About Me

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I am the working mother of two little minions, just on a new adventure in another province away from my seaside home trying desperately to solve life's many riddles and find inner peace despite all the chaos...and when all else fails there's always wine.

Friday, December 30, 2016

2017......A YEAR FULL OF EVERYTHING

Too often we find ourselves writing very specific lists of goals and aspirations, some attainable, some absolutely impossible.  Resolutions like....I want to lose 10 pounds, I want to keep my kitchen cleaner, I want to eat more leafy greens, read more, wear clean socks more often, remember the kids' library days, swear less......(those that know me well know I have given up on swearing less....also on remembering library days)

I find that beyond the rigid, detailed lists, I personally need a broader, more universal mandate; a blanket to cover all the lists I make for the coming year and all the lists I will continue to obsessively make during the coming year.

Honestly, 2016 wasn't the worst year for me; it was another tough one for sure, full of life lessons, stresses, and challenges, but it was also full of lots of good memories, steps forward, revelations, and laughter.  It was a tough year for many, with lost loved ones, personal and professional trials and tribulations and just a general gauntlet of obstacles to overcome and put behind us.  Which is why 2016 is a year that many are quite ecstatically happy to see fading into the horizon. (Seriously have there ever been more memes about a given year being just the worst?)

2017 however....oh there is hope for 2017....all the hope for 2017. Many horoscopes and all that jazz point toward 2017 as having the potential to be one of the best years to come along in quite awhile (depending on your sign...for those who this does not apply to, I deeply apologize and wish you all the best). Good lord, lets hope all those star reading, philosophizing, horoscope writing hopefuls are correct!

And so, in honour of the passing of 2016 and the impending birth of 2017...here is my mission statement...here is my mandate....here is my solemn promise to myself, the coming year, and the unwritten that stretches before me....


Dear 2017,

 - I promise to try so much harder not to let fear have a voice in my decisions, emotions, reactions or creativity.
 - I will move without hesitation toward joy and hope and love and possibility.
 - I will let go of all of the things that are holding me back from the life that is meant for me and I will fiercely embrace the unknown with passionate curiousity and faith in the universal energy around me.
 - I will vow to follow my bliss; to cherish little things and celebrate big things in every way possible.
 - I will become an active author of my own story and will strive to write a life that intoxicates me with its richness, challenges and beauty, whatever that may look like.
 - I will fall in love with everything.
 - I will believe big and dream bigger.
 - I will forgive myself and bestow upon myself and my own thoughts the kindness that I strive to show others.
 - I will smile and laugh and dance and breathe; deep inhalations of this 'all things are possible' existence.
  - I will aim to have all sorts of adventures, in the aisles of grocery stores, on city streets, in unexpected moments and planned, fleeting excursions.
 - I vow to be pained less by my past and to work on denying its echos to carry forward any further into my future.
 - I will reach for new experiences in both my environment and in the people my story finds itself blending into my plot line.
 - I will give more and allow myself to be open to receiving more.
 - I will consume my own existence with a hunger I have yet to have the courage or the readiness to allow myself to embrace.
 - I will strive to set my world on fire, whether it be with quiet, heartwarming embers or vivid, full, vibrantly fanned flames.
 - I will believe in magic and fate and serendipity while simultaneously facing my life with a determination and vigor that has lay dormant for all too long.
 - I will rest when I need rest
 - I will forgive my own imperfections
 - I will let go of pain and expectation and fear and anger and worry and I will, as much as I can, focus on the fact that every breath, every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year is a blessed chance at an entirely brand new world of hope, humour, health and happiness.

I believe in you 2017....I believe in me....I believe....2017.....I am ready for you.

With much love,

Me

To all of you reading this and not reading this, may 2017 be a very, very good year for you and may all your missions and mandates and resolutions come true.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS

I have not even finished reading this book yet I feel compelled to urge you to go get it  and read it immediately.
 
The first thing and really the only other thing I have read by Cheryl Strayed was her epic memoir "Wild."  And while her story was very different from my own what I overwhelmingly appreciated was her emotional journey of healing and the process she went through with time, experience, challenges and solitude to arrive at both an understanding of herself and her circumstances.
 
I have been picking up and putting down "Tiny Beautiful Things," for some time but the other day I was hit by an intense need to finally get a copy and see what Dear Sugar (Cheryl Strayed) had to say about life and love. 
 
It was not at all what I expected and yet everything I should have expected from her.
 
