Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Receiving My Canadian Certification of Indian Status; A Heritage and Ancestry Celebration



I wasn’t going to share this, due to misconceptions, judgements and opinions. But there is something to the poetry of BEING that is meant to be shared, despite all of that harsher reality. It’s worth it. Now, l
et's get the boring political jargon and myths out of the way before my celebratory post:

(My husbands gift to me for this celebration) 

 **Note on terms: "Indian Status" is what the Government of Canada terms my card due to the treaty. Currently, I know that "Indigenous" is a preferred term. Some of my relatives are all about the terms, while others could not care less. My Grandpa is one of the latter. From an early age he taught me that it is not the words themselves but the way they are stated in, or the love, respect or dignity (or lack thereof) within context given. He has been slurred with the word "Indian" and he has been honoured by the word "Indian." He taught me, when I was a wee one in the early eighties, to be proud of the term. "First Nations" became larger a term as I grew up, followed by "Native," followed by "Aboriginal," and now "Indigenous." I have written about vocabulary on terms based on my Autism diagnosis Click HERE. I feel the same mentality applies. This blog is my home and I am comfortable using the terms interchangeably based on my personal history. I believe each of them has been used for harm but also for good, depending on the person behind the words. I am personally honoured to have each term applied to myself. If you carry wounds from these words, please translate them to words that cause less pain for yourself, but know that I am saying them from a place of empowerment, honouring, and personal heritage. ** 



**Note on the myths of benefits: I do not live on a reserve, neither do most of my relatives that carry status cards. The government does count my status to give to the band I am registered with, to determine the benefits for that reserve, however where I live, there are not many benefits (if any). No, we do not just get free university. No, we do not all have tax free lives (it does not affect me at all.) The one benefit I have besides border crossing more easily (which I do not really need) is some prescriptions covered (which I have not used in years.) Here is an article on this before any assumptions are made on what I do or do not deserve: https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/indian-status-5-more-things-you-need-to-know-1.3109451 So, if I do not receive benefits, why is it important to me? Why did I apply? Well, that is answered in my post below. 



***

What does it mean to embrace a heritage, if one is the true definition of a Canadian: A mosiac of varied histories, legacies and nations? As I wrote in THIS (click) post about being Canadian: "I belong to this land. I have cherished its freedom. I am proud that my ancestor from Spain drove cattle from Mexico into the heart of Caribou County. I have often wondered, when I was in the heart of the mountains, if my Indigenous ancestors from the Secwepemc/ Shuswap nation traversed similar paths. I am thankful that my German, Danish, English and Romanian ancestors on the other side of my family tree, found their freedom when they were being persecuted in their home countries. They dug roots so that my down home could run deep. They celebrated that their country allowed for the freedoms of worship, community, health rights, and autonomy. They built up generations for the place I now call home. " (For more on the personal Indigenous/ Spanish history of my Grandpa T. Click HERE


If I could, I would love to live on the land of each of my ancestral blood ties. I love learning about each of the histories and tracing back as far as I can, into the shared hardships and joys of the different ancestors in my genetic line. It is a crucial part of BEING. Just like my Autism diagnosis was a crucial part of discovering myself, or my MBTI of INFJ. Having my Status card is another piece to the glorious BEING of ME, shaped by generations before. However, just like INFJ or Autistic, these terms do not explain the WHOLE of myself. Genetics ARE important for many aspects of living in health and family, but they are not the END STATEMENT. Family is not only blood, but those who CHOOSE to love. Health is not just genetics but also choices. Complexity is in BEING. There are so many facets. That stated, each layer of self discovery, and honouring roots, adds beauty to life.

***

This year has been so full of change, grief, and joy that I almost forgot I had applied. I had given it a brief thought a few weeks ago, wishing that I had my status when I was filling out a form, just so I could honour my Grandfather's roots and state,"Yes, that is in my history." But I couldn't and I promptly was swept away with daily life details. Until yesterday, when my husband walked into my bedroom humming a Native trill that my Grandpa used to sing while he patted my back as a baby, and waving a letter. His face shone with excitement and immediately I KNEW. My sense of home shifted once again. I did not think I could feel more at home, but a settled rootedness grew in an instant of confirmation, before I could even rip open the letter...



