About Me

September 30, 2016

On My MInd for Awhile.

I read a lot of blogs, every day, throughout the day. Some of my favorites are listed on the right side of my blog, but some I haven't added yet and just google them each day. Others I find when I do a search while eating lunch or waiting for a client. It's something I love to do and really keeps me grounded in so many ways. 

But ....

I bet you knew there would be a BUT!

Yes, but .... I have to confess, I feel a bit out of place in the vast Blogland that I so cherish and participate in daily and this has been on my mind a lot lately. Like, really, quite a bit. Enough to have me ponder it at night and think about it during the day.

If you've read this far, you may now be wondering what my quandary is. So now I'll spill my thoughts and try to make sense of how I feel. Feel free to continue on if you'd like. It could get a bit messy .... and please know, this is not a complaint about how others live, just a observation of my own life and why I may not fit in to the trends that others have embraced.

I grew up with parents who were teens when I was born. They committed to making their little family work and a few years after I was born, my brother arrived. Perfect little family, one of each and lovely parents. It was hard and I truly remember both the good and the bad. I know we had very little money to start and we lived in a series of small basement apartments at first. Then one day, my dad was able to scrape enough money together to put a down payment on a property to buy a real house and that was the turning point. We moved constantly so that they could gain equity and in time, my dad loved the process so much, he became a realtor, then in later an owner/broker. They carved an amazing life  as they continued to move up the status ladder but kept their roots close. Through all this, my mom was very conscious of what we had and what we didn't have, our needs and our wants. We lived sparsely, really an early version of being minimalists. But I will confess, I always felt that our homes, as lovely as they were, really were not "homey" or warm. Walls were always painted white, (one house even had white carpet ~ oh, the horror!!) we weren't allowed to hang up anything, except a few key pieces of abstract art my parents acquired over time. No color, no personality. I suppose it was easy to keep tidy and clean but from a young age, I would gaze out the window at everyone else's homes and wonder why I always wanted to go visiting. Even now, as an adult, I love driving down streets at night, when inside lights are on and you can peek into the lives of the homeowners. I suppose that's one thing that I love about blogging ~ a chance to see what it is like for others in their own homes, far away but close enough to feel connected. Fun on cold winter nights.

This is where I feel like I don't quite fit in. My true confession .... I'm not a minimalist and I personally don't have any desire to be. I admire those that can really embrace the lifestyle. I'm not a hoarder by any means and I regularly donate to our local charity shop. But truth be told, I love to have a home that is warm, comfy and gives us the freedom to enjoy the activities we love. This means we do have stuff, or as some say "collections" that they possess. I like that, along with "treasures" ~ a term we use when we take some time to visit our local Antique Mall or the charity shop. I guess at this time in my life, I feel like I'm not measuring up because I'm not into giving away all my worldly possessions and moving in to tiny house. We started with a very tiny house for the first 4 years of our marriage (before children), then a bit bigger house with a garage, then the same size but different community, then the house we lived in for 24 years and then finally this house that we personally designed and built from the ground up. We could actually fit our first house into this current house 2.5 times. Does this make me a bad person? Am I so far out in left field that my blog will never be interesting to others because I'm not focusing on some of the topics that do fit the current trends? Is it wrong to love our space and our treasures, in addition to our healthy, our family, our careers and our passions? I'd so love to know as it's a wonder in my brain. To be fair, our home doesn't just house the 2 of us but also our daughters and our grandson and guests who sometimes stay with us. It provides us space for our creativity in our various art mediums that we have been gifted with. It gives us space for meetings, space for writing, space for family dinners and gatherings. We've always lived in tight quarters until now. For this last half of our lives, treating ourselves to more space didn't require a debt load, although for now, we do have a bit of a mortgage, something we were done with previously. We'll pay it off before we move again and maybe by then, we'll be ready to downsize. I'm loving the space to breathe, to spread out, to create and to have privacy.

Because of the nature of my job, my passion, I give, give, give, give all day long. Coming home to this amazing sanctuary is almost like a reward for the compassionate care I, along with my team, provide on a daily basis. Maybe that's not the right term but that's the only way I can describe it.

Our space is not crowded and I often rotate items so that it's not all squished together. I store items for seasons and bring them in for that time and then they go back to storage. Maybe I have a bit of minimalism in me ~ I love clearing out cupboards and drawers and recycling! Maybe I'm in the middle between the two ideals. But the truth is, I love my house that is not a tiny house and I love the sweet items we've gathered over the years. And although I feel like I'm supposed to apologize for being in this space and place, maybe it's not an issue. I hope this doesn't make me a terrible person in any way, 'cause really, I'm quite lovely!

