A History in Photos 23 (FGK 180)

The next couple of days are of Grandpa (Percy Copithorne). I have such great memories of Grandpa, the fact that I was only 7 when he died and I have so many (relatively speaking) memories of going on adventures with him tells me that he must have spent a lot of time with us.

I’m assuming this was when Grandma and Grandpa went to Africa
Margie Ramsay, Percy Copithorne, Maria Nicoll (I see the painting we discussed a few days ago in the background. I wonder if there are two copies or if that one somehow migrated back here? Uncle Ted mentioned it was a Roland Gissing and I remember mom saying that as well. It shows up one more time in today’s photos too)
Aileen, Sheila, Margie, and Margaret on Percy 1949
Percy Copithorne signing a guest book for a 21st birthday party at Clarence Copithorne’s
Percy Copithorne 1920. Hunting trip
Marshall Copithorne, Richard Copithorne, Frank Copithorne, Percy Copithorne, Louis Copithorne, Don McKinnon, Harry Nicoll. (Fishing party)
Margie, Edna, Percy. I’m guessing the baby is Dixie? (And the painting one more time – it seems as though it migrated around a lot. It’s in a different spot here.)
Left to Right: Bill Piper, Kenneth Ebenezer (?) Percy Copithorne, Marshall Copithorne, at breakfast April 1964. Somehow when Grandma said she’d disliked the small window on the south end of the kitchen I had thought they’d replaced it with the stained glass right away – but here it is with the old regular window in 1964. What an improvement the stained glass window makes to this room!! That bone painting above the door was done by Grandma and hung there until my sister inherited it and now it hangs in her house.


Edna’s Story 8 (FGK 125)

Percy owned a very nice 28 Chevy and his father drove a Chandler. A very precious Chandler. I think Percy is the only other person that ever drove the Chandler, and then it would be because of a dire emergency. Living beside Annie and her father was a great advantage for me in many ways. Percy was terribly busy all the time but his Dad would drive to Calgary or Cochrane, and occasionally would take me with him. And driving with him was an experience I will never forget. He was a good horseman but I doubt if he ever felt at ease with a car. After we would get into the car and were all settled and ready to drive off, he would race the engine so that I was sure something would explode any minute. And sure enough, we did! We shot forward with such a leap I don’t know why we didn’t all have whiplash! Then we would level off and enjoy the scenery. At least father Copithorne did enjoy it and as he turned this way and that way to look, the car turned too! When we got to Calgary the streetcars just were supposed to get the h….. out of his way, why not? Coming home from Calgary alone one day he drove over two little calves near Springbank. Then just didn’t get out of his way. I was horrified when I heard it and asked if he had killed them. He just laughed and said he had to get out and pull them out from under the car, but when he threw them in the ditch they ran away. Then he said “It wouldn’t matter anyway, they were only Holsteins.” In his way of thinking, Herefords were the only kind worth raising. Another time he missed a turn in the road and had to get an axe to chop this way out of the bushes and back on the road.

Shortly before we were married, Percy gave me a fine big black saddle horse named “Spades”. He was part Arabian and very gentle. I loved going out riding with the gang when they were working the cattle. Annie rode a very beautiful spirited hob hunter and she certainly was a good rider. Percy’s dad always had a string of coyote hounds following him and occasionally they would go after a poor little rabbit that crossed our path.

Grandma and Grandpa in front of the barn Grandpa built – it’s still in use today and over 100 years old.


Sunshine around the cloud

I have been pretty vocal about my feelings about the support issue that has been going on over the last few months, and because I have shared the bad I also want to share the good. I checked my bank account and two payments were deposited in the last couple of days. They are both less than the normal amount, but money was put in and I can buy groceries for the kids and I again without huge amounts of stress sitting in my gut.

I am so thankful and happy that this seems to have been resolved. I am thankful that Mr. X decided to make the payments and that maybe this will settle some things in all of our lives. It’s a big deal and I’m glad we are in this place where maybe things can calm again and we can get to a better place.

This is huge happiness.

I had happiness this morning as well when I took Drishti out for a ride – actually just schooled circles with him in the field. He’s paranoid of the electric fences and really feeling spunky from all the green grass so we had a “trot until you drop” kind of workout. I almost dropped first, but managed to outlast him.

He teaches me how to be brave. My desire to bond with him and ride beats any fear I have when he’s being a turd – so I keep moving ahead even when I get anxious feelings in my gut. It teaches me to do that in real life too.