***

Blood ties appeal to my mystical soul (herbalist/ folklorist/ and nature based, which I call fondly 'witchy' due to my love of all things Harry Potter and Broadway's Wicked.) I am the one who loves nature and feels deep ties to the land. My spirituality has always been connected to nature. God is in every speck. I knew God before I could speak. I FELT Divinity playing in my Grandmother's yard and watching the flowers sway. Before my Christian upbringing combined with my Mystical upbringing gave me words, I had an inner KNOWING. It was easy for me to accept a God I could not see, because I saw and adored the Creation. Talking with others on the topic, I have found my way of seeing the world was not as common as I thought. There were outdoorsy people (which I am NOT) and then there were lovers of nature like me...(See THIS post for more on my love of nature.) I spent much of my childhood on the lands near my band's reserve. My Grandpa would take me on hikes in the forrest to pick Saskatoon berries and blueberries (still some of my favourites!) As I wrote HERE (click):Half of my life growing up I spent at each of my grandparents' houses for the summers in the Cariboo Mountains. Grandpa would take me into the forest and give me instructions on bear safety and the sounds of the forest- most of which I have unfortunately forgotten but some rules stuck. As we trudged up the path, me weary and him bursting with energy, he would stop and point out waterfalls and flowers.  The man who would kill to eat, stepped aside to not crush a flower. "Missy, a good person won't leave an imprint in the forest they travel, unless it's to mark their path." He would break twigs off to show me how to know where I have been while looking forward to where I should go. My favourite part was when we'd see the orange/ red peeking out from the grass. Indian Paintbrush. They symbolized Grandpa T. to me. I'd rush over and exclaim, "Grandpa, I found Indian Paintbrush!" He would crouch down and touch the pretty flower weed. "This is fire just like your ancestors. They understood that each living thing is a gift of creation. Each living thing possess the breath God breathed to create."  Occasionally he would allow me to pick one and take it home. Grandma would put it in a pretty vase and serve me cookies as I stared at the fiery passion of nature, grateful for my roots.

***

A few weeks before he died last October, my brother in law freely took my picture for my application for Status. I was awkward. He, of course, was smooth and charming, so he tried to make me feel at ease with his smile. He told me he read up on it and I was not supposed to smile. As I was walking out, he asked me to inform him if I received my status. I knew he was probably just being polite, but I made a mental note to inform him regardless. Unfortunately, I can not thank him personally once again and tell him I received it. However, I believe in the spiral dances of life. Part of my process oddly carried my husband's German ancestry. His relative was part of the process. That feels a bit more WHOLE.



***

My Auntie Donna died a few years ago. She had her Status and always wanted me to get mine. I had applied in my early twenties but the paternal/ maternal laws were different and I was denied. When the laws switched to honour maternal, with my extended family's encouragement and my brother's print offs, I re applied. Honestly, it's a lot of work, as anyone who deals with forms and red tape can attest to, and part of me did not feel like doing the work again only to be denied. 

***

PRESENCE. My aunt had a presence and part of her essence was driven by her deep love of our Native roots. She knew more about that aspect of our history, and was more attached to our relatives on the reserves. Pre internet, she was constantly researching the background of our original tribe. My Aunt has been on my mind more so than when she first passed away. This last year I have had moments of grief so strong, in random places, remembering her. Recently, we attended an event where a lady sang, "Love Can Build a Bridge." She sounded just like The Judds. I stopped her afterwards and with choked up tears I stated, "You sang beautifully. I felt like my Aunt was sitting beside me. She loved that song and the Judds whom you sounded like. She passed away recently, but I felt her tonight. Thank you." Part of why I applied again, was because of my Auntie Donna. The spiral has circled back and I am incorporating her legacy and Spirit into my own dance of life. I wish I could show her my card. She would have been so excited. I partially re applied because of her. (Click HERE for her tribute post.) My Grandmother, who also recently passed away, also wished this for me and I sent sparks of gratitude to heaven for her part in my story.



***

A few years ago, an Anthropologist/Archeologist was visiting our home to speak at one of our 'Called to Questions' (a monthly gathering where we invite professors from Universities/Tradespeople passionate about their topics etc. to present and enter into dialogue with invited guests.) We conversed on the topic of being Canadian, and what that means. I told her a bit of my history and how I was debating on re applying but felt guilty because I was not full blooded Indigenous. She surprised me with her passion, "It is actually your DUTY to try again. Even if you carry a speck that the government acknowledges, it is a priority to show them the many people of their country who carry these ancient bloodlines. These peoples who lived on this land are integral to our being... many of which helped us to survive here. I study various cultures and have headed up many digs. I especially loved being with the Natives of Nicaragua. From my standpoint, it is not only a duty, but an honour to be able to have ties to the land you walk upon and to state it and show proof of it to those who doubt. I strongly encourage you to re apply." 

***



A few months later, I was conversing with my adopted Aunt on my husband's side who is fully Indigenous, I asked her if it would bother her at all...since I clearly have many other bloodlines within me. We had a beautiful conversation but I can recall her saying something akin to, "It's a part of you. I can feel the connection we share of the love of nature. I recognize this in you. I would never hold it against you if you applied. I would celebrate it." And yesterday, when I texted her...she did.

***


Canadas National Indigenous Peoples Day is June 21. The mystic in me loves that this is also Summer Solstice/ Litha. (click.) Our family loves to mark the seasons. This year my spiritual worlds collide on this day. I love marking the moon and discovering new names for the moon from the T’exelcemc is even more special. 

***


These are some of the myriad of reasons I teared up when my Status card arrived. This is why I texted anyone I could think of to celebrate. Most did not bother to acknowledge the beauty in it, but the friends and family who did, KNEW. They KNEW my history, my bonds, my spirituality and their statements of congrats or acknowledgement, whispered understanding, community and connection into my soul. Spiralling into my heart's dance, their voices combined. They are a part of my status too. They are a part of my journey and rooted belonging. On and off, the entire day I felt like I was walking on clouds. I felt euphoric. I felt immense gratitude for belonging, peoples, land, earth and sky. The landscape of ABUNDANCE. I felt closer to God. I was reminded I am still BECOMING. There are more layers to my story, but this is one. This is important. This is me.

