Week 20

It has been 20 weeks since I got out of my rocking chair and started getting fit for spring. It has been such a great journey, I have had no inclination to quit once spring sprang or at any other time in my foreseeable future.

As always, I noted a few improvements this week.

#1 – For the first time since I started working out, I noticed that when I am working out, I was really not struggling to breathe or to catch my breath – even on warm and humid days. That is amazing! With asthma, COPD, and bronchiectasis, I used to struggle to breathe all of the time.

#2 – My hands look younger. My blood vessels are not as noticeable. I don’t know if that is because my skin is healthier or because my collagen levels (that affect blood vessels) is better. Either way, that is cool.

#3 – My stamina has improved considerably. On Saturday, I spent the entire first half of the day working to clean up our entire yard in anticipation of a visit from my sister, her husband, and their two German Shepherds – Heidi and King.

This was after they arrived. 🤣🤣🤣. I can hear Dan out back recleaning the back patio as we speak.
Heidi appreciated the nice cool sand.
King – The first pure black German Shepherd that I have ever seen and he is GORGEOUS!
Molly and King went hard.
And rested frequently!

Dan and I had a good visit while watching our dogs carry on. Dan barbecued us a delicious steak and shrimp supper Saturday night. On Sunday, I whipped up some pancakes and bacon, Dan and Jerry went golfing, and Lorraine and I got in a good visit while keeping an eye on the canines. It was a great visit and the weather was perfect – warm, windless, and absolutely bugless!

The dogs all got along great – especially King and Molly who are both still puppies (big puppies). Heidi has quite a few good years on her and struggles with arthritis, so she was more content laying back and watching the young ‘uns.

That’s it for this week’s report. I am still working out, planning to get in some good walks with Molly, and anxious to see how far I can take this fitness program that I am on.

Take care and have a great day!💞

February 19th – Rumi

There are people who possess brilliant minds. There are also people who possess the ability to express themselves simply and comprehensively. I find it fascinating when these people are one and the same – when brilliant minded people have the ability to share their wisdom in a simple and comprehensive manner.

One such fascinating person was Rumi, a thirteenth century Persian poet, who is still sharing his wisdom with us today. (Amazingly, his wisdom is as relevant now as it was in the thirteenth century.)

A year ago, I shared a few of my favourite Rumi quotes in this blog post. Simply brilliant words of wisdom.

https://seclusion101withannemarie.com/2021/02/16/rumi/

There was one quote that has stayed with me for the past year and has had a profound effect on me and my life.

“It’s your road and yours alone, others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.” – Rumi

My first thought was ‘obviously’. We are all responsible for our own lives. We are responsible for the choices we make and we are responsible for the consequences of those choices. Others can walk with us, but it is our life and inevitably we have to ‘own it’.

But then…. I had this realization. Everyone has their own road. Not just me…. 🙄

Everyone has their own road, even the people I care about – even my sons and my daughter and my grandchildren. They have to walk their own road. Even on those occasions when I can walk it with them, I cannot walk it for them. I cannot choose the paths they take and I cannot save them from the wrong turns they will inevitably make. They have the right to walk their own roads and the responsibility to deal with the consequences – for better or worse.

It has been a few difficult years for me (parenting wise), but Rumi’s words have helped me to put things into perspective and it has made all the difference. I am on my road and have faith that those I love are on the roads that they need to be on, to ultimately get them where they need to go.

That is it for today. Take care and have a great day!💞

February 14th – Parenting 101 version 2.0

Like most parents, I thought I had a pretty decent concept of parenting while my kids were ‘kids’. The one area where I really struggled was my tendency to worry about them, much like my Mother worried about my siblings and I, and her Mother worried about her and her siblings. It is a Mother thing that is harder to overcome than most mother things, as I mentioned in a September 2020 blog post.

https://seclusion101withannemarie.com/2020/09/19/parenting-101/

My ‘little ones’
Mark, Jen & Dan with Grandma
In recenter years

My sons and my daughter are now in their fabulous forties and amazingly I have my maternal worrying somewhat under control.

