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 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!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou passed away yesterday and I was sad to hear the news. What a great woman she was. I feel as though she actually made an impression on my life - as opposed to so many other celebrities whom I enjoy for purposes of entertainment, but who really give nothing more to the edification of my life.  I felt that Maya Angelou was a wise and gifted woman whom I actually learned from and whose lessons I think about with regularity.
Since her passing there have been a lot of posts of her quotes on facebook, pinterest, twitter and instagram (the big four social media sites I use). I like all of her quotes of course, but the lesson I learned and the one that will remain with me for all my days is this: " When someone shows you who they are, believe them."
I cannot tell you the number of times I have had encounters with people and they have shown me who they are and I have questioned myself, or my perception of them, only to discover that I have been right - or more accurately, THEY have been right. They SHOWED me and I didn't believe.
Sometimes this is a hard lesson to learn, especially when you love or trust someone who is not worthy of that love or trust, but sometimes it is a beautiful thing to experience - such as when you meet beautiful, kind and loving people who are exactly who they show themselves to be.
Thank-you Ms. Angelou for this lesson which you have given me and which I will never forget.
May the next part of your journey be beautiful.

Monday, May 19, 2014

I Lost My Dead Cat

That's not even a joke. We had such a bad day we even lost the box that our dead cat is in. I know. How is that even possible. I DO NOT KNOW BUT IT HAPPENED TO US TODAY!
Our cat Helios has suffered from urine infections for his whole life. The old man has just been prone to them. He has had a number of blockages and we have dealt with them all, but he is older and got blocked again and was in a lot of pain and would have required painful surgery that would not "cure" him of the problem re-occurring. Shel had to take him to the Vets to put him to sleep the other night.
Shel has had cats that have lived a LONG time - indoor cats, living in a city. Since we have had cats live to be 17 years or more it is hard to compare the long lives they have had with the relatively short life of Helios. (He was still more than 7 years old so I believe he's had a good acreage life). I find the farmers here take a much different perspective on the lives and longevity of their animals. I'm sure they think we are strange at how we lament the passing of our animals.
CJ was devastated and told me that he had never had a chance to teach him how to fetch a ball.
Because we live where we do we are able to bring our pets home and bury them. Shel brought Helios home for us to bury.
This morning our 6 month old puppy, Flames, was hit and killed by a truck. It was absolutely horrendous and I am FUMING mad that the person who killed our dog didn't even have the decency to come and tell us what had happened. There is absolutely NO WAY they didn't know what they did. Our poor Puppy was completely broken. CJ cried and cried and said he didn't get a chance to teach Flames to fetch a ball either. CJ and I WILL teach Brownie how to fetch a ball soon!
We had to dig a grave for Flames today and Helios. We started digging but our yard used to be a gravel pit and digging in the yard is virtually impossible. It sucks.
Before we had a chance to dig a hole large enough to bury the puppy and Helios, we had a grass fire and I had to call 911 because the fire was headed towards the power poles. We had an old shed on the property that was knocked down years ago , before we even moved to the house. We have never completely taken it apart and I had no idea what was in the pile of debris and that was a bit scary. It turns out there were some old tires in the pile which made impressive black clouds of smoke visible from town (about 25km away). When the fire department responded they did so with ALL four trucks - because they could see the smoke from town and thought they had a doozie of a fire on their hands. They were able to put out the fire very quickly (it was not a bad one and there were many of them!) and we proceeded with the burial.
We put Flames into the ground and CJ got a bone for him to be buried with. We got the ashes of Rescue that we have been saving to bury and buried those with a bone. We went to get the box with Helios to put with the puppies and I'll be damned - we cannot find the box.
You know your day has been ridiculously bad when you lose your dead cat. We looked high and low and cannot find that silly box. I told Shel we should probably have smudged today, to get rid of the negative energy. She pointed out that we did smudge - most of our yard.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

How Many Times?