I felt belonging.




Song Choice: My husband loves this because it's his Viking roots mixed with Native American songs...lol he also played me "Indian Outlaw" which is probably considered culturally inappropriate today but it did remind me of the nineties when I loved the fact that our culture was mentioned in a country song! I loved the beat...so yes, I'm guilty of throwing my head back laughing and dancing along with it in celebration with my family! And of course, anyone who knows me, knows my love of the song "Colours of the Wind" which I have sung to my children for 19 years at bedtime. I loved Disney's Pocahontas as a child, and still do, despite it being called to cancellation by some. To me it represented aspects of my heritage, when many of those stories were lacking as main heroines at the time. I sang Colours of the Wind to my children every night that I tucked them in (followed by Part of Your World (Little Mermaid) and God Help the Outcasts ( Hunchback) to which I still choke up at every time! The lyrics to Colours of the Wind still apply to our times, "How can there be so much that you don't know? You don't know…" We don't know each path for each person. The riches of the earth are all around us. We are all connected to each other. The hoop of Life spirals amongst us. The wolf cry ignites my spirit. We all need to sing with all the voices of the mountains and paint with the colours of the wind...:



Monday, April 11, 2022

Fallow




Sometimes, we need fallow ground in one area of our life, while another area is in it's prime growth. Simultaneously, a seed is sown in protected dark to thrive. While, paradoxically, green shoots sprout from another area.

It's been over a year and a half since my social media life died. Like a domino affect, I experienced a tumble of die off in unexpected spheres. This blog, plus sparse texting of a few valued key souls, and once a week emails, were the irregular cerebral sharing I partook in. 

Currently, I would describe this blog as fallow. It is a cultivated place, that I have mostly allowed to be idle during a huge growing/ and die off season of my life. Soil is still magic. It has had it's growth before and is lying fallow with the potential to re seed again.

Outside of this space, I am becoming someone...surprising. 

Cerebral is of value. Cerebral will always be my first response to life, living as I do inside my head. I thank God for computers, devices, connection and cerebral ways of expression. If I would not have had that outlet, I honestly do not know what kind of regression would have taken place. It was of huge import to explore and nurture that aspect of myself in my twenties and thirties. I can be a slow adjuster to change and growth until one day I wake up and it feels so sudden. Balance in all things right? If we give to one area, another area MUST lie fallow. We make choices of what we are NOT by what we choose to DO, and each choice becomes part of what we ARE.

I think people are lucky to know me. I think I give a lot in a unique way. I also feel sorry for people who know me. I am a MESS most of the time. I say the wrong thing, I feel ugly most of the time and I have to actively overcome myself just to be present. I don't have a voice for all the complexities and awesome connections I have on most days and can come across as ditzy, but then, on spaces where I can write or have a platform suddenly I have a lot to say. Some of it can be profound. Some is ridiculous. I think it is BOTH/ AND. 

I have been wrestling with closing this space down. Many of the posts do not apply anymore, but yet they were so crucial to whom I am...and for that, I love them. Some have unexpectedly spoken in ways I could not imagine to souls I do not fully know. There is connection, beauty, love, and cultivated grace here. Thus, I am leaving this blog open, with the knowledge that it may only be a short season of fallow, or maybe I will need it desperately at regular intervals soon?

All of a sudden my thoughts and sharing have become sacred to me. It was sacred that I shared online but there is a caveat. This is an important side of verbalization I do not actually give to many in my life.. When used for a bridge of understanding- it has mattered. But I no longer feel I, personally, need to be understood...yet, I also want to GIVE all the understanding I can, in places that I need to be in. Also, there is a level of offline, in person sharing, that can not happen from a computer screen. The screen of any device is introverted, which I love, but lacks the sensory sharing... and begets both control and a lack of control that is both less messy and infinitely more tricky than life off line. 

At first, I did not know what to do with myself. Connections grew into pockets. Pockets became containers, and containers grew into cozy tree homes. There is SO MUCH BEAUTY out there. But it takes work to find. It takes sacrifice. It takes confidence. It takes faith. It takes bravery. It takes both grace and boundaries. Focusing on one over the other, begets loss. It takes ignoring the news and critics, and BEING...which sounds easy in theory, but is a daily grind of choice. It is the choice to engage in what is immediately in my path. My husband, my children, my home ministry of protection and connection, my seasonal connections, my community etc. I finally have realized that I am just ME. I am complexity and simplicity. I can be a speedy voice of loudness and hyperactivity in a group setting (followed by copious regrets) and talk a mile a minute sometimes, while at others I stay in comfortable silence and need days of alone time to process. I do not have to choose between the two to be authentic. I do not have to force myself into expected boxes of being (I mostly have done this to myself by the way.) 

