July 25th – Magic French Courtyards

When we went to Gravelbourg, my biggest disappointment was that the Mayfair restaurant was permanently closed.    The Mayfair was an icon in Gravelbourg and Sunday Brunch at the Mayfair was the stuff memories were made of.   A visit to see my mother always included taking her for at least one meal at the Mayfair.

That being said, amazingly the high point of our trip to Gravelbourg was our breakfast at Cafe Paris.   Not only was our meal perfection but we were able to dine in their very unique and secluded courtyard,  so that Kat could nap comfortably in the shade while we enjoyed our breakfast.

We have definitely discovered a great place to start making some new cherished memories.

One thing I did not get a good photo of was the ‘ceiling’ of the courtyard, which was a lacy combination of vines and patio lights. It was so pretty and I am sure it is gorgeous in the evening when the lights would be twinkling amidst the vines.

Our trips to Gravelbourg will not be as frequent as in years gone by, but I am fortunate to have my own little magic courtyard at home for when I meditate. Maybe next summer, we can get some vines and twinkling lights for my evening meditation. 💞

It is hard to get a photo that shows what an overall cool and pretty little space this is. 😌

Time to head out to my personal little French courtyard! Wishing all a nice Sunday. Take care and I will be back 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. 💞

Day 28 – Sunday

It is already Day 28 of my ‘Accentuate the Positive’ blog challenge.  My positive for today is all about the Sunday!  Every day is special but for myself and I am sure for many others, Sunday is extra special.  

Sunday is typically a day of rest and relaxation, gratitude, and healing.  My yesterday Sunday was fairly typical.

Since Dan worked nights this weekend, he brought me a treat for breakfast with my coffee.
It was beautifully warm out so I relaxed in my outdoor rocking chair to do my morning meditating.  I was a bit distracted by all of the little birds who were around me chirping and peeping but they kind of added to the ambiance.
I visited with my plants and garden critters.
I had time to do some work on my crocheted blanket. It seems to be a horizontal overachiever. I may have to dismantle it and reassemble it as something more manageable – like a crocheted tent.
I watered the vegetables and I broke my plastic watering can. I do have a super nice bronze metal one that I will switch to. 😉
The sand between the planters and around the pond was great when we had grandbabies playing in the yard.  Now it is an ongoing sifting project – but the perfect relaxing past time on a warm summer evening.
Nothing like a good book on a warm Sunday afternoon. This one is about fishing, family, and life. It is available on Amazon for the Kindle Reader and the author can (Allen E. Rizzi) can be found on WordPress.
Sunday’s are perfect for contemplating life in general – like why Dan’s weeping pussy willow tree (Tree of Enchantment) seems to be shrinking instead of growing.  There is a ton of new growth on it – the branches pretty much fill and spread out of a 6′ x 6′ planter and the trunk is getting super thick – but it is vertically challenged! 

That was my Sunday yesterday – and that is it for Day 28! Only two more days to go. I think I’ve got this one. I have not really found this too challenging, but enough so that I have thoroughly enjoyed doing it.

Have a great day and I hope to see you tomorrow! Have fun and take care – especially if you are in the path of this heatwave that is moving our way. 💞

Day 21 – Retirement!

Since I have retired, the positives in my life are ubiquitous! Today for the twenty-first day of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge, I have chosen to express my appreciation for this wonderful time of my life – RETIREMENT 🥳

Time to bloom. 💐

I appreciate that my retirement provides the time for doing what I please, when I please! I particularly appreciate this in the morning. I love having the time to enjoy my coffee, while reading my online newspaper and playing my morning internet game. 💝

My happy morning place.

I appreciate having time to take care of myself and run errands that I need to deal with. I never have to stress about making doctor or dentist or optometrist or hairdresser appointments – I am free – anytime! I can even take Kat to the vet or groomers any day of the week!

Going to the groomers on Thursday 🙂

I appreciate that in retirement the weather is always perfect! If it is warm and sunny, I can spend the day outside enjoying the beautiful day. If it is rainy, snowy, cold, or windy, I can stay inside and look out the window and appreciate what I have the option of avoiding!

