Always Thankful

I hope you have all had a wonderful (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend with your friends and family. Yesterday we hosted the meal with our family. I don’t have the huge extended family that many have, but none the less, it was still a feast to prepare for!

I am so thankful for many things this year, and wanted to share with you all what some of them are.

Firstly, I am thankful for this man, who is the love of my life. I have known since I was 14 years old that I would spend forever with him. He is patient, generous, loves me unconditionally, my best friend, and a wonderful Papa and Dad to my loves.

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I am forever grateful and thankful that I get to be Mom and Grandma to the most amazing humans that I know. I can’t imagine living in a world without them and am so proud of who they are and cannot wait to see what is in their future.

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I am guilty about letting time pass and not connecting with friends. I am purposely trying to not let this happen now. My friends are so important to me, and I hope they know how I love them too. I received a message from a friend which was so impactful, letting me know that I was a good friend. He said “It’s always better said than regretted”, gosh so true.

I am thankful for my step mom, Marianne. She was my Dad’s love. She was his life, his love, she brought a smile to his face, and loved him, and my family. I am forever thankful for what she did for him. I am thankful for the time I got to spend with him, and grateful that he was my Dad. I am thankful for the values that he invested in me which in turn I have passed on to my family.

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The list could go on and on, yes I am thankful! Thankful for my life and the people in it. What are you thankful for?

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I loved him most…

I have been absent from blogging…I just haven’t felt inspired to write. On July 9th the early morning call came to me, “Darlene, I just received a call from the home, your Dad isn’t doing well”, it was my step mom. I had received this call a couple of times before but something told me this one was different. As I got off the phone, all I could think was ‘Dad please just wait for me’. Within the hour I was walking in to his room. I immediately knew, he was going to be going ‘home’ very soon. I sat beside him and took his hand, and all I could do is weep. Oh Dad, I don’t want you to suffer, but Dad I am not ready to lose you yet. Although alzheimers took him from me a couple years prior, I still yearn for his touch, to watch him breathe, to stroke his hair, to watch his mannerisms. I made the call to my husband that it did not look well, as well to my two kids. I asked them if they wanted to see Grampa, knowing that it would be hard for them to see him and say good-bye. My son could not do it, which I understand why, he has loved his Grampa for 27 years and wants to remember Grampa the way he was. My daughter came and sat with us that day, along with my aunt and step mom. I told Dad, your girls are here, it’s ok to go home. There were sweet words shared that morning, ones that I will never forget. As I kissed him and told him that I loved him, Dad went home to heaven.

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It doesn’t feel right that life keeps going on. I miss him so much, although I have missed him for a long time. Dad was my greatest teacher in life, my biggest cheer leader,  has loved me the longest, loved me absolutely unconditionally and honestly the best person I have ever known. I cry when no one is around, I want to feel him, I want to look at his hands, just touch him. I just wanted to curl up in the bed with him that day, as I still do now.

My Dad set amazing examples to his children and grand children. He was the most Christian person one would ever meet, he walked the walk. I mentioned in my tribute, I have learned many life lessons from him, the greatest one he taught me was the power of forgiveness. I honestly wouldn’t have some people in my life if I had not forgiven them, always reflecting on a talk he gave me about it. At 16 years old I had to forgive people who had affected mine and my son’s life as a young teen mom. I still and will never forget, it still hurts me badly their choices, and affects the relationship today, but I had to forgive so I would not be consumed with that negativity in my life.

I should have told him more how much I loved him. I should have paid more attention to his stories. I should have visited him more. I should have….Please, tell the ones you love how much you love them. Embrace the ones who love you. I loved him the most and with my whole heart. I will miss you forever Dad, I will keep your memory alive. I don’t think these tears will dry, but I know that you are with me. I will keep talking to you like you are here, and loving my family like you loved me.

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Anniversary Reflection…

This past week we returned from a little one week getaway to Puerto Vallarta. We actually didn’t plan to go away for our anniversary, it just so happened that the vacation coincided with this date!

I sat and thought to myself this past April 27th many thoughts….I reflected on the past 24 years of marriage. Firstly, where has the time gone. Back to that day when our son said he was marrying mommy and daddy, when the Justice of the Peace came to my parents home and we said I Do.

So many years, so much growing, so much I have learned. I have learned about patience, (which I still struggle with!), learned to listen, to love unconditionally, and to forgive. I will never forget the day my father had a talk with me and spoke to me about forgiveness. I have reflected on this topic many times and went back to that conversation, sitting in his car, tears rolling down my face….how that talk has affected important decisions in my life.

As I sat in the sun this past April 27th, I wondered what would have happened if…..on so many topics. I am glad I have chosen the road to get me to where I am now. If my father only knew how he has impacted my life by that conversation we had.

I sat and thought, gosh, I am lucky to be celebrating this many years with the one I love. My best friend, the father of our children, the Papa to the most wonderful grandchild. I am excited to celebrate 24 more anniversaries with this man, who has loved me unconditionally, and is the patient one!!!

xox

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Leaving the Nest

Today was the day….yes today was the day we officially became empty nesters. This is something parents look forward to as their children grow. Naturally, they dream of the day when it’s the 2 of them again, the home to themselves, the quietness, the time to grow together in this new chapter in their lives.

