happiness

The Lord of the Dance

Years ago, when I was a little girl (and the dinosaurs were still around), my Grandma took me to a special event at her church. At that time she attended the United Church in Cochrane, and I loved going because of their music. Likely there also were good “after church snacks” which also was a measure I used to evaluate how good a church was.

The details of this particular Sunday are a bit vague (I wish I’d talked to Grandma again about this) but someone was there playing the Lord of the Dance music. It was a big deal, and people were excited about whomever it was that was presenting it (again, I wish I could remember). What I do remember is totally and completely falling in love with that song. Grandma bought the album (yeah it was that long ago) and I listened to it over and over.

40+ years later it still sings through my head on a regular basis. It makes me happy, it makes me want to dance, it makes me want to put down my burdens and follow Jesus.

Ok, that last one is a bit harder. It does make me happy, it does make me want to dance, it makes me look at my burdens and assess whether or not I’d rather carry them or lay them down. It’s hard when those burdens feel like they are part of who I am. But they’re not. So why am I carrying them? They’re heavy after all.

Standard
happiness

In the Belly of the Whale

I had a very interesting memory show up on Facebook today. Apparently 9 years ago, the girl (who then was 6) made a picture of me in the belly of a whale.

Not too long ago I listened to someone say that often when God calls us, the first thing we do is hightail it out of town as fast as we can, and they gave Jonah as an example of what happens after that. No matter how we try to run from God, he finds us and brings us back, even if it means we have to chill inside a whale for a while to figure things out.

Now, I’m no Jonah, but I do believe that God has a plan for all of us, and if we don’t listen to Him, he will pester us until we finally listen and are ready.

God was calling me at this time, I was too afraid to hear it. This was only a couple of weeks after I was physically assaulted by my ex husband in front of my kids, and for the first time really acknowledged that my life was in danger. The problem with feeling in danger, or being in survival mode is it can be difficult to see clearly.

I wanted God to help me, I was angry with God, and I also was a little afraid of a relationship with God because I felt he’d really let me down. Not too long after this, my ex called our pastor and told her what a terrible person he felt I was. After he told me that he’d decided to call her because he knew that I liked her and enjoyed church, and that he wanted to make sure she knew exactly the type of person she was dealing with.

And so God became active in my life. The pastor called me and said she’d heard I was having a hard time. She asked me to meet her at the church office where she met me with open arms and love. That woman and her church picked up me and the kids and gave us a safe place to land and I will never, ever forget her kindness.

I’ve never met someone who loves God quite as much as my old pastor does. And I come from a family who is very connected to God, so that’s saying a lot. She had an active relationship with Him in a way I’ve never witnessed before. Although I was still kinda mad at God, I leaned into her love and belief and eventually I began to see God reflected the way she saw Him.

I still do a good job of running from God. Some moments are easier than others, but I’m learning to face the sun and enjoy the warmth of His love.

And now if I forget, I’ve got this drawing by my child of me trying to run away.

Standard
happiness

An Irish Blessing

I had to stop on the way home this morning and enjoy the beauty of the valley near my home. As I was admiring God’s creation I was reminded of this Irish blessing that I heard often as a child.

Traditional Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm on your face,

The rains fall soft upon your fields,

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

May God be with you and bless you,

May you see your children’s children

May you be poor misfortune,

Rich in blessings,

May you know nothing but happiness

From this day forward.

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind always be at your back,

May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home,

And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,

May blue be the sky above you,

May pure be the joys that surround you,

May true be the hearts that love you.

Standard
happiness

Leaf Peeping

Things in our part of Alberta are absolutely gorgeous right now. With the winds we get, one never knows how long the leaves will stay on the trees (similar to the blossoms in the spring), but at this moment it’s stunning.

The girl, the puppy and I managed to get out twice this week for Leaf Peeping drives. One thing mom taught me was no matter how much you love home, you need to get out once in a while. So we do.

It is good for my soul to get out in nature. And it’s hard to doubt the existence of God when there’s such beauty.

A season is changing, its’ time to let go of things and embrace what is coming up ahead. But even more, it’s time to embrace what is. This moment, this life, this love.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny compared to what lies within us ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Standard
happiness

Dog days of summer

I’m sitting here with my puppy snoring beside me enjoying the last few days of summer before we start up with our new routines. This not so little bundle has brought us so much joy and love, I’m so grateful she’s in our lives. The latest thing is “barking at the foxes” which takes her and Bear most of the evening, and often part of the day. The foxes seem to respect their need for space, but clearly aren’t so afraid that they pick up and move somewhere else. I am selfishly glad for this as I love watching the foxes trot by, but grateful for the other less desirable critters the dogs keep away.

She’s so tired, poor baby

This has both been the longest summer (it’s been about 8 years since March hasn’t it?), and the shortest (I didn’t get out to enjoy much of it), but it’s been a good one for me with regards to getting grounded and learning about how I work and who I am.