The letters between these pages are heartbreaking and profound and on several occasions have moved me to tears.  Cheryl's replies are even more moving. They are heartfelt, intelligent, compassionate and simultaneously brutally and gently honest.
 
While the actual circumstances of each letter writer will not necessarily match up entirely with our own stories, in each we find something to relate to, something that resonates with our own selves, be it pain, fear, confusion or sadness. And in Cheryl's varied responses you will find either mountains or tiny bites of wisdom depending on how each story echoes within you.
 
At the core of the replies I believe there is a single universal truth....
 
in reaching for the advice of another, we either are truly lost and do not know what to do  or we know exactly what to do but don't want to, don't know how or aren't ready to do it.
 
Cheryl's answers reflect this truth and her words will resonate with you, that I promise you.
 
In reading the stories of others who's troubles and struggles are either like our own or nothing like them at all, I think we can all find some comfort in the simple knowledge that we are all of us, just tiny, little boats, on the same great, big intimidating ocean, trying to do the work to find our way home.
 
 
Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book so far....
 
 
"Nobody can intervene to make things right and nobody will. Nobody can take it back with silence or push it away with words. Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can't cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It's just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal."
 
"Trusting yourself means living out what you already know to be true"
 
"The only way you'll find out if you 'have it in you' is to get to work and see if you do"
 
"The reality is that, regardless of the circumstances, most moms are alternately blissed out by their love for their children and utterly overwhelmed by the spectacular amount of sacrifice they require"
 
"You don't have to move fast or far. You can go just an inch. You can mark your progress breath by breath"
 
"Acceptance asks only that you embrace what's true"
 
"Accept that this experience taught you something that you didn't want to know. Accept that sorrow and strife are a part of even a joyful life. Accept that someday what pains you will surely pain you less"
 
"When it comes down to it you must trust your truest truth even though there are other truths running along side it"
 
"If' there's one thing I believe more than I believe anything else, its that you can't fake the core. The truth that lives there will eventually win out. It's a god we must obey, a force that brings us all inevitably to our knees"
 
 
I would love to hear which words resonate with you and whether or not you love this book as much as I already do...I truly believe you will.
 



Monday, October 3, 2016

YOU'RE AMAZING

It's words we may be blessed enough to hear from friends, family and loved ones but the person we don't hear it from enough, is ourselves....so today, right now, this is me, being you, because, you're basically me, and I'm basically you, and we're all going through some of the same shit in different ways on different days but.....YOU ARE AMAZING

If everyday you get your butt out of bed and you plod through the day fiercely focused on loving your children and doing everything you can with every resource, whether its financial, mental, emotional or physical, that you have in that given moment (which is the best any of us can ever do) then you are succeeding.  Your success as a parent is not measured by whether or not you get all the laundry folded or hell, if it even makes it into the dryer before it gets what I'm told (cause I have no sense of smell), is that musty stench. It is not measured in the amount of homemade baking you can get done while you separate fights over pokemon cards, nor is it measured by the height of your lawn or streak free mirrors. It is not measured by whether or not the lunches you send to school are Pinterest worthy (I constantly refer to lunches as "stuff the dog will likely get to eat tomorrow).  It is not measured by whether or not you remembered to fill out the 50lbs of paperwork and forms the school sent home with a very short turn around mandate, nor is it measured by the lack of pet hair on your carpet, the socks all perfectly matched, your ability to buy brand name clothing, the yard work done, the microwave splatter free, the library books returned on time, how many toys you buy them, how many movies you take them to, the clothes stain free, the hair perfectly brushed, cavity free mouths, messless houses, tear free days, or having everything and everyone in perfect order....

Tell me this?  Do you love your children? Do you make every effort to provide for them in every way you can? Do you hug them and tell them you love them, and speak to them with kindness in your heart and your words? Do you teach them to be kind and generous and respectful and diligent? Do you do what you can to teach them the lessons that will turn them into adults you'd be proud to know? Do you nurture their spirits and their little souls by letting them be who they want to be? Do you do what you can to put smiles on their faces? Do you do what you can to protect them from getting hurt and when you can't, do you help give them the tools they need to get through it? Do you show them your love in how you treat them and converse with them and support them through all the trials of your life and theirs, despite the chaos, despite the mess, despite the stressors, despite the times when you either have very little patience left or none at all....do you hold love in your heart through it all?

I know you do. And that means you are amazing; you are succeeding.

