A History in Photos 9 (FGK 166)

Some of the most important members of the family – the pets of days gone by

Old Buster our first dog and we called him Buster
Buster at Copithorne’s May 1964 (this must be at least Buster II – and they had a Buster when I was a child who must have been at least Buster III who was one of the best dogs)
Hatching turkey eggs (ok these aren’t pets but they’re here for lack of a better spot)
Rex and Leader September 1952
What a cutie!!

He kissed me 

I went out to ride Drishti this afternoon only to discover him full of kicks and snorts because of the wind. Having no real desire to die this afternoon I decided to just play with him instead – I groomed him and lunged him and then just hung out with him while he ate. 

This  stuff is just as important as riding – it builds our bond and lets us get to know each other better. 

Interestingly enough it’s also building a bond between Drishti and Dottie 

Tonight I went out to check him and put his blanket on (because it’s supposed to snow tomorrow ugh) and when I was done he put his head in my face and face me a big slobbery kiss. 

He kissed me 

I’ve kissed his face lots but this was the first time he kissed me back. 

Oh I love this guy – this is happiness. 

Bonus happiness was the boy was there and saw it and was completely grossed out I let a horse slobber on my face. 


Yard work 

Today was a day to put life back in order. I spent a few hours outside dealing with the jungle that has grown up over the last couple of weeks thanks to all the rain.

It felt good to get out and dig in the dirt a little, but it felt even better to have that solitary time to sit in my heart space and balance out my feelings. I seem to really need a little of that time every day to just come back in tune with myself. It helps me to fill up my cup so I have enough to share. 

Derek came back into the yard to visit me. He’s been off pretending to be a horse the last few days and I’ve missed him. Not the little surprises he leaves me in the yard, but I miss his presence. The dogs seemed to have missed him too 

I can’t quite explain it, but there’s something about that guy that brings e a lot of happiness. I think in part it’s that he finds the same sort of peace and security in our home that we do. 


The quiet times

Today was a beautiful day to welcome in spring. I couldn’t help but think of where I was a year ago today – both physically and emotionally – lots of big changes have happened this year. We were packed and ready to leave our lives in Roanoke, our flight home was a year ago tomorrow. Dad was in the hospital so sick, I was extremely grateful that we were getting home to spend some time with him. I had no idea how intensely emotional the upcoming year was going to be and all that it would bring for me.

It’s had a death,  devastating discoveries about betrayals in a marriage, a divorce, poverty, wealth that has come from within my soul, freedom from an emotionally abusive relationship, security of home, and the discovery that I am so much stronger and so much more together than I ever imagined.  Although it’s been difficult at times, I am grateful for the opportunity to have discovered these gifts that I can now carry with me through the rest of my life. It has made me a better friend, parent, and future partner.

While the kids had one of those golden moment afternoons where they played happily together for hours, I grabbed the dog and took her for a long walk along the ridge. I find such peace there, by the mountains, near Dad, along the trails where I used to ride my horses. It helps me to ground myself and remember what is really important to me. When I look at the things I really want in life, I have them all. Wonderful children – and close, open relationships with them, an awesome family surrounding me, weird and fantastic friends, and this crazy, happy dog (oh and the cats, don’t forget about the cats – I am one cat away from officially being the crazy cat lady). I know that as long as I keep doing the things that I love that everything is going to turn out just fine.



Digging for gophers 

I was chatting with a friend this morning and at the end of our conversation he said “have a great Monday, make it count”. I have to say that stuck with me today. I was overtired because I didn’t get a good sleep, Jenna was home sick, and it was just kind of a blah start to the day. 

Make it count. Yes, every day should count. Even those blah ones. So I had a quick nap (yay), felt a bit more like myself, did some course work, had a Golden Girl marathon with the girl, walked the dog on the ridge, had an unexpected visit with my aunt, and went in to wish the kids’ grandma a happy birthday. It was a day that counted – very much so- and a good one at that. 

 The Dotted Dog had spring fever today while we were walking. It was beautiful – I didn’t even have a coat on. She ran to every single gopher hole she could find and dug like mad trying to find whatever may be hiding down deep. I love watching the joy she brings to these walks. The freedom she has here has made her so much more complete (and I can relate to that). A dirt filled happiness moment. 



Happy birthday Dad 

Today would have been Dad’s 75th birthday. I haven’t been home to celebrate a birthday with him since he turned 64, and now that I’m here, he’s not. Sigh. Because we celebrated the last 10 birthdays with him over the phone or on Facetime, I wasn’t sure how acutely I would feel him missing here today – that is anymore than any other day. Sometimes my brain convinces my heart that he’s just gone on a trip for a while and I’ll be seeing him soon. Denial, it’s a difficult cloak of protection.

Turns out I miss him quite a lot.

Dad loved going for walks. He was always trying to get someone to go outside and do something with him – walking, skiing, swimming – he just wanted to be outside. Today I wanted to honour his memory by walking along the ridge by our house – one of his favourite places to be. It’s actually one of the spots where we scattered his ashes, and a place where I haven’t been strong enough to walk along since.

Today I knew I needed to walk there. To go to the place that Dad loved so much and where he found so much peace.

I stood at the spot where we had scattered his ashes. I cried for a long time. Thank goodness it’s a beautiful, warm November day or my tears would have frozen on my face and that would have made a sad situation an awkward one as well. I stood and cried and looked out at the view and just let all my emotions flow. It was both really hard and really easy. I had a lot of clarity come to me in those minutes I stood there thanking Dad for all that he had given to me.

Dad was always so good about making sure that I knew that he loved me no matter what. I never had to worry that I would ever do something that would make his love for me falter in any way. As I go through life and realize that so much of what is called love is conditional it gives me an even greater appreciation for this pure and true emotion of love. What a gift to have, what a gift to give.

