happiness

You are really beautiful 

Tonight I had to take the girl into urgent care (again) because she was having some bad tummy pain. I swear we are their most frequent clients. 

The staff at the Cochrane urgent care are fantastic and always go out of their way to make sure my kids are well cared for and feel safe. 

The girl had to get some blood taken and she is terrified of needles. The nurse spent a lot of time talking with her and making sure she felt ok about what was happening. When she was done and we were talking, the nurse turned to my girl and said you are so beautiful, look at that face… just … wow…. look at you. You are so beautiful. 

On the way home my girl turned to me and said I was feeling so crappy and that nice lady told me over and over how beautiful I am. It made me feel so good. 

We got home and her brother wanted to know how she was feeling and what the doctor had said and all he got out of her was the lady looking after me said I was so beautiful. It made me feel so good. 

Little bits of kindness go a long way. Happiness. Love. 

(By the way she should be fine. It seems the stress of the last few weeks caught up with her and this is how her body displays it.)

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happiness

Little kindness

I’m sitting in the gym of a high school watching boys play basketball. As an aside, can I just say that the smell is so bad it makes me want to cut my nose off. Although my school is losing (badly), I have to say that they’re all playing  really well – both teams. They are much less boys out there and much more young men – so big and strong. 

My boy had been under the impression he was playing today and was pretty excited about it. However, when we got here he was told that in fact he was not playing. 

I never did team sports, the only sports parther I ever had was 4 legged and  used to sneeze all over me. I miss my horses… So I can’t totally relate to this desire to want to be part of the team. I have spent most of my life trying to not be part of the team. Like our cat Ella close but no touching. But I kind of get it. I always had a tribe of girls I rode with and although it wasn’t a team dynamic we had a closeness that still holds all these years later. 

At the beginning of the game the boys gathered together in a huddle. Mine was standing a little behind them, not in uniform and feeling a little out of place. Two boys stepped back and opened the circle to include him. One of them did the little rub and pat back rub on him.  

I almost cried. Those little acts of kindness mean so much. They are so easy to do, so easy to forget to do, and SO powerful. It changed his whole demeanour. It was a moment when my heart leapt in happiness. 

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The heart of Calgary 

We headed down to the Stampede today despite the torrential downpour. It’s been a cold, rainy week here – kind of disappointing considering the 10 day party that should be going on. When we got to the grounds there was no line at all to get in which never happens. 

Despite the fact that it was raining so hard you could barely see, the volunteers were jumping up and down to stay warm with big smiles on their faces waving people into the gates. I was impressed by how happy they were considering the fact I knew they were soaked and cold. 

We had a once in a lifetime Stampede experience in that despite the fact that we were unable to go on any rides the entire experience cost me under 15$ for our C-Train tickets and that was it. We were gifted passes into the gate by one cousin and 50$ in Stampede Bucks by another one and that covered our costs at the grounds. Of course all we needed were mini donuts and cotton candy, but still…

It was impressive how cheerful people were at the grounds considering how not cheerful the weather was. The people at the mini donuts were singing Christmas carols, people were running through the rain laughing, a little kid was wacking a puddle with his toy sword. 

On our return home a couple approached us and gave us train tickets they’d just bought but then had decided to stay at the grounds longer, so we rode home for free. When we arrived at our stop a very kind gentleman stood in the rain and held the door for us so we could run inside ahead of him. 

These are the reasons why I love Calgary. It is a city that has huge heart. Even now when it has grown so much and there has been such a downturn in the economy  there is still so much kindness and joy in our city. It made me proud to call this place home. My happiness moment, my Calgary. 

Gotta love those donuts 

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The ride home from DQ

We went out this evening for a little DQ treat. I am not exactly sure how the kids convinced me it needed to be done, but they did, and there we were. For some reason when we were there all three of us were cranky and out of sorts. How that is even possible while eating a sundae is beyond my understanding, but it happened. 

On the way home there was an explosion of emotion of gargantuan proportion. My poor little family has been through so much over the last couple of years, and it seems sometimes like there’s been no chance to stop and absorb all the changes. 

One good thing about the bond the three of us has is that we are pretty in tune with each other’s emotions. Even when there’s an explosion it does not last long,  and it’s usually a pretty effective way of getting all the emotional crap out and dealt with. 

I’ve discovered on this happiness journey that true happiness is so much more than butterflies and rainbows. It takes many shapes and often comes out of harder times. My happiness moment today was talking through some deep stuff with my little people. They teach me so much about how to be kind and strong. They show me how to love unconditionally and how to keep faith no matter what we face. I am so grateful for those two little souls. 

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Morning Pages and Sun Salutations

I’ve decided to add back in two routines into my daily life that for me are much like my meditation practice. I often find them a challenge start, but afterwards I always feel so much better having done them. I’m talking about doing Morning Pages and Sun Salutations.

