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. 

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happiness

Weeeeeeee

The kids and I were in the grocery store today after school when they began their typical song and dance bugging me for gelato. I kept saying no and Jacob responded with I’m just going to say weeeeeeeeeeeee in your ear until you say yes

This weeeeeeee that he does is in some weirdly pitched cartoon like voice that he knows drives me bananas. So he starts doing it and I get the giggles so badly I have to stop walking. It gets better when there is a softer weeeeeeeee heard from the direction of the bulk foods. Some teenage girl is answering his call. They weeeeeeeeee back and forth for quite some time while Jenna and I lean against the shelf laughing. It was a gut busting happiness moment. 

The evening was made complete  with a beautiful fall walk along the road I love so much. It is such a blessing that we are here, we are safe, we are in our tribe again. 

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Fernando

I was in the grocery store with the boy today after we discovered our cupboards were completely bare. We were walking down an aisle when I heard him singing quietly to himself. Suddenly he stopped, glared at me and announced damn you and your ABBA. I can’t believe I’m singing Fernando while I’m out in public. And I laughed and laughed. 

Then we got in the car and the playlist was still on ABBA so I put on Fernando. He looked at me and said ok, but we can’t listen to this after we pick up my friend. I told him if that was the case we better make the most of it. So we car danced and laughed so hard I had to pull over so that I could catch my breath. It was an awesome moment of happiness. 

I got another one later this evening walking with the girls. It was a beautiful sunset with an amazing full moon coming up while the sun was going down. It finished off with fireworks coming from Bragg Creek. Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I can’t believe that after all the crap we went through, we are in this happy life. 

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Back together again 

Today was a happiness day all around. Some days just feel like they start off with more happiness energy in them and this was one of them.  

Most importantly, the boy is back after a week away at his aunt’s house. He had a fabulous time and I’m happy for him, but I am glad our family is back together again. I consider the close relationship we have one of my greatest blessings. 

We celebrated with an afternoon at the creek which is always one of my happiness moments. Watching all the kids play and laugh while I visited with my friend was so relaxing. We have sorted through some heavy shit this week and it was nice to just chill for a while. Her strength and courage continues to amaze me. 


We finished the evening with a long walk – to work off the dessert we accidentally dove into. It took us well over two hours because my friend and I had to take off on the kid bikes for a race, we had to make the truckers honk their horns, and the kids had to go find the barn kittens  at my uncle’s house. Simple, silly happiness. 

What I’ve realized over this past week is I have in fact managed to create the safe, happy place that I was so desperately seeking when we moved back here. Not only that, but it’s now a strong enough space to share with others and hold them in as well. That makes me more grateful than I can describe. 

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And so I listened 

It was 25C today in Calgary – a pretty special treat for April. Jenna and I spent most of the afternoon in at the cast clinic at the Children’s Hospital and were finally given the “all clear”. She was able to remove her air cast and get rid of the crutches. She hasn’t stopped smiling yet (happiness moment #1).

When we got home this evening I decided I should grab my poor, neglected Dotted Dog and take her out for a walk. I love my walking time, and especially tonight I needed some head clearing. I walked and prayed and cried and yelled (thank goodness we are in the country and I can do such things). I asked God what it was I was supposed to be doing. I feel so helpless and upset and angry and frustrated and afraid. What am I supposed to do? Then I stood on the road and yelled at the sky (like Jenna used to yell at me when she was smaller) answer me!!! I asked you what am I supposed to do!! At least give me some kind of sign!!!

And then I kept walking, because really – what kind of sign was going to come to me on this road in the middle of nowhere?

I heard that other voice in my head (as Jacob says – you know how there’s the voice you control, and then the other voice that talks back that you don’t control – well that one) say it’s like you’ve planted a garden and you keep digging it up to see if anything’s growing. You know things can’t grow like that. And then because I’m easily distracted I missed a lot of the profoundness of that statement and started thinking about my garden and what I wanted to plant in it.

Less than 5 minutes later my cousin pulled up beside me in his truck and handed me a book “read this, it was given to me, it’s a daily devotional and it really helped me, I think it’s time to pass it on to you.” We chatted for a while – and I met his adorable puppy – and then he drove off on his way.

