happiness

End of summer 2020

It’s a wrap. Just like that summer is over and we need to establish fall routines. This was a weird summer, it felt like both the longest and shortest one of my life.

The girl has her room almost finished, a couple more hours and I will never have to wallpaper again as long as I live!!

She also won a surprising amount betting on the Kentucky Derby with some friends of mine and used her winnings in a surprising way. She’s been saving for a few things she wanted for herself, but when we finished the big strips in her room yesterday she changed her mind as to how she wanted to spend it.

You see, her brother has been key in the great wallpapering adventure – as in he was tall enough to reach the high ceilings on the ladder and pretty much hung most of it for her (with out help). So when we were done she told me she wanted to use her money to buy him sushi (his favourite). We devised a plan to go to town for “girl things” and surprised him with sushi when we came home.

I was so touched by her act of kindness. She didn’t have much money, but she wanted to share what she had with someone she loves and who helped her out. Selflessness. Compassion. Love. Family.

Here’s to a great school year for everyone. There’s so much that is uncertain right now. Remembering to lead with kindness is key ❤️

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happiness

The family who wallpapers together….

Years ago, Grandma told me a story of her wallpapering the kitchen while Grandpa was working outside. Suddenly the ladder moved and Grandpa fell through the window, pulling her wallpaper down behind him. I thought that was a funny story and swore I’d never wallpaper anything in my life.

Then, about 25 years ago, my sister and I painted the living room and dining room of the house and it was a total nightmare but also an archeological dig. There were layers of wallpaper, and one layer of paint that had been done around furniture, finished off with a final layer of paint. We spent all summer on that project, and while we learned a lot, I think we were both happy at the prospect of never painting again.

Fast forward to 2020 and us being home all the time. The girl decided she wanted rid of the 50+ year old wallpaper in her room. I told her of my experience, but naturally she knew better (can’t blame her, I would have felt the same), and she pulled down her wallpaper to paint her room.

Well, the blue room had several layers of wallpaper under it, with the final one being stuck right to the plywood. We discovered a door and a window frame that had been covered up all these years. After a couple of months of pondering, we also discovered that there was no way in H E double hockey sticks we were going to get all the wallpaper off.

So, we ended up wallpapering once again.

Let me say, I have new respect for Grandma and all the times she wallpapered these rooms.

We’ve still got a ways to go, the corners are kind of a nightmare, but we are getting the hang of it, and pretty soon she’s going to have the best looking room!

Lately I’ve been aware of how important it is to not give up. I mean, give up on the things that aren’t serving you, walk away from what is hurting you, but omg stick it out for the things you want to accomplish. And we want to accomplish this room. It is a small symbol of how well the three of us work together, how we support each other, and how much easier it is to accomplish big tasks when you’ve got other people helping you out.

Some of the layers
It’s coming!!
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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.

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happiness

The Palomino Pillow

When I was a little girl, my grandma had the most beautiful pillow I had ever seen. It was all silk, black, with gold around it, and had this fierce looking palomino standing in the middle. It sat on her couch in the living room, a place where we were not allowed to go often. I used to sneak into that room, sit on the couch, look at the pillow, and dream of someday having a beautiful horse like that.

Those of you who know me, know that this dream came to fruition and his name was Pirate Gold – probably the best, craziest, most challenging, and most athletic horse I’ve ever known.

I had long ago accepted that this pillow would now only live in my memory. BUT as luck would have it, living in a house where no one ever threw things out has its benefits. Today while pulling out blankets that had been stored for decades, I found the pillow stuffed in the back of the closet.

It’s even more fantastically awesome than I remembered (and by that I mean it’s a bit gaudy, but still holds all those memories).

I feel sometimes like when we become adults we give up on our childhood dreams. What would my life have been like without Pirate in it? Dreaming of him brought him to my life, and he taught me how to be brave, how to have fun, how to be in the moment, and how to kick ass. I’m glad I didn’t know how to give up on dreams back then.

However, I’m discovering that it’s never too late to dig up old dreams and assess whether they belong in my present life. Going back to school last year for my Masters taught me that it’s never too late to create new dreams. Getting divorced taught me that it’s always possible to change the direction of my life and really decide who I want to be in the world and how I want to show up in it.

We all need our Palomino Dreams.

