Facing a bully

It should come to no surprise to those who know me that angry men intimidate me. I think as a single woman this would probably be true anyway, but I lived in a war zone with a man who raged at and threatened me on a regular basis, so there’s a lot of trauma that I’ve been working through since I left (thank goodness for therapy).

Yesterday when we were driving home we saw that there were tons of swans on the slough, and that there were tons of people stopped to watch them. It’s a happy sight for the most part, the swans have been missing the last few years, and since we have all been home more I know they bring joy to so many people.

As we drove by, there were a few people climbing the fence to go in the field to get closer to the swans. Trespassing isn’t really a great thing at the best of times, but there were two newborn calves right beside where everyone was climbing and it’s not a good idea to get between a mom and her baby.

So we stopped and asked the people to please stand on the outside of the field. They were super polite and apologetic – and like I said, I get it- seeing the swans is so exciting and we need a pick me up now more than ever.

But, as I was chatting with them, a man who was probably 10 years older than I am walked by us and started climbing the fence. I asked him politely to please not go into the field. He looked at me and kept climbing. I asked him again, and he said well, he was just going to walk along the road (in the field) then. I said no, the road was IN the field which made it trespassing, and pointed to the calves right beside him and explained that it wasn’t safe to be in the field with the calves.

He then asked me if I owned the land. I said yes (I don’t but it’s family land and I live right beside it). He said he didn’t believe me, and started yelling that he could do what he wanted because I was lying. I pointed to my house and said I lived right there and that he was welcome to follow me home if he didn’t believe me (while crapping my pants because who wants a crazy person following them home?). He said the only way he would stay out of the field is if he had proof it was my land. I responded by saying if it wasn’t my land why would I be standing here being an asshole? He stood there glaring at me for several more minutes before taking a quick photo and leaving.

As this was going down I heard the other people standing there laughing, and heard them comment what a rude person he was and how there was clearly a gender issue going on. I have to say, as things got deeper I was pretty glad I wasn’t there alone because that man was going out of his way to intimidate me.

So, here’s the happiness moment in this. First of all, I stood my ground to the man who was trying to intimidate and bully me. Secondly, I had some great conversations with the other people looking at the swans. Thirdly, the people besides “angry man” who were there were really kind and nice people who genuinely seemed to enjoy being out watching the swans. Finally, I got to see swans and calves which really along with crocuses (still haven’t seen this year) is my sure signs of spring.


They’re back

I first noticed the swans on Wednesday, but today when we were driving home there were several pairs swimming on the slough. The swans showing up seems to be a real signal that the season is changing. The weather is cold and they’re heading for a more decent climate to spend the winter.

I’ve always loved watching the swans as they rest here before they continue their journey. We used to go out as kids and watch them, dad used to take awesome photos of them, and this year I (finally) got to go out and ride among them. They’re beautiful creatures and they seem to carry a sort of peace with them (when they’re not threatening to attack because you got too close!)

This is a photo Dad took a couple of years before he died. I’ve been missing him lately and when I see the swans it makes me feel closer to him again. I love the swans, they are a source of happiness.



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. 


Faith can move mountains 

Today I told my faith story to someone for the first time. It was so different to tell it from that perspective, I’ve thought of it privately as a story of faith for sometime, but I’ve never really shared it in that context before. Telling it as a journey of faith, instead of a time of trauma,  made me realize it’s time to tell it like that more. Time to tell how God came and healed my life at a time when I felt I was completely broken, shattered, left lying on the ground. I’m not broken anymore, and although I didn’t realize it until recently,  I don’t think I ever was. What I was was just really hurt and lost.

The last couple of years have consisted of a series of miracles for me, the only time the miracles stopped was when I ignored my faith, my intuition, the voice of God. This summer, after months of standing firmly in my faith, in my trust, in my love,  I stopped listening to that voice and found myself once again a hot mess. It was a good reminder that I always need that time to connect with my Source, I need to listen to that intuition (which for me is the voice of God), I need to honour how I function in my faith. If I don’t, I feel all out of sorts and it takes me a really long time to figure out what is wrong (because I’m not connected to my Source anymore and I can’t find my balance – when I can’t find my balance I’m screwed).

Telling my story today in the context of faith really helped remind me of how far I’ve come on my spiritual journey. I think I’ve always had faith on an abstract level, but when I fell to the floor in despair a few years ago – having tried to fix my life myself – and finally handed everything over to God, everything changed for me. Suddenly things that seemed impossible started happening all over the place in my life. Small miracles, big miracles, things were changing and I was filled with love and gratitude for all I was being blessed with.

In the past couple of months I’ve got my spiritual groove back and everything is falling into place again. In fact new, really big, cool, things are starting to take shape and I love that. What I do know for certain is that I have to keep myself focused on having faith in order for these things to keep on happening. Faith is what grounds me, what gives me wings, what shapes me, what drives me. Faith not only moves mountains, it brought me back home to mine.

