considering their widely broadcast tangles with drugs, divorces, papparazzi, total lack of privacy, totally unrealistic expectations from their adoring fans and their spiteful enemies alike…

Yep, I think I just want to be me. I have to say that my life is pretty decent. Blessed, truthfully.
Reminds me of that children’s “Butterfly Song.” After gleefully considering the fun of being a butterfly or robin or octopus or fuzzy wuzzy bear or wiggly worm, the tune concludes, ”For you gave me a heart and you gave me a smile, You gave me Jesus and You made me Your child, and I just thank you Jesus for making me – me, me, me.”

That’s how I feel, too. Thank You, Lord.

(And thanks for the tune, Brian Howard).

plans, dreams, goals – day 18

Posted on March 3, 2011

I’ve talked about this, thought about it, planned for it. Want to know what I’m thinking now? Go on over to my penandpapermama.com blog and My Church Journey blog and have a look. [April 2014: And check out the rest of this blog – my current big change]

nicknames, day 19

Posted on March 5, 2011

hot shot norma

I haven’t had a lot of nicknames. When I was a baby, I was sometimes referred to as “Cucumber” when I was being particularly cute.

Everybody called me by both my given names, “Norma June,” until I was in grade 2 and my teacher decided to call me “Norma.” My fellow students followed suit, and before long I was “Norma” to most people. However, close friends and relatives who’d known me in my early childhood continued to call me “Norma June” for years – and even today, a few still do.

In high school, I was occasionally given nicknames, but none of them stuck. A couple I remember are “N.J.” and “Fred.” I rather liked the latter! One of my best friends called me “Norm” for years.

Sometimes, people would tease me about my maiden name, “Wright,” and call me “Norma Wrong.” They’d also sometimes call me “Abnorm.” I rather liked that one, too.

As an adult, and a high school teacher, sometimes this or that student would accidentally call me “Mom,” instead of “Mrs. Hill.” I liked that a lot!

And so far as I can remember, that’s it for my nicknames.

Who I want to be with – always!  – day 20

Posted on March 5, 2011
e Untitled-Scanned-34

LOL Such a silly, silly question! I am already married, and have been for almost 29 years (plus a couple years of togetherness before that), to the most handsome, smart, charming, adorable, wonderful, Haida buck in the whole world – Lionel Seymour Hill. And to those of you who might be wondering, no, I have no attention of leaving him! So you’ll have to find someone else He’s all mine!

I’ve attached a few [well, one!] of my favorite pictures of him. Isn’t he awesome? Look but don’t touch

sunshine!  – day 21

Posted on March 8, 2011


Whatever else you might say about John Denver, he had it right when he wrote those lyrics: “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy, Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry, Sunshine on the water looks so lovely, Sunshine almost always makes me high.”

Yep, sunshine makes me happy! Took this picture just a few days ago. Spring is on the way

(Oh yeah, I liked the “Sunshine” movie too … that article about the song reminded me about it!)

what makes me different from everyone else? – day 22

Posted on March 9, 2011


I’ve always wanted to be unique. One of a kind. Have I been? Or have I fallen into the trap of dull conformity? Or worse? And does it really matter in the long run? Is it even possible to be wonderfully different? Have you ever thought about this, even a little?

More and more, I want to be the “me” that Jesus, my Creator, created me to be. The “me” that is far, far beyond – far more wonderfully different – than I could imagine or try to be on my own. The “me” that reflects, amazingly, incredibly (who could really imagine this?), in even some very small measure –reflects Him, He who is All, Everything, Source of Being. Jesus. God for us, with us, in us. The Way back to God for broken, lost little creatures like me. (And for you, too. He’s waiting. He loves you! Run to Him! )

Will you become, with me, the different we’ve only barely dared to dream of? He’s it.

food group #5 – day 23

Posted on March 10, 2011


What can I say? Food group #5!!!
Oh, by the way, just got an email from Starbucks … something new to add to my craving list:

cocoa cappaccino
(All the facts at: http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/espresso/cocoa-cappuccino Only 290 cals for a whole milk venti!!!) [April 2014: Ha! dead link! On the other hand, I just had an awesome mocha chocolate cookie frap at their annual “frappaccino happy hour” sale.  Yummy!!!)