I haven’t religiously done Morning Pages for about 5 years, although I’ve managed to be kind of hit and miss about it over that time. When I was doing them every day prior to that I began to understand why Julia Cameron says they’re a must for boosting creativity. I did Sun Salutations every day for a few months a couple of years ago and then let that practice slip to the wayside, somehow forgetting how great they are at relaxing and stretching out my body. It’s time to add back in that little bit of extra self care and self love.

It’s only been a few days of doing both exercises, but already I can tell my body and mind are getting clearer and happier. Knowing that I can so easily do something that brings joy and peace to my soul is my inner happiness moment.

On a larger scale, I have a completely different, outer happiness moment. It seems as though all of Alberta is pulling together to help the people who have lost so much in the Fort McMurray fire. My Facebook feed is filled with local people and businesses raising money, donating supplies, and even offering homes to the people who had to so suddenly leave everything they had.

I looked at photos of people with their dogs piled on West Jet planes that have volunteered to go up to help people evacuate. It certainly made it very clear to me that whenever possible in the future I am booking with West Jet for all my flights.

For very different reasons, the kids and I came very close to losing everything earlier this year. We were essentially left destitute and if not for the kindness of those around us I don’t know what would have happened. I see this same kind of love and support being shown by strangers all over the province (and other provinces as well) as they’re doing whatever they can to help out. Our smaller scale personal tragedy has left me with a lot of empathy for these people whose lives changed at the drop of a hat.

Image from CTV news.

Image result for fort mcmurray fire

The power of kindness is amazing and overwhelming. It is so easy to focus on the negative, but there really are some powerfully loving people out there in the world. When tragedies like this happen it really lets that love shine through. I feel blessed to be in a place where there are people who will do so much to help out their neighbours. The world needs more of this. It reminds me to shine love and light wherever I can, you never know who needs some kindness. It gives me such hope to see that love really does always win.

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And so I listened 

It was 25C today in Calgary – a pretty special treat for April. Jenna and I spent most of the afternoon in at the cast clinic at the Children’s Hospital and were finally given the “all clear”. She was able to remove her air cast and get rid of the crutches. She hasn’t stopped smiling yet (happiness moment #1).

When we got home this evening I decided I should grab my poor, neglected Dotted Dog and take her out for a walk. I love my walking time, and especially tonight I needed some head clearing. I walked and prayed and cried and yelled (thank goodness we are in the country and I can do such things). I asked God what it was I was supposed to be doing. I feel so helpless and upset and angry and frustrated and afraid. What am I supposed to do? Then I stood on the road and yelled at the sky (like Jenna used to yell at me when she was smaller) answer me!!! I asked you what am I supposed to do!! At least give me some kind of sign!!!

And then I kept walking, because really – what kind of sign was going to come to me on this road in the middle of nowhere?

I heard that other voice in my head (as Jacob says – you know how there’s the voice you control, and then the other voice that talks back that you don’t control – well that one) say it’s like you’ve planted a garden and you keep digging it up to see if anything’s growing. You know things can’t grow like that. And then because I’m easily distracted I missed a lot of the profoundness of that statement and started thinking about my garden and what I wanted to plant in it.

Less than 5 minutes later my cousin pulled up beside me in his truck and handed me a book “read this, it was given to me, it’s a daily devotional and it really helped me, I think it’s time to pass it on to you.” We chatted for a while – and I met his adorable puppy – and then he drove off on his way.

I walked for a couple of minutes with the book and then thought – hmmm out of nowhere I was handed a daily devotional book. Perhaps I should see what today’s reading is.

And I read God’s answer to my prayer, and so I listened….

April 18

I once believed that after I prayed, it was my responsibility to do everything in my power to bring about the answer. Yet God taught me a better way and showed me that self-effort always hinders His work. He also revealed that when I prayed and had confident trust in Him for something, He simply wanted me to wait in an attitude of praise and do only what He told me. Sitting still, doing nothing except trusting in the Lord, causes a feeling of uncertainty, and there is often a tremendous temptation to take the battle into our own hands. 

We all know how difficult it is to rescue a drowning person who tries to help his rescuer, and it is equally difficult for the Lord to fight our battles for us when we insist on trying to fight them ourselves. It is not that God will not but that he cannot, for our interference hinders His work.

Spiritual forces cannot work while we are trusting earthly forces.

Often we fail to give God an opportunity to work, not realizing that it takes time for Him to answer prayer. It takes time for God to color a rose or to grow a great oak tree. And it takes time for Him to make bread from wheat fields. He takes the soil, then grinds and softens it. He enriches it and wets it with rain showers and with dew. Then He brings the warmth of life to the small blade of grass, later grows the stalk and the amber grain, and finally provides bread for the hungry. 

