July 31st – 22 Years of Magic

Today, Dan and I celebrate twenty-two years of wedded bliss💞. In some ways it was lifetimes ago (a lot of lives have come and gone). In other ways it seems like last year.

I would have been good with a quick trip to city Hall, but Dan wanted a real wedding so I let him take charge. He made all of the arrangements for the ceremony, the reception, and the honeymoon. Jennifer made my dress and designed our wedding invitations. All of my siblings except my sister Denise were able to make it. Dan’s sister, Joan came from Costa Rica and was in the wedding party. The hall was filled with family and friends. Our honeymoon was a week of wilderness camping. All in all, it was a memorable, magical time in our lives.

The night before (checking out the bar with sister Lorraine) – I mean setting up the hall for the wedding reception.
Escorted by Jack Nicolle. I worked for Jack for twenty years. Since my Dad was already gone, Jack graciously stepped in.
The ceremony with Minister Bob
The wedding party
Family – Mark, Dan, Jen, Me, Dan, my Mom, and Dan’s Dad
Cutting the cake
Another boss, Russ Barr. I was so stressed walking up to the ceremony – until I saw Russ. He had such a genuine grin on his face that I just snapped out of it. I turned and saw Dan and the rest of our day was magical.
Our honeymoon suite. Looks a bit rugged but we were on the shore of Diefenbaker Lake which was gorgeous. Dan had everything so organized in our sleeping and eating tents. It was a perfect week of resting and relaxation.

Dan is working this weekend but we have a lovely supper of steak and shrimp planned for when he gets home.

I hope everyone is enjoying a great weekend! Take care and see you tomorrow! 💞

July 17th – Loving, Living, Changing

Growing up, I came to believe that caring for others meant worrying about them. Loving others meant sharing their suffering and feeling their pain when they were struggling or going through a difficult situation. You did anything practical you could to help them, if there was anything you could do. But mostly, you shared their sorrows. I am not sure how this was supposed to help, but you did it. To make sure it worked, you told them how much you were suffering with and for them. Than they could be suffering and guilt ridden for making you suffer from their pain. It was all very complicated and strange but I believed it, without question, for decades.

Eventually, I decided that worrying about loved ones and sharing their pain was not particularly helpful – especially if they had to feel grateful and guilty to boot. I still loved people. I still wanted to be there for them through difficult times but I had no idea how. Sometimes there are no words to say, or ways to say them, nor is there anything practical for one to do.

I could not stay in my current bubble of peace and relative well-being and  pretend I was not aware of what loved ones were going through. I did not know what to do – but I knew that I could no longer add more grief to such situations.

Last night, I received news of two such difficult situations affecting family members. My first reaction was worry and pain and grief for all concerned. I knew I had to find something better. When I went to bed, I found a meditation on You Tube and blocked out everything but the voice and the soft background music.

It was rather a long and difficult night but, when I woke up this morning, this hymn from my youth was playing in my mind. It was magical. 💞 I always loved this hymn, and it was always meaningful, but today it means even more on a personal level.

I wasn’t sure about including the last verse, because it did not seem relevant to this situation but I decided to go with it. Dying isn’t always about dying – sometimes it is about changing, about letting go of old beliefs to accept new beliefs….

I have no idea if my sister and her husband or my daughter and her family can feel the love and peace and healing that I am sending them today. I can only trust and believe that they are feeling it on some level. But I do know, I absolutely know, that it is better than sending more pain and worry and guilt and grief their way. 💞

Sending love and peace and healing to any and all who are struggling today. 💞

Wishing all a good rest of today and a nice weekend. See you tomorrow. 💞

July 1st – Magical Moments Begin

In June, I had a great time ‘Accentuating the Positives’ in my life (current and past). For July, I have decided to embark on a new mission! This month, I am going to celebrate those magical moments that make my difficult days better and my better days beautiful. I will be sharing these moments with you on this blog. I hope that when you stop by over the course of the month, that my magical moments will add a smile to your day.

This may not seem like an overly ambitious mission, but I do plan to go out of my way to find magical moments to share. There are any number of places in and around Regina that I plan to visit plus I am tentatively planning a road trip for Kat and I. (If Dan goes on his annual golf trip this month). We would be visiting, Gravelbourg – the town where my parents were born and where they returned for their retirement years. I want to check their gravesight and bring them some new flowers. I also know, there will be much magic to be found and shared in Gravelbourg as it is a uniquely French town for this province (for any province outside of Quebec). As a bonus, I would also stop in Moose Jaw to visit Mac the Moose and a few other magical sites.