I walked for a couple of minutes with the book and then thought – hmmm out of nowhere I was handed a daily devotional book. Perhaps I should see what today’s reading is.

And I read God’s answer to my prayer, and so I listened….

April 18

I once believed that after I prayed, it was my responsibility to do everything in my power to bring about the answer. Yet God taught me a better way and showed me that self-effort always hinders His work. He also revealed that when I prayed and had confident trust in Him for something, He simply wanted me to wait in an attitude of praise and do only what He told me. Sitting still, doing nothing except trusting in the Lord, causes a feeling of uncertainty, and there is often a tremendous temptation to take the battle into our own hands. 

We all know how difficult it is to rescue a drowning person who tries to help his rescuer, and it is equally difficult for the Lord to fight our battles for us when we insist on trying to fight them ourselves. It is not that God will not but that he cannot, for our interference hinders His work.

Spiritual forces cannot work while we are trusting earthly forces.

Often we fail to give God an opportunity to work, not realizing that it takes time for Him to answer prayer. It takes time for God to color a rose or to grow a great oak tree. And it takes time for Him to make bread from wheat fields. He takes the soil, then grinds and softens it. He enriches it and wets it with rain showers and with dew. Then He brings the warmth of life to the small blade of grass, later grows the stalk and the amber grain, and finally provides bread for the hungry. 

All this takes time. Therefore we sow the seed, till the ground, and then wait and trust until God’s purpose has been fulfilled. We understand this principle when it comes to planting a field, and we need to learn the same lesson regarding our prayer life. It takes time for God to answer our prayer. (Streams in the Desert for Graduates by LB Cowman)

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Just be held 

I’ve spent so much time being his broken object that I forgot I was His beloved child. 

Last night my sister sent me YouTube link to the song Just Be Held by Casting Crowns and told me I needed to listen to it (lyrics are at the end of the post). She was right, I’ve been listening to it pretty much non stop since. 

I’ve talked about how I was feeling overwhelmed. I also have talked about how I’ve finally let go of my fear. I kind of used my anger (and I’ve had a lot of it) to pull myself out of fear. But then I was left wondering what’s next? What will pull me out of anger?

I need to surrender to God. Much as I realized part way through the end of Dad’s journey that all I could do was love and surrender, in a different way it’s all I can do now. 

I’ve spent too much time with my eyes on the storm and not enough time with my eyes on the cross. 

I went out for my walk today and put my headphones on so I could listen to the song while I walked. I listened and prayed and cried as I travelled my beloved familiar path. 

I kept hearing your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place. 

This song brings me such comfort and makes me feel like I can begin to surrender some of my pain and uncertainty to God. 

I stood for a long time looking at the mountains asking God what I should be doing. What is His plan? What action do I need to take?

I heard just be held, just be held, just be held

I stood there crying letting God hold and comfort me. 

Then because God has a sense of humor the song suddenly switched to Baby’s going to cry by the Eurythmics. I tuned back in at the line:

Now there’s a cool breeze blowin’

Blowin’ out the flame

That used to burn inside me

At the mention of your name,

Now there’s a cool breeze blowin’

Blowin’ down the track –

That’s where I’m goin’

And I’m never comin’ back…

There is no going back. Even if there was I don’t want to. The things I’ve found out in the last couple of months (and trust me I’ve barely shared what I discovered) have let me know without a doubt it’s time to let go. 

My happiness moment was standing by the slough looking at the swans and allowing myself to Just be held

 

“Just Be Held”

Hold it all together

Everybody needs you strong

But life hits you out of nowhere

And barely leaves you holding on
And when you’re tired of fighting

Chained by your control

There’s freedom in surrender

Lay it down and let it go
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away

You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held

Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place

I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

Just be held, just be held
If your eyes are on the storm

You’ll wonder if I love you still

But if your eyes are on the cross

You’ll know I always have and I always will
And not a tear is wasted

In time, you’ll understand

I’m painting beauty with the ashes

Your life is in My hands
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away

You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held

Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place

I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

Just be held, just be held
Lift your hands, lift your eyes

In the storm is where you’ll find Me

And where you are, I’ll hold your heart

I’ll hold your heart

Come to Me, find your rest

In the arms of the God who won’t let go
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away

You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held

Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place

I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held (stop holding on and just be held)

Just be held, just be held, just be held, just be held

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Geese in the sunset

I went out for a walk this evening that turned into a bonus happiness moment. I love where I live. Tonight I felt such peace and bliss as I walked my road with my dog. I feel more secure and stable with every step I make. We are walking  into a fantastic new life. 

