Holidays

Growing up in my family we kept to a fairly predictable schedule. (My mother was a drill Sargent in her previous life 🤣) Dinner was at 12 noon, supper was at 6 PM, laundry was done on Monday morning, and birthdays and holidays were celebrated on their appropriate dates.

When my family was young, our schedule was somewhat predictable. Meals were always at the table. Supper was 6ish, I did laundry once a week, and birthdays and holidays were celebrated on or close to appropriate dates.

Between Dan’s 24/7 shifts, kids growing up and having their own families, and various births and health crises, our schedule has become rather loosely goosey…. We eat, we do a load of laundry when one of us happens to go downstairs for whatever reason, and we celebrate birthdays and holidays.

Last night we had granddaughter Genie and her boyfriend Alex/Ben over. We enjoyed our Christmas turkey supper, topped off with a peanut butter cheesecake to celebrate Genie’s birthday (she will turn 17 on December 24th – and she doesn’t eat peanuts 🤦- I made her a mug cake and dressed it up for the occasion).

Aren’t they the cutest?
I love Genie’s hair – gorgeous colour.
My amazing husband who helped make supper and cleared away all of the leftovers. My less than amazing dog lurking for any flying food that Genie lost control over.

Dan is scheduled to work straight through December 22nd to 26th but we will be getting together with Genie and Alex/Ben on the 30th. But, we won’t be celebrating New Year’s 😂 – they are coming with us to son Dan’s wedding on the 31st. New Year’s will have to merge with Easter and Dan’s birthday sometime in the spring.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s – I hope you have the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones!🌲☃️ And for our southern neighbours – Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃

Taking Retirement to a New Level

My concept of retirement continues to evolve…. When I was still working, I thought of retirement as the release from responsibility, doing always for others, and putting up with the constant BS and pressure that is the working world. As retirement came closer, I saw it as an opportunity to live life on my terms – and I was determined to keep it busy and fulfilling. After I retired, I gradually mellowed out and decided that retirement was an opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to just ‘be’ – truly living my life each day on my own terms. For the past few weeks, with health problems becoming more and more of an issue despite my best efforts, I was floundering a bit – not sure where retirement was taking me.

Now, I am back on track and feel that I have, for probably the first time in my life, found my true calling. Regardless of all else happening in my life, going forward I am totally committed to channeling peace and hope and love and beauty. I think that is what the world needs right now that it is the best way that I can make the most of my retirement.

This mission of mine takes little effort. I can do it regardless of how I am feeling or what I am doing. I can do it when I am walking, cooking, cleaning, reading, shopping, driving, meditating – anything! It is that easy. It takes nothing out of me, I feel good doing it and I feel I am doing something truly worthwhile with my life.

I have never understood why some people deliberately channel so much hate, anger, greed and fear into the world. That takes so much effort and it makes the world so ugly and miserable. I cannot imagine what it does to people who do it on a regular basis.

So, yes that is my plan for retirement going forward – peace, hope, love, and beauty.

Have a great day!

Lessons Learned

I Walk for Peace

This year, my focus has been on peace.  As things go, my choice of focus for this year has been spot on.  2020 has been a stressful year for many people and for my own reasons, it has definitely been challenging for myself as well.

Challenges aside, I have enjoyed my quest for peace and have learned a few things in the process.

1.  I have spent sixty-four years battling anxiety and one year focusing on peace.    I have learned that I  should have started focussing on peace sixty-five years ago. 🤦

2.  I have learned to make MY peace my priority.   For the better part of my life, my priority has been trying to maintain a peaceful, pleasant cushion around others to try to keep them happy and peaceful.  My reasoning being, if they were happy and peaceful, they were not making my life difficult and stressful.  In my defense,  I had a very high-strung mother.  My first husband was difficult (such an understatement🤣🤣🤣).  My current husband is a really good man but, after number one, complete trust in any man has been difficult for me.   My children were typical, difficult at times children.  Finally,  as an administrative assistant for the better part of my career, it was my job to keep things running smoothly in my work environment.  I drove myself to be the peacekeeper.  Except, my peace was way down the list of my priorities.    I have come to realize that to enable or encourage peace in any situation, one must first be at peace themselves. 🙄

3.  I have learned that peace makes all of  the best things in life possible.   Health and well-being is difficult to impossible when one is constantly stressed.  With peace, health and well-being come naturally.  Happiness is next to impossible when one is stressed and anxious.  With peace, happiness is natural.   Love is difficult to impossible when one is constantly stressed and anxious.  With peace, one is easily more loving and more loveable.  Relationships are healthier and easier.   Prosperity is possible when one is stressed out and anxious – feeling prosperous is difficult at best.  One never feels financially secure when one is anxious and stressed.  You feel you need more and you worry about losing what you have.  You develop poor financial habits or addictions that undermine your efforts to be financially secure.   Peace brings a feeling of security to all aspects of one’s life – including financially.   

