Too much fun

I really could have my happiness moment just be this one photo. I have waited a lifetime for this to happen again, for the longest time it seemed impossible. Drishti is proof of the power of prayer and my heart has a broken piece put back together. Love is a beautiful thing. 

He loves the girl too….

But there were other moments of happiness today. It was the last Sunday for our pastor at church today, and while it was a sad time, there was also happiness. Happiness that he is following his calling, happiness in the form of a community lunch gathering, happiness that people share faith that there is always a plan even if we can’t see it at the time.

There were happiness moments like the one I felt driving this morning and this evening. The next two photos were almost taken at the same spot – the first of the sunrise reflecting on the mountains this morning and the second of the elk hanging out in the evening. What an amazing place this is where we live.

I feel like I’ve been really impatient with God lately and wanting Him to shine the light a bit further down my path. This weekend, while I don’t feel like the path is brighter, I feel like I have a lot more faith that I am on the right one. It all reveals itself at the right time. 


Walking with the swans 

It was another beautiful afternoon here and I took full advantage of it by taking my Dotted Dog out for a walk. 

The swans were all over the place – lots of them on the slough, but also many of them flying around. They would circle around and around me while  I was walking, and of course that made me think of Dad. 

I’m sure he’s with me more right now as we get closer to his birthday. The change of seasons also has me thinking of him as well. But the swans were always his thing. He used to take us out there when we were little to look at them, and sent me so many photos of them in later years. 

I found some of his swan photos in my email. He was such a talanted photographer and  his photos are a wonderful legacy left for us to remember him by. 

Thankfully we don’t have all this snow now, but it’s a fantastic shot he took 

One of my favorites 

This is how they were circling over my head today. 
It was a happiness moment that brought me close to my Dad today as I walked with the swans. I miss him so much – i miss him even more because my kids needed him so badly. But there’s a reason for everything and above all I have faith. 


Come together 

Today was the annual stampede breakfast at our community hall. We were really lucky and had beautiful weather for it. The yard was full of family and neighbours (and as we discovered a lot of them we didn’t know – the difficulty of having missed so many years, or of being super introverted) visiting and laughing. 

Some of the family/community I only seem to catch up with at this breakfast so it’s always an event I look forward to. Although, I have noticed that now that we are home we are able to do a lot more visiting at other times. 

I notice every time that we attend one of these functions that the kids are more and more comfortable and confident as part of the tribe which delights me to my core. Knowing there are strong, stable roots helps give you the strength to fly. 

The hall 

The girls getting ready to head up to the breakfast. 
On top of the happiness of visiting with my people, the kids and I headed west for an evening in Banff. Sometimes you just need that mountain hug (and fondue and candy) being in the mountains always brings me happiness. 

I’ve realized I need to spend more time in conscious gratitude for the awesome gifts I’ve been given. I feel like I’ve been running , putting out fires, and not accomplishing enough. Sometimes the best way for me to accomplish more is by slowing down and doing less. 


In Dad’s words

I spent some time this morning looking through the books that Dad put together for us over the past few years. They include some of his photography, but also he did a lot of writing as he shared his spiritual beliefs and told stories of the flowers we used to look at together.

I came across something he wrote for Advent in 2007 that gave me huge comfort today. I miss our talks and I miss his guidance. We didn’t always agree on everything, but I know he always supported and wanted the best for all of his loved ones. I think I took for granted for a lot of years what it was like to go through life knowing that I had these two powerful forces in my parents who would always have my back no matter what showed up ahead of me. I didn’t realize what a unique and special gift that was until I had hit a few bumps in the road and really discovered who really had my back in the dark times.

Dad’s words:

There are times when it is exciting to go fast.  At these times it is very easy to forget to thank Jesus for all that we are given.

But sometimes we get going too fast. Sometimes we try to do too much. As a child at school and a grownup working inside or outside a home. At these times we often forget to ask Jesus to guide us and take  time to pray for his assistance. He is waiting for our call.

Sometimes we get so overwhelmed that we want to go and hide. At these times we are so concerned about our problems that we do not feel Jesus walking through it with us. But he is there with us.

With all this activity, it can be difficult to remember why we’re so busy.

