Freedom

This year, I have chosen to focus on PEACE. Each morning I write out a number of affirmations relative to peace. Every night, I try to fall asleep with peaceful thoughts and feelings. Throughout the day I try to make peace my priority.

Typically, the harder I try to focus on improving one aspect of my life, the more obstacles life throws in my path. This year has proven no different. There is virtually no area of my life that has been easy and peaceful. Personally, there have been health issues, financial issues, family issues, work issues and of course technical issues. In a broader sense, our city, province, country, and world seem to be going to hell in a handbasket.

It would be easy to give up, but I have endeavoured to keep focussing on peace. On the fiftieth day of 2020, I have finally made a significant breakthrough. By making peace my priority, I have released the overwhelming urge to control everything in and around my life. This alone has brought me the peace I desire.

As humans, we all have the power to choose. The first thing we need to choose is where our priorities lie. Life is dicey and insecure, more so now than ever, in my mind. We are reminded daily that there is little to no security for ourselves and our loved ones. It is easy to become so insecure that we move into survival mode. We try to control everyone and everything around us. We justify becoming aggressive and trying to deprive others of their right to choose. This never ends well for anyone.

The only path to personal peace and growth is to focus on our own priorities, while respecting and allowing others to focus on their’s. There are any number of ways to accomplish this.  Here are a few of my suggestions:

1) If there are issues at work, focus on your task at hand. Ignore the office politics, the gloom and doom of company rumors, employers and co-workers who are being unreasonable or ignorant. You are there to do your job, you are being paid to do your job. Just do it. Focus on doing it well. Regardless of anything else that happens, you will gain confidence from a job well done and it will help you to develop an exit strategy, if leaving your position becomes inevitable.

2) Having health issues can easily become overwhelming. However, they can be made tolerable for yourself and those around you. The first step is to accept and acknowledge your health issues. The second step is to deal with your health issues with professional help you can trust, informing yourself about your condition, and doing everything you can to minimize the effects of your health issues – be it with diet, exercise or lifestyle changes and focussing on any improvement you can make. I am amazed at the accomplishments and legacies of people who have been affected or are affected by overwhelming health issues.

3) Financial issues are another of life’s challenges that can easily become overwhelming. I have been there. I know how difficult it can be. I have sold pop bottles to buy milk for my babies and have worked multiple jobs to provide for my teenagers. I have lived so close to the edge that an unanticipated car repair was virtually catastrophic. I survived – somehow you do, as long as you have faith that you will and you keep working towards financial stability. Once again the first step is to acknowledge and accept your situation. The second is to get  professional help if you need it and make the changes you need to make. Keep working towards increasing your income and cutting your expenses and you will slowly start to get ahead. It isn’t easy, there are times when it seems your efforts are totally futile, but if you keep working at it, it will happen. I have reached a point in my life where major unexpected expenses are frustrating, but I have to keep it in perspective and be grateful that we have the means to cover them.

4) Relationships can be particularly challenging. There are times when one must admit that a relationship is unhealthy, unsafe and the right thing to do is to terminate it. If every relationship starts out great, is great, and ends up in termination and anger, the problem is probably you. The thing with relationships is that they take respect, consideration, compromise, and trust. You cannot always be right. You cannot always be in control, you cannot always be ‘the winner’. No one else can give you the perfect relationship. You have to do your part.

5) No matter how much you love anyone – even your own children, you must allow them to make their own choices and suffer the consequences of poor choices. Inevitably, you will be forced to, so they can learn and grow. You can offer them a hand up if they are legitimately making the good choices – to a point. They are still the ones who need to put in the hard work. To encourage them to make poor choices or to pave every road for them is enabling them, undermining them, keeping them dependent on you, and serves neither of you in the long run. You have to step back and trust that your children will learn, grow, and live the life that they are meant to.

6) Regardless of how passionate you are about any cause or point of view, others are equally passionate about theirs – and have every right to be. In Canada, there is currently and increasingly, a divide between those who are passionate about the environment and those who are passionate about the economy. The two sides become further apart as they fight for control and an overwhelming win. The harder they fight, the less likely it is that anyone will . Regardless of which side we support, we need to be open to compromise, respect and mutual concern for both the economy and the environment. We need to work together to ensure that those who drive the economy, respect the environment. We need to recognize the importance of a strong vibrant economy and recognize the efforts that industries make to operate in an environmentally responsible manner. It works both ways or it does not work at all.

Regardless of what the issues are, or whether they are personal, global, or anywhere in between, the solution is the same. We need to get our priorities in order, focus on what is important to us, release control of what is not, and approach the issues with peaceful hearts and minds. 🕊️

Christmas Miracles

Merry Christmas From Our Home To Yours

I grew up in a French Catholic home. Religion was a part of our lives every day but even more so at Christmas. For weeks before Christmas, we were put into super drive preparing for the big day. We scrubbed our home from top to bottom, cooked and baked, shopped and wrapped, we prepared for our school Christmas concert (which centred around the Nativity story in those day), we decorated our home and of course we attended choir practice and church services six ways to Sunday. My older, married sisters would arrive with husbands and children and gifts.