I have not heard it often said...so I am going to say it here...FREEDOM??? Freedom has to come from within but spread outside the margin of self. Freedom can not just be of the mind, or of the soul, or of the body, or of the emotions. And if one is taking up 70 percent of life as the sole focus? If one person is ONLY focusing on spirituality and denying the body, usually they become fundamentalist or another pathway of extremism. If one is only focusing on the body at the cost of the soul, they will become empty shelled epicureans, always looking for the next sensual hit. If one is giving all their energy to the cerebral (their screens of the mind, assuming full connection but forgetting the connection outside of that device) nihilism and anxiety are natural outcomes. If one is only focused on emotional well being, they can forget the balance of the rational and become chaos. With only the rational, order reigns. Freedom is actually an incorporation of seasons of fallow and growth. It's a constant influx and a flexible model of incorporation, collaboration and change. I like to think of it as the Trinity. That is what freedom optimally is. 

I have a lot of thoughts, but whom am I really to share them? The answer is no one and everyone. I am important. But I am no more important than you are. I am redeemed so my strivings cease ( or in theory they should) but I am flawed and human, so there will always be a grappling. Freedom is found in Viktor Frankl's Man Search for Meaning. Freedom is found in Spirit but that freedom? It looks different from person to person. The answer is subjective and also concrete. 

I do not want to be known for what I am not, or what I do not stand for, or what ideals I support or advocate for. I just want to BE. I want to wake up everyday, and face each challenge whilst accepting the small beauties and victories. If I hear music, I want to pay attention...perhaps share with someone I love or who I know needs or appreciates it too. I want to be present over perfect. I want to seek first. But I also want to rest well. Most of all, I just want to love Spirit and try to love others. I want to allow the fallow and celebrate growth but not strive for or allow either to encompass my full theme of life. I need BOTH/AND. 

Back to life...

xo

Thanks Amy for the song choice: Back to Life- Rascal Flatts





Saturday, February 12, 2022

GUEST POST "Like My Father Loves My Mom." To My Dad- Love Your Daughter

Enjoy this guest post from my daughter;





This post is dedicated to my Dad specifically, but I also made a video to both my parents near this 20th year of their marriage...Mom and Dad: You have been such a romantic example to me, in both the tough and the good times. Cheers to 20 years of Valentines together!"


I recently found this song by Jax, Like My Father in my suggested for a playlist I was making and decided to see what it was. So I clicked on it and while listening my eyes started to get glossy. After finishing the song I knew I had to share it with my parents, as I felt like it was their relationship to a T that I have seen throughout all my life. I showed it to my dad. After a few minutes of being in my room I came out to him listening to it in the kitchen while he was doing dishes. My heart melted and we spent around forty minutes listening to all of the artist's other songs together. My dad was so excited to show mom and both of them got teary when watching the music video. 

My mom suggested that I write this post on the song. I agreed that it was a great idea as we all love it deeply. I also thought it would be nice to write it for my amazing dad. So let's get into the song which I also made my own video of my parents to below...

"I want to come home to roses, and dirty little notes on Post-its, and when my hair is turning grey he'll say I'm like a fine wine better with age. I guess I learned it from my parents, that true love starts with friendship. A kiss on the forehead, a date night, fake an apology after a fight."

There have been so many times in my life that I witnessed my dad buying my mom flowers and leaving little notes for her. 

My parents always love trying to bug us and make dirty jokes especially my dad. Lots of times when they start kissing my dad will pop his head up and say "kids close your eyes!" We all exclaim "eeewwwww Dad!!" But I like seeing them so in love.                                                                                   

Throughout the years my dad has always said things to my mom like said in the quote above "you're like a fine wine. Better with age." In the quote below "And when my body changes shapes he'll say, ' You look hot today." My mom loves it when he says these things even if she has a hard time believing it. 

I want a love like my parents as said in the song. "I guess I learned it from my parents, that true love starts with friendship" They have taught me what true love looks like. And though they did not start out as friends, they became best friends as they were dating and have stayed close even after the hard times.                                                                                                                                                       

I want someone who will kiss me on the forehead and has date nights with me like my parents do for each other (even if they don't get enough date nights due to having three kids). I love how this song says "fake an apology after a fight" I remember being taught that in relationships you sometimes have to fake it till you make it and fake apologies. Otherwise you might never say sorry. 

"I need a man who's patient and kind, gets out of the car and holds the door. I wanna slow dance in the living room like we're eighteen at senior prom and grow old with someone who makes me feel young. I need a man who loves me like my father loves my mom."   

My Dad has shown these (patient and kind) characteristics throughout his life. Not perfectly of course. He is always striving to be better.  My dad truly is a kind hearted, sweet man.                                             

When there is fun or romantic music on, I will often see them holding each other close and doing their ridiculous dance moves or swaying side to side. They always look like they are enjoying each other when they dance and I love seeing them be utterly ridiculous (which I hope to be with my future husband).  (See video below.)                                                                                                                                                       

I feel like my parents keep each other young. My mom keeps the relationship young because of her innocence and her funny childish ways sometimes. And my dad does because of his humour and also his childish ways.                                                                                                                                            

The way my dad loves my mom so deeply and beautifully is something that I've always wanted in a future spouse. "I need a man who loves me like my father loves my mom." 