Garden time 

We got our vegetable garden planted today at long last.  This garden brings a lot of joy for the whole family as we enjoy the benefits of it all summer long. Aside from the food that tastes like food, I find a lot of heart healing goodness in caring for the garden. 

I remember how my grandparents and parents taught me to care for the garden, and enjoy the quietness and soul renewal that comes from weeding and caring for it. Until I totally lose control of the weeds which happens at least once a summer. But that’s part of it too, it’s always salvageable and I can always being it back to its glory. 

I am so grateful we have this garden. It is happiness. 


The healing process

I read a fantastic article this morning on healing – it described perfectly how I’ve been feeling, what I’ve been sorting out. I wrote yesterday about how tired I’ve been, today I remembered how I need to honour the healing process. Instead of beating myself up for not being where I want to be on my journey, I want to celebrate how incredibly far I have come.

The article was in Elephant Journal – they have been a fantastic source of information for me not only in my healing, but in my learning of how bring balance to my life. The article is called Living with CPTSD Following an Abusive Relationship – read it. Read it if you feel like you have been or are in one, read it if you want to better understand how things were and are for me. She manages to put words to my feelings in a way I never have been able to, it’s always been too painful and too difficult to really sit in that place. It made me realize that it’s ok that I still feel overwhelmed and tired. I’ve been through a lot, and I try very often to pretend that it never happened at all. Especially the really painful parts. As much as I need to celebrate the good, it seems I need to acknowledge the bad. Not forever, but right now it seems to be part of the letting go process.

Along with that pain is the acknowledgement, gratitude, relief, joy that we are home, we are safe, we are happy, and we are building a totally new life. That is happiness, not just in a moment, but for a lifetime.

home, our roots, our grounding place

The girl and I watched a bit of The Peanuts movie tonight. Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the gang are happiness that stands the test of time. It was a wonderful happiness moment sharing that with her.


That’s what it’s all about 

I spent a lot of time today thinking about my community – not just my tribe, but the community that we live in. When we moved back I was very mindful about the fact that I wanted to make Cochrane our hometown. It has always been a community I have felt part of, even though we have always lived on the outside of it. 

With that in mind, we started building relationships with the people in town – making new friends (reacquainting with old ones), getting to know the people who work in the shops we frequent – the grocery store, the cafes, the pet store – developing a church community (still a work in progress). Every time we go into town we see people we know. For the kids and I who were strangers and foreigners for years, that is a really big deal. It means we are home, we have a place where we belong – there’s a lot of security and joy that comes from that. 

Then we also have the blessing of our big and crazy tribe. People get added to it and it grows, but the sense of peace that comes from it stays the same. 

Jenna has developed a strong friendship with a delightful girl from her school. It has begun a friendship with her mother and I. I think those kinds of friendships are the best – where the whole family develops a bond. 

The two girls are in the yard playing Star Wars with bamboo sticks. My favourite view from my house is the one out the kitchen window towards the barn. Usually it’s because I love the barn, I love the animals that usually are out there, but mostly it’s because that view gives me the feeling of home. When I looked out and saw them playing there I realized how much this has become home for the kids too. Happiness moment extrordinaire. 


The last night

It’s the last night before the beginning of summer vacation. The last night I have to chase the kids to bed early(ish) so that they can get up and have a fighting chance of getting through the day. The last night I have to think about what I’m going to pack in lunches the next day (hallelujah).

It’s also the last time I have a kid in grade 5 and grade 9. How did the time go by so quickly?

I was thinking earlier today about how this really is their time. These are the years that hopefully they will look back on with fond memories. The years when their values and morals get shaped and formed, when their friendship bonds are made, when their sense of the security of home and family is established. I hope with all the crap of the last few years that they are able to say that some of it was goodWe all have our own baggage to carry no matter what our life story is – I hope they remember the good times, the people who love them, and come out it with the understanding that there is a tribe of people who love them and support them no matter what.

I had a beautiful happiness moment walking tonight with Jenna. She babbled the entire time about how much she enjoyed her field trip today, how excited she is about having friends over tomorrow, and how happy she is that summer is almost here. On the way back we passed a cow and her baby trotting off the other way on much the same kind of evening walk.


Swan memories of Dad

I spent last night and most of today down for the count with a stomach virus. Not a lot of fun, but I’m grateful that I was able to rearrange life so I could take some time and get rid of it. This morning Jenna (who has the week off of school) came into my room, hopped under the covers of my bed, and snuggled up with me.

We talked about how when the kids were little and one of them was feeling sick they would pile in bed with me and we would cuddle until things were better again. There is nothing like a good snuggle with someone you love to make the rainbows come and brighten things up.