By the big day, we were ready for the MIRACLE OF CHRISTMAS🎁🎄🎆

And then, my mother would crash and burn. The exhaustion and the stress of weeks of preparation, topped off with a couple of hours at midnight mass, would finally get the best of her. By noon, Mother would be in full meltdown, babies would start to cry, men would start to drink, sisters would start to fight. No Christmas miracles in our home, just bitter disappointment and the obligatory Christmas pictures to prove that we had the happiest of times🙄. By supper, we had all thrown in the towel and spent the evening working at jigsaw puzzles and playing cards.

Once I had my own family, I pretty much carried on the same tradition with a few extra perks thrown in. Christmas in our home was never done until someone had the flu or a case of pneumonia. The epitome had to be the year Danny puked on the Christmas tree. That was a classic. The year my Dad died days before Christmas was memorable. I was almost ready to give up on the MIRACLE OF CHRISTMAS by 2003. That was the year our precious Genie was born. We left the hospital at 3:30pm on Christmas Eve with love and joy in our hearts. We were so close. We got home to find that my Mother had decided to place a box of chocolates under the Christmas tree, inspite of our asking her repeatedly not to do that, inspite of our moving them sixteen times. She had no idea our dog would eat them. Good grief! What dog wouldn’t eat them? Really hard to hold onto the Christmas spirit, when you are sitting in the vet’s office on Christmas Eve. 🤦

My family grew up, in spite of our annual Christmas debacles. They all have children of their own and their own Christmas stories to tell. For many years we have been going to my daughter’s for Christmas. I have powered through shopping for gifts and food, while my husband kept a running total of the cost. I went to Christmas concerts, which always seem to be held on December 17th 😢. My daughter would bake and clean. We were always ready for a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE that never quite made it. There was tears, disappointment, arguments, melt downs, way to much noise and just downright unChristmassy behaviour – but we kept powering through and I kept doing my damnedest to aim for a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

This year my sons are with their in-laws, my husband is at work, my daughter is at her home with her family and we are not there because she has shut me out of her life and banned me from seeing my grandchildren. My father and mother are both gone. I am alone for Christmas Day. I went into this season with no expectations or hope of making this the year of the CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

Honestly, I am having the best Christmas ever. My sister and her husband were here for an overnight visit a few days ago. We sent out for pizza and had wine. So nice. My sons are coming with their families on the weekend. I have done a bit of baking – some good, some not so much, but whatever. It was Christmassy. Genie’s stepfather dropped her off for a quick visit on the 23rd. She brought us some gifts she had made for us. There were a lot of tears but it was all good. I cooked a ham last night, destroyed the scalloped potatoes but the broccoli was great. After supper, we opened presents. We cried over Genie’s. They were so special. She painted us a picture and wrote a book for Grandpa, telling him how much he meant to her. She gave me a sparkling elephant pin. Today I made myself Pillsbury cinnamon buns for breakfast. I have a turkey in the oven for when Dan gets home from work. I am relaxing by my new fireplace, ready to start doing a jigsaw puzzle. I am happy, at peace, and full of love and good wishes for my family – all of my family. I feel really good. This is is the year of my CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

The thing is, you can’t make miracles happen. You can’t force them or fake them. Miracles just happen when you let them🕊️

7 Best Ways To Deal With Stress

Having spent a good part of my life dealing with stress, I have had ample time figuring out what works, and what does not work for me. These are some of my favourite stress relievers.

1. Nature. There is nothing as calming and perfect as nature for dealing with stress. In Saskatchewan, it is too frigid for a good portion of the year to get warm and fuzzy in the great outdoors.   During these times I get my nature fix by going through pictures of nature – mine, those on social media, or even  via Google Earth.  I also tend to give my houseplants a little more TLC in the winter, just to spend time around something living and green.

2. Positive Affirmations. I keep a journal where I write out positive affirmations every morning. At night, I make a point of sending some special thoughts to any particular challenges I have coming up the next day. Both exercises tend to give me a feeling of control and a positive focus.

3. Deal With It. If I feel myself getting stressed over something I try to deal with it asap. I make the worst call of the day, deal with the most difficult file, go through the most challenging task as early as possible in the day. Once that is over, the rest of the day is easy. I try to tackle any stressful situation in the same manner.  I hate personal or medical appointments.  Last summer I was seriously behind in that department so I booked up the early days of my summer holiday. In three days I saw my doctor, dentist and optometrist, I got my hair cut, my nails done and my eyebrows trimmed, finally as an added bonus I took my dog to the vet to get her checkup and shots.  The rest of my holiday was my best ever!