We have been foster parents for many years and have had children come and go from our home numerous times. Last October, two of the children we had been fostering for close to two years were returned  home under circumstances I did not agree with. It was one of the most difficult experiences we have ever endured. After the heartbreak brought about by the circumstances of the end of this placement we had decided that we would not continue fostering.
We set a date with our case worker to make our decision known to her and for a number of reasons (her illness, our schedules, etc.) this meeting was postponed a number of times and finally scheduled for a day last month.
The day arrived. Our appointment was scheduled for 1pm.
At 8 am we got an urgent call from the worker asking us to return the call immediately. The kids were coming back into care that day and she wanted to know if we would take them. Without any hesitation we did. We have had a great month.
There have been two court dates since then and a third and final scheduled for this week. I have worked REALLY hard to not allow myself to stress over the court dates and to allow for things to happen the way they will - my worry will not change the outcome of these proceeding anyway. This week there is (what I understand to be) a final court proceeding. There is a possibility that circumstances will again take the kids from our home. Two days.

Friday, May 2, 2014

30 x 30 Nature Challenge

I have signed up.
You should.
For the next 30 days, spend 30 minutes a day in Nature.
Sign up here
I will let you know how it goes!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Turn Around Bright Eyes

I love the song "Total Eclipse of the Heart".
Tonight there is a real eclipse, a lunar eclipse. A blood moon rising.  In fact I might sing about it as it is happening. Not the ENTIRE time it is happening because it lasts for hours and hours. It begins just around midnight and takes about an hour for the moon to become completely overcome by the shadow of the earth. When it is completely covered the moon will appear "red".

I am really excited about it for a number of different reasons.
Since I enjoy making lists, I will enumerate the reasons for you.

1. I love the moon.
2. My son is very excited to watch the eclipse with me and I can't wait to share it with him.
3. This is the first of four blood moons this year that will be visible from our geographic location. This is also called a "tetrad". It has not happened since 1967 and will not happen again until 2032 - at which time not all four will be visible from Alberta. So a good reason to get out and see them all!
4. A Blood Moon Rising is symbolic of a great positive change and new beginning - which I am looking forward to!

Here is some information you can link to if you are interested in more about the Blood Moon.
The image above was copied from the article I have linked you to.

Book review: All The Broken Things


Here are the two main reasons I love this book. #1. It so well written it evokes in me emotion, not many readers are capable of writing in such a way. I wont say it evokes emotion I LIKE - but it is evocative and I appreciate that. #2. At the same time as the writer paints a melancholy portrait of the life of Bo, she injects the hope of relationships. Orange learns to communicate, Bo makes REAL connections with people who care about him. The world is not ONLY a bleak place. Great story.
The book is about the life of Fourteen-year-old Bo, a boat person from Vietnam. Bo is living in a small house in Toronto with his mother, Thao, and his four-year-old sister. The home has been provided for them from the sponsors who paid to bring them from Vietnam. A religious group. His sister was born disfigured as a result of agent Orange. Her name means Orange Blossom and Bo calls her Orange. Bo's mom keeps his sister hidden away and it is Bo's responsibility to care for her when he is not in school.
Bo is a fighter, literally, and gets into fights on a daily basis. He is a talented fighter, talented enough to win, but he never does. He feels a connection to the boy he fights most often, realizing this is the person he has the most intimate contact with on a daily basis.
One day a carnival worker and bear trainer, Gerry, sees Bo in a streetfight, and recruits him for the bear wrestling circuit. Gerry gives Bo a bear cub to raise and train as his own.
Max, Gerry's boss, is fascinated by the boy and gets to know his mother - with the intent of using Orange in his side show to make money. In the process of trying to manipulate Thao, they fall in love. The church tells Thao she has to leave the house. Max takes Thao and Orange and leaves Bo behind. Bo knows he and his cub are alone and he sets out on his own. Living first in the park and then back with the circus Bo and his bear survive.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Church Attendance

For the first 23 years of my life I attended church faithfully. When  I say faithfully I mean, I went every Sunday to3 hours of  meetings, once a week at least to activities. As a teenager in high school I attended an early morning seminary - religious scripture study - every morning for four years BEFORE school and I had 100 percent attendance. I served a full time, 18 month, mission for my church. I think it is safe to say I was a very religious person. In the past ten years I have not attended church at all.