We all have our mix of days. There are the ones we manage to get everything done; like parenting rock stars. Somehow all the chores are done, everyone is happy, there's been nothing but good news all day, you did crafts, made soup from scratch, you were on time for everything.....but those are not the norm.  Most days feel like you have to walk across hot coals, whilst fending off birds of prey and reciting the alphabet backwards....most days are hard. You feel your patience wearing thin, you feel tears welling up in the back of your throat, you're so exhausted most of your sentences don't come out straight and the kids just stand there staring at you like you're having a stroke.  You feel like you're not going to make it. You feel like you're failing at this whole parenting thing.  Because it's hard. It's so, so, so frickin' hard, and the fact that you are still standing, means........that's right......that you're amazing.

So hear these words....know them in your soul....YOU ARE AMAZING. You really, really are. You're a guardian of the next generation of amazing people...how super cool is that?

Know that we're all struggling, we all have our good days and bad days, we all feel like we're just about to fall down sometimes, but we won't.  Because we love our children with everything we have within ourselves and we won't fail them.  We may run out of milk, and dog food, and not be able to get those hot chocolate stains out of the carpet, or cut the toast into the right shapes, or be able to find a single pair of clean underpants for anyone in the house, when we're already 20 minutes late for work......but we won't fail them.

You're amazing.  Tell yourself that everyday.....and on days you can't.....I will.

Love to you all and keep up the amazing work.

"Relinquishing the delusional hope that we can or must be flawless - allows us to seek happiness in the only place it can be found: our real, messy, imperfect experience" - Martha Beck

Thursday, May 26, 2016

THE HEART OF AN ISLAND


When I was 19 I took part in the Miss Powell River, Youth Ambassador Pageant.  Seems like forever ago, maybe because it was.  It was an amazing experience where I made lifelong friendships, become a Spark Leader as my volunteer service, came in first runner up in a speech competition which forever cemented my comfort with speaking in public, laughed, danced, adventured….it was amazing.  I owe that experience to Dan and Marian Devita and the Texada Island Inn.   I remember at the end of the final performance night, Dan and Marian came back stage to congratulate me and give me a hug.  Dan said “we’re really proud of you, would you like a job?” I practically burst into tears.

And so I ventured into becoming a part of the storied history of that place; a place where you could set your watch by the people who walked through the door.  Ed Johanson, who never said too many words but always had the warmest smile and would stand at the counter for half an hour if he had to, just to put exact change for one coffee, directly into my hand.  Don and Ollie Wise; you always knew it was almost the end of your day shift, when they walked through the door.  Don always looked at Ollie like he owned all the love in the universe. She, frail and fragile like a flower on its last legs, would demand one scoop of ice-cream in her coffee.  When I finally learned to tease her back I used to say “I’ll get it when I get around to it.” One day she came in at the usual time, called me over and put something in my hand. I looked down at a little piece of round wood that said “to it” on it.  “What’s this?” I asked her.  “Well,” she replied with a sly smile on her face…. “Now you finally have a round ‘to it’ ” I still have my round “to-it”.

I recall the people I worked with, some no longer with us, like Dianne Smith who taught me how to make ham and split pea soup, Penny Woodhead who, well, she was a sweetheart, who taught me how to make handprints in sandwiches and Cimery, the only Amazon queen I’ve ever met in real life.  Everybody had their own stories, their own recipes, and their own families that came and went throughout the days and nights as we all served plates and coffee and laughs together.  I became part of a family; a little family that served the larger family of our island.  

The place was brimming over with memories. Not just mine but everyone’s.  It was where uncountable birthdays, retirements, anniversaries, parties, and special occasions were marked.  It was where, in our youth we crawled in, hungover as hell, to recover over deep-fried hash browns and eggs before crawling back out to the beach to lie motionless while the breakfast worked its magic.  It was where you danced even if there wasn’t another single person in the bar and when it was packed elbow to elbow. It was where whoever was cooking, 9 times out 10 could start making your order the minute they saw your face.  It was where you could order “white sauce” and they’d know what you were talking about.  It was where you had to cook a million potatoes for Saturday Steak Lunch because the whole island showed up for it. It was where so many stories were told, by generations, early in the morning until the doors closed late at night. It was where faces were always familiar, which is no small thing, as I now know, living in a city where seeing a face more than once is a small miracle. It was familiar and it was home. For so many of us; it was home.

