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Do you ever feel you are so far away from Home, yet you are sitting on the edge of your own bed? You reflect of what once was and what now is. Connecting all the physical dots is easy, if you sit peacefully, the memories wash over you. Go deeper and allow your feelings to float to the surface. The comfort you once had, the knowing where you were, will all bring you back Home.

Life can be so busy, taking us far away from Home, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Life is unpredictable and can change in an instant, making us yearn for that feeling of being Home.

As a child I had that deep tummy home sick feeling that would wash over me like a wave when I tried to sleep over night at a friends house. I always ended up calling my Mom to come bring me Home. Maybe it was her calm voice that I missed so much. She always made everything feel better no matter what I was going through. Still to this day, her voice calms me and brings me back Home. The moment I say hello, she instinctively hears me and makes it right.

This feeling wouldn’t go away until I surrendered to it. Laying in my own bed knowing I was safe and loved put me at peace.

It is a struggle at times being a parent trying to offer the same sense of peace to your kids. You wonder if they even notice what you do daily to make them feel as you did growing up, the feeling of being safe and warm at Home. No matter what troubles your kids go through, give them a Home they know they can be at peace in.

What I have learned over the years is that Home comes from within. It is a combination of what you once had and where you are in this moment. It is in the sound of a familiar voice, in a smile on a face, in the touch of a hand you know so well, in an embrace from long ago. Home is the love we hold in our hearts for those we know so well and those we have yet to welcome in…our Home.

Home is in the Heart.

Home is love…

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Landmarks in Life ~

thomasmerton385677
IMG_6835We are all part of Landmark events; the birth of a child, a wedding, the passing of a loved one, a success in life. Each waypoint becomes a memorable time in life waiting to be revisited when we feel the need. When we allow these moments in time to resurface, feelings emerge and we reflect on how each of them changed who we are. We connect our dots. They eventually define who we are as a whole. Each one of these Landmark events is part of what develops our core.

I recently added a dot to my journey in life. I feel as though I have a blank sheet of music that awaits the melody I will create. The people I meet along the way are the notes, those who are a constant in my life are that familiar chorus, the memories we make together will become the lyrics to my song. Each chord that is played will evoke a feeling that will resonate with me for years to come. Some verses in my song will haunt me, others will overflow with passion, some will bring a ((((smile)))), others may well a tear to the surface that will courageously take its own path and gently slip away.

As we walk along our path creating our music in life we will be joined by a select few who will walk with us for our entire journey. Others will joins us to teach us a lesson or two and then fade away off into the distance. Some will walk with us long enough to challenge who we are and may even change our path. There will be few who will feel like home that will unconditionally love who we are and accept all the musical genres we have created. They will fight for us. They will stand strong at our side no matter where we choose to go.

We all meet those who make their mark in our lives. We may not play with them as often as we would like, but they are instrumental in helping us write our song. We learn in time that when we need them to hum that familiar chorus they will, when the time is right. They are part of who we are, our internal compass, that finds us and brings us back home when we are lost amid the chaos in life.

T ~

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On The Road to Reality…

door romantic

IMG_0066From where I have come is a question I ask myself often. Why am I here? What is my purpose, if not to live a life wrapped in true romantic love. It has taken me years to come to the realization that the path in which I have followed, is perhaps not going to lead me to where I dream of being…

Reality is like the devil in my world. Born Aquarius, I naturally look to the future. I live in a different world. I am a daydreamer, a night-dreamer and as far back as I can remember, I willingly escaped to the life my imagination created carefully in my head. I danced until dawn. I laughed until I cried. I kissed like it was goodbye. I loved with my heart and soul. I believed in true love and fairy tale romance. I lived it, inhaled it with every breath I took. My quest was simple…to capture ‘that’ feeling one gives you when you connect deeply through the windows of your soul. That look that makes you smile from a place so intimate your cheeks blush and skin heats from within.

I live in the clouds and spin my dream into interludes trying to capture a moment in time that makes my heart beat faster. The language of love. My imagination fulfills my romantic desires but I yearn for more than just those whimsical thoughts that floated by, way up high.

I have packed my bag lightly with a few belongings, mostly memories gone by, a leather bound notebook, a pencil to scribble my thoughts, a piece of jewelry I cherish and an old photograph that will remind me who I am. As I look around my space comes alive. My past flashes before my eyes like old movies playing on the projector in my mind.

