I Give Credit to the Tulips, the Woods, the Words

The Tulips In My Back Yard

My husband and I still like each other.

We have had a lot of togetherness. A lot of uncertainty. A roller coaster of emotions.

Tulips take my husband outside.  He tends the garden. The brown, rich earth is his medium. He disappears in the beauty of creation.  He returns with a smile.

Tulips allow us some separation and space.

The garden helps us stay friends and our marriage stay healthy.

I give credit to the Tulips in our back yard.  A sign of Spring.  A sign of Renewal.  A sign of Hope.

 

 

My Neck Of The Woods

We are allowed to go for walks in our neighbourhood.  We are encouraged to exercise.  

I am very grateful.  I am aware many people on our planet do not have this privilege.

We have access to a forest and farms nearby. 

We move one foot in front of the other.  We are aware how time marches on. 

Today’s present moment is more important than the past or the future. 

I give credit to the Woods. Tranquil moments in nature replenish my soul.

 

Beautiful Words

I have many words that enter my life every day. 

Words entertain me.  They teach me.  

Words comfort me. They sustain me.

The words seep into my pores.

I give credit to the Words.  Words forever change me.

 

Grateful For My Life

Today I am healthy.  I live in a tranquil, beautiful part of the world.

Today’s present moment is all I truly have.

I give credit to the Tulips, the Woods, and especially the Words.

 

 

 

What do you do to stay mentally and physically healthy?

         

Postscript:

I have mentioned before how I learn something new from every single post I read.

Please continue writing, sharing and connecting. You will not always know when you have made a difference in someone’s life.

A Few Recent Words:         

  • Lisa Dorenfest: “…life has prepared me for this moment….”   “…visualizing what I want my life to look like post-pandemic.” Since I read these insightful words, I also have been “visualizing what I want my life to look like post-pandemic.”   Thank you for your wisdom, Lisa.  Lisa Dorenfest
  • Lauren Baydreamer  Exceptionally creative words capturing the mood and emotions of our present time.  I am left with goosebumps long after reading this powerful palindrome poetry.  “The Virus”
  • Natalie Natalie the Explorer  Shares a post each week where she focuses on “Every day is full of simple pleasures that make me feel positive and grateful.” “During these uncertain times, I choose to focus on the positives, work on finding a balance in my day, be flexible, and stay strong.” Natalie, your words help me focus on the beauty of my surroundings.  You are an inspiration.
  • Leanne Cresting The Hill  Marie Kondo’s books refer to items and a life that sparks joy. Leanne’s words and her message resonated with me: “…it’s okay to not fill every waking moment with something meaningful.” “Doing less sparks a lot of joy for me.”  
  • Joanne And Anyways…  Home schooling is a challenge for many right now.  Joanne shared a meme that continues to make me smile.  “It might take a village to raise a child, but it takes a vineyard to home-school one.”
  • Sue Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond  Shared a game she plays online with her six-year-old grandson, Ethan. They find five things starting with a letter of the day.  Ethan writes it down, takes a photo of it and shares it with Sue.  I began doing this last week with six-year-old Sadie.  She loves this game!  Thank you, Sue.  You always make a difference in my week.
  • Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia, informs calmly and clearly about COVID-19:   

This is not forever. This is just for now. Let’s all be kind, be calm, and stay safe.”

 

Connections, Chaos and Fun! Reading to Children in the Zoom Room.

Sometimes I see half a blurry face.  Sometimes I see only feet. Sometimes a dog suddenly appears on the screen.

 

4-year-old Abby and 6-year-old Sadie are two wiggly and giggly sisters.

The girl’s attention span can weave in and out. This is not unusual for children.  Especially when I am reading a book to them in front of a computer screen.

 

I do know they are listening to me because of how they respond.  The questions they ask:  “Where is the guard dog that barks as loudly as a dinosaur’s roar?”  Their faces are now glued to the screen.

 

They sometimes become very still and quiet, engaged in the story.

Their faces will zoom in closer to get a good look at the pictures.

At times they ask me to bring the book closer to the screen.  Especially when they are both trying to find the dragonflies.