To be honest, I am already missing my lil bird. Our daughter and son in law moved in with us when they returned to Canada. Our son in law is from Mexico, has been a permanent resident for going on 2 1/2 years. When they came ‘home’, they moved in with us so they could get established and save for a down payment on a new place. Shortly after settling, we were told there would be another roomy coming to this world, our sweet grandson.

There have been 4 adults and 1 infant living in this average size home for a while now, as baby is now 14 months old. To be honest, we have been bursting, as we were running out of space. After all, he does need the toys that Gramma brings home, or that mom would find for him!

Like I said, today was the day. They purchased their first home, and we are so proud of them, and happy for them. Moving day came, and I was purely happy. Happy that they were happy, happy that they were getting a great place, happy that they were staying in Canada! Happy that we would get some space back, happy that we won’t be bursting at the seams, happy I get to redecorate!

I can do this, I can get through this day I kept telling myself. I was fine all day long…until….I had to kiss the lil grandson goodbye. It came to me that my lil shadow won’t be at my home anymore, for daily snuggles, to hear his giggles, to visit with him in the mornings when I get ready for work, to eat dinner with….Our daughter is the last to leave the nest. Although it wasn’t as hard on me as when I left my son in Texas for college, it’s still tough. I am still weepy, but I know in my heart it was time, time for all of us.

So my beautiful girly bird and my precious lil bird are just up the road starting their new chapter, as we are here in our nest.

There is always room in our nest for our birds to come home to visit and have sleepovers, which makes my heart smile.

Love all my little birds and are so very proud of you!

xox

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The More things Change, the More they stay the Same….

The more things change, the more they stay the same is what came to me today. It is a beautiful Sunday with no plans, so hubby and I decided to hop in the car and go for a drive. With not knowing where to go, we tossed around some ideas and decided to visit the close by Fort Langley. We took a side route down some roads that triggered childhood memories for me. My husband pointed out an old fish farm as we passed it. Immediately I remembered that it was the fish farm my grandfather took me too, 35+ years ago where I caught my first fish. If I had not seen this abandoned fish farm, I would not have recalled that childhood experience….gosh it took me right back to the day I was fishing with Gongo (my grandfather). Gongo you ask, what kind of a name is that! Gongo was Grampa and Gogi was Gramma, quite original,  thanks to my one cousin who could not pronounce Grandma and Grandpa.

Fort Langley has always had a special place in my heart. It is a very small village, which is now quite the favourite destination for locals to visit and live. It is kind of like stepping back in time. There are coffee shops, antique shops, a cemetery in the middle of town, and some gift types of stores. Growing up, this town was where my father worked for 30+ years, in what was the Cedar Mill. My father LOVED his job! He worked the green chain, as well as the chop saw line. Dad was dedicated, passionate, loyal and hard working. It was not an easy job, but it was a job that took care of our family. He would bring me to tour the mill throughout my childhood, bring home the cedar chips for my hamster cages, build wishing wells, planters and bird houses with the scraps of wood he would bring home. To this day, when I smell cedar, it takes me to Dad coming home from work, it is one of my favourite smells. The more things change, the more they stay the same….

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When the mill closed down in 2003, it was heartbreaking to watch sad mourn the loss of the mill. He went on to work odd jobs until retirement, and than once the dementia was putting up to many barriers, work was not in the cards anymore. Walking and talking today on the grounds where my father gave all his years of work, we think it had a small part in the early onset of dementia for him. He had stresses in his life, like we all do, but this was truly heartbreaking for him.

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Now where the mill once was, is a large housing development, with condos and houses. Although physically it is very different, and has changed in so many ways, I still felt the same feeling there. My dad is here still in body, but I could feel him there, it took me back to our times there, and his love. The more things change, the more they stay the same….

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Right here is where Dad parked his car, on the other side of the tracks….

To this day I still have Dad’s thermos he took with him to work full of coffee, and if you look at this old thermos that has travelled many many miles….the more things change, the more they stay the same….

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Going to Fort Langley was what I was needing today. Although many of the places in this small town are still there, and there has been some development, it made me realize that the more things change, the more they stay the same….

Dad is with us physically, but the love for him and the love in his heart he has for us, has never changed, it’s remained the same.

Let’s Sing Along….

I am the first to admit, something just stirs in my heart when I hear music, I just want to sing out loud and move my body to the beat! I am the first to to admit, I am a horrible singer, it’s a standing funny line my daughter gives me, “Mom, you should be on Canadian Idol”.  She is so positive and encouraging that girl!

When it comes to Christmas music, I just could listen to it all day long, for the entire month of December. I do think that the older I am getting, the more over the board festive I am becoming. I am the first to admit, I am all about the decorating, the baking, the craft shows and presents, oh yes and Elf of the Shelf! Yes, I know that will upset some, but that is who I am!