So that's the quandary in my head and my heart. I'm not sure if I need to re~examine how we live or if we need to even go there. I'm not sure if I'm out to lunch because I haven't embraced the minimalist life or if some of us are just not needing to go there. Whatever the right answer is, I hope in time it comes to me so I can make peace with what the heck I'm supposed to to do with all these conflicting thoughts circulating in my already full brain! That's all, on a rainy Friday night.

Do you ever feel like you don't quite fit in to the trends?
How do you live your life, your way, without worry?

September 29, 2016

Breathe September #30: Breathe.

My B12 levels totally bottomed out over
the summer. I didn't get in to my Naturopath.

So my daughter brought home some B12 and
all the things needed to inject into me! Breathe.

Breathe September #29: Kindness.

Kindness is something I hope to give each
and every day, and something I also wish for
all of mankind. We don't always have enough.
A sweet gift, given in kindness, from a friend.
No strings attached. Just pure love and total
friendship, from one to another. Kindness.

September 27, 2016

Breathe September #28: Night.

I forgot I took this picture at Night. At the time, the
electrician had inadvertently placed the light that was
to hang from the ceiling on the second floor down to
the first floor, just above our guests heads way too
high. He had to come back recently to fix it and now
when we look up at the oval window from the outside,
all that is visible is the long chain. Much better but
I am glad I captured this shot so we'll always recall
that at one time, the light was not where it was truly
supposed to be! So much better now that it's right.

Breathe September #27: Color.

I will never grow tired of these amazing
colors in the country in the Fall. Love ....

Breathe September #26: Now.

Now, in my world, the house is warm, 
full of family voices, sharing our day,
and outside the leaves continue to fall
to the ground, while the sun begins to set.

Breathe September #25: Contentment.

When the day is ending, the sun is setting and
the shadows are long, this for me is Contentment.

Breathe September #24: Self~Care.

I work in the palliative care field, in a
local community based hospice. It's truly
amazing work but at the same time, it's
full of challenges and heartache. One thing
we all practice well is Self~Care. I have a
number of things I do to keep myself in
good spirits and healthy. Nurturing family,
nourishing food and natural ways to fully
relax. One of my favorite practices is to
soak in a nice, warm tub. It really is the best.

Breathe September #23: Smell.

I wish you could smell this sweet cake! Cinammon
with apple and spices. Oooohhh, so good and so Fall!

September 22, 2016

Annual Dollhouse Show.

Each year, we attend the Annual Dollhouse
Show in September. It's such a treat to
meet others who are passionate and very
creative about their own dollhouses. 

I save all year to put aside $100 just to spend
on whatever I'd like to add to the houses we have.
This year, it was the 20th Anniversary of the club
that puts it on and it was another great show. My
haul above looks small but it's quite a bit of stuff 
for the very small sum of $21 altogether. Over the
years, I've collected so much so there wasn't as much 
that I needed in terms of big items. Tons of smalls.

Left picture: I loved this tiny bouquets for the planters.
Right picture: a sweet print to frame and a metal tea set.

Left picture: pretzels, cinnamon buns and donuts. Yum!
Right picture: festive wreath, jump rope, tea towels.

Left picture: watermelon, fruit, baby items, ladybug leaf.
Right picture: stained glass, photo album, musical notes.

Left picture: flower basket, eggs in a basket, turkey.
Right picture: stitched rose, festive sign, wallpaper sheets.

My best find of the day was this sweet gazebo
that one of the members was selling due to her
impending retirement from dollhouse crafting due
to her declining health. I know this gazebo is a
kit that sells for about $110 plus shipping and tax.
But I scored it for a tidy $15. It's just like the
one I envision having in our back yard, one day,
down the road. For now a dream but at least
my dollhouse will have one to enjoy. Not a bad
haul at all for a total of $36 for the day. Perfect.

Breathe September #22: Move.

Our big move from living in a small hamlet out to the country was just over a year ago now, our home for just over 26 years. We originally bought this beautiful little piece of land to build a house for our growing family. Then we realized how much of a pain it would be to move our very established kids out of town, when their activities were keeping them grounded and everything was so close. Plus they really didn't seem all that keen about leaving town. So then we decided to just hold on to it, working on it a bit each year and once the kids were gone, we'd then build a "tiny" cottage, just for the two of us. Space to live, space for our creative pursuits and space for a grandchild or two to visit. Fast forward to 2016 and here we are, in the country, surrounded by immense and incredible trees, lovely and quiet neighbors, wildlife that intrigues us and space for all who live and visit. It's not quite a "tiny" cottage but it's not a mansion either so we're happy with the extra room we have without the "mega house" expense. Two of our kids and one grandkid live here too, again, not part of the plan but we're happy, they're safe and everyone has their individual space to chill out. 