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happiness

Stop and breathe

Last night I handed in the paper that signified the end of my first year in my master’s program. It has been quite the year – I feel like all I’ve done is study, write papers, and cry about how stressed I am.

I’ve learned a few things in this year.

First, and most importantly, I’ve learned that my kids support my dreams as much as I support theirs. This year came with sacrifices for them as I was not as available as I used to be. A reminder of what awesome humans they are.

Secondly, I’ve finally begun to understand my anxiety and to work with it and challenge it in life-changing ways. Literally life changing.

Third, I’ve realized that what all the “old” people say is true (as an up and coming old person myself). It’s really never too late to start to live your dreams.

When I started this blog 5.5 years ago I was a completely different person, and finding any happiness in the day was such a challenge. Now I’m in a place where I feel safe and I can see my dreams becoming a reality. It’s exciting, it’s hopeful, it’s living!!

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happiness

So this happened….

So it turns out that the loss of our beloved Dotted Doggie was harder on me than I thought it would be. I mean, she was 16, she survived the streets of Tennessee, moved with us to Rhode Island, Virginia, and then flew home to Alberta with one very disgruntled cat where she had over 5 years of happy ranch living. She was my companion through the worst and scariest times of my marriage, while my parents died, while I got divorced, and while my kids were sick. She was just there.

And then when she wasn’t the house was just so empty. I said to myself “self, this is stupid. You’ve grieved so many things in so many ways, maybe it’s time to grieve differently”.

So this happened….

My new girl

And I’m totally and completely in love. She’s just the best little ball of goo and in this photo you can kind of see her angel wing heart on her chest.

But what really got me was her “baby photo” where I could see not only her angel wing heart, but her little dotted legs. Which don’t seem to go with her brindle colouring at all, and it’s like our little Dotted Dog sent her to us.

Love is endless, I will always love all my animals whether they’re here or waiting in heaven. But there’s a certain joy and peace that comes from having a true blue, loyal companion.

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happiness

When it’s time to say goodbye

Goodbyes are hard no matter how many times you have to say them. Saying goodbye forever to someone you love and who is part of your family is painful.

It’s been a week and a day since our beloved Dotted Dog unexpectedly left us and went on her heavenly journey. I mean at 16 it was somewhat expected, but she was doing so well and was such a powerhouse of love that we felt she’d be here forever.

The house is so quiet without her and our hearts miss her so much. There’s a lifetime of memories for my kids with her – she watched them grow up. In many ways she was my partner in raising my kids and was most definitely an irreplaceable member of our family.

She loved us when we were unlovable. She was there for us whenever we needed her. And while she struggled with her own anxiety issues. She in turn taught us patience and compassion.

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Love your tribe

I’m sitting at the car dealership waiting for my car to get diagnosed – I’m pretty sure my battery is dead.

How do I know this?

On Wednesday I drove it, let it sit (turned off, in park, doors closed, lights off etc) for an hour while I went riding and then it was dead.

My lovely friend and riding instructor helped me jump it and off I went. Except that when I got home the same thing happened – dead car. So, in order for me to get here I had to call my cousin’s husband (poor man, he’s so good to us) and ask for help. He was unavailable so he sent one of the ranch guys over to give me a hand.

We are not supposed to have to do everything alone, I am so thankful for my tribe. They help keep me moving ahead.

It’s easy to find the negative and dwell there. But it’s not where peace and happiness live. The one thing I know for sure is that I’m not giving up on myself, I’m not giving up on my kids. But I know that to get through things we need to support ourselves, each other, and those around us. Really – a little kindness goes a long way.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

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happiness

Back to gratitude

I’m being reminded of how important it is to be grateful for my many blessings.

I was driving with the girl today and she was talking about one of her friends and an issue she was having. My girl looked me in the eyes and said “I think what the difference is is that she (friend) doesn’t have the relationship with her parents like I do with you. We can talk about anything, most of my friends can’t do that”.

That’s the relationship I’ve always wanted to have with my kids. It’s why we have uncomfortable conversations, so that they will know they can have them with me. It’s why we spend so much time together, so they learn that family is important and they are loved. It’s why we talk about God, and everyone’s individual relationship without judgement, so they know that they are part of something greater than themselves.

I am so grateful that I get to share my life with them. Whatever I have given them, they have given me more back in spades.

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