Yes, I know it’s been more than a year since my last post. And yet, I am still here. I don’t know if I will post more frequently after this or not. This blog isn’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future.
How did it get to be 2020? It feels unreal to me. It also marks a decade since my daughter was born. I think I blinked again.
As an update for readers of previous posts:
Yes, I got a new laptop… or rather my husband bought it for me. It does more or less everything I need it to, which’s all I wanted.
The trial we were coming up against is all over except the verdict. At the moment, I have no idea when we’ll hear on that. It’s been a while since Crown Council called me with an update.
It doesn’t feel like much else has changed since my last post. That may or may not be true. God’s blessings on me and mine continue, for which I am grateful.
Sometimes I wonder why I keep paying for the domain name attached to this blog when I so rarely post anything. It never auto renews properly and can be a bit of a hassle. But I like having the simpler name than what would be the WordPress default. It’s easier to remember and share elsewhere. And I do still post, when I feel like I have something I can share.
The last couple weeks have just been… well, life ebbing.
Why did it have to be the driver’s side windshield wiper that quit? Especially in the middle of a northern BC winter. Well, hopefully it will get fixed today, if things go even sort of right. As much as I hate the deep freeze (we saw -42C with wind chill this year), the cold and clear has meant the windshield stays clear without the wipers.
The subpoena for Valentine’s day. I knew it was coming. I know why, when the trial is, what it’s all for. I also know there’s a publication ban for protection of the victim. It’s always for the protection of the victim and I’m fine with that. But that’s almost the only thing I got for Valentine’s day this year. Why couldn’t they have waited twenty-four hours?
My birthday. Ugh.
It isn’t that I’m getting older. I’m fine with that. It’s the two week or more annual pre-birthday funk. And the not knowing what I want to do for it. And the feeling like nobody else cares. Also the tendency of certain people to forget when they can manage to remember other family birthdays. Most years I would happily skip most of February to avoid all this.
And then this borrowed laptop not wanting to work properly when I still need it for another couple weeks. I know it’s old. And I know it won’t even consider running the OS I would prefer. I don’t care if it quits once it goes back to its owner. I’m not sure he cares either because he’s knows it’s old. But just for another week or two. Just until I can replace my old one that quit.
Blessings mixed with ebbings, because that’s the way this life goes. I guess the trick is to keep watch for the blessings.
Happy Birthday to my sister, B. Heather Mantler
It feels like 2018 started at the end of May. I barely remember any of what happened in the months before that. What I remember is the contrast of events in the months following May.
What happened in late May and early June is going to carry over into 2019 and possibly beyond. While I’m not looking forward to dealing with what’s coming and the fallout, I will be happy to have it finally behind us.
“It never rains, but it pours”… Wow is this so true.
My phone died and had to be replaced. We don’t have a household land line, so my phone is the number everything related to myself and our daughter uses… doctors, family, other agencies we’re dealing with. Fortunately, I was able to get the phone I wanted without laying out a fortune up front and without having to change my monthly plan.
My laptop died. We were able to have everything on it transferred to an external hard drive and a friend has loaned me a laptop which works adequately for the moment. My husband has promised me a new one come income tax return and I’m looking forward to that.
The nephew of a woman I’ve gotten to know through church was critically injured in a single vehicle accident. While not directly affecting me and mine, it’s still a shock and I’ve listened to her talk about how it’s affected her and her family. Miraculously, this man has recovered enough to return home and get back to his life, even if it isn’t the same as before.
But then came word of a multi-vehicle accident which killed two, a father and son, and left a third in hospital for months. The boy who died was a playmate of my daughter’s from the time she was two. He and his father were people I knew to see… and was used to seeing around. It’s so strange to see the surviving members of their family without them now. News of deaths, even of fictional characters, affects my daughter strongly right now and I’m grateful for the supports we have around us.
My husband was diagnosed with a testicular cancer and had his fifth major surgery. He has recovered well and the doctors believe they got it all, but the follow up will continue over the next three years. As a result of the surgery, he spent six weeks off work.
And then the head colds and flus resulting from a lack of extreme cold weather to kill of the bugs. I’ve had a cough for more than a month that just won’t quit.