Tonight I was out on my walk and I was thinking about God and dad and my faith journey. I had a memory of a moment a few days before dad’s death when my mom, dad, sister, and I were all sitting quietly in the sunroom. In those last days there was a real awareness that there were not going to be very more moments left for the original four to have time together. I sighed and said out loud to God that I really missed those times of my original family being together. I looked up and circling around the slough were four swans. Something about them made me think of our original four and it made me smile. It was a moment of happiness brought together by a day of deep introspection about what my faith is and how it has shaped my life.

Then of course, because I’m me, about 10 minutes further down the road – at the spot where it seems I am prone to these types of meltdowns – I had a full out yelling session at God. I wasn’t even aware that I had these issues pent up inside of me – and honestly when I was done I was pretty glad that I live in the middle of nowhere so no one else had to witness that. But, I have to say  that for me those moments of breakdown yelling at God are often the most healing and productive ones.

I often wonder what it’s like for those people who talk best to God on their knees, heads bent in prayer. I’ve never been able to pray when other people are around, and I don’t think I could even pray like I was taught we should. I just go out in a field and chatter away to God about everything and anything. I talk, I laugh, I cry, I yell, I ask, I give thanks, I do it all.  I think it comes from the hours spent in those same fields on the back of a horse – which was how I first found my spiritual connection – it seems to still be the most effective method for me.

What I am discovering is that even though I’ve got a whirlwind of things going on, even though there’s so much that is uncertain, even though I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, the fact that I’m learning to walk deep in my faith allows me to say it is well with my soul


The sunshine is back

The sunshine has come back into my life both literally and figuratively today. I was pretty happy to wake up and be able to see my mountains this morning, even happier to realize that I wasn’t having that funky feeling I’ve been carrying around the past couple of days.

I guess that’s the nice thing about being bummed out for no real reason, it’s easy to bounce back. I think I’m realizing how tired I got from all the stress of the summer, all the stress of the year… there just has been a lot and I haven’t always honoured how much it has exhausted me.

But, today was sun and smiles again which feels so much better. It started on the way into town – we drove past a family of swans. They always make me think of Dad which is bittersweet. My first thought was how excited he would be to see them, the second one was oh yeah… he’s not here anymore. But then I stopped anyway and shared the moment with him, with the kids, with God. It was a good moment.

from my iphone – I was pretty close to them. 

I got some really positive news from  a cousin who has been dealing with some pretty serious health issues and that was fantastic. It was a moment to celebrate and remember how important this tribe is, how we need to love and support each other all the time, unconditionally, in good times and bad.

And I did my healing light yoga today – that is always a happiness moment no matter what. I love how it puts me into balance, aligns me back with my Source, brings me to peace, and restores my strength. It’s pretty powerful stuff.

So, tonight I go to bed happy. I had several happiness moments today, but best of all I was just feeling the happy all day long. That’s what this is about – having more sunshine than cloudy days. But honouring the storms too – they are what gives the rainbows.


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 swans (happiness bonus)

I made Jenna join me for forced family fun time this evening and we went for a walk along the ridge. Although it took some encouraging to get her there, once she got going she didn’t want to stop. 

It was a perfect Alberta spring evening. The mountains were sharp, the cows and calves were eating supper, the deer were out, and we were joined by the visiting swans. I love where we live. 

The naughty dotted dog discovering the deer 

The mountains   
The swans.  

Being on this ridge always makes me feel so much closer to dad. I miss him incedibly. The more we get into spring, the more I realize how long he’s been gone. It makes me happy to walk in a place that brought him such joy. 


Here a swan, there a swan

Last night I declared that my intention was to focus on the swans and the beautiful things in my life. 

This morning I was instantly gratified with a surprise view of some swans hanging on a slough as we drove to town.  
This  afternoon, on our return from the city, we had another wonderful swan sighting. Jenna and I had to pull off the road and stand for a while to admire their beauty. 


The swans in the springtime always make me think of Dad. I still miss him so much, it baffles me that he’s been gone for 10 months already. It still feels so fresh. And yet, here we are heading into another spring. He would have loved standing there with us watching them. 

I thought the swans were going to be my happiness moment. But then my cousin showed up on my doorstep and invited Jenna and me to go riding with her on Saturday. Even just the thought of going riding is enough to make it my happiness moment for the day. 


Morning pit stop 

Thankfully the universe listens to me, and after my meltdown of yesterday is helping me with my pick up. 

I wanted to focus on swans, the kids, the joys in my life. And the Universe is providing that. 

We stopped to take in the beauty of the swans on our drive into school this morning. It was followed by a lovely coffee date with my boy at Timmies. So many beautiful things in the world. I am grateful for them all. 



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.