It is funny how young parents worry about the terrible two’s and the terrifying teen’s. Those were too easy. Toddlers are adorable – regardless of where they are stuffing the marachino cherries and grilled cheese sandwiches. Teens are a hoot – a constant source of amusement and delightful drama.

I won’t deny it. The forties are ugly. (My mother definitely worried as I approached mine!)

I have one son who seems to be dealing fairly well – he keeps busy and has an amazing wife and family. His twenties were seriously trying, but he seems to be handling the forties.

The other son is well into his forties. He has made a lot of changes in his life in the past few years. It remains to be seen how they will go for him.

I manage to forgo the worrying for both of my sons these days, and just send them warm and fuzzy feelings on a regular basis.

I still tend to worry about my daughter (and her family). I know that is not good. Just as Jennifer is responsible for her family, for the decisions she has made and for the consequences of her decisions, I am responsible for my own mental health and well being. I am responsible for creating a happy, peaceful home for myself and my husband. I am responsible for living my best life. I raised all of my kids to the best of my abilities. There comes a time to let go and trust that they have whatever it takes to live their own best lives.

So, there you have it. As a mother, I still worry – but I am gradually getting better and I am getting better about holding myself accountable.

That’s it for today. Take care and have a great day!💞

February 9th – For the Love of Elephants

It is beautiful, warm, and sunny in Saskatchewan. 🌞 Despite the sunny skies, it is hard not to be dragged down by all of the disturbing news in our province, country, and around the globe lately – but not today! Today I am going to update a post on one of my favourite subjects and then Kat and I are heading out to clear off more of the patio.

Today I am updating a post on elephants!

https://seclusion101withannemarie.com/2020/04/26/for-the-love-of-elephants/

The herd has continued to grow slowly but surely over the past couple of years.

Super elephant isn’t really a ‘new’ addition. He just moved home to his place in the herd, from the spot he had on a shelf over my desk at work. He retired with me. 🤗

That’s it for today. Take care and have a great day!

November 30th – Letting go and Moving On

Today is November 30th, the final day of my month of WISDOM. This seems like an opportune time to source and share ‘words of wisdom‘ on letting go and moving on. Retirement was not my first go around with dealing with this concept in my life, but it has been a challenging one. I am well into the moving on stage, but there are still times when I can use some wisdom and encouragement. If you are going through a similar situation right now, I hope that these quotes will help to brighten your day and make your current path a little easier.

“When you let go you create space for something better.” – Anonymous

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” – Tao Te Ching

“Holding on is believing there’s only a past; letting go is knowing there is a future.” – Daphne Rose Kingma

“There are things we never want to let go of, people we never want to leave behind. But, keep in mind that letting go isn’t the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new life.” – Anonymous

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

“In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” – Deepak Chopra

“You will never get what you truly deserve if you are too attached to the things you are supposed to let go of.” – Anonymous

“The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.” – Steve Maraboli

I couldn’t resist closing off today’s post without this video clip. 💞

That’s it for today folks! Wherever you were, wherever you are, wherever you are going, I hope that today you are happy and hopeful. 💞

November 15th – Heartbreak

Regardless of how much we appreciate our lives here on Earth, we all experience times when our hearts are broken and our souls are shattered. I have experienced such times in my life. The death of a loved one is always hard but the most difficult for me has been the times when loved ones have deliberately destroyed that what is most important to me. That seems to be a recurring theme in my life. 🤷 Unfortunately, the only way to get through it, is to accept it and hope that everything truly does happen for a reason. It does help to know that there are others who understand and who share their ‘words of wisdom’ on grief with us.

“No matter how bad your heart is broken, the world does not stop for your grief.”

Faraz Kazi

“The shattering of a heart being broken is the loudest quiet ever.

Carroll Bryant

“I’d rather love a million times and have my heart broken every time, than hold a permanently empty heart forever.”

– H.C. Payene

“I know my heart will never be the same, but I’m telling myself I’ll be okay.”

– Sara Evans

“It is strange how often a heart must be broken, before the years can make it wise.”