"I wanna road trip in thе summers. I wanna make fun of each other. I wanna rock out to Billy Joel, And flip our kids off when they call us old. He'll accidentally burn our dinner, And let me be the Scrabble winner, And when my body changes shapes, He'll say, "Oh my god, you look hot today."

My parents have gone on many road trips with and without us. I think it's when they get time to talk the most and what a better time to talk then driving around. They have always loved these drives and have taught us to enjoy it just as much (especially in the summer).      

There is always non-stop making fun each other in our house. My dad is usually the source of it. It's fun to see my mom and dad make fun each other. They do it a lot and are still in love so that says something haha.    

 "I wanna rock out to Billy Joel..." We are a very musical family so obviously this is also something that I hope for. Like I said before my parents like to dance together and "rocking out" is definitely something that they "try" to do. 'Try' being the operative word as  they do crazy dance moves that are very interesting to watch. I can't wait to freak my kids out with weird dance moves like they do to us.                                            

Now if we ever call them old... oh man...their reactions  are always big if they don't laugh. And yes we have been flipped off when us kids have said that they are old but of course this is all fun in games and hilarious as it's very dramatic (*clears throat. Dad*.)                                                                                     

My dad rarely ever burns our dinner. He is the main cook in our house and makes the best meals to nourish our bodies. I luckily took after my dad in the kitchen. I'm totally ok with my husband not loving the kitchen or having a talent in it like my mom....since I'm hoping to do 3/4 of the cooking, but we shall see.                                                    

When my dad heard this song for the first time when she says "And let me be the scrabble winner" he exclaimed, "Ha I would never do that!" Which is true, he really wouldn't. My parents are very competitive but it's very funny to see little tantrums (and game boards) being thrown by the ever sore loser. 

"And if he lives up to my father, maybe he can teach our daughter, what it takes to love a queen, she should know she's royalty"

I hope my husband lives up to my father; kind, hardworking, gentle, truthful, and most of all faithful to me. I hope my future spouse can teach our daughter what it looks like to love a woman. Just like my dad showed me, by loving my mom, what it looks like to be loved by a man. Treating her like a queen so that she knows she's special and royalty.      

    "I need a man who loves me like, my father loves my mom."

Thank you dad for being such a great guy who loves my mom and all of us kids so deeply. Thanks to both my dad and my mom who showed us kids what a wonderful relationship looks like and how to treat our future mates. I love you so much.


And to my future husband, I'm so excited what our future holds for us. P.S. I made a video of my parents for Valentines of them below- password: love :


password: love

Original Music Video here:

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Gingerbread Houses, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Sarah Clarkson and Other Holiday Discourse

"A man may make a Remark- In itself- a quiet thing That may furnish the Fuse unto a Spark In dormant nature- lain-  Let us divide- with skill- Let us discourse- with care- Powder exists in Charcoal- Before it exists in Fire-" - Emily Dickinson


Burn out. A word most of current culture relates to. Yet, we do not understand that our Gingerbread houses are spun out of what we also help create. Perhaps the initial ingredients are out of our hands, but the way we flourish our proverbial homes? We have some sway over the sugar and spice. Why would we choose to coat our doors in sticky ketchup (news outlets/ social media)? Why would we want our doors so stuck with information that we can barely open them up on our own? The home we make can become crumbled bits and pieces, when we try so hard to open the door we partially sealed with our own choices. We shake our own core. It can be tough to taste tantalizing sweet sugar underneath layers of tomato paste. 


Let us discourse with care. 

Evergreen. A word that expresses everlasting hope. A word that can sing beloved Christmas tunes or evoke the sparkling wonder that children are best at expressing."Welcome home," says the body that is nourished and grounded in BEING. The hand on the door, opening to a place of belonging and safety. The squished give of the mattress as it envelops at night. The light of a lamp reflecting the caring of friends, as the knots of isolation slowly become untied. The wreaths symbolizing the spiral of life. The cliches that bring us joy. The tiny, obscure miracles we forget to see, because we are too caught up in our cerebral worlds to honour the tangible Given. Yet, the breaks from ourselves are there, waiting to soothe our unbelief in the Beauty that IS, patiently waiting to give a little cheer with the words, "Welcome home."