I stood there and thanked God for the beautiful place we live in. Dad wanted to spend eternity in the spots he loved so deeply and being there brought me such peace and comfort.

the view along the ridge where we scattered the ashes

I walked for a while with my Dotted Dog and her Naughty Puppy Friend before getting a text from Jacob that he was on his way. He walked up and joined us and we walked the rest of the ridge together.

It was so calm and warm. It felt beautiful to have the sun shine its healing rays on us while we walked and laughed over memories of Dad. The kids miss him so deeply, he was such an important force in their lives. 

Last year at Christmas Dad and I walked the ridge and for some reason decided to stop and take our first ever (and what ended up being our only) selfie. It was the last walk I took with Dad, even though I didn’t know that at the time. We had such a deep, spiritual conversation – I’m so thankful we had the time for those kinds of moments.

omg it was so cold that day

Jacob and I stopped at the same place today and took our own selfie in memory of Dad. I think he would have really liked that we were out there together remembering him. 

After I was back home, I was sitting at the table with Jenna talking about Dad. She leaned over and petted my arm and said “I bet you really miss him today”. Then she said “If it makes you feel any better, while you were out on your walk I went up to my bedroom and sang him happy birthday” and then she burst into tears. So, we sat at the table and cried for a little while. Then we found a video that she and I had made last year on his birthday wishing him a happy day. We cried some more. We did manage to keep talking through our memories until we found some that made us feel better. There are lots of good memories.

I’m pretty lucky because I had a Dad who loved life and loved to pull us into it at full force. Even when I’m sure he wasn’t interested in what I was doing he was always there to listen to me and to talk about things or to watch me do things (the hours that man spent at the side of a riding ring watching me go round and round on my horse. Both my parents spent ages in the heat or (usually) the cold watching me ride).

I work hard at continuing to walk through my grief. I miss him like crazy, but I know he would want us to jump into life with everything we have, without fear. I don’t want to deaden my emotions, I want to feel them deeply and breathe through the tough ones. If I don’t feel the sad emotions, I also won’t feel the joyful emotions. I am on this happiness journey and Dad has been a big part of that. I find happiness in new experiences and I find happiness in memories. As proof of that, my happiness moment today included remembering all the love and fun times shared with Dad, and also experiencing fun times with Jacob (and those crazy dogs) on our walk. There is more tearful happiness to come tonight as my sister and her family join us for a family supper at home.


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.


Summer Lovin’

Summer in Alberta is my absolute favourite place to be. I consider myself fortunate that this is actually our second (almost) full summer in a row that we have been home, as the kids and I were back for most of the summer last year as well. 

Today was beautiful and sunny and warm and a weekend  so we were able to take advantage of it. This meant a dash to enjoy the last time in the creek for the year. Well, the kids went in – too cold for me. 

When I think about things that make my soul dance with joy it is days like this. 

The drive down to the creek.    
Is this what the dog days of summer are all about?

The drive home 

Tonight as we were sitting and visiting I was thinking how nice it was to be surrounded by people who were genuinely happy. They were relaxed and happy in the moment for sure, but they also all had an inner glow (what in Ayurveda we would call ojas). 

Spending time with people who are happy is a sure fire way to increase my own happiness. Like increases like. It made me want to be with more happy people and spread more joy and feelings of contentment. 

What a great way to end off the summer season. My happiness moment. 


Dear old friends 

Merlin is a horse that has been around the ranch forever   I’m not completely sure of his age but I can remember kids riding him around when I was in my early 20s and I’m now 44. He’s been a good friend to many kids and especially to my cousin’s daughter. She’s grown up loving good old Merlin. 

Today Merlin waited for them to come see him and then he went on to the happy hunting ground in the sky. He was taken and put to rest, with lots of love and heartache I’m sure, beside my dear old friend Pirate. 

Although this comes with some heart sorrow, my happiness moment of the day is the memories of my best friend Pirate and the moments of my childhood through to the moments of my childrens’ childhood that I shared with him. 

Those four legged beasts touch my heart in amazing ways. Much as I know there’s a little girl sad tonight, I know that we are always blessed to have the love of a horse.  It’s an honor to be able to have that kind of pure love. It hurts to let it go, but loving truly and deeply comes with that risk. 

Here’s an old photo of something I spent many days of my childhood doing. Out exploring with my two pals, Pirate and Buster. This is what my bliss looks like. 




💤💤💤💤 nap time 💤💤💤

In my Ayurvedic course we had a discussion about kids with ADD and how sometimes being chronically sleep deprived presents the same symptoms   

We discussed how kids will sometimes use electronics to stmulate their brains to stay awake when they naturally would want to fall asleep. I agreed with this theory but kind of out it out of my mind   

This morning I woke up at 5   I got up , had breakfast and some tea, and sat in my chair reading for a while. I soon discovered that I was exhausted and that no one wanted or need anything from me in that particular moment. I headed back up to bed for the most delicious nap. 

Usually in Ayurveda they say not to nap during the day, but there are certain circumstances where it is recommended and right now I fit quite a few of them. There has been so much going on that I’m physically and mentally exhausted. 

So I slept. And it was awesome. And when I woke again two hours later (giggle) I felt ready to take on the world. 

I realized when I woke up that had we had a tv here I probably would have plunked in front of it and not napped when I obviously really needed to. I can see how it adds to sleep deprivation. 

It was the beginning of the happiness moment of my day. It actually set me up for my happiness moment which happened tonight while walking with the kids and the dogs 


It also kind of happened earlier today at Target with Jacob. Man, he’s a funny kid