I put my hand on the door in front of me feeling the energy that radiates behind it. This particular door will open when it’s ready. Until then I will stand close and feel its warmth pass through me. Like a child waiting to open a gift, the anticipation is overwhelming. For now, I will float among familiar ones that take me back to sift through the meanings that they brought forth to help create who I have become. Each one was placed in my path for a reason, a life lesson. You never know where a door will lead if you fear the unknown.

I sit on my cloud and contemplate what was and what will be. Each life experience or door I was courageous enough to venture through took part in making me who I am today as I pack my bag ready to come down from where I have called home since I was a child. It’s time.

I bow my head as I approach a new beginning with tears in my eyes of memories I hope never get lost in the shuffle of life. I savor each moment as I slowly reach forward and place my hand on the ornate worn knob. The moments I want to bring with me are safely placed at my side if I feel homesick, a familiar feeling as a child. There will always be a silver thread holding me to what I am not meant to let go.

The energy from behind the door waiting for me glows with a light so warm it almost feels like home. It distracts me from this moment like a future waiting to unfold.

So you see, I do know from where I’ve come. I need not know why I am here. My purpose is to be. True love is all around me. I will arrive when it is time. It is only now where I want to be in mind, body and spirit. I need not a daydream or fantasy in my life to feel full, reality can be as exciting as the world inside my mind.

Svaha ~

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Painting Our Canvas in Life!

lifeisacanvas-piccsydotcom Photo on 13-01-30 at 2.43 PMLife can be unpredictable and change completely from one moment to the next. We never really know how long we have. We don’t know for sure what happens next. There are no guarantees in life as to where our path will lead us or who will walk beside us on our journey. I do believe we meet individuals along the way that guide us and teach us not only about life but about ourselves. Every now and then we meet someone who changes us in a powerful way. They remind us to live in the moment and trust.

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” ~Ernest Hemingway 

Would you enter into a relationship knowing that it had a pending time limit attached to it? I would. Life is about the essence of time we have with someone regardless of the clock ticking in the distance. If you knew your partner only had a certain amount of time left on this planet, wouldn’t you live each day different? Time passes by so quickly and we all get side tracked in life and forget to ‘live’. We hold onto things that really don’t matter. We don’t always make the most of our life experiences.

You are the only one who can paint the picture you wish your life to be. Be BOLD, making every stroke count whether you choose broad or delicate ones! You decide which colours of the rainbow to add to your canvas. Dip your brush fearlessly and see your picture come alive! Your brush is an extension of you, the paint is a mix of life experience and those we meet along the way. It’s up to you to create the picture that is as unique as you are.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”  ~Oscar Wilde

Have you ever experienced moments in time where you had to pause and capture an overwhelming visual imagine in your memory, knowing it was seconds away from passing? Moments like this only happen when you let go and allow yourself to see and feel what life has to offer. Moments forever in our minds, memories we keep forever!

Every now and then we get a little reminder of how magical life really is. The beauty is all around us if we have the courage to open our eyes and let our life wash over us. Only then can your picture be painted in it’s truest form.

What ever you are doing, stop and look around you. Touch the person beside you or smile at the woman across the room. Connect with another human being! Take the chance that your heart will be touched like never before, even if it doesn’t last forever it will still stay with you as long as you choose to nurture the thought and energy that goes along with it.

“Thoughts become things, choose the good ones” ~ Notes from the Universe.

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Happy Halloween ~ Jib Jab!

Every 'other' girl at the party...

...and then there is me...no NOT the Paper-bag Princess...I'm the Unknown Cougar (like the Unknown Comic?) Anyone get it?

Happy Halloween! I am NOT a big fan of Halloween. It could be that I’ve had my fair share of treats over the years and when I see them in the grocery store it just makes me go Ugh! Halloween for me = zits and a tight waste band! It’s just way too easy to polish off an entire box of 100 six weeks before you actually need them. Note to self: DO NOT BUY HALLOWEEN TREATS BEFORE OCTOBER 31st @ 6PM!!! (If the store is out…consider yourself lucky!)

