Dirt under my nails 

Spring has arrived – which for the 9th of April in Alberta is kind of a miracle in itself. We are as likely to have a snowstorm as a sunny day at this time of the year. I’ve been looking at my gardens every day as I was running in and out of the house thinking happily that it was time to play in the dirt. I finally got outside this afternoon and did some digging.

I’m amazed at the things that are coming up. Things are actually flowering already. I’m so excited and happy. More than anything, I am thankful for this sign of the beauty of new beginnings. I am going to embrace this season and the new beginning of this part of my life with an open and joyful heart.

I’m amazed at myself with all the things I’ve learned to do over the past year. Instead of being fearful of everything like I was to begin with, now I welcome and celebrate all the new and exciting experiences. I am meeting fascinating and kind new people, reconnecting with my beloved old friends and family, and learning so much about Ayurveda and life in general.  There are endless possibilities ahead of me now, nothing is too big or too small to dream about. And I have some pretty awesome dreams I’m going to turn into reality.


I said “good day”

I keep learning about the spiritual importance of sunrises and logically I understand why watching one is good for the soul. However for me and where I live, it has always been about the sunset. There’s something about watching the light disappear behind the Rocky Mountains that captures my heart. No matter how the day has been, if I can stop and spend a few minutes watching the sun go down I know that all is right with my world. If ever I’m filled with doubt or questioning myself or my relationship with the Divine,  all I have to do is look at what God is shining at me and I know that I’m loved and I’m safe.

We had a perfectly quiet moment (a big deal on a Saturday night) and I got this shot of the mountains and the sky reflected on the slough.

  The view to the west. No wonder I am always drawn to the mountains. 

I know I’m creating my own happiness, but at times like these, I have a pretty clear reminder that I do in fact have some help and that I’m not alone in this. The Universe is shouting with joy, reminding us of the amazing world we live in. I had a happy day and this was like happiness icing. It just topped it off!

My happiness moment today was working with Jenna as we pulled the last of the carrots and the beets out of the garden while Mom visited with us. The garden is officially done for the year and I’m grateful for all it has brought to us, not only produce, but memories of Dad and of how things were. It also reminds me that things keep changing and growing and that’s something to be embraced as well.

I am sure Dad was enjoying the sunset along with us tonight.


Potato patch

This garden has been a great source of joy for us over the summer. I can’t believe the time has already come (and we are pushing it) to take the last veggies out to store for the winter. It does not seem like that long ago that Jacob and my brother in law planted while mom and dad supervised. And yet, it seems like a life time ago – because Dad was still here with us.   Next year we will be better at weeding… next year. Given all that was going on this year I’m still pretty happy we managed to grow anything. It never would have happened at all if my brother in law hadn’t given the gift of his time and energy to dig out the garden for us.

My happiness moment today was digging in the garden with my kids. It was great to come together for this chore that didn’t end up feeling very chore-like. I was impressed at how strong Jacob is – he can do such a better job than I can of digging down to find the potatoes. Listening to Jenna’s giggle every time she found a potato to put in the pile brought a smile to all of our faces. What a great day!


Harvest time 

The garden this year has been a very emotional space for me. It was planted with the supervision of mom and dad on Mother’s Day weekend by my sister’s family and the kids and I.

Gardening was something we always did with dad. He always had a plan as to what he wanted to grow and where. It was difficult to say the least this year, him planning out what he wanted planted and then hearing  him acknowledge that he wouldn’t be around to watch it grow.

It has brought us a lot of joy over the summer. The weeds got wayyyy beyond me, but the looks on the kids’ faces as they’d run out to the garden to grab a carrot or check for peas was one of the highlights of the summer.

Tomorrow it will be four months since dad moved forward on his journey. Enough time for the garden to grow and then to be harvested. I’ve done a lot of personal growth during this time as well,  and I have my dad to thank for pushing me to reach forward in my spiritual journey.

It has been a year with a lot of change and amazingly through all the heartaches there have been a lot of smiles. I know for a fact that I’m a better person now than I was at the beginning of this year. And I have a lot more compassion and a lot more faith in myself and in my strength.

My happiness moment was pulling carrots in the garden with Jenna, my mom, and my sister and her kids. I know dad was there enjoying it with us too.


The garden 

Today was a much quieter and more mellow day. Today’s happiness moment was this evening while I was tending to my (overgrown) garden. I haven’t had a garden like this in 10 years – the entire time we were away. I am so happy puttering around with my flowers and vegetables.  It brings me such peace and happiness.

Today it also brought me some delicious lettuce, and Jenna and I sampled the tiniest carrots that have ever existed. Tiny as they may have been, they still were excellent. And that lettuce. Oh man. What can I say. Fresh food grown with love is unlike anything else. 

Happiness comes in small moments like the one today and big moments like all of yesterday. Those big moments stand out more, and make for great memories, but life is made up of the little moments. So, I’m thankful for today’s little happiness moment as well as the entire day yesterday of big happiness moments. 


The basket of love

Dad used to talk about how he felt like he was being carried in a basket of people’s love and prayers. In a different way, and with different love and prayers, I have felt the same way about the kids and I over the past few months.