 

When A Book Is More Beautiful In Real Life

I opened the box from Amazon and I was thrilled to see the book, “Molly Finds Her Purr” had arrived.  I knew I would like this book since I love Pamela Wight’s writing.  I have been following her popular blog for over a year.  Rough Wighting

Pamela Wight has written a delightful, engaging story about Molly, a lonely, stray cat. This story shares a message of kindness, inclusivity and compassion.  Molly meets some unique, colourful animal characters who help Molly feel accepted.  They create “A Circle of Friendship” and they help Molly find her purr. 

The detailed artwork in this book is exceptional. The vibrant colours help bring this captivating story and the animals to life. 

Detailed illustrations and vibrant colours

Life Is Different Right Now

Cuddling and reading stories used to always go together.  

We are all trying to find new ways to navigate this new life. 

      Our present day Love Language is Connecting. 

Today, this means virtual connections while we are sheltering-in-place.  Letting friends and family know we are thinking about them. 

                Children are adjusting to this new life, too.

 

We Set The Example For Our Children:

  • To be kind.  Respect the boundaries and recommendations to help people stay healthy and safe.  Yet not live in fear.
  • Adult worries do not belong on children’s shoulders. 
  • To model grace under pressure.
  • It is okay to feel sad one moment, and be smiling the next.  
  • To expect change.  Change is a constant in life always.  Especially today.
  • To feel hopeful.  People have adapted, evolved since the beginning of time.  We are still here.
  • To play.  To have fun.  To create.  To find joy in each day.
  • To be grateful.  Always remember how lucky we are.

                   Our children are watching us.  

Love Abby!

 

Reading a book to children in the Zoom room and on a computer screen can be a challenge.

It does make it easier when I am reading an engaging, fun, beautiful book like “Molly Finds Her Purr.”

Of course, I would rather cuddle with Abby and Sadie in person.

For now, I am happy to see feet, half a blurry face, a dog and

                        Especially a Smile.

Love Abby and Sadie!  Their smiles warm my heart.

 

What type of connections are you making with family, friends and children while we are sheltering-in-place? 

 

Postscript:  In future I plan to make one on one reading dates.  There was some bickering on whose turn it was to find the dragonfly on each page.  In the past, they have appreciated the dedicated time and undivided attention. 

Link to Goodreads review:  “Molly Finds Her Purr”

Amazon.ca:  “Molly Finds Her Purr”

Amazon.com“Molly Finds Her Purr”

Zoom reading date with Abby and Sadie photo credits:  Thank you to my daughter and my husband.

 

 

 

How Would You Answer These Five Questions?

Prologue

The world has changed significantly in the last three months.  I answered these questions in January 2020.  A publishing date was set for April 17, 2020.

Little did I know at that time how I would need to Access my Happy Place……Keep moments close to my heart and fresh in my memory…..Cherish an embrace from the people I love…..and let my Knowing Spirit and Soul guide me on this challenging flight.

Would You Rather?

I am delighted to be a guest on Jill Weatherholt’s “Would You Rather” series on her blog Jill Weatherholt #wouldyourather   Jill is a talented writer and one of the kindest and most generous bloggers.  Thank you Jill, for your warm welcome.

How would you answer these five questions?

This is a fun game of questions where I choose between two thought-provoking options and explain my answers.

These questions are more challenging than I anticipated.

The unexpected surprise is how much I learned about myself.

Click on the link below to read more.  I look forward to meeting you there!

How would you answer these questions?

Via “Would You Rather?”

 

The Perfect Day To Make A Fool Of Myself

Warning:  This story does not contain thought-provoking, motivating and highly inspirational words of wisdom.

We All Do It.

When we have toddlers in our life, we talk about it….. often.

When we get older, we visit it….. often.

When we take photos of everything, we have many pictures of it.

I am talking about the loo, the lavatory, the privy, the throne room.

 

The Bathroom.

I have been sitting on this story for almost a year.

My post is an excuse to share a few fun photos from some of the bathrooms I have visited over the last few years. 

The photos put a smile on my face.  I hope they put a smile on yours.

 

The Laundromat Cafe, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2017

 

 

The Laundromat Cafe, Reykjavik, Iceland 2017

Hokonui, New Zealand

 

Larnach Castle, New Zealand, 2019.  Our lodgings, 140 year-old stables. Shared bathroom facilities.

 

 

I Almost Peed Myself Laughing.