I don’t like the dressing up part of AT ALL! I appeased my daughter who LOVES Halloween by buying a Vampire Cape, it was either that or a sexy_______ fill in the blank. I know…false hope, I won’t wear it unless I make it funny somehow. Fat chance of that happening with such short notice. I was thinking I’d like to pull a “Modern Family” scare the crap out of the little kids in our neighborhood since I’m moving, but they’re always so damn cute I don’t think I could do it. It would be like pulling the trigger on Bambi 😉

Every Halloween memories come rushing back that remind me why I am not a fan…Pregnant Princess, Halloween’68 is the year I knew I was odd and my dreams were crushed. All the neighbors asked what I was, like it wasn’t obvious? They looked at me with question about my unusual combination, whats not to get about a Pregnant Princess? Made perfect sense to me!

It could have been Mr Milner Halloween ’71, countering our “trick or treat” with “TRICK” when we knocked at his door! Trick? Wt? Just give out the damn candy! We weren’t a circus act we just wanted a 2-cent chocolate! Two years of that and his house was nixed! We should have told him there were houses that gave out cans of pop and full size chocolate bars that didn’t make us work for it! Trick? Really? I was really shy when I was little so that put me over the edge each year! No wonder I don’t like auditions! I wonder what kids would say now if you said TRICK? I don’t think they’d even get it! They would stand in a group looking at each other confused until one of them whispered “What did she just say?” another would say under his breath “I’m not sure?” Then the smart-ass in the group would talk really loud like I was hard of hearing and say “SHE S-A-Y-S WE LOOK REALLY T-r-i-c-k…thanks Ma’am now give us the damn candy!”

It might have been ‘Mark VanOord’ Halloween’79 the year my school girl crush finally kissed me. The kiss I daydreamed about for years and when I finally got it, much to my dismay I dressed up as a clown that year…a 16 year old clown!

Maybe it was Stargate Halloween’96 when I dressed up as a crappy kick-boxer, head-gear (really attractive) chest pad (flattering) and mouth guard (nice) with bruises all over my face and every other female in the room was in full Renaissance attire, wigs and parasols.

I was always the girl who showed up in a funny costume not a sexy one. (its possible or likely I am in denial now but that’s my story and I’m stickin to it) I did however dress up last year as a ‘cougar’ and thought that was funny…kinda sexy, Bonnie said I just looked cheap! LMAO!

Be safe trick or treating tonight! I can’t resist Jib Jab! So here it is, from me to you! I apologize in advance to my kids and Bonnie’s kid for using them for my own entertainment purposes! Chances are they won’t even see it until it’s too late so what the hell!

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Dormez Vous? Dormez Vous?

“Mothers couldn’t be everywhere. That’s why God created Grandmothers.”  I love this saying. I found it on a plaque once and gave it to my own grandmother. It made her cry. It was especially true in her case. My grandmother did step in for my mom for a time when I was very young and she remained really dear and special to me. I miss her very much, but I’m grateful for the many years of wonderful memories I have of her.

I am blessed with four step grandchildren myself now and I want to be the kind of grandma (or Nana in my case) that she was, or at least as close as I can get to it. My own grandmother was full of fun and adventure when she was with me and I want to be like that with the next generation for as long as I can.

Now that my son has grown and moved on I realize, to my shock, how fast his childhood fled by and so as grandparents John and I want to s-l-o-w it down and enjoy every second. We just spent the long weekend here at our place with 3 of our kids and their friends/spouses, and 4 grand kids. The weather wasn’t ideal but we still had a lot of fun together. We all get together every year on the Canada Day long weekend and I love that it has become “our” time. Blow up beds and foamies everywhere; chip crumbs and ice cream drips on the floor. It doesn’t get any better!

For those few days our usual quiet routine was interrupted by the sound of a little one singing Frère Jacques and Itsy Bitsy Spider over and over and over, the adolescent squeaks of a boy-voice-changing to-a-man-voice, doors constantly opening and closing, the boom of gun fire from video games, and laughter…lots and lots of laughter. And we loved every second of it!

As I write this I’m surrounded by pictures of my family and it makes my heart swell. I can’t believe how lucky I am. Once I’ve swept and washed the sticky floor, washed the eight loads of sheets and towels that wait for me, had a nap, ordered out for dinner and put my feet up…I’m really going to miss everyone.

In a day or two I’ll probably even stop hearing these words repeating in my head:

Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques, Dormez vous? Dormez vous? Sonnez les matines, Sonnez les matines, Ding, dang, dong! Ding, dang, dong!

I understand why my grandma had to have a nap everyday now. Dormez vous? Soon, little one, soon.

Cherish the moments everyone!

