Monday, January 26, 2015

52 weeks of gratitude : week 1

Week one of the 52 weeks of gratitude only says " Why start this challenge", so here is my reasoning for participating.

As previously mentioned I am a fan of gratitude.

By nature I am a pessimist, and the facts of our lives - being lesbians in a small, conservative, community while raising children with disabilities - means we face a fair number of challenges.

It would be very easy for me to get bogged down by the things in our lives that are difficult, going wrong, or just different than the life I imagined for myself once upon a time. The fact is, it would not take much for me to just give in to the despair and spiral out of control with negativity. But, I find that if I find things to be grateful for it helps me to get through the day. It helps me to stay grounded. I PERSONALLY enjoy being appreciated, so why not appreciate others and the things around me that I find in abundance to be grateful for!

My days have looked like this:
It's -30 degrees C, our car wouldn't start, the warning lights on the dash all came on (which may mean the car is in dire need of repair or the mice living in the vehicle have eaten all of the electrical cords - neither scenario is a happy one). The block heater isn't working, the pipes in the basement may have frozen, and the kids have eaten all the snacks we only just got for lunches which is supposed to last for the next two weeks of school - and I've only been awake 30 minutes!

But, if I focus on what I am grateful for :
My neighbour came and plowed the yard and so I can get out (when the car starts) and the kids have a place to play which will entertain them for hours.  We were up in time and the kids were all dressed and made it to the bus (WITH THEIR BACKPACKS!) this morning so I don't have to drive them to school. The boys wanted to pack their lunches for school last night, which saved some time getting ready this morning and I was able to get hold of a neighbour who can drive me to work and back for the next two days. So you see - focussing on what I am grateful for makes for a happier mama Ju - and let's face it. When the mama's aren't happy our lives are a WHOLE lot worse!

Friday, January 23, 2015

52 weeks of gratitude

I have decided to participate in the 52 weeks of gratitude challenge. I'm a fan of gratitude and  I'm looking forward to participating. I'm a little slow on getting started so I will have to do three posts right away - It doesn't hurt anything to be extra grateful! 
Here is the list of things I'll be posting about over the next 52 weeks.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Family photo

This summer we finally went and had family photos professionally taken for the first time ever. I have bad memories of family photos from my family of origin where many of our jaunts to the studio were fraught with arguments. One time in particular my one brother shaved his head and showed up bald. It's funny now  - not so funny that day! Oh man my dad was not impressed ! 
I have a great friend in a near town who has started taking photos and wanted to increase her portfolio and the price was perfect - so we went down to the river and took some photos. I am thrilled with the results. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gone, Gone , Gone, Been Gone so Long

It has been a LONG time since I have blogged and I have REALLY missed it. I am excited that things have changed enough in my life that I feel I have some time to recommit to posting again. Hip Hip Horray!
Obviously in the seven months or so since I have been here a lot has happened but I'm not going to go back and try to recap everything for you. Instead, as I move forward I will share some exciting things that have happened.
Last year I was able to experience one of my life dreams and that was to attend a tattoo convention! I loved every single minute of it and I look forward to attending many more in the future and continuing to expand my collection of tattoos from artists I love (and follow on instagram!) I was tattooed at the Calgary Convention by Ben Merrell from Tribal Rites in Fort Collins, Colorado. It was a most excellent experience.
Here are some photos :


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Words From Jeff Foster - This Moment

Everything I thought my summer was going to hold has turned out to be true - and more.
It's only the middle of June, summer has not officially started, and I am getting my butt kicked.
Here is something I came across that was profoundly timely for me and I thought I would share.
It is the writing of Jeff Foster and more of his writing can be found on his website.

THIS MOMENT, FRIEND, THIS MOMENT

This is for anyone who is going through a crisis, big or small.