Rain, shine, or in-between, every day is lovely!

I appreciate that I SAVE so much money that it is not terribly painful to take a significant drop in income since I retired . I save on taxes, on clothes, on vehicle expenses, on take-out food, and on spending money – just because it was my payday reward for working. 🤦

Money I haven’t spent! 😂

When the weather is lovely, I appreciate that I can spend my time outside – during the best parts of the day. I check up on my flowers and vegetables, do a bit of clean-up, water and take care of my plants. I have even been working on our front lawn this year. Still a ways to go, but at least it is green!

Mostly green 👍

I appreciate that shopping is so much easier! My husband has always, and still does, the bulk of our shopping. However, there are times when I go with him, or without him, for whatever reason. Shopping is so much easier mid-week, when most people are at work!

Wednesday afternoon shopping – far from the Saturday crowds 🤭

The biggest positive of retirement is the time I get to spend with my husband. Although he still works 24/7 shifts, at least when he has time off, I have time off! Time we can actually spend together! 👫

Spending time together, enjoying Dan’s yard projects. 💞

Whether you are working towards it, or already living yours, I hope you enjoy your retirement as much as I enjoy mine. 🤗

Twenty-one days down and only nine more to go! Thank you for dropping in today and I hope to see you tomorrow.

Day 10 – My Time Within….

I am ten days into my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge and it is time to go a bit deeper. Today’s post is a peek into my soul, spirit, inner-being exercise routine. Meditation my way. 💞

Through the years, I have made several attempts to start meditating. I was too busy running in circles to slow down long enough to get far with my efforts, so they inevitably petered out.

Last year, after I retired, I took a lot of long walks with Kat. What started as a means to strengthen my respiratory system and take a few pounds off my pooch became so much more. I reached a place of peace and tranquility that I had never experienced before. It was a place where meditation came easily.

At some point I discovered a world of meditation on YouTube. For me, it was meditation made simple! There are videos available for guided meditations, chants from indigenous and religious persuasions, music to meditate by, and more.

The following are a few of the meditations that I have found particularly helpful and effective for me. If you have never meditated before , I suggest you note the following:

1. Never listen to these videos, or any meditation videos or audios, when driving or in an any situation where you need to be awake, alert, or cognisant.

2. I recommend using headphones or earbuds for maximum effect of any of these meditations.

3. These videos are ones that I would recommend trying because they work for me. They may not work for you, but I hope that does not discourage you from searching for something that does. I believe that our spiritual, inner-being, or soul well-being is as important as our physical and our mental health.

4. Meditation does not replace professional medical, psychiatric, or psychological care. Consult your professionals if you are at all concerned that meditating could affect any condition affecting you or any treatment that you are undergoing.

5. These videos may occasionally make you uncomfortable, especially if have very strong religious or anti-religious beliefs. Personally, I find I can easily ignore any momentary discomfort caused and in some cases I have come to realize that I have unconscious beliefs that I am quite happy to rid myself of.

This last meditation, is the one that I found the most challenging for me. As I was listening, I had a flash of memory from my childhood. I grew up in the Catholic Church and attended mass frequently – Sundays, holidays, funerals, weddings and on random weekdays. Like myself, the church has changed along the way. Back sixty-some years ago, there was a place in the Mass when everyone struck their chest three times and each time professed “I’m not worthy…I’m not worthy…I’m not worthy”. That was harsh! It bothered me then and now I find it totally bizarre. Who and why would anyone ever think this was reasonable or rational? Why would any creator place us in a world of trees, flowers, mountains, oceans, skies, and sunshine if we were supposed to feel unworthy? What is more, why would I keep anything so wierd tucked into a dusty corner of my mind? I am glad I dug it out and seriously questioned it. I am glad that this meditation made me feel uncomfortable. For me, it worked. I feel worthy and I wholeheartedly believe we all should! If there was no hope, why would we even strive to be better?

