Sunday, July 31, 2011

Suitcase

When I penned my little post about heading out with my family and making memories I did not anticipate that this would be one of those weekends when a family legend is born...... you know.... one of those stories that will be told and re-told.......

There is one exactly the same from my own childhood...... I am hoping at least a few of you out there have had the same experience and we are not just a family of forgetful freaks..... ha ha....

After a long journey to the cabin..... intentionally so with a stop at friends in Chilliwack for dinner.... we arrived as the light was fading from the sky a little before 10pm .  We had the truck unpacked in pretty quick time and I set to unpacking the cold stuff into the fridge and making up the beds.  Allan walked in and flopped down on the bed.   I casually said.....I didn't see my suitcase come in..... Allan looked instantly sticken.... I, of course, thought he was joking but was quickly convince by casting my eyes around the little log cabin as well as Allans increasing distress, that, in fact, my suitcase was MIA.

Allan grabbed his keys and insisted he would drive home and back immediately - a 4 hour round trip.  I insisted that it was no big deal - I would grab a couple of t-shirts and some undies in Hope next morning, get the pharmacist to give me a couple of the meds I take and buy some ear plugs and all would be well.  At that I bundled everyone up and we went for a walk in the inky night to see if we could spot the promised meteor shower.  We saw SO many stars........ shining so amazingly brightly.....while David regaled us with all manner of celestial facts.......but the light from the newly dropped sun was still lighting the western horizon faintly, enough to obscure the meteors so we headed to bed.

It was a fitful night and Allan jumped in the truck at 7am and headed home for the case.   Of course it was the right, if irritating, decision.....I got the kids up, made breakfast and prepared a picnic lunch and when Allan returned at 11am we headed to the lake.

There were so many moments in the 30 minutes I was home on Friday we could have remembered the case, so many moments we came so close to seeing it....even as we pulled away I saw the bedroom window was open and we almost went back to close it........ but alas we did not.

I thought maybe it was a lesson for me on being happy with less but on that it was an epic fail - while my head was saying all the right things my heart was disappointed - I wanted my stuff (it would have been less of a deal if we weren't going to a hotel today or so I tell myself).  I wanted to model for Lindsay, who always stresses out about leaving stuff behind, that it was no big deal.....I tried to be nonchalant but inside I was trying to subdue panic and disappointment....I was very glad to get my stuff.....too glad probably......UGH......I think I disappointed myself.......I guess I have a ways to go being happy with less.

Funny.......memories made.....not quite as anticipated.......crisis averted by a long drive by a guy who loves me..... a small bump in an otherwise lovely weekend so far.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Outta Here!

My family is headed for the hills....... or more precisely a little log cabin in the woods and then a little treat.... a night at Harrison Hot Springs Resort.

It better not be snowy!
Harrison Resort

 Every now and then I get this overwhelming feeling or intuition that we, as a family, need to circle the wagons and hunker down, just the 4 of us and re-create and re-connect......and make fun memories.  This is that weekend!

It's been a different summer for us.  The kids have been less scheduled which has had its pro's and con's.  They are learning with freedom and independence can also come lonliness and boredom.  In many ways my kids are living in two different worlds..... Lindsay is all teen girl and David is all pre-teen boy - they have few common interests and lots of points of conflict.  Some days I would happily sell them to gypsy's........ just kidding....... when did you last see a gypsy anyway???  I know they care about one another but honestly some days Allan and I feel more life referee's than parents.

Lindsay has a new social network to plug into that is in our neighbourhood which is so great (and leaves me kicking my own butt again over sending them out of our neighbourood to elementary school......argh...will I ever not regret that?).  She has been visiting with friends and baking and social networking.......getting ready for her next camp on Aug 6th.  She and her friend Ben are the Camp Babysitters - taking care of the workers kids.... a step up from being a camper and a new role but one she is excited about.

