happiness

The moments between

Today was a moments between kind of day. After mom’s birthday, before thanksgiving which we celebrate tomorrow. I feel like there has been a lot going on in every aspect of my life and today I took some time to breathe, balance, and reassess where I’m at.

Things are shifting again. I guess life is full of constant change. For me security used to be represented as everything staying the same and me being able to sit in the knowledge that we are safe,  and I knew we were safe because nothing was going to change.

Things change all the freaking time. It’s like being a tree, I just have to be strong enough to bend in the winds of change.

And even though I continue to resist it, change is good. It either brings about something immediately joyful, or it brings pain which opens the door to change. 

Honestly, even though there has been a lot of pain the last couple of years, there has been so much more joy – sustainable happiness – soul fulfillment.

And in the moments between – when there are quiet spaces in life – it’s important to take notice of what is happening and be grateful. Especially this weekend as we celebrate thanksgiving.

I have so much to be thankful for – my God, my tribe, my home, my family, my friends, that miracle horse, our dog who narrowly escaped with her life a couple of days ago, and our too many cats.

We are home, we are safe, we are loved. That is a perfect recipe for happiness.

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happiness

The Family United

We had our family thanksgiving meal tonight. I think my Thanksgiving curse has finally been lifted as this was the best Thanksgiving I have had in years.

During our prayer my uncle gave thanks for us being a family united – both together and in God. There were several moments tonight where I looked around the table and was filled with gratitude for the people sitting there. This tribe is so unique, so powerful, so loving. I don’t know how it is I ended up being part of it, but I thank God for that every second of every day. It was such a blessing to sit with people who all know each other so well. We are aware that we aren’t perfect, that we are full of flaws, but that we are also full of love and that love always wins. True, unconditional love. A perfect happiness moment.

I sat beside the other lefty – my giggle partner. One of my other cousins said one of our trigger words from The Frantics and we melted down in uncontrollable laughter. Of course, no one else understood what we were laughing about and we couldn’t even stop to breathe forget explain. I was crying, her stomach was hurting – and we kept laughing. All it took was one look at each other at the mention of that word and we lost it. We pretty much have our own secret giggle language which guarantees that we have fun at any get together. That is laughter and happiness.

We had a visitor come to the window right before we ate. It gave a perfect evening an even better Thanksgiving feel.

 

I have so much to be grateful for – we are surrounded by this amazing tribe of strong, loving people and I would not want it any other way. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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happiness

From the East

Our thanksgiving family time has started with a visit from my cousin on my dad’s side. Because they grew up in Ontario and we are in Alberta I didn’t get to see any of my dad’s relatives as often as we all would have liked – yet that bond is still there and so strong. Losing my dad last year seemed to have brought us even closer together as we realize how small the miles can become and how short the time is.

We caught up on what everyone is doing and spent a lot of time talking about a cousin who has been having some health challenges lately. I am thankful for him that he has this awesome support system built in around him and that the treatments seem to be helping out. It’s just another reminder of how lucky I am to be in this tribe, and how important it is that we really stop and love each other. I don’t think at the end of the day much else is going to matter to me besides the people who I loved.

Happiness – sitting in the kitchen (where all good visiting happens) and catching up with my cousin. Here’s to the beginning of a great thanksgiving weekend.

 

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happiness

Never Broken

Thanksgiving brings up so many emotions for me. It used to be one of my favourite family gathering holidays. Then our family imploded on a Thanksgiving a few years ago and it was never the same for the kids and me again. Last year I explored the fact that what had seemed like a tragedy was in fact a gift – the beginning of a new, happier, stronger life. Still, there are these weird emotions that are attached to this weekend.

This year though, we are once again surrounded by friends and family. We are having a big meal at our place, in the kitchen where family has gathered for generations. There will be love and laughter filling our home and I am looking forward to that.

I have been exploring my feelings about being broken. I felt like I was completely shattered for so long I wondered if I would ever heal. Lately though, I have realized that I have healed so much more than I ever thought I would. I have healed enough that the idea of continuing to be broken feels impossible. I keep thinking of the line from the Casting Crowns your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place. This year has been about that. Every change has lead to something better, to more healing happening, to me realizing that I was never broken.

I listened to some Jann Arden today while I was driving in the first snow of the year. Because we lived in the States for so many years, I missed a lot of her newer songs. I fell in love with her song You Love Me Back. How have I never heard that one before? It’s so happy it made me feel good just listening to it. But, then I heard You Were Never Broken.

