happiness

The season of giving and receiving

Christmas time is almost here and although it’s my favorite time of the year, it’s also one of the most stressful times for many people – and for many different reasons.

Family and finances are probably two that top many peoples’ lists. I go into this season with anxiety about both.

However I’m also aware that the family and financial issues I’m stressing about I can’t do anything about. It’s a good lesson in practicing the art of letting go and trusting God.

I have noticed that many people are struggling and stressing about what they are expected to give to each other. Interesting that when giving should be a joyful experience that comes from the heart, it actually causes us heartache.

This year as I head into Christmas that’s actually not one of my stresses. Sure I’m not happy with my financial situation – in the ideal world the 30k that Mr X owes us would be in my bank account and I would have the security knowing I can provide for my kids. But, honestly, that’s a giving issue on his end. I can’t change that until the system in the states comes after him.

This year, knowing there isn’t a lot extra for things and stuff, our focus is much more on family. And at the end of it all, the relationships I have with my loved ones are so much more important.

I have learned a very valuable lesson this year. I grew up in a family who gave – they gave to friends and family, they gave to strangers, they gave to each other. They still do. For years I lived in the family I created in an environment where there was never enough to give We were always lacking. Even though we had lots of nice things, there was never enough. We couldn’t give because that meant people were taking from us. Not healthy.

I have found that giving to someone when I am at my lowest brings me more joy than I would have ever imagined.

The flip side of that is receiving which, it turns out, can be extremely difficult. This summer when I broke my shoulder I had to learn how to receive the gifts of others. I was hugely resistant to that and I had to explore why. It was like I felt weak and incapable because I needed to accept help. The thing is, I was weak and incapable and I did need help. Not one single person who helped me out ever made me feel like a burden. And I’ve never judged anyone I’ve helped out either. Yet it’s incredibly difficult to do – to say yes I need your help. Thank you.

We fight for our independence and feel successful when we do things on our own. Yet like the waves on the ocean we are all connected. We need each other. We need to give and we need to receive.

This morning when I got home from dropping the kids at school I noticed the girl had left her lunch. I texted the kids and my boy – without skipping a beat – offered his lunch to his sister so she wouldn’t have to go without.

I am so proud of those two my heart feels like singing. That is happiness.

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happiness

Focus on the family

Last evening, after the family party at my aunt’s place, extended family/neighbors ended up visiting mom at the same time we were there.

I remember talking to them years ago about their kids (who are now in their 30s), and he said that they didn’t do a lot of sleepovers or camps because they wanted to do things together as a family. That has stuck with me as I’ve been raising my kids. They do things with friends, but I’ve always tried to put a lot of emphasis on family time.

Last night we were talking about the community, the family, and getting older. We all agreed that getting older sucked more than we had thought, but also that it was lonelier than it had been in previous generations.

He said focus used to be on family and on the community. Now you are supposed to always be doing something outside of the home, when before it used to be important to do things at home with your family.

That is IT That’s the secret. We need to be spending more time building love bridges with our people and less time feeding our egos.

I’ve been thinking about that all day – as I worked with a family friend, as I played with my horse, as I chatted with a cousin, as I visited with my mom, and as I came home to the happy chatter of my kids.

It’s all about the tribe. It’s all about love and the relationships we build.

So in my childhood this man used to pull me out of stupid situations I’d get into with my horse (oh too many of them), and now he offers these little gems of wisdom. And both he and his wife walk the talk. They are two of the kindest people I know.

Happiness ❤️

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happiness

Shortbread cookies

My great aunt had her birthday party today. Twice a year her family hosts big community/family parties and they have become important hubs that pull the family together. Life has changed, it has become busier and we don’t always take the time we should to spend with our loved ones. This gives us an opportunity to do just that and I’m very grateful for that.

We visited, we laughed, we ate (omg the shortbread cookies at that house are to die for), and I even got a winter hat out of it!

It was fantastic. We are so lucky we are part of this tribe. Happiness.

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happiness

Love can build a bridge

I had the most touching moment as I was sitting with my mom tonight. As I was sitting there thinking what an honour it is to be her daughter, to be there with her, I had that old Judd’s song play through my mind.

I’d gladly walk across the desert

With no shoes upon my feet

To share with you the last bite

Of bread i had to eat

I would swim out to save you

In your sea of broken dreams

When all your hopes are sinkin’

Let me show you what love means

Love can build a bridge

Between your heart and mine

Love can build a bridge

Don’t you think it’s time?

Don’t you think it’s time?

I would whisper love so loudly, every heart could understand

Love and only love can join the tribes of man not trials

I would give my heart’s desire so that you might see

The first step is to realize that it all begins with you and me.

Love can build a bridge

Between your heart and mine

Love can build a bridge

Don’t you think it’s time?

Don’t you think it’s time?

When we stand together, it’s our finest hour

We can do anything, anything

We’re believing in the power

Love can build a bridge

Between your heart and mine

Love can build a bridge

Don’t you think it’s time?

Don’t you think it’s time?

Love can build a bridge

Between your heart and mine

Love can build a bridge

Don’t you think it’s time?

Don’t you think it’s time?

Love will overcome everything. It is the most powerful force in our lives, it is stronger than fear or hate. We should all be building bridges of love. I find this brings me a lot of peace. Thank goodness for my tribe – we are all building that bridge together. That is happiness.

Don’t you think it’s time?

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happiness

Handbells

Tonight we went to my old elementary school and watched the Christmas concert put on by my cousin. I’ve been trying to get to this concert for a couple of years now so it was well overdue

What a great concert she put on. The kids were all so well behaved and their performances were amazing. The parents were swaying in their seats and waving proudly at their kids.

It was an honor to be there to watch it.

And at the end we got to help put away the handbells. Handbells was my favorite part of elementary school and it was really fun to give the bells a little ring as I stood in the gym where I stood 40 years ago ringing handbells.

Being grounded and rooted – that is happiness.

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