David is feeling stressed about the upcoming school change and is working through some of the hurt and anger over what happened during the last school year.  I am so thankful for a wonderful therapist who is working with him and us as a family to make new meaning of the past and help David find his confidence and self-esteem so he can make a strong transition to a new school.  He and Allan biked his new route to school a couple of times and then he did it all by himself (nearly giving me a heart attack in the process.....it is hard for this Mama to let her baby grow up!!).   He is off to soccer camp next week and then to Camp 6 on Anvil Island on Saturday for a week away full of fun and adventure.

Allan is teaching 2 online physics 11 classes and is continuing with his own studies at TWU so he is busy. But he is also taking time to spend one-on-one with the kids, biking with David and building a kayak with Lindsay.  He is a great Dad and I am grateful for the flexibility he has in the Summers.  I am also so grateful he has been taking the lead on the household chores for the last couple weeks.

And I am working.....blech.... but looking forward to a bit of break when the kids go to camp and I go on a mini roadtrip with a girlfriend.

So this weekend we are going to the cabin that captured our hearts so many years ago and we will breathe in the smell of trees, listen to "Dead Dog Cafe" on CD, make a fire, watch the stars in the ink black sky, soak in hot springs, eat good food, canoe on crystal clear lakes, read in the sun, chat, debate, cuddle and laugh and reconnect in all the most important ways.


This Canoe has taken us places......

A cozy fire and music or story CD's

Lightening Lakes Manning Park


 
This Mama's heart will be SO happy!
 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Poverty II

Thanks for the feedback on my last post on poverty - it is something we all try not to think too much about, it is uncomfortable and disconcerting,  but I was encouraged by how many of you really do want to do the "right" thing.  Which brings me to this post...... what the heck is the "right" thing to do?

I have no idea.

Honestly I don't - I know step one for me was, like I said here, to figure out why I was giving/doing etc. to settle the question of motivation.  But that is when the tidal wave of the poor/hungry/hurting/persecuted world completely engulfs me.  I feel like a little house on the shore in Japan when that tsunami came at it and in minutes it was floated away and eventually broken to pieces and disintegrated.

Well doesn't that sound like fun!  NOT!

But the need, that which I know of or am even vaguely aware of, is SO great and SO complex and SO beyond my ability to fix.

Thank goodness.

Imagine if I felt I was so great I could fix it? Yikes...

So I could just shrug my shoulders and declare that nothing I do will really make any difference so why even try.  There are literally thousands of great (and not so great) organisations out there doing great work.  They don't need me or they only need my cheque. Good.for.them.

There is no doubt that giving financially to organisations is sometimes the only and/or best thing we can do.  I cannot go to Somalia right now and help but I can do some research and find out which organisations are getting the best resources to the people on the ground and I can give.  I should give.  I must give.

Sometimes though giving cash from my abundance is....... nice and necessary.....but empty and unfulfilling.  And I think sometimes it is dangerous as it leads us to believe we are doing the "right" thing.  And yet we are never putting action behind our cheque book.  Most people don't even research where their money is going.  It is important to find an organisation who gets things done on the frontline in a way that has integrity and that respects the local people.  That not only relieves a crisis but that also looks for ways to build capacity for the future either through skills training or infrastructure or education.

In her book "My Maasai Life" Robin Wiszowaty of the "Me to We" Foundation visits and critiques several so-called development projects in Kenya.  Of all the ones she visits, the one being run by the Mama's, designed by the Mama's with the rules made by the Mama's was the most successful.  Yes, it took outside money, but the power and control were give to the local women.  So many other projects designed by well intentioned western donors/funders are so misguided about how they will be sustained when the westerners go home....donor money wasted..... local people let down and abandoned.  A sad tale oft repeated in Africa and the third world.

There are, of course, many ways to get involved in making a difference.  Most large NGO's working overseas have programs for short or long-term trips. (In the coming weeks I will post a cautionary tale about short-term trips from a fellow blogger who makes some excellent points)  If you have a skill that could benefit a community then that is a place to start.  I know my Dentist goes to south and central america to do dental care.  There are also local Boards of overseas NGO's you could sit on and fundraise for.  I saw the Union Gospel Mission Mobile Van pull in to the parking lot at my office late the other night - I am sure they could use some help. There are so many ways if you start looking. 