And yet, through all this we’ve had incredible support from family and friends around us. We’ve had desperately needed financial assistance from a variety of sources. We’ve had people we’re able to talk to, who listen and support us. We’ve been able to get the things we need, as we need them. Through everything this year, I’ve had an incredible experience with the way God Blesses us.
For everything that’s happened (I may have missed some of the less glaring issues here), it has not felt like a bad year. 2018 has been an eye opening year. A year which has highlighted what is most important to us and the ways God is able to provide no matter how bad things feel at the time.
Thank you, 2018. And Thank you, God.
A lot has been happening in the months since I last found the time/energy/inspiration to write a blog post. I’m an intermittent blogger at best, I know. But life goes by cycles and undoubtedly this will continue to do so as well.
Today is the 15th anniversary of my marriage to a man I appreciate more all the time. This morning, for example, I came downstairs dreading the mess in the kitchen. Doing dishes requires not only energy, but the wherewithal to tolerate pain in my back, hips, and/or feet for the duration. But when I walked into the kitchen, I found my husband had done up a load of the things we need most somewhere between getting home from work and coming to bed. I love him. And all the things he does for us.
I’m writing on my phone… A definite first for me. But my laptop started randomly turning itself off. When it is on, I can’t get it to open an internet browser. While there shouldn’t be any reason I can’t get everything I need off the hard drive backed up onto my external storage devices (I have more external storage than internal,) the laptop itself is nearly as old as my daughter and easier to replace than attempt to get fixed. Of course the next trick will be finding funds.
And funds are tight right now, even with the insane amount of overtime my husband has been working due to co-workers taking time off. Our roommate had to go (long story involving an open police investigation, which isn’t going to appear on this blog ever due to the nature of what happened) and we lost the help paying the rent and bills. We can survive where we are. Which is a good thing because finding cheaper accommodations isn’t happening in this town. And I’m not sure I want another roommate. It’s been nice to be just our family, without anyone extra. The biggest issue is the money. (Isn’t it always?)
While I may not be writing much until my laptop is replaced, I have plenty of other projects. The house needs a certain amount of cleaning up/out, as always. Also, there’s a growing pile of unfinished crochet projects and another of cross stitch projects I haven’t looked at in years. But, due to a switching around of rooms, I have proper crafting space again. (There’s a picture on Instagram if you’re really curious.) So there’s lots of work to do and no reason for me to spend as much time playing games on my phone as I do. (Not even getting into library books to finish reading.)
My daughter can’t wait for back-to-school, so she can see her friends and classmates again. Also because we’re getting too much smoke and ash from wildfires for her to play outside. While she’s happy the two week break from taekwon-do is over, I think she’ll be happier to be getting out more.
Honestly, today the last thing I feel like doing is anything resembling work. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to drive through six inches of new snow to take my daughter to school. I’m dreading going back to pick her up because I don’t think it’s stopped coming down yet. I don’t feel like cooking anything.
All I feel like doing is sleeping.
I sort of know why I’m feeling so tired. It’s a combination of things. Just the right combination of things to knock me off my feet and make me want to hibernate.
But certain things need to be done. Cooking has to happen so we can eat. My daughter has to get to school because there is no such thing as a snow day in this district. And sometimes things need to be blogged so everyone else feeling this knows they aren’t alone in it.
Also, it’s okay to rest. It’s perfectly fine to slow down. To not do anything more than necessary.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
For nothing is impossible with God – Luke 1:37 (NIV)
And yet how often are we told our dreams are impossible? That what we most desire to be/do/experience/live in our lives is impossible and we should be more realistic?
But what if these ‘impossible’ dreams are God’s plan for our lives? What if they are visions granted to us by God as ways to use our God given gifts and abilities to their fullest extent?
What if the people telling us to ‘be more realistic’ are actually advising us to ignore God’s will for our lives?
Due to the upcoming holidays and other things, I’m taking December off from this. I will be checking back for comments and such, but otherwise I’ll see you in January.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy December 🙂
Life as usual, with all the things I’ve committed to do in a week.