Friend, I know that sometimes it feels like everything's falling apart, and even the most beautiful spiritual words sound like bullshit, meaningless, flowery, new-age drivel. We lose everything we thought defined us, or made us happy, everything that seemed to matter to us, and it feels like we will never recover. We are left in total despair, disappointment, disillusionment. It seems like 'the end', with no hope of recovery.

Yet in life, there are no true endings, only transformations, new beginnings emerging from rubble. Old dreams dying, the false falling away, which can be excruciatingly painful, of course, of course! Destruction, breakdowns, disruptions, shocks and losses, often feel like enemies, but always contain seeds of the new, and sometimes it just takes time to recover. This devastation you are going through, this crucifixion of dreams you feel, is an opportunity to let go of EVERY SINGLE IDEA you've ever had of how your life was "supposed to be", all those cherished dreams that were simply false, yet beautiful and useful at the same time.

The invitation today is to be present to your life, to wake up to it, to turn towards this immediacy, to dignify what is actually happening where you are. If there is loneliness visiting you here and now, do not turn away. If there is fear, do not push it away or try to escape. If there is frustration, anxiety, or just a quiet sense of hopelessness moving in you, do not reject these energies. They just want to be felt, now. They are not wrong. They are your lost children, orphans of awakening, and just want to move and be felt. Sometimes life brings us to our knees so that we will FEEL everything we've been running away from all our lives. And yes, the 'meeting' may hurt. But perhaps feeling the hurt is the beginning of healing, not the ending of it.

And watch the mind. How it constantly spins, rewinds and fast-forwards, constantly leaves the present scene of your life, here and now. Thought is constantly running away from the present moment. It goes into memory - of how good things were before, of how wonderful your life used to be. And it longs to return there. And it feels unable to. And despair results. Regret. Longing. Homesickness. And it fast-forwards into the future, imagining all kinds of future scenarios, many dark and scary. It takes you into regions way beyond your control. And both movements into past and future disconnect you from where you are NOW, which is all there is. They take you away from your only point of power - this moment.

But this moment is all there is. This breath. These sensations. Present sounds, smells. Present beating of the heart, the feeling of your butt on the chair. A little bird singing on the tree outside. The buzz of the television over there. A feeling of contraction in the chest, tenderness in the throat. This is a call to radical, radical simplicity. To honouring the not-knowing. To admitting humility in the face of life. Without the story of past and future, can you really know that your life has 'gone wrong'? For that is the belief at the core of everything, isn't it? That your life has 'gone wrong'. That the 'me' has failed somehow. That the universe is cruel and somehow against you. It's an intelligent conclusion to make, yes. I won't judge you for it. But perhaps it's not the truth. Perhaps the mind doesn't know.

My friend, your disillusionment, your inability to believe all those spiritual teachings now, including my own, is not a mistake - it is pure intelligence at work! Your disillusionment is part of waking up, not the end of waking up! This is all an invitation to a deeper awakening than you ever thought possible. You are being forced to question everything - everything - including all those cherished spiritual teachings that once held so much value. You are being called to find your own authority, to let go of all those bullshit ideas about what 'a good life' means. You are being invited to let go of everything second-hand, everything old, everything received - from parents, teachers, gurus - everything in memory, and be present to life, raw and naked.

Sometimes we have to lose everything to remember our total humility, to remember that we are not in control, and that each moment is full of wonder and thrilling uncertainty. You are on a path of devastation now - it was exactly what Jesus was teaching. This is not the end for you - it is the beginning of a new and different life, a new way of moving in the world, however hard that is to see. It is a time of renewal, of slowing-down, of discovering the abundance contained within the nothingness. A time to be kinder to yourself. There is so much potential for you, friend, even if you cannot believe that.

There have been many times in my own life when I felt unable to go on, unable to stand. I felt that I had lost everything, that nothing was possible, that the void was the only life. But I just didn't know what the universe had in store.

Even though you feel lonely and abandoned, frightened and angry, friend, know that many others are walking with you, and many others understand. You will write your own book of transformation one day.

This moment, friend. THIS moment.