For Dan and Marian and their family it was home and they shared it will all of us in such a huge way.  Their generosity knew no bounds. Whether it was sponsoring or supporting every single island event, hosting parties, picking up boaters, providing safe rides home, being there for their staff and patrons, their openhandedness had no limits.  The Texada Island Inn became our island’s heart and Dan and Marian were and are the life force that kept that heart beating.

The Inn had an irreplaceable patina on it.  It was made of stories, and laughter, and tears and memories, and history. The history of the people that worked there, lived there, and moved through there.  And that patina, while irreplaceable, will never really be gone, for it lives in all our hearts and minds and will always be carried with us wherever we go….even if it’s to Calgary, Alberta….where trust me…you cannot order white sauce.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

A LETTER TO YOURSELF

We are always looking outside of ourselves for solutions, for a saviour, a hero, a miracle, and on and on. We place so much emphasis on what the world and everyone in it can do to save us that sometimes we forget that we can save ourselves.  Moreover we fill ourselves up with caring for and worrying about and saving everyone else around us that we love that at the end of the day we forget that there is only one soul that you are responsible for....yours. At the end of the day there is only one person responsible for your soul....you. 

Once you realize that you and you alone are responsible for your soul and its safe keeping, what will you do about it?

Make it a promise.....write it a letter.....write yourself a letter.

One night, some time ago,  journal in hand, I wrote this letter to myself.  From time to time I read it. Sometimes I write a new note to myself, a new promise, a new intention, sometimes I just simply say "thank you".  

Dear Me,

I promise to watch over you. I promise to pick you up and carry you when you feel like you can't go on. It's okay when you are not okay. It's okay if you do not know what to do, If you don't know how to feel, if you don't know what to say.  I promise to love you, always.  I will hold you when no one else is there to. I will be patient with you, I will always understand you, I will let my light shine for you when you feel like you have no light on you or when you feel like you have no light at all. I will make you laugh when you want to cry and I will sit with you and hold your hand when the tears come anyway.  I will stand up for you when you are afraid to stand up for yourself. I will do everything I can to calm you when your fears are raging, when your heart and your thoughts are racing.  I will search out happiness for you and I will lead you in that direction; I will show you how to get there, even if you think its not possible.  I will remind you of your worth, of your worthiness as a beautiful star in this life, as we all are.  You are stardust; you are made of time and history and the future.  I promise to remind you of that all the time. I promise to lead you to joy.  I promise to move you away from pain. I promise to never let in hate, to never let in the insincerity of hatred, to never let in the darkness of another, to never, ever, ever, allow you to forget that you deserve to be safe in every way. I will remind you that you deserve peace and to be at rest; home in yourself.  I will love you and be here for you always, always, always, and always some more.

Love from Me

If we cannot be honest with ourselves to ourselves, how do we meet the world with honesty? How do we share ourselves with others? Start with yourself, get honest with yourself....

What would your letter to yourself look like?  If no one would ever see it, if it was just from you to you, what would you say? And if it is what your soul has to say, why would you not let your soul say it?

Write it...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

REMEMBER THE HEART

It is that time of year again when the poppies, the crosses, the sacrifices, and the memories are in the forefront of our vision and our minds.  We think of loved ones lost and family that served over the years. We think of people we know of or hear of that are still serving. We think of and reflect on the sacrifices that seemed to make sense to all, the "clean wars" and those that inspire constant political debate on whether or not they were right or wrong. The truth is war, conflict, violence, never makes sense. Whether necessary or not, there is so much in it and that spirals from it that never, ever makes sense.  We may not all agree on whether or not certain conflicts, occupations, peace keeping missions etc. were right or wrong but I believe that there is always a part of it that can bring cohesion; that ties us all together on this day. 

People are brave. 

I'm not talking just about going into a battle, running full force toward and away from fear. While courage in the face of fear is bravery, there is far more bravery that should be remembered than that; something larger, something all encompassing. 

This morning I was thinking about how all those that serve are just everyday people like you and me. They are just people who want to have a cold beer after work, or sleep in on a stormy day. Who want to draw or paint, or run, eat good food, watch a new movie, laugh, dance, cut their grass, play with their children, fall in love, read, climb mountains, sit by fires with friends, drink wine, go fishing, go for long walks, play with their dog, listen to music, go for coffee, play hockey on a pond in winter, sit on a park bench, tell bad jokes, watch the sunrise and watch it set. There is a million things a million people want to do. We all just want to live simple, lovely, enjoyable lives.  To serve is to give that up for a time, and for some to give it up forever. That, to me, is incredibly brave; that is a real sacrifice that should be respected and honoured. We all are born with a right to happiness, contentment and joy; many have and will continue to sacrifice that right.