I am looking for a place of action for myself.  In the meantime I use the mighty chequebook and my prayers of petition on behalf of those in poverty and suffering.

I'd love to know places/organisations you are involved in and I can highlight them here.  I'll start with these links:

African Enterprise Canada I can vouch for this one..... My Dad has worked for them for 31 years and they make a real difference on the ground all over Africa.  You can participate here (in Canada) or there (in Africa).
Doctors without Borders or MSF - a nobel winning organisation working on the frontlines in some tough places.
Room to Read My cousin Caileen in Australia has joined this worthy organisation.
Union Gospel Mission Local and impactful - I have several friends who work there - check them out.

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Poverty I

Of course I decide to undertake some serious writing on a day that started with a 7:30am appointment and ends with a Board Meeting - hopefully home by 9pm!

Not to worry as I am taking this in fairly small bites so here we go.....

By some blessing I was born into a life of comfort and ease.  We're not talking "never worry about money" ease but certainly "never worry about where your next meal is coming from" ease. Some might call this an accident or random but my faith leads me to believe I was given THIS specific life to lead.  Therefore this level of ease or comfort rests somewhat heavily on my shoulders.... while I acknowledge the blessing with gratitude I also see it as a responsibility and sometimes a burden.

I grew up as the rich, educated elite simply by virtue of my skin colour as a white south african. Helped immensely by the fact my parents both went to University and my Dad worked for Anglo American.  Big house, huge property, pool, great neighbourhood, private school, live-in domestic worker, tennis lessons, great vacations...

You are forming a picture in your mind of my white life in a colonial setting.....Sorry to shatter the image but while those things were true to some degree I was also lucky enough to have parents who were well aware of privileged and never let me think I was owed what I had or that I was even worthy of it.  I have always felt blessed or lucky.....and that much was required of me.  I always knew the other side of life in South Africa and it never sat well with my soul.

And of course in South Africa - it was all too plain to see the have-nots, the poor, the homeless, the disenfranchised, the suffering, the uneducated.....and boy did we wrestle with these issues as a family, as a community, as a church.... what to do, how to do it.....

More than that we had to examine our hearts....and ask why?

Why help?

And if the answer is because I feel guilty then nothing you do will be enough.
And if the answer is because I can then you will have to keep doing until you cannot.

So the answer has to come from a value system that says we are all the same, we are all created equal in the eyes of a creator God and though our circumstances differ, we can connect and communicate because we are all human beings.

So essentially you have to act out of love.

And that always brought me back to guilt..... because we must first love ourselves..... and I did not..... I was angry to be white and privileged and comfortable and too young to do much about it.... I didn't want the burden of my "wealth".  I had to meet my fellow south africans of all colours on a level playing field and I had to see them and hear them and walk with them and then I had to confront my heart and my prejudice and my fear and face my God and His words on this topic and only then..... could I step out with any integrity to do....to engage....to make right....to offer love. And action (I think there is another whole post on figuring out appropriate and realistic action).

And I thought that was HARD......and it was HARD....and it is HARD for those in places of such obvious, in your face, poverty and injustice. 

But I am coming to feel that living here in a beautiful BC Canada, in a beautiful home, with so much ease and comfort is HARD too.  I am restless to find the relevance and integrity of active engagement with the poor, the suffering, the hurt...... I feel immunized against that and I can justify to myself that writing a cheque takes care of business.

But it isn't doing it for me anymore.

And let's not kid ourselves that there isn't poverty and injustice and hurt right on our doorstep here in wealthy first world Canada because there is... and while by the Grace of God we may not know the heartbreak and gut wrenching misery of mothers in Somalia leaving their malnourished children on the side of the road as they seek food in a drought ravaged land, there are missing women and hungry children and addicted adults in our City and I feel the shame of that.

