Precious Time & Doing the Math

“Life gets mighty precious when there’s less of it to waste.” Bonnie Raitt

It seems the universe of late, in a variety of ways, has been gently reminding me of how very precious time is.

Precious time with family and with friends. Precious time to discover new things and precious time to explore destinations I have dreamed of visiting.

So how does math figure into all of this, you might ask?

I am no mathlete but I have figured this much out!

When we are younger, there appears to be an infinite amount of time in front of us.

At the age of 61, when I give thought to doing the math of the time that may or may not lay ahead, I understand from experience, just how quickly that time will elapse.

That time estimation doesn’t include factoring in any circumstances that could instantly redefine what that timeline might look like.

Have I lost you yet?🤔

(I am having flashbacks of those dreaded math problems involving trains and how many stops they made and how fast they were going and how many people may have been on them, all culminating in what time they would arrive in a certain city. )

But my message is simply this.

The math is merely a reminder of how very precious the moments, the days and the years are. In doing the math, I am reminded there is indeed, less time to waste.

As the moments and days of my life continue on, I am innately aware of those who are no longer present with me here on earth.

I feel gratitude in being given the opportunity to experience the process of aging, for I know all too well there are those who will never encounter what that feels like.

I’ve done that math.

Regardless of your age, I encourage you to use your precious time wisely.

Hugs,

L❤️

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The Best Possible Version of You

Happy New Year!

I saw this quote awhile backquote & it struck me how much energy we expend on being who we think we should be, rather than simply getting comfortable with who we are.

We all know what we could strive to do better in various areas of our lives.

My only caution would be to ask yourself why you are putting forth the effort to make those changes?

Is it because you are trying to live up to someone else’s expectations?

Or is it because, in making those changes, it allows you to be the best possible version of yourself?

Give yourself permission to sift through the expectations of others and instead focus on what is right for you.

Be the best possible version of yourself, whoever that might be!

Happy New Year my friends and as always, thanks for reading!

Hugs,

L❤️

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Two Peas in Pod

I am incredibly fortunate to have a number of remarkable women in my life, all of whom I consider family. They are my sisters by choice.

This past weekend I had the privilege of spending a couple of glorious cottage days with one of those sisters by choice. We are, in so many ways, two peas in a pod.

We both share a mutual love for outdoor activities and an appreciation for the physical ability to be able to enjoy all that we love to do. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, it matters not. We rely on each other to sometimes nudge the other to get out & explore all that Mother Nature gifts us over the changing seasons.

The autumn season, for both of us, is an absolute favourite. The crispness in the air, the vibrant colours of the changing landscape in preparation for winter. The smell & the sound of the fallen leaves crunching under your feet. Listening to the quiet of the forest and the sound of the wind gently blowing through the trees. Taking the opportunity to soak in the warmth of the sun that will soon be sinking a little further south as winter sets in.

In a addition to a few hikes, we had hoped the weather would cooperate enough over the weekend to give us one last chance to get out for a paddle on the lake. And so, in spite of the very cool temperatures on our last morning together, we both instinctively felt Mother Nature beckoning us to join her on the lake for an end of season paddle.

Still in our pjs, sipping our coffees by the freshly lit cottage wood stove, it took nary a moment for us to make eye contact and know that we were destined for the lake. The sun was shining and there was adventure to be had.

After donning a few layers and filling our coffee thermoses, we launched our kayaks & set out for one last paddle. Mother Nature did not disappoint. She rarely does.

Such quiet beauty

There is something so incredibly beautiful about the sunlight this time of year, the way it casts a subtle golden hue and reflects off the vibrant reds of the turning leaves on the trees. If you allow yourself to sit quiet for just a moment to drink it in, it will take your breath away.

We two peas in a pod, couldn’t have felt more full of gratitude, as we just sat silently floating together in our kayaks in the middle of the bay, sipping on our coffee & taking in the scene & the quiet. It is in those very special, small quiet moments in life, that we feel a sense of magic that can only be described as pure joy.

This is what pure joy looks like!

We floated & paddled for almost 3 hours in pure bliss, exploring the lake & taking in the stunning vista Mother Nature had created for us to enjoy. Upon our return, our hearts were full.

A beautiful, adventurous soul.

Thank you, my sunshine friend, for sharing so many magical moments together and for always being up for an adventure.

Hugs,

L🧡

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The Uphill Grind

There are cyclists who absolutely love heading up a hill, seemingly effortless in their climb. I personally don’t share their enthusiasm when faced with a steep climb; quite honestly, hills are my nemesis!

This past week I headed out for a solo bike ride, following a route I know well. There is a particular spot on my ride where I often duck out just before a climb, the hill in front mocks me as I turn right to more enjoyable terrain.