But if we can find just one quiet moment in our day to pause and centre ourselves and think about the awesome, beautiful sacrifice Christ came to make;

If we can spend even a second thanking Him for His ministry, His teachings, and His example, and His life, death and resurrection, we will surely be able to find within ourselves that intangible “Spirit of Christmas” that enables us to give of ourselves until we think we’ve giving it all – and then give just that one bit more – to find that we are able to give whatever is needed at all times of the year.

I have wondered over the past few months what advice Dad would give me as my life has turned inside out and taken a completely different direction. I think of our walks along the ridge while we explored and discussed our Faith, and I think this is pretty much exactly what he would say to me right now.

I am so thankful he took the hours of love labour to put together these books for us to have to remember him by. I am thankful for the guidance he showed me and the unconditional love that was showered on me.

Aside from the deep soul bittersweet happiness of these memories, I have a happiness moment to look forward to later on today. We are gathering with some of the extended tribe to celebrate the other fathers in the family. I feel incredibly blessed that we have so many strong, loving men in our family.

this is one of Dad’s photos of the sunflowers. In the months after he died sunflowers kept showing up in my life all over the place. They remind me that he is still close by.




My dad used to take a group of his friends from church out on an annual wildflower walk in Kananaskis. He was an expert in knowing the names and legends of the local wildflowers. The group organized a walk today in his memory. It was beautiful and a wonderful way to honor him. 

Yellow lady slipper


My favorite, the wood lily

The boys. My dad used to love teaching them about flowers and photography. 

One of the ladies came to me and asked if I knew the name of a certain flower they were looking at. I didn’t but I was so tempted to answer fireweed. It made me laugh and cry inside at the same time.  When dad would take me out looking at flowers and we would come across one that he didn’t know the name of, we would both shrug and say fireweed.  

It was a wonderful happiness moment to remember and honor my dad this morning. 


Learn to fly 

For the past week or so I’ve been waking up with nightmares. I often am a restless sleeper, but these nightmares were something completely new. I’m sure it’s because we are closing in on the anniversary of Dad’s death. I’m realizing how many emotions are still sitting there waiting to be processed and acknowledged. Last night I finally made it through the night without any bad dreams and I hope that means I’m heading for sweeter dreams. I know Dad wouldn’t want me being upset like this, and I also firmly believe he’s wrapped in the arms of God. And yet those dreams…

I came across one of his photos which made my heart fill with memories of him. He loved it when the swans would migrate through. 

The way I feel now it’s hard for me to believe where I was when I started this journey towards a happier life a few years ago. I was left so broken I didn’t think I’d ever be able to repair myself. Yet with years of work and prayer and love, here I am feeling almost whole. I give thanks for that every day. 

Today I had a wonderful happiness moment. I met a friend and we spent the afternoon walking along the river. It really was chicken soup for my soul – exactly what I needed. 


The Coke shirts 

Last year as we began palliative care with Dad, I went to the store and bought matching Coke shirts for him and Jacob. They were always such a tight team those two, and were delighted to have the same outfit (with matching PJ bottoms). 

I was folding laundry this afternoon and pulled one of the Coke shirts out of the basket to fold.  I haven’t seen it in almost a year – I assume it was too painful for Jacob to wear. I was so happy to see it out now. We all seem to be walking into this week with smiles and sorrow. 

Some of the smiles come from remembering my aunts and uncles (his sisters and brothers in law), who along with one of my cousins made the trek out here to see him in his last days. 

Sad as it was, we had so much fun with them. Jacob was so delighted to find out the family gift  is really a thing and that it is something to be laughed about. He still talks about that discovery regularly. He takes pride in developing his abilities. 

The love that was sent to my dad (and us) from family near and far was amazing. It reconnected me with cousins, we shared stories and enjoyed that deep connection that blood brings no matter where you are. 

In a bittersweet happiness moment I sat with that Coke shirt and remembered how much my Dad loved Jacob. 

This is another one of Dad’s photos. Taken along a road that he and Mom used to walk often. 