I have visited a friends church once with my spouse and a foster child. I have taken foster children to a Sunday service at a catholic church once. Recently, also for purposes of work, I have attended three consecutive weeks of church in my small community.

When I entered the church the first Sunday I was VERY conscious of looking around to see who I knew from the community in attendance and how I felt about them. I saw a handful of people I recognize. One of the men I saw, has a son who is gay, and who was not supportive of his son's sexuality AT ALL. He has also not been an overly friendly person to me. One of the women I saw, is singly, the most mean and unkind person I have encountered in this community, with unkindness directed towards me repeatedly over a span of 10 years here. Also, two men I saw are two of the kindest men my family knows, and one lady has also been extremely friendly to me. Six of one and half a dozen of the other. I am not there for myself anyway, but I thought it was interesting, in a church that preaches acceptance to all, that the congregation has such a mix of personalities. The reality is that I am not there to judge them, but was concerned for how well I would be accepted. I figured I would live with the mix of people since I am there for work, however I am slightly concerned about the one woman so I will try to be open to my feelings as I move forward. I am not willing to put myself into a situation where I will be treated poorly - even if it is for work!

Now I get to the motivation behind this post today. A woman we have been working with for many years, as a support to our family through fostering and other support agencies, found out I was attending church for work. She came to talk to me about it. I have never seen someone so excited about me attending church. she was saying things like" Whatever it takes to get you through those doors doesn't matter as long as your bum is in that seat.' HA! Then she was telling me how I could download a bible to my I-pad and how to navigate the bible etc. Obviously she doesn't know a few things about me. I know a LOT about the bible and I have no problem navigating it. I am not planning on reading it anytime soon. I have read it a number of times cover to cover. I am not interested in joining a congregation myself and wont be attending church unless it is for work purposes. And last but not least - why get excited over me attending church? It does not make me a different or a better person. It did show me a lot about her though. Sadly.

I can HONESTLY say. I am more spiritual now than I think I have ever been. It has nothing to do with church and although I did not find the church service offensive, I did not feel as though it did anything to enhance my spirituality or my connection to the divine.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

12 of 12

On the 12 of the month I took 12 photos of my day. I had every intention of uploading them ON the 12th, but like most of my good intentions, the plan lived only in my mind and not in reality. I still wanted to post the photos though, so here is my day on the 12th of this month, in 12 images.
 #1. It is FINALLY warming up and the first sign that it isn't just my imagination is the fact that the town is removing the winter lights from the light posts in town. Hip Hip Hooray!

 #2. The Fine Arts Center in Town is having a silent auction of art collected over the years from art competitions. This week we can go in and look at all the past winners of art competitions and decide if we want to bid on any art at the auction later this month.

 #3. Here is one wall of art winners. They don't have this competition anymore. It's too bad really. It seems like it would have been a fun event.

 #4. I thought this piece etched out of wood was cool.
 #5. Here is a piece of some abandoned buildings. These buildings used to be all over the place and I loved to see them in the fields. Now many of them are gone and it won't be long till this painting is all that remains of them.

 #6. I looked out the window and what did I see? RUNNING WATER! More evidence of spring!!!

 #7. Trying to do some art projects and not just "colouring books" . I am enjoying seeking out ideas and them working on them.

 #8. Our little Brownie. She will be four months old this month. She likes her Skunk toy. Between one job and the next I had to run home for a minute and she was outside with her toys. She usually doesn't like to be on the snow - it is too cold for her tender sensibilities!

 #9. Evidence of the boys playing on the snow hill. This has been the most amazing thing to have in our yard this winter. Ben Rocks.

 #10. Standing outside and listening to the water come down through the pipes and I thought "This is what spring means to me." Then I looked at the water coming down the downspout and HELLO?! I that an electrical outlet right there?! It figures!

 #11. My day is done and I am headed home, but I know someone will be waiting to see if I arrive with Milk and I cannot let that little man down!

#12. Thank-goodness it is open 24 hours. Soon it will still be light out when I leave to go home at night.