All this takes time. Therefore we sow the seed, till the ground, and then wait and trust until God’s purpose has been fulfilled. We understand this principle when it comes to planting a field, and we need to learn the same lesson regarding our prayer life. It takes time for God to answer our prayer. (Streams in the Desert for Graduates by LB Cowman)

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happiness

Apple Care

I spent a long time today on a chat with the customer service people at Apple Care. I have a few things that I needed assistance with regarding my account – one of them being that I’m finally switching from US to Canada. After 8 years of downloading all of our shows, apps and music I wanted to make sure I was doing the transfer properly.

I ended up having to get the assistance of two different people, and I was so impressed with their help and their patience. They went out of their way to make sure I understood what to do, and provided me with a lot of assurance that things were going the right way (there was more to it than just a country switch). Actually, every single time I’ve had to deal with Apple customer service (and I’ve done some really dumb things to my computer that I’ve had to humbly go in and get help with), they have always been so great about not only fixing the problem, but making me feel not embarrassed at all by whatever happened that led me to needing their assistance.

I am always so impressed with the random kindness of strangers. There is a lot of good and love out there and I’m discovering that as I focus on those things I’m attracting a lot more of it into my life. I left my chat session with a smile on my face, feeling deep gratitude for the way they had worked through my issue with me. My happiness moment.

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The Church Street Cafe. 

Without a lot of morning and groanong about the details, suffice it to say that the last 24 hours have not been some of the better ones. Travelling can be a challenge and this trip threw a lot of surprises our way. 

We were feeling exhausted and frustrated this afternoon when we headed to Old Town in search of some lunch, some sunshine, and some sights. A place named the Church Cafe had been recommended to us, so that was where we decided to stop. 

Not only was the food fantastic but the waiter was so kind and funny that I left feeling so much more positive and happy about things. I don’t know that he realizes what a ray of sunshine he was on a gloomy day. We all need those bright rays shining on us and I’m so grateful that we happened upon his place. 

It is a great happiness moment to realize how a small act of kindness can make a big difference to someone. And a happy belly is that much more of a bonus!

On our way back to the hotel we saw this. Mom calls it Scary Mary in a tree.   

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Pay it forward (West Jet Christmas)

Today we got to prove the fact that it is actually better to give than it is to receive (although it was pretty awesome to receive as well). Jacob and I made our morning run to Tim Horton’s and fell into a delightful and unexpected happiness moment. First of all, a kind gentleman came up and held the door for us to go in (this happens a lot here, the customers have great manners). Then when we went to the till and two ladies came running up, barely able to contain themselves with their giggles, and announced that they were buying our coffee for us.

It’s West Jet’s mini-miracles day and they were doing their part to pay it forward. They jumped around, huge smiles on their faces, as they explained what they were doing and we took a group selfie so they could post it on Instagram.

When Jacob got his coffee and we sat down we could still hear them at their table giggling away and trying to upload the picture with all the right tags. I said to Jacob that even though we had thoroughly appreciated their kindness, it really seemed that they had received a lot more from their gift than we had. He looked over at them with their heads together laughing as they talked about what they had done and agreed with me.

As we were getting ready to go a lady walked into Tim’s and I said to Jacob that he should go buy her coffee. He grabbed my money and ran over to her as she stood at the till. I couldn’t hear them, but I saw him jumping up and down with excitement (just like the ladies before had done with us) and I saw a huge smile come across the lady’s face. Jacob said afterwards that she had said to him that he had made her whole day.

All the way to Jacob’s school he smiled and bounced and talked about how wonderful he felt having done something nice for someone else.

He had both received an act of kindness and given one within a half hour. He was thrilled to have been given the free coffee, it made his soul sing to have given one to someone else.

Both giving and getting are pretty sweet, but the feeling is euphoric when you  surprise someone by doing a small kind act for them. It may sound cliche, but happiness really is contagious and it is easy to spread.

If you can, make someone happy today by performing a small act of kindness. It makes for an awesome happiness moment.

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Happiness mishmash 

I had several small happiness moments mixed all through the day today. I went into our Save On this morning to get something for supper and got bumped ahead in line because I only had a couple of items. When I thanked both the man who let me go and the clerk who suggested it, they said it was one of the perks of living in Cochrane – small town kindness.

Jenna went in to see the head seamstress in the family today to get some help (but also to eat cookies … mmmmm shortbread…. and visit). It warmed me to hear them, heads together, busily planning out her sewing project. There’s a special relationship between grandparents and grandkids and I’m so grateful that she is getting to strengthen that bond.

 

I have put a hard limit on internet at home and the kids have responded by actually playing together and having family time. We watched Charlie Brown’s Christmas, and then Jacob found his track set his aunt gave him a couple of years ago. They spent an hour racing their cars around the track.

About 30 seconds after I took this picture a huge tickle fight broke out with the dog jumping on top of both kid licking faces furiously. That was funny because it wasn’t happening to me…..

I love big happiness moments, but life really happens in these little moments. The ones that don’t cost anything, that aren’t planned out, that just happen because we are alive and we are living in the moment.

 

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