And then I get sick. Sicker than I have been in quite a while. Sick enough I’m still recovering over a week later.
Things don’t get done because I’m not able to get to them. So they pile up. Because heaven forbid my husband or his cousin who lives with us pick up the slack. I’m not going to kid myself. So often it feels like they barely do a minimum of the work they promise to do. So now I’m left playing catch up.
Catch up on getting the kitchen clean. Catch up on my writing. Catch up on finding something to give my husband for his birthday, which is this Saturday. Catch up on all the other balls which get dropped when my energy wanes for any reason.
All I really feel like doing is getting lost in a book. Or camping out in Skyrim (Elder Scrolls V) for a week.
Somehow it’s nearly the end of October and Hallowe’en is approaching faster than I want to think about. My daughter is, of course, counting down the days until she can go trick or treating. Her costume is ready and she’s getting excited. I’m not sure whether I’ll attempt to dress up or not. What I do know is I will be doing the same as last year… handing out small, non edible treats to those who come to our door. I’m fairly certain we had more happy visitors than not and it avoids the landmine handing out edible treats has become.
In the meantime, I’m working to a background noise of jackhammer, shoveling, saws, and whatever else strata’s maintenance guys are using to replace the fence around our front yard. I know it needed doing. What gets me is the original notice said five to fourteen days, starting September 21st. Somehow they’re still working on it. Given that we’ve already had snow once this year and several light frosts, they’re pushing it to get the posts in place before the ground seriously freezes for the winter.
2017 is nearly over. I had a shock this morning when I was looking at the moon phases chart I use. There are only two more cycles of the moon left for this year. And, even though I’ve been trying to be more present in my life, I feel like I blink and the time is gone. I look around and I wonder what I actually have to show for any of it. I guess no more or less than anyone else around me.
Wishing all my readers a safe and happy All Hallow’s Eve.
It’s that time of year again. The part of the year where I have to wake up in the dark and somehow find the energy to get up and get my daughter up and start our day. The part of the year where I may not see the sun until after my daughter has been dropped off at school.
I would happily stay in bed until there’s actual daylight outside. This getting up in the middle of the night (that’s what 7am feels like right now) is insane. I’m pretty sure humans were originally intended to sleep through the dark and be up with the sun… or at least whatever is passing for daylight.
And then Daylight Savings time will end. (Why do we even still have this in a society which has us up at all kinds of strange hours anyway?) And it will be dark outside by the time I’m taking my daughter to her late afternoon/early evening classes.
And then we’ll reach the winter solstice and it will be dark when I get up and dark when I’m making supper. And all I’m really going to want to do is hibernate. Seriously, why don’t humans hibernate? I would much rather do that than deal with the dark and the deep cold and the deep snow and ice.
Here in Canada, Thanksgiving falls on October 9th this year. A date which is rapidly approaching and I find myself calculating what more needs to be bought for dinner and when I have to pull the turkey out to thaw.
Turkey dinner is all fine and (usually very) good, but the point of Thanksgiving is to pause and express gratitude for the harvest (originally) and all the things we have. A time to stop and take stock of how much we really have in our lives.
Gratitude has become one of those words. Overused, too often to try to sell some service or thing. And when a word becomes one of those, it’s actual meaning seems to get lost in the buzz.
Because Gratitude is actually very important, provided it is combined with sincerity. It’s easy to say (or post) that you’re grateful for something or someone or some event. But are you actually feeling it? Are you really grateful for what you claim to be? Or are you merely caught up in the latest self-help trend?
What we are sincerely grateful for we are far less likely to take for granted. We’re more likely to remember to acknowledge its affect on our lives.
I know some things (people, events) are hard to feel true gratitude for. Blessings do come in some really obnoxious/unpleasant/upsetting disguises. Sometimes it’s a matter of doing the best we can now and finding the sincere gratitude in hindsight.
What are you sincerely grateful for in your life?
For myself, I’m incredibly thankful for my husband and all the ways he supports me and my work; for our beautiful, active, strong willed daughter; for my high strung fuzzball of a Bandit kitty; for all the resources I have to draw on to build my life and business; and for Life in Jesus Christ.
