happiness

A beautiful night

This feels like it’s been a long week. School has been challenging for all of us, we are on top of each other, and to top it off the doggies decided to visit the skunk today.

And yet, no matter what goes on in our human lives, the world carries on. One benefit of life being quieter is that there is more time to notice the beauty that God put out in our world.

Tonight the girl and I were making pizza when we had to drop everything and run outside. Not only is it a balmy 9C, but there was a beautiful sunset lighting up the mountains. I am so grateful this is where we call home, I am grateful I love the people I live with, and I’m grateful we are all healthy and safe.

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happiness

A birthday, a ridge walk, and an ethical dilemma

Dad would have turned 80 yesterday. I looked for a photo yesterday to post on Facebook with a memory, and was surprised when I typed “dad” into my photo search at what I found. I was expecting lots of photos of him being the “creek monster” in the water throwing grandkids around, or playing in the snow with delighted children. Instead, this search was full of photos of Dad sitting quietly and reading to “his kids”.

What it really drove home for me was how willing he was to give us what is so precious – the gift of time. Both our parents really valued giving us and their grandkids their time. And at the end of the day, while things can bring a certain level of happiness, the memories of spending time with someone is where it’s really at.

So, with that in mind, my sister and our crews went for a social distance walk along the ridge where dad used to take us. It was a beautiful way to honour him.

I had a moment yesterday morning where I had to reflect on integrity, and deciding between keeping myself safe, or doing the right thing. These were things dad and I used to talk about a lot on our walks, and it seemed so appropriate that it was a choice I was given on his birthday. I decided to do the right thing (although I did sit on it for a while because that temptation to stay safe is a strong one.)

There is a certain comfort that comes over my soul when I choose the right thing. in this instance it helped someone out who I didn’t know, but who really needed it. This was a low danger example of choosing between safety and doing what’s right, but it really highlighted for me that I can’t actually feel safe if I’m not honouring what my soul tells me is best.

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happiness

Lullabies for the puppy

Well, my cute little puppy is now 6 months and she’s at least 60 lbs and only a couple of inches shorter than her 97 lb brother. She’s got teeth like the Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood and talons on her feet that can take on wolves. She’s a ball of both focused and stubborn energy (depending on which part of her heritage she’s channeling), and the most lovable thing you can imagine.

She will go outside and bark to the world that she’s the most ferocious beast, but will come inside and crawl into one of our laps and fall asleep “dog purring”.

Every morning, after her morning bark and run, she needs to start the day with her lullabies. I put on Deva Premal, my puppy crawls up onto the couch beside me, or the big chair if it’s available, lies down and has a lullaby nap. it’s the cutest thing, and it’s amazing how the music calms her. It calms me too.

Stop looking at me, I was napping
Whatcha doin???
I love this face

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happiness

Ride a pony

The last couple of weeks, I’ve switched it up from riding the gentle giant thoroughbred to a cute little grey pony. His colouring reminds me so much of my old horse Rolex, but his size and the fact that he’s half Welsh reminds me of Pirate the wonder pony. It’s so weird to be on a pony who reminds me so much of two of my great past horse loves.

Being on him I can remember how I felt on Pirate, they were probably some of the most free moments I’ve ever had in my life. We were invincible together and still when I look back at some of the crazy things we did and the jumps we cleared, I am in awe of our bond and our combined courage.

At this stage of my life, it’s really good to be reminded of how I felt when I was brave and courageous. I actually don’t think I ever stopped being brave, it just got clouded by anxiety and insecurity (and abuse). Every time I go for a ride, I feel like a more whole, complete version of myself.

Every girl should know the love of a horse

Current Grey Pony
Rolex
Pirate
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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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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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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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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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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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