That is it for today. One third of my challenge down, two thirds to go. 😊

Have a nice day and I hope to see you tomorrow! 💞

Day 3 – The Wanderer

Some days, I just have to walk off the negative before I can find the positive. 🤷 For the third day of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge, I decided to share some of the paths I have wandered and enjoyed over the years.

Following the meandering paths at the University of Alberta Botanic Gardens just outside of Edmonton, Alberta
A couple of granddaughters heading off the beaten path in Wascana Park.
Our garden path – I love this path – started by me, helped along by my daughter, and finished by Dan! It seemed like a simple project going in. 🙄
Following the path through a golf course in southern Saskatchewan
Dan and Kat wandering the Wascana Trails north of Regina (we carry a little leather bag for Kat’s essentials – water, snacks, extra poo bags).
A shaded path though Wascana Park.
Paths converging in Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Mb. – I love Winnipeg💖
My favourite path – a secluded, winding path through Patricia Park 🤗

Three days down, twenty seven to go! Have a beautiful day and I hope to see you tomorrow! 💞

Finding Myself

Back in the day (my day), people went to great lengths searching to ‘find themselves’. 

I loved and admired my father.  If I ever envied him, it was because he never had to ‘find’ himself.  He knew who he was, and he was who he was, regardless of who he may have been dealing with at any particular time.   

My father was a very quiet, peaceful man. I spent a lot of time with him and I  remember him losing his temper with someone else ONCE!    My parents owned a service station/autobody shop.  My siblings and I pumped gas from the time we could reach the gas nozzle.   One day, my father was busy in the back of the shop when a customer pulled in.  He was a big man (at least 6′-6″ and 250 lbs).  He owned one of the most successful retail businesses in town and was no doubt on the town council and Chamber of Commerce.    I ran out to pump his gas.  I was tiny, probably about six years old.  This big man got out of his vehicle, stepped around it, and stood behind me.  I did not notice he had a lit cigarette in his hand.  My father stepped out of the shop.  He noticed!   He yelled at the man to get away from me and he went up one side of him and down the other for half a block.  My father was 4′-10″  and 130lbs.   If I had not been so shocked at his outburst, I would probably have found the entire incident hysterically funny.  The customer obviously did not, but I never saw him smoke another cigarette in his life. He did remain a loyal customer.

At the other end of the spectrum, my class was making graduation plans.  We had to choose a business person to make a toast to the graduating class.   I was surprised when one of my classmates nominated my father.  When I asked why, he said because my father treated everyone in town with the same respect and consideration – everyone including the teenagers in my class.  It did not matter to my father who you were, he knew who he was, and he acted accordingly. 

I was not like my father when it came to knowing and being myself.  I blame him.  😂    To the very end, on his deathbed and while I was pushing forty, my father would introduce me as ‘our baby’.  To be fair, six kids in,  he probably forgot my name by the time the ink dried on my birth certificate. 

During this past year of seclusion, or reclusion as the case may be, I have been ‘finding myself’.  I have found myself, learned to like and accept myself.  

The interesting part of this journey, is that while I have been finding myself, I have learned to accept others as they are.  They do not have to agree with me or validate my views, and I can accept them as they are and respect their views – even if I disagree with them. 

I don’t know if this is a new level of maturity or self confidence, but I am in a good place. A peaceful place. I am ready to quit searching and just be – me!

Yea, I got my first Covid vaccine shot today!

Have a nice day and stay safe! 💞

Patience

I have struggled for years to overcome stress and anxiety. In the past couple of years, I have turned things around and have learned to focus on living a life of inner peace.  This has made all the difference in the world.   My life has become so much easier and better in so many ways!

I have, for the most part, learned to appreciate the NOW.  This present moment.  I have released the pain and grief of the the past.  I have released the fear of the future.   I do my best to make each day, hour, each moment a peaceful oasis. 

One of the aspects of this new lifestyle is a tendency to be far more positive and hopeful than I have ever been.  Now is good, so I know that there are even better days to come!