4. Own The Stress. When I start feeling stressed out, I try to find ways to make myself feel better and relieve my stress. I take a walk, do breathing exercises and meditation, practice yoga, or take a bath.  I work on getting plenty of rest and make sure I am getting a healthy diet – particularly cutting back on salt, sugar, and caffeine.

5. Stretch My Safety Zone.  I got this bit of advice from an article I read years ago.  It said,  (I am paraphrasing) “You will always feel discomfort when you are expanding your safety zone, but if you keep retracting  back into your safety zone to avoid the discomfort, you will ultimately end up curled up in your bed watching your life go by.   If you ignore the discomfort and keep pushing your limits, your safety zone will expand and your life with it.”    Great advice! I welcome that feeling of discomfort now as I recognize it as a good sign.

6. Tidy Up. Clutter and mess does nothing to calm my frayed nerves. When I am stressed, I love to get neat and organized, whether I am at home or at work. The activity helps burn off nervous energy and having a clean and orderly space just makes me feel better.

7. Mental Exercise. There is a scientific reasoning behind this – if you are particularly stressed (emotional) you can calm yourself by focusing on a mental exercise. I use this one if I am waiting for a meeting, appointment or stuck in traffic. It works like a charm

These methods of stress relief work for me. I hope if you are stressed out, you will try them. And I hope that you will share any methods that work well for you!

Positive Affirmations



Every morning, I start my day by writing out a page of positive affirmations. I begin each new year with a new notebook and a new set of affirmations that I have chosen during the month of December. This December I have decided to choose affirmations that inspire peace.  

2020 is the beginning of a new decade and it is the beginning of a new chapter in my life. In July, I am going to retire. I have decided that for such an auspicious year I wanted to focus on one specific topic.  Right now,  peace is a topic that I feel is worth my attention.

There seems to be so much chaos in life these days.  In my life, there is conflict at work and within my family.  There is so much noise in my home and neighbourhood.  My husband loves noise.  He loves television – especially controversial talk shows, or dramatic reality shows or violent sports casts –  generally programs that I find cringe worthy.   🤦 We live near a heavy traffic road, a rail line and in the path of our airport (most people in Regina do).   There are constant horns and sirens and the like.    In the summer, there is a household nearby that thrives on loud drunken arguments.   There are a number of dogs in our neighbourhood and one little troublemaker who always has to instigate a barking contest.

These days there seems to be so much chaos in the world in general. There are so many radical politicians with so many extreme followers, so many devastating natural disasters – floods and earthquakes and forest fires and the lot. There are so many man-made environment disasters. There are so many protesters and counter-protesters, so many screamers and so few listeners. There are so many with so little and so few with so much. It all gets to be overwhelming at times.

Fortunately, there are openings for the peace we need to heal our world. There are those moments in nature when we can experience peace. There are those people who are so peaceful and calm that it is contagious. There are babies to cuddle and puppies to pet. There are opportunities to indulge in relaxing pastimes. There are politicians and world leaders who do work together for a better stronger world. There are people working to clean our oceans and air and reclaim our contaminated lands. There is hope.

In 2020 I will start every day by focusing on peace. It may only make a difference in my mind or my life but hopefully it will, in some small way, spread to others. Hopefully, it will in some small way, help to calm the destructive chaos. 🕊️

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💖

Remembrance and Respect

People are taking time today to pay their respects to those who have fought for our right to live our lives in peace and freedom. These brave men and women, who have given everything, up to and including their own lives, deserve nothing less and so much more.

My parents were newlyweds during the second world war. While the battlefields were across the ocean, the war was felt everywhere. For the most part, young men fought the battles on the fields, however, virtually all played a part in the war effort. The men and women who were not fighting were serving as medics, field mechanics, drivers and more. They worked to keep factories, stores, schools, hospitals, and more operating at home. They built and maintained training bases for the forces in Canada. Families and friends, at home and abroad, mourned new losses every week. Young wives were left young widows with families to raise alone. Everywhere, people struggled with shortages and rationing of food and other necessities. Even the children and the elderly, were victims of the widespread devastation and destruction, suffered losses, and made sacrifices that we cannot conceive of today.

Today we must remember the reality of war and all that have been affected by it. We must give gratitude and respect to those who have served in any capacity so that we can live the life we have in Canada. We must remember that there are still places in the world struggling for peace and there are those who are sacrificing their lives to fight for it.

These days, there are many in Canada who are promoting an attitude of intolerance, fear, anger and “us against them” . This is an insult to those who we remember and honor today. Today and everyday, Canadians must work together to maintain the peace that so many fought and died for. They deserve nothing less, and so much more.