my parents, day 24

Posted on March 10, 2011

Mom and Dad are joyfully together forever with Jesus. Miss you, of course, but won’t be long till we’re together again

Aren’t my parents sweet in this photo? Actually, they’re just sweet, period! You can find out more about them other places in this website, for example: their lives before me here, Ballad of Bill and Marj for their 50th anniversary here, humorous story for their 45th anniversary here, Mom and the Angels here, my wonderful mom here, and memories of dad here. If you check around the site, you will no doubt find more – stories and pictures, both. Enjoy!

what you would find in my bag! – day 25

Posted on March 10, 2011


This is a weird topic. On the other hand, I suppose what is in one’s bag (or pocket, or backpack, or wallet, or whatever) says something about that person. Anyway… here goes: my bag (all 20 x 16 x 6 cm – that would be about 8 x 6 x 2 inches for you non-metric folks), which has 2 pockets, contains the following:

pocket #1: sunglasses, pen, hand cream, planner, package of kleenex, fabric fold-up shopping bag, change purse (with one coin), chap stick, notebook

pocket #2: wallet which contains: mending kit, breath mints, mini address book, glasses cleaning cloth, pen, 3 receipts, 16 plastic cards, 10 paper cards

Wow. Well, this must definitely be one of those cases where the inside is larger than the outside

Hmmm… wonder what the contents of my bag say about me?

more about friends, day 26

Posted on March 10, 2011


What kind of a topic is this?!? They’re my FRIENDS. That means I think they are awesome, excellent, special, wonderful people. Duh!

(I think whoever made up this “30 days of me” list must have been running out of ideas…)

why this 30 day challenge? – day 27

Posted on March 11, 2011


Just because. I find these kind of challenges to be fun. And it kind of fits in with the “family” theme on Conversations, Reflections and Meditations. Okay, and I admit it, its a useful way to procrastinate, put off doing things I really want to do but am afraid to get started on. And I think people are interesting; I like reading other people’s stories; and I have fun writing mine. That’s about it!

how have I changed? – day 28

Posted on March 11, 2011


Oh. My. Goodness. Why, oh why, oh why do they keep wanting pictures of me? Good grief. I don’t even have any really recent pictures of me; I’m always behind the camera, duh.

Maybe I also am having a bit of a hard time reconciling myself to the facts of life. As time passes, especially at my age, gravity takes over. Perky sags. Smooth wrinkles. Taut stretches. Energy tires. Height shortens. Muscle tone flops.

Ah well, at least I don’t have any gray hair yet And my wrinkles are mostly smile wrinkles, which is a good thing, I think! And becoming an elder is honorable, right? Maybe even I’m becoming a little wiser. A bit more patient. Less anxious. More tolerant. Less worried about what others think; and able to relax and be the real me. Maybe even become less judgmental, I hope. And more concerned about things of true value. So maybe physical attributes give way to virtues. And I’m thinking that is really a good thing.

And, oh yes, the longer I’m around, the more opportunity I have to really know Jesus. That’s amazing And I’m getting that much closer to knowing Him face-to-face.

Change is inevitable. And maybe even wonderful. You think?

Anyway, okay. Most recent picture of me (November 17, 2010 – me in my jammies, with my grandson Logan) and a picture about a year earlier (October 28, 2009 – me with my grandson Apollo). So… how have I changed? (Besides being tired in the one and wide awake in the other). You tell me! (And be nice about it!)

October 2009 November 2010

past month’s learnings, day 29

Posted on March 14, 2011


I am a life-long learner. Learning, to me, is a great on-going adventure that involves all aspects of every day. In that context, the past month has been a really amazing adventure.