Janis, from Retirementally Challenged   shared an exceptionally funny and witty post on her blog  Sitting on the Deck of Bidet*   For the sensitive folk still reading here, I caution you.  Janis discusses “nether regions,” and “derrieres.”  

I shared with Janis how our house in Nanaimo had a bidet in the ensuite bathroom and a laundry chute.  When friends and family came over to visit the first thing they wanted to see was the bidet.  Then they would throw something down the laundry chute.  Janis brought up a good point. “As long as your guests didn’t get the bidet and laundry chute mixed up.”

Iceland is very windy.  Cement filled tires secured to the porta potties.

 

April Fool’s Day.

I decided April Fool’s Day was a perfect day to make a fool of myself and share some silly and fun photos.

Every day is a perfect day to take care of our mental health.

Yes, life is exceptionally challenging and serious right now.

If laughter is the best medicine, then I choose to distract myself, even temporarily, with something that makes me smile.

I hope it makes you smile, too.

 

Do you have an April Fool’s Day story or prank to share?

Is there something that can still make you smile?

Milford Sound, New Zealand, 2019

 

Limitations on toilet paper purchases after initial frenzy. The Island, 2020

Will I Wake Up And Find Out All Of This Has Been A Dream?

I have had very vivid dreams all of my life.  My dreams are in full colour and they contain elaborate story plots. When I wake up I remember all of the details of a complicated story, the colours, the smells, the emotions. 

When I wake up, I also realize it was all a dream.  

This past week, for a brief second, when I wake up I feel life at the present moment is a dream.  The present events are surreal.

I feel I may step out of the movie sets, “The Truman Show” or “Capricorn One” at any moment. 

Then reality sinks in.

When Did We Begin To Take This Pandemic Seriously?

Is it social distancing, social isolating, quarantining, shelter in place? 

Last Sunday, my husband and I made the decision to completely hunker down. 

Up until then, my husband was still going to the gym daily and I was on Day 16 of a 30 day yoga challenge at my yoga studio.

No more gyms, stores, visiting with family and friends.  This is a serious pandemic and we need to take it seriously.

“You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem,” my husband’s quote.  Sometimes he does have something smart to say.

Many Things Have Not Changed

We are fortunate we live in a home and we are comfortable with basic necessities.

Everyone in our immediate family is healthy.

Spring has arrived. We have access to trails and many walking areas in our immediate neighbourhood.

A Few Things Have Changed

We have been advised the Half Corked Marathon will either be cancelled or postponed. We Won the Lottery! The Golden Ticket!  We are staying positive and still in training mode.

 

We had tickets to a James Taylor/Bonnie Raitt concert in April.  This event is also cancelled or postponed.  Cancellations are common around the globe right now. 

My early evening walk is usually filled with the sound of children laughing and playing at a park nearby.  Yesterday, all of the parks were closed. Yesterday, the park was completely empty and eerily quiet.  

 

fullsizeoutput_b4fe

 

I met with my best friend last Saturday, and for the first time in 50 years we did not hug good bye. We giggled and stepped back.

         Inside, I am choked up.

12970988_10154076934569293_8545082592347122367_o

 

We usually have a lot of interaction with our daughters and their families.  The grandchildren are 4 weeks, 23 months, 4 and 6 year old.  They are very huggy, smoochy, drooly, and they touch everything.  They would not understand boundaries.  Our goal is to help keep everyone healthy.  We FaceTime and Video Chat.  This is temporary and this is important.  I put on a brave, happy face and I tell them this will only last for a few weeks.  

         Inside, I am choked up.

The Question:   Do You Recognize The Common Denominator?

  • I have continued my yoga practice and I am doing a 30 Day Challenge with “Adriene’s Yoga” on YouTube.   Thank you to Deb The Widow Badass   for this great recommendation.  I love and miss my yoga family at Found City Yoga.  How Hot Yoga Changed My Life

 

 

  • Thank you to Marty, Snakes in the Grass  for your witty, humorous posts, always.  Your last post reminded me how I should keep a thermometer easily accessible.  I hunted through the house and I found the thermometer we keep for when we watch the children.  I tested it twice.  36.6 C each time.  Whew.