Sometimes all you can do is Breathe
I don’t remember exactly what I was looking at when this popped into my head. I’m fairly sure I was online, reading something someone had posted about their life going to pieces and being unsure what to do next. The specifics of the situation escape me, especially given how much of this kind of stuff I see daily.
Because lives fall apart all the time. Things, big or small, are lost. Plans fall through. What appeared to be a sure bet turns out to be anything but. I know I’m not the only one who feels like there is always “another shoe.”
And it’s all largely out of our control. Yes, some of these things trace, at least partially, back to the choices we’ve made. We can make the best choices we know how and life will still happen.
It’s all too tempting, when life sucks, to complain and blame and look for an external source to fix it all for us. But none of those things have any power to change what happened. They also have no power whatsoever to improve our future prospects. What they’re really good for is keeping us stuck.
What really needs to happen next is we need to breathe. Sometimes it’s all we can do.
One breath at a time
One step at a time
One day at a time
Cold season apparently.
No sooner did my daughter start public school again than she brought home a head cold and shared it with myself and her dad. If there was ever anything I really wish she would keep to herself and not share, it’s the colds and flus that go around public schools.
It’s really hard to concentrate enough to accomplish anything when my head is stuffed right up. Worse is not having any energy and needing to nap to survive the day. Add to that the self imposed guilt which comes with not even being able to keep on top of my usual day tasks.
Not that beating up on myself is going to make the cold go away any faster. Especially since I know stress is only going to make it hang around longer.
It’s hard to give myself permission to rest and recover and know that I will be able to catch up on all the things I can’t manage right now. So hard to not feel guilty over slowing down and allowing my body to heal.
I’m attempting something new this year.
For the past two years, I’ve been driving my daughter to and from school, for numerous reasons. This year I’m trying to walk with her, at least to school. I think she would like to walk both ways, but it’s fifty minutes, from the time we leave the house until I get home. I still don’t have the energy to attempt that more than once a day. Maybe by next spring, if life doesn’t go completely sideways on me yet again.
When we leave the house, we pass all kinds of trees with leaves now seriously turning yellow. There are yellow leaves on the front walk as well as up in the tree in the front yard. There are starting to be leaves on the sidewalks and a few in the school yard, although most of the trees on the school grounds are coniferous.
It’s definitely autumn here. Morning fogs (although still containing too much smoke), colourful leaves, back to classes. New routines and still wondering how all the things are going to settle this time.
Not something I’ve ever been good at, although I’ve gotten somewhat better in recent years.
Overwhelm, confusion, discombobulation
These things I know far too well and I know they serve to make life and decision making harder instead of easier. They sap my energy and cause me to throw my hands up in the air and try to quit.
Because in the overwhelm and confusion and all the crap those dredge up (fear, doubt, struggle) it’s hard to know what to do. I find too many decisions made under these conditions don’t turn out well. Because when I feel like I’m drowning in all this, I start looking for answers externally. And there are all kinds of answers thrown out there. Everyone has a solution to my problems. The problem is, those are their solutions.
It’s in the Stillness
Because when I grow still, when I seek quiet reflection time, I’m reminded that the answers I seek, the solutions I need, aren’t out there at all. All those external solutions aren’t for me. The answers to all the most important questions are inside and it’s only in the Stillness I have the ability to hear them clearly.
Be Still and Know
Sit and breathe and look inside. Sit and breathe and ask all the questions. Sit and breathe and Know the answers aren’t out in the world at all. They’re right there, inside you, waiting for you to stop and sit and breathe and ask.
This is where you learn what’s True for you.
This is where you will find all the Love you could ever need.
This is where you Know what you need to move forward.
And it will be scary and hard and you will want to quit and you won’t want to see or hear or feel. And you will be strongly tempted to give in to all the distractions around you. And then, if you remain still, it will get easier and life will flow far better. The flows will carry you higher and farther. The ebbs won’t freak you out as badly. And all the things you desperately long for will seem less impossible… maybe even feel more real, more achievable.
And you will find it easier to Be Still.
And all those external solutions which aren’t really for you anyway won’t seem nearly so appealing.