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Girlfriends at My Side ~

I am on a path of Enlightenment just like the Goddess Arya Tara who we chose to represent us here on Tara Cronica over 3 years ago. I am growing and unfolding along the way, learning life lessons, making memories and expanding my circle of friends. I believe I have evolved as a woman while writing what’s on my mind each week. Writing is my passion and it has also been therapeutic. Women communicate and learn from speaking to, and listening to, other women, it’s what we do.

I have had so many laughs and shed many tears along the way. One thing that has been consistent are the girlfriends who stand at my side day and night, 24/7. Men have come and gone but the beautiful nurturing souls who I am blessed to say are my girlfriends stand strong at my side. I need my girlfriends, it’s that simple. I love the male energy as you all know, great men inspire me to be a better me.

Life would not be the same without my beautiful soul sisters!

My Mom shared this link with me (she is more than my Mom she is also my girlfriend) and it rung so true to me I needed to share it with you. Thanks Mom I love you!  xo

They Teach it at Stanford;

“In an evening class at Stanford the last lecture was on the mind-body connection – the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other thing, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first everyone laughed, but he was serious. Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physcially this quality ‘girlfriend time’ helps to create more serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very GOOD for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym. (Hallelujah to that!) There’s a tendency to think that when we are ‘exercising’ we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged – not true! (I know not ONE of my girlfriends agrees with that statement!) In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!”

So every time you grab a java with friends or chat over a glass of wine, keep in mind it’s good for your well being! It soothes the soul!

This does not mean I am not going to go on and on about the male energy, that will never change! I love my friends male and female!

Svaha Girlfriends…and Man-friends!

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Raising a Teenager…

First things first, Mom and Dad, I love and appreciate everything you ever did for me growing up! You Rocked as parents! I loved hanging out with you. Our house always felt safe. Having kids of my own entering their teens I understand how important it is for them to feel like they have a place where they can be themselves. I love being the house where kids gather and hang out.

Teenagers are naturally programmed to push the boundaries to get their own independence. One day parents are hilarious and the next day our behavior is embarrassing and frowned upon. That’s a hard transition to make as a parent. Words out of the mouths of babes are cute, out of the mouths of teenagers can sometimes sting.

Surging hormones, cry-laugh-bitch all within 3 minutes of each other sums up the unpredictable life of a teen. Remember how up and down your emotions were during puberty? My only hope is that I don’t go through peri-menopause at the same time my daughter goes through puberty or she’ll be going to the moon with Alice!

I was a great kid growing up, until my Mom wouldn’t let my older boyfriend (wild bill) who had a beard, study in my room with the door closed. Okay I find humour in that now, was it really that obvious! What-EVER! She turned into the opposition that day but fortunately it only lasted a short time, at least that’s my recollection. My Mom just let me ride the hormone wave until I was done while she maintained her loving support with my Dad at her side incase she needed the big guns for back-up. (she did, it worked) Thanks Mom! I learned a thing or two about respect in a very short time. (ya never call your Mom the B-word…doesn’t turn out in your favour…ever!)

When you’re a teen you can’t imagine your parents doing anything remotely close to sex so you assume you can pull the wool over their eyes! If your reading this Jordan, if your boyfriend has a beard, he won’t even be entering the front door let alone your pig sty you call a room! Fortunately for me my Mom was smart, understanding and stood her ground keeping me headed in the right direction. I can now appreciate how hard it was for her to deal with a girl-tween.

I have a 13 year old son who is way too charming and handsome for his own good and a 10 going on 16 year old girl who is starting to strike fear into us with how beautiful she is inside and out. Thank god she has a hilarious sense of humour! Her brother is going to have his work cut out for him in high school. The fun has just begun! I’m definitely up for the challenge and also have a great support system in place. Hugely important!

I liked my parents so I spent lots of time with them. They were cool parents that were always there for me no matter what. My Mom was generous, loving and very open and my Dad was encouraging and hilarious so were laughing all the time. We still do. I was never able to lie to my Mom, maybe because I didn’t need to. She was completely tuned into what I was up, and still is. She can tell by the sound of my voice what’s going on in my life. Honestly I always feel better after hearing her advice. I don’t always take it but I still like to hear it.