Story. What binds us and breaks us. What heals or destroys. The words we choose can bring hope or disaster. The story we tell, no matter how dark or bright, is OURS to give. The calm inside our chaos is a promise of All that Is. "Sharing all our stories of our failures and our glories, even when our hopes got torn, We made it through the storm. And I couldn't ask for more. When I'm down, and I'm lost and I'm tired- When it feels like the whole world is on fire...Even when I feel like a mess, have to take a good look inside me Yes, In the hurts where I find the Holy I guess, I'll never be perfect but I try my best, to remember I'm blessed."- Kelly Clarkson

Charts. Can something so clinical be a balm? How does one reframe a moment? In emotion? In intellect? In spirit? In Body? One piece neglected takes from the whole. Can you smell joy? Can you feel a word? Can spirit be rooted Can a body connect to other realms? Can we meet in the middle? ... A room that had housed a familiar mentor was now the territory of a complete stranger. Like clockwork, almost every month, for 16 years I had met a different set of eyes. Next to the seat was an emotions chart.* Inwardly I cringed. I dismissively thought, "Of course, he knows I have Aspergers Syndrome and gave me a feelings chart. Standard textbook." But I looked into his hope filled eyes that wished to help me, and I softened. I tried to be open. It wasn't his fault his eyes were new. As the session proceeded, that chart surprised, claimed, named and comforted. Feelings need direct expression without being in the driver's seat. They are the passengers of our voyages and as such need to be treated with care but not full control. Words are just words without intent or tone. But what if the tone is not the intent? It can get messy. Words are magic and pain. Language is our greatest weapon and healer. "I wrestled. But it wasn't with God; it was with the ideas that obscured him." Sarah Clarkson.

Sad: "Fatigued/ Tired. Miserable. Despair. heartbroken. Devastated. Discouraged, Disappointed. Hopeless. Pain and Hurt. Depressed. Grief and Sorrow. Unhappy." Joyful: "Delighted. Glad- Pleased. Elated. Thrilled. Enthusiastic. Passionate. Appreciation. Thankful. Grateful. Excited. Ecstatic. Happy." Gratitude partially counters sadness, but it is possible to hold both. BOTH/ AND "Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes."- Walt Whitman.

Snowfall. Flakes can be fluffy, gentle and comforting or a blizzard, sharp and dangerous. The Sparkling white magnifies other colours. Sometimes it blinds. Can you feel a memory? Can loss be amplified by surrounding rushes of joy? The fresh start of a blank canvas or the bleak ending of a previous season? Both/ And? Dancing with ghosts; a gift or a curse? Both/ And? The bough of the branch, heavy with snow, has it's own sort of knowing.

Rooted. Spirit working in the body. Nourishment below the surface. The re making power of love. There are no empty promises here. Roots are the friends of wounded hearts. We become so much muchier when we can rise rooted. Stumble into the light of Grace. Close your eyes and feel the ground beneath your feet, your foundation of Being is here.

Wounded Healer. "We are not created for disaster nor formed for destruction, and to lament our pain is to honour the beauty God intended and yearn toward it's restoration....The point of our struggle is not to gain some sort of spiritual grit or prove our endurance. We are not asked to become grim warriors in the face of pain; We are asked to be children who will not rest until they know themselves cradled in the arms of a father who begot them for joy...toward hope...onward..."- Sarah Clarkson. The impacting, insightful leaders know that to be a healer, one has to first know what wounds feel like. Grief comes to us all. Each of us has different gifts to give, different ways to interpret, different faith stances, different stories. But we CAN become wounded healers in the smaller sense of the words. "We would rather God be neatly culpable for the evil that comes upon us, would rather believe that cancer and infant death and abuse and tornadoes are explainable as necessary to the overarching story of the world, than face the kind of ancient, true drama in which God himself weeps at the sight of what he has made, now defiled and destroyed. We are afraid to sit in the wild presence of sorrow, allowing it to whisper to us..."- Sarah Clarkson. Perhaps sorrow is like the candy hearts on a Gingerbread home? Melted little red streaks on the pristine white snow. Grief should not be explained away or a segue into dissertations of hell. Grief is a broken state when God weeps too.

Grace. "When strivings Cease." Because we will never, even the best of us, feel like we are enough. Someone will be better. Someone will have more. Someone will outlast and outlive. You may feel broken, but that is not all that IS you. Think of the lovely practice of filling broken tea cups with gold. The teacup doesn't fill itself. But it is a vessel for the golden glue to set. Isn't that a relief? With that knowing we can rest a bit...

Tis' The Season. Maybe it's Solstice or Eid or Hanukkah or Christmas or a Stat or just another day... December / January holds many holidays. "Happy Solstice" and "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" are words that I still can not help but pass onward. I give those I love enough credit to be able to translate the sentiment, even if they do not celebrate that particular holiday. I love the Community episodes remarking on the complexities and ridiculousness of all this. Yes, we want to give others a listening ear and respect, but we can also love what we love and be what we are. In that we become full enough to learn to hear what others love and whom they are. It's pure beauty- hearing different variations of holiday goodwill.

Cheers to Christmas tunes and the feelings of childhood they evoke. Music can transcend. "Come December I confess. I want the tree full of toys and tinsel....I want the elves in the yard, each sentimental card dripping glitter on the floor, I want a roof full of plywood reindeer and a road  full of horse drawn sleighs. All those Christmas cliches... I want the gulp and the tear the moment that I hear Andy Williams being played...Not to mention the snow, not to mention the choir. Not to mention the candles in the window and chestnuts roasting on a fire...along a street bathed in twinkling white..as for the songs you hear over and over, I hope you look this one up when it plays, all those Christmas cliches."- Darren Criss

May your Gingerbread homes reflect not only whom you want to be, but whom you already are. May you make the changes you can and apply Grace to the rest. May you find peppermint bliss and spun clouds of respite amongst any grief you may carry. But most of all, may you know, you are worthy because you exist. 