I do not want to raise children who feel entitled to what they have. I want them to know how blessed they are and what is therefore required of them......just as soon as I figure it out!

I think God wants more of me, from me......I want more from myself and as terrifying as that is for what it might mean, I am excited to be  reconnecting to that place in my heart that I have blithely ignored for far too long.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dilemma

I feel I have a dilemma ...... with this blog.......

In so many ways I jumped into this blogging thing without much more than a desire to write - to set out on "paper" some of the things whirling around my head.  If I really think about it I believe I thought it would be serious and weighty. But also resounding in my head was the voice of a friend who is much smarter about bloggy / internet stuff than I am who really cautioned me that one of the keys to a successful blog was consistent blogging - no long gaps between posts...... otherwise people stop reading.  I have learned that this is true for me - I have stopped reading blogs that post infrequently -  I can't "connect" with the content because it's too sporadic.

But lets be honest, who wants to read about serious and weighty issues everyday?  And while we are being honest I will go ahead and just plain admit I don't have that many serious or weighty thoughts!  So my blog evolved into a mix of daily life recording and some more serious topics interspersed from time to time.  People seem to enjoy it - I get alot of positive feedback. I hit the 8000 mark for hits today - something is working.

And now I feel I owe my "audience" more of the same.  But I am also wanting to blog about some deeper stuff in my heart and on my mind but I feel somehow disloyal to my readers......... but maybe I am making too many assumptions about my readers, many of whom I do not know at all. 

Many would say "It's your blog, do what you want" and I get that. So I am trying to figure out a way to keep things almost the same with maybe a series of more serious posts interspersed.  So the series will be broken up by other more day to day posts........ If I seem a little hesitant it is because some of the women whose blogs I read have come in for some pretty nasty comments when they have posted either very self reflective content or content that made others feel uncomfortable.....and obviously I don't want to open myself up to that. 

But at this point I feel that I would not be being true to myself if I don't write some of these things - so I would appreciate your respectful engagement with the content and would love to have you stretch my thinking with your comments and feedback and your own stories.

First up (sometime this week I hope)........ a series on Poverty........ what / where / why / what to do?  Big questions I feel I can't ignore.  I have asked a fellow blogger if I can re-post some of her writing on the topic that I have found very instructive and though-provoking......... hang in there blog friends....... we're going on a journey!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Peace

  I have had a lovely weekend - a sun-filled, happy time of beach, family time, friends, good food, baby showers........ and all of the time the tragedy of what happened in Norway has been on my heart and mind.

We have friends in Norway and Jack posted this note on his FB today

Thanks you for all your greetings...churches were open right across the land of Norway for people to pray and find comfort- Thousands and thousands went into these churches for the first time. There were many tears during the Sunday services including mine. Not just churches but impromptu gatherings in town squares across the land...flowers, candles songs and prayers were the norm. To see the King and queen of Norway- weeping so openly and hugging folk was very touching when many VIP's are so used to displaying the stiff upper lip. Also our town was hit by incredible heavy rain last night and roads and buildings have been devastated. including roads on our farm. It seems even the earth is groaning after the events of this weekend. There is a long way to go in rebuilding not just roads but more importantly lives, hope and joy of Norway... so please  continue to pray for this small peace loving nation.

Another friend Audrey posted this today....

Norwegian PM, Jens Stoltenberg, 24/07/11: 'Today it is time for sorrow. We shall allow ourselves to stop, and honour the dead. Mourn for those who are no more... I'm proud to live in a country that has managed to stand together in the face of tragedy... We're a little country but a proud people. We are shaken but we will not give up our values. Our response is more freedom, more democracy but not naivety.'
 Norwegian PM quoted one of the Utoeya victims in today's service:
”Om én mann kan vise så mye hat, tenk hvor mye kjærlighet vi alle kan vise sammen.”/"If one man can show so much hate, just think how much love we all can show together."
 There is SO much that could be said........ and so much that is not understandable ........ my heart is heavy for those families mourning and those people feeling bewildered and confused.
Peace........ we need it, all of us, the whole world.......