4.  Peace is the gift that keeps on giving.  I could, and I intend to,  make my peace my priority going forward in my life.  I believe we are born into this world to evolve – to become better, stronger, and wiser –  as individuals and as a whole.  I  believe peace is the key to evolution – at least to my evolution. 

Beauty 2021

Every year I choose one special focus for the year – something I want to strive for. I have been doing this for several years now and have worked my way through love, happiness, and peace to name a few.

I find positive affirmations that are relevant to my focus for the year and I copy them into a journal every morning. Throughout the day, during the ups and downs, I try to stay on ‘focus’. At night, when I go to bed, I try to relax and keep my focus in mind as I drift off to sleep. (That doesn’t always work for me – I am usually asleep before I hit the pillow.🙄)

Typically, I pick a focus for the upcoming year later in the current year and I generally have to spend some time contemplating my choices before I decide on THE one. Last week, it just came to me. 💡 I decided that for 2021 my focus would be on BEAUTY. I knew that would make the perfect focus for next year. As a bonus, I thought it would be especially fun to find moments of beauty to share on my blog.

Yesterday, as luck would have it, my son Dan called. Apparently, we will be kicking off 2021 with the perfect event to celebrate beauty.

Dan & Amanda – Gabby, Lucas and Cason

On December 31st, we will be celebrating the long awaited marriage of Dan and Amanda. It will no doubt be a beautiful ceremony – which Gabby, Lucas and Cason are naturally to be a part of.

It has been four years since Dan and his daughter Gabby and Amanda and her son Lucas joined forces to become one family. Two years later, they were blessed by the arrival of Cason. It has been a long wait for them to be able to make it official but their time has finally arrived!

There could not be a better way to end 2020 and begin 2021, year of BEAUTY, than by celebrating this beautiful occasion.

Parenting 101

My Parents’ 50th Anniversary (1989)

On January 1st, I made a commitment to make PEACE my priority this year. I have made a strong and consistent effort to stay true to my commitment. In many ways, I have made significant progress in becoming less anxious and in making my life more peaceful.

There is one area of my life where I continue to struggle on a regular basis . My problem area is parenting – and grandparenting – and when the time comes (if I do not pull myself together) – it will be great-grandparenting. 👵

The problem (for me) started with my Mother. She taught me, that if you love someone you care about them. If you care about someone you WORRY about them. I am sure that is what her Mother taught her and, God forbid, that is what I taught my children. 🤦

I love my children and I adore their children. I care immensely about them all. So, when my children or grandchildren face any challenge whatsoever, I worry. If they face a serious challenge, I go into a full-blown anxious meltdown.

I know in my mind that I am over reacting. I have faced challenges in my life. I have made bad choices and I have had to deal with the consequences. I have had my heart broken. I have tried and failed. I have struggled with health and finances and grief. I have survived and, more often than not, I have come through each challenge stronger and better for having been through it.

I know my children and grandchildren are smart and capable and resilient and everything else that they need to be to survive every challenge that they will face in life. I want to stop worrying about them and start showing them that I believe in them. Regardless of the situation, I want to be a strong and calm presence in their life.

I have long believed that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. This quotation has been repeated by many strong men throughout history. It is true and so extremely important! It is the basis of my commitment to making peace my priority this year.

There is nothing more debilitating than fear. Fear makes any challenge – physical, mental, or emotional – all the more difficult to conquer. Fear makes any dream or goal all the more difficult to achieve. I know because I have too often allowed fear to rule me. I do not want it to rule me or my family going forward!

There is no form of fear that is productive or helpful. Worrying about those you love, even your precious children and grandchildren is not productive or helpful. If anything, it undermines their confidence and that is unhelpful and detrimental to their well being! Worse yet, it teaches them to perpetuate this unhealthy form of love when then become parents and grandparents.

Going forward this year, I will continue to make peace my focus – for myself, my children, and my grandchildren. 🕊️

Father’s Day 2020 – Part 2

Happy Father’s Day to all those Dads out there. I hope your day is special.

A lot of men, like my husband Dan, are ready to marry in their mid-thirties.
Dan was even ready for a family (fortunately for me – because I had one).
A couple of years later Dan was ready for his dog Casey, followed a few more years later by our first grandchild, Genevieve. Genie and Grandpa shared a special bond from the day he was in the delivery room to welcome her into the world. Over the first few years, Genie spent so much time on Grandpa’s shoulder that a few years ago he got his one and only tattoo – a ladybug on his left shoulder. He got it for Genie to remind her that in good times and bad, happy or sad, his shoulder would always be there for her.

Genie has been followed by eight more grandchildren – all of whom Dan welcomed with open arms and a loving heart.

Rory (with Genie & Kat)
Gabby
Brook
Maddy & Prim
Cousins Dominic and Lucas
Last but not least – Cason

Having a family is great, except for the times when it is hard, and we have had our share of both with our family. Dan is there, in good times and bad. I cannot imagine doing this without him. He makes the good times better and he makes the bad times tolerable. I love you Dear. Happy Father’s Day!

I can’t let Father’s Day go by without honourable mention to a few more fathers today.