 

  • I am going on longer and more frequent walks.  Thank you to Mark, Swinged Cat  for sharing information about the Voice Recorder app and Voice Memo app.  When a bolt of inspiration hits me or I need a simple reminder, I can just press on the big red button and record my thoughts.
  • Janis’s post Retirementally Challenged  “In this time…” contained many gems that resonated with me.  I copy/pasted her last paragraph into a Gratitude/Positives file. Thank you, Janis, for your wise words “….we don’t have to distance ourselves from much that nourishes us.”
  • Pam’s words Rough Wighting  warmed my heart. “I wish we could all meet in a safe place and hug each other and talk for hours. Well, I suppose that’s what we do right here in the blogosphere!”  Thank you, Pam, for reinforcing the importance of connections.
  • Thank you to Laurie Meditations in Motion  for her words “we’ve got this. One step at a time.” 
  • Thank you to Liesbet Roaming About for always reminding me how little we need to lead a happy, simple life.  We are all living “a life less ordinary right now.”  In your last post you discussed the positives, negatives and reality of the present events.  Your phrase “our solution is our flexibility” has stayed with me.  Thank you.
  • Anabel Glasgow Gallivanter shares a great deal of history and information about Scotland.  The photos on her site are breathtaking.  Thank you, Anabel, for helping us plan our next vacation.  You have helped put Scotland high on our list.
  • Jo Restless Jo shares posts containing stunning photography of exceptionally beautiful, historical buildings.  Thank you, Jo, for reminding me how humankind has weathered many challenges over the past thousands of years.

     This too shall pass.

Ten minute walk from our house

The Answer:  “You” Are The Common Denominator.

I am sharing a quote from Suzanne, Picture Retirement  “I have always been grateful for my connections throughout the blogging community, but now, more than ever.  There is so much sharing, caring and outright humour being delivered to my inbox daily.”

I strongly agree with Suzanne.  I am entertained.  I learn something new.  I laugh.  I cry.  You touch my heart.  

This Is Not A Dream

I realize when I wake up in the morning, all of this is not a dream.  This is our present day reality, changing by the hour. We are also in the early stages of this pandemic.

I have a great deal to be thankful for always and especially right now.

People have been very kind and thoughtful.  Almost everyone in our neck of the woods is respecting the social distancing, social isolating guidelines. 

We are going to get through this together. 

I appreciate the connections in my personal life and in the global community.

Please continue writing, sharing and connecting.  You will not always know when you have made a difference in someone’s life.

         Thank you for making a difference in mine.

 

How are you connecting with friends and family?

Has someone recently made a difference in your life?

 

Postscript:

I shared only a few posts from blogger friends.  I could easily include gems from every single post I read.  

I just finished listening to a very good, empowering podcast.  “The Tim Ferriss Show #414:  Jack Kornfield – How to Find Peace Amidst COVID-19, How to Cultivate Calm in Chaos.”  

A Bonus Gift:  People Be Weird”  

Kate’s witty posts Coffee Kat Blog often bring a unique perspective to daily life and the human condition.  She sometimes adds  a “people be weird” in her post.

I was walking by a house yesterday and a couple, likely husband and wife, were quibbling about whose turn it was to take their dog for a walk.  The husband yells out how “the dog had better not poop.  I am not picking up dog poop.  If the dog poops, I am calling 911!”  No humour in his voice.

Likely cabin fever and too much togetherness already setting in.

Yes, Kate, “people be weird.”

I still can’t stop giggling.

 

If This Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right

I feel pangs of guilt.  

Am I a terrible Mother and Grandmother?

Family Day

When our two daughters were very young, Sunday was always Family Day for us.  Nowadays, the kids call it Sunday/Fun Day.  Same day.  New name.

We carved out Sundays as a day we would spend together as a family.  We would go swimming, cross-country skiing, or hiking, depending on the season and the weather.

We would often take our girls on long Trail Hikes.  Nowadays, we call it Forest Bathing.  Same walk.  New name.

  • We would have fun, relaxed family time.
  • They would learn to appreciate nature.
  • We would all get some exercise and fresh air.
  • The goal was simply to be together.

 

Hiking With Very Young Children

It all sounds like a great idea.

For the first fifteen minutes.

How do you keep young children walking on a long hike, having fun, with minimal complaining?

My husband and I can only carry a thirty to fifty pound child for a short period of time.  We want to tire them out, not tire us out.