It’s just past the middle of August and it’s already feeling like autumn here. There are even yellow leaves all over the ground. Bonus, it’s nice and cool at night.
This is a pleasant change from too hot, too dry, and thoroughly smoked. That’s what most of the summer here has been like, especially in the wake of the wildfires still plaguing my home province. There are still people out of their homes and out of work. Still people who need places to stay. Undoubtedly many of them wondering how they will manage the transition to back to school when they’re so far from home and may not have a home to return to.
It’s weird to go online, especially on Facebook, and see people posting first day of school pictures already. It isn’t anywhere near September yet. The first official day of school here is September sixth. Children here get a bit over two months break. I don’t understand what anyone thinks there is to gain by shortening that time.
My daughter is back home after three weeks (ish) with her grandparents. I still have nearly three weeks (maybe more depending what I hear from her school) before she needs to be ready to go back to school. In the meantime, she’s already started one of her extracurricular classes and should be registered for the other next week.
I didn’t post last week because I spent last Thursday on the road, doing the approximately ten hour drive required to get from home to the Okanagan. Because, last Saturday, there was a party to celebrate my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary. And because it’s been nearly two years since I was last able to see most of that side of my family. Fortunately, the wildfires plaguing British Columbia this year weren’t an issue along the route we took.
Being down there, seeing family I haven’t seen in a while, learning things I never knew about my family’s history, visiting with family and old family friends… I wish I had more opportunity than it feels like I have now. I hate living so far away from them. Most of them don’t text or Skype. Telephone is hard for me, for several reasons. If we could see any clear way to do so, we would happily move closer to them.
When I was growing up, family and family history were all around me. Vacations were used to visit relatives and attend family reunions. Family stories were brought up all the time. I wish I could remember more of the stories I have heard. I wish I could’ve heard more from the people these things happened to. I’ve lost four of the six grandparents I knew as a child. The other two are into their 80s and not in the best of health, which was partly why the summer celebration of an anniversary which actually falls between Christmas and New Years.
Heritage is such a huge part of personal identity. Family and family history often serve as a tether… a place to go back to when life gets too overwhelming. It’s what we build on, whether better or worse, when we create our own lives and stories. It influences our perception of ourselves. It influences how we relate to all kinds of aspects of our lives.
I watch my daughter grow and learn and I wonder what she’s learning about the meaning and history of family. She’s grown up surrounded by grandparents and aunts and uncles (biological and named) and she’s hearing some of the stories, whether she understands them now or not. I think about what I would like her to learn, how to pass values to her, what she will think of it all once she’s old enough to seriously consider what she thinks of it all.
How do I tell my daughter what my life has been like and how it influences the way I’m raising her?
How do I tell my daughter all the things I would like her to know about family and life and her options for the future?
What will my legacy to my daughter be?
For nearly a week now, we’ve had heavy smoke in the air. There are fires to the east, south, and west of where I live. The province has declared a state of emergency as multiple towns are evacuated and thousands of people displaced. While smoky air makes for spectacularly colourful sunsets, it isn’t good for anything else. Certainly not for air quality and anyone who has breathing trouble.
I can’t imagine having to leave my home and know it might not be there when I get back. People are losing their homes… I’ve seen news footage of what appears to be an entire community burnt to the ground. They’re out of work, staying in temporary shelters of all kinds, dependent on the charity of others as they wait to hear when they can go back and see what’s left of their lives.
On the flip side, all kinds of people and organizations are stepping up to help. To work in the fire zones, trying to contain and extinguish the fires. To offer assistance to those in need of it. To open their homes to strangers in need of a place to stay. To gather resources to help rebuild what has been burnt to the ground. I love how situations like this bring out a kinder side of humanity.
I have extended family who live in the affected area. Some of them I’ve seen Facebook posts from and know the people, at least, are okay. Some I haven’t seen anything from and can’t help being concerned for. Undoubtedly there’s someone in the family who has heard, but I’m often out of the loop on family news (on that side especially) unless it crosses my Facebook feed.
