The flaws

I was asked today if you could change one thing about your appearance what would it be?

I sat with that question for a while trying to think honestly about the answer 

I would like to lose some weight. But the extra pounds that I gained last year were a reaction from grieving the loss of my dad. They’re coming off and I honour the process I have been going through. So I wouldn’t change that. 

The bump in my nose? I broke it on my horse when I was 8. It’s become a part of who I am. 

My eye that doesn’t dialate? It’s leftover from a big and scary surgery when I was 21 to remove a massive tumor in my neck. It was benign. I am alive and healthy. I am grateful for that, wouldn’t change that either. 

My scar across my lower abdomen? That’s a reminder of the birth of my daughter who is one of my greatest joys. 

Every wrinkle and flaw I have earned and they have become part of who I am. This healing journey has brought me to a place where I am learning to accept who I am and where I am at. And that is my happiness moment today. 


Security and confidence

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out my emotions on safety and security, and how that has affected who I am today. I have spent a lot of time feeling unsafe, or like there was a real lack of security in my life. It’s been something I’ve craved and sought after, but I often felt like I was chasing rainbows – hopeful, but uncertain that I would ever reach my desire.

With a lot of work, and a lot of help, I’m finally beginning to realize in my body and soul that I’m safe and that I can be secure. The fact that we are back home and surrounded with love and support of our people has played a huge role in that. Also though, I have been working like a madwoman to release all the old fears and misconceptions and grief I’ve carried along with me for too long.

All of our house pets have been adopted from shelters. They all have had some kind of abuse or neglect before they came to live with us, so they all arrived in the house with a lot of fear and a lack of security.

Over the years I have watched Dottie settle into (kind of) a more normal and calmer version of herself. She’s very attached to me – I am her security blanket if you will – but she’s more trusting and calmer than she was 8 years ago when she first came to live with us. Ella too has calmed into a more secure and loving cat. She’s gone from her strict rule of being “close but no touching”,  to sitting on my keyboard, purring, while I’m trying to type this blog.

Abu and Aladdin were the last members of our little tribe to join us. They both were pretty insecure and fearful when they arrived. They had good reason to feel that way too as their young lives had involved a lot of turmoil. 2 months later I’m seeing that they’re getting more secure and trusting with us.

Having faith and trust in the people (or animals) you live with with is so important. If we can’t feel safe and secure, we don’t have the confidence to spread our wings and fly, we can’t let our guard down and open our hearts to those around us. Feeling safe is, I believe, one of the most important things in life.

Today I was at Jenna’s teacher conferences. One of her goals is to be more confident in school and speak up for herself. I’ve watched how the kids are relaxing into life here and thriving with the sense of security that comes with having a strong support system in our lives. She’s so much more confident and brave than she gives herself credit for, but I was proud of her that that was one of her goals. Making sure we all feel safe and loved is what it’s all about.

My happiness moment today was hearing about what a great job she’s doing at school – how she’s part of the leadership group, how she’s making friends, how she’s starting to feel like she belongs there. My wish for my kids (and me too) is that they spend the rest of their lives feeling safe and secure and loved.


My Happiness Project

Yesterday I had the rare occasion of driving alone. I used to love driving alone – music up, hair blowing, no yapping voices… now I cry when I drive alone. I started my cry/driving after we moved back home and Dad was so sick. I would take the kids into school and then cry/drive all the way home. Then cry/drive back to school to get them. I thought I was over it, but it seems as though the reality is simply that I haven’t had a moment in the car by myself.

I cry/drove most of the way home last evening. Thinking about Dad, about how completely unfair it seems that we finally move back and now he’s gone. About how guilty I feel that we lost all those years. So, I drove and I cried.

Then I came over Edge’s hill. As soon as I come over their hill I see home. The ranch, the barn, the homes – the places where my little footprints have been pitter pattering since the beginning of my time. I felt a rush of happiness – of joy. I realized then that even with all my sorrow and grief I am happy.

That may not sound like the huge freaking deal that it is – but I’ve spent years being unhappy, being scared and being anxious. And now I’m HAPPY. I’m sad about Dad, I’m nervous for the future – but I’M HAPPY and that is a huge gift.

Jenna and I went to Banff today for Fondue at the Grizzly House. Cheese Fondue followed by Fruit with Toblerone Chocolate Fondue. If you want to know what happiness tastes like, it tastes a lot like this: 

In our family tradition (started by my Dad) of not drinking from the bowlJenna finished off the last of the chocolate fondue in style:

Happiness also looks like this:  This however, is what Anger looks like. We have had two gifts this summer. One was the movie Inside Out, and the other one is that there are hardly any mosquitos (again, sounds like not a big deal but huge deal).

Inside out has given us the platform to feel out our emotions.