With this positivity, a new devil is spawned.   My patience is being sorely tested as never before!  One cannot be truly at peace NOW when one is totally focussed on the future – regardless of how bright and beautiful that future may be.

Today I awoke to a new cactus blossom. It is spectacular, if only for today. I checked on my little seedlings and they are growing larger and stronger by the day. I watched Kat bounce out to the yard to chase the birds and harrass the squirrels.

It is a good day! It is a great day! But wait…. Soon the the grass will turn green, the trees will leaf out, our garden will thrive, flowers will bloom and temperatures will soar. We will spend countless hours outside. Days will be spent walking Kat along meandering paths and floating in our pool. Evenings will be spent barbecuing on our patio and sipping wine as we relax on our deck chairs.

But we have to wait. 🤦 We have to appreciate today. And we have to be patient. Summer will get here – eventually!

Summer days to come💞

Living at the Speed of Life

There have been a lot of changes in my life since I retired a few months ago.  The majority of those changes have been within me – changes in attitude, changes in personality, changes in relationships.

One of the relationships that has changed most drastically is my relationship with time.   Time is still a significant, relevant part of my life.  I still have clocks in my house and, as much as my daily regular schedule has changed, it has changed to a new regular schedule.  

The thing is, before retirement time was one of my main sources of stress and frustration.   Hours in a classroom lasted longer than days during summer break.   Nine months of pregnancy lasted forever!  Years of infants, toddlers, tots,  and teens were  over way too soon.  A week at the office was interminable.  A weekend home was never long enough. The terrible years were endless and the good ones flew by.  There was no consistently to time – ever – and I never had time when I needed it most!

In retirement, time flows easily and smoothly.   I never feel suspended in time, nor do I feel pressured to do more than time allows.  Time passes –  the hours, the days, the weeks, the months – regularly and consistently and reassuringly.   Regardless of all that is or is not happening, time passes.   No longer a sources of stress or frustration, time is now a comforting measure of life.

Happy New Year 2021!

It is finally here!! – a brand new year with bright new hopes and dreams. 🥂🎉

Back in the day, I would be spending this day making my list of New Year’s resolutions. Most of them would be long forgotten by mid-March. A few years ago, I changed gears and chose a new ‘focus’ for each new year. Last year my focus was on peace and I have to admit that will be a hard one to beat. Going forward, I will definitely keep ‘peace’ a priority but for this year of 2021, I have decided to make ‘BEAUTY’ my focus.

During the summer of 2020, I spent a LOT of time outside – enjoying nature as I hadn’t for decades. On the days when the sun was shining, the grass was green, the flowers were blooming, the sky was blue and the birds were singing, the beauty of our world was easy to immerse oneself in. What really surprised me was that, on the gloomy and dreary days, it was even more heartlifting to find a tiny beautiful treasure to appreciate – be it a wildflower, a leaf, a perfect raindrop, or a baby’s smile. That is what convinced me that a year focussed on beauty, would make for a memorable year.

Today, I am fortunate to be able to share a family moment to kick off my year of beauty – and beautiful it was.

Yesterday afternoon, son Dan married Amanda, the love of his life – the woman of his dreams. More than a basic joining two hearts, it was the official joining of two families – a yours, mine, and ours celebration💞 Even in the midst of a pandemic, with a very limited ‘live’ attendance this group made it an amazing event, while family and friends joined them via technology.

Live from the basement of the happy bride and groom. Gabby with Cason, Cori-Lynn (friend), Amanda, officiate, Dan, Lucas and Gregg (friend). Dan made the floral arch, while Amanda had a big hand in the rest of the decor.
The wedding cake – Dan made his amazing sour cream German chocolate cake (2 sections – 4 layers each) and mounted it on the wood base. Amanda decorated it with her typical talent and understated, humerous, flair!

This group does nothing half-way. They feed off of each other’s abundant, positive energy to make everyday a celebration. I was concerned about how well they would make out in a slowed down pandemic year like 2020, but they made the most of it – as always!

To the happy couple, the beautiful family and to all – Happy New Year!