Strength

When we hit our lowest point, we are open to our greatest change. – The Legend of Korra 

My prayers and thoughts are with my fellow Albertans as they fight the fires up North in Fort McMurray. As a survivor of one disaster to another, you will get through this. Just as the Phoenix rose from the ashes, so will we. #ABstrong
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Tiny little dots

 

Have you ever looked closely at a comic picture? The picture is made up of thousands of tiny dots. Up close it doesn’t look like much, yet step back and view the whole picture, and the scene comes to life.

Life can be like this too at times. Often we are so rushed that we end up only looking at each tiny dot on its own. We forget about the back story and we forget about the other dots that make the picture whole. We are quick to make judgements based on appearances alone.

Everyone is woven together into one big picture. Each of us is a dot in the masterpiece of life. Together, we make a beautiful piece of art.

Picture courtsey of: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Lichtenstein

A Cup of Good Cheer

I believe what everyone needs this holiday season is a cup of good cheer. I don’t necessarily mean indulging in alcohol either.

This holiday season has felt challenging and for most of the month I have felt like, what my husband calls, the bahhumbug Grinch. We had been dealing with some issues that were causing great anger in me, along with needing to watch our finances a little closer. This toppled with the fact that we hadn’t hung our Christmas lights on the house, nor had we gotten a tree. I was also behind in my usual Christmas baking.

Then finally like a puzzle, all the pieces started to fit together. We got our issue to a point where we can enjoy some quality family time. A neighbour suggested to drape some lights in our bushes since I was too chicken to climb up onto the roof. We eventually got a Christmas tree set up. I got a bit of baking done. Then we hosted our annual Christmas party. For the past few years my oldest daughter has hosted a Christmas party. We invite a few of her friends and their families. This year we had 2 families join us and we had an awesome evening. The evening was filled with friends and good cheer. It was exactly what the bahhumbug Grinch needed to grow her heart.

It is all too easy to get wrapped up in the gift giving. Trying to figure out what to get the people who have everything and figuring if you can afford everything you want to do. We tend to forget the true meaning of Christmas. It is not about all the presents. It is about spending time with our loved ones.

Have a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

The recipe for world peace!

This post I wrote 4 years ago is even more true today. We need to now, more than ever, seek peace, love and light. We are all human. If you look at each person on the inside, we are all the same. 

Imagine there’s no countries, It isn’t hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too, Imagine all the people, Living life in peace.. -John Lennon

 

We are all one. We are all the same. We all strive to be acknowledged and to be loved.

“If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself, if you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” – Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu puts it so elegantly. Why are we trying to fix those around us when it is us ourselves who are need of fixing. Look deep within yourself for change and watch how the world around you changes as you change yourself.

I noticed this when I returned from maternity leave at work. Certain people had left our group and were replaced by more calming people. After having kids my attitude had changed. I did not feel as stressed, and I had learned that you need to be flexible with your expectations when something out of the ordinary arises.

We teach our children from a young age to love one another and to share; yet as a society we have a difficult time doing that. Let’s set our differences aside and first learn to love ourselves, then portray that same love outwards to the rest of humanity. As the Bible and many other religions say, “Love thy neighbor as you would love yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-39.

La Vida Loca

I haven’t blogged in quite a while as I’ve been living a vida loca.

The summer started out with a BANG! My husband quit his day job to focus on growing his BBQ business. We thought we’d ease into it nice and slow. Yeah right! Instead we jumped into the deep end and have been treading water ever since.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for how well our business has been doing, and I’m excited every time Ryan tells me we have a new event or he made a new contact.

One thing I have learned over the course of this summer is it is important to take time out for yourself and your family. Our house has certainly not been spotless, and some nights dinner consists of sandwiches and snacks. Even if it is simply a few minutes here or there where you sit down and put up your feet for five minutes.

Some people fail to realize the effort that goes into running your own business. They think you have all this time to fit in side projects and do your day-to-day housework. They fail to realize that you may have gotten up at 6:30 am to put a load of meat on the BBQ before ushering your kids to swim lessons. They fail to realize you had to respond to a few phone calls and emails. They fail to realize you still need to run to the next town or city to stock up on supplies. If you simply get these few tasks done you feel like you’ve achieved a great day. Not to mention that you still need to be a parent and spend time with your kids. The wife works full-time and needs to be a mom and a helper with the business. Often times whisking the kids to bed then helping package BBQ. Not to mention working the Farmer’s market on weekends and helping to cater.

We make a great team. Yes we have our moments, yet we help each other to persevere through the tough spots so we can reap the rewards.

As mentioned, our house may not be stellar. Our lawn and yard may not be perfectly manicured. Projects that need to get done around the house may take a little longer to finish. That is my vida loca.

The Mysteries of the Universe

After a hiatus, I am back in the blogging world. I have always been fascinated with the mysterious universe and the roles we all at. The movie Avatar brought believing we are all connected into my realm of consciousness.

