happiness

Crocuses and memories

Yesterday my aunt headed home to be with Jesus. Although I will miss her here, she was a woman who held true to her faith and I know she was welcomed with open arms.

When we were kids, my cousin and I would go spend a week or so in the summer at my aunt and uncle’s farm, splitting our time between VBS and scaring the crap out of ourselves with whatever fun things we could find to get into. Sometimes our cousins would take us to the nearby “haunted house”, once we found a two headed grasshopper, but a lot of our time was spent playing in the yard and generally enjoying ourselves.

When I went away to school, my aunt sent me cards regularly so that I wouldn’t feel too lonely. She even came once and took me out for lunch which meant so much to me (I really was lonely).

After Grandma died, we were all sitting in the kitchen when my aunt returned from a walk in the field. It was early April, but she had found some crocuses growing in the field and brought them into the house. It seemed very fitting to have there for Grandma, but it also seemed fitting that my aunt would have gone out and found something that provided us all with a bit of comfort when we were all sad.

For some reason, after everyone left, I grabbed those crocuses and dried them in one of my books. The crocuses came with me as we moved around, and every once in a while I would open the book and look at that memory of love from home.

I opened the book at Christmas time and again looked at the crocuses with so much gratitude that we were back in the same home where they had sat in their vase (actually, in our home crocuses always go in a small juice glass), steps away from the field that had grown them. Grandma will be gone 17 years this spring, and it’s always amazed me that these crocuses held their shape. This time, though, the crocuses were disintegrating and as soon as I touched them they crumbled into little pieces.

It was like they knew they’d done their job well and were ready to go. Hopefully they’re a centrepiece at a beautiful tea table in heaven.

Love lasts for eternity. Everything else is noise.

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happiness

Little Abu

We had a health emergency with little Abu yesterday that put us all in a small state of panic (she’s going to be ok). Abu is Aladdin’s sister and littermate, they lived together with their mom in the abandoned house before they were rescued, to say she was bonded to him is an understatement.

Man, it was hard taking her to the same clinic where we let Aladdin go to his happy hunting grounds, I cried during her intake.

But you know, little Abu is a trooper. Besides the emergency, it turns out she’s in great health, and she won over the hearts of the kind people looking after her.

Abu may not have bonded with the other cats quite the way I’d have thought, she didn’t really need to since she had Aladdin. But, she has developed a strong bond with her two giant canine friends. I think they knew something was up because they both spent some extra time with her yesterday. It’s quite cute to see this little round ball of cat fur all curled up beside one of her dog friends.

The power of love is quite incredible. Us humans love Abu to bits, but our animals have these profound relationships with each other that I learn so much from.

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happiness

The Next 50 years

Yesterday I marked a half century on this planet. Incredible to me since I’m still trying to figure out how to be an adult, but there you have it.

Seriously though, I am so grateful to be here, to be healthy, and to be finally figuring myself out and learning to let crap go and enjoy life. I’m actually very happy to be 50.

I was reminded of how loved I am yesterday. Birthdays are the best day to be on Facebook for all the wonderful messages. My sister levelled it up one and had friends and family send her letters for me to read which melted my heart (and made me cry a little bit). She and her family also gave me a little robot, and once I figure out how to get it running (old age problems haha), I will be terrorizing my pets with it.

The girl made me a beautiful pendant out of rose quartz. The boy made me his (getting) famous Beef Wellington. A cousin stopped by with “holy crap you’re 50” signs and a present and some flowers. I had a lovely text chat with an aunt, and one today with a “lifer” friend (as she puts it).

I am so grateful for this life. I’ve promised myself that in this next chapter I will be the author of my own story. And I’m excited to write it.

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happiness

Staying connected

It seems that often in the darkest of times we see the most beautiful rays of light. People are calling each other and checking in. People are using Facetime and Skype to visit and catch up. We are able to spend more time with our families if we live with them, or virtually if we are not.

Of course, this is a more dangerous time if you’re living in a house that was unsafe to begin with and I am mindful to say prayers for those people often.

I’ve got a cousin who is on lockdown in Rome with her family, and over the last few days we’ve been sending videos back and forth instead of texts. All pride goes to the side as we stop caring how our hair looks or what we are wearing, and just send our faces and voices back and forth sharing little moments of our lives.

That human connection is important, and while we may feel isolated in our homes we are so lucky that we have other ways of communicating with each other and we need to take advantage of that.

As an introvert I often find going out of my way to socialize uncomfortable, but I’m discovering that for my extraverted friends being forced to stay at home is the same level of discomfort I experience at loud parties or busy places. These extraverts in my life I’ve allowed to “adopt” me and look after me in stressful busy life situations, and I feel now that it’s the job of us introverts to adopt our extraverted friends and show them how we live life on the inside.

I love all of you, my friends and family. I’m so gratfeful to have a strong circle of love support.

Everything will be ok ❤️

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happiness

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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happiness

It’s genetics

I’ve really been missing my parents lately, I find the season change seems to make grief reappear in ways that are just as raw as at the beginning. Grief is not at all like how I expected it to be, it’s not something you get over, more something you learn to live with.

I was looking through some old photos and came across one from when my family came to visit us in Roanoke the first Christmas we were there. One day we all went out for lunch and then walked the streets of Salem window shopping. I was walking behind the family when I noticed my dad and my son doing the exact same walk.

It’s a photo we’ve talked about often, but one I hadn’t been able to find. My dad meant a lot to my boy, he was his role model and father figure, and it broke my boy’s heart that dad died right after we moved home.

But I see my dad in my son all the time, they’ve got the same build, the same mannerism, and the same insane sense of humour.

Those genetics are strong.

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happiness

Laughs and love

We had supper with my cousin and her husband tonight. It’s such an easy friendship to have with someone I’ve known my whole life – all my cousins are such a gift in my life.

I was really grateful for a few hours of laughter and sharing stories. We get so caught up in the day to day that often one forgets how important it is to maintain friendships and to enjoy the moment.

I had a good friend remind me today how vital it is to focus on the present moment instead of stressing about the past or the future.

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happiness

Italians, birthdays, and laughs oh my

We had a big family supper celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. My cousins have always been like extra siblings and I’m constantly grateful for the bonds we share. I laughed so hard my tummy hurts, and ate so much it could burst.

That’s what a tribe is. A big group of people who can fold in together and just love each other.

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happiness

Laugh like you’re a kid

We had an awesome family fun day at the creek today. It’s one of my favorite places in the world to be, and I got to be there with the people I love.

And things like this happened

The girl and I went on an off-roading version of this that had me laughing for a good 20 minutes straight.

Not just happiness, but fun too!

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happiness

Stampede breakfast 2019

Out community hall had its annual stampede breakfast this morning. It was the third year the kids and I helped (since I’m a board member) and it is more enjoyable every year.

This year for the first time we had a dunk tank to raise money for the hall and it was a huge success. Some very good sports volunteered to be dunked in less than ideal weather which was greatly appreciated.

I love our community. I’m so grateful we are back home.

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