In terms of this “30 days of me” challenge, which I suppose today’s topic specifically refers to, I have learned a lot about myself. I thought this would be a simple exercise, like those “25 facts about me” or “fill-in-the-blanks-about-yourself” that get passed around on email and facebook. Not so. A lot of the topics required me to stop and think. About myself. Some topics made me really happy, like thinking about how grateful I am for my friends and family and for my wonderful husband. Others made me look twice at myself, and see things about myself (like some “hurting” letters I used to write to people; and a habit I need to change – procrastination) that I really don’t like, and that I really want to change. Some posts gave me opportunity to have fun – like the post about my favorite superhero, and songs I have listened to in the past. In the past year I have gone through a bit of a “down” time in my life, and I was delighted to find myself having fun with simple things again. Even being able to inject some humor into my writing!

Beyond the “30 days of me” challenge, I have also been learning a LOT! I have been learning to take better photographs, and I just created and posted a new site, “Penticton Pedestrian” that features my favorite local pictures, and related writing. (It’s still in an “under construction” state, but you are welcome to check out what I have been doing there).

Actually the past month has been a steep learning curve in relation to website/blog design and development. I gutted my “Pen And Paper Mama” site, removing almost 700 posts (some of which ended up on “Penticton Pedestrian”), and reworking the background of the site (the things you don’t see, but make the site function better). I have done a few new posts there, all of which have to do with my plans, goals, dreams for 2011 – a huge learning curve and exercise in itself. The “Pen and Paper Mama” site, which has MUCH still to do, will be the “hub” for all my other sites, and for the home-based business I am developing.

Of course, I have also added this very blog to my longtime website, Conversations, Meditations, and Reflections. You might want to have a look there sometime, too! [April 2014: Aha! You are NOW on it – in it’s newest reincarnation!] And I have continued to work on the Another Chance Street Ministry site – learning how to upload videos, among other things. Now that I “know how” I must, must, must get it done! (Yep, I’m still working on that bad “procrastinating” habit).

Another amazing thing I have been learning in the past month is how much Jesus loves me, and how He is totally relevant to my life – in fact, He is the center of my life; He IS my life! I have been helped a lot in this understanding by reading other folks’ blogs, writing about it on My Church Journey blog, and reading about it in an amazing book called “Jesus Manifesto.” Most of all, I have been seeing His life in action in others around me – and in my own life – in ways that continually surprise and delight me! Wow! Jesus reigns!

My favorite song, day 30

Posted on March 14, 2011

sunshine on my shoulders

Didn’t I just write about this a few days ago? Oh right! It was about something that makes me happy! Sunshine! And the song makes me happy too (yes, I mentioned that already, as well).

I love John Denver’s song, “Sunshine On My Shoulders.” I have loved it since I was a teenager. I guess I love it because sunshine really does make me happy (even more than chocolate, and that is really saying something!).

“Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy, sunshine in my eyes can make me cry. Sunshine on the water looks so lovely, Sunshine almost always makes me high…. If I had a wish I could wish for you, I’d make a wish for sunshine all the while.” Well, maybe not ALL the while, because clouds have their own kind of beauty, and what would we do without snow? And even rain? Know what I really love? Summer sun-showers! When the sun is shining brightly and it’s raining at the same time. An Okanagan specialty.

In case you think this is a “cheesy” choice for a favorite song, it says here that this song was recorded on 21 different albums. So obviously, I’m not the only one who likes it. And it says here that the song was the title track for a movie and the TV series that followed, was featured on a Simpsons episode, and an episode of CBS’ Cold Case. So there!

Actually, in the past month, another song has come to mean a lot to me. It was a song that we sang as children, but as I got older, I fancied myself “matured” and consequently decided I had outgrown it. Still, I have sung it often to my children and grand-children, and even was asked, by a grieving mother, to share it her 18 year old daughter’s funeral. That beautiful young woman, shortly before that terrible accident, had heard me singing it to my grandson. She told me how it had meant so much to her as a child, and asked me to never stop singing it.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my “day 29″ post, I have rediscovered real relationship with Jesus, and this song expresses it so well: “Jesus loves me, this I know!” Some things can not, MUST NOT, be outgrown – but rather grown into. As the final pages of C.S. Lewis’ final Narnia novel, The Last Battle, expresses it: “Farther up and farther in!”





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