I later read a book about synchronicity, which furthered my interest in believing we all have a purpose and everything happens for a reason.

The other night I saw a Tweet about the devastating drought in California. https://twitter.com/cbcnews/status/597166467709313024 My family and I had just returned from a road trip to California and saw first hand the devastation. Lakes and reservoirs were down metres (yards). The landscape was brown and dry. It was an unusually warm winter/spring for much of a Western North America as a whole. The drought was on the forefront of my mind. I was thinking to myself about all the problems of creating these mono crops and forgetting to diversify as modern agriculture is doing.

I then opened the book I am reading to read this:

It’s so tempting to think we know what’s “good” or “bad” and to get upset when things don’t go our way. But perhaps our purposeful universe isn’t so black and white. For example, California has been in the midst of a terrible drought, ostensibly as a result of human inflicted climate change. The fires have been burning through the state, and the animals are dying. A friend of mine suggested we need to gather in ceremony to do a rain dance and pray for relief from the drought. It’s easy to assume that the “best” thing would be a giant rainstorm. But what if that’s not what’s best? What if our purposeful universe has a grander plan, and it’s actually more aligned for California to get dry…in order for us to wake up to the gravity of how much we’re destroying our plant? – The Fear Cure, Lissa Rankin, M.D.

 I felt somewhat blown away. It is crazy when synchronicity slaps you in the face like that. It makes you wonder was that comment written for you to find?

I myself have been trying to go more grassroots. We have planted a small garden this year. I also have plans to build some rain barrels and a compost bin. I believe it is important to teach our children about how to be sustainable. If we could have them in town, or if we lived on an acreage, I’m sure we’d be learning how to raise chickens and perhaps even a goat.

We are all one. We are connected to all life in the universe, big and small. We are Gaia.

The Perfect Child

I believe all children are born perfect. I even believe some of their character traits can even be observed while they are still in the womb.

If children are born perfect, then how do we end up with so many mental issues later in life?

I look at some of the issues affecting myself. Apparently, like most young children, I had a hard time being quiet. Then comes the old adage of “children should be seen yet not heard.” Wherever did this come from? Was it from some poor mother with a pounding headache who couldn’t hear herself think? Looking back on my Grade 1 report card, there was a comment, “Jenifer likes to bug her neighbours in class. She is always poking them and talking to them.”

If you ask any of my employers, this trait apparently never left.

So then why would people call me shy and quiet, while others today would call me a social butterfly? I take it that something must have been triggered into my psyche where I felt I was not allowed to talk. This armor started to crack at around the age of 15.

Between about 6 and 15, I was shy and quiet. I kept to myself and observed. I had a few close quality friends; one who is like the sister from another mother to me. Around my family, I learned to simply sit back and observe or find something else to occupy my time. I chose not to have a loud voice to compete with others as I felt people must not value my opinion. Yet there was a piece that would stand up and fight for what I believe in.

At 15, the blanket started to unravel. I attended Alberta Girls Parliament with my Pathfinder group. We travelled to Edmonton, our provincial capital, where we held a mock Parliament. For our big debate, my side was defending anti-smoking legislation. I was grateful I was on this side as I am a non-smoker and would totally be in favour of banning smoking. At one point, I stood up to make my point, and I froze. I couldn’t speak. I shamefully sat down and felt like I wanted to melt into my chair. The speaker of the house sent me a note. She told me to write my thoughts down on a piece of paper, then stand back up to state my case. I followed her advice and was happy to share my thoughts.

Later that year, I had the privilege of attending a huge youth conference through my church. It was Triennium at Purdue University. There were thousands of youth from around the world in attendance. I was the only person from my church going. I was freaked out I didn’t know anyone. My parents arranged for me to meet a few kids from another city prior to our trip. I still felt all alone. We arrived the day before the conference started. I was homesick. I wanted to hop on the plane and go back home. Then the conference started. I realized we were all their for the same reasons. I pulled out of my shell and started introducing myself to people and started to make some new friends.

I was now starting the fight with the inner demon I had created in myself. I was supposed to be shy and quiet, yet I felt like I wanted to share everything with the world.

Years went by and I went to university. Again, I was in a new city, not entirely alone, yet alone enough. I didn’t know anyone at school aside from some cousins who were in different programs. I figured I needed some friends. I quickly learned it is best to be yourself than to try to be someone you are not. I joined a student group and I bloomed. This is where I met my husband. This is also where I started to learn more about the person I am.

As a parent of 2 young girls, we need to step back and realize how we treat our kids can affect them later on in life. I’m not saying you need to baby them and shelter them. Instead, I think we need to pay attention to their natural talents and personalities, and help them positively develop those talents.

It is not about trying to shape your child into who you wish you had been. It is not about having them follow in your footsteps. It is not about treating them how you were treated as a kid. Don’t try to live your life vicariously through your children. Don’t try to force your own insecurities on your children. Instead, find positive ways to help them to discover who they are.

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