The heart of a father 

The closer we get to the first anniversary of dad’s passing the more I feel all these emotions coming up. I think there was a lot about the last couple of weeks of his life that I wasn’t able to process. There was so much going on, we were so in the moment and also fearing the moment at the same time. I still can’t believe it’s been almost a year. 

For the first time since he died, today I sat at the computer and went through some of his “best of” photos. Dad was an amazing photographer and looking at the memories he left for us made me cry and feel joy at the same time. It wasn’t long before one by one, everyone in the house joined me in an impromptu memorial. We talked about dad, shared memories, shared feelings, laughed at old stories, discussed what a talented photographer he was, and honoured his presence in our lives. 

I’m so grateful we have each other to work through this with. There were many tears today, and I’m sure there will be many more over the next couple of weeks. But I am so grateful he was my dad and that he was such a good dad

This is one of his photos of a place where he loved to walk. We went up and down this path countless times together. Some of his ashes are now scattered here so he can always be close to one of his beloved spots. 

Two happiness moments today. The big, spiritual one was quiet time shared with my mom and sister as we talked about dad. 

The other one was a crazy, messed up game of Twister after supper. 

I am so thankful for my tribe. 


Swan memories of Dad

I spent last night and most of today down for the count with a stomach virus. Not a lot of fun, but I’m grateful that I was able to rearrange life so I could take some time and get rid of it. This morning Jenna (who has the week off of school) came into my room, hopped under the covers of my bed, and snuggled up with me.

We talked about how when the kids were little and one of them was feeling sick they would pile in bed with me and we would cuddle until things were better again. There is nothing like a good snuggle with someone you love to make the rainbows come and brighten things up.

While we were lying there, my cousin texted me that the swans were back on the lake by their cabin. When I see swans I think of spring and of my Dad. He was always so excited to see them come – because it meant the end of winter and because it meant he could take some great photos. It’s hard to believe we are looking at another spring coming, which will mean he will have been gone for a year soon. What a year this has been!

I thought the girl snuggles were going to be my happiness moment, but the text about swans left me with Dad on my mind all day today. Jenna and I were driving into town so she could have a sleepover at her Grandma’s and she started talking about my Dad and some of her memories of him. It was a beautiful moment to share as she laughed about how he would flip her on her raft at the creek, and how he took her out for wildflower walks (my dad knew the names of all the flowers and very patiently spent years teaching us about them. Later on he began taking breathtaking photos of the flowers). Naturally I started to cry, but it was so wonderful to share those loving memories with my girl. I’m so glad she has these to hold in her heart. Dad loved his grandkids (and his whole family) so much, he worked really hard to make a lasting impression on us all – and succeeded.

These photos of the swans near our place are ones Dad took  3 and 4 years ago. He loved being out there with his camera!

The happiness moment today was sharing fond memories of my Dad. I miss him so much there is an ache in my heart, but I am so thankful for his presence in my life. Soon the swans will be here too and I will be out with the kids and my Mom watching them and thinking about our memories of my Dad.

And just in case I forgot how much I love being back home, God put on an amazing show this morning:

The view from our front yard this morning. 


Cameras, Swans, and Dad

My sister and I spent part of the weekend dividing up Dad’s cameras. It’s something I know he would want us to do, but a very difficult thing nonetheless. Dad loved taking pictures, and he loved sharing them with his loved ones. We know that he would want us to keep on taking pictures and capturing family memories.

I was fiddling with my camera this afternoon and noticed that there were still photos Dad had taken left on the memory card. It seems he took them this time of the year (or maybe it was early spring) because the swans were on the slough just like they are now.

He has some amazing swan photos, the ones on my camera aren’t some of his best work. But, it was both my happiness moment, and a  sadness moment to open them up and take a look.

I have lots of memories in my head that I will take with me forever of Dad and of our family unit. However, having these tangible memories he made for us helps my heart heal a little bit more. It reminds me to get out and look at the swans, to go out walking, to admire the mountains and the barn, to jump into life every chance I get.

I’m noticing the farther I’m getting into my days of happiness the more that happiness is truly becoming part of my life. I still look for my moment each day, but I’m getting happier and happier all the time. Happiness in the core of my being is becoming more a way of life and I’m so grateful for that.

a couple of Dad’s photos

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