The dreaded hill looming before me, this is where I would typically turn right.

But on this particular day, as I glanced up ahead at my nemesis in front of me, I decided to dig down deep and tackle the bastard thing!

It was definitely an uphill grind but with perseverance & a little sweat, I managed to make it to the top!

Black arrow above my head pointing to my approximate starting point. Take that you bastard!

As is common on my rides, cycling solo allows me some alone time to think. On this particular ride, I found myself reflecting on a number of people in my life facing a variety of challenges and started giving thought as to how life sometimes feels like one constant uphill grind!

We have all felt the impact and stress of the last few years with Covid. The pandemic brought with it, stressors many of us have never experienced before. It continues to be an ongoing trial by fire!

But the reality is that even prior to Covid, life has always had a way of tossing challenges into our paths that can feel unsurmountable at times. I think the difference for many over the past wee while, is that the resources we would typically draw on to recover & recenter, are essentially tapped out.

The ability to dig into our own personal well of resources has all but dried up for many.

Which is why, now, more than ever before, we need to carve out some sort of balance, a way to relieve our stress, to recenter our sense of calm and seek the support we need.

So the question becomes, how do we continue to push through, to grind up that hill, that on any given day, appears to be impossible to climb?

I profess to be no expert on any of this. I can only share what little bits of of coping strategies I have collected in my own life experience. Nuggets I am only too happy to share, in the hopes it may help someone else who is feeling the dread of an uphill climb.

My experience has been to find your people. By “your people”, I mean those you trust to patiently listen and offer guidance. Those you can rely upon to help you & support you.

Allow yourself to unload on your people. Unloading some of what you are feeling may not necessarily change the situation, but it can help to just lesson some of the weight felt in all of those worries swirling around in your head.

Be open to accepting help when it is offered, in whatever capacity it is you might need.

So many of us are guilty of thinking we somehow have to carry our burdens alone, feeling that those around us have their own problems to deal with. We all have problems to deal with but in sharing with one another, we realize we are not alone in our challenges and often are given a different perspective in the best way to move forward. There is no weakness in asking for, or accepting help.

Remember to take a time out and a moment to breathe. You may not be able to find lengthy periods of time to do this but give yourself permission to carve out some alone time. Find a quiet moment in whatever way suits your needs, allowing yourself a moment to recenter.

Whether you are dealing with health issues, work issues, family issues, it matters not. Find your people & surround yourself in them. Allow them to help develop a strategy in moving forward & overcoming that climb. In doing so, you will find yourself grinding up that hill once again with a team by your side, all cheering you on to overcome whatever challenge you are facing.

Oh, and once you get to the top, don’t forget to look back & reflect on what you have accomplished in getting there. You may even wish to yell, “take that, you bastard!” 😂

When faced with an uphill grind, what do you do? What are your strategies to recenter?

Hugs,

L❤️

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The End Of a Era

Today my eldest brother & I met to tie up any outstanding loose ends of my mom’s estate. In addition to closing out her estate account, I closed out a joint account she & I shared for years. She & my stepdad added me to the account years ago in order to facilitate paying bills for them when they went south for the winter.

Long after his death, I remained on the account with my Mom, in the event she needed me to do banking for her. In the latter years of her life, when her dementia set in & she needed someone to facilitate all things for her, I was so grateful she added me all those years ago when her state of mind was solid.

And so it seemed rather bittersweet today when I made the final transfer of funds from that joint account & asked it to be closed. The end of an era, completing the final business of a life. My Mom’s life.

My brother & I then ventured to share a coffee together, to get caught up and to reminisce a little about our parents, our families, and our lives. It was a much needed catch up.

A coffee cheers to Mom

When I returned to my car, Bill Wither’s Lean on Me started playing, one of my Dad’s very favourite songs. I have learned to pay attention to these little nudges. I would like to think he was gently reminding me how very precious family is and how important it is to remain connected to those we share a history with.

Although my Dad has been gone 25 years, my stepdad 23 years and my Mom now 1 1/2 years, today there was a finality felt in them no longer being present. I am so incredibly grateful for all that they taught me & the love they so willingly gave.

I heard you Dad, loud & clear!

I carry all of them with me always💕

Hugs,

L💙

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Making an Impact

Writing takes time & thought; at least it does for me. I recognize this little blog space of mine has been rather quiet the past number of months, but it is not for lack of writing, I assure you.

The truth is I have been writing elsewhere. Allow me to explain.

Last May, for my birthday/Mother’s Day, my son gifted me a subscription to a writing platform whereby each week, I am sent a question or a prompt to write about. Once the subscription is complete, those stories are compiled into a book which he will then have as a keepsake; a legacy of sorts, of my life stories & thoughts. It has been a very personal project, one that has taken my memory back to so many moments in time, one that has compelled me to give thought to what I choose to leave behind as my story.