A sure sign of spring. Calves in the yard.   

 Cows on the hill 

 

Geese flying into the sunset  
 
This one is from last night but it was much the same tonight. God’s beauty reflected in our world. 

  

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The quiet times

Today was a beautiful day to welcome in spring. I couldn’t help but think of where I was a year ago today – both physically and emotionally – lots of big changes have happened this year. We were packed and ready to leave our lives in Roanoke, our flight home was a year ago tomorrow. Dad was in the hospital so sick, I was extremely grateful that we were getting home to spend some time with him. I had no idea how intensely emotional the upcoming year was going to be and all that it would bring for me.

It’s had a death,  devastating discoveries about betrayals in a marriage, a divorce, poverty, wealth that has come from within my soul, freedom from an emotionally abusive relationship, security of home, and the discovery that I am so much stronger and so much more together than I ever imagined.  Although it’s been difficult at times, I am grateful for the opportunity to have discovered these gifts that I can now carry with me through the rest of my life. It has made me a better friend, parent, and future partner.

While the kids had one of those golden moment afternoons where they played happily together for hours, I grabbed the dog and took her for a long walk along the ridge. I find such peace there, by the mountains, near Dad, along the trails where I used to ride my horses. It helps me to ground myself and remember what is really important to me. When I look at the things I really want in life, I have them all. Wonderful children – and close, open relationships with them, an awesome family surrounding me, weird and fantastic friends, and this crazy, happy dog (oh and the cats, don’t forget about the cats – I am one cat away from officially being the crazy cat lady). I know that as long as I keep doing the things that I love that everything is going to turn out just fine.

  

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Digging for gophers 

I was chatting with a friend this morning and at the end of our conversation he said “have a great Monday, make it count”. I have to say that stuck with me today. I was overtired because I didn’t get a good sleep, Jenna was home sick, and it was just kind of a blah start to the day. 

Make it count. Yes, every day should count. Even those blah ones. So I had a quick nap (yay), felt a bit more like myself, did some course work, had a Golden Girl marathon with the girl, walked the dog on the ridge, had an unexpected visit with my aunt, and went in to wish the kids’ grandma a happy birthday. It was a day that counted – very much so- and a good one at that. 

 The Dotted Dog had spring fever today while we were walking. It was beautiful – I didn’t even have a coat on. She ran to every single gopher hole she could find and dug like mad trying to find whatever may be hiding down deep. I love watching the joy she brings to these walks. The freedom she has here has made her so much more complete (and I can relate to that). A dirt filled happiness moment. 

  

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Walk and talk

My walking time is sacred for me. When I started walking daily in Roanoke I was a total mess. Through my walks I began to find myself again. It put me back in touch with my spirit and with Source, or God. 

I took much of the winter off from walking this year. It was cold and then really icy, but a bigger problem was that where I wanted to walk was where I used to go with Dad. 

These past couple of weeks though I’ve been drawn back to the ridge. I can’t say it’s always been a joyful experience. In fact, a lot of the time I seem to stand where we scattered Dad’s ashes and cry. But I also talk to him. I tell him what’s going on, I ask him advice, I tell him how much I miss him. I sure could use him right now. 

It’s been very healing. Not only with continuing to move through my mourning, but to accept that this divorce is a good thing for me. I stand out on the ridge and let the wind blow all my emotions away. We’ve had some good chinook winds lately, so they’re blowing away at a good speed. 

To keep me balanced, I being my dog. She has no emotions to sort through, she just runs and feels joy. Seeing how intensely she enjoyed today’s walk was my happiness moment. 

  

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