We were going to give ourselves one year to see if we liked it and if not, then we knew we could move back to town, back to our old house. So many will share stories of how hard country living is, but too date, we've not had any struggles. At this point, we honestly can' imagine moving back to the hustle and bustle of hamlet living. Plus we leased out our house to a lovely family who would love to stay beyond the one year we all agreed to start with. I think that's one thing that has made it easier ~ if we suddenly hated country living, we know we'd have a home we love to go to. 

But for now, life in the country is amazing. We had a really mild Winter and that was going to be the deal breaker. There are many rumors abounding in relation to this year's coming season. It's scary to think it could be the "worst Winter on record" but we'll deal with what comes. At least if we get snowed in, we have a lovely place to be. I'm actually hoping we get at least one cold, snowy time so we can hang out and not go anywhere! 

Move: ours was directed by us and it was long as we did it in spurts. But it also gave us a chance to get rid of the stuff we didn't want. Next time, I'd hire a moving company but for this big move, it was good to do it in the manner that we did. Our next move would either be back to our old house or out to our paradise island on the West Coast. Not something we need to think about now. Always good to have plans though ....

Breathe September #21: Up.

Looking up through the ice covered
sunroof in my dh's car. It was a bright
day but the ice was taking it's time
melting. I couldn't resist this shot!

September 16, 2016

Breathe September #20: Read.

I bought this wonderful book at one of the
Boot Sales this Summer. Susan Branch, my
hero! It's been such a crazy, hectic time,
I haven't had time to just sit and read. It's
still busy but now I'm determined to take
a bit of time this weekend to read it. Yeah!

Breathe September #19: Smile.

Eating his favorite breakfast! Love his
sweet little smile and missing it today!

September 11, 2016

Breathe September #14: Beauty.

 Pictures from our little island.

The moss is incredible, so soft and green.

Sea views with gentle lapping waves.

More moss. I love this beauty!

A sailboat floating into the bay.

Breathe September #13: Drink.

Our favorite spot in the world is a
tiny island on the West Coast of
Canada. No traffic, no noise, all
organic food and truly incredible
Islanders who make our visits so
memorable. Today, my photo is
my favorite cooler, chilled with a
lemon slice. From the island, Cheers!

September 10, 2016

Breathe September #12: Relax.

I grew up in a very busy house, with high goals and not a lot of down time. Expectations to be someone, to do well, to work hard and to never let your guard down meant I really didn't understand the word "Relax" until I was much older. You may find this little tidbit funny but it's a true story .... guess where I learned for the first time in my life, after many children, after many goals and achievements, after getting to a good place? Believe it or not, Las Vegas! Yes, the place that is open 24 hours a day. And how did I learn to relax there, you may be asking? Here's the short story: my dh was invited to a conference and all the wives in the company were allowed to come along for the trip, paid for in full. Who could turn down that opportunity? Well I almost did. Vegas has never been on my bucket list and personally, I'm not a big on crowds, noise and lights drive me crazy, and I was pretty sure I wouldn't fit in with a very suave group of women who would be attending. But my dh was persistent and in the end, I decided 4 days away from our kids wasn't the end of the world. Off we went and although I have no wish to return, it was an amazing trip and one I'm glad we did take.

The relaxing part didn't happen right away. It took a day or so to feel like I would fit with the other ladies but they were surprisingly very welcoming and soon I found myself shopping at the outlet stores, fits of laughter the plan for the day. Next came a lesson on how to spend an afternoon soaking up the rays, floating in the pool at Mandelay Bay, while the pool waiter (yum!) would bring us our lunches and copious amounts of fruity, icy concoctions to keep us well hydrated. I found myself learning I could let go of the stress and take some time for me. It worked and after this trip, I used the things I learned from the other moms to give myself time to breathe, and relax each day. A trip I didn't want to go on ended up being a trip that taught me some valuable lessons in being the best mom, daughter, friend and most importantly, wife by allowing myself to relax and enjoy life. 

Breathe September #11: Love.

 Our Wedding Day in 1984.

Our Anniversary in 2014.

We're now 35 years into our "partnership" and
Love is still the key ingredient, even when life is
beyond tough and exhausting. I feel lucky to have
this guy who makes me smile and laugh all day!

September 9, 2016

Tiny House.