Mark with Erin and Dominic
Son Dan with Lucas
Son-in-law Charlie with Maddy
And my Dad (with Danny, Mark, Jennifer & Mom)

Father’s Day 2020

Dad and my son Danny

My father was a good man.  He was kind and peaceful.   His life was never easy but he dealt with it – whatever it was. 

Dad was born premature, weighing one and a half pounds.  His father bundled him up, put him in the sleigh and hauled him off to town to be baptized.  On the way to town, the sleigh hit a rut and overturned.  Dad was thrown into a snow bank.   He survived (obviously).  If I know my Dad, he was laughing when they found him.

When my Dad was old enough, he was sent to a convent where his classes were taught in French.  When he was in grade two, his mother suffered a serious stroke.  My Dad went to work for a storekeeper, spending his days sitting in the basement of a store removing eyes from potatoes.  His father needed help feeding his family and paying medical and care bills for his mother.  As always, Dad did what he could do to help. 

As a teenager, Dad went to the city to work with his brother, Herman.   A few months later he returned home with Herman’s body.  Herman had died a victim of tuberculosis.  Dad was by his side, holding his hand when he passed away – then he brought him home to be buried in a grave marked by a concrete gravestone that he designed and made for him.

Dad’s grave in front of the cross he made for Uncle Herman

After Herman’s death, Dad stayed home to help the family.  He became a licenced bartender and a true craftsman at applying stucco.  Although his formal education had been so short, Dad never allowed that to limit his options.    After my parents married, Dad went to work at an Airforce training base during World War Two. (At five foot nothing and color blind to boot, the army wasn’t looking to send him into battle).  After the war, my parents moved up north, where Dad supported our growing family with his stuccoing skills.  When they moved to southern Manitoba, he entered the auto body trade.  When I was three, we moved back to Saskatchewan. My parents purchased an autobody shop which they ran until they retired.

Dad, my niece Teenie (Jeanne Christine) and I

After retirement, my parents enjoyed a few easier years.  They would visit my siblings and I on a regular basis.  At my home, Dad could always find yard work to keep him happy and occupied.  When we moved to a home with a large, neglected yard, Dad was in his glory for years!  

In 1989, when Dad was eighty years old, just months after celebrating his fiftieth anniversary with Mom, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer of the sinuses.    He passed away four years later, on December 17th, 1993. Losing a loved one is always difficult, watching my Dad waste away for four years from this insideous disease was heart wrenching  beyond belief. It was also incredibly inspiring and such an honor to witness the strength, grace and dignity that he displayed throughout his final years.

Final visit with Dad. He was joking about running out of time before Mom had the camera focussed.

Rest in peace, Dad. Happy Father’s Day!

Fyi Father’s Day is on June 21st. At least one of my sons keeps track. Same son who informed me I was 59 when I was pretty sure I was 48🙄

International Day of Hugs

Today is the International day of hugs.  I have to admit, I am not the most touchy feely person and I am rattled more than a little when someone spontaneously hugs me, especially if it is someone I have just met or someone I do not know very well. Occasionally, someone will ask if it would be ok to hug me. I generally agree although there have been times when I have just declined with a simple “No, I’m good”. Actually it was one time and he was a pre-plan funeral salesman. It was just wierd.

Despite my reluctance to hug willy-nilly, there have been a number of studies that have shown that hugging has potential benefits – physically and emotionally. Newborns, are known to thrive when the they are hugged, compared to those who are deprived of such physical interaction. The same theory must also be popular with seniors. I am pretty sure one of the prerequisites for working in a nursing home is the ability to pass around hugs like hard candies – which is another story of mine altogether.

I honestly do admire people who are capable of giving out spontaneous hugs to anyone in their immediate vicinity. I had a brother-in-law who gave the best bear hugs. He was an amazing man with a big heart and a total joie de vivre. Unfortunately, he died in a vehicle accident many years ago. The likes of Paul are few and far between. My kids are all good and natural huggers but they are all a little cautious about who they hug. My grandchildren hug anybody, their friends are huggers, it is somewhat of a ‘thing’ with the lot of them.

& kisses

Happy ‘International Day of Hugs’! It is only one day of the year, make the most of it.  Hug your mother, your friend, your sister, or your dog. Hug a stranger – but like not me. I’m good🤗

Peace

There are a lot of posts on social media these days about the power of happiness. Happiness is today’s key to prosperity, health, love – all that is to be strived for in this life. I have nothing against happiness. Being happy is pleasant, but personally I am a huge fan of peace, above all else.

I love silence. There is nothing as soothing and spiritual and beautiful as silence. Peace exists in silence.

I love the infinite depth of peace, that feeling of absolute immortality.

I love the security of peace. I cherish opportunities to spend peaceful, happy, quality time with loved ones.

I love the kindness of peace. I love those moments that touch your heart with sweetness.

I love the simplicity of peace. I love how easy it is to focus and think and create when there is peace.

I love the strength and power of peace. I love the ability to rise above all challenges to the place where everything is natural and stress free.

Wishing all a beautiful, happy and peaceful day💖