That's my day folks!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Letter to Max (7 years 6 months)

Dear Max,

Hey big guy. It's past time for me to be writing another letter to you. I thought I would attach a photo I took of you today. The sun FINALLY came out - the last week the temperatures were the coldest I have ever experienced with the wind chill factor.

Today the sun came out and the temperature is above zero.
You are outside on the big pile of snow Ben made for you in the yard sledding in your shorts and slippers! Funny Guy. Have I told you lately that I love your beautiful smile?

Earlier this week you were at horseback riding lessons and Mama Shel texted me and said you were wearing size 9 men's boots. I was shocked - because that's the size I wear. I decided to check it out when we were home together and I got this shot of our feet. YIKES! Your feet ARE as big as mine laddie - and you are SEVEN years old. Holy moly. ( I also love this photo because it shows how much the puppies love you. This is Flames at 3 months old)

You have done a couple of things recently I wanted to write down so I don't forget. I was in the grocery store with you and your brother. He and I were playing in the cart and you told me I was being embarrassing to you in public! I have a feeling that your brother and I will be a source of embarrassment to you a lot as you grow older unfortunately.

In the same grocery store visit in the check out line you were standing too close to the woman in front of us. I explained to you that you were in her bubble and needed to step back. You came and stood by me and put your hand right on my boob and asked if you were in my bubble now. I couldn't stop laughing, and yes, you were in my bubble!

One of the ways I know you are growing and maturing is the way you are playing with your brother. You used to get so frustrated with him using his imagination because your world is so black and white. This week he was dressed, as usual, in his Iron Man costume and you got dressed up as a dragon and played with him! I was listening to you talking to him and you make me laugh. You don't like it so much when I laugh, because you haven't figured out yet that I am not making fun of you (we will keep working on it) so I don't laugh out loud when I am with you, but Bud, you are a funny guy. You called out to Iron Man to come to you in the kitchen and he replied "Just a minute" to which you responded " You can't say just a minute when you are Iron Man, it could be an emergency!"

I just want to remind you that for as long as you live you are welcome to be in my bubble. I love you my son.

Rest your head, close to my heart, never to part, Baby of mine.

Love Mama Ju

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Converation I Wish I Never Had.

Photo: This cold weather in Saskatchewan is getting out of hand. Unbelievable!!

First of all let me just say - this map is one I saw on facebook and I have not verified if it is ACTUALLY true that temperatures were that low with the wind chill.
Second of all let me say that this weekend WAS the coldest weekend on record in Saskatchewan and it broke all kinds of records.

Here is the conversation I had with my mother, the one that I think two human beings should never have to have - that I wish I had never had!

Me: " Ma, I just saw something that said the temperatures close to you are -100 degrees with the wind chill. Are you o.k.?"
Mom: "Oh Love, I am fine. It is only -60 degrees here."

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thursday Thirteen: Small things that speak volumes to me

MORE Thursday 13 Participants can be found HERE. Check it out!

This week my topic is 13 Small Things that Speak Volumes to Me....

1. The heaving sigh the puppies makes when they lay down beside me.

2. Having people look me in the eye when they speak to me.

3. People taking grocery carts back into the store when they are finished unloading.

4. The gift of photos of our sons in a frame that was given to us by our friend at Christmas. It was the kindest, most thoughtful thing ever and I love it.

5. My co-worker bringing me a coffee when she relieves me at work because she has stopped for one for herself on the way in.

6. My son saying " I love you more than that" when I tell him I love him.

7. An email from my mom in the morning that she sends before her day begins. There is always an email waiting when I wake up to start my day.