Many years ago, actually in 1996 I met this amazing co-worker, and little did I know at that time, how this man would make my heart smile in the years to come. He moved about an hour and a half away 5 years ago, and stupid me, I let our friendship go to the odd email and Facebook chat. I supported him through some hard times and vice versa. This man has the best heart of anyone I know, and it is truly a gift to have him in my life.

After he moved in to the ‘city’ he joined the Vancouver Men’s Chorus. I really did not know much about it, but after some research and Youtube videos, I knew I had to see a performance. I had tried for the past couple of years to get it together to get tickets in time to one of these shows. Again this year, I was too late when I thought of it, as the shows sell out almost immediately. This group of men have quite the fan base, and well I now know why!

I put in a text to my long time friend, and was over the moon at the last minute when he told me that he had tickets for us. I was a little concerned about what my husband would think about attending this event, as supportive as he is, he really isn’t familiar or comfortable with the music scene.

We arrived at the venue, St. Paul’s Anglican Church (of all places) in the West End one hour before the performance, as we were told people line up early to get good seats. At first I was like ‘really??’….well am I glad we did get there early, it was lined up down the sidewalk.

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As we were approaching I could just feel my heart smiling, I was going to see this dear friend again, I would actually have driven 5 hours to see him! As soon as we seen each other, it was like no time had passed at all. With a quick smooch and hug, it was time for him to run and get ready. With not knowing what to expect at this performance, we sat there anticipating the show.

It was show time, and oh my, it was AMAZING!!!!!  Amazing amazing amazing!!!! I was so proud of him up on the stage with his chorus mates, so proud. I wore the biggest smile throughout the show. I watched my husband and daughter take it in as well. My heart danced and smiled as I watched my husband immerse himself in it. When it came time for some interactive singing, he sang loud and he sang clear to the Christmas music, and if you know my husband, that is NOT him! My daughter wore the happiest smile throughout as well, her and DJ have this amazing fondness for each other as well.

My day was perfect, amazingly perfect. Following dinner with him and his partner, we vowed to each other that time is not ever going to pass like this ever again. Friendships are gifts, and gifts need to be treasured. I think I wore that smile the entire ride home, it was the best Christmas present I could have given to myself.

The next BIG show will be in June at Granville Island, and I know it will be spectacular, I will be first in line for tickets. If anyone would like more information about the Vancouver Men’s Chorus, here is the link.

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Here is their mission statement:

The Vancouver Men’s Chorus is a registered non-profit society dedicated to presenting high-quality musical entertainment.

Composed of gay men and their friends, the chorus promotes community spirit and a positive image of the gay community.

The Chorus is a member of the Vancouver Cultural Alliance, the British Columbia Choral Federation and of GALA Choruses, an association of over one hundred men’s, women’s, and mixed choruses from the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia, dedicated to providing leadership and inspiration to the gay and lesbian movement through excellence in the choral arts.

 

Treat yourself, you will NOT be disappointed if you take in one of the upcoming shows. Live outside your box once in a while, you may surprise yourself.

“Life is short, don’t waste time worrying about what people think of you Hold on to the ones that care, in the end they will be the only ones there.”

Connected….

When you say the word connected, what comes to mind…. I looked up in the dictionary the word connected, and this is what I found :

connected
[kuh-nek-tid] Spell Syllables
Synonyms Examples Word Origin
adjective
1. united, joined, or linked.
2. having a connection.
3. joined together in sequence; linked coherently:
connected ideas.
4. related by family ties.
5. having social or professional relationships, especially with influential or powerful persons.
6. Mathematics. pertaining to a set for which no cover exists, consisting of two open sets whose intersections with the given set are disjoint and nonempty.

This past year I had a friend move away. Our girls grew up together playing sports, attending school together, going to Sparks and Brownies, and we became friends. Life was just so busy, I use as a poor excuse, to give 100% to this friendship. Since her move, we have communicated so much more, emailed, Instagrammed and texted. I ask myself, WHY, why did I not put more in to this friendship when she was here. I feel this connection to her, our values, what makes our hearts smile, loving the simple things in life, such as a vine growing up a building or a piece of driftwood! I do miss her, but am so happy for her and this journey she is on with her family.

I would like to share with you some of the ‘simply happy’ ‘make me heart smile’ things she has shared with me!

I think partly too I love that she is also a foodie !!!

Her recipe for Pesto looks amazing and I cannot wait to make it, I may this weekend!!! I would like to share it with you all :

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2 cups basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts ( taste 1st as they may be off )
1/4 cup olive oil – good stuff
2 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp salt ( I use Maldon )
1/4 tsp ground pepper
Only add Parmesan when using in recipe.

Place in glass jars. Leave enough room to add 1/4 ” olive oil on top to prevent oxidation.
Always keep topped with oil before putting back in fridge.

You can also freeze in ice cube trays.
This recipe makes 1 full tray.
Then place a few cubes in small zip lock bags.
Again do not add Parmesan until you use the pesto.

She also recommended this amazing show on PBS called A Chef’s Life. I am absolutely in love with this show, here is the link.

Keeping it short and sweet, but life is short, let the ones know who are loved by you!!!!