Because these stories relate more to the relationship I share with my son & my family, I have chosen not to share them here on my blog.

However, a few weeks ago, this was the prompt sent to me:

What do you think is the meaning of life?

Holy mother of the universe!

Admittedly, this one took me some time to consider. It is a big question, one that I think we have all pondered from time to time.

Trust me, I am no expert in any way, shape, or form, and I certainly don’t have a definitive answer, but I did feel this prompt was worth sharing with all of you.

Have you ever given thought to this question? I am curious to hear your thoughts and would love to hear your answers in the comment section below.❤️

In the meantime, here are my musings.

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What do you think is the meaning of life?

I have given this one a tremendous amount of thought. So many times, we find ourselves asking the question or questions, as to what the meaning of life might be. What is this all for? What is the meaning of our existence? Why are we here?

For me, and so many of us I suspect, these questions seem very complicated & almost unanswerable. But because you asked, I was forced to really give this some thought! As I pondered the question, I ended up reframing it a bit & asked myself this question instead. At the end of my life, whenever that might be, what will have been important to me in my time spent on this earth?

The answer to that question, for me personally, is really quite simple. I hope that I will have left an impact. Leaving an impact may mean different things to different people but for me, leaving an impact means positively touching the lives of those I happen to have met along the journey of life.

It is, and always was I think, important to me to aspire to be a good human being. I know that sounds kind of corny, but I think it takes a tremendous amount of work, to be a good human. I had the very good fortune of being gifted a life that began with two good people teaching me the very basic principles in becoming a good human. They instilled in me a strong sense of core values & morals, as well as the importance of continued growth as a human. I grew up knowing the difference between right & wrong, I was encouraged to develop a keen understanding & empathy for others and above all else, I understood what it felt like to be loved. I hold tremendous value in being gifted this positive start in life for I can assure you, this is not the experience for all humans.

It is critical to me as a human being, to continue to grow & evolve as I age, to take my life experiences & use them in a positive light. What could possibly be more meaningful than knowing that you may have touched the life of another person and in doing so, left somewhat of an impact on them as a result?

In leaving an impact, I will have lived a full life. In living a full life, I will have honoured the life I was given. Those things combined, for me, define the meaning of life.

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I am ever so grateful for those of you who continue to visit my blog & read my sporadic posts. With May quickly approaching, I am hoping to get caught up on this very special gift, at which point, I hope to once again write in this space on a more regular basis.

In the meantime, with the rebirth of a new season, I wish you days filled with finding joy in the little things ever present around us.

Hugs,

L💛

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The Best of Intentions

I’ve been thinking about my parents a lot these past number of months. The parents who birthed & raised me, the step-parent who became a significant father figure to me, and the parents I inherited through marriage.

Perhaps this is a reflection of my own mortality, for with all of them now having left this earth, I am now the next generation of parents aging out.

It may also be because I have been giving thought & consideration to my own life legacy. Who I have been as a human, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a wife, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother.

Whatever the reason, I feel like I am still learning from my parents, in spite of the fact they are no longer physically present.

I think one of the things I am beginning to truly understand about my parents is that they were just human beings doing the very best they could with the very best of intentions. In some ways they excelled, in some ways they did not.

But isn’t that just part of being human? We are constantly learning & evolving, all just making an effort to be the very best versions of ourselves. Sometimes excelling, sometimes not so much.

My parents all came with their own life stories in tow, impacted by the ups & downs they experienced in their own lives & the lives of their parents before them.

With each generation that passes, we strive to continue to learn & to grow. We show up to parenting with the best of intentions, to shower our children with love, to protect them from harm, to guide them to become the best possible versions of themselves. Some things we excel in, some, not so much.

I am ever grateful to the parents in my life, for all that they taught me & continue to teach in their absence. I miss them immensely. Their laughter, their stories, their wisdom, & their love. There is not a day that goes by when I don’t feel them in my heart or hear them in my head. Perhaps that was their intention.

Hugs,

L 💞

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It’s a Snow Day!

For the first time, in a very long time, southern Ontario found itself experiencing a snow day.

Monday, January 17th, 2022, was scheduled to be the return date for in class learning for our children who, due to the pandemic, have been out of school since before Christmas.

But Mother Nature had other plans, not only for our children, but for most adults having to leave the house to go pretty much anywhere beyond their front door.

Of course, there are those winter naysayers who only choose to focus on the downside of a snow day, the not being able to go anywhere, the task of shovelling to literally dig themselves out of the house and the snowplow not plowing out their street for hours, but there are so many positives that occur on days like these.