Let us also remember that it is not just those that serve that have sacrificed. Let us not forget the bravery of those left behind; of all of those who support from the edges and yet are still in the middle of it all.  I believe we should also honour and remember all the mothers and fathers who raised children without their spouses, who bravely held down the family fort.  We should remember the brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers whose hearts ached as their loved ones fell, but bravely carried forward in their lives in honour of those lost.  Let us remember the doctors and nurses and ambulance drivers, the fundraisers, the letter writers, everyone who was there through it to do everything they could for support. Let us remember those who took over jobs and filled the vacancies of those that went away and in some cases, never came back. Let us remember friendships never forgotten, never lost, but stopped in time. Let us remember children who miss their parents or who will bravely grow up without them.

Somehow the core of it all slips away when we turn this into a political and cultural debate. We all have a right to our opinions, to our beliefs. We have a right to wear a poppy, to wear a white poppy or to not wear a poppy at all. But let us not become so engrossed in our debate, in our objections, or our arguments for either side, that we lose our respect and honour for the human heart.

Let us not debate on the right or the wrong; not on this day. We do not have to support the politics to remember. We do not have to support the violence to remember. We do not have to support war to remember. All we have to do is support the human heart. At the end of the day, to me, that is what I honour; the human heart. Because there is so very much of it in all of this remembering, all the history, all the sacrifice, all the loss; that is worth honouring today and every day.

Today whether you agree with any of it or not; honour the human heart.

 
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
 - Robert Frost

Sunday, October 11, 2015

WHAT THANKFUL LOOKS LIKE

The other day I went for a walk; just took my time, strolling down the main streets of town, relishing in the sunshine and the sights around me. People were lined up for ice cream, waiting patiently, likely mulling over the multitude of eccentric flavours the shop had to offer. Couples sat on park benches with coffee, walked small, wobbly children across the street, browsed for antiques, guitars, and cute, little knick knacks with clever verbiage like "Friends don't let friends do stupid things...alone."  Everything delighted me; I felt like I was walking through the middle of a smile.  It was a lovely, warm day, albeit windy, and the heated breeze was fiercely pushing all of the fallen and falling leaves around at my feet and around me as I walked.  I looked at those leaves, still holding onto their stunning, burnt colouring and thought to myself, "it looks like they are dancing, they seem so joyous." It was as though, on that lovely, fall day, the leaves were saying farewell. They were performing one last, little dance to say goodbye.  It is their time to go; the trees are growing more bare by the moment as the wind blows even stronger today and will surely soon bring inevitable snowflakes.

So what does all of this have to do with giving thanks? Well, my simple thought, on reflecting on what I am thankful for this morning, is that I am thankful for knowing what being thankful looks like. It is really such an easy thing to be thankful; to carry gratitude with you wherever you are and in whatever you are doing. It's about having a solid awareness that even the simplest of things, like dancing leaves are worth giving thanks for.

I grew up in a small trailer with an amazing family; a little home full of not much stuff, but a ton of love and light and laughter.  We didn't have much.  I wore hand me down clothes, we built the things we needed and grew and raised and caught the food we ate.  Even a  lot of our possessions, bikes and Barbies, came from someone else, already well loved. And so I was raised with gratitude for the generosity of others and with an appreciation for hard work, self reliance, and contentment with simplicity.

Gratitude isn't about relishing in having all of our dreams come true, or in having our lives transform into our idyllic visions of how things should be, or in getting everything or anything that we want.  It's not about looking to the sky and shouting "thank you!" when things finally go right; it is not a sometimes thing.  True gratitude is something we have to carry with us every day and have for everything and everyone.  It is about knowing that everything is worth giving thanks for. A hot shower, painting and not caring what the painting looks like - just that you are creating something, clean sheets, coffee, laughing with a stranger while you're stuck in a line up, getting a good nights sleep, listening to the rain, the stunning burst of happy colours in a bouquet of flowers, tears that remind you of your own heart, a pretty, little bird, the lessons in life you learn, even the hard ones, as you intentionally push forward through your own existence...... smiling at the leaves even when they are going.

So on this Thanks Giving day, I give thanks for knowing what thankful looks like. Knowing what it feels like; how it can roll around in your brain and sit in your heart.  I work on carrying that thankfulness with me beyond this day and into every day.

Thank you....