After every storm the sun will smile; for every problem there is a solution, and the soul’s indefeasible duty is to be of good cheer. – William R. Alger
American Thanksgiving has recently passed, although we should make sure we are grateful everyday, and not just one day a year. This week there have been serveral things I have been grateful for. We had a big snow storm roll through the prairies this week and with it the temperatures plumetted. I was grateful for a snow day, as my car (which I nicknamed Santa’s sleigh) was in the shop. We braved the weather and picked it up in time to have for our winter driving.
I was also grateful to have the majority of our basement insulation finished, and also grateful for our furnace. There are still many people in our community who are without at least insulation, and a few still without furnaces. I am also grateful to be in my own home.
Whenever I have felt like I’ve been dipping into a downward spiral I start going through a gratitude list. Even if it only one small thing I can think of, it can often times turn a bad day into a good day. A good friend of mine was really struggling this week and was heading deeper into that spiral. I told her to think of at least one little thing to be grateful for. Even if it is something silly one of her kids did. And it helps.
Too often we forget to be grateful for the simple things. Even being grateful for being alive. We are where we need to be in each moment of time.
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Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Jesus replied, “Man who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on guard against all kinds if greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’- Luke 12:13-20
There is more to life than our possessions. There is more to wealth than our possessions. A few years ago, my husband and I had our house broken into. It was simply electronics and video games that were stolen. Instead of being upset, we were grateful our house was not ransacked and our dog was not injured.
This year, we experienced massive flooding in our town. We lost our basement and the majority of our contents from the basement. Again, we are grateful for our lives and the strength we have in each other.
Studies have shown that the countries with the happiest people are some of the poorest countries. Yet countries and people who amass great wealth are often miserable. Money does not buy happiness.
Having my basic needs met and being able to share them with the ones I love are the most important to me.
Thanks be to God!
I was reminded lateley of one of my favorite quotes from the Lorax.
I started Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s 21 day meditation challenge. Yesterday’s focus was I am a radiant spiritual being. Throughout the course of the day I found it fascinating how a few different people touched my life. It seemed as though a slight glimmer of light and encouragement shone through the chaos of my life. It was enjoyable to take a break from fixing our home to enjoy time with family and friends on the weekend. As one counsellor I spoke with told me, you still need to make room for fun. Without breaks, and without moments of fun, burnouts and downward spirals can occur.
As I was pondering on what to write about this week, light seemed to be my focus.
No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him. – Luke 8:16-18
Sometimes in our darkest hour we may find a light. It may lead us down a path. To what that path may have in store for us, or where that path may lead us, we cannot always control the direction it may take. We do have a choice to follow said path, and we have a choice to veer from the path. Yet if it is meant to be, the universe will find a way to steer us back in the right direction.
It is in life’s challenges where we learn our greatest lessons. It is our greatest lessons that strengthen us to who we are. We can choose to sit back and have everything taken from us; or we can choose to be grateful for what we have been given.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Walt Disney’s Meet The Robinsons,
Keep moving forward.
There is life before the flood and life after the flood. There have been heart aches, sorrows and miseries. There have been anger and frustration. Yet there is a glimmer. There is a hope. As long as we keep moving forward, we can slowly rebuild High River one step, one brick at a time.
Reading different news articles and blogs and different view points, many people think we got our just deserves living in a place called High River to begin with. The misperception is that High River is named so because the river floods every year. This is not so. The town was originally called The Crossing, as it was one of the few places shallow and calm enough to cross the Highwood River. The town then derived it’s name from the Highwood River, so named for the stately cottonwood trees that lined it’s banks. Yes, the Highwood is prone to flooding. Most flooding typically happens in the few low lying areas. This year’s flood was not typical. The hardest hit areas were never supposed to flood. Yet, I believe the Titanic was never supposed to sink. In the hardest hit area of town, the very measures put in place to help prevent flooding, worked against it to keep the waters in.
Now we also have to take a look there are many parts of town that never flooded. Yes, my house did flood this time around. No, it does not flood every year. The last time our street was known to have flooded was in 1942. This was prior to our house being built. Our house was built higher up than it’s neighbours. Our downfall is we have a drive in garage in our basement. This is where the majority of the water entered our house. We have discusses measures on how we can mitigate our property to prevent future flooding. Do we need to move? Most certainly not.
There are some people who want to consider moving. The majority of these people own the homes that were under water the longest. Also, there are many people who are newer to the community and did not know the history of the floods. It is sad to hear the frustrations among the citizens. Mostly is they want answers now, and no one is stepping up to the plate to take ownership and provide any answers.
If we were to abandon the town. Where would we all go. There are families that have lived here for generations. For some, this is the only town they have ever known. In fact, my husband grew up here, and we made a choice to move here to raise our own family. I love the tight knit community. I like knowing half the town. We have many friends and Ryan’s parents that live here. Our livelihoods are here. Ryan owns his own business, are we supposed to up and walk away from our dreams because of a bit of water?
I believe we should look at ways for future prevention. This was not a typical 1/100 flood. This was a flood of epic magnitude. Will future preventions prevent a flood of this magnitude again. Maybe not. Will they help protect against the regular 1/100 flood, I would hope yes. It would be good to work from both the individual level, as well as the municipal level. Houses in the flood fringe should receive guidance on how to mitigate their properties. It should not come from bandaid solutions of using steel studs and concrete board in basements. This may prevent a bit of mold from growing, yet it will not prevent the water from coming in the first place.
It will take awhile to rebuild. Yet we should never give up. We simply need to keep moving forward and follow our dreams.
It is truly amazing how little “stuff” we actually need in our lives until we have little or next to nothing. During the disaster of the 2013 High River Flood, my family and I escaped with the clothes on our backs. My kids were greatly concerned about Pinkie, Lucy and their blankets. I assured them that Pinkie, Lucy and their blankets were up stairs and would be fine.
I was grateful for the fact our main floor was unscathed. It meant our bedrooms and main living space were okay. For the weeks while we were out of our house, we had to rely on clothing donations from friends and family. It was humbling to ask for help. It was humbling to literally live out of plastic bags for a short time. You learn to appreciate simple things such as underwear, toothbrushes, and even a suitcase.
Even once we obtained access to our home again, we were not immediately allowed to live there. We gathered up many of our clothes to wash them and have some familiar outfits. I then realized how much clothing our family had amassed. Even once I got my own clothes back, over the last few days I realized how little I actually wear. Our office has been allowing us to dress casually. I came to the realization that we truly only need a few shirts, pants, and some underwear and socks. It is possible to live without the gigantic walk-in closets stuffed to the brim. Our kids truly only wear a few outfits as well. If they were allowed, they would probably live in their one or 2 favorite dresses or shirts.
Overall, this flood has been a cleansing moment, purging us of our unneeded goods. It has allowed is to re-evaluate what is most important to this flood. Is it truly about the stuff, or can we be strong and move beyond the physical into the spiritual healing?