Neighbours helping neighbours, strangers helping strangers, kids squealing with delight as they attempt to maneuver through waist high snow or fly down a hill on a sled.

One of the best stories I read about yesterday was posted on a local community page I follow, a neighbour reaching out to ask if anyone could assist in getting to her neighbours house to help shovel them out. It seemed the gentlemen’s expectant wife had awakened that morning to her water breaking and although they weren’t expected at the hospital until later that morning, concern grew when he realized he had about 2 feet of snow to clear, not to mention a vehicle to uncover, and that was just to get out of his driveway. Offers of help came in one after another, neighbours, strangers, all rallying to pitch in. In addition to the multiple offers of help, when a municipal employee saw the post on the community page, a request to redirect one of the municipal snowplows was given and an off duty fireman arrived offering to drive them to the hospital.

If that wasn’t enough to fill my heart with goodness, today my son sent me a picture of the fort he had created for his kids. This is a Daddy who knows firsthand, the joy that comes from a snow day and experiencing the fun it can bring.

So the next time a snow day happens to come your way, take a second to give thought to the good that comes out of a seemingly chaotic mess! It may just restore your faith in humanity a little bit, it may fill your heart with childlike joy & it may remind you of the little boy you once knew, who knows the delight that can come from such a day.

Hugs,

L💙

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The Meaning of “Mom”

“MOM”

Such a tiny little word, just 3 letters, yet one that evokes a myriad of emotions, thoughts & memories.

Before we can even form the word, we understand that “Mom” represents someone in our world like no other.

Mom, the arms that provide us comfort from the moment we breathe air into our lungs.

Mom, the healer we seek when we are hurt, knowing she will coming running from wherever she is.

Mom, the name we call out when we are sick, somehow making us feel just a little bit better, simply by her presence.

Mom, the fierce protector we scream for when we are scared, bringing us comfort through a warm hug & chasing whatever scares us away.

Mom, the entertainer who can send us into fits of laughter but equally leaving us rolling our eyes with embarrassment.

Mom, the call we make when we have exciting news to share, knowing her squeal of delight & excitement will be equal to or more than our own.

Mom, the shoulder we cry on when we are heartbroken, patiently allowing us to let our tears flow, all the while assuring us it will somehow be okay.

Mom, the advisor we seek when we can’t find the answers we are looking for.

Mom, the honesty we can rely on to keep us real, whether we need to hear it or not.

Mom, the person who will love us completely, warts & all.

Mom, the voice we long to hear after she is gone.

It matters not if we are a child or an adult.  This tiny little word may be small in size but it is gargantuan in meaning.

To all of the Mom’s out there who love so deeply, who juggle and sacrifice, who are our cheerleaders, our teachers & our safe place to land, who share joy & define all that derives meaning from this one little word, I celebrate you.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Hugs,

L💝

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I Miss My Life

I consider myself to be a positive person, a glass half full kind of gal. I make every attempt to try to look at things from a positive perspective, to not spend too much energy immersed in a negative mindset.

I have so much to be grateful for.

But I must admit, I am struggling with positivity these days, and I know I am not alone in feeling that way.

I miss my life. The one I have spent years building and fostering.

Although I certainly appreciate and in fact crave, a little bit of alone time for myself, I am a social bird by nature.

I love nothing more than to get together with friends & family, to share a meal, to celebrate a milestone or simply bask in the joy of being together.

I love to travel, to visit destinations both near & far, to learn & expand my knowledge of customs & culture.

I love to go to concerts & to live theatre, to feel the energy a performance of such magnitude gifts us.

I love to make spur of the moment decisions, whether it’s to head to a friends cottage for the weekend or randomly make last minute plans to meet for dinner.

I am a big time hugger.

I have dug down deep to remain positive throughout the craziness of this past year. I try to find gratitude for everything that is right in my life. But in more recent days, it feels really hard.

There are some parts of the world where life seems to have resumed to a more natural flow but here, in most parts of Canada, we are still struggling. Now in the midst of our 3rd wave and I can’t even tell you how many days of lockdown, the positivity well is feeling a bit dry.

I fear the toll all of this is taking on us, not only personally, but as a society.

Fear not, for I shall rally in positivity once again. I think I just needed to write this all down, to get it off my chest & to share, for if you are feeling like I am, I want you to know, you are not alone in your sadness and your grief. I am standing right there beside you.

I dream of the day when we can return to the ease of everyday life that we all cherish so much.

Until then, allow me to share a smile, a silly little picture that made me laugh out loud when it came across my Facebook feed this past week after we received an unexpected snowfall. As if lockdown isn’t bad enough! I suspect there are many of us feeling the sentiment of this little bird!

Take good care of yourselves my dear friends & family.

Hugs,

L💛

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