 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Beach Day

The sun came at last.  We went to the beach., The End.

What a day!!!

The view is hard to take.....

Happy Kids

Penny joins Jason and David in the huge hole they dug

Sweet girls

Beach Monkeys

Penny is not so sure about the water

Man Talk

David taking a nap while kayaking

David and Jason "Planking" - look it up - it's a thing"

Jason, Emilie, Lindsay and David - the Fab Four

Twilight

Kayak resting after almost everyone had a paddle

Day is done.....

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fortune Cookies

I bought a couple bags of fortune cookies the other day and put them in the staff room at work..... it's been pretty funny to hear people react to their "fortunes".  It's also interesting to hear who takes them seriously..... or who see the "truth" in them.

My co-worker Linda and I laughed when between the 2 of us and 3 cookies all the fortunes were the  same..... we are apparently both getting promotions very soon......we decided they cheaped out and put all the leftover fortunes into this bag....seeing as she started Maternity Leave today and the only promotion she is getting is from mother of 1 to mother of 2 and given I am the promotion giver and therefore already at the top of the heap there ain't no promotion for me........

Linda and I work in closest proximity to the staff room and so we both hit that bag of cookies a few times - she is eating for two after all and I discovered they are only 25 calories each..... score! 

The important thing, I feel, is to eat fortune cookies in volume and then choose the fortune you like best......Here are some we got yesterday:

Your silence at this time is important (ok fortune cookie fortune writer I know my husband paid you for this)

An outstanding opportunity will soon present itself  (oh maybe that's the promotion?)

Follow the advice of your heart (ok heart - listening.......... any time now.......)

You will be traveling and coming into money (SWEEEEET....... wait.....I am going to a casino???)

Go easy, be moderate and patient (HA HA HA - I ate someone elses cookie OBVIOUSLY - my bad)

You will soon receive an invitation to a sporting event (please please please make it as a spectator not a participant)

I just HAD to google "bad fortune cookie fortunes"...... I was laughing so hard my co-worker came into my office to ask if I was ok.... seriously funny in a really bad way - I gift you this link and 6 I found very funny - I can just imagine someone opening it......see their face....

8.  You are sitting on gum.
18. The Tooth Fairy will step on your face.
27. 2,390,670,980 fortunes=one tree. Please recycle.
41. [Fortune Delivered by ESP]
47. You will be halved by a bad magician.
51. You have a spider in your ear.

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

RRSP

It was a proud moment for me yesterday when I addressed my assembled staff and introduced the guy from a large financial institution who had come to do a presentation on the Society of Richmond Children's Centres Group RRSP program. 

The Early Childhood Education field is notoriously undervalued and underpaid.  In our province it is mainly a user fee system with a small government subsidy so salaries are paid from parent fees.  You can imagine the challenge when I go to my Board (who are parents using the service) and ask for a pay increase or benefits or RRSP's for my staff..... it is coming out of their pockets.  They want the best care for their children but they have to be able to afford it.  It is a challenging tension for them and for me.  I have long advocated for a public affordable accessible system of early childhood care and education that is flexible enough to meet the needs of a broad range of families but almost no progress towards that goal has been made in the almost 20 years I have worked here.  Apparently children are only worthy of public dollars when they turn 6 years old...... lucky they don't vote!

My job is multi-faceted (sometimes a little too multi-faceted) but one of the primary roles I play is advocate for my staff.  I have driven a pretty tough agenda with my Board around compensation and benefits and, credit to the Board, they have stepped up.  In the almost 12 years I have been here compensation has risen over 25%, we have a cost-shared benefit plan (we pay 60%), a monthly Health and Wellness cash benefit, additional vacation and every staff gets their birthday off  (which is by far the benefit everyone loves the most and funnily enough costs "me" the least!)