While we were lying there, my cousin texted me that the swans were back on the lake by their cabin. When I see swans I think of spring and of my Dad. He was always so excited to see them come – because it meant the end of winter and because it meant he could take some great photos. It’s hard to believe we are looking at another spring coming, which will mean he will have been gone for a year soon. What a year this has been!

I thought the girl snuggles were going to be my happiness moment, but the text about swans left me with Dad on my mind all day today. Jenna and I were driving into town so she could have a sleepover at her Grandma’s and she started talking about my Dad and some of her memories of him. It was a beautiful moment to share as she laughed about how he would flip her on her raft at the creek, and how he took her out for wildflower walks (my dad knew the names of all the flowers and very patiently spent years teaching us about them. Later on he began taking breathtaking photos of the flowers). Naturally I started to cry, but it was so wonderful to share those loving memories with my girl. I’m so glad she has these to hold in her heart. Dad loved his grandkids (and his whole family) so much, he worked really hard to make a lasting impression on us all – and succeeded.

These photos of the swans near our place are ones Dad took  3 and 4 years ago. He loved being out there with his camera!

The happiness moment today was sharing fond memories of my Dad. I miss him so much there is an ache in my heart, but I am so thankful for his presence in my life. Soon the swans will be here too and I will be out with the kids and my Mom watching them and thinking about our memories of my Dad.

And just in case I forgot how much I love being back home, God put on an amazing show this morning:

The view from our front yard this morning. 


Girls in the barn 

This old barn holds so many magical memories. Generations of my family have worked and played inside it. My grandfather handpicked all the logs and then built it about a hundred years ago. It is one of those special places that holds my heart. 

This afternoon Jenna had a friend over to play and the first thing they did was run up to the barn to play. They ran around looking for cats, and then just enjoyed playing outside in the corral. 

I love that I can look out my kitchen window and see this building that holds such fond memories of my youth. I spent countless hours either playing in the loft or grooming my pony inside while looking out towards the mountains. 

It was a great happiness moment to see my child enjoying an earthy, blissful moment in beautifully grounding and stable (haha get it) place. 


Because I do yoga 

I love almost everything about yoga. I love how it makes me feel, I love how it stretches my body, I love the spiritual connection it brings me. About the only thing I don’t love about yoga is the fact that I’m really bad at it. Which is also one of the things I kind of like about it (but not all the time, a lot of the time I just wish I was super bendy and twisty and that the asanas came easily to me).

I grew up doing competitive sports, and usually I was pretty good at them. Competition is fierce in our family – family game night is not for the faint of heart. While I like to win, part of me enjoys the mellowness of yoga and just being in my body and compassionately allowing it to be how it is for the day. Well, except for when I get pissed off that after all this time I still can’t do the poses the way that I want to.

This evening I was walking from the parking lot towards a store with Jacob and I missed the fact that there was a curb up to the sidewalk. I tripped on it and as Jacob said flailed around like a dying goose about to hit the ground. I had arms going every which way and my head almost hit the ground not once, but twice. I felt a little bit like this guy, but without being quite as cool:



And of course because it was a Friday night in December the parking lot was full,  so lots of people got to see me in all my glory.

Jacob stood there and laughed and laughed at me. He laughed so hard that the mom who was ahead of us with her teenage son turned around to make sure I was ok and to give him a little bit of a mom glare. He looked at her, and then looked at me, and said Oh come on mom, if that had been me you would have laughed just as hard. And of course he was right, I would have. Actually even just thinking about how funny he would have looked is enough to make me laugh. So, fair enough…

As we were walking into the store he looked at me and said I honestly can’t believe you didn’t face plant right into the sidewalk mom. I have no idea how you managed to get back up. To which I responded (without thinking about it) it’s because I do yoga. And I was totally right. The fact that I do practice yoga almost daily is the reason why I was able to regain my balance. I may not be good or flexible, but yoga brings a lot of balance into my life. Balance that I can see, and balance that is invisible, but that I can feel. Like the fact that I’m not filled with anxiety, or that I feel like I’m getting grounded again, and that I’m deepening my spiritual relationship.

That was a funny moment and a happiness moment all wrapped up in one.

I had a beautiful happiness moment this morning with the kids as we were heading out the door for school. It was pretty dark, but very clear this morning. We stood for a few minutes and admired the barn silhouetted by the dawn light. I love it here, it’s good for my heart to be in a place that brings me joy and contentment.