Tag Archives: thankfulness

Loss, Pain and Thanksgiving.

The world around me has been filled with a lot of tragedies of late, and it’s becoming a struggle figuring out how to process all of them. There’s the obvious shock and grieving that happens in these circumstances, but there’s also the learning, the teaching and the love that must follow them.

It’s about finding the proper words to comfort the families that have experienced the loss. It’s helping your kids navigate their feelings of not really understanding and helping them figure out what comes next. It’s learning how to say goodbye and trying not to forget. It’s allowing yourself to be sad and broken. It’s figuring out how to move forward without these people in your life. It’s all of these and so much more.

This weekend, I lost a friend in a tragic car accident. 3 young children lost their mother. One of my good friends lost her son in a another tragic accident. My son’s best friend, lost his brother. The loss of these two amazing people will cause ripples of grief that will run far and wide, leaving all of us wishing we could go back and spend more time with them. That we would all get another moment to tell them how much we cared about them, and that we’d ensure that they really, really knew that. We are all asking the questions and wondering why? Why them? Why did this happen? Why is this happening? How is this fair? But we’re asking questions that will never have an answer, and yet, we will be stuck asking them for quite awhile.

We are constantly surrounded by loss and it becomes this thing that we get used to. It becomes a part of the circle of life and we all just keep moving on, in spite of it. We don’t recognize how important these relationships and circumstances are until they’re completely flipped upside down or are forever taken away. It’s sad…sad that we don’t take them to honour them until we no longer have the option.

But what about other kinds of loss and grieving, how do we work through them and live in the here & now?

Today, I had another friend go to a hospital and take a baby away from a Mother that just doesn’t have the ability to parent. She has lost all of her babies, but she is still a Mother that has suffered a deep loss. My friend is grieving for a Mom that will never know the joy of being a parent, while celebrating the gift of life. She loves this baby and this Mama, and it’s a pain that not many of us will ever be able to comprehend.

I have a family member that is deeply hurt and broken, and I don’t know how to help her. I don’t know how to help her heal and either move on or come home or whatever else that would bring her happiness. She’s also suffered a huge loss and has been grieving for a very long time. How can you help repair grief that runs so deep?

I have another friend that has walked away from her family because it was toxic and just not a good situation to be a part of, and she is still grieving years later. She chose to walk away, but she still longs for something that was or should’ve been. It’s much healthier and safer for her this way, but it still really hurts.

I have children that cry daily, or weekly for years and years as they grieve the family that they know they will never return to. These people are alive but are just out of reach and it hurts so badly. In their grief, they are also dealing with the guilt of being happy in their new lives as they don’t want to dishonour where they came from. It’s a horrible and awful thing to have to watch, and I can’t even pretend to know the best way to help them through it.

These situations aren’t usually how we think about grief but they affect us just as deeply and help shape the life we are trying to live right now. We have to acknowledge these moments and take the time to navigate them. These people need us right now.

I think that as we spend this Thanksgiving weekend with our friends and family that we take a minute to remind ourselves of how precious life really is. Do not wait until someone dies before you think to tell them how important they are to you. Don’t wait until the relationship is completely destroyed to show them some compassion. Don’t wait until someone walks right out of your life before you take the time to try and repair it. Don’t look at a situation and assume you know everything and judge someone so harshly that you can’t ever go back.

Use this time RIGHT NOW to honour each other.

If you can fix it, fix it.

If you can’t, find a way to help everyone get healthy closure so you can all move on in peace.

If you can lend a helping hand to get someone back on their feet, lift them up.

If you need to forgive someone, do it.

If you need to walk away from someone or something, walk away without leave a damaging trail.

If you haven’t told your most favourite people how much you love them, tell them.

If you don’t understand someone’s choices, that’s okay. You can still be there for when they need you.

If you need to just stand by someone and be present so they feel safe, do that.

If you need to grieve, allow yourself to do exactly that.

If you see a Mom really struggling, don’t judge her. Love her, help her, lead her or walk away.

Our lives would not be the same without our people, take the time to appreciate them for all they bring into your world, even if it’s only to teach you a lesson.

I am so thankful for many things in my life right now, some of them are good and some of them are not so good, but they’ve all become a part of my story. Thankfully, I have the ability to rejoice with the good and repair the not so good. That is what I’m thankful for today – that I’m alive to make these choices.

Choose well friends, tomorrow is NEVER promised.

Rest well Steff and Luke, you will be deeply missed and never forgotten. xoxox

Teachers, Tuesdays and Thankfulness

I’m fairly confident that we’re not all going to make to Tuesday based solely on this day alone.