Although the last couple days have been overcast, with just a touch of rain, the whole province desperately needs a few days of steady rain. Lightning is one of the major causes of wildfires and not something we need right now. A steady downpour would be much more helpful. (And to think only a couple months ago some of these communities were struggling with flooding and too much water.)
And I have one very selfish reason for wanting these fires out and the highways reopened. I want to make it to the party for my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary, which is going to mean either travel through what are currently fire zones or a long detour around on roads I’m not nearly as familiar with.
I dread putting anything out where other people can see/read/react to it. I really do.
I know there are a million thoughts and opinions on the subject out there. People’s experiences. Ways to get over it. Ways to work around it.
None of that makes it any easier for me. And, if I let myself stop and think about it, it’s exhausting.
And yet I keep trying to work on my business. I keep coming back to this blog. I keep putting things out there. I probably always will.
It’s my daughter’s last day of grade one.
I have two whole months where I don’t have to deal with her school.
After we attend an anniversary party for my grandparents’ 60th, I have two weeks-ish where my daughter is at my parents’. I’m looking forward to those weeks and I know they’re going to pass way, way too fast.
In the meantime, our local library has a summer reading program for kids. The church often runs some kind of summer program, since Sunday school is only during the school year. There are other kids living close by she can go out and play with.
Yes, I do know there is a gap of about a year and a half between posts on this blog.
Yes, I have been more or less in hiding.
Yes, I am slowly attempting to ease back into a number of things. It’s a very slow process as the stuff in my life shifts and then shifts again.
I’m having to relearn, yet again, how to live some way other than constantly lost in my own head. It’s hard habit to break. It’s such an old habit, so deeply ingrained.
I grew up lost in my own head. I think I was trying to survive. Except somewhere in trying to survive, I never really learned how to live. And only now, in my thirties, am I trying to figure out how to really live instead of merely survive. Too many days I wonder if it’s even possible now.
And yet I know women far older than I am are walking the same path, unlearning the same lessons so they can learn new ones.
How to live in the light instead of someone’s shadow. How to find a voice so long ago silenced. How to stand alone. How to really truly Love. How to be a whole human being. How to live out all these things so our daughters learn them early.
This morning, before I took her to school, my daughter brought me a handful of clover blossoms from our backyard, where she had been playing for the few minutes before we had to leave. As you can see from the picture above, I found a pretty little vase and put them in water. Hopefully they will last a few days. They smell so wonderfully sweet.
I know it’s still early June, but when the weather hits 30 degrees Celsius or more and the sky is clear and blue and sunny, it feels very much like summer. Too hot. Especially for a place deemed to be far enough north to render AC ‘unnecessary’ by building code authorities and utilities companies.
I don’t like (and I know I’m not alone in this) temperature extremes. I don’t deal with too hot any better than too cold. I wish it could be either spring or autumn, when the temperatures are nicer and the trees pretty colours.
Being summer and rapidly approaching the Summer Solstice also means much longer days than nights. I think right now sunset is about the time my husband goes to work, around nine thirty or quarter to ten. Dawn is somewhere between five and six in the morning, if not earlier. I remember reading someone’s blog post or email about how they were planning to start going to bed at sunset and get up at sunrise. And I remember thinking about what utter insanity it would be to attempt that here. In the summer, it would mean far less than eight hours of sleep at nights. In the winter, it would mean only being up and active maybe eight hours of the day.
For the moment, it means my daughter, who is still in elementary school until nearly the end of the month, doesn’t want to come inside in time to get ready for bed. It’s still ‘daytime’, even though if she doesn’t come in and get to bed, she won’t wake up in time to get to school in the morning. Or, worse, will be too tired to get through her school day without the school having to call me to pick her up early. (It happens. Oh, the joys of having a child deemed ‘special needs’.)
I’m grateful for the pole fan given to us by neighbours moving out just down the row. It keeps the living room liveable. There’s a second fan in my bedroom which makes it sort of possible to sleep in there if I’ve had a bath or shower immediately before going to bed. I think my husband is lucky in a way… he gets to go to bed after the bedroom has cooled down as much as it’s likely to.
Now to figure out how to feed us all without cooking not just the food, but myself and the house as well.