Jenna and I were heading out of Banff, Abba blasting out of the car stereo (this seems to be our road trip music), when I heard Let go of my anger!!! Grrrrrrrrrr!!!

Not sure what she was talking about, I looked beside me to see her trying to rip Anger out of his packaging. Apparently Anger makes her Angry. Even better, Anger only was purchased because Joy was sold out and that made her Angry.

We talked about different emotion balls and how one emotion can affect another.

A day with my girl. My happiness moment. Remembering that I am happy and that it’s ok to let go of my fears and anxiety will have a huge impact on how I live the rest of my life.


Finding the path of least resistance on a challenging road 

My intention this year is to follow the path of least resistance.  Which is a much easier thing to do when I’m flowing happily down a path of my choosing. Sometimes I find ( after the fact) that I’ve veered off my easy flowing path onto a more challenging road. This last little while seems kind of like that. I had a plan. Seriously…. It didn’t look like where I am now. 

I’ve had many conversations with God the past couple of weeks informing Him of my feelings about this path I’m on. About how perhaps He didn’t notice that I’d spent a great deal of time planning and meditating and preparing to walk down this new, easier path of least resistance. Then He threw a bunch of crap at me that wasn’t part of the deal. 

But here’s what I’ve noticed. More than at any other point in my life, every time I’ve needed something a door has opened and I’ve received a helping hand. It happened with packing up the house, again with this lovely lady we met on the plane, we had an entire house set up by my cousin when we got here, a wonderful school accepted the kids when we were out of district and didn’t have any paperwork organized, it goes on and on. Actually tonight I met a lady in the elevator at the hospital who was pulling a roller bag. I commented what a great idea it was and she said she would go out and buy one for me to have. What an offer of kindness. 

So often I feel like I’m invisible in life, but this past bit has made me realize I’m so not. 

Tonight my dad was talking about how he feels like he’s discovered a prayer bank in be clouds and he’s been drawing strength from this unlimited source of love. I feel the same way   Ask, then turn your intention towards giving and receiving love and that’s what you get. Even when it seems like a wrong turn on the path. I guess that’s how I’m following this new path with the least resistance I can muster. Because somewhere there is a plan. There has to be because I’m so clearly being guided and held by love. 


My happiness moment today came when I looked out the window at this view while making lunch. Jenna was out playing in the barn that my grandpa built. That I spent hours and hours playing in myself when I was her age. Where I used to bring Pirate in and talk to him for hours while I groomed him. It brought me such joy to see her experience that same peace and happiness   


An odd duck (goose)

IMG_2945My path is covered with Canadian Geese. Apparently I’m the only one out walking who is kind of scared of them. The only reason I got as close as I did for the picture is because I had Dottie the Dotted Dog with me for protection. Other people walk right up to the geese saying “hi” or throwing breadcrumbs. And to be fair, these geese seem to be pretty harmless. I just keep thinking about the mean geese along the Bow River in Calgary who have chased me down honking (and pooping – man they poop everywhere).

I stood today on the path and looked at the Canadian Geese floating all over the place on the water. A Canadian Invasion (snicker). But, while as a fellow Canadian I probably should have been finding things in common with them, I was drawn to that odd goose – and the mate of the odd goose. I see this pair often floating along with the Canadians. It interests me how although they aren’t the same kind of geese, they seem to be completely accepted into the flock.

I was thinking this morning that I very much relate to that odd goose. Trying to fit in and be part of the crowd, yet sticking out in ways that can’t be hidden. In ways that shouldn’t be hidden. Because that goose is the “odd goose” in this situation just by being. It can’t change who it is to fit in with the others no matter how badly it may want to (although I can guarantee that goose spends a lot less of its life thinking about how it fits in to a crowd than I do). It shouldn’t change who it is, and obviously (based on the fact that I see these geese all together often) it is accepted for who it is even though it’s a “bird of a different feather”.

I have spent a big chunk of my life thinking I was the only one who was insecure, had issues, felt like I didn’t fit in, didn’t belong. Everyone else always seemed to know what they were doing, had lots of friends, were happy in life, had confidence. Feeling that I was the only one with issues often left me feeling isolated, and often led me to make poor friend choices (ugh). Interesting how as I have gotten older and have talked to more people about this how I have discovered that pretty much everyone has all those same insecurities. Maybe some people just fake it better than others.

One of my favourite quotes is Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. So very true. Once I remember that it makes it so much easier to just let things go (like water off a goose’s back).

Today I celebrated this odd goose who reminded me that you just have to be yourself. Just be you and float along in life with those around you.

So, today for my 11th day of my 44 days of happiness I am happy that I’m settling into being ok with being myself. Celebrating that at times we all have to be the odd goose to stay true to who we truly are.