Happy Holidays.


P.S.  Song Choice: Normally I don't upload private family videos on my blog but I thought my readers may enjoy a clip of our Gingerbread ridiculousness. Sometimes we send out cheesy home made videos to our friends and family. Recently we had two hours to use- thus we gathered some thrown together outfits and did a quick frolic through the song Sweet Gingerbread Man by Sammy Davis Jr. which was on the last Hawkeye episode (excellent Tv series thus far!) We were purposefully ridiculous as usual and we hope it brings you a smile…what do you think…does my husband look like David Hasselhoff with bronzer?? (His words NOT mine!) It was our only way to make a sweet gingerbread man with his halloween monk suit - ha ha. I uploaded the first minute of the video (with a few tweaks to those who already saw it.) I could not upload the full video here (I know you want more.) but the little morsel is enough to get the lyrics" All tasty and tan sweet gingerbread man" into your head. I dare you not to hum that one incessantly...just hopefully it doesn't beget the image of my husband in tights...You're welcome. Ha. Anyway, Enjoy the cheese! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you. May you find some sweet moments of joy and wonder where it is possible...


Full song by Sammy here:


The song I referenced at the end of my post is found below: 
All those Christmas Cliches By Darren Criss ( I loved his new Crissmas album along with Kelly Clarkson's new Christmas record "When Christmas Comes Round again" has been on repeat in my house. How can I not feel like Christmas with the opening to her first song? Wowza. I did not realize what a power house voice she had! Songs 1- 4 &12 are my favourite!):


Kelly Clarkson Christmas Isn't Cancelled (Just You):


And for a slower song that had my eyes a little misty: Merry Christmas to the One I used to know- Kelly Clarkson:


*The feelings chart:




Sunday, November 7, 2021

Soulful Gifts on the Spiral of my new 38th Year. A Birthday Post.

(My sister's capture of our Northern Lights)

I look up from my computer screen to see the toenail of the moon curving eastward, sitting slightly above the evergreen tree-line across from our home. The deep, dusky blue sky is darkening and twinkle lights from the Christmas tree are highlighted in the window against the sparkling crystals. I am torn between just staring at the window, and trying to write down my thoughts as they happen. So I alternate. Because each dusk is a soulful gift.
It is later in the year for us to put up our Christmas trees due to the events of the last month. Halloween decor is a staple all year in my home, but it mixes perfectly with Christmas and Yule for me. In our province, it usually is already snowing and quite cold, but this year, the season seems to sense that people need more time to be outside. My Spirit feels deep gratitude at the wild ways of nature. Ever surprising. Ever teaching. 


November is my birthday month. Like the moon phases in the sky, I have had changing phases in my celebrations (or lack thereof.) I've had a fraught history with birthdays. I love gifts. Both expected and surprising...but I have struggled at being the center of expectation. But after almost 38 years, I have finally reframed my birthday. I view time as a cyclical spiral instead of a linear line. For some reason, I oddly did not apply my overall view to my birthdays. Instead I saw them as one more year behind, and another year trudging towards my inevitable aging and demise. How did I not untie my cares around an important event in the cycle? How did I not see, that my life seasons are cyclical too? The Wheel of the Year speaks to my soul. There is a welcome home in each mark of the season. Each season teaches, gives and begets another aspect of God breathed creation, the wildness of nature, and the pure gifts and hardships of unique time scapes. 

Seasons reflect spirituality. Seasons are in friendships where the ebb and flow mimic the ocean tides. I see pictures of myself, in various forms, and I realize that forgetting to honour my seasons... Well, to phrase Bilbo Baggins, "It is no small thing to celebrate a life." AH LIFE! A life! Life, with it's northern lights and explosive volcanoes...beauty and destruction paired and part of the same universe. Complexity and simplicity. Joy and sorrow. We hold mini versions of these diverse landscapes inside our human shells. I am honoured to have this vessel of mine, for however long I do, it can be such a heartbreakingly beautiful world. 




While northern lights are a stunning sky painting of awe, so is every sunrise and sunset. The light in my bedroom often will be sifting through my curtains as I wake, and at a certain time, a sun symbol on my wall lights up with the actual sunlight. I often will wait to start my day until I have had a few moments to contemplate on the peace filled symbol. My children say that too often they hear, "Hey guys look, look, look, it's the sun on the sun! It will only be there for a few more minutes. Enjoy it. Savour it." Most of the time they indulge me, sometimes they roll their eyes with a grin and mock me...either way I smile.





Going into this 38th cycle, I wanted to honour a few aspects which have incorporated into this new curve of the spiral:

1. My Professor Vader Bhaer. 
I have never been a pet person nor have ever had an animal in my home. Yet now, every morning a black cat leaps on to my bed and purrs over my shoulder. Not only does he leave all my plants and decor alone, but he rubs up against my leg when the pellet litter needs a change, (so my house does not smell as much as I feared) and gives me ample alone time. He loves each of my kids, only meows in the morning if he notices one of us is not up yet (he meows at that door) but otherwise is not very vocal. He rolls into me, stomach up, when I am brushing him and it's adorable. I call him my sweetheart and baby. He is the pet I always hoped to have. He was one of the greatest gifts of my 37th year. 