- Jeff Foster

Saturday, June 7, 2014

So this is what my summer is going to look like!

It's the first Saturday in June and if  today is any indication of how my weekends will unfold for the rest of the summer it's going to be a doozy!
I finished work at 7am and had to hurry home and get the kids ready for our soccer tournament today. Mike and CJ were both playing. (Thankfully our first game was at 9:50)
Max loaded the bikes into the back of the truck and I headed to town with the three boys. We made it in time for our first game and it went well! Both myself and the coach of the other team stood around for a few minutes waiting for a referee to show up, but we figured we were doing it ourselves and just got to it. The U6 kids for our tournament were playing 3 on 3 and we used a goalie because the nets were HUGE. The kids at this age are funny when they play goalie because we have been really working hard at reminding them not to touch the ball with their hands and then we put them in the goal and tell them to pick up the ball. Some adapt to this change better than others.
Max was thrilled to be riding his gigantic bike and showing it off to everyone. CJ was riding around like a madman on his bike but one of the local RCMP officers stopped by to see his son play and so Ceej followed him everywhere until he had to leave the fields.  He talked to the RCMP officer about the RCMP members in Moncton who lost their lives this week. I love my kids. They can be so thoughtful and kind and I'm glad CJ was able to see an officer and let him know that he was sad about others giving up their lives for Canadians.
I think we completely got our butts kicked in the first game. My one little guy scored three goals and he was absolutely THRILLED with himself. We only had 5 kids playing and the other team had 12 or 13 - so my little's were running their hearts out for the full 30 minutes. The MINUTE the game was over Max and CJ wanted to go to the skate park and ride so we loaded up the bikes, drove over to the park and spent 20 minutes there and then loaded up the bikes and headed back to the school for my next game. 
CJ found out the kids who played in the tournament got medals at the end of the day and that was apparently a miraculous incentive because he joined us for game two! Game two was much more evenly matched in terms of skill level of the kids and there was more "Play" I had to referee the game and so one of the moms helped me on the sidelines with subbing the kids on and off. Mikey took a turn in goal and was phenomenal once he got the hang of it. He definitely did better in net than any of the other kids (although CJ was pretty decent also.) Kids under 6 are too funny to me playing soccer. I have two little guys who always want to be on the field together but they don't play, they just run around and hug each other. Another one of my little girls runs and runs and runs and RUNS but does not want to touch the ball! At one point in the second game I had one little girl who was playing just walk off the field, pick a flower and give it to me and then keep on playing! They get tired and just leave the field,  one of my kids has a new baby sister and he kept leaving to check on her - while he was playing! and at one point our team goalkeeper was not happy it was his turn in goal so he just sat down with his back towards the game!!  When we stopped for half time the kids all wanted to know if it was time for them yet to go play on the playground yet. What I LOVE is the fact that they are there to have fun. They are happy to be there. They are not so competitive yet that they are upset by winning or losing.
At the end of this game Shel had arrived so we loaded the bikes up again and headed to the skate park AGAIN for the kids to play for an hour. They played an hour and we loaded up the bikes and went back for our last game. I was referee again and this last game was brutal. All the kids were tired and it was like herding cats. Other teams all had four games but I was not upset at all that we only had three - we had so few kids playing that they were just wiped right out.
As soon as the last game was over I gave out medals and took a photo and we (wait for it) .....loaded up the bikes and headed to the skate park! We stayed another hour and I had to take everyone home so I could get back to work.
I made it to work on time but I was TIRED!
No-one can say we don't make the best of the SHORT summer we get.

Friday, May 30, 2014

BONE tired

I am so tired. I have worked 287 hours at my regular job this month, plus my part time job, plus coaching soccer. If I had a minute I would sit somewhere and reconsider what it is I am spending my time on and how to do something different. The only thing is, if I GET a minute and I do sit down I fall asleep within seconds :(
I used to think it was funny when my mom sat in a chair at the end of the day and within minutes was asleep. Not so funny now!