I’ve been called names, spit at, kicked at and shoved out of the way. I’ve been hugged, cuddled, praised and given beautiful drawings. It is just one massive mess of boredom, excitement and loose ends around here.

We are officially “a mess” and WE are all very much ready for school to start.

I may tease about wanting to get rid of my kids and getting them out of my hair, but in all honesty, they’re more excited about going back to class than I am. (Barely, but they are).

They’re ready to see their friends, show off their new clothes and their pretty pink hair. There are girls to be chased and a final year of high school to be tackled. A new bus route and new friends. Volleyball, Basketball and Phys. Ed. It is time.

I’ve prepared them for the new year, and they are pretty much ready to be handed over to their teachers. But before I do that, I’ve got a few things to say.

First I must apologize for not getting every single thing on their school supply lists. I’m pretty sure some of those items are not even real, but anyways.  The soles of their runners are white though, so hopefully that’ll give me some bonus points. We labelled everything including ALL of their markers, shoes, bags, lunch kits and the 300 duo tangs. I promise to send no peanut butter anything, but I make no guarantee’s that their lunches will be healthy, all the time. They will usually be clean, and may or may not have socks on. But they will be there every morning awake, fed and ready for the day.

Secondly, I want to thank you. Thank-you for being their guide when I’m not there. Thank-you for keeping them alive. Thank-you for teaching them the things that I have no patience to even attempt. Thank-you for recognizing their positives when sometimes it’s easier to focus on negatives. Thank-you for taking the time to change these little lives every day. Thank-you for giving me 8 hours of peace and quiet daily.

I truly couldn’t do what I do, without you. You are loved and appreciated more than you’ll ever know. Please, never forget that, especially when I forget to send in all of their permission slips and school fees on time.  🙂

Here’s to another awesome year. C’mon Tuesday.

hugteacher

This post is part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. If you want to follow along with all of us “challengers”, click on their links below. 

Liam ~ Natasha ~ Zita ~ MagzD ~ Peter ~ Christine ~ Cliff ~ Hethr ~ Tracy

High-Fives & Hallelujahs

Last year I wrote a post acknowledging some of the really important people in my life. People that have loved me, challenged me and helped me grow. People that I didn’t know a short time ago, but couldn’t imagine not having in my life now. When I read my last years list, I am happy to report that I still feel the exact same way about those people and things and better yet, I’ve been blessed enough this year to be able to do a whole new list. (Kristi, Brandon & Deborah, Gryphon Pub Folks, Etc).

I have to start by thanking a few folks again though, so please be patient with me. My Husband Kevin. He’s an amazing husband, an excellent father, and the best friend I could ever wish for. I love you Wiener. My children, who at this moment, number 5. Thank-you for allowing me to be your voice of reason and guide your days. Thank-you for forgiving me in my weakness & loving me all the same. You are why I’m alive, never forget that.  My two besties, Shandra & Tracy. They’re my sounding boards and the voices that I sometimes just need to hear. I’m so blessed to be able to call them friends. My extended family. They are all still very loud, and many, and all over the place, but they’re mine and are always there when I need them.

Now, enough with the mush and on to my list of “High-Fives & Hallelujahs”.

High-Five: a celebratory or mutually congratulatory gesture between two persons performed by each slapping the other’s raised right hand.

My Twittery Ladies – Meaghan, Sarah, Jen, Stacy, Lisa, Janice & Rosanna to name just a few. (There are MANY of you, so don’t be offended if you’re not listed here). These people make me think, cry, shoot water out my nose from laughing so hard and just make my days complete. Some of them I still haven’t met IRL, but I love them like sisters. Looking forward to another year of coconut oil and giggles.

My #shpk Club – These friends were found this year on Twitter, only to later discover that we all live in the same town and share many of the same friends. I SO wish I would’ve met them years ago, and look forward to tonnes of fun that is yet to come.  Bobbi, Lori, Tracy, Carla, Monique, Tanya, Erin, Narissa, Tracy, Darci and all of the rest of you that I KNOW I’m forgetting. #shpk FTW

Luke Fevin & Kathleen Smith – These two people have opened my eyes to many things this year. We are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum on many levels, but we appreciate each other all the same. They have helped me become a better person and to see people and life through another set of eyes. They’ve challenged me to really live what I preach and have not made me feel less than for not sharing their viewpoints. We are never going to agree on a few things but I am thankful that they’ve helped me see outside of my little bubble.

My Coaches – Kerri & Josline. These ladies convinced me to give Ideal Protein a try, and it’s changing my life. I’m feeling better than I have in a very long time. I’m “losing” myself and growing all at the same time. It’s an amazing and awesome feeling, and I look forward to the rest of this journey.