And now, we will have a generous matched RRSP program. 

Not bad for a small non-profit.  A good step in the right direction.

And not nearly enough, in many ways ,for the important work these women do each day.

Let us take care of the children for they have a long way to go
Let us take care of the elders for they have come a long way
And let us take care of the ones in-between for they are doing the work
Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Paradox

David is in an Environmental Leadership Camp called FUN Camps this week.

Each week of FUN Camps has a different theme and through games and FUN we try to raise awareness of some challenges and SOLUTIONS to building more sustainable communities. This week is one of my all time favourite themes "Food." The main message for the week is what we call the "FIVE N's" which means: 

N for Now (Food that is in season)
N for Near (Buying food that is produced locally or growing some of your own)
N for Natural (Otherwise known as organic - food that is free of pesticides and chemicals that may be harmful to our environment and health) 
N for Naked (Food that does not come with excessive plastic and paper packaging, no packaging is best!)
N for Nutritious (Otherwise known as good for you! Foods that are nutritious such as fruits and vegetables)

I think this is the 4th year we have been taking our kids to this camp and they love it - they spend tons of time outside, the group of kids is very diverse and they come home tired and with lots of good info.

The paradox is that we drive all the way to UBC (University of British Columbia) twice a day!! That is 100km - so we totally blow the whole carbon footprint commitment so our kids can learn to be better stewards of the earth.  Hmmmm......... So sign up your kids....they will love it and I really want to carpool with you!!

Sitting for 45 minutes (twice) in the traffic today (not at all helped by the fact the Canadian Open Golf Tournament is on my route) I was feeling blessed that my usual commute is 12 minutes and minimal, if any, traffic.  Living close to work definitely adds to quality of life.  It would frustrate me so much to waste so much time driving!  
I only have to do the UBC trek twice this week and Allan is doing the rest and I am grateful!



Monday, July 18, 2011

'Remember to smile' and other wise words from Madiba

Today, South Africans and the world are celebrating Nelson Mandela's 93rd birthday. The former president of South Africa, who dedicated his life to the fight against inequality and his home country's apartheid system has, over the years, given the world many inspiring words of wisdom. Here are just a few of his great quotes:

"I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death."

"I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying."


"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."


"A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special."

"It always seems impossible until it's done."


"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."


"Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies."


"I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended."


"One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others."


"Courage is not the absence of fear — it s inspiring others to move beyond it."

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”


"Appearances matter — and remember to smile."


"After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb."


"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
 
(reposted from the Vancouver Sun July 18, 2011)

Happy Birthday Madiba, Father of South Africa........ 
May you know joy and peace and love today.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Watch your words!

As an Early Childhood Education College Instructor who visits student on their practicums there are few phrases I hear all too frequently that send me into orbit ......

1. "Use your walking feet"....... really? I don't know about you... but I only have one set of feet and they run and walk and hop and skip.....why don't we just ask children to slow down and walk?  What if we design the environment so they can't run where we don't want them to?  It is not about their feet but about how they are using them.... don`t mislead them!

2. "Use your inside voice"...... how about "You don't need to shout, I can hear you when you talk to me".  That would mean we would actually need to listen and not be shouting ourselves....some teachers use their very loud voices to ask children not to use theirs........ ironic and disrespectful.  Some people are louder than others, sometimes it is necessary to shout but again what we want children to do is control their behaviour so that is what we should ask them to do.


3. "Click - turn on your listening ears".......seriously??? We are leading children to believe there is a switch they need to turn on manually in their ears in order that their ears can listen.  What utter nonsense.....and if you further believe that children will magically listen to your tedious badly read story because use asked them to click a fictitious switch in their ears then... you ....... better hope I am not your instructor!

