happiness

Unplanned quiet and Clean kitchen surprise

Yesterday was a long-ass day. Most of it was good, but it still was long and involved a trip to the doctor and X-ray for my girl. As we left X-ray, I ordered us Indian food, which besides Italian is our comfort food of choice. When I arrived to pick up the food, something had gone wrong with the order and I had to wait quite a while. I’d left my phone in the car with the girl, and found myself in a place that smelled awesome, played funky music, and besides the music, was fairly quiet aside from other people coming in to pick up food.

So, I sat in their chair and waited. Waited without a friend, without a kid, without a phone, without a book. Just me and my brain. You know what? It was some of the most peaceful time I’ve had lately. I just sat there and thought of all the things I was grateful for, how much I love my town, and how my life has slowly evolved into one that I’m absolutely loving.

And then I got a discount on my food for waiting which was even better.

The girl and I got home to find out that the boy had been feeling a great deal of school stress and had decided to channel that into cleaning the kitchen. So the job I’d been really not looking forward to upon my return was done. As someone who has no “back-up adult” in our family, I can’t express how awesome it is to find some of these chores done for me without having to ask for it.

And so we sat together as a family and shared our meal, shared our time, shared our love.

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happiness

Make Up Dirty Words

One of my proudest accomplishments as a parent is the fact that my kids know the entire “Boot to the Head” album by heart. The Frantics have been a favourite comedy group of mine since the ‘80s and it’s the kind of humour that only a few people seem to get. I’ve got a sister, cousin in law, and friend with whom I can talk in a “Frantic” way with, but the rest of the world usually just looks at us like we are crazy. Especially if someone brings out a blueberry pie. Fortunately my children are also fans so we can continue spreading the humour.

Today the girl and I were at the mall and we walked between a kiosk and a store, we were looking at two women dress a mannequin in the storefront when the kiosk man approached us. The girl had her back to him so she didn’t know he was there and she wiggled her eyebrows (the only part of her face I could see) and said “they’re changing the mannequins today” in the weird voice we use when we think we are being funny. We both burst into hysterics and the poor kiosk man spun on his heels and bolted.

They’re changing the mannequins today is part of a skit by the Frantics called “Make Up Dirty Words” and it’s a favourite of ours, but until today no one actually got to use that line. It was perfect. Gosh but that kid of mine is funny.

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happiness

Crappy, stinky helpers

Bear woke me up ridiculously early this morning, which he hasn’t done for a while now. I very begrudgingly got up and went to grab the puppy to throw them both out.

Well it turns out the reason Bear was up and so distressed was because our dear puppy had a gargantuan sized accident in her kennel. Let’s keep in mind this cute little thing weighs about 60 lbs now, so you can imagine (I’ll spare you the details but it was scarring).

As I had my head in the kennel, wiping as fast as I could while I cried on the inside the boy woke up and walked by. Instead of turning and running, he asked how he could help.

I almost cried. Even just the offer was so kind. He saw I was in a really crappy (hah) situation and instead of leaving me to it, offered to help. He refilled the bucket for me, but mostly just having him there supporting me through this shit job made me feel better.

Part way through, we noticed Jasmine sitting on the piano next to us watching me work. When we would talk to each other, she would chirp in like she was part of the conversation (and she was). Jasmine often shows up when one of us is upset and kind of hangs around until things are better. Because things are always better when you’ve got love and support.

So, I’d finished this post thing morning but it failed to upload. I’m thinking it knew that I would have more to add. I came home this afternoon to find my super cute puppy (ugh) had once again been out playing with her friend the black kitty with the white stripe 🦨. This is the second time in 4 days and I’d foolishly hoped she’d learned the first time.

This time it was the girl who was around and immediately jumped in to help. Not a fun job, but we all survived it, and in much better shape because we worked together. I’m so thankful for my tribe.

Here’s the poor little girl sleeping off her early morning
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happiness

My first snowbow

The girl and I were driving home from Costco yesterday (which was exciting enough itself, I love that store) when I looked to the north and saw a giant rainbow.

Now, it’s October in Calgary, and there’s a ton of snow on the ground and the weather was sunny and about +5C which is not your typical rainbow weather. We checked where the sun was (waaaay south in the sky), and there’s no way it was a sun dog. It really was a rainbow.

We waved at it, and briefly pondered the meaning of this sign. Who couldn’t use a little reassurance from beyond that everything will be ok?

This morning I looked it up, and it seems that snowbows are a real thing, but I’m not sure they aren’t meaning sundogs. This was not a sun dog (I see them often). This was a real rainbow and was in the opposite “end” of the sky.

Whatever the reason that it was there, it was really cool to enjoy and beautiful to look at. I feel honoured we were able to see it.

* edited to add- apparently this really was a thing https://cochranenow.com/articles/was-it-a-rainbow-or-a-cloud-iridescence-over-cochrane-yesterday?fbclid=IwAR1wOKvYvmdX-r2FHvax7wzfKiPuSdKBB-McSo2pFzxi-3WYewGRSp5Y3Ek

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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.

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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.

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happiness

Little moments of kindness

I bought a dresser on Marketplace yesterday. It’s actually a dresser I’ve had my eye on for quite some time but the price in the store was more than I was willing to pay. So, when I saw a gently used one for sale for 1/4 the price I was in.

Although I measured things carefully, when I got there I discovered that the dresser didn’t fit in my car. I discovered this after telling the boy we didn’t need to get a bigger car, driving for an hour, and my boy and the seller’s boyfriend carrying the heavy, solid wood dresser down two flights of stairs.

The guy was so kind about it, and gracefully carted the thing back up into his apartment. He then offered to take it to a nearby store for us to pick up the next day (today) so we wouldn’t have to deal with the stairs again.

Today we went back, and the friend who owned the store helped us maneuver it into a larger vehicle. When we were done he gave us some special moving straps he had and said they would help us get it into the house – and just to drop them back off the next time we were in town.

My heart felt full with these interactions. These people went out of their way to be kind, even when things weren’t going according to plan and they could have chosen to be impatient or frustrated. We commented how happy we felt after leaving them. With COVID we have so few interactions with people that the ones we have seem that much more important. I’m grateful that the vast majority of the interactions I have with others are really good ones. Most people are good.

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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.

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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
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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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