happiness

Bears and eagles and calves (oh my)

The boy and I took the dogs out for a walk today which made us all smile. It’s been so gross the last few days we haven’t really wanted to go out at all, but we decided it was good for our mental health to get some fresh air. And it was good for us, and for the dogs who didn’t stop smiling the whole time.

I feel very blessed that although we are unable to go anywhere with social distancing, we are able to get outside here and kind of reset our souls. We came across my nephew and the cousins got to have a distance appropriate visit yelling at each other. I saw two bald eagles fly overhead (I love those birds). And we got to see the pregnant cows and a few of their new babies. All the signs of spring except for the snow on the ground – and in Alberta that is also kind of a sign of spring!

Happiness can be found in tiny moments during the day. I remember discovering this when I started this blog years ago and I would spend the entire day searching for a moment of happiness in the dark life I was living. Sometimes those moments just happen, and sometimes we make them happen. But what I know for sure is that true happiness, the inner peace kind of happiness, that comes from within and from our connection to God, or our Higher Power.

Bear- happiest dog in the world!
Cousin visit social distancing style
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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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Tea in a teacup

I’ve been trained so that when there is a crisis I make a pot of tea. In my family tea time was a regular occurrence every afternoon at grandmas table, it was a drink we had with dessert, and it was a drink we had when we were stressed. In fact, years ago after finding a rather large tumour in my neck, my parents took me directly from the doctors office to the Palliser for tea.

So this morning I opened a new box of Murchie’s tea – Canadian Breakfast, which has a maple flavour- and had a real cup of tea in a real teacup from my favorite tea set. Somehow tea in a real tea cup tastes better.

Everything will be ok ❤️

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happiness

Silent Movies

We’ve been feeling the effects of being shut up here only seeing each other. Some of these effects are quite good, actually – it feels like sometimes the sun shines brighter through the dark clouds.

For the last few nights we’ve had forced family fun time and played various card games. It’s been a really good mental health break and we’ve done some laughing and sharing, which makes life feel a bit more normal.

Tonight we put on some old music from the 1930s and pretended to act out silent movies. I’m sure it’s just a step further down our descent into madness, but it brought a lot of laughs and lightened the mood of the house. We all need to keep our spirits up and look for our moments of happiness.

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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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Pink blankie

Some of you may know that I started off my life with a beautiful blue blankie. Much like Linus I took that thing everywhere – it was my security and comfort. Until one day when blankie was stolen from our hotel and never seen again.

It was traumatizing. Seriously. I was 5. My poor parents had the hotel on high alert and even drove back the next day to look for him. But blankie was gone.

Mom tried to give me her old pink blankie that was the same style, and a few of her old stuffed animals, but nothing did it. I have mourned the loss of blankie my whole life.

About 9 years ago I bought a huge, fluffy pink blanket for the girl’s bed. It turned out that while she didn’t care much for it, that it quickly became my comfort. I’d take it to curl up on the couch, to lie in bed, and it even went on a couple of road trips.

The last few years it’s been a much loved tv watching couch blankie. The other day I noticed that it really wasn’t looking great and I had this strong sense that it was time to let pink blankie go.

But I didn’t get it out of the house right away and it ended up on the floor. Turns out that while I thought jasmine liked to cuddle with me, that she really liked pink blankie. And she’s got her own set of issues to deal with so maybe she needs a blankie too.

I think I’ll make her a little pink blankie pillow

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Strauss

I ended up in a coffee shop today to do my studying. It wasn’t the plan, but sometimes you have to roll with what life gives you and that’s how the day played out. I really wanted some quiet time to try and understand this course and I was kind of hesitant about being somewhere in public that could be loud.

But as it turned out, I was exactly where I needed to be. There were a few other people hanging out, visiting, there was a child playing with some toys, and Strauss was playing in the background. I had forgotten how much my soul loves Strauss. I became obsessed with his music in my early 20s and discovered at that time that my music hating grandma loved him too. She was in her earlier stages of dementia and having a lot of dis-ease about her memory (naturally), and we used to sit here in Grandma’s kitchen for hours and listen to the waltzes. This kitchen has seen a lot, she looked after everyone here in this room, and in later years we all helped look after her in the same spot.

Now that I’m back home again and finishing up my work, I have Strauss playing quietly in the background, and I feel content.

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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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Will and Grace

Today was our official day to do absolutely nothing, and we’ve done it well. I introduced the boy to Will and Grace (the new version) and we have binge watched it all day.

Already my mind is starting to think about the next course that starts next week, and I can see that he’s also thinking about his next bunch of classes. It makes these moments of nothingness even more important.

Tomorrow is the last day of this year, and the last one of what has been an extremely difficult decade, but one filled with immense growth. One thing I have learned is how important it is to be with the ones you love, and to let them know you love them.

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