I’m taking a mini course on Dharma by Stephen Cope during my break from school. I’ve long admired this man and have learned much from his teachings – you know how some people just explain things in ways that make sense to your soul? This is him for me.

Today I learned about Indra’s Net and I’m still trying to absorb the power and meaning of the story. But it’s made me think once again about my meaning in the universe, the reason why I’m here as me, what do I need to fulfill? What is my calling and what are my duties?

We also discussed Thoreau, whom I love, and how he found his purpose at Walden Pond which was pretty much right at home in Concord after failing to become a famous writer in New York City. One of the books he took with him was the Bhagavad Gita (which is what is used in my class).

I’ve had an interest in Thoreau since I was a teenager and I read Walden’s Pond in school. Never did I think one day I’d walk that pond, or continue to learn about Thoreau via yoga, but that’s what happened.

Essentially, the Covid time we are in now is my time at Walden Pond, it’s just here, at home, in Grandma’s kitchen. It’s been the perfect time for self reflection, figuring out who and how I want to be in the world. It will continue to be a process on my life journey, but I feel like I’ve taken some pretty important steps here. Because, if I know and deeply understand who I am, then no one can ever take that truth away.

Standard
happiness

Easter 2020

Like most of us, we had a much different Easter this year. For the last few years we have been creating a new tradition by going to Victoria and attanding service at the Christ Church Cathederal -which really is ressurecting my old childhood traditions (see what I did there?).

So, while we dream of a moment like this one

Instead we have a moment like this one

And that kind of sums up 2020 so far – not exactly what we expected or had really wanted.

However, instead of walking the logs on the beach, having tea at Murchie’s, going to Buchart Gardens, and having my annual visit with my dear friend, we are doing different things. We are studying, playing cards, visiting, playing, and spending time really talking about the deep things in our lives. That is also a blessing. We are healthy – that is a huge blessing. We are home, safe, and loved.

We are also thinking of those who are sick, or home alone, This is a time for hope and celebration, but also a time for love and showing kindness where possible (and it’s always possible).

Happy Easter – everything will be ok ❤️

Standard
happiness

Bears and eagles and calves (oh my)

The boy and I took the dogs out for a walk today which made us all smile. It’s been so gross the last few days we haven’t really wanted to go out at all, but we decided it was good for our mental health to get some fresh air. And it was good for us, and for the dogs who didn’t stop smiling the whole time.

I feel very blessed that although we are unable to go anywhere with social distancing, we are able to get outside here and kind of reset our souls. We came across my nephew and the cousins got to have a distance appropriate visit yelling at each other. I saw two bald eagles fly overhead (I love those birds). And we got to see the pregnant cows and a few of their new babies. All the signs of spring except for the snow on the ground – and in Alberta that is also kind of a sign of spring!

Happiness can be found in tiny moments during the day. I remember discovering this when I started this blog years ago and I would spend the entire day searching for a moment of happiness in the dark life I was living. Sometimes those moments just happen, and sometimes we make them happen. But what I know for sure is that true happiness, the inner peace kind of happiness, that comes from within and from our connection to God, or our Higher Power.

Bear- happiest dog in the world!
Cousin visit social distancing style
Standard
happiness

Checking in

This morning the chaplain at the school the girl goes to called home to make sure she was doing ok and to let her know that she could call at any time if she wanted. We all ended up talking to her for a good 10 minutes and when it was over the mood of the house was much more peaceful. I’m sure part of that is because she goes to a smaller, Catholic school, but part of that is that their chaplain is just really awesome. My kids have both always spoken so highly of her. But to think of the time she gave to call all of her “kids” just to make sure they were doing ok – that’s a pretty exceptional teacher.

And actually, one of the boy’s instructors from SAIT set up video calls with each student individually, and when he got off his the boy said it also was a mental health check in. He said the instructor didn’t talk about class, but wanted to make sure he was doing ok

I’ve been seeing some really beautiful things in this, people reaching out, people really sharing. I’ve had many of my people check in on me (virtually), and I’ve been trying to do the same. There really is a lot of love in the world and it seems as though that light shines even brighter in this darkness.

Everything is going to be ok ❤️

Standard
happiness

Social Distancing – ranch style

I got myself out for a drive today. The last few days have given me a lot of insight as to how mom must have felt most of her life- not able to go out and be with people with out a lot of planning going into it (not that I’m actually seeing people, that was her – but I’ve been able to understand a lot better now how she felt). Granted her reasons were different, but it was a virus related (polio) illness that changed her life.

However, as far as isolation goes, we are socially distanced at one of the best places in the world in my opinion. As I was driving, I looked at the cows getting ready to calf, the snow, the mountains, the mud even. I felt an appreciation for things that I haven’t felt in a while. God really gave us a beautiful world to live in and to look after.

The Homestead
Standard