I recently had ‘the’ talk with my son on the way to a party about being aware and safe. I had the same talk my Dad had with me. He simply told me I was his only daughter who he loved and trusted and couldn’t imagine life without me. He always wanted me to be safe. I told my son how important it is to always have a clear mind. It’s when your mind is clouded that things can go terribly wrong. Teaching your kids to make conscious smart choices is so important, to be a leader not a follower. Its tough raising kids when they’re little but nothing prepares you for when they start to spread their wings to fly on their own, bitter sweet for sure. Telling your kids that you trust them right before they go out is like buying insurance, no kid really wants to disappoint their parents. Say it even if you don’t! 🙂 All kids make mistakes, the key is to be there for them when they do and support them, don’t say I told you so!

Kids need their parents when they are little to survive, but I think when they start to naturally push us away is when they need us more, even if it’s sitting together in silence. Just knowing your there if they reach out is sometimes all they need.

 

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Grad Reunion…

Bonnie chose the word ‘Memories’ for our header this month, beautiful job by the way Bon. I love when a new header goes up because it creates a fresh start each month and gives us a word to reflect on. Memories ~

Last weekend was our Grad Reunion so memories started flowing the moment Bonnie arrived in town on Friday afternoon. The annual came out and we sat and reacquainted ourselves with familiar faces that helped shape us into who we are today.

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we were walking the halls of high school with all our friends but I guess it was, if you are the type of person who relates everything to time. You can’t avoid time…“time will tell, times a tickin, there’s no time like the present, I’m having the time of my life, it’s about time”…and so on. I personally hate the clock. It makes me feel rushed and reminds me of having a schedule. This weekend we stepped back in time to when none of us had real responsibilities.

We walked in slightly nervous as everyone was but soon realized that nothing that really mattered had changed. We had all grown and evolved but our cores had stayed the same. Time had just tweaked us a little. Some of us were in transition, happily married, sort of single, divorced, remarried for the 3rd time, finally married and although our circumstances were all different we were the same. We all wanted to reconnect in person with those who meant something to us a long time ago. A circle of friends were reunited making time for each other because that’s what friends do. Still after so many years there was warmth and support in the room. We could finally share who we had become with friends we knew, while we were searching for who we were. There were no competition, no chest puffing, no whispers, no sideways glances, it was nothing but smiles, handshakes, compliments, friendly eye contact, hugs and lots of kisses! Everyone genuinely wanted to be there.

“Time flies when you’re having fun” so I suppose I’ve had a lot of fun over the last 30 years. It certainly didn’t feel like that long ago once we entered the room!

If your clock is ticking slow, you need to make memories that are worth reliving. Bonnie and I did this weekend and it was just as fun as it was 30 years ago. Somethings never change…the after party ended up in the kitchen lasting all night long, and still it wasn’t enough time to spend catching up with great friends!

I loved seeing each and everyone of you that took the time to reconnect in person!

Thank you Tammy and Mike for making it all happen and Terry for the music, a party is not the same without the tunes, and Shirl for the fantastic after party it wouldn’t have been near enough time without it!

Love you all Class of ’81…

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What events, if any in your childhood significantly influenced who you are now?

Bonnie Johnson's PostBonnie’s Happy Place~ Of course everything that happened in my life has influenced who I am today,  but the one that sticks out the most for me is the summer I spent with my grandparents when I was seven.  They lived on some acreage about an hour outside of Penticton, BC.  There was no running water or electricity and it felt to me like we were back in Laura Ingalls day.   I loved it.Wikiup We lived in what my grandparents called the “Wikiup” which was a large wooden one roomed tee pee that sat on the crest of a dry hill top.  It was a temporary home while my grandfather built their larger house in a better location a short distance away.  Their plan was to eventually build a golf course and the Wikiup was going to be part of the “Cowboys and Indians” themed club house. It doesn’t get any better for a seven year old tomboy.

Coming from my apartment in downtown Vancouver (Davie and Denman no less) to this wild country was better than chocolate to me.  I could run free all day long with Penny, my grandparents little dog.  I had no toys other than nature and I learned to rely on my imagination for my fun.  I was so close to nature and without any modern-day distractions during this time that I really believe I re-connected with my soul…my real Self.  It felt magical and I have never forgotten those times.  When life gets to be too much I can fall back into those memories and feel aligned again.  I can imagine I’m barefoot and jumping from one warm flat rock to the next in the creek or that I’m walking alone along the deer trails.   I can smell the warm pine needles, feel the hot sun on my back and hear the squirrels and birds chattering.  And I’m there again.  I’m back to my Self.

