It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and a fall tradition with my family has always been to go on the studio tour up in the Haliburton Highlands.

It’s a region of middle Ontario that is known for it’s spectacular fall colours and protuding bits of the Canadian shield. (I can’t even say it’s in Northern Ontario because it’s only about 2 1/2 hours away from Toronto–what I consider the backyard!).

Fall has always been my favourite season! There was a nip in the day, the sky was spectacularly blue, and the sun made the poplars blaze golden!

A very nice time to go visit the studios of various artists that make their home, and their living, in this region.

One of my favourites is a potter whose work I’ve been following for years, Rickie Woods. She’s got such a grace to her teapots, and vessels, and today when I visited her workshop I could see how her craft has grown over the years. I’ve bought a teapot, with matching creamer and sugar bowl, a platter, and now two bathroom soap dispensers from her over the years.

Oh I did have a soap dispenser from a department store, and yes, it was much cheaper, but the pump started corroding. The other soap pump I bought from her, has been adorning my downstairs bathroom for years. There’s something very nice about buying something hand made that will last!

I was with two of my favourite men in my life: my hubby and my son, and as usual we got into some deep philosophical conversations while driving the winding length of highway 35 to and from Minden.

A while back, my son had accompanied me to a university event which had featured some other children’s authors (as well as myself) and he’d said that it had really turned him off that these children authors sat there, acting like they were so important when in reality, less than 1% of Canada even knew who they were.

That’s the kind of comment that tends to put things in perspective.

He was perfectly right, and I told him so.

But then he said that I wasn’t like the others. I didn’t act self-important and somehow the topic got turned to personal faults and being able to recognize yours.

I’m going to be leaving for Hajj, insha Allah (God willing) in about 20 days. If done right,  and if God accepts it of me, then it could lead to every sin that I’ve ever committed being wiped clean, as the day I was born.

Faults and flaws and sins have been uppermost in my mind for some time now, and yet I hadn’t actually taken a moment to take inventory of exactly what flaws I do have.

Hubby and son put me on the spot. They asked me to name ten.

These are the ones I came up with, and I’m really quite ashamed of them:

1. I can be petty at times.

2. I can be vindictive at times.

3. I talk too much/chatter like a babbling brook.

4. As a result of 3. I say inappropriate things at times.

5. As a result of 3. I can be shallow at times.

6. I can be critical of others.

7. I can be judgmental.

8. Sometimes I lack self-restraint and say insulting things that I should not.

9. I’m not very patient.

10. I have a hard time apologizing.

Now I’m not listing these here because of any sort of need for self-flagellation. I thought carefully before deciding to go ahead and post them.

Unfortunately there are many people who search out the flaws and faults of other people so that they can use them against them. I can just imagine somebody I’ve ticked off making a mental note of these things and using some of these things to attack me one day. Saying something like, “Well… you said yourself that you’re … so what does THAT say about you?!”

But I’ve posted this to remind myself that I have a lot of work to do. And I urge anyone who might be reading this, to take a good hard look at yourself too.

It’s a good thing to take inventory of oneself, not just with accomplishments, but in areas where one needs to improve. Too often we don’t want to face the shadows in our reflection, we only want to see the light.

On a bright sunny fall day, crisp and clear and delightful, I had a good hard look at the dark.