We landed here with our bags, knowing we were here to stay, but knowing that everything else was not only out of our control, but scary as hell. Before  my uncle met us at the airport we were held in our own basket of love. My uncle, aunt, and cousins had worked like mad getting the old house ready for us. This wonderful, perfect for us, old house.

Dad was sick and in the hospital, but he got well enough to get released and to give us two more very precious months with him. Months that changed me forever and although they were painful, I am a better person for walking through this.

God picked up my kids and carried them to the perfect school for us. Not only is it a Christian school – faith being something we all have desperately needed to carry with us lately, but it is small, and we have members of our tribe there. I was able to leave my kids with them with the knowledge that they were safe and loved. And actually, the way they were loved and held onto there when their world here was so sad and uncertain was absolutely amazing. It’s left me with gratitude I can’t properly express. They were safe and they were loved. Not only that but they had fun and learned stuff too!

That basket of love has served us well.

My happiness moment today was sitting out in my yard visiting with my mom. It’s a beautiful day here, the birds are singing loudly, my flowers are beautiful, the vegetables are coming up. The kids were running between houses with their cousins laughing and playing. It’s a perfect summer day. I’m so thankful I get to have visits with my mom. We have been away too long from our tribe. I’m thankful every day we are back in it.


That time of year 

This is my favourite time of the year in Alberta. Words don’t do justice to how amazingly beautiful it is here right now. When I drive through the Hay Valley in the mornings, I have to stop and drink in how many different colours of green God is able to use to paint the landscape. It leaves me full of awe and hope. 

I’m putting extra effort into enjoying the beginning of summer this year. This will be the second summer in a row the kids and I have spent at the ranch, but the first time in 10 years we have lived here. That is a blessing unto itself. But, this time of year was also  when Dad would really come alive. He loved watching the flowers come out, loved planting the garden. He even seemed to love weeding the garden. I know God had a reason that He took Dad back right at the beginning of his time of the year, but I don’t know what that is. I do know that as a way of honouring Dad’s memory I will appreciate and enjoy the hell out of this summer. 

This morning was beautiful. I came home from school dropoff and spent some time in my garden. I could spend hours working on this garden and I am so in love with it. Quiet time outside making our house a home, literally putting down roots. 

After I gardened, I took some bedding out of the washing machine and hung it up outside to get dried by the sun’s kisses. Then, right before I had to start doing dishes I stopped and looked outside at my garden. 

The view from my kitchen window.  
My happiness moment today. Quietly digging in the garden. Allowing memories of previous years of gardening with Dad to come and shine in my heart. Smiling and crying at the same time with the flood of memories.  I am so blessed.  


The simple things 

My Dotted Dog loves chasing anything with wheels. The lawnmower is one of her favourites because she can get so close to it and really give a few good growling barks. I don’t know what it is that she thinks she would do if she caught it, but she sure loves the noisy chase.

Her appreciation of this simple thing personifies my happiness moment of the day. We spent the afternoon cleaning up the yard. Jacob mowed the lawn, I dug up the flower bed, Jenna pulled out the hammocks, and Dottie chased the lawnmower. It was all so simple, and yet so satisfying.

Our vegetable garden is starting to come up. As I was digging my flower bed I was looking over at it and remembering when it was put in. It was the Mother’s Day weekend and Jacob planted it with his uncle while his Grandpa watched. Three generations focused on that garden. Dad loved to garden – both vegetable and flower. I miss digging in the dirt beside him while he figured out exactly where he wanted everything. It brought him so much joy. But it brings me joy too – and this year we will have an awesome garden. Full of beautiful memories.  Lovely in it’s simplicity.


My bleeding heart (plant)

The most beautiful moment of the day happened when I walked around the corner of my parent’s house this morning. My sister was kneeling beside my dad’s bed singing the most beautiful spiritual song to him. Her voice was filled with love and it very much was a moment where emotions and time were both suspended and very intense. It was all blurred together in a way that is difficult to describe. My heart needed me to just stop and be in that space. 

The happiness moment came later this afternoon at my house. Jenna and I finally got around to planting our pansies and our bleeding heart plant.  

There’s a bleeding heart plant at my parents’ place and as kids we would stand on the driveway and tell the story of the bleeding heart over and over. Although the same plant is still there it’s kind of cool now that we can tell the same stories at our house. 


How does your garden grow?

Spring! It’s a happiness time. New life, new growth, new hope. 

This spring there are lots of emotions going on here, but there is always a reminder that things carry on. That new life is always flying in on the wings of old. 

We all come from somewhere and to some extent carry along parts of our past with us. Nurture or nature, we all carry our ancestors with us in some way. 

I love seeing all the common family traits. Some of them learned by watching behaviours and some of them passed on through genes. 

Just like those seeds we are planting in our garden, all our new life here is sprouting hope and happiness and promise. 

My happiness moment today came buying the flowers pictured above. It carried on into this evening when I looked out my window and saw my brother in law digging the garden. 

That is hard work. 

Tomorrow for the first time in 10 years I will plant a vegetable garden. Beside the barn my grandpa built. Using potatoes my great grandpa brought over from Ireland. With my Mom, my Dad, my kids, my sister and brother in law, my niece, and my nephew. 

All those generations joining together to plant new life and new hope. To watch what was started carry on. Together. Surrounded by love.