– Sara Teasdale

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

– Marilyn Munroe

That is it for today, except to share our family news. Our two little ones have made their arrival. Alaska-Rose Charlize was born early Saturday morning weighing in at a whole 4lbs. 14oz. Logan Micheal was born early this morning weighing 7lbs. 8oz. Both are beautiful, perfect, and doing well. While it is a blessing that both have arrived safe and sound, it is sad and unfortunate that, since our family remains estranged, it is unlikely that they will be meeting each other anytime soon.

Take care and have a great day. 💞

November 13th – Home

A home is so much more than a building. A home should be where we feel secure, accepted and cherished. A home should be where we strive to make those we love feel secure, accepted, and cherished. Sadly, like so many important things in life right now, our homes do not get always get the respect and appreciation that they need and deserve. Just as a house will inevitably fall from years of neglect, so will homes become nothing more than jaded, faded memories, if we allow them to.

I hope that the ‘words of wisdom’ that I have to share today, will help to revive some home spirit – for the homes we are blessed with today and those that live in our memories.

“Home sweet home. This is the place to find happiness. If one doesn’t find it here, one doesn’t find it anywhere.”

– MK Soni

“Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.”

– Sarah Bon Breathmach

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”

– George A. Moore

“A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.”

– Dr. William A. Ward

“The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”

– Confucius

“Home is shelter from storms – all sorts of storms.”

– William J. Bennett

” No matter what circumstances you leave it, home does not cease to be your home. No matter how well you lived there – well or poorly”

– Joseph Brodsky

Life takes you to unexpected places. Love brings you home.

– Melissa McClone
Our Humble Home

That is it for today. I hope these words of wisdom triggered some warm and fuzzy feelings of home and family for you.

Take care and have a great day!💞

October 29th – Paternity Leave

Today’s news story, coming from CTV News, can be found here. This story touches on the subject of paternity leave.

Joe Rogan, who works for Spotify, posted a tweet bashing US Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, for taking six months of paternity leave to care for his newborn twins. Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of Palentir Technologies Inc., responded by calling any man “in an important position” who took six months of paternity leave “a loser”. He went on to say that “In the old days, men had babies and worked harder to provide for them…”

IN MY VIEW:

  • Joe Rogan and Joe Lonsdale are in no position to judge anyone for how they use legitimate employment benefits or how they should prioritize their career and their family.
  • Joe Lonsdale is in no position to decide if one’s ‘position’ is important or not. If you are employed, it is because what you do is important enough to warrant a position.
  • “In the old days, men had babies and worked harder to provide for them…” In the ‘old days’ a lot of men worked at home – with their wives. (Ie Family farms, family businesses with living quarters). Even those who worked out of the home, did not face the commuting times that exist today or the amount of travel away from home that is part of employment nowadays.
  • Many fathers today are far more hands on than they were years ago and many mothers are employed outside of the home. It makes sense for both parents to spend as much time as possible with their newborn.
  • As wonderful as infants are, and parenting is in general, transitioning from being a couple to being a family is challenging. A challenge that has often ended in divorce court. If a few months of paternity leave helps to make this transition successful, it would be beneficial to the child, the parents, their community, and society in general.
  • Work to live, do not live to work. Golden advice that becomes more obvious as life goes on.

That is it for today, folks! As always, feel free to comment below. You don’t have to agree with me to comment, but I will appreciate it if you keep it respectful.

Son Dan enjoying some time with his son Cason.

Thanks care and have a great day! 💞

October 11th – Happy Thanksgiving!

Today it is officially Thanksgiving in Canada. (In our house we are celebrating with our Thanksgiving supper tomorrow night – at 7 pm, to be specific 😁).

I did not source out an actual news story about Thanksgiving in Canada but I have put together a few bits and pieces that I would consider newsworthy. Some were news to me. 😏

Matin Frobisher and his crew celebrated the first Thanksgiving in Canada in 1578 in honor of their safe return from a dangerous exploration of the Northwest Passage.

Thanksgiving was formally recognized as a holiday in Canada in 1879. It is celebrated on the second Monday of October, in recognition of the successful end of our annual harvest season. Since our harvest ends a month sooner than that of our neighbours to the south, our Thanksgiving is celebrated a month earlier than their November celebration. That makes sense!

One of our neighbourhood Bluejays, harvesting peanuts.