I’ve struggled so much in my life with letting go. It’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve understood how important it is to let some people go from my life. And I’ve also understood that sometimes with that comes burning bridges (sometimes with people still on them), and that that is ok. I have finally understood that it’s only by letting go that I can make room for the new and better things that are waiting to come into my life.

I think this year I am finally ready to embrace that gift that was given to me on that Thanksgiving years ago. It made me change every single thing about my life. It’s been a long and very difficult climb, but I feel like I am out of the darkness. The profound happiness moment that this brings is almost impossible to describe, but it fills me with intense gratitude- perfect for Thanksgiving.

 

Never Broken – Jann Arden

Leave them all behind
Everyone that hurt you
Leave them on the road
Let them get run over
Nobody can stop you
You were never broken
You were only hoping it would end

Keep your body well
Drink in lots of water
Always look ahead
Don’t you wait for nothin’
Nobody can stop you
You were never broken
You were only hopin’ for a friend

All they want is for you to fail
You wont be defeated
Just stand on that mountain
You look down at the valley
Every step you’ve taken
Nobody can stop you
You were never broken
You were always holding out for this

 

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Our Lady Guadalupe

I was feeling a little down this afternoon when I headed out for my walk. I’m overtired which always makes my emotions feel that much more intense (and makes me that much more unable to deal with them).

One thing I have learned over this past year is that it is always possible to find happiness in each and every moment. The kicker is to remember to allow it and to look for it. I’ve had some pretty crappy things happen in 2015 and still, every day I sat down and thought about at least one moment that made me happy and left me feeling grateful in that day.

With that in mind but still carrying a little woe is me, I went for my walk around Old Town Albuquerque. It seems every time I explore there’s another little side walkway that I have not noticed before. This time I turned at a sign for a museum and instead ended up at the doorway of a small church. 

It was like God guided me here to remind me that He’s always there holding my hand. I needed that little reminder of love and support. I felt my heart lift and lighten as I walked in the doorway.  

Inside was this beautiful mural. I stood and looked at it for quite a while (I may have also cried in front of it for a bit, whatever. I thought I was done public crying at the end of 2015 but apparently that’s not the case). It made me feel so loved and warm and cared for just standing in this small but holy space.

  

Off to the side there was a small chapel and I walked to the front and stood at the cross and prayed for a little while. Mostly I just gave thanks for all of the blessings I have in my life. I have two beautiful children who make my world complete, I have a wonderfully strong and supportive family, I have friends who hold me up and laugh with me, I have that dog and those cats who fill my heart. I am a blessedly lucky person with all of the things that bring me joy and happiness.

Sometimes I just need that quiet space to remember how happy I am. I am so thankful I was guided into this little church. It was my happiness moment today.

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A thanksgiving jar full of gratitude 

We are finishing off our thanksgiving weekend in a blissful turkey and pumpkin pie coma. 

I am so happy that our first thanksgiving back, Jennas first one in Alberta, and our first one without Dad was such a raging success. There are holes in my heart from the sorrow of losing Dad, but I also feel like my heart grew four times bigger with joy, love, and happiness because we are able to spend time with our loved ones. 

Tonight’s part deux thanksgiving supper was another throw back to old times and was held at my aunt and uncle’s place. The only difference being this time I was seated at the adults table (usually I snag a seat at the kids table. It’s where all the fun happens). It worked well until the usual political discussion got heated, and then a couple of us vacated the room to make tea. It took a long time to make that tea. 

We laughed, we shared, we were together. It’s been a long time since we have had our family to be together like this with. Not a rushed visit, but a simple drive over to visit. Something to be thankful for. 

The entire day was one of focused gratitude. I woke up to this: 

  
Just in case there is ever any question as to whether or not I have things to be grateful for, the Universe gifted me with this breathtaking view from my home. 

I spent the day with my tribe, loving the fact that my kids are becoming such a comfortable part of this wonderful extended family we have. 

I finished the day with the kids and I starting a new thanksgiving tradition. We decided a few days ago that it would be a good thing this year to write down at least one thing we are thankful for and put it in a jar. We will keep the jar and add to it every year. That way we will have a record as time goes by of all the things we have brought as gratitude to thanksgiving. It was time to bring some new life to thanksgiving and we believe this will be an excellent way to do that. 

It was a big happiness day today. A whole day of gratitude and happiness. I am blessed. Happy thanksgiving everyone. 

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