My Customers – Thanks to all of you that continually support me in my businesses and ventures. Because of you, I’m able to stay home and raise my family and be their Mom. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart.

My Social Workers & Support Worker – As many of you know, this past year was tough for us in the fostering world. We had a child move on after being with us for almost 5 years, and it was a hard transition. In fact, we’re still dealing with it. We’ve had 4 more placements since that time and are still waiting for a comfy routine to start again, BUT we have an amazing support team in our workers. Thank-you for always listening to us, and really hearing where we’re at. Thank-you for always accepting my brutal honesty and respecting our role as parents. We wouldn’t have survived this year without you.

Hallelujah: used to express praise, joy, or thanks

I also won a few things this year, so thanks to Jawdrop Coolers for the trip to Vegas, The Shopping Channel for the Vitamix, Urban Infant’s Mama’s Choice awards for having “one of the top 2 online kids stores in the Edmonton area”, and most recently Linetech Ziplines for the zip lining package for me and 7 friends. (aaaahhhh….scary).  It’s been a very “winny” year for me and it was all kicked off by a contest entering frenzy by my friend Jen Banks. I better thank her too, and I’m sorry you didn’t win anything. 🙂

This was also a really awesome year for me, my writing and my little blog. I’ve been given the opportunity to be “Ask April” for Edmonton’s Child magazine. I was honoured to be one of Fierce Magazines Fierce & Fascinating People. I was one of the “How does she do it Mom’s” at Urban Infant magazine. One of my posts was Freshly Pressed. I’m now a guest contributor on a few different websites, and I write anonymously for a few others. I’m getting to do things that I absolutely love.

I say none of this to brag, but to honour all of my gifts because that truly is what they are.  I am still blown away that my rambling is actually making a difference in people’s lives. Thank-you for letting me into your worlds’, and allowing me to be a part of some amazing things. Please know that I will never, ever take that for granted, and am so thankful for all the opportunities that have come my way. And most importantly, thank-you for always coming back to read more.

I know that all of you could write a list just like this and I encourage you to do exactly that. The people that have changed us deserve to know just how important they really are. Never forgot or miss an opportunity to acknowledge all of the good things in your life. It is these people, things and circumstances that change and shape us. It is these things that make our story worth reading.

So, thank-you friends, you are so very much appreciated. Hugs, Hallelujahs & High-Fives all around!

thanksfriend

The Company that we Keep

One of my friends made a comment on her Facebook page the other day and it got me thinking. It was something along the lines of “do you judge people based on the company that they keep, and has your judgement been wrong?” At first, I didn’t think anything about it but then I realized that many of us are guilty of doing just that.

Is it wrong? Is it fair or does it make sense? I know that I’ve been guilty of doing this and hadn’t really thought too much about it. Now as I think and write, it has become something that I’m not proud of.

I have many friends and acquaintances’ from different walks of life. Many are involved in things or believe in things that I either don’t believe in or would never participate in or support. I’m friends with pastors, atheists, lesbians, drug users, alcoholics, people on welfare, single parents, divorcees, convicted criminals, people having affairs, thieves, liars, abusers and recovering addicts. I am not one of these things, but these people have made a significant difference in my life. Thankfully, I didn’t always make a pre-judgement based on their titles, or I would’ve missed out on some amazing people.

Am I saying that we need to invite each and every person, no matter what they do or where they come from to share in all aspects of our lives, absolutely not. What I’m saying is that we need to stop writing people off as “unworthy of our time” because they don’t meet our ideal picture of what a person should be.

Not everyone is cut out to be a mayor, but they could be an awesome councillor. Not all people can serve the role of best friend, but they sure are fun to go out with for coffee. I won’t let certain people babysit my children but I’d happily let them dog sit. Different people serve different roles in our lives and that is okay. We need to stop trying to make everyone fit into a mold that we’ve created.

Most of us have people that we are close to. People that we share our dreams and secrets with. People that we go to for advice and support. These people are a blessing, and we need to hold on to them tightly and cherish the gift that they are in our lives.

But what about the other people in your world? The ones that don’t share your faith? The ones that look different? The ones that have different lifestyles? The ones that are struggling with addictions? The ones that have zero support system and are just flailing about? What do we do with those people?

I say that we honour them for just being alive. For making it through another day, in spite of their circumstance or trials. That we recognize that though their choices are different from ours, that doesn’t necessarily make those choices wrong. That it’s okay for us to not all be the same.

You don’t need to let strangers into your home to include them in your life or hand them over a wad of cash. You don’t need to attend their marches or events or their churches. You don’t have to give them the clothes off your back or the keys to your car. Be smart but act first in grace as opposed to judgement.