Our little guy has finally inherited this tiny house from his mama's childhood. After saving and scrimping, we bought this sturdy and colorfl playhouse back in 1990 when she was just 4.5. It was never used outside as we had a perfect spot for it in our lower level and we didn't want it to become weathered by the elements. The kids loved it growing up and the investment we made, at the time, not easy on our small and frugal budget but so worth it in the end. We did get an amazing sale but still, it was not a cheap venture. Yet, 26 years later, it's still part of our family life and we're so excited that little B is having great fun with it, this time, outside. We did decide on this lovely spot as it has some trees to provide shade on sunny days. And right beside the hammock means I can swing away while he plays! Lots of fun.

Did you have a playhouse growing up?
Or if you have children, did they?

Breathe September #10: Nature.

Surrounded by nature in our new home.
I can never get enough of the nature vistas
around us. Every day, there is something
new to look at. And appreciate our sweet Earth.

September 8, 2016

Breathe September #9: Celebrate.

Dd celebrated her birthday in July but I
just uploaded the pictures today. A birthday
she wasn't looking forward to but we still
insisted honoring. Yup, we love to Celebrate!

Breathe September #8: Still.

A moment in time and not a breeze in
the air. Everything was completely Still.

Breathe September #7: Nourish.

From the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word Nourish is described as:

* to provide (someone or something) with food and other things that are needed to live, be healthy, etc.

* to cause (something) to develop or grow stronger.

What does Nourish mean to you? For me, I love the second line and know that in my daily life, no matter what kind of day it is, no matter the great experiences or the rough times, my intent is to always grow from life. To be better. To be stronger. To be responsible. And to change what is not good. To do that, I do need to Nourish my soul, my spirit, my being. At times, it's a tough task. At times, it seems silly to be feeding myself with food or activity, when I may feel I don't deserve that care and compassion. But because my day is spent in service to others, it is a vital act of kindness to be able to be present and healthy for those who depend on me for their own well being. 


I hope you do it well for yourself, each and every day. 


September 6, 2016

Breathe September #6: Comfort.

Many things come to mind when I think about the word "comfort". A warm house, a loving family, a soft place to cuddle, and things that make me laugh. When I'm sad, comfort means a warm hug and a kind word. When I'm not well, comfort means a bowl of home made soup, steaming and tasty. Next to a warm blanket and a hot water bottle, it's the only thing that works to make me feel well again, outside of a hug! Comfort in a small bowl.

September 5, 2016

Breathe September #5: Surroundings.

Our surroundings are changing from bright greens to shades of gold. It's quiet, except for an occasional gun shot for those practicing for hunting season.  The air is crisp, the sunsets earlier and the house is beginning to feel chilly in the morning. Today, we even broke down and put on the furnace. It's toasty warm now and we're cuddled up, looking out the windows in between scenes from favorite shows. I'm going to miss this vista when the snow arrives and the trees are bare. For now, we cherish these last moments of summer. And begin to dream of next Springs renewal. Seed catalogues arrived this week ....

September 3, 2016

Breathe September #3: Fun.

A late afternoon sun shower kept our 
little Mr. B. intrigued and in giggles. 

Breathe September #2: Paper.

Paper choices for a small scrapbooking
project I've been working on all summer.

Goals for September.

I read blogs on a daily basis. My favorites are the ones that show true life with their words and pictures, the ones that give me inspiration to create new ideas, the ones that are truly down to earth and those that lay out goals to achieve. I try to be as authentic as I possibly can in my blog writing and though I'm sure I fall short at times, I truly can only write what is and what will be. My house is not perfect, my relationships have moments, my work is stressful (and yet I love it!), and I am a constant work in progress. I can't get much more authentic than that! Rarely do I share my goals but thought this month I'll give it a go and see how close I get to finishing these up. Not a huge list but the tasks have many pieces to them. Read on, if you'd like:

1. Finish sorting then cleaning the preschool for classes that start on Tuesday
2. Finish writing notes for my Board of Directors and sending those along 
3. Printing off sign in sheets, book order forms and any other requests that come my way
4. Send off our final Charity paperwork for this year's filing that is due in November
5. Work on sorting receipts and documentation for taxes for filing when due
6. Contact County department regarding a grant owed to us that we're waiting for
7. Finalize details for our two baby loss events coming up in October and confirm registrations
8. Finalize details for our two kids grief programs coming up this month and confirm registrations
9. Create a new family budget now that dh is settled in to his new job he started in July
10. Start winter prep around the house before the snow arrives - hopefully later than earlier

Doesn't look too bad but I know each of these will take some time. I hope and will work hard to get as much accomplished as possible. Our son is coming to visit in October and it would be lovely to have items crossed off my list so we can enjoy his time here without deadlines looming. My biggest goal this year and for the coming year is to take care of items, one at a time and/or then pass them along to someone else. Working hard on that now that I realize I really can't do it all!