Post Insert Jacquie

Jacquie~ I don’t remember many specifics from my early years but one event really made a huge impact on me.  I had just started grade 2  and, as per usual, making friends was top priority.  I was playing with a group of older girls after school when one of them told a joke that made everyone laugh.  I filed that info away, and the next day in class we were asked to do a bit of creative writing.  I thought I was so clever!  I wrote down that joke as best I could remember it.   When it came my turn to stand in front of the class and read my draft I was sure I was going to have them rolling in the aisle, but instead the teacher very kindly but sternly reprimanded me and explained how hurtful these types of comments could be.  What?!  I had told a …racist joke?  What was that? I didn’t even realize until that moment that the words I had repeated could be so hurtful to so many in my own classroom!  All I had been thinking about was that I wanted to make the kids laugh the way the other girls had the day before.  I really hadn’t thought much about what the words actually meant.   I suddenly saw it so clearly and felt sick and ashamed, but I also remember my teacher being very understanding and me feeling so glad she wasn’t mad.  I looked at the kids in the class that I had offended like I was seeing them for the first time and wanted them to know I was truly sorry, that I simply hadn’t been thinking, and that ugliness wasn’t me.

I see this event as a pivotal moment because it taught me about the power of the written and/or spoken word and that I needed to pay more attention to what I was saying or doing.  It also made me realize I saw everyone as different ~ but equal.  I wish I could remember my teacher’s name and give her a shout-out because she also deserves credit for how she handled the situation.  I’m sure my ‘episode’ gave her a perfect opportunity to teach the kids about racism, tolerance and respect.  I know I learned a lesson that day I’ve never forgotten.

TracyTracy Reminisces~ This ones easy for me Bonnie.   We are influenced so much as children and I often wonder myself what events I have created in my kids lives that will help make them who they are becoming.

I would have to say without a doubt traveling throughout Europe for a year with my family when I was 10 years old would be the most significant event that influenced me.   Although I was only 10 years old and it took many years to really show up in my personality, it did impact me throughout my entire life and still does.  It showed me that there is an entire planet out there to explore.  I learned that people from all over the world were so different, yet so similar.  It broadened my horizon.

Tracy, Mohamad our guide for the Kasbah, ChrisI would daydream after that year long adventure about the people I met along the way, one I still write to after 35 years, Silvia who lives in the Netherlands.  Some only crossed my path for a day but they too are still a memory that will be with me after I am old and grey.

I became more independent.  As a family we compromised and worked things out because we were all we had.  It gave me a sense of freedom and confidence to live my life how I wanted to.  My parents were not like other parents when they quit their jobs and sold their house to travel.  They gave up security to live their lives the way they wanted to.  They were not conformists, which I totally admire.  Having kids didn’t stop them from living their lives.  They showed me that dreams are real, you just have to live them.  I continue to learn even now from that event or experience that happened so many years ago.  I also learned that balance is very important in life experience.  Which is what I am still striving for today.

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What Are You So Afraid Of?

fear_poster_med

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.   Eleanor Roosevelt

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.   James Thurber

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.   Marianne Williamson

Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom.    Marilyn Ferguson

What exactly is fear?  It is a negative emotion that stems from the “unknown”.  Fear comes in many forms.  There are the common fears; spiders, snakes, sharks, water, the dark, etc. Then there are the less obvious fears such as the fear of commitment or the fear of failure.  The fears we feel for all of these always sparks our escape and avoidance reflex.  So what are some of your fears and have you been able to work past them and even shed them?

Bonnie Johnson's Post

Bonnie Braves it Out~

I actually used to be afraid of birds at one time.  Birds! Can you believe that?  It started when my little brother used to take his pet budgie and throw it under my covers while I slept.  The poor thing would freak out and bite of course and I would wake up with bird feathers flapping in my face and scratchy beak bites.  I was afraid of flapping bird wings for years after.  I finally just forced myself to get close and observe birds for awhile and before long the fear just melted away.  I love birds now.

My fears today are a little more complex but I will try and conquer them in the same way.  I’ll examine them closely, learn all I can about them.  Just stare them down.  It is a little harder to do with fears like the fear of failure and the fear of being inadequate but not impossible.  I’ll just break them down bit by bit and tackle them by reminding myself that all that really matters is to reach for a good feeling thought.  I did that with the birds.  As I observed birds, I would think about how pretty their feathers were or how amazing their song sounded.