Giving of ourselves in no way compromises our life or our own personal story. Be a listening ear, a helping hand or a smiling face. Having coffee with someone who is completely different from you does not make you “become them”, it will change you for the better. It will help you see the world through someone else’s eyes. It may make you appreciate your life a little bit more. It could possibly change their story and help them feel hope. Or you just might walk away with an awesome new friend. How is any of this a bad thing??

So as we go about our days, I challenge you to look at people through a different set of eyes. Don’t let your fears or ideals cloud your judgement as there’s always more to a person than what you can see.

Don’t judge me by who I’m sitting with. Judge me for how I’m treating them.

I know that I will now be holding myself to a higher standard. How about you?

eyesheart

A Thank-You to Jawdrop Cooler Co.

Last month, my friend Jen embarked on a contest journey. Her plan was to enter as many contests as she possibly could and then chart the results and share them with everyone. I decided to join her in this contest adventure so that we could compare our winnings and see who won the most. One week later, I won a trip to Las Vegas.

Watch them announce my name here.

After watching the video 10 times, and after speaking to the lovely folks at Jawdrop Cooler Co, I accepted the fact that I had actually won. I then encouraged all of my friends and family to go and watch the video, and to all go out immediately and purchase some coolers. They did.

I had won a trip for two adults to Las Vegas for 3 nights, flights out of Calgary including hotel and tickets to a show. How stinking cool was that? I couldn’t believe my luck or how blessed I had been to win this trip, and then it hit me, I couldn’t go.

As many of you know, my life has been a bit of a schmoz these past few months and for me to be able to leave and go somewhere is pretty much impossible. My husband and I started talking and tried to figure out another adult that he could take with him, and we just couldn’t decide. How do you choose one friend over another? We couldn’t do it. So I took a chance and asked the Jaw Drop folks if it would be okay for my husband to take our daughter. Not only was I, the winner not able to go, but we were trying to send a minor in my place. We weren’t all the hopeful as this was a liquor company and why in the world would they want to reward a “non-customer”. To our surprise, they instantly said Yes, take her.

M has never been on an airplane before and hasn’t travelled farther south than Spokane, so this was a really big deal. Her dream is to go on The Amazing Race with her Dad, so we figured this would be a great “practice” run. When we told them that we planned on surprising her with this trip, the company went above and beyond to make it memorable.

The arrangements were made to fly out of Edmonton, instead of Calgary. They were booked into Planet Hollywood as it was fun and attached to a mall. They found a show that would be suitable for someone her age, and even booked them a fancy schmancy dinner. (She’s still talking about the Caesar salad that was just leaves and the amazing Cirque Beatles show). They took the time to recognize that this was a father taking his daughter and not just some people going off to party. Instead of just handing over a “basic”, be happy it’s free, kind of trip, they gave my family something that will never be forgotten.

To say that I am thankful and impressed by this company is a gross understatement. The customer service that was given by Kelly & Staisia and the whole team at Aquilini Group was second to none.

So I thank-you for giving my daughter and her Dad an amazing adventure.  We are even more grateful now, as this may have been their last chance at adventure. Based on their ability to lose their car, get lost and/or locked out of buildings,  the odds of them getting past the first episode of The Amazing Race are slim to none.

Thank-you Jaw Drop Cooler Co. You are appreciated.

Now go out and buy some Coolers people.  🙂

FYI. They didn’t ask me to write this.

The Road to Skinny … Wanting it all NOW

When I make a decision that something needs to change,  I want it all to happen now. Right now.

Why is waiting so hard? It took  me almost 40 years to get me to the place that I’m at today. I guess I shouldn’t expect everything to change over night, but I sure wish they would. Truthfully, there are many things that I’m wishing for right now.

I wish that I liked vegetables more than cake. I wish that water tasted like Coke Zero. I wish that watching Reality TV shows counted as exercise. I wish that I could convince my willpower that it was just as strong as the words I speak. I wish that I felt more comfortable in my own skin. I wish that I could fall asleep and wake up skinny. I wish that I wasn’t such a wussy, whiny baby.

But wishing really won’t get me too far, so instead, I’m choosing to be thankful. I’m thankful that my brain is finally in a good place. I’m thankful that my health is getting better everyday. I’m thankful that I’ve figured out what I’m allergic to. (Even though I miss wheat more than words can explain). I’m thankful for my wonderful family, good friends and for change that is fueled by hope. I’m thankful that old thoughts patterns are being replaced with new ones. I’m thankful for this journey.

I will continue pressing forward, eating better, feeling better and wanting more. As I continue on, I will pray for patience and trust that I already have it within me. I will get there … I will become what I know I am.

Thanks for listening to me whine and complain. It felt really good, and now I can move on to something better.  🙂