Thanksgiving in Canada is not the huge holiday that it is in the States. Families gather. Some watch a bit of sports. Most eat a lot of turkey, ham, cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes, stuffing and all the other foods fit for a traditional feast – up to, and including, pumpkin or apple pie. Many Canadians rally to serve a hot meal to the less fortunate. There are small local events put on across Canada, but nothing national or over the top. It is typically a relatively quiet family centred holiday.

Unlike our American neighbours, we do not round off our Thanksgiving weekend with a pre-Christmas shopping spree. Our retail outlets hold their biggest sales of the year on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) as a customer appreciation event. This is a throwback to a European tradition started by Lords and Ladies of great estates. On Boxing Day they would present gifts to their household staff to show appreciation for the extra services that they had provided over the Christmas season.

Let our lives be full of thanks & giving💞

Take care and have a great day! For all of those who are celebrating in Canada this weekend – Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃

September 5th – Religion

It is Sunday so it seems like a good day to delve into that ‘Piece of My Mind’ that holds my beliefs on religion.

I was raised in the Catholic Church.  Organized religion was a huge part of my life when I was growing up.   Over the years, I have stepped away from the church.   It was not a sudden decision but more of a gradual process that came to a head when I left my first, and extremely dysfunctional marriage.   The church’s stand on divorce pushed me over the edge, as it has for many faithful Catholics caught up in such situations.

Even now,  I do feel a certain sense of loss regarding the church.   It did play a large part in my formative years.    The church provided a sense of community, Christian  values, and  traditions that were passed down through generations.  It provided the inspiration of those who dedicated their entire lives to serving the sick, the elderly, and the community in general.     

That is not to say that I did not have issues with the Catholic Church, even in my early years.    I have never trusted ultimate or unconditional authority.   If there is not oversight, there is always abuse.   That has certainly been an issue in the Catholic Church and to this day it has not been properly addressed.   I did not understand why in the Catholic Church – that claims to be the heart of Christianity, there is so much emphasis on the fire and brimstone, eye for an eye, judgemental Old Testament.     Catholic holidays (Christmas and Easter) were based on the life and times of Jesus Christ, but for the rest of the year his teachings were rather lost or ignored.    And finally, I have always questioned why  the Catholic rules and regulations were  unilaterally determined by a hierarchy that has always been totally out of touch with the real human experience (And to this day, they deliberately choose to remain so).

Overall, I am comfortable with my decision to walk away from the Catholic Church.   But I have doggedly questioned what the younger and upcoming generations would have to replace the traditional religions that we, our parents,  grandparents and ancestors were raised in.   

Where would they learn the values that we were taught through our religious teachings – values like faith,  compassion, honesty, forgiveness, gratitude, and respect?    The values that contribute to the quality of our lives and the lives of those with whom we interact during the course of our lifetime.    Where would they find that sense of community and  tradition?  Where would they find true inspiration?    While I am no longer part of organized religion, I do truly believe that we are  Body, Mind and Soul,  that we are here by the grace of a higher power, and  that we need to honor that higher power.

Lately, I have had the time and opportunity to observe several young families.  Maybe it is part of our global pandemic, or maybe it is because people are just settling in to a new reality, but for the most part they seem to be doing fine.

Families are spending more time  together out in nature.  Families are living  ‘family‘ lifestyles – cooking, building, growing and working together.  Fathers are far more involved  in this family lifestyle than they have ever been.  Families are living in smaller communities,  growing closer  to a core group of  neighbours and friends.   Parents (and grandparents, aunts, unclesolder siblings) are teaching children the  important  values in life – more often by example than our religion ever did.    Families  are building a new sense of community, tradition, and inspiration. 

I think this may be evolution at work.  Originally,  people needed the teachings of the Old Testament, the fire and brimstone way of life, to help them  survive and establish mankind on earth.  We needed Christianity, to establish a civilized constructive base for mankind to build on.    And now – maybe this is what is needed for mankind to thrive and evolve. 💞 

Siblings – sharing & caring

That is my ‘Piece of Mind’ for the day.  As always, please feel welcome to comment and share your own beliefs or opinions on the subject at hand. 

Take care, have a great day and see you tomorrow. 💞