One Sunday, a spur of the moment decision resulted in the

               Birth Of A New Adventure! 

We Will Search For Licorice Trees 

Thirty-five years ago I packed some licorice candy strings along with healthy snacks in my knapsack for one of our hikes.

I began to discretely hang licorice strings further ahead on our path.  I did have an accomplice to distract the girls and keep an eye on them.  My complicit husband.

Finding the licorice trees did energize the girls and now they were running along the path.  They would squeal with delight when they found licorice strings hanging on a tree branch. 

              Long hikes became a lot more fun for the entire family.

 

Fast Forward Three Decades

My two daughters were recently reminiscing about our Sunday adventures when they were young girls.  They began giggling about the licorice trees.

I found out they believed for many years afterwards, licorice strings grew on trees.

A fleeting pang of guilt.  Am I a terrible Mother?

 

Last Sunday, A Funday

My husband and I took our two granddaughters for a hike last Sunday to a pretty area called the Kinsol Trestle.

I told four-year-old, Abby, and six-year-old, Sadie, to keep a lookout for licorice trees and licorice strings. 

They both gave me a puzzled, curious look. 

Sadie brought up a good point.  They had no idea what to look for?

Until they came across rainbow-coloured licorice strings hanging over a tree branch.

 

The Rest Of The Afternoon

Sadie and Abby searched high and low for this rare treasure growing in the forest.  For the rest of the afternoon there was no stopping the two of them.

We finally had to insist we turn around and head back to our vehicle.

Promises were made to return in the Spring to continue looking for this tasty treat. 

Our granddaughters did not question the existence of licorice trees.  They looked up at me with trusting eyes.

Is this wrong?  Have I gone too far?

A fleeting pang of guilt.  Am I a terrible Grandmother?

 

Perpetuating The Myths

Licorice trees belong in the category of the Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.  Fictitious, imaginary characters and fantasy brought to life by adults. 

I do have fleeting pangs of guilt when I bring these stories alive.

I also hear the squeals of laughter as Sadie and Abby run along the trail.  I see the joy and delight in their eyes when they find the licorice strings.    

My husband and I share a secret, knowing smile.  A moment in life where we are in this together.

                  Sharing memories.  Creating memories.

At The End Of The Day

We return Sadie and Abby to their parents late Sunday afternoon. 

They were bubbling over with excitement sharing the adventures of their day.  They also shared their bag of licorice strings with their Mom and Dad.

As we were leaving, Sadie yells out, “The Best Day Ever!”

                              

If This Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right 

Sadie and Abby will eventually find out the truth about the licorice trees.  I suspect they will giggle when they reminisce about their Sunday/Funday adventures.  

Three decades from now they may take their own children on a forest hike looking for licorice strings.  They may want to share the joy and delight of a new adventure.

They may want to spend a fun, relaxed Sunday, simply spending time together.

                              “The Best Day Ever!”

 

 

Have you played games to make long hikes fun for children?

Did you believe in imaginary characters when you were a child?

 

Postscript: 

About the Kinsol Trestle:  The Kinsol Trestle is also known as the Koksilah River Trestle.  It is one of the highest wooden railway trestles in the world. It provides a spectacular crossing of the Koksilah River. (Weblink)

Your visit:  If you come onto The Island  Vancouver Island Link   and visit the Kinsol Trestle, be on the lookout for licorice trees.  Please keep the rainbow-coloured licorice strings our little secret. These trees are very rare and we hope to find some licorice strings in the Spring on our next Trail Hike. 

Warning:  We make sure the girls do not touch anything or put anything in their mouths they find in the forest unless their parents or grandparents have given their approval.  They have received strict warnings in the past to not touch any mushrooms.  We do have poisonous mushrooms on The Island.

How An Iceland Adventure Led To Midlife Blogging

I am honoured to be a guest on Leanne’s inspirational and informative blog, Cresting The Hill  as part of her Midlife Symphony Series 

In my post I am sharing why the second half of my life is the best half of my life.  Choices I have made in the last two years have completely changed my life.   For the better!

Click on the link below to read the story.  I look forward to meeting you there!

Via     How An Iceland Adventure Led To Midlife Blogging

 

Myvatn Nature Baths, North Iceland