8. Out of the blue texts from friends who live far away saying " Thinking of you" and nothing else.

9. Having someone lend me four seasons of "Downton Abbey" to watch.

10. Sitting in the living room with my spouse after the kids have gone to bed and watching a show together.

11. Listening to my kids and my spouse laughing.

12. Someone recommending a book to me.

13. My spouse making a salad for me so it is ready when I come home after a late shift.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Our New Puppies

We have new puppies. They are just over three months old, litter mates and a mixed breed. We looked up characteristics of both breeds to see if we could get an idea of what kinds of things we might find in our babies as they grow. He are some of the things we have found out that seem to be true of our babies (they have been home with us for a just over a month).
1. They are comical, affectionate and playful.
3. They like to be challenged and have fun and will make up games if they are not entertained.
4. Howling is a favorite pastime. This is SO true, particularly of Flames (CJ's puppy). He loves to howl and when he gets started the others all join in. By others I mean :Brownie, Zuva, Max and CJ!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Riding lessons

Recently in our small community an opportunity has presented itself for us to get riding lessons for the boys. They have ridden horses before with friends, but never taken any kind of formal lessons. In a small community options for recreation are limited (unless we participate in hockey - which we currently don't). We were thrilled with the chance and signed them up immediately. True to form, our eldest is not interested at all in getting onto the horse, but he was willing to go into the arena and LEAD the horse (or "drive it" as he says). Our thrill seeking younger son was excited to go and at the end of his first lesson his only complaint was that he didn't get to go faster! He has had two lessons, and we have signed up for more. My hope is that the eldest will decide at some point he wants to participate but in the meantime we will let him "drive", and that's ok!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Land lots of land - and goats

We live on six acres of land which is PLENTY enough to raise some animals. I have a SMALL desire to have other kinds of animals, but a BIGGER desire to remain free to come and go as I please without worrying about getting someone else to tend the smallholding. (which now that I write it out is FUNNY if you know me - I am a total homebody and hate going anywhere!)
I have dreams of having goats - I don't know why - they amuse me and I think they would be great for the boys. I would also like chickens, a few beehives, and maybe a cow and a donkey and a miniature horse or two.
Realistically it is unlikely that we will ever have animals, but if we did I would ABSOLUTELY get one of these:

Parking Problems - rural style

I remind myself often that people actually pay to get out of cities and stay in rural locations as a "getaway". I am grateful that this is where I live. I see the northern lights often. I see the stars brightly shining nightly. I see wildlife literally on a daily basis, and I don't have to drive though nasty traffic to get to work and my parking is free!
The other day when I arrived at work I was a little preoccupied with gathering all of my stuff and when I looked up ready to out of my vehicle there were two moose in the yard.
I would rather my parking "problems" than some of my friends and families problems in cities!
By the time I put all my garbage down and got my camera in hand they had walked off into the bushes, but here is evidence that I DID see them.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

An Apologetic Gay

This week I went to a presentation on homophobic bullying. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go and hear the speaker. He spoke about some things I already know, and some things I had no idea about. But one thing that he said specifically resonated with me.
He talked about measuring the "health" or the "safety" of a community - whether it be a school, a town, a company, a government - by the visibility and involvement of minorities. If a space is not a safe space then the minorities will not speak out, they will not be vocal, they may not even be visible. It really made me think of our experiences in this small community where we have been for more than ten years. First of all we are the ONLY out gay couple that I know of. There is no gay organization in this community at all. The high schools have no out gay students or gay student organization and the college has no gay student organization.
Let me say this before I continue - there are "pockets" of places where we have felt very accepted in this community. One of these is with some of the administrators and teachers and aides at the school where our kids attend. On days Mother's day they send home two cards, or two projects for the boys for each of us. On Fathers day they send home a project for us, so the kids are still working on things when the others are making things for their dads. We have a pocket of support in our small rural community - we have neighbours who are AMAZING and who have been good friends to us. So we don't live in this horribly hostile place and I don't want to give the impression that we do. However, having said that, I DO feel as though I have been stifled. I have stood in my office at work when co-workers have made fun of gay people. I attended a family campout with my children where at a campfire one of my friends husbands, in front of everyone, said to me " I have no problem with people being lesbian, I just think if they use a dildo then they are not a real lesbian and they are fooling themselves. Do you use one?" Interestingly he did not, nor did anyone else, talk about the sexual practices of anyone else around the campfire, and whether or not their sexuality was "valid".
I think of myself sometimes as an "apologetic gay". I am sorry for the anguish that my being gay has caused in my life and in the lives of my family. I am sorry that it has affected some of my relationships. I am very conscious about the things I say, the things I post on facebook, the things I post on my blog, and the way I present myself (or don't present myself) in public because I don't want to be offensive. I have avoided saying things when co-workers have made gay jokes or said "That's so gay". I have laughed off, and downplayed comments like the one made to me at the family picnic. It makes me a little sad. A LOT sad - because as I sat in that presentation and I thought of being a gay teen in this community where there is no support, I thought of how I WOULD say things on the behalf of that youth. I would protect, I would advocate and I would not be silent in the face of such overt and blatant homophobia. I am sad that I have not done that for myself, and for my spouse. I resolved in that meeting that I would like to change how I have been apologetic. Now I just need to figure out how!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Silly Zuva