4. "We play nicely with our Friends" or any other sentence that automatically suggests that all the children in the group are our "friends".  In many ways I think this is the most subversive phrase as it sets children up emotionally.  I know saying "kids" is not very respectful but what is wrong with children? And to devalue the word ``friend`` is a great disservice to children.   You are not necessarily friends just because you share a workplace with someone so why suggest that this would be true for children.


All of this came to mind as I was musing that I don't get (or take) enough time to put on my "thinking cap"...... ha ha...... just another way to justify why I don't take time to think deeply about or meditate on things that are on my mind..... There are a couple of things that I have been mulling over for weeks or months now and I really feel the need to wrestle with them as topics and their impact on my life.  I get so caught up in my own biz-ness that I never complete my own thought process and thus never reach a resolution.  And this keeps me awake at night.

So in this "quieter" time of "Summer" I am attempting to sort through some things and you will see my musings on my blog - I hope they are more than half-formed thoughts...... maybe if I use my walking feet, listening ears and inside voice and find my thinking cap then all my friends will enjoy what I have to say!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Aaaaahhhhhh

There are many things that make my heart happy - that make me feel content.........here a few:

Like having my house full of family and friends and serving up good food......we had that last night.   French doors flung wide, kids everywhere, great BBQ'd food and salads and an amazing cake from Broadmoor Bakery..... even though the rain tried to dampen the spirits we toughed it out and a good time was had by all.  I went to bed content......

Like my Jazzercise workouts - so often I am tempted to snuggle down on a Saturday morning and skip class, especially so today as the rain pelted down. But I picked up my trusty friend Jenny and we went to class..... I felt great when the Instructor told me this was my 50th class this year....... Really??  That is pretty amazing and well worth sneaking out of the quiet house for.

Like seeing results from my efforts to cut calories....... 12 weeks and I have lost 15lbs ......nice!

Like having all my family at home on a quiet Saturday afternoon.  We picked Lindsay up from the boat from Camp and we are all sitting in the family room reading or writing or facebooking..... I love having this little family all together.

Like having leftovers..... good leftovers......like lots of BBQ'd meat...... no fuss lunch made in minutes!

Like planning a roadtrip...... I love planning a trip and I am headed out for just a couple of days with a girlfriend in August...... I enjoy nosing around different options of places to stay and things to do..... I picked the route now all we have to do is agree on where to stay and the Nicky and Leigh version of Thelma and Louise will be well on its way.

Like a nap or a rest under the covers on a wet and cool Saturday afternoon...... speaking of which..... I am off to snuggle under the duvet and read .... maybe nap........ see ya later!

Friday, July 15, 2011

22/44

Today my husband Allan has been in a relationship with me for half his life.  He turns 44 today although he'd like me to tell everyone he is 21.... ya right!

And truth be told I don't think he really wants to be 21 again.

I am so proud of, and more in love with, the man Allan is today than at almost any time in the past 22 years (2 years of dating and almost 20 years of marriage).  I won't paint an overly rosy picture here although we have had many many wonderful moments and created some wonderful memories together - it has not all been good or easy...... but while many lesser people would not have faced the challenges and done the hard and soulful work to get through those times Allan faced them head on and ploughed through some grim stuff  We both did.

Today he is a man more at peace with himself than ever and with a quiet determination to be the best person, husband, father, son, brother, teacher, student and friend he can be.  He has worked hard to get where he is today and he has overcome some big odds...........I am his biggest fan, proud of who he is and excited about the future for him and for us.  Ever mindful of the Grace that held us both through the years.

He is my rock and my touchstone, the person I need to talk things through with, the person I need to connect with, the person who "gets" me more that I sometimes "get" myself.  He is also the rock for his children whom he parents with wisdom and patience and insight.

I am so happy to celebrate the day of his birth with him and friends and family today (Missing Miss Lindsay who is still at camp!)

Happy Birthday Allan.  I love you.

PS: Happy Wedding Anniversary to my sister and brother-in-law Darren and Wendy McLuckie and a Happy Birthday to our friend Sean Sanders....... Allan's birthday twin who turns 30 today!