2. Country stuff
It's in my roots, my story, my genetics, and my heart. But some seasons I forget, neglect or am down right embarrassed of my down home roots. This time around, they have given my hope, fuelled inspiration, provided breaks of simple comfort, and given epic freedom. Plus, my guy is still so hot when he dresses up as a cowboy...which he also did when we were dating, just for me. He found a 450 dollar hat, with the label and name still in it, at the thrift store for ten dollars...and let me just say, he ROCKS it. We found boots at another thrift store a couple weeks later that fit him perfectly. Another few hundred dollars worth item marked down to 15 bucks! My house and our whole wardrobes are thrifted or gifted.
I may be a proud thrifter, moonstone wearing, symbol loving, glitter glam, candle lighting, lover of all things sparkly gal...but why limit myself to one genre of BEING?



3.) More hugs. 
The tragic day my brother in law died, I was holding our kids, his kids and family so much, that the next day, when I lifted my arm in the way that happens with hugs, I realized it was a strained muscle. My eldest son teased,"It's called hugging mom. I know it's a foreign concept to you beyond our walls." And I realized maybe those muscles need more exercise. Perhaps hugs are not fully the sensory overload I once needed strong boundaries upon? I disliked people pulling me in to their zones, smells, and textures. Sometimes, I still am not prepared or feel the need for space...but I am finding myself pulling more people in to my space willingly, and taking it for the gift of sharing exchange that it is. 



4. Sunday Soccer.
Ok, maybe I do not play...sometimes due to weather, I don't even show up as a spectator 'till it's almost over. But I can see the happenings from my window across the field and hear the shouts. I love the community of it. I love seeing normal life participating in team work. I am not a sports person by any means, but I appreciate that sports can bring people together, like many other activities I may not do (like trivia games.) Being a witness to a flexible type of sport, where it's not about competition as much as it community building, allowing the newbies to get the ball and learn, and encourage anyone to join, at any time, at any age...well, that is it's own magic.

5.) My kids jobs.
Honestly, we have been so blessed to find jobs that are safe, secure and within their giftings during this season. Plus, flexible in hours enough to also have school, drivers experience, and home time. This new spiral has been home to many layered phases that are built upon old growth patterns.


37 turns around the wheel. The dawn of 38 is around the next bend. I am grateful for it all. Of course, there are sprinkled memories I wish I could change a bit...but I wouldn't be whom I am today without those hardships...and this is not the perfection we ache for often. This is messy, gritty, painful, emotional yet simple, joyous, chaotically organized, euphoric, stately LIFE. My cup runneth over. Thank you dear World for so many Ace of cups moments. Thank you for the experiences which shape, destroy, protect, take and give. Thank you for shooting stars, grass stains, dandelions, twinkle lights, front porch sitting, Elvis singing, Kelly Clarkson Christmas new tuning, multiple Christmas decorating, mistake making, grace giving moments. Thank you that I do not have to earn love given freely, self improve for the sake of saving myself, or constantly prove I am worthy to exist. Although god knows, I fall into the trap of all the above regularly. But deep down, I know, at my core, that we are all worthy to exist, because here we are. 

I'm just glad to be here.




P.S. In full transparency- I’m notoriously terrible at my actual birthday day. I mourn that I don’t know what I want to eat or do or whom I am this ONE day -every.single.year. Any other day and I know exactly what I want! This year I keep my own words in my heart ( and I meant every word ) but I did get my terrible period. I was found staring into a depressive void and suddenly realizing my children were surrounding me in a Little Women style ( that luckily my hubby captured below)  

 I may have laid on the ground in pain while my family piled blankets on me… and then my daughter joined first and tried to match my facial expressions with hers, which made me laugh a lot- and each of my precious life savers joined in the antics - and immediately my day was salvaged; 








Good birthday news: remember Rasby? My thyroid nodule? For 8 years I’ve had to monitor it via ultrasound and finally it has shrunk enough to not warrant concern. I held off biopsies and such cuz I hate medical intervention if not absolutely necessary - and now I’m in the clear for malignancy ! I’m so thankful - the Specialist kept chuckling at me thanking him for some reason - but I’m happy. One less medical anomaly to worry about:) happy birthday to me. 


Song Choice: St. Patricks Day- Darren Criss "Here comes the cold, break out the winter clothes and find a love to call your own. You. Into you. Your cheeks the shade of pink and the rest of you in powder blue. Who knows what will be, who knows what we'' bring, but I'll make you this guarantee. See, No way November will see our goodbye. When it comes to December, it's obvious why... Oh we should take a ride tonight around the town and look at all the beautiful houses. Something in the way the blue light on the black night can make you feel more. Everybody it seems to me, just wants to be just like you and me. If our always is all that we gave, then we someday take that away..."