So when the fear of failure grips me again I’ll force myself to focus on a positive thought like “I know I’ll learn something from this experience regardless of it’s outcome.”  Another trick I’ve learned is to bring my thoughts back to the “now”.   For example, I’ll ask myself if all is well in this moment.  It always is.  Here’s to finding freedom by facing, fighting and conquering our fears!

Tracy

Tracy Faces hers ~

Bonnie this is an excellent topic.  I have had fears over the years but as I continue to grow I realize that it is very true that on the other side of fear is freedom.  I think there is no other way to release your fears than by facing them head on.  Fear is being afraid of the unknown.  We are assuming the unknown is scary.  What a waste if it isn’t.

I was afraid as a child to be the last one up in the house out of fear of hearing something my sleeping parents didn’t.  It’s 12:26 am and I am the only one up!

I was afraid to sleep over night at  friends houses for fear that something would happen to my family while I was gone.  I know that’s intense for a little girl and I don’t know where it came from but it was a huge fear.  This fear made me miss out on a ton of fun times like Outdoor School, Brownie Camp and slumber parties so it prevented me from living and making great memories!

Having children can make fear creep into our lives, it certainly did mine.  Making sure they are safe, protected and looked after.  But again as we face these fears they disappear and empower us.  I have learned that there is nothing you should fear except fear itself.  Fear nothing and you will continue to grow and move in the direction you are meant to go.  Fear changes your path and prolongs the inevitable.  Truth however makes everything possible.  What about you Jake, are you a fraidie pants?

jacquie janzen yee

Jacquie dips her toe in the water ~

Generally speaking, I’m a pretty brave person, but I do have an irrational fear of large things in water like bridge supports, icebergs, oil tankers and stuff like that.  And if barnacles are visible on said objects, I’d pass out cold like those fainting goats Cheryl was telling me about last night!  I can cross a bridge or travel by ship no problem, just don’t make me imagine …I can’t even think it without getting the heebie jeebies…. falling in the water near any of these things!

Luckily, my fear doesn’t run my life, and as long as I don’t go canoeing in English Bay or dog paddling in the Arctic I’ll get by just fine.

I’m with you, Bonnie, regarding the fear of failure that most of us have to deal with somehow.  Strangely related is the fear of success.  Both of these fears are about the future and have little to do with the reality of the ‘now’ unless you let them take control.  I have to tell myself to relax and enjoy my time in the present and not to worry about outcomes all the time.  It’s a hard thing to do.  And I don’t mean you have to be glib about life and thoughtless.  Not at all.   Sometimes my fear of being mediocre prevents me from, say, finishing a painting.   That’s when I have to remember the great feeling of seeing a completed concept and it sets me right again.

That Marianne Williamson quote (above) has been stuck on my cork board for years and I look at it often.  In fact, the flip side of my art cards has the rest of it…

As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.

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A Gathering of Family

Bonnie Johnson's Post

I’m just back from spending the last 4 days camping with the Johnson clan.  The reunion began last Friday when Johnson’s from all over the map arrived at a beautiful camp site on Green Lake (just outside of 100 Mile House, BC).  Green Lake was chosen because it is fairly close to where the first Johnson’s homesteaded and close to where many still live today.  It’s really a gorgeous spot with crystal green water, incredible sunsets and breath-taking starry nights.

DSCN0024The hot days kept most of us close to the refreshing clean lake or under any form of shade we could find while we caught up with our reli’s.  Many old photos were passed around.  Some photos invoked great spurts of laughter while others were received with a quiet remembering of times long past.

It’s very comforting to be surrounded by those who share the same blood line.  There is just something special about looking around the crowd and recognizing the same nose on more than one face.DSCN0033

I’m a Johnson by marriage so I don’t actually share the same genes but I have been a part of the family long enough to feel the bond.  I love hearing old stories about how the family came to be as far back as anyone can remember. There were stories of lust and adultery, heart breaking loss, enduring love, hardships, joys…even murder.  As the stories were told everyone learned something about their heritage that they had not known before and it made them feel more whole somehow.

For the younger clan members there were games like licorice eating contests, three legged races, sack races and a scavenger hunt.  For some it was the first time they had met but I doubt they will forget the fun they had together.  And that’s what it’s all about I think.  Making new memories together, adding new photos to the pages of albums that will be shared years from now at another family gathering.  It’s keeping the history of those that came before us alive by adding to and sharing the stories of our own lives.BonnieDSCN0018

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What’s your favorite memory of a Grandparent?

Happy Father’s Day to all the Wonderful Father’s and Grandfather’s out there!  Enjoy your day!