Plus, there are a couple of dates that Dan and I celebrate at the end of July, so they will be magical blog worthy. The first is my sixty-sixth birthday! 🥳 The second is Dan and my twenty-second wedding anniversary. 🥂💞

I hope you will enjoy sharing in my July ‘Magical Moments’. If you missed out on June’s ‘Accentuate the Positive’ posts, you can click here and scroll through them at your leisure.

Keep safe and have a great day! If you are Canadian, Happy Canada Day! This year, many of the celebrations will be scaled back and subdued but I am trusting it can be a happy, healing, hopeful day for all of us. 💞

My little cactus did not disappoint this morning. Magical moment #1

Day 9 – Nothin’ Says Lovin’ Like something From The Oven

It has taken me nine days but here it is! The focus of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge for today is everyone’s favourite – FOOD. 🥘

The title of this post was my son Dan’s motto growing up. (Ok it is the Pillsbury motto but Dan used it a lot). He loved to eat and now he loves to cook (and he still loves to eat).

Makin’ Bacon! Five pounds of bacon! We eat a lot of bacon – especially on salad, since bacon has no calories if you put it on salad. 😉
Spiced pork salad with homemade croutons.
Elegant chef salad with wine. (It’s the wine that makes it elegant).
Dan fired up the barbecue. His steaks are good but his seafood is phenomenal.
Christmas supper – my favourite part of Christmas! (Or any holiday when I can have turkey). I love the dark meat! 🤶
Ham supper – we eat so much asparagus! It is very good for a body and so delicious.
Gnocchi stew. It’s like regular beef stew but I don’t have to peel the potatoes. 🙃
Loaded nachos – what’s not to love about nachos? Son Dan puts bacon on his nachos and we use spicy hamburger on ours. Both versions are delicious!
Last night’s supper (served at 2:30 PM) – chicken fajitas. I am thinking that if I do another challenge, it might be quick, easy, hearty meals to serve at off-times for SHIFTWORKERS. That is a challenge!
Butter tarts – coconut on the left and walnut with raisin on the right
Turtle cheesecake – so sweet 😳
Of course we have to make dedicated meals for Kat 🐕‍🦺. We make a big pan full and freeze it in weekly portion for her.

Nine days down and twenty-one days to go! I think I might crush this challenge. 🤔

Have a great day and I hope to see you tomorrow. 👋

First Days of Beauty

Every year, I choose one main positive value in life to focus on. This year my focus is on beauty. So far, I have not really been struggling with this effort, so much as building a base to grow it on.

I have started a major home beautifying project – cleaning our basement. I haven’t reached any Kodak moments yet, but every time I go downstairs I am excited by how much better things are looking than when I first began. 😊

My husband has been home on a work layoff – the first in many years! It is nice having him home. It is very nice having him available to do the shopping and run errands. It is especially nice when he run out to do errands and comes home with a special little gift for me. 😊

Dan came home with this beautiful glass baby elephant. He seems happy sitting beside the adorable stuffed elephant that granddaughter Genie gave me for Christmas.

I have not been spending much time outside this month. Occasionally, I do catch a beautiful moment in nature when I glance out a window.

Our backyard is a haven for squirrels and birds this winter.

I continue to spend time searching out and experiencing the meditations I find on You Tube – especially those related to sending healing, loving energy to others. They seem to be such a beautiful way to connect with family and loved ones – so much better than worrying and fretting about the people I care for!

Lately, I have finally realized, the rationale of sending healing, loving energy to those who would not have typically made my prayer list in the past. I am talking about people who have caused major grief to myself and my family, any people who I see as being arrogant or hateful or cruel. I know one is supposed to extend love and caring to those people – but that is seriously difficult to do – no matter how many times I read that they are the ones who need it the most.

Through meditation, I have found a way to send loving, healing energy to anyone, everyone, and especially to those who are the most difficult to. In my mind, projecting hate and anger to these people does not help them or me. However, sending them love and healing energy does make me feel much better. I can only hope that these people are touched by the love I send them. 💗

This is one of the healing meditations that I have found to be particularly moving. I hope that if you are inclined to try it, you will enjoy the experience.

Stay safe and have a beautiful day🥀

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. 🕊️