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 ❤️

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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
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happiness

Day 9 from Grandma’s kitchen

We’ve been practicing social distancing since last Wednesday which makes this day 9 of being home (we did go out twice quickly to get groceries which was an experience).

Last Wednesday I had a messenger chat with my cousin in Rome and began to understand what was on the way for us here in Canada. I let it roll around in my head until Thursday morning when I kept the kids home from school and headed out to get groceries (not to hoard, but for our weekly supply). And then we stayed home.

When things were at their worst in my marriage and our lives were in danger, this was the place I wanted to come to. This kitchen, this house, is my safe place and it always has been. So in the midst of global chaos it remains where I feel we are safest.

Which does not mean we aren’t missing the outside world. Even as an introvert I’m starting to miss the company of others. But I strongly feel we have a social responsibility to keep each other safe.

This kitchen that I feel so safe in – it was built after mom had polio and fell walking into their old kitchen using her crutches. So while it’s a safe and happy place, it’s a reminder too of what a virus can do and how it can alter a life forever.

In the midst of this uncertainty I’m working to remember all that I’m grateful for. I’m thankful for our home, our family, the people working at the grocery stores, truck drivers, doctors, nurses, our government, all the people staying home to let the virus pass. Humans have an infinite ability to show love and kindness.

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happiness

Never give up

I started the day out in tears. I saw that there was finally a posting of payment to MEP for our support (that was due by the first). It is $3,000 below his required payment for the month, so as you can imagine is not enough to pay the bills, buy the groceries, and do the other things that the kids need. This is on top of the over $75,000 he is in arrears for.

So I cried. I cried for me, I cried for the kids. What it says to them is how completely unimportant they are to him, how little their safety, security, and futures matter, and how his own enjoyment will always be the top priority. Just like it always has been. I cried because while the courts make orders, they aren’t enforcing them, and are thereby allowing and encouraging his behaviour. I cried because it affects my ability to do my school, to build a new future where I am able to look after us, to regain what I lost. I cried because it feels like God has forgotten about us.

On the way to school this morning we took the backroad like always, and laughed at how drifted over it was. About half way we stopped laughing and started to wonder if we were going to get through. My girl said it didn’t look that bad when we started. And I laughed and said that’s what I say part way through all my bad ideas.

And then we noticed the biggest drift of all, with a car off the road, a school bus stuck in it, a truck behind that (not stuck) and trucks on the other side. And we were stuck figuratively. We couldn’t go back because I wasn’t sure we could turn around, forget make it through the drifts again, we couldn’t go ahead until the road was cleared. So we had to wait.

We sat, watched, laughed, called the school to say she’d be late, and just were. Then finally the bus was pulled out, the truck got through, and it was our turn. There is no way my car should have made it, but we barrelled through and made it to the other side laughing. The tow truck driver waved us over to tell us how amazed he was at our car.

And just like that I thought – never give up– that’s my motto for the year. It needs to be applied to everything I set my intention to. He will not win in destroying my family, my future, my dreams. I will not give up. I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but I will keep trying until my kids and I are where we need to be.

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happiness

End of a year, end of a decade

Usually I don’t get too excited about New Year’s Eve. My birthday is in January, and instead I celebrate that as my personal new year. But this year, I’m quite mindful of the fact that we are closing the door on the most difficult decade of my life. I had a friend jokingly say that the 40s were supposed to be the “fuck-it” forties, where you do what you want, no matter what people think. For me it was kind of more a “fuck-you” forties – but lots of growth and change happened.

I stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine at the beginning of the decade as I dedicated myself to dealing with the anxiety disorder that reared its ugly head during my marriage. My (now ex) husband lost his job not once but twice, which had us move from Rhode Island to Virginia, and then him to northern Virginia without us. The rage and abuse went from a mild simmer to a full out explosion of hatred and eventually the kids and I were able to get out and return home to Alberta. Then my dad died, I got divorced, my son became very ill, I broke my shoulder, my mom died, and my daughter also became ill.

Through this I learned about Ayurveda, studied it in a course to become a practitioner and became connected with a healer who guided me through my life changes. I started attending church regularly in Virginia, made a connection to my pastor who was integral in helping save me and my kids, and for the first time really learned about having a relationship with God. I took a health coach course that helped my interest in healthy living return. I started riding again, which has always been my soul connection, it helped me learn how to be brave again, how to keep going, and how to enjoy life. And finally, I was accepted into a masters of counselling psychology course, and now I have some direction for my future.

I’m happy to say goodbye to this decade, but I’m grateful for all I’ve learned about myself and about my family – immediate and extended – in this time too. When I say how blessed I am to have the family I do, they’re not just idle words. They literally helped save our lives, and have held us up ever since.

So when I think of where I want to go next, what I want to take with me, it’s what I’ve learned from these last few years.

Love unconditionally and bravely

Keep your circle small

Love yourself

Love others

Love God

Be strong, but allow others to help

Laugh often

Happy New Year, may your life be blessed.

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happiness

Tea by the window

I find myself spending a quiet afternoon in Canmore with a cup of Murchie’s Christmas tea, a new book, and a window with a spectacular view. Life has been hectic lately – good but hectic. These moments of quiet are precious, it’s what allows my brain to relax and the anxiety monster to quiet to the background of my mind.

Christmas was good, it was lovely in fact, but there’s a twinge of sadness that accompanies it now. Loss of people no longer with us, loss of people who have chosen to leave, loss of the life that was expected. And yet there’s a lot of hope, hope for a brighter future for all of us, hope for joy, hope for peace. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years, it’s that it is as important to feel the yucky feelings as it is to feel the good ones. They all need to be absorbed and processed, keeping hold of the happier ones, making sense and letting go of the sadder ones.

And so I sit here, looking at the mountains, hearing kids run about and laugh, and I think – how fortunate we are. The good, the bad, the ugly, we are still so incredibly fortunate. Our pastor talked about how in moments of chaos you often see the light of God shine the brightest, and I feel this has been true for us. Sometimes it’s hard to see, or easy to doubt, but it’s always been there.

I’ve been so busy with life and especially with school that I’ve let my spiritual connection lapse, and I really am feeling the consequences of that. It is what grounds me, what keeps me focused, and what provides my hope. It’s almost like I needed life to get to a point where I understood how much it was missing from my life so that I could stop and refocus my priorities.

So here I sit

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happiness

(Reluctantly) embracing change

Today I was informed I was to ride a different horse in my lesson. Even when I rode all the time and was young and brave, I was hesitant to ride new horses. I’ve always been part badass brave and part chicken shit, but my confidence isn’t what it used to be. However I’m finding the more I’m riding the braver I’m getting – in the saddle and in life.

This new horse is huge! And he’s my instructors horse so he’s very well trained. After I got over my fear of heights I discovered I was really enjoying myself. It’s a constant challenge, these lessons, and I am always learning new things I can work on.

I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed with my program lately, going back to school at this stage of life has not been easy. Riding helps me stay brave in all areas of my life

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