Zuva is our dog. We got her from a local rescue as a puppy many years ago. She is a great dog and she is getting older. She is not so fond of playing all the time any more - our first real physical sign of her age. She has always been very playful. She will still play, but now on her terms, not on ours. She is fond of finding cozy places to rest, and at Christmas she decided one of those spaces was under the tree where no-one could easily reach her. Silly pup.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

42 goals for being 42

When I turned 42 I decided I wanted to set 42 goals and I began a list which unfortunately only made it to number ten!
Here are the ten things I have come up with so far - and there are only ten months remaining in the year. D'OH!
So I am up to 19 goals. I have completed 3 of them. Not bad - only 39 left to complete in the next ten months.

1. Get a tattoo - I GOT ONE! I January I got another tattoo. I am happy with it, but of course I want more. Dang I love tattoos.

This is from my family crest and it means "I have fought and conquered".
2. Finish a cross stitch character for mom's nativity.
3. Make a quilt.
4. Take the boys to the ocean.
5. Do a craft from Pinterest that I am interested in.
6. GRADUATE with my master's degree.
7. Blog at least 52 times in the next year. Since January I have blogged three times on this blog and twice on twomomsread. I have to look specifically and see how many times I have blogged since I set the goal for myself.
8. Read at least 52 books in the next year. So far I have read 7 books and I have blogged about two of them on my other blog (twomomsread)
9. Start to Zentangle.
10. Take a photo every single day.

Here are some more goals I have added, (but I am also up for ideas if anyone has any..)
11. Try 10 new recipes out on the family to see if they like them.
12. Make myself a cross stitch tree decoration. I have completed TWO but I am working on a project that has seven cross stitches which I would like to complete. But even if I don't complete all seven - I have finished this goal!
13. Fix up the small room upstairs for me for a craft room.
14. Take a puppy training class.
15. Write a handwritten letter to five people that I love, telling them why I love them.
16. Get a family photo taken and hang it on a wall in our house.
17. Ride bikes with my family.
18. Send 1 items of art (or a letter) from Max and CJ to both their Grannies. Actually PUT IT IN THE MAIL WITH A STAMP AND AN ADDRESS!
19. Write a personal mission statement. DONE! You can read it right here on this blog!

Grief is like a wave

I have often heard the comparison between grief and waves. I thought it meant that grief would ebb and flow the way waves ebb and flow, but tonight as I was driving I was hit with a wave of grief and I realized the comparison has nothing to do with the rising and falling of emotion. Waves have rhythm and a pattern that grief does not.
Grief is salty.
Grief knocks your feet out from under you and for a moment you don't know how to orient yourself with the rest of the world.
Even when you KNOW you will experience grief, the actual impact of grief is shocking and will take your breath away.
Grief is much stronger than you realize.
It is beyond your control and can leave you high and dry with a wicked sand burn.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Mission Statement

My Cousin Jessica  posted on her blog for the new year her personal mission statement and her resolutions for 2014. I thought it was a very cool idea and so I am going to do it also!
I have never had a personal mission statement. I am excited about this!
Here goes:
My 2014 Personal Mission Statement
My life has a purpose.
I am grateful. I am compassionate. I am strong. I forgive.
I have the ability to be balanced and successful in all that I do.
I trust myself. I listen to my inner voice. I choose joy.
I will see every day as a new opportunity filled with light, laughter, and joy.
My Resolutions
I will finish my degree.
I will read 52 books.
I will incorporate colour into my life daily.