Tracy’s Take~

Tracy's Grad with NanaWhat’s your favorite memory of a Grandparent or Grandparent figure in your life Ladies?

My favorite memory of my Nana who is my Dad’s Mom was going to her house on New Years Day.   Nana and Jean, her companion would host New Years Day dinner and the entire Westerholm family would attend.

Nana had stockings hung from her fireplace for everyone overflowing with fun gadgets we all loved to play with.  She always found really unique things you didn’t find in the regular stores like 2 inch x 2 inch cameras or boxes that were puzzles.  My stocking always had a new Barbie bursting out of the top!

Within minutes of being there one of us would distract Nana while the other went straight to the heat thermostat to knock it back from 140 degree’s to a mild 85.  She would figure it out soon enough and we would be right back into the Arizona desert within the hour but it was a fun challenge.  Next stop the fudge dish, Jean made fudge to die for, no one else has EVER even come close. There was the smell of Jean’s turkey in the oven with mash potatoes and gravy.  If Jean hadn’t been there we’d all be eating P B & J sandwiches, Nana’s specialty and favorite.  It was what family was to me being there with my Aunt and Uncle and Cousins.  I loved the Chaos of everyone talking and having fun.  It was never boring.  I miss those times and love the memories!

Jacquie’s 2 cents~

jacquieI only really knew one of my four grandparents, my dad’s mother, Agnes Janzen.   Her husband, my grandfather John, died when my dad was a pre-teen.  My mom’s dad lived in Australia and her mother made England her home so there wasn’t much bonding that went on there.

Gramma Janzen was a gem, though, and was the quintessentially perfect grandmother.  She always had fresh baking on hand, was always up for a game of scrabble ( though she sometimes bent the rules. Very competitive lady) and she was a wonderful listener.  She was already quite elderly when I came from Australia so I only knew her as a smiling, white-haired cuddly, slow-moving old person who seemed to really like having us around for visits.

My most profound memory is of a short conversation I had with her when I was 18.  I was venting about the fact that some of my old high school friends had made disparaging comments about my having an Asian boyfriend (now my husband of 24 years ).  She said that in a couple of centuries all races will be mixed and that will no longer be an issue and the world will be a better place for everyone.  I was stunned to hear such a thoroughly modern ideal come from such a conservative, old-fashioned looking woman.  It really made me realize how little I knew about her.

She was all about love and family and good meals.  She passed away three years later, the same night my dad told her I had just become engaged.  I was living in Toronto at the time and so I didn’t see her at the end but I was told she was very happy for me ~ and I truly believe she was.    Here’s to you, Gramma!

Bonnie’s 2 cent’s~

Bonnie's PostI have so many wonderful memories of my grandparents on my mothers side that I don’t know where to begin.  We were always very close which I believe stemmed from the fact that I lived with them when I was a baby.  Strong bonds were formed early and remained always.  The relationship I had with my grandfather and the influence he had on my life was very special to me.  I’ve just shared some of those stories in my last post, so today I am going to share some memories of my grandmother.

Bonnie's Grandma

My grandmother with me and my cousin on her lap

One of the first things that comes to my mind when I think about my grandmother is her laugh.  She had a really great giggle and she found  humour in so many things.  I can still hear her laughing out loud and slapping her thigh.  That memory in itself will always make me smile.

My grandma was one of those people who understood the joy of play and would get right down at my level to join me in all kinds of different play.  She found the fun in these simple things.  One of her greatest gifts to me was to help me learn to read at only 5 years old.  It really gave me a boost when I started school.  She bought me a subscription to receive a new Dr.Seuss book every month.  I’m still a HUGE Dr.Seuss fan by the way.

One year I went to spend the summer with them and she had all kinds of adventures planned for us.  When we found old cow skulls on their property she encouraged me to pretend we were archaeologists  finding dinosaur bones.  She demonstrated the danger of cactus by blowing up a plastic bag and popping it on the sharp needles.  She “helped” me build a tree fort which remained dangerously intact for many years.  If I so much as licked the spoon after she made cookies she would tell everyone that I helped her make them and would brag about what a great help I was.  During my summer stay each night she and I would sit together and she would ask me to describe my day to her and then she would write down in my own words everything I said.  It was my first journal and I cherish it to this day.

Grandma and Bonnie

My favourite picture of